Seen on Sunday morning: February 10th

February 10, 2008 8:00:25 PM PST
DIET FAD OR FLOP, VELVET CAKE, LOW COST WEDDING, COLLEGE SAVINGS, ART OF ATTRACTION and GIFTS FOR MEN-----DIET FAD OR FLOP-----

Diet fad or diet flop, with so many choices out there for weight loss, it's easy to get overwhelmed and choose something that doesn't match your needs. With us to sort all of this out is obesity expert, Dr. Richard Goldfarb.

Let's go through the 5 MOST POPULAR DIET PROGRAMS PROS AND CONS

FDA Approved Products (Alli)
Pros: FDA approved and clinically tested.
Cons: Bulimia for the GI Track FDA approved doesn't mean safe for everyone.

Hoodia Diet Products (DEX-L10, Hoodia Sure, Liquid Hoodia Extreme)
Pros: Suppresses hunger naturally No known adverse side effects. No stimulant properties.
Cons: Must have at least 1,000 milligrams daily to be effective (many products have less than that or do not contain the real hoodia).

Low-glycemic Diets (South Beach Diet or Zone)
Pros: Emphasizes balanced, low-glycemic eating.
Cons: Say goodbye to most sweets and many of the carbs we love to eat. Many people gain back the weight if they stop the program.

Caffeinated Diet Products (Hydroxycut, Slim Quick, Zantrex 3, Cylaris)
Pros: Popular products with consumer success stories. Some have ingredients backed by clinical research
Cons: Contains caffeine and possibly other stimulants that speed up central nervous system and may raise blood pressure and cause jitters. No clinical studies have been conducted on the products - just on ingredients.

Nutrition Programs (Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig)
Pros: Support System. Focus is portion control-calorie restriction.
Cons: Sticking to the program. Limited food options.

Other tips to keep your New Year's weight loss resolution:

1) Eating a spicy meal can cut your calories in half since spicy meals satisfy you quicker resulting in smaller portions. Plus, to put out the heat, most people will also drink more water and this can also make you feel fuller faster.

2) The easiest way to lose weight is to simply sleep it off. Recent studies have shown an association between sleep deprivation and a higher body mass index.

3) Drink regular, mineral or spring water, not only does water fill up your stomach and make you feel full, but it has zero calories. Stay away from waters like vitamin water that are high in calories.

Here is his clinics website: http://bccrinc.com

-----VELVET CAKE-----

As you prepare for this Valentine's Day, how about a new twist on an old favorite - red velvet cake.

With us this morning to show us a quick recipe and decorating ideas is Chef Francisco Migoya with the Culinary Institute of America.

RED VELVET CAKE

Makes one 9-inch two layer cake

2 1/2/ cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) red food coloring
1 vanilla bean
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon cider or white vinegar

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Grease two 9-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper.
  • Sift the flour and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
  • Mix the red food coloring and cocoa in a bowl until a smooth paste is created and set aside.
  • Place the buttermilk into a bowl. Split the vanilla been lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and mix them into the buttermilk, set aside.
  • In a large bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar, and mix for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time incorporating each egg into the batter. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all of the egg is mixed into the batter.
  • Add the food coloring and cocoa paste and mix thoroughly.
  • Add one third of the flour mixture and one third of the buttermilk mixture. Repeat two more times to incorporate all the flour and buttermilk mixtures.
  • Just before baking the cake, mix together the baking soda and vinegar, and fold it gently into the batter.
  • Spread mixture into prepared pans.
  • Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Cool on wire racks.

    Chef's Note: Use the leftover vanilla bean pod to make vanilla-flavored sugar. Place the pod in one pound of sugar and store in an airtight container for one week.

    Note: If you are using a 6" x 2" heart-shaped pan: Fill 3/4 of the pan with batter. Use the remaining batter to make cupcakes: Line a cupcake tin with cupcake papers and fill 3/4 of each paper with batter. Fill 1/4 of each empty well with water to insure even baking. Bake in a 350°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

    GANACHE FILLING

    Makes 2 1/4 cups

    10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
    1 2/3 cups heavy cream
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter

    Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Heat 1 2/3 cups cream in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, just to a boil. Pout the hot cream over the chocolate and add the butter. Let mixture rest for 2-3 minutes and then stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the ganache is very smooth.

    Leftover ganache can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

    FONDANT ICING

    12 ounces fondant*

    Water based, flavorless food coloring as needed

    Place the fondant into a bowl and add a few drops of the food coloring and knead until thoroughly mixed. Adjust the color by adding more coloring until you reach desired color.

    Lightly dust the work surface with cornstarch. Roll fondant into a circle 1/8-inch thick. Frequently turn the fondant and dust additional cornstarch on top and underneath the fondant so that it does not stick to the work surface or to the rolling pin.

    Roll the sheet of fondant up with the rolling pin and drape it over the cake; ensure that there is enough fondant on all sides of the cake to cover it completely. Smooth the fondant over the cake with the palms of your hands or with a fondant smoother; try to push all air pockets that may form under the fondant as you smooth it. Once the excess fondant has been trimmed from the cake, smooth it over one final time with a fondant smoother to ensure that the surface is even.

    *Fondant can be purchased at craft stores or on-line.

    © 2007 The Culinary Institute of America

    Francisco Migoya is an assistant professor in baking and pastry arts at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA). Chef Migoya serves as chef instructor in the college's Apple Pie Bakery Café, a retail operation staffed by students in the CIA's baking and pastry degree programs. His class, titled Café Operations, provides students with realistic "hands-on" industry experience using their professional baking, pastry, and service skills.

    Before joining the CIA faculty in 2005, Chef Migoya was executive pastry chef for renowned chef Thomas Keller at the French Laundry, Bouchon Bakery, and Bouchon Bistro, all in Yountville, CA. He also served as pastry chef at Veritas Restaurant and pastry sous chef at ILO Restaurant in New York City. He held various pastry positions at The River Café in Brooklyn, NY, including head pastry chef.

    A native of Mexico City, Chef Migoya holds a certificate in culinary arts from La Universidad Anáhuac and a hotel and restaurant management degree from CESSA University, both in his home city. He also holds a French culinary diploma from Lycee d'Hotellerie et de Tourisme in Strasbourg, France. He is a Certified Master Baker (C.M.B) and Certified Hospitality Educator (C.H.E.).

    Chef Migoya was the winner of a silver medal in the New Star Dessert Search Contest at the Beaver Creek Culinary Classic Pastry Competition in 2000.

    -----LOW COST WEDDING-----

    We're just days away from Valentine's Day and romance is in the air. And that means engagements are coming soon! Joining us with low-cost suggestions out of the "Real Simple" weddings planning guide is the home editor, Kate Parker.

    Real Simple Weddings is NOT a book - it's a planning guide. It's available at realsimple.com, Crate and Barrel, or anywhere magazines are sold.

    The months between Christmas and Valentine's Day are the most popular times to get engaged. The engagement is over, and now the reality of the wedding planning sets in. Well, Real Simple is here to make it easy. Since our launch in 2000, our readers have been BEGGING us to simplify weddings. In fact, the word WEDDING is our number-one searched term on our website. Well, we finally listened and made our first-ever Real Simple Weddings, a planning guide designed to help save you time, money, and stress while planning your wedding.

    The first piece of advice - plan your wedding for January, February, March, or April. That's when the least amount of weddings occur. Between May and October, 70% of weddings are happening. Which means the prices for venues and vendors are skyrocketing. If you choose a day during the off season you can save up to 50% on the reception venue alone.

    REGISTRY

  • A lot of times, you come into a wedding/marriage with a lot of good stuff already. Maybe you have good flatware and your spouse-to-be has good dishware. Well, it makes no sense to register for the same things.
  • These days, many couples are thinking outside the box and registering for what they really want (and need)!
  • Register for big-ticket items like a couch, a nice table, or that espresso machine you've been eying.
  • Many popular retailers like Crate and Barrel offer you a discount on anything on your registry that has not been purchased, so the sky's the limit!
  • Websites like thebigday.com allow your guests to treat you on your honeymoon to a nice dinner, massages, or day trips.

    INVITATION

  • Choose a rectangular invitation rather than a square one which costs 17 cents more per invitation to mail
  • If you have a wedding of 300 people, you'll be spending $50 more on postage alone!
  • A wedding website is preferable to mailing?you can e-mail directions or a list of area activities and restaurants, etc., to save money AND trees!
  • Have guests fill in their RSVP cards with music requests which you can download to an iPod
  • This is a great way to save money on the big day as well - have a designated "wedding playlist" on your iPod that includes all of your favorite tunes as well as your guests'
  • Rent some nice speaker to attach to your iPod and make your very own DJ station
  • Guests will love hearing their beloved songs, and you can even make an iMix that they can download later as a memory of the evening's dances.

    FLOWERS

  • Avoid planning your wedding near the floral-heavy holidays of Mothers Day and Valentines Day because it's a matter of supply and demand - when there's a heavy need for flowers, the prices will be shoot up
  • You want to have gorgeous flowers, who doesn't? But a single orchid stem can cost $26! Look for flowers that are available year-round (for less than $2 a stem) such as Freesia, Snapdragon, and Incalilies.
  • Get creative: Many couples that we interviewed actually went to the farmer's market the day of the wedding and chose sunflowers for the centerpieces or in the aisles. They put them in a galvanized bucket or antique milk jugs.

    PHOTOS & VIDEO

  • Have a friend shoot the event then send the Amateur footage to a company that will create a custom wedding film from it
  • Talk to the venue of your wedding and your Photographer about using your wedding photos for promotional purposes - you'll get some free publicity AND a discount!

    -----COLLEGE SAVINGS-----

    The average cost of college tuition, room and board has risen faster than personal income, consumer prices and even health insurance over the last two decades.

    But, there are some ways to save now for your child's college education that will help you in the future. With tips is president of the AJK financial group, Alan Kahn.

    What is the Average Cost of College Today?

  • Private School Tuition, room & board = $42,000
  • State School (resident) Tuition, room & board = $18,000
  • State School (non-resident) Tuition, room & board = $25,000
    Does not include books, computers, spending money travel time or vacations!!

    What is the Best Way to Save for College?

    Section 529 College Savings Plans: These are State Sponsored savings programs that will allow you to Save Federally Tax-Free for your children's education, unlike UGTMA accounts, which are currently taxable. For State Residents, Will Also Grow State Tax-Free.

    How Much can Someone Gift to Each Child's College Savings Plan?

  • $12,000 per year, per child
  • Contributions can be as high as $60,000 per child in the first year of a 5-year period ($120,000 for married couples filing jointly). (Pre-loading the annual gift amount of $12,000 for the first 5 years).
  • Great Way to Gift - Grandparents, Parents, Aunts & Uncles.
  • Estate Tax Savings -- High contribution limits provide an effective way to lower taxable value of an estate.

    What about Tax Deductions & Tax Benefits?

  • State Tax-Deduction with NYS & CT Plans (NYS & CT Residents)
  • Up to $5,000 state tax deduction per person!!! ** $10,000 ** (married couples filing jointly!!!)
  • New Jersey Residents ~ No State Tax Deduction!!!
  • New York, CT and New Jersey Residents ~ Earnings exempt from Federal and State Taxes!!!!

    How Can You Find Out More Information About Your State's Plan? www.collegesavings.org - This website details each state's college savings plan and State tax incentives!! Upromise Rewards

  • Helps you save more for college!!
  • Get money back for college when you buy: Gas, Dine Out and Shop
  • Transfer your Upromise Savings Rewards to your Section 529 College Savings Plan!!

    -----ART OF ATTRACTION-----

    Ah... the day that is Valentine's Day... joyous for couples and lonely for singles. But if you are one of the singles out there, we have some help for you.

    Joining us with some practical tips for finding Mr or Mrs right is Marc Goldmann, the founder of jretromatch.com.

    If someone is not in a relationship as of yet, what are the things that they should do to attract that special someone?

    1) Become irresistibly attractive to yourself. You want love. You want romance. You want a relationship. And with all of those wants quite often comes a list of excuses for why it's not happening for you. What excuses do you have, and firmly believe to be true, where a simple reality-test -- a firm tug at the rope that is holding you back-- would show that the only thing holding you back is an old belief? Is it:

  • "I'm not attractive enough to meet someone."
  • "I don't make enough money to be desirable."
  • "I can't commit."
  • "I don't even know what I want in a partner." or
  • "I can't survive another relationship disappointment."

    Break that rope that is holding you back and become irresistibly attractive to yourself. If you do not feel attractive to yourself, then others will pick up on this and not be attracted to you or worse you will attract the wrong type of person that will help you perpetuate your outdated beliefs. Don't get bogged down in a old belief that might have been true years ago but rather free yourself of old and outdated realities and move into the present of who you are and embrace that person that includes both positive and negative traits. Which gets to point 2.

    2) Endorse your worst weakness- When you accept and honor the worst part of yourself, you are also setting your mindset to be more accepting of others. This acceptance therefore changes not only your outlook towards yourself but also your interaction with others. This does not mean that you should ignore the fact that you have certain weaknesses, it just means that you are choosing to acknowledge those weaknesses and grow from there. Then what happens subconsciously is that your realization that you have certain weaknesses in you makes you more open to accepting weaknesses and imperfections in others.

    3) Go towards something by setting positive goals- When accepting our weakness, we can also then positively strive to improve ourselves. Some examples include:

  • Don't phrase as Lose 15 lbs. rather Feel confident and attractive on the beach next summer
  • Don't phrase as Get out of debt rather Gain enough financial freedom to buy an apartment or house
  • Don't phrase as Stop dating fault-finding people rather Find a romantic partner who supports me, and makes feel great about myself

    4) Live in the present and see the how perfect the present really is- especially when it is clearly not perfect. We tend to color our life with one color brush. If you are unhappy with the fact that you are single. People tend to let one situation color all the great aspects of your current life. You might be in great physical shape, have amazing friends and family, have a job that you are excited to go to every morning or be in financial stability. You then forget about all of this because you are unhappy with one part of your life. Focus on your perfections and it will help make you more attractive to others.

    5) Get a fulfilling life rather than an impressive life style- Find meaningful friendships, stay close with family, find activities that promote positive values in your life (e.g. like a charitable organization and job that makes you feel good) rather than focusing on what is flashy, popular and high profile. We see on TV and read in the newspaper everyday that flashy lifestyles do not translate to happiness and meaningful relationships. If you are true to yourself and focus on creating a fulfilling life around you then you will also attract a person who has similar values, goals and is attracted to you for who you for your core rather than your car. This advice is true in all of life but extremely important when trying to find a person to share in your life.

    -----GIFTS FOR MEN-----

    Finding the perfect Valentine's Day present for your husband or boyfriend can be filled with the bad, the dreadful and the ugly, if you're not careful.

    Joining us this morning with what's in and what's out is Jared Willig, the asylum.com managing director.

    DON'T GET: Cheesy celeb cologne
    INSTEAD GET: Rockin sneakers (like Derek Jeter Nikes)
    Derek Jeter "Vitals" Air Jordans - $110.00, for more information on this, click here

    DONT GET: A bracelet
    INSTEAD GET: A really cool watch
    FOSSIL Round Dial - $75.00, for more information on this, click here

    DONT GET: A novelty tie
    INSTEAD GET: A great belt
    Salvatore Ferragamo Torre Suede Belt - $240.00 for more information on this, click here

    DONT GET: A man-purse
    INSTEAD GET: A stylish leather messenger bag
    J Crew Artisan Leather Messenger Bag - $175.00, for more information on this, click here


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