Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My New Favorite "Flat Belly" Recipe

This wonderfully decadent chocolate pudding is the perfect snack at the end of the day and provides you with plenty of healthy MUFAs (monounsaturated fatty acids) an essential part of attaining a flat belly, though you'd never know it! I developed this recipe after following a more-complicated (and more caloric!) recipe from the "Flat Belly Diet" book for chocolate pudding.

Decadent Dark Chocolate Pudding

1 (1.4 oz) Jell-0 instant fat-free, sugar free chocolate pudding mix
2 cups skim milk
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 small (1/2 cup size) tupperware containers with lids

Prepare pudding according to instructions on box. Melt 6 Tbsp (3/8 cup) chocolate chips in microwave on high for 45 to 60 seconds. Combine melted morsels with chocolate pudding (mixture will be lumpy). Divide pudding mixture between the 6 tupperware containers. Top each of the six puddings with 2 Tbsp chocolate morsels. Keep refrigerated until you're ready to enjoy them. I recommended heating it in the microwave on high for 20 seconds before's amazing, trust me...

Each serving counts as a "MUFA" and has approximately 215 calories.


For more information about Cailen Ascher Design or my upcoming book, Well-Designed Living, visit or email

Monday, February 23, 2009

Coping Mechanisms

I was inspired to write this blog because of a journaling prompt found in the Flat Belly Diet book. For today, we were asked to list 5 non-food indulgences to help us cope when we're feeling like we want to turn to food when we're not truly hungry. As I thought about it, I realized how important it is for all of us to reflect and develop a non-food indulgences list. So many of us don't take time to pamper and take care of ourselves, unless it's with food, because that's "allowable". We've been conditioned to believe that we're not supposed to take time off from our responsibilities unless it serves some necessary, vital purpose.

Today, take a few minutes to think about how you would nurture or reward yourself if you could not turn to food. Would you take a short walk outside and get fresh air? Read a chapter of a book you've been dying to start? Watch your favorite TV show or sitcom? Talk to a friend?

To help you begin brainstorming, I'll share my list with you:
1. Play the piano.
2. Watch a design program on HGTV.
3. Plan a vacation (a.k.a. look at pretty places online that I'd love to visit).
4. Take some alone time.
5. Call Craig (my boyfriend).

As you can see, they don't have to be extravagant or expensive. They just have to be something that will feed your soul, instead of fill your stomach.

Happy indulging!

For more information about Cailen Ascher Design or my upcoming book, Well-Designed Living, visit or email

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Flat Belly Progress Report

Well, the 32 day initiation to the "Flat Belly Diet" is drawing to a close. Tomorrow is our last official day of the introductory month, and I'm proud to say it was an extremely successful month. As of yesterday, my dad is down 20lbs and my mom is down 11lb!!! They are both so pleased with their results and love the program so much, we're going to stick to it without much revision for the next month. We haven't taken final measurements yet, but we're all anxious to see how many inches we've lost over the past 4 1/2 weeks (as of last time she checked, about a week ago, my mom's waist was already down 3 inches).

The best part of the "Flat Belly Diet" is the program's flexibility. You can really tailor it to your likes and dislikes. The recipes offered in the book are very good, and if you're diligent about portion control, including a MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acid such as olive oil, avocado, pesto, olives, etc.) and evaluating calories, you have the freedom to create your own recipes quite easily. I would suggest, however, for the first few weeks to adhere to the book's recipes, just until to get the hang of it.

I highly recommend this program to anyone who is looking for a healthy eating regimen to excite their appetite and refuel their energy for healthy living!

For more information about Cailen Ascher Design or my upcoming book, Well-Designed Living, visit or email

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Eating Better Made Easy

In the January issue of Better Homes & Gardens they had a great article entitled "Healthy You". It offered valuable information about healthy living, losing weight, and the benefits of exercise. Taking my cues from that, I've summarized a bit of the article regarding eating better. So many of us strive to eat better and live healthier lives, but sometimes we don't know where to start. It's intimidating to think of making big changes and altering what is probably a pretty comfortable routine. With that said, here are some small (and easy) changes to help you start eating better today!

Smaller Plates - Using smaller dinnerware is a simple way to control portion sizes. Your plate will look plentiful, so you won't feel deprived even though you're eating less!

Leave Something Behind - Leave a little bit of your food on your plate at the end of each meal. So many of us finish everything on our plates - whether we're hungry for it or not. Leaving a bit of food puts you back in control (instead of the food controlling you).

Eat Breakfast - Skipping meals sets you up for overeating later. Breakfast, especially, is such an important meal. It revs your metabolism and will curb bingeing as the day wears on.

Add More Fruits/Veggies - You probably could have guessed this one on your own, but filling up on fruits and vegetables when hungry reduces your tendency to overeat less-nutritious foods. So fill 1/2 to 3/4 of your plate with fresh vegetables and fruit and then fill the remainder with whatever else you would enjoy!

Fill Up With Fiber - Foods with fiber fill you up faster, leave you feeling full longer, and are a great weight-loss tool. Vegetables and legumes are naturally rich in fiber so make sure to enjoy some of them throughout your day.

H20 - Make sure (especially in this cold, winter weather) to stay hydrated. So often, we mistake thirst for hunger and wind up eating when we're really in need of a tall glass of water. Plus, a few extra glasses of water will help to keep your skin hydrated during this chilly weather.

These simple tricks provide you with a great foundation for healthy eating. Start by incorporating just a few into your routine, and I bet you'll see a difference!

Happy (and healthy) Eating!

For more information about Cailen Ascher Design or my upcoming book, Well-Designed Living, visit or email

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Week by Week

In order to steadily keep my business, Cailen Ascher Design, moving forward, I recently developed a week by week schedule to help me accomplish all the tasks I typically need to do in a month's time. I'm hoping this week by week approach will help me to be more efficient and declutter my mind and workspace!

This is the outline of the schedule:

Week 1 - distribute advertising to local establishments, send mailings
Week 2 - research week - read design books, magazines & websites, do Interior Design Institute work
Week 3 - work on my book and organize, declutter, and consolidate my workspace
Week 4 - develop, print, and organize advertising and mailings

By giving myself a one week time frame to accomplish each of these tasks, it will keep me moving forward without depleting my energy. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by all that is before me, I'll be concentrated on that week's tasks, and not ping-pong all over the place trying to get everything accomplished at once. Obviously, not all of these tasks take a full week's time, but that allows for flexibility within the week. Also, as you can see, week 1's task is contingent upon completing week 4's...this will hold me accountable to getting things done on time!

For anyone else who is starting a new business or taking on a big project - why not try making a week by week outline. It will get you moving, keep you on task, and by the week's end, you'll feel like you've really made progress and accomplished something!

For more information about Cailen Ascher Design or my upcoming book, Well-Designed Living, visit or email
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