Are hearts and Valentines on your mind this week? If you have elementary-age children and younger, you may be finished helping your kids complete their cards for their friends….we are done with ours (thanks, Grandma)! I’m going to stick with heart-health again this week since hearts are all around us this time of year. This is also a perfect time for me to share one of my heart-friendly dessert recipes. Before I do that though, I would like to say that it is possible to enjoy dessert that is good for your heart. Your heart (and your kid’s hearts) love unsaturated fats….you know, the MUFAs and the PUFAs! These fats are vegetable-based and liquid….usually oils from olives, walnuts, peanuts and soybeans, etc. The solid fats or yucky trans-fats are found in MANY packaged cookies, cakes and pies. This is a bummer because if the only kind of dessert you eat is a store-bought cookie, you are missing out on healthy fats! And unfortunately, most of the frozen desserts are either high in the solid fats (from cream and butter) or trans fat (chocolate coating, anyone?) or the fake sugars and fats-who wants fiber in their ice cream? So do what I do: make your own desserts….how does heart-healthy chocolate chip cookies sound? Keep in mind that heart healthy does not mean zero-calorie because dessert without sugar would be pointless! Try whipping these up this weekend for your loved ones. You will enjoy how quick, tasty and fun it is to make these with your family.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
½ cup canola oil, ½ cup brown sugar, ½ cup white sugar. Blend together in medium bowl. Add:
1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix until smooth and add:
¾ cup whole wheat flour, ¾ cup all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ cup mini chocolate chips
Pat down in an 11X7 glass baking pan sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes if you like cookies chewy and gooey or 375 for 20-25 minutes if you like crispy cookies.
Disclaimer: This is purposely a small batch for portion control (you should get at least 18 bars), but can easily be doubled. Also, you may add ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans for even more heart health. Even more nutrition needed? Use an omega-3 rich egg with vitamin E. Enjoy with a glass of nonfat milk!
Oh and yes, you can make these into cookies, but I find that kids eat them just as easily when they are bars and I don’t have that kind of time!