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Light and Lovely Red Velvet Cake Cookies

Using a boxed mix make the prep work for this delicious recipe so easy and fun to make. Enjoy your cookies and keep these in mind for Valentine’s Day treats!
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Ingredients:

  • 1 pouch (1lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch processed)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp red food coloring
  • Colored sprinkles or powdered sugar for decoration (optional)

For baking directions, click here.

About the Author: We at Skinnysweetsdaily.com feel you can have your sweet treat and still stay on a healthy eating plan. By cutting down on fat and calories but bringing up the flavors and textures of our recipes. You can have a great tasting dessert and enjoy every single bite without the guilt. Enjoy!

How a Smart Scale Can Help You Manage and Monitor Your Weight

smart-scale-benefitsOur Taylor Body Fat Smart Scale does much more than simply track your weight; it estimates body fat, body water and muscle mass. The scale uses this information to determine the maximum calories needed to maintain your current weight.  Every time a user steps on the scale their data is automatically sent to their smart phone or tablet using Bluetooth technology.  Pretty exciting, isn’t it?

Whether you are a dieter looking to lose weight or an athlete in training, this is the ultimate tool for tracking your progress. It allows you to set a definitive weight goal and measures your progress every time you step on the scale.  It stores up to 8 users’ personal profiles and recognizes each user based on past weight.

The Taylor Smart Scale works in tandem with the SmarTrack app. This free app only takes a few minutes to set up and connect. The SmarTrack app, available for both iPhone and Android,  allows simple real-time synchronization of your data and back-up storage in the cloud. Access all of your stats anywhere, at any time. Already using a fitness app? No problem as SmarTrack integrates with many popular apps like RunKeeper, MapMyFitness and MyFitnessPal.

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The SmarTrack app allows you to view your progress in graph form, providing a clear visual of your current body composition. For body weight, body fat and body water, the app shows your most recent data point and how it compares on a spectrum based on your profile – low (blue), normal (green), moderate (yellow), and high (red).Data-from-Smartrack-app-3

How does the Smart Scale gauge your body fat, body water and muscle mass? It uses BIA technology to send a low intensity electrical signal through the body. The rate at which this signal flows lets the scale estimate your body composition.  Anyone who works out at least 3 times a week for 2 hours at a time should choose athletic mode to get an accurate reading.

Why is it body composition important? It is ideal when losing weight or training for an athletic event to lose body fat rather than muscle mass. Body water ratios are higher in lean tissue as opposed to fat tissue and knowing your stats is a good indicator of how healthy your body is. This is especially important for athletes as they train; dehydration greatly impedes performance.

The Taylor Smart Scale makes it easy for anyone who is looking to focus on weight management and a long term commitment to a healthy lifestyle. It’s the perfect way to ensure you will have reliable tracking of all of your progress and hard work!

Click here to purchase the scale on Amazon for only $59.95.

Do you have a question about the Smart Scale? Tweet to us @eatsmartscales.

Tips to Keep Active During Cold Winter Months

THE ULTIMATE(1)Does the thought of working out in the winter make you want to roll over and pull the blankets back up? It can be hard to get up and moving when it’s dark and cold out. Yet, exercise needs to be consistent in order for it to be effective. It also keeps you healthy in the winter by boosting your immune system. So how do you motivate yourself and stick with a fitness plan when the temperatures plummet? We have put together our top tips to help you get out there!

Eight tips to help you stay active during the winter months:

1) Set a goal that will motivate and give you focus. Pick a race, charity walk or a competition that is far enough out so you can properly train for it. Having a goal to work toward will give you a reason to exercise regularly.

2) Find a training partner or group to work out with and hold you accountable. Having people who share your interest and count on you to work out with them will get you moving on those evenings you are contemplating skipping exercise.

3) Encourage your friends and family to move with you – they’re a great support system. It’s also fun to connect over fitness activities such as hiking or biking instead of meeting up for the usual lunch, dinner or happy hour. best-smart-scale

4) Track your progress! The Taylor Bluetooth Smart Scale will show you the weight and body fat that you’ve lost as well as the muscle you’ve gained. As a bonus, it easily syncs that information to your smart phone or tablet. It’s motivating to see the pounds come off and the muscle build.

 

5) Schedule your workouts in advance and make them non-negotiable. Block off time in your calendar just as you would a doctor’s appointment. Plan what days and times you will work out every Sunday evening for the following week.

6) Switch to an indoor workout. Pick an activity you enjoy at a gym or studio that’s convenient for you. When something is enjoyable and easily accessible, you are much more likely to keep doing it.

7) Beat boredom by mixing up your workouts. Take a different class, change your running route, or train with someone new. Even walking your route in reverse makes it feel fresh. Keep your workouts fun and you will look forward to them.

8) Go play! Take advantage of  your favorite winter sports that only come around once a year. Ice skating, skiing, snowshoeing and sledding can all be fun activities that don’t even feel like exercise.

As a reminder, check with your doctor before starting a new fitness program. Remember to ease into your routine and build up as you go. We want you to stay fit during the winter – not injured or burned out.

Do you have more helpful tips? Please share them with us @eatsmartscales.

 

Large Cinnamon Snicker Doodle Cookies

A nice large cookie that’s guilt free! These yummy cookies make the whole house smell divine while baking.
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Ingredients (Yields 22 cookies):

For Cookie

  • 2 cups bread flour, kept in fridge
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, kept in fridge
  • 1 stick unsalted butter cut up and kept cool, don’t let it get too soft or melted.
  • 1 stick Land O’ Lakes light butter cut up and kept cool, same as above.
  • 1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar, I used light
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, kept cold
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon

For Rolling and Topping

  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar, mixed together

For baking directions, click here.

About the Author: We at Skinnysweetsdaily.com feel you can have your sweet treat and still stay on a healthy eating plan. By cutting down on fat and calories but bringing up the flavors and textures of our recipes. You can have a great tasting dessert and enjoy every single bite without the guilt. Enjoy!

The Ultimate Bathroom Scale Guide

guide-to-best-bathroom-scalesBathroom scales are the most widely recognized weight loss tools available. At EatSmart Products, we offer a variety of scales to help you reach your goal and to keep you on track. But yet, it can be confusing to determine which scale is best for your needs. Some folks are only concerned with their current weight on a day-to-day basis. Others may need a more in-depth analysis such as knowing their body composition. Knowing statistics such as body fat, total body water and muscle mass can help athletes leading up to competition. It can also help dieters stay motivated, as the number on the scale might remain the same even though body fat is decreasing and muscle mass increasing.

We have put together the ultimate guide of our bathroom scales to help you decide which of our scales is the best fit for your needs but first, here’s our Bathroom Scale Superlative Winners! best-bathroom-scale-superlatives

The Ultimate Bathroom Scale Guide

The Taylor Bluetooth Body Fat Smart Scale uses Bluetooth technology to send your body composition statistics to your smartphone or tablet. Each time you step on it, the scale estimates body fat, body water, and muscle mass as well as body weight. The Smart Scale comes with a goal setting and tracking feature, allowing you to set a definitive weight goal. There is also an athlete mode for individuals who exercise at least 3 times a week. It stores information for up to 8 users and easily pairs with the free SmarTrak app.
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The EatSmart Precision GetFit Digital Body Fat Scale measures body fat, body water, body muscle and bone mass using ITO BIA technology. BIA sends a safe, low-level electrical current through your body, which allows the scale to analyze your body in real time. The Precision GetFit has a user-friendly touch screen interface and automatic person identifier that identifies who you are based on past weight. It’s available in two colors, black or white.eatsmart-body-fat-scale


The EatSmart Precision Tracker Digital Bathroom Scale monitors weight changes for you. After each use, the scale displays three readings: current weight, weight change from the last weigh in, and total change from your starting weight. Keeping track of your progress while losing weight can be the motivational tool needed to achieve success. The Precision Tracker has a touch screen interface and stores up to 8 different users’ personal profiles and will be able to recognize these users as soon as they step onto the scale.
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The EatSmart Precision Digital MaxView Scale is easy to use and great for any home. Simply step on the scale and in seconds you’ll have an accurate readout. The MaxView has oversized 4.5″ LCD display, one of the largest on the market today. The display is backlit so you can view it in any lighting condition. The sleek, modern design complements any surrounding and measures weight up to 400 lbs.

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The EatSmart Precision Digital Bathroom Scale, our best-selling scale, is accurate and simple to use. Just step on the scale and in seconds you’ll have a precise readout on the Precision’s oversized 3.5″ LCD display. Its modern, sleek design of tempered glass compliments any decor and weighs up to 400 lbs. With over 15,000 reviews, it’s the #1 best selling scale on Amazon.com.

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The EatSmart Precision CalPal Digital Bathroom Scale measures your Body Mass Index (BMI) so you know how you compare to national standards. The CalPal also estimates how many calories you need to maintain your current body weight. It has a large LCD display screen and automatically recognizes the user based on past weights.calpal-digital-bathroom-scale


The EatSmart Precision Premium Digital Bathroom Scale has a thin ergonomic design and sophisticated look. The Premium’s large non-slip platform measures weight up to 400 pounds. The LCD display contains a cool-blue backlight, allowing for easy viewing even in the lowest lit areas of the bathroom or home. This simple and easy to use scale is made of aluminum and plastic.Instagram Squares(4)


The EatSmart Precision Plus Digital Bathroom Scale is our high capacity, ultra accurate digital bathroom scale. The scale is 15 inches wide, allowing anyone to fit comfortably. The oversized non-slip platform safely allows weights up to 440 pounds; one of the highest capacities on the market. The proprietary EatSmart “step on” technology instantaneously displays your weight on the extra-large 4.3″ LCD display.

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With so many options we know you’ll find the perfect tool to help you reach your goals! Which scale is on your 2015 wish list? Tweet to us @eatsmartscales and let us know!

About the Author: Karen Welby is the Marketing Director of EatSmart Products. Outside of EatSmart, she is a runner and running coach and can be found on twitter, @coach_karenw.

 

Charity of the Month for January 2015 – Center for Food Action

EatSmart fans will continue to select a Charity of the Month in 2015. Fans will submit short stories about the charity’s mission and why it’s meaningful to them. We began our Charity of the Month donations in 2011.

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Founded in 1976, the Center for Food Action in New Jersey (CFA) has as its mission, “preventing hunger and homelessness and improving the lives of individuals and families living in poverty.” To this end, CFA provides emergency food packages, rental and utility assistance, counseling, advocacy and other essential services to those in need living in northern New Jersey.

Below you will find some prominent statistics of CFA’s work. What you don’t see are the faces behind the numbers.  Each person comes to us with a back story that matters. We listen to them and offer both short and long-term advice, and many times a solution, to what might appear to be an insurmountable situation. We are connected to every person who walks through our doors.

Ms. A is a 52-year-old disabled single woman who is raising her disabled grandson. Her total income from disability is $974 a month, and her rent is $840 a month. She fell behind in her rent because she tried to catch up with an unusually high utility bill in order to prevent a shut-off. She received an eviction notice even though she has lived in the apartment for 15 years. CFA paid her back rent, and gave her a food package to supplement what she was able to buy with Food Stamps, which provide $3.13 per person per day.

Ms. M is a former donor to CFA. She had worked at the same company for ten years and had recently been promoted to earn a comfortable six figure income that helped support her four children while her husband did most of the childcare. Her job was cut last year and no replacement has, to date, been found. To make matters worse, her husband filed for divorce shortly after her job was cut. She now comes to CFA once a month for food to feed her children.

Mrs. J’s sister died last November, and Mrs. J is now raising her sister’s two children in addition to her own two. The oldest child worked but lost her job and is now collecting unemployment. With the help from CFA Mrs. J is able put food on their table.  We also referred her to other agencies to help with mental issues that the children are managing.

Mr. & Mrs. B are 61 and 56 years old respectively. Mrs. B is paid hourly and earns about $1,000 a month. Mr. B lost his job and is now self-employed, and earns between $500 and $600 a month. They could no longer afford to pay the rent on their apartment and needed to move to one they could afford. After living in Mr. B’s office for an extended period of time, they were able to find a basement apartment for $895 a month, but did not have the money needed to pay the security deposit. CFA paid the deposit which enabled the couple to month into their new apartment. They also receive monthly food packages from CFA.

The number of people we help today has more than doubled since 2008. Your support and recognition will make a difference in the lives of the individuals and families behind the numbers.

In 2013:

  • The Center for Food Action Distributed 70,195 Emergency & Holiday Food Packages in 2013. An emergency food package consists of seven days worth of food; the amount of food a household receives is based on family size. On average, an emergency food package consists of 6 bags of groceries. As needed, CFA clients can come for food packages up to 12 times a year.
  • CFA provided Thanksgiving food packages to 3,435 households – 11,679 people.
  • CFA helped 1,980 households with other basic needs: rent – 479 households, security deposits – 396 households, utility & heating bills – 986 households, miscellaneous assistance – 119.
  • CFA distributed more than 18,000 weekend snack packs to children in four area elementary schools

Recently added initiatives:

  • CFA operates two community gardens to add fresh, nutritious vegetables to our client.
  • CFA is collaborating with Bergen County to host healthy eating cooking classes for our clients.

EatSmart is donating 50 cents for every new Facebook follower during the month of January to the Center for Food Action. (So spread the word!)

Click here and EatSmart will donate:

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If interested in submitting a charity for consideration, please email karen@eatsmartproducts.com. The donation amount will be capped at 500 new followers/likes.

Zucchini Tots

SONY DSCYields 12 mini tots

Ingredients  

  • 1 cup zucchini, grated (for me this was one zucchini, about 7 inches in length)
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ of an onion, diced
  • ¼ cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup dry breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.  Grease a mini muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Grate the zucchini into a clean dish towel.  Wring all of the excess water out of the zucchini that you can (it won’t be much, but every little bit counts).
  3. In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Fill each muffin section to the top, pushing down on the filling with your spoon so it’s nice and compacted (otherwise they’ll fall apart more when you try to take them out of the tin).
  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes in preheated oven.  The top will be starting to golden.  To easily remove from the pan (without scratching it to death), run a plastic knife around the edges of each tot and they should come right out.

Notes

  • The sharp cheddar can be substituted with whatever cheese you have on hand.
  • There are breadcrumbs in this recipe, but you can use gluten-free breadcrumbs if you want the recipe to be gluten-free.
About the Author: Becky Tarala, author of The Two Bite Club, is a stay-at-home mom to two whose food blog features recipes from my family’s past as well as simple favorites. Becky is a hopeless optimistic, vegetable gardener, coupon-aholic, cookbook hoarder, and potato lover.

5 Tips for Surviving Holiday Parties

“Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.” - William ShakespeareTIPS-FOR-SURVIVING-HOLIDAY-PARTY2

Tis the season, I have three parties this week and I had two last week. That’s a lot of eating out and food that is out of my immediate control. It is possible to enjoy the party stay on track and not feel deprived.

A not so favorite piece of advice: “Eat a meal before you go and you won’t be tempted by the food there.” Really? Does this work for you? I get to the party and see food I really love and think oh, well I’ll only have a little of this and that, after these tastes I’ve had another meal. Nope, that doesn’t work out so well for me.

My other least favorite trick is to not eat so that you “save up” for the dinner. By the time the party comes you’re irritable, if not downright mean, and you’re starving so you start hoovering up everything in sight. Including foods that you may never eat if you weren’t so hungry. (and this flies in the face of all the food mood articles I’ve shared with you).

So what’s a person to do? Eat healthy normal meals during the day and have a small snack before you go to the party so you aren’t famished. A handful of nuts, some trail mix or fruit are all good quick choices.healthy-eating-tip

Once at the party pick the foods that you enjoy, sit down to eat and savor them. If you want dessert pick something small  and enjoy it. If small portions aren’t available have a few bites and give it to someone else or toss it. No starving children will be saved by you cleaning the plate.

Then go and talk to people. Mingle, keep yourself busy and find ways to stay away from the food. Say you’ll go eat after you talk to Tom and then start talking to Sue right after that. The less you focus on the food the better time you will have anyway.

A final tip, alternate your drinks with water so you’ll consume less. Go easy on the mixers as they tend to have a lot of sugar and added calories. Stick with club soda or seltzer as a mixer with a splash of juice for taste/color. I do that and then switch to seltzer with lime.

One favorite piece of advice that I received: this food will be available again. If it is something you truly only get once a year by all means eat it. When it’s something you are going to see at the next party two days later it isn’t so special.

About the Author: Janine McHale is a certified holistic health counselor and the owner of The Empowered Plate. She empowers busy women and runners to reach their goals of weight loss, better nutrition, stress management and more energy via nutrition and lifestyle tweaks. Need help with preparing quick healthy meals for yourself and/or your family? Send her an e-mail at janinemchale@empoweredplate.com!

Crispy Roasted Chicken Half Breasts

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Ingredients
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, softened but not melted
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 chicken half breasts, on the bone, skin intact about 2 pounds

For cooking directions, click here.

About the Author, Marlene A. Baird was born and raised in San Francisco, California. her cooking style was influenced by a Mediterranean heritage (the island of Malta).  Her passion for making healthy versions of a variety of recipes from all over the world is what sparked her to create her blog.  You can find more recipes at Nosh My Way.  You can follow her on Twitter, @Marbaird.

12 Healthy Soup Recipes

There is nothing better than a big bowl of hot soup during the cold winter months. It’s even better when it’s healthy and made from scratch! We’ve compiled twelve of our most popular soup recipes. 12-homemade-soup-recipes-eatsmart

 

Soup Recipes

Butternut Squash Soup *Gluten Free
Carrot and Parsnip Soup *Vegetarian
Chipotle Black Bean Soup with Avocado Cream
Cream of Cauliflower Soup *Vegetarian
Kabocha Squash Soup *Gluten FreeKabocha Squash Soup
Pumpkin Soup *Vegetarian
Raw Tomato Soup *Vegetarian and Raw
Roasted Tomato Soup *Vegetarian
Simple Soup with Turkey Meatballs and Quinoa
Skinny Beer Cheese SoupSONY DSC
Thanksgiving Leftover – Turkey Soup
Turkey Corn Chili

What is your favorite homemade soup recipe?

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