One of our favorite holiday activities (besides going to see the Radio City Rockettes and The Nutcracker) is baking yummy treats. Make your recipes healthier with these easy baking substitutions. You shouldn’t use all of them in one recipe, but by choosing a couple, you can enjoy your favorite desserts with a little less guilt.
Instead of: One cup of regular chocolate chips
Use: One-half cup of mini chocolate chips
Instead of: Whole-fat varieties of cream cheese, sour cream or evaporated milk
Use: Non-fat or low-fat varieties
Instead of: Whole or two-percent milk
Use: Skim or one-percent milk
Instead of: One egg
Use: Two egg whites
Instead of: The entire amount of shortening (butter, oil, margarine)
Use: Applesauce for half of the shortening
Tip: When baking light, lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees or cut the baking time by a few minutes. Desserts with less fat cook quicker.
Bake a Batch of Holiday Cheer
Sometimes, after all those long hours of rehearsal, you just want (and deserve!) to indulge. Try these scrumptious sugar cookies.
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream
6 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Frosting and sprinkles (optional)
1. Using an electric mixer, cream the sugar and butter. Add eggs, vanilla and sour cream until well combined. Slowly add in the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
2. Chill dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
3. Once chilled, roll and cut the dough into shapes. (Try the ballerina cookie cutter pictured!)
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 9 to 11 minutes. Remove and let cool.
5. Frost and decorate if desired.
Tip: Skip the frosting. Opt for fresh fruit with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
A Spoonful of Honey
There’s only one thing worse than trying to rehearse with a cough: the taste of cough medicine. The next time you’re coughing up a storm, swallow a spoonful (two teaspoons) of honey instead. This all-natural cough remedy is not only tasty, it can actually be more effective than some over-the-counter cough syrups, according to a study at Penn State College of Medicine. Honey is high in antioxidants and coats and soothes the throat for instant relief.
Morning Tea Time
Have you ever stumbled into the bathroom before an early morning rehearsal and found yourself sporting puffy, red eyes? Try this: Steep two tea bags in boiling water, wring them out and stick them in the fridge or freezer until cooled but not frozen. Then place them on your eyelids for 5 to 10 minutes to help get the blood circulating and reduce swelling.
Quick Tip: Just one medium-sized orange provides 100 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. So during flu season, eat an orange a day to keep the doctor away!