A lot of people ask me, “How do you stay so skinny being a pastry chef?”
I usually just tell them, “I’ve always been slim, but I’ve always been active and I watch what I eat.”
I wish I could honestly say it’s that simple, but it isn’t. I have a few guidelines about food and drinks I use everyday to make sure I’m happy and healthy. I realize that being skinny isn’t synonymous with being healthy, but the title seemed too catchy to pass up.
Skinny Girl Guidelines: Food and Beverage
1. I drink at least twice as much water as the USDA recommends, and it’s my number one beverage choice. I know a lot of people suffer from constipation, muscle aches, and fatigue; water is a simple solution for me for all of these physical ailments.
2. I learn all I can about what I’m putting into my body. It’s mind boggling what the USDA and FDA allow food and beverage companies to put on their labels and in their products. If I can’t pronounce it or I don’t know where it comes from, I don’t eat it.
3. However, I don’t count calories. I find obsessing over the exact calorie amounts in food stresses me out, causing bloating and other unpleasant physical/mental issues.
4. I don’t count calories for food, but I am mindful of the calorie content for beverages. It’s amazing how a few drinks can really add up to a lot of calories every day. When I do indulge in a caloric beverage, I make healthy choices like low fat milk for coffee beverages or club soda for mixing in alcoholic drinks.
5. Fiber and I are best friends. I eat more vegetables than anything else, and I try to choose veggies over carbs such as green beans instead of pasta as a side dish.
6. When I feel like noshing, I eat protein rich foods like nuts or yogurt. These tend to keep me fuller for a longer period of time, and make me less apt to snack on sugary or salty foods.
7. One good choice leads to a lifetime of good choices. When I find myself in a rut, I (usually begrudgingly) make a healthy choice like having hot tea instead of a calorie laden coffee drink or having celery for a crunchy snack instead of chips. I’m much more likely to make other healthy choices once I’ve made that first one.
8. I indulge once every day, without guilt. I love ice cream, and probably enjoy it at least once a week. Beating myself up over having a treat is pointless and harmful to my ego, so I don’t do it. If I’ve had an especially indulgent day, I promise myself that I’ll do better tomorrow. But that’s it. I don’t make myself exercise more or eat more strictly the next day.
9. I take all nutritional advice with a grain of salt. I try to do what is best for me, and no one else.
10. Food is fun! It’s supposed to be nourishing and comforting. I’ve realized I am an emotional eater, and I’ve found ways to cope. I know that having a healthy, balanced relationship with food makes me a happier, better me.
Peppermint Crème Brownies
9 Tablespoons butter
4 1/3 oz peppermint dark chocolate (about ¾ cup) or (dark chocolate plus ½ teaspoon peppermint extract)
9 Tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8” square glass pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Alternatively, line an 8” square metal pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Melt the butter and chocolate over a double boiler or carefully in a microwave safe bowl. Make sure the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in the sugar, and then the eggs with the salt and vanilla extract. Sift the flour over the chocolate mixture and whisk to combine. Scrap the brownie batter into the pan. Bake for 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out cleanly.
*Brownie recipe adjusted slightly from Cynthia Hinton’s Bluestem Bakeshop Brownies
½ cup butter, softened
2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 Tablespoons milk
4 candy canes, crushed
Combine butter and confectioner’s sugar in a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment. Add milk. Beat until frosting is light and fluffy. Add food coloring, if desired. Off of the mixer, fold in the crushed candy canes. Spread evenly over cooled brownies. Place pan in fridge until firm, about 30 minutes.
4 oz chocolate (about 2/3 cup)
¼ cup butter
Red sugar sprinkles, optional
Melt chocolate and butter over a double boiler or in the microwave. Spread evenly over frosting. Let sit in the fridge for 5 minutes and garnish with sprinkles. Place in fridge to set for at least 30 minutes. Remove brownies from pan. Remove foil or parchment paper. Cut into bars. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.