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The strength and stamina that honey offers to athletes has been a well-known fact since the ancient Greek and Roman times. Maybe refined sugar just became easier to manipulate over the course of time in recipes but we are losing out on the antioxidant content that honey delivers.

Honey contains phenolic acids and flavonoids, both of which are known to fight free radicals, a necessary health benefit in today’s world. Honey recipes (or recipes that incorporate honey sugar) are actually quite easy to prepare, and have the same sweetness – and a much finer flavor – than the processed food containing refined sugar we buy at the market without even thinking about what ingredients they really contain.

Honey barbecue sauce, for example. Have you looked at the back of the bottle to see if there’s even any honey in that mixture of chemicals, additives, and flavor? There are many honey recipes that actually have honey in it, and here’s an easy one. Simply combine one can of condensed tomato soup, cup of honey, 2 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons of your choice of salad oil, and one tablespoon of lemon juice adding 1 teaspoon of mustard and a dash of hot pepper sauce for bite. Stir it in a saucepan and bring it to a boil, then simmer while stirring until it’s at a desired consistency, and remove.

If you have a sweet tooth that just has to be fed, buy some frozen yogurt or custard and make up a honey caramel sauce fit for a four star restaurant. You will receive far less calories than ice cream loaded with chocolate syrup and a host of vitamins from your treat. Mix 1 cup honey, cup heavy cream, 1 TBSP butter, 1 tsp vanilla and 1/8 tsp salt in a heavy saucepan. Cook the first two ingredients to 238 degrees F, remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients. Your sauce will thicken and be absolutely luscious.

There are also honey recipes for sweet, healthy snacks that, once made, can be kept for weeks. Rather than chips, candy, or cookies, try granola. Cover it with milk and eat it like cereal. You can add salty nuts to go with the honey sugar flavor, depending on preference.

Mix 2 cups coarsely chopped nuts, 4 cups rolled oats, and 1 cup raisins into a large mixing bowl. Blend together and set aside. In a large saucepan, combine cup melted margarine, cup honey, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 tsp ground cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. After mixing together, bring to a boil, allowing to cool for 1 minute. Remove and pour over oat mixture, stirring until blended. Pour onto a greased cookie sheet, then bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees, stirring every 5 minutes. After it cools, crumble for a delicious treat.

If you make an effort to replace your granulated sugar with a small amount of honey sugar, it won’t be long before you don’t even notice that absence of refined sugar. Test your regular recipes with honey sugar, taking care to account for the liquid measure. Remember to reduce your liquids by a quarter cup per each cup of honey, and add half a teaspoon baking soda for each cup of honey used in baked goods.

Empty calories and processed foods have taken a terrible toll on our bodies, which is why it’s so important to start using natural foods. It’s easy to use honey recipes for any meal that you’d normally use sugar with. Let your imagination run wild and create your own honey recipes for you and your family to enjoy!

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