More no sugar snacks and desserts for children (and adults!)

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We have recently removed a lot of sugar from our diets. The original aim was to avoid all sugar but we have now settled on a workable arrangement for us. I am using honey, fresh, stewed and dried fruits and real maple syrup to sweeten the baked items and desserts that I make and we are all enjoying them. If visitors bring something sweet we go ahead and enjoy it and the same goes while we are out. I have noticed that some things we would have previously enjoyed are now too sweet and don’t taste that good anymore. Chocolate however has not lost its attraction!

Here are some of our treats and creations that have been a hit recently.

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Parfait or tall glasses filled with layers of anything really – they just look so cool! We like:

  • stewed apple, plums, pear etc.
  • natural yoghurt with a little honey or maple syrup
  • whipped cream or double cream or creme fraiche
  • gingered cream (Just add a little ground ginger before beating)
  • date ‘n’ nuts (Throw 2 cups of mixed nuts and 1 cup of dates or other dried fruit in your food processor and pulse until combined and chopped as fine as you like it. A good way to eat nuts like Brazil nuts that no one really likes but are so good for us.)
  • fresh fruits (These figs were from my Mum’s tree – delicious!)
  • cream cheese (or marscapone cheese) whipped/pureed with honey, maple syrup or fruit puree – fresh, stewed or dried made into puree.)

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Pikelets with toppings. Any of the those listed under parfait glasses are good, along with:

  • honey syrup (half to 2/3 honey, 1/3 to half hot water. Mix together and pour over pancakes or pikelets liberally. Kind of like maple syrup but without the huge cost. Covers the pancakes or pikelets so much better than straight honey and we go through much less. Everyone still feels like they get a good soaking but actually use so much less than they would if spreading straight honey.)
  • maple syrup (of course!)banana butter pikelets IMG_7100
  • banana butter (pureed banana with or without vanilla)prune butter pikelets IMG_7099
  • prune butter (place prunes in a glass bowl and pour over just enough boiling water to cover. Allow to sit and soften before pureeing.) Tastes better than it sounds but be careful not to eat too much – we all know what prunes are good for!!
  • apple sauce (Stew apples and puree)
  • strawberry dip (Fresh strawberries pureed with a little cream or yoghurt)
  • pumpkin dip (see below)
  • any kind of stewed fruit

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Pumpkin dip. Yes, it sounds terrible but it was really very tasty. Sweet, not savoury by the way as my children were quick to clarify with me when I served it. Mix together 1/2 cup cooked and pureed pumpkin, 1 cup cream, 1/4 cup maple syrup (or more to taste), 2 tspns vanilla, 1/2 tspn ground cinnamon, 1/2 tspn ground ginger, 1/2 tspn ground nutmeg and 1/4 tspn mixed spice/allspice. (Or just use 2 tspns pumpkin pie spice)

apple pie IMG_7753

Apple pie. I know, I know -it looks like meat pie but I assure you it was fruit and much yummier than it appears! I often use the mixed nuts/date mix from above with unsugared stewed fruit to make pies. I will be experimenting with soaked sourdough pastry soon to make it even more healthy.

pistachio fig scroll biscuits IMG_7735

Scroll biscuits. Yet another use for my date/nut mix! This time I used figs in place of dates, added some honey and cinnamon and processed it smooth to make a paste. The dough is 2 cups plain flour, 2 tspns baking powder, 1/2 tspn salt, 1 tspn vanilla, 1/3 cup melted butter and 2/3 cup milk or water. Mix together to make a dough and roll out into a rectangle. Spread with the nut mixture and roll up (jam roll style) before slicing and laying flat to bake.

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No-sugar biscuits. I am trying a bunch of recipes from the internet. So far they are all just ok. Most use banana puree and/or dates & dried fruit to sweeten them but turn out soft. They are satisfying hunger wise, but don’t give the crunch I am after in a biscuit. The kids don’t care though! If you have any great recipes, I’d love for you to share them.

nourishing traditions 9780967089737Soaked sourdough crackers. After reading Sally Fallon’s “Nourishing Traditions” we have made several changes to our diets and taking a sour dough class recently really helped me finally get started with sourdough bread baking. I made a double batch of this recipe and they turned out great. Make sure you roll the dough very thin though to get crispy biscuits.

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Sour dough fruit toast. Mixed fruit, nuts and spices make a great homemade fruit loaf. There’s nothing like the smell of fresh bread baking. I have just used this loaf to make a bread and butter pudding for dessert which was gobbled by all and all the fruit butters from above work well with this too. Or simply toast and spread liberally with butter. Mmmmm.

Nutballs are our latest favourite and these are almost chocolatey in taste. They turn out differently every time but we haven’t had a bad batch yet. Use the food processor to munch up 2 cups of mixed nuts with 1 cup of dried fruit. Add 2 cups of rolled oats, 1 cup of desiccated coconut, 1/2 cup seeds of choice, 1/2 cup cocoa, 1/4 cup honey and process until a “dough” forms and it starts to stick together. Use a dash of milk/coconut milk etc if needed to make it stick but don’t get it too wet. Tip the mixture out and roll into balls or press into a lined lamington tin to cut up later if you are feeling lazy. Can be rolled in coconut if you like.

Smoothies/milkshakes are always popular. Chuck in any kind of milk, banana, fruits, vanilla, yoghurt etc etc. I never follow a recipe and everyone always drinks them.

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Apple burgers are fun. Spread halved and peeled apples with nut butters and press into seeds of your choice. A bit fiddly, but well-loved. Personally, we have never had to coerce our children to eat fruit. Spending hours making fruit kebabs to entice fussy fruit eaters is never on the agenda. They are lucky if I remove the core before I toss them an apple and tell them to wash it themselves! These apple burgers come out when I want hurrahs.