Good Morning All You Overstuffed Turkeys:
Last week’s installment on Sweet Potatoes and Yams was such a conversation starter, I figured for this week, it would be nice for you to see how I (and Tracy) implement some of what I “talk” about each week into our “daily” diet – especially when it is part of a Holiday Meal.
Cranberry Sauce and Mashed Potatoes are famous for being on almost every dinner table from now until the New Year. So, in today’s installment, I will detail some very minor alternatives in making each delightful dish that will have a major impact on the overall health of your Holiday Meals.
To me, Thanksgiving Dinner would be just another glutton fest on the calendar if it wasn’t for homemade Cranberry Sauce. And while there are many different recipes for this Tart Treat, almost all of them call for cane or refined sugar to sweeten its appeal. But as you know, neither I, nor Tracy for that matter, use any sugar in any of our cooking. No, it’s not because we’re already sweet enough. Really. At least one of us isn’t. Rather, it’s because we are well aware of all the damage sugar can do to one’s body.
Did you know that most recipes call for 200 grams (1 cup) of refined or cane sugar in order to yield 2 1/4 cups of Cranberry Sauce? Furthermore, did you know that 1 serving of “sauce” is just 2 tablespoons? That means that if you have 2 servings, you are consuming 6 grams of sugar. I know that doesn’t seem like a lot, but we’re only talking about 2 servings of 1 item on the table. And we haven’t even touched dessert or the Brown-Sugar-Topped YAMS, right Vicki? And, for the record, the recommended sugar allowance for men is 45 grams and 30 for women. If you are a diabetic, drop that number to 30 grams if you are a man and 20 if you are a woman.
Now, let me pause for a second. Remember, when I talk about sugar, I am NOT talking about the natural source of sugar (fructose), like fruit. It doesn’t present as much of a danger to one’s body as does “added” sugar when it comes in the form of corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose and sucrose.
So, what are some ways to combat the tartness of Cranberry Sauce and not incur the ill-effects of added sugar? How about a touch, or two, of some Agave Nectar or No Sugar Added (NSA) Apple Sauce? Yes, my SWEEThearts, add 1 1/2 cup of Agave Nectar or 1 cup of NSA Apple Sauce and your taste buds will explode from flavor without your insulin levels exploding from added sugar.
And for those of you who really have a sweet tooth, if neither of the above does if for you or your guests, remember, the best sugar substitute to use when cooking is Stevia. Start by adding a little at a time and, before you know it, you’ll have a Cranberry Dish that will be as sweet as pie.
Now for the most delectable and billowing mounds of “Mashed Potatoes” you’ve ever tasted, but didn’t. Eh? Try this one on your guests…”Mashed Cauliflower”. I know this sounds impossible, but believe me, if made right (as Tracy does), no one will know the difference. Chop up a few heads of Cauliflower and put them into a rice cooker. When done, use a blender and puree them to your desired consistency. Add a bit of no sodium chicken stock, some garlic, as well as all sorts of preferred seasonings and spices (also sodium free) to taste and presto! Heavenly “Mashed Potatoes” that won’t mash your weight-loss efforts.
So my Little Pilgrims, there you have it. Kill a turkey, kill the sugar and kill the starch (yes, Traditional Mashed Potatoes raise the body’s blood sugar as rapidly as White Table Sugar) and you’ll be on your way to having the healthiest Thanksgiving of your life!