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Tasty, organic, home made alternatives to your favorite junk foods

healthy junk food
healthy junk food
Brian Holm, courtesy of

I recently visited a local organic food store hoping to find a healthier version of marshmallows for my daughter's birthday party. Sure, for about $5, I could purchase a small bag filled with tiny, dried-out mallows that looked about as appetizing as dirtballs rolled in dandelion fluff.

Alternatively, I could pay $12 to attend a class and watch someone else make marshmallows . . .

Hmmm, drive 30 minutes, pay $12 (OK, that is not an arm and a leg) and still not have a batch of marshmallows of my very own . . . or . . . I could look online for a good recipe and foray into the mallow field on my own. Figuratively. I don't have a mallow field, but apparently you can buy dried marshmallow online. Although, marshmallow is actually not required to make marshmallow candy. Figure that one out on your own.

I lucked out in finding An Organic Wife. In her own words, she cooks real, organic food from scratch. So, on any given day you might find her brewing kombucha, simmering old fashioned bone broth (vegan alert - it's not happening here, ladies, but look below) canning chipotle in adobo sauce, or making goat milk ice cream. Yeah, I just said that. She does it all. Then she tells us how to do it. So much easier that way, don't you agree?

Back to tasty treats: Nutella anyone? An Organic Wife's chocolate hazelnut spread is natural, organic, and comparatively healthy. Granted, it's still a treat, and it does contain raw sugar, but come on. Have you ever read the ingredients in Nutella brand? Start with white processed sugar and go from there. The Wife's version starts with a cup of real hazelnuts, so right off the bat you know this is going to be good.

And marshmallows? No problem. In the Organic Wife's recipe you'll skip the corn syrup and simply use honey, grass-fed gelatin, home-made vanilla (I do this all the time and yes, it's worth it) and if you really want to go full-on, use actual marshmallow root. I didn't even know that was a real thing - apparently it's terrific for sore throats.

Best of all, unlike a lot of home-made, authentic old-timey recipes, you won't spend a ridiculous amount of money procuring bizarre, antediluvian ingredients and then taking a week or two to thresh the grain or forage the wild whatever. You don't even need the actual marshmallow to make these treats, so don't go out of your way if flat-out authenticity is not crucial to your good night's sleep.

By the way, my vegan friends can visit Inhabitots for a marshmallow recipe made with agar agar and organic corn syrup. Don't worry, I've got you covered.

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