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How to Use Honey to Improve Your Cooking and Your Health

How to Use Honey to Improve Your Cooking and Your Health

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Use honey as a better-for-you sweetener in cooking and baking

Honey is a delicious alternative to refined sugar.

(Credit: Flickr/Sadia Awan)

(Credit: Flickr/Joy)

(Credit: Flickr/Scott Veg)

With just four basic ingredients (the recipe calls for white truffle honey and smoked salts, but you can substitute both the honey and salt that you have on hand), this snack is a simple and delicious way to take advantage of honeys many health benefits.
Click here for our Crostini with Ricotta and Truffle Honey recipe.

(Credit: Shutterstock)

Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.

6 Gut-Healthy Recipes That Can Improve Your Mood

By now you probably know that a healthy gut is key to keeping your digestive system running smoothly. But according to an increasing number of doctors, a happy gut could also promote, well, overall happiness&mdashalong with stable moods and a stronger memory. Michelle Babb, RD, author of Anti-Inflammatory Eating for a Happy, Healthy Brain, explains, &ldquoEvery piece of food we put into our mouth communicates to our genes, cells, organs, and tissues, so every time we eat, we make a choice about what kind of communication we want to send and how we want to feel.&rdquo

So what kind of foods actually give your gut that boost? The often-lauded probiotics (think yogurt, kimchi, and other fermented foods) are a great place to start, but they aren&rsquot the only things that matter when it comes to good tummy vibes. Prebiotics are equally important. Found in foods like onions, walnuts, and oats, prebiotics are foods that probiotics feast on. Translation: These do best together. And you don&rsquot have to stress about eating them at the same meal just include both in your diet. Omega-3 fatty acids&mdashwhich are found in salmon, chia seeds, walnuts, and more&mdashreduce inflammation and help speed up neuronal communication, which promotes more stable moods and better focus. Tryptophan (tofu, eggs, and chicken are great sources) is not only essential for a good night&rsquos sleep but is also a precursor for serotonin, which regulates mood and appetite. And polyphenols, like those found in spinach and broccoli, help stimulate the growth of good bacteria and stifle the growth of bad bacteria.

All of the following recipes have a combo of these ingredients&mdashand they&rsquore not just good for you, the flavors will make you smile too.

Honey recipes

This sticky ingredient is a great natural sweetener. Browse our stellar selection of sweet and savoury recipes.

Honey-orange poached plums

This simple pudding is light and seasonal- flavour your fruit with orange blossom water and sweet honey then serve with crunchy biscuits

Honey, parsnip & coconut cake

This light bake, with grated parsnips and desiccated coconut, makes a great alternative to carrot cake - top with rich cream cheese icing

Sticky soy & honey pork with Asian noodles

Serve lean pork tenderoin in a sweet Chinese five-spice stir-fry mix of egg noodles, sweetcorn, sugar snap peas and peppers

Honeyed nut & pomegranate pots

Create a cheat's baklava by soaking shredded wheat in honey. Top with creamy yogurt, pistachios and citrus

Honey-roast confit of duck

This hearty French classic combines meltingly tender meat with crispy skin, and can be made well in advance - perfect for dinner parties

Honey & orange roast sea bass with lentils

Liven up your midweek meals with this low-calorie, gluten-free fish supper - ready in under half an hour

Homemade crumpets with burnt honey butter

Light, fluffy, fresh crumpets are perfect for a weekend brunch - top with sweet and salty burnt honey butter

Honey & mustard ham hock pie with flaky cheese pastry

Slow-cooked tender ham, potatoes and shallots are enclosed in cheesy cheddar pastry - invest in a pie plate or tin for a crisp base

Flaked salmon salad with honey dressing

A simple salad of lean, omega-rich fish with sugar snap peas, avocado and a sweet soy vinaigrette

Clementine & honey couscous

Pistachios, clementines, honey and cinnamon make couscous a perfect breakfast dish. Serve with fruit and yogurt

Honey mustard grilled salmon with Puy lentils

A light and vibrant fish dish with earthy beetroot and lentils, served with basil, rocket and sweet grilled salmon

Salted honey fudge & chocolate tart

Layer salted caramel and thick chocolate cream on a chocolate pastry base and top with crunchy honeycomb for a dessert with a difference

Honeyed peach & pistachio Pavlova

Master the art of meringue and gain a kitchen skill for life. This pudding is topped with vanilla, cooked peaches and Greek yogurt

Halloumi with broccoli tabbouleh & honey-harissa dressing

Couscous makes a great base for a quick salad. Flavour with smoky harissa, sweet honey and herbs, then top with fried cheese slices

Hot cross bun ring with spiced honey butter

Make these cinnamon-spiced fruit buns into a pretty centrepiece for your Easter table, and serve with a sweet butter

Honey-roasted swede with chilli & cumin

This versatile root vegetable can be roasted like a potato - with a drizzle of honey and sprinkling of spice you get a very special side dish

Crispy honey buffalo wings with blue cheese & celery slaw

Crispy Southern fried chicken is often served with blue cheese dressing and celery - the coleslaw turns this party favourite into a proper supper

Recipe: Peanut and Honey Dog Treats

If your dog has allergies, you can substitute rice flour, coconut flour or any other type of flour that is suitable for his digestion. You could also substitute quinoa flakes in place of the oats, if need be. Flaxseed or ground sunflower seeds could be used in place of the oat bran.

  • Author:Samantha Randall
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: about 60 treats 1 x
  • Category: Biscuit Treats
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Dog Treats


  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 cup oat bran
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour


Preheat your oven to 350˚ F.

Mix all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add more flour if the dough is sticky. Divide the recipe into dough balls that are appropriately sized for your pooch.

Place the dough balls on a well greased cookie sheet. Flatten them until the are about 1/4″ thick. Bake the treats in your 350˚ oven for 15-20 minutes. You'll know when they are done, because they'll begin to brown and the tops will look cracked.


  • Serving Size: 1 treat
  • Calories: 63
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Sodium: 21 mg
  • Fat: 2.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 9.2 g
  • Fiber: .8 g
  • Protein: 2.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Did you make this recipe?

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How to store: Store leftover treats in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 12-14 days. Remember that homemade treats do not have the preservatives that store bought products do. They will not last as long. If you'd like, you can freeze these treats in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

For More Information

We publish many homemade dog food and treats recipes every month. For more recipes, pet food cooking tips and advice, see our “Recipes” section. If you're new to home cooked dog food subject, I recommend you read more about “How Much To Feed” to understand serving sizes, “What Supplements To Use” to create well-balanced meals, and “How To Store” for tips on simple and easy homemade dog food storing in a fridge or a freezer.

Honey cake recipes

Bake one of our favourite honey cake recipes for a sweet afternoon treat. Try an easy loaf cake, a stunning celebration layer cake or a spiced sponge.

Devonshire honey cake

Our easy Devonshire honey cake is perfect for a cream tea or enjoying with your afternoon cuppa.

Honey cake with honeyed almond crunch

If you like crunchy honey-nut cereal in the morning, you'll love this for elevenses

Jewish honey cake

This simple honey cake, also known as 'lekach', is a must-have sweet treat when celebrating the Jewish New Year, or Rosh Hashanah. It’s best made a few days ahead, as the spicing and texture improve&hellip

Honey & almond layer cake

April opts for the 'naked' style of decorating so the cake isn't swamped with icing, but instead delicately finished with candied almonds and Swiss meringue buttercream

Thursday and Sunday



  • ½ tablespoon olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
  • ½ small onion, sliced
  • 227g can chopped tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • ¼ teaspoon honey
  • 2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 210g can organic Cannellini beans
  • 1 slice whole grain bread
  • Fresh oregano, finely chopped
  1. Heat oil in a small frying pan, add the onion and pepper, and fry for about 10-12 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, vinegar, beans, honey and chilli powder.
  3. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or until thickened.
  4. Spoon beans over the toast, drizzle with a little olive oil and chopped oregano.

Beans aren’t only packed with fibre and protein they are also a great source of magnesium. They also contain B vitamins and iron to help with the energy you need throughout the day whilst helping to keep you feeling calmer.


Quinoa with Salmon Fillet

Quinoa is a nutrient-dense super grain from South America. It’s an excellent source of calcium, magnesium iron, phosphorus, and lysine. Lysine may lower stress levels.


  • 1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/8 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoons oregano leaves, chopped
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili
  • 1 salmon fillet
  • 1/8 cup oregano, chopped fresh
  1. In a small saucepan bring 1/2 cup quinoa, two cups of water and ¼ teaspoon salt to a boil.
  2. Cover and reduce to a simmer, cooking about 20 minutes, or until fluffy.
  3. Turn off heat and mix in the tomatoes, onions, oregano and lemon zest, let it sit covered.
  4. In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika.
  5. Line a sheet pan with foil and lightly grease with olive oil or nonstick cooking spray before transferring salmon fillet to the pan, coat the surface of fillet with ½ of the spice mixture.
  6. Place rack in the lower third of the oven. Cook for 10 minutes, check with a fork.
  7. Sprinkle with oregano and serve with vegetable quinoa.

Salmon and some other kinds of fish like halibut, are rich in vitamin B6, which the body uses to make melatonin, the sleep hormone. This can also help with serotonin and mood.

Eggs have a good amount of protein. Image: iStock Source:BodyAndSoul


Organic Egg White Scramble

For dinner? Yes! Egg whites help the body prepare for bedtime by producing melatonin. Additionally, they are jam-packed with 11 vitamins and minerals, and tryptophan, an amino acid that helps you sleep better for longer by telling your brain to shut down for the night.


  • 2 egg whites + 1 yolk
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Pinch of garlic powder
  • ½ cup cooked brown rice
  • ½ cup smashed avocado
  • Halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • Olive Oil
  • Add sweet potato (optional)

Whisk the egg whites and yolk with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder until frothy.

Cook the scramble in olive oil.

Serve with avocado, tomatoes and brown rice.

The addition of the sweet potato could help with better mood.

After Dinner Snacks


This can be served hot or cold. Have with a handful of nuts and dried fruits if desired as they will help to stabilise mood and satisfy a sweet tooth.

Vegan Chocolate Squares and Almonds


For the feel good factor and as a reward to make you feel happier with the end of day.


Choose calming varieties like chamomile, lemon balm or valerian to hydrate and soothe.

Garlic for Cancer Protection

Garlic is most well-known for the healing herb's potential anti-cancer effects, Glassman says, as well as its ability to slow other diseases, including hypertension and even the common cold. One of the most commonplace healing herbs, garlic is a great flavor enhancer in stews and soups, such as this quick-and-easy Asian pork soup.

8 Secrets For a Moist & Juicy Roast Turkey

You don’t have to go to cooking school to become a better cook. There are lots of easy, small things you can do every time you cook to get better, more professional results. Here are our top 10 tips for improving your cooking:

1. Choke up on your chef’s knife. For better control, choke up on the handle to the point of putting your thumb and the side of your index finger onto the side of the blade right above the handle. Speaking of chef’s knives, invest in a good one (and keep it sharp). The longer, wider blade of a chef’s knife will give you speed, control, and confidence.

2. Start with the best ingredients. Imported Parmigiano-Reggiano is so much better than domestic parmesan that the two can hardly even be compared excellent chocolate makes all the difference in a cake and fresh homemade breadcrumbs are a world apart from packaged crumbs.

3. Use your hands. Hands are extremely sensitive and sophisticated cooking tools. You can develop this sense of touch by paying attention to how different foods feel at different degrees of doneness, even as you’re checking them with a thermometer, a toothpick, or a knife. Meat, for example, goes from being very soft when it’s rare to quite firm when well done. Touch can also indicate when a cake is baked, if a dough is kneaded enough, and whether a pear is ripe.

4. Switch to kosher or sea salt, and don’t be stingy with it. Kosher salt and sea salt have a much better flavor than ordinary table salt. Though food shouldn’t taste salty, going to the opposite extreme and using little or no salt in your cooking results in food that taste flat. Even if a recipe suggests an amount of salt to use, your ingredients—as well as your palate—may be different enough from the recipe writer’s to necessitate adjustments.

5. Don’t crowd the pan when sautéing. Be sure you can see the bottom of the pan betwee the pieces of food. Too much food will lower the temperature of the pan, creating a lot of steam, meaning you won’t get good browning. It’s also important to dry food before sautéing it and to make sure the pan is good and hot.

6. Reduce liquids to concentrate flavor. If you’ve braised meat or vegetables, take the main ingredient out when it’s done and reduce the sauce a bit more before serving. When you deglaze a pan, be sure to reduce the added liquid by boiling it over high heat. Reduce homemade stocks before use, too.

7. Bake pie and tart crusts longer than you think you should. Pastry doughs taste much better when cooked long enough for the sugars in the crust to caramelize. You’re going for brown, not pale blond.

8. Let roasted meats rest before carving. Without a rest to let the meat’s juices redistribute, your roast will be dry.

9. Add a final splash of acid (vinegar or citrus juice) to almost any vegetable or meat dish or fruit dessert at the last minute to perk up the flavor.

10. Trust doneness tests over the timer’s buzzer. When you try a recipe for the first time, look to those descriptive words you’ll find in a good recipe: “bake until golden brown” or “boil until reduced by half.” Don’t be so concerned that the time it takes to reach the desired state is more or less than the time suggested by the recipe.

10 Tonics to Boost Thyroid Function and Relieve Symptoms

1. Dandelion

Anti-inflammatory dandelion is full of antioxidants and can help calm autoimmune flares and balance out the immune system. (1,2,3)

Dandelion leaves can be harvested right from your yard as long as you don’t treat your lawn with toxic weed-killing chemicals.

How to make dandelion tea:

Steep 2 teaspoons of dried dandelion root and leaves with fresh lemon zest in a tea infuser for 15-20 minutes, then add half a teaspoon of raw honey, stir, and drink.

2. Siberian Ginseng

Siberian ginseng is an adaptogenic herb that can help the body better handle stress, whether it comes from outside sources or internally, such as a thyroid problem. It can also help reduce inflammation within the body, which is commonly found in thyroid conditions. (4,5)

How to make orange ginseng tea:

Siberian ginseng dried root can be brewed into a tonic tea and can be consumed a few times per week to better help the body adapt to stressors. Pairing it with orange peel or zest can give it a warm, citrus flavor that will also provide soothing, anti-stress benefits.

  • In a slow cooker, add 2 quarts of boiling water and dried herbs, along with the orange peel. Cover and cook on low heat for 2-3 hours.
  • Remove the ginseng root after this time, allow to cool, and slice in half. Add back to the crockpot and continue cooking on low for another 2-3 hours.
  • Once cooled, discard herbs and orange pieces, and store the cooled liquid in the refrigerator.

3. Chaga

Chaga is in the family of medicinal mushrooms that’s making its way to the top of the wellness ladder. Chaga has liver and lymph cleansing benefits and can help a thyroid-sluggish body by removing toxins and nourishing the detox system in a gentle, natural way. It is also potently anti-cancer, so if you have a family history of thyroid cancer (or any type), this might be the tonic for you. (6,7)

Chaga also has mind-clearing benefits and can clear away thyroid brain fog better than addictive caffeine. It can also help to naturally increase superoxide dismutase, an important antioxidant that is often lacking in people with impaired thyroids. (8)

How to drink chaga:

Mix in a smoothie or make a matcha-like tea drink by adding ½ teaspoon of chaga powder to your favorite smoothie recipe, or stir into hot water with coconut cream, cinnamon, and a drop or two of pure liquid stevia.

4. Ashwagandha

A popular adaptogenic herb, ashwagandha can help the body better cope with stress, anxiety, and chronic health problems. (9,10) It can also help to improve natural production of thyroid hormone. (11)

Ashwagandha is often found in herbal preparations for stress and the adrenal glands, but it can also be used in loose herbal form and absorbs better when taken along with food instead of simply as a capsule.

How to make herbal milk with ashwagandha:

Mix ground ashwagandha herb into a warming, nourishing herbal milk. Warm coconut or almond milk until boiling, then remove from heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or butter, 1 teaspoon raw honey, ½ teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon of ashwagandha. Drink warm.

5. Turmeric

Turmeric is a nourishing food for thyroid health thanks to its active ingredient, curcumin. It works in the body as an anti-inflammatory relieving agent and can help to cool inflammation associated with thyroid problems. Bonus: It also works to help alleviate mood-related disorders, like anxiety and depression, which can often go hand-in-hand with a jacked-up thyroid. (12,13)

It can also help to reduce instances of goiter, or enlarged thyroid, in people who are prone to that. (14)

How to make golden milk:

For a soothing turmeric tonic, try making golden milk. In a small saucepan, heat a teaspoon of turmeric with 1 ½ cups dairy-free milk, and spice it with a half teaspoon each of cinnamon, ground ginger, and vanilla extract. For a frothy component, add ½ a tablespoon of coconut oil and whisk well. Be sure to include a ¼ teaspoon of black pepper, which helps with turmeric absorption and use within the body. Simmer on low for a few minutes and serve warm.

6. Astragalus

Astragalus, another adaptogenic herb (sensing a theme?), can boost adrenal function and help the body better cope with stress. The thyroid and adrenals are closely related, and when one is off, the other is likely struggling, too.

Like so many other adaptogens, astragalus helps fight off stress physically and mentally by tapering inflammation. It can also help to modulate the immune system, which can be beneficial in situations of autoimmunity, where the immune system mistakenly begins to attack its own body tissue. (15,16)

How to make astragalus tea with lavender:

Steep 1 ¼ teaspoon dried astragalus root as you would your favorite tea, for at least five minutes. Try steeping with some lavender buds, or add a splash of turmeric lavender creamer and a bit of raw honey for a natural, antioxidant-rich sweetness.

7. Maca

Maca is one of those superfood ingredients that is often found in drink recipes like smoothies or Paleo milkshakes, and it can also make a soothing herbal tonic.

Maca is nutrient dense in vitamins B, C, and E – all nutrients that the thyroid requires in abundant amounts to produce hormones and regulate metabolism and energy levels. Maca can also help to regulate hormonal communication, especially reproductive hormones. This ties in with thyroid balance because if your sex hormones are low, your stress hormones will be high, and both put extra strain on the thyroid as it tries to maintain a steady hormone output. Maca can also help to improve mood. (17,18,19)

How to make a maca tonic:

For an energizing tonic, pair a scoop of maca with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of ginger and whisk together with warm coconut milk, ½ teaspoon raw honey, and ½ teaspoon of MCT oil.

8. Rhodiola

The adaptogen Rhodiola is used in traditional and herbal medicine for bringing calmness and clarity to the body. Unlike most herbs in this list, Rhodiola can have an almost immediate effect in clearing brain fog and boosting energy, making it a good go-to if you struggle with the 3 pm lull that most thyroid sufferers experience.

Rhodiola can also help to tame depression symptoms and fight chronic fatigue, both of which tend to plague hypothyroid patients and those with Hashimoto’s. (20,21)

How to make Rhodiola tea:

Rhodiola works fastest in tincture form, so adding a dropperful to your favorite herbal tea can have some energizing benefits that won’t take a lot of time to prep. You can also add it to smoothies or juice.

9. Ginger

Ginger has a great reputation for helping to soothe physical upset: from pregnancy nausea to the flu, it has a calming effect on the body. It also works at a deeper level and tames inflammation, which can often lead to bigger problems like chronic disease and autoimmunity.

Ginger can help reduce pain in chronic conditions like arthritis as well as reduce the associated risks between a low-functioning thyroid and cardiovascular problems. (22,23)

How to make ginger tea:

Make a comforting, spicy tea by adding 3-4 slices of ginger root to a saucepan of 3-4 cups of boiling water. Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes and then discard the ginger pieces. Add honey to taste, and sip away.

10. Bone Broth

Bone broth is an unconventional tonic that is relevant to thyroid health thanks to the intimate connection between the gut and the immune system. In many cases of a thyroid gone rogue, the immune system has been affected by a leaky gut – one that is damaged and allowing foreign particles into the bloodstream. Bone broth is a therapeutic tonic for gut health and all types of chronic problems because it contains amino acids and other nutrients, like collagen, which help to repair the lining of the intestine and restore balance to a fired up immune system.

How to make bone broth:

Make your own bone broth at home by slow-cooking grass-fed beef bones or pastured chicken bones with purified water, a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and any herbs of choice for 12-48 hours. If you’re low on time, you can buy quality bone broth online from companies like Kettle and Fire. Tip: Try any of these bone broth mix-ins to spice things up!

About Aimee McNew

Aimee McNew is a Certified Nutritionist who specializes in women's health, thyroid problems, infertility, and digestive wellness. She ate her way back to health using a Paleo diet, lost 80 pounds, and had a healthy baby after numerous miscarriages. She focuses on simple nutrition practices that promote long-lasting results.

Side Effects and Precautions of Raw Honey

Honey is a natural food that people have been taking as a medicine for thousands of years. Most adults and children can consume 2 or 3 tablespoons raw honey every day without any adverse side effects.

Honey is not recommended for children under 12 months of age. You should also avoid taking honey if you have a pollen allergy. (28)

Using honey, and not just for eating, is also one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health.