Thursday, March 21, 2013

Homemade Date Sugar

I am such a sweet freak. I love love love anything and everything sweet..give me chips or cookies to choose between? Cookies no problem. But recently a lot of studies i've been seeing about refined white sugar have been pretty scary. For example, did you know that your fat intake hardly determines how much weight you gain, but it is the amount of sugar that really does? Or that some studies have even linked high refined sugar intake (ie white sugar, corn syrup, etc) is directly linked to cancer? ...yikes!! So what, may you ask, can we do to change that? Use alternative sweeteners! Raw honey, agave nectar, blackstrap unsulfured molasses, my homemade date raisin syrup, and now to add to the line of date sweeteners, date sugar! The best thing about using dates as a sweetener is that they are a whole food, so along with their delicious sweet flavor you're also getting all the yummy nutrients that they naturally contain, as opposed to white sugar for example, which is so processed and refined that it has almost nothing that the sugar cane plan actually had (that would be in the blackstrap molasses..a by product of sugar making).  This date is really similar in appearance to brown sugar, though mine turned out more powdery and less sticky which isn't a bad thing at all. I think it's really awesome in baked goods, oatmeal, etc. It doesn't dissolve quite as well as other sweeteners, but heck there's always the syrups. But really give this a shot! Its pretty pricey in stores, so very easy to make at home, and so very delicious!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie..just like your vegetarian mama used to make!

I'm so glad to have finally made this recipe. I've been planning it out for the longest time, yet have never decided to execute it till today, when a lovely free(..ish) evening presented itself to me. Planning on eating my trail mix granola that I made the other day and to play it easy on the cooking tonight, I all of a sudden felt inspired! Which basically meant, shepherd's pie night! And I am now proud to say that I can add a checkmark on yet another of my recipe makeovers, as shepherds pie has always looked so enticing but I've never been able to eat it! Till now, that is. Instead of beef I used lentils and mushrooms. I think that these hearty, and protein packed ingredients are just the right substitute to produce a hearty "stick-to-your-stomach" feeling (of course the mashed potatoes help as well...) and are also so so very yummy. I just love the earthy and delicious taste of shrooms and lentils. And combined with all the other ingredients, pure magic! I think this is a great recipe when in a pinch and left only with staples. I always keep dried lentils, potatoes, and frozen veggies in the freezer because who knows, there may be some day when you run out of fresh (god forbid!). So basically, as I finish my kind of scattered thoughts, try out this recipe! Its oh so good...

Homemade Honey Tarragon Mustard

I haven't always really liked mustard. Actually, its only been in the past few years that I've really started liking it. Granted I won't eat it out of the bottle or anything, and I really don't like that suspiciously yellow and smooth stuff that you can get at any fast food joint, but I really like grainy and unrefined ones. Going into the super market its actually kind of scary, even the really nice mustards have actual mustard listed as one of the last ingredients on the bottle! Sketchy...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Trail Mix Granola

So sorry about my lack of posting recently! Alas, life as a college student proves to be quite hectic from time to time, and sadly cooking must sometimes take the back seat to studies. But, to break from my cooking break, this week I decided to make granola! My inspiration for making this was the Nature's Path cinnamon apple pecan granola that I've basically been living off of for the past week. Now Nature's Path is an amaaazing organic and healthy brand, which usually means that its quite expensive to boot. BUT I recently found it at a local discount store for only 99 cents per bag! Heaven! But this morning I awoke sad and distraught..remembering I had caved and finished the last of my delicious granola the previous night. What was I supposed to do? The 30 minute drive to the discount store was out of the why not make some granola? Perfect Idea.