Three Months and an Identity Crisis

Mama L and I have now been sugar free (and very low acid) for 3 months. 🙂

It’s been interesting to say the least.  The first two weeks were just plain torture for me.  Looking back on it now I still can’t believe how unbelivably difficult it was for me to give up sugar.  I guess it shouldn’t have been such a shock…considering how much sweet stuff I baked on the regular…but I just never imagined it would be so rough.

After we made it 8 weeks I had every intention of reintroducing sweet treats (made with alternative sweeteners) and I did try that.  The sugars were fine…even kid approved.  Tested them out on my adorable neighbor kids.  But I didn’t like the way they made me feel.  Plus I started to obsess over what I’d make next and when.

I decided that even the alternative stuff had to go.  I want my body to absorb nutrients and I just don’t think it’s going to do that if it has the option of living on sweet…real or fake.

I’m not saying I’ll never eat / bake a sweet again.  Not saying that at all.  But for right now my plan is to go as long between sweets as possible.

While I’m 100% resolved to that plan it’s also bringing about a little identity crisis.

What am I if I’m not ‘Jennifer the cook / baker’?

Ever since I was a pre teen I’ve been the family baker.  Creating in the kitchen has always been one of my greatest passions.  And no matter how hard you try…something savory is never going to have the wow factor of something sweet.  It just doesn’t.

So who am I now?

I need a new passion.  A new hobby.  I even pulled up the list of continuing education classes at a little local junior college.  Side track break here…can y’all believe that this little rural type junior college offers continuing ed classes in beginning Chinese?   Maybe I’ll learn to speak Chinese.

It’s hard too because I love bloging.  I adore my regular readers.  Y’all got me thru the first 13 months of celiac.  Starting this blog was the very best thing I did last year.  It forced me to get out of my funk of having yet one more health problem and instead channel that sadness into creating stuff for the blog.  Creating stuff that made the celiac a non – factor in so many ways.    I hate that the focus of the blog has to change.  I don’t want to lose y’all…or to lose this great source of support. 🙂

Anyway…that’s where I am now on the food front.

I do still allow liquid Splenda drops in the occasional drink and in my Cream of Rice but that’s pretty much the extent of my sweet consumption right now.

Now…how bout a little transformation Tuesday?  This is what three months of no sugar did to my body.

combined

Lower bod the first week of June vs the last week of August.

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It’s also been a little over 3 months since I chopped off all my hair to grow out the grey.  Pics from last week.  I have a lot of natural waves / curls (depending on the weather) so right now it’s just wanting to stand straight up or out to the sides most of the time.  It’s a mix of white-grey and gun metal.  I really like the gun metal.  I’m going to do a full before / after post in December…when it’s been a year since I stopped the dye.

This has been one of the very best things I’ve ever done for my heath.  Putting those chemicals and smells onto my body wasn’t healthy and I’m so glad I finally said enough is enough. 🙂  Don’t get me wrong…I HATE the length right now because I just don’t like short hair on me but once it grows out I’ll have no complaints at all about this decision. 🙂

Mama L has had an amazing transformation too but y’all know she won’t let me post her pics.  She also won’t let me pick her out some new clothes for her new bod.  Please please please let me dress you, Mama L. 😉

So anyway that’s a look at where I’m at right now.  Thanks so much for reading.  I’ll still be posting at least once a week (hopefully more).  I’ll share savory gluten free recipes…music…and I’m also going to just start bloging about whatever too.  Hope y’all will hang around. 🙂

Flour Experiment ~ Banana Muffins

Shortly after posting the  corn dog post last week…I came down with the dreaded summer cold. 😦  I hate having a cold so much…any time…but doubly so in the summer.  It just always seems a million times worse when there’s a 110* heat index outside.   All of that to say that the last week has been ridiculously boring in the eats department.  I did however make it thru without one drop of sugar.   As soon as I felt the cold coming on I was kind of worried I’d fall off the no-sugar train.  Thankfully that didn’t happen. 🙂

I’m going to start playing around with coconut and almond flour in my baking.  Not exclusively at all. We have a coconut allergy in the house so only some will be able to eat those recipes and l’ll definitely be restocking the Cup4Cup stash as soon as the temps hit the 80’s.  It’s just that  both almond and coconut flour contain iron and I’m trying to include iron rich food whenever possible.  I can’t do iron infusions.  I just can’t.  So I’m trying everything possible to get my levels up.

Tonight I decided to try some coconut flour banana muffins.

I’ve baked with coconut flour before…when I was losing weight a few years ago…so I was already familiar with it.  A little bit goes a long way and it also sucks up liquid like a very dry sponge.  So if you’re not familiar with coconut flour and this seems like a whole lot of liquid…that’s why.  Recipe at end of post.

These were very moist and delicious and made me even more excited to experiment…but still just once a week or every other week with the ‘sweet’ stuff. 🙂

How are y’all doing?  Staying summer cold free I hope. 🙂

 

 

Coconut Banana Muffins

1 mashed Banana

2 Eggs

1/3 cup Brown Sugar (or *Sugar Sub I used Sin Free)

3 tbsp Sour Cream

1 tbsp Oil  (I used Macadamia Oil)

1/4 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Cinnamon

2 tbsp Tapioca or Potato Starch

1/4 cup  (36g)  Coconut Flour

1/4 tsp Baking Powder

14 tsp Baking Soda

Optional:

Pecans or other nut

* 1tsp Molasses

If you use a sugar sub and want the flavor / texture of brown sugar…add 1 – 1 1/2 tsp molasses.  I used 1 tsp and it was perfect.  The rule of thumb though is 1 tbsp per cup of sugar.

 

Directions

 

Preheat oven to 350*

Oil or spray your pan really well or use liners.

Combine wet ingredients and mix until it’s all blended together.

Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix til smooth.

Stir in mashed bananas.

Let mixture sit for 5 minutes so the coconut flour can absorb the liquids.  Because there are no gums in this…it will be more like a batter than a solid goop-y mixture. 

Spoon or pour into muffin tins or mini bread pans and if using…top with chopped nuts.

Bake til golden brown.  Mine took about 13 minutes in the convection oven. 

Let cool a few minutes before trying to remove from the pan.

 

I got 18 mini muffins from this recipe.   I haven’t tested it but I would double it to make 12 regular size muffins.

Sugar – Free Sweetened Condensed Milk and Ice Cream

We are now well into our 8th week of Mama L’s acid elimination eating and still moving right along.  It’s second nature now and I don’t really think about it all that much.  Would I still like some real candy?  Sure.  But I want to sleep thru the night more. 🙂

I said I was going to share my alternative sugar blend in August but I’m going to go ahead and do it today since it’s a part of todays recipe.

Before I get started on that I want to say that…even though I have a sugar sub blend I Iike now…sweets are still going to be a once a week / once every other week or so kind of thing.  I know it makes the blog boring but I’d rather have a boring blog than to reawaken my sugar demons. 🙂

I’ve tried 3 different sugar subs and the two I’ve settled on are…

Diabetisweet.  It’s an isomalt sweetener.

Ignore the ideal sugar sub…it didn’t work for me.  It spiked my blood sugar and had me in the kitchen wanting to eat every sweet thing in there.  I didn’t eat anything else but I had a very strong and immediate reaction to the ideal.

And…

…this new to the market sugar sub…Sin-Free Sugar.  It’s a Xylose / Erythritol / Brown Algae blend and it is amazing.

Xyl / Eryth are both super low Glycemic Index sweeteners.  Isomalt is low too.

I use equal amounts of Diabetisweet and Sin Free.

I used them both and made some really delicious homemade ice cream last week.

Now…this is supposed to be an easy dump / stir / freeze type recipe and it is if you can use all these products straight off the grocery shelf.  But as y’all know…nothing is easy when you have to make everything from scratch.

The ice cream base called for a can of condensed milk so I just made my own. 🙂

1 can Evaporated Milk

1/2 cup Diabetisweet

1/2 cup Sin-Free

1 dash Salt

Cook on medium heat…whisking a lot…til nice and thick.  I took a little while…maybe about 8 minutes.  But it got to the actual consistency of the canned stuff so just keep stirring til you have that level of thickness.

It’s hard to see it in the pics but it really does thicken up.  This last pic I was trying to show thickly it’s coating the pan.

Condensed milk on the left and homemade chocolate syrup on the right.

Plus the rest of the ice cream ingredients.  Recipe at the end of post.  

Chocolate syrup added to condensed milk.

Rest of ingredients added.

After freezing.  Soft serve consistency.

After setting up in the freezer for a couple hours.

This was definitely my favorite thing I’ve made in the last 8 weeks. 🙂  The original recipe is a sugar – full recipe so if you don’t need to make subs…it’s written to work with stuff straight from the shelves.     

Have a great weekend. 🙂

 

 

‘Easy’ Chocolate Ice Cream

1 can (or recipe) Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 (5 oz) can Evaporated Milk

2 cups Milk / Cream (I did half milk / half cream but you can do all of one or the other)

2/3 cup Chocolate Syrup (*Hershey’s style)

Vanilla (to taste)

2 tbsp Glycerin (not a requirement for success but it helps the ice cream stay scoop-able from the freezer)

 

Directions

Combine all ingredients.  Mix well.

Cover and place in the ice box overnight or at least 4 hours.

Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to directions.  (Mine froze for 1 hour.)

Eat it right away if you like soft serve or transfer to freezer safe bowl.  Cover and let freeze for a couple hours.

 

*Hershey’s makes a sugar – free syrup that is sweetened with Erythritol and Splenda but it’s hard to find so I made my own…

 

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

2 tbsp Cocoa Powder

1/2 cup Sugar Sub

1 tsp Corn Starch

1 dash Salt

3/4 cup Milk or Cream

Vanilla to taste

 

Directions

Combine all.

Bring to a boil (whisking constantly) and boil / stir for 2 – 5 minutes until it’s almost the consistency of bottled syrup.  You want to pull it off the burner just shy of syrup consistency because it thickens a little as it cools.  

Let it come to room temp before using.

Update and Dipping Sauce Recipe

The weirdest thing happened in the middle of typing this post…my whole dashboard switched to German.  I clicked the ‘Save Draft’ button and it switched back to English.  Crazy. 

Anyway…

We (me / Mama L) are now in our fifth week of no sugar / low acid. 🙂

I can’t believe it.  I don’t think I’ve ever gone 4 full weeks without sugar in my life.

No sugar is here to stay though. I don’t think the detox I went thru for the first 2 weeks is normal. I don’t think I should feed…whatever it was that was causing that…ever again.

I have had small amounts of Splenda / stevia and it didn’t cause any kind of problems and it didn’t make me want the real stuff either.

Except for a small sugar free treat I hope to make on Fourth of July and a little treat for our Christmas in July celebration we’re going to keep up the no sugar / no sugar free treats for another month.

Then in August I’m going to start experimenting with making all my favorite gluten – free treats sugar free as well. I’m actually kind of excited so hang with me for one more ‘boring’ month then in August things should get more active around here. 🙂

The whole reason we’re doing this is to help heal Mama L’s throat reflux.  This has been a life saver for her.  Since the day we started this she’s only had ONE bad night…after a solid YEAR of bad nights.  The one bad night was when she drank her almond milk / fruit / chia shake too late at night.  She had some reflux issues from the acid in the fruit that night.  Since then she never drinks it after 6pm and she hasn’t another bad night.

She has more energy now than she’s had in a year.

Sleep is what it’s helped me with the most too.  I’m sleeping so soundly now.

It hasn’t helped me in the energy department but I’ve got all the lupus fatigue / inflammation pain to deal with so I don’t look for it to help me there all that much anyway.

Here’s some stuff I’ve eaten the past month…

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Pizza and Stromboli.  I went light on the sauce on my pizza and I used an Alfredo sauce for Mama L’s stromboli.  She said she liked it better that way.  Remember…I don’t need / have to eliminate acids but I am trying to keep it at condiment size amounts.

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Pintos.

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Ribs.  Only the last 4 ribs had sauce on them.

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I love love love this almond / coconut milk combo for my chia drink.  So creamy.

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Ice box ‘gulash’.  Corn / Green Beans / Hamburger meat and some cheese.

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I call this one ‘too lazy to wash a plate’. 😉  I just dumped it all on the saran wrap where I’d mashed the avocado.

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Mystery dough used for something I’ll share in an upcoming post. 😉

Thanksgiving in June. 🙂

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Hamburger patty.  Cheese.  Homemade onion strings.  French fries.  And…

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…this mock Saltgrass dipping sauce.  Recipe at the end of post.

In the old days when I could eat the onion strings I’d always get the prime rib plus onion strings and extra dipping sauce then I’d dip both steak and strings in the sauce.  I love that stuff.

I might still play around with the seasonings a little bit but it’s pretty dang close as is.

Hope y’all’ve had a great June. 🙂

 

Mock Saltgrass Dipping Sauce 

1 cup Mayo 

1/2 cup Milk

2 tbsp Horseradish

2 tbsp Ketchup

1/4 tsp Salt

Dash of Garlic Powder 

Dash of Paprika

Dash of  Cayenne

Dash of Pepper 

 

Directions 

Whisk everything in a glass or plastic bowl until completely smooth.

Cover and chill for at least 4 hours.