There must be something about seeing 1/1 show up on the calendar that makes us all crave a little change. All week long I’ve been bombarded with blog posts, magazine articles, and new programs that promise to make me healthier and more motivated..
Healthy means something different to everyone. It’s really rooted in where you are at right now. If you are coming from a meaty standard American diet even the smallest changes will have a big impact on how you feel. But if you are farther down the path, or have been eating consciously for years, you may want to up it a notch.
No matter where you are starting from embrace where you are and be kind to yourself. It’s not always easy to make life changes, but many changes can still be tasty.
Speaking of tasty… Cookies get a bad rap because most recipes are packed full of fat, sugar, refined flour and a single cookie can be 2 to 3 servings. While my White Chocolate Cranberry Pistachio Cookies are not 100% healthy they are a few steps ahead of the typical chocolate chip cookies.
They are light and cake-like instead of a typical crunchy cookie. The banana keeps them very moist too. Leave out the white chocolate chips to make them almost fat-free or you can sub regular chocolate chips if you can’t find vegan white chocolate ones.
Today’s Baby Step Improvement: Use Whole Wheat Pastry Flour In Place of White Flour
This is the easiest change anyone can make. If you or your family says ‘ick’ when they see a whole grain baked good, try using whole wheat pastry flour instead of regular whole wheat flour.
It’s a finer grind and a softer wheat variety making it easier to integrate (sneak) into your family’s foods. The lighter color can fool some, but if you have hard-core whole wheat haters you can start out with brownies or chocolate cookies. They’ll never know the difference!
You can get whole wheat flour at most major grocery chains as well as Whole Foods. If you are in a small town you can order it online at Bob’s Red Mill or King Author. It is much cheaper to buy it at the bulk bins though.
Try using whole wheat pastry flour in your favorite muffins, quick breads or your favorite cookie recipe.
White Chocolate Cranberry Pistachio Cookies
- 1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
- 1/2 cup vegan white chocolate chips (or vegan chocolate chips if you can't find the vegan white ones)
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- pinch salt
- 1 cup unsweetened nondairy milk
- 1/4 cup mashed banana
- 2 tablespoons ground flax mixed with 4 tablespoons warm water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- powdered sugar, optional
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. And grease 2 cookies sheets (or cover with parchment paper).
- Combine the mix ins in a food processor and process until chopped small. Set aside.
- Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in another. Add the dry mixture to the wet and mix well. Fold in the contents of the food processor (the chips, nuts and cranberries) to the cookie batter.
- Using a small cookie scoop, about 1½ to 2 tablespoons, scoop out the cookies on the cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes or until golden brown.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar if you want to make them pretty. You can make some powdered stevia by mixing Nu-stevia with cornstarch.
- While these cookies have no added oil and you could leave out the white chocolate chips to make them truly fat-free. They would taste just as good.
- Looking to make them sugar-free? In place of the brown sugar try adding ¼ teaspoon of stevia at a time to your batter until it's just sweet enough. You want to go slow with this since a tad too much stevia makes a nasty and bitter cookie! You'll also need to add a little more bulk so add ¼ cup extra flour or ground oats to the batter to make it thick enough to scoop. (If you are using something that measures like sugar you won't need to make any adjustments.)
My second book, The Great Vegan Bean Book, is now available for pre-order on Amazon for $10.61! (Amazon changes their prices regularly, but if you pre-order you are guaranteed the lowest price that they offer it at before it launches.)