Ladies: you know I’m a fan of the trilogy that begins with 50 Shades of Grey (are you saying  what’s this? read this. sadly, you have been living under a rock!) so when my friend suggested we have a book club/girls night to discuss the book I was all for it! About 15 of us gathered last house last Thursday for a little talk about the book and then a ‘presentation’ by a gal who — mature eyes only ahead! — sells all sorts of sex toys, lotions and fun items to spice up your life. Have you been to one of those? A must. We drank wine, giggled like little school girls and then walked away with a few items we couldn’t resist (truth). I love even when it comes to such intimate things, we all gossiped so we all wound up buying the same items!

The hostess provided lots of wine and munchies and then everyone added to the mix. If you’ve read 50 Shades (or just have seen the cover!) — you know a silver tie is a major theme throughout the book. I’m no baker — and my day was jam packed — however I got a wee bit creative and made this healthy-ish chocolate cake that’s topped with a silver tie. Easy, super tasty dessert to make!

1 can of pumpkin (I prefer Libby’s)
One box of chocolate cake mix
1 container of white frosting
1 small container of silver sprinkles
Toothpick (it’s your best kitchen utensil here!)

Mix cake mix with pumpkin in a large mixing bowl (I use my Cuisinart hand mixer for this). Do not use any other ingredients. Bake according to the directions on the box. This is my FAVORITE way to make a moist, low-fat chocolate cake.

Let cool and then apply frosting. Put in refrigerator for about one hour.

Using a toothpick very lightly create an outline of a tie and then slowly fill with sprinkles. The outline is a huge help to guide you. I placed small amounts of sprinkles into the container cap and then poured on the cake. I also used a toothpick to help me pick up any ‘rogue’ sprinkles. The whole process takes just five minutes, promise!



Recipe: Chicken Paillard

April 10, 2012

For all you busy ladies out there (hell, who does this not apply to?!), here’s a delicious, healthy dinner recipe that can go from your fridge to your table in less than 20 minutes. For those keeping Passover this week, consider this a perfect dish to get you out of your matzoh pizza rut. This Chicken Paillard (don’t get scared: the French word simply means a thin piece of meat) is a take on a dish I often get a French bistro. While I’m sure they marinated their chicken first, this gal did not even have time… and I’m telling you, our palettes couldn’t even tell the difference!

TAGG tip: Pair it with a crusty baguette — extra points if you make roasted garlic — and consider serving this as an easy go-to dinner party dish (salad and main course in one!).


4 think boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (tip: buy thicker breasts and cut in half lengthwise; typically less expensive)
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 pound arugula
Parmesan, shaved (I always keep a wedge of parm handy)
Lemon halves, for garnish
Salt + pepper, to taste

Optional: onion and tomato for arugula salad

Dressing (purchase a vinaigrette or wisk up the following):
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
salt + pepper, to taste
1 clove of garlic
juice from 1/2 lemon



Preheat grill to high and put at least 1 tbsp of olive oil in pan. Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and grill for about three minutes on each side until cooked through. Important to have high heat in order to get the sear.

Wisk together dressing and then combine arugula.

Place chicken on platter and drizzle with olive oil. Top with arugula and then shaved parmesan. Garnish with lemon.


Recipe: Peeps S’mores

April 4, 2012

One of the best parts of this time of year undoubtedly is the takeover of Peeps (and this coming from a Jewish girl!). I’m loving that this year there are more colors than ever for these sugary ‘mallow treats.  Of course I had to stock up so what better way to utilize them then to make them into s’mores? Hmm… what should we call these? S’meeps? Sure!

Prepare these cuties for a family gathering or make it a DIY bar where guests can create their own. Extra points if you get a fireplace or firepit going!

Peep S’mores… also known as S’meeps

Peeps (any color!)
Hershey’s chocolate bars
Graham Crackers


1. Set out your graham crackers, chocolates and peeps so everyone can make their own.
2. Melt the marshmallow over an open flame (fireplace, fire pit, stove top, broiler or in the microwave until soft). I used skewers typically used for kabobs to roast mine over the stove top; just place them in water first so they don’t burn.
3. Place chocolate on top of graham cracker, top with peep and then another graham cracker square.

 Enjoy your S’meeps!


Some people like cherries on the top of their deserts. Some like sprinkles. Today, TAGG likes cute little strawberry hats!

Enjoy this perfectly sweet and simple desert that’s prepared in less than five minutes when you’re craving something sweet that feels like a real treat. It’s under 200 calories — even if you toss on top some chocolate or rainbow sprinkles! (yum!). It’s also a really nice, light dessert served at the end of a casual dinner party or bbq. I’ve served it pre-made or DIY style. Keep it simple with strawberries as done here, or add blueberries, raspberries and other treats based on what’s in season.

Strawberry Shortcakes… with a Hat on Top
Dessert shells (find them near the berries)
Strawberries (TAGG tip: mix berries based on what’s in season)
1/3 tbsp. sugar
Whipped cream or a dollop of cool whip per person

Slice strawberries and place in a bowl with the sugar; lightly toss.
Then, just simple assembly required right before serving: dessert shells, topped with as many berries as possible and load on the whipped topping.

Pssst: want another low-fat strawberry dish? Try my strawberry pie!


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