Carrot-Cake Cookies

Mmmm, desserts! What would life be like without them? Eating healthily is a huge passion of mine but to be honest, I enjoy the act of making sweets more. This may come as a shock, but I don’t actually “healthilize” my desserts. I figure I’d rather indulge in the real thing and do it only occasionally than compromise on taste by adding whole-wheat flour or breaking the bank by using a cup of honey. There is one thing that I always use though, and that’s butter (rather than margarine or processed oils). We actually go through a LOT of butter in our house. :)

My favorite desserts are ones that incorporate veggies or fruits into them such as banana bread or zucchini bread. I recently came across another recipe that I really like by Martha Stewart. They’re called “Carrot-cake cookies” and while they don’t totally taste like carrot cake, they ARE delicious! With a cream cheese “filling” they’re a bit fancier than the average cookie and totally scrumptious! I did substitute raisins for the currants.

Martha Stewart: Carrot-Cake Cookies

Here’s another version that I’d like to try that includes crushed pineapple:
Allrecipes: Carrot-Cake Cookies

Life is too short to eat yucky food

I have my husband rate my cooking. I started doing this because when I would ask him how he liked the food, his descriptions were less than informative. So now he rates each meal between a 1 and a 10. Men can be hard to understand but a rating makes it much clearer. Most of my meals lately seem to be a 7.
However, I’m not content to live with a seven.

My GOAL: to develop a menu where every meal we eat is a 9 or a 10. Life is too short to eat anything less!

Think about it. If delicious, healthy food is just a matter of finding the right recipes and developing the appropriate skills, then why settle for mediocre meals.

You might think eating healthy is too expensive. While I think it CAN be it doesn’t HAVE to be. Processed foods are what can really break you. We live on a pretty modest income and yet I am still able to buy fresh, whole food on a regular basis. It’s just a matter of prioritizing and knowing how best to buy. It isn’t always necessary to buy organic. Some produce has higher levels of pesticides than others. For instance, I usually buy conventional broccoli, bananas and avocados but I try to only buy organic apples, grapes & peaches.

IF it is possible to make delicious, healthy, food and still live within our budget, why would I do otherwise?

And so, I keep trying. Despite many setbacks I’m determined to press on, because the health and happiness of my family is worth it. Giving us the best odds for avoiding chronic illnesses is worth it. Smiles around the family table are worth it.

Keep in mind that there’s a difference between health-food and healthy food. Check out my post on Health Food vs. Whole Food to see why.

Thrifty Kitchen Tip: Brown Sugar

image Are you doing a lot of holiday baking this year? Here’s a little tip to help you save when recipes call for brown sugar. My mother taught me this growing up. All you have to do to make brown sugar is pour a little molasses in with plain white sugar and voila! The more molasses you add the “darker” the sugar will be. Molasses keeps for a LONG time too. I keep mine in the fridge but you can also store it at room temperature.
On a side note, a spoonful of molasses a day can help to keep your iron levels up. I was slightly anemic while pregnant and my midwife suggested I take molasses. 

Baklava!

imageI tried my hand at making Baklava the other day. I’m planning on freezing it so we can get it out to celebrate after the baby is born. This is a sentimental thing for me since my parents made Baklava when I was born at home!
Amy Carroll has a great baklava tutorial that I used. I love how she adds grated orange peel! The only thing I did differently was to make it with pecans instead of walnuts & almonds (they were all out at the store). It did take longer than I thought because of all the layers and the fillo dough was a little tricky at first. After tasting it though I can say it was well worth the effort! It took a great deal of self-control not to eat more than one piece!

Green Smoothies

image Green smoothies are all the rage right now. I recently made my first one and was immediately hooked! The “green” part comes from anything green (like raw kale, spinach, parsley or other greens). Then you add an assortment of fruit and blend it all together in a blender. This is a great way to get the incredible benefits of raw greens in a tasty way. Now I have a use for all that kale we’ve been getting from the farm!

The beauty of green smoothies is that you can make them with just about anything! Experiment with different combinations of fruit/greens. Just to give you an example, here’s the recipe I’ve been using (this is just what I had on hand):

Raw, de-veined Kale
Pineapple juice
1 Peach
2 Bananas
1 c. blueberries (made the smoothie not quite as bright green but still tasty!)

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