Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Not so stylish dresses

Can someone reach out to the designers who put out the wretched bubble skirted holiday dresses? Send them a message "they didn't work well in the '80s and they are even more repulsive now!" These dresses appear to have forgotten/unfinished hem lines, as if the dressmakers forgot to remove the pins when they were putting the finishing touches on the lines. OK, simmer down Audrey. Seriously, I was scrambling to find a sleek and stylish gown for an appropriately sleek and stylish event and could only find, Empire waist, bubble hem gowns. To quote a male friend who was "enjoying" the Audrey Taylor Last Minute Scramble fashion show,” those dresses make you look pregnant." --So eloquent dear friend. By pregnant, he means what? Round, hefty, or gorgeous and glowing? From the look on his face I think he wanted to say fat, but was too smart to drop that word on a frazzled gal. Bottom line, I went to the event feeling very un-chic in a dress that was 5 seasons old (but still respectable). However, there was bitterness in my heart that night for all the “evil” pseudo designers who put out bubble dresses for the Holiday Season. A pox on them! BTW, my sugar/Splenda cookies were a hit at the office, and just for JB I added extra red and green sprinkles. Happy and Stylish Holidays!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Santa Baby...

Santa Baby…

As it is official cookie decorating time, "Hello, Santa needs those cookies or not gifts for you!", I have cracked open the Splenda recipe book. I now present the lower calorie alternative to Santa's favorite -- THE SUGAR COOKIE. Special thanks to those delightful little “elves” who put together The Splenda World of Sweetness cookbook! See page 108 in the book for the actual recipe...

Sugar cookies

Nonstick spray for baking sheets
4 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup Splenda Sugar Blend
2 large eggs, room temp
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 F. Spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. SIFT flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Next use a mixer to cream the butter. Gradually add in the Splenda Baking Blend, while still mixing (aprox 2 minutes). Add each egg, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla and continue to blend. Turn the mixer to LOW speed and gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just blended. Now divide the dough in half, cover with plastic wrap and stick into the fridge for about 1 hr. Go get a mani/pedi while waiting for dough to chill.

An hour or so later, return to kitchen with freshly manicured nails, and make sure your polish is dry before advancing to next step. With dry nails, remove dough from fridge. Work with one portion at a time. Sprinkle flour onto your CLEAN counter, sprinkle flour on the dough, grab your rolling pin and get to work flattening out the dough until 1/8 inch thickness. Now use your fave cookie cut outs to create your sugar cookies. Place cut out cookies on greased baking sheet and bake until lightly brown, 8-10 minutes. If you plan on frosting these babies, make sure they are nice and cool before you begin. To frost -- call up your best gal-pals, grab a super bottle of wine, invite everyone over to slather frosting and sprinkles on the cookies, and catch up on all the latest gossip. Now that is multi-tasking at its finest! ~Happy Holidays~ Audrey T.

More Splenda recipes here.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Fighting the winter lazies

Baby its cold outside....As the strains of my all time favorite crooner, Dean-O, play on my iPod. Yes it is cold but not too cold to stick to our healthy eating and exercise. As you can read from my last couple of posts it is hard to be disciplined every day...when short days combine with chilly temperatures to make my usual round of excuses seem more viable, "it's too cold", "I'm too tired", "All I want is meatloaf and mashed potatoes with gravy, forget the health food". Never fear, Audrey is here with some easy ways to fight back and stay fit and fab!

1. Power in numbers -- grab your best pals and head outside for a brisk walk. It's a safe and fun way to exercise in the winter. What could be better than combining heart healthy exercise, beautiful winter evenings, and all the latest gossip!

2. Fire up your competitive spirit -- This works great for you and your guy friends. Make sticking to a fitness routine a competition between you and your best guy. Award points for achieving your daily fitness goals and set a time period for the competition (say a 10 week winter challenge). At the end of the challenge, add up the points and the "loser" gets to treat you to a ________ (fill in the blank with what ever you decide as the prize). BTW -- my very best guy has boldly entered the ring with yours truly for our own 10-week winter challenge. Bring it baby!

3. Buy yourself a Holiday present -- Yes, it is better to give than receive, but when it comes to your health it is ok to invest in YOU. While you are out shopping for gifts for all your friends and family, take a break at a local book shop, grab a skim frappuccino and peruse the cook book section for a great, low cal recipe book. My mom recently surprised me with a copy of the Splenda®, World of Sweetness dessert cookbook. It is unbelievable. Think of every dessert you love and subtract 1/2 the calories but keep all the yummy taste and you have some idea of what awaits you inside the pages of this little collection of sweetness.
OK, onward and upward. Keep up the effort and focus on all the super health benefits of winter exercise and flavorful, low fat comfort foods! Take care, Audrey

Friday, December 01, 2006

Reality check -- moderation please!

I am posting based on inspiration that came from an email exchange with a visitor to the blog. This lass had some questions that got me thinking about the essence of life. BALANCE. Equilibrium. What every organized system strives for on a continual basis. Life is about maintaining balance and if something occurs to push us out of equilibrium, internal and external forces work vigorously to put things back in place. In diet, exercise, nutrition it is no different. I don't punish myself if I slip out of a hard-core, early morning workout schedule. In the long run, a few skipped sessions on the elliptical are not going to make a difference if they are balanced by moderation in calories (with the help of low-calorie foods and snacks - a la Splenda®) and vigorous activity on most days. The same is true with any vice, be it chocolate or a delicious spending spree. It is what we do consistently that defines the quality of our lives. Enjoy life, be gentle to yourself, and savor the pleasures that surround you! Happy Friday!
Audrey T.