Sunday, November 16, 2008

Searching for Marshmallows

WARNING: Please read this post on the use of agave nectar before pursuing this recipe. I'm planning to attempt honey-sweetened marshmallows in the near future - so in the mean time - try organic cane juice.

The picture here (from shows an amazing plateful of homemade marshmallows that my heart's desire is to replicate.

It saddens me to say that after days of research (off and on of course) I think I am running out of options. As you know we have gone refined-sugar free and so my most versatile of sweeteners is the yummy agave nectar. Well, we also eat more or less an Old Testament diet which takes out all pork products. So I have been mousing and clicking away for a recipe that uses or can adapt agave nectar with non-pork gelatin for homemade marshmallows.

The research has been hopeful but ultimately discouraging. Most of the comments of using vegetarian gelatin in exchange for the regular Knox gelatin is that is down not "froth up" correctly. One person described their result as sweet, syrupy jello. Not what I am looking for. So my last hope is for finding gelatin that is from beef or chicken (without the pork) and giving that a shot with the agave nectar. Since the preparation requires mixing the ingredients for 15 minutes straight, (and I do not have a stand mixer) - I want to do all I can to make sure the end result is a success. I may be discouraged, but not defeated. Stay tuned for the ongoing marshmallow saga.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bye Bye Sugar!

It's our family birthday! It has now been over a year since Pete and I gave up all refined sugars (white, powdered, corn syrup, anything that makes up most of our food choices).

Why? We get this question a lot. Some people are very good at "moderation." For
years we tried all kinds of strategies to lower our sugar intake. We tried making sugar a weekend thing, having one serving a day, three a week, etc. They all failed because we are basically gluttonous people. :-)

So last October/November Pete was up late one night feeling shell-shocked from the pan of brownies that we had just consumed and made a discovery. He ended up on a website about drug and alcohol addiction. It was scary how similar the feelings we had about sugar were to drugs and alcohol. This was not a AA site. It was more intense. It suggested we just stop and never go back.


Pete was pretty excited about his discovery and tried to share it with me the next day. I was less than enthused. After a couple of days (with Pete praying) I finally looked at the website (actually, Pete took me to the website and showed it to me). I thought - "Crap, we're really going to have to do this."

So we made a commitment and it was hard. What made it especially hard was trying to find substitutes for the things we used to enjoy that used natural sugars (honey, maple syrup, etc.). I made some "not so delicious almond butter and carob bars with honey for coaches training. We choked these down while sitting at table with bowls of M&M's right in front of us.

Fast forward a year...
It's great. I've learned to make brownies, cakes, blondies, pancakes, frosting and most recently cookies out of natural sugars that taste incredibly good. Next blog, I'll share a recipe for a natural dessert.