Guest Chick Carla Swafford talks health and yummy snacks

Carla Swafford

I met my next guest over on Blame It On The Muse and knew she’d make an awesome guest on Chicklets – and you’ll see I wasn’t wrong!  Carla Swafford inherited her love of books from her dad and his father. Growing up, she read every book with a horse on the cover until the age of twelve when she read her first romance. Tired of waiting for her favorite authors to publish more books, she decided to write one. She joined Romance Writers of America and was the finalist in several writing contests.   She SOLD her romantic suspense, Circle of Desire, to HarperCollins’ Avon Impulse imprint and you can win a copy if you comment!

Carla lives in Alabama and works in a male-dominated occupation at the same company with her husband.

Let’s hear it, Carla!

Thank you, Abigail, for inviting me to the Chicklets In The Kitchen blog. When I told my kids I had been invited to a foodie blog, they laughed. Now before you kick me out of here, let me explain. I’m a horrible cook. Sure, there are a few dishes I can make that my kids love (what southern woman doesn’t know how to make milk gravy?), but those are far and few between. I just had rather read or write than cook. If I could move next door to my favorite Chinese restaurant, I would be having it every day of the week. Yes. I’m one of those who LOVE eating out even if it is a hamburger and fries.

You probably can guess by all of this that I have a weight problem. Eating out isn’t always conducive to maintaining a girlish figure. Oh, I tried to hold back from eating all the wrong foods without success for years.

Like most people who finally had a big event happen in their life, I took a good look at myself and decided I needed to get my act in gear or I would be dead in five years. Yep. I was huge.

In July, I visited my doctor and joined a program called SmartFit. My goal is to be a decent size by July of 2012. One year to regain my health. Six months in and I’ve lost fifty pounds with fifty more to go. I’m on track.

I’ve learned how even a little fat can go a long way. Maybe most of you already knew that. While I had thought as I ate each candy bar, I’ll get on the treadmill that night and work it off. Problem is the candy bar has 250 calories and the fastest I could walk on the treadmill is a little above a slow crawl. So it would’ve taken me two hours to walk it off. You see where I’m coming from. As I was learning what I could eat and retraining my mindset, they gave me a few good recipes I found are perfect for my need to snack. This one is a slightly revised old-time favorite that’s great with chopped vegetables (instead of potato chips) or you can dip Crispy Pepperoni Chips.

Spinach Dip
1pkg fat free cream cheese spread, softened
1 cup fat free sour cream
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
1 can (8 oz) water chestnuts, drained, chopped
½ cup chopped red peppers

Mix spread, sour cream and dressing mix in medium bowl until well blended. Stir in remaining ingredients; cover. Refrigerate several hours or until chilled.

Crispy Pepperoni Chips
6 oz turkey pepperoni, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lay the pepperoni slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and soak up the excess grease by pressing paper towels against the chips. Return the pan to the oven and bake an additional 2-4 minutes, until they’re very crispy. They stay fresh for 1-2 days if stored in an airtight container.

Now you have something to snack on. Be sure that you don’t eat the whole recipe in one sitting. It is so tempting.

WIN Circle of Desire

If you’re wondering what my big event was, I had sold my romantic suspense, The Circle of Desire, to HarperCollins’s Avon Impulse imprint. Having a dream come true helped me make a lifestyle change and saved my life.

Tell me of a fat free snack you like to eat — besides pickles as I feel like I’m about to turn into one — and I’ll place you in a drawing for a copy of my book.
Twitter: @carlaswafford and on Facebook


29 thoughts on “Guest Chick Carla Swafford talks health and yummy snacks

  1. Carla, thank you for being our guest today! And OMG I can’t wait to try the pepperoni crisps. Neither can my Things, only they don’t know it yet. 🙂

    As for fat free snacks – I’ve become obsessed with carrots or celery and salsa. Simple and fresh and delicious!

  2. Abigail and Gillian, I love all three. But carrots are not on the approved lists by the doc. I have no idea why as I do love them. That’s something I need to ask. As for salsa, no more than six tablespoons in one day. And yes, I love them on eggs. Celery and pickles have been my go-to food for snacks and ::sigh:: I’m so ready for other stuff. Thus the pepperoni chips! 🙂

    Now I’m off to check out that website! Thanks.

  3. Thanks for that recipe. I’ll need it after I finish off the great buttered and sugared chex mix my friend makes me at Christmas. Good luck with Circle of Desire, Carla.
    Would love to win a copy of it!

  4. My mom swears that eating oranges suppresses the hungries. I don’t know if she’s right, but I think having to sit with the orange and peel it, getting the oil and stickiness all over your hands, sniffing the citrus scent while you peel, sends a message to the brain, “We’re eating now,” that helps shut down the auto-ingest mentality.

  5. Oh, I love Chex cereal, but the fat content is too high even without milk. The max I can have in a serving is 3%. All but the rice (I’ve got to ask my doc about that one) has calories from 10% fat or more. But I agree, so much better than potato chips when it comes to calories.

    BTW, they have me on almond milk too. It’s pretty good. I cheat sometimes and buy the vanilla flavor. Yum.

    • Coincidentally, I have a box of Rice Chex in front of me. Total fat, 0%. Calories from fat, 0%. I’d say they’re safe.

      The back of the box has a recipe for Chex Lemon Buddies which sound DIVINE but also involve vanilla baking chips and powdered sugar. Hmmmm.

      Carla, how restrictive is this diet? And do you get pre-made menus, or just a list of foods you can eat and you get to choose?

      • It’s a high protein, low/no fat one. They’ve given me a list and added to it as I reach certain weigh goals. Now they also give recipes to help me work in new foods. But it’s still not as fun as running to my favorite hamburger joint (Milos) and grabbing a cheese burger, fries, sweet tea and apple pie. Hmmmm. ::wiping mouth::

  6. My favorite healthful snack is dried cherries. I found I can get a ridiculously large bag at Sam’s Club, and I keep them where I can see them so I have an alternative when I’m tempted to stuff a handful of my children’s Teddy Grahams into my mouth when they’re having their snack time. ^_^ (That’s the trouble with small, constantly moving children. They’re always eating…or trying to play-feed mommy. >..> Growing up, I thought my only dried fruit options were raisins and prunes. >.< As it turn out, my family was just cheap. ^_^

    ~Angela Blount

  7. Hi Carla: So excited for you about the weight loss. You look great!! And congratulations again on the book sale. You are rocking it! I love the recipes and will try the turkey pepperoni chips with the family. This year I had to lose a bunch of weight as well. So I stayed “good” most of the time. 19 pounds / 10% of body weight lost. Feel great. Still have a way to go. I tend to eat a lot of fruits and veggies and low fat dips when I am on a diet plan. I use low fat cream cheese a lot. One thing that is easy to do is to roast garlic in the oven, then mash it and mix into the low fat cream cheese. This is nice to spread on a low fat cracker. And garlic is a wonder food. Does all kinds of stuff to make you healthy.

    Now if only they made wine low fat!

  8. Carla,
    Great writing and great lifestyle change! I used to have a lot of trouble not snacking while writing–until I realized that if my hands were on the keyboard, they weren’t traveling from bowl to mouth. Anyway, my latest find for that chocolate-craving mid-afternoon break is No Pudge! Fudge brownie mix. You can make single servings–2 TB mix + 1 TB fat-free yogurt. Mix it in a coffee cup. Microwave one minute. Hot brownie = super 100-calorie treat. You can make the whole box as a pan of brownies, but I’m the kind that eats whatever is prepared, so I make one (or two or three) at a time. I’ve only found them at the Crestline Pig, but if you Google the name, you can get a “where to buy” web site, as well as a bunch of clone recipes.

    • Aww! What a sweet thing to say, Chris. I’ll check it out and see. The diet won’t let me eat regular yogart. They say Greek. ::gag:: But I’ve found out and love to eat Light and Fit yogart. Good stuff. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. I’m a day late to the party, but I wanted to thank you for sharing this recipe with us, Carla. One of my bff’s just had gastric by-pass surgery and now has to eat everything low or fat-free. I think she’ll love this one, and so will I!

    Congratulations on the debut of your new book! 🙂

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