Try These Healthier Valentine’s Day Treats!

cookies_6

Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re single or in a relationship, today is usually all about two things: love and food. Why not add health to the mixture? Ditch buying candy hearts and processed cakes, and whip up a batch of one (or both) of these healthier treats! Nothing says love like caring about your health.  

Want to know what you’re eating? Here are some of the healthiest ingredients in these recipes:

Beets: If you’re like me, beets probably horrified you as a kid. But these vibrant, burgundy roots are way better for you than your parents let on. Considered a “superfood”, they contain massive amounts of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. Beets get their color from betalain, an antioxidant that binds toxic substances in the body (possibly cancer). They also contain potassium, fiber, and vitamins A, B and C. 

Cashews: Compared to other nuts, this buttery variety has more of the good fat but less fat overall. These healthy monounsaturated fats actually improve your heart health and promote levels of good cholesterol. Cashews are also high in magnesium and phosphorous which aid your bones and teeth.

Whole Wheat: Choosing whole wheat over white refined flour is like choosing a hundred dollar bill over a penny.  You get so much more! Refined flours have been stripped of most of their nutrients. Add fiber, healthy fats and several B vitamins with whole-wheat flour. Be careful “multigrain” and “seven-grain” products are not whole grains! Look for ingredient lists that show 100 percent whole wheat.

White Whole Wheat: This type of whole wheat is simply made from a milder tasting grain. The nutrients are the same as traditional whole wheat, but the taste resembles refined flours. 

Greek Yogurt: Greek yogurt has more protein and probiotics than regular yogurt. It also improves digestion, boosts immunity and may be more tolerable for those sensitive to dairy.

Almond Milk Most nutrients found in almonds are also present in almond milk. It’s packed with many vitamins and minerals that help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Almond milk is high in calcium and has fewer calories than cow’s milk.

What about Coconut Oil? Coconut oil is a relatively new trend, and coconut oil does not necessarily make a recipe “healthy.” All oils should be consumed in moderation. Check out the facts on coconut oil here

Heart-Shaped Healthy Cookies

tyler_2

My roommate makes these cookies all the time, and they are amazing! Stick to the traditional cookie shape, or add some love by making them heart-shaped. They may not look perfect, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

tyler

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 2 eggs (or 2 tablespoons egg replacer with 6 tablespoons water)
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1¾ cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup dark chocolate chips 

Note: For an even more amazing cookie, add 1½ cups unsweetened shredded coconut

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Add coconut oil and brown sugar to a mixing bowl. Use a mixer to beat together the oil and sugar.
  3. Slowly add in eggs until the mixture is fluffy.
  4. Add the vanilla extract and applesauce to this mixture.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients slowly while stirring.
  7. Spray a cookie sheet and shape small balls of dough into hearts.
  8. Bake for
  9. Allow to sit for a few minutes to cool.
  10. Enjoy! 

Mini Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cashew Maple Frosting

cookies_3

What’s the surprise healthy element in these cupcakes? BEETS! Instead of using food coloring, these cupcakes get their color from steamed and pureed beets. If you’re not awe struck by the tiny nutrient-rich sweets, you’ll definitely fall in love with the frosting! I may be guilty of consuming it by the spoonful.

cookies_1

Mini Red Velvet Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups white whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup pureed beets
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ cup beats
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup Florida Natural Cane Sugar 
  • 2 eggs (or 2 tablespoons egg replacer with 6 tablespoons water)
  • ~1/2 cup non-dairy buttermilk
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
    • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon white or rice vinegar 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat over to 350°C.
  2. Scrub the beets thoroughly. If you have a steamer basket, steam the beets until they are soft enough to cut through. Add extra water to the pot because they can take a while to steam. If you don’t have a steamer, wrap the beets in foil and roast them at 250°C for about an hour with a bit of oil.
  3. After peeling, puree the beets in a food processor or blender. You can also grate the beets.
  4. Combine the almond milk, lemon juice, and vinegar, and let sit for a few minutes.
  5. In a medium-sized bowl, evenly mix the pureed beets, yogurt, applesauce, sugar, vanilla extract, and almond milk mixture.  Mix in the eggs.
  6. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder in a separate bowl.
  7. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, and mix together until there are no clumps.
  8. Spray a mini cupcake tray or line with cupcake liners.
  9. Pour batter about ¾ of the way full, and bake for about 10 – 12 minutes.
  10. Let cool before adding frosting.

cookies_2

Cashew Maple Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked in water for a few hours
  • ¼  teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1.5 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • ½ cup almond or other non-dairy milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoon melted coconut oil

Note: Pure maple syrup can be expensive at most grocery stores, but I picked up a bottle at Aldi on Fletcher Avenue for $3.99! Most pancake syrups are derived from corn syrup and do not contain any real maple syrup, so check the ingredient’s list before purchasing!

Instructions:

  1. Let cashews soak in water for a few hours.
  2. Drain and rinse your cashews.
  3. Add all the ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth.
  4. Adjust seasoning as you want. I added more cinnamon and a little more almond milk to increase smoothness.
  5. Let chill until cupcakes are cool.
  6. Enjoy! Leftovers will keep in the fridge or freezer. 

cookies_5

Do you love our recipes or have any to share? Let us know in the comments!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: