At first glance, these recipes from Debra Bowen probably won’t strike you as dishes for the calorie-conscious. But Debra and her husband, Larry, lost 30 pounds each a year ago and have managed to keep every bit of it off, even while enjoying their favorite foods, like beefy nachos, Debra’s own baked chicken salad and juicy steak pinwheels.
The keys to keeping the weight off, Debra says, are learning to eat in moderation and getting in the habit of replacing the regular ingredients in your favorite dishes with low-fat and fat-free items.
With nachos, for instance, she uses extra lean ground beef, browned and drained well, and reduced-fat nacho chips. And in nachos and nearly everything else, she opts for reduced- and no-fat cheeses, soups, milk and sour cream.
“You usually can’t tell a bit of difference, so you can keep eating the things you love without feeling guilty,” the Randolph County resident says.
Of course, not all recipes are meant to be slimmed down, and such is the case with the Fresh Apple Caramel Cake recipe that a friend, Ann Yates, passed along to Debra a few years ago. According to Debra, this cake is to die for. It’s the one thing that, if somebody were to tell Debra she could eat all she wanted of any one food and never gain weight, this would be it.
She makes it quite often, too, including any time there’s a covered-dish dinner after church on Sunday. “If I didn’t make this cake, I might as well not show up,” Debra says.
Debra, Larry and daughter, Adrieona, 6, live on the outskirts of Woodland, about halfway between Woodland and Wedowee. Larry works full time for the phone company and raises registered Beefmaster cattle on the side; Debra’s a full-time homemaker and stay-home mom. They’re both Randolph County Farmers Federation leaders—Larry serving as president and Debra as Women’s Committee chairman.
While Adrieona is the Bowens’ only child, Debra does have an older daughter, Bethany, who has blessed her with two granddaughters, ages 7 and 3.
“I was rocking and reading to my first grandbaby while I was pregnant with my second child,” Debra says. “Not too many people can say that.”