Friday, May 28, 2010

10 Simple Food Substitutions to Get Bikini Ready

Author of Substitute Yourself Skinny: Cut the Calories, Keep the Flavor with Hundreds of Simple Substitutions!

Bikini season is just around the corner! There's still time to get in top bikini shape and what tastier way than with these easy, simple, and delicious substitutions. Great tasting food doesn't have to be bland, boring, and flavorless. As the Bikini Chef, my food philosophy is fresh, fresh, fresh. Fresh citrus, fresh herbs, fresh natural ingredients that wake up your taste buds, are pleasing to your palette, and give you the satisfying flavors your body craves. In fact, most people love the lower calorie, lower fat substitutions once they've tried them and have gotten past their fear of trying what they perceive will be tasteless food.

The best part to these substitutions, besides achieving your bikini goal, is that they are simple substitutions you can make every day. Easy, affordable, and flavorful, these simple tips will help you stay in bikini shape all year long.

10 Simple Food Substitutions To Get Bikini Ready

1. Using ½ wheat flour and ½ plain flour will make your scones more bikini but adding fresh wild raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries will also liven up the flavor, wake up the color, and give a fresh, flavorful twist to an otherwise boring biscuit.

2. Cream sauces and creamy soups get most of their creaminess from fat and calorie laden heavy whipping cream. Use ½ nonfat milk and ½ nonfat sour cream instead for the same creamy texture without the unwanted creamy fat that will sabotage your bikini body.

3. Eggs vs egg whites. Some people go the extreme and swear off eggs forever using only egg whites. However, using only egg whites can get expensive and eggs are necessary as a binding agent for many recipes. For breakfast, use 2 egg whites for every one egg for a leaner, lighter breakfast and when baking or making dishes such as burgers, use ½ whole eggs and ½ egg whites to keep the texture but save on calories, fat, and cholesterol. As a side note, the majority of protein in eggs comes from the egg whites, not the yolk, making them a deliciously healthy option all around.

4. Cut back on the beef. If you crave a hamburger, make your own lighter, leaner version by using ½ lean ground beef and ½ lean ground turkey. You'll find you sacrifice nothing on flavor or texture but save yourself plenty on fat and calories. Enjoy these leaner burgers as smaller sliders for lunch, dinner, or for tasty bites at summer pool parties.

5. Nonfat vanilla yogurt is a delicious substitution for mayonnaise. Use as a healthy substitution in chicken salad, tuna salad, and dipping sauces such as aioli. It is very flavorful and naturally creamy so you don't need to use a lot of it.

6. Cut the cheese. Skip the cheese altogether but if you must have cheese, go for lower fat versions such as reduced fat cream cheese, reduced fat Monterey jack, reduced fat feta. If you must have your full fat versions, opt for freshly grated parmesan or parmiggiano reggiano and cut back on the amount you use. Fresh, good quality cheese such as this has great flavor so a little goes a long way.

7. Add a little citrus. The rind, or zest, of lemons, oranges, and limes is edible and adds a refreshing flavor to steamed or grilled vegetables, sauces, meat dishes, practically everything. Cut back on salt which causes bloating and add a little fine grate citrus zest for tons of flavor with no fat or calories.

8. Most people love crispy bacon but it adds loads of fat and calories that are often an afterthought for many dishes. If you must have crisp bacon crumbles on your salads or even for breakfast, use leaner turkey bacon instead. It has great flavor and crisps nicely like traditional full fat bacon. Or, better yet, skip the bacon all together. If you are having a luscious salad, add fresh, crisp asparagus tips or diced fresh zucchini. For breakfast, substitute crispy no-sugar added bran cereal or fresh berries. Pass on the bacon, it's just not worth it.

9. Watch out for sugary pasta sauces and dipping sauces. Sugar has empty calories that add up quickly. Instead, use freshly diced tomatoes with a little freshly chopped basil leaves or cilantro leaves. Add a hint of lemon zest, drizzle of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil (½ tablespoon each) and finish with a small pinch of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Toss with pasta such as penne or fettuccini or serve with baked wonton crisps.

10. Wonton wrappers are perfect as crispy crackers instead of crostini and tortilla chips. Buy the squares and cut into triangles. Brush lightly with olive oil and bake in a 225ยบ oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until crisp and golden. Top with salsa, serve with chicken salad or other dips as you would crostini and chips. As a bonus, they are inexpensive and unused wonton wrappers keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

© 2010 Chef Susan Irby, author of Substitute Yourself Skinny: Cut the Calories, Keep the Flavor with Hundreds of Simple Substitutions!

Author Bio
Chef Susan Irby has worked with multiple Master Chefs including George McNeill, Todd English, and Ming Tsai. Known as the Bikini Chef, specializing in "figure-flattering flavors," Chef Susan is host of The Bikini Lifestyle with Susan Irby The Bikini Chef on KFWB News Talk 980 in Los Angeles and author of The $7 a Meal Quick & Easy Cookbook, The $7 a Meal Healthy Cookbook, and Cooking with Susan. She has cooked for several celebrities including Patrick Swayze, David Spade, Kate Sagal, and Bill Handel, and appeared on The Patti Gribow Show and KLAC Los Angeles and numerous other media outlets. She lives in Orange County, CA.
For more information, please visit
Become a fan of the Bikini Chef on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

See Mandie's Review of the Substitute yourself Skinny HERE

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Date Night - How Do Tina Fey and Steve Carell Become Love Heroes?

In Date Night, the romantic comedy/action-adventure film, a self-proclaimed boring couple from New Jersey gain incentive to revive romance after their closest friends decide to split because they've become "excellent roommates" who "know each other too well."

The protagonists Phil and Claire Foster, played by Steve Carell and Tina Fey, also come to realize there are no surprises in their ho-hum marriage, in spite of their efforts to keep things fresh with a weekly date night.

Sadly, there's nothing fresh about Fosters date nights. They go to the same restaurant, eat the same meals and invent stale stories about the romantic status of couples at surrounding tables.

There's nothing refreshing about the Fosters' daily routines, waking before dawn to launch two young children into their school day and being exhausted by their day jobs, Claire as a broker hawking bargain basement mansions and Phil as a tax lawyer advising a sexy young couple to open an IRA with their tax refunds instead of blowing it on a vacation to make love on the beach.

Phil wisely senses that a reckless romance might be the antidote to their fading sex life and lackluster routines. So he shakes things up on their weekly date night by suggesting an impromptu dinner in Manhattan.

The Fosters dress up and drive an hour to reach the hot new restaurant where there's no chance of getting a table without making reservations a month in advance. When Phil hears that the Tripplehorns are a no-show for dinner, he happily hoists their identity to get their table.

The Fosters eagerly shed their old skin and savor one night of feeling new, where they don't talk about their kids or their deadlines for the coming week. As a dating and relationship coach, I often advise couples to try this at home--as a way to revive romance and spark surprises that boost excitement and fun. Fortunately for real-life couples, this scenario rarely produces risky plot twists that propel the comedic action-adventure film toward its romantic climax.

In Date Night, the Fosters are mistaken for the Tripplehorns--blackmailers who stole a flash-drive with incriminating info on the sleazy District Attorney--a powerful mobster (beefy Ray Liotta) assigns two corrupt cops to get back the flash drive and keep the D.A. under his thumb.

How does Date Night differ from the typical action-adventure film?

We identify with this average couple, endearingly portrayed by Tina and Steve; and we care what happens to them and their family life.

Claire Foster is a once successful real estate broker who recruits a sexy former NY client and renowned security expert (shirtless Mark Wahlberg) to help them clear up this mix up. Can they elude the corrupt cops and find the real Tripplehorns? Can they return the flash drive and go back to their cozy life in New Jersey?

The audience was rowdy with laughter while rooting for these unlikely action heroes to fulfill their mission and rescue their relationship as a bonus. Every couple could take the pulse of your relationship when you ask yourselves some key questions found in the film's climax:

"Would you do it again? You, me, the kids, all of it? Would you choose us again?"

If you can answer a whole-hearted YES, then you're already doing what it takes to spark a lasting fire of love with your partner.

What if your hum-drum relationship needs a romantic rescue like the Fosters in the film?

Consider some rescue techniques that might've helped the Fosters and then decide what might help you:

Will you--

* Wait till your relationship is on the brink of a break up before you shake things up with romantic surprises?
* Show an interest in your partner's activities as a way to show support and deepen intimacy?
* Compliment your partner for dressing up or making you feel special?
* Give each other freedom to break old habits and build new talents?
* Do a little role playing and make love outside or in new positions to keep things fresh?
* Pose as an erotic dancer and devise a pole-dancing routine to rev up romance?
* Maintain a sense of mystery in your bathroom rituals, to protect your partner from unattractive gas or slobbering mouth guards?
* Find new ways to light up for each other, especially when duties and deadlines deplete your energy?
* Work together as a team to resolve solve life's toughest challenges?
* Help your partner plan a weekly date night where you're free to try something new and no one depends on you for anything but romantic fun?

Romantic fun and frequent laughter is what you'll experience while you watch Tina Fey and Steve Carell free their inner love hero--who's waiting to be uncovered inside each of us. Bravo to 20th Century Fox for inspiring couples to see your mate with new loving eyes during your own Date Nights.

And you'll get smart love tips in hundreds of my articles, radio shows and novel with songs, TRIBE OF BLONDES, available at

Not a hair color, it's a resilient optimistic spirit that unites us, helps us overcome challenges and create happy relationships.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Katy Perry Pro-active Contest and Giveaway!

Enter a chance to Katy Perry's autographed bike
when you join

Proactive is also allowing Taking Time for Mommy to giveaway a Pro-active 3 Step System!!
Mandatory Entry - Either 'Like' Proactive on Facebook or watch the video above and tell me something about it.

Extra Entry - Follow Taking Time for Mommy on Twitter HERE & tweet about it (can tweet once a day)
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+5 Extra Entries - Signing up for our weekly Newsletter (form to the right)
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Giveaway will end on June13th at 11:59pm. The winners will be chosen by and emailed. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me or respond to notification or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway open to U.S. residents 18+ only.
Disclosure - the products awarded are courtesy of Pro-active, no other compensation has been given

It's that time again - Bathing Suit Season

It's that time again. The time when some of us cringe because of the thought of wearing a bathing suit in public. I'm one of those but it's much easier when you find a suit that 'suits' your figure.
I've always been a bikini kind of gal but now that I'm older I add the skirts or wear a monokini. (Although I LOVE LOVE the swimsuit above and I look great in red :)

I admit it can be hard finding a good bathing suit. I suggest shopping specialty shops to find a wide variety because Wal-mart just isn't going to do it. The bathing suits are also poorly made you'll be lucky if they last a season (At least as much as I wear a bathing suit!). We have tons of specialty shops around here in Florida.
No bathing suit shop around you? Gosh, you've gotta love online shopping becuase you can find a variety of great quality swimsuits.

Where are the best Designer Swimwear Online? Well one that will price match of course. Remember I am still frugal and ALWAYS looking for the best deal. I don't mind spending a little money on a suit because I get great use out of it and need something quality that won't fall apart BUT I want the best deal possible.
I found The Orchid Boutique, for swimsuits for women. If you find a swimwear item on sale discounted lower at another online store, send them the link and they will match the price. They even have a clearance section!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Baby Steps Part 4: Making it Part of Life

The other day I was grocery shopping, which isn’t unusual; no matter how much I plan, I end up at Publix or Super Target at least twice a week. But on this day, I was struck by a change in my shopping pattern. I looked down at my basket, and realized that I had almost no prepared foods in there. There were plenty of ingredients—very basic foods. I realized that I didn’t need to go down as many aisles in the grocery store, either. I stuck to the perimeter and the baking row (for flour, baking soda, etc.).

We’ve noticed a few other changes, too. When we might be tempted to go out to eat at a restaurant or bring in take out food, one of us usually finds an alternative at home instead. That’s both a money saver and good for us! And when we do go out, we’re much choosier, insisting on fresh, basic foods instead of fried fare.

Even recreational activities have been affected. We pack lunches for our Disney outings and other field trips. And when we spent a few days at the beach recently, we packed a cooler and several grocery bags of “good” food. We had fruit salsa, fresh mozzarella with tomatoes and other delicious snacks, which we kept in the hotel room. When anyone was hungry, there was food at the ready, good for us and at no additional expense!

Don’t get me wrong; we fall off the wagon occasionally, and when it happens, we try not to get too upset. We just get back on track as quickly as possible. And it’s always interesting to hear the kids talk about what eating “bad” food does to them, or how it makes them feel—there are headaches, stomach issues and sometimes just a general feeling of yukkiness. (That’s a medical term in our family!)

I mentioned shopping above. If you’ve been reading my articles all along, you’ll know that last summer we embarked on a couponing adventure. I have come to the conclusion that it is almost impossible—or at least impossible for ME—to coupon and to prepare healthy, whole foods on the regular basis. I still clip and organize my coupons, but I’ve found that very few are for products I feel comfortable buying. I still try to use coupons for cleaning products and other consumables, and I keep my eye open for healthy and safe ingredient specials. Coupon Queeny, whose site I have used frequently, has begun sharing info on coupons that can be used in stores like Whole Foods. So I think there is hope out there. . .

Has changing our way of eating helped my family? I would have to say yes. I love that my kids are aware of things like high fructose corn syrup, genetically modified foods and the like. I like how good I feel after eating a meal of non-processed foods. I’m in a good routine with my kefir, and I am slowly getting the hang of the kombucha, too. Like anything else worth doing, it takes time and requires planning, but so far, I’d call this experiment a resounding success.


Tawdra Kandle is stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of four children who range in age from 9 years to 21 years. She and her husband of over 22 years live in central Florida, where he is in seminary. Tawdra spends most of her precious free time writing and reading, and she loves to travel. She is also a resident writer for Taking Time for Mommy. View more of her Articles HERE. You can also follow Tawdra on twitter and her blog, Publishing Quest 



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