Saturday, March 16, 2013

Swerve into it what it seems? pt. 2

Epic Failure...

Today I'm here to tell you how disappointed I am in the swerve sweetener in the caramel challenge and the sucralose the same.  Both claim to act like sugar and in small ways they do.  They can both bring you sweetness and come out with flying colors on certain recipes, but this was one specific challenge I wanted to put them up to.

After a long wait standing over the hot stove trying to get the sweeteners to brown, all I got was a hot mess.  Both seem to have dissolved nicely, but I was wrong.  Letting it sit after cooking for 20 min, it smells nice, but then comes the disappointment.  The sweetener solidify's on the top of the water. 

pan full of, well...not caramel

Looking on the Internet to see if anyone found a way to work this into a caramel or even sauce for that matter.  Well there are many recipes out there and while I could go and try each one until I found the right one, I think I will move on to something else for now.

Ill be thinking of the next move and where to go next. Thank you for following and check back soon to see where we go next.   

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Swerve into sweetness... Is it what it seems? pt. 1

When you go to the store you hope to run in and get what you need without taking too long. What do you do when they don't have that one thing you need? Most people get the next best thing, because lets face it we usually don't have all the time in the world to use on shopping.

Much to my surprise I went in looking for many varieties of sweeteners and only found a few, different in types, not by name.  You'll find many of the same products packaged and processed differently with a different name. New products come out all the time, its the way business will always be, you blink and there is something new.

I found myself going to the Internet to find some sweeteners not found in stores.  This is where I found the product swerve. This product is fairly new and only available online, I purchased this product from amazon...They seem to have everything.  So far the only two things I have made with this was homemade whip cream and the pumpkin mousse.

What I think so far...

Swerve sweetener holds up great in the homemade whip and adds amazing flavor to the pumpkin mousse. My next test is going to be caramel so see how it holds up in comparison to sucralose and then other sweeteners.

Why is this so important...

Most people absolutely love caramel and why not it's amazing! If you work in a bakery or go shopping for REAL caramel and not just the little cheap candies that are sold as caramel, you'll notice that it isn't cheap. You can make it home for a decent price and it is a very quick process to make, just a little more time to let it rest, but not long at all. Real caramel is very smooth and much better then the cheap stuff.

Check back in soon, I'll share the results and let you know what to look forward too.

Monday, March 11, 2013

It's not thanksgiving, but it's delicious!!!

Today I am back.  Sorry for the extended absence but life is happening all around us.  My wife is currently pregnant and ready to pop at any time.

Back and ready to deliver an awesome recipe, I am bringing you a very DELICIOUS treat!  I call it Two-Bite Pumpkin Napoleons.

What you need:
  1. A mixer w/whip attachment or hand whisk w/bowl
  2. Sheet pan/cookie sheet
  3. Piping bag w/tip (optional) or spoon

  • 1 can (small) sugar free pumpkin
  • 1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet), thawed
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Swerve® Confectioners Sweetener
  • 2 cups sugar free whip
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
What to do: 

  1. Start by heating the oven to 400°F.
  2. Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface.  Cut the pastry sheet into 3 strips along the fold marks. Cut each strip into 8 rectangles, making 24 in all.  Place the pastry rectangles onto a baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown.  Remove the pastries from the baking sheet and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Split the pastries into 2 layers, making 48 in all.
  4. Stir the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves( my addition) and sweetener in a medium bowl.  Fold in the whipped topping.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. If you're not sure what folding in means, it's just gently mixing in the whip with a rubber spatula.
  5. Divide the pumpkin mixture among 24 bottom pastry layers. Top with the pecans and then top with remaining pastry layers.  Garnish with additional cinnamon and confectioners' sweetener or whipped topping (optional)
  6. Tip: For a striped garnish, place 1/2-inch strips of wax paper diagonally across the tops of the pastries.  Sprinkle with confectioners' sweetener or cinnamon.  Remove the wax paper.
These directions are exactly the same as these 

All I did was replace sugar free elements where needed and thought it to be a good idea to test this new sweetener.  The end result is amazing and my lovely wife enjoyed every bite even though she doesn't like sugar free anything.

I hope you enjoy and please if there are any questions just ask away!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Metallic muffins? Nope just saccharin again!

Ever noticed that bitter, metallic taste after you enjoy a sip of your favorite sugar free drink?  Well more than likely you're tasting the SACCHARIN used in combination with other ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS.

Might as well eat this

Saccharin has no food energy and like many other food sweeteners is much sweeter then sugar.  This sweetener is not very popular but because of the fact that it has no reaction to other foods, it is used more than it should be.

So you may not of heard of saccharin, but I am sure you have heard of its other name, Sweet'n'low.  To this day you can still find it on your table in many little restaurants along side the packets of equal and sugar.  Some still prefer the taste and will argue that it has no aftertaste and that's their opinion, everybody's taste buds are different!
Yay for choices!

As with many other sugar substitutes you have to be careful when using this as it can taint the flavor of many foods.  If you're lucky it wont have any effect and your food will turn out perfectly, which I hope is true.  I personally do not like the aftertaste and cannot seem to disguise it no matter what I try.

Like other artificial sweeteners it does not effect glucose levels and is safe for diabetics.  This is because it goes directly into the digestive system.  It does trigger a release of insulin, believed to be because of the taste, but not significantly.  

So, saccharin, aftertaste is a big possibility but the plus side is you can enjoy sweetness.  Is it worth it or not, you decide!

Stevia you sweet thing you!

Ah yes today we are discussing stevia and the sweet plant it is.  If you don't know this, stevia is acutally a plant from the sunflower family.  I thought that was an interesting fact even if it does not pertain to sweeteners.

Stevia is considered a novel sweetener.  It is put in this category because of where it comes from and how it is made.  Stevia naturally is sweeter than sugar, but after its processed it becomes less sweet.  Because it has a negligible affect on blood sugar, it became very popular.

Originally stevia was banned in 1990 unless it was labeled as a dietary supplement.  Europe didn't allow the use of stevia until 2011.

If you have used stevia, you noticed that some can have a bitter taste if used in excess.  Keep in mind that this isn't true with all stevia extracts.  Try to substitute this very carefully because of this fact.  Just because you have used one doesn't mean they will all be the same.

I'll be back tomorrow with more info to keep you sugar free and loving it!

Sucralose, A Breath of SWEET Air?

Just another day in the land of sugar free gum drops and lollipops! Smell the fresh SWEET air....wait say what?  Well I don't know about you but it seems every time I use a product with sucralose there comes a real sweet bite to the air around me.
Wrong kind of SWEET air!

If you haven't tried it, you'll know when you first use it.  This real fine powdery (also comes granulated) sugar substitute seems to get scrambled in the air around it whenever I use it. Why is this?  To explain it the easy way, it is an artificial sweetener.  As some of us know artificial sweeteners are about 10 times sweeter then sugar.

Talk about a sugar free high!

So this brings me to the next point about sucralose.  When using it in a recipe, you may notice that some packages state that you can use this product as an equal substitute for sugar.  For example, 1 cup sugar = 1 cup sucralose.  Do not use the same amount in every recipe.  Some recipes will turn out so much sweeter than you like.

Well there goes another day in the land of sugar free.  Join me again tomorrow and see what we can learn next!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Keep the gas give me the sweet!

Ever try a sugar free recipe that left you feeling bloated and needing to be closer to the restroom then you wanted to be?

If you ever had the chance to try some sugar free chocolates or maybe a sugar free chocolate cake, chances are it was made with Maltitol.  Chances are you also ended up with gas or the urge to use the restroom a little more then usual.  Today we will be going over Maltitol and finding out why this particular sugar substitute gives you the nasty side effects.

Let me start by telling you what Maltitol is first just to get an idea where it comes from.  Maltitol is known as 4-O-α-glucopyranosyl-D-sorbitol, a sugar alcohol or a polyol that has a lesser effect on the blood glucose level and tooth decay.  This sugar substitute is about 25% less sweeter then sucrose or table sugar.

Now that we both have an idea what it is, lets see if we can understand why it gives you gas.  From what I have researched, I noticed that not many sites offer a clear understanding on why Maltitol causes such side effects.  In fact I only came across one that explained Maltitol was an extract from fruit and other plants such as wheat and corn.  Indulging in these things can cause the negative side effects for many of us because in small portions it actually helps the intestinal system.
I guess its the way nature helps us keep a clean colon.  If you enjoy Maltitol or haven't even tried it, don't be scared because only 5% of people have the negative side effects associated with it.  I myself had little effects, but I only tried a very small portion of dessert.

So give it a chance and see what you think, but just try it in small amounts at first so you're not fooled like many others! Come back again and see what we find out what there is to know about sucralose.

Artificial or Not! Does this make me look FAT? pt. 2

Continue on, don't be afraid to try new things.  Sweet treats and sugar free, need the knowledge then follow me...

Here we go again with another beautiful day.  Let us continue to explore this amazing world of sugar substitutes.  We left off last time with a little bit of information on how many types of sugar substitutes there are.  Today I promised you a recipe of my choice that you can try for yourself.  I went through this recipe using different types of sweeteners to see just how much of a change there could be in the finished product.

Here is a very simple recipe that I use.

Chocolate oatmeal cookies - no bake

1 cup butter
2 cups xylitol
1 cup milk
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups rolled oats

  • What you need to do is take a sauce pot and melt the butter.  
  • Then add the xylitol, cocoa and the milk, heat until the xylitol is dissolved completely. 
  • Now add the vanilla.  
  • Put the rolled oats in a bowl, metal or a bowl that will not melt from the hot mixture.  
  • Pour the contents of the pan over the oats and mix together.  
  • Once the mixture is combined together just scoop little balls out onto a parchment lined sheet tray or cookie sheet.
  • Let the cookies cool and harden, then enjoy!

You can add little amounts of chocolate chips or coconut to this if you would like to.     Also, keep in mind that these cookies will be very fragile and may fall apart slightly, do not be discouraged, it's normal.

This recipe is not only sugar free but gluten free as well because it has to flour in it.  Now I tried this recipe with three different sweeteners and xylitol seemed to work the best so far.  First attempt was with Equal (aspartame), the second being xylitol and the third was sucralose.

The first attempt works OK but the Equal does not seem to bring out the sweetness I was looking for and it dissolves instantly in the milk mixture making it hard to judge when it is ready.  The third attempt was very similar to the first as these sweeteners are very similar.

When you try this recipe with normal sugar, it comes out very similar to the one containing xylitol.  I think the only difference I found was in the sweetness.  If you have tried both sugar and xylitol within the same period of time, you know what I mean, very subtle but it is still there.

Please enjoy and if you have tried a recipe similar to this and have any feedback or would like to give feedback on this particular recipe please do so.  I hope you enjoyed this information and will join me again next time as we stroll further more in depth with sugar free delights!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Artificial or Not! Does this make me look FAT? pt. 1

Working on getting healthy or just trying to keep your body the way it is, free from complications, today we start an exploration of ARTIFICIAL sweeteners and the vast world of other sugar SUBSTITUTES!

First off, what is an artificial sweetener and what is not?  Some of you might find it very easy to tell the difference, but others may not have a clue.  The definition of an artificial sweetener is: A synthetic sugar substitute that may be derived from natural occurring substances .  Other sugar substitutes come from natural sources like fruit and milk.

Each sweetener whether artificial or not has different baking and cooking capabilities and can change the texture/taste of the food you make.  I've looked around and found this list from and as far as I can see it was only missing one item which is swerve and I believe it is because of how new this product is, but it does have natural sweeteners on the right side that contain mass amounts of sugars so we wont be covering those items.

Artificial sweetenersSugar alcoholsNovel sweetenersNatural sweeteners
Acesulfame potassium (Sunett, Sweet One)ErythritolStevia extracts (Pure Via, Truvia)Agave nectar
Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet)Hydrogenated starch hydrolysateTagatose (Naturlose)Date sugar
NeotameIsomaltTrehaloseFruit juice concentrate
Saccharin (SugarTwin, Sweet'N Low)LactitolHoney
Sucralose (Splenda)Maltitol

Maple syrup





As you can see there are many choices out there when it comes to sugar substitutes and it can be very beneficial to know what the side effects to these can be.  Just of the top of my head I know that Maltitol can cause bloating and whats known as a laxative effect like many other sugar alcohols listed above.

I don't know about you but I love dessert, but without the side of pepto!  Come on we deserve better then that.

So lets see what the most popular sugar substitute is today...What I come up with is aspartame (equal and nutrasweet).  Not a whole lot of popularity contests going on so not much research to base it on, but what I am basing this on is that it is the most sold as of right now.  If some one knows something different, please step and mention it. Now a days the Internet is so cluttered with junk it's hard to find an answer sometimes.

So why is it sold the most? Well it was one of the first sweeteners to come out that was not found to be cancer forming and that joined with a low-calorie intake, it became a hit very quickly.  It nearly was tanked after a false email was spread claiming there were a hundred different ways aspartame was bad for you.  That was quickly squashed and the business has been going up ever since.

I want to leave you with this for now and open this up for comments. I will be checking in periodically through the night.  I realize there is a vast amount of knowledge to be further discussed and I hope to cover that in the next few weeks to come, but I would like to keep tonight's discussion on this post please.

JOIN tomorrow as we explore a recipe of my choice and the different sweeteners I used to see what the different outcomes were.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What's in it for you? Sugar ATTACK!!!

You love sugar, who doesn't?

Going to the store as children we all love candy, you don't think of the bad effects, why would you? DIVE in and go CRAZY with sweets! You have the chocolate lovers, the jawbreaker biters, pixie stix sniffers, gummy bear chewers...You get a sugar high just thinking about it.

20 years later...

You understand that sugar can change the way you live your life...

You find yourself choosing between chocolate and an apple.  Sure the apple is healthy and very delicious, but CHOCOLATE is so good!  Give me a banana, then give me a banana dipped in chocolate...10 times better duh!

It's getting to be easier to choose now because sugar free items are becoming popular, but so many things taste bitter or have that strange aftertaste.  I find myself buying some sugar free items and I like some, but others taste so horrible it makes me wonder why I choose sugar free at all.

You know just as well as I do that sugar can cause diabetes or other problems to appear, which we all want to avoid, but something always keeps pulling us back. I'm going to start an experiment and see what types of sweeteners do what, why not right?

Find the right taste without the surprise, join me and try it to, lets kick sugars ass while enjoying it deliciously! If you agree or disagree with something, maybe you know something I do not, let me know.  Don't hold back let it out I do not get offended easily and I love insights from other people.

I'll be back tomorrow to talk about different sweeteners and see what we can find out about them.  I want to talk about my experience with them and see what you think as well, after all we all would like something healthier that taste just as good as the real thing....Sugar Free You Later