Susan Santangelo is the author of the bestselling humorous Baby Boomer mystery series. Book 6 in the series, Second Honeymoons Can Be Murder, will be released on February 16th. She divides her time between Cape Cod, MA and the Gulf Coast of Florida and shares her life with two very spoiled English cocker spaniels who serve as the model for her books' covers. Learn more about Susan and her books at her website.
Dieting Doesn’t Have To Be Murder!
According to a recent survey, the number one New Year’s resolution people make is to lose weight. And by some amazing coincidence, the most commonly broken New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. In fact, the average time most people (including me) spend trying to lose weight is less than two months.
If you’re like me and need some extra incentives to stick to a weight-loss routine, read on for some tips and tricks from Carol Andrews, the protagonist in my seventh Baby Boomer mystery, Dieting Can Be Murder, on how to motivate yourself so you’ll start losing weight.
Carol recommends that you set your expectations low in the beginning. Be realistic about your goals, so you’ll succeed. Don’t bite off more than you can chew – in every way!
In doing her Internet research, trying to find the perfect weight-loss routine for her – one that didn’t involve exercising or giving up cheeseburgers and French fries – Carol found an article which said that eating off a blue plate will make food appear unappetizing. Presto – you’ll eat less! Since Carol didn’t want to buy a whole new set of tableware, she bought blue sunglasses instead, and wore them at every meal for a few days. Three guesses how well that worked out, and the first two don’t count.
She also discovered that, according to the Delboeuf Illusion theory, people whose food choice contrasts with their plate they’re using tend to eat less because they are more aware of how much food is actually on that plate. The same article also claimed that keeping the heat temperature lower in winter and air conditioning temperature higher in summer makes the body work harder to burn calories. Since Carol’s husband Jim insists on keeping the temperature in the Andrews house low in the winter and higher in the summer to save money, he was definitely a fan of this idea.
There are many dangerous diets on the Internet these days, though, so don’t be fooled. If a diet sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The best way to start is with the advice of a medical professional.
Here are two “skinny” recipes from the Andrews household that you may find helpful. First is a low-fat smoothie to help you get started in the right direction. (Of course, in Dieting Can Be Murder, the villain added one extra ingredient!)
Cape Cod Cranberry-Almond Smoothie
1 cup almond milk
1 cup fresh kale
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1 T. honey
Handful of slivered almonds
Mix almond milk, banana, kale, cranberries and honey in a blender. Top with a smattering of slivered almonds. Enjoy!
One of the most important things to practice when trying to lose weight is portion control. Here’s a variation of the Weight Watchers recipe Jim Andrews found on the Internet, which Carol makes in Chapter 35 of Dieting Can Be Murder. This meatloaf is cooked in a muffin pan, yielding smaller, individual portions rather than one large loaf. Instant portion control!
Turkey Meatloaf Muffins
2 lbs. uncooked ground turkey breast
4 tsp. fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 T. olive oil
2 T. regular butter
1 cup uncooked onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup red pepper, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
12 oz. mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup white wine
Canned fat-free gravy
Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Fill 12-muffin tray cups with liners. Coat large mixing bowl with cooking spray.
Place ground turkey breast in prepared bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside.
Place butter and oil in large frying pan and cook over medium high heat until butter melts. Add onion and sauté about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté 3-5 minutes. Add soy sauce and white wine. Cook until mixture thickens, about 5-10 minutes. Add parsley and cook 1-2 more minutes.
Add mushroom mixture to turkey and mix thoroughly. Drop by heaping tablespoons into prepared muffin tray cups until each cup is about 2/3 full. Bake muffins until center seems firm to the touch and turkey is completely cooked through, about 22 – 27 minutes. Top with heated gravy and enjoy.
These muffins can be made ahead and warmed up in the microwave. They freeze well, too.
Happy weight loss!
Dieting Can Be Murder
There’s a little too much to love about Carol Andrews these days, thanks to the extra calories she indulged in during her recent second honeymoon in Florida with her husband Jim. Determined to shed the extra pounds before the birth of her first grandchild, Carol joins Tummy Trimmers, a new, holistic approach to fighting – and winning – the battle of the bulge. But her weight loss regimen is interrupted by another group member, who collapses on Carol right after completing a meditation exercise, and dies. When the evidence points to murder, the always-curious Carol can’t resist adding sleuthing to her personal weight loss routine.