Tuesday, October 26, 2010

(Not So) Guilty Pleasures

I love, love, love the food blog 101 Cookbooks. Over the last couple of years, I've become more interested in having a 'natural kitchen.' Ms. Swanson's books Supernatural Cooking, Supernatural Everyday and Cook 1.0 are on my amazon wishlist. I'm gradually switching my kids over to Adams Peanut Butter instead of Jif, honey and maple syrup and sweeteners instead of white sugar (my cryptonite) and the idea that yogurt or fruit with some whipped cream is dessert. This is as much for me as it is for them. Well, actually it's probably more for me than it is for them. I love sweets.

The Game On challenge has been very good for me in helping me to identify the times I eat, the things I eat and, aside from my day off and meal off, eliminating butter, white sugar and white flour from my diet. I am not saying that nobody should use the above ingredients, I'm just saying that I grossly overused them in my daily life. There have been many meals where I found that a spritz of olive oil cooking spray did the job just as well or better than a pat of butter, and meals where I found the opposite. My attempt to make a butterless whole-wheat pie crust was edible, and better than having no pie crust at all on my roasted vegetable tart, but really, I'd rather save pie crust for a day of indulgence and blend those lovely crumbs of butter in.

The contest only goes for four weeks at a time. As we're settling into the third week, I've been trying to prep for ways that I can still implement a lot of the principles of the game in my everyday life in a way that's sustainable. Drinking three liters of water a day is something I should have been doing all along, and one of the facets I'll definitely keep. Drinking black coffee, or no coffee at all? Not so much. However, I've definitely developed a much lower threshold on the sweet factor and am satisfied with a lot less; one tablespoon of creamer is just fine in my coffee instead of the two or three that I would have used before. Also, and I'm admitting this even though it makes me ridiculous, if I were eating grape nuts or a similar cereal before, I'd have sprinkled a little sugar on top. I know. But, I don't anymore, so that's that.

I love to bake, so have been looking for ways to feel fulfilled in that area without feeling like I'm just filling my house with sweets. You can only bring so many treats to the school, afterall. 101 Cookbooks to the rescue again. I found a Peanut Butter Cookie recipe that is not only fairly healthy, but it's a recipe you can make for a vegan friend without having to make any adustments, and it fits into the parameters of the game (if you eat one and count it as your fat for the meal.)

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did! I think the biggest trick is in underbaking them a little bit so that they don't get dried out and crunchy. I had my neighbor taste-test them without telling her they were 'healthy' and she liked them. I didn't have whole wheat pastry flour, so I just used regular whole wheat flour and it just adds to the nuttiness of the cookies. Lastly, I measured out almost a cup of the Adams creamy (no salt added) and then topped off the cup of peanut butter called for with some Mara Natha Almond Butter. Yum! My kids loved them as well, and were able to taste-test the batter since it's egg-less. Bon Apetit!

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