Oatmeal Crepes {Can be Gluten-Free!} #BakingMyHeritage

Oatmeal Crepes #bakingmyheritage #glutenfreeI continue to explore recipes from my little gem of a cookbook called The Finnish Cookbook, a nod to my heritage, and to a largely ignored but delicious cuisine. The more I cook from this cookbook the more convinced I am that people should explore Finnish cuisine for themselves! 

This particular recipe is one I have now made more times than I can count; it’s that good. Cuz trust me honey. I almost never make the same thing twice. And if I make it more than twice, you know it’s a good recipe.

So here we go: Oatmeal Crepes, using only oat for the flour, so they can easily be made gluten-free by using gluten-free oats.

Oatmeal Crepes #bakingmyheritage #glutenfree


Traditionally, these Finnish crepes are served together with a bowl of cream and a bowl of cinnamon sugar: you dip the crepe in the sugar and then in the cream. I haven’t actually tried that, although it sounds absolutely fabulous. No, I usually just drizzle mine with maple syrup, fruit sauce, or fresh fruit, and then top with yogurt or whipped cream. Pretty heavenly that way, too!

For more posts in this series, see:

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Cheese-Stuffed Meat Rolls #BakingMyHeritage

Stuffed Meat Rolls #bakingmyheritage #groundbeef #FinnishcuisineBack in January, I introduced my new obsession, to which I very appropriately ascribed a hashtag, namely, #bakingmyheritage. In case you’ve forgotten the details, my mom is of Finnish descent; and when I was visiting her over Christmas in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I happened upon The Finnish Cookbook in a consignment store there. I’ve been having tons of fun baking and cooking all sorts of recipes from this awesome treasure of a cookbook. (Oh, and PLUS! It’s a vintage cookbook! You know me and vintage cookbooks...)

Stuffed Meat Rolls #bakingmyheritage #groundbeef #FinnishcuisineMy first post about my Finnish baking adventures was this deliciously awesome (and very easy!) Spice Cake, which I actually plan to bake this weekend for our church’s annual International Banquet.  Today’s post goes in a decidedly different direction with a savory recipe (which I suppose would then be #cookingmyheritage. Nah. Doesn’t have the same ring to it.), known in Finnish as “lihamurekekaaryleet”. 

Stuffed Meat Rolls #bakingmyheritage #groundbeef #FinnishcuisineYeah, we’ll just call ‘em “Stuffed Meat Rolls”. (Although my DH calls them “the bomb”… or maybe it was me that was “the bomb” because I made them. Huh! Anyway, they have his stamp of approval!)

If you want to keep up with my Finnish baking adventures, follow me on Instagram!

Stuffed Meat Rolls #bakingmyheritage #groundbeef #Finnishcuisine


Notes:

I used 1 pound of ground beef because I didn’t feel like defrosting another package (ha!), and it turned out OK. I only got 12 rolls instead of 16, and the mixture was not quite as sturdy, but they were still very good.

I also used cheese sticks, which were very easy to use.

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French Toast Casserole with Streusel Topping

French Toast Casserole with Streusel Topping #breakfast #wholefoods #nutfree

Delicious Breakfast – French Toast Casserole with Streusel Topping

On holidays and weekends, one of my favorite things to do is fix my family a slightly more involved breakfast than usual (read: something besides toast and a smoothie). It’s a plus if said breakfast is deliciously decadent without really being decadent. And it’s a total plus if said deliciously decadent breakfast is made with the leftover bread that accumulates over time in my freezer.

This breakfast is all of these and more. My DH even called it “epic” and he’s not one to effuse over his food. I’m thinking the cinnamon syrup is what pushed him over the edge this time.

French Toast Casserole with Oatmeal Streusel #breakfast #nutfree #wholefoods

Delicious French Toast Casserole with Oatmeal Streusel Topping and Cinnamon Syrup

If you don’t keep your bread ends in your freezer… well, you should! You can make a lot of things with leftover bits and pieces of bread, and this recipe is one of them. Other recipes include:

Chocolate Bread Pudding

Bread Crumbs

Easy Peasy Cheese Ball

Chicken Zucchini Stuffing Casserole
French Toast Casserole with Oatmeal Streusel #breakfast #wholefoods #nutfree

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5 Super Bowl Party Must-Haves

5 super bowl menu ideasHere’s the funny thing: I hate football, and I haven’t been to a Super Bowl party in years. But I have a whole bunch of Super Bowl idea posts on my blog… wonder what a psychologist would make of that, hmmm?!

Now if someone were to invite me to a Super Bowl party, I would be happy to attend because a party means food, and when food is involved… count me in! Especially if your Super Bowl party features any of the following menu items:

Homemade Potato Chips

1. Homemade Chips & Dip

Uh huh. I’m serious! I know, it’s way easier to buy a bag of chips and a jar of dip. But making your own chips and dip is way cooler, plus also way healthier. Double win!

Parmesan Crisps

2. Parmesan Crisps

OK, so I admit that making your own chips and dip can be a little bit labor-intensive and time-consuming, but Parmesan Crisps are a different story altogether: super easy and pretty fast! Oh, and amazingly delicious. You won’t be able to eat just one, and I’m not kidding.

Football Cake3. Football Cake

This simply decorated football cake won’t take you anymore time than any other homemade dessert, but there’s no dessert more appropriate. Touchdown!

bbq chicken dip4. BBQ Chicken Dip

Think of the famous Buffalo Chicken Dip, minus the hot sauce, plus some BBQ sauce, and you have BBQ Chicken Dip. It’s total yum; ya gotta try it!

Toasted Chickpeas 5. Toasted Chickpeas

Chances are, if you’re having a party, you’re going to have some guests with food sensitivities. If anybody in your party is gluten-free or allergic to nuts, dairy, eggs, or wheat, then this is the perfect snack for them! None of the afore-mentioned ingredients, and it’s delicious to boot. Plus – bonus for you, the hostess and chef – it’s super easy to make. I bring you Toasted Chickpeas.

May the best team win!

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5 Creative Ideas for Leftover Meat

5 ideas for leftover meat Got some leftover meat and no idea what to do with it? I’ve got an idea for you! No more boring casseroles or lame pasta dishes: Here’s some creative fun you can have that will turn your hunk of “meh” into “YUM!”.

5 Creative Ideas for Leftover Meat

1. Spring Rolls

This is probably one of my favorite leftover options. Literally any kind of meat – and it doesn’t have to be Asian-flavored – can be rolled up in a rice paper wrapper, fried or baked, and served with a dip. Certainly you can make them Asian flavors if you want, but why not go with Mexican or BBQ, if that’s what you’ve got? Mexican spring rolls can be served with salsa, and BBQ spring rolls with (what else?) barbecue sauce.

If you’ve never played with spring roll wrappers before, here’s my super brief tutorial: 

  • They come fresh or dried. Many regular grocery stores carry both types, but I usually buy mine at the Asian store. The fresh ones are more expensive and can be found in the produce or freezer section, while the dried ones are usually somewhere near the rice noodles and that kind of thing.
  • The fresh ones (which I’ve never actually used) are pliable and ready to be used. Just place a couple tablespoons of the filling (whatever you want!) on to one side of the wrapper, and fold up the closest edge to cover the filling. Fold the sides up, then roll the whole thing all the way to the other edge. Dip your fingers in water to seal the edge.
  • Dried wrappers need to be briefly soaked in water before using. Once they’re pliable (but not too much so, or they’ll rip) fill them in the same way I described above. No need to seal with water, though.
  • Fry them up on the stove top (make sure your oil is hot enough or the seal won’t stick).
  • OR bake them in the oven following these directions.

I’m totally serious, by the way, that just about any thing can be wrapped up in a spring roll! Don’t feel like you need a special recipe or anything: if you’ve got shredded BBQ meat, for example, just plop some of it on the wrapper, top it with a sprinkle of cheese (or maybe some cole slaw?), wrap it up and cook it!

2. Stir Fry

Again with the Asian influence, but seriously. Stir fry is the way to go! Especially if you also have leftover veggies – even better!

Once again, you don’t have to worry about sticking to an Asian flavor of some kind, although practically any cooked meat can morph into Asian cuisine via stir fry. Just follow this great tutorial from AllRecipes.com , keeping in mind that pre-cooked meats and veggies will not need nearly as much time as is prescribed in the article.

A stir fry is also great because it can also utilize any leftover starch (noodles or rice, for example) that you may have. Get rid of those leftovers in one fell swoop!

flatbread sandwich thins3. Sandwiches

Now, I’m not talking about a boring ol’ meatloaf sandwich with a hunk of nasty cold meatloaf shoved between two slices of plain ol’ bread. No way. Not how I roll. 

What I’m talking about is creativity, and it starts with the bread. If you want your leftover sandwich to appeal to the masses (i.e.  your starving leftover-hating family), it’s going to have to have some charm to it. Thankfully, the possibilities are practically endless:

  • biscuits
  • English muffins
  • flatbread
  • muffins (why not?)
  • waffles (Yes! Truthfully my favorite sandwich bread.)
  • pita bread
  • croissant
  • bagel
  • etc.

You get the idea. Now top it with some fancy (or not so fancy) cheese, a little bit of sauce and maybe some crunchy shredded veggies for good measure, and you’ve got some gourmet leftovers goin’ on!

sausage zucchini pizza4. Pizza

Everybody knows that everybody hates leftovers, right? BUT! Everybody loves pizza, right? So there ya go. Turn the leftovers into pizza and everybody’s happy. 

And it’s so easy, too! Pizza crust is a yeast bread, but it doesn’t require all that bothersome kneading and rising stuff, so even a novice can manage it. I usually make either my Spelt Pizza Crust or my Honey Whole Wheat Pizza Crust, but you can make any kind of pizza crust you desire.

Then top it with a sauce of some kind, and it most certainly does not have to be pizza sauce. (I guess technically it doesn’t even need sauce… but it’s nice if you have it.) If you have a sauce that went with the meat when you first ate it, then that’s perfect! Whatever it is, it will work. If not, try Ranch dressing, or BBQ sauce, or a basic white sauce or cheese sauce.

Next, slice or shred the meat and sprinkle it over the sauce. Top with veggies and cheese like you would any pizza, and bake as usual. No complaints on leftover night!

ham fruit pasta salad5. Salad

Here you have two options. You can go with a green salad or a starch salad, and you can get as creative as you want with either one. 

Personally, a green salad seems kind of like a boring option, so since we’re looking at creative ideas here, let’s talk about the “starch salad”. I say “starch salad” because you can use just about any kind of starch as the main component: 

  • potato (and voila! you have potato salad!)
  • bread (panzanella anybody?)
  • pasta
  • whole grains such as rice, barley, and the like
  • quinoa

Cook the starch as you normally wood, then add your meat and whatever vegetables you like. To finish off your leftover magic, whip up a simple vinaigrette  to bring it all together. My “Not Your Grandma’s” Ham & Pasta Salad is a great example that can get you started.

There you go, friend! Five fun ideas for leftover meat that will please your palate and your hungry family. Here’s to NO WASTE!

 

 

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Sweet Potato Pumpkins – a Vintage Recipe from a Blogger Before Her Time

I recently picked up another vintage cookbook at a thrift store, and it quite possibly has been my most favorite thrift store purchase of all time. Of all time, people. That’s saying something because, ahem, I’ve bought a lot of stuff at thrift stores.

A Blogger Born Before Her Time

It’s my most favorite thrift store purchase not because of the awesome recipes I found in it (although there are definitely more recipes and ideas I want to try) but because I felt a certain kinship with the author, an Ann Batchelder who was the food editor for Ladies’ Home Journal during the forties. Now, I am not and never will be a magazine food editor (although it sounds like fun!), so that’s not where the kinship comes in.

No, the kinship I felt came from the sensation as I read her cookbook (which truly is a cookbook you read, not just flip through or skip to the index) that I was reading a blog. I could not escape the feeling that Ann Batchelder was a blogger born before her time; her quirky dry humor combined with creative ideas and tips, not to mention the occasional poetic prose about topics having absolutely nothing to do with food or cooking, all combined to create the effect of a modern blogger. Seriously, if it weren’t for the occasional mention of outdated tools, ingredients, or methods, I would have thought I’d picked up a cookbook written by a blogger, not a food editor from the glamor era.

A 1940′s “Blogger’s” Thoughts on Thanksgiving

A few sample tidbits so you can see what I mean:

She begins her Thanksgiving Menu portion with thoughts on the traditions of Thanksgiving Day, as well as a few choice comments about the guest of honor: ” From some remote date, turkey has always been the Thanksgiving feast bird. If you can’t have turkey you may have ham or chicken or roast pig, but whatever it is that takes the turkey’s place on your table, have it in the spirit* of turkey. For that spirit is a very emanation of Thanksgiving Day itself!”

*I did not italicize. She did. Told ya she was a blogger.

She finishes up her Thanksgiving Menu with these thoughts: “Have a good Thanksgiving. Whether it be simple or “simply colossal” as they say, have a happy day. It’s always well to remember that things around this world might be worse, and that we’ve got as far as we have, so it’s perfectly possible that we shall make the next grade – if we keep going. And for one thing let us be extra thankful. Thankful for Thanksgiving Day. And so all together now, ‘Come ye thankful people come, raise the song of harvest home.’ Will someone please take the organ?”

When was the last time you read that in a dull ol’ cookbook?

One more thought on Thanksgiving from Ann: “Celebrated according to their means and light by the old New England families. Celebrated as a tradition handed down from the time the Pilgrim mothers did their stuff (ha!*) with the wild turkey and the woodland herbs, it became under Sarah [Hale]‘s lively interest and persistence, a national holiday. And President Lincoln yielded to the Hale persuasiveness and sent out the proclamation which secured to this Pilgrim tradition perpetuation and a place in the sun. So now we are nearing what to my mind is the best holiday of all – Thanksgiving.”

*I added the “ha!”. In case you couldn’t tell.

A Vintage Recipe from a Vintage Blogger: Sweet Potato Pumpkins

One of the things about Ann Batchelder that tells me she would be a mega blogger if she “did her stuff” in today’s world is that she has such creative ideas. (Not to mention that if the photographs were in color they’d be totally gorgeous and perfect for Pinterest. Yes, I know she had a whole team of food stylists and photographers, but still.) For each holiday, she created an entire menu filled with both traditional food items, new twists on old things, plus a few ideas just for fun. The kinds of things that people pin on Pinterest, kwim? 

One of those ideas leaped off the page at me and I determined that I had to make them for Thanksgiving: Sweet Potato Pumpkins. As you can see in the photo above, her instructions were rather vague, which is normal for vintage cookbooks (which assume that the average reader already knows how to cook). I was OK up until the point where she said “Shape the sweet potatoes into small pumpkins”. That’s where the blogger comparison totally falls apart. I mean, hello, where were the tutorials with step by step pictures?! And the links to where I can buy the tools on Amazon?!

Well, I’m not a perfect blogger, so sadly, I myself have no step-by-step pictorial tutorial for you today. However, I did my best at creating sweet potato pumpkins according to her recipe, and they turned out pretty cute if I do say so myself! So I can share with you in slightly more detail than Ms. Batchelder and you can try it for yourself this week.


Note: Next time I might experiment with adding some type of flour (maybe coconut flour?) to the mixture to see if it firms up a little more so as to make slightly smoother, firmer pumpkins. I’ll let you know how it goes!

So there you go – a cute little vintage (but not) recipe for this Thanksgiving!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Real Food on a Tight Schedule

5 ways to save time in the real food kitchen Usually, I’m talking about real food on a tight budget, but today we’re talking about being tight on a different sort of commodity: namely, time. We are all short on time, yes?

I’ve been transitioning from a work AT home mom to a working AWAY from home mom for the past few months, and it’s not been without its challenges on many levels. Sticking to a real foods diet has been a little more stressful in terms of preparation, and I’m finding that too much of my at-home time has been spent slaving away in the kitchen when I could be spending time with my family. 

I’ve slowly been figuring all this out, though, and I’ve come up with a few strategies that have cut down my kitchen time without sacrificing the quality of the food I serve.

1. Keep it Simple, Sister

This has always been my mantra, and even more so now. I’ve had to pull myself out of the mental box that says, “all meals must include a main dish and several prepared sides”. That’s simply not true! Here are some ways to simplify your menu (particularly your dinner menu):

  • Try one-dish meals or casseroles (I’m partial to stir-fry’s myself!). If they are well balanced with the appropriate amounts of proteins, carbs, and fruits or veggies, then you don’t need to have any additional accompaniments to the meal. Just make sure you have enough of it to satisfy everybody’s hungry tummy!
  • Forget prepped and cooked side dishes. There’s nothing wrong with a simple sliced apple or a pile of freshly chopped veggies (although I do like to experiment with different kinds of yummy apple side dishes!). Clearly, I still prepare more involved side dishes, but I’m learning that the fact my family eats fruits and vegetables is more important than the way they are served.
  • Think outside the box when planning meals: try an assortment of finger foods or a cold plate instead of an actual “dinner”.

2. Process Your Groceries

When you get home from grocery shopping (or from the farmers’ market), immediately prep all the food that you can. Obviously, some things cannot be sliced or chopped or otherwise prepped ahead of time, but do process whatever you possibly can. This will save enormous amounts of time when you’re getting ready to put dinner on the table.

Here are some foods I try to prep ahead of time whenever I can:

  • pineapples (won’t keep for long, but they don’t last for long around here anyway, so that’s not a problem)
  • kefir or yogurt (when you bring milk home, set a batch going right away)
  • rice, pasta, or other grains (cook them up and store in the freezer)
  • beans (soak and then cook in the crock pot)
  • winter squash (cook it in the crock pot, puree, and refrigerate or freeze)
  • onions (chop and freeze – thawed onions aren’t great in raw dishes but work perfectly for anything cooked)
  • meat (separate it into portions that will work for your recipes/meal plan; you can also brown ground meat for use in recipes like spaghetti and the like, or fry up bacon)

3. Take Ten

Build ten minutes into your night or morning routine to take care of various kitchen chores like:

  • culturing kefir, yogurt, sour cream, and anything you like to ferment
  • feeding your sourdough starter
  • defrosting meat (or whatever you need for the next day that is in the freezer)
  • soaking beans
  • cooking broth (or anything, really) in the crock pot

4. Utilize Your Tools

Make friends with your crock pot, your food processor, and your Vitamix (if you have one) because those babies will make your life a lot easier and will save you so much time! I actually don’t have a food processor, although I want to get one eventually, but I use my crock pot and my Vitamix all the stinkin’ time. I don’t know what I would do without either one!

  • The crock pot might take longer to cook something, but it’s completely hands off for the most part so it saves time in that regard. If you cook soup on the stove top, it might take less time, but you have to be present and constantly checking on it to make sure the pot doesn’t boil over or the liquid evaporate too much. A slow cooker cooks slowly (funny, huh?) and safely so that you can let it do its thing while you do yours. You can let it go overnight, or you can let it go all day, whichever is more convenient for you.
  • Crock pots are not just for roasts! As I mentioned before, I cook my pumpkins and other winter squash in it all the time. I also use it to make broth on a regular basis. I have used it to make granola, and steel cut oats, too. I’ve even baked bread in it!
  • And a Vitamix is not just for smoothies. Sure, it makes a mean smoothie, but it does a lot of other stuff, too. It will puree anything you need pureed, which seems to happen an awful lot in real-food-cooking for some reason. It’s also great at making your own sauces – savory sauces, sweet sauces, fruit sauces, any kind of sauce! It will even cook the sauce for you! I also occasionally use my Vitamix like a food processor, especially for grating carrots or potatoes. It works so fast and is so effective!

5. Have a Meal Plan

This is the oldest trick in the books, and for good reason: it works! I have to admit I struggle with consistency with this one, but there is no denying that food prep goes a lot more smoothly – and quickly – when I’m working from a menu. My favorite menu planning tool is Plan to Eat, an online program I highly recommend, and consider to be totally worth it in terms of how much time and money you save when using it. (By the way, that’s my referral link, and you can try it for free for 30 days.)

Above all, keep in mind that some things in life are more important than real food. I’ve learned to make concessions along the way; for example, I keep a bag of flour in the cupboard for those occasions (that occur on a regular basis) when I simply don’t have time to grind my grain. I also am not ashamed to buy store-bought healthy (ish) treats for my kids when I don’t have time to make cookies from scratch. We eat out at least once a week, and although we try to eat at healthier restaurants and make healthier choices when dining out… it’s still eating out and it’s still not very healthy! But it’s a necessary break for all of us, and one we look forward to, and so we consider it worth it. Your concessions might look different, but don’t be ashamed of them or embarrassed by them.

How do you serve your family real food when time is short?

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Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Donuts

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Donuts You know that super simple, super quick “donut” recipe that’s been going around for a while? The one where you open a can of biscuits, poke a hole in the middle, then fry it up and call it a donut?

Well, this is kind of like that. Except we don’t do canned biscuits around here, so the biscuit dough is fresh from scratch. (SO easy!) Oh  yes, and it’s flavored with pumpkin and pumpkin spices so it’s perfect for fall weather. 

Think you like the sound of that? (I know I do!) Then head on over to Baking Whole Grains to get the recipe for my Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Donuts

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Honey Fondant: The Healthiest Easy Fondant Recipe You’ll Find Anywhere

I love making fun birthday cakes for The Boys – I actually really look forward to it from one birthday to the next! The problem is trying to balance cost, nutrition, and simplicity – those three things don’t always meet together and play nicely when it comes to cakes and decorative frostings! Fondant, in particular, seems to be a matter of expense, difficulty, and chemical-laden ingredients, yet it can turn out some of the cutest and most gorgeously decorated cakes.

However, for my Certain Little Someone’s fifth – yes, fifth! – birthday cake, I happened upon an amazing recipe for fondant that contained absolutely no chemical or processed ingredients. What’s more, all the ingredients were something I had in my cupboard already, and it was just as easy – or seemed to be – as any other fondant recipe out there.

A Healthy Fondant Recipe that’s Easy?

Here’s how I stumbled across this gem of a recipe:

  • My Certain Little Someone wanted Mario cupcakes for his birthday (which he later switched to Angry Birds). When I was browsing Pinterest for ideas, most of the ones he liked involved fondant, which I had never used before.
  • I took a gander at the ingredient list on the label of store-bought fondant. My eyebrows rose so high they practically rocketed off my forehead, and I hastily put the container back on the shelf and said, “No way!”. 
  • I found a healthy-ish recipe for marshmallow fondant, but when I priced the ingredients…. well, once again my eyebrows got a little too high and I reluctantly admitted that was not do-able. Those “healthy” marshmallows cost $4 a bag, and you need two for the recipe! Not to mention the cost of the healthier sugar/powdered sugar.
  • I started researching alternative fondant recipes – my goodness, there are a lot of different ways to make fondant! Who knew? Not me, that’s for sure. There was the original true recipe for fondant, which involved candy thermometers and boiling sugar water, which I decided against (way too complicated, plus I don’t have a candy thermometer). There were also a lot of recipes that called for strange ingredients I don’t keep on hand and didn’t really want to invest in anyway.
  • Then there were a whole variety of powdered-sugar based recipes, most of which involved corn syrup. I wondered if honey could replace the corn syrup (because that’s what I usually sub when corn syrup is called for in a recipe and it usually works well), but I didn’t want to risk it because I didn’t have the time to deal with it. I searched specifically for “honey fondant” wondering if someone else had tried it and if it worked.
  • Well, whaddya know?! I found a whole bunch of recipes for something that beekeepers feed their bees during the winter (no, thank you, I don’t have any bees) instead of more fondant frosting recipes… but there was ONE little precious gem of a recipe buried in all of that honey-bee stuff: Honey Fondant

I made it pretty much as written, except that I had to add significantly more powdered sugar than I was expecting. Like, I mean, significantly, she says with significance. I honestly don’t know how much powdered sugar ended up in this batch of fondant, but let me tell you it is way more than I have ever put in any one recipe any other time in my life.

So I decided that when it comes to fondant, your choice pretty much boils down to this: 

chemicals

or

sugar. 

Lots and lots  of sugar.

I’m glad I want with the sugar option because at least it’s something your body recognizes and knows what to do with. The chemicals are just scary, frankly – at least sugar is a known danger!

I haven’t made any other kind of fondant so I have nothing with which to compare it, but this seemed to be just as simple as any of the other recipes out there, and definitely simpler than the boiling sugar version. As long as you understand you might have to use a metric ton of powdered sugar, you’ll be OK.


A few ingredient notes:

  • The original recipe called for margarine – I would have used butter except that my Certain Little Someone is allergic to it. I considered using palm shortening but I wasn’t sure if that was a good sub or not (probably would be fine), so I opted to stick with the original recipe and use my Certain Little Someone’s “butter”, which is actually a coconut-based all-natural butter-like spread. I think either butter or palm shortening or some other similar margarine would work. Just don’t use the nasty chemical margarine.
  • The next time I make this, I’ll probably try starting with less liquid, maybe even half as much as is indicated here.
  • I made my own powdered sugar by processing raw sugar in my Vitamix. I wanted it to be pretty fine, or I would have gone with powdered sucanat or even coconut sugar. Either of those would probably work, but with the quantity used, it would get expensive fast.
  • The original recipe called for 800g of powdered sugar, which is just under 2 lbs. I’d definitely consider that a starting point! You’ll probably use more like 4 pounds, maybe even more, unless you adjust the liquid (if you do adjust the liquid, let me know how that goes!).

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How to Bake With Stevia {Without Affecting Flavor}

How to Bake with Stevia Extract Almost a year ago, I wrote a post about how to convert sugar measurements to stevia for cooking and baking. All of the information in that post is true and accurate, but since then I’ve fine-tuned my routine a bit and developed a method for baking with stevia that doesn’t affect the texture or flavor of the final product. I’ve baked all kinds of things this way, and it seems to work across the board with all different kinds of recipes, so for the most part, this is how I bake with stevia.

1. Use Half the Amount of Sugar

The first step is to reduce the amount of sugar called for in the recipe by at least half. Now, for most conventional recipes, I already reduce the amount of sugar by as much as half anyway. So for the purposes of baking with stevia, I reduce the amount of sugar I would personally use by half.

For example: 

  • A recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar. I think that sounds like a little bit too much sugar going on for that particular recipe, so I would probably only use 3/4 cup at most.
  • Since I’m going to also be adding stevia, I can reduce that 3/4 cup even more, and use 1/2 cup or less of sugar.
  • Most recipes can handle this without drastically affecting the final texture, but there are some recipes that for whatever reason will not work well with the reduced sugar. In those cases, I usually just forego that particular recipe!

If you’re starting with a recipe that’s already inherently fairly healthy and/or has been healthified, you can just reduce the sugar by half and move on to the next step.

2. Replace the Remaining Half of Sugar with Stevia

Now you can follow the conversion chart to replace the remaining amount of sugar the recipe requires.

For example:

  • The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of sugar. You’ll put 1/4 cup of sugar in your batter.
  • You’ll add 1/4 t. of stevia to replace the remaining 1/4 cup of sweetener.

3. Proceed As Directed

Just finish up the recipe the way it’s written. You shouldn’t need to make any other adjustments unless you want to.

And that’s it! You’ve just significantly reduced the sugar in your baked goods without sacrificing taste or texture! It’s even better if you use a “healthier” sugar like coconut sugar or sucanat.

Stevia Plant

the stevia plant before processing into extract or powder

Where to Buy Stevia (Plus Also What Kind to Use)

I like to use liquid stevia (you can find either glycerin- or alcohol-based varieties), which is essentially an extract of stevia (like peppermint or vanilla extract). The powdered stevia goes through more processing and often has a bitter after-taste, so I stay away from it. (Plus, a lot of powdered stevia contains additional sugars which totally ruins the point.)

I usually get my stevia from one of the following sources: 

  • Trader Joe’s (oh how I love Trader Joe’s!)- I *think* it costs around $7, but I’m not positive. I’ve had the same bottle for probably 6 months now, so I can’t remember exactly how much I paid. I do remember thinking it was an excellent price.
  • MOM’s – Mom’s Organic Market is a local chain and their stevia is actually a private label so I’m not sure the original manufacturer. I do know that their stevia tastes a lot better than other brands I’ve tried (NuNaturals, for example, which I like, but the stuff at Mom’s is better), so I’m thinking it’s probably from a more expensive brand that I haven’t tried yet, ha! The good news is that it is also priced very well (once again, not remembering the price, but remembering the impression that it was a great deal).
  • No access to either one of those stores? No worries! If your local health food store doesn’t carry reasonably priced stevia (and most of them don’t), you can order it online from Vitacost or Amazon (those are affiliate links right there). I ordered mine from both places before I was able to start purchasing it locally.

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