Simple advice for a better life.

Black and White Striped cookiesIn my previous post I mentioned that this year I was searching for something sweet, but at the same time, something on a healthy side.

I judged the newly found recipes by the picture of the finished product, followed by the ingredients.

I did not even pay attention to how involved the preparation process might be. This one requires several steps.

I already shared the recipe for the Ginger-Lemon Pinwheels, and now you will get to hear about the “Black and White Striped Cookies“.

They look much more appetizing than they actually are.  I am very honest here, because once again, I expected a little lighter texture , than what this recipe produced.  I guess I am spoiled by all the other “full of butter” cookie recipes I make all the time.

These may not be flaky as regular cookies, however they are only 73 calories each!

Great  for dunking, with a cup of tea.

This recipe yields 3 dozen cookies.

Ingredients for Vanilla Dough:

  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbs. ice water

Directions for Vanilla Dough:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, place the butter, sugar and egg yolk.
  2. Beat at medium speed until smooth, and creamy lemon color looking.
  3. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  4. In a separate bowl, using a whisk, mix flour and salt.
  5. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture.
  6. Beat at low speed until combined.
  7. Sprinkle ice water, and beat until moist (dough will be slightly crumbly).
  8. Form a 4-inch dough ball on a plastic wrap, cover and chill one hour, or until firm.

Ingredients for Chocolate Dough:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract ( I used rum extract)
  • 2 Tbs. ice water

Directions for Chocolate Dough:

  • In a medium mixing bowl, add butter, egg yolk, and sugar.
  • Mix on medium speed until smooth and creamy.
  • Beat in the vanilla (or your favorite flavor) extract.
  • In a separate bowl, using a whisk, mix the flour, salt and cocoa.
  • Gradually add cocoa mixture to butter mixture, beating at low spreed until combined.
  • Sprinkle ice water over the surface of the dough.
  • Beat just until moist.
  • Make a 4-inch dough ball, placed on a plastic wrap, and chill for one hour, or until firm.

Chocolate and Vanilla Dough Assembly:

  1. Lay two overlapping sheets of plastic wrap, on a moist surface.
  2. Remove and unwrap the chilled Vanilla Dough, and place it on the plastic wrap.
  3. Cover the dough with two additional overlaying sheets of plastic wrap.
  4. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to form a 12 x 8 rectangle.
  5. Place the rolled out dough in the freezer, while you are working on the Chocolate Dough.
  6. Follow the same process with the Chocolate Dough.
  7. Once both doughs are firm enough, remove the plastic wrap, place the Vanilla Dough on a lightly floured surface, and cover it with the Chocolate Dough.
  8. Press down gently.
  9. Cut dough stack in half crosswise, to form 2 (8 x 6 inch rectangles).
  10. Stack these two half on top of each other, alternating the chocolate and vanilla sides.
  11. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for 10 minutes, or until firm.
  12. Cut the dough crosswise into 6 (6 x 1-1/3 inch) strips.
  13. Stack 2 strips on top of each other to form a stack, alternating vanilla and chocolate, to form a stripe pattern.
  14. Wrap in plastic wrap, pressing gently.
  15. Repeat same procedure with the remaining 4 strips to form 2 stacks, making 3 stacks total.
  16. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill at least 30 minutes, or until very firm.
  17. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  18. Line baking sheets with parchment paper (not wax paper – it will scorch).
  19. Working with one stack at a time, using a sharp knife, slice each stack to 12 slices.
  20. Place them 1 inch apart on the parchment lined pans.
  21. Bake at 375 F for 10 minutes.
  22. Cool in pans for 5 minutes.
  23. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

The hardest part in making these cookies, was rolling out the dough between the plastic wrap, and trying to keep it in a rectangular shape.  I used some additional engineering, by trimming the uneven sides and using this dough to even out any imperfections.

It is also a time consuming process, with all this rolling out of the dough, cooling, stacking, and cooling again.

These cookies are not very sweet, and as I mentioned above, tend to be on a denser side, thus very suitable for dunking.  They remind me of Biscotti.

If you tried this recipe, or plan to try it, please chime in with your tips and comments.

TIP: This is a good recipe for Phase III of the Fat Smash Diet.

Phase II – The Fat Smash Diet

Beef Tenderloin RoastHow are you doing with the Fat Smash Diet?

I am going strong, and hopefully you are still with me.

We are into the first week of Phase II, so additional foods are being introduced back into our daily menu.

Since I already have a very descriptive post of all these foods, you can just click on Phase II of the Fat Smash Diet to check it out.


  • Watch your portions
  • Keep up with the physical activity
  • Drink enough water
  • Take your vitamins
  • You will continue to drop pounds and inches.

If you need additional motivation, check out these super weight loss quotes.

You are doing great!

Hang in there, and please drop me a note about your success.

Ginger-Lemon Pinwheel cookiesAs you already know, I love trying new recipes.  Most of the time I try a recipe based on a sample I enjoyed, made by someone else.  Other times, I just try a recipe based on the ingredients, and a picture of the finished product.

This time I was looking for some “light and healthy” cookie recipes, to cater to some of my guests who are dieting, yet wish to satisfy their sweet tooth.

The Ginger-Lemon Pinwheel Cookies in this post, were one of the ones I decided to try.

The picture looked very appealing to me, and the ingredients did not call for anything out of the ordinary, so it sounded like a great choice.

Normally I only share successful recipes, but even though I was slightly disappointed with the final result of this recipe, I will share it any way, because it might appeal to someone who is looking for low calorie cookies.  Actually, I will probably make these again, and play with the recipe a little.

This recipe yields about 40 cookies @ only 81 calories each.

Ingredients for Ginger Dough:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses (I used dark molasses)
  • 1 large egg yolk (save the white for the Lemon Dough)
  • 1- 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt – (I used 1/8 tsp)
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Dash of ground allspice

Directions for Ginger Dough:

  1. In a medium mixer bowl, combine butter and brown sugar.
  2. Mix about 3 minutes, at medium speed.
  3. Add molasses, and egg yolk, and beat until blended.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine flour and all the spices.
  5. Gradually add to the butter mixture, and beat at low speed until combined.
  6. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Ingredients for Lemon Dough:

  • 8 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg white (saved from Ginger dough)
  • 2 tsp. ground lemon rind
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1- 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt (I used 1/8 tsp)

Directions for Lemon Dough:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix butter and sugar at medium speed for 3 minutes.
  2. Add egg white and beat until blended.
  3. Beat in lemon rind and vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix flour with all the dry ingredients.
  5. Gradually add to butter mixture, and beat at low speed until blended.
  6. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes.
  7. Unwrap ginger dough, roll between two sheets of plastic wrap, into a 13×8 rectangle.  Dough will be quite thin (3/16 inch).
  8. Chill for 10 minutes.
  9. Roll the lemon dough in the same way, and chill as well.
  10. Once chilled, remove the top sheet of plastic wrap from the Ginger and Lemon Dough.
  11. Stack Lemon Dough on top of Ginger Dough, leaving 1/2 inch border along the long side of the Ginger Dough.
  12. Remove the remaining plastic wrap.
  13. Starting with the long side without the border, roll up dough tightly, jelly-roll fashion. If you do not roll tightly, you will end up with a whole in the middle of your pinwheel.
  14. Seal edges (do not seal ends of roll).
  15. Cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 30 minutes.
  16. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  17. Unwrap dough roll.
  18. Cut with a sharp knife, into 40 slices, about 1/4 inch thick.
  19. Reshape rounds.
  20. Line baking sheet with parchment paper (wax paper will scorch – do not use).
  21. Arrange cookie slices 1 inch apart.
  22. Bake one batch at a time, for 8 minutes, or until set and slightly browned.
  23. Cool on wire racks.

If anyone tried these cookies before, please share your comments.

Some of my guests actually enjoyed them, even though these cookies are on a denser side, more like biscotti, or as I call them “dunking”  tea cookies.

If you are watching your diet, you definitely would have no guilt having a couple of these, instead of any of my other ones, which are scrumptious, but not so low in calories.

TIP: This would be a good cookie for Phase III in The Fat Smash Diet.

Oatmeal and Date barsThis recipe came up at a spur of a moment, after I made an error in purchasing chopped dates, rather than chopped figs, intending to make Cream Cheese Fig Bars.

Since I never baked with dates before, it was a wonderful experience, and the Granola Date Bars turned out great.

I will definitely make these again, since they make a perfect mid morning, or mid afternoon snack, not to mention the abundance of fiber in these.

Next time I will try to mix in some Super Cranberry, Cherry, and Almond Muesli, made by Dorset Cereals, which I love for breakfast.

I guess the good old saying  “If God gives you lemons, you have to learn to love lemonade”, pairs up well with the birth of this recipe.


  • 8 oz chopped dates (2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup (Organic Vanilla Almond FlaxPlus Granola (or increase the oats by 1/2 cup)
  • 1 -1/2 cups all-purpose flour ( I used unbleached flour)
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (may use margarine)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)


  1. Combine dates and water in a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to boil, and cook 3-4 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
  3. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla.
  4. Set aside.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, oats, granola,baking soda, salt and brown sugar.
  7. Mix well, to incorporate all ingredients.
  8. Stir in melted butter, and mix to moisten dry ingredients.
  9. Measure 2-1/2 cups of oats mixture, and press gently into a 9 x 9 inch baking pan, to make the bottom crust.
  10. Top with date filling, leaving 1/4 inch margin all around the edge, free of filling (to prevent filling from crusting up,  and burning during baking).
  11. Combine chopped nuts with the remaining oats mixture, fill the margin around the date filling, and spread the rest on the top of the filling.
  12. Press gently into the filling.
  13. Bake at 350 degrees F, for 2o minutes.
  14. Cool in pan on wire rack.
  15. Cut into serving size, 1 x 3 inch bars, or 1 x 1 inch bite size chunks.


TIP: This recipe is NOT for The Fat Smash Diet phase I, but is OK in phase III.

Green Bean VinaigretteThis recipe is from the Fat Smash Diet book, suitable for Phase I of this program, or any time as a healthy choice salad.

I prepared it for my second week of Phase I, with some minor modifications.

It is on a tangy side, due to the required amount of lemon juice, but also quite refreshing.

Great as a snack between meals, or as a side dish with veggie burger, or brown rice.

I usually flavor  my brown rice with sauteed onions, salt and pepper.

This recipe yields 4-6 servings.


  • 1 lb fresh green beans
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 yellow pepper, seeded and julienned (I used orange pepper, chopped)
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (my addition)

Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard (I used powdered)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (I used extra virgin)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (or less, for less tangy taste)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/8 tsp salt (or to your taste)
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder (my addition)
  • 1/4 tsp crushed basil (my addition


  1. Wash green beans thoroughly. Trim off at both ends.
  2. Boil 4 cup of water.
  3. Add beans to boiling water, and cook about 4 minutes.
  4. Drain off water, and let the beans cool.
  5. Rinse the other vegetables, and pat dry.
  6. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half, and set aside.
  7. Chop the orange and green peppers.
  8. Cut beans in half.
  9. Place all chopped vegetables in a medium bowl, add parsley and garlic.
  10. Mix to incorporate.
  11. Pour the prepared vinaigrette over vegetables, toss gently.
  12. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour ( I liked it better the next day, since the flavors had a chance to blend well together).

Vinaigrette Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine mustard, oil, and lemon juice.
  2. Cover, and shake well, to mix together.
  3. Add onion powder, basil, salt and, and shake again to mix it well.


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