All Natural Baking Tips for the Holidays
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All Natural Baking Tips for the Holidays

Posted on Tuesday, November 26th, 2013 at 9:11 am
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Christmas cookiesFor many, baking cookies and pastries is as big of a part of the holiday tradition as decorating a Christmas tree. If you’re like me and find yourself hovering over a mixing bowl several times in December, you know the importance of quality ingredients. After all, making sure you have the right butter, flour, etc. can make the difference between a good cookie and a great one! Using organic or all-natural ingredients is one way you can be sure you’re using the best stuff for your recipes!

Greasing the Pan

When greasing a cookie sheet, pie pan, or muffin tin, the easiest solution is to grab that non-stick spray and do a quick once over before adding your freshly mixed dough. Unfortunately, most commercial non-stick sprays include artificial ingredients and flavors that may actually be hazardous to your health. There are plenty of ways to grease a pan using natural ingredients. Butter is an obvious alternative. You can also use all-natural shortening. Spectrum Organics makes a shortening made with coconut oil. You can also try putting olive oil in a traditional spray bottle and misting your tools like you would with cooking spray. You can also find some cooking sprays made by natural or organic companies.

The Ingredients

When shopping for ingredients, look for products that feature “all-natural” or “organic” on the label. When it comes to sugar or cocoa products, look for Fair Trade Certified products. This ensures that your goods were grown and produced by a company that offers fair and humane working conditions for their farmers and growers. For eggs, look for organic free-range varieties. This will ensure the chickens consumed an all-natural, pesticide free diet.

Food Dyes

For the holidays, it’s always fun to bake up some bright red dough or mix up some festive green frosting. Food coloring makes it easy to achieve the colors you want. Unfortunately, they’re packed with artificial colors and ingredients. Instead, consider using all natural ingredients to make your own dye. For bright reds, you can use beet juice, and for deep greens, you can use spinach. Check out Bonzai Aphrodite’s blog for great tips on making your own food dyes.

The Extra Mile

Baked goods make a great gift during the holidays. Once you’ve baked your delicious treats, consider gifting the cookies in a re-usable container. A glass food container is an obvious choice. You can also wrap them in a beautiful cloth and place them in a decorative basket. These are both things the recipient can easily re-use. Avoid using re-sealable bags or paper plates, which can be harmful to the environment

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.