Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Breakfast Without Sugar..

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One of the very hardest parts of going with no sugar is finding acceptable breakfast foods. It's not as easy as you think, check out the label on most cereals and you're going to see sugar in it. In Australia I can't purchase mini wheats (mini shredded wheats) without them being presweetened. Nor can I get Cheerios that aren't rolled in some kind of icky sugar coating. I can get big shredded wheat biscuits with no sugar, but the kids weren't as fond of them because they fell apart in their bowl. I do still let them have cornflakes, their world might end if they didn't get an occasional bowl full, but really it's very difficult to find a cereal without sugar. We did find some very yummy spelt flakes at our local health food store (#4 on the list of ones I visit) that are sweetened with grape juice instead of sugar. I was highly disappointed to see that the other cereals in their product line (corn flakes, brown rice puffs (think rice crispies with brown rice), etc.) were all sweetened with some form of sugar. Kinda made me want to go up to the counter and complain, but the women would have smiled sweetly and said what she normally says, "Oh I just love listening to your accent. I could stand here all day and listen.." Which means my rant would go over her head, and besides that she doesn't work for the company so... Truth be told it's probably best that those cereals are made with sugar because the Spelt Flakes were pricey enough!

I do buy puffed corn (no sweeteners) and puffed rice. Jayden especially loves the corn one (no surprise he's got a huge corn addiction going on right now) and thinks it tastes like popcorn and milk. Which means I gave him the long story of how Gram-Gram once let us have popcorn with milk for breakfast. He was highly grossed out, even when I confirmed that the super cool Uncle "D" indulged in it too. Oh well, probably for the best or he'd have dragged out our popper...

Anyway, back to breakfast. We tend to eat a lot of "porridge" in the winter. Also known as oatmeal or oitmeal in this house. I pour 2 cups of oatmeal, 3 cups of milk, and about a 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of stevia in the rice maker and let it set over night. (I honestly do three scoops of stevia PER cup of liquid, but the scoop is VERY tiny. I'll have to take a picture of it next to something else small so you realize just how small it is.) This is our basic oatmeal recipe. The kids love it with frozen raspberries, strawberries, blue berries. Anything goes really, except apple. Don't ask me why, but if I put apple in it then Jayden gets very distressed and won't eat it. He will, however, eat a bowl of oatmeal and then an apple?!

Another way we like it (the adults a bit more then the kids, Morgan alone is FIRMLY against this variation) is to mix up 1 cup of oats, 2 cups of milk, 1/2 t cinnamon, 1 t orange peel finely chopped (I keep orange peel in the freezer if I am just juicing the orange or if I know I need it in the near future I snag it before I cut the orange for the kids), 2 T (or more) of tart cherries or cranberries chopped, and 6 "scoops" of stevia. I let it sit overnight in my rice maker and heat it up in the morning. You could do it on the stove top.

Other good options are Jayden's favorite Muffles. I make a double batch and keep the extras in the freezer. All though, according to Jayden, heating them in the toaster is horrible, and they should only be heated in the microwave so they can be soft. Personally, I like mine crispy.. Either way, they are a good breakfast topped with fruit and syrup. Some of us like ricotta on them, then fruit and syrup (100% maple syrup!)

We also like scrambled eggs on toast with fruit. OatBran (I do 1 cup of milk to a boil, add 1/3 c oatbran, & 3 "scoops" stevia (about 1/8 teaspoon or so). When it's done we put a half teaspoon or less of butter in it and a tablespoon of syrup on top with some sliced banana. You can also eat it plain with fruit or whatever.. I think we might be on a maple syrup kick right now..) Then there's Pancakes. I use a variety of recipes (and have a new one to try that uses whole wheat flour and honey), but you could easily use any recipe and omit the small amount of sugar and use honey or stevia very easily. Jayden is a straight up Maple Syrup man. He'll revolt if we offer him anything else, so I often give him a smoothie with his pancakes. Other's (read Morgan and Lawrence) prefer theirs with jam on top and the occasional bit of whipped cream. I'm for either syrup and fruit or the ricotta, syrup and fruit.

For smoothies I tend to dump frozen berries in the blender (usually strawberries because they are what we have on hand), a banana (occasionally, as in when it's looking kinda like someone should eat it, but no one wants to and it's not enough for banana bread..), 1% milk (until it covers the fruit and then a pinch higher), yogurt (if we have some about a 1/4 c per person or so), and then stevia or honey to sweeten it. For all four of us I generally have 4 cups of berries and either 1-2 T honey (lime goes REALLY well with raspberries, lemon goes AWESOME with strawberries, but plain is just as good), or 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of stevia. If we have it I occasionally chuck in some whey powder for extra protein. Anything left over gets put in popsicle molds, and if those are full I put it in a baggie in the freezer so I can use it when popsicle molds are empty.

Then there's Morgan's favorite breakfast, Baked French Toast (of sorts!). I made up a double batch and popped it in the freezer and he ate it all, not in one go though! However, there's no photo of it because he consumed it all before I got one. Just pretend you can see it, okay? I don't recall where I got the original recipe, but it's really super simple and it was fairly easy to convert to sugar-free. It really is tasty, and it's great for saving up the scraps of bread no one will eat. I just pop those poor bits of bread (you know the ones screaming, eat me before I mold!) into the freezer and when I have enough I make it up. Or, if requested or craved we make up some with bread from the bread basket.

Baked French Toast With Apples

3 eggs
1/2 - 3/4 c milk (I use 1%)
1/4 t stevia (or less)
1 T vanilla extract
1 t cinnamon (dutch cinnamon is beautiful in this)
8 slices of whole wheat bread (I use homemade, and sometimes I use more)
2 small apples, peeled, cored, and diced
6 T all-purpose flour
2 T butter or margarine (reduced calorie is fine)
1 T honey

Directions: Mix the eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla, and stevia in a bowl. cut the bread into cubes (I use an electric knife and it's a very quick process..) Toss the bread into the milk mixture and toss to coat. Let sit until mixture is absorbed (sometimes, depending on the size of my slices and height of my loaves, I feel the need for an extra egg or splash more milk.) Spray either 2 loaf pans, 2 8x8 pans or one 9x13 (or slightly smaller) pan with non-stick spray. (I sometimes do two smaller pans so I can freeze half of it for another week of breakfasts.) Pour the bread mixture in. Crumble the butter and flour together (I find this easiest to do in a food processor, whirling it until it resembles crumbs), then mix in honey. (Again I find it easiest with the food processor and while it's running I drizzle it in and it will clump up. If it doesn't add a teaspoon of water.) Crumble the mixture on top of the bread mixture. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

Notes: I lay foil in an 8x8 pan and put one batch in like that. Then I pop it in the freezer. When it's frozen I pull the foil to pop the whole thing out. Wrap the foil around it, drop it in a large zip bag and freeze. I pull mine out the night before (if I remember) and then can bake as normal in the morning. If it's frozen I keep foil over it and bake longer. About 5-10 minute before it's done I take the foil off.


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