Monday, December 24, 2012

Gluten Free Breakfast Sausage Bake! Yum!!

Today my family and I spent the day with my eldest daughter's future family!  She is engaged to a wonderful young man and his family invited us to spend the morning with them for Christmas festivities.  We had a wonderful time!  Due to my food allergies, I helped by making some things and wasn't sure what to do so I looked and looked and found something that with a good bit of alternations I would make!  It was a GF bisquick recipe for which I can't use the GF bisquick as it has rice flour!!  So, what do I use instead of bisquick?  I looked up what was in bisquick and it seemed simple enough!  It was a hit!!  NOBODY knew it was gluten free!!  BONUS!!  It is definitely a do again!!  The photo I'm posting is the Bisquick picture and I dxcon't have any left of what we made to take a photo of!  The recipe posted is our recipe that we 'tweaked'!  We made it up last night and put it in the fridge and cooked it in the oven this am as we got ready to go.  It was still hot when we got there and had breakfast!  Enjoy!!

Easy Sausage Breakfast Bake! (Gluten, Rice, and Pork free!)

·         1 package (16 oz) bulk sausage (I used my homemade venison sausage!)
·         1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
·         1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
·         1/2 cup Chopped Mushrooms
·         3 cups frozen hash brown potatoes
·         2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (8 oz)
·         1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour Free mix
·         1 tbsp Xantham Gum
·         1 tbsp Baking Soda
·         2 cups milk (I used Goat's Milk!)
·         1/4 teaspoon pepper
·         1 tsp L'Ecuyer's Seasoned Salt
·         6 eggs

Preparation Instructions:
1.     Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In 10-inch skillet, cook sausage, bell peppers, and mushrooms over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sausage is no longer pink; drain. Mix sausage mixture, potatoes and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese in baking dish.
2.     In medium bowl, stir Baking mix, xantham gum, baking soda, milk, pepper, seasoned salt and eggs until blended. Pour over sausage mixture in baking dish.
3.     Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake about 3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012

They're Ready!! Sulfite Free Soap Bars!!

They're finally ready!  Orange Rosemary Shea Butter Soap!!  Feels so good to finally have a sulfite free soap that I don't itch anymore!!  Yeah!!  My hands feel so incredible after using it the first time.  Just soft and supple.  Get it now while you can!  I will be adding more scents as I go!  $3 a bar can't be beat anywhere!!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Local Happiness! A South Carolina Fundraiser!

Today I met with the owner of "Local Happiness, A South Carolina Fundraiser", Ken Carey.  He started this company as he was tired of selling all the 'junk' stuff that his kids' schools were selling.  The premise behind this company was to put products into a catalogue of all items made right here in the state, products that were better, tasted better, and worth the money!  The motto of this organization is to "Buy genuine South Carolina products, keep money in the local economy, and support your favorite organization, all at once."  It caught on!  Local Happiness is booming and L'Ecuyer's Gourmet has just partnered with them!  We are very excited to be partnering with them!

If you live in the Columbia, SC area (or even anywhere in SC!) and have a school that would like to partner with Local Happiness for fundraising, please contact L'Ecuyer's Gourmet or Local Happiness!  Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dr. Oz's Mis-comments on Food Justice for the 99%

I use to really look up to Dr. Oz.  Now, not so much after what he reported this week.  He use to be all about being organic, eating healthy and staying away from hormones, additives, etc.  Now, not so much.  I saw this article posted today on Facebook and was appalled!  He's now 'favoring' eating the 'mainstream' foods?  Seriously?  How can someone of his stature support using additives, chemicals, hormones, etc. in our foods?  I know exactly how!  They advertise on his show!  He's been bought out!  Yep, he's gone mainstream for sure!  I guess even Dr. Oz has his price, but I know all too well that I will never have that 'price'!  My health has suffered way too much because of these items being in our food and cosmetics and will NEVER go back to eating that junk!   He basically says that 'regular' food is fine and that those of us who 'choose' to eat organic and 'natural' foods are 'elitist'.  Really?  So, because I choose not to have chemicals in my body that I am actually allergic to, I'm an 'elitist'?  I don't think so!  I refuse to contaminate my body with petrol chemicals, hormones, and agricultural pesticides that I know are doing damage to my body.  Not only that, those foods have far less nutrients than organic foods.  Yes, he's been bought out by advertising for sure!

Organic Food: Food Justice for the 99% - Dr. Oz's Comments

I recently even found out that McDonald's uses Soybean Oil in ALL their cooking!  One of the top 8 allergens and they use it in EVERYTHING!!  While I do NOT eat there hardly ever (and it was rarely ever just some fries and now I NEVER will!), I was parousing their website looking at their ingredients for their coffee's (mocha's and latte's) and you get their entire ingredient list (latte's are my one weakness!).  Overall, the ingredients of their coffee's weren't 'bad' per se, what I was stunned by to say the least was to find that in all their oils, their frying is done in soybean oil.  This I do NOT understand at all!  They are risking harm to every person that walks in the store that is allergic to soy as they do NOT warn people of this at all!!  This is NOT legal!!  It is suppose to be labeled on their food!  I wrote to the FDA regarding some of this (lack of labeling) and all I got back was a 'canned response' that I should contact my local congressman to see about having the 'law changed'.  Yes, our government is not really out to protect our health anymore.  But, that is my opinion.  I'm sharing the information.  What you do with it is up to you.

Monday, December 3, 2012

It's Ready!! Seasoned Salt!!


Seasoned Salt! - I don't know about you, but I sure missed seasoned salt!  But every one I have seen on the shelf has had garlic and onions!  Phooey!  Well, no more!  This seasoned salt has all the flavor and no sulfites or alliums!!  Yum! Yum! Yum!!  I searched and searched so, so many recipes and tested and tasted and this is what we have come up with!   Smoked salt, fine sea salt, sugar, mustard powder, oregano, cayenne pepper, thyme, marjoram, dill weed, dill seed, and curry powder. *note, there is very little sugar in this!!  Get it now!!  It is also available in the gift baskets on the Gift Special Tab!!  $5.00 per 4oz bottle or check out the gift specials!!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Seasoning Salt

One thing I have missed more than anything since I have developed all my allergies is seasoned salt.  It is a staple in Southern Cooking.  I had a Facebook follower suggest I come up with a blend for those of us allergic to the alliums.  I do believe I have come up with something that you all will enjoy!  Stay tuned!  I will debut it by Monday at the latest!!  So exciting!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Country Bans GMO's!

Way to go Peru!  Saw this post on another Facebook page but it wouldn't let me 'share' it and it just amazes me that our own country still condones the use of GMO's and using hormones in our food supply along with all the other 'chemicals' they consider 'GRAS' or 'generally recognized as safe' substances.  As Americans, we have to start paying attention to what we put in our bodies or the food we eat will cause us harm.

Read on: Peru Bans GMO's for 10 years

Saturday, November 24, 2012

See us in the Conscious Box!

It's out!  The Conscious Box is out and we're in it!  Just look at two blogs and you will see us there!!  I will post more when I see them!!  But here are two that we are on!!

November Review

Renolyn Reviews

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday & Weekend Free Shipping!!

In the holiday spirit, anyone that orders this weekend only will receive FREE SHIPPING!!  It is now on the website and just click on 'Free Shipping' tab and you will get it!  Hurry while this lasts!!  It will be taken down on Sunday at midnight!!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Beautiful new Baskets!!

Check out our holiday specials for our beautiful Holiday baskets!!  Great specials at great savings!  Try them while prices are low!!  Visit our Holiday Specials page for more information!!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Individual Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pies!

Individual Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pies!!

The holidays are fast approaching and I am getting ready to prepare our menu's.  Thanksgiving use to be so easy for us!  I have always loved pumpkin pie and when I found out many years ago that I was allergic to pumpkin and then cinnamon, oh what was I to do!  Then to add to that wheat?!  OMG!  Nooooo!!  No pie?!  Heavens!  What was Thanksgiving going to be like?  Treachery!  Just horrible!  I tried so many different crust recipes that were gluten free but when you're also rice allergic, oh me, oh my!  Just difficult to say the least!!  I began to experiment and I finally found something that is absolutely devine!!  My family gobbles these up and they don't have the allergies that I have!!  My daughter's fiance' eats at least two at a time!!  You could make this a full pie, but I like the 'fun-ness' of having individual little pies!!  Makes it easy to portion out too!!  Additionally, you would never know that there wasn't cinnamon in these!!  You would actually swear there was!!  This is by far my absolute favorite Holiday pie now!!  Enjoy!!

Toasted with Brown Sugar Topping!

Shortbread Pie Crust

1/2 Pkg Shortbread Cookies, Schar Gf, Crushed (available at most health food stores)
4 Tbsps Butter, melted
1/2 C Organic Brown Sugar, Packed
1 tsp Cinna-Sub ** (available for purchase on the Spice Tab!)

1. Be sure all of cookies are crushed finely.
2. Mix all ingredients together.
3. Press into pie plate/ramekins.
4. Put pie filling over it and bake according to pie directions.

Pie and Filling

1 Ea Shortbread Pie Crust (above)
2 C Sweet Potato, Mashed, (I use home canned)
1 C Raw Sugar
1/2 Stick Butter, melted
2 Lg Egg
2 Tsps GF Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 Tsp Cinna-Sub ** (available for purchase on the Spice Tab!)
1/2 Tsp Ginger, ground
1 C Organic Sweetened Condensed Milk

1. Prepare pie crust according to other recipe and place into ramekins after spraying ramekins with cooking spray (or use a full pie crust if you desire).
2. Blend all other ingredients together and scoop equal amounts into ramekins (we found this makes about 14 small ramekins).
3. Bake at 350 degrees in water bath for 30 minutes.
4. When fully cooled put in refrigerator.
5. You can cover with cool whip, toasted marshmallows or sprinkle with brown sugar and 'torch' them with a Creme' Brulee' Torch***!!

(*** be very careful using a torch!!  Ramekins will be very, very hot!!  Wait until completely cool before serving!!)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

New Spice Blends and Holiday Specials!!


Chipotle Spice Blend


Herbs' de L'Ecuyer!

They're here!!  Yep!  Two new spice blends!!  Just in time for the holidays!!  Love chipotle?  We now have our own Chipotle Spice Blend!  This fantastic blend is sulfite free (allium free) and has just the right 'kick' for those that love a little spice!  Secondly, we have a fantastic new Herbs' de L'Ecuyer!!  Love Herbs' de Provence?  It's like that but with our own twist and sulfite (allium) free!!  I use to LOVE Herbs' de Provence but can't have it anymore so we came up with our own!!  We also have fantastic new labels!!  What do you think?

Now, for a fantastic couple of specials for the holidays!!  A few holiday baskets!!

Spice Basket without 'wrapping'

1. Spice Blend & Dip Mix Basket - Your choice of 2 spice blends (Cinna-Sub includes an extra $5.00 charge) and 1 dip mix!  All for only $12!!  Includes a cute tin and all wrapped up!  This is a value of almost $17 (including wrapping).

2. Body Care Basket - Your choice of soap scent, foot cream scent, a cuticle cream and your choice of body scrub!!  All wrapped up for only $20!!!  This is a value of almost $26 (including wrapping).

3. Mixed Spice Basket and Body Care Basket - Your choice of a spice blend (except Cinna-Sub), 1 dip mix, your scent of foot cream, a cuticle cream, and a smaller version of our hand cream!  All wrapped up for only $20!!  This also is a value of almost $26 (including wrapping).

4. Five different spice blends all in one!!  All for only $20!!  Yep!  Save $5 and get it wrapped up for the holiday!!  Your choice of which blends (Cinna-Sub includes an extra $5.00 charge)!  Don't wait!!

So, start that holiday shopping!!  Shipping for Christmas guaranteed if ordered before December 18th!!

I have put in 'text' boxes and am trying that.  If that doesn't work, just list in the 'comments' what spices, dip mix choice or body care products you choose!  There will be an extra 'button' to click if Cinna-Sub is chosen, otherwise you will receive an email that it is not included in these specials unless you agree to the additional $5.00 charge.  Thanks for understanding!!  Happy Holidays!!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Great site I found! Organic Authority

I happened to stumble upon a great little site tonight.  I was looking at Twitter and Whole Foods had a blurb about sulfite free wine.  I have missed wine a lot, especially for cooking.  I am allergic to sulfites so I thought I would look at the article.  It was an interesting read to say the least.

As I was looking at the site, I found several other interesting things on there.  This site is all about organic!  I love organic things.  Nothing better than that without chemicals, preservatives, additives, hormones, etc.  Have you ever seen those little ads pop up about the 7 foods you should 'not' eat?  They have it clearly listed on their site!  I already pretty much avoid those foods anyway but most might not be aware of what they are!  Check out this site!  It's awesome!  Organic Authority 7 Foods you should never eat is where it will take you.  I was especially thrilled to find the 'answer' to my questions about BPA in plastic, cans, etc.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Conscious Box!!

We’re very excited to announce that we’ll be featured in next month’s Conscious Box! Conscious
Box is a monthly subscription service that only works with the most ethical, natural, and earth friendly businesses—and they've reached out to us to be a part of it! In the box, we’ll be including our Caveman Rub!!  It is also their one year anniversary and it will be a very special box indeed!

We think this is the perfect chance for you to introduce us to your friends and family. Giving them a Conscious Box helps them support eco-friendly businesses like ours, and it lets them give the Caveman Rub you love a try before they purchase the full size.  We hope you continue to enjoy our products and are just as excited as we are about being featured in Conscious Box!

All our best!!

L'Ecuyer's Gourmet

Friday, October 26, 2012

New Soap Bars!!

They're ready and available to purchase!!  Glycerin Shea Butter Soap Bars  A wonderful moisturizing bar full of natural ingredients to sooth your aching skin!!  Glycerin, shea butter, essential oils and natural florals to envigorate and excite your skin!!  $3.00 per bar!!  Right now we have 2 scents!!  Orange Rosemary and Vanilla Lavender!!  See our Body Care Products page to purchase!!  Don't wait!!  They're being snapped up quickly!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012 Please note!!  If you're allergic to sulfites, please wait to purchase!!  I have just found out that the Melt and Pour Glycerin base contains sulfites!  I am going to be making clear glycerin soap from scratch very soon and will reformulate these bars BUT will sell what I already have!!  So, stay tuned!!  It shouldn't take me long!!  Thanks for understanding!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Now on Twitter!!

Follow us on Twitter!!  Yep!  We made the jump!!  Check us out!!  Twitter

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

2 new Blends coming soon!!

This weekend we will have 2 brand new blends debuting!!  I can't wait!!  Love Herbes de Provence?  We are going to have our own version!!  I LOVE cooking with Lavender and it has arrived!!  Yep!  Additionally, I will FINALLY have our Chipotle Spice Blend all ready!!  Our Chipotle Powder is finally here to get that mix together!!  We will be getting these ready on Thursday!!

As soon as we have enough 'orders' together to reach a certain 'level' we will be able to 'purchase' our UPC Codes (takes at least $800)!!  Once we are able to do that, we can get on Amazon Marketplace!!  I have a store front all ready! But, it will take time.  As such, I am setting up a donation button.  Please do NOT feel you have to do this, but we are a very small start up company.  I do not want to go into debt to get this going.  I have absolutely taken NO loans out at all to get this business going!  It is all my own money, my own earnings, and money from anything we have sold products from.  It isn't easy trying to maneuver the bureaucracy of governmental regulations such as the Dept of Agriculture.  Every tiny bit helps.  Thank you to anyone that can help.  Watch for our new blends this weekend!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Eat to live, don't live to eat....

The more I talk with patients about eating and 'dieting' the more I am finding that most people are living to eat.  That shouldn't be why we eat.  We should be 'eating to live'.  Food is fuel for our bodies just like gas is fuel for our vehicles.  One thing I always talk about is not skipping breakfast.  Why is that?  Breakfast is two words and when you divide it up it's break -  fast.  You wouldn't drive a car on empty and you shouldn't 'drive' your body on an empty stomach either.  I also go over how to 'divide up' their plates.  So, why is this so important?

While you are sleeping, your body is in a state of 'fasting'.  You need to 'rev' it back up for the day!  Without something in your stomach in the morning, it is still in a state of 'fasting' and until you put something with carbohydrates AND protein in it, it will still be in a fasting mode until you do.  You should eat within one hour of waking up.  If you wait until lunch time, your body continues to fast and it knows it is 'starving' all that time and slows the metabolism down and will 'store' the fuel that it takes in to 'conserve' it's fuel that it takes in.  This actually leads to weight GAIN!!  Have you ever seen really thin people eat?  They eat at least every 3-4 hours!!  They eat small, frequent meals that consist of carbohydrates and proteins but HEALTHY carbohydrates and proteins such as fruits and vegetables with lean meats, cheese, or nuts.

How do you divide up your plate though?  The above photo I am always demonstrating to patients in my office.  I think I do this at least 10 times a day!  One half of your plate should be healthy vegetables.  The other half should be divided in half again.  Those two halves should be your carbohydrate serving and your protein serving for that meal (not your snacks).  A simple vegetable portion is typically one cup.  A protein serving is 3 ounces or about the size of a deck of cards unless it is a fish filet like a whiting filet or similar (salmon is like steak - deck of cards) then it is the size of a checkbook).  A carbohydrate serving is the size of a baseball, cut in half.  A fat is about the size of your the end of your thumb (1 tbsp).  BUT, what your put on your plate is just as important as your serving sizes.

So, how do I eat?  Do I practice what I preach?  Yes, most definitely!!  I have given up most all processed foods several years ago.  I'm allergic to most of what is in them.  Breakfast for me is often grits with cheese or a scrambled egg with vegetables, or even a one minute flax seed/almond flour 'biscuit' with a scrambled egg and maybe a piece of fruit.  I often have a snack that is usually a piece of cheese or a handful of nuts with some fruit or a container of Greek Yogurt (usually Chobani or Oiko's).  Lunch is either leftovers from dinner the night before or a roast beef salad that I get special made from Subway and I use my own dressing.  I usually have another snack in the afternoon of either a handful of Glutino's pretzels (gluten and rice free!) and some cheese.  Beverages of the day is either water, Propel water, Crystal Lite Pure (no artificial coloring or flavorings!), or Sobe Life Water or Coconut Water (only if it has Stevia sweetener).  I drink at least 40 ounces of water daily.  I RARELY eat fried foods at all and if I do, it's done at home usually with grapeseed oil or flax seed oil (I'm allergic to olives).  My one vice continues to be coffee.  I'm working on giving that up!!

Dinner is most often cooked at home.  It often gets a bit 'unusual' with us at home due to my allergies.  Many of my friends refuse to eat with us anymore as they often are 'afraid' to try 'new' things (though I wouldn't do that to them!).  We do try new and interesting things all the time but often eat vegetarian dishes!  We do use goat, alligator, frog legs, shark, swordfish, and more.  When you are allergic to the 'typical' dishes like chicken, turkey, and pork, you have to find different things to try.  Goat is a delicacy in Eastern countries, Gator is eaten consistently in Florida as well as Frog legs and the shark and swordfish is served world wide.  I grew up with a father who hunted and fished and was exposed to trying new things all the time.  My eldest daughter makes the best gator bites around!!  You wound never even know it was gator!!  We always have a wonderful 'green' of some type and we often serve 'Sunchokes' for our 'starch' (which isn't a starch at all!).  Our pasta is actually gluten and rice free and we use quinoa in place of rice.  My eldest daughter came up with a version of 'dirty rice' but with quinoa that is absolutely wonderful (and we often leave out any meat all all)!!  I'm still trying to get her to write it down for me so I can post it!!  It's quite healthy with very little 'starch' in it compared to rice and has protein in it!!  Yum!!  If we eat out, it is only at very specific restaurants that I 'know' will 'work' with me on ensuring that my meal is free of any allergens that will make me ill.  That is really tough if we travel.

So, what about dessert?  Do we eat dessert?  Absolutely!  But, I can't eat just anything!  No, that would just make me sick.  We often do fruit salads or we make something that is gluten free from scratch.  My youngest daughter has found a FANTASTIC gluten free chocolate souffle' that is absolutely DIVINE!!  And, it's overall pretty healthy and has NO FLOUR!  I will have to post that when she makes it again!!  She made it for me the first time on mother's day.  I was in heaven!  We do make 'cake' but it is made from gluten free flours that include 'bean' flours!!  These flours are full of protein!  You really can't even eat much as it fills you up!  We often 'fill' these cakes with my homemade jams!  So good!  The other thing is that we have 'converted' many recipes to gluten and rice free.  Over this holiday season, I will begin posting some of them.  One of my favorites is my sweet potato pie ramekins!!  They are absolutely fabulous!!  You would never even know they are gluten free!!  Another is my chocolate raspberry cheesecake!!  Just heavenly!!  Now that I have your mouth watering, you can see that eating healthy doesn't have to be boring!  We eat quite flavorful dishes full of fresh ingredients and a great variety of interesting things.  We eat well, we eat healthy and I'm still mistaken for my age!!  I love it!  So, my point in this post?  You CAN eat healthy, live happy, and be have flavorful foods despite allergies!!  I have some of the worst allergies around and we eat quite well!!  Again, 'Eat to live, don't live to eat'.....

Monday, October 8, 2012

Certified SC!!

We are now officially recognized as 'Certified SC'!!!  Awesome!  What that means is that we are recognized by the SC Department of Agriculture as a product manufactured solely in SC!!  Hooray!!  This is great news for us indeed!!  So, our packaging will now have the official logo listed on it as well!  We are made in the USA!!  Hopefully as things improve we can expand production as well!!  I'm so very proud of this designation!!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

What is a soursop?

I have seen several posts about soursops lately and wanted to share this.  Big 'Pharma' hates the fruit and for good reason.  Many years ago they heard about it and the wonderful healing powers of the fruit but were unable to 'replicate' the healing properties of the fruit 'chemically' so they gave up the millions of dollars they put into research and said it was 'worthless' to pursue using it as a healing plant!!  So, just what is a soursop?

The definition from Wikipedia as well as other sources, is "Soursop is the fruit of Annona muricata, a broadleaf, flowering, evergreen tree native to Mexico, Cuba, Central America, the Caribbean and northern South America: Colombia, Brazil, Peru, and Venezuela. Soursop is also produced in sub-Saharan African countries that lie within the tropics. Today, it is also grown in some areas of Southeast Asia as well as in some Pacific islands. It was most likely brought from Mexico to the Philippines by way of the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade. It is in the same genus as the chirimoya and the same family as the pawpaw."

The flavor is a combination of pineapple, strawberry but also somewhat citrusy with undertones of coconut and banana.  The flesh of the fruit is an edible pulp but you don't want to eat the seeds.  It is used in desserts, beverages, as well as jams, jellies, ice creams, and smoothies.  It is known by many names in other countries.

Nutritionally, it is high in carbohydrates (fructose) but has many good qualities to it.  It contains Vitamins B1, B2, and C.  It has been shown to inhibit breast cancer by inhibiting the regulation of epidermal growth factor regulation.  This was being studied but they cancelled the studies as they were unable to replicate the properties of the plant in-vitro in the lab according to some articles that I read.  As such, Big Pharma cancelled all research into studying this research.  You simply can't mimick mother nature sometimes!!  As such, some articles will state that it hasn't been studied 'in humans'.

Additionally, it is said to be a diuretic, aid in digestion, help with a hangover, relieve liver ailments as well as gallbladder problems and more.  This fruit has been extensively tested by Purdue University, however it is stated again that no 'human studies' were done.  I'm not really understanding why when they purport that it is 100 times stronger than any known Pharma chemotherapy!

So, if it's so great, there has to be a downside to it all right?  Actually, there is.  It is known that ingesting the fruit in very large amounts can lead to Parkinson's disease and fatigue.  So, eat it in moderation.  The fatigue was only found to arise from the leaves and this is known from those herbalists that use it as a sedative.  So, use only the edible inside of the fruit and in moderation and you shouldn't have a problem.  Again, this comes straight from studies at Purdue University!!  You can find information from two sites about it soursop or Purdue University.

Here is a Soursop Jam!!  I haven't had the opportunity to make it myself but I've tried it!!  It is amazing!!  I also don't have a photo - yet!!  I will post a photo as soon as I am able to!!

Soursop Jam

4 cups of pulp
2 cups of raw sugar
3/4 cup of water
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp vanilla extract (GF)
1 pkg low sugar Sure Jel

Mix pulp, raw sugar, water and lime juice together until a boil, simmer on medium 20 minutes. Add vanilla and stir well. Add low-sugar sure jell and bring back to a boil for one minute. Skim off foam and ladle into prepare jars. Water bath for 15 minutes. Makes approx 8 half pints.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Dangers of Artificial Sweeteners

It has taken me many weeks/months to put this post together.  I have been 'discussing' with a friend about one of these sweeteners for some time about the dangers so I thought I would put them all out there with the actual research into them.  You know who you are!!  I care about people - everyone, and want to see people happy and healthy!!  Not 'pickled' from the inside out because of what we eat or drink!!  We don't need to be 'preserved' from our food based on the chemicals they contain!!  I think this information may surprise many, some it may not!!

Artificial Sweeteners and the Inherent Dangers

Since the advent of processed foods, the overall weight of the Average American has increased by an average of 25 pounds in the last 25 years.  As such, the food industry has looked for ways for consumers to 'cut the sugar' from their diet.  However, in doing so they have contributed to an even growing problem - an increased intake of processed sugars, artificial sugars, and a growing addiction to chemically laden foods.

Some people are naturally prone to being more likely to become addicted to carbohydrates, sugars, artificial sweeteners, and in general foods.  However, it is possible to get off those foods!  I know, I have done it though it wasn't easy!  Many of the chemicals, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners that are put into our foods today can actually lead to increase risks of many cancers, diseases, allergies, difficulties in mood disorders, and more.  Again, I have been there and have been recovering from the 'dependency' on those substances as I get myself and my family off of those substances.  It took quite some time to completely change our diet but it has been so worth it!!

So, what causes these problems with artificial sweeteners?  First, lets take a look at what they are.  All 'sweeteners' can be classified two ways - nutritive and non-nutritive.  A 'nutritive' substance is one that adds nutrition to any food substance.  That is, it provides calories, vitamins, or minerals when you ingest it (eat it).  A 'non-nutritive sweetener is one that doesn't add any nutrition to any food substance at all.  An example of a 'nutritive sweetener' would be honey, or even maple syrup but also 'sugar alcohols'.  Some of these sweeteners not only add calories but also vitamins and minerals to your diet.  Some are all natural and are minimally processed to be used.  However, some are highly processed such as sugar alcohols which include xylitol.  Products containing xylitol now must carry a warning about the risk of diarrhea if over-consuming it as it has a laxative effect.  An example of a 'non-nutritive' sweetener would be Splenda®, Equal®, or Sweet-n-Low®.  They don't add any calories, vitamins, or minerals at all to your diet.  So, what's so bad about them if they are free of all of those things?

In order for a food 'substance' to be approved by the Food and Drug Association (FDA), it has to meet certain requirements.  There is a great amount of testing that is done to determine if a food 'substance' is 'safe', 'unsafe', or considered 'GRAS' or 'generally recognized as safe'.  'In the United States, artificial sweeteners fall under the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list or as food additives under the 1958 Food Additives Amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. According to the FDA, "Regardless of whether the use of a substance is a food additive use or is GRAS, there must be evidence that the substance is safe under the conditions of its intended use. FDA has defined "safe" as a reasonable certainty in the minds of competent scientists that the substance is not harmful under its intended conditions of use. The specific data and information that demonstrate safety depend on the characteristics of the substance, the estimated dietary intake, and the population that will consume the substance."'  This is the amount that the person should consume daily over their lifetime without ill effects at the time of the evaluation.  One thing that was not taken into consideration?  That it would become so addictive that people would consume far MORE than was expected!!

There are several 'non-nutritive, artificial sweeteners' on the market today and include sucralose, aspartame, neotame, saccharin, and acesulfame potassium. They are often combined with other substances to make them more palatable and easy to digest as well as cut down on bitterness.  Each substance also has a 'acceptable daily intake' amount (ADI).  Again, when these substances were approved people were NOT expected to be consuming the amounts they actually are.  When was the last time you saw a commercial for equal or splenda?  I haven't seen one in quite a while and there is a reason for it!

Sucralose (Splenda®) is made by substituting 3 molecules of sugar with chlorine molecules!  Yes, I didn't write that incorrectly!  And, yes - your FDA in the US approved knowing the pre-approval research showed possible toxicity issues with it!!  Chlorine is a known carcinogen!!  So, my question is why on earth was this approved and why is there no warning on it like Sweet-n-low®?  You can make your own judgments there, I'm just giving you the information.

Aspartame (Equal® or Nutra-Sweet®) is in thousands of everyday products and was the second artificial sweetener on the market. It came out many years after Saccharine (Sweet-n-Low®) was found to cause cancer in rats but was delisted in 1980 as it couldn't be found to cause it in HUMANS!  However, the damage to their reputation was already done.  Saccharine can be safely used but isn't widely used due to the reputation it already had.  Aspartame however is another story.  It has a very, very complex process that starts with making amino acids in bacteria!  You can read all about the process here on enotes.  It just explains the process of how it came about, the discovery and how it is made.  From the research I've read, much of the research that shows the dangers were hidden or falsified by the company that developed it and weren't brought forth to the FDA.  When it came up for review again the second time more of this came about but because some of the purported research was 'missing' they had a hard time determining if it was GRAS or not so the FDA continued to allow it to be sold.  Unfortnately, since that time more and more has been discovered and now less and less of it is being used and more and more are switching to other forms of sweeteners.  Even military pilots are warned not to use it!!  It has been linked to numerous neurological problems including chronic headaches, brain tumors, birth defects, mental retardation, diabetes, fibromyalgia, parkinson's disease, and more.  Again, I'm just giving you the information.

So, how do you get artificial sweeteners out of your diet?  For starters, read your labels.  Don't buy anything that contains aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame potassium k, saccharin, splenda, equal, or nutra-sweet.  Drink water (not tap water!!)   If all you have is tap water, get a pitcher filter or other filter to do your filtration.  They put chemicals in our city water to kill bacteria but you don't need those chemicals in your body (fluoride, bleach, etc.).  Take probiotics regularly to balance your intestinal tract.  Avoid processed foods altogether if at all possible but especially those labeled low calorie, sugar free, no sugar added, or diet.  Those items likely have artificial sweeteners in them.  Look for products that have xylitol or stevia/truvia in it instead.  Many flavored waters now contain these in them.  Crystal Lite Pure and Vitamin Water Zero now contain Stevia Sweetener.  At home, use Raw Agave Nectar (not just Agave Nectar) or honey as well as Stevia or Truvia.  I'm personally allergic to honey so I only use Raw Agave Nectar or Stevia/Truvia or Raw Sugar when I need it.  I try to avoid refined white sugar.

So, there is all the information.  What you do with it is up to you.  It has taken me years of education and research to fully understand why it's important to avoid these things.  Much of the research about these sweeteners were 'hidden' from the medical community and the public for years.  But, it is now widely available to anyone that looks for it.  It really makes me sad that many providers still recommend some of these products when it has clearly been shown to cause continual problems and the rise in cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease is ever pressing.  I do know one thing, since I've been 'off' most chemicals, processed foods, etc. I certainly feel and look better!!  Let's get back to basics and just good clean eating and living!!

Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your treating doctor. L'Ecuyer's Gourmet does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness.  The views and nutritional advice expressed by L'Ecuyer's Gourmet are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition, see your physician of choice. This Web site contains links to Web sites operated by other parties. Such links are provided for your convenience and reference only. We are not responsible for the content or products of any linked site or any link contained in a linked site.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Non-GMO Month!!

October is Non-GMO Month!  I found this on another link and thought I would share!  I use Chebe Breads and saw this on their site and wanted to share this!!  Check out this great page!!  The Non-GMO Project is sponsoring it and wants everyone to know about it!!  This page will help you find and learn more about what a GMO is, how to find non-gmo foods near you and more about what is in your foods!!  Have a great night!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Conscious Box!

One of my followers on my Face book page suggested that I contact the 'Conscious Box' to see about participating with them.  What is the 'Conscious Box' and why would I want to? 

The 'Conscious Box' is a "monthly delivery of pure and sustainable products that are handpicked from businesses that care for the planet—just like you.  Handpicked products delivered monthly; Only the purest brands pre-filtered for you; Discover ethical businesses you can trust."  They looked at my website and my products and decided we fit their mission!!  I'm so excited!

It is a monthly subscription and they send you out samples of different products for you to try  They then have an online store that if you like a particular company, you can go on and order from them!  So, why would I want to participate? - to build my business!!   The November box will go out to nearly 4,000 people, almost 300 bloggers and be advertised in 2 different magazines!!  So, keep your eyes peeled for more information in the coming weeks!!  I will be quite busy getting all my samples together to go into the 'Conscious Box'!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dill Dip now Available!!

Dill Mix - Dill weed, parsley, smoked salt and a touch of oregano give this dip a new twist!
We had it out at the farmer's market today and it was a great hit!!  Most of our sample was gone within 2 hours!  Check it out on our product page!! 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

New Farmer's Market Participation!!

We have an area known as the "Vista" in Downtown, Columbia.  At one of the restaurants, the 'Blue Marlin' they are doing a Farmer's Market on Wednesday's from 10am to 2pm.  In order to participate, you go online and sign-up and place and order weekly.  Then go on Wed and pick it up!  There are quite a few farmers, various 'vendors' and lots to choose from!

I was lucky enough to be able to become one of the vendors!!  If you live or work in the Columbia, SC area, please check it out and come pick up your products from me there!!  It is a growing market that is a wonderful opportunity for up and coming farmer's, vendors, etc.!!  Here is a link to the market and my page!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Muffins!!

I use to love pumpkin!  But developing an allergy to all things squash put a 'squash' on anything with pumpkin in it! LOL!  So, I now substitute sweet potatoes for all things needing pumpkin in sweet dishes like pumpkin pie or even pumpkin bread or pumpkin muffins.  These muffins are so good, you will make them over and over, and over!!  I always have to make a double batch as they go sooooo fast!!  A bonus is that they are high protein because of the flour content!  Sweet!!  I then top them with one of my home made jams or jellies and it is just the best!!  What will you put on yours?

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Muffins

1½ cups almond flour
With Crumble Topping
3/4 cup mashed, pre-cooked, sweet potato
3 large eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp ground cardamon
½ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp sea salt or Kosher Salt
1/4 cup ‘raw’ agave syrup or honey
2 tsp almond butter

Almond Topping (optional)
2 Tbsp sliced almond
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Maple syrup

Crumble Topping (optional)
1 tbsp cold butter
1 tbsp Maple syrup
1 tbsp  GF All purpose flour mix
1 tsp Cinna-Sub

Preheat oven to 350℉. Coat muffin tins with a non-hydrogenated oil such as coconut oil, flax seed oil or olive oil (I use coconut oil).   Mix all ingredients and pour evenly into tins (I use an ice cream scoop to get it even!).  If using optional almond or crumble topping, apply now.  Bake for 25 minutes on the middle rack.

Optional Toppings Directions:
Almond Topping:
Melt Butter in a saute pan and lightly 'roast' the almonds in it.  Add maple syrup to flavor the almonds.  Allow to 'caramelize' the almonds just enough and toss them over the muffins just prior to baking!

Crumble topping:
Mix cold butter with the GF flour mix, and Cinna-Sub until a 'crumble'.  Sprinkle over muffins.  Drizzle the muffins with the maple syrup and bake!