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Will Our Kids Be Sucked In By Sugar Free Sweets?

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Will Our Kids Be Sucked In By Sugar Free Sweets?

Removing sugar from our kid’s lives is hard. Crazy hard. You can’t keep them in a sugar free cocoon when parties are filled with the stuff. It’s also crazy hard understanding how much sugar is where. There are 2 and half teaspoons of sugar in an iced Krispy Krème doughnut but 12 teaspoons in a glass of apple juice. What?!

Raw veggies in a lunch box might work for some but if I gave my son a crudité, he’d stick it up his sister’s nose. Teaming fruit and vegetables with protein and fat the correct way in order for them to be properly assimilated would send me over the edge every morning and quite frankly I’m normally perched on it to begin with.

So, the best way to take sugar from my kid’s lives is by good old fashioned lying. ‘What?! Of course it’s a wagon wheel darling, they’re doing special shapes for Easter!’ ‘Ooh yes these are the new snickers bars, aren’t they just amazing?’

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I appreciate that you can buy sugar free sweets and I think that’s fantastic but I don’t really understand the process of making them and I would much rather make my own from scratch. (Incidentally, I did find this blog, which explains the differences in ingredients between classic sweets and sugar free versions)

So, I made some sugar free versions of my families’ favourite sweet things and thought I would test them out.

Refined Sugar Free Wagon Wheels

I chose this recipe from the I Quit Sugar recipe book. In my imaginary world, I lead my life according to this book and I float around bare feet all virtuous and glowing with really clever kids called Apple and Strawberry. In reality, however, I panic buy in supermarkets because I have yet again forgotten to do my meal plan and in between working from home, doing up a refurb, having two kids, doing meals, laundry and cleaning, I just sometimes need things in packets that I can throw at the children.

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So as expected I had to make each element of the not so wagon wheel from scratch. The base is a sugar free baked cookie dough recipe that I thought would be disgusting but it actually turned out to be everyone’s favourite part. It’s made with 150g unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons rice malt syrup, 1.5 cups of flour. (The recipe called for ¾ cup of buckwheat flour and ¾ cup of gluten free plain flour but I didn’t want to go too crazy), ½ cup of desiccated coconut and a pinch of sea salt. This was simple. I mixed it up and baked it for 20 mins. Then let it cool.

Then I spread this with homemade refined sugar free strawberry chia jam which I took from the Deliciously Ella book because the recipe looked nicer. Then the best bit which I thought would not in a million years work, but it did and it was amazing! Homemade refined sugar free marshmallow made with 1.5 tablespoons gelatin powder, ¼ cup of rice malt syrup and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

I mixed the gelatin into a cup of cold water until it dissolved. Then in a pan I combined the rice malt syrup with the vanilla and salt and stirred until it boiled. I let it simmer for 8 minutes then turned off the heat and added the gelatin which wobbled slightly at this stage. Then I blitzed the whole lot in a processor. It was supposed to go creamy but it actually didn’t so I didn’t hold much hope. However I poured it over the biscuit and jam and popped it into the fridge and it set absolutely perfectly and was exactly like marshmallow. That too was the kid’s favourite part. Once set, I added melted dark chocolate (85%) let that set and then tried to cut it in circles with biscuit cutters. That just cracked everything and looked a real mess so I made squares instead and they looked and tasted so good. I was pleasantly surprised but, were the kids?! Well, my son took his plate into the lounge and then brought it straight back. He had an issue with the darkness of the chocolate and the jam he said. So I had to scrape those bits off and give him the marshmallow and biscuit. Win. Even the boyfriend liked them but I didn’t see him rushing back for a second?

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Refined sugar free Snickers!

Again I took this recipe from the I Quit Sugar recipe book. ‘Snickery Caramel Bars’ and they were, in my sons words ‘awesome’! Yay, result! Even my daughter liked these and she is particularly persnickety when it comes to her food.

The nougat base consisted of ½ cup of coconut cream, 1 tablespoon of rice malt syrup, a pinch of sea salt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla powder, 1/3 cup of coconut flour (again, I just used plain) and ½ cup of smooth peanut butter. All mixed together then pushed into a loaf tin and frozen for at least 2 hours. I froze mine for 2 days and it worked just fine. I covered this with gooey caramel sauce which was just insane. I heated ¼ cup of rice malt syrup in a pan until it bubbled, cooked it for 13 minutes, yes 13, added 100g butter and a pinch of salt, stirred, removed from the heat and then added ¼ cup of coconut cream and stirred until it was combined. It was delicious. This was then frozen for 2 hours. Gosh, seriously it was lush. If I can make this taste this good without sugar then it opens up all sorts of recipes that I can use it for.

Once the gooey caramel sauce was poured over the nougat, I sprinkled it with roasted peanuts and then sliced into 20 pieces and put them back in the freezer before taking them out and dipping them individually into melted dark chocolate (85%). Super lush and a big high five from each family member.

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So the end result, as expected is that yes I can give my kids treats without the dreaded white stuff, though they are fiddly to make and you need strange ingredients like rice malt syrup to hand. That said, I bought a stash from Whole Foods so now have plenty of jars at the ready. So, I guess this means that I now have to get up even earlier in order to prepare these sweet gems. They may not be a crudité but they are just little steps towards us going sugar free and I for one am very excited by this.

Featured photo credit: DollarPhotoClub via dollarphotoclub.com

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Kelly Coleman

CEO of Dawn and Shawn Digital Ltd

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Last Updated on January 13, 2022

10 Cheap And Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

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10 Cheap And Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

A honeymoon is important.  The wedding is over.  The months, or even years, of stress and planning are finally over.  It’s time for the two of you to relax, settle in, and start enjoying your time together as you embark on your first journey as a family.

To make the most of this time for the least amount of money, it’s important to focus on what you want out of a honeymoon.  This isn’t your typical list of touristy honeymoon locations everyone goes to.  Rather, it’s a list of cheap honeymoon experiences a couple can enjoy together, regardless of where it’s at.

1. Camping

A week long camping trip is a fantastic way to see how you mesh together as a couple.  You’re put in a low impact “survival” situation where it’s just the 2 of you and nature.  You have a chance to see how your new spouse handles themselves when left with the basics of life.  There are amazing national parks all over the United States where you can camp for a week for $20-30, disconnect from technology, and enjoy some of the natural wonders our nation has to offer.

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2. Staycation

You don’t have to go anywhere for a honeymoon.  In fact, the tradition of taking a honeymoon vacation is a relatively new one.  Prior to the 19th century, a honeymoon involved staying home together for a month to get to know each other physically.  Think of how blissful it could be to take a full month off work, disconnect from the outside world, and focus entirely on projects together.  You may not be wowing your friends and family with pictures of some exotic location, but they’ll be envious of your escape from the rat race nonetheless.

3. Island Getaway

People tend to overspend on their honeymoon vacations to Hawaii, Tahiti, etc.  Going to these places doesn’t have to be expensive.  You don’t need to stay in a 5 star resort when you’re on a Best Western budget.  You’re there to be in the atmosphere of the island, not a hotel room. Book a cheap flight and sleep in a hotel alternative, on the beach or in your car.  It’s the view in paradise that really matters.

4. Fancy Resort

Book an expensive resort, spa, or retreat in the city you live in.  While this may seem counterintuitive as a cheap destination, when you consider your savings on airfare and other travel costs, you can afford to be treated like royalty within your own city limits.  If you book a honeymoon package, you’ll end up with a lot of free amenities and extra attention.  There’s no need to fly halfway across the world to live the good life.

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5. Road Trip

The journey is often more fulfilling than the actual destination.  If you fly out to some exotic locale, you’ll be stuck on a plane for 8-30 hours.  Rent a luxury car, pick a handful of places you each have always wanted to visit, and go on an adventure.  You can keep food costs down by packing your own snacks, but it’s always a good idea to sample the local delicacies wherever you go, even if it’s only a few states over.

6. Charter a Boat

If the ocean is your thing, a week-long cruise can cost you $1500-$3000 per person, depending on the destination.  You also have to factor in travel costs to and from the cruise, alcohol, souvenirs, and on-shore excursions.  You’ll also be surrounded by people.  For the same price (and often much cheaper), you can charter your own boat and enjoy the experience in private.

7. Las Vegas/Atlantic City

If gambling is your thing, these are the places to do it.  Which one you choose depends on your preference, budget, and proximity.  The way to make this vacation cheaper is to gamble smart.  Stay away from low odd tables (i.e craps, roulette) and read up on the MIT blackjack strategies to beat the house.  If you do it right, you can win enough for a free trip (and gain a valuable team skill in the process).

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8. Themed Retreats

There are weeklong retreats all over the world where you can fully immerse yourselves as a couple into a hobby you’re both passionate about.  Go on a yoga/meditation retreat, a ranch, a vineyard/farm, a backpacking adventure, treasure hunt, or whatever you’re into.

9. Working Honeymoon

Your honeymoon doesn’t have to be a vacation.  For a truly memorable experience, dedicate a week to a charity or volunteer organization.  You can drive out to a campground to help restore it in the offseason.  Maybe you’ve always wanted to volunteer to help out your local animal shelter, plant trees, help the homeless, etc.  Use the time to do something together as a couple that will fulfill you spiritually while contributing to the community.  Just because you’re on a honeymoon doesn’t mean you can’t be productive.

10. Festivals, Fairs & Special Events

Every city, state, and country has festivals, fairs, and special events.  Find one you’re interested in.  If you time your wedding right, your honeymoon can be a trip to one of these festivals.  Burning Man, SXSW, Bonnaroo, the Renaissance Fair, regional harvest festivals, Mardi Gras, New Years Eve in Times Square, a movie premiere, or whatever you’re into.  If you plan your honeymoon at the right time in the right place, the possibilities are endless.

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Featured photo credit: Josue Michel via unsplash.com

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