Welcome to the Fakeout Diet

When takeout just isn’t an option…there’s the fakeout diet.

As promised, the recipe experimentation has started in earnest in the newly low-fat Storybook Life household. Yes, the fridge is stocked with lots of whole foods like mahi-mahi, zucchini, and apples. And yes, some menu standards – pasta with tomato sauce and oatmeal among them – are still hanging around.

But for the most part, my diet has gone through an overhaul. I’m confident that the change will lead me to some great new recipes that I never would have found, like my favorite low-iodine black bean and corn salad, which I tweaked this weekend to remove the avocado and add sweet peppers and fat-free lime-basil dressing and have already made a second batch of.  That’s the reason there’s a block of tofu sitting in my fridge, waiting to be transformed into something low-fat and addictive. (And yeah, if you have any awesome, low-fat and addictive tofu recipes, send ‘em on over….)

There seem to be two camps of dieters: the ones who don’t try to recreate versions of their favorite meals and treats, because they could never stack up to the original, and the ones who know that fruit just can’t serve as an adequate chocolate dessert replacement forever.

(Gee, do you wonder which group I fall into?)

Actually, I guess I’m somewhere in the middle. I miss cheese desperately, but I remember the fat-free cheese I ate back when fat-free stuff was all the rage, and it was gross. I’m just going to have to live without cheese.

Good news, though: It turns out that I’m not going to have to live without chocolate. And I’m not just talking about chocolate sorbet, though in a pinch, that’s a fair stand-in for a chocolate cone.

I made brownies this weekend, people. And chocolate cake! (And I forgot to take pictures, so you’re just going to have to trust me. I’ll take pictures the next time.)

They were created from the height of fakeout recipes, and neither sounds particularly great in the raw stage, but trust me, they’re not half bad once baked. (And remember, I’ve had to slightly adjust my expectations downward.) Added bonus: they are incredibly easy to make, for those playing along at home.

For the brownies:

1 box brownie mix (but none of that chips-in-the-mix, awesome quality boxed mix stuff. Talking straight up Betty Crocker here)

1 15 oz. can black beans

Drain and rinse the beans. Pour the beans back into the can, fill the can with water (essentially the water is taking the place of the salty canning liquid)

Puree the beans and water in a blender. Add to brownie mix. Mix thoroughly.

Bake according to package directions (though I undercooked them by a couple of minutes, given the lack of fat to keep them from drying out).

Let brownies cool long enough that you won’t burn yourself taking them out of the pan. Try to remind yourself that although they are low fat and made with virtuous black beans, they still have a decent amount of calories and you probably shouldn’t eat the whole pan in one sitting. Then eat the pan in several sittings over the course of the weekend.

For the cake:

1 box devil’s food cake mix

1 can diet coke (or 12 oz. diet coke from a bottle)

*Note: you can change this recipe up by using yellow cake and Sprite, or other combinations. But why would you want to?

Mix the cake mix and the coke. Watch the science experiment unfold as the carbonation in the coke interacts with the dry ingredients.

Bake as directed (though I underbaked again a bit). “Frost” with fat-free cool whip. Eat whatever cool whip is left after frosting the cake. (It’s fat free and basically is just a tub of chemicals. What harm can it do?)

Eat cake and realize that it tastes not a ton like normal devil’s food cake, but vaguely like a devil dog, which is totally OK.


Full disclosure: Not all baking experiments this weekend went so smoothly. My sister has been good enough to test a few ideas out, too, and they didn’t all rate quite so highly. Her husband’s reaction to one attempt: “It’s not good. It’s moist, but dry at the same time.” Not exactly blue-ribbon judging, there. Stay tuned for a future guest blog post from her on that, and more.


Also as promised, I tested out a few mocktail recipes this weekend. The fake cosmo (basically cranberry juice, sweetened lime juice, and club soda) was just OK, and my attempt at a fake strawberry daiquiri went unfinished on the first hot day of the year. But I did find two winners in the bunch: a non-alcoholic raspberry mojito (dubbed the “faux-jito”) and fake white sangria, both of which went into the “definitely repeat” category.

Raspberry faux-jito (makes 1):

4-5 raspberries

few mint leaves

2T simple syrup (easiest to make a small batch, which is 1/2 water, 1/2 sugar, brought to a boil, simmered for a couple of minutes, cooled)

2 lime wedges

1-2T lime juice (sweetened or unsweetened, depending on your taste)

Muddle all together in the bottom of a glass. Add ice and club soda. Stir and sip, or guzzle.

Drink up!

One thought on “Welcome to the Fakeout Diet

  1. I will vouch for the vaguely Devil Dog-like chocolate cake – pretty good! My sip of sangria was also tasty. I think I’ll give the black bean brownies a try at some point. I’ve heard about them for years but have never actually made them. As you know, the baked treats coming out of my kitchen for parties and such would never be included on a low-fat diet . . .

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