The UnDiet Weight Loss Guide » September 2013

Monthly Archives: September 2013

Kid Friendly Recipes

Healthy Popcorn Snacks

Published by:

All of the recipes below have been adapted from Jolly Time Popcorn’s recipes, many of which use margarine, white sugar, corn syrup and other unfriendly ingredients. So I decided to set up a popcorn kitchen and transform their recipes into UnDiet friendly popcorn snacks. Thank you very much and you’re welcome.

Sweet Corn


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
  • 3 tablespoons unrefined sugar
  • sea salt

Heat coconut oil in a heavy medium-sized pan until hot. Add popcorn kernels, sprinkle with sugar and a dash of salt. Cover and shake quickly and CONTINUOUSLY until all the kernels are popped. Remove from heat immediately.

Makes about 1 quart.

Italian Popcorn


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups popped popcorn
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregeno
  • 1 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Heat oil over medium heat in large pan. Add the remaining ingredients to the hot pan and toss until well mixed and heated, about 5 minutes.


Almond Butter Crunch Popcorn

adapted from the Jolly Time popcorn site
The original recipe contained corn syrup which is an ingredient we try to avoid. I’ve substituted honey for the corn syrup with good results, probably tastes even better than the original recipe.


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup unrefined sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey or agave nectar
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-1/2 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1-1/2 cups whole nuts, toasted*

Preheat oven to 250°F.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Stir in the sugar, honey and salt.

Raise the heat to medium to bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Boil for 8 minutes, stirring only once, over the lowest heat possible to maintain the boil. Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. Slowly pour the syrup over the popcorn and nuts.

Mix well. Pour onto a large, shallow baking pan or use the same cookie sheet you toasted the almonds on. Bake for 30 minutes, mixing well after 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Break apart and store in a tightly covered container.

Makes about 3 quarts.

*To toast nuts, spread them on a large cookie sheet and bake at 325°F for 15 to 20 minutes until they smell nutty and are slightly darker.


White Chocolate Pecan Corn

adapted from the Jolly Time popcorn site
For variety I’ve used grain-sweetened chocolate chips in place of the white chocolate. I’ve also used peanut butter, and espresso flavored chips with good results.


  • 1 (3.5 oz.) butter-flavored microwave popcorn, popped
  • 10 ounces grain-sweetened white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves, (toasted)

Dump popcorn into a large bowl.

Put white chocolate chips in a large glass measuring cup and microwave on high for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes, or until chocolate is shiny. Stir until smooth Then stir in pecans. Pour chocolate mixture over popcorn and mix well. Allow to cool completely.

Makes about 2 quarts.

Southwestern Crunch

This is a spicy popcorn snack with a just a bit of heat. You can always increase the heat though with another dash or two or three of the cayenne.

  • 12 cups popped popcorn
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • Dash of cayenne pepper

Dump the popcorn into a large bowl.

In a small bowl melt the butter in a microwave. When melted stir in the remaining ingredients. Drizzle over popcorn and toss lightly.

Makes 3 quarts.


Patchwork Popcorn


  • 1 (3.5 oz.) butter-flavored microwave popcorn, popped
  • 2 cups whole grain cereal squares
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or dried tart cherries
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple or vanilla extract
Place popcorn, cereal, cranberries and walnuts in a large bowl.

Melt the butter in a small pan over low heat or use a microwave safe bowl in a microwave.

Stir in maple or vanilla extract. Pour over popcorn mixture; toss to mix. Store in tightly covered container.

Makes about 3-1/2 quarts.


Cinnamon Apple Popcorn

Dried tart red cherries or dried cranberries can be substituted for the dried apple.


  • 1 (3.5 oz.) butter-flavored microwave popcorn, popped
  • 1 cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons unrefined sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup dried apple chunks

In 4-quart glass mixing bowl combine the popcorn and walnuts. Drizzle the butter over the popcorn and nuts and toss well.

Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle over popcorn mixture. Microwave on high 2 minutes. Remove from microwave and stir in dried apple chunks.

Cool. Store in tightly covered container.

Makes about 3 quarts


Popcorn S’Mores

This decadent recipe seems like the perfect finish to this post. I hesitated to put this one on here because it does require a hard to find ingredient (the marshmallow cream) which I discovered one day while browsing the baking aisle at Mother’s Market (a Southern California health food store). It isn’t always in stock and I could probably find it online, but I haven’t tried that yet.

You could always go old school and make it yourself. Cheese Slave came up with an incredibly easy recipe for marshmallow fluff using healthy ingredients. In fact it would probably take less time to make your own marshmallow fluff than it would to search for it at your local health food store.


  • 1 cup unrefined sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup honey or agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 10 cups freshly popped popcorn
  • 8 to 10 oz. marshmallow fluff
  • 2 cups mini graham cookies or whole crackers broken into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup grain-sweetened chocolate chips

Combine sugar, butter and honey in a medium saucepan. Cook over high heat for 5 minutes without stirring; remove from heat and stir in baking soda.

Combine popcorn and marshmallow fluff in a large bowl. Pour honey syrup over popcorn. Stir in graham crackers and chocolate chips. Spread mixture evenly into a lightly oiled baking pan. Let cool completely. Break or cut into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Gluten Free UnDiet Eating Plans

Fast Food For the Gluten Intolerant

Published by:

The growing interest in gluten free eating has not gone unnoticed by the fast food giants. Reluctant to lose business to the gluten free crowd many fast food restaurants have added gluten free menus to their websites. Not many of them other than some pizza places which have added gluten free crusts have actually made changes to their menus to accommodate gluten intolerant guests but at least you now have easy access to their gluten free menus.

If you are simply trying to eat gluten free as a diet choice then you probably don’t need this article, choose a salad, a potato, beans, corn, the obvious choices and you’ll be fine, but for those with celiac disease you need to know if there is even a miniscule amount of gluten in a menu item and this article will help you to make the right choices.


Arby’s has published a list of menu items that are gluten free. Nothing surprising and it’s mostly a list of ingredients that are gluten free, although it’s nice to have a selection of gluten free salads and salad dressings. You can print out their list at Arby’s Gluten Free Menu.


Salads, soups, sides, desserts and a few other items make up the gluten free items at Blimpies.

Burger King

BK has developed a list of menu items that are safe for people who are gluten-intolerant. You can see their list at Burger King’s Gluten Free Menu to see a list of foods that are made without wheat, barley, oats, or rye.

Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen’s gluten free menu is pretty basic, but so is their regular menu. Get a burger, chicken patty or hotdog without the bun and you’re good to go.

Del Taco

Del Taco does not have many gluten free items, but still if the posse wants to eat there it’s helpful to know what to order – Del Taco Gluten Free Items, crinkle cut fries and hash browns anyone?


It’s buried deep in the Dominoes website but they do publish a selection of gluten free items.  The really cool thing at Dominoes though is that they now have a gluten free crust! Yay Dominoes!

El Pollo Loco

El Pollo Loco has one of the most varied menu of gluten free foods that I’ve seen. Corn on the cob, Impressive Gluten Free Menu.

Godfather’s Pizza

Godfather’s has six gluten free pizza options and a very compassionate attitude towards celiac disease.

Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box doesn’t have many gluten free menu items and navigating their published allergen menu is impossible. Thanks to The Gluten Free Guide though we can get an idea of what to eat if we find ourselves at Jack in the Box.

Kentucky Fried Chicken

A word of warning to those with celiac disease. You may not want to stick to the drive thru at this restaurant. When you step inside you’ll find that the flour used to coat the chicken is airborn. That said you can order a salad, corn and a few other sides through the drive thru window.

Long John Silvers

LJS has some nice gluten free seafood options as well as the usual sides.


McDonalds no longer publishes a list of gluten free items. There has been much debate as to whether or not their fries are gluten free and for those who are truly gluten intolerant versus those who simply chose a gluten free eating plan I would avoid the fries given that they are cooked in the same friers in which the hash browns are cooked in and their hash browns are not gluten free.

Thank you to the for publishing this list of McDonalds Gluten Free Foods.


Click on the Gluten Free Button at the top of the Popeyes Nutition Menu and you’ll find that you can order coleslaw, beans, rice, jalapenos and applesauce for dessert.


Given that Subway is a sandwich place you’re not going to find much here other than salad, but if your dining companion is a Subway fanatic it’s good to know what you can eat. Warning – not all salad items are gluten free so be sure to check out Subway’s Gluten Free Guide before dining there.

Taco Bell

Check out Taco Bell’s Chart for Gluten Free Items. It’s a little hard to read since it doesn’t separate the gluten free items from other allergens, but if you sit down with a notepad you should be able to jot down the items that will work for you.


You can eat pretty well on Wendy’s Gluten Free Menu. Salads, chili, various baked potatoes, burgers and grilled chicken …


Dessert Kid Friendly Recipes

Quick & Easy Microwave Dessert Recipes For Kids

Published by:

healthy granola bar recipe

In our household we’re forever buying healthy cookies and baked goods and at least half the time, we take one bite, spit it out and the rest of the package sits in the cupboard until it draws ants and I throw it away. This time though I decided that we weren’t going to throw out any more food, just because we didn’t like it. So we started experimenting and came up with quite a few really quick and easy microwave dessert recipes that the kids can make on their own. In fact, once they saw what I was doing they began experimenting and came up with some of their own recipes.

Warning: these aren’t all perfect UnDiet recipes since some of them use leftover Halloween and Easter candies.

Chocolate Tapioca

3 cups non-dairy milk
1/4 cup tapioca pearls
1/8 teaspoon salt (a couple of shakes or grinds of the salt shaker will work)
1/2 cup grain-sweetened chocolate chips
1 tablespoon unrefined sugar (optional)
chocolate or peanut butter flavored baked goods that nobody likes

Place milk and tapioca in a large glass bowl or measuring cup. Microwave for 3 minutes, stir and continue microwaving and stirring in 1 minute increments until tapioca is translucent, about 3 more minutes. Stir in chocolate chips and salt. Let cool until still hot but cool enough to taste. Taste and add optional sugar if needed.

Break up baked goods and use to line the bottom of a large container. Pour pudding over baked goods. Refrigerate until cool enough to eat. Carefully tir before serving if needed to break up the tapioca but being careful not to disturb the bottom crust.


Granola Pudding Bars

Next time you have a package of granola bars that nobody will eat, make up a batch of this pudding cake and you may even buy more granola bars, just so you can make this again.

6 to 8 granola bars

one 3.4 ounce package vanilla or butterscotch sugar-free cook and serve pudding

3 cups skim or lowfat milk

Place granola bars in an 8″ x 8″ pan.

In a large bowl (or even better a large measuring cup) whisk pudding mix into the milk. A measuring cup works great for kids because it has a handle that makes is easy for them to move the pudding mixture into and out of the microwave.

Microwave about 8 minutes totial or until the mixture comes to a boil. You’ll need to take it out of the microwave every 2 minutes to stir. Once it comes to a boil, remove from the microwave, stir and pour over granola bars. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 6 hours.


Brownie in a Cup

I’m always trying different brands of instant coffee, trying to find one that I actually like. What ends up happening is that I have a cupboard full of instant coffee that is only suitable for baking or adding to smoothies. You can also use this recipe to use some of the chocolate or marshmallow candies left over from Halloween or Easter.

Be sure that the mug you’re using isn’t one of those that gets hot in the microwave. I’ve burned my fingers on many such a mug so many times that I took them from my kitchen cupboard and now use them in my bathroom to hold makeup brushes, q-tips, cotton balls and such things.

1/4 cup white whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup Splenda for baking
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
small pinch or 1 grind of sea salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons coffee
2 tablespoons chopped chocolate or marshmallow (optional)

In a mug, stir together the dry ingredients. Stir in the oil and coffee, then the the chopped chocolate or marshmallow, if you’re using them.

Microwave on high for one minute, but check it after 30 seconds. It’s done when it’s springy on top but still a bit gooey. Let cool until warm and then dig in.


Candy Pie

This one is so decadent and so not an UnDiet recipe, but the kids will love it and I feel good because at least half of it is a whole grain sugar free cereal.

1 to 2 cups cereal or baked goodie such as cookie or cake

1 to 2 cups chocolate candy, any type, even M&M’s will work

Lightly oil a glass pie plate or microwavable shallow dish. Spread your cereal or baked goods over the bottom of the plate. Evenly arrange the candy over the “crust”. Microwave for 1 minute. Use a spatula to gently stir the candy without disturbing the crust. Microwave for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. If needed gently stir the candy layer again. If all of the candy has melted then remove from microwave. If needed though continue microwaving in 30 second increments until the candy has melted. Remove from microwave and allow to cool until warm. Cut into slices and serve or just gather around and dig in with spoons.

Living Food Neutral Recipes

Watermelon Salad

Published by:

I LOVE watermelon salad! It’s the perfect thing for lunch or dinner on a hot day. There are so many variations and they’re all fabulous. I’m going to give you this recipe without any measurements because i’s summer and we want to be casual.

Basic Watermelon Salad

  • cubed watermelon
  • sea salt
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • julienned mint leaves

Toss and serve ice cold.

You can add one or more of the following to the basic recipe:

  • cucumber
  • lime juice
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • red onion
  • jicama
  • cilantro
  • cumin
  • flat leaf parsley
  • hot pepper
  • crispy bacon
  • crispy pancetta

What will you add to your watermelon salad?


Fruit Recipes

Dried Fruit “Yogurt”

Published by:

Mix together the following ingrediets. Cover, and refrigerate for forty eight hours. Stir a few times during this period.

  • 4 cups dried fruit, diced
  • 1 liter nondairy milk

The longer you leave it, the thicker the “yogurt” becomes.

To make things a little more interesting add a little of any of the following:

  • vanilla extract
  • coconut extract or finely shredded unsweetened coconut
  • dates, finely chopped
  • honey, agave nectar or maple syrup


2 Ingredient Recipes

Published by:

When time is short or you’re super hungry and want to eat NOW, whip up one of these two ingredient recipes in less time than it takes to get through a fast food drive through line. You can thank me later.


Smoked Bacon Soup

I like to mix the french onion soup with the bean soup for a lighter soup. You could use any vegetable broth in place of the french onion soup, I just like the deep flavor of the french onion.

Pour 1 can Pacific Foods Organic Savory White Bean with Smoked Bacon Soup and 1 cup Pacific Foods Organic French Onion Soup into a medium saucepan. Heat and serve.

UnDeviled Eggs

I call these “undeviled” because they don’t contain any “devilish” mayo.

Hard boil as many eggs as you desire. Peel, slice eggs in half and carefully remove the yolks. Mash yolks with an equal amount of Trader Joes Cilantro and Garlic Yogurt Dip or your favorite yogurt dip. Fill eggs half way with yolk mixture.


Stuffed Celery

After making UnDeviled Eggs, you’ll have lots of the yolk mixture leftover. Spoon it into a baggie. Seal the baggie and cut off one corner from the bottom of the baggie. Pipe the egg mixture into the hollow of celery sticks.


Kale Chips

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment or waxed paper.
Remove the leaves from one bunch of kale stems and tear or cut into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a towel or salad spinner. Spray kale with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Bake until edges are browned, about 10 to 15 minutes.



Mix shredded green cabbage with your favorite creamy dressing or yogurt dip.


Chicken Coleslaw

Mix precooked, shredded or chopped chicken with your favorite coleslaw.


Caramel Sauce

Mix equal amounts of honey and butter. Bring to a boil in a heavy pan on the stove. Boil for five minutes without stirring.

Drizzle over popcorn, ice cream, fruit, yogurt, or your tongue 🙂


Flavored Popcorn

Mix popped popcorn with flavored extra-virgin olive oil.


Infinitely Customizable Baked Tofu

Homemade baked tofu is amazing. Forget the store bought stuff – which I loved until the first time I made it myself. Straight from the oven, it’s crispy on the outside, creamy in the middle and fantastic tossed into a stir-fry or served up as snack. When it cools, it transforms into a firm and chewy nugget which is perfect for tossing into a salad, crumbling into a sauce, or as a sandwich filling. When you see how easy it is to make this baked tofu you’ll never buy baked tofu again.

Place extra-firm tofu on a towel, cover with a towel and then place a weighted plate on top. Set aside for fifteen to sixty minutes to remove excess water.  Remove plate and towels and cube, slice or cut into french fry size sticks for a delicious snack.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Gently toss sliced firm tofu with one of the items below:

  • refined-sugar-free barbecue sauce thinned with a little water
  • salad dressing
  • marinade

Spray a baking sheet with oil. Place the tofu on it in an even layer, trying not to allow the tofu pieces to touch each other. Bake for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of your tofu pieces.


For lots more two ingredient recipes, keep an eye out for my upcoming book “Low Carb 2 Ingredient Recipes”.

Dessert Recipes

Quick & Delicious Low Calorie Summer Desserts

Published by:

Grilled Peaches

Instead of a slice of peach pie topped with vanilla ice cream, grill half a peach and top it with a dollop of vanilla yogurt, sugar-free vanilla pudding or whipped cream sweetened with Stevia.

Low Cal Ice Cream Sandwich

Instead of an ice-cream sandwich top a whole grain, refined-sugar-free cookie with vanilla yogurt or sugar-free frozen yogurt and top with another of the same cookie. Freeze and enjoy!

High Protein Ice Cream

Make up your favorite protein shake using vanilla or chocolate protein powder. Pour into an ice cream maker. Freeze and dish up for a bowl of ice-cream that can stand in for lunch.

Frozen Grapes

That’s it. That’s the recipe. Freeze the grapes.

Chilled Cantaloupe

Ice cold cantaloupe topped with yogurt. Top with a sprinkle of toasted coconut or almonds if you like.



Dessert Fruit High Protein Recipes

No Bake Protein Dessert – Paska With Fresh Berries

Published by:

Paska with Fresh Berries

Process in blender until smooth:

1-1/2 cups lowfat cottage cheese
2 egg yolks
2/3 cup carb free sweetener such as Splenda Granulated Sweetener or 16 packets Spenda or Truvia
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Spoon cottage cheese mixture into a cheesecloth lined colander. Place this assembly over another container to catch the liquid that will drain off from the paska. Refrigerate overnight. The paska can be made several days in advance. It will get firmer the longer you allow it to drain.

Gently toss the ingredients below and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

1 cup fresh or frozen boysenberries
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries, quartered
1 tablespoon brandy
2 tablespoons unrefined sugar

Place a scoop of the paska in the middle of a bowl and circle it with the berries and their juices. You can either serve this on a big platter or make individual paskas with berries.

Kid Friendly

Popcorn Bar

Published by:


Next time you have a family movie night instead of noshing on chips set up a popcorn bar. Our favorite (and not just because its bealthy) is Newmans Own Organic Microwave Popcorn. Although I have noticed that since they’ve changed their packaging that their popcorn isn’t as good as it used to be, so I’m on the lookout for a new fave popcorn.  Even so, it’s still better than any of the other trans-fat free, chemical free microwave popcorn brands. Or you could go old school and pop yours on the stove. An-n-n-n-yway, once you have enough popcorn ready for everybody set out bowls of items to mix with it, giving both savory and sweet options.

Sweet Options

  • chocolate chips (grain-sweetened)
  • mini marshmallows
  • shredded coconut
  • cinnamon mixed with Sucanat, Stevia or coconut sugar
  • chopped dried fruit
  • Sunspire Sun Drops (refined sugar free M&M’s)
  • sugar free hot chocolate mix
  • syrup made by boiling equal amounts of honey and butter together (this is a quick way to make a healthy caramel corn)
  • whole grain sweet cereal such as Barbara’s brand

Savory Options

  • shredded Parmesan
  • flavored extra-virgin olive oil
  • flavored sea salt (try smoked, truffle or garlic)
  • taco seasoning

Tip from the Trenches: wait for the popcorn to cool down before adding chocolate or marshmallows 🙁

Update: Newman’s Own Popcorn is no longer on our favorites list. The last few boxes we’ve purchased have not been up to par. We’ve since switched to pretty much any other brand of organic microwave popcorn. Same great taste that Newman’s Own used to have.