Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sugar? ummm. maybe not.

While we don't eat a lot of sugar over all - I've been trying to figure out ways to do up some of my sweet/sour recipes with less sugar.  Right now, it's made as a sour recipe. *grin*  And, it maybe that it will remain this way ... since seeing the video below has wigged me out about sugar in general (once again).  

What sugar does to your body:

As did this Taubes' article in New York Times "Is Sugar Toxic".

So, I really don't want to add it to our diet.  But, ice cream and cookies (wheat free of course!) and random desserts ... well, are suppose to be sweet. And, once again....some of my sweet and sour recipes or Asian recipes required sugar. 

I know Joe swears by Stevia but I don't know anything about chemical changes when cooking.  And, to be honest - it tastes weird to me.  It's *too* sweet.

So, I was surfing the web this weekend (between long naps which were required for recovery of over working).  And, I think we are going to try out coconut sugar

I know when growing up we had "jaggery", which is coconut sugar. My mum and dad use to cook with it all the time.  So, I figure it is safe to heat. 

It also tastes a bit sweeter than sugar but not in the same way as Stevia does to me.  More along the lines of a good honey or real maple syrup. A little will go a long way - but here are the added benefits unlike sugar which is cool.  Coconut sugar has a GI index of 35 (which is nice and low) and has a lot of mineral benefits such as potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6.

Anyway - I'll let you know how the experimenting is going.   

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Kale...Kale and even more K.A.L.E.

We joined a vegetable CSA for the summer months and it's been wonderful.  I figured that since I use to be a vegetarian, it'll be easy, right?

ummm.. yeah, ok, not really.  For one thing, kale.  I know it's nutritious and wonderful and good for you and all that jazz.  But, there is a bitterness to it that makes it challenging to eat every day. And, honestly, our CSA share (an individual share no less) has more than enough for us to eat kale every single day!

The good things about kale:
  • Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium.
  • stores for a pretty long time (might be a bad thing in our case *grin*)
  • apparently a lot of cultures use kale in dishes - so I have a variety of choices
Bad thing?  I now need to know how to cook kale -- aside from the kale chips I made all the time when I was being "good".  :)  And, the BF isn't a big fan of kale's taste - so I needed to find ways to minimize the bitterness.

So, the quest began... and I found some great kale dishes.  The recipe below was made up based on some of the recipes I found.  Mostly because it's been way too hot to bake!  It's an "italian" take.  It is also a way to use up a lot of the veggies I was getting from the CSA. So, you can add or subtract any veggies you like - toss in Italian sausage for the ground beef (or with the ground beef)  but the cheese and the pasta sauce is a must. Otherwise, you really are creating your own dish (no worries on that... but then I can't take credit, can I? *grin*)

Italian style beef with veggies 

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced 
  • kale - minced
  • zucchini (optional)
  • yellow squash (optional)
  • garlic (to taste), minced/crushed
  • tomato sauce/pasta sauce 
  • mozzarella cheese (to taste)
  • dried basil
  • dried oregeno
  • dried rosemary
  • salt
  • pepper
  • butter/ghee for browning onions and meat
In a frying pan, melt butter and add onions.  Once onions have started turning brown, add garlic.  If you like kale - you can put it in later - but if you are trying to "hide" it - put it in now as it will cook down to almost nothing.

Add ground beef once the kale has wilted away - as you want to brown the beef and so you need the water content of the kale to dissipate.

Once ground beef has browned, add the spices (basil, rosemary, oregano).  Stir it in.  Add the veggies (if you are adding any additional - and really it is any veggie that you would find in a Italian dish. Eggplant/aubergine is another great choice. )  and cook it a bit so it isn't so raw.  This is also based on how much your family likes veggies.  I tend to shred the veggies in a food processor so that there is a uniformity of taste and to cook it a bit longer.  (zucchini and aubergines aren't favored by the BF either.  *grin*  I'm always surprised he was a vegan... honestly, what would one eat if you don't like most veg?)  

Add pasta sauce and simmer for a bit. Just so the flavors meld.  Add cheese.  Serve.

Some pasta sauce brands we like - when I'm too lazy to make my own:

Coupla Guys :
 - Awesome Arrabiata, Marvelous Marinara, Perfect Puttanesca (you must like olives!)

Tomato Mountain Farm's Tomato Basil Pasta sauce ( they also have great salsa's and jams)

Lucini Italia  Spicy Tuscan Tomato Sauce

Dave's Gourmet Organic Spicy Heirloom Marinara Pasta Sauce (isn't that a mouthful? *grin*)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The "meatrix"

Found this video online and it is well done... this is the 1st episode

I haven't watched any of the others in the series but here is the site so you can check it out.