Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Healthy recipes for green bean casserole

Green bean casserole is such a classic recipe, but it can be so unhealthy! It's a great example of how just because something contains a vegetable doesn't mean it's good for you. Canned mushroom soup is handy but it's not something I like to cook with very often - it's so high in fat and salt. Here are some healthy green bean casserole recipes I found to try, let me know what you think!

This one uses a pinch of grated nutmeg - yum! It also has fresh mushrooms and you can use fresh or frozen green beans.

If you can't eat dairy, try this recipe with vegan substitutes.

This recipe uses buttermilk powder, which I'm curious about, because you can apparently use it (reconstituted) for buttermilk in recipes, and I hate buying buttermilk for recipes because I always end up having to throw some out!

This recipe uses homemade cream of mushroom soup to make it healthier.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Butter and nutrition (and desserts!)

Butter is kind of a symbol to me of how crazy the world is when it comes to health.

It used to be, in certain cultures, butter was just what you had. You had a cow, you milked her, you skimmed off the cream and made butter. It was the fat you had around and you used it. And it tasted good! No one worried about nutrition facts or saturated fat or the differences between butter and other fats for cooking.

Then butter became evil, according to health experts. And they told everyone to stop eating butter, so they ate margarine instead. Of course, it turned out that margarine wasn't so nutritious either, so a lot of people have gone back to butter - after all, it tastes better, and it's more natural.

Other experts say that we should be using oils, like olive oil, or flaxseed oil (but don't cook with it!), or even coconut oil, which is supposed to be very good for you.

But you know what? Butter tastes good. Especially in desserts. And it doesn't even take much - but a cookie with some butter in it tastes a million times better than something made with a butter replacement. And I love olive oil, but not in a cookie.

Nutrition is such a complicated thing.

So I like to use butter in moderation. (Good nutrition is all about moderation.) For savoury things, a lot of the time I'll use half butter and half olive oil, which I think is a way to get the best of both worlds. And in baking I use butter but sometimes I'll use some oil, or some applesauce or banana and just less butter. Desserts are better with butter, so you know what? Just eat less, and enjoy it.

What do you think about butter and nutrition? What fats do you use to cook?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Healthy dessert cookbooks I want to buy

I'm a cookbook junkie - I could spend all day browsing through Amazon or in a cookbook store. But I can't buy them all! One thing I love is cookbooks that focus on healthy desserts. It's amazing how many tricks there are for making dessert recipes healthier. One thing I do, for instance, is I almost always reduce the sugar in a recipe. Even if you cut out only 1/4 of the sugar, think of how much less sugar that would be over a year!

I was just looking through Amazon again today (so far I haven't spent anything, I'm being good!) and here are some of the cookbooks I've put on my wish list:

Don't they all look good? A couple are vegan - not that I'm a vegan, but I like to experiment with different techniques, and they get pretty creative when they can't use dairy or eggs. That fruit desserts recipe book looks to die for - I'm sure it would be pretty enough to put on the coffee table, even if you didn't make anything out of it (but how could you resist?). I like the book of bite-sized desserts because you can make really decadent dessert recipes in small portions and that way it's a healthy indulgence.

What are your favourite healthy dessert cookbooks?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

What does healthy cooking mean to you?

Our culture is so confused about food, don't you think? We like to think we want to be healthy but I don't think many people really understand what it means. Eating healthy is mixed up with losing weight, and depriving yourself of food that tastes good. People think that unhealthy tastes good and healthy tastes bad.

I think that is so not true! To me, healthy food is satisfying food. When I eat junk food, I end up craving more and more - the food doesn't satisfy me. When I eat really good tasting food, I can eat a smaller amount and be happy. Healthy food does taste good, but I guess if you're used to fast food you might have a hard time liking vegetables or foods that aren't really fatty or sugary.

Healthy to me means cooking real food that tastes really good. I try to cook from scratch and use good ingredients. That doesn't mean eating low fat, or low calorie. But I try to balance everything out. If I know I'm making a pie for dessert, I'll make a dinner that's smaller. I always think it's better to have a smaller portion of really good food (yes, even with butter!) than to eat a lot of food that doesn't taste as good.

What do you think? What does healthy cooking mean to you?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Healthy recipes to make with peaches

I love fresh peaches, and there are so many good ones this time of year. I won't buy peaches in the winter, they just aren't the same. But do you find that you buy too many and all the peaches get ripe at the same time? That means either you're eating 10 peaches a day or you have to throw them out, which is kind of tragic.

So instead, save some to eat fresh and cook up the rest to make something delicious. There are so many things you can cook with peaches and they don't all have to be fattening desserts! (I also like to put sliced peaches on a salad - yes, with vegetables - try it, you'll like it!) You can make lighter recipes and healthy ones, too. Here are some I've found that I want to try.

These are soaked in a lot of alcohol, so you have to like wine and brandy to like the recipe! I would probably reduce the sugar, peaches are sweet enough.

I love this idea! You can serve it with fish or meat, or I would even serve it on crackers with some goat cheese.

This recipe is so simple and sounds so good! Just bananas, peaches and orange juice.

This is a healthy version of a cobbler. I like that it cut out some of the butter but not all - you have to have some butter for flavour. Peaches taste so good with blueberries!

Do you not want to make this recipe right now? Click through, they're so pretty. You add peach slices to each pancake after you put them in the pan.

Have a light dinner before you eat these to balance out the calories. But they look so good!

What a fun dessert for a party!

What are your favourite things to cook with peaches? Do you have any peach recipes to share?