With the commencement of my sugar-free journey - I was frantically researching (gee - that doesn't sound like me AT ALL *sarcasm*). I know that the only way I can be truly successful at this is to figure out what my favourite sugary things are and find alternatives I can make. Artificial chemical sweeteners are a no-go. I WILL not eat them as it is, let alone as replacements on a lifestyle change. So - I needed to find alternatives I could live with.
The main thing, though, is that they need to be easy to make. I do not have much time in my life right now and I SUCK at cooking and baking. Simpler is better. Tried and proven is even better than that.
This weekend, I embarked on some kitchen time to create a few simple recipes. All of these were found either by googling or by scouring Pinterest. I wanted to pass them along in case others are on a similar journey (and the blogosphere did seem to explode with similar thinkers around the same time)
1) No-Knead Sugar-Free Bread
Last week, I wanted to make grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner one night and was faced with buying bread in Langdon. There was not a single type that didn't have sugar on the ingredients list. It was really disheartening. I picked the best that I could but was face with the fact that I would need to be able to control the ingredients in my bread if I wanted to ensure bread could stay in my diet.
Enter the no-knead bread recipe. So simple - even I couldn't screw it up. The trick is to mix the ingredients the night before and let them sit on the counter.
Then, the next day - fold, rise and bake...and the baking is done in a dutch oven meaning you end up with a beautiful artisan-looking loaf! Hubby and I both immediately started envisioning other things you could add to it. I will definitely be making some jalepeno-cheddar loaves soon!
2) Cheezy Kale Chips
This one isn't so much a sugar-free indulgence - though it does fall into the sugar free category. I was buying these little bags of Kale Chips at Planet Organic that were super duper cheezy! And at $7 a bag - not a sustainable snacking solution. When a coworker told me how easy it would be to just make my own kale chips - I decided to try and find a recipe to replicate what I had been buying...and found almost the exact thing!
The recipe does say agave nectar is option - I skipped it and didn't miss it. And make sure you store them in an airtight container. A ziploc baggie is not enough (learn from my experience).
They are dairy-free BUT not NUT-free. Allergy sufferers beware. Also a word of warning - they need to bake for a very long time so may be best tackled as a weekend project. I made them one evening after work and ended up just shutting the oven off after 3 hours and letting them finish as the oven cooled. It worked, but it wasn't ideal.
But MAAAAAN were they every yummy!
3) Sugar-Free Blueberry-Banana Muffins
My search brought me to this recipe in a quest to find something somewhat healthy and sugar-free for my daughters to take for breakfast. These were pretty simple to make though I will admit pretty dense once finished. Neither girl would eat them, but I found they were pretty yummy if you slather a bit of butter on them.
4) Sugar-Free Peppermint Patties
This one was a biggie for me. I love peppermint patties and to have a sugar-free version would make me an incredibly happy camper. This recipe does call for honey or agave nectar as a sweetener. I substituted Coconut Nectar and found it to be gently sweet. Plus the nectar is low-GI and won't spike your blood sugar. Don't attempt it using peppermint extract - buy some peppermint oil. The extract is heavily alcohol-y while the oil is gentler and much tastier (yes - I experimented on the filling a bit before delving in)
I was able to find 100% cacao chocolate in the baking aisle and, while it was too bitter to eat on it's own (actually a win for in my house - means no one will eat it and it will still be available for cooking), the filling is sweet enough to counter the thin chocolate shell.
Plus, knowing that the filling is mostly coconut oil means I am making a conscious decision to only eat one as a treat and not overindulge.
So there you have it - a few sugar-free recipes to play with. And, as you know, if it's coming from me - the recipe is stupid simple. I am not a baker and too many steps makes my head spin. I'll try to post more once I have another weekend to play with them. There's a peanut butter cup recipe I'm dying to try...