Cooking at Home

Cooking your own sugar free meals may seem like a daunting task, but trust me, it’s much better than having to order salad everyday. And once you have the proper ingredients it’s not too hard. But it’s best to start with a recipe and work your way up to becoming a creative culinary genius.

Before going sugar free, I never would have bothered trying to make my own pasta (by the way this is no longer a necessity as I’ve found pasta without sugar. Huzzah!). I had always thought it would be really cool to do that but assumed it would take a lot of time and be really difficult. Turns out I was wrong. All you need is flour, egg, maybe a little water and salt (you don’t even really need the salt; that’s all about personal taste). The next excuse I always made is we don’t have a pasta maker, but while they are nice and make it very easy, they aren’t necessary. You can use a rolling pin to flatten out the dough (if you don’t have a rolling pin just use a bottle of wine; I know you have one of those), and then cut thin strips with a knife. Yes, it takes more time than opening a package and boiling premade pasta in it, but going sugar free is about being healthy, and a by-product of that is knowing what you’re putting in your body. And the best way to do that is to make your own food. Whether you’re living a sugarless existence or not, just by making your own food, you will be ingesting less sugar, and fewer chemicals and preservatives, and it is just by its very nature healthier for you.

Pasta is just one example and it is really easy to make, and as you get more comfortable with the kitchen you’ll discover more and more that cooking isn’t as scary as most people think. You’ve just got to be willing to be willing to make a mess and have a few not so tasty meals. But once you find a what you flavor combinations you like and get the basic cooking skills in your tool belt, it becomes easy and you’re able to make meals that tickle your taste buds better than anyone else will be able to.

Good news for those of you who are just getting acquainted with your kitchen: the internet is a great place to learn techniques and find recipes. If you are looking for sugar-free recipes, you’ll find that search will mostly turn up desserts. That’s not a bad thing; in fact that’s how I found a recipe for some delicious and sugarless fudge. But even if it’s contains no sugar, it’s still a sweet and it’s not healthy to eat dessert for three meals a day (but with that fudge I really wish it was). So what I’ve found is that if you look for paleo recipes, especially on Pinterest, you’re more likely to find daytime meals. The paleo diet is an eating lifestyle that stems from the idea that our bodies can’t handle the modern processed foods. (This is what I understand about paleo, I honestly have done little to know research on it; you can read an expert’s take here.) It is based one foods that mimic the food groups of pre-agricultural, hunter-gatherer societies. The best part about this for us is that means NO SUGAR! It is a much stricter eating lifestyle than the sugar-free one, which means that it can be used for sugar-free recipes! And once you gain the skills you can adapt them to be less paleo and more to your taste.

Adaptation can go both ways: for example you can adapt a recipe to be sugar free, such as swapping out white sugar for honey. Or as is often the case the sugar is unnecessary and can just be left out altogether. I’m taking this second route for dinner tonight.  Tonight I’m making what we like to call Kale Pasta, because our preferred green for this dish is, you guessed it, kale, but you can use any leafy green you like. The hidden sugar in this recipe comes from the bread crumbs, but the good news is they aren’t crucial to the tastiness of the dish and so that ingredient can be scrapped. And if you want a suggestion for an ingredient that will replace the crunch in this dish, might i suggest crushed hazelnut, it melds splendidly with the flavor of the browned butter. This dish is so easy can be put together in under 20 minutes, tastes wonderful and looks really impressive.

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