You may know that it's possible to make healthier versions of your favorite convenience foods at home but why would you? After all, they’re called convenience foods for a reason.
Blogger and best-selling author Sarah Matheny shows just how easy it is to make healthier treats, such as her Thin Mint Cookies and Homemade PopTarts, and explains why it's worth your time in the kitchen.
Matheny suggests that by going through the extra effort of making homemade snacks, we'll cut back on the overall amount of these "sometimes" foods we're eating.
"You aren't going to spend an hour making homemade cookies every day," she explained, "which is a good thing, because you probably shouldn't be eating cookies every day anyway."
Also, by making your own homemade snack foods, you control the quality and amount of ingredients used.
"If you can't pronounce it, it has no business in your food," said Matheny. "And I'm pretty sure my grocery store doesn't carry sodium benzoate anyway."
Not only can you eliminate unnecessary food dyes and preservatives, she adds, but you can use lower amounts of sugar and make healthy substitutions like whole-grain flours instead of refined and unsweetened applesauce in place of hydrogenated oils.
Sarah shares how to make two recipes - Thin Mint Cookies and Kale Chips - from her new book, More Peas, Thank You.
RANCH KALE CHIPS
cooking spray or oil,
to grease baking sheet
1 bunch of kale, de-stemmed
and cut into bite-size pieces
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1⁄4 teaspoon dry mustard
1⁄4 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet by lightly
greasing with cooking spray or oil.
2 Spread kale pieces evenly on the baking sheet. Squeeze lemon
juice over the kale.
3 In a small bowl, combine garlic powder, onion powder, mustard,
dill, parsley and salt.
4 Sprinkle spice blend over the top of the kale.
5 Bake kale for 20 to 25 minutes, turning every ten minutes or so.
Watch kale carefully toward the end of the baking time as it will
burn if left unattended. Chips should be crisp and light. Serve
THIN MINT COOKIES
Makes 15 to 20 cookies
1⁄2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1⁄2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup organic sugar
1⁄2 cup cocoa powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1⁄4 cup plus 1 teaspoon coconut oil
1⁄4 cup nondairy milk or organic milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1⁄2 cup nondairy chocolate chips
2 teaspoons mint extract
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, combine flours, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In a small bowl, mix together applesauce, 1⁄4 cup of the coconut oil, milk and vanilla.
4. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and blend until just combined.
5. Scoop dough out with a small scoop or a tablespoon and place an inch or two apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press each into a circle with your fingers.
6. Bake cookies for 12 to 14 minutes. Allow cookies to cool completely on the cookie sheet.
7. To prepare chocolate coating, melt together chocolate chips, the remaining teaspoon of coconut oil and mint extract in the microwave or a double boiler. Dip the top of each cookie into the mint chocolate mixture and transfer to a wax paper–lined plate or platter. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, or until chocolate is set, before eating.
Nutrition information per serving: 80 calories, 4 g total fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 100 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 5 g sugar, <1 g protein, vitamin A 0%, vitamin C 0%, calcium 0%, iron 2%
Based on 20 cookies.
You can find more of Sarah Matheny's tips and healthy and delicious recipes in her new cookbook More Peas, Thank You as well as on her website peasandthankyou.com.