Thursday, December 27, 2007

Oatmeal and Lasagna

I learned this cool thing this morning: Instant Oatmeal is a scam.
Not only is instant oatmeal overpackaged, overprocessed, and oversweetened, it's not necessary. You do not have to cook oatmeal. I'm not talking about instant oatmeal. Not even Quick oatmeal. Regular Quaker Old Fashioned Oatmeal.
I had breakfast this morning with my friend Sue and she made oatmeal like this:
  • Boil water.
  • Mix in serving bowls 3 parts boiling water to 2 parts oatmeal. (2/3 of a cup of oatmeal, 1 cup of water)
  • Let it sit until the water is all absorbed, and it's ready to eat.

Being back on track and off the nefarous sugar, I top mine with unsweetened applesauce.

As we talked about unnecessary products, I remembered how I had laughed when I first saw packages of "no-boil lasagna noodles" in the early '80's. The joke is: no lasagna noodles need to be boiled. You build your lasagna, make sure the sauce completely covers the top, cook it for the normal 50 minutes and poof: lasagna. Yeah, I know, when I first read it (in Mother Earth News, circa 1980) I had to try it to be sure - but I haven't boiled a lasagna noodle since.

Human for the Holidays

Hello everyone and a Merry Midwinter to you all.

This time of year presents special challenges - obstacles - traps - for those of us who are trying to avoid sweeteners and eat Real Food. We show our love of friends and family by giving them stuff that's bad for them and sharing it with them. Go figure. Last year I survived just fine. This year I *gasp!* ate some of the sweets. Enough to remind me why I don't do that. Armed with a brand new bottle of Tums as I pay the consequences, my food is back on track. Yay.

I could have gone on posting like that didn't happen, but I like to sleep well at night. I am not The Queen of Eating Right, just an ordinary woman who knows her body works better when fed properly and tries real hard to accomodate it. Sometimes I do better than others.

What I learned: Nothing's changed. Sugar and it's brethren STILL turn off the "that's satisfying, that's enough" switch and invite their friends. Eating it STILL makes for foggy thinking, lower energy levels, leg cramps and heartburn. It hasn't gotten any better out there.

Next post (in a couple of minutes) I'll post a couple of other, more pleasant, things I've learned about food.

Wishing you all a Prosperous, Happy and Healthy New Year!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream and Mint Chocolate Shakes

Sometimes you want a taste that's not commercially available unsweetened. Chocolate plus mint comes to mind, and Three Musketeers now comes mint-flavored. Sometimes it's really hard to leave it alone, and it's not the sugar doing it.

But: I win. What I did:

Standard Shake recipe
plus 3 T cocoa powder
plus 1 T peppermint oil.

Voila! Chocolate Mint craving satisfied, no sugar added.

I promised I'd report on the results of the pumpkin ice cream experiment. I finally got around to making it - and broke my dasher.

What I'd done was freeze the contents of a small can of pumpkin, thin and flat, so little chunks could go in the ice cream mix and have a good head start on frozen-ness. Well, oops, I didn't make the chunks small enough. I added the cream and pumpkin pie spices and turned it on and the whole thing instantly froze together and the dasher - plastic, of course - broke.
So I took a heavy mixing spoon, broke everything up small, and ran the ice cream maker using the mixing spoon as a dasher. That worked ok and before long I had pumpkin pie ice cream.
It was good.

Now here's the thing about not adding sugar. Sugar shuts off the "I'm satisfied" switch and turns on the "I want more" switch. A normal serving of ice cream without sugar turns on my "I'm satisfied" switch about half-way through. Not that it's not yummy, it is. But I don't eat as much because I get satisfied when I'm supposed to.

So I had been looking forward to pumpkin pie ice cream for a while and finally made it and dished myself a good sized bowl of it. Hah. Half that much would have been plenty.

The only thing about these ice creams I'm making that I'm not happy with is the texture - I guess I'm not putting in carrageenan or something? or maybe it's the kind of ice cream churn I'm using. I'm working on it. Next time I do pumpkin, I'll mix it in the blender first, and add bits of pecan and apple at the end. That should be outstanding.