Gemma Stafford Gives Our Comfort Food Favorites a Health Kick


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ith over 100 million views and 1.3 million subscribers, Gemma Stafford knows a thing or two about cooking up comfort food.  Whether it’s in the sweets department or the savory section, Gemma has built a cult following on her innovative recipes and easy to make mug meals. As the founder of the world’s largest online baking community, Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baking, Gemma has created a passionate group of bakers, eager to learn the ins and outs of the kitchen.

From her childhood in Ireland to her training as a professional chef, Gemma has built a sophisticated set of skills to help her navigate the culinary world. Rather than keeping the secrets of the trade to herself, Gemma is enthusiastic about sharing her wealth of knowledge with those who seek it, combining accessibility with creativity to produce delicious results.

Of course, everyone could use some tips from the top about how to curate the perfect comfort foods for every occasion, as well as how to up the health factor without compensating taste. So how exactly does one go about doing that?

For more bold baking recipes, purchase a copy of Gemma’s Mug Meals: 30 Bold Recipes for Real Food Fast! written by Gemma Stafford. Available for purchase at biggerbolderbaking.com.

If there’s anyone to trust for advice, it’s the baking queen herself. According to Gemma, it comes down to ingredients and their quality, not to be confused with cost. While it’s easy to assume that higher priced ingredients ensure higher quality, that isn’t always the case. Paying attention to nutritional information can help in the process of choosing ingredients.

As for your satisfying sweet tooth? Sugar substitutes are now more widely available than ever before. Standard sugar can be easily swapped with coconut sugar, agave or maple syrup. Ditch your standard bleached flour for the homemade kind. With multiple recipes for creating your own flour, Gemma’s website is a useful tool for beginners and pros alike. When asking Gemma for her favorite flour alternative, she had no hesitation in confessing her love for almond flour. Almond flour, which can add a noticeable amount of moisture in baked goods, also provides key nutrients and more protein than your standard flour.

So what else can be done for our savory seekers? Gemma points to other simple substitutes that can be made, such as reduced-fat cheese and the use of veggies in her beloved pizza in a mug dish.

“It all comes down to being conscious,” says Gemma on the topic of healthier choices. While the task can seem daunting, it truly comes down to balance, as well as not overthinking the process. Our favorite piece of advice? “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”


Q&A With the Bigger Bolder Baker Herself, Gemma Stafford


Q: What are some of your favorite go-to recipes/creations that won’t break the calorie bank?

Gemma Stafford: Single serving mug meals can be a satisfying way to enjoy. Rather than making a whole dish and having to fight the temptation of finishing it, the mug meals are a perfect alternative to make.

Q: What are some good yet fairly easy to make healthy snacks?

GS: Having something prepared in the freezer for when you’re on the go can be helpful. Yogurt bark is a favorite, yet simple snack to make and have prepared. It requires only a few ingredients, and can be switched up depending on preference. You can mix in chocolate, banana, peanut butter… the options are endless.

Q: What are the benefits of making your own flour?

GS: Making your own flour can actually be inexpensive, and the quality of it, significantly greater. You also know exactly what’s going into it.

Q: Do you have any tips for healthy eating/cooking around the holidays?

GS: Don’t be too hard on yourself. Instead, just try and be conscious of what you’re consuming and don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself here and there.

Q: What are some healthy comfort food swaps that people can make in their daily cooking/baking?

GS: Simple things such as salt to taste, rather than excess, and seasoning with spices and herbs rather than loading up on salt can make a difference.


For more bold baking recipes, purchase a copy of Gemma’s Mug Meals: 30 Bold Recipes for Real Food Fast! written by Gemma Stafford. Available for purchase at biggerbolderbaking.com.


How to Make Coconut Milk


Recipe by: Gemma Stafford

Makes: 1 pint

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups coconut
  • 4 cups filtered or purified hot water

Method:

  1. Soak your coconut in 4 cups of hot water (2 pints) for 2 hours.
  2. Place soaked coconut and the soaking water in a high speed blender. Cover and blend on high for 1-2 minutes. It will be milky and have a bit of foam on the top.
  3. If you are using for soups or curries you can use as it. If you are using it for a drink, then strain coconut milk through a clean tea towel or a nut bag and squeeze into a bowl.
  4. Store in a covered glass jar, bottle or pitcher in the refrigerator, it’ll be good for about 4 – 5 days.

Notes:

  • You can replace Non-Dairy Milks for regular milk or water in your recipes. The equation is equal parts 1:1 ratio.
  • I find that 1 cup of nuts is more than enough for 1 quart of milk, some people prefer 2 cups.
  • These same instructions work for any nut that you prefer to use. Though, generally almonds are my go-to choice.
  • Separation is totally natural with homemade nut milks, just be sure to shake it up just before serving.

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