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sugar free january

Refined Sugar-Free Double Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Sugar-free January is off with a bang! I have been really excited so far with this challenge and how my body has reacted. Like I have said before, in my last sugar-free January post (here), I talked about the ‘why’ behind this challenge for me. I do this challenge every year to change my habits, clear my taste buds, and reconnect to whole foods after about 6-months of recipe testing for Christmas. As a recipe developer and food photographer, holiday baking starts in the summer and continues through December. I start working with brands on content in mid-July and typically wrap holiday content by October and then I start for myself! The months of sugar starts altering my tastebud’s sweet receptors. Come January, sweet things are not as sweet as they should be.

One thing that I have been enjoying this month so far has been bananas! I am not someone who gravitates towards bananas for fruit. To me, there are so many more enjoyable fruits. But lately, I have been really into bananas. Bananas and peanut butter on toast, frozen dark chocolate-dipped bananas, and my all-time favorite sugar-free banana bread. I had a realization the other day, my craving for sugar is more craving for snacking when we watch a show after dinner. My go-to after dinner snack is PopZero Cinnamon Toast popcorn. It is an unreal snack! I am a huge cinnamon lover and a huge popcorn fan. I also love to add little chocolate chips when I needed that cinnamon and chocolate fix after dinner. That is where the double chocolate chip banana bread was born.

Let’s Start Baking!

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Sugar-Free Double Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

  • Author: Paige
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf 1x
  • Category: sugar-free
  • Method: baking

Description

A deep chocolate take on the best banana bread, but sugar-free! This bread is sweet, rich and full of rich chocolate flavor without the sugar! Not only is this bread sugar-free but it is gluten-free and dairy as well!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cups of melted vegan butter
  • 3/4 cups of maple syrup
  • 3/4 cups of almond or cashew milk (I use cashew milk)
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 egg or flax egg
  • 1/2 cup of cocoa powder
  • 2 1/4 cups of gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cups of chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease your loaf pan with vegan butter
  2. Melt your vegan butter and add to your bowl
  3. Add your maple syrup and almond milk
  4. Mix until well combined 
  5. Next, add in your vanilla extract, salt, baking powder, baking soda until combined
  6. Slowly add in your 1/2 cups of cocoa powder, scraping the sides of the bowls down to make sure nothing is dry
  7. Peel and add your ripe bananas to the batter and mix until the banana is broken into smaller pieces, but not fully broken down
  8. Add in your gluten-free flour one 1/2 cup at a time and scraping the sides down to ensure all the flour is mixed in
  9. Lastly, fold in  your sugar-free dark chocolate chips 
  10. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, level the top and spread to the corners
  11. Bake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick that is inserted comes out clean
  12. Enjoy! 

Notes

*to make a flax egg mix 1 tbsp of ground flax meal and 2.5 tbsp of water, let it sit for 5 minutes to form a thick texture and add to your mix

Keywords: sugar-free double chocolate banana bread

One thing that I want to make clear is that sugar-free January is a personal challenge. I got the funniest call from my grandpa yesterday making sure that I am not giving health advice. He is in fact a doctor so I definitively appreciate his concern. As a food blogger, and recipe developer, I make it very clear that I am not going to give health or nutritional advice on my platform. My expertise is in the development of recipes for flavor, texture and allergies (ie celiac, and gluten-free). The reason that I do this challenge is purely personal. As a blogger, I find it fun, encouraging and more to share my daily adventures with my audience! So from my Grandpa Dr. Joe and I, enjoy this challenge as a personal challenge for yourself!

Sugar-Free View All

Gluten-Free & Refined Sugar-Free Banana Bread

To kick off sugar-free January I am bringing you one of my FAVORITE recipes. I am a banana bread stan! I find it funny because I don’t necessarily love a plain banana, but there is something about banana bread that just makes me weak. The subtle cinnamon spice, the vanilla, bananas, and dark chocolate chunks just sing when they are paired together. I eat this recipe on the reg even when I am not participating in sugar-free January!

Sugar-free chocolate?

I love dark chocolate, but I haven’t always been a fan! I use to love a nice creamy piece of milk chocolate but then I became lactose intolerant with age and boy I can’t even think about eating milk chocolate now. There are so many incredible options for low sugar, dairy-free chocolate options that are delicious and so rich. Here is a list of my favorite sugar-free and dairy-free chocolates to eat and bake with, also a little discount for you as well! I get all of my specialty foods on Thrive Market and save those big bucks – truly – save so much money! Use this link for your discount and shop my list here.

Kick off of 2021

I don’t think I need to be the one to say this but…what a year 2020 was. There were extreme highs, and some crazy lows, add in a pandemic, and what a recipe for a year. One, thing that I focus on every day is the positive things that I love. A few of those things are being able to move my body (workout or take my doggie on a walk), how does my head feels (I have chronic cluster headaches – some days they are debilitating and other days I can push through), is my mood good? or what can I do to help my mood? These things may sound small but I really focus on the little victories every day that got me through each day. This year especially, I have had to focus on the little wins rather than the hardships that came with the year. This time last year, came with many challenges, sugar-free challenge aside.

I wrote a little bit about my career here, but 2020 was really a year of running and running and running! Between starting my graduate degree, working a full-time job, and maintain Front Paige Bakes along with my freelance clients – oh and starting a business, I needed a moment to breathe and reflect. I knew that I needed a moment to breathe when I moved down to Texas. And I have been doing just that. It has been glorious! I needed some time to adjust to my new schedule, house, and area down here as well as let some of the stress from the last year wash away. I am not good at allowing myself time off or less of a go-go-go routine, but this new season of life has given me clarity on the unsustainability of this lifestyle. A big goal of mine for 2021 is to allow me to have weekends off. This is HUGE for me…more on this later ;)!

Let’s bake!

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Gluten-Free & Sugar-Free Banana Bread

  • Author: Paige
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf 1x
  • Category: sugar-free
  • Method: baking

Description

Arguably the most baked recipe in my kitchen! Gluten-free and sugar-free but not short of sweet banana flavor or soft texture. Plus, this loaf is refined sugar free but full of rich sugar-free dark chocolate chunks. 


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cups of melted vegan butter
  • 3/4 cups of maple syrup
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 egg or flax egg
  • 23 large ripe bananas (preferably with brown spots)
  • 1 1/2 cups of gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cups of sugar-free dark chocolate chunks or chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350°f and grease your loaf pan with vegan butter
  2. Melt your vegan butter and add to a bowl with your maple syrup
  3. Next add in your vanilla extract, baking soda, baking powder, salt and ground cinnamon
  4. Whisk your egg into the mixture until the egg or flax egg has been full incorporated
  5. Peel your bananas and add them to your bowl, gently break apart your bananas with your whisk but leave large chunks of the banana
  6. Add in your gluten-free flour using a folding motion to keep the banana chunky in the batter
  7. Chop your sugar-free dark chocolate into chunks or add your dark chocolate into the batter
  8. Pour your banana bread batter into your prepared loaf pan
  9. Bake your loaf for 45-55 minutes

Notes

* you can use honey rather than maple syrup – usee 1/2 cup of honey 1/4 cup of almond or dairy free milk

* you can use a flax egg rather than a chicken egg

*and you can always omit the chocolate – but it is delicious!

How’s it going?

How is sugar-free January going for you so far? I have had so much fun baking and creating delicious treats in the kitchen. I have made a huge batch of sugar-free banana bread and haven’t had many sugar cravings. I have found like I do every year, that when I am hungry and need a quick bite, I reach for a small handful of candy, a cookie or something sweet rather than something nutritious to fight my hunger. Those moments are the exact reason that I LOVE sugar-free January! I feel like I am reteaching my hunger queues and feeling my body rather than filling space while I make a meal.

Let’s continue on together and don’t forget to tag me in your yummy creations!

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Sugar-Free January 2021

For the past 4 years, I have done sugar-free January. This is less of a “detox” and more of a mental and physical break from the sugar intake during the holidays. Well, 2020 was a weird year and I have to say there were times I was only eating sweets (queue the Monkey bread, pumpkin cookies, lemon bread, and more) and then this December, my sugar intake was less than I expected. Typically, December is full of family parties, platters of homemade cookies, and sweet quick-breads before breakfast and dessert. 2020 was very different for the holiday. It was just Drew, Moose, and I in our new home in central Texas (read more about that here). Our dinner of two didn’t bring platters of cookies or cakes, but it did bring, cinnamon rolls and a few sugar cookies!

Why Sugar-Free January?

A few years ago, I was inspired by Pinch of Yum and her sugar-free January challenge. Rather than focusing on what I am cutting out, I try to focus every meal and snack on healthy foods that nourish. One thing that I find incredible is that in a few days into the challenge food starts tasting better. Does that make sense? My sweetness meter on my tongue decreases so apples, oranges and berries taste fresh. Greens taste more vibrant and I crave more salads than ever before! This challenge can be hard come 8:30pm and we are sitting on the couch watching a show and all I can think about are my little candies in the pantry, but that craving slowly leaves after about 1 week!

My “rules” for the challenge:

Setting Sugar-Free Boundaries

There are so many “sugar-free” options out there. From 0 calorie sweeteners to 0 calorie syrups for coffee, the options for “sugar-free” these days are endless, but that isn’t the point of this challenge. To my husband and me, this challenge is to remove all the refined sugars from our diet. Honey and maple syrup are naturally occurring sugars but, the reason that I allow these is because we don’t really eat these two options…like at all! When I crave sweets during this month, I aim for a handful of berries, an apple, or a clementine rather than pancakes or drenching something in honey. I make the choice to choose fruit over maple syrup or honey. Setting these boundaries allows me to stick to the rules for 30 days and I have to say, every year it gets easier. The best part of sugar-free January, setting boundaries and sticking to them is that my “need” for sugar decreases tremendously after the month. As a recipe developer – for mostly desserts, I am snacking on cakes, cookies, and treats all day and this challenge shows me ways to make treats delicious with less refined sugar. That was a long-winded way of saying, I set boundaries for many reasons and the biggest reason is for myself!

Who’s with me?!

If you want to join, I would love that! I will be sharing some gluten-free and vegan recipes that are sugar-free for the month! Let’s indulge in the good and leave the sugar out of the picture (for a little bit 😉 )! If you are craving some cookies, I have you covered! I am a sweet CRAVER in the morning! I love a breakfast cookie, a pancake, or a cinnamon roll! I developed a few recipes last year that are guilt-free and oh-so-delicious!

Sugar-Free Recipes View All

Let’s Conquer this challenge!

Let’s do this fun challenge together! Tag me if you make a yummy sugar-free recipe and I will post fun recipes through the month! Remember, to have fun, enjoy and don’t take it too seriously! The challenge is for yourself, your tastebuds and your mental clarity! Bring it on!

xo, Paige

Sugar-Free & (GF, Vegan) Chocolate Chip Cookies

This past week was the worst week of my life. Without starting this post of really negative, we had a really scary thing happen with our sweet baby dog. She’s been with us for 4.5 years and truly my best friend. She’s all I have and has been my rock. We have moved to California together, Utah, Florida, back to Utah and now Montana with each other.

Wednesday, 1/8

Last week she started feeling really sick and so we took her to the emergency vet, she spent 3 nights in the doggie hospital and pulled through. All I felt like doing last week was crumbling into a million pieces. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep and Drew and I were just a puddle of fear. Our baby is home with us now. She is resting and recovery and we are just holding her so close to our hearts now that she is back in our arms.

I was restless and started baking. Since I personally gave up refined sugars, I baked these and had some friends try them and let me know how they tasted! For sugar free January this year, I gave up stevia and 0 calorie sweeteners as well, but if you are looking for a refined sugar free cookie, these are your cookie!

These chocolate chip cookies, are ideally sweet, soft and bendy but full of chocolate chips. Let’s get to baking!

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Sugar-Free & (GF, Vegan) Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Author: Paige
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 40 cookies 1x
  • Category: cookies
  • Method: baking

Description

sugar free, gluten-free and vegan chocolate chip cookies! did I mention these are also low carb?! they are!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 of a ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup of sugar free maple syrup or maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of flax meal
  • 2 tbsp of creamy natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup of cashew milk (almond milk works too!)
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 cup of almond flour
  • 1/2 cup of sugar free chocolate chips ( I like Lily’s brand)

Instructions

  1. preheat your oven to 350° F and line your baking sheet with parchment or a silicon mat
  2. in a bowl with a fork, mash your banana into delicate chunks
  3. add in your maple syrup, salt, baking powder, vanilla and peanut butter until well combined
  4. next add in your 1/2 cup of cashew milk and stir until the dough has loosened
  5. add in your flax meal and almond flour until the dough combines and becomes thicker, this batter will be looser than most cookie dough
  6. add in your chocolate chips and combine until evenly distributed
  7. place cookie dough into the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes
  8. after you have chilled your dough, with a cookie scoop, scoop out your cookies
  9. bake for 15-20 minutes until cracked on the surface
  10. enjoy!

Notes

*you can use any dairy alternative

*honey is a great option if you aren’t vegan


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cookie

Keywords: vegan cookies, gluten free cookies, sugar free cookies, sugar free january

These are so delish (from what I have heard from my taste testers!). Super soft and easy to munch on, but not bad for you in the slightest!

Try them and see how you like them! Sugar free January or not! For the next foreseeable future, I will be snuggling my best friend and cherishing all the moments of my little warrior! <3

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No Sugar January 2020

Every New Year I set out to do no sugar January. I want this to be very clear, this is not a diet or diet culture or any other reason than to personally do this goal for myself.

Diet culture for new years resolutions is not something that I support. Eating healthy and mindful indulgences is a way of life. A life without a treat is just sad, so let’s change the mindset of why we are doing this challenge.

For myself, this is a challenge to create new recipes that are amazing, sugar free and tasty as can be! It is also a challenge, as a recipe developer to remove sugar from my diet. Like many other pastry chefs, we are taking a bite here and there to sample and make sure out recipes actually work, this is hard when you are cutting out sugar. I have been fortunate, with my celiac to only work with brands that are gluten-free and this has been a god sent.

When I first started as a recipe developer, tons of companies were reaching out but I couldn’t act on those brand deals because they didn’t align with my diet and auto immune disease. This goes with sugar free January as well. I am only working with brands that support this lifestyle for this month to make sure all the content is genuine and there is radical transparency.

This challenge, again is for myself, but I do hope you join in! The mental clarity you get from eliminating sugar is amazing, and not to mention sugar is in freaking everything! Slow down, read labels on sauces and notice that this challenge is about mindful eating and whole foods.

Below I have laid out this challenge according to the ways I like to do this challenge!

If you guys are doing the challenge tag me in your daily meals so we can do it together! More fun recipes to come during this sugar free challenge!