Blueberry Crisp and a lesson in recipe converting for healthification
Updated: Apr 23, 2019
If you've been following my posts for awhile... you know that I LOVE good food. Like....... GOOD food.
I am rather picky about whether I claim to really LIKE a food. It has to really SPARK something in my mouth. A "party" of sorts. lol!
MOST of the food that sparks a party in my mouth is healthy food. Whole foods combined JUST right, that my salivary glands almost hurt with sensation! Its true.
However, there are also a lot of foods that are NOT very healthy for my body that I have chosen to not enjoy very often because it just doesn't serve me long term. I aim to live a long life, and fact tells me that if I eat too many sugars and fats, I'll die early as well as suffer a wide array of diseases.
Since this is the case, I have learned how to substitute some of my healthier ingredients for the ones that give me great immediate pleasure, but inevitably cause me pain.
Ingredients that don't do anyone any favors when eaten regularly are: white processed sugar, butter, and bleached all purpose flour.
These are ingredients that are found in many baked goods, including this luxurious recipe I'm sharing today.
Here is the Original RECIPE LINK for Blueberry Crisp that I chose.
Why did I choose blueberry crisp? Because I LOVE a good baked CRISP. Like..... LOVE. The gooey warm fruit.... the crispy oatmeal and sugar topping..... the melty cream on top. Oh my goodness. It speaks to my SOUL!
Did you know that blueberries are a superfood? They are one of the healthiest fruits on the planet! They are good for your heart, your blood sugar, and for killing mutant cells in your body among a lot of other things. I keep a BIG bag of them in my freezer at all times. I happened to buy a bunch of them FRESH berries earlier this year due to a very low price due to overstock at my local grocers. I froze what we didn't eat, and my freezer needed some room, and I wanted a CRISP! No further explanations needed.
Why did I modify? For better nutrition, better digestion, and for family allergy needs.
Here is a photo of my ingredient substitutions that did not harm the quality or the absolute YUMMINESS of this dish at all:
Let me share just a FEW of the reasons why I chose what I chose to substitute:
Frozen blueberries, well, it was just what there was. I knew that by doing this, there would be extra juice- so as I changed the cornstarch (the thickener) to tapioca I simply doubled it.
I swapped out the cornstarch simply because if I can reduce our processed corn product intake I will. All corn syrups and corn starches and corn oil I look to eradicate from our family's diet. There is just too much corn in everything else with no good data showing for it. If I can control it at home, I will.
For the sugar--- if you are unfamiliar with the ways that processed sugar ails the human body, do some research. You'll get motivated to start swapping this out asap too. I love stevia in cooking with fruit! I buy the packets at a reasonable price at my local grocer.
On the FLOUR----- my husband has Celiac's disease, and absolutely cannot ingest anything containing WHEAT, BARLEY, or RYE mature plant particles. These grains contain a product called GLUTEN and whereas gluten is produced by a few other grains, the gluten from this family of grains is like POISON to his small intestine. The gluten kills the villi in the lining of his small intestine and inhibits him from absorbing any nutrition from the food he eats. No wheat starch. No wheat flour. No barley malt extract. No rye crisps. While I often substitute "all-purpose flour" which is wheat based, with a GLUTEN FREE baking blend, I often will also substitute "all-purpose flour" with a finer ground whole wheat pastry flour (if my husband isn't going to be eating what I'm making). I will choose the whole wheat pastry flour due to its higher nutritional value. Mainly its natural minerals, vitamins, and fiber that gets destroyed when they process it and bleach it to make "all-purpose flour."
For the OATS---- realize that oats are a hard grain, that look much like a long grain of wild rice before they are ROLLED and squished into the familiar oats you see in the baking and breakfast isles of the stores. If you grew up raising horses, you have likely seen an oat that hasn't been rolled. You can also get steel cut oats that are the long whole grain, just chopped up into little pieces. Check out this image from theyummylife.com to see the different ones:
You'll notice my original recipe called for "quick-cooking oats." Quick cooking oats are simply the rolled oats that have been even further rolled and mashed making the oats faster to cook, but it also sacrifices some of the fiber quantity. In stores, the rolled oats with all of its fiber and goodness are called "Old Fashioned Rolled Oats." I don't know what is old fashioned about them, but they are definitely the better of the two types of rolled oats. :) For this reason, I simply swap out quick cooking oats with my "old fashioned" whole rolled oats whenever I can.
Now..... as much as I love to reduce sugar whenever I can, when you are going to have a good dessert, I just choose to leave in some at times. I don't make or eat desserts often- and when I do I do try to "healthify" them- but with some recipes I've learned that I just don't want to sacrifice it. At this point in the recipe, I drew that line. I did go "lean" on filling my measuring cups, and *might* have only filled those 1/4 cups of sugar 2/3 full. But I didn't do precise measurements, so I won't claim it as a good modification.
As for the nutmeg I left out, this was personal preference. I have learned from experience that the integrity of the flavor in cooked blueberries can easily be KILLED with too many added spices. While I knew that the nutmeg would add depth to the flavor.... I wanted to preserve a fruity and wholesome flavor instead of adding more "glitter". Sometimes less is more when it comes to spices like nutmeg.
On the nuts I left out, this was also preference for health reasons. Nuts are YUMMY and do have nutritional values... but they are high in calories from fatty acid chains. With the other fats already in this recipe, and my desire to simply have a CRISP, I knew that the nuts would not "make or break" this recipe. By leaving them out, I'd save the complaints from my kids and husband (he doesn't like a lot of nuts in his desserts) and a whole lotta calories.
Butter. AH the butter. While I do prefer butter over anything else for baking most desserts, if I can swap it safely for coconut oil I DO. Butter is considered a "healthy fat" when kept to 1-2 tsp a day, since the fatty chains it is made of are the ones that give our brains energy and don't store in our adipose tissue as "fat stores." However, it is so high in calories and is dairy based, giving it less desirability for digestion or as part of a healthy diet. When a recipe calls for more than a few tablespoons, and its for something like a crust or biscuits, subbing in coconut oil usually works without any struggle. Coconut oil is also high calorie, high fat- but the fatty chains that make up coconut oil not only don't store as fat but are used for quick energy in our brain tissue and muscles and can actually help our bodies burn stored fat as well as HELPS our brain build new tissue. Coconut oil also has anti bacterial properties, and many other nutritional helps that butter just doesn't have.
For the whipped topping or vanilla ice cream that was suggested in the recipe, I think this recipe was amazing with just a little vanilla soy milk drizzled on the top. I think some almond based whipped topping would be amazing as well. Dairy products are simply too controversial in the health sciences to be considered "normal" or "ok" or "positive" so I steer clear. Whats the old saying?
"When in doubt, throw it out!" Thats kind of my rule of thumb for dairy products. When it comes to cheese... I just modify as much as possible.
My family LOVED this crisp with all of its modified glory!
I hope you enjoy it too!
IF you LOVE information like this, then you might LOVE being in one of my healthy lifestyle success groups where I share stuff like this often, along with recipes and other wellness ideas and tips. Email me at email@example.com and let me know you want the details on the current group and I'll be in touch within a day or simply enroll with one of the packages featured on THIS PAGE and I'll be notified and you'll automatically be IN! Chat soon!!! xo