No Sugar Summer Update 6-23-14

The no sugar summer is going well for our family. The fudge pops are still a big hit.   I must keep them stocked in the freezer because my son has one every day!  We also tried a new cookie recipe that was delicious!!!  It’s hard to eat just one!!!  I’ve already posted this recipe from the blog, Cookie + kate: Maple Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.

For Father’s Day, I made Alicia Silverstone’s Favorite Cupcake recipe from her book, The Kind Life.  I could not find this recipe on her website,, but if you click here, it is almost identical. They are sugar free and good!  The cake is SO moist! Here is a picture of this yummy cupcake from my kitchen:


Our church had our Vacation Bible School lastweek, so I did allow my kids the option to eat the snacks prepared there. 3 of the 4 days had something with sugar. They were small treats…not a big snack. I considered this a special occasion since VBS only happens once a year. I just let them enjoy.

Homemade lemonade and lemonade popsicle recipe coming soon. Those are still a favorite of my kids and their mom!

One quick clarification – you may notice that some of the recipes we are enjoying include chocolate chips which do have sugar. I’m ok with eating these because we eat the dark chocolate variety and dark chocolate does have health benefits.   I’m at peace with this “cheat”.

Engine 2 Dinners for Days 9-22

Looking back on my meals, we should have picked another time to do the Engine 2 diet. I haven’t had the opportunity to cook much because we have been busy with friends and family visiting plus our church’s VBS was during these 28 days. It has been one busy month! On the other hand, the good news is you get to see that even with just a few minutes to prepare a meal, we can still eat a plant-strong diet.

Note: Somehow I got off a day on my last post. My June 8th post is actually what I had on June 9th. Therefore, I just repeated it and am back on track now. Just know that I did not cook the same thing 2 nights in a row! But, I did eat it for leftovers the next 2 nights.

June 9 – Rip’s recipe – Migas Especiales. Basically sautéed veggies with tofu and turmeric to make a breakfast burrito. Had guacamole and chips as a side. Yum!

June 10 – I was on my own tonight so I ate leftover Migas Especiales.

June 11 – Church tonight, so I ate leftover Migas Especiales when I got home.

June 12 – A friend was staying with us, so we had homemade pizza. My pizza was topped with tomato sauce (sugar-free) and mushrooms, onions, red pepper, green pepper, and tomatoes with a little nutritional yeast instead of cheese. We also had garlic bread and rosemary bread served with olive oil (oil is not E2 approved).

June 13 – My daughter had a friend spend the night, so she picked the dinner: nachos. I made cheese nachos for the kids.  My husband and I did our favorite nachos with black beans, red and green peppers, red onions, and tomatoes broiled for 7 minutes. And then topped our nachos with lettuce and guacamole.

June 14 – My husband was at a family function, so the kids had macaroni and cheese. I made myself a sweet potato with the standard of black beans, red pepper, mango, salsa, and cilantro.

June 15 – Father’s Day. My husband requested veggie quesadillas with homemade refried black beans instead of the cheese and stuffed with mushrooms, peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini. We also had chips, guacamole, salsa, and fruit. Sugar-free cupcakes for dessert.

June 16-19 – I was at our church’s VBS week every evening, so I packed hummus, Wasa light rye crackers, carrots, and nectarine for my dinner each night.

June 20 – Black bean veggie burgers with sweet potato fries. Yum!

June 21 – Had friends over for dinner, so we made tacos. I made beef for them and then had a bunch of plant-strong additions: refried beans, homemade Spanish rice, onion, tomato, pepper, lettuce, coconut (unsweetened), salsa, and guacamole. And fruit as a side.

June 22 – Light dinner because I wasn’t very hungry.  Spinach salad with chopped carrots, celery, strawberries, organic craisins, and sprinkled cinnamon.  Ate a little bit of rosemary bread as a side.

Maple Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies – from Cookie + kate blog

My husband found this recipe awhile back and we tried it last week.  These cookies are delicious!  The best part…there is NO SUGAR!  Perfect for our no sugar summer!!!

You must give these a try!  The name of the recipe says exactly what is in these tasty cookies.  From Cookie+Kate blog: Maple Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.

Here is a picture of a few of the ones from my first batch:

maple syrup oatmeal cookies


I’m off to make another batch!

Sweeter No-Sugar Cookies

Imagine…sugar cookies without sugar! Doesn’t make sense, right? Well, this recipe is exactly that…a no-sugar sugar cookie. These sugar cookies were discovered when my daughter tested different sweeteners in a sugar cookie recipe. Of course, regular sugar cookies taste better, but these are “sweeter” to me because they are healthier!!!

A bonus when using honey or maple syrup – it requires less sweetener. Usually you can use a ¼ – ½ less of the sugar substitute when you sub in honey or maple syrup for sugar. For example, this recipe called for 1 cup of sugar, but we only used ½ cup of honey.

I was short on time, so I did not try rolling them out and cutting them in shapes. I think it would work…will try that next, but I simply used a cookie baller and dropped them on a cookie sheet and into the oven they went. My son said, “they look like mini scoops of ice cream!” You know – they kind of do!

No Sugar Cookies

Sweeter No-Sugar Cookies

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 2 dozen


  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  1. Beat the butter in a mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the honey and continue to mix for 1 minute.
  3. Add egg and vanilla.
  4. Add flour, baking powder, and salt and mix well.
  5. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 350.
  7. Remove dough from refrigerator. Either scoop dough into 1 inch balls on cookie sheet or roll out and cut into shapes (note: I have not tried baking in shapes yet).
  8. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until slightly brown around edges.
  9. Enjoy as is or decorate (if only we could make icing without sugar!).

Do Ahead Prep

Set butter out to soften.

Engine 2 Dinners Week 1

Here are the dinners I’ve made since the Engine 2 Diet Round 2 began on May 27th.  I don’t want to bore you, so I’m not terribly specific, but just to give you an idea of how to eat this way if you’d like to try it.  One other note – this diet recommends not eating oils.  I do eat a little oil.

Note: If you read “Rip’s Recipe” then it is from Rip Esselstyn’s book The Engine 2 Diet.

May 27 – 29 – Simple meals as I ramped up for the diet.  My husband didn’t join me on the diet yet, so I made things easy on myself.  I don’t remember exact meals prepared, but I made something from my usual lunch that I didn’t eat for lunch that day. Something I could throw together in 5 minutes.

May 30 – veggie pizza with no cheese.

May 31 – McAlister’s Deli – baked potato with veggies and no cheese (never been a fan of bacon or sour cream, so I always hold those). Plus a side salad with no dressing.

June 1 – Sweeter Honey’s Lettuce Wraps, but I substituted the chicken for tofu.

June 2 – Leftover lettuce wraps.

June 3 – Grilled veggie and homemade hummus sandwiches with the veggies of mushroom, peppers, onion, and tomatoes.  Good!

June 4 – Super Veggie Tacos. Tortillas with all kinds of toppings – black beans, mushrooms, peppers, onion, cilantro, unsweetened coconut, dried cranberries and/or raisins, lettuce, salsa, guacamole, etc. You get the idea. You can be creative. I have to give props to my mom who serves tacos with all of these creative toppings. Thanks, Mom, for the super tacos!

June 5 – Pizza night with the family. Veggie pizza with no cheese. A little leftover rosemary bread with olive oil and pepper (Macaroni Grill style).

June 6 – Rip’s Recipe – Nachos from Engine 2 book – toasted organic corn tortillas with black beans, peppers, onion, tomatoes, and cilantro. Topped with guacamole and lettuce. So, so good! One of my faves!

June 7 – Sweet Potato Specialty – went to a friend’s house for some barbeque, so I took baked sweet potatoes for us and loaded them with black beans, red onion, red pepper, cilantro, mango, and salsa. Delicious!

June 8 – Rip’s recipe – Migas Especiales. Basically sautéed veggies with tofu and turmeric to make a breakfast burrito. Had guacamole and chips as a side. Yum!

I’ve noticed a trend with our meals…we like Mexican!   It is easy prep and my whole family will eat it.

Until next week…

Back to Engine 2 Diet

As of May 27,  I started round 2 of the Engine 2 Diet for 2 reasons:

  1. Get back to a plant-strong way of eating and stop eating foods that I know are not the best for me.  Not bad just not best.  Eating nearly vegan is best for me.  I will not continue to strictly avoid meat and dairy once the 28 days are over, but will only eat occasionally.
  2. Honestly, to lose some pregnancy weight.  This time around, there is some weight loss motivation.

Last time I logged what I ate every day.  I’m not going to do that this time because I eat the same breakfast, lunch, and snacks every day.   I’ll post my dinners once a week.  So, here is what I’m eating:


  1. Smoothie (appx 16 oz).
  2. 1 peanut butter bar square.  Occasionally 1 1/2 or 2.

Morning snack:

  1. 1 handful of pistachios
  2. 2 organic dried apricots (no added sugar)
  3. 10 Mary Gone crackers
  4. 1 energy bite (on a bad day, I’ll sneak in 1 more…really want to stick to 1 per day).


  1. Big spinach salad with carrots, celery, red pepper, strawberries, a tablespoon of dried berry mix, and cinnamon.
  2. Sweet potato with a little coconut oil and cinnamon OR homemade guacamole with baked corn chips OR sautéed veggies and rice.
  3. 1 dark chocolate square for dessert

Afternoon snack:

  1. An apple, nectarine, or pear.
  2. 16 raw almonds

Dinner – varies.  Will post weekly.



First 6 Days of our No Sugar Summer

We are now on Day 6 of our no sugar summer challenge.  So far so good!  My kids have adopted very well especially my 9 year old.  She had a date night with Daddy on Monday and came home so proud of herself for going to Jason’s Deli and getting a salad and not having any sugar (I’m thinking of the little muffins and the free ice cream).  She had her end of the year school party and she didn’t eat any of the sweet treats like donuts because they have sugar (not to mention…many other bad ingredients)!  So proud of her!

My 5 year old is doing well, too.  With little complaint, he is adopting to no dessert except for 1 square of chocolate.  He is a big fan of the smoothie pops.  Those have been quite the hit.  I had no idea that the kids would eat fruit and hidden broccoli in a frozen smoothie.  They are not fans of the drinkable smoothie but if you freeze it…they will eat it!  He had a doctor appointment yesterday and when I said that he couldn’t have the lollipop offered at the end because it had sugar, he said “okay”.  Side note – why do some doctor offices have sugar and dye-filled lollipops for a reward at checkout?  Isn’t that the opposite of what a place concerned about health and wellness should offer???

What sweet treats have we enjoyed?

I have several cookie recipes to try this weekend that do not contain sugar.  Hopefully, some will be good and I can post those next week!



Say “No” to Sugar this Summer

I’ve recently been reminded through various health TV shows (yes, Dr. Oz), health magazines, and online reading about the ill effects of sugar (it is linked to causes of obesity, diabetes, and cancer).  I’ll admit that I have been quite lazy in the sugar department over the past year.  The last 12 months was crazy with pregnancy, a newborn, and 3 moves.  Many times I felt like I was just surviving and my eating habits were not great.

Now that I have settled into a new normal, my old convictions are roaring back and it is time to get back to my own 10 tenets and a new conviction regarding sugar.  A few weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to challenge myself and my family to a “no sugar summer”.  I’ve been talking with my husband and kids about it.  2 of the 3 are on board…my husband and 9 year old daughter.  My 5 year old son is still resisting, but he is outnumbered at this point.

So, what is the No Sugar Summer about?  Here are the rules our family is following:

  • Time Frame – the months of June, July, and August.  3 months.  Approximately 90 days.  Piece of cake, right?
  • No food with processed sugar is allowed.   The only two sweeteners we can eat are honey and pure maple syrup.   I will be reading every label to make sure no added sugar is in the ingredients.   One item I realized this morning – the bread we like to buy at Costco doesn’t have sugar!  I thought it did!  Excellent!
  • Milk – my kids have two glasses of soy or almond milk per day.  I’m still debating what to do about this one.  It does have sugar.  This might be an exception for them.  It is one of the few ways they get protein and other good nutrients.
  • 2 Cheats per Month – We will allow two sugar treats a month, but the whole family has to agree to what the treat is and when we will splurge.  We are going to shoot for 1 per month, but we have two birthdays in July.  It is hard to pass up a delicious treat for birthdays, so we will say a maximum of 2 per month.
  • 70% or more chocolate is ok, but only one square per day.  The benefits of dark chocolate are too great to not allow a little chocolate every day.  Besides, this might be my kids’ sanity….and mine, too!

So, what does all of this mean for us?

  1. A simplified approach to cutting out processed food.  A lot of processed food has added sugars.  If you can’t eat sugar, you automatically eliminate many of the processed food choices!  This will help steer us back on track.
  2. Clean out now!  I’ve been getting rid of everything with sugar for the past couple of weeks.  Our pantry and fridge is almost clean!
  3. I will be baking much more.   Example: my daughter did a science experiment for school where she tried different sweeteners in sugar cookies.  She really liked the version that had honey in them.  She has already asked if we can make those.  Absolutely!  There is no sugar in them!   I will also keep us stocked with energy bites and cocoa coconut bites (both recipes on this blog).  I’ll be trying new items and posting the successful recipes.
  4. What about those cool summer treats such as ice cream and popsicles???  This was a concern that my daughter had.  Well, we will have healthy but tasty options to enjoy.  I already started today.  I made a double batch of my breakfast smoothie and froze some as popsicles.  We will have smoothie pops as a cool summer treat.  I’ve got other ideas to try like fudge pops.  Again, any recipes that work will get posted.
  5. Fruit will become sweet again…good enough to serve as a dessert.

My hope is that this sets a new norm for our family where sugar is not something that we want every day but something to enjoy for a special occasion.  What about you?  Will you join me in the “no sugar summer” challenge?

Back in Business

As you might have noticed, I took a 6 month plus break from blogging.  It was not intentional.  It just happened.  The past year has been a whirlwind.  Exactly a year ago, we decided to put our house on the market and build a house in a nearby community.  Oh, and we were expecting a baby, too (our third).  This ushered in the craziest year ever for us.  We moved three times (first, out of the house and into storage and a apartment; second, out of the apartment when the lease was up and into more storage while we lived with friends and family; and finally, out of storage and into our new house).  We are finally unpacked and settled into our new home plus baby is now sleeping through the night.   Life is “normal” again and I can get back to blogging about what is sweeter than honey.

Want to lose 5% of your body fat?

Saw this on Dr. Oz yesterday – lower the temperature in your house for only 2 hours per day to 63 degrees to lose 5% of your body fat!  Doesn’t get easier than that!  This is one I can definitely do in the winter to help work off those sneaky pounds from the holidays!

One more tip to lose 2 lbs per month:  Use a salad plate.   More specifically, your plate should be 10 inches or less in diameter.