Ingredients at Their Best

Ingredients at their best to me means that you utilize the best available and affordable to you and your family.  I am a huge purist when it comes to feeding my family and will try to use organic, natural or healthy ingredients. I think what I have been calling it now is "clean eating". I believe in more fresh and less boxed. No chemicals, fillers, preservatives, hormones or genetically modified food. Not always! But for the most part- everything in moderation right?!? In my posts I will be adding brands, names, links and certain specifics that are tried and true to me or just what I am loving at the moment. I have grown to love the quality of a lot of brands so if I list a certain item, that does not mean you have to use the same...use whatever you have in your kitchen.


Lately my family and I have been taste testing our new (organic or natural) to our old (regular or boxed) and we will even blind test each other....Hands down every time the natural and organic wins the taste test. Eggs, potatoes, carrots, celery, romaine, hamburger, chicken, crackers, chips- you name it.... So if you think it is all hog wash then try it!

* = commonly used in my kitchen

***Currently under updating....more than you ever needed or wanted to know about why I chose what I chose for ingredients.
Sweetener Basics
White Granulated Sugar- raw sugar is washed with a syrup solution, then with hot water, clarified with chemicals to remove impurities, decolourized (in some countries they use bone char made from cattle bones), concentrated, evaporated, reboiled until crystals form, centrifuged again to separate, then dried, and by then any lingering goodness has completely disappeared!
Brown Sugar- white sugar mixed with molasses
Corn Syrup- made from the starch of  maize or corn and composed mainly of glucose.
Brown Rice Syrup- produced by cooking brown rice flour and brown rice starch with enzymes to break down the starches, then straining off the liquid.
Turbinado Sugar*- also, raw cane sugar, this is refined but not as much as white sugar.  It is dehydrated cane juice until crystals form, then spinning it in a centrifuge so the crystals are separated from the syrupy juice (producing molasses). They then add some of the molasses back in to create the darker color. 
Rapadura*- also called Organic Whole Cane Sugar, pure juice extracted from the sugar cane (using a press), which is then evaporated over low heats, whilst being stirred with paddles, then sieve ground to produce a grainy sugar. It has not been cooked at high heats, and spun to change it into crystals, and the molasses has not been separated from the sugar. It is produced organically, and does not contain chemicals or anti-caking agents.  Because Rapadura is not separated from the molasses, it has more nutrients, vitamins and minerals
Sucanat*-  the sugar stream and the molasses stream are separated from each other during processing, then reblended to create a consistent product and color. 
Molasses-  sugar cane plant is harvested, the juice is extracted from the canes by boiled to concentrate. First boiling and of the sugar crystals is first molasses, which has the highest sugar content because comparatively little sugar has been extracted from the source. Second molasses is created from a second boiling and sugar extraction, and has a slight bitter tinge to its taste. The third boiling* of the sugar syrup makes blackstrap molasses. The majority of sucrose from the original juice has been crystallized and removed. The calorie content of blackstrap molasses is still mostly from the small remaining sugar content, it still contains significant amounts of vitamins and minerals. Blackstrap molasses* is a source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron.
Maple Syrup*-  Sugar, Red and Black Maple trees store starch in their stems and roots before the winter; the starch is then converted to sugar and rises in the sap in the spring.  Grade A Maple Syrup has less maple flavor, more sweeter, thinner and lighter. Grade B* Maple Syrup has more maple flavor, less sweetener, thicker and darker. Grade B contains more mineral content.
Stevia*- Stevia rebaudiana is an herb grown for it's sweet leaves, grown, picked, dries then crushed into a powder that is 300 times sweeter than sugar.  Safe for diabetics and "no-carbo's".

Flour Basics
All Purpose Bleached-
All Purpose Unbleached-
Whole Wheat-
Stone Ground Whole Wheat- 100% whole wheat and generally a heavier whole wheat flour
White Flour, unbromated and unbleached*-  great all purpose white flour, high protein and high gluten from the hard red spring wheat
White Whole Wheat Flour-  good all purpose