Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"Almost" Sugar Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

So I started my no sugar kick on Saturday instead of Monday. I felt I was ready and didn't feel the need to wait. I am proud to say I have not ate one baked good with refind sugar. I don't feel any diffrent yet but I am sure that takes time.

I am in the process of trying to find recipes for goodies that don't have any sugar. I have sucessfuly baked banana bread and some chocolate chip cookies.

Ok, so the chocolate has sugar, but they are for the kids. Making a cookie without sugar and the kids actualy eat it is amazing, chips or not.

"Almost" Sugar Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup mashed banana

1/3 cup vegetable oil(or melted butter)

1/4 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

1/4 cup rice milk(rice milk is naturally sweet) or you can use cows milk

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

2 tbsp wheat germ

1/4 tsp baking soda

2/3 cups rolled oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, beat together the mashed banana, oil, vanilla, eggs and milk until creamy. Beat in the flour, wheat germ and baking soda. Stir in oats and mix thoroughly. Coat a cookie sheet with veg oil or butter. Drop batter by the spoonful onto the cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes.(8 minutes in convection oven) until just firm to the touch. Don't over bake! cool before serving.
If you want to make these completley sugar free add raisins or coconut, or nuts instead of chocolate chips.

Recipe taken from "Sugar Free Toddlers" Susan Watson. revised the original recipe.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Calling all fellow sugar addicts

Magnification of grains of sucrose, the most common sugar.

Do you find you are overly addicted to sweets and take every opportunity to eat something with sugar in it?
Do you find yourself sneaking sweet treats when no one is watching? Do you bake for the kids but end up eating more then half of what is in the cookie jar?
Would you rather eat baked goods instead of real food when you are hungry?
If any one of these describes you then you have a sugar addiction.

I am calling all sugar addicts to jump in with me to cut out sugar for 2 weeks. No commitments after that, but you can't cheat for the entire 2 weeks.

I know I have a serious sugar addiction. I always use to think I was addicted to food, but I came to realise that it isn't food, but actually only some sorts of foods, namely foods with sugar. Like baked goods. For one thing, I LOVE baking. It really is an outlet for me and something I really enjoy doing. I just have to do it and learn not to eat it, or at least learn to know when to stop eating it. I know sugar, especially refined white sugar is possibly one of the worst things you can eat and to eat it on a regular basis, lets face it, is the entire reason why I have a weight problem. My logical mind knows the answers to my own questions, but the other half of my selfish mind just wants that sweet fix of sugar(especially when my sweet darling children are driving me nuts)
so, for my own confirmation of why I want to do this, here an article of all the negative things about sugar and its side effects. #1 being weight gain, of course, so beyond that, here goes.

Sugar is the No. 1 ingredient (in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), fructose, or glucose) in foods. But sugar (1) typically delivers a load of calories with little to no nutrition; therefore, (2) it can stoke your appetite rather than satisfy it, and (3) it can even become addictive: By constantly eating sugar, you force your pancreas to work overtime, and as you eat more, it pumps out massive amounts of insulin--eventually, your body may become less sensitive to sugar and build up a resistance to it. The Women's Health magazine website has a ton of tips to avoid sugar shock in an article called "Sugar Overload."

A host of diseases--diabetes, heart disease, stroke, obesity, dehydration--have been linked to excess sugar/glucose intake. Despite this fact, simple sugars (such as HFCS) are being used 42 percent more in our foods than they were in 1970, when they were used only two percent of the time.

So, after reading that you must want to at least give it a 2 week trial, right?

There will be a few rules though(of course) you can not substitute the white poison for artificial sweeteners cause that stuff is even more poisonous and don't try and tell me anything different, even you know it is. You can however substitute sugar with honey, Agave syrup necture(found at any health food store),Maple syrup, molasses, and pure Sucanat(read the link) you can find this stuff at health food stores or even Super Store in the healthy living sections in their stores. But I think for the 2 week trial we should stay away from all sources of sweet stuff, excluding lactose(found in milk products)
Read labels! you should be a crazy label reader after this two weeks is up and after reading a few labels you will be shocked at how much stuff has sugar in it. And I challenge you to cut your children's sugar intake by half, if not completely.
I personally did it with my kids for a 2 week trial and I saw amazing results, especially in my son. I also strongly feel that kids are so loaded with sugar these days and no one even gives it a second thought. I always felt that I was controlling the intake but it wasn't until I really sat down and realised that unless we cut out packaged foods my kids will be eating sugar every time they open their mouths.
Are we perfect? no. Do we let our kids still have sugar, yes. But it is very limited. Lets just say they appreciate every bit they get and will be over the Moon come Easter Morning.
If you feel like giving it a shot, post a comment below. I am hoping a few people will want to do this with me as it is much easier doing things as a group and not alone. Start date is Monday March 22nd(I will give you one more weekend). We can do this!
Here is a list of words that mean "sugar"

Corn sweetener
Corn syrup, or corn syrup solids
Dehydrated Cane Juice
Fruit juice concentrate
High-fructose corn syrup
Invert sugar
Malt syrup
Maple syrup
Raw sugar
Rice Syrup
Sorghum or sorghum syrup
Turbinado Sugar

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Gingerbread Biscotti

I finally decided to try this recipe that I have had saved for a while now. I am not sure why I felt intimidated by it, but I did. Needless to say it was so simple to make. I am a huge over thinker and I fidgeted with the shaping of the dough for much longer then I should have but I couldn't visualise the end result before it was baked.
I made up my own glaze recipe and my liquid measurements are not exact so if you make it just add small amounts of liquid till you get the consistency you want.


1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
3/4 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a cookie sheet.
In a large bowl, mix together oil, sugar, eggs, and molasses. In another bowl, combine flours, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg; mix into egg mixture to form a stiff dough.

Divide dough in half, and shape each half into a roll the length of the cookie. Place rolls on cookie sheet, and pat down to flatten the dough to 1/2 inch thickness.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool.
When cool enough to touch, cut into 1/2 inch thick diagonal slices. Place sliced biscotti on cookie sheet, and bake an additional 5 to 7 minutes on each side, or until toasted and crispy.

My Chocolate Glaze

3/4 cup icing sugar
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp butter(room temp.)
1 tsp Vanilla
1oz semi-sweet bakers chocolate square
Buttermilk to thin

In a bowl mix the icing sugar and butter with water and vanilla until smooth.

With a double boiler, or using a metal bowl over a pot of boiling water, melt your 1oz of chocolate. I used 1 baker's Square. You can use chocolate chips if you don't have any baker's squares. Just make sure they are semi-sweet, not milk chocolate, or your glaze will be much too sweet.

Once the chocolate is melted add it to your sugar mix and combine. Once it is combined add enough buttermilk until you have a nice smooth and somewhat runny consistency for drizzling it on your Biscotti.

If you don't have buttermilk just use cows milk, rice milk, soy milk or almond milk.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Eggless wholewheat chocolate chip muffins

I made these for my son's little friend who LOVES anything with chocolate. He also has an egg allergy and these turned out wonderful and moist even without the egg. If you or anyone you know also has a dairy allergy try using Rice milk or a really thick Soy milk.

I tweaked my recipe from one I found on


2 cups wholewheat flour

1/2 cup white sugar

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk(don't use low fat)

1/3 cup veg oil

1 egg replacer (or try any of these substitutes)

3/4 cups semi-sweet mini chocolate chips


1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F . Grease bottoms only of 12 muffin cups or line with baking cups.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, chocolate chips, and salt; mix well. In a small bowl, combine milk, oil and egg; blend well. Add dry ingredients all at once; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened (batter will be lumpy.)

3. Fill cups 2/3 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 1 minute before removing from pan. Serve warm.

Magnetic Chalkboard

I had this wall space in the kitchen, and just for fun I thought I would make a chalkboard for the kids and for a grocery and to-do list.

When I was looking around for chalkboard paint I discovered that you can make a magnetic chalkboard. So I thought, why not, I will give it a try.

The magnetic primer was being rather fussy and I ended up having to do 6 coats of the stuff to make any magnet stick. I was worried that once I got the chalkboard paint on top of it nothing would stick. Thankfully, everything but the kids VTech letters stick.

There are many places you can make a chalkboard wall. In the Kitchen, on the inside of your pantry door, a child's room or even on top of a desk or table.

before you paint, tape off the area with painters table and make sure your lines are level by using a leveler.

Your best application option is a foam roller for both the magnetic primer and the chalkboard paint.

The magnetic primer can be bought at Home Depot and comes in 1/4 gallon size cans. I was able to do my space with 6 coats and I still have about 1/2 the can left, so it does go a long way.

This primer dries fast so you may be able to get the project done in one day if you had the time.

Once the primer is dried and you are ready for the chalkboard paint you now have to decide on the colour. The brand Home depot sells has many different colours, from pink and brown to red and yellow. But if you just want to use black and don't have a huge wall to cover Benjamin Moore sells small size cans to save you a few bucks. I didn't need 1/4 of a gallon and found the small can at Benjamin Moore. I painted on 3 coats and still have enough paint for another project if needed.

Once your 3 coats of the paint has been put on, let it dry for 3 days before you cure the chalkboard. To cure the chalkboard just rub chalk all over the painted area and wipe off with your brush. Your chalkboard is now ready to use.
Oh, and before I forget, you can even buy whiteboard(dry eraser) paint!! how cool is that.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hamburger and Hotdog Buns

100% Whole Wheat Hamburger and Hotdog Buns.

1 cup water
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 egg
3 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast or active dry yeast


1. Place all ingredients in order according to your bread machine.
2. Select ‘dough’ cycle.
3. Allow cycle to run.
4. Dump out onto lightly floured surface. Divide into 8-10 pieces(I make 8 hamburger,10 hot dog).
5. Shape each piece into a hot dog or hamburger bun.
6. Place on greased cookie sheets (or bun pans), cover; let rise 30 to 40 minutes.
7. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes until golden.
8. Cool on wire racks.

I found this recipe a while back and I have no idea why I haven't posted it hear sooner. It is simple and very easy. Sadly my hotdog buns are not photo worthy. I am still trying to get the prefect shape and size.
My only tips are to not make them too big. The dough has a second rising stage and the buns will get larger before and as you are cooking them. There is an art to making them just the right size and I am still trying to master it. Some days I make them great for smokies, other days I make them great for kids size dogs.

Hamburger buns on the other hand are rather easy. You can make mini ones for the kids and big giant sized ones if you want to.


Canned Beans

I decided to try an experiment in making my own canned beans.

I have tried to eliminate as much canned foods from our pantry as I could, but canned beans are so much nicer then dried beans just boiled. Canned beans have a nice creamy texture to them.

I started out by soaking white beans over night in a large bowl with water.

In the morning I drained the beans from the water, picked out any brown ones and had a handy helper help me place all the beans in canning jars.

Once the all the beans were in jars I poured boiling water into each jar leaving about 1/4 of an inch from the top. At this point you can add a little salt if desired. Place seals and lids onto jars and tightening loosely. If you tighten them too tight you wont be able to open the jars when you want the beans.

I used the waterbath method to seal the lids.
To seal the lids with this method you carefully place the sealed jars into a hot pot with the water just covering the tops of the jars. Let the water come to a safe gentle boil for about 10-15 minutes.

When the jars are ready to come out carefully lift them out and leave them standing upright till cool. At this point you start to hear all the jars pop as the seals start to set.

I plan to let these rest for 3-6 months before I open a jar to see if it worked. I am really hoping it does. This is a very economical way of eating organic canned beans. Plus it is so much healthier for you. I find it hard to buy canned beans that don't have calcium disodium EDTA(a colour preservative) in them aside from organic beans, which cost up to $2+ per can.
If you are scared to try any canning just do some google searches for tips. I don't have a proper canning pot and you honestly don't need one if you don't can very often.

I will post back on my bean adventure when I crack open a jar.