Monday, November 23, 2009

"Healthify" new word in cooking

I am not a gourmet cook by any stretch, however since meeting my husband over ten years ago (who is Italian and was spoiled by his father's superb homemade cooking growing up), I have learned. I can honestly say that I hold my own in the kitchen.

After I had both children and they stopped eating baby food, suddenly what they were eating and its' nutritional value became very important to me. I wanted my children to grow up with healthy eating habits that would last a lifetime.

Now please don't misinterpret what I just said. By no means are we health food fanatics. I still feed my children fast food occasionally. We do have snacks in our house for after dinner. I usually have some kind of ice cream in the freezer at all times, and we definitely get on kicks where what we consume for days on end leaves something to be desired.

But one of my hobbies still remains taking everyday recipes for things like pancakes, muffins, bread and revamping them to make them really healthy, but keeping them tasting really good. (After all what good is it to spend a couple of hours busting your hump in the kitchen making your loved ones a super healthy baked good to have them take one bite, cringe, and tell you how nasty they are!)

What's the trick here?


It is easy to "Healthify" as I like to call it, a recipe by not going overboard on the health nut stuff! Start out making small modifications to the original recipe and test the results on the ones that matter... your kids! If it goes well, on the next try maybe cut back on unnecessary things like sugar or swap one of the not so healthy ingredients for a more nutritional substitute. When a recipe calls for flour I generally like to use 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 regular white flour. That way my kids are getting some wholesome fiber added in and the texture doesn't become to gritty for their liking.

Another favorite addition to all my baked good recipes: Ground Flax Seed. When you add ground flax seed to your recipes you send the nutritional value of foods through the roof!! (Make sure it is ground seed not whole, that won't work as well, save the whole seeds to sprinkle on salads, Yummy!!)

In case you aren't familiar with the benefits of ground flax seed look here. There are too many to list but check it out and see how easy it is to benefit from making flax seed a part of your diet!

Another thing, don't be afraid to push the envelope when you "healthify" your recipes. Your official taste testers will let you know when you have gone to far. When that happens revert back to the last recipe that was still successful. Making extreme changes on your first try will NOT go over well, repeat, will NOT go over well with the taste testers. Start out slow!!

Here is a great recipe for banana muffins to start out with, assuming your family enjoys banana muffins of course!

I will post the original and then I will show you the "Healthified" version. (Jeez, I like my new word! It just flows of the tongue. Try it... healthified.
Ok, I have officially lost my mind now!! Where were we???)

Ah yes, banana muffins!

Original Recipe and photo: Courtesy of All

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, melted

My "Healthified" Version: Changes are in green
3/4c whole wheat flour
3/4c flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large bananas mashed
1/2c sugar
1 egg
1/3c smart balance
2 tablespoons ground flax seed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat muffin pans with non-stick spray, or use paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
Combine bananas, sugar, egg, and melted butter in a large bowl. Fold in flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Scoop into muffin pans.
Bake in preheated oven. Bake mini muffins for 10 to 15 minutes, and large muffins for 25 to 30 minutes. Muffins will spring back when lightly tapped.

For beginners, this is a great recipe to test out and for those experts in the field take a look and tell me what you think. What else could you do to "healthify" this recipe? I would love to hear ideas.

Have fun, experiment, and enjoy!!

1 comment:

  1. I think the recipe sounds delicious and can't wait to try it...also if you wanted to go even a step farther you could use Splenda or Truvia as a substutute for the sugar...I love cooking with Splenda and in baked items it's not very different than using regular sugar


So what did ya' think???