Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Book Club

Since I love to both read and socialize, I joined a book club with a group of gal pals last year. It essentially entails reading one book a month and gathering together to discuss said book while snacking on delicious snacks and drinking copious amounts of wine. Well, it's my turn to host tomorrow night - and I'm a little stumped over what to serve. I definitely know I'll put out healthy trays of veggies and fruit (cauliflower and carrots and cucumbers, oh my!) as well as a cheese spread and crackers/bread. But what about dips? I have a Greek yogurt spinach/kale spread from Trader Joe's, but thinking about making this light Sweet Red Pepper Hummus. This Party on a Pizza app also looks delicious, combining arugula, sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese and a lot of my other fave ingredients. 
As for a sweet treat, I heart those chocolate peanut butter cups (and chocolate peanut butter pretzels) from Trader Joe's, but in an effort to curb the calories, I think this Splenda-sweetened recipe might make a great, lower-fat alternative: Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake Cups
FYI: Have any of you read The Cuckoo's Calling by J.K. Rowling? That's our book of the month and so far it seems to be inspiring a lot of "meh" attitudes from the book club crew. It's too bad - I really wanted to love it, but had a pretty hard time getting into it. We're thinking about reading "The Fault in Our Stars" next, so apparently I'll need to get some tissues handy as I've heard it's a tear-jerker. 
Anyhoo, if you have any insight on next books to read or yummy, low-cal appetizers to make, let me know!

Monday, January 06, 2014

Cold! Oh crikeys, it's cold!

Unless you live in Florida or California, you're probably like most Americans tonight - bundled up under blankets, sitting next to a space heater, watching the BCS Championship game. It's freakin' cold out there! Even us peeps in Atlanta are dealing with near single digits, although I feel even worse for friends and family struggling with the Arctic blast blanketing the Midwest and North East.
True story: my freshman year of college at UW-Madison, it dipped down to -30, which felt more like -70 with wind chill. It was brutal. You couldn't leave the house without donning multiple layers and it literally hurt to breathe. And your nose would run and the snot would freeze. Lovely, ey? I do not miss those all.
Anyhoodle, when the weather gets this nippy, I start to crave giant bowls of hearty soup. And today is no different. I'm currently jonesing for some chicken pho, which for the uninitiated is basically the Vietnamese version of chicken noodle soup. I'm either going to make or buy a vat of it on the way home tomorrow, seeing as how it will be another Arctic night. Or I might whip up one of the other low-cal soup recipes below. What say you? Pho, bisque or veggie soup?

Chicken Pho
Sweet Potato Bisque
Garden Vegetable Soup

By the way, for those that have never tried it, you really can toss up boiling water in sub-zero temperatures and watch it freeze in the air.