Food For Thought: Guilty Pleasures – Healthier Ways to Satisfy Food Temptations!

What are your guilty food pleasures? Of course it’s an individual thing, so write to me and together we might create a healthier recipe for your guilty pleasure foods. In the meantime, I will share a few solutions I have come up with and maybe you will also feel a connection to the foods and recipes here.

So, I will admit it, out loud! About once every month or two, I have a weak moment and buy a Snickers at the grocery checkout. I admittedly look left and right to see if any of my Food For Thought readers are watching! It is possible to find a copycat recipe, but I’m thinking I can make them once in a while as bite-sized candies to keep in the freezer for those days when I want just one! Yes I know, can I eat just one? This recipe makes 20 Snickering Bites, so 20 days and counting!

If you want an easy chocolate recipe that is sweetened with honey and made with organic chocolate, try Chocolate Bark – it’s the bomb!

I canvassed some friends and family for examples of their guilty pleasure foods. We all seem to share the desire for snack foods whether they are salty or sweet. And I will add pasta and fried foods to my list.

I like having pasta once in a while but it’s not the norm for me. The best ever substitute for pasta is using a spiralizing gadget to make noodles out of veggies! Love it. I also made Sweet Potato Gnocchi with a creamy sage, shiitake wine sauce with shrimp. Oh yum!!! I am not sharing the recipe yet as the gnocchi still needs tweaking! Watch for it in the future.

My friend Joanie says her guilty food pleasure is Key Lime Pie, so I am including my newly created recipe here for Lime Bars that certainly can be made with key limes when they are in season. These bars have a wonderful flavor and are easy to make!

I’m not sure Southern fried chicken is healthy no matter what we do, but I like to make oven-fried chicken once in a while when I want comfort food. Just melt a generous amount of butter in a cast iron skillet in the oven. Clean, dry, and dip chicken pieces in beaten eggs and then in sorghum or almond flour seasoned with salt and pepper and a generous amount of dried herbs, like Herbs de Provence.

Place chicken pieces in melted butter and bake at 375° for about 20 minutes, then turn each piece and repeat for another 20 minutes or until cooked. You can make gravy if you like and serve with mashed red potatoes and your favorite veggies! Comfort food at its best!

Write to me with your guilty pleasure foods and maybe together we can come up with a recipe that makes sense for you!!

Snickering Bites
½ C raw almonds, ground
2 T maple syrup
1 T coconut flour
Caramel filling:
Slight 1/2 C pitted, dried Apricots, packed
2 1/2 T water
Pinch salt
1/4 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 t coconut oil, melted
Chocolate Topping:
1/4 C coconut oil
1/4 C cocoa
3-5 T honey according to taste
20 Pecan halves for toppers
20 Toasted almond slices to garnish candies
For nougat: grind almonds into very small chunks in a processor or a nut grinder. Transfer to a small bowl and with a fork stir in coconut flour and then maple syrup. Set aside.
For caramel: Add all ingredients to food processor and process until you have a paste that is pretty much smooth. Set aside.
For Chocolate Topping: Melt coconut oil and turn off heat, whisk in honey and then cocoa. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.
Assembly for individual candies: With a small teaspoon size scoop or baby spoon, place packed scoops of nougat on a small cookie sheet lined with parchment. Top each candy with about the same size scoop of caramel. Place a pecan half on top of caramel. With a teaspoon drizzle each piece with chocolate. Slide one sliced almond across the top of each candy piece.
Store in refrigerator or freezer and make every attempt to eat just one at a time! I bet you can’t!

Lime Bars
1 cup almond meal
1-1/2 T palm or org sugar
1-1/2 T arrowroot
1/8 t salt
3 T cold butter, diced
2 T Lime Zest (from 2 limes)
1/2 cup Lime Juice (from 4-5 limes)
3 whole Eggs
1/4 c coconut milk
6 T honey
3 T melted butter
Whip Cream only from top of one 14 oz can of coconut milk. Add 1/2 tsp Vanilla & honey to taste and refrigerate until bars are ready.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Crust: Mix all crust ingredients except butter in food processor. Add butter in chunks and process until butter is in small pieces. Press crust ingredients into 6×6” pan (8×8” pan can be used for a thinner bar). Bake for 20-25 min or until crust is lightly browned.
While the crust is baking, whisk together or put all the filling ingredients in a blender or food processor. Process until mixed.
Remove crust from the oven when lightly browned and pour the filling over the hot crust. Return to oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the filling is set and knife comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the pan, then refrigerate until cold. To serve, cut bars into 2” pieces, add dairy whipped or coconut cream to each piece and sprinkle with lime zest. Enjoy
And then there are chips! OMGosh, Chips for dinner – can it be? Don’t tell me you’ve never wanted to eat chips ‘n dip or popcorn for dinner? Here are my ultimate chips. You can decide when you eat them!

Salt ‘n Vinegar Chips
1 lb. purple, red or Russet
potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/16-inch slices
1 cup
apple cider vinegar, or as needed
2 T olive oil
Sea Salt to taste (I use Celtic salt or Himalayan salt)
Preheat oven to 400°F. In a bowl, submerge potato slices in vinegar. Soak for 15 to 30 minutes; drain and wipe out bowl.(NOTE: Soak for 15 minutes for mild vinegar flavor or 30 minutes for a stronger flavor.)
Lay slices flat on paper towel, pat dry. Transfer to bowl; toss slices with oil and salt. Arrange potato slices on two large baking sheets lined with parchment paper, ensuring they are not overlapping.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, flip over, and bake for 3-5 minutes more, until chips are crispy and edges are slightly browned. Transfer chips to racks to cool. Repeat with the remaining potato slices, or just make a ½ recipe if you like.
Plantain or Corn Tortilla Chips
It’s very easy to slice the plantain or corn tortillas into wedges and fry them in a small amount of hot coconut oil. Then drain them on paper towel and salt them if desired and serve with your favorite dip. NOTE: You can easily make plantain chips or corn tortillas but it requires extra time and a tortilla press. Write to me if you want the process and recipes. For a quicker chip, purchase a good quality corn tortilla at the store.
I added a Spicy Okra Chip to my chip plate. Please write to me for this recipe if you have kitchen time to spare, as they are more time consuming!
Kale Chips
These are a constant easy favorite. Just wash and dry your favorite variety of kale. Cut into large strips and rub with coconut or olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake at 375-400° until crispy. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn.
How bad can these chips be? I add Beechup, guacamole, or salsa depending on my mood. What dip will you try?
For Beechup (Beetchup) recipe, see this link:
For Wild Salsa:
My guacamole is as easy as chopping organic avocados and adding lime juice, salt and pepper, chopped tomatoes, and sometimes cumin. Mix it up and refrigerate.
Can you eat just one? Secret: I also added a nice chipotle salmon filet to my chip meal – call it guilt if you like.

Sandy McCall’s day job is working as the Broker/Owner of Southern Life Realty. When she’s not being the “mad scientist” in the kitchen or loving-up her cat and dogs, she enjoys being the Food Editor for WNC Woman Magazine and volunteering in the community. Check out her Blog at, or search FB for Sandy’s Food for Thought.

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Sandy McCall
Written by Sandy McCall