Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer dessert love

Desserts are a tricky thing for me because I know the majority of them are bad for me, yet they call to me, begging to be consumed, the little bastards. My cute friend Maren Nielsen (who's about as big as a matchstick) got me hooked on ending a meal with something sweet. In my 20's, that wasn't than big of a deal. Now that I'm 35, it's much more significant.

I've come to realize though there are ways to indulge in the sweet creamy goodness desserts offers without throwing yourself off the healthy living bandwagon. For me, a little goes a long way. I read in the South Beach Diet book once that you are better off having a serving (1/2 cup) of a high quality premium ice cream than the same size serving or more of frozen yogurt. The thinking behind it is the higher fat content makes you feel satisfied so you eat one serving instead of 20.

If you can stop at a half a cup, I think this works. Some days I feel like a serving needs to be a pint of Haagen-Dazs, so you can see how this way of thinking could cause a huge potential fail. My personal solution is to keep ice cream out of my house and there fore eliminating the potential for failure (from that threat, at least).

I've been on {my program} for almost two weeks now and I'm feeling great. Tonya's husband Alex has already lost three inches off his waist after just a week! Holy cow sapphire, as Bob would say. I've noticed a huge difference in the way I eat, especially when it comes to sugar and sweet cravings. This program is awesome because its not a meal supplement, but helps you feel full faster and more satisfied.

But I digress, back to dessert. Have you ever tried Panna Cotta? It's a milk based gelatin that at first sounds disgusting. But its actually really good! I found this recipe from a recommendation from my ultra cool friend and lifestyle guru Stephanie Brubaker and decided to give it another try (seriously, if you haven't been to her blog, you are missing out. She is fabulous.) This is the second time I've tried Panna Cotta. The trick to it (like any dairy based product) is the more fat, the better tasting. Now if this were a perfect world, heavy cream would be as good for you as broccoli is and your favorite shoes would just show up in your closet.

The first time I used one percent milk to make it. Yeah, it wasn't good. It was like eating ice milk, not satisfying at all. This time instead of cream, I decided to use half and half. The results were a huge improvement with out killing my day. Paired with some fresh blackberries and it was heavenly. I love that its only 227 calories for a serving. The fat content is a little high at 14 grams so I would indulge in this sparingly. But its better than a 600 calorie piece of cheesecake, right?

Panna Cotta
From David Lebovitz
Serves 4

2 cups half and half
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3 Tbsp. cold water

Heat the half and half and sugar in a saucepan or microwave. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. (If using a vanilla bean, scrape the seeds from the bean into the cream and add the bean pod. Cover, and let infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the bean then rewarm the mixture before continuing.)

Lightly oil eight custard cups with a neutral-tasting oil (you can skip this step if you're not planning to unmold it and eat it from a cup). Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a medium-sized bowl and let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Pour the very warm Panna Cotta mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

Divide the Panna Cotta mixture into the prepared cups, then chill them until firm, about two hours. If you’re pressed for time, pour the Panna Cotta mixture into wine goblets so you can serve them in the glasses, without unmolding. Run a sharp knife around the edge of each Panna Cotta and unmold each onto a serving plate, and garnish as desired.

Amount Per Serving
  Calories 227.4
  Total Fat 14.1 g
      Saturated Fat 8.7 g
      Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g
      Monounsaturated Fat 4.0 g
  Cholesterol 44.8 mg
  Sodium 49.7 mg
  Potassium 229.7 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 22.4 g
      Dietary Fiber 1.9 g
      Sugars 12.8 g
  Protein 3.8 g

  Vitamin A 9.8 %
  Vitamin B-12 6.7 %
  Vitamin B-6 3.4 %
  Vitamin C 14.4 %
  Vitamin D 0.0 %
  Vitamin E 1.9 %
  Calcium 13.9 %
  Copper 3.2 %
  Folate 4.0 %
  Iron 1.6 %
  Magnesium 4.9 %
  Manganese 23.4 %
  Niacin 1.2 %
  Pantothenic Acid     4.4 %
  Phosphorus     12.3 %
  Riboflavin 11.7 %
  Selenium 3.5 %
  Thiamin 3.6 %
  Zinc 4.8 %

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