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Welcome back, folks! This is the 3rd installment in the “give me your suggestions of recipes and ingredients to be THMified and I’ll see what I can do” series. 😛 In case you missed the last two, check them out here:
Today’s post basically covers everything that wasn’t covered in the first two posts. You’ll see what I mean. Thank you again for all your suggestions! In this list, I’ll attempt to cover all your suggestions, either linking an already-THM-friendly version of what you’re looking for or telling you how I would go about tweaking an unhealthy recipe. Experimentation is where it’s at, and if I can do it, you can too!
To quote the Helpful Ingredient Substitutions post from a few weeks ago, “One very important thing I’d like to clarify right off the bat is that when you change to a new way of eating, you have to keep an open mind…and open taste buds. I’ve never been a fan of pretending that something tastes like the real thing when it doesn’t. Some (or maybe more honestly, most) healthy substitutions will never fool you into thinking that they are what they aren’t. The key is to learn to appreciate them for what they are. After 4 years of a healthier eating lifestyle, I have come to prefer many of these substitutions to their “real” counterparts, because the “fake” stuff actually tastes more real than the “real” stuff! Quality trumps normal if you have an open mind. Create a new normal and you will be far more content with what you’re eating. I guarantee that you’ll like the results.”
Amish vanilla pie
- From checking out this recipe for vanilla crumb pie, I can quickly see that we’re starting out with a doozie of a recipe to tweak! Because of the corn syrup, this isn’t the type of recipe that screams, “Tweak me! Tweak me!” but if you want to try, I would start with an on-plan unbaked pie crust (such as the recipe on pg. 341 of my cookbook), make a batch of the sugar-free corn syrup recipe found in this blog post, and substitute an on-plan sweetener (not a super concentrated one, because you need the bulk from the sweetener) plus a bit of molasses for the brown sugar. For the flour, I would use oat fiber in the filling and a combination of baking mix and oat fiber (with maybe just a touch of xanthan gum for a smoother texture) to replace the flour in the crumbs.
- This is an easy one! Since apples are a carb source and belong in a THM:E setting, keep your fats to a minimum. I would follow this recipe, substitute an on-plan sweetener with a dab of molasses for the brown sugar, and use only 1 teaspoon butter per apple to stay within your allowed 5g added fat in a THM:E meal.
- I covered this one in great depth in my Helpful Ingredient Substitutions post, so you can go there to see your options.
- I would try this low-carb cannoli recipe from Maria Mind Body Health.
- I’m used to Peanut Butter Captain Crunch, so I would try this Peanut Butter Crunch recipe from Wonderfully Made and Dearly Loved. Click here for more cold cereal recipes.
Chocolate/caramel pudding cake
- The lady who suggested this said, “Many years ago Betty Crocker (I think) had a boxed Pudding Cake mix. It was a family favorite in chocolate or caramel. As I remember, there was a “moist” layer that was spread on the bottom of a 9×9 pan, then dry ingredients sprinkled on top, then boiling water poured over the top before baking. It made a nice cake-type topping with warm pudding below. Yummy. Especially with ice cream.” This sounds like the Hot Fudge Cake on pg. 274 of my cookbook! That recipe is chocolate and has a cakey top with an ooey-gooey chocolate pudding layer underneath. Of course I have plenty of ice cream recipes to top it with! This Special Occasion Ice Cream (Necessary Food, pg. 237) would be a great choice.
Chocolate chip cookies
- These Briana’s House Chocolate Chip Cookies (Necessary Food, pg. 310) are the closest thing I’ve tasted to a “real” chocolate chip cookie on THM – and they have lots of great reviews! These are a fairly soft cookie, but I’d like to work on a crispy version at some point for those of you who prefer those.
Chocolate shortbread cookies
- I would try this recipe and just add some cocoa powder and extra sweetener to taste.
- You’re not going to get the same crunch and lightness of a club cracker without white flour, but I think this recipe looks like a good alternative!
- Click here for a roundup of cold cereal recipes from My Montana Kitchen. Some of my personal favorites are this Peanut Butter Granola, this Easy Granola that uses leftover oatmeal for a flavor and texture reminiscent of Quaker Oatmeal Squares, and this Mock “Cinnamon Life” Muesli.
- This recipe for Caramel Cream Puffs from Marie Mind Body Health or this Strawberry Cream Puff recipe from Simply So Healthy looks good!
Creamy milk chocolate
- Lily’s Sweets makes a stevia-sweetened 40% chocolate bar that’s pretty good! If you want to make your own, I recommend making the fudge layer of this Brianafinger Truffle Fudge for a milk chocolatey treat. (Just remember that you may want to add more sweetener if your sweet tooth is stronger than mine.)
- Here’s a low-carb version from Wholesome Yum. Since it’s fall, you might want to try this Pumpkin Crème Brûlée from TJ’s Taste.
- I’m afraid that a true-to-form, fluffy, airy croissant using non-glutinous flour is going to be well nigh impossible because alternative flours just don’t have the structure of white flour. You can try using egg whites to simulate a fluffy pastry (there are lots of low-carb cloud bread recipes online) – but they’re eggier than croissants. You can use a mozzarella dough to simulate crescent rolls (like in this Veggie Pizza from Northern Nester or the delicious Cream Cheese Danishes on pg. 380 of Necessary Food), but crescent rolls and croissants are two very different things and the mozzarella dough – while delicious – will not be as fluffy as a proper croissant. I’m afraid that this is one of those next-to-impossibles, but if someone wants to prove me wrong, be my guest!
- I’m not all that familiar with crumpets myself, but I believe there’s a recipe for them in the new THM cookbook, Trim Healthy Table, and here’s a low-carb recipe from the blogosphere.
- One of you suggested, “Just plain dark chocolate!! I’ve tried a hundred skinny chocolate versions; I’ve tried your truffles and various cakes and brownies… nothing that substitutes for the real thing. I’m sure it’s in the sweetener but I’ve tried all of those too. If I could just find a chocolate I like, I could stick to THM.” It sounds like you’ve tried quite a few things! First, have you found a store-bought 85% dark chocolate that you like? I highly recommend Aldi’s Moser Roth 85% dark chocolate bars for the best quality chocolate out there. Delicious!
- When making your own chocolate items, here are a few tips. 1) Don’t oversweeten. I personally find that I need less sweetener than most recipes call for or else I taste a bitter aftertaste. 2) Don’t undersweeten. On the flip side, maybe you have the opposite problem of me and need more sweetener than most! 3) Use a combination of sweeteners for best results. 4) Don’t use very concentrated sweeteners when sweetening chocolate items if you have sensitive taste buds. I can personally handle using Pure Stevia Extract Powder to sweeten chocolate things, but most people will need to use a less concentrated sweetener like THM Gentle Sweet, Swerve, or Pyure. Or Truvia! That’s one of my favorites for sweetening chocolate stuff. 5) Add a little salt to round out the sweetness profile. 6) Reduce the cocoa powder in the recipe to make it not quite so dark so not quite so much sweetener is needed to combat the bitterness.
Death by chocolate trifle
- I’m assuming this is a combination of chocolate cake and chocolate pudding? I would use the One Bowl Chocolate Cake on pg. 269 of my cookbook layered with the Basic Chocolate Pudding on pg. 343 and topped with sweetened whipped cream and grated 85% dark chocolate!
- You have quite a few options here. I would personally start by making a batch of this Doritos seasoning and using it to flavor homemade chips made with Joseph’s lavash or low-carb tortillas baked until toasty. You could also use it on veggie chips or pork rinds.
- This cheese cracker option looks really easy and yummy.
- If you want to actually pull out the big guns and make chips out of your own dough, check out this recipe.
- This recipe roundup from Peace, Love, and Low Carb has tons of chip/cracker recipe ideas, most of which would fit into the THM plan. Use discernment.
- I would definitely try these Almond Flour Crepes from All Day I Dream About Food first!
- Well, you can try to get your French fry fix from things like sweet potato fries or green fries. Jicama fries are the new rage, but I haven’t personally tried them yet.
- But those aren’t potatoes, and if you have regular taste buds, you’re not going to be fooled. My advice: try to enjoy the healthy options for what they are, not as potato substitutes. Potatoes are just hard to replicate! I do have a few ideas up my sleeve but haven’t tried them yet. Maybe someday I’ll stumble upon the ultimate French fry substitute. 😛
- You could try these Gingersnap Cookies from Maria Mind Body Health or this recipe from Fit Living Foodies.
- I LOVE the Trail Mix Granola Bars on pg. 393 of Necessary Food! I know there are some snack bar recipes in both THM cookbooks as well.
- Teresia from Nana’s Little Kitchen just posted a Pumpkin Honey Bun Snack Cake and says she’s going to be following up with a plain vanilla version soon! You might want to check out her Cinnamon Bundt Sock It to Me Cake.
- This Velvety Hot Chocolate (pg. 207, Necessary Food) is hands-down my favorite on-plan hot chocolate recipe. You can find several others in my Drinks index (and in my cookbook) as well.
- This reader says, “Weird thing. When we are sick, we need hot drinks that sooth the throat with no caffeine at all. About all that leaves is peppermint tea, which I despise. We used to drink hot jello ( hot water with jello powder poured in until thickened). We had to go back to it this past week, because we were so sick. I tried many times to make a healthy version and can’t find one that costs your throat and tastes good. Help?” First, I’d like to point out that there are SO MANY non-caffeinated teas out there other than peppermint tea! Try a fruit-flavored tea! This sampler pack from Celestial Seasonings has some great options like black cherry and peach. Sweeten with some stevia and stir in some plain gelatin to thicken it a bit and you’ll be good to go!
- Oh, Honey, have I got options for you! Click here to see my ice cream recipe index. The Basic Ice Cream or Horsetracks Ice Cream would be great to start out with. If you want a rich and indulgent recipe, try this Special Occasion Ice Cream.
- I have been working and working on developing an ice cream that stays scoopable after long-term freezing, and I have come super close. Some new and improved recipes will be coming your way in the near future. I’ve also been trying out some Halo Top-style high protein/low calorie recipes that I’m extremely excited about. Stay tuned and sign up via email to make sure you don’t miss these!
Ice cream cones
- This recipe looks absolutely amazing!
- I’m not all that familiar with the defining characteristics of Italian bread and am not sure what the requester of this particular item was looking for, but if it’s breadsticks you’re after, this recipe looks pretty good.
- This French Baguette Bread from Wonderfully Made and Dearly Loved might be a good starting place as well.
- For more bread options, check out this recipe roundup from Peace, Love, and Low Carb. This isn’t a THM blog but most of the recipes should be acceptable on plan. Just use discernment when looking through them.
- I’m a food blogger, not a miracle worker. 😛 It’s been a rather long time since I’ve actually had a KitKat (and they’ve never been my favorite candy anyway), but I’m guessing you could follow this unhealthy KitKat recipe and use Wasa crackers, on plan sweeteners, almond milk or half and half, and sugar-free chocolate chips or 85% dark chocolate. I’m not sure what to do about the butterscotch chips, and you’d need to substitute something (almond flour?) for the graham cracker crumbs, but maybe it would be doable? I’m intrigued now. I may have to work on this one.
Overnight caramel strata
- Someone shared this recipe as a candidate for tweaking. I would probably make this a THM Crossover by using sprouted bread in place of the white sandwich bread, but you could also try making my Basic Bread (Necessary Food, pg. 158) or the Wonderful White Blender Bread from Trim Healthy Table to keep this a true THM:S. Use an on-plan sweetener that measures like sugar to make the caramel (I would powder it after measuring so it dissolves better) and use heavy whipping cream in place of the corn syrup. Use a combination of almond milk and half and half or heavy cream in the egg mixture. To keep this in THM:S mode, garnish with berries only, but if you’re OK with a crossover (and are using sprouted bread anyway), use whatever fruit you like!
- I have a Pecan Custard Pie recipe (Necessary Food, pg. 347) that we really enjoy, and you might also want to try these Pecan Pie Bars (Necessary Food, pg. 330)!
- This recipe from All Day I Dream About Food looks really good, as does this one from Marie Mind Body Health.
- A lot of what I said about French fries applies here as well. You can make/buy crunchy potato chip substitutes – veggie chips, baked low-carb pitas/tortillas, pork rinds, sweet potato chips, etc. – but enjoy them for what they are instead of trying to convince yourself that they’re a potato chip substitute.
- Here’s a soft pretzel recipe that you might want to try.
- Want crunchy pretzels? Try this recipe from Marie Mind Body Health or this recipe from Wonderfully Made and Dearly Loved.
- These FatHead Crackers from Ditch the Carbs look like a good alternative!
- This recipe roundup from Peace, Love, and Low Carb has tons of chip/cracker recipe ideas, most of which would fit into the THM plan. Use discernment.
Salted Mocha Caramel Frappachino
- The reader who requested this said, “Starbucks knockoff. They use toffee nut flavoring, which is hard to replicate.” I would start with Dawn’s Salted Caramel Frappe (or my Vanilla Frappe with added caramel extract and a dash of mineral salt) and add a bit of cocoa powder. The toffee nut syrup is the hard part, especially since I’ve never tasted it. =P Maybe a dash each of maple and almond extracts? LorAnn makes an English Toffee flavor oil (very concentrated!) that you might want to check out! Click here to see it on Amazon.
- One lady shares, “My husband loves the plan but gains weight because he’s not able to make snacks and eat them when he’s on the go at work. Simple snacks that don’t require refrigeration or blending?” Immediately I think of nuts, fruit, pork rinds, muffins, and veggies. Can you pack him a lunch bag with an ice pack? If so, he could take cottage cheese or Greek yogurt, meat and cheese rollups, etc. for protein (since fruit or veggies would need a side of protein to be a complete snack). There are definitely some make-ahead snacks (like the muffins I mentioned) that would be OK at room temperature for half a day even if you can’t send an ice pack.
- You can find some snack ideas here in my recipe index. (My cookbook, Necessary Food, contains more recipes.) Go to my Breads & Muffins index for some muffin recipes. The baked oatmeal/oat cake recipes in my Breakfast index make great THM:E snacks! If you can send an ice pack in a lunch bag, these Chewy Peanut Butter Protein Bites would be a great protein source!
- 30 Snack Ideas (Darcie’s Dishes)
- 31 Gluten-Free THM Snack Ideas (Working at Homeschool)
- 50 Terrific Fuel Pull Snacks and Meals (Oh Sweet Mercy)
- Zevia is the best-tasting sugar-free soda pop alternative I’ve tasted. You can find it at a lot of local grocery stores as well as online (here on Amazon). I’ve tried Honest Fizz brand but didn’t like it as well; it had more of a stevia aftertaste to my taste buds.
Sweet and sour sauce
- This sweet and sour sauce recipe would be usable in a THM:E setting because of the pineapple. Omit the corn flour and use a bit (like, start with 1/8 tsp. and increase as needed) of xanthan gum to thicken if necessary.
- Use this recipe to make your own. I think 1/2 c. xylitol sounds like overkill so you might want to reduce that amount, but just sweeten to your taste. (Please note that the glaze mentioned would not be on plan because of the cornstarch. If you want to make a glaze with the teriyaki sauce, thicken it with a bit of xanthan gum.)
- How about this recipe from Mrs. Criddle’s Kitchen?
- Bake Joseph’s lavash or low-carb tortillas sprayed lightly with cooking spray and seasoned to your tastes.
- “Layers of pound or angel food cake, strawberries, and white chocolate instant pudding then topped with whipped cream.” I would try my Strawberry Shortcake (Necessary Food, pg. 277), this Perfect Pound Cake from Northern Nester, or the Butterfly Wings Cake from the original THM cookbook. For the white chocolate pudding, I would just use the Vanilla Pudding recipe from pg. 343 of Necessary Food and forget about the white chocolate part. Some people use cocoa butter to mimic a white chocolate taste, but I personally haven’t had much luck with that.
White bread that actually tastes unhealthy
- I’ve never been a white bread fan (even pre-THM) so I’m afraid I don’t get the fascination, but I’ve heard that the Wonderful White Blender Bread from Trim Healthy Table is about as close as it gets. Never tried it myself, but you may want to. You may also want to try my Basic Bread recipe (Necessary Food, pg. 158). Unfortunately, without the gluten of white flour, you’re going to be hard pressed to get the same fluffy texture that you’re used to. Changing your taste buds may be the easiest option here. 😉 I personally love Aldi’s Simply Nature 7 Grain Sprouted Bread!
White chocolate dipped pretzels
- For the pretzel part, you could try these Pretzel Dippers from Wonderfully Made and Dearly Loved with this white chocolate recipe for the coating. To be honest, it’s going to be very hard to get a realistic pretzel and a realistic white chocolate, and the effort you go to in making both may not be worth it. Just my two cents…but I’d probably find a new family favorite holiday treat.
White creme filled donuts with chocolate frosting
- For this one, I would actually probably make some white cupcakes (use my Basic White Cake recipe and adjust the baking time as necessary – Necessary Food, pg. 272), then fill them with some Pipable Whipped Cream Frosting (Necessary Food, pg. 288) or White Buttercream Frosting (Necessary Food, pg. 288) and ice with Chocolate Ganache (Necessary Food, pg. 287).
- Well, I thought this was impossible until I went searching. Maria has an interesting substitution idea in her Zero Carb Wontons recipe. While looking around, I came across these coconut wraps as well that you can purchase from Amazon and various other sites. I’ve never tried them and don’t know exactly how thin they are, but they look interesting!
I’m not going to fill this post with Amazon ads to all my favorite products, but if you would like comprehensive lists of ingredients from various companies that I shop from, head over to my Starting THM page. There you’ll find:
- A quick summary of Trim Healthy Mama and its various books.
- My 5 top tips for getting started.
- Helpful links to posts that answer all your questions.
- Roundups of easy, beginner-level recipes.
- Explanations of all the new-to-you ingredients and where to find them.
- Click here to check it out!
You may also enjoy:
What is this “Necessary Food”?
“So what is Necessary Food?” you may be asking. That would be my cookbook! It’s spiral bound, contains around 400 recipes (some from here on the blog, some exclusive to the cookbook), and sports lots of pictures! You can CLICK HERE to get more info, take a peek inside, and order!
I have a calendar too!
You might also want to check out my newest project – Necessary Time 2018. This calendar with twelve NEW recipes (and a collectible recipe card for each!) was just released after 3 weeks of preorder and will be available as supplies last. These calendars would make the perfect Christmas gift, and we’re offering special deals on orders of multiples, so take advantage of that! CLICK HERE to get your order in!