Cake Mix Changes, and Family Food Temptation!

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Dear HG,

A lot of your cake and brownie recipes call for 18.25-oz. boxes of cake mix, either half of the box or the whole thing. Lately, I've only been finding boxes that are 15.25 or 16.5 ounces. What do I do?

Cake Confusion

Hi Cake Confusion,

Glad you asked, and I'm sure you're not alone. Several mainstream cake-mix brands have downsized their boxes. We looked into it and found out that the new packages make pretty much the same amount of cake as they did before. The cake formulas have just changed a bit, and now the mixes weigh less. So what does this mean for HG recipes? It's simple. If the recipe calls for half of an 18.25-oz. box, just use the approximate cup amount given in parentheses -- about 1 3/4 cups (which is still about half the box!). If the recipe calls for an entire 18.25-oz. box, use any whole box with 15.25 - 18.25 ounces. We've tried both of these types of recipes with the new smaller boxes, and they came out perfectly! The only slight change? It may take a few minutes longer for your cake or brownies to cook. BTW, in testing all of the new cake mixes, we came to this conclusion: Betty Crocker and Pillsbury mixes work and taste the best in HG recipes. Now that that's settled, put your newfound knowledge to use with these HG cake-mix creations: The King of Choc'-n-Roll Cake, Apple of My Cake, Gooey Caramel Coconut Brownies, and Very Vanilla Fluffcakes. We've updated these recipes with the new box info in mind!

Hi, Hungry Girl!

I'm home from college for the summer. My mom buys the tastiest, most fattening stuff in the world for my dad and brothers -- pizza, fried chicken, cupcakes... ALL OF IT! I love these foods, but I'm trying to lose weight. How do I deal?

Trapped on Temptation Island

Hi Trapped,

That's a toughie, but it's totally doable. I've got some ideas to help you get through this summer without derailing your weight-loss efforts...

Tag along with your mom when she goes grocery shopping. I'm sure she'll be happy to have a helper, and you'll have the opportunity to fill the cart with some guilt-free swaps for the foods that tempt you. This can be YOUR food (and it's good to get into the mentality that the other food isn't yours). While your family is downing full-fat ice cream straight from the carton, you can enjoy your portion-controlled cup of light ice cream (like the kinds by Skinny Cow and Dreyer's/Edy's). If everyone's munching on movie-theater-style popcorn, grab a 100-calorie bag of 94% fat-free popcorn. It's all about being prepared. If Mom's not into buying separate food for you, there are a lot of family-friendly food finds that are totally guilt-free. Kashi pizzas are loved by all, and Amy's makes everything from burritos to pizza snacks -- they're all delicious, and most have great stats. Other crowd-pleasy products that are guilt-free? Hebrew National 97% Fat Free Beef Franks, Fiber One Chewy Bars (in Chocolate and Strawberry PB&J), MorningStar Farms Corn Dogs, Popchips, and Hostess 100 Calorie Packs.

Another recommendation? Fool the family with some Hungry Girl recipes. Stick with hearty comfort food, like this cheeseburger-inspired casserole, these boneless BBQ wings, this pulled pork, and this shepherd's pie. They won't even know that what they're eating is low in calories and fat. Seriously, these recipes have fooled even diehard skeptics...

I saved the best for last: a gigantic roundup of junk-food fixes for you and your fam -- store-bought finds and recipe swaps. French fries, candy, fried chicken... It's all here. Happy chewing!

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