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Category Archives: holiday cooking

4 Holiday Baking Tips for Healthy Moms

Gluten -Free German Chocolate Cake

Gluten -Free German Chocolate Cake

Holiday baking! What a lot of thoughts and images it conjures up for me: time with my mom, fun, family, sharing, sugar!, chocolate, red and green sparkles and cookie cutters, science and cool nesting measuring spoons, nifty gadgets like sifters and beaters and things that plug in, aluminum foil, square shaped pans and cookie racks, tummy aches, angst, worry, over eating, eating secretly while no one is looking, getting fat, feeling gross. What a loaded activity holiday baking is! Or is it just me?

I’ve been meditating on this for a few weeks and I have some thoughts. I have just finished a 12-week transformational health course and have learned a great deal about the importance of what I put into my body (and what I put into my children’s bodies). It’s good that we, as women and mothers, understand the complexities and importance of today’s food situation.

4 Tips Healthy For Holiday Baking

1. Bake and Give

Yes! Bake away with your kids and let them add salt, pour in nuts and beat. Are they old enough to stir the chocolate while it melts in the pot? Go for it. Make a batch or two of your favorite treats and keep ¼ of what you made for your family. You (mom) have some! Have 3 or 4 bites. Enough to taste and get a little kick – but not too much so that you get a tummy ache. Then divide up the rest, wrap in cellophane and a ribbon and hand out to your mail deliverer, your neighbors and your favorite barista at your local coffee place. Share the love (and the calories) and don’t miss out on the fun of baking!

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2. Explore with Healthy Ingredients

Start from scratch (from “nothing”) and don’t be afraid of agave, almond flour, and dark chocolate and organic oatmeal! Ok, maybe your cake just like  Duncan Hines – but do you KNOW what actually goes into that stuff???

Duncan Hines Classic Cake Mix: ­­Sugar, Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour (Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Vegetable Oil Shortening (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Propylene Glycol Mono- and Diesters Of Fats, Mono and Diglycerides), Leavening (Sodium Bicarbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate). Contains 2% Or Less Of: Wheat Starch, Salt, Dextrose, Poly

glycerol Esters Of Fatty Acids, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Cellulose Gum, Artificial Flavors, Xanthan Gum, Maltodextrin, Modified Cornstarch, Colored with (Yellow 5 Lake, Red 40 Lake).

 I don’t think I need to explain why you might not want to put this stuff into your body. And I don’t know what some of those things are! Just reme

mber this lovely phrase I heard on NRP recently:

“If it’s made by a plant, eat it. If it’s made in a plant, DON’T eat it.” — Anonymous

fozen bananas

Everyday we teach our children. Pretend they’ve never had a chocolate chip cookie and the first one they try is called a “Healthalicious Holiday Cookies” (recipe coming). It has dark chocolate (improves cholesterol and sugar levels), dried cherries (which reduce muscle soreness, help with sleep and are loaded with antioxidants) almond flour (gluten-free, low in carbohydrates, high in fiber and a high source of protein) and grass fed cow butter (It’s got more carotene because it comes from cows that eat fresh vegetation rich in the stuff. It comes from pasture to ruminant to digestive tract to butterfat to butter to you). I think their head might explode in delight!  Let’s reform our baking traditions by stirring up health!

3. No Excuses

I see articles called something like, “How to Not Gain 10 Pounds over the Holidays”. Ok – so here is my latest thinking. It’s a cop out. I know this might sound harsh, but the holidays become an excuse for people to binge and pig out. It’s the holidays – so what! Light the menorah, bring clothes to the homeless, play music, and write cards to friends. That’s “the holidays” too and those things don’t make us put on weight and turn away from our SEVLES and our HEALTH. Let’s focus on this: Here we are! We are lucky to be here now, to have another Christmas, to be healthy and to be around our families, TO BE ALIVE! Let’s celebrate with light and health – not saturated, genetically modified corn oil.

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You may be thinking, how can I avoid it? There are treats everywhere I go! To that I say:  How do you get thru Valentine’s Day? Easter? Halloween? Thanksgiving? 4th of July? Taking the kids for ice cream? There are doughnuts to be had on every other street corner and caramelized, frothy, whip creamed, double cappuccinos on EVERY corner (with artificial flavoring that some people think keeps you thin! HA! – more on that later).Just have ONE bite, or walk away and drink some water… take a breathe and wish yourself love for giving yourself the greatest gift – health and a body that feels great!

And that leads me to my last tip for holiday baking and not binging…

4. How to Eat Holiday Treats in a Healthy Way

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Ok. We are human. I have a weakness for fudge and sometimes it has been hard for me

to stop at one piece.  I admit it. I find that a substitution plan works nicely for me. I think of any white grains (white rice, wheat pasta, white bread, bagels) and even potatoes as straight sugar. I don’t eat the white stuff anymore. Even the brown rice grain turns to sugar eventually.  So let’s say I have a piece of fudge. I tell myself… “yum that was delicious! And tonight, even though I might be making pasta for my family, I will have chicken and veggies – no grains. That will help balance out my carb/sugar intake and will also give me a sense of control around my body and my health. Good plan Deb. Now go drink a glass of water.”

I hope you have a wonderful time baking and creating sweet treats with your little sugarplums. Oh, and when they are not looking, sneak in some pureed beats or spinach – it’s fun to see them devour brownies that you know are loaded with veggies!!! Ha Ha – my children WILL eat well!!!

Now go preheat your oven!

 

Carmelized Chocolate Matzoh

Cooking with Kids: Fun cooking project/teacher gift!
Want to do a fun project with your kids and make inexpensive and yummy treats for teachers and/or neighbors? Try this caramelized chocolate matzo! We went to a thrift store and found these cute dishes (50 cents each!) to hold this holiday treat. All told, these 4 containers cost about $5 each and took about 20 minutes to make!
p.s. i love baking with my children but do not enjoy the icky feeling of having eaten too much sugar.  My policy? Bake and Give… Bake and Give (but I do recommend having a few SMALL bites to enjoy before you giving it all away!)
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Chocolate-Caramelized  Matzoh



Makes approximately 30 pieces of candy

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4 to 6 sheets unsalted matzohs
1 cup unsalted butter1 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
big pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup toasted sliced almonds (optional)
  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet (approximately 11 x 17) completely with foil, making sure the foil goes up and over the edges.
    Preheat the oven to 375F .
  2. Line the bottom of the sheet with matzoh, breaking extra pieces as necessary to fill in any spaces.
  3. In a 4 quart heavy duty saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together, and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the butter is melted and the mixture is beginning to boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add vanilla, and pour over matzoh, spreading with a heatproof spatula.
  4. Put the pan in the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes. As it bakes, it will bubble up but make sure it’s not burning every once in a while. If it is in spots, remove from oven and reduce the heat to 325, then replace the pan.
  5. Remove from oven and immediately cover with chocolate chips. Let stand 5 minutes, then spread with an offset spatula.
  6. If you wish, sprinkle with toasted almonds (or another favorite nut, toasted and coarsely-chopped), a sprinkle of flaky sea salt, or roasted cocoa nibs.
Let cool completely, then break into pieces and store in an airtight container until ready to serve. It should keep well for about one week. Or wrap up in pretty thrift store dishes with ribbon and make your teachers and neighbors HAPPY!
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St. Paddy’s Day Pancakes!

Dia dhuit ar maidin! (Good morning!)
Shamrock Pancakes
How fun, funny and easy it is to make your March mornings festive with these shamrock pancakes! Simply dye your favorite pancake batter green and pour out 3 or 4 (if you want to be lucky) circles (leaves) and a stem. For the truly talented pourers out there, try a top hat or even a leprechaun!
Our favorite pancake mix comes from Sears Fine Foods. We order it thru their website when we can’t get up there to pick it up ourselves.
 

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