I’m currently in the middle of reading The End of Overeating (Fave Reads Friday coming soon) and have been watching documentaries (like I always do, most recent was Sugar Coated) on Netflix and it’s been making me think a lot about food. I’ve written many times about Mindful Eating and I posted an activity for you to try with the experience as part of the May Meditation series How to Meditate. In the news of late we’ve had stories from the FDA about wanting to redefine the term HEALTHY (you can read why I hate that term here) and new information regarding GMOs. My big take away from all of my “research” is that I still want to eat more seasonally and more whole foods. But how do you do this when it comes to a family of four and two adults with very different takes on food?
This is where I believe that moderation comes into play and you have to define for you, your family, etc what your “healthy” is. Monique over at Ambitious Kitchen wrote a great piece on this recently as part of her Wednesday Wellness series. For me the definition is simple….I want food that fuels us on the regular and food that celebrates on the occasion. My mother in law’s birthday is coming up next week and she has already sent me the recipe for her cake this year. She had two requests though….first no applesauce (I frequently use this in place of oil when baking) and second no almond milk (also a regular substitute in my frostings and baked goods). I don’t mind making the cake the way she wants it, but I am more and more concerned with the amount of sugar in our diet and of course the type of fats we eat.
My youngest is into cooking lately. He plays restaurant all the time and has turned his workbench into a stove/oven. He’s also really into helping me cook and bake and last week, while his brother was at school, he requested that we make chocolate banana cupcakes with blue frosting. We’d never made this combination intentionally before, so a quick Google search brought me to the Joy of Baking and this recipe:
Banana Chocolate Cupcakes:
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (35 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-processed)
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 1 medium sized banana)
1/2 cup (120 ml) warm water
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk (we used almond milk)
1/4 cup (60 ml) canola, corn, or vegetable oil (we used unsweetened applesauce…homemade)
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Line 12 regular-sized muffin cups with paper liners or spray each cup with a non stick vegetable spray.
In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In another large bowl, whisk together the egg, mashed banana, water, milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir, or whisk, until combined. (The batter is quite thin.) Pour or scoop the batter into the muffin cups, about 3/4 full, and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
We then frosted the cupcakes with a mix of half of a cup of butter (softened), 3.5 c powdered sugar, 1 t pure vanilla extract, and some more almond milk to consistency, and royal blue Wilton coloring made to look like Cookie Monster.
We made ours into mini muffins and a small round cake and they were wonderful and moist. However, I wish I had gone back and subbed more applesauce for the sugar. We had recently taken a ton of frozen apples that my mom had picked, cored, and sliced for me from my grandmother’s tree and cooked them down into applesauce. When we make ours we leave the skin on for extra fiber and then puree the cooked down apples (no sugar added) in the food processor to get the texture we like for baking. You still get some little slivers of skin, but they are generally unnoticeable.
This is something I plan to do more of in the future….sub applesauce for both oil and sugar. I did it this morning in our pancakes and it made me feel a little bit better about how much sugar we’re getting in our diet, but not in such a way that I would ever demonize pancakes. I think it’s all about choice and a reminder that sugar is sugar…..natural or otherwise.
What have you been making lately?
What’s your take on all the FDA news?
What is your healthy?