Wisconsin’s done a funny thing to our food habits. Without even knowing it, it’s made us much more conscious and aware of what we’re ingesting. Last summer’s local farmer’s markets made it easy to access fresh fruit and veggies and that stuck with us throughout the winter. Being more active this winter and spring, has made us more mindful of how we’re feeding our bodies and what helps keep us going. And, fortunately our close proximity to our favorite Wisconsin Grocery store has helped to ensure we have access to all the ingredients we need for eating healthier.
I’ve never really been one to substitute, because don’t get me wrong I love my full-fat butter and real mayo, but those things aren’t always the healthiest choices for us. We’re trying to be more cognizant of what we consume and how much of it. I’m never going to use things with chemicals or additives or fake sugar. It’s just not my M.O. So, I’ve been trying to find healthy alternatives to help keep our bodies and waistlines feeling good.
Keep in mind; I’m not a registered dietician so all of these alternatives I’m suggesting are completely based on my own experience. And, while it has taken some adapting to consciously choose these options, with time, these have become our natural choices. Here’s a quick list of some of the changes we’ve made in our diet:
- Mayonnaise and Sour Cream – Greek Yogurt
- White Flour – Whole Wheat Flour
- White Sugar – Honey or Agave
- Butter – Coconut or Olive Oil
- Milk or Cream – Almond or Coconut Milk
- Regular Pasta – Whole Wheat Pasta or Spaghetti Squash
- White Rice – Brown Rice or Quinoa
- Flour Tortilla – Corn, Whole Wheat Tortillas or Lettuce Wraps
On that note, as we were preparing to attend a friend’s cookout last weekend, I was trying to think up a sweet but healthy treat I could bring along. I’d been playing with this whole-wheat chocolate chip cookie recipe for a few weeks and was excited to try it out in a group setting. We popped over to Pick ‘n Save and grabbed all the ingredients, plus a "Build Your Own 6 Pack" for my husband to bring along to the BBQ. Fortunately, my new recipe was a huge hit with our friends and all of the cookies were gone by the end of the night. The best part was that no one even knew they were made with whole wheat flour!
What I love about this recipe is that the substitution of whole-wheat flour instead of basic all-purpose flour, is almost unrecognizable. While the cookies still have elements of a traditional chocolate chip cookie, the fact that they’re made with a healthy whole grain, makes me feel slightly better when I’m searching for something to calm my sweet tooth. The flavor is so well balanced with the subtle vanilla, hints of cinnamon and melt-in-your-mouth-chocolate. I promise you these cookies won't disappoint and since they're made with whole wheat flour, you can probably justify having more than one or two.
Whole Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 3 to 3 ½ dozen cookies
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
1 cup butter
½ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla
½ tsp. cinnamon
¾ cup rolled oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
To Make Whole Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie
Let butter come to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 375°.
Add first all dry ingredients except cinnamon to small bowl. Whisk together and set aside.
In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. On medium-high speed, beat for 3-4 minutes, until batter becomes light and fluffy.
Add in dry ingredients and mix. Next, add the cinnamon and mix. Add in oats. Mix well. Fold in chocolate chips.*
Using a 1-ounce ice cream scope or spoon, place scoops of cookie dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat. Place baking sheet on center rack and bake until golden brown, approximately 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool for 1-2 minutes. Carefully remove cookies and place on wire rack to cool completely.
Serve with a glass of ice cold milk or beer for a delicious and healthy treat!
*Dough can be made a day or two ahead and kept, covered, in fridge until ready to bake. I personally feel this actually yields the best results.
Thanks to #CollectiveBias and #MyPicknSave for helping me create this fresh and healthy meal for spring. For more tips, tricks and recipes follow Pick ‘n Save on social media - Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest.