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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Stevia

Stevia rebaudiana foliage

As promised yesterday when I did the artificial sweetener posting on our other blog, here are some recipes that include stevia as a sweetener. I have a book called ‘Sugar-Free Cooking with Stevia’, by James and Tanya Kirkland which is a good resource. I imagine it is available in stores, on Amazon or on their site. http://www.cookingwithstevia.com (This is their website)

Also, by Lisa Jobs, ‘Sensational Stevia Desserts’. http://www.steviacanada.com/recipes.html

You can buy stevia from these sites too so if you are in Canada check out the one just above.

Pumpkin Pie with Stevia

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Stevia & Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raspberry Jam with Stevia

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Desserts

 

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Fermented Foods-A Good Thing!

To Market, To Market

I lucked out one day when I was buying dill cukes. Upon leaving the house I swore I would not be doing any more canning as my feet were ready to fall off by the time I’d done 25 jars of tomatoes and 20 jars of pickled beets. However, when I got to the farmer’s market, one of the vendors was selling organic dill cukes. As I somewhat begrudgingly filled my bag with cukes, a gentleman asked me if I would be pickling them. I said, “Yes,” and sighed as I realized I’d be up until midnight again. He said he had a better way of doing them. Of course I asked HOW?

Fermentation ~ “A Good Thing!”

So why are fermented foods good for us? Every culture has some form of fermentation in their repertoire. Yogurt, Kefir, Tempeh, Sauerkraut, Kim Chi, Fish Sauce, Tamari and so on…

It is a way to get a longer sImagehelf life from the food but mainly it provides enzymes that aid our digestion which in turn allows for better assimilation of nutrients. Do not confuse pickling with fermenting. Most pickles you buy are done with white vinegar (a petroleum product). Some however, are fermented but read the label carefully. By the way, if you are pickling with vinegar, there is now white vinegar on the market that is NOT a petroleum product

Here’s the recipe. And guess what? It only took me half an hour to do and it’s healthier than using white vinegar regardless of whether it is the non-petroleum type or not. These pickles are actually fermented…and as Martha Stewart would say, “That’s a good thing!” Fermented foods have enzymes that help our digestion.

Kim Chee-A Korean Staple

Recipes

Fermented Cucumbers (Dill Pickles)

Kim Chee

 

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Are Your Kids Bugging You for Pizza?

Yes, yes…I know. Pizza is considered junk food but we do have to have a life! As far as pizza goes, it’s not as bad as it seems especially when made at home and you can control what goes on it. So once in a while it can be fun to get the kids involved and make it at home. Last summer my 2 1/2 year old grand daughter, Erynn even helped. I just put a big sheet on the floor and gave her the goods and away she went. She did nearly sit in it and we do believe there may have been a toe print but all in all, it was a success and a good time was had by all. I cooked it on the BBQ and it was great!

There some basic things to know about making pizza to increase your success. Here’s what can make it easier.

Erynn, pizza maker extraordinaire with Grandpa Duck

1) Get a bread machine. If you don’t want to buy new, go to the thrift store. Often you can pick up used machines for a few bucks and they are easy to use. My machine will make 2 large crusts at a time and you can freeze the dough and pull it out and thaw the morning of the pizza making event.

2) Cook pizza at 500 degrees for about 20 mins.

3) Not necessary but a pizza stone is a great tool too. If you don’t have one, just use a baking sheet with Semolina flour scattered on it to avoid sticking. Don’t use regular flour for this. Fine cornmeal would be a better choice.

4) Make sure your toppings are dry. For eg. canned unmarinated artichokes will be quite wet so dry off on some paper towel.

So here’s my recipe:

Pizza Dough (makes 2 large pizza)

Put in bread machine tin in this order…

9 to 11 oz water

3/4 tsp sea salt

3 TBSP Olive Oil

4 Cups Organic Unbleached White Flour (I don’t use whole wheat because it is often rancid. You can get rice crusts but I’m going for the ‘complete pizza satisfaction’ feeling here so alter as you wish for your circumstances.)

2 tsp active dry yeast or bread machine yeast

My machine setting is 11 and that setting just kneads and rises but does not cook so look for that mode on your machine. If you don’t have a machine, just hand knead for 10 mins until shiny and put in a bowl rubbed with olive oil to avoid sticking and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place to rise and then use immediately or freeze. You can put it in the fridge and take out closer to assembly time to warm up.

When ready to assemble, sprinkle the counter with semolina flour which is a bit on the course side and roll out your dough. I don’t recommend flinging it in the air without some practice as it is hard to scrape off the ceiling:) Your dough doesn’t have to come out round. Odd shapes are OK.

Place the dough on the baking sheet or stone that’s been sprinkled with semolina. Preheat oven to 500 F.

Now for the toppings…

While your dough is rising, prep the toppings. You will need pizza sauce (tomato based). One small can (213 ml/7.5 oz) will do 2 large pizzas. If you want to get adventurous, try pesto instead. Both these choices can be home made or buy organic.

Cheese choices: Mozzarella of course but cheddar, emmentaler, parmesan, feta are all good too. You can even buy pregrated pizza cheese but watch out for the additives. Safer to grate your own.

Other possibilities: peppers (sweet or hot), onion, mushrooms, pineapple, artichokes, olives (kalamata or black), etc.

Meats: Look for meats with no additives and preservatives. There are some deli meats on the market like that now. Options… Back Bacon, Ham, Pepperoni, Salami, Cappicolli, small meatballs, ground beef, etc. Some people like seafood on pizza so really…it’s your personal preferences. You can keep it vegetarian if you want.

I like to tear some fresh basil or arugula on the pizza when it comes out of the oven.

So assembly…spread the tomato sauce or pesto all over the pizza except near the edges, sprinkle liberally with cheese. Then add the rest…don’t overdo as it will be soggy. My personal fave: tomato sauce, mozzarella, a bit of cheddar, smoked bacon (partially cook before putting on the pizza), pineapple, black olives, feta cheese, peppadews and basil. You can get peppadews which are a sweet picante brined pepper that resemble a cherry pepper at Granville Island (South China Seas Trading) or online. I’m lucky to have talked my local butcher shop here on Gabriola into stocking them. Peppadews have a tangy fruity taste that is very unusual and fantastic! I’m sure they will be available all over the place soon!

Here’s a link with some interesting info about peppadews.

Peppadews

 
 

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Canola Oil

Canola Field

Canola Field (Photo credit: Frank Kehren)

This oil has pervaded our diets in the last 15 years or so. It’s now used instead of olive oil and many other beneficial fat sources. It’s being marketed as healthy. What it is is cheap. Or at least cheaper than many oils but make no mistake…it is NOT healthy. Here’s an excerpt about it. ‘Can’ stands for Canada as we are the country that developed it:( It’s real name is Rapeseed.

Canola Oil contains 5% saturated fat, 57% oleic acid, 23% omega-6 and 10%-15% omega-3. The newest oil on the market, canola oil was developed from the rapeseed, a member of the mustard family. Rapeseed is unsuited to human consumption because it contains a very-long-chain fatty acid called erucic acid, which under some circumstances is associated with fibrotic heart lesions. Canola oil was bred to contain little if any erucic acid and has drawn the attention of nutritionists because of its high oleic acid content. But there are some indications that canola oil presents dangers of its own. It has high sulphur content and goes rancid easily. Baked goods made with canola oil develop mold very quickly. During the deodorizing process, the omega-3 fatty acids of processed canola oil are transformed into trans fatty acids, similar to those in margarine and possibly more dangerous. A recent study indicates that “heart healthy” canola oil actually creates a deficiency of vitamin E, a vitamin required for a healthy cardiovascular system. Other studies indicate that even low-erucic-acid canola oil causes heart lesions, particularly when the diet is low in saturated fat.

Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges the Politically Correct Dictocrats. Sally Fallon

 
 

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Breaky: Often the Worst Meal of the Day!

Meaty Savoury Muffins

In my opinion breakfast is an important meal for anyone and especially kids. I think the fact that many people eat junk for breakfast boils down to time constraints in the morning and heavy advertising on the part of the cereal companies. Cold cereal should be avoided at all costs. I find it particularly offensive that some of these food conglomerates are purporting to produce cereal that lowers cholesterol. What a joke that is! If anything it makes it worse. How do they get away with lies like that! Well, I have a pretty good idea about that but we won’t go there today. That’s my rant for this morning…

If you don’t have breakfast or eat a high carb breakfast, you are setting yourself up for blood sugar woes. See our blog entry on sugar handling.

Sign up for our weekly Healthflash and get my book ‘Nutrition in a Nutshell’ along with the ‘Non-GMO Shopping Guide’ free. In my book read the nasty story of puff wheat. Read that and you will NOT ever eat processed cold cereal again. I got that info from Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. Her book is one of the best resources anyone could have. I highly recommend it. My book has some ideas and recipes for breakfast also and can be a good resource for the people struggling to get a decent send off for themselves and family in the wee hours. And since it’s free when you sign on for the Healthflash, you can’t lose.

Oh yeah…What about the poor maligned egg? Has everyone forgotten about them? Hard boil some and have them ready in the fridge for a quick take away breakfast or snack. A quick scrambled egg with cheese and chopped green onions. Easy, quick, nourishing and it’s protein folks. Protein sustains your blood sugar longer and more consistently than carbs. A VERY high percentage of people that complete the online health assessment on our website (Nutri-Q), have sugar handling issues. It is pandemic just like the blog posting I mentioned earlier says.

Sadly, some of you like to stop for the coffee and muffin. I’m sorry to inform you that some of those sweet cakey muffins can have a whopping 500 calories a  piece. Also, they have basically no food value but they sure do give you a days worth of carbs in one sitting. So this blog entry is for you folks. Maybe having some of these savoury style muffins prepped and ready to grab on the way out the door might help avoid some of the breakfast pitfalls. You still get your muffin but a healthier version and some protein added to balance out the carbs.

Medley of Savoury Muffins

Canadian Bacon & Cheddar Muffins

Sally Fallon-Weston Price Foundation

 
 

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