Sunday, August 18, 2013

"Tastes Just Like . . ."

No it doesn't! You know it. I know it. Nobody's fooled.

I despise "artificial" - really artificial anything. But especially artificial food and ingredients. In my opinion, the American way of eating - which seems to be destroying the health of many Americans - is packed way too much with artificial ingredients.

I know some people must avoid certain things - but I am also aware that there are real substitutes for folks with certain allergies and ailments, and they aren't always artificial. 

I recently heard a friend say about someone, "Oh, she's a 'Health Freak'".  This because she used fake butter.  But not just any fake butter - fake spray butter!  Really?  Health conscious? Doubtful. 

It's funny the terms we use. For instance, whenever we run across someone who truly is a limited eater, we call them that, limited.  However, they want to be identified as picky but no, they aren't. Real food lovers are picky.  You know these limited folks. It is rarely a health issue for them, it's that they are afraid of food! I find being out to a meal with limited eaters a real challenge - but it's worse to try to cook for them! What amazes me most about limited eaters is the level of artificial ingredients they ingest on a regular basis. Do a little observation of your own with the limited eaters in your life. Picky wouldn't do that, that's for sure. 

OK - Some of the things on my permanent awful artificial list:  

Diet soda; juices with only 10% juice (huh?); Astro turf; margarine; artificial sweetners of any kind; watered down milk; pleather; food coloring; cheese/not cheese; flowers; all those unpronounceable ingredients in "shelf stable" TV dinners (sorry I don't know what else to call them, I'm a '60's kid); and almost all of the contents in Lean Cuisine - especially whatever they do to create those artificial aromas!

I think we need to send a message to those wacky food "scientists". Stop! 

How do you feel about artificial ingredients? Which ones really bother or worry you? How successful are you in avoiding them?

Recipe:  Homemade Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is a useful ingredient for making not only sauces but homemade ketchup too.  Commercial ketchup and commercial tomato paste contain High Fructose Corn Syrup, which is a great thing to knock out of your diet wherever possible.

This paste keeps in the refrigerator for up to 3 months and you can also do small containers and freeze them! 
Whole tomatoes are available now and it couldn't be easier to make. 


Five pounds of tomatoes chopped - if you can get "paste" tomatoes by all means use them but regular slicing tomatoes will work perfectly
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, plus more for topping off your containers 
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt


Boil the chopped tomatoes - Don't add water - the tomatoes will give off their juices on medium high heat.  You'll have liquid in no time.

Boil the tomatoes for about 8 - 10 minutes

Strain the whole pot to remove skins and seeds - work on this stage. Push the good stuff through your strainer, you want all of that pulp and juice.

Return the juice and pulp to the pot 

Add the olive oil and the salt. Stir

Bring to a boil and keep stirring. 

As the mixture thickens, continue stirring and reduce heat until it starts to reduce to a paste. Stir every minute or so. It will eventually thicken into a nice paste. 

It's done!

Transfer the paste to lidded jars.   Let it cool uncovered.

Top each jar with a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil
Cover and store in the refrigerator or freezer

Easy and all natural!

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