Homemade Marshmallow Fluff Dip + Fresh Fruit = Delish and Perfect for 4th of July Festivities!

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Hard to believe that the 4th of July is just days away. I usually start fretting about how fast Summer goes by when we hit this holiday. My husband has suggested, on numerous occasions, that I should see a therapist about this. I can’t help it. Summer is my absolute favorite time of year…the days are longer, water warmer, the kids are out of school and the fresh, local produce selection plentiful. Why, Oh Why does it seem like it’s the time of year that goes by the fastest?

Ok, I am trying to pull myself together here. So, in my efforts to embrace the upcoming Red, White and Blue festivities I would like to share a delicious recipe that is really perfect anytime of year, but particularly during these warm Summer months and holiday cookouts. Don’t be intimated, it’s way easier than you think. Of course, if you don’t want to make the Fluff, you don’t have to, but I suggest you purchase an “all natural” brand without the colorings and additives. Oh, did I mention that this dessert is Gluten Free too…bonus!

Homemade Marshmallow Fluff Dip

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon fine salt
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS
Stir together the sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 240°F on a candy/fat thermometer.
Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites to soft peaks on medium speed.

When the syrup reaches 240°F, with the mixer speed now on low, slowly drizzle about 2 tablespoons of syrup into the egg whites to warm them. Slowly drizzle in the rest of the syrup into the egg whites. Increase the speed to medium high and whip until the marshmallow crème is stiff and glossy, about 7 minutes. Add in the vanilla and whip 2 minutes more. Use immediately or refrigerate stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Here’s where is gets really interesting…mix equal parts of the prepared Marshmallow Fluff with softened cream cheese and serve with you choice of fresh fruit…strawberries, nectarines, apples, pineapple etc. That’s it…prepare for your taste buds to be amazed!

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You too can “Pate a Choux”…this one’s for you Mam-aw!

IMG_1437My Mam-aw was an amazing cook! Her personality and culinary skills were both “Sweet and Savory”. She made Sunday dinners that were equivalent to Thanksgiving every week. She never asked anyone to bring a dish or assist her with preparation. My Mam-aw just found great joy by having her family gather around the dining room table each week to simply share great food and conversation. These nights created some of my very best childhood memories and one of the very first memories I have of cooking with her was making “Pate a Choux”.

Although “Pate a Choux”, like my Mam-aw, could be both Sweet and Savory, it was her “go to” for Bridal and Baby Showers. She would make a tray and stuff them with her homemade Chicken Salad, which made for an amazing and creative little sandwich.

Of course you can easily morph them into amazing desserts by stuffing them with homemade Pastry Cream, Whipped Cream, fresh Fruit…the sky is the limit here. Get creative! Honestly, my favorite way to enjoy them is hot, right out of the oven just by themselves. Their taste and texture somewhat similar to a Pop Over.

I know the name alone and its’ pronunciation is a bit intimidating, but I assure you that this “PUFF” is one of the easiest and most versatile recipes to make and even store for later use. All you need to know are some key tricks to insure success and you too will be able to “Pate a Choux”.

RECIPE
1 cup butter
2 cups water
pinch salt and sugar
2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 eggs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In 2 quart pot, combine the butter, water, salt and sugar. I hate sifting so just whisk together the flour and baking powder. Once the water and butter come to a rolling boil, dump the flour mixture in all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon or paddle to incorporate until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. *STIR VIGOROUSLY UNTIL IT FORMS A BALL .

Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl or standing mixer equipped with the paddle attachment. *MIX THE DOUGH FOR A MINUTE OR SO TO RELEASE SOME OF THE HEAT. Add the eggs, one at a time, completely incorporating each one before adding the next. Beat until the dough gets thick and ribbony.

Line your baking pan with parchment paper and either using an ice cream scooper spoon dough onto pan with proper spacing for expansion. Transfer pan to the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and cook for 25 minutes longer. *DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN, not even once, DURING THE ENTIRE COOKING TIME.

Use when cool, or freeze, wrapped in a plastic bag, for 2-3 months.

The history of our Peach Dumpling…the Official Dessert of Berlin!

Before we even opened our doors in April of 2010, our friend and business partner Jill had an idea for us to develop and present to the Town Counsel the idea of an official dessert for Berlin, Maryland.

We thought this was a great idea, so brainstorming ideas for a sweet treat that would represent the history and vintage charm of this little seaside town we call home began.  Berlin has such a rich history and one that is rooted with peach orchards.  At one time, this town in Maryland was home to one of the largest orchards in the country.  Yes readers, I said Maryland and not Georgia!  Well, this sealed the deal for us…our dessert had to have the peach as an ingredient.

Next, we decided that the dessert should be somewhat “old school” in nature since the town itself is like a throw back in time.  The very first thing that popped into my mind was a dumpling…we had to create a Peach Dumpling.  Most people are familiar with apple dumplings.  Traditionally a whole or half apple is cored, sprinkled in cinnamon sugar and then wrapped in pie dough and “BAKED”.  We wanted to do something really different, so we “cranked things up a notch”, sliced our peaches and sauteed them in butter, brown sugar and some secret ingredients.  We then folded them into our all butter puff pastry.

We experimented for weeks and ate enough versions of Peach Dumplings to make ourselves and our families silly.  After taste test, after taste test and considering all of the input from our “guinea pigs”, we had the final version…beautiful peaches, local when available, sliced and sauteed in butter, brown sugar, spices and some secret ingredients folded into puff pastry, “BAKED” to perfection and topped with peach reduction and our homemade caramel sauce.

Needless to say, we presented the dessert to the Mayor and Town Counsel and our Peach Dumpling became the Official Dessert of Berlin.  The rest as they say is history!  Since we sell out most every day, I think that we must be doing the peach and the town some justice.

We’re really happy to represent our awesome town by serving it’s Official Dessert!  Every August, Berlin hosts its Annual Peach Festival on the lawn of the Taylor House Museum.  This past weekend, many locals and visitors, young an old, enjoyed some of Berlin’s rich peach history by attending this celebration.  Fresh peaches, homemade local peach ice cream, peach pies, peach breads, peach jams, our “Peach Dumplings” and much more were enjoyed by all as a salute to Berlin’s rich peach history.

We are proud to be part of and serve such a great community rich in so many things and we will happilyImage continue to “BAKE” the Official Dessert of Berlin to perfections for all to enjoy!

Loving the fresh foods of Summer…Refrigerator Peach Basil Preserves!

I know I haven’t blogged in a while.  The days and nights seem to be flying by and like most people I know, there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day.  So it is really hard for me to believe that we’re back to Summer on the Eastern Shore.  There are so many reasons that I love Summer most; napping on the beach and swimming in the ocean, the smell of sunscreen, salt water and sleeping with the windows open to name a few.

Not surprisingly, one of my very favorite perks of Summer happens to be the fresh food; vine ripe tomatoes, fragrant herbs, corn on the cob, watermelon and of course fresh peaches.  Our friend and neighbor Jason just brought us a bucket of his “sweet as sugar” peaches so I instantly thought…Refrigerator Peach Preserves!  Then I noticed that our Basil plants needed a harvesting so I thought Refrigerator Peach Basil Preserves.

Honestly, I’m not one to stand in a kitchen filled with jars, lids and boiling water baths so Refrigerator Preserves and Jams are right up my ally.  I also am not a huge fan of using pectin, most fruits contain enough pectin to jell on their own if prepared correctly anyway.  Plus, with Refrigerator Preserves and Jam you don’t have to be an expert cook or canner and you can be uber creative with your combinations of fruit/herbs.

Saturday must have been my lucky day.  Not only did Jason deliver some beautiful peaches, but my husband and friend Melinda offered to peel and chop the entire bucket, about 30 peaches, to which I added lemon juice and sugar.  I covered the concoction and allowed it to macerate over night.  After adding the fresh basil which I sliced thin, all that was left to do was to cook, reduce and enjoy.

As a general rule, I use one pound of fruit to 1 tablespoon lemon juice to one cup of sugar and cook over medium heat until the mixture coats the tines of a fork.  If you place a dollop on a plate and place it in the refrigerator for several minutes, it should resemble the consistency of ketchup.  Seal in airtight containers and refrigerate for up to two weeks or place in freezer.

Of course, I enjoy this type of preserve/jam on toast, but you can just as easily glaze grilled chicken with it or pour it over some softened cream cheese and serve with crusty french baguette for a “no brainer” appetizer.  I think I’ll be trying my hand at Vidalia Onion Peach Chutney next.  Enjoy!Image!

You asked for it…Moist and Flavorful Irish Soda Bread!

Ok, I’m not Irish.  As a matter of fact, I consider myself to be a “mutt” although my husband says that I am Italian by marriage.  So suffice it to say that the only reason I ever even thought to make Irish Soda Bread was for our bakery customers who request it for the St. Patrick’s Day holiday.

Over the years I have tried several traditional Irish Soda Bread recipes and most have turned out as expected.  Honestly, I find this type of bread to be on the dry side  and overall unappealing; this coming from a total “bread head”.  This year I decided to continue my quest to find an Irish Soda Bread recipe that was moist and flavorful.  After researching and reading numerous reviews, I decided to try several and came up with a real winner with the recipe I found on allrecipes.com.

This Irish Soda Bread was a breeze to make and is a recipe that I will continue to bake year round.  Both moist and full of flavor, this bread would be a perfect accompaniment to breakfast, lunch and/or dinner.   I made two varieties this week, plain and whiskey soaked raisin studded.  I’ll also experiment with the recipe to see if I can replicate it in a Gluten Free variety.

Note, if you don’t have buttermilk handy you can simply make your own by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice per cup of milk.  Allow this mixture to sit for 5 minutes before using.  Making your own buttermilk is also less expensive than buying buttermilk in the store.  I guarantee that you’re not going to be disappointed with this Irish Soda Bread recipe.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg, lightly beatenMoist and Flavorful Irish Soda Bread
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda. Blend egg and buttermilk together, and add all at once to the flour mixture. Mix just until moistened. Stir in butter. Pour into prepared pan.
  2. Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Wrap in foil for several hours, or overnight, for best flavor.

Totally “Baked” Danny Boy Cupcake!

You all might have heard about a popular drink served particularly around St. Patty’s Day call the Irish Car Bomb.  You make one by adding Bailey’s and Jameson to a shot glass.  You layer the Bailey’s on the bottom.  After you pour the Guinness into a pint glass or beer mug 3/4 of the way full you simply drop the shot glass into the Guinness and chug.  This drink sounds like it can get you totally “BAKED”.

I love the idea of making this drink into a cake/cupcake, but I thoroughly dislike the name.  One of our faithful facebook followers suggested that we rename it the Buzzed Danny Boy which we think is an awesome name, but since we always try to play off of our “BAKED” name we have decided to rename this concoction the Totally “BAKED” Danny Boy.

We’re lucky to have a fantastic micro-brewry right here in town so I strolled on over to Burley Oak Brewery and grabbed myself a growler of their Black Cow Stout.  Now, I’ve made Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Burley Oak brew before, but adding this Black Cow to my recipe really cranked things up a notch.  The cupcake was so moist and balanced it was delicious without the accouterments of filling or frosting, but in our efforts to recreate the drink in a cake/cupcake form we’ve filled them with Irish Whiskey Ganache and topped them with our homemade Irish Cream Liquor buttercream.  The Totally “Baked” Danny Boy cupcakes are rolling out the door for a limited time only.

For your baking enjoyment I’m including the following recipe for Chocolate Stout Cupcakes.  It’s the best that I’ve found and is courtesy of David Lieberman of the Food Network.

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all-purposeflour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch fine salt
  • 1 bottle stout beer (I recommend Burley Oak’s Black Cow)
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt.

In another medium mixing bowl, combine the stout, melted butter, and vanilla. Beat in eggs, 1 at time. Mix in sour cream until thoroughly combined and smooth. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.

Lightly grease 24 muffin tins. Divide the batter equally between muffin tins, filling each 3/4 full. Bake for about 12 minutes and then rotate the pans. Bake another 12 to 13 minutes until risen, nicely domed, and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool before turning out.

My suggestion…You can top these cupcake with any of your favorite fillings and/or buttercream frostings, but honestly they’re absolutely delicious all by themselves.Totally "BAKED" Danny Boy Cupcake

What to Whip Up for St. Patrick’s Day?

I can’t believe that March is almost here and that means “Saint Patrick’s Day” is right around the corner. Last year we learned the fine art of baking Irish Soda Bread and offered Chocolate Stout Cupcake with Irish Cream Buttercream and Mad Vanilla Cupcakes stuffed with Stout Orange Curd.  What uniquely different dessert  are we going to whip up this year?

I think most people think about desserts that surround Irish Cream Liqueur for St. Patty’s Day and it’s a no wonder.  Did you know that this delicious concoction was created by a guy named Joe Sheridan in 1943 at Foynes flying boat base’s at Shannon Airport.  It all happened when a crowd of tired, thirsty and cold passengers wondered in and Joe served them up some hot coffee laced with sugar, Irish whiskey and a generous amount of Irish double cream.  More than 60 years later, this liqueur is now served world wide.

In addition to using some of Joe’s creation in our desserts, I think we’ll also try some other unusual offerings as well.  How does Chocolate Potato Cake and Donegal Oatmeal Cream sound?  In addition to Irish Soda Bread maybe we’ll also bake some Sweet Seed Cake.  I can’t wait to get started.  The best of the best we’ll post in a later blog, but in the meantime I’m sharing a recipe for homemade Irish Cream Liqueur that is fool proof and far less expensive to make than what you find in the liquor stores.

Irish Cream Whiskey Liqueur

1 3/4 c. your favorite liquor (Irish Whiskey, brandy, rum, bourbon, scotch, or rye whiskey)

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

1 c. whipping or light cream

4 eggs

Day 256/365 - 13 Sept - Irish Cream

Day 256/365 - 13 Sept - Irish Cream (Photo credit: anshu_si)

2 tbsp. chocolate flavored syrup

2 tsp. instant coffee

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. almond extract

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Serve over ice, with club soda or in your favorite dessert recipes. Store tightly covered in refrigerator up to one month. Stir before serving.

My “Feed Your Sweet Tooth Diet” Week #2

Feed Your Sweet Tooth!

I'm feeding my Sweet Tooth!

Day 8…

Weighed in today at 152lbs.  Whoohoo, 1.5 lbs lost!  I know that might not sound like much, but I’m taking it.  Also, took my measurements and although the waist and hips didn’t budge, my bust area is down .5 inches.  Somebody please tell me why woman usually lose weight in their boobs first?

I walked the dog this morning as usual.   Went to the gym before work and exercised my lower half plus abs.  I’m going to go back to the gym before dinner and take the Pilates class that I started last week.  This class is actually relaxing even though you are getting a great “core” workout.  I almost went straight home after work, tempted to sit on the couch and kick off my shoes, but I didn’t.  I’m glad that I pushed myself through the door and onto my mat and I feel better for having done it.

For breakfast this morning I enjoyed our Gluten Free Low Sugar homemade Granola.  I warmed it up with milk for a hot breakfast.  This really could count as a dessert because it was so delicious.  Granola is so easy to make  yourself and when you do, you can add anything you want to make it yummy.  Today’s granola had walnuts with dried cranberries.  It’s also full of fiber, protein and antioxidants.  Healthy can taste good!

I enjoyed my dessert today after lunch.  Our Cupcake Bombs are Valrhona chocolate cake mixed with our cream cheese buttercream frosting, rolled and topped with Calabaut chocolate ganache.  I warmed it up and it was so good I really wanted to eat another.  Resisting this temptation was easier to do once I reminded myself that I could have another one tomorrow if I wanted.

I managed to eat dinner prior to 7:00pm tonight and enjoyed a glass of wine with it.  This eating slowly and mindfully thing is starting to make my meals more enjoyable and me more relaxed.

Day 9…

It was pouring rain this morning so the pooch walk was short.  I also felt a little under the weather today.  Maybe that’s because it’s so dreary outside.  Anyway, tonight I have my spinning class, which usually is a butt kicker, so no worries.

Breakfast was uneventful.  I am not preparing any special meals or snacks.  I am eating whatever I have and/or feel like.  I am making sure that I drink at least 8 ounces of water before I do eat.  This is such a simple weight loss strategy, one that I have heard about before, but for some reason never tried.   This does seem to be working.  Between the water and eating slowly, I felt so full I only ate half of my omelet.

I ate some turkey breast today for my snack and enjoyed a Cannoli today for my dessert.  We fill them fresh in the bakery so that they aren’t soggy and it was divine.  I love the fact that I am enjoying dessert without guilt for the first time in decades.

Tonight I ate dinner before going to my spinning class.  I almost didn’t go at all.   My sister, who normally goes to this class with me, couldn’t this evening.  I started to make some excuses, tried to think of an exercise I could just do at home and then I stopped myself.  This is exactly why I do better when I have an exercise buddy.  I did manage to change my internal conversation and decided to get in my car and drive to the gym.  Once there, I took the class and had an amazing workout.

Day 10…

Started my morning as usual.  Headed to the gym before work and exercised my chest, back and abs with weights.

I’ve been trying to get my dad, who now has Diabetes, to join our gym.  I’m certain that if he moves more, he’ll lose some weight and in turn he’ll have more control over his blood sugar.   No one in my family thought that he would, but I bought him 2 training sessions for Christmas hoping that it might be just the catalyst he needed.

I understand that sometimes going into a gym for the first time can be intimidating particularly when you’re older.  So, I ask him he wanted to come in and talk to the trainer on a morning that I would be there.  He did and he set up his two training sessions.   I didn’t know if he would continue past that.

I was at work today when my dad came in and told me that he joined our gym for the year.  You can’t imagine how happy this makes me.   He is the finest person I know and I want him around for a really long time.  Maybe he’ll even join the “Biggest Loser” challenge.  We can motivate each other.

Oh yah, I ate my dessert today with breakfast.  I know that sounds crazy, but not when you own a bakery.   I enjoyed our Fudge Brownie with my coffee.  I just couldn’t resist that smell of chocolate.  Lunch and dinner was uneventful.  I am getting better about planning to eat before 7:00pm.

Day 11…

This morning I rediscovered Chia Seeds!  I’ve had them before in coconut bars that I’ve purchased from my local organic store, but I just learned how to incorporate them into my everyday meals.

The ancient Aztec and Mayan people revered Chia Seeds as vital to their nourishment and it’s a know wonder.  These gluten-free seeds are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, protein and fiber.  You can enjoy them in juice, yogurt, cereal, and baked goods.  Once soaked in a liquid for 10-15 minutes they make a gel that you can add to almost anything.  They’re fantastic and they even help you to feel full.

I soaked mine this morning and added them to some Pomegranate juice, which I enjoyed after my breakfast.  Wow, I just realized that I ate my breakfast while on the computer and that’s a no-no.  Anyway, if you’ve never tried them, stop by your local organic store and pick up a bag.

I enjoyed my dessert after my lunch today.  I am finding that this is a perfect time to feed my sweet tooth.  I had a serving of our Cupcake Bread Pudding.  It’s just like bread pudding except that instead of using bread we use our cupcakes.  This confection did “hit the spot”, but I should have only eaten half of the serving because after eating the whole thing I felt too full.

I ate my dinner tonight pretty early, before my spinning class.  I thought I might be hungry later on, but surprisingly I was very content for the rest of the evening.  My husband came home from a business trip and while he enjoyed a glass of wine, I enjoyed a dirty martini.

Day 12…

Exercise was pretty uneventful today.  I made my way to the gym and performed resistance training on my shoulders, biceps, triceps and abs.  Looking back on the workout, I could have pressed myself a little harder.

I also didn’t do so well with my water consumption today.  I drank a lot of water, but forgot to drink it before both breakfast and lunch.  I was really busy at work and also didn’t eat as mindfully as I want to.

We ate dinner out and I used chopsticks, which slowed me down thankfully because I was really hungry and otherwise might have eaten too fast.  My dessert tonight was a piece of my niece’s birthday cake.  I honestly felt a bit guilty eating my dessert late and in all didn’t feel great about the day.  I’m trying not to dwell on this and instead I’m refocusing my energy on tomorrow.

Day 13…

Today was my day of rest, well as far as exercise goes.  I did walk the dog, but it was pouring rain so we weren’t out for long.  Added my chia seeds in juice to my morning routine and wasn’t even really hungry for breakfast or lunch.

We had company come over for dinner and I made a Peach Blueberry Cobbler with vanilla whipped cream.  I had every intension of enjoying it for dessert, but I had also enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine during dinner so I decided that the wine was probably enough dessert for me, plus I really didn’t want it.

I am a little nervous about my weigh in this week and I don’t know exactly why.   I am trying to remember that this is a 6-week journey and that some weeks are going to be better than others.  I really don’t want to set myself up for disappointment.  Rather, I want to remain positive and focused on the positive changes that I have already made.

Day 14…

Chia seeds again this morning in my juice and after drinking it I was full so I waved off breakfast, which was a mistake.  By the time lunch rolled around I was pretty hungry.  I drank my water, but ate faster than I have been and I think I over ate as a result.  I did enjoy the leftover Peach Blueberry Cobbler from the night before though.

This morning my daughter and I worked out to a free on demand video on cable.  We did 30 minutes of Power Yoga and let me tell you it was everything but relaxing.  I think I’ll add this to my exercise routine on a regular basis.  Today I also added an additional 30 minutes of walk/running for some extra cardio.  I’m trying to jog on soft surfaces so that it’s a little bit easier on my joints.  The park close to the bakery has a soft surface path and the neighborhood we live in has several so I have plenty of options.

The playoffs were on today and after watching the Raven’s heartbreaking loss I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m craving some chocolate.  I will drown my sorrows with water instead.

Feed Your Sweet Tooth Diet…Week #1 Lost 1.5 lbs.!

Maybe I can have my cake and eat it too!

my "Feed Your Sweet Tooth Diet"

My Rules…

the do’s

Exercise at least 6 days per week for at least 30 minutes

Drink 64 oz. of water daily including at least 8oz before each meal

Eat mindfully, putting the utensil down between bites

Eat a serving of Dessert Daily

the don’ts

Don’t eat past 7:00pm,

Don’t count calories

Don’t prepare special meals or take any weight loss supplement

Day 1…

Weighed in today at 153.5 lbs. to my delight because I actually thought that I was around 160.  Took my measurements, wasn’t so delighted there with 37″, 31″, 42″.  Step aside JayLo, baby’s got back!  That middle number is what bothers me most.  I’ve always been curvy, but that middle number is going to change.

Today I added walking/running with my dog for 15 minutes, cycling for 20 minutes at intervals on level 3 before work and I also added a Pilates class with my daughters before dinner.  Breaking it up seemed to work well.

Drank a lot of water today.  Tried to add a glass prior to each meal.   The hardest thing today was to eat slowly and mindfully.  I guess I have gotten into a bad habit of eating too fast.  I’m sure this is carried over from the days when I had small children and every time I sat down to eat, all hell broke loose.  This habit didn’t develop overnight so I can’t expect that I will correct it in one day.

My dessert today was a zucchini muffin and I enjoyed it with my breakfast.  Surprisingly I didn’t really want anything else sweet all day and that’s unusual.

Day 2…

Walked the dog this morning and hit the gym before work.  I did some resistance training there, chest and back.  Resistance training/weight lifting is so great for women in particular.  It helps us build stronger bones which is really important considering that we are more prone to suffer from osteoporosis.  You don’t even have to belong to a gym or have any fancy equipment.  Push ups and squats are two great exercises and work most of the muscles in the upper and lower body using simply your own body weight.

I drank plenty of water and some green tea today.  I remembered to eat mindfully, but that was still difficult.  Eating slowly almost makes me nervous.  What’s that all about?  I did eat after 7:00pm.  I had a meeting that ran late and I was starving.  Although, I must admit that eating slowly did make me feel full sooner than usual.

My dessert today was our Kahlua Soaked Chocolate Cake and I enjoyed it after my bowl of chili for lunch.  It was delicious and I really savored it.  Again, shockingly I did not crave anything sweet later in the day and believe me I had plenty of opportunity.  I might be on to something.

Day 3…

Walked/ran with the dog again this morning.  This is actually a great way to start my day.   Drank my fair share of H20.  I am going to fill a pitcher each day so that I can measure what I drink.  I read somewhere that most often when you think you’re hungry, your body is actually thirsty.  I also started to eat my lunch while working on the computer and quickly decided that this was not mindful eating, so I turned it off.  I did have a moment today after lunch that I might have normally eaten something just because I was stressed.  I paid close attention to that feeling and decided instead to drink a large glass of water.

My dessert today was another slice of Kahlua cake.  I must say that this confection is one of our very best.  Although after eating the slice I realized that I could have actually been satisfied with probably half of the portion.  Again no other cravings for sweets today.  Truthfully I didn’t really crave the cake, but have decided for this experiment to make sure that I eat something sweet everyday.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll stick to a smaller portion if I’m not really “jonesin” for something sweet.  FYI, did you know that the word “jonesin” in the urban dictionary means an intense craving for a drug?

Ran/walked/skipped with my daughter for about 2 miles this afternoon.  I think it was her idea to skip and it was so much fun.  It reminded me of being a kid.  For some reason the song “zip a dee doo dah” from the Disney movie Song of the South came immediately to mind.  Anyway, the intervals had our heart rates going up and down which I’ve read  is supposed to be the best type of cardio training.

Dinner tonight was uneventful.  I did enjoy a glass of wine which I might consider to be a “dessert” in the future.  We’ll see what my numbers show the next week.

Day 4…

This morning I simply walked the dog.  I knew I was going to the gym to do my resistance training, shoulders, biceps,  triceps and abs and I was taking a spinning class in the evening and that seemed like plenty.

I had some trouble today remembering to drink my water before my meal.  I was really busy at work and maybe that threw me off.  Also the no eating after 7:00pm is proving to be more difficult than any of the other rules.  Tonight I ate at 7:30.  I’m going to have to plan better.

My dessert today was 3 smaller shortbread cookies which was perfect.  I had tried a new recipe and had to taste test them anyway.  I really enjoyed them, but didn’t crave anything else sweet for the rest of the day.

Day 5…

My cardio today was on the treadmill because it was cold and windy outside.  I did a walk/run for about 30 minutes, again the combination of walking and running at intervals had my heart rate up and down.  I ate my dessert at breakfast this morning because I had to taste test our Ginger Refrigerator Cake.  Lunch was Steak Salad, uneventful.

Dinner was a total disaster.  We were getting ready for an arts reception and I didn’t preplan a dinner so I had some cheese with crackers and meatballs with tortellini.  It wasn’t ideal, it wasn’t mindful eating or even remotely enjoyable, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it.   I’ll try and plan better in the future.  Drank socially this evening.  Lemon drops were the drink of the evening, a lemon wedge sprinkled with raw sugar and a shot of vodka.  You bite the lemon, drink the shot and bite the lemon.  Supposedly, vodka has one of the lowest calorie counts plus, this drink is very tasty.

Day 6…

Today was my “day of rest” as far as exercising goes.  I did walk the dog, but at a relaxing pace.  Ate our Organic Celery Salad for breakfast today and it was filling and delicious.  I didn’t do so well with my water consumption today.  I didn’t fill my pitcher at work and wasn’t thinking about it.

I was hungry at lunch today, but remembered to put my sandwich down between bites and felt full before I even finished, so I only really ate half.  My dessert today was an Ice Cream Sundae.  My nephews were in the bakery today and I taught them how to make real Whipped Cream and Hot Fudge Sauce.  Together we enjoyed the “fruits of their labor”.  We had so much fun and it was delicious to boot!

We had reservations tonight for dinner so once again I ate after 7:00pm.  This rule has proven to be the most difficult and here I thought my sweet cravings were going to be the toughest obstacle .  I resisted the urge to order an appetizer and focused on savoring my meal and the company that we shared.  We had a lovely evening!

Day 7…

I ran outside this morning for 30 minutes again alternating between walking and running.  My brother-in-law once told me that when you first start to add running to your exercise regimen, you should either walk or slow down when you’re feeling fatigued and once you recover you can pick up your pace again.  So this has been my approach.

The playoffs were on today so I probably ate a little more at lunch than I have this past week.  I am drinking a lot of water today to try and balance the urge to eat all the “tail gaty” snacks and it seems to be working.

My dessert today was my mother’s Baked Custard.  It’s like eating a cross between creme brulee’ and flan.  She used to make this all of the time when we were children and it really is one of my “comfort foods”.  Surprisingly it isn’t high in sugar and not that bad on the fat count.  It’s purely delicious.

I made sure that I didn’t eat anything tonight past 7:00pm.  Weigh ins are tomorrow morning.  Even if I didn’t lose any weight this week, I do feel better.  I’m actually enjoying the exercises that I’ve added to my normal routine and the permission that I’ve given myself to eat dessert seems to have set me free.

Can my “Feed Your Sweet Tooth Diet” work?

My "Feed Your Sweet Tooth" Diet!

Feeding My Sweet Tooth

Can I feed my Sweet Tooth daily and still loose a little weight?

My sister Shelly and I own an all natural bakery in Berlin, Maryland.  There’s no denying that we love sweets and  in our business, we want you to love Sweets too.

We came by our “Sweet Tooth” naturally when our Dad  kindly passed that gene on to us.  Actually my Dad has the biggest “Sweet Tooth”of anyone I have ever met.  I still have vivid childhood memories of him dieting and performing various methods of sweet deprivation. His most favorite indulgence is ice cream.  We all still laugh when we talk about the time he was trying to loose a little weight and my mother thought that he was doing so well.  She was proud that he had “tamed his tooth” until one day she had to drive his car to work.  For what ever reason, she had to slam on her brakes and an empty container of Breyers Ice Cream rolled out from under the seat.  He was “busted”!   Reflecting on this story reminded me that my father was “fit as a fiddle” when he was the most active despite what he ate.  He played baseball and was an avid runner.  The “wheels didn’t fall off” until he had knee issues and became less active.  That’s when he began riding the “diet roller coaster”.

I try to work out regularly, but honestly I haven’t made it a priority and often don’t push myself as hard as I should when I do.  I don’t usually buy into the whole New Years resolution thing.  I try to remember that I have the opportunity to make positive changes every day, but I’m turning 50 in March and I really want to be “fit and 50”.  That in mind, I have decided to enter the 6 week “Biggest Loser” challenge at my gym which begins today with the “dreaded” weigh in.  There is an entry fee and prize money for the winner, but I am more motivated by the accountability of this whole thing, particularly now that it’s public knowledge.  I did ask both my husband and Shelly to join me, but they both declined.  I’m going to have to go it alone.

This will be an experiment of sorts.  I hope to prove to myself, once and for all, that deprivation isn’t “my” key to weight loss and fitness.   I don’t know about other tooths, but my Sweet Tooth has a mind of it’s own and it expects to be cared for.  In the past, whenever I have deprived my Sweet Tooth, my “Tooth” has retaliated and it hasn’t been pretty.  So instead of starving “it” or myself, I’m simply going to move more, make small changes like drinking more water, eating slowing and mindfully, keeping a log of my meals, activities and progress,  all while still indulging in my daily dose of sweets.

If you would like to join me on this quest, I would love to have you along.  If you have any helpful tips you would like to share, they are most welcome.  Follow my progress with weekly updates via our blog and on   the bakery’s facebook page  and see if the “Feed Your Sweet Tooth Diet” works!  It could go either way.