I am sweet enough

My lovely daughter decided to experiment with a sugar free cake for me yesterday, and made a chocolate sponge. She used half gluten free and half ordinary flour (just to use the gluten free stuff up) and it works surprisingly well. Otherwise the ingredients were the sort most of us would have in the cupboard. It does contain a little honey as she didn’t realise that I wasn’t eating it, but no refined sweeteners. I don’t want her to think I don’t appreciate her kind efforts, so I am eating it anyway. It is really quite nice – I think I may try some more sugar free cake recipes, perhaps using some mashed banana or stewed apples to add sweetness.

She is her mother’s daughter. She found a recipe online and adapted it to what we had in the cupboards. This is it:

Half cup of cocoa powder
Quarter cup of gluten free self-raising flour (can use ordinary flour)
Quarter cup of plain ordinary flour
2.5 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
Half tsp cinnamon
6 eggs
Half a cup of honey
Half a cup of olive oil
Half a cup of milk
1 tsp vanilla essence

Preheat the oven to 160 C. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ones and whisk well. Pour into a 9 inch greased and lined cake tin and bake for 50-60 minutes. Test at 50 minutes as you don’t want it to be dry. If you aren’t avoiding sugar you could ice it, but we have eaten it with a little Lactofree cream and chopped banana and it’s very nice.

I was hoping to lose a few pounds, but I have discovered another unexpected benefit of cutting out refined sugar. I am a lot less bloated! Without going into unnecessary detail, I suffer from IBS and know that it is mostly caused by what I am eating. Over the years I have identified dairy products (not hard cheese, which is fine), soya, onions, beans, leeks, cauliflower and cabbage as trigger foods. Luckily Lactofree milk, yogurts and soft cheese are now available  (more expensive than the usual stuff but taste just the same), I use celery where a recipe calls for onions and the other stuff is easy enough to avoid.  However, it never occurred to me that sweet things caused an issue. I am not saying I would give them up altogether, but perhaps only eat small amounts at any one time or on any single day.

I managed to sell 6 items on eBay this week, mainly clothes that my daughter was getting rid of. Not huge amounts of money, but every little helps! I have spent very little on anything since I was waiting on a new bank card, but since I buy practically nothing these days anyway it didn’t cause me any stress! I did need to pop to Lidl for some groceries for the week but other than that I haven’t spent anything at all. 

I checked my bank balance this morning and my statement looks very uncomplicated. There isn’t much on there that isn’t a direct debit or standing order against a particular bill. I need to do a spring clean and have a long, hard look to see if there is anything I could get rid of. I would like to wave goodbye to the TV package I have with Virgin but I have a year on the contract. I am determined to buy a Freeview box when the contract expires and just stick with the channels on there plus Netflix.

I am working on a books page for the blog now, to be titled My Frugal Bookshelf. There are so many inspiring books out there and it is good to share. If you have any you can recommend, let me know and I will try to get hold of a copy to review.

Have a happy Sunday!

21 thoughts on “I am sweet enough

  1. Lyn King

    Brownies sound good, what are the ‘cups’, are they uk kitchen measuring cups or teacups? BTW, my daughter lives in Chicago and beware, a U.S. recipe calling for cup measurements is different to UK cup amounts. I never knew that before.

      1. Lyn King

        Sorry I’ve been to Kew Gardens today so only just home. Apparently there is a slight difference. There’s lots of info on conversions if you Google. I have a set of Jamie Oliver Rimple measuring cups which I assume are UK amounts. I try and avoid cup recipes since daughter told me but I think it’s probably not too serious unless doing Bake Off!

  2. Jane Smith

    If you have IBS have a look at the FODMAP diet. It is very weird but my daughter has been much better since she has kept to this diet.

    1. shoestringjane@outlook.com Post author

      Yes I have explored that. I don’t need to stick to it strictly though as I seem to be ok with some of the stuff they say to exclude

  3. S Fyfe

    Those look lovely. What is the lacto free cream like? My son uses lacto free milk because of sinus problems. When I make cakes, muffins, crumbles etc I only use half the recommended amount of sugar but I would like to reduce this even more. Loving your blog. My husband is on long term sick leave and we are surviving on SSP which is £88 per week. Thank goodness we had no debt and had an emergency savings fund. However, we do still have a small mortgage which we have been overpaying for years. When he returns to work, we are determined to become mortgage free as soon as possible. So your blog keeps me inspired and feeling less ‘alone’ in my frugal efforts.

    1. shoestringjane@outlook.com Post author

      Lord, I would be stuffed on £88 a week. Hope he gets better soon. The cream tastes just the same as normal stuff

  4. Eloise

    You have clearly trained your daughter well. I mentioned the other day that I improvise/substitute a lot in recipes and I think it is a truly great thing to encourage in our children. It saves on waste and saves money. Far to often I see in recipes ingredients that require half a teaspoon of this, a few drops of that, and I know that if I buy them I am unlikely to ever use the entire contents. I don’t like artificial sweeteners but do make limited use of the plant based ones such as Truvia or Nat-via (the latter is the least artificial tasting), such as in one of my favourite sugarless, fat less, flourless cakes -raspberry roulade. I have served this to guests and they asked for more! You might be interested ……. Beat four egg whites until they are quite stiff. Beat the yolks with 3 tablespoons of Nat-via and two teaspoons of baking powder. Gently combine the yolk mixture with whites and spread onto a lined Swiss roll tin. Bake at 170 for 15 mins. It will puff up enormously but collapse as soon as you test with a. skewer. Give it a few more minutes if necessary. When cool, turn out and gently peel the paper (I find a waxed/silicone one best). Spread with Total 0% fat-free Greek yogurt and lots of raspberries and roll up. It serves 6. Strawberries work well too.

    In response to your request for book ideas – How I lived a year on just a pound a day by Kath Kelly.

  5. Sam

    Beingcanle to adapt a recipe to what you have on hand is a great skill and worth thousands in savings over a lifetime I imagine. Well done to your Daughter. I’d enjoy that with a hot cup of coffee.

  6. Niki

    Also try dates soaked in boiling water and then blended together, think sticky toffee pudding without the sugar….mashed really ripe banana and lots of dried fruit works well in muffins……Tonia Buxton has some sugar free recipes available on Google x

  7. Joyce

    I thought it might be of interest to some folk that you can easily grow your own Stevia from seed. It can then be dried for storage. If you type Stevia seed into google there is a whole list of companys that sell it. I enjoy your blog very much, thanks.

  8. Margaret Powling

    Oh, those look good enough to eat (couldn’t resist that!)
    We have a Freeview box and only a few weeks ago I signed up for Netflix so that I could watch The Crown and thought there would be lost of other lovely things to see – but there aren’t. Perhaps I will wade through Homeland but most of the films are pretty dire (as the advert for Film Review with Mark Kermode and Gavin Esler says, if you pay them they will only make more of them!) Indeed, we tend to stick to the main channels and I’m now beginning to wonder whether I should cancel my Netflix subscription (£8.99 a month). We have watched few Freeview progs but most are repeats anyway, and as there are few original progs that we really enjoy, we’re therefore not inclined to watch repeats.
    Margaret P

    1. Chrissie

      My son has Netflix and found a wonderful series called Grace and Frankie. I find it so funny and at times touching too, it is American and stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlinson.

    2. shoestringjane@outlook.com Post author

      Try some Nordic dramas -The Bridge is fantastic! I am also watching The Crown .

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