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02.27.08
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HG,

I found that limited edition Fiber One muffin mix you mentioned a few weeks back. The muffins seem to be unnecessarily high in fat and calories when prepared according to the directions on the box. Did you ever figure out a way to lower the nutritionals on these? I know it should be easy, but I'm not quite sure where to start.

Muffin Maniac
Dear Muffin Maniac,

YES... YES... YES! When I first picked up the box of Fiber One Premium Muffin Mix (in yummy Apple Cinnamon!), I was super-excited to see how much fiber was in each serving (5 grams!). But I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't a tiny bit disappointed when I saw the other ingredients called for and the nutritional info for the prepared muffins. Each one ends up having 190 calories and 9 grams of fat (POINTS® value 4*)! That's pretty high for a small muffin made from a boxed mix. Not sure why the box says to add milk, whole eggs and oil to the mix when there are better options for baking these things. I tried a few different ways and then figured out the PERFECT recipe. Just take the mix (IGNORE the box directions) and add 1 cup canned pumpkin, 1 cup water, and 1/2 cup Egg Beaters (or egg whites or some other fat-free liquid egg substitute). Then mix until just blended. Spray a few muffin pans with nonstick spray, and pour the mixture into 18 of the muffin cups. Then bake as directed (for that, you can refer to the box!). The best part is, this recipe makes 18 muffins instead of 12. And each one has just 95 calories & 2g fat and still has close to 4g fiber! These simple switches turn a muffin with 4 Points into a ONE-POINT treat. Craziness!!! Try it! And feel free to use the same recipe to turn other boxed cake and muffin mixes into guilt-free stuff -- exact nutritionals will vary, of course, but I can pretty much guarantee they'll be WAY better than if you added all the stuff called for on the box. Happy baking!


Hey, Hungry Girl!

I need cheese advice. I want to use fat-free cheese whenever possible, but I don't like the taste of it. Do you have any advice on the best (and worst!) ways to use different types of low-fat and fat-free cheeses? I sure could use help!

Cheese-Challenged
Dear Cheese-Challenged,

I am the guilt-free cheese queen, and I'm here to help. Pay close attention.

1. Fat-Free Cream Cheese - Most people do NOT enjoy this stuff straight, but it is FANTASTIC when used to add creaminess to recipes. If you want a low-calorie option to use solo as a spread, you are WAY better off using reduced-fat cream cheese (Weight Watchers makes a great portion-controlled one with fiber in it!) or a Laughing Cow Light Cheese Wedge.

2. Fat-Free Cheese Slices - These are an HG staple -- we use them on sandwiches all the time. They're also GREAT for adding into egg scrambles and omelettes. However, you may not LOVE the taste of these by themselves (like I do!) -- so if you're looking for a creamier-tasting slice, try a reduced-fat type instead.

3. Fat-Free Cheese Shreds - These may be the best option for melting and/or using in Mexican food recipes or other dishes that require a handful of cheese sprinkled on top. Love, LOVE these! Again, if you're super-sensitive to the taste of the fat-free kind, go for a reduced-fat one instead (just be careful not to use too much, since those fat grams add up fast).

4. The Laughing Cow Light Cheese Wedges, Light Original Swiss - These are hands down the BEST low-cal cheese spread option. They're super-rich and delicious and can be combined with other cheeses, light milks, etc. to make insanely good and guilt-free cheese sauces. AWESOME, AWESOME!

5. Veggie Slices, Swiss - Just wanted to throw these soy-based cheese slices out as another option for sandwiches and melts. I REALLY like 'em. I called out the Swiss flavor because it's WAY better than all the others. And since they do have some fat in them, they are GREAT for people who just can't get into the fat-free slices.

For more info on guilt-free cheeses, check out this email from early last year. Say cheese!!!

 
CHEW ON THIS:
Today, February 27th, is National Strawberry Day. A cup of strawberries contains 136% of the vitamin C your body needs in a day. WOW!
 
 

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*The Points® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the Points® registered trademark.