Valerie Bertinelli is Going to Save My Life

Since bathing suit season is officially over, I have preoccupied my waking hours with devouring almost anything and everything. Over the fall and winter months, I will most likely gain 10 to 20 pounds and I will enjoy it. But it doesn’t have to be this way. I could make choices…smarter choices. For instance, I could start listening to Valerie Bertinelli and take heed of the healthy advice she doles out in her cookbook, One Dish at a Time (oh that title is much too much).

For those of you unfamiliar with Valerie, I suggest a trip to IMDB (she has many credits to her name), but most of you are probably acquainted with Val via her sitcom heyday in One Day at a Time or (yikes) during her awkward moments on Touched by Angel. I am familiar with both, but it wasn’t until she became the Jenny Craig spokesmodel/person that I became smitten with Val. Something is so captivating about boiling all your weight troubles down to eat-a-shake-be-skinny. Her story (she lost 50lbs) was so inspiring; it spawned a whole new career (author, activist, spokesperson) for V. Bertinelli. And, me being me, I couldn’t help myself when she released her cookbook filled with Italian recipes. I had to have it.

Her book, One Dish at a Time, is filled with lovely photos, nutritional info and tidbits about portion control (oh dear, I am not one to quibble with portion control, but…it is better in theory than in practice).

I dove right into the book, tackling Bertinelli’s spin on Mexican Wedding cookies. She transforms them into “Russian Tea Cakes”, and while they are not going to be mistaken for health food anytime soon, they are certainly less “buttery” than the traditional cookie…and so simple to make (all of 6 ingredients). By the by, I used more than the recommended amount of confectioners sugar (sorry) and I probably ate more than one (there goes that pesky portion control), but overall they were lovely. Enjoy and happy healthy eating this fall/winter.

Russian Tea Cakes

from Valerie Bertinelli’s One Dish at a Time

1 cup (2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup finely chopped walnuts

Preheat the Oven to 400 degrees.

Beat the butter and ½ cup of the confectioners sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 7 minutes, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the vanilla extract and beat until thoroughly incorporated. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the flour and salt and beat until just combined. Stir in the nuts until incorporated throughout.

Place the remaining 1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar on a dinner plate and set aside.

Roll the dough into 1” balls and place 1” apart on 2 ungreased baking sheets. Bake, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking until the balls are just toasted around the edges, about 10 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack, then immedietly roll in the confectioners’ sugar to coat entirely. Return the coated cookies to the rack and let cool completely.

Once the cookies have thoroughly cooled, roll them in the confectioners’ sugar one more time. The cookie will keep, covered, up to 1 week.

And for the health-nuts : 66 calories, 1 g protein, 7 g carbohydrates, 4 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 10 mg sodium