I grew up in a little farm house outside of Perrysburg, Ohio. In my younger years, I helped mom in the kitchen, particularly on days she was baking. Whether I was helping grind up walnuts to add to her banana nut bread or pressing out her peanut butter cookies, I made sure I was there to lick off the spatula at the end of the bake session. Through college, you could find me baking cookies, breads, muffins and pies to give to friends, sorority sisters, fraternity men or student organizations.
Yes, I was that girl, making all these
not so healthy treats to share and typically only partaking in a few myself. It wasn’t until after graduation in May 2014 I started dabbling in adapting my baked good recipes for a clean and healthy twist.
Allow me to define something. Clean eating can be different than healthy eating. It’s all about knowing your body and the balance you want to have.
For example, you can make a chicken entree at your home using whole ingredients, no preservatives and know exactly how much of each ingredient is in it. It could be “healthy” but not “clean” if you still add sauces or sugars to it. In my experience, clean is aligned with basic, plain foods. Clean uses simple herbs and spices and the foods themselves for flavor. I also get passionate around the “natural” and “organic” terms.
If you see one or both of these words on the food label, do you automatically register that it is good for you? Probably–I know I used to! One challenge is, there are too many options in our grocery stores today that we get confused on what means what. The FDA recognizes this and is still working to create parameters (see update here) around what qualifies as “natural” in food labels. Additionally, many foods are getting labeled “organic”. Did you know that if a food or product does not state “USDA Organic” it is not certified to the standards set by the United States Department of Agriculture? Here’s a helpful article that breakdowns what each different type of “organic” really means to the USDA.
When comparing “healthy” to “clean”, remember, just because it is one does not necessarily mean it is the other. There is a misconception that anything defined as “healthy” will be lower calorie or have fewer ingredients. This is not always the case. I’m an advocate that you will probably have a mix of both to live a balanced lifestyle.
Here is a little throw back to August 2015 when I baked a pie for after my first bodybuilding show in St. Louis, Missouri.
Yes, it was delicious. But, I’m going to shift to other delicious pie options.
Today, I have a newfound love for baking, especially sweet treats and pies. I can remember a few months ago, my friend Lauren and I had the conversation about how much I love pies, but how I have struggled to find a recipe that is healthy and clean. Well, here’s my first step in that direction.
I grew up an advocate of lard crusts. They tend to be more flakey, soft and taste better with the sweetness of the fruits inside. The pie pictured above had a lard crust. However, I have some mixed emotions around lard as animal fat and am trying to adapt to other options. This whole wheat pie crust uses butter and I think next time, I’m going to try all coconut oil instead. I’m a believer in progress and improvement. And, it gives me more reason to bake more often.
I have become more aware of my tendencies and habits. One of those when I’m stressed is not necessarily overeating, but baking. Why? Maybe I find it relaxing to create something from scratch, smell the ingredients as they combine and see my finished work of art? Nonetheless, I need to make it a habit that does not just occur when I’m stressed.
Since nothing is original, I give credit to Kati from Houseful of Handmade. She details method to making a great crust, which I will continue to improve on! Visit that link for step by step instructions.
For the filling, I modified a recipe from SkinnyMs team that I enjoy. The coconut sugar used adds more molasses flavor. I enjoy that, especially this fall season!
Until I perfect my apple pie, below is the ingredient list and procedure, with a handful of Caroline modifications. I also highly recommend Halo Top in Vanilla Bean to enjoy with it. It is a healthy ice cream dessert that has few calories, fewer sugar, more protein and great flavor!
Whole Wheat Crust Healthy Apple Pie
October 16, 2016 version
2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour (Bob’s Red Mill works great!)
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp. coconut palm sugar
2/3 Cup cold butter
1/2 Cup iced water
About 3 pounds/5 apples (peeled and sliced)
1/2 Cup coconut palm sugar
1 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Spritz of lemon juice or from one lemon
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 egg (lightly beaten)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Make crust (see Kati’s directions) by combining flour, salt and palm sugar in large bowl.
- Cut in butter.
- Add water slowly until combined.
- Use hands to form dough into one ball, then twist and tear to create two separate balls.
- Place in fridge to chill.
- Peel, cut and slice apples and place into large, microwaveable bowl.
- Mix all ingredients except the egg, which is saved for the crust.
- Microwave filling for 2 minutes.
- Remove crusts from fridge.
- Roll out first crust to be placed in bottom of 9-inch pie plate. I use a plastic sleeve that you place the dough in, zip shut with a tad of flour and roll out into a perfect circle.
- Place bottom crust in plate and roll out second crust.
- Pour apple filling into bottom crust.
- Place top crust over apple filling, then pinch shut the sides of the crust.
- Cut 4-8 small “vents” into top of pie with a knife.
- Finally, pour and brush egg over the top of the crust.
- Place in the oven for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until crust starts to firm, you see bubbles and it smells like heaven.
- Remove from oven and let sit on cooling rack for at minimum 1 hour.
- Enjoy with a side of ice cream or as I prefer, Halo Top!