I'm trying to get settled into my summertime routine now that I'm back at our home-away-from-home in Georgia. I spent four mornings this week at the pool, and afternoons trying to unpack and take stock of what I needed to get my kitchen up and functioning here. I brought lots of fresh vegetables from my parent's garden back home, as well as farm-raised beef from our freezer. By the time I did some grocery shopping to re-stock some items, it was a real balancing act to get everything to fit into the fridge and the little freezer up top.
I did cook a little bit:
Round steak cooked in the crock-pot, same seasonings and technique I used here for chuck steak...
...purple hull peas--frozen, but originally from my parents garden...
...ice box pickles (made with Splenda), and sliced cucumbers and tomatoes.
For desserts, I've been eating a variety of fruit, including some delicious fresh blackberries that my husband picked from wild blackberry brambles. I do plan to make some sugar-free desserts, but I'll be honest, these fresh berries are so good, I put some in a bowl, pour on a little milk or cream (if I have it) and eat them with a spoon like a bowl of cereal. (One night I ate two big bowls of berries and milk instead of supper.)
Meanwhile, there are a couple of sugar-free products that I want to mention:
- Splenda--I know that there are a lot of people out there that don't support the use of artificial sweeteners. In a perfect world, we wouldn't need artificial anything, but it's not a perfect world, and for myself, using artificial sweeteners is a choice I make in order to accomplish the goals I have of losing weight and getting my blood sugar back to a good level. It's not for everyone, I'm not a doctor, I'm not advising you to use them. But. For me, it works for now. I've been a dieter on and off for years. More years than I care to remember. But I do remember when our only choice in non-sugar sweeteners was saccharin. Little pink packets or some kind of drops, you couldn't cook with them, and to be honest, most of the products made with it, with few exceptions, tasted gross. Next came aspartame, the little blue packets. Still couldn't cook with, but it did at least taste a little better. There are all kinds of products out there today, some of which I haven't tried yet, but I have to tell you that so far, I've been very impressed with my use of Splenda in cooking. I bought the granulated Splenda, the kind in the bag or box that you use measure-for-measure in the place of sugar. I've used it so far in the filling for my cheese blintzes; additional added to leftover filling to make a sugar-free cheesecake; and in my ice box pickles. I'm going to try it in the next few weeks in some other things, including jam and cobbler.
- Popsicle brand Sugar-Free Popsicles--especially the orange ones. 15 calories, folks--15!
- Sonic--I know this isn't a product, but Sonic has half-price drinks during their afternoon "happy-hour", and they have more sugar-free drinks than any restaurant or fast-food place that I know. They not only carry Diet Coke, they have Diet Dr. Pepper, Coke Zero, Sprite Zero, Minute Maid light lemonade, Low-cal diet limeade, diet green tea, and according to their on-line menu, their raspberry and peach tea is low-cal, as well. In this heat, they are my new favorite drive-through.
Thanks so much to Chaya for her link last week for sweet potatoes with chopped pecans and maple syrup, and to Debbie from Where's My Rolling Pin? for her feedback in the comments.
Until next time, good cooking, and good eating...