June 22, 2011

Carmen Electra's cupcake obsession and recipe for skinny cake icing

Synonymous with a gorgeous figure, Carmen Electra understands the pressure of needing to eat healthily to stay in shape. However, like many girls, Carmen loves cupcakes, especially those with rich icing reminiscent of children's birthday party cakes.

The best way to bake your cupcakes and eat them too when exercising calorie control is to create a low-fat icing mix. Reduced-fat cream cheese is essential to have in your fridge as the ingredient can transform many traditionally high-fat desserts.


½ tub of low-fat cream cheese
3 tablespoons of buttermilk
¼ cup of sifted icing sugar
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of lemon rind
In an electric mixer, whip the cream cheese and buttermilk until it’s light and fluffy. Mix in the lemon juice and rind and gradually add the icing sugar until combined.

June 20, 2011

b-a-n-a-n-a-s for bananas

Bananas have many benefits for both the body and the soul.

The sweet fruit is good for your heart and nerves because of the high potassium content, a vitamin essential to keeping your heart and nervous system functioning effectively. Potassium is also needed for proper muscle contraction and plays an important role in muscle-influenced activities including the normal rhythmic pumping of the heart, digestion and muscular movements. A quick dose of bananas can help each muscle spasms and cramps.

With their high potassium content, bananas also support your body's kidneys and bones. A normal intake of potassium suppresses calcium excretion in the body and minimises the risk of kidney stones and osteoporosis. Low potassium intake has been linked to high blood pressure and increased risk of stroke.

Interestingly, bananas can act as mood enhancers or mild sedatives because they can contain tryptophan, which is one of the 20 amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins. Tryptophan helps the body to produce serotonin, which has a calming effect on the brain and acts as a mild sedative.

The bright yellow fruit is also high in vitamin B6, which plays an important role in converting tryptophan to serotonin, a main contributor to a human's happiness and wellbeing. This type of vitamin also helps the body to make hemoglobin, a crucial ingredient of your blood. Antibody production and a healthy immune response is also supported by vitamin B6, helping to convert carbohydrates to glucose and maintaining proper blood sugar levels.

tropical french toast

This is the perfect breakfast to have on a bright spring morning – or when you need to conjure up some sunshine of your own.

2 slices of wholemeal bread
1 egg
¼ cup of low-fat soymilk
1 drop of coconut essence
1 large sliced banana (or two small sliced bananas)
2 small scoops of low-fat vanilla soy icecream
½ cup of fresh pineapple
Cooking spray

Place two small scoops of icecream into a small bowl. Cut the pineapple into small chunks and stir into the softened ice cream. Cover bowl with clingfilm and place straight into the freezer.

Whisk the egg and soymilk in a flat bowl and add the coconut essence. Heat up a medium frypan and spray with cooking oil. Dip one piece of bread into the egg mixture and leave for 1 or 2 minutes to soak. Soak the next piece of bread in the remaining mixture for the same time. Heat up a medium frypan and spray with cooking oil. When the pan is hot, place both pieces of bread into the pan to fry. After 2 minutes, turn the bread and using a fork, put the banana slices on top of the cooked side. Use the fork to stick the banana onto the bread. After a minute on the other side, flip the bread again to cook the banana onto the toast, this will only take another minute.

Serve each slice with the pineapple icecream.

Serves two.

what ginger can do for you

Ginger can be used to treat nausea and digestive problems, improve circulation and ease arthritis. The natural spice is known to have the ability to calm an upset stomach, treat stomach cramping and reduce the effects of acid reflux disease. Ginger can also support a healthy cardiovascular system by making platelets less sticky, reducing circulatory problems.

low-fat low-cal gingerbread men

These cute and kitch biscuits taste spicy and sweet; without any of the fat. I am planning to make these little babies for my girlfriends for Christmas... and some for myself too!

Sift the following ingredients:
3 cups of wholemeal self-raising flour
1 ½ tsps of baking powder
¾ tsp of baking soda
1 tbsp of ground ginger
2 tbsps of cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves

Beat the following ingredients using an electric mixer:
1 tbsp of reduced-fat margarine (room temperature)
1 large egg (room temperature)
¾ cup of brown sugar
5 tbsps of apple puree
½ cup of golden syrup
2 tsp of vanilla essence
The zest of half a lemon

Beat the wet mixture until creamy. Gradually add the dry sifted ingredients into the creamed mixture until both mixtures come together to form a soft dough. Divide the dough into two pieces*, lightly dust with flour and wrap with clingfilm. Leave at room temperature for two hours. If it is a hot day, pop the dough in the fridge.

Line two trays with baking paper. After the dough has been left to rest, combine the two pieces and knead for about one minute to combine. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out quite thinly, depending on how thick you like your gingerbread, and cut into desired shapes. I like to use my collection of cut outs in shapes of lips, butterflies, shoes and the traditional gingerbread man. Place these straight onto the oven trays.

Bake in a moderate oven at 180 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, until browned. When baked, leave to set on the tray for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Decorate how you please. I like to use royal icing and mini chocolate chips.

These biscuits will keep for one week in a sealed container. For gifts, place in a sellophane bag tied with ribbon or in a recycled biscuit tin.

*You can freeze half the dough for up to 3 months and defrost before making biscuits. Left-over dough also makes the perfect ingredient to make cookie dough ice cream.