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Jackie Clark lives in New York. She joined the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance in 2009 as research assistant after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in fitness and nutrition. Her experience in medical and technical research has allowed her to assist in the development of medical content and outreach efforts, with specializations in alternative care, cancer support programs, and social media campaigns.
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With the holiday season upon us, it’s easy to forget about our diet and give into temptation. Thanksgiving is rich in fatty foods and sweet treats. With all the tasty foods found around the table this time of year, it’s not surprising that people can gain an average of 5lb. between Thanksgiving and Christmas! This is not to say you shouldn’t enjoy the festivities and enjoy some treats; it simply means you should do so in moderation. Eating healthy during the holidays will also prevent you from spending New Year’s day regretting your eating habits, and vowing to lose the weight you put on in just two months’ time.
For those hosting dinner this year, consider replacing certain ingredients with low-fat options. It’s easy to replace butter and cream in your mashed potatoes with half and half, or 1% milk. You can substitute whole-wheat flour for the unbleached variety in recipes that call for bread, or pie crusts. Making simple changes like these will save on fat and calories, but still allow you to enjoy traditional holiday fare.
Instead of pumpkin pie this year, try serving these Chocolate-Cherry Cupcakes. They’re delicious, low on fat and calories, and easy to make.
- 3/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour
- 3/4 c. cake flour
- 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 c. granulated sugar
- 1/4 c. canola oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 c. nonfat buttermilk
- 1 1/2 pitted cherries, chopped (Keep 12 with the stems on them for the garnish.)
- 6 oz reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 c. reduced fat sour cream
- 1 c. powdered sugar, packed
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
- Mix both types of flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Beat granulated sugar and oil in a large mixing bowl with a mixer on medium until combined.
- Add the egg and vanilla. With the mixer on low, mix in the dry ingredients and buttermilk, starting and ending with dry ingredients. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl if needed.
- Fold in chopped cherries. Divide the batter among prepared cups.
- Bake the cupcakes 22-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool.
To prepare the frosting:
- Beat the cream cheese, sour cream, and powdered sugar with an electric mixer until smooth.
- Refrigerate the frosting till it is very cold (about 2 hours).
- Spread the frosting on the cupcakes and place one cherry on top of each, if desired.
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