Monday, August 22, 2016

It's Just That Simple!™

I have noticed the past couple of weeks that more and more large, food companies are altering their labels to identify with the consumer demand for simplicity. People not only want to know what is in their food products, but be able to at the very least, pronounce them. There is a huge wave of tidal opinion, as well, for food products to get rid of complicated and extended ingredients in the simplest of foods.

Our government tried this back in 2008 to combat obesity but to be honest, take a look at the stats,                                                                 
                                                " It ain't workin' ! "

When I see some famous faces on television, such as Robert Irvine(and he is just one of the many dozens)salt fish before dumping it seasoned bread crumbs(with salt in the seasoning) and deep fry it. Only to add even more salt on top before eating it, I cringle. There is simply no reason to keep dumping salt in our bodies to such an extent.....period!

And then you have the kitchen "experts" tell you certain salts are better for you than others, such as sea salt versus table, or Himalayan salt versus Fleur de Sel or smoked salt versus get my drift! Salt is salt my friends, let's stop relying on it so heavily in our diets or the death rate from not only obesity but illnesses as a result from high blood pressure will continue to skyrocket.

It is very difficult NOT to use a cake recipe, for example, that doesn't have some salt in it, nor pie recipes.

Now the argument is that salt enhances the sweetness of these desserts. Give that some thought for a minute.............Done?

Yes, I am guilty of creating recipes that truly are not the best, nutritionally, for you but just use some common sense when eating them. Take smaller portions or make these dishes sparingly. My goodness, there are so many other desserts and entrees you can make that makes use of natures flavors to enhance your food.

And when you take a look, or even prepare any of my recipes, I will let you know if a certain lower fat ingredient cannot be substituted, but overall, if a recipe calls for cream, milk or even fat-free evaporated milk is a perfect alternative.

To plug my second cookbook, Refreshed, you will notice not only lower fat recipes, but I utilize fruits and vegetables to a wider extent than most chefs. I also take advantage of fruit purees, fruit juice and fruit itself to lend a sweet touch where sugar is the norm.

Sugar adds sweetness.............THAT IS ALL! The items I just mentioned add sweetness AND flavor.

So toss that extra salt aside and make use of nature's abundant supply of healthy alternatives. If not for yourself, than for the ones you love. Here is a great example of a superbly simply and explosively flavorful dessert that showcases the taste of berries without added sugar. It may take a few tries to understand what true fruit flavors are, but a content smile beats all *$%# out of a guilty frown.

Blackberry Foolish Moose

3 cups fresh blackberries
1 cup apple juice
1 cup cranberry juice
2 envelopes plain gelatin
2 cups whipped topping

Add blackberries and juices to a food processor or blender and puree, on high, until as smooth as possible. Strain through a wire-mesh strainer into a medium saucepan, pressing the pulp against the sides to extract as much juice as possible. You will end up with about 2 cups.

Bring to a boil over medium heat. While mixture is boiling, lightly sprinkle the gelatin over the liquid, whisking at the same time. Do this slowly or the gelatin will clump up.

Continue whisking vigorously and cooking an additional minute.

Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until cooled and starting to thicken.

Remove from refrigerator and whisk in whipped topping. Cover and refrigerate until set and completely cold.


Makes about 4 servings



It's Just That Simple!™


Friday, August 5, 2016

Where's The Sugar?

Ya' don't need it! ..... It's Just That Simple!™
As many of you may know, I am a fruit and berry fanatic. I adore all fruit in any preparation, hence the addition of it in the majority of recipes in my new cookbook, Refreshed, and the center of attention in my third cookbook yet to be released.

I have enjoyed the addition of all types of fruit products from savory dishes to desserts.

Although there may be just as much sugar in(for example) real apple or orange juice as granulated sugar, you are enjoying the benefits of vitamins and fiber that is found in both fruits and berries.

I hold nothing back when I say that I frequently use prepared all-fruit(similar to preserves)found in all supermarkets because of its cost and convenience. And if you ever look on the ingredient list, you will see that it only contains fruit or berries, along with pectin and citric acid. Citric acid helps it from turning color while on the store shelves, plus it aides in a "side of the tongue" tartness. Many will substitute lemon juice when making it at home, but I leave it out below because I do NOT want to mask the flavor of any fruit or berry in my all-fruit.


Anyway, enjoy these 5 recipes for your very own Homemade All-Fruit to use on all types of dishes, or simply on a good ol' peanut butter sandwich, knowing that there is not a trace of added sugar.....none needed!

Each of the following recipes gives you about 1 1/2 cups total product when done. You will also notice that I use only a half of a box of pectin per recipe. You will have to open the envelope inside the box and measure out what you need into a bowl, closing up remainder to use again. Why do I do this?

I would much, much rather have to make this all-fruit again if I need more.

You can also make two different kinds of all fruit at the same time, without making too much.


From left to right we have Blackberry, Mango, Strawberry, Blueberry and Peach All Fruit.


Blackberry All-Fruit


2 cups fresh or frozen(and thawed) blackberries *
1/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
2 tablespoons(half a 1.75 ounce package)no sugar needed pectin

Puree all ingredients in a food processor or blender until as chunky or smooth as desired. Transfer to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Let rapidly boil for 1 minute, and remove from heat. Let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a container. Cover and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.

* If you desire no seeds, then puree blackberries with juice and strain before cooking, resulting in a more jelly-like end result.


Mango All-Fruit

2 cups chopped mangoes(about 2 small mangoes)
6 tablespoons mango nectar or juice
2 tablespoons(half a 1.75 ounce package)no sugar needed pectin

Follow same directions as in Blackberry All-Fruit


Strawberry All-Fruit


2 cups chopped strawberries
6 tablespoons frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
2 tablespoons(half a 1.75 ounce package)no sugar needed pectin

Follow same directions as in Blackberry All-Fruit


Blueberry All Fruit


2 cup frozen, but thawed, blueberries
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Follow same directions as in Blackberry All-Fruit, but without the pectin.


Peach All-Fruit

You can use any blend of juice with peaches, but make sure it is 100% juice blend.

2 cups chopped, fresh peaches(4 peaches)
6 tablespoons peach nectar or juice
2 tablespoons(half a 1.75 ounce package)no sugar needed pectin

Follow same directions as in Blackberry All-Fruit