For better or for worse, I show my love through food. I suppose there are probably healthier ways to show affection. I could ask my husband to go for a run with me instead of making him some of his favorite cheesy something-or-other for dinner (and then offering seconds). I could bring toys or games to family gatherings instead of yummy treats. I could give my friends other homemade crafty gifts instead of tins full of candy and cookies at the holidays. But that just isn’t my style. If I give you a gift of food, it’s pretty much my more-subtle way of me saying, “Hey, you’re really cool. And I love you and stuff.”
I do definitely understand that there is a way to show love through food while still keeping your loved one’s health in mind. I’ve been known to sneak black beans or spinach into my brownies. Or bake cookies with coconut oil and applesauce. And one of my favorite healthier-love tricks is to put in a little bit of whole grain flour whenever I’m baking.
I’m not crunchy enough to tell you throw out all of your all-purpose flour, but I do think any little thing you can do to make your eats a bit healthier is a step in the right direction. Whenever I go to make a pie crust, I tend to swap out just a little bit of the white flour with some whole grain flour. It doesn’t do a whole lot to impact the texture or flavor (except maybe adding a bit of a nutty, hearty taste that is really nice with fall pies), but it’s a nice little health bonus in your dessert.
I think a lot of people feel like “getting healthy” is so overwhelming because it feels like this all-encompassing earthquake of a life change. It’s either all or nothing. You are either healthy or you aren’t—no in-between. But I believe that “healthy” isn’t a destination—it’s a journey. And if today’s step along that journey is putting a half cup of whole wheat flour in the crust of your Thanksgiving pie, you’re doing awesome.
When you’re not going full-bore with the healthy ingredients, I think the key to making sure you get as many nutritional benefits as possible is to make sure you’re using really great ingredients. Whole grain and whole wheat have become really trendy over the last few years, and with that trendiness, a ton of products have come on the market trying to make some cash. You have to be careful when looking at products that claim to be “whole grain” or “whole wheat,” because the flashy packaging doesn’t always tell the full story. You have to really look at the ingredients and make an educated decision—instead of just relying on what the marketing folks decided should go on the front.
If you’re a little overloaded on pumpkin, this sweet potato pie would be an excellent alternative for your Turkey Day menu. If you’ve never had a sweet potato pie before, it has a similar texture to pumpkin pie, but it’s a bit more dense and hearty. And it has a really nice, light sweet potato flavor.
I chose to mix the sweet potatoes with coconut flavor—coconut oil and coconut milk—and it was an incredible pairing. Such a nice departure from the (dare I say) weathered pumpkin pie. If coconut isn’t your style, you could easily sub in evaporated milk and butter for the coconutty items in the recipe.
One of the ways I’m going to be showing my love for you guys over the next few months is showering you with lots of delicious holiday recipes. Since I can’t very well hand deliver sweet potato pie to each and every one of you (I wish, I really do), I’m going to do the next best thing and shower you with goodies virtually!
Happy Holidays. Enjoy!