So, I'm still sugar-free. The end of my fast (Easter) is fast approaching and I think that is actually making things a little tougher. Now when I get a craving, knowing that in a week or so I'll be able to act on that craving seems to make it more intense. I'm still planning on having sugar on Easter as a way to celebrate, but I'm not sure it's the best way to celebrate 40+ days of no sugar. Celebrate no sugar with sugar. It doesn't make sense. But, that's the plan and I (obviously) have not rid myself of the idea of rewarding myself with food. One thing at a time, people.
I've started reading Sugar Blues by William Duffy. I'm telling myself it's required reading and I think it will help me get back on the sugar-free wagon after Easter. I will be giving sugar up again after Easter and am going to choose a handful of very specific occasions (Friday night is NOT a special occasion) throughout the year when I will allow myself some processed sugar. In the meantime, I am identifying resources that will teach me how to use natural sweeteners like honey, stevia (which we are growing this year), pure maple syrup, etc.
One of these resources has been this book I picked up...Covered In Honey by Mani Niall. I look forward to trying some of the recipes in here where honey is the only sweetener. I'll share any good finds with you. Which brings me to my next point...
I'm collecting recipes, folks! If you have a recipe that only uses natural sugars that you love, please share it with me by either leaving the recipe in a comment or by linking to your blog if you've posted about it. Thanks!
About two weeks ago, I started allowing myself honey mainly because I was struggling with what to eat for breakfast. Oatmeal rolls with butter was really good for awhile, but I needed some variety. I decided to make granola (my Grandma's granola). I eat it with cold milk poured over top. It's delicious. The closest thing to cereal I've had in a long time. This granola is my new best friend. I look forward to breakfast again each morning which is important since I need the fuel after a night of sleep and nursing a teething baby girl. And, it's not just for breakfast. I'm eating a bowl as I write this. Yes, I am. It's important to immerse yourself in your work, right? Although this does not feel like work. Much more like play.
Grandma's Granola (slightly adapted)
7 cups rolled oats (NOT quick oats)
1 cup nonfat dry milk
1 cup dry, roasted soybeans, salted
1 cup roasted sunflower seeds, salted
1/2- 1 cup coconut
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup soy OR whole wheat flour
4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup canola oil
1 cup honey
3 tsp. vanilla
2 cups combination of raisins, dried cranberries and dried sour cherries
Place all dry ingredients, except the dried fruit, into a large bowl and combine. Measure and add the canola oil. Do the same with the honey in the same measuring cup. The oil will help release the honey so none is wasted. Add the vanilla and combine everything well, breaking apart really large chunks into smaller ones.
I started out by greasing two large baking sheets really well and then spread the granola evenly on them. No matter how much I greased (I tried this several times), the granola still stuck to the baking sheets making it a bear to get off (it wasn't burnt- just stuck on real good). What I've found works MUCH better is to line the baking sheets with parchment paper. The granola doesn't stick and you can lift the paper up and pour the granola right into your containers. I shake off the crumbs and reuse the parchment paper over and over.
Bake granola at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes, stirring/turning it once halfway through, or until it has browned to your liking. We like ours medium brown around the edges and slightly browned in the middle. After the granola comes out of the oven, I sprinkle it (while it's still on the trays) with the dried fruit. Fruit that has been baked with the granola is too chewy for my taste. This keeps the fruit soft. Toss the fruit into the granola. Let cool completely and store. We store ours in two two-quart jars. This recipe makes an even gallon of granola. Our gallon disappears in about 4 days.