Healthy Alternatives

  • Healthy Holiday Cooking

    Choosing the right cooking oil can be overwhelming—there are so many to choose from and they mostly look the same, so you may not know which one will best suit your cooking needs.  And if you’re used to cooking with butter or margarine, well—cooking with oil might feel downright foreign to you.

    Try These Cooking Oils in Your Favorite Recipes
    By Felicia D. Stoler, DCN, MS, RD, FACSM
  • Meatless: Nosh in the New Year

    You’ve just cleared Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas from your holiday list—where have the months gone? Now that this holiday trifecta is out of the way, you’ve got only one more event to go before year’s end: New Year’s Eve.

    Healthy Snacks for NYE
  • Sinful Stuffed Dates

    Weekly Recipe: 
    Makes 18 dates

    Zest of 1 orange

    1/2 cup chopped pecans

    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons shredded, dried unsweetened coconut

    2 tablespoons maple syrup

    1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil, melted

    18 dates

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine orange zest, chopped pecans, cinnamon, 2 tablespoons coconut, syrup, and oil. Stir until evenly coated. Spread out on parchment-lined cookie sheet and roast 5 to 6 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside. Carefully slice each date down one side and remove pit. If necessary, make small cuts in rounded ends of dates so they do not tear. Gently turn date inside out, placing sticky side down on work surface. Press ¼ teaspoon roasted nut mixture into each date. Fold up edges and press seam and ends together to seal shut. Place remaining ½ cup coconut in small bowl, then press and roll sealed dates in coconut to coat. Arrange on tray and serve. Source: Reprinted with permission from Clean Food © 2012 by Terry Walters, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co. Inc. Photography by Gentl & Hyers

  • Slice Holiday Calories

    The holidays are upon us once again, meaning that sweets, treats, and high-calorie dishes often tag along to all our jolly gatherings—and pave the way for inevitable holiday weight gain. However, it is possible to enjoy this season without seeing the scale move in the wrong direction.

    Simple Swaps to Avoid Weight Gain
    By Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, LDN
  • Iced Pumpkin Cookies

    Weekly Recipe: 
    Makes 4 to 5 dozen cookies


    1 cup butter, softened

    ½ cup sugar

    ½ cup packed brown sugar

    1 egg

    1 cup canned pumpkin

    2 ¼ cups Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    ½ teaspoon baking soda

    ½ teaspoon salt

    1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1 teaspoon ground ginger

    ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

    ¼ teaspoon cloves

    1 cup chopped walnuts

    1 cup sweetened dried cranberries

    1 cup vanilla or white chips (optional)


    ¼ cup butter, softened

    2 cups powdered sugar

    3 tablespoons milk

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Beat in egg and pumpkin. Combine the flour with other dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in walnuts and cranberries, and the chips, if using. Drop by the tablespoonful 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

    In a small mixing bowl, combine icing ingredients and beat until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cookies.

    Chef ’s Notes: Cookies will be plump and upright, or you can smooth them down with a small rubber spatula for a cookie shaped more like a chocolate chip cookie.

    Source: Pamela’s Products Inc.

  • Pumpkin Pie With Pecan Crust

    Weekly Recipe: 
    Makes one 9-inch pie


    2 ½ cups pecans

    3 tablespoons vegetable spread, such as Earth Balance, melted


    1 cup raw cashews, soaked in 1 ½ cups water for 1 hour

    2 tablespoons egg replacer

    2 (15-ounce) cans pumpkin puree

    ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

    ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

    ¼ teaspoon ground allspice

    ¼ cup maple syrup

    Place the pecans in a food processor and pulse until crumb-sized, being careful not to overprocess to a paste. Transfer to a small mixing bowl and stir in the vegetable spread until the mixture is evenly combined. Press the crumbs into a 9-inch springform pan, covering the bottom completely and having a 1-inch rise on the sides. Place the pan in the refrigerator and allow the crust to chill as you make the filling. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place the cashews, ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons soaking liquid, and the egg replacer in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Add the pumpkin puree, spices, and maple syrup and blend again until smooth. Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust, spreading evenly in the pan. Bake until the top of the pie begins to caramelize, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Refrigerate the pie for at least 4 hours so the filling can set. Remove from the pan and slice. Source: The Vegucation of Robin: How Real Food Saved My Life by Robin Quivers. Reprinted by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Robin Quivers, 2013

  • Pistachio Cranberry Sauce

    Weekly Recipe: 
    Serves 6 to 8

    ¾ cup water

    ½ cup packed organic brown sugar

    1 large cinnamon stick

    10 ounces fresh or frozen organic cranberries (about 2 ½ cups)

    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice and zest of ½ lemon

    Dash sea salt

    ¼ cup roasted, shelled pistachios (roughly chopped)

    2 tablespoons dried cranberries

    Heat a 2-quart sauce pot and add water and brown sugar. Bring to simmer over medium heat and add cinnamon stick, fresh cranberries, lemon juice and zest, and sea salt. Stir to incorporate all ingredients. Simmer covered until berries burst and sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and add in diced pistachios and dried cranberries. Cook about 1 to 2 minutes uncovered then remove from heat. Serve warm or allow to cool, then refrigerate sauce overnight. Pistachio cranberry sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead. Source: Spork Foods

  • Crab Cakes

    Weekly Recipe: 
    Makes 6 cakes

    10 ounces crab meat

    1 green onion

    2 tablespoons cilantro

    2 tablespoons mayonnaise

    1 teaspoon lemon juice

    1 egg

    ⅓ cup breadcrumbs

    1 garlic clove

    ½ tablespoon stoneground Dijon mustard

    ¼ cup celery

    ¼ cup sweet onion

    ½ teaspoon coconut aminos

    Sea salt and pepper (1/4 teaspoon each)

    Pinch cayenne pepper

    3 tablespoons coconut oil

    Mince the garlic and finely dice the celery and onion. Combine all ingredients, taking care not to break apart too much of the crab. Mix everything else first, then add the crab. Take a 1/3-sized measuring cup and fill it with the mixture. Turn it out into your hand and smash it into a flat, round disk, about ¼-inch thick. Do this to all of the mixture. Heat 3 tablespoons of coconut oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the crab cakes. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes on the first side. Be very careful on the flip. They are delicate and need to be flipped carefully or they will fall apart. Cook another 1 to 2 minutes, until brown. Source: Paleo Effect,

  • Roasted Butternut, Fennel, and Cranberries

    Weekly Recipe: 
    Serves 8 to 10

    3 ½ pounds butternut squash, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into ½-inch dice

    3 large fennel bulbs, halved lengthwise, cored, and cut into ½-inch dice, fronds reserved

    3 crisp apples such as Fuji or Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch dice

    ¾ cup dried organic cranberries

    ½ cup finely minced pancetta (optional)

    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

    1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

    1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

    1 tablespoon chopped reserved fennel fronds or fennel pollen

    Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the squash, fennel, apples, cranberries, and pancetta, if using, on a rimmed baking sheet. Place the olive oil and maple syrup in a small bowl, and whisk to combine. Pour the oil mixture over the vegetables and toss to coat. Add the thyme and fennel fronds, and season with coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste. Spread the mixture out. Do not crowd the vegetables as this will cause them to steam rather than brown—use two pans or cook in batches if necessary. Roast the vegetables until they are lightly caramelized and tender, 30 to 45 minutes. As they are roasting, shake the baking sheet or stir the vegetables occasionally so they develop a crisp crust on each side. Transfer the vegetables to a warmed platter and serve immediately. Source: The Earthbound Cookbook by Myra Goodman

  • Chestnut Stuffing

    Weekly Recipe: 
    Serves 6

    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

    1 large yellow onion, diced

    5 stalks celery, diced

    ½ pound cremini mushrooms, diced

    ½ cup diced dried apples

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

    2 tablespoons dried parsley

    2 ½ cups cooked chestnuts, diced

    6 slices brown rice bread, cut into ½-inch cubes and toasted

    ½ cup vegetable stock

    ¼ cup tamari

    2 tablespoons mirin

    Freshly ground black pepper

    1 roasted butternut squash (optional)

    ½ cup toasted slivered almonds

    Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In large Dutch oven over medium heat, sauté onion in olive oil until soft. Add celery, mushrooms, apples, rosemary, and dried parsley and sauté 4 minutes. Fold in chestnuts and toasted bread cubes and remove from heat. In small bowl, whisk together stock, tamari, and mirin. Drizzle over stuffing mixture to evenly soak. Season with pepper to taste and gently fold to combine all ingredients. Place in large casserole dish or stuff into roasted winter squash and bake 25 minutes until top is lightly toasted. Remove from oven, top with almonds and fresh parsley, and serve. Source: Reprinted with permission from Clean Food © 2012 by Terry Walters, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co. Inc. Photography by Gentl & Hyers