Brownies with allulose — not exactly like regular brownies

Food processors are constantly looking for a sweetener that will make people think they’re eating sugar while not getting all the harmful side effects of consuming sugar. I wrote recently about one such sweetener, allulose, which some say is better for us than sugar.

I purchased a brownie mix with allulose from Lang’s Chocolates to see how this sweetener works in a baked product and how it tastes. The results were disappointing.

The brownie mix seemed very sticky while I was mixing it and the final baked brownie seemed the same. The end product did not taste all that chocolatey and it had an after-taste which I assume comes from the allulose. In short, it did not taste like a brownie made with sugar.

Continue reading “Brownies with allulose — not exactly like regular brownies”

A lesson in reading food labels — canned garbanzo beans can be loaded with salt

Canned chickpeas can be loaded with salt, always check the label.

When you’re trying to get the salt out of your diet, you need to be constantly aware of the salt hidden in every food you buy. This was recently brought home to me when my wife asked me to pick up a can of garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas).

She planned to put them into a homemade soup that she wanted to be low-salt for me. Luckily, when I was searching for them, I came across a low-salt variety.

The low-salt chickpeas had only135 mgs of salt per serving. Regular brands had 340 mgs! Multiply that by the number of servings per can and you can see your salt intake rising before your eyes.

For more tips on cutting salt, read my post, Salt is everywhere, beware; become a smart shopper & diner, and check my Ingredients and Smart Shopper pages.

Walden Farms’ reformulated Ranch Dressing Tastes Good, But Note the Salt Content

Walden Farms recently announced a rebranding of its salad dressings to feature more natural ingredients.

Walden touts the dressings by saying they are “proudly free from artificial flavors and dyes, made with real vegetables, fruit fibers and ingredients. Offering a full line of specialty condiments and food enhancers with zero calories, zero net carbs, zero sugar and zero fat, Walden Farms uniquely provides consumers with unmatched attributes vs. other brands in the marketplace.”

While I applaud the no fat, no sugar message, I also would like to see some salt-free varieties offered. In e-mailing with a Walden representative, I requested a sample of the lowest salt dressing in the line, the Ranch dressing.

Continue reading “Walden Farms’ reformulated Ranch Dressing Tastes Good, But Note the Salt Content”

Have you heard about allulose? I’m going to try it

Sugar is one of the big three ingredients we try to avoid but it is the hardest to walk away from. Who doesn’t love sugary things? So the quest goes on for a sugar-substitute that doesn’t carry the harmful side-effects of sugar. I recently read about one such alternative, allulose.

My test products with allulose instead of sugar.

Allulose is made from natural sources. It “is found naturally in very small amounts in foods like wheat, figs, corn, and raisins. It looks like sugar and tastes like sugar — really — but it doesn’t cause your blood sugar to spike and it contains just .4 calories per gram. That’s about 90 percent less than sugar, a stat that has contributed to its buzz.

“You’ll find it, like sugar, in most grocery stores, health food stores, and online. It doesn’t come cheap, though: A 12-ounce bag will cost around $10 dollars,” reports Cleanplates.com.

Supposedly, it has no adverse side effects. What I’m most interested in is if it causes gas and bloating like some of the substitutes used now in sugar-free products.

Continue reading “Have you heard about allulose? I’m going to try it”

Wondering what to do with your basil? Here are 87 recipes that use the tasty herb

Growing your own herbs is something you can do inside or out, adding a variety of nee flavors to your food so you won’t miss all the alt you don’t eat any longer. We have an indoor herb garden in winter and big pots of basil outside in summer. So I was happy to see this piece in Epicurious, 87 Basil Recipes, Because You Can Only Eat So Much Pesto Pasta.

The headline appealed to me because I actually don’t like pesto because of the nuts in it, so I’m always looking for other ways to enjoy my basil.

You can see some of my choices in the photo gallery here — basil-topped, thin-crust, low-sodium pizza; basil topped chicken breast with tomato and low-fat mozzarella; and a simple basil and tomato salad.

Let me know your favorites, and which of the 87 you try out.

As you harvest your garden, here’s how to save your veggies and fruits

This past spring, we doubled the amount of space we devote to growing vegetables at our house. Chalk it up to Covid and looking for joy in small tasks such as raising my own tomatoes and green beans.

We added a second raised garden for tomatoes and green beans this spring. The harvest is starting to come in! The tomatoes are acherry tomato variety.

If you’re a food gardener like me, you’re harvesting about now and wondering how to preserve some of your crops. So this piece, How to Preserve Every Type of Summer Fruit and Veggie from Cooking Light magazine should be a big help.

It mainly talks about vegetables. There is a section on melons and watermelon. I’ve never have been able to get those to grow in our northern climate, but if you live somewhere that has the type pf weather they like, this article is for you too.

Super foods? Maybe think again about these 25

I’ve never been a believer in so-called “super foods,” items that someone or other decides will do amazing things for our bodies. Every body is different which is what makes giving nutrition advice so complex.

So when I see articles like Don’t Spend Your Money on These 25 “Superfoods”, Say Nutritionists in Men’s Health UK, I’m not surprised.

Salt is salt, no matter where it comes from, I avoid it to help control my blood pressure.

The story says such offerings as banana bread, a pandemic favorite, cauliflower, raw spinach, Himalayan salt and turkey bacon aren’t all that some have said they are.

It’s a good reminder, no one food is going to turn your life around. Find what works for you and stick with that.

Salt-free Product Review: Mrs. Dash Sloppy Joe’s Mix

I’ve long been a fan of Mrs. Dash’s salt-free marinades and salt-free taco seasoning. I recently also tried Mrs. Dash’s salt-free Sloppy Joe mix and found it a great substitute for the salt-ladened Manwich Sloppy Joe in a can I used to buy when my children were young.

The Mrs. Dash product did taste different, I think primarily because of the lack of salt. Manwich Sloppy Joe has 310 mgs of sodium a serving and claims one can is 10 servings!. If you’ve ever made it, you know that’s really not the case. I’d say a can is about three real-people servings, so each person would get about 1,000 mgs of sodium, half a day’s worth.

Our ground turkey Sloppy Joe’s.

The Mrs Dash mix includes:

Sugar, Dried Onion, Brown Sugar, Spices (Black Pepper, Celery Seed, Chili Pepper, Cinnamon, Cumin, Nutmeg), Cornstarch, Maltodextrin, Potassium Chloride, Yeast Extract, Tomato Powder, Dried Red and Green Bell Pepper, Dried Garlic, Citric Acid, Glucose, Natural Flavors, Vinegar.

We tried the Mrs. Dash seasoning with ground turkey instead of ground beef to hold the fat down as well. The combination worked well. I might modify the recipe on the package a bit and add more tomato paste than called for to give it a bit more tomato zwing.

One note, my local food stores don’t carry this product, so I bought it online at the Healthy Heart Market.

Food recall: cut fruit taken off Walmart shelves in 9 states

Attention Walmart shoppers, if you live in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma or Texas, you’ll be seeing less cut fruit in the aisles of your local store.

A Walmart supplier is recalling cut fruit in those states because of the possibility of listeria contamination, the Food and Drug Administration announced recently.

An example of the recalled fruit offerings.

“The recall is a precautionary measure due to a possible health risk from Listeria monocytogenes detected on equipment used in an area near where these products are packed. FDA discovered these findings during a recent inspection,” the FDA announcement of the recall stated. The distributor involved is called Country Fresh.

The FDA noted that “the products were packaged in various size clam shell containers (see photos). The “best if used by” dates are between October 3, 2020 and October 11, 2020 and the products are as follows:”

UPCItem DescriptionBest if used by:
68113118012APPLE GRAPE TRAY w/ CARMEL 2 lbs 10oz10/7/202010/8/2020
68113118006GREEN APPLE SLICES 32oz10/8/202010/9/202010/10/2020
68113118007MIXED APPLE SLICES 32oz10/8/202010/9/202010/10/2020
68113118004RED APPLE SLICES 14oz10/10/202010/11/2020
68113118010RED APPLE SLICES 32oz10/8/202010/9/2020
68113118014CANTALOUPE CHUNKS 10oz10/3/202010/4/202010/5/2020
68113118015CANTALOUPE CHUNKS 16oz10/3/202010/4/202010/5/2020
68113118023SEASONAL FRUIT TRAY 40oz10/3/202010/4/2020
68113135509SUMMER BLEND 5oz10/3/202010/4/2020
68113135510TROPICAL BLEND 5oz10/3/202010/4/2020
68113118037MANGO CHUNK 10oz10/3/202010/4/2020
68113118038MANGO SPEARS 16oz10/4/2020
68113118039PINEAPPLE GRAPE MANGO BLEND 16oz10/3/202010/4/202010/5/2020
68113118042PINEAPPLE CHUNKS 10oz10/3/2020
68113118046PINEAPPLE CHUNKS 16oz10/4/2020
68113118043PINEAPPLE CHUNKS 42oz10/10/202010/11/2020
68113118044PINEAPPLE SPEARS 32oz10/5/2020
68113118047RED GRAPES 10oz10/4/2020
68113118048SEASONAL BLEND 10oz10/3/202010/4/2020
68113118049SEASONAL BLEND 16oz10/3/202010/4/202010/5/2020
68113118050SEASONAL BLEND 32oz10/5/2020
68113118069SEASONAL TRIO 32oz10/3/202010/4/202010/5/2020

A Pandemic Food Find: salt-free Farmer Boy Lite Greek Dressing

Oil and vinegar was the salad dressing we used when I was growing up in my Italian-American household and it has been my go=-to choice since my first angioplasty in 2012. That’s because almost all commercial salad dressings are loaded with fat, salt and sugar, liklely why we enjoy them.

I’ve written about carrying my own oil and vinegar in handy small bottles when eating out to avoid restaurant dressing choices.

But all that said, I’m always on the lookout for alternatives. And I found one recently on the Healthy Heart Market, a product called Farmer Boy Lite Greek dressing. It has zero salt, a relatively low three grams of sugar and 2.5 grams of fat per serving with no saturated fat. (You can see the nutrition panel below by sliding the center line, a new feature on my blog.)

I bought a bottle to sample it and have been enjoying it since. Irt is a bit peppery for my taste but that’s often the case with products that take out salt and sugar or fat. Pepper is added instead to give it some flavor.

Also keep in mind, a serving is two tablespoons. I have not measured how much I use on my typical lunch salad (which can be pretty large), but I’m guessing it’s more than that.

Also keep in mind, it costs $5.99, plus shipping, for a 16-ounce bottle. If you can find it at a local store, you can save the shipping cost. The manufacturer sells it for slightly less, but you have to buy six bottles at a time. The company site notes a forerunner of the dressing has been available in the Clearwater, Fl. are for more than 30 years. The Lite version is relatively new, it says.

The processor’s site doesn’t have a list of retailers carrying the brand, I’ll contact them to see if I can get more information.

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