Friday, February 25, 2011

Healthy Sweets - A how to and the Best Chocolate Shake Ever!!!!

A few months a go I made a deal with my kids that if they would stop asking for store bought treats and turn down treats offered them by well meaning people I would make them all the treats they wanted at home. The treats you make at home will almost always be healthier than what you buy at the store and they will taste better too. Here are some tips on how to make your treat recipes even healthier.

1. Eggs - try to buy  free range organic, preferably from a local source.

** If you don't want to eat eggs at all. You can use a mixture of 1 Tbsp ground flax seed and 2 Tbsp water for each egg in your baked goods.

2. Use Whole Wheat Flour. Soft white wheat is the closest to white flour. You can also get Whole wheat pastry flour at some stores but it is more expensive.

3. Consider using Virgin Coconut Oil instead of butter or margarine. Here is a link that describes the health benefits of coconut oil. Here is a link for a great place to buy quality coconut oil for cheaper than you can get at the health food store. You want the virgin, unrefined one.  If you don't want to use coconut oil, use butter.

4. Replace the sugar with Sucanat, which is dehydrated, unrefined organic cane juice. You can also try Coconut or Palm Sugar.*

*I really like the palm sugar, nutritionally it is probably one of the best suagrs you can use.

5. Use Aluminum Free Baking Powder. You can find this at health food stores and most grocery stores.

6. Get Alcohol Free Vanilla Extract. Did you realize it had alcohol in it? I didn't until a few years ago. Finding alcohol free can be harder and it is more expensive. I have found some at Trader Joe's and my local health food store. I really like this brand.

7. Use Sea Salt (or Original Crystal Himalayan Salt) for all the minerals in the whole food rather than the processed salt stripped of nutrition, and cut the amount of salt in half.

Best Chocolate Shake

The only sweeteners in this are bananas and dates.

3 cups unsweetened almond milk
4 - 6 frozen bananas (Important – they must be frozen or it won’t be a “shake”)
2-3 medjool dates with pits out (we like 2)
1-2 Tblsp of unsweetened cocoa (we like closer to 1)

2- 3 Tblsp of natural peanut butter (optional)

Blend it all in your blender

** You can use regular milk if you want. We use Almond Breeze unsweetened vanilla flavored almond milk. You can find it at health food stores and some grocery stores.

** Whenever your bananas start to get too brown, break them in to pieces and freeze them in ziploc bags. I always have a ton of frozen bananas in my freezer. If you don't have a powerful blender, let the bananas defrost a little so you don't kill your motor.

**Start out with the smaller amounts of cocoa and dates and taste it, if you want more, add them.

**These are seriously so delicious. They taste like a shake you can get from a malt shop. So good.


  1. Best shake in the world! And it is good for you. Words cannot describe the depth of my love for these shakes.

    I bought some Coconut Sugar the other day. Now I am trying to decide what to make this weekend for my treat. Until I get my weight under control I am only doing healthy treats on the weekend.

  2. I love using sea salt or pink or black or other fancy salts that I find.... but the good old fashioned table salt has trace amounts of iodine ... element needed to produce thyroid... and good for preventing goiters. So don't completely remove from diet...unless you are getting iodine from somewhere else.

  3. This looks so yummy. I'm pg and having serious chocolate cravings, but really want to cut the processed sugar and fats out of my diet. I'm definitely going to give this a try! :)

    I should try the heathermommy thing since my boys pretend too and we both get annoyed when I respond when they are in the midst of pretend play! ;)

  4. I just tried these chocolate shakes. My picky son like it. My not picky son said they tasted weird and he wouldn't drink it. Also, I'm new to this, you probably peel the bananas first before freezing them? It was very hard to peel a frozen banana! Thanks fir sharing your recipes!

  5. Hi Courtney - yes peel the bananas first and make sure they are not too ripe - not like what you would use for banana bread but not green either. Like with some nice brown spots but not totally brown. Clear as mud??

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  7. The best shake ever! If I were on a desert island, the only ingredients I'd want for a treat would be for this shake only. I did the same thing Courtney did the first time I made them, mostly because I was too lazy to peel them first. Next time!

    So, I have become a banana freezing pro! I peel, slice, freeze, and remove about 5-6 small hand-fulls for the shake. I soak two dates in water for about 24 hours to make it easier on my cheap-o blender. I have made this with regular skim milk and almond milk. I will always make it with unsweetened lowfat vanilla almond milk in the future. It's thicker texture and flavor makes such a difference!

    Heather@Cultivated Lives: Congratulations on your growing addition! When I was preggo, I had gestational diabetes. I had major chocolate cravings too, which was odd because I've never been crazy about chocolate. Sweeteners other than agave and stevia spiked my sugars, but fruits had a milder affect. I wish I had this recipe then. It would have been a staple! I love that it's not super sweet, depending on how many dates and bananas you use. My almost two-year old daughter loves this shake and cries when it's gone.