How to Have Your Cake and Eat It - the Healthy Way
Is there such a thing as healthy baking? Freelance blogger and amateur baker Ashley Turner gives us her take on how to have your cake and eat it, the healthy way.
Ashley is a full-time, freelance blogger from London. Originally from Kentucky, she explores recipes from all over the world. Ashley and her husband moved to London three years ago, as it was one of their all-time favourite cities. When she's not busy writing on her two blogs, Plated and Sated and Pink Julep, Ashley loves sightseeing, travelling, live music, cooking and baking. She is also on the committee of her local bake club in Putney.
We can sometimes feel bombarded by information about the latest fitness craze or the next super-slimming diet. But it's important to remember that being healthy isn't just about counting the calories. It's also about what's in the food we eat.
Amateur baker, Ashley Turner, tells us:
"There's definitely such a thing as healthy baking. It's much better to eat things when you know what's inside them rather than having something wrapped in plastic that's usually full of chemicals," she says.
Nutritious ingredients are the first step to enabling you to have your cake and eat it, the healthy way
When we think about baking, we imagine fairy cakes and buns - sweet treats that you only eat on a special occasion because they're not considered as healthy.
With the rise in home baking, more and more people are using alternative recipes to suit their health needs.
"You can substitute sugar with honey and use healthier grains, like spelt. People are now coming up with ways to bake without eggs for those who are vegan or have cholesterol issues. Using things like unbleached wheat flour and coconut oil is also much healthier," says Ashley.
Healthy Baking Options can Save Both Pounds and £££s
With all the horror stories and documentaries about pre-prepared food, as a nation we're thinking more about our health.
"Across the board, people are getting back to basics. There are lots of health trends occurring, for instance there are loads of bicycle shops popping up around London. People are more interested in exercise and thinking about what they eat these days," Ashley says.
Just like going for a run, baking can help you relax and also make you feel like you've really accomplished something. Ashley once achieved the seemingly impossible - healthy yet delicious brownies. It was one of her proudest baking moments.
"I once successfully made gluten-free, wheat-free, sugar-free, dairy-free brownies, and they tasted good! That's definitely been my biggest accomplishment, because I was baking for people with food allergies."
Trends like baking, home cooking and being healthier seem to have occurred as a result of the recession. Not only are many packaged foods bad for you, they can also be pricey - you are way better off if you can have your cake and eat it the healthy way.
"Baking is not expensive at all. It costs around £4.00 to make a batch of blueberry muffins, which is what you pay for one at most cafes these days. Food allergies are much more widely known about as well. With home cooking and baking, you can take a recipe and alter it to suit your needs. It's not just cheaper, you can be more creative with food when you bake."
Pictured above: Ashley's Halloween Blueberry Muffins. "Blueberry cornmeal muffins are my new favourite thing to bake. I got the recipe from ‘Kitchen' by Nigella Lawson and it's super-easy. I love this recipe because it's a fresh take on the traditional blueberry muffin. The cornmeal or polenta adds a really interesting texture. They're amazing when they're fresh out of the oven."
Baking can change your lifestyle if you can learn to have your cake and eat it the healthy way
For Ashley, baking is so much more than just a hobby. It's also about a lifestyle choice.
"Instead of buying bread or bagels, I'll make some muffins and that will be our breakfast for the week. In those instances, baking is less of a hobby and more just how we live. It's is not just about using your time, but creating something that's tasty and good for your health. I get a lot of satisfaction from that."
Pictured above: Ashley's Key Lime Pie. "My Faux Key Lime Pie is something I've been making regularly for years. I love Key Lime Pie, but finding key limes isn't always easy, so for this recipe I use regular limes and that way I can make my favourite pie anytime, anywhere. The digestive biscuit crust is just heavenly and super-easy to do if you have a food processor."
Get Ashley's Faux Key Lime Pie recipe here.
Bake Your Way to a Happy Festive Holiday
Whether it's for birthdays, Christmas or Easter, there's nothing quite like giving your friends, family and neighbours some home-baked treats.
"Festive baking is my favourite kind of baking. I remember my mother making fudge, cookies and cakes to give to people as gifts. When anyone came over we used to send them home with a batch. This year I'm getting involved with Christmas baking for friends and clients," says Ashley.
We asked the baking fanatic what's on her wish list...
"I'd really like a breadmaker. Stand mixers are amazing too, my grandmother used to have one and I remember watching my mom drool over it," she adds.
This feature was produced by Go Electrical, experts in top brand home appliances. Their cookshop is full of handy bakeware, and they also offer baking gadgets like stand mixers and food processors.