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My kids recently had a play date with some fellow preschoolers, so I took the opportunity to test a whole wheat version of chocolate chip cookies on them.  Of the 4 preschoolers and the third grade older sibling all but one asked for more, the other when begged.  So I don’ t think they noticed the whole wheat difference, and if they did they didn’t mind.  Now I understand that they still have butter and sugar and a lot of chocolate, but at least the whole wheat makes them slightly more healthy.  The recipe is from the back of the bag of Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flour.  More of their recipes can be found at www.goldmedalwholewheat.com.

I prefer making bars over cookies because I think it is much easier.  There is one dish instead of multiple cookie sheets to wash and I always end up over baking at least one sheet of cookies when I forget to set the timer or some other distraction arises.  Bars also seem to stay moist longer.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 bag (12 ounce) semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)

Heat oven to 350°F.  In large bowl beat sugars, butter, vanilla, and egg until well blended.  Using mixer, stir in flour, baking soda, and salt (dough will be stiff).  Stir in chocolate chips.

Press dough evenly into a lightly greased (I use the paper from one stick of butter) 9×13 pan.

Bake about 30 minutes on center rack of oven.  The cookie bars will be naturally darker because the dough starts off brown.  Be careful not to over bake. 

Makes about 40 1” bars.

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This is an easy banana muffin recipe that I have been using for several years.  The original recipe is from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook.  I replaced some of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat, adjusted the liquids accordingly, and omitted the nuts.  I think a banana is very ripe when it’s almost completely black, but make your own call on that one. 

This recipe is quick to mix together, only takes 18 minutes to bake, and my kids think it’s a great treat for breakfast.  I can no longer fool them and call them cupcakes, they’ve learned the difference, but these muffins are moist and delicious.  Since my son has a nut allergy we leave the nuts out, but if you like nuts add ½ cup chopped nuts to the batter after it is mixed together.

Banana Muffins

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar (or white sugar)
  • 1 large egg slightly beaten
  • 1 cup mashed very ripe banana (2 – 3 bananas)
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/3  cup olive oil (or whatever oil you like)

Preheat oven to 400°.  Line a muffin pan with paper liners or spray well with cooking spray.  Combine flours, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl.  Make a well in center of dry ingredients and add the egg, mashed banana, milk and oil.   Stir until mixture is just combined.

Spoon batter into muffin pan filling each cup ¾ full.  Bake at 400° for 18 – 20 minutes or until golden.  Yield: 1 dozen.

Banana Bread:  Spoon batter into a greased 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaf pan.  Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan 10 minutes.

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So I’ve been reading YOU: On a Diet, which is really interesting by the way, and Doctors Oz and Roizen really want us all to eat more cooked tomatoes.  Tomatoes contain lycopene which is full of antioxidants that  reduce the risk of developing cancer, cardiovascular disease and macular degeneration.  I have no idea of what macular degeneration is but it sounds bad and I’m sure you’ll google it if you want to know.  The amount of all this good stuff is concentrated in cooked and canned tomatoes.  I love pasta with tomato sauce but the family would probably get sick of it if we had it 3 times a week.  I came up with this pizza because its super easy, the crust is just a whole wheat tortilla, and it has whole grain, tomato sauce, cheese for protein and veggies all in one.  I like to use jarred pasta sauce because I can screw the lid back on and heat it up later in the week with some cream cheese mixed in for cheesy tomato spaghetti.

Lean Ham and Pineapple Pizza

Seriously Simple Personal Pizza is extremely versatile, make it any way you like.  Kids can make their own pizza, keeping them busy for a few minutes and making them feel important.  Use good quality olive oil based pizza or pasta sauce.  Poorer quality sauces might have the dreaded and evil high fructose corn syrup, (see below if you want to know why it is so evil), and they usually have a higher water content that makes the crust soggy.  Don’t limit yourself to mozzarella cheese, use whatever you or your kids like.  We usually use Colby jack, and a sprinkle of Parmesan.  It’s a fun way to have your kids help cook and its fast and I’m fairly sure healthy – as long as you don’t use half a pound of cheese on one pizza.

You will need:

  • Whole wheat burrito or enchilada sized tortillas (Check the label for wholesomeness, but I usually get the store brand ones because they are slightly thinner and get crisper)
  • Pizza or Pasta sauce (about 1/4 cup per pizza)
  • Cheese (about 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup per pizza)
  • Whatever toppings you like, ham and pineapple, mushrooms, red and green bell peppers, onions, spinach, leftover rotessiere chicken, olives. 
  • You will also need non-stick cooking spray and cookie sheets.  One cookie sheet per 2 pizzas

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Spray the cookie sheets with cooking spray.  Top your tortilla crust with about 1/4 cup of sauce.  Use more if you like a lot of sauce but your pizza may not get crispy in the middle.  Top sauce with cheese and other toppings.  Bake in preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes on lowest oven rack.  If you are using 2 cookie sheets use the 2 lowest racks and switch them halfway through.  Let them rest for a minute of two before slicing.  Enjoy! (seriously)

The Sweat of the Devil, High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)  

My new friends Doctors Oz and Roizen say that your body doesn’t even recognize HFCS as food because it is so remarkably unnatural.  When you eat calories from a healthy food like nuts your brain recognizes the right kind of calories and sends “I’m satisfied” messages to you brain so that you stop eating when you’re full.  That part of your brain can’t recognize HFCS so your desire to eat is less inhibited and you eat more of the “bad ” food because your brain doesn’t think you’re satisfied.  Not only do you eat more of the processed food item at the moment you may eat again sooner because you still feel hungry. 

It really is a fascinating book, a little technical, but it explains so much about why we eat the things we do and how it all affects the way we think and feel and vice versa.  They also have YOU: The Owner’s Manual which contains a lot of the same info, but isn’t focused on weight loss.  For more info www.realage.com.

 

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