I am working on being kinder with myself in my relationship with food. In that vein, I was offered the challenge last week of baking something just for fun.
I love to bake, but I rarely do it now that I don’t eat most of the ingredients that go into baked goods. The idea of baking a traditional cake/cookie/bread/etc that I either would not eat or would feel bad about eating did not sound fun to me. So I set out to find some recipes that fit my dietary parameters.
I knew this would be challenging because of the sugar. I don’t believe in sugar at all. It is a toxic substance, and while I’ve certainly still eaten it from time to time, my goal is not to. Further, I do not think that chemical sugar substitutes are acceptable, nor is agave (the ways in which agave is not at all what it’s sold to be deserve their own post, but suffice to say that it’s really pretty terrible). At this point, I’m basically okay with maple syrup, honey, dates and fruit as sweeteners. And none of those in large quantity. Also, I like to avoid any kind of wheat flour. And dairy.
So it took some Internet sleuthing, but eventually I found my way to a wonderful site called Spoonful of Sugar Free. The author has a whole section of desserts, and I fairly quickly found one that fit my parameters: her Grain-Free Pumpkin Pie Bars with Creamy Frosting. The ingredient list for this recipe is great in its simplicity: pumpkin, coconut flour (and only a 1/4 cup at that), spices, vanilla, a little almond milk, and eggs. I find all of these ingredients to be totally acceptable, so I was really excited to try the recipe.
And it turned out great! It was easy too. The prep time really did only take about 10 minutes. The resulting bars were tasty – like a milder, less sweet version of pumpkin pie filling. Since I don’t really eat sugar, they tasted sweet to me. My husband, whose diet is less restricted, also liked them though. And one of the best parts? The whole tray totaled just over 400 calories, making a piece a very reasonable snack.
The author also provides a frosting recipe, which is ingenious. I tried it the next day (because it involved overnight refrigeration), and I found that adding the creamy coconut concoction to the top of the bar gave it a little extra punch of flavor. With the frosting, it is a dessert I think almost anyone would enjoy. The frosting also doubles the calorie count because coconut milk is intense. So I’ve approached that part of the dessert with a little more reserve.
I really enjoyed making and eating a treat a felt good about, and it’s something I intend to do again. I love treats, and I don’t really want to live a life without them. I just want them to nourish and support the life I’m choosing.