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The Ultimate Key Lime Pie

The battle continues. Is "real" Key Lime Pie. topped with meringue or whipped cream? Erik Malzahn, executive chef at the Casa Marina & The Reach Resort, in Key West uses both. Here is the recipe that wows diners at this historic resort. It makes three pies, but they'll go like hotcakes at your next party. He wreaths the top of the pie in meringue and bakes it. Then a cloud of whipped cream goes in the center.

Key West Key Lime Pie
a la Casa Marina

Crusts
32 graham crackers
6 tablespoons sugar
2 sticks butter
Crush graham crackers, place in a mixing bowl and add sugar and melted butter. Mix well. Chef Malzahn lines a 10-inch cake mold with foil and sprays it, but for home cooks it's easier to press the cracker mixture in three sprayed, 10-inch pie pans. Chill until set.

Filling
12 egg yolks
3 cans, 14 ounces each, sweetened condensed milk
12 ounces ( 1 1/4 cups) Key lime juice
1 tablespoon lime zest
Using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks until they are thick and light yellow. Don't over-mix. Turn off mixer and add sweetened condensed milk. Turn mixer to low speed and mix in half the lime juice. Add the other half of the juice with the zest and continue mixing just a few seconds more. Pour mixture into crusts, filling halfway. Set aside.

Meringue
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup egg whites (about 8)
Beat egg whites in a metal bowl until they reach soft peaks. Gradually add sugar one tablespoon at a time until the sugar is gone and whites hold hard peaks. Chef Malzahn pipes on a design using a piping bag but at home it's easier just to spoon the meringue evenly around the edges of the pies, Bake 10 to 15 minutes at 300 degrees. When a toothpick plunged into the meringue comes out clean, it's done.

Whipped Cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
Whip cream, gradually adding sugar to dissolve, then continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Mound whipped cream in the center of the meringue. Yield: three pies.




Tech Up Your Diet

In today's fast paced environment, you can have everything at your fingertips within seconds. Blackberries, iphones and the Internet have significantly changed the way we think, do business and also the way we eat! Today you can track down your calories online, discover the nutrients of your favorite dish on your smart phone, receive shopping lists of your favorite foods based on your personality, tips on how to exercise and lose weight and more. So, toss the paper and pen and go online to check a few interesting sites about food and diet.

Dietfacts.com is a resourceful website that provides nutritional information on a great number of restaurant dishes in the country. Do you want to check how many calories you will be eating in Taco Bell? Click on the dish of your interest and you will find out how the Carnitas Cantina Taco will affect your waist. In the search box "Look for Food", users can type signature dishes of their favorite restaurants or just require caloric and nutritional information about mainstream food brands. The site contains dietary facts for 518 restaurants and numerous supermarket food labels. Finally, the website informs users about various diets and healthy food options.

Mydietpower.com is another website offering caloric and nutrition facts of fast food chains. From Subway to Tim Hortons to Wendy's, users can click the dish they regularly order from the drop down menu and check out what exactly they are eating (under Tools, Fast Food Facts). But the site is not just a pool of fast food and restaurant resources; it also offers a personal diet software package for users to monitor their weight. Initially free for a two-week trial, the package costs $34.95 to buy. The software monitors 33 nutrients in 21,000 foods, awards calories per exercise and shows the "best food to eat now".

Caloriecount.com is another online resourceful site providing caloric information of a number of restaurants, cafes, bistros and fast food chains. The site innovates by presenting menu calories not only for restaurants in the US but also from the UK. Users can also find information on supermarket food labels and snacks. Extra add-on: Registered users can enter a recipe which then will be analyzed with the number of calories, proteins and carbs in their plate (click New Recipe from the menu and add it in). The caloriecount.com is also a free iphone and blackberry app.

Calorielab.com is a similar site that informs on diet facts of 500 restaurants around the country. In the search box, users type a restaurant and by clicking, they get a list with all its dishes with their nutritional facts. I typed "Taco Bell" and within seconds I had a list of 15 different Taco Bell items with their number of calories, carbs, proteins and fat. And if you click on "More", you will be impressed with the detailed breakdown of the dietary information. Did you know that the Bean Burrito has 8.3 mg of vitamin K? The site has also a diet blog and reviews various common diets.

But if you want to take a break from the restaurant and fast food scene, there are some more personalized sites with smart phone apps that they will motivate you and even convince you that you need to ditch the fries!

Calorie Tracker is an incredibly handy free application from LIVESTRONG.com, Lance Armstrong's health and fitness website. Users can look up and track daily caloric, fat, carbohydrate and protein intake. The app pulls from LIVESTRONG.com's Daily Plate nutritional database with over 650,000 food and restaurant items. And if you want your physical activity to factor into the mix, just use the app to calculate burned calories for a variety of exercises.

Calorie trackers are great, but how do you make sure that you're getting the right nutritional balance? The 40·30·30 app comes in handy if you need to quickly calculate the percentage of carbs, protein, and fats in your meal. The app is free and you can get it here: http://itunes.apple.com/app/40-30-30/id288459024?mt=8

Finally, if you want to exercise using your smartphone, the Pump It app has numerous exercise videos including yoga and workouts. Each workout is designed specifically for maximum results, and lets users listen to music, watch video demonstrations for each exercise, and record activity to a workout log as they go. Check the website http://www.pumpone.com/ipump.html for costs and fees per app.

 

Other sites you can look at:

www.my-calorie-counter.com

www.fitday.com

www.fitclick.com

www.habitchanger.com/programdetail/feedingyourkids

www.thin-site.com

French company Withings created a $159 scale with a processor and a built-in Wi-Fi connection so it can communicate with your home network (http://www.withings.com/en/index/?taranim=2)

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