January 2010 Archives

Decreasing Sugar

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Hey Missy,

Can I tell you that I have been LIVING by your book the last 2 months since hearing about it?! You rock! I especially love the gluten free peanut butter cookies; yum! Anyway, I have been using stevia in place of sugar (I\'m trying a sugar and gluten-free diet to get rid of yeast in the whole body) and trying to reduce my daughter\'s dependence on sugar at an early age so that she doesn\'t have as many problems when she gets older. It has worked for me a couple of times in your recipes but I was wondering if I could rely on your expertise and testing for any recipes (preferably with your gluten-free recipe too)?

Thanks for changing our life Missy!

Nicole (Pennsylvania, mother of 1) 

Dear Nicole,

Your email made my day! I love hearing how sneaky dishes are changing families' lives, and hope fervently that our whole nation will go sneaky--and healthy!

You're well ahead of me with the stevia experiments! Sorry I don't have any specifics for you on this, but sweetness is really a personal matter (shall we say, "a matter of taste"!).

Please accept my heartiest hats off to your culinary achievements!

More importantly, you've got to read the following two studies that just came out last week. The first study shows that kids today spend about 8 hours a day parked in front of some kind of electronic device, like TV, computer, cell phone, etc. The second study shows that only four hours a day of inactivity like this results in an 80% greater risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a 46% higher risk of all causes of death. We've to get our kids moving again!! Please check out my new book, Sneaky Fitness, which solves this very problem. 

Enjoy in good health, and keep up the great work,


Startling new research reveals that our kids are spending about 8 hours a day in front of electronic devices like computers, TVs and cell phones. Plus, another recent study found that people who spend most of their days sitting are more likely to have health problems of all kinds.  With a 17% kids' obesity rate in the US, parents can draw the conclusion that it is extremely urgent that we address our kids' inactive lifestyles immediately!

While everyone knows that it is a lost cause to ban these devices, we can counter these alarmingly dangerous influences with a few simple, Sneaky Fitness strategies:

1. "Walk the talk" – Parents can require that kids pace or walk around the house for at least one hour of their phone or texting time (Burns double the calories of sitting) 
2.  Parents can replace the computer chair with a simple balance ball (Builds core strength and improves posture)
3. Parents can "plant" items in the TV room - such as mini trampoline, Bosu or hippety hop/balance ball – and can require that kids use one of those items for at least one hour of their TV time (Burns at least 143 more calories than sitting)
4. Parents can make a rule against "chat 'n chew": that is, no eating in front of the TV or computer or while on phone or other electronic device. This will eliminate mindless eating! (research indicates that children consume substantially more calories in a meal if they are watching television while they eat)
Adapted from SNEAKY FITNESS: Fun, Foolproof Ways to Slip Fitness into Your Child's Everyday Life, by Missy Chase Lapine, The Sneaky Chef, and Larysa DiDio (Running Press, Jan 2010)

Reuters reported today that Jessica Matthews, spokesperson for the American Council of Exercise, likes the Sneaky Fitness philosophy: "Adults hop on a treadmill for 40 or 60 minutes, but for a child that's not enjoyable," said Matthews, a former K-12 physical education teacher. "But fold in exercise with fun activities and games throughout the day and children will respond."

She's particularly fond of the sneaky strategy of leaving a stopwatch around.
"Give a child a stopwatch and Boy! You'd be surprised how fast they can move." 

Move While Watching TV!

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And it doesn't have to be work, it can be fun. A new study shows that watching TV substantially shortens life span, simply because people are sitting still for long periods of time. 

People who watch more than 4 hours a day have an 80% higher risk of dying from heart disease and a 46% higher risk of all causes of death compared with those who watch less than 2 hours a day. 
The researchers concluded that we have to avoid long periods of sitting. What's the best way to do that? Sneaky Fitness!! Please, if not for yourself, get this book for your kids. It shows you how to get kids moving while watching TV, among a hundred other activities. Click here to go to the book page to learn more. 
Get you kids moving again, the fun and easy way : )
Enjoy in good health, 

Light Sugar Cookies

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Dear Missy,

I love your books!  I have two of them and my 18 month old twins enjoy the food.  We especially like the quick fixes for pancake and cake mixes.  What about store-bought pre-made cookie mixes?  I need a quick fix for Betty Crocker sugar cookies.  Sugar cookies are a favorite cookie of my kids and my husband (me too for that matter), so I would love to healthify them.  Thanks in advance! –Lisa L.

Dear Lisa,

I'm so glad my recipes are working for your family. I can't tell you how rewarding that is : )

I don't presently have a quick fix for specific mixes. Sorry about that!!  But here's my recipe for "Light Sugar Cookies" out of my To The Rescue book.

And have you checked out my latest book, Sneaky Fitness!? It completes the healthy kid equation : ) 

Enjoy in good health!



The regular sugar cookies in the “Holiday and Celebrations” chapter are already slimmed down, but, surprisingly, I was able to remove even more butter adding extra White Bean Puree. In side-by-side testing against the original, kids barely noticed any difference. This recipe features __ less fat and sugar than the basic TSC sugar cookie above and __ less fat and sugar than traditional sugar cookies. A big plus, any way you look at it.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies (approximately 3” size)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups Flour Blend (see Make-Ahead Recipe #_, page _)
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
¾ cup White Bean Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe #_, page _)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 large egg

Remove butter from refrigerator to let soften.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in White Bean Puree, vanilla, and egg. Slowly add the Flour Blend and salt, a little at a time, and mix on low speed just until all the flour is incorporated. Remove dough from bowl and shape into a ball. Wrap in parchment paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper.

When ready to bake the cookies, remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface (or between 2 sheets of parchment paper) to about one-eighth inch thick. Cut out the dough using shaped cookie cutters. Place cookies on prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar (omit sugar is you are planning to decorate the cookies). Bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool before decorating.

Store cookies in airtight container at room temperature.

First Review is IN!

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I always hold my breath as the first reviews start to roll in, and I can't tell you how exciting it when they're great! Sneaky Fitness just hit the desk of it's first major reviewer, The Library Journal, and here's the results in their own words: 

"When reality inevitably strikes, sneak it in! I applaud the design that went into Sneaky Fitness to make it so easy to read and use."

I am thrilled to know that Sneaky Fitness is going to help as many people as The Sneaky Chef has : )


Puppy Fun & Fitness!

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If there's a more fun way to get my kids moving again, I can't imagine it! We just brought home a Cockapoo puppy (a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle), and the kids are frolicking with it all over the house; our Labrador, Princess, is chasing them, and I'm chasing the whole group!

No doubt, a puppy is a big responsibility, but all the fun is outweighing the work involved. Besides, having two dogs isn't really so much more work than having just one, right? (am I rationalizing?!) 

Princess loves the whole affair, but our fluffy cat, Casper, doesn't know what to make of it at all! But he'll come around–not even he will be able to resist the endlessly playful charm of this little guy. 

But most of all, everyone is getting more exercise–oops, I mean play–than we have in years. If this is exercise, count me in every day of the week!

More soon, 


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