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Chewy Nutty Candy

Update July 2010: I'm bringing this recipe forward because we made them again for the first time in a very long time.  We made them because  we are teaching  Bonnie's kids how to make healthy treats!  I told Bonnie that the key to remaining consistent and to actually change to a healthy lifestyle is to not white knuckle it and have amazing will power.  It's to go ahead and have lots of treats around.  People who have been on the Standard American Diet are used to having so many sweets and sugar in pretty much everything that it will take a while for tastes to change.

So my method is to go ahead and have lots of treats around just be sure they follow my Ingredients List!  READ LABELS and better yet make your own with good ingredients.  I found that if you feel deprived that you will rebel and just go for the junk.  And then you feel guilty afterwards.  It's not about depriving yourself or feeling guilty  we always give up when we feel that way.  I know I tried pretty much every diet until I figured this out!  Diets only make you fatter and much more unhealthy in the long run!  Get this now they DO NOT work!!!!!

Simple, Healthy, Tasty is NOT a diet but a Lifestyle.  It's a enjoyable, fun, happy, simple and healthy lifestyle.  (I know of people who know us but don't know us very well that really think we snack on carrots and greens all day like we were rabbits or something!  Not that we don't enjoy those things but seriously!?!?!  Does anyone have that kind of will power!?)  When I finally figured it out I never felt deprived or like I was missing out on something.  My life was filled with so much fun good things that I simply didn't even think about, miss, or crave the other.

When I was coming off my Sugar addiction I ate a lot of healthified sweets!  Chewy Nutty Candy was one of my favorites and I ate a lot of them;  honestly more than I probably should have.  But I still lost weight and I didn't feel deprived and I didn't crave the junk.  Again as a person that had weight issues pretty much all my life I can't emphasize enough how freeing this was. 
But now over 8 years later we have had a batch of Chewy Nutty Candy made all week and I have only ate a couple.  They are so sweet to me that a little goes a long way.  But when I was a sugar addict I didn't think they were all that sweet and I could eat a bunch in a sitting!  It's amazing to me.  It was quite subtle, and I just gradually craved less and less sweets.  I still enjoy them now but I'm easily satisfied.  Again I loved how freeing I found it to be able to have my cake and eat it too as long as it was healthified.  And not have to worry about dieting or my weight any more.

Now I have found I'm even a step further on that freedom road.  I feel more in control I can choose more rationally.  I don't down a batch (yes you read that right I'm talking by the dozens I'm sure those of you who have had or do have a sugar addiction will understand, they would "call" me until they were gone) of cookies anymore healthified or otherwise.  I still enjoy a good cookie but I'm easily satisfied.  It's another level of freedom I didn't think I would have.  It's like for a long time I lived to eat.  Now in these past few years I feel I truly eat to live.  I'm am free-er then I ever thought possible.  No longer controlled by a sugar addiction!  I love it!!!!!

Chewy Nutty Candy
1 1/2 cups honey or agave
1 cup natural peanut butter

2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2  cup nuts, chopped (we like almonds)
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
2 cups oatmeal
Chopped walnuts and/or coconut (to roll candies in)

Cook honey over medium heat until it reaches the soft ball stage using a candy thermometer. VERY IMPORTANT BE SURE NOT TO OVERCOOK OR THE CANDY WILL NOT BE CHEWY IT WILL BE HARD TACK;) Take off heat and add vanilla. Let cool some then add peanut butter, almonds, coconut and oatmeal. Using a spoon or small cookie scoop.  Scoop up a ball of the candy and roll it in the chopped nuts or coconut.  Place in fridge to cool.  ENJOY!
Recipe Inspired by Hopkins' Healthy Home Cooking


Emily said...

Yum Tam,

I can't wait to try this one!! I have made the Good n Healthy cookies 3 times since you posted them on Friday! Thanks for posting such yummy recipes! I LOVE this blog!!!!!

Jen said...

HI! I am really interested in your story. I tried to go off of sugar at the beginning of this year but...suffice it to say, that went out the window. I did feel so much better, I made it about 4 months. I really like not eating sugar and white flour but I struggle with comfort eating and mindless eating. Anyway-thanks for telling your story. We'll be back to visit t keep posting!

The Noble Steeds said...

just made this and it was super yummy! as far as candy goes, it was easy to make. my husband even liked them! i'm very impressed.

Whole Food for the Whole Family said...

This looks like a very "Food Storage Friendly" recipe. I'm adding it to my year supply menu list right now! Thanks for the great recipe!

Rupert said...

This sounds not only delicious but healthy, satisfying and filling. Thanks and congrats on all your consistent progress. Nice blog.


jeaneen said...

Thanks so mcuh for your wonderful blog and sharing all these healthy and very tasty looking recipes.
I CANNOT wait to try your mango one in the parfait glasses-looks like heaven in a cup!!

I was wonderign if you have ever written a post of what you ate in a weeks time'liek a menus sharing and also woudl you share how fast your weight came off?Honestly you don't look that heavy in your beofre pics-in fact I think you look beautiful in both!

Tammie said...

jeaneen: Both what I usually eat and menu planning are both posts in the works right now! I hope to post them within the month!

The weight was gradual as was the change in eating. But when I finally got good at following my ingredient list it seemed to just fall off. Mostly I think because I was no longer thinking about the weight but was focusing on being healthy. I have found you get more of what you focus on you focus on weight you get more of it (talk about backfire;) you focus on health you get more of it! And our own optimum healthy weight it the side effect of that!

Emily said...

This last comment by you has to be key, Tammy. I've experienced it in my own life, but never before has my focus been on HEALTH, which I am so excited to change.
(STORY= In college I called my Dad in tears, I had woken up and eaten half my roomate's cake. My Dad said If you commit to NOT think about RED, what do you find yourself thinking about all the time, RED! So to NOT think about RED (food/weight) you think about BLUE (Passions, talents, service, contributing) and when I've truly thought about BLUE only, I've always gotten trim.)
What a kick it will be if I do think on BLUE being a focus on Hobbies, Service, etc...AND a total commitment to HEALTH!

??? is Tammy, my mom always said to me that our bodies treat honey and sugar the same. This may be true calorie for calorie, but you've mentioned that you crave less and less treat when you eat healthified/non-refined recipes. Is this true, and if so, how large of a commitment must this be, like if I were to truly eat a healthified treat once or twice a week with my family (is that too frequent?) and if I were to have say quarterly with the holidays special treats we make, like fudge for Christmas, and homemade donuts for Halloween, etc, if we were really strict on this, would it be ok? What about then all the treats offered by outsiders, would that be too much if we ate those too, to diminish a sugar, eating treats out of moderation/ addiction?

Tammie said...

Emily: I do not believe a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. ;) Honey does have a similar reaction to our blood sugar as refined sugar but I DO NOT believe it is the same. Yes I don't think we should overdo it but I also think it is soooo much better then eating sugar.

I have tried very hard for over eight years now to be pretty strict with my Ingredient list. To be honest I was much more strict at first then I am now. You still won't find me eating ANY treats with refined sugars but if we are at Grandma's and her spaghetti sauce contains a little sugar I don't freak out about it. But it is NOT in my home.

I see NOTHING wrong with eating a healthified treat once or twice a week. I do think though if they are truly healthified you will get to where you truly have moderation. Even at holidays now I make lots of fun healthified treats to share but I don't eat near as many of them as I used to it's simply not what I crave. I love it! But I also love that I can still enjoy treats and be satisfied with much less.

So are you saying that your fudge at Christmas and homemade doughnuts are healthified? I'm understanding that they are not. With me if this was okay at the holidays then why not other times. But that's me. I still feel that if I went and had a piece of totally unhealthy cheesecake I for one wouldn't feel good but my past addictions I'm sure would think about resurfacing and I prefer to not go there.

Some people truly don't have that pull and can be satisfied with TRUE moderation but my experience shows most of us are so bombarded with garbarge food like you talking about food from "outsiders" that it's simply too MUCH and we don't even know what TRUE moderation is. I know for a fact that at first I wasn't even moderate with my healthified treats but I feel that it made for an easier transition. Food can have such an emotional pull but I loved that it didn't have the chemical pull like total junk food. So I could finally get to a more rational truly moderate place.

But most important I think you need to do what you feel best about and what works for you. But yes focusing on what you truly want and fill your life with the good what truly isn't serving and helping you I think will find it's what out.

And by the way it sounds like you have a pretty smart Dad! Thanks so much for sharing I could relate!

Tammie said...

Emily: Okay It looks like you had some posting problems and post two similar comments but I am publishing both of them because they both have good things to offer. And the first one was a little more specific about your Honey/Sugar question. ABSOLUTELY YES I think the closer to nature you get with your food even if it is the same amount of calories and even acts similar in the body, the body totaly uses it differently! I have found this to be so true. Science wants to break everything down to chemical constituants and I just think God knew what he was doing! There are for sure nutrients and properties in honey that refined sugar doesn't even come close to having. I think sugar just takes and depleats and honey actually has some things to give.

And yeah I see that I was understanding your holiday treats thing right. My advise to you is to try to healthify those things the very best you can. But if you think you can truly limit it to only Halloween and Christmas (what about Easter, Valentines, Birthdays, etc. etc. you get my drift;) it would probably be fine. My somewhat addictive personality thinks though if it's okay then it's okay any time. But that's me.

Emily said...

Ha, Tammy, woopsie on the extra post, please erase the first!
Thank you for your thoughts. And thanks about my Dad, I find him swell, so inspired.
You know it makes sense to me that God's inventions, honey and other whole food natural sweeteners, would satisfy, delight and contribute, as compared to satiating, tantalizing without filling, and harming (refined/processed food). God's amazing, I need to trust His foods more. Its good to hear your opinions and experience on that matter, especially valuable for me is your assurance and proof that steps this big to take are worth it, your example and experience help give me the courage to change.
I read a book by Ralph Moody called Little Britches, where the little family on their farm popped popcorn for their 'treat' and on Christmases they made fudge. This would be ideal to me, to truly have special treats this rarely, but it really would be so difficult to re-create in our day, not only are there holidays, but like you say all sorts of birthdays and celebrations and meetings and etc all providing sweets.
I appreciate your sensitivity and I will do some pondering and even praying on what to do with sweets, for me and for my family. Yes we are bombarded from the outside, and yet its so a part of the culture that I find people in general can be sensitive if one doesn't appreciate the food they cook in love or service for another. Other situations no-one really cares what you eat, but if you don't draw the lines somewhere, it makes hard decisions too hard, and addictions really hard to cut as you mention...
btw, we made this nutty candy for Friday Fun Day, and my kids loved making and eating it together, and what I noticed myself in it was that each treat tasted delightful, and it was easier to know when my body was done. Then I thought I'd test it a little later, and realized, my body was right my last should have been my last, but I'm hoping the emotional pull like you say will be easier to break than dealing with chemicals or what not.

desi said...

happy to find this recipe. we made at your house a few years back on a cook with your food storage night. so yummy!
i like your blog, i'm happy i came across it.

Anonymous said...

I love this recipe! It is so versatile, and can be made with whatever I have and still be yummy. Plus it doesn't take that long and it's so easy, even for me who never before used a candy thermometer.
Thanks again, Tammy!