I am not a baker but every now and then I put on my "dessert" apron in order to come up with a sweet treat creation. OK - so my creations are not that impressive and I wouldn't go so far as to call it "baking" but one of the best parts of making desserts is sharing the treats with others. I also believe that if I am going to make a dessert for someone else to enjoy, it better be enjoyed by all - including myself. I realize many people make desserts and never eat them because they are 'not healthy' but I don't understand the reasoning behind that - why would you serve something to others that you wouldn't enjoy? I feel that the better logic is to make sure that your portion at home is not too overwhelming that you feel triggered to eat that food morning, noon and night. Keep in mind that if you eat well most of the time, you don't have to worry about the rest of the time. Through a balanced diet and a healthy relationship with food, you will learn that when you emphasize the food that nourishes your body and fuels your lifestyle, there just isn't enough room for the rest of the stuff that is typically de-emphasized in the diet. Thus, you can still enjoy and not feel guilty when eating the occasional food but certainly, those first few bites should taste amazing because it is a special treat and perhaps that's all you need to feel satisfied after your meal.
For a sweet holiday gift, how about trying my chocolate drizzled popcorn. It's a very easy creation that is quick to make and super yummy to eat. I made some for the dietitians at Baptist South today since I was asked to work there today. Next week I will be at Baptist Beaches. I also made some for the employees at the Trek Store - hopefully to keep their bellies happy as they sell lots of bikes to bike-lovers, both young and old.
Chocolate drizzled popcorn
2 tbsp kernels (per person)
1/2 cup chocolate morsels
1. In brown paper lunch bag, place kernels (2 tbsp). Fold top over 2 times leaving plenty of room for the kernels to pop. Microwave for 2 minutes or until kernels stop popping. Empty popcorn into a large bowl to remove unpopped kernels.
2. Transfer 1/2 popcorn (without unpopped kernels) to a large shallow dish (a baking dish will work fine).
3. Microwave chocolate for 2 minutes in small bowl, stir w/ fork. If chocolate is not easy to stir, add a little water. If needed, microwave an additional 30 sec until chocolate is soft and is slightly dripping from spoon - it may be clumpy.
4. Drizzle chocolate on popcorn and wipe fork on popcorn to lightly cover the kernels. You will get a little messy doing this so make sure your hands are clean.
5. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt (or a few turns of the sea salt shaker).
6. Repeat w/ the remainder of the popcorn on top of the drizzled popcorn - this will help w/ even coating of the chocolate. May need to add a little water (1 tsp) and reheat for 15-20 seconds.
7. Place in refrigerator for 5 minutes to let the chocolate cool.
8. Place into zip lock baggies or bins and decorate as you wish (I added a silver ribbon the side).
My next creation was created for my Plate Not Pills
monthly column for LAVA Magazine. I wanted to do a "dessert" for the holidays and with vitamin E as my key nutrient, I decided to come up with a sunflower creation.
Sunflower granola nuggets
This is one of my favorite creations I have ever made and because it makes 22 nuggets, you can crumble a few of them to make your own homemade granola. These would make for a perfect after school snack for the kiddos, a sweet guilt-free treat after a meal or a perfect holiday gift or dessert at a party.
Makes 22 nuggets
¼ cup sunflower oil
1/3 cup applesauce
1/8 cup water
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 cup oats
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup your choice crunchy cereal
¼ tsp salt
1/8 cup sunflower seeds
1/8 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two non-stick cookie sheets with a little nonstick spray.
Nutrition facts (per 1 nugget): 72 calories, 4 g fat, 9 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 62 mg sodium, 2 g protein, 1.13 mg vitamin E
2. Combine wet ingredients in small bowl and dry ingredients in large bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix with a fork until evenly combined.
4. Roll or spoon golf-ball sized cookie dough onto the cookie sheets.
5. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the bottom of each nugget becomes slightly golden brown.
(if your nuggets crumble while eating, not to worry. Enjoy your sunflower granola!)