Raspberry Coconut-Oat Macaroons (2 Points +) & Interview with Lauren Zembron
What could be better before the summer ends than a recipe that combines coconut and raspberry in a delectable macaroon?! And for 2 points plus per macaroon, it is easy to indulge a little without overdoing it. The raspberry coconut-oat macaroons are a perfect sweet end to a celebratory meal or special occasion.
To make things even more interesting, we were able to learn a bit about the cook behind the recipe. Lauren Zembron is the author and cook behind Healthy Food for Living, a recipe blog that focuses on using whole and unprocessed ingredients for healthier cooking.
Raspberry Coconut-Oat Macaroons (Makes 32 Cookies)
- 2 2/3 cup full fat shredded unsweetened coconut (one 8 oz package)
- 1 cup reduced-fat shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 3/4 cup pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B
- 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp pure vanilla bean paste OR pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/2 pint (6 oz) fresh raspberries, lightly mashed (Lauren prefers organic)
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- In a food processor, process 2 2/3 cups full fat shredded coconut for about 5-8 minutes, until a thick, smooth coconut butter forms, scraping down the sides as needed (this will yield about 1 cup of coconut butter).
- Combine the coconut butter and all of the remaining ingredients – except raspberries – in a bowl. Stir until well-combined. Fold in lightly-mashed raspberries until mixture is marbled… you don’t want the raspberries completely combined with the cookie dough.
- Using a mini ice cream scoop or a small spoon, scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet (no need to leave much room in between as they do not spread out). Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the bottoms of the macaroons are lightly browned. The macaroons will be very soft at this point.
- Allow the macaroons to sit at room temperature on the baking sheet for about 30 minutes, or until they firm up and cool down.
Nutritional Info per Macaroon: 86.6 calories, 5.7 grams fat, 3.5 grams saturated fat, 1 gram fiber, 4.4 grams sugars, 1.4 grams protein (2 Points Plus)
Interview with Lauren Zembron
So, your slogan “somewhere between living to eat and eating to live” seems to be what we should all be aiming for. Where do you think that place is and how can we strive for it?
“For me, this balance looks like a diet consisting mainly of unprocessed whole foods that make me feel energized, with occasional “treats”. To be more specific, my daily diet consists mainly of whole grains, fresh fruits & veggies, protein (mostly of the plant variety, some animal), and lean dairy. Every now and then I indulge in something decadent and I don’t feel guilty about those splurges. There is room for decadence in any healthy diet and I think finding the right balance includes occasionally eating foods that you love – even if they aren’t the most nutritionally sound. I do savor something sweet pretty much every day to satisfy my sweet tooth, but most of my desserts are homemade with healthier ingredients.”
On your blog, it seems you sort of grew up in a health conscious environment. However, many people didn’t, so how would you recommend an average, busy person to completely change their lifelong habits from a highly processed, inactive lifestyle to a healthier one?
“I am lucky enough to have been brought up in a family where healthy food was part of our lifestyle. For those who are just starting to think about their health, I think it’s important to take it slow. You wouldn’t tell a completely sedentary person to start marathon training by running 5 miles their first time out on the road; the same goes for adopting a healthy diet. I would recommend starting by cutting out liquid calories; replace soda and juice with water (flavored with freshly squeezed citrus for a flavor boost, if desired). Then swap white flour foods for those made with whole grains… eventually working up to 100% whole wheat bread, pasta, baked goods, etc. Replace highly processed snacks with unsalted roasted nuts, no sugar-added dried fruits, unsweetened yogurt, fresh fruit, and veggies with hummus. I think it’s also important to eat as many homemade meals as possible. So many people opt for pre-made meals because it saves time, but there are a myriad of quick, easy, healthy, & delicious recipes available.”
What is your favorite food?
“That’s a toughie! To be honest, my answer would probably vary depending on what season it is. Right now I would say my favorite food is any variety of perfectly ripe, juicy, in-season organic summer fruit. Come autumn, I become a pumpkin & sweet potato fiend; I love that they lend themselves to both sweet and savory recipes. In winter, I crave “healthified” comfort food like homemade chili and mac & cheese. When spring rolls around, I gravitate towards lighter foods such as sushi and freshly made salads.”
I saw on your blog that you have a sweet tooth. How do you manage that in a healthy way?
“Oh, do I ever! Sweets are admittedly a part of my daily diet. I keep desserts and sweet snacks healthy by making them at home rather than buying them at the store. I use unrefined sweeteners, whole wheat pastry flour, fruit purees, and heart-healthy oils when baking, and lowfat dairy products for things like pudding, homemade ice “cream”, cheesecake, etc. That beings said, my sweet tooth is often satisfied with fresh or dried fruit (my favorite being Medjool dates).”
Do you have a cookbook or will you?
“I have not yet written a cookbook, but I do have a few ideas percolating! I’d love to author a cookbook sometime in the future.”
What’s next for you and your blog?
“I’m playing around with the idea of incorporating kid-friendly meals once our daughter – who is currently 7 ½ months old – gets a little bit older. If I do decide to explore that avenue, I would probably post the toddler/kid recipes on a separate page on my blog while maintaining my current focus on the main page.”