Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cooking With Fruit Purees

I recently came in contact with a new entrepreneur who opened a fun-filled bakery. We got to chatting about using fruit sweeteners in cookies and the creativity ensued. So, I thought I'd write about the topic here to provide more insight...

Using fruit purees instead of refined sugars in your baked goods and other recipes provides a natural way to obtain more nutrients and taste. I've written previously about how to make your own puree, but do you know how to use it? One of my natural foods cookbooks, Cooking With Fruit Sweeteners, concentrates of using fruit sweeteners instead of refined sugars in everything from baked goods to dinner dishes. So, sharing information is a fun way to get you on the road to experimentation. Here's some info that may help...

Whenever a recipe calls for refined sugar, substitute your dried fruit puree for about 1/2-3/4 the amount of refined sugar. Dried fruits contain much higher levels of sugar than fresh fruit does.

If using fruit purees made from fresh fruit (such as apples, peaches and/or apricots), recipes need less adjusting. Usually, a cup-for-cup substitute works well.

Refined sugar consists of white, brown or powdered varieties. While using fruit purees instead of refined sugars, you usually need to make slight adjustments to the amount of flour in your recipes, especially if using whole grains. That's due to the fact that the fiber found in whole grains soaks up more moisture than refined flours do. I find that adding a little less liquid works well.

When using fruit purees, expect a denser, chewier product than those containing refined sugars. Whenever you see those fluffy, airy baked goods...know that they usually contain refined sugars. Do a test yourself. Find two containers. Fill one container with refined sugar and the other container with fruit puree. Place your hand into the refined sugar and notice how lightweight the granules are. Now, place your hand into the fruit puree and notice how much denser it is. There is substance. Depending upon the extent of processing, some fruit purees contain fiber (small chunks of the fruit still in the mixture). There's no fluffiness or lightness about it.

To find your exact measurements, make a small batch of your favorite recipe while using fruit puree instead of refined sugars. Notice the difference and how you like it. Play around until you find your perfect mixture.

Have fun!

Find interesting? Kindly share...

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Enjoy Mac & Cheese...the Super Easy and Cheap Way!

Recently, a potluck was coming up and I was searching for a recipe to share with others. I saw some Ramen noodle soup packets hanging around, and was curious a to what I could make other than soup.

So, I got online and did some searching. Turns out that Ramen noodles can be made into a tasty and cheap version of macaroni and cheese. The dish was a hit at the potluck. Here's my version:

Serves 5-10
3 packages Ramen noodles, broken apart
2 T goat cheese, crumbled
¼ c freshly grated white cheddar
2 T low fat milk
Seasoning: ¼ t garlic powder,
1/8 t Italian seasoning
1 packet Ramen soup seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste.

Boil noodles for two minutes. Drain.
Return noodles to cooking pot and add remaining ingredients. Stir thoroughly until cheese melts.
Add more cheese and/or seasonings to suit taste.

Find interesting? Kindly share...

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Happy July 4th Weekend!

Wishing everyone a joyous, festive and safe July 4th weekend. Happy Independence Day to all my U.S. readers. :) Enjoy the barbeques, good food and...if you have a the holiday classic with James Cagney playing George M. Cohan..."Yankee Doodle Dandy". It's the best!

Be grateful for our freedoms, that we sometimes take for granted.

Be safe while using or watching fireworks.