Thursday, October 30, 2014

30 Day Sugar Free Challenge » What I Learned

Today is day 30. Hallelujah!

This past month we did our very very best to go without any artificial or processed sweeteners of any kind... in anything. Oh man was it a learning experience.

Going into this experiment I felt like I didn't eat too much sugar to begin with so I wasn't anticipating it would be too hard. I figured we would have to switch out a couple items, cut out the desserts and we would be good to go. Boy was I ever wrong. Escaping the grasp of sugar is not so easily done. Lesson learned!

1 - Sugar is in everything.
Guys I'm talking: bacon, mayonnaise, cereal, salsa, crackers, salad dressing. It's everywhere! In grocery items I never would have anticipated.

2 - Convenience foods are called convenient for a reason.
Life is busy with two little ones and I never realized how often I just grab a granola bar as I'm running out the door. So because these foods were no longer an option, I was often hungry as I ran from one errand to the next. I had all sorts of big plans to make homemade sugar-free snacks and have them all prepackaged and ready to go at a moments notice... but it just never happened.

3 - Going anti-sugar is antisocial.
It didn't take long to realize that you have to assume sugar is in just about everything and when you don't have an ingredient label staring you in the face, it's easy to not even think about what you're eating. There were multiple times we would go out to eat with friends or enjoy a nice family meal at my mom's house and halfway through dinner I would suddenly realize.. oh this definitely has added sugar.

In the end, although we have no plans of cutting out sugar for good, we do plan on redefining the role sugar has in our food and home. Plus, as an added bonus, we found some pretty yummy refined sugar-free recipes along the way.

Now please excuse me while I go prep our sugar-filled chocolate cookie dough for tomorrow. Happy Halloween... almost!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Homemade Naturally Sweet Applesauce

I love our neighborhood this time of year. All the homes look so festive adorned with pumpkins and fall wreaths. Kids are running up and down the sidewalk trying to soak in the last bit of sunshine before the winter. And come Friday we will have oodles of little trick-or-treaters.

This year we had a bunch of neighbors share all sorts of homegrown produce with us - zuchinni, squash, tomatoes, jalapeƱos, and two bags full of apples!

My girls eat applesauce like there is no tomorrow so I decided a homemade batch would be the perfect way to use all those apples!

Homemade Naturally Sweet Applesauce
Recipe from: Shannon, ikneadtobake
Yield: about 2 quarts

4 lbs apples, chopped, peeled and cored
3/4 c high quality apple juice (100% juice)
juice of 1/2 lemon

Directions: Place all four pounds of peeled, chopped apples, apple juice, and lemon juice in a large pot. Cover and simmer until apples are cooked through - about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Place cooked apples and liquid in a blender or food processor and pulse until you have achieved desired consistency. 

Process in a water bath to make applesauce shelf stable, or divide into containers and keep in the fridge.

Shared HERE.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

At This Moment

Making: a Halloween costume for sissy.
Cooking: nothing! We are headed to our neighbor's house for a birthday lunch.
Drinking: peach-pear sparkling water.
Reading: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child... one day she will sleep... one day.
Wanting: to buy Christmas presents... too soon??
Looking: like a hot mess.
Playing: "Welcome to New York" T. Swift style.
Wasting: time dancing with my favorite toddler.
Wishing: that sissy's cold would decide to be done. Stuffy noses and babies are a terrible combo.
Enjoying: Fall.
Waiting: for the laundry.
Liking: the way toddlers talk and the way they reason with you... very convincing.
Wondering: where the last year has gone.
Loving: that my monkey girl had a great day at preschool.
Hoping: that Tyson does well on his test this afternoon.
Marveling: at how much energy motherhood requires.
Needing: a date night.
Smelling: laundry detergent.
Wearing: baby snot... We aren't very glamorous around here this afternoon.
Following: Shawni's adventures in China.
Noticing: that I should really clean the kitchen.
Knowing: nap time is on the brink of being a thing of the past.
Thinking: about my best friend. Cancer isn't fair.
Bookmarking: 1st birthday party ideas.
Giggling: as sissy waddles down the hallway. I love that cute little toddle of a new walker.
Feeling: content.

Love this idea of taking stock from Sydney.