The tradition of baking and sharing holiday cookies is one that my family enjoys. Of course, I like to make our treats as healthy as possible. I have special memories of the delicious cookies that my mother made at Christmas, and I’ve updated her recipe, making it with healthy ingredients. It’s our favorite holiday cookie recipe, and I’d like to share it with you.

Cookies

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups ground pecans: I use a wooden rolling pin to crush the pecans
  • 2 cups flour: I use a combination of 1 cup organic oat flour (freshly ground from organic whole oat groats), ½ cup coconut flour, and ½ cup sprouted spelt flour. (If you prefer a less crumbly cookie, substitute kamut flour for the oat flour.)
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ cup dried maple syrup powder
  • ½ cup organic salt-free butter
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 2 tsp. high quality vanilla extract

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I rarely question any food that much of the world has been using for thousands of years. Eventually, science confirms the health benefits of foods and medicines of traditional cultures, and I believe that holds true for coconut. However, a food that is used liberally in one culture does not necessarily mean that the health benefits transfer to other cultures—we must take into consideration climate, other dietary factors, genetics, and lifestyle.

Coconut halves with shell on a dark background. Top view with copyspace

Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) grows near the equator, and is a staple for people who live in areas that are hot and sunny all year round. All parts of the coconut tree are used in the daily life of people in traditional coconut growing areas, and the coconut itself (which is actually a fruit, nut, and seed) is especially valued for its nutritional and medicinal benefits. Coconuts offer coconut water, coconut flesh, coconut milk, and coconut oil produced from the kernel. The shell, husk, and leaves are also used for creating a variety of household and decorative items.


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We hear so much about the negative effects of sugar—from obesity to tooth decay to cancer—it might surprise you to learn that sugar has some unique beneficial properties. It’s important to understand that not all sugars are created equal. If you want to reap the health benefits of sugar, it must be truly unrefined raw sugar.


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Our family enjoys sweet treats (in moderation, of course). I feel good about providing my kids with treats that not only taste great, but are healthy, too. These chocolate chip cookies are a brand new recipe of mine and are quickly becoming one of our favorites. They’re crispy and delicious and get more flavorful by the day. As well, they’re packed with healthful ingredients like rolled oats, fresh Kamut flour (see my blog on the health benefits of Kamut), coconut, and dark chocolate. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!


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Donnie’s Famous Pizza

One of my family’s favorite dishes is homemade pizza. Making pizza connects me to my Italian heritage, and I find satisfaction in creating this rustic, healthful food. My kids, of course, love the result.

Making pizza from scratch takes a bit of time, but not as much as you might think. I enjoy the entire process, beginning with grinding the whole grains into fresh flour. My favorite flours are made from Kamut and farro; to enhance the elasticity of the dough, I add a bit of gluten flour. The result is a satisfyingly chewy crust.


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In recent years, I’ve come to appreciate a simple, humble vegetable that hasn’t quite made it into mainstream cuisine. You may have seen or heard of sunchokes (sometimes called Jerusalem artichokes). But what you may not know is that these unassuming little tubers offer a wealth of health benefits—and they’re tasty, too.


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