Blog Book Tour | “Sugar-Free Mom” by Brenda Bennett a cookbook with the advantage of being sweeter by using natural sources of sugar rather than processed!

Posted Saturday, 27 December, 2014 by jorielov , , , 5 Comments

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Sugar-Free Mom by Brenda Bennett

Published by: Front Table Books (@FrontTableBooks)

an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFort)

Available Formats: Paperback & Ebook

Converse via: #SugarFreeMom, #sugarfree#gfree & #glutenfree

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Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “Sugar-Free Mom” direct from the publisher Front Table Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

Originally, I had mistakenly thought this was a baking book devouted to cookies, bars, cakes, pies, and all the lovely homemade snacks or deserts a person would love to make ‘sugar-free’ or with sweeteners whose glycemic index is low (even for non-diabetics who want to monitor their sugar intakes); however, somehow I made a bit of a gaffe in not realising this was a bonefide cookbook full of traditional savoury foods you can modify for your health-conscience diet!

My father’s health has been afflicted for over a year due to different factors affecting his wellness, but the last of which had a major part in his day-to-day observations was how sugar was projecting an impact on his blood pressure. For this reason, we were absolute hawks, trying to sort out how to temper the sugar being consumed yet being mindful of alternative ways in which to sweeten his life a bit as my Dad has had a sweet tooth since before I was bourne! This is one main reason I was keenly interested in Sugar-Free Mom from the first moment I started to read about it! On my previous segments of “The Bookish Foodie” wherein I have talked about my passionate love for Front Table Books cooks and the recipes they give us to try at home in our own kitchens have chronicled my own path towards wellness and my parents at the same time.

Rather than focus directly on this particular subject, I wanted to do a special spotlight focus on one recipe I had originally meant to bake during the wee hours of Christmas Eve and surprise my parents & the church pot luck (for Christmas Day community luncheon) where I took the recipe for “Gram’s Butter Balls” and with a few ingredient switches (due to budget and simply trying to use what I had on hand) I was able to create a delightfully addictive treat with a pinch of sweetness without the added worriment over how sweet the cookies could have been if I hadn’t made a few changes!

Without further adieu, here is my special focus on this recipe by which I tweeted and have blogged the journalling of trying for the first time!

 Blog Book Tour | “Sugar-Free Mom” by Brenda Bennett a cookbook with the advantage of being sweeter by using natural sources of sugar rather than processed!Sugar-Free Mom: Naturally Sweet & Sugar-Free Recipes for the Whole Family
by Brenda Bennett
Source: Direct from Publisher

Sugar-free no longer equals taste-free! Popular food blogger Brenda Bennett uses natural sweeteners like honey and coconut sugar to create delicious and wholesome recipes that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters, such as French Toast Sticks, Crock Pot Pulled Pork, and Chocolate Fudge Tart. You and your family will finally enjoy all the foods you love- without the guilt.

Places to find the book:

Genres: Baking, Cookery, Cooking & Baking with Natural Sweeteners, Gluten-Free Cooking & Baking

Published by Front Table Books

on 31st December, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 206

About Brenda Bennett

Brenda Bennett’s passion for cooking began at the age of 5 kneeling on a chair by her grandmother’s side helping roll homemade gnocchi’s on a flour covered butcher block table. Her love affair with cooking was a mere hobby while teaching as a special educator and earning a Masters Degree in Education. After the birth of her second child, she had to give up sugar. With sear determination and a deep desire to still enjoy chocolate, her love affair with food embarked on a new journey learning to develop recipes free of refined sugars and flours. After discovering peanut ,tree nut and soy allergies in 2 of her 3 children making homemade healthier versions of the treats they loved became a necessity. She transitioned to the position of homeschooling mom of 3, recipe developer, food writer, photographer and blogger. She focuses on wholesome delicious food free of processed flours and sugars to feed her family and share with friends and fans on She lives in RI with her husband, 3 children and their dog, Ruby. When she isn’t cooking, blogging or writing she can be found at spin class, camping, volunteering in cub scouts, or in the position of transportation engineer shuttling her children to karate, dance, boy scouts, soccer or softball.

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The Bookish Foodie Part 1 Collage by Jorie in Canva (New Year's Eve)

Follow future installments by: #TheBookishFoodie

I originally wanted to create these wicked lovely cookies for Christmas morning, as I found them to be the most delightfully light (in sugar) and easily addictive new cookie for the Christmastide! I am quite eager to keep my eyes open for new cookies, as let’s face it, during the holidays cookies are quite essential to the merriment & the joy! I used to spend many a fond Christmas helping my grandfather bake cookies, except to say he was quite particular and I could only help on the cookies that did not require too many steps nor complicated ingredient combinations! Laughs.

This is what first attracted me to “Gram’s Butter Cookies” inside Sugar-Free Mom, except to say, I quite nearly was not able to bake these little lovelies at all! For starters, there was a bit of a ‘bee issue’ in regards to my (natural go-to resource for sugar!) source for percuring a new bottle of Wild Flower Honey from the local Apiary! Apparently, the little bees and their hives need a bit of extra time during certain parts of the year for their newest batches to be ready to collect from local farmer’s markets, so in a last attempt to find the honey needed for this recipe, my Mum surprised me and picked up one of the last ‘larger’ bottles at the local health food store! We had already gone to the farmer’s market at least four times the week before Christmas — seeking the shipment which has been properly elusive for most of December!

Originally this recipe called for butter and two types of natural sweeteners and/or sources of honey, however, due to recent medical emergencies in my family, I decided to stick with the sugar source I knew would be low enough in the glycemic index (although at this point in time none of my family are diabetic but we do monitor our sugar intake on a whole; less is better for wellness), beneficial to a family consumed by local seasonal allergies (wild flower honey from an apiary in your local area has medicinal benefits for airbourne allergies), and a surefire way to lesson the sugary taste in cookies! It is actually my favourite sugar to bake with due to the fact it still gives you the essence of what you need but without the high aftertaste that you consumed something high in sugar content!

Mum was cooking whilst I was baking, and we are clearly the typical family who likes to have a lot of irons in the pot at the same time — my photos (as you will see them) will prove that even when it’s the day after Christmas whilst a week before New Year’s Eve, and there is only room enough for small mixing bowls as everything is every which way to Sunday in your kitchen after the festivities of a major holiday are over — you can still nick out a batch of these wicked awesome cookies!

I was stirring in the ingredients whilst I was snapping shots with my Sony digital camera (circa 2005), on batteries that are not known for digital equipment because of course I had forgotten I was out of the lithiums! I simply hoped I had enough cells to take the pictures and upload them to my blog! I did forget to smile whilst I accomplished that last task but I am full of smiles now as I blog the words to match the collages!

My Ingredients: (differs from the recipe on page 153!)

  • Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour *GF Flour was recommended!
  • Sea Salt *only salt was required
  • Ground Walnuts *chopped pecans were originally mentioned
  • Wild Flower (locally sourced) Honey *I only used 1/4 cup of honey in the dough!
  • Vanilla Extract *included in original recipe
  • Coconut Oil *originally softened butter was included
  • Originally this recipe required both Erythritol & Vanilla Liquid Stevia; however, the Greek Yogurt I selected to purchase for this recipe had vanilla in it already; plus I have no idea where to source liquid stevia! I swapped out a total of four ingredients, but I still consider this to be the author’s recipe!

I normally do not switch out as many ingredients as I did tonight, but it was impart due to the fact I only had certain ingredients on hand vs the ones which were required and a personal choice not to use Erythritol as I wasn’t sure if it would interfere with the medical issues we’re working through as honey has never been an issue and I trusted using it instead. Also, as Mum was using butter in her recipe, I wasn’t as keen about using it in mine as it might have hindered one or both recipes we were working on at the same time! I love baking with Coconut Oil but it has been awhile since we’ve had it as the prices tend to go up every so often; we switched from using Kelapo Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (cold-pressed) to trying Dr. Bronner’s Magic All-One Fair Trade and Organic Whole Kernel Virgin Coconut Oil. The switch also reduced the cost per bottle which was an added bonus for us!

I was wicked happy this recipe was calling for GF Flour to be used as I discovered a love for GF Flour whilst I was a vegan — it is the best flour to bake with when your not using dairy and I whole-heartedly loved finding a lot of recipes within this cookbook are naturally GF! However, if your not someone who uses GF Flour or doesn’t want to alternate between GF and regular baking, you could quite easily bake this with a regular All-Purpose flour — and I can say this honestly without trying it because when I wasn’t able to keep up vegan baking I used to experiment with either straight-up GF Flour baking recipes and/or used up the last bits of my GF Flour on standard baking recipes! Now that I have some GF Flour back, I’m one wicked happy girl!

I will bake between both all-purpose flours for the time being, but what I mean to say is irregardless of what you have on hand or in your pantry, don’t be shy to try a recipe! All recipes have a bit of leeway to accept a switch-out if you cannot honestly get the same ingredient that is being called to use!

The Bookish Foodie Part 2 Collage by Jorie in Canva (New Year's Eve)

In this next collage, I am showing what it looks like when you first take the raw honey and combine it with the Greek Yogurt. I must admit, instead of comparing ingredient lists on the Greek Yogurt, we were going by which brand fit our budget at the grocery store, and thereby, as this brand was on sale for the holidays, we went with it rather than attempting to find one that perhaps did not have extra ingredients save the greek bits! Sometimes your best to select the ingredients you can afford, and realise your already eating healthier simply by making ‘simple switch-outs’ to your everyday diet by choosing to bake at home, purchasing the ingredients first hand, and knowing exactly what is going inside your foods!

This stage of the recipe originally called for Erythritol to be mixed into the yogurt by way of an upright mixer — now I’m not sure about you, dear hearts, but for me personally, lugging out an upright mixer the day after Christmas was not my cuppa tea! Therefore, I elected to use a hand spatula and a medium glass mixing bowl to combine my honey and yogurt! Truly, as you will see in the next images it worked as good as an upright but with more arm muscle on my part!

The Bookish Foodie Part 3 Collage by Jorie in Canva (New Year's Eve)

As you can tell by my photographs, the consistency of NEW Coconut Oil I am using lately is fluffy yet firmly together in it’s textural make-up. It works brilliantly as a ‘butter’ for your baking due to my note mentioning the fact it can be used at high heat points — something I have discussed a bit in the past on my posts for The Bookish Foodie! In the second image, you are seeing how the honey and the coconut butter first started to react to each other as they combined, whereas in the third image you can notice the texture of the batter itself at this stage has altered quite a heap! I loved seeing the reactions, as this is one part of chemistry I do quite fancy observing as baking has a lot of science behind the art of making baked goods!

Texture wise, by using coconut oil with wild flower honey, I found the mixture to whip up quite nicely, especially as I added the Greek Yogurt and the Vanilla soon thereafter! Buttery smooth and a nice whipping end result, I could already tell this was going to be a good recipe to use as batter to batter, I start to notice what makes a recipe rock and what might make a recipe fall — this one had the earmarks of being smashing!

The Bookish Foodie Part 4 Collage by Jorie in Canva (New Year's Eve)

Not to run into any problems when you’ve switched out the required sugar and the forementioned butter would have been quite unique to say the least! I was quite prepared for ‘something’ to lay a wrinkle in my plans with these butter cookies, but thankfully, one thing I have learnt as I have grown in my skill set in the kitchen over the years, is that if a batch of batter looks a bit too dry, you can always add a bit more of the ‘wet’ ingredients to come to a ‘balance of wills’ and get the batter to have consistency as much as have a texture you can work with as much as observe to be heading in the right direction! This is why I added two more additional tablespoons of Greek Yogurt as I was striving to make up for the fact I used a lot less honey than the original sugar required inasmuch as the fact I did not use traditional butter! Worked like a charm!

The Bookish Foodie Part 5 Collage by Jorie in Canva (New Year's Eve)

Several baking experiments ago, I realised if you put your batter into the fridge for at *least!* 20 minutes prior to baking, you not only have a better batter to form into the shape your aiming to create but the baking is benefited by the ‘cure time’ you give the batter! In this instance, the coconut oil I used to replace the butter left the batter in the shape of the brick I had created prior to putting it in the fridge! The spatula worked well up to a certain point, but then I opted instead to mix with my hands in order to make sure everything I had used for this recipe was mixed and not left out inside the bowl itself!

I am not known to be patient in the kitchen at times, especially if I am wanting to continue with a recipe that is new, which is why instead of waiting for the batter to resume ‘room temperature status’, I started to work with the batter a bit, using the warmth in my hands to re-soften the batter and to get it a bit more pliable! When I could work off a piece of it to where it was not flaking or detaching itself, I would move the small pieces of batter in my hand massaging more warmth into the cold dough using my thumb and fingers. After which I could form the dough into a small ball. (as you see from the photo on the upper right — I am putting the cookie balls on parchment paper!)

I realised at this stage, by not using Erythritol I could not create the ‘snowy effect’ of having the cookies dusted, letting me come up with a spur of the moment addition! If I rolled the formed balls of cookies into the honey, then dipped them into the ground walnuts, I could bake them off whilst everything cooks together in the oven! Before I put the cookies into the oven, I must say, I was quite chuffed to have found a spirited way to be ‘festive’ for New Year’s Eve!

The Bookish Foodie Part 6 Collage by Jorie in Canva (New Year's Eve)

I was quite surprised how wicked my idea to dredge the little butter balls in the honey and then roll them with the ground walnuts truly came to be! The added bonus is the next morning, Mum & I had learnt from Dad pecans can affect his current condition yet I had used walnuts as Mum had already mentioned to me they were the curious little nut where very few interactions were known: either for allergies or health conditions! I am so thankful I used the walnut! I, too have had off/on allergies to nuts (specifically the peanut!), which first put my mind to notice how nuts can affect us all. My favourite nut is the Brazil Nut followed closely by cashews and walnuts!

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I appreciated the layout of this cookbook and the way in which Ms. Bennett approached the topic of taking out the ‘bad sugars’ and allowing your body to consume the ‘healthier choices for sweetness’ in your diet! She has learnt quite a heap about this topic personally, but she approaches the cookbook for the everyday home cook who wants to keep their diet diversely sweet without the harsh affects of overly exposing yourself to the toxic after effects of white sugar and/or processed sugars.

Each recipe page has a beautiful photograph to accompany it, an easy to read ingredient list, and directions that never leave you amiss for understanding the next step! This is a consistency I am finding with all Front Table Books releases and if you go cookbook to cookbook in the Related Posts section below this book review, you will find beautiful showcases for the cookbooks I have thus far been honoured to host! I will be returning to featuring other recipes out of Sugar-Free Mom, but for this installment I simply wanted to feature a cookie whose charm & grace is being a sweet addition to any holiday celebration! Whether your going to tuck this away for Christmas Eve 2015, whip up a batch for New Year’s Eve, or surprise someone special with a box of these for Saint Valentine’s Day — I hope I have inspired you to take a look at sugar with a new perspective and pick up a Sugar-Free Mom to plan your meal from start to finish!

Lateron I have one small batch of “Gram’s Butter Cookies” to bake-off as I wasn’t able to bake past 2am this morning, without feeling as though I was going to fall asleep waiting for the oven’s bell to ring! I am going to dredge this second batch with honey except as I used my last bit of walnuts, I am going to use coconut (non-sugared) flakes from Bob’s Red Mill as the ‘sweet surprise’ for my Dad! This family of mine is over the moon in love with ‘coconut’ whether it’s the oil, the flake, or the milk! Yum, yum!

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This Blog Tour Stop is courtesy of Cedar Fort, Inc.:

Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

One thing I have wanted to seek out is a way to talk about what befits a book blogger’s soul – part of what makes our soul happy is the food we consume, which is why time to time I will be showcasing a healthy-minded cookbook or baking book to augment this side of my life into my book blog. For this reason, I am still quite grateful Front Table Books and Cedar Fort gave me my initial chance to feature a cookbook — as it marked a transition moment for me, as throughout December and extending into 2015 directly, I will be regularly featuring non-fiction titles as much as dipping into the Foodie Fiction section of literature which compels my heart to discover.

Virtual Road Map of “Sugar-Free Mom” Blog Tour can be found here:

Sugar-Free Mom Blog Tour via Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

Find out which Front Table Books I hosted in 2014 + which ones are coming in 2015!
Visit with me again soon!
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In conjunction with a *NEW* Feature on Jorie Loves A Story:

The Bookish Foodie a blog feature of Jorie Loves A Story

Quite wicked happy on this being the last cookbook feature on my bookish blog for 2014, before I kick off new features & showcases in 2015 where I am going to be highlighting both fiction and non-fiction Foodie delights! I have always appreciated “Foodie Fiction”, but I am also an amateur sous chef who likes to experiment in the kitchen with her Mum! I grew up with a keen interest in savory and sweet decadence from a Mum whose culinary wanderings spanned the world. We were always a family who were considered to eat ‘bland’ food due to the fact we limited our salt intact, and we never used black pepper! Ironically, it was through the herbs and spices my Mum always fused into our cooking adventures that first sparked my own interest in getting a bit more involved than merely developing a ‘taste’ for what I appreciated. I developed my own yearnings for Indian spices (i.e. Curry Powder, Garam Marsala, Turmeric, etc) and foods, as much as I always had a hankering for extra garlic cloves due to a high concentration of Italian foods I consumed growing up. I wanted to merge my bookish joy of reading ‘Foodie Fiction’ with my quest to uncover a healthier and more vibrant way to eat, live, and thrive. Therefore, I decided to begin featuring what I consider fit under this new Feature of Jorie Loves A Story: The Bookish Foodie! As I am *exactly!* what the title eludes — I’m a bookish girl who has a Foodie soul! Drop back and spend time with me to see where this Feature takes me!

{SOURCES: Author Biography, Book Synopsis and Book Cover of “Sugar-Free Mom”, the blog tour badge, and the Cedar Fort badge were provided by Cedar Fort, Inc. and used by permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. The Bookish Foodie badge created by Jorie in Canva. Cross-posted Riffle badge created by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Saturday, 27 December, 2014 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Cookbook, Cookery, Debut Author, Gluten-Free Foods, Healthy Baking, Indie Author, Jorie Loves A Story Features, The Bookish Foodie, Using Natural Sweeteners

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5 responses to “Blog Book Tour | “Sugar-Free Mom” by Brenda Bennett a cookbook with the advantage of being sweeter by using natural sources of sugar rather than processed!

  1. This looks like a fantastic cookbook! I have been gluten free from a couple of years now and I just feel so much better having ditched the gluten. I have also tried to use either no sweetners or all natural ones (like honey or black strap molasses). Great review, Jorie!

    • Hallo, Hallo Magistra!

      Ooh, most definitely! I truly agree with you on this note alone: not missing the gluten once you take it out of your diet! Did you see my previous installments for Gluten-Free cookbooks? I cannot remember which ones you’ve commented/visited on but if you had, I was speaking about how it was quite interesting sorting out we’re ‘gluten-sensitive’ after all these years! We watch what triggers our reactions, but for the most part in the future, I would very much love to be ‘more GF’ than not! :) What is your favourite brand of GF All-Purpose Flour? I haven’t yet found one that compares to Bob’s Red Mill?

      Ooh dear me! I *love!* Black Strap Molasses! (esp for the potassium!) The one I used to enjoy is Agave Nectar but I’ve heard different things recently that make me question if I should use that one again. Healthy eating, cooking, and baking is a journey and I’m simply thankful my readers are happy to take this one with me!

      Delighted you enjoyed this showcase! And, guess what!? Those little cookies are all gone! *poof!* lol

      PS: I have been reading your Paleo reviews and will be leaving notes soon!

      • I actually love to cook with coconut flour and I have also recently discovered Tapioca flour. I find that if I keep away from gluten that I just feel better and it is much easier to maintain my weight. Sometimes non gluten free things sneak in, especially around the holidays!

    • Hallo, Hallo Ms Donna Marie!

      I am seriously enjoying seeing your JOY for the cookbooks & recipes I am sharing! I have more in store to share around New Year’s Day, too! I am wicked happy about trying the ‘mashed potato cupcakes’ for instance! I also had an incredible experience at a local farm that I want to blog about in the New Year, as I need to go back to take pictures properly! I was so caught up in the ‘moment’ and the ‘experience’ — plus, I hadn’t taken my camera that day as we were simply out looking for fresh veg!

      Happy to know I’m continuing to inspire you! These cookies are ALL gone now! lol Did not quite make it to New Year’s Eve! lol

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