Saturday, September 6, 2014

Chocolate Ice Cream Dex+

Honestly, we don't always eat sweets. A pan of oiled and salted veggies roasted until tender are really good, as are many other naturally low fructose and higher fiber foods that don't require any adjustments to be Dex+.
When you want chocolate ice cream, this pan of delicious vegetables just doesn't satisfy.
However, when on the way home from a football game with a hot, tired, triumphant marching band member, a potato just doesn't do the trick. The request is "Please, please, can't we have ice cream? There's a shop right there on the way home..." Last year I was ready; with an ice cream cylinder in the freezer, and Greek yogurt in the fridge, frozen yogurt was just a few minutes away at home. 

Then here it comes, "Mom, I want chocolate this time, and tangy yogurt doesn't go with chocolate....." And of course, she's right. Chocolate frozen yogurt really isn't chocolate ice cream. Back to the drawing board; but I knew a good place to start: Alton Brown's chocolate ice cream custard is delicious, creamy, and rich. Happily, it is also very easy to Dex+. Cook up one batch, split into two mason jars in the fridge, and now chocolate is in the bag too. Another win! Even better, my daughter doesn't mind cooking the custard.


Super creamy, super rich, delicious, amazing chocolate ice cream custard. A little goes a long way, and that's a good thing. Although not really hard, this is a lot more effort to make than the vanilla frozen yogurt; but now and then it is well worth it. For cocoa, we like to use a blend of Guittard's Cocoa RougeHershey's Special Dark, and Hershey's Natural Cocoa.

Chocolate or Vanilla Ice Cream Dex+

½ recipe serves five or six
Brown text is for chocolate only; Purple text is for vanilla only. Black is for both.

Ingredients

  • 51 g sugar, or 46 g sugar / vanilla sugar
  • 224 g dextrose, or 198 g dextrose/ vanilla dextrose
  • ¼ c Benefiber
  • 43 g unsweetened cocoa powder, approximately 1/2 cup
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, or a vanilla bean

Directions


  1. Mix the sugar, dextrose, and fiber, then set aside.
  2. For Chocolate: Place the cocoa powder along with 1 cup of the half-and-half into a medium saucepan over medium heat and whisk to combine. Add the remaining half-and-half and the heavy cream.
  3. For Vanilla: Place the half-and-half and the heavy cream into a medium saucepan, over medium heat. Add split and scraped vanilla bean, if using.
  4. Bring the mixture just to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and remove from the heat.
  5. In a medium mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the sugar and whisk to combine.
  6. Temper the cream mixture into the eggs and sugar by gradually adding small amounts, until about a third of the cream mixture has been added. Pour in the remainder and return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat.
  7. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon and reaches 170 to 175 degrees F.
  8. Pour the mixture into a container and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract. Place the mixture into the refrigerator and once it is cool enough not to form condensation on the lid, cover and store for 4 to 8 hours or until the temperature reaches 40 degrees F or below.
  9. Put ½ a batch per 2-qt ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's directions. This should take approximately 25 to 35 minutes. Serve as is for soft serve or freeze for another 3 to 4 hours to allow the ice cream to harden.

Crystallized Ginger Ale Dex+

I needed dex+ ginger ale this morning! I've attempted it before with fresh ginger, but wasn't satisfied with the result. This morning, when my youngest daughter woke up sick with a stomach "bug", I knew the time had come to give it another try! We didn't have fresh ginger, but I found a bag of crystallized ginger. About an hour later, I was able to give her a very nice glass of ginger ale. She only drank one sip, and that only because I told her to. Not exactly a rave review. About 15 minutes later, though, she was feeling much better, and was asking for some crackers. Success! And now I have a ginger ale recipe to share; bonus!
30 g of  ginger syrup in a tiny glass beaker


Equipment note: I used a Soda Stream to make the carbonated water, although they do sell it in the grocery with the bottled water and often near the cocktail mixes. My 250 ml glass beaker was perfect for cooking and blending the ginger syrup. Yes, I have a set of beakers in the kitchen now, and they're awesome! They work really well with a stick blender, can go from hot to cold safely, work in the microwave, and have ml measures on the side. A quart is about a liter (1000 ml). They are helping me become more "metric". One milliliter (ml)of water weighs one gram (g). Metric can be handy. They also add a nice science flair to the decor.



This is a pleasantly sweet, mild ginger ale for a palate adjusted to Dex+. The taste can be modified by using more or less of each kind of syrup. If you like it hotter, crystallizing a fresh ginger root produces a very spicy-hot syrup plus chunks of crystallized ginger, and is more economical (also less convenient) than buying it already crystallized. Mint or lemon might add a nice note too.

Ginger Ale Dex+

Ingredients:


Directions:

Mix the syrups and an oz or two of the water until syrup dissolves. Add remaining water and ice. Adjust to taste.


Crystallized Ginger Syrup Dex+

Ingredients:

  • 25 g crystallized ginger, finely minced
  • 50 g water
  • 60 g dextrose
  • 2 ½ tsp Benefiber
  • 82 g Corn Syrup (zero high fructose corn syrup)

Directions:

  1. Microwave ginger and water until the water boils. Allow ginger to steep in hot water a few minutes, then bring to a boil again. Repeat until the ginger is very soft.
  2. Add corn syrup to ginger mixture. Blend until smooth (a stick blender works well).
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the dry dextrose and Benefiber.
  4. Stir the dextrose/Benefiber into the ginger mixture.
  5. Microwave, watching constantly, until the syrup begins to bubble up the sides of the bowl. Stop the microwave immediately. Carefully stir the hot syrup.
  6. Repeat above step once.



Sunday, August 31, 2014

No one says "Easy as Brownies"


How is it that most things are better home-made from scratch, except brownies? I've had a hard time ever finding a recipe that really beats a good box mix; equal, yes, but not really better. Maybe I'm alone in this, I don't know. Well, sometimes you just need a brownie, so I've been trying to make a Dex+ version. I think this is about try #7. Each attempt has satisfied that "I really need a brownie" feeling, but none have met my standards of brownie perfection.

This brownie is very intensely chocolate, and on the bittersweet side. The texture is definitely cakey, although it is also definitely a brownie. The top is shiny, but not wrinkled and cracked like a truly great brownie. Although they were imperfect, they were enjoyed and were excitedly included in school lunches. They will satisfy a brownie or chocolate craving.


Fudge Brownies Dex+

based on KAF Brownies
½ size batch

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8x8" pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment if available.
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, mix dextrose, sugar, and Benefiber. Add butter, and microwave until butter has melted.
  3. Meanwhile, put the eggs in a mixing bowl, and add cocoa, salt, and baking powder. Mix until smooth.
  4. Stir the butter and sugar until well combined. Heat in the microwave until it just barely begins to bubble.7
  5. Add the hot butter/sugar/fiber mixture to the chocolate and mix until smooth. Mix in the vanilla and flour, until smooth again.
  6. Add the bittersweet chocolate, and stir in until melted.
  7. Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked, and should have some cracks in it.
  8. Remove them from the oven. To serve hot, cool about ten minutes before cutting; for a cleaner cut, cool completely first.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mousse au Chocolat Dex+, in progress

This is my third attempt at a Dex+ version of my mom's Mousse au Chocolat recipe. It came out very rich, thick, and tasty. The chocolate and egg yolk mixture was a bit too thick though; I had to stopped folding to prevent deflating the egg whites before the mixture was smooth. That left soft chocolate pockets that were actually enjoyable, but that's not how it's meant to be.

I topped it with whipped cream, flavored with a little dextrose, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. They looked elegant in the Margarita glasses. After a steak dinner, the portion size was actually a bit large. Next time I'll reduce the size, and adjust the thickness to get a smoother mousse. But, we sure did enjoy it.



Mousse au Chocolat Dex+
Serves 6

Ingredients:

92 g dextrose
1 Tbsp (15 g) butter
6 whole eggs, separated
4 pinch salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Melt the chocolates, cocoa butter, and butter, then remove from the heat.
  2. Whisk egg yolks with dextrose.
  3. Mix the melted chocolate into the egg yolks.
  4. Add the pinch of salt to the egg whites, and beat until very firm.
  5. Carefully fold the chocolate mixture into the whites.
  6. Pour into serving dishes, and cool for 2-3 hours.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Trifecta: Fiber is a beautiful thing!

What is beautiful about fiber? With Benefiber or similar, I can add a spoonful of powder to anything liquid. It becomes invisible, doesn't thicken, and has only the barest hint of taste in straight water. It disappears in my food.

Fiber in a blue glass jar.
Fiber, hiding in a jar of syrup.
The benefits are also beautiful. Dietary fiber includes soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fiber's listed benefits are just what I am after: blood sugar regulation, reducing cholesterol, and losing weight. I've tried it out, and it held true for me. My health trifecta: 1) Cutting the fructose is the vital, primary step; 2) Eating plenty of fiber multiplies the benefits; 3) Making your body burn calories to keep warm is the cherry on top. 

Ok, so how much fiber? Ideally, all foods should have at least:


To achieve 3 grams per 200 calories, I've also started looking into how much fiber is in other foods, so we can supplement less. This site has a nice listing of the soluble and insoluble fiber in a lot of foods. The USDA database is searchable and extensive, but lists only dietary fiber. Unfortunately it's not simple to go pull out the set of information that I really want, but I'm working on it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Lemon Lime Soda Dex+

Sweetened drinks. They are everywhere. We all love them. When I talk about Dex+, I see the pained look on faces after I mention not drinking sweet drinks, whether sugared, natural juices, or artificially sweetened. The kids struggle with it too. 

We have a Soda Stream, and Simple Syrup Dex+. I've tried to re-create Dr Pepper, and so far failed. Colas are mysterious. Then it struck me: lemon lime soda. We usually have both. How hard can it be? Turns out, not very! So simple, crisp and tasty. We tried adding vanilla, but that actually muted the flavor. There is just enough syrup to sweeten the fruit. A typical soda from the store is much sweeter.

Pro tip: cut the pithy tips off and discard, before slicing lemons or limes into eight wedges.
These small and large containers work great for lemons and limes.
Add a lemon and a lime wedge to each glass. Crush the fruit; a muddler works well. Add syrup.
Add a little carbonated water, and stir well.
Add more water and ice. One pink glass has cherry Kool-Aid added, the other has Grenadine Dex+.
 To add a little extra flavor, mix a pack of Kool-Aid with two tablespoons water, and add a few drops to the drinks. My son prefers to crush the fruit before adding the syrup, to keep the muddler cleaner. I found that crushing with the syrup keeps the lemon from spraying out of the glass if the muddler slips.

Lemon-Lime Soda Dex+

Ingredients, per glass:

  • 1 lemon wedge (1/8th of a lemon)
  • 1 lime wedge (1/8th of a lime)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp (60 g) Simple Syrup Dex+
  • 12 oz carbonated water
  • ice

Directions:

  1. Crush the lemon and lime wedges in a glass. 
  2. Add the syrup and a small amount of carbonated water, and stir well.
  3. Add the remaining water, stir gently, and add ice.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Thermogenex: it's bonafide!

I love this photo! I feel this way for a moment every shower, when the first cold cycle hits. Ray, your Thermogenex / Hypothermics is indeed the perfect complement for my Dex+ food hack!


I've said it before; I love steamy showers. I don't like being cold. But I lost over twice as much weight last month because I tried Ray's crazy cyclic showers. Seriously. 

Each day I face the shower, I consider this: I tried the gym once. For two years; two hours a day of boring drudgery, followed by the drive home while tired, hungry, and sweaty. Guess what came next? A shower! Am I really going to complain about the cold water, and adding a whopping seven minutes to my usual routine? I come out clean and refreshed. All I've got to do is make it through that first shock of cold water! Um, well, I do cheat just a little, and don't hit the cold full-blast right at first. Guess what? It still works! Thanks again Ray, for all your research. I've got a few more weeks before sending in my data. 

Really, give it a try. It's sure working for me. Thermogenex / Hypothermics

Friday, July 4, 2014

Of cabbages and kings... Cashews, BP, maple syrup, et all

I've been pretty busy lately, dabbling with multiple things. I've made a Dex+ ketchup, which my daughter says tastes too much like tomatoes (?!); it does need a bit more zing. Not ready for prime-time yet, but it's promising. It tasted better warm than it did after chilling down. I'm close on some other new recipes too; wish there was more time in the day!

Hypothermics and the Beach

I started trying to do Hypothermics (get colder to burn more energy). It has been a slow adjustment. No more steamy showers. :( Coming off the steam wasn't too bad though. The first few doses of cold water were a different story. Took about four days to go beyond just getting my back cold. However, it's definitely easier now; well, physically it is. Mentally, I still strongly object to the cold water. Physically, it's much less of a shock now. I also have been wearing lighter clothes, and when driving, I run the AC full-blast the whole time. Brrr!

Then after the first week of cold showers, I promptly went to Florida for a week. Direct sunlight is in direct conflict with this plan, but I didn't want to wait until after vacation to start! We ate Dex+ style on the trip, although I ate more than usual anyway. My DH loves to cook; even the sandwiches were killer, especially when I made the bread. My dog now loves the Frisbee like never before, and will leap into the air, plunge her whole face into the salt water, and endure a mouth full of sand to catch it! :) We had great fun! It was a great place for star gazing; we saw the Milky Way very clearly. I was up a couple pounds when we got home, then lost that plus more within two days. To be fair, my feet had swollen unexpectedly on the last day because of deer fly bites while packing the van to go home. Wish I'd had bug spray! There have been too many changes in routine lately to have any real read on Hypothermics yet.

Maple; how the mighty have fallen...

A bit of disappointing news, and my apologies for some misinformation: I found out that I misunderstood my maple syrup reference, making maple not such a great thing. The document lists the glucose:fructose ratio as 5.6:1, which sounds great! The thing I missed was that this number did not include the glucose and fructose that was combined as sucrose. The syrup contains 99% sucrose, making the amount of free fructose and glucose so small that it doesn't even matter. :( So in reality, maple syrup is pretty much as unhealthy as plain white sugar. What an important study, not. Again, sorry for that; I should have read closer before using that data.


Cashews and BP: a beautiful friendship

Roasted Cashews: I like salted and unsalted mixed together.
In the last few weeks, my blood pressure readings started bouncing around. What? I've been doing so well! Low fructose, good cholesterol, loosing weight, eating fiber. The only thing I could think of that was really different is that I'd run out of cashews. Out of convenience, I've been keeping a stash of cashews at work, and eating them for lunch most days. Probably 1/2 cup or so, sometimes adding an apple. I ran out, and had been eating some mixed nuts, sometimes a Dex+ item, etc. Could it really be the cashews? Google says yes, it could. There are studies. Also, I started eating them again, and my bp smoothed out and went down. Very interesting. I'm much happier eating cashews regularly that I was taking medicine. Now I have a real excuse for eating tasty nuts, or whatever they are. :)

Good times!

My family is embracing Dex+. They are eating less at meals, and commenting that they are too full to eat more, even when it's something that is usually tempting. Fiber really seems to be a key too. We had Benefiber in our water or milk last night with our pizza. I'm looking into what foods have the most fiber per calorie, and plan to start serving those more too.

This concludes my musings this Independence Day morning. I need to go start some dough for rolls, play a little Guild Wars, buy some fireworks, shuck some corn, and start making another batch of Greek yogurt to make frozen yogurt with. I have fresh cherries to put on top. :) Happy 4th of July; remember those who helped make your nation a place to be proud of, and enjoy some fireworks!