Have you ever wanted to have your cake and eat it too? Without worrying about what all that sugar and those extra calories are going to do to your figure? Or without worrying that your sweet indulgences will break the bank? I know that I certainly have, and, as a self-proclaimed ice cream addict, I simply cannot afford to keep an endless supply of Ben and Jerry’s (sad, I know). Neither my budget nor my pants allow it. So, I’ve had to work in some alternatives to sate my sweet tooth, and let me tell you, I have found some pretty amazing recipes. Now I am willing to say that they are every bit as delicious, if not more, as your average everyday pint of Ben and Jerry’s, with the added perk of being healthy. Here are two of my favorite recipes, both from Budget Bytes:
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: 50 mins
Total Cost: $4.32
Cost Per Serving: $0.54
1½ cups all-purpose flour, $0.15
1½ tsp baking powder, $0.04
½ cup (1 stick) butter (salted, room temperature), $1.16
1 cup white sugar, $0.15
2 large eggs, $0.34
½ tsp vanilla extract, $0.14
½ tsp almond extract, $0.14
½ cup milk, $0.12
6 oz. (1¼ cups) fresh cranberries, $1.25
⅓ cup sliced almonds, $0.83
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder until completely mixed. Set the mixture aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with a mixer until they are light and fluffy (start on low speed, then increase to high). Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract and beat again until the mixture is very light and creamy (start on low speed again, then increase to high. Beat for about one minute on high).
Add half of the flour mixture and beat on low until the flour is incorporated. Add half of the milk and beat until blended (it may look a little lumpy at first). Repeat with the second half of the flour and then with the second half of the milk. The end product should be a light, fluffy cake batter.
Rinse the cranberries and roughly chop them so that each berry is at least cut in half. Fold the chopped cranberries into the cake batter. Spread the cake batter into a 9-inch pie plate coated with non-stick spray. Sprinkle the almonds over top and press them lightly into the cake batter. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the cake and almonds are lightly browned on top.
This is a great recipe because the cake isn’t frosted, which is the biggest source of sugar in most cakes, rather this cake relies on the natural sweetness of the fresh cranberries, which makes it a much healthier dessert option than many other cake recipes. Not to mention it’s positively delicious!
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Total Cost: $2.93
Cost Per Serving: $0.73
1 large sweet potato, $1.18
2 medium apples*, $1.37
2 Tbsp olive oil, $0.32
½ tsp cinnamon, $0.03
½ tsp dried basil, $0.03
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Wash and peel the sweet potato. Cut the sweet potato into one-inch cubes. Wash the apples and then cut them into one-inch cubes as well.
Place the cubed sweet potatoes and apples in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, cinnamon, and basil. Toss until everything is well coated in oil and spices. Spread the apples and potatoes onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or foil. Make sure they’re in a single layer and not piled on one another.
Roast the apples and potatoes for 30 minutes, or until they are tender and begin to look shriveled. Serve hot.
Again, this recipe relies on natural sweetness rather than added sugars, which makes it so much healthier than many other desserts. Also, the sweet potato is a great source of vitamins and minerals. This is possibly one of my absolute favorite dessert recipes because it has a very unique, sweet and spicy flavor.
Just remember one thing, ladies: it’s alright to indulge. All of us mere mortals can’t stick to every diet plan ever conceived because eating is supposed to be enjoyable; it’s really hard to enjoy eating if you are constantly restricting yourself from eating the foods you love best. Sweet treats won’t destroy your diet or undo all that hard work you’ve put in at the gym, as long as you eat them in moderation.