Everything comes around for a reason, and if you’re thinking about ways to flavor your food to make it sweet, you’ve come to the right place! Of course, we tend to demonize things before we have a chance to understand them.
We are not going to say that a sugar-free diet is something awful. However, there is a lot of difference between what is considered sugar and what is simply considered sweet. If you need to use alternative sweeteners, that’s perfectly fine. Honey, stevia, xylitol, maltitol and other sweeteners all join forces to make food taste the way we want — sweet!
It’s just a matter of thinking about what type of sweet you want. There’s also agave syrup, which a lot of people like, as well as brown rice syrup, which people care for as well. And who can go wrong with real maple syrup?
If you’re going to stock your pantry with the best stuff out there, you need to make sure that you’re going with the real thing. Far too often people see some honey on sale and think that they’re getting honey, only to find that they’ve actually picked up something that’s made with honey extract and sugar. That’s not what you’re looking for at all — you want honey! You want it now! You want to make sure that you can get to the honey! Right, honey?
All jokes aside, you do need to make sure that you’re buying exactly what you’re trying to buy, and paying for exactly what you want to pay for.
There are a lot of different types of sugar to choose from. For example, there’s turbinado sugar, which is basically as close to raw sugarcane as you’re going to get in a way that will be able to flavor your food to make it sweet.
You can also mix sugars if you want, or even add in something like molasses which has a bolder, less sweet flavor. It’s perfectly fine to add savor elements even when you want to reach for something sweet.
You also may find that as you move away from sugar, you require less and less of it in order to get your sweet tooth satisfied. And don’t overlook natural sweetness like strawberries, blueberries, apples, and other fruits — like dried raisins and dates, which really add neat flavor and texture to just about every dish!
Everyone wants flavorful food — can you really blame them? The time is right to make sure that you take it upon yourself to expand your horizons. If you think that salt, pepper, and butter are the only ways to flavor your food, you’re in for a real treat.
This series covers all of the different ways we flavor our food, and how you can take food to new levels — without being a culinary wizard or going to school for it!
First and foremost, you need to have something on the spice side. Good spices can really make the difference. However, you want to make sure that you can get fresh if you can help it. We’re talking about fresh cinnamon, fresh turmeric, fresh chili powder. If you look at your spice cabinet and find that you have the same spices for years in a row, chances are good that all of the “power” of the spice has long departed. This leaves you needing to make absolutely sure that you’re not just using ineffective stuff.
Health food stores generally have a bulk container that should let you get just about any spice or herb that you want without having to buy heavy bags. Being able to control what you get and how you get it can really make all of the difference. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up paying for things that you won’t use.
Cayenne pepper and chili powder tend to flavor food in different ways. Both have a nice spice note that adds a lot of heat to dishes. You want to always make sure that you go easy on a spice like that, because it can really overwhelm your food! This is the same thing with cumin and turmeric — both combined are amazing, but they can conquer a dish in ways that are unpleasant.
You can also use bay leaves to season food, but you will want to make sure that you pull the leaves out after you are finished with them. They are bitter and hard, two things that aren’t pleasurable at all!
Up next: we’ll be talking about sugar. Everyone loves to hate and bash sugar, but the truth is that sweet is just as much a part of cooking as savory / spicy flavors are. Do you know what it takes to use sweet flavors in the kitchen? It’s time to find out!
Great food doesn’t come around by accident. It’s built on the back of really smart cookware choices. The tools that you use to cook your food is what really can help your food shine. It’s hard to make a good soup without a nice big crockpot, and it can be difficult for you to step back and be able to do all of the things that you want to do.
Yet all you really need to do is know which cookware pieces to invest in, and which ones to avoid.
If you’re on a budget, you might feel that good cookware is out of the question. That’s not true at all. You can find a lot of cast iron pieces at yard sales, estate sales, and flea markets. Cast iron conducts heat very well and cooks food evenly. Some people are fearful of cast iron because they have to season it, but that’s easy. All you really need to do is make sure that you use plenty of oil and then let the pan get hot in the oven. Your cast iron will be ready to use and serve you faithfully for many years to come.
You just need to figure out exactly what you’re trying to get done and then handle that. It’s not like you have to buy everything you need all at once. That wouldn’t make sense, and it would just leave you frustrated. The best approach is to think about what pieces you’re going to use all of the time and then start with those. If you’re the type of person that likes to slow cook everything, you really will find that you can get by with a nice Dutch oven.
Some people like to buy their cookware in stages. They get less expensive pieces to start with, and then use bonus checks from work or birthday money to fill out their kitchen with more expensive pieces. It’s completely up to you to figure out how to fit your cookware in your budget.
Taking care of your cookware is also going to be very important. The last thing you want is to find rust has developed on any of your cookware. Washing and drying your cookware properly will keep rust away. You also want to make sure that you don’t use anything that could scratch your cookware’s surface. Wood cooking utensils can really make a difference instead of using scratchy metals.
Overall, cookware definitely bring something special to your kitchen, so now is the time to go and get some!
Wine is one of the oldest beverages in the world — but did you know that there’s a time and a place to serve it? Sure, the idea of a candlelit dinner with wine sounds luxurious, elegant, and romantic — but you also have to think of the cultural ties that some have to wine. Many religious people choose to abstain from alcohol — for good reason. Too much alcohol can make us tired, dizzy, and sick. We become miserable when the alcohol gets out of our system, leaving us more frustrated and irritated than we were previously. You just need to make sure that you are always thinking about your own goals when it comes to pulling off a great holiday meal.
You don’t have to serve wine. You don’t have to avoid wine. Those are the two points that you should take to heart no matter how you feel on the subject. Even if you take nothing else form this guide, you need to understand that. It’s better to always make sure that you can at least give people an option if you know that you have an audience that really likes a little wine with their meal.
In the spirit of the holidays, you will still want to make sure that you watch over your guests. Anyone that is obviously too intoxicated to drive should not drive. Make sure that you have the number to a taxi service handy for moments like that. It’s better to spend a little money ahead of time than to find that an accident has occurred. You also want to make sure that you are firm — a few glasses won’t hurt, but seeing a visibly drunk person try to drive themselves can make you liable for any accident that they cause, or any injury that they bring to themselves.
If you are going to serve wine, make it fun — get cute wine tokens that people can use to identify their glasses. It’s a nice conversation starter and gets people talking.
There’s always a great time to make sure that you have enough wine, but make sure that no matter what you do with it — it is stored properly. Good wine needs to be chilled before it’s served. Warm wine just isn’t pleasant at all — don’t serve it, and you’ll be good to go!
If you live in a decent sized city, you will find that there are at least one or two butchers in your area. The classic days of going to the meat man or meat woman are fading away, but there are still a few places where you will see the art of meat in action.
Food is pleasurable, and there’s nothing wrong with taking pleasure from what you eat, and how you eat it. You will just need to make sure that you focus on the bigger picture and think about what type of cuts you want, as well as what the butcher can do for you.
One of the biggest things that the butcher does for their customers is give them information. If you want to know what to do with a really tough cut of meat, the butcher can help. If you want to know what the most budget friendly cuts are going to be, you can ask your friendly butcher. They thrive on people getting more educated because that means that they’re going to be a lot more likely to come back to see the butcher again. On the other hand, if you only shop at the supermarket where everything is already precut, then you’re really missing out. Going back to the butcher means that you will have things cut to your specifications. If you want something ground up for you — you can have that. If you want something cut off the bone, your butcher can also do that for you. It’s just a matter of making sure that you know exactly what you want and then let the butcher know too.
If you need animal fat of some kind, the butcher is also one of the best sources to get that. You can get lard, tallow, and other animal fats from the butcher will generally no problem. The prices are also hard to beat, considering that you aren’t going to have to render the fat yourself in all cases.
A lot of people complain about the downfall of big “mega marts” and how it’s hard to find good service. If you really want good service and friendliness as well as education, you really owe it to yourself to stop by the local butcher. They are a direct link to the community and they would love to help you out!