Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Heartfelt Holiday

Happy almost Valentine's Day! I know, I know...it's a pretty stupid holiday and one that I hate celebrating regardless of my relationship status. But there are a few things about it that put a giant smile on my face...mainly red velvet cake! Growing up, my southern mother used to make the delicious treat every Valentine's Day. In a long list of worthy contenders, red velvet is quite possibly my favorite cake and one that I typically only eat each Feb. 14. Anyway, I'm not sure that I'll have the time or energy to whip up my own version this year, but if I do, I'll be trying one of these two lower-fat, sucralose-sweetened versions.

Sugar-Free Red Velvet Cake

HG's Red Velvet Insanity Cupcakes

By the way, here are a few highlights from an informative Calorie Control Council article featuring tips on how to get through the big night without adding inches to your waistline.

Meal modifications are key. Feel free to make special requests. Ask the waiter if they can put the sauce on the side - or to substitute veggies for the french fries. Find out if your meal can be made without butter, oil or salt...anything that could help cut down on calories. And remember: in terms of calories, grilled is usually better than fried and baked is better than braised.
Practice portion control. Remember that restaurant sizes are often larger than normal. Consider eating half of your meal and putting the rest in a doggie bag.
Think red. Red bell peppers, radicchio, cherries, strawberries, red beans, red onions and tomatoes, for example, are all packed with vitamins, cancer-fighting antioxidants or cholesterol-busting fiber and protein. In addition, a daily glass of red wine is believed to help reduce the risk of blood clots and keep the cardiovascular system in shape. So forgo that cocktail, which can be loaded with sugar, and have a glass of red wine instead (and ask if they serve a light version).
Don't always give the gift of chocolate. If you and your significant other are trying to lose or maintain weight, consider purchasing a fruit basket instead of a box of chocolate, or baking a low-calorie dessert. It's also important to remember that a number of sugar-free candies and chocolate brands are available and can be found at your local grocery store or the candy section of an area pharmacy. A bouquet of flowers, healthy cookbook, personal training sessions or a day spa gift certificate could also prove worthy gift substitutes.

And finally, since that cheese-tastic-looking film "Valentines Day" is hitting theaters tomorrow - I thought I would share some clips, in no particular order, from some of my favorite romantic movies.

1. Say Anything


2. Roman Holiday


3. An Affair to Remember

4. The Princess Bride


5. Pride & Prejudice


6. When Harry Met Sally


7. Casablanca


8. Lady and the Tramp



Of course, there are so many others worth mentioning: Moonstruck, The Shop Around the Corner, Rebecca, Somewhere in Time, Doctor Zhivago, Love Story, Beauty and the Beast...what else did I miss? Anyhow, I hope you all have a wonderful V-Day and I'll be back next week!

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