Monday, January 10, 2011

Sugar free cooking yet deliciously sweet -

Sugar free cooking  is easier than it sounds. The latest discovery that at the same time has been around for centuries is stevia.  A plant based very sweet wonderful substitute for sugar. It is said to have 300 times the sweetness of sugar and falls under the category of low carbohydrate food alternatives. It has almost no effect on blood glucose and some say it even helps lower your blood sugar.

In warmer climates (or if you have a greenhouse) one can grow the stevia plant themselves (which I did this past summer).  The leaves are harvested, dried and ground into a powder in a coffee grinder.
Commercially grown stevia plants are dried and then undergo a water extraction process.

Stevia can be used anywhere instead of regular sugar or honey except that it is much more potent and recipes need a little adjustment in the amount added.

Stevia is a wonderful substitute for everyone, from those who just want to cut back a little in their sugar consumption to someone who is diabetic and has to avoid sugar altogether. For some diabetics even fruit needs to be eliminated so typically there is literally no more sweetness in their lives. Stevia can change that dramatically by allowing to cook, bake, eat almost anything that would require sugar and simply substitute it with stevia.

Here is an example:  I love chocolate. Of course that is a no no for a diabetic but I do not like the candy made for diabetics. My solution: raw cacao powder, a little cinnamon, some sea salt, stevia, all mixed together, maybe some walnuts, then add  coconut oil toss, spread thinly on a Teflon sheet and freeze – the best chocolate/candy you can ever  have; sweet, healthy, full of antioxidants, delicious!!!

Here is another example: If someone has to watch their carbohydrate intake along with the sugar consumption, how about a homemade healthy granola? In a food processor we will chop almonds (fairly coarse), then add stevia, raw cacao nibs, goji berries, a little orange extract, some cinnamon, cardamom and sea salt; water soaked chia seeds and flaxseed will be added last, pulsing the entire mixture until well incorporated; next we spread the “dough” on silicon sheets, as thin as possible, and dehydrate in a dehydrator until dry and crisp (usually about 8-10 hours). This gives you a very healthy, carbohydrate and sugar free yet sweet and flavorful breakfast alternative. Instead of cow’s milk I use almond milk to make it even healthier. As a special treat and if you are allowed add some fresh berries or apples.

Based on my education starting with the Holistic Health Practitioner Certification, moving on to receiving a BS in Holistic Nutrition, then ND degree Doctor of Naturopathy as well as my studies of Ayurvedic medicine have led me on the path to healthy eating. I have been a diabetic for many years but controlling it with diet alone. Through my own personal experiences with sugar free cooking/ eating I have gained valuable insights into this topic.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Shredded Kale with Warm Brussels Sprouts and Toasted Walnuts in a shallot, Dijon mustard/ginger dressing

  • Lemon juice
  • Dijon mustard
  • minced shallot
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • Walnut oil
  • Grated fresh ginger
Whisk all ingredients together in large salad bowl

For salad
  • Shredded kale
  • Brussels sprouts (preferably small), trimmed and halved lengthwise (quartered if large)
  • walnut halves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Mandolin sliced red cabbage and apples
Make salad:
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Toss sprouts in pan with walnut oil, and salt. Arrange sprouts, cut sides down, in 1 layer, nuts at the side and roast in lower third of oven until undersides of sprouts are golden and nuts are fragrant, 12 to 15 minutes.
Whisk vinaigrette, then transfer warm sprouts and nuts to a large bowl and toss with other ingredients.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Santa Fe Spaghetti Squash/Black Bean/Jalapeno Casserole

Warming, colorful with a burst of flavors and very satisfying
Squeeze garlic into spaghetti squash add salt and pepper, toss
coat baking dish with olive oil spray
in separate bowl mix black beans, diced green chilies
yellow corn, dices juicy tomatoes
with cumin, fresh lime juice, sea salt
spread over spaghetti squash
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Bake for about 30-45 minutes
For garnish:

Toasted pine nuts or pumpkin seeds
Fresh chopped cilantro
Lime wedges

Goji Berry/Raw Cacao Nibs/Almond Crumble

Grind the almonds in the cuisine art, add raw, organic coconut oil, stevia, raw organic vanilla powder, pulse, add Cacao Nibs and Goji Berry and gently pulse, being careful not to crush the berries and cacao nibs.
On a dessert plate arrange some orange or tangerine slices, a spoonful of pomegranate seeds and the crumble. For an extra treat and decoration top with walnut/cinnamon/chocolate bark.

walnut/cinnamon/chocolate bark

gently melt 2-3 bars of chocolove dark chocolate (85+ percent). I do that by setting it in a bowl into the sun, or on very low in your toaster oven (avoid microwave as it will destroy all the enzymes and nutrients), add raw organic coconut oil, just enough to make it easy to stir, add stevia, sea salt, cinnamon, cardamom and the walnuts, stir. Spread on foil and set into freezer, break off irregular pieces as you “need” them.

French Green Lentil, Kale and Ginger Curry

This is a warming, comforting dish for a cold day like today, the scent of the spices will linger in your kitchen for a while making you feel cozy and grateful for all the abundance you have in your life!

Warm sesame oil, add sliced red onions, crushed garlic, grated fresh ginger and sautee
Add  1 carrot, sliced thin on mandolin
Add thinly sliced Dinosaur Kale, pre- cooked spaghetti squash, pre-cooked French green lentils, diced jalapeno peppers,  a dash of dry white wine and and a squeeze of fresh lime juice
Spices: paprika, turmeric, fennel, sea salt to taste
To add even more color, flavor and nutrients, decorate w Tangerine slices and Pomegranate seeds.
Serve with a slice of homebaked whole grain bread or pappadams and a glass of wine.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Super Fast Chocolate Mousse

When I get a craving for a "chocolaty" dessert this is what I make:
With high speed mixer mix 1 can of coconut milk with 3 heaped tablespoons of raw cacao powder, 1 tea spoon of stevia ( natural plant based sugar substitute, suited for diabetics), 1 teaspoon raw vanilla powder, top with Pomegranate seeds or raspberries. - Enjoy

Yellow Split Pigeon Pea salad w kale, jalapenos and Dijon mustard/ginger dressing

Boil peas, in meantime, shred kale into very thin strips, on mandolin slice red onions, celery, grate fresh ginger, add diced jalapenos salt/pepper, Dijon mustard, sesame oil, toss, when peas are done, drain and add to mixture hot, toss again to have the kale wilt a bit, arrange on more shredded kale, top with pomegranate seeds and walnuts. Enjoy!