Thursday, April 17, 2014

Why I Stopped Using Stevia

herb stevia in container


Two summers ago I grew a stevia plant in a container on my back deck. I was intrigued by how easy this beautiful herb was to grow, and I was surprised how sweet the leaves actually tasted. I  wasn't surprised when industries started turning stevia leaves into a powdery white substance or liquid.

Although the stevia plant is not bad for you, when the green leaves are processed and converted into a white sweet powder for your morning coffee it takes lots of processing and chemicalizing. I've bought some packages of a brand called Truvia, but I really wondered how good  bad they could be for you.

While doing some research, I came across an informative article on the Dr. Axe website ( same doctor who wrote about apple cider vinegar and weight loss) about the affects of stevia products like Truvia on your health .

As I suspected, anything that is processed to become a white powdery substance will have it's drawbacks. My original concern was that white powder is so refined it usually acts as what is called an "excito- toxin" which excites the nervous system or appetite. In my case, it stimulates my appetite. Not Good for weight loss!

However, Dr. Axe was looking at processed stevia from another point of view. He was asking whether it could actually be unhealthy. It turns out processed stevia that we buy in little packets in the stores are not really healthy after all.

Dr. Axe
      Read Dr. Axe's article for the details: 




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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Free Ebook




Who doesn't like getting something for free? The other day I was researching information for writing my first Ebook, and I came across David Gaughran's book, Let's Get Digital- how to self publish and why you should in PDF format.

I have lots of ideas for writing a multiple E books, but I have felt stifled by the technology of how to actually format, organize, edit, publish, get an ISBN number, market etc. In other words: I didn't know what to do! I still don't , but I finally decided to spend the time to learn!

A fellow blogger and author recommended David's book. ( Thank you Vicki Lesage - love your blog)  When I searched for the book, I found that it was available on Kindle for $2.99 or the PDF version for free. Not only was it free, David stated that you could offer the link on your blog for free as long as you didn't do so for profit.

Since I decided I would like to share my E book writing journey on my blog with my readers, I'm going to start with sharing the link for David Gaughran's free PDF download for anyone else who might be interested.

  If you have written an E book and have suggestions, recommended reading, recommended programs to use , recommended editors, cover designers etc. I would be most appreciative of any information you could share with me, as I really don't know much yet..  I ( and I'm sure my readers)  would love to hear about your book and your process etc.. Please leave a comment.

Guest Post Opportunity: If you are a blogger and would like to write a guest post- even better!!
 Let me know by writing me at
vegyid2@yahoo.com

Let's Get Digital by David Gaughran: 
The PDF version is FREELet’s Get Digital by David Gaughran – Free PDF Edition (Updated 19 August 2011)

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Zucchini Noodles in the Spiralizer ( WW)

                             

How did I make these sprialized zucchini  noodles? With an inexpensive tool called a sprializer!

Zucchini noodles are an amazing substitute for regular starchy pasta noodles. It's a very low calorie way of eating a pasta look a like dish . How do they taste? Fabulous!

There are many brands of spiralizers, but the one I bought on Amazon  is very reasonable, and I've been using mine for years  Joyce Chen 51-0662, Saladacco Spiral Slicer, White

                                   
                                  Joyce Chen 51-0662, Saladacco Spiral Slicer, White

Making vegetable noodles is fast and easy and something really different. Once you have a sprializer, you can go crazy making noodles from carrots  , beets into pasta noodles, and so much more. There is something about regular pasta that really sticks to the ribs, literally, but not this zucchini pasta. It's light and delicious and made from the raw vegetable using a simple tool that every kitchen should have called a "spiralizer". I made two different recipes: one with sauce and the other with mushrooms.

                          

Back to our zucchini pasta dishes- The whole family will love these simple delicious dishes, and if you are conscious of counting calories, it is much lower in calories and much more nutritious than regular or gluten free pasta. Vegetables are good for you and most of us need to eat more of them. Why not enjoy them when they taste like pasta!!

Here are some reasons to eat enjoy these fun and very easy to make zucchini noodles
  • If you are celebrating Passover-   these vegetable noodles are a grain free and make a fun meal!! 
  • If you are celebrating Easter, this nutritious recipe will make a light and fabulous side for any holiday meal.
  • If you are vegetarian- Makes a great entree
  • If you are vegan , leave out the cheese and make a marinara sauce
  • If you prefer raw- try my amazing raw zucchini recipe made with sundried tomatoes for the sauce
  • If you are weight conscious- You will LOVE these noodle alternatives- low in calories 
Recipe #1
Ingredients:
1 medium zucchini
1 cup of marinara sauce
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Olive oil or butter

Directions:
Using a spiralizer ( very very easy) follow easy directions to make the noodles -takes about 1-  2 minutes to turn into noodles
In a skillet, add a teaspoon of olive oil or butter and saute the noodles very quickly for about a minute and half ( don't over cook)
Place into a bowl, cover with sauce and cheese.
Eat and enjoy

Or if you prefer You can eat your zucchini pasta raw or cooked. So dig in and enjoy this nutritious and very tasty dish.


Used a spiralizer to make zucchini noodles
I ate this raw without sauteing the zucchini - delicious 
                       

Recipe #2 - Zucchini and Mushrooms
1 package of sliced mushrooms
1 medium zucchini
optional: Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Saute mushrooms in a little olive oil or butter
sprialize the zucchini into noodles
Add zucchini to mushrooms and sautee just 1 minute longer!
Toss with grated cheese if desired and enjoy
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zucchini made with a sprializer
zucchini just after spiralized
since zucchini is a non starchy vegetable it is zero points plus on WW.. so enjoy this healthy lunch.

sauteed zucchini tossed with Parmesan cheese
Zucchini sauteed a little and then tossed with a little Parmesan- Amazing

mushrooms sauteing in a skillet
sauteing mushrooms for zucchini 


sprialized zucchini noodles tossed with mushrooms
toss mushrooms and zucchini together


sprialized zucchini and mushrooms with a fried egg
I added an egg to eat it with.. It made a nice lunch

may be shared on a few of the following blog carnivals

You can check out the spiralizers on Amazon:  Joyce Chen 51-0662, Saladacco Spiral Slicer, White

may be shared on a few of the following blog carnivals

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Grain Free Flat Bread in 20 minutes



This delicious gluten free/grain free flat bread has to be one of the best and easiest I've ever made! Look, I'm not a baker, and making bread is usually a little intimidating for me. In fact, I usually just don't even attempt it at all.. However, this recipe is so easy and so fast and fool proof, I could make it every day ( and I might)

. Prep time 5-10 minutes, baking time 15 minutes, and the finished product freezes beautifully. It's made from Plantains, not flour!
These are plantains, not bananas- They are higher in starch and lower in sugar
when green you can cook with them, when yellow they become sweet like a banana
I've never used a plantain before either, but I picked up three greenish  plantains in my supermarket ( 59 cents each) , peeled two of them by scoring 4 sides and peeling it down, then I  followed the easy recipe directions. The results were amazingly surprising. The plantains make a delicious gluten free/grain free bread without the use of expensive gluten free flours .( the greener the plantain the less sweet the taste- if you buy them yellow they are sweet and not as suitable for bread unless you want a sweet bread)
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I first was introduced to this recipe by my dear friend Laura ( author of the following books: Disaster Blaster: A Kid's Guide to Being Home Alone, The Summerman Time Travel Matchmaking Agency - Book One: Open for Business, and  Food No Matter What! Recipes for Perfect Dining in an Imperfect World;) Laura  has been experimenting with this recipe for the past few months.  She not only excitedly shared the recipe, she physically guided me through the easy step by step process, and in less than 1/2 hour, we were enjoying a fresh batch of  this delightful bread. Laura makes the bread, cuts it in rectangular slices, and freezes it. The slices are then available whenever she needs a slice for a sandwich or toast.

In addition, the recipe is also extremely versatile. It can be made vegetarian or vegan and can be seasoned with any kind of spice or seeds. It can be made savory  with spices or sweet with the addition of fruit puree, pumpkin puree, etc. So this one basic recipe can yield a variety of different tasting  breads. In addition, if you vary the amount of liquid, you can use the same recipe to make bread, crackers, chips, or even a cake like consistency.

What's more is that I realized the recipe meets kosher for Passover dietary guidelines- it contains no leaven so  I CAN MAKE IT and Eat it FOR PASSOVER !! Forget the 7.99 box of gluten free matzoh! This recipe is much tastier, much healthier, and much less expensive than packaged gluten free matzo ( if you can even find it). It doesn't taste like matzo , it tasted better.

It's hard for me to believe  that during the 4 years of writing a gluten free blog and 5 years of reading gluten free blogs and magazines, I had never come across this kind of bread recipe before.

Usually, the gluten free bread recipes are made with coconut, almond, or rice flours and other hard to find expensive ingredients ; this bread is made with PLANTAINS..am inexpensive vegetable/fruit ? , not a flour .

It's the fastest and easiest bread I have ever made and truthfully the tastiest. I don't  know what else to say, except that if you need to eat gluten or grain free, you must try it !!

Ingredients: 
2  organic green plantain, peeled and sliced ( cut off the ends, scored 4 sides, and peel) 
2 eggs ( or substitute 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed and 4 Tablespoon water for each egg) 
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper 
optional: seasoning or seeds of your choice- sesame seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, caraway seeds, 
spices of your choice- oregano, cumin. or make it plain

Directions: 
Put sliced plantains into the blender and whiz , add the 2 eggs and blend until creamy. (Works great in a Nutribullet! ) Using a spatula, pour the batter onto a parchment covered cookie sheet and spread. Top with seeds if desired I used sesame seeds and some caraway seeds. 
Bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes of 350. Remove and place on a slotted rack. Flip the flatbread over to cool. Slice into rectangles. Enjoy it hot or allow to cool and place in a ziplock bag to freeze. 

score the plantain of 4 sides


Peel it  and then slice it
Put slices and eggs  and whiz everything in the blender or nutri bullet

Using a spatula , spread evenly onto a parchment covered cookie sheet


I put seeds on half and then baked it at 375 degrees 


You can toast it before eating if you like it crispy, but it's great just the way it is
When you want to eat it, you can toast until crispy or defrost and use the slices for a sandwich. 
There are ways to make this thicker, thinner to use as crackers etc. More to come in future posts
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Ultimate Blog Party 2014