Making the Switch to Teami Teas

I’m not quite a coffee junkie, but there are times when I think I’m pretty close to crossing that line. While there’s no chance I’m going to give up my addiction, I have found myself expanding a bit more into the world of tea. It’s hard to say what pushed me to try something new, but there is definitely a soothing factor associated with tea that coffee rarely offers. Whether it’s accurate or not, I definitely associate tea as being something to drink when you are looking to decompress and relieve yourself of stress as opposed to coffee which “keeps me going” for the day.
Coffee is a staple in our house and we have strong allegiance to our favorite brands including Dunkin Donuts and New England Breakfast Blend. I haven’t gotten to that point yet with tea, but I can see it moving in that direction as I try out different brands and experiment with new flavors. One of the brands that I could see eventually making it to that list is a company called Teami. I had the opportunity to try out Teami Skinny and I have to say it was really good. When I was given the choice of which of the five different teas to choose from by Teami, I figured that trying to lose a few pounds before my son’s Bar Mitzvah wouldn’t be a bad idea and their product could definitely assist. And while weight loss might be one of the ancillary benefits of using their tea, I like the fact that I have slept a little bit better at night since drinking it and don’t feel as hungry as I normally am. It’s hard to say if that is really attributed to the tea or not, but the fact that it has a nice taste and does relax me, I view the possible weight loss just as an added benefit.
If you drink tea for other reasons besides weight management, Teami has other products, plans and packages to choose from including Teami Colon , Teami Profit, Teami, Relax and Teami Energy. Each of the teas is intended to have a different therapeutic purpose and can be good for almost any type of lifestyle from the very physically active to the more couch bound television watchers. The prices range from $25 to $139, depending on the type of tea and plan you choose. While $139 optically looks high, it’s fairly inexpensive for a 4 month detox plan. It works out to about $1.16 per day which I know if far less than what I spend on coffee per day. In addition to the various tea packages, Teami sells these very cool tea infusers that come in different colors and sell for about $8.45. And its also very cool that the shipping for everything is free with orders for $20 or more.
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So while I’m not ready to abandon my cups of java quite yet, I do know that the word of tea also has a lot to offer. I appreciate Teami helping me come to that realization.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Teami Teas

Say Hi to Summer Thighs with CoolSculpting®

Social Asset 2_Concept 3_A.jpgThere is one thing that my husband cannot stand about me during the summer time. While the weather might be sweltering outside, I can always be found covering up my less than favorite body parts. The biggest offenders are my calves, knees and my thighs. For as long as I can remember, I’ve hated my lower body. I’ve been blessed with a small waist but have inherited the genes of my European born grandmothers and am a pear through and through. I do not have the body of a ballet dancer. Rather, I have the frame of a potato farmer.
And that’s why, when I recently saw a survey from CoolSculpting® about the parts of the body women hide most in the summertime, I was not surprised. It turns out that 88% of women believe there is one or more area of their body that needs improving before they are “bikini ready.” While 74% are unhappy with their stomachs, I’m part of the group that does whatever they can to hide their thighs (54%) and butt (38%) at all costs.
In fact, in the survey, 63%of women have used various “thigh-hiding” tactics before — including keeping shorts over their bathing suits (30%), refusing to wear a bathing suit (29%), buying a specific bathing suit that hides their thighs (25%) or refusing to wear shorts at all (22%). It’s already July 24 and I haven’t even put on a bathing suit yet. Sad, but true.
Among those who employ “thigh-hiding” techniques, 89 percent agree that even while hiding their thighs, they do not feel the best about their appearance. Yup, that would be me.
Finally, fifty-eight percent of women feel stuck with their body type and 48 percent of women do not believe that their body reflects their diet and exercise regime. I can be found at the gym at least three times a week and do a lot of walking now that I have an incredibly energetic puppy. I even own a Fitbit and work hard at achieving 10,000 steps a day. But alas, my thighs are still my arch nemesis.
If you’re like me and have considered removing stubborn fat from your lower half that doesn’t seem to go away no matter how much you diet or exercise, then the CoolSculpting procedure could be a great option for you. CoolSculpting is the #1 non-invasive body sculpting procedure with more than one million treatments performed worldwide. It’s also the only FDA-cleared procedure that uses a patented cooling technology for long-term fat reduction. CoolSculpting uses proprietary technology to deliver controlled cooling to target fat. Treated fat cells crystalize (freeze) and die. The dead fat cells are then naturally eliminated from the body, and they will not come back.
The treatment results in a noticeable and measurable reduction of fat in the treated areas, and the treated fat is gone for good. Most patients can start to see results as soon as three weeks following treatment, with the most dramatic results occurring over a period of one to three months. Every patient is unique, so patients are encouraged to talk to their physicians about a customized treatment plan as part of the initial consultation. Additional treatments in the same or multiple areas may enhance the desired aesthetic effect. Visit the CoolSculpting website to locate a CoolSculpting doctor near you. Lucky for me, there’s actually one right across from my office!
Now it’s time for the coolest summer giveaway ever! While I’ve offered some awesome products before on this blog, this one takes the cake. Thanks to CoolSculpting, we are offering a “Say Hi to Summer Thighs” giveaway where you can enter to win two free CoolSculpting treatments and a $500 shopping spree. Details are below:
About the CoolSculpting Say Hi to Summer Thighs Sweepstakes:
This summer, fear your mirror no more and dare to bare your thighs. Enter to win two CoolSculpting thigh treatments and a $500 summer wardrobe shopping spree (via Visa Gift Card)
4 runner-up winners will receive $250 summer shopping sprees.
Mobile-friendly link to Enter: http://tinyurl.com/mdnlumf
How to Enter:
Answer this question! (+3 entries)
Where would you like to freeze your fat away with CoolSculpting?
Opt-in for special offers from CoolSculpting (+3 entries)
Send a tweet about the sweepstakes (+2 entries)
Follow @CoolSculpting on Twitter (+1 entry)
Follow CoolSculpting on Pinterest (+1 entry)
Easy entry for CoolSculpting Facebook fans (+1 entry)
If you are self conscious this time of year about your body, then what are you waiting for? Enter the giveaway below and good luck!
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Connect with CoolSculpting on Facebook and let us know if you’re planning to give CoolSculpting a whirl. Gotta run and make my appointment stat! It’s about time I say bye bye to Summer Time Thunder Thighs!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Cool Sculpting

Do You Suffer From LOCKED CLOSET SYNDROME?

Urban Oasis.jpg I am definitely guilty of this, are you? A new survey of women who want to lose weight finds that, on average, women have 14 items of clothing in their closets that don’t fit. The reason? Sixty-eight percent of women said they keep ill-fitting clothes with the hope they will fit one day. The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research for Slimfast®,the weight-loss brand that has helped millions get what they really want for more than three decades.
“Many women can relate to the feeling of having a closet full of clothes, yet nothing to wear,” said Jenn Falik, style expert. “The Slimfast survey shows it’s in large part due to the prevalence of ‘Locked Closet Syndrome,’ the practice of ‘locking away’ clothes that once fit, are in ‘goal sizes,’ or you just don’t feel confident wearing.”
Other highlights from the Slimfast “Unlock Your Closet” survey include the following:
· 93 percent of women have multiple sizes of clothing in their closet – 3 sizes, on average
· Women keep ill-fitting items for an average of 14 months; with 15 percent saying they have kept pieces that don’t fit for more than two years
· 79 percent of women frequently dread getting dressed because of ill-fitting clothes in their closet
· 68 percent of women who want to lose weight characterized their wardrobe as “sensible” versus “sassy” (11 percent) or “smokin” (5 percent)
· If it meant they were able to fit into everything in their closet, 57 percent said they’d be willing to wash all the dishes by hand for a month and more than 1 in 10 say they’d take a pay cut
· 83 percent of women admitted to lying about their pants size more often than their age
Now you can take the Pledge to Unlock Your Closet with the Slimfast 14 Days to Slim Program
With 14 days to go until Memorial Day weekend, it is time for women to take control of their closet and get their minds (and bodies) ready for summer fashion season.
Women nationwide are invited to take the Pledge to Unlock Your Closet at Facebook.com/Slimfast and be entered to win $5,000 for a summer wardrobe. The sweepstakes is open from this Monday, May 12 through May 27, 2014. Women are invited to take on the Slimfast 14 Days to Slim program, a convenient and delicious way to lose up to lose 6 pounds in the first 2 weeks.
· Swap two meals daily with a Slimfast Protein shake or meal bar.
· Your third meal must be 500 calories.
· Enjoy three 100-calorie snacks or pieces of fruit per day.
· Don’t exceed 1200 calories per day.
· Do 30 minutes of light to medium exercise daily and drink plenty of water.
*If you live in the tri-state area, you can take advantage of an amazing free event this Monday, May 12th!!
SAY ‘SO LONG, WINTER’ AND STRUT INTO SUMMER
AT THE SLIMFAST POP-UP “URBAN OASIS” IN THE HEART OF MANHATTAN
MONDAY, MAY 12TH

WHO: With the start of the summer season just 2 weeks away, Slimfast and style and beauty expert Jenn Falik invite New Yorkers to get summer-ready and take the Pledge to Unlock Your Closet -just in time for the season’s crop tops and fringe swimsuits! New Yorkers will be surprised and delighted via an “urban oasis” pop-up near Union Square where they can relax in chaise lounge chairs, feel pampered and get ready for summer. Falik will be on hand for media interviews to discuss the season’s hottest fashion trends, as well as the results of a new survey that reveals the most daunting articles of summer clothing, plus the prevalence of ‘Locked Closet Syndrome,’ the practice of ‘locking away’ clothes that once fit, are in ‘goal sizes,’ or that you just can’t wear confidently.
WHAT: A pop-up summer oasis on the street featuring eye-catching cabana boys serving up the first taste of the indulgent Slimfast Limited Edition Piña Colada Protein Meal Shake to the public.
· Enjoy an on-site complimentary express manicure service while getting your summer groove on.
· Additionally, New Yorkers will also have the opportunity to Take the Slimfast 14-day Pledge to Unlock Your Closet” to enter for a chance to win $5,000 for a smokin’ new summer wardrobe, and bid farewell to their wardrobe hang-ups.
WHERE: South Side of 14th Street between 5th Avenue and University Place
WHEN: Monday, May 12 from 11am-2pm

jenn falik.jpg Falik – who has been on the Today Show and The View – will be on hand to discuss summer fashion, the results of a recent closet survey Slimfast conducted or common wardrobe hang-ups – like the “Locked Closet Syndrome”… saving clothes until incremental weight loss “unlocks” them and you can wear said clothes again.

“FED UP” Opens My Eyes to What’s Been Sabotaging My Diet & and My Health

Over the past year, I’ve put on a few extra pounds and have been a bit depressed. After trying every diet on the planet — from Jenny Craig, to Weight Watchers, to a juice cleanse, I really never understood why I couldn’t just exercise and eat sensible meals and stay at a weight where I feel comfortable about my arms, my legs and everything in between. But alas, no matter what I do, I typically lose weight, keep it off for a few months and then I return right back where I started from with a few extra pounds added to my 5 foot 1 frame.
After my latest diet and exercise debacle, I watched the documentary “FED UP.” The film, by Stephanie Soechtig, is narrated by television news and talk veteran Katie Couric who serves as one of the executive producers. Opening nationwide May 9, “FED UP” shares the stories of several children and their families who are grossly overweight. The reason? They’ve been eating processed foods at home gorging on calorie laden meals at school and snacking on items that are just plain bad for them. “FED UP” also shares how the low-fat craze that started in the early 1980’s has pretty much sabotaged our eating habits. Personally, I have fallen victim to low-fat eating, purchasing low fat or no fat items for more than three decades and it has not helped in my quest to remain at a normal weight. In fact, after a certain point, I’ve struggled to lose weight because I had been clogging up my system with foods that are just not real. When you are young, you don’t think these foods will do anything to you, but lately, I’m concerned. I’ve been having lots of leg and knee issues and even see a build up of fluid in my calves. I’m seeking medical attention to make sure it’s nothing serious, but for now, I’ve decided to take my life back by finally eating right.
In “FED UP,” you will learn a great deal about what foods are doing us in and the #1 culprit is sugar. Something I never realized is that as a woman, I’m only supposed to have 4 teaspoons of sugar per day. There are 4 grams of sugar in 1 teaspoon — which means that if you have low fat salad dressing or coffee with sugar, you can easily hit your allotment of sugar instantly. And if you start your morning cereal – like Honey Nut Cheerios, you will instantly sabotage your sugar goal for the day. If you decide to throw in a sweetener, well, that’s not good for you either. That will only make you want to crave sweets even more.
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While attending a press session and for the film, I listened in as Katie Couric shared her personal experience with the food industry and admitted that she too fell for the low fat craze and remembers being excited that she could finally eat Snack Wells since they promised to be lower in fat. Unfortunately, it was high in sugar. Today, Katie says she still has trouble ditching her sweetener for good but she has switched to Shredded Wheat (which has no sugar) and tries to eat all natural foods but still uses sweetener from time to time.
Laurie David, who is also an executive producer of the film also shared her family’s transition to natural foods and cooking and said she wishes she could take back every chicken nugget and french fry she fed her kids as they were growing up. She also talked about how the subjects in the film have found it so hard to lose weight because they live in a “Fast Food Desert,” the food in their homes is processed and the food in their school cafeteria is high in calories and doesn’t offer nutritious alternatives.
“Fed Up” recently opened in theaters and I highly recommend you go see it with your family. Meanwhile check out my “Fed Up” confession below…

Make sure you follow @FedUpMovie on Twitter and to find a theater near you playing the film, visit their official website.

Tips for Staying Healthy Through The Holiday Season

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Plan Non-Food-Centered Activities: Take the focus off food. There are so many ways to spend time together besides cooking, baking, and eating. Instead of decorating cookies and gingerbread houses, make non-edible crafts like wreaths, paper snowflakes, or holiday cards. Bundle up to take a walk around the neighborhood and rank the best decorated houses. And light a fire to gather around while you play charades or watch holiday movies.
Bring Snacks To The Mall: Welcome to the real jungle. There’s no denying how tempting it is seeing peppermint mochas or smelling cinnamon rolls (from a mile away, no less). And with the stress of the crowds and finding the right gifts for everyone, you can be in over your head fast. You have to be smart enough to sidestep these hazards. The easiest way to make it out alive? Pack filling healthy snacks like nuts, a piece of fruit, or a bag of air popped popcorn, and you won’t need a search and rescue team to pull you out of the food court.
Make Your Own Hot Chocolate: Ditch the packaged powders and go for the real thing. Many hot chocolate powders are convenient and boast very few calories, but they are chock full of artificial sweeteners and chemicals! Our recipe uses maca, a powder grown in the Andes Mountains of Peru and packed with nutrients, and cacao powder, a less-processed version of cocoa powder that’s a great source of antioxidants. Spend a cozy afternoon in the kitchen with your kids and cuddle up in with this super food hot chocolate recipe.
Boil water or warm milk on the stove and let cool slightly, then mix in the following ingredients:
-2 tablespoons raw cacao powder

-2 teaspoons maca powder

-1 tablespoon coconut sugar

-1 teaspoon honey
-Pinch sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and pure vanilla
-1 ½ cups milk of your choice or water
Be Mindful of Your Hunger Quotient: Your HQ is a measure of how hungry you are at a given time – famished, satisfied, stuffed. Try to be in tune with your HQ and let hunger dictate when you eat (versus having a serving of stuffing just because your sister brought it over). On a scale of 1-10 (1 being stuffed, 10 being famished), you want to be between a 4 (slightly hungry) and a 6 (slightly satisfied) all the time.
How To Curb Cravings At Holiday Parties:
Don’t Go To a Party Hungry: One of the biggest mistakes I see during the holidays is people arriving to parties starving! It’s easy to think that the less you eat earlier in the day, the more room you’ll have to eat later at the party…and the less damage you’ll do overall. But this mindset has disaster written all over it! Instead, think this way: ruin your appetite. Have a healthy, filling snack before the party so that you won’t be tempted to dive into the spinach and artichoke dip as soon as you arrive. A hardboiled egg, a slice of turkey, or a Greek yogurt are all small but satisfying options that you can have at home prior to making your big entrance.
Bring Your Own Healthy Dish: It’s never polite to go to a party empty-handed, right? So why not bring a healthy dish you know you can rely on? Bring a salad with delicious, colorful toppings like cranberries, roasted carrots and squash. Think of it as your safety net so that you won’t have to worry if there’s nothing but diet-busters being served. We’re sure you’re not the only one who will appreciate a dish that’s (finally!) not candied, casseroled, or drowning in gravy.
Scope Out The Entire Party Spread: Once you get to the party, take your time. This is very important. It’s easy to jump at the first thing and every different thing you see. You know how it goes: there’s the cheese and crackers, then the pigs in a blanket, then the shrimp cocktail, and then all the main course dishes… And studies show people eat more when they’re offered a greater variety of foods. By taking a tour of all the food first, you won’t fall into this trap. Walk around and look at everything, deciding what’s healthiest and what you want the most. And only after you’ve seen it all should you decide what to put on your plate. That way, you can make an informed decision you’ll be proud of at the end of the night. There just may be some healthy options you want to indulge in!
Socialize (And Not Just With The Bartender!): You’re at a party. With PEOPLE. It’s not all about the food. Enjoy talking to and reconnecting with family, friends, and coworkers. If you make an effort to socialize, you’ll not only enjoy the night more, but you’ll be too preoccupied to think about that pecan pie every 2.2 seconds. A word of caution: be wary of “food pushers”, those who refuse to take “no” for an answer when offering unhealthy treats. My advice? Keep saying no, as many times as you have to. And don’t feel bad! It’s a GOOD thing that you put your health first. Just decline politely and hopefully Great-Aunt Sarah will stop trying to hand you sugar cookies.
Keri Glassman.png Keri Glassman, nationally recognized nutrition expert and co-founder of MommyCoach, has put together a couple of tips for how to stay healthy, and how to help curb your appetite. If you’re unfamiliar, MommyCoach is a new online community for moms around the country to connect with leading experts and coaches for advice, encouragement, and answers to those hard-to-crack questions.
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44 Memories….Dance Class

iStock_000022805834XSmall.jpgAlong my trip down memory lane, I’ve realized that there are some things that I really miss. And one of those things is dancing. When you are the parent of a teen or tween, if you attempt to dance in front of them, they will cringe, cover their eyes and beg you to stop. And so, I’ve learned that some of the things I used to love to do without anyone criticizing me (singing and dancing) has been temporarily banned by my children. And to be completely honest, I am not happy about it.
While I’ve always managed to find an outlet for my singing (a solo car ride from Westchester to Manhattan works wonders), unfortunately, my dancing card hasn’t been punched in a very long time. That is, until this week.
As I was waiting to pick up my son from Hebrew school, I ran into another mom and the topic of exercise came up. While I lamented how much I hate going to the gym, she began to sing the praises of Jazzercise. Yes, Jazzercise — that same dance company that’s been in business since the 80’s. While I never did take a Jazzercise class during its heyday, I was pretty hooked on Hip Hop classes and really miss not having that as an option at my gym. I know people rave about Zumba, but between the class never being available at a time that works in my schedule and the fact that I’m not the biggest fan of Latin dancing (I am a bit of a klutz and can never master those steps), there’s just something about it that just doesn’t grab me.
But Jazzercise on the other hand? As my friend told me more about her class, I told her I was up for giving it a try. So two days later, I was in her car on the way to dance class. And I was psyched. When we arrived, we met a lovely woman who shared how she’s lost more than 28 pounds doing a combination of Jazzercise and Weight Watchers.
Next, I met the instructor, who was absolutely lovely and then I was introduced to another group of women and men who couldn’t have been nicer. At that moment, as the group welcomed me with open arms to their Jazzercise family, I felt like I finally found my people! Once the class started, I was totally able to keep up and managed to break a sweat without completely losing my breath and my patience. But the best part of all – the class was fun and I finally got to dance again!
Today, I gave Jazzercise in Manhattan a try while my daughter took a class at FIT and had the best time again. I even ran into an old colleague who I used to love working with and we caught up on lost time. I also met another super friendly woman who knew everyone in the class and even asked if I planned to come back next week. Of course, I told her I’d absolutely be back.
It’s only taken 15 years, but I am so happy to have finally found an exercise routine I absolutely love. What a concept. Hopefully it’ll help me shed some weight and get me back in top shape. There’s nothing like taking a trip down memory lane to make you realize that you should never cut the things you love out of your life…even if it embarrasses your kids.

It’s 4 O’Clock Somewhere: Time for a Chocolate Break

I live for chocolate. There, I said it…and it feels good. Especially since they say it’s perfectly fine to have one piece every day, I’m always on the lookout for a sweet treat in the late afternoon that will tide me over until dinner time.
So imagine my delight when I recently got the chance to try out a new chocolate baked treat from the folks at Weight Watchers. As a lifetime member since I was 12, I’ve been a fan of the brand’s sweet treats for a while now but the true test came when I tricked my kids into thinking they were sampling a brand new decadent chocolate dessert.
Take a look…

My son loved sampling both treats but the more discerning opinion came from my daughter, with a cameo by my husband:

Wonder where you can get your hands on these newest low calorie chocolate creations? Consumers can find these new products at national (Walmart, Kroger and Publix) and local grocery retailers.
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The delicious additions to the Weight Watchers Sweet Baked Goods lineup offer a one-of-a-kind indulgence with creamy fillings, rich flavors and decadent textures:
Triple Chocolate Brownie Bliss™
A decadent brownie layered with creamy, real chocolate ganache and a chocolaty coating. Each individually-wrapped brownie is 80 calories and has a PointsPlus® value of 2.
Peanut Butter Brownie Bliss™
An indulgent brownie layered with creamy, real peanut butter and a chocolaty coating. Each individually-wrapped brownie is 90 calories and has a PointsPlus® value of 2.
Both varieties of Brownie Bliss contain zero grams of trans fat. They join other Weight Watchers Sweet Baked Good products including Chocolate, Lemon, Carrot and Red Velvet Creme Cakes, Chocolate Brownie, Coffee Cake, Cookies and Muffins. Consumers can find the new products at select national and local grocery retailers for a suggested retail price beginning at $3.29.
Okay, after reading these descriptions, I’m totally craving more sweets. Gotta go…time for a chocolate fix. Two points never tasted so good!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer’s Network. All opinions are my own.

Just Desserts: What’s Cooking with American Baking Competition’s Paul Hollywood

103041_D01551b.jpgAs we gear up for the finale of the CBS reality series, “The American Baking Competition,” all eyes are on Francine, Darlene and Brian – the three finalists who are about to hit the baking stratosphere as long as they impress judges Marcela Valladolid and Paul Hollywood.
We recently got the chance to chat with celebrity judge Paul Hollywood who shares the ins and outs of the competition and even discloses his favorite desserts. And we’ve even got one of Paul’s spectacular recipes that was featured on the show last week.
Take a look…
Question: How do the American bakers differ from the ones he encountered on the UK show?
Paul: I can’t help remembering how he looked when Francine presented him with the chocolate and bacon pie… and his surprise that it tasted great. The flavour combinations that they used were very different. The standard was the same and overall I was very impressed but the flavours were often those I hadn’t come across together before.
Question: Have the Americans have inspired him to try different flavors in his own baking?
Paul: Yes. I was going to use bacon in a tart the other day which is something I’ve never done before
Question: Out of all the desserts that we’ve seen so far on the show, which ones have been some of his favorites?
Paul: The technical challenge of the large chocolate soufflé was incredible. As was Effie’s millefeuille – really delicious
Question: What is the difference between baking powder and baking soda?
Paul: Baking powder contains baking soda combined with a packing agent
Question: Can you substitute oil for butter or margarine when baking?
Paul: Absolutely. You can use flavoured oils too to give your pastry and bread different and interest flavours. It’s fun to experiment
Question: What cake do you wish for on your birthday?
Paul: A sacatorte
Question: What trends do you see emerging in the dessert world? Is it similar in the US and the UK?
Paul: I think the macaron has been and will continue to be a strong market. You can change the flavours so much that you can keep them interesting. It’s the same in the US and the UK
Question: What do you feel was the most challenging aspect of the competition for the contestants?
Paul: I think that the technical challenges will always be the hardest as we are asking the bakers to make something that they potentially have never made before, which is a touch ask. We deliberately chose obscure bakes to make sure there was a genuine challenge
Question: What ingredients should a baker always have in their pantry?
Paul: Flour!
Question: What is your favorite flavor?
Paul: Lime
Question: In which contestants, do you see a bit of yourself? Why?
Paul: James. He was very inventive and creative most of the time and had some great flavour combinations. Where we differ is in the execution as he messed up a few times. Practice, practice, practice is the key.
Question: What is your advice to future contestants applying to the show?
Paul: Again, it would be to practice. And to listen to advice. Don’t think that you’re the best when you enter and be prepared for constructive criticism.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to tackle a celebrity recipe, then try out the dessert the contestants attempted to master during the semi final round:
Paul Hollywood’s Napoleons Courtesy The American Baking Competition
napoleon (3) (1).jpgYield: 4 completed Napoleons
Rough Puff Pastry
INGREDIENTS
250 g all purpose flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
250 g butter, room temperature
150 ml cold water
DIRECTIONS
Sift the flour and salt into a large metal bowl. Roughly break the butter in small chunks, add them to the bowl and rub them in loosely to coat the butter.
Drizzle two thirds of the cold water, mixing until you have a firm rough dough adding extra water if needed. Cover dough and refrigerate for 20 mins.
Turn out onto a lightly floured board, knead gently and form into a smooth rectangle. Roll the dough in one direction only, until 3 times the width, about 20 x 50cm. Keep edges straight and even. Be careful not to overwork the dough.
Fold the top third down to the center, then the bottom third up and over that. Give the dough a quarter turn (to the left or right) and roll out again to three times the length. Fold as before, cover with cling film and chill for another 20 minutes.
Using a ruler, roll out and cut into 2.5″ x 3×5″ rectangles. You should have 12 pieces. You may control the rise of the puff by making small slits on top of each piece.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

FILLINGS:

WHIPPED GANACHE
Ingredients:
8 OZ Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped
8 OZ Heavy Cream
4 OZ Frangelico
Heat the cream until it just starts to boil.
Pour hot cream over chopped chocolate.
Let the mixture stand for at least 10 minutes then add flavoring.
Whisk until smooth
Refrigerate until mixture firms.
Whip ganache in the stand mixer until it reaches a soft, whipped consistency and is lighter in colour.
Pipe dots onto cooled layers of pastry followed by a piped layer of whipped cream.
WATER ICING
Ingredients:
1 cup Powdered Sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tablespoons Water
2 oz dark chocolate
Whisk powdered sugar and water until combined.
Spread over assembled Napoleons
Melt chocolate over a double boiler
Pipe lines of chocolate on top of the water icing.
Using a toothpick pull the chocolate through the white icing.
Make sure you tune into the finale of The American Baking Competition at 9pm ET on CBS. And if you’d like to tweet along with us, just follow @BakeOnCBS #GetYourBakeOn @ChefMarcela @FoxOutdoors @HollywoodBaker and use these hashtags for the baker you want to see win it all: #TeamDarlene #TeamBrian and #TeamFrancine.

The Talk Tackles Weight Loss

Tricks to Eating Out Guilt and Weight Gain Free with the Mojo Coach

Restaurant Tips and Tricks
By: Debi Silber, MS, RD, WHC The Mojo Coach®
While traveling often involves a change in our usual eating and exercise routine, one of the greatest reasons why we put on “travel pounds” is due to how we’re ordering our food and what we’re eating at different restaurants while away. Is there a simple way to navigate a restaurant menu? All it takes is a little education and as usual…a plan.
Let’s start with a short lesson in menu reading. Certain words indicate a food choice is healthy and lean while other words indicate a food is loaded in fat, sugar and calories. What are some healthy menu words to look for when menu reading? Terms like baked, broiled, steamed, grilled, roasted, seasoned, poached, seared and red sauce usually imply that the food is cooked with less fat. While these foods may still contain added fat in the form of oil, butter and cream there is at least the potential for a leaner entrée when ordering foods with these descriptions. So if those are some of the words that indicate a leaner choice, what would be some menu words to watch out for? Words like fried, breaded, battered, crispy, cheesy, buttery, creamy, sautéed, stuffed and white sauce are just a few. Descriptions like these indicate the food is high in fat and calories so if you’re choosing to order foods with these descriptions, use your discretion and limit your portions.
Now that you know some healthy and “red flag” words, what are some tips to use when ordering your meal? Here are a few ideas.
• For a lighter meal one option can be to order an appetizer (as long as it’s a healthy one) with a salad or two healthy appetizers instead of a high fat/calorie entrée.
• You can start with a clear-­‐based soup or salad versus a cream based soup.
• You can ask that the bread basked not be put down on the table. If that’s not an option, make a rule about how much you’ll have before you go and stick to it!
• At a buffet or salad bar, load up on the vegetables and watch out for high fat toppings and mixtures.
• You can portion off half of the entrée and share it or pack it up for another meal.
• You can use the opportunity to enjoy what the restaurant is known for; enjoying a small portion of those foods which are unique, interesting and symbolic of that restaurant while avoiding ordinary foods that you can have anywhere.
• You can substitute fruit, salad or steamed vegetables in place of high fat side dishes.
• You can use condiments like ketchup, mustard, vinegar, lemon and salsa versus butter,
sour cream, cheese or creamy sauces.
• You can ask for foods “dry” or with sauces on the side.
• You can use the “fork trick” for your salad. Some of us have the best of intentions when ordering salad with a high fat dressing on the side yet by the end of the meal, they find they’ve used up most of the dressing. I always encourage using a salad dressing you love because salad is too important of a food to be turned off to by a poor tasting dressing. With the “fork trick” you can have a dressing that’s loaded without the damage! Here’s what you do: Instead of piercing the salad first then dipping it into the dressing try it in reverse! Dip the fork in the dressing first…then pierce the salad. You’ll still get the flavor you love without using nearly as much as if you did it the other way. I do this daily with my favorite salad dressing and one of the most high fat salad dressings there is-­‐ Thousand Island… and it’s worked for years!
So now that we’ve covered a few words to watch out for and some healthy ways to order, what are some behaviors to try so you can enjoy your meal guilt and weight gain free?
• With food still left on your plate, you can casually add some salt, pepper or other seasoning that would make the entrée less appealing to you.
• You can put your napkin on the plate indicating (even if it’s only to yourself) that you’re done.
•You can say something like “Wow that was great, I’m stuffed.” Making a public declaration like that or another you’re comfortable with may make you think twice about digging back in once again.
You can push your plate out of reach. You can put the opposite ends of your utensils onto the plate. Now they’re unpleasant to pick up.
You can pay attention to things like:
-­‐The flavor, texture and aroma the food was designed to give.
-­‐The atmosphere and ambience of the restaurant.
-­‐The conversations and connections with those you’re with.
Being more mindful of your surroundings will help you feel more satisfied with less food.
When drinking alcohol, you can pre plan the amount you’ll have and stick to it! Remember, if you “fail to plan, then plan to fail!”
You can slow down! Put your fork down between bites, drink plenty of water to help pace yourself and enjoy heaping conversations versus heaping portions of food!
One of inconvenience the waiter/waitress or bring attention to themselves. Remember, chances are the restaurant staff has heard your requests before. Also, if you don’t order a meal the way you’d like, the only person you’re really inconveniencing is yourself because you won’t feel proud of the choices you’ve made as well as the way those choices make your body look and feel.
Restaurant ordering doesn’t have to be a daunting and confusing task. It can be simple, delicious and enjoyable with some education and a few smart choices. Enjoy!
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Debi Silber, MS, RD, WHC The Mojo Coach®, founder of www.TheMojoCoach.com is a leading health, fitness, wellness, lifestyle, self-­‐improvement expert and THE secret behind some of the healthiest, most dynamic, energetic and successful people today. Sign up for your “10 FREE Strategies to Get You Lean, Sleek and Sculpted”! (These are complete programs and videos) and take the FREE “Mojo Lifestyle Assessment” to see how you score.