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Saturday
Apr262014

Weight Watchers New Ice Cream Lineup

Summer is a few months away but I've already visited the ice cream aisle at the supermarket. I don't eat ice cream at all in the fall and winter, but funny how once the weather warms 20-30 degrees, I dig out the ice cream scoop! Weight Watchers sent samples of their new frozen treats that debuted last month. My completely honest opinion is that this is great ice cream! Keep in mind that I'm not an ice cream snob and don't demand full-fat or premium ice cream, but I do eat a fair share. 

I was impressed with how authentic the flavors taste. The Black Cherry Greek frozen yogurt has that deep rich cherry flavor, and the Strawberry Swirl tastes like real strawberries without being overly sweet. The yogurts contain five different live and active cultures (probiotics) though it's not clear how much. Mint chocolate chip is my son's favorite flavor and he gobbled up the Mint Chip ice cream without hesitation. I also adored the Salted Caramel bar (which FYI is low in sodium) that recalls a classic chocolate ice cream bar but with a hint of salty. They were all very creamy and didn't taste weak the way "light" ice creams usually do. 

What could be considered a plus or a minus is the serving size and price. Each ice cream/frozen yogurt box comes with only three 3/4-cup servings and retails for $3.99. The Salted Caramel bar and other specialty bars and cones offer six treats per box and retail for $5.99. As a nutritionist, I love the preportioned sizes that supply 100-120 calories and less than 3 grams fat per treat yet are surprisingly satisfying. Ice cream is meant to be a small treat, not eaten from big bowls every night. If you view ice cream like this, you'll savor and appreciate it much more. You will eat it slowly and feel great afterwards, rather than regretting that you bought it because you slurped down half a carton in one sitting!

This ice cream line could be an everyday indulgence if the cost doesn't bother you. At my supermarket today, they were on sale for $2.50 for the ice cream cups and $3.99 for the bars so I bought some, but still are pricey for what you get. If you're a fan of Weight Watchers products, give them a try!

Disclosure: I received Weight Watchers food samples for my honest review of the product.

Saturday
Apr192014

My First Flash Mob: Beat As One

When Fen sent an invite on Facebook to a flash mob hosted by The FAM, my first impulse was to click delete. But I hesitated because it was in honor of the Boston Marathon victims, and when I heard the song Beat As One and saw the choreography (by The Z Spot's Lena Andrade), I changed my mind. Being in a flash mob was the last thing on my to-do list but this event wasn't about me. It was about making a declaration of unity and support for each other in response to the tragedy that occurred one year ago. It was a terrible day, week, and months after. It's something you don't want to think about, but have to, because there are disabled survivors in our own communities. They are our inspiration. Below are photos I took from the rehearsal at the Prudential Center just before the actual flash mob with more than 200 participants.

The song describes how everyone goes through trials and we do our best to stay positive and not breed bitterness, but the only way to really achieve this is with the help of others. We can't move forward alone, at least not for very long, and you may be surprised who steps forward to meet you in your worst moments. "When trouble happens right before our faces. Is it better if we look the other way? The best things come from unexpected places. My heart is your heart."

This day I saw diversity in age, ethnicity, and ability, but I'd agree the underlying motivation was unity as the song title suggests.

Everyone's thoughts were with the Boston Marathon victims at each rehearsal and the actual flash mob. There was also joy, and I believe through every dance step we wished we could send the survivors joy and hope for the future.

 

The Beat As One flash mob took place Sunday April 13 outside the Pru on Boylston Street. Below, we try to look inconspicuous and casual before it begins.

Sasha, below, was working in the Pru and watering plants as we were waiting. He'd never heard of a flash mob before but after we described it, he decided to wing the choreo and do the whole thing with us...which he did with water pitcher in hand! 

And, the final video!

Thanks to The FAM for an amazing day. God bless Boston and the Marathon runners on Monday!

Sunday
Apr062014

Dukkah-Encrusted Tofu

Dried tofu. Photo credit: Vegan Good EatsI grew up eating tofu since I come from an Asian family but it was never served to me plain and white, like you see in the supermarket. Some of my clients who aren't familiar with tofu don't realize that you're not supposed to eat fresh tofu straight out of the carton! It is meant to be seasoned and cooked. My favorite ways to eat it are pan-fried or dried (you can find this in Asian grocery stores near the fresh tofu), which are more flavorful. I don't prefer to fry foods because of the mess afterwards, so I usually enjoy this type of tofu from a Chinese restaurant (or at my parent's house, if they'll cook it for me!). For my meals, I add plain, diced extra firm tofu to salads and soups, where it picks up the flavor of the salad dressing or broth. This week I noticed a jar of dukkah, given to me by a friend, sitting in my cabinet and thought why not try it on tofu? Dukkah, originally from Egypt but now becoming popular here, is a spice blend incorporating toasted nuts, seeds, herbs and a little salt. You can sprinkle it on meats, fish, pasta, and even salads.

I used Nasoya's Extra Firm Tofu Plus that is high in protein, calcium, vitamin D and B vitamins. I pressed the tofu to drain out extra water and make it even firmer (place the whole block of tofu between two paper towels on a plate and rest a heavy book or pan on top for about 10 minutes), and then cut the tofu into triangles and squares. I brushed all sides of the tofu with a sauce mixture of 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce, 2 tablespoons honey and 1 tablespoon sesame oil. I sprinkled the dukkah over the top and baked in a 350 F oven for 35 minutes.

The result was a flavorful tofu with a nice crunch from the dukkah's almonds and various seeds. It went well on top of a salad, though I equally enjoyed the leftover tofu the next day warmed with brown rice and vegetables. Actually I preferred the flavor of the tofu after it had been refrigerated and reheated, as the seeds had softened and the sauce had soaked deeper into the tofu.

 It's an easy recipe and a great way to get more whole soy into your diet!