A couple of days ago, I received some terrible news: my doctor had informed me that I had gained four pounds.
Okay, so gaining four pounds is hardly life-changing, terrible, or considered a tragedy by most people’s definitions, and I mean, I did just get back from NYC where I did eat my weight in food, so I guess it’s somewhat justified? Anyways, he didn’t make me feel any better when he informed me I had gained ten pounds over the last year. I mean, I kinda wanted to go choke and die on a maple bar when I heard the news. Awful, right?
So when my mom told me she had joined this local high-tech gym and she could bring a buddy along, I jumped at the chance to sweat out the sugar. But there were two problems with this gym excursion. One, I was terribly out of shape and three minutes running at a moderate pace on the treadmill nearly did me in (but my dignity died first), and Two, I am new to this whole gym thingie.
This particular gym is HUGE and has sanitizing stations with towels and Purell dispensers at like, every other machine. And as I huffed and puffed my way on the treadmill, I’d notice most of the people would wipe off their machines when they finished so their sweat wasn’t all over another person’s ish. However, some people didn’t wipe off the machines and I didn’t think much of it because they weren’t disgustingly sweaty or they weren’t on the machines very long to warrant a huge deep-cleaning.
But when I machine-hopped, I instantly felt people judging me. I’d do MAYBE fifteen leg lifts and then get off the machine. I’d examine the equipment: my short stint doing half-assed leg lifts left nary a mark, stain, or appearance that anyone had even thought about working out, much less actually used the machine. But when I’d look up at people ellipticalling the night away, I’d see them boring their judge-y gym-people eyes into me with a look of disgust. Is she really not going to sanitize that machine? Helloooo, she sat on it for like, six seconds. That’s so gross!!
So ultimately I got really self-conscious of these gym people and began sanitizing the living heck out of everything in my path. I’d stand on a machine for one second, realize I didn’t want to use it, and race over to the sanitize station to thoroughly saturate a paper towel with solution and douse the machine in antibacterial-ness so people wouldn’t think I was gross. I repeated this over and over and over because I’m fickle and hate working out, thus this combination results in me working at an average machine for aboooout 1 minute.
But then, I started noticing that people were looking at me weird for sanitizing ev.er.y.thing. OMG, she is TOTALLY wasting paper towels and sanitizer! She wasn’t even on the machine that long; does she really think she’s even sweating enough to warrant a run to the sanitizing station every 32 seconds? This girl is obviously an OCD freak.
So I stood there, uncertainty flooding me as I toed the border of sanitation guidelines in modern-day gyms. And then I went home and ate frozen yogurt with sprinkles on it for a reward. Those legs weren’t going to kick themselves without incentive, psh.
Baaack to NYC for a sec: while I was there, I had to promise my dad I’d eat an authentic cannoli. I mean, I was basically told I’d be homeless if I didn’t try one. I really enjoyed the cannolis from Martha’s Bakery in Astoria. The ricotta filling was sweet but not cloyingly so, and the pastry was crispy, flaky and absolutely perfect. Plus, I loved that it wasn’t TOO overwhelming with the chocolate chips since I am weird and don’t like too many chocolate chips in my desserts.
And since I couldn’t very well transport a suitcase full of cannolis home for my family, I decided to make them at home. But the easy way. And skinnified, because my doctor intimidates me. The result was every bit as authentically delicious as a traditional cannoli, just with lower fat and less calories, and done WAY simpler.
If only the gym could be simplified.
Skinny Cannoli Cones *adapted slightly from Hungry Girl’s recipe
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp fat-free ricotta cheese
- ⅔ cup Cool Whip Free, thawed
- 1 Tbsp sugar free/fat free instant vanilla pudding mix
- 2 tsp white sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 5 Tbsp miniature chocolate chips, divided
- 6 sugar cones (like by Keebler or Joy brand)
- In a medium bowl, beat together the ricotta cheese, Cool Whip, pudding mix, sugar and vanilla extract with a handheld electric mixer until combined and fluffy. Stir in THREE (3) Tablespoons of the miniature chips by hand to incorporate.
- Using a quart-sized Ziploc baggy or a pastry bag, gently spoon the filling into the bag, sealing out the air. Snip off a corner tip of the bag and gently pipe the filling evenly among the cones. To make this easier, I used small cups to hold two cones each while I work, keeping the cones upright.
- Sprinkle the tops of the cones with the remaining miniature chips, and serve! Store leftovers in the fridge for a day or so. If you'd like, you could even dust the tops with powdered sugar, or drizzle the cones with sugar free chocolate syrup!
Um, holy cannoli! I really hope you enjoy these as much as my family did because they’re SO good. Usually, the idea of making the cannoli pastry seems daunting. The fact that you use a sugar cone as the cannoli “cone” makes things so much easier, yet tastes similar enough to the pastry that you won’t miss it. And the filling is sweet and slightly tangy, whipped to a light and dreamy perfection and mixed with the right amount of chocolate chips to keep things interesting without neither the ricotta or the chocolate from being too overpowering. I also LOVE that this recipe is so versatile: you could totally make different flavored cannoli creams by switching out the pudding mix and extracts. Imagine using banana cream, butterscotch, pistachio.. the list goes on!
And be sure to stay tuned for another yummy & skinny cannoli recipe coming soon!!
Have a wonderful day!