Baking and cooking are passions of mine. I love trying out new recipes, modifying current ones to make them a little healthier, and sharing my creations with friends and family. The idea of a homemade meal with everything made from scratch is my idea of a perfect ending to the day, but up until recently, my job kept me so busy, I had to rely on pre-made foods or store-bought ingredients to make my meals because I just did not have the time. It takes too much time to make things from scratch.
Well….that’s not true. I had the time, I was just choosing not to take it.
I am a big proponent of working with recipes that have a “leave it and forget it” component to the process. So, why wouldn’t I have time for that? I can multitask while the food is baking/simmering/marinating. And I usually do.
So with the start of a new job that comes with far less overtime, I made it a goal to stop making excuses and start making my own foods whenever possible. And one added benefit to doing your own baking and cooking is that you can add or remove ingredients that are in the foods sold in stores.
There are two types of sugars in food. Those that naturally occur like lactose and fructose and those that are added (read most likely processed/man-made). While I do believe that there is a time and a place for added sugars, like the decedent food items that are not part of my 80% healthy/macro friendly, there is no place for them in most foods. For example, why do we need to add sugar to yogurt when there is already fruit in the container?
Most fruits and a lot of other foods have natural sugars in them. You just need to take the time to develop those sugars to sweeten your dishes.
Bananas and unsweetened applesauce can be used to replace not only oils and eggs, but also sugar in most baking recipes. You know when you go to the grocery store and see the bananas? They usually look one of three ways:
- really green (still hard, not sweet)
- yellow (just perfect for eating)
- covered in brown spots (clearly on their way out)
While most people will never want to buy the brown spot covered ones, those are perfect for baking. The riper the banana (the more brown spots the better in my opinion), the sweeter it tastes. You just have to wait for them to ripen.
Unsweetened applesauce (see my homemade recipe) can also have the sugars in the apples developed that creates just as sweet of a sauce as any store-bought kind. You need to be patient and take your time in the cooking process, and lots of other fruits, including tomatoes, sweeten when roasted for 30+ minutes in the oven.
So the next time you start to bake, consider swapping out the sugar for a fruit that you have roasted or ripened or when you reach for that yogurt, opt for the plain kind, that has far less sugar, and add some roasted strawberries, peaches, or other fruits.