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Matthew Thompson's Blog

December 9, 2011 - 9:00am

Many of us need to face facts: “the way Mom used to make” and “all-natural” aren’t necessarily equivalent statements. Classic family recipes for cookies often contain ingredients that in no way mesh with a healthy, natural diet. Trans-fat or hydrogenated-oil-laden ingredients like margarine and most vegetable shortenings might be tasty, but they’re also some of the worst things you can put in your body. Similarly, artificial ingredients like those found in food dyes and sprinkles have been linked to cancer in studies and are being investigated for possibly causing hyperactivity in kids. That’s no way to spread holiday cheer!

Instead, consider making a commitment to using natural ingredients this year. We’ve already discussed ways to eliminate...

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December 8, 2011 - 9:00am

Here’s a holiday baking conundrum: you want to keep things relatively nutritious, but every recipe you run across calls for refined, all-purpose white flour. What do you do?

The simple answer: you swap it out. Whole-wheat flour has almost four times more fiber than white flour and has more potassium, magnesium and zinc, resulting in instantly healthier treats. Try replacing some (or all) of the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour, whole-wheat pastry flour and/or oats. If you are used to the taste and texture of whole-wheat, some cookies are just as satisfying when made with 100% whole-wheat flour. Using whole-wheat flour in place of all-purpose flour gives your cookies about four times the amount of fiber in every batch.

For more delicate-textured cookies or if you are still getting used to the taste and texture of whole-wheat, try using...

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December 7, 2011 - 9:00am

When I think of Holiday Cookies, I think beautiful: bright red frosting piped around the edges of a star-shaped gingerbread cookie, melted chocolate perfectly drizzled across a sugar cookie, a golden circle of apricot jam in the center of a thumbprint cookie. More than any other time of year, when it comes to Christmas Cookies, neatness counts.

But while it’s almost impossible to ruin the taste of a cookie while decorating it (and, in fact, some of those mistakes can be a fun treat for the baker!), for many people the process of adorning a cookie can be stressful. Unruly frosting bags and mis-mixed frostings can make it difficult to create the festive cookie you see in your mind.

Fortunately, we at EatingWell are here to help. Our...

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December 6, 2011 - 5:06pm

The media has been buzzing this week since popular chicken-sandwich chain Chick-fil-A threatened to shut down a small-time artist and entrepreneur in Vermont. For over a decade, Bo Muller-Moore has been making “Eat More Kale” T-shirts and stickers—hand-printing them on organic cotton or recycled paper. It all started when some friends asked Muller-Moore to whip up a few T-shirts for a local farmers’ market. Demand snowballed, and soon he was working full-time to fill orders from South Africa, Iraq and even Siberia. But when he attempted to copyright the phrase earlier this year, he found himself staring down the barrels of the chicken-sandwich chain’s legal team. According to Chick-fil-A, Muller-Moore’s catchphrase is too similar to its “Eat Mor Chikin” slogan (intentionally misspelled because, in their ads,...

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December 6, 2011 - 9:00am

Call me crazy, but when I think of the nutritional impact of sugar cookies, I think of sugar. Weird, right? I’m sure most people think of health concerns like added sugars and fats when eyeing a plate of snickerdoodles or tea cakes (or, you know, after you’ve polished off two or three). But for a great many people dealing with high blood pressure or heart disease, tasty baked treats carry another health concern: too much salt.

Sodium is one of America’s great addictions. On average we eat 3,400 milligrams of sodium in a day, which is about 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. If we—as a population—slashed sodium by about 1,000 mg (1/2 teaspoon) out of our daily diets, we’d lower our risk of heart disease by up to 9 percent, according to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Wouldn’t it be great, then, to bake cookies that keep...

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