Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Great Halloween Candy Debate

Happy Halloween Foodies!

I'll be honest, I've never been big into Halloween. When I was a little girl, it was a time for class parties and candy, but as I got older, there was always this burden of finding a clever costume. Truth be told, the best part of Halloween in my adult life?

(Regular readers of this blog should not be surprised)

Anyway, I bring Halloween up in this post, because I've noticed a fair bit of controversy in regards to the candy aspect of the holiday, and I'm very curious to hear people's thoughts.

First, Self Magazine posted an article entitled, "Halloween Candy: Is It Worth It?" earlier this month. The article states that before you reach for candy, you should be aware of how hard you'll have to work to burn off the following:

  • 8 Starbursts = 160 calories (50 minutes of Pilates)
  • 3 miniature York Peppermint Patties = 150 calories (17 minutes biking at a moderate pace)
  • 19 pieces of Candy Corn = 140 calories (19 minutes playing tennis)
  • 2 Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins = 350 calories (33 minutes running at a 6 mph pace)
  • 1 caramel apple = 250-350 calories (40 minutes moderate effort on standard rowing machine)
  • 3 Hershey's Milk Chocolate Snack Size Bars = 190 calories (1 hour of moderate weight lifting)
  • 1 roll Smarties = 25 calories (6 minutes treading water)
  • 2 fun size Snickers = 160 calories (22 minutes vigorous Vinyasa Yoga)
  • 1 package Skittles (61g) = 250 calories (27 minutes of aerobic workout with 6-inch step)
Granted, the target audience of this article is specifically not the general public. That is, the majority of Self Magazine's readers are either trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, or trying to reach a healthy weight or take steps toward living a healthy lifestyle. However, does the article go too far? 

Second, a woman the media is dubbing, the "Halloween Grinch". Check out the video below:

Is this woman also going too far? Should children be allowed to enjoy the innocence and candy of Halloween, or does it embody and breed the culture of gluttony and obesity? Lay those thoughts on me!

Third, Biggest Loser host Alison Sweeney appeared on Ellen DeGeneres' Halloween episode to discuss how she deals with her children's Halloween candy.

I will say this about the "Switch Witch" and I invite people to agree or disagree with me. I very much disagree with labeling foods as "bad" or "good" and I believe that Alison's approach causes her children to believe that candy is "bad". I think that certain foods are healthier than others, but I don't think anyone should start believing that any food (in moderation) is completely off limits. Feel free to post your comments below

In closing, with my resolve to live a healthy and fitness-filled lifestyle, I tend to be lukewarm about candy. I don't deny myself candy, but I also know that I'd MUCH rather have a nice pasta dinner than a few candy bars. Or, if I do want a sweet, I'd much rather have one of the gourmet bon-bons that the Manfriend and I picked up from a chocolate class we took at 2 Chicks With Chocolate yesterday.

That being said, I'm not condemning anyone who IS enjoying the fruits of Halloween. Frankly, It's one night of the year so Snickers on, good friends.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Recipe: Spiced Pumpkin Soup

One thing I love about being on Weight Watchers -- the recipes!!! This one my meeting leader shared on her Facebook, and I'm sharing it with all of you!

Fall is pumpkin season, but before you reach for a pumpkin spiced latte (5 WW Points for a tall!) -- try this soup to warm you up.

Spiced Pumpkin Soup


  • 1 TBS canola oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp salt [or salt substitute]
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups reduced sodium, fat free broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
  • 1 (12 oz) can evaporated fat free milk
  • 6 TBS plain fat free Greek yogurt
To Make:
  1. In a large pot, heat oil. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes, or until soft. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the rest of the spices, salt and pepper.
  2. Whisk in broth and pumpkin. Bring to just a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add milk and simmer for 2 minutes.
  3. Using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth. For thinner texture, add more broth. 
  4. Ladle into bowls and garnish with yogurt.
Servings: 6
Each Serving: 104 calories, 14 g carbs, 3 g fat, 7 g protein, 3 g fiber, 3 WW Points Plus

Friday, October 11, 2013

Restaurant Review: Dos Cubanos

Hi Foodies,

I don't usually do restaurant reviews, but I wanted to make an exception and give a very very special shout-out with this post.

Dos Cubanos, in Paramus, NJ,  is the largest Cuban restaurant in Bergen County. You may have seen their recent Groupon for a bottle of wine, appetizer, and two entrees for $40.

The Manfriend and I did, and were able to celebrate a very special anniversary at Dos Cubanos, thanks to the incredible and incomparable hospitality of the manager, George.

For those unfamiliar with Cuban cuisine, Cuban fare is a fusion of Spanish, African and Caribbean flavors. The result Most of the dishes involve sauteing ingredients or stewing them over a long period of time. Frying is not common and there are very few heavy sauces -- which make it a relatively healthy choice. Common spices include garlic, cumin, oregano and bay leaves. Cuban cooking often involves a "sofrito"-- a quick saute of onion, pepper, garlic, oregano and ground pepper to infuse a base flavor into dishes. The food is not overly spicy, but intensely flavorful overall.

For an appetizer, the Manfriend and I chose Chorizo con Sofrito, a spicy Cuban sausage with sauteed peppers and onions in a fire roasted tomato sauce. I'm a big fan of chorizo, and the fire roasted tomato sauce was so delicious. We were actually fighting forks over the last bite -- right in the middle of the restaurant. The one negative would be that the appetizer didn't come with any bread to scoop up the last of the sauce.

For his entree, the Manfriend ordered Ropa Vieja, twice cooked tender shredded flank steak with Cuban Criollo sauce. I tried it, and it was unbelievably tender. My entree was Bistec a la Plancha, thinly pounded steak that had been marinated in lime and garlic. The combination of the lime and garlic truly brought out a note of freshness that I really hadn't anticipated, or tasted before in beef dishes. Truly a winner.

I recommend Dos Cubanos to all my NJ readers. The food is flavorful, the waitstaff is attentive and the decor is festive. Just make sure you make a reservation -- the place was packed, another mark of an incredible spot.

Thanks again to George for making it quite an evening!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

WW Points for Beer

I just discovered this wonderful blog, The Complete Weight Watchers Point and Reference Guide (Recently rerouted to, which lists WW points plus for items that might not be in the WW system. 

As a big craft beer drinker, I'm particularly pleased to see the following chart -- which I have reposted as a reference guide. Keep in mind, unless specified, these values are for 12 oz. of beer.


WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS FOR BEER (12oz Serving Unless Otherwise Specified)

Anchor Porter4209
Anchor Steam3153
Anheuser Busch Natural Light295
Anheuser Busch Natural Ice3157
Aspen Edge294
Blatz Beer3153
Blue Moon3171
Bud Dry3130
Bud Ice3148
Bud Ice Light2110
Bud Light2110
Bud Light Lime2116
Budweiser Select299
Busch Beer3133
Busch Ice3169
Busch Light2110
Carling Black Label3138
Colt 45 Malt Liquor3174
Coors Light2104
Extra Gold Lager3152
Flying Dog Doggie Style3158
Flying Dog Dogtober Fest3146
Flying Dog Double Dog Pale Ale6292
Flying Dog Gonzo5269
Flying Dog Horn Dog6314
Flying Dog In Heat Wheat3131
Flying Dog K-9 Cruiser4181
Flying Dog Old Scratch3150
Flying Dog Road Dog3158
Flying Dog Snake Dog4179
Flying Dog Tire Bite2124
Genesee Beer3148
Genesee Cream Ale3162
Genesee Ice3156
Genesee Red3148
Geaorge Killian's Irish Red3162
Guinness Draught - 1 Pint4210
Guinness Stout4176
Icehouse 5.03149
Icehouse Light2103
Hamm's Beer3144
Keystone Premium2111
Keystone Ice3142
Leinenkugel Honey Weiss3149
Leinenkugel Northwoods Lager3163
Leinenkugel Original3152
Leinenkugel Creamy Dark3170
Leinenkugel Red3166
Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat3165
Leinenkugel Light2105
Leinenkugel Amber Light2110
Lowenbrau Dark3160
Lowenbrau Special Beer3160
Magnum Malt Liquor3157
Michael Shea's3145
Michelob Amber Boch3166
Michelob Beer3155
Michelob Golden Draft3152
Michelob Golden Draft Light2110
Michelob Honey Lager4175
Michelob Light2113
Michelob Ultra295
Mickey's Fine Malt Liquor3157
Mickey's Ice3157
Miller Chill2110
Miller Genuine Draft3143
Miller Genuine Draft Light2110
Miller Genuine Draft '64'164
Miller High Life3143
Miller High Life Light2110
Miller Lite296
Miller Lite Brewers Collection Amber2110
Miller Lite Brewers Collection Blonde2110
Miller Lite Brewers Collection Wheat2110
Milwaukee's Best3128
Milwaukee's Best Light298
Milwaukee's Best Ice3144
New Belgium 15544205
New Belgium 2 Below4200
New Belgium Abbey4200
New Belgium Blue Paddle3140
New Belgium Fat Tire3160
New Belgium Mothership Wit3155
New Belgium Trippel4215
New Belgium Sunshine Wheat3145
Old Milwaukee Light2114
Old Milwaukee Beer3146
Olde English 8003160
Olde English 800 7.54202
Olde English High Gravity 8004220
Olympia Premium Lager3146
Pabst Blue Ribbon3153
Pabst Extra Light Low Alcohol167
Pete's Wicked Ale3174
Red Dog3147
Red Hook ESB4179
Red Hook IPA4188
Rolling Rock Extra Pale3142
Rolling Rock Premium Beer2120
Sam Adams Boston Lager3160
Sam Adams Boston Ale3160
Sam Adams Cherry Wheat3166
Sam Adams Cream Stout4195
Sam Adams IPA4175
Sam Adams Light2124
Sam Adams Pale Ale3145
Schaefer Beer3142
Schlitz Beer3146
Schlitz Light2110
Schlitz Malt Liquor4185
Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale4190
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot7330
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale4214
Sierra Nevada Draft Ale3157
Sierra Nevada Early Spring Beer4190
Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale4215
Sierra Nevada India Pale Ale5231
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale4175
Sierra Nevada Pale Bock4218
Sierra Nevada Porter4194
Sierra Nevada Stout5225
Sierra Nevada Summerfest Beer3158
Sierra Nevada Wheat Beer3153
Signature Stroh Beer3153
Southpaw Light2123
Steel Reserve4222
Steel Reserve Triple Export4222
Steel Reserve Six3160
Stroh's Beer3149
Stroh's Light2113
Tuborg Deluxe Dark Export3163
Tuborg Export Quality3156
Winehard's Private Reserve3150
Winehard's Amber Light3135
Winehard's Hefeweizen3151
Winehard's Blonde Lager3161
Winehard's Pale Ale3147
Yuengling Ale3145
Yuengling Porter3150
Yuengling Premium Beer3135
Yuengling Light298
Yuengling Lager3135

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Recipe: Roasted Asparagus & Ricotta Pasta with Red Pepper Flakes

This is a simple vegetarian meal, with -- added bonus -- just a few ingredients.


  • Bundle fresh asparagus
  • 4 oz dry pasta (any variety)
  • 1/2 cup fat free ricotta
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • Red pepper Flakes
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

To Make:

  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. Clean and prep asparagus on a sheet pan, coated with non-stick spray. Season asparagus with salt, pepper and 2 tsp olive oil. When oven is preheated, roast asparagus for 20 minutes, or until tender.
  • Cook pasta according to directions on box
  • Serve roasted asparagus on top of cooked pasta. Flake ricotta cheese onto pasta/asparagus mixture. Drizzle remaining olive oil over pasta, ricotta and asparagus. Top with red pepper flakes and serve.

Servings: 2
Per Serving: 325 calories, 50 g carbs, 8 g fat, 15 g protein, 8 WW Points Plus