Today is my birthday - so let's talk about CAKE! :)
When you are trying to lead a healthy lifestyle and making food choices that are best suited for your own body, special life events like Feast days and Birthdays can be difficult when it comes to food. Often people are met with “oh it’s just one day, here have some cake”. But what appears to be “once in a while” can quickly turn into, once a month or every weekend in some households. Most social gatherings (religious or otherwise) always include food. So do you have to give up cake on your birthday? What about Grandma’s Holiday Pudding? I’m happy to say Yes! - you can have your cake and eat it too! Here are my 2 simple solutions when it comes to family feasts.
Two Simple Solutions when it comes to Family Feasts
Call me sister of substitutions, but this is one of the most effective ways of keeping traditional foods in your family. Most of my family doesn’t realize that the traditional recipes I create are not so traditional. Take my Grandmother’s Holiday Pudding (aka Carrot Pudding) for example. I replaced the brown sugar with small amount of maple syrup, the suet with butter or coconut milk and increased some of the spices to keep it full flavor. Grandma herself said “Best Pudding Ever” this year when I presented it.
I have made a pumpkin cheesecake (with tofu and maple syrup) and it was a hit! Last month I also made a Sugar-free diabetic cake for a friend. The challenge was the icing, but an easy substitution for icing sugar was cornstarch & stevia powder.
The trick? Don’t label your food (vegan/sugar free/healthy), just present healthier options full of flavor and substitute with ingredients that work for you.
"Don’t label your food, just present healthier options for you and your family and enjoy it!"
2) TRY SOMETHING NEW!
Family celebrations are also a great time to simple try something new! For my nieces 1st Birthday, we avoided cake completely – not only for the sugar, but she wasn’t eating foods with that texture yet. So I made her a watermelon fruit cake! She LOVED the cake we made and still had her “bash cake” moment when she plunged her full face into the center of the juicy watermelon! Happiest kid ever, and we didn’t have to worry about getting icing in her eyes (have hear horror stories of screaming kids with icing in their eyes). I made a larger version (seen below) for the adults with coconut whipped cream and it was a hit all around!
We have enjoyed many desserts, so here is one that I will enjoy on my Birthday! Chocolate Mint Cheesecake (dairy free, sugar free, gluten free). YUMMM!
Whether you tweak your family recipes with creative substitutions, or serve up a new tradition, remember: You can have your cake and eat it too!
CHOCOLATE MINT CHEESECAKE
(dairy free, sugar free, gluten free)
Create crumble in food processor
*Puree in blender*
To half cheesecake mixture add:
To half cheesecake mixture add:
Set in freezer until firm (minimum 1 hour).
*Top with fruit, mint leaves or chocolate chips etc.
Remove from Freezer 15-20 minutes before serving.
*Recipe Modified by Jennifer Levitan from www.onegreenplanet.org *
I Love Ratatouille - Both the Movie AND the Dish! :)
This was the first movie I watched with my hubby when we were dating. And no wonder, we both love French Food! :)
I can't take the credit for this recipe. Like most of you, a long time ago I googled it and found the recipe I loved! Thankfully, this one I recorded where I got it from.
So THANKS to Chefdehome!
This is a tested, tried and true recipe by JoyFull Eating.
If you are Gluten Free or Vegan, just skip the béchamel sauce part.
I use this as a great side dish, but if you want to make it the focus, I often serve it over pasta or some steamed rice/quinoa (gluten free).
2 Cup Tomato Sauce
2 Garlic (cloves, minced)
3-4 Thyme (sprigs)
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 Egg Plant
1 Green Zucchini
1 Red Bell Pepper
2-3 Potatoes (sweet)
Salt & Pepper
Ingredients for Béchamel Sauce
1 tbsp unsalted Butter
1 tsp Flour
1 Cup Milk (Almond milk)
1/8 tsp Nutmeg
1/8 tsp Cloves
Jennifer Levitan, C.H.N.C. is a Northern Ontario based Holistic Nutritional Consultant specializing in a simplified approach to healthy eating. With a focus on delicious, whole, local and sustainable foods, Jennifer empowers her clients to make practical nutrition choices for optimal health and a life of JoyFull Eating!