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Healthy Holiday Treats With “Junk Food” Taste!

by Jeanne Rhodes

Years ago when I first began practicing a healthier lifestyle, there were no choices in the supermarkets for snacks and desserts that were even remotely close to “healthy.” I found that if I wanted any snack item, I would have to make my own - and ditto for desserts.

This began my exploration into the world of recipe creations. Sometimes I spent literally days formulating just one recipe that really tasted good. I knew all too well that if it didn’t taste good I might eat it for a short while and then abandon it for the “real thing.” Eating something low fat that I didn’t like actually led me to eat more than if I would have had the regular, original high fat food. Was this just unique to me, or were other people the same? I have since found out that other people are indeed the same. If a cookie was the one thing I really wanted, eating a “healthy” cookie that tasted like cardboard only got me in trouble. The frustration and dissatisfaction of the “cardboard” cookie led me to eat six or seven other similar foods in an attempt to satisfy my relentless tastebuds that were calling for a “real” cookie taste! In the end, I had three or four times the amount of food as I ate to resist the “forbidden” foods. Then, I ate the “real” cookie anyway - it was the only thing that would satisfy and calm the tastebuds.

From these experiences I knew that whatever recipe I created, one thing was sure - it had to taste good! It was a valuable lesson and, while it meant a lot more time, effort and creativity, it paid off and the number of recipes slowly grew.

The following are three of my creations - recipes that are heart healthy with “junk food” taste. Use them to help make your holidays a little healthier!

Lemon Sugar Cookies
• 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. butter
•  2/3 tsp. lemon extract
• 2 cups fructose
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 1-3/4 cups flour
• 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• 3/4 tsp. cream of tartar
• Cream butter and fructose in a medium bowl until light and fluffy. Add egg and lemon extract. Beat until smooth. Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add to cream mixture, beating well. Drop by teaspoon on non-stick cookie sheet. Press each with floured fork (criss-cross).
Bake at 325 degrees for 7 minutes or until edges are brown. Remove to wire rack and sprinkle tops with Equal. (4 cookies with one packet.) Makes 40-48 small cookies at 1 1/2 grams fat each.

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
• 1/4 cup Hershey’s Cocoa
• 17 Sweet n Low
• 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. fructose
• 1/4 cup skim milk
• 1 tbsp. Butter Buds
• 1 tbsp. butter
• 1 1/2 cup Old Fashioned Quaker Oaks
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp. peanut butter (Peter Pan Whipped)
• 26 Equal
• Boil hard for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, the fructose, cocoa, skim milk and butter. Remove from heat and add Butter Buds. Mix well and add peanut butter and vanilla. Mix until smooth and add Equal and Sweet N Low. Add oatmeal and drop by small teaspoons onto wax paper, or press onto wax paper-lined cookie sheet and cut into squares. Let cool. Yield 4 1/2 dozen.
3 cookies = 2 1/2 grams fat.

Lo-Fat, Sugar Free Old Time Pumpkin Pie
• 1/2 cup fructose
• 3 pkts. Plain Knox gelatin
• 8 Sweet N Low
• 1 tsp. salt
• 24 Equal
• 2 tsp. (slightly rounded) cinnamon
• 4 tbsp. cornstarch
• 2 pkts. Butter Buds (1/4cup + 2 tsp.)
• 4 cups (rounded) pumpkin
• 1/2 tsp. (slightly rounded) nutmeg
• 8 egg whites + 2 whole eggs
• 1/2 tsp. (slightly rounded) allspice
• 3 cups (2 cans) canned skim milk
• 1 tbsp. light olive oil
Stir and mix well in large saucepan - salt, cinnamon, Butter Buds, nutmeg, allspice, cornstarch, fructose and Sweet N Low. Stir in vanilla, eggs, and pumpkin. Mix and add milk and oil. Pour gelatin in 1/2 cup cold water, set aside. Stirring constantly, cook pumpkin mixture over medium heat until mix comes to a boil. Add water/gelatin mixture and boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Cool 5 minutes and add Equal. Cool to room temperature. Divide in half and pour into 2 baked crusts. Chill 2 hours or overnight. Each pie makes 8 servings at 5 grams fat per serving (with crust below).

Crust for One Pie
• 5 slices Pepperidge Farm Oatmeal Bread
• 1 tbsp. olive oil

Remove crust and crumble bread thoroughly in bowl. Mix with “Butter” Spray non-stick Pam lightly in pie pan. Press crumbs into pie pan bottom.

Rhodes, B.A., M.A., is a Nutritionist, Wellness Lifestyle Strategist, Author, and Director of Rhodes Preventive Health Institute in Hagerstown.

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