Rachael | Set the Table


Welcome to Set the Table! My name is Rachael and I'm here to help you set your table with beautiful, healthy, delicious food your family and friends will love. More importantly, I'm here to encourage you to welcome everyone to your table. Talk. Listen. Laugh. Eat. Be kind. 

Date Simple Syrup + Go Sugar Free Update

Date Simple Syrup + Go Sugar Free Update

Before I get into a summary of my experience going sugar free, let's chat about this date simple syrup.

Going sugar free is tricky when you blog about cocktails each and every week. Simple syrup, one of the staple ingredients when it comes to cocktails, is difficult to avoid entirely. Fortunately, I found a way to add sweetness without even the smallest pinch of refined sugar. This simple syrup is simply (no pun intended) dates that have been simmered in water until it has been infused with sweetness. The consistency is not as thick as a traditional simple syrup, but the sweetness is there. And that's the most important part, right? It does have a slightly nutty flavor, similar to that of brown sugar, but it is subtle enough that it can be used in most cocktail recipes.

Dates have been one of the most versatile and delicious additions to my list of staple ingredients to have in the kitchen. They make a perfect, sweet snack paired with a little bit of blue cheese and act as a healthy sweetener for anything from this syrup to this peanut butter bulgur wheat (pictured below).

OK, now that we have a naturally sweet, no sugar added simple syrup, let's talk about where I got the inspiration to  create a recipe like this...

As a food blogger, I like to feel like I have control over everything I put in my body, but the reality is that sometimes...I don't. A lot of my time outside of food blogging and recipe development is spent focusing on feeding my 2 year old something that involves more than crackers, popcorn, toast and milk. That takes a surprising amount of energy now that he's learned to reject anything he doesn't recognize.  When all is said and done, I don't always have much motivation to focus on what gets put on my own plate.

When I started the Go Sugar Free course I was scared. It was scary because I didn't want to give anything up. Well, I did want to but the thought of it really seriously scared me. What would happen if I went to a birthday party and had to say no to the chocolate cake with rich butter cream frosting? What would I do without my sweet cocktails and occasional bite of ice cream? I was happy to learn that, even though my sugar habit was not extreme, I was able to go without it and still survive.

Sometimes I have assignments to develop recipes. Developing recipes requires tasting. Sometimes that meant eating sugar even during the course, which is not a typical situation for most students. I think it is a testament to Jacqueline and her course that I was able to get through those moments without completely falling off the wagon.

If you are reading this and thinking to yourself, "I don't eat that much sugar." Here's the thing...sugar is not the only thing you learn about through Go Sugar Free. Jacqueline has done all of the grunt work to collect information about the best grains and how they can impact reliance on sugar. There are other foods with connections to sugar that I never considered before GSF. And most importantly, I began to realize how important routines are when it comes to health. Waking up in the morning and knowing what I need to do to start my day out the right way has been the most significant and liberating change I've taken with me since completing GSF.

To explain what I mean, here is an example of my morning routine:

  • 7:00am wake up
  • 7:05am put coffee on
  • 7:05am do yoga stretches while coffee brews
  • 7:20am drink an 8 oz. glass of Kefir
  • 7:25am drink coffee & read
  • 7:30-7:45am toddler wakes up and the day barrels on

Having those morning routines helps me find my center and prepare my mind for making healthy choices all day long. That, along with losing 2 inches from my waist, made the GSF course more than worth it.

The most common question I get from the people I talk to about this course is if they have to give up sugar permanently forever and ever. My answer, for myself, is no. I feel that I have control over how much sugar is in my diet and I can, thanks to Jacqueline's course, recognize the signs (complexion, exhaustion, etc) my body is using to tell me I need to tone it down. But each person is different. You make decisions that work best for you and Jacqueline gives 100% of her support no matter what.

If you're curious or have questions about the course, head over to the FAQ's on Jacqueline's website by clicking here.

I am blessed to call Jacqueline a friend and I know how much she puts into this course and that her past experiences and struggles make her an expert in every sense of the word. In addition to being an expert, her passion to help individuals understand the impact sugar has on our overall health and well-being is incredible.

If you feel like this is the right time for you to get control of your diet, feel more energized, and make healthier choices, you can register for GSF as an early bird which includes:

Click here to register for the next course, which runs May 7-July 12, 2014.

*This post contains affiliate links. The opinions stated are 100% my own.

Date Simple Syrup


  • 5 oz pitted Medjool dates, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups water


  1. Combine the dates and water in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by about 1/3.
  3. Pour through a fine mesh strainer and into a heatproof jar.
  4. Cool completely and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


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