June 2011 Archives

My good friends are coming for a Fourth of July blowout in just three days – so I'm in planning menu mode. This year I decided to do things a little differently and make crab cakes (recipe below) for my friends since they're trying not to eat red meat or chicken these days.

I thought back to my crab cake recipe I developed for my Mens' Book, and I was excited to replace high fat mayo with my simple puree of white beans. I also snuck in some amazingly healthy wheat germ instead of empty white bread crumbs – my hubby Rick loves these, and the best part is, no matter what time of year you make them, you'll feel like you're on vacation!

Just pick up a can of lump crab at the market (or even cheaper at Costco) and some canned white beans – I'll probably pick up some nitrate-free* organic hot dogs for the kids in case they're not feeling adventurous. 

I'm also making my sneaky cole slaw and potato salad (recipes below) using that same White Bean Puree to replace the mayo. Since I have to break out the new bathing suit, I will not be missing the extra fat in these salads!

*why nitrate-free? Although not proven, nitrates are being studied as possible carcinogens – why take the chance when really delicious nitrate-free versions are available these days? If you do serve regular hot dogs with nitrates, have a vitamin-C rich food or drink with them to mitigate the harmful effects (such as orange or tomato slices).

Here's to a delicious, fun and healthy Fourth,


I can’t think of a tastier way to give your man a good dose of fiber and omega-3s than with these authentic yet low-fat crab cakes. Put on a Jimmy Buffet disc and your favorite sundress and you’ll feel like you’re in Key West for a romantic getaway.

Makes 8 crab cakes
1 tablespoon light mayonnaise 
1 egg white
1⁄4 cup White Bean Puree
1 tablespoon Dijon or coarse-grain mustard
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1⁄3 plus 1⁄3 cup wheat germ
Freshly ground pepper
1⁄2 pound fresh lump crabmeat (about 2 cups), drained
Optional extra boost: handful of chopped green onions, celery, and/or bell peppers 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with oil.

In a medium-size bowl, whisk the egg white, then mix in the White Bean Puree, mustard, hot sauce, Old Bay, 1⁄3 cup of the wheat germ, a few grinds of pepper, and the crabmeat. 

Pour the remaining 1⁄3 cup of wheat germ on a plate. Scoop about 1⁄3 cup of crab mixture and form it into a fairly thick cake. Dredge the cakes in the wheat germ, fully covering all sides of the cake, and place the crab cake on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining crab mixture. Spray the top side of the cakes with oil and bake for 10 minutes. Flip once, spray oil on the tops of the cakes, and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown.


Makes 6 servings
6 tablespoons White Bean Puree 
6 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 teaspoon celery seed
1⁄4 cup oat bran
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 (16-ounce) bag pre-washed cole slaw mix
Optional extra boost: 2 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds; 2 green onions, chopped

In a large serving bowl, whisk together the White Bean Puree, mayonnaise, celery seed, oat bran, sugar, and salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the cole slaw mix and toss well. Garnish with the slivered almonds and green onions, if using. Serve chilled.

Sneaky Tip:
Green onions, also called scallions, have significant prostate cancer–fighting properties. In one study, men who ate as little as one-tenth of an ounce of green onions per day experienced a 70 percent reduction in the risk of developing prostate cancer.


This is a classic potato salad, perfect for everyone who doesn’t like fancier versions. The herbs add great flavor, but feel free to omit them if seeing green will make anyone in your family see red! If you decide to limit yourself to the healthiest of all the optional extra boosts, go for the green onions.

Makes 4 servings
2 pounds small Yukon gold or small white potatoes
1⁄2 cup White Bean Puree
1⁄4 cup light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon and/or fresh dill (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Optional extra boost: 1⁄2 cup chopped celery and/or red or green onions 

Peel the potatoes if you don’t want to see the skins in the potato salad, then place them in a large pot of cold, salted water. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes, until the potatoes are just tender. Drain the potatoes in a colander and let cool.

In a bowl large enough to hold the potatoes, whisk together the White Bean Puree, mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, fresh herbs, salt and pepper, and celery and/or onions, if using.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, quarter them and add them to the bowl, stirring gently until all the potatoes are coated with the mayonnaise mixture. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days.

It’s that time of year again, when all the kids are finishing up school, the summer is heating up, and the fun begins! So we thought we would throw a party for the kids to kick off the summer and say goodbye to another school year. But we didn’t want to throw a typical, boring pizza party–we thought we’d kick it up a notch with a spread that the kids, and the parents, would really enjoy, while being healthy, too!

The party was all about letting the kids have fun (while saving time for the adults). We started everything off with my kids’ favorite Veggie Patch Mini Corn Dogs. I paired them with sneaky dipping sauces including ranch dressing with hidden plain Greek yogurt (mix up to half Greek yogurt into your ranch dressing to cut calories and increase the calcium & protein) and ketchup with up to 50% hidden orange puree.

The result? Everyone devoured the corn dogs so fast I had to break out the back ups! Fortunately, I also had a stock of Veggie Patch Broccoli Bites with Cheese on hand in the freezer. I warmed them up and had just enough to satisfy everyone. Everything was a hit with both kids and adults.

For dessert we kept it simple with lemon and watermelon ice pops. They were as easy as pureeing some watermelon, squeezing a few lemons with a hint of orange juice, and pouring the fruit into layers in disposable paper cups with a coffee stirrer. Then freeze and voila! A zesty and healthy treat to finish the party with.

Try these delicious, simple and healthy treats for a fun change from the typical pizza party!

Enjoy in good health,


One of the best things we can do for the man in our lives this Father's Day is to cook him up one of his favorite meals. And what man doesn't love breakfast in bed?!

Stacked Pancakes is one of the most requested recipes out of my Men's Book and guys go nuts over them. It's fast, easy, and it lets you make his favorite breakfast both tastier and healthier–he'll not only flip for the flavor but he'll be able to enjoy them
guilt free : )

These pancakes have more nutrition than a boring bowl of oatmeal, but they have the look and taste of a white flour pancake (and yet there is absolutely no flour in them!) and enough protein and whole grains to keep your man energized all morning long.

Plus, make an extra batch for future mornings when you want a great grab-n-go breakfast during the week. Just place the extra cooked pancakes in a plastic bag and freeze them for months, then simply toast them in the morning. He'll love them as a handheld breakfast in the car on the way to work, and remember his sweet Father's Day breakfast for many more mornings to come.

Happy Father's Day to one and all!



4 egg whites
1⁄2 cup part-skim or fat-free ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup oat bran
1⁄4 cup Ground Almonds
1⁄4 cup semisweet chocolate chips or 1⁄2 cup fresh or frozen (not thawed) blueberries
Maple syrup, warmed, for serving

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, ricotta, and vanilla. In another large bowl, whisk together the baking powder, salt, oat bran, and ground almonds. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just blended. Batter should be fairly thick and slightly lumpy. But if the batter is too thick, add a touch of milk. Add the chocolate chips or blueberries, if using, and mix lightly.

Butter or spray a large skillet over medium heat. Test the pan by tossing in a few drops of water; it will sizzle when it’s hot enough. The skillet will grow hotter over time, so turn down the heat if the pan starts to smoke.

Drop medium-size ladles of batter onto the skillet in batches, making sure there are some chocolate chips or blueberries in each pancake. When bubbles begin to set around the edges and the skillet-side of each pancake is golden (peek underneath), gently flip them over. Continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the pancake is fully set.

Serve stacked high, drizzled with a little warm maple syrup.

Cinnamon apple pancake variation

Follow the instructions for Stacked Pancakes, adding 1⁄2 teaspoon of cinnamon and substituting a peeled, chopped apple for the chocolate chips or blueberries. For smoother texture, grate the apple before adding it to the batter. Serve with a dusting of cinnamon sugar.


Michelle Obama and Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack just unveiled a brilliant revision to the long standing US food pyramid. 

As expected, it emphasizes veggies, but surprisingly, and happily, it opens up the protein category beyond just meat and beans, calling it simply "protein," and has also expanded the milk portion to include all dairy products. This is exactly how I teach my kids to eat, and how I design my Sneaky Chef recipes as well.

Their practical and easy to use revision can be seen here, along with a good article by the Huffington Post on the topic.

Everyone will now be able to easily visualize ideal food proportions without having to consult a full color wall chart at every meal. Michelle Obama put it best when she said, "As long as our plates are half full of fruits and vegetables, and paired with lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, we're golden." 

Even nutrition watchdogs likes The Center for Science in the Public Interest are saying that it's a huge improvement, and so easy to understand that everyone will be able to remember what their own plate should look like.

Mrs. Obama got started on this revision as part of her Let's Move! campaign, aimed to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation.

I look forward to recommending this greatly simplified and practical tool to all of my readers. 

Enjoy in good health,


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