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Dear HG,

I see TV chefs like Paula Deen using fatty ingredients to make their recipes creamy -- cans of condensed soup, heavy cream, blocks of cheese, etc. What are some of your secrets to making things taste creamy without adding a lot of fat and calories?

Dear Creamy-Craver,

When it comes to HG recipes, I'm a fan of using MANY different things to add flavor and creaminess. I definitely have favorites, though. Here are a bunch of things I LOVE. (Pssst... Click on all the links to see HG recipes that call for these!)

1. Campbell's 98% Fat Free Condensed Soups - The Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Celery can be used instead of the full-fat versions in recipes. I think they taste just as good.

2. The Laughing Cow Light Cheese Wedges - They are GREAT in casseroles, sauces, and any dish that needs the addition of a little creamy goodness.

3. Almond Breeze, Unsweetened Vanilla - For the calories (only 40 a cup!), this is by FAR the creamiest milk swap. (BTW, there's an Unsweetened Original, too.) The creamy-flavor-to-calorie ratio is UNPARALLELED. In a pinch, light soymilk also works.

4. Fage Total 0% Greek Yogurt - It's CRAZY how much creaminess this stuff brings without ANY fat at all. AWESOME.

5. Coffee-mate Fat Free Original Liquid Creamer - INSANELY creamy. I use it in SMALL amounts because that's all you really need, and if you overdo it, calories can add up. An ounce of the stuff can do wonders for a creamy soup or blended beverage.

6 & 7. Fat-Free Sour Cream and Fat-Free Mayo - I lumped these two together because while they're both good, I tend to mix them with OTHER things to help with flavor -- on their own, neither fat-free mayo nor fat-free sour cream tastes amazing. You really have to play around with them to get 'em to work well. Try combining them with other items on this list, or if you don't feel like experimenting, just use an HG recipe!

Hope these picks help to make your meals and snacks at least 37% more enjoyable.

Hungry Girl,

What are some things I can do to my fruits and veggies to make them more exciting?

Dear Produce-Perplexed,

This is a great question. I wish I were the kind of person who could take a knife and turn a carrot into a pretty chrysanthemum or carve a watermelon into a fancy fruit basket, but that is SO not me. And while I LOVE fruits and veggies "as is," I also like to fancy-them-up with fun stuff like dips. Some of the BEST stuff that can share a plate with your fruit? Sugar-free pudding cups, light caramel dip, cinnamon (with or without some no-cal sweetener), Jell-O Mousse Temptations, and Laughing Cow Light cheese wedges (and no, not all at once!). As far as veggies are concerned, some superstar dips are Vivi's Classic Carnival Mustard, Hellmann's/Best Foods Dijonnaise, and salsa (by itself or mixed with fat-free Greek yogurt). I also like to spritz my veggies with sprayable light salad dressings. Mmmmm! If you're up for a little recipe action, these dips are SO good with veggies: Holy Moly Guacamole, Salmon Spread the Love, and Buff Chick Hot Wing Dip. By the way, I realize that tomorrow is THANKSGIVING: the most calorie-packed day of the year. Not gonna leave you hanging -- click here to see our official Turkey Day Survival Guide. Happy chewing!!!

Looking for some last-minute holiday recipes? Click here ASAP!
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