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Have Your Cake (and Eat It Too!)

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Double-Chocolate Valentine Cake

(Family Features) Keep your promise to eat better with these tasty ideas. Losing weight is one of Americans' most often made - and least often kept - New Year's resolutions. And with nearly one in four Americans dieting for health reasons, we need to know a healthier way to eat.

"The best way to improve your diet for the long haul is to make small, specific changes," says American Heart Association volunteer Rebecca Mullis, R.D., Ph.D., head of the University of Georgia's Food and Nutrition Department. "Fad diets are simply quick fixes and some can actually hurt you in the long run."

For weight control, the American Heart Association recommends an active lifestyle, plus eating a wide variety of foods that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol - foods associated with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, the number one and three killers in this country.

Here are some tips to sticking with your nutrition resolution:

  • Get active. The only way to lose weight is by making sure the number of calories in what you eat is less than the number you burn each day. Being physically active for 30 minutes each day can help you use more calories and build long-term heart health.
  • Fill your grocery cart with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are naturally low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Choose whole grain products including oatmeal, rice and whole grain breads.
  • Select extra lean protein sources such as skinless poultry, fish, legumes and lean meat.
  • Substitute low-fat, low-cholesterol snacks for traditional high-fat, empty-calorie snacks. Try baked tortilla chips and salsa or fruit and low-fat yogurt dip.
  • "Keep your eyes on serving size," says Dr. Mullis, who recommends reading a product's nutrition facts list on its label for the suggested portion. A good size guideline for sources of protein is a deck of playing cards.

You can find heart-healthy foods easier by using the association's distinctive red heart with the white check mark logo. It can help you quickly and reliably find nutritious foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Then, continue reading the food label for information on calories, sodium, added sugars and more.

To create your own grocery list of heart-healthy foods, log on to www.heartcheckmark.org.

To learn more about reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke through good nutrition, visit the American Heart Association Web site at www.americanheart.org, or call 1-800-AHA-USA1 for your free copy of the "Shop Smart with Heart" brochure.

Shop smart. Live well. Look for the heart-check mark.

All products bearing the red heart with the white check mark meet the American Heart Association's nutrition criteria per standard serving:

  • Low fat (less than or equal to 3 grams)
  • Low saturated fat (less than or equal to 1 gram)
  • Low cholesterol (less than or equal to 20 milligrams)
  • Moderate in sodium with less than or equal to 480 milligrams for individual foods
  • Nutritious, containing at least 10 percent of the Daily Value of one or more of these naturally occurring nutrients: protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron or dietary fiber
  • For meats to be eligible for the heart-check mark, they must meet the USDA standard for extra lean.

Log on to www.heartcheckmark.org for more information and to create your easy-to-use grocery list.

Smart shopping  made simple

With so many food options in the grocery store, it's hard to spot heart-healthy choices quickly. That's why the American Heart Association created the heart-check mark. The distinctive red heart with the white check mark helps consumers easily and reliably identify heart-healthy foods that can be part of a sensible eating plan. Food packages bearing the simple logo have been evaluated to ensure they meet the American Heart Association's criteria for heart- healthy levels of saturated fat and cholesterol for healthy people over age 2.

You have more important things to worry about - spending hours at the grocery store shopping for heart-healthy foods shouldn't be one of them.

Double-Chocolate Valentine Cake

You don't have to wait until Valentine's Day to enjoy this heart-shaped delight. It's also lovely for birthdays and other festive occasions.

  • Vegetable oil spray
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process preferred)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed golden or light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup fat-free milk
  • 2 tablespoons acceptable vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Whites of 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Chocolate Glaze
  • 2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons coffee
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process preferred)
  • 1/4 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
White Glaze
  • 2/3 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fat-free milk
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    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 8- or 9-inch heart-shaped or round baking pan with vegetable oil spray.
    2. For cake, in medium bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and baking powder.
    3. In large bowl, whisk together sugars, 1/2 cup milk, oil and applesauce until smooth.
    4. Gradually whisk flour mixture into sugar mixture, blending well.
    5. Stir in vanilla.
    6. In medium bowl, with electric mixer on high, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff. (Peaks shouldn't fold over when beater is lifted.) Using rubber scraper, gently fold egg whites into batter until completely incorporated (no whites should be visible). Pour batter into pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
    7. Set cooling rack on large piece of wax paper (to catch drips from glaze). Let cake cool in pan on cooling rack 20 minutes. Invert cake onto rack, remove pan and allow cake to finish cooling.
    8. For chocolate glaze, in medium bowl, whisk together ingredients. When cake is completely cool, spread glaze over cake, allowing glaze to run down sides.
    9. For white glaze, in small bowl, whisk together ingredients. Snip one corner from small plastic bag to form tiny hole; pour glaze into bag. Squeeze glaze in thin, parallel lines about 1/2 to 1 inch apart horizontally across top of cake. At 1/2- to 1-inch intervals, pull vertically over top of cake with a sharp knife, bamboo skewer, or toothpick, drawing through lines of white glaze and across the chocolate, creating a feathered pattern. When glaze has dried, transfer cake to serving platter.

Calories: 256g     Total Fat: 3g
Cholesterol: 0mg     Protein: 3g
Carbohydrates: 55g     Sodium: 210mg

Serves 12
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Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Cook's Tip: After spreading the chocolate glaze over the cake, you can use a thin, sharp object, such as a knife, to lightly mark where to draw the lines of white glaze. If you make a big mistake, smooth that part of glaze and try again. Don't worry if lines aren't perfectly straight.

Reprinted with permission from the American Heart Association Low-Fat & Luscious Desserts, Copyright © 2000 by the American Heart Association. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc. Available from booksellers everywhere.

SOURCE: American Heart Association

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