Sweet Flavors on Top

I’m going to squeeze into the confessional with Little Sis and admit that I too really like the taste of sugar.  When I was a kid I would walk to the drug store with my 1$ and a few pennies so that I could purchase and consume ten $.10 goodies of the candy or gum variety.  I could put a whole Big Buddy in my mouth.  Having a mouth this big came in handy when teaching elementary school, but a mouthful of cavities and a tendency to mood swings have not helped me in life at all.

Little Sis offered a very yummy low-sugar treat option called Awesome Oatie Bars yesterday and I am going back to the breakfast table today.  I have always loved breakfast, probably because it has the most options for eating dessert as the actual meal.  Who doesn’t love that?

Let’s be honest, pancakes are yummy, but that’s mostly because they are a vehicle for maple syrup or honey.  Maple syrup and honey are both natural, right?  That’s good, right?

Well….I wish they were not still sugar, but chemistry tells us that they are both still sugar with the negative physiological impact (albeit minus some leftover chemicals from processing and nasty effects on the planet).

So what to put on top of all of the healthy pancake recipes we’ve offered?  Mind you, I’m not giving up my real maple syrup completely but options are good.  I find that when I try new things and open myself to options, more often than not I appreciate the new and different taste rather than missing the Ka-Pow of the expected and much loved taste of sugar in its myriad of forms.  For more on Ka-Pow see Abstinence Makes the Taste Grow Stronger.

So here are a couple of alternatives to place on your pancakes or French toast, or hot cereal, or yogurt, or to dip carrot sticks in or…. don’t you love options?

First off, another confession, I swiped this idea from Little Sis who has apparently made a coffee creamer from similar ingredients.  I’m guessing she’ll share that with us at some point.  But for now I offer you 2 maple syrup / honey substitutes : Date Cream or Apple Drizzle.

Date Cream
Place whole dates in your blender (I used a Vita Mix, you may need a powerful blender for this) up to about the 1 cup line.
Pour almond, soy or cow (I used unsweetened almond) milk to cover
Whip it good.  (Any DEVO fans out there?)

I do love the action shots.

Seek the creaminess level that your heart tells you is right Grasshopper…

i.e. add a little more milk of your choice until you get a consistency that you think will be moist enough for whatever you are putting it on.

I was originally planning to add just a little maple syrup or honey to this mix, but then I tasted it.  WOW!  I will have to be careful not to just make this and eat 3 pounds of it, because dates are not cheap and 3 pounds of anything will show up on me somewhere… and usually NOT where I would have directed the placement of extra flesh.

Take this creamy, sweet substance and pour it on other stuff!

On hot cereal (totally unsweetened except for the topping which is hard to see as it is beige) YUMMY!

or on pancakes.

Or on a spoon or your finger : )

Idea #2 was to just make some raw applesauce, and make it a little thin for moisture and drizzling purposes.

Apple Drizzle
Find some nice, or if you have a few to dispose of, cruddy apples, and chop them up in sizes appropriate to the estrogen level of your blender.  My blender is a Vita Mix…. very high estrogen level!

Nice thing about high estrogen blenders is less need for chopping.  I could have left them bigger than this but there is a splatter factor involved in large chunks, especially when using low amounts of liquid.
(Note I left the skins on – why waste good nutrition?)

I used half of a large apple and one small apple without cores.

Add about a Tablespoon of water and start the blender on low.

Add water as needed to get the stuff spinning and pourable.

It looks pretty in the blender – kind of cosmic… Could it be a vastly dense apple vortex that is slowly pulling everything in to its center?  How can a black hole, or in this case and apple hole pull things in when the universe is expanding?  And if the universe itself is expanding, shouldn’t I be able to open my mind enough to try something new on pancakes?  Who knew an expanding universe could be so inspiring?  Sorry, I’ll get back to the Apple Drizzle now…

To the pourable apple mixture I added 1 teaspoon of maple syrup and a pinch of salt.

It was awesome as applesauce and I think it would be great on pancakes or French toast as well.

And one last action shot to demonstrate the thickness I settled on (more water would make yours runnier)…

Dates and apples both have sugar, but not as much as maple syrup or honey!  Plus you’ve added other nutrients by grinding up whole foods.  Win win and truly yum yum.  Try these ideas with other fruits and let us know what you come up with!

As far as getting your child to try ‘sweets substitutes,’  I have had luck with a few techniques:
I try not to emphasize that the new item is sweet – it can only fall short of the cupcake he received for a classmate’s birthday at school on the Ka-Pow Sugar Richter Scale (KPSRS).

Emphasize the other flavors and that it is yummy.  Describe the snappy cinnamon, or delicious apple flavor, or you know how you like dates?…. You’re going to love this date cream, it’s soooo good.

So let us soldier on in the quest to bring sugar consumption for ourselves and our loved ones to a manageable and healthy level.  It is indeed an on-going battle.  For me, the battle rages the strongest at the breakfast table.