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 in black beans or spinach in my brownies. Or bake cookies with coconut oil and applesauce. And, one of my favorite healthier-love tricks is to put 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.
That’s one of the biggest reasons I am a huge (giant!) fan of products from Bob’s Red Mill. There is absolutely no subterfuge when it comes to the flours, beans and grains from Bob’s. They are 100% natural, 100% “real”, and 100% delicious! When I make pie crusts, I tend to do a blend of stone ground whole wheat flour (stone ground is great because none of the nutrition is lost in the process—you still have the bran and the germ—not something all flours can say) and organic all-purpose flour. And Bob’s flours and both perfect for it!
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 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 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!
This healthier sweet potato pie is a perfect Thanksgiving alternative to pumpkin pie.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick butter, cut into 1/2" pieces, chilled
- 4-5 tablespoons ice water
- 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoon lemon juice
- Pinch of salt
- To make the pie crust: in the basin of a food processor, pulse together the flours, sugar, and salt until combined. Add in the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
- Add in the water—one tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition. The mixture is ready when you can grab a handful and squeeze, and it holds together.
- Dump the dough out onto a clean surface, and form into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- To make the filling: Cover the sweet potatoes with water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and mash.
- In a blender or the basin of a food processor, combine the mashed sweet potatoes, coconut oil, coconut milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup, sugar, lemon juice and salt. Pulse until very smooth. You can also do this in an electric mixer, but the resulting filling will be a bit more chunky.
- To assemble the pie: Preheat oven to 350°. Roll the chilled pie crust out to 1/8" thin on a floured surface, form into an ungreased 9" pie plate, crimp edges. Fill with the filling, and bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted an inch from the center comes out clean, and the pie no longer feels very jiggly. To avoid cracks, turn off the oven, crack the oven door, and allow the pie to slowly cool in the oven before removing. Let cool completely before slicing.
Looking to save some cash this holiday season? Click here to download a $1 off coupon for any Bob’s Red Mill product!”
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.