People food for thought Part XX; Fat free products and DIY Ricotta cheese

  The other day, I came across the cooking show that teaches you how to whip up the delicious meal / desert with less calories by swapping ingredients.

 I thought it is interesting and I was curious to see what the lady would use it. So, I watched the full episode.

 I have to say, I recognized that she uses many “Fat free” dairy products;”Fat free” cheese,”Fat free” whip cream, “Fat free” Ice cream”,”Fat free” cream cheese etc,and often times she uses squashes a lot in her swap recipes …

 If you just look at calorie number of the final dishes she has made on the show, you would be wowed, but if you look closer what is in the “Fat free” products used in the recipes, I do not think they are all that healthy.

 I would rather make meals with regular cheese,whole milk, and all the regular food products and I would add more variety of protein source and variety of vegetables in the dish.

 In one particular desert recipe A, for example, she has used ” Fat free liquid egg substitute”, and “Fat Free whip cream”.

 In another desert recipe B, she used “Sugar free,fat free pudding mix”, “Fat free whip cream”,”Fat free cream cheese”…

 Watching the TV show
made me wonder what exactly “Fat free” products are. When you think
about it, some of the “Fat free” products are dairy products and,
naturally dairy products have fat.

 In this entry, I would like to take a look at various kinds of “Fat free” products and egg substitute products.

 What is liquid egg substitute?

 I looked the products up and it seems egg substitute is basically an egg white with undefined natural flavor,undefined spices and added synthetic vitamins and minerals.

 As you know, if you crack an egg and separate the york and white by yourself, only thing you need is a whole egg,and nothing else.

 Now, if you purchase egg substitute though, there is more than 1 ingredients for the products. In fact, according to the website fooducate blog website, particular brand of egg substitute contains 20 ingredients!

 Top ingredient is egg white, but other ingredients are natural flavor,coloring,spices,salt,onion powder, vegetable gums,maltodextrin (sweetener), and vitamins and minerals..

 The products comes with slogan they are made from real eggs, but then, if they were adding many things to taste better, I would prefer to pick an egg from egg carton and separate the white from york to use in the recipe on my own.

 To read the full article at fooducate blog site, please click here.
What are in the Fat free Ranch dressing?

 Here is an ingredients list for particular brand’s fat free ranch dressing.

 water,corn syrup,maltodextrin (sweetener),modified food starch (thickening agent),butter milk,salt,vinegar,garlic puree,onion, garlic,green onion,spice,sour cream,xanthan gum (thickening agent) and list goes on.This one had total 22 ingredients in the list.

 If you take the original ranch dressing from the same company, ingredients are as followings.

 Soybean oil,water,Egg york,sugar,salt,cultured non fat butter milk,spice,garlic,dried onion,vinegar,xanthan gum,modified food starch and list goes on.Total 20 ingredients in the list.

 As you see, later ingredients list has more recognizable real food ingredients in the list and list is a little shorter than “Fat free” version of the dressing.

 If you make the ranch dressing on your own, basic ingredients you would need are sour cream,mayonnaise,garlic powder,onion powder,herbs, and salt and pepper.

 Therefore, you can make your own ranch dressing without filler with much simpler ingredients list.

 Better yet, if you make vinaigrette with Extra virgin olive oil such as Balsamic vinaigrette ( Balsamic vinegar,Extra virgin olive oil, mustard,garlic,salt and pepper), it is better for you and, since it has extra virgin olive oil in the salad dressing, I would think it is much healthier for your heart as well.

What are in the “Fat free” Mayonnaise?

 Here is an ingredients list for particular brand’s Fat free Mayonnaise.

 Water,modified food starch (thickening agent),sugar, high fructose corn syrup,vinegar,soybean oil,salt,cellulose gel (thickening agent),natural flavor,artificial color,egg york,xanthan gum,mustard flour,lactic acid and list goes on. And, this mayonnaise has 2 kinds of artificial coloring yellow #6 and blue #1. The particular brand’s Fat Free Mayonnaise ingredients list contained 27 ingredients!

 If you take the original mayonnaise from the same company, ingredients are as followings.

 Soybean oil,water,egg,egg york,vinegar,sugar,salt,lemon juice concentrate,calcium disodium,garlic,onion,spice,and natural flavor. Total 13 ingredients in the list.

 As you see, list for the regular product is much shorter with more easy to recognizable ingredients names. Also, regular one does not have artificial colorings.

 I have made mayonnaise in the past,but it is very easy to make them. If you make your own, you can make mayonnaise with much much simpler ingredients with real food. All you need are egg,mustard,vinegar,vegetable oil, salt,and pepper.Sometimes, it calls for citrus fruits like lemon.

What are in the “Fat free” whipping cream?

 Here is an ingredients list for particular brand’s Fat free whipping cream.

 Water,corn syrup,hydrogenated vegetable oil,high fructose corn syrup, sodium caseinate,natural and artificial flavor,modified food starch,xanthan gum,polysorbate 60(food additives),polysorbate 65,sorbitan monostearate (emulsifier to keep water and oil together),sodium hydroxide,beta carotene for color.Total 14 ingredients in the list.

  If you take the original whipping cream from the same company, ingredients are as followings.

 Water,hydrogenated vegetable oil,high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup,skim milk,light cream,sodium
caseinate,natural and artificial flavor,xanthan
gum,polysorbate 60,sorbitan monostearate,sodium hydroxide,beta carotene for color. Total 14 ingredients in the list.

 Number of ingredients are the same, but original version looks more with recognizable ingredients names.

 However, if I need whipping cream for recipes, I would buy a carton of heavy cream,which has only 4 ingredients;heavy cream,mono and diglycerides,polysorbate 80 and carrageenan.

 Then, whip them up with touch of sugar as needed.Those are with no artificial flavoring or preservatives.

 When I am watching the TV show, the lady often use this “Fat free” whipping cream but look at the ingredients.Water,sugar and oil are the top 3 ingredients,plus it has got artificial flavoring and other food additives such as polysorbate.

 Do you feel you are eating healthier option of food?
What are in the “Fat free” cheese?

 Here is an ingredients list for particular brand’s Fat free cheese.

 Whey, skim milk,milk protein concentrate,water,dried corn syrup,sodium phosphate (preservative), salt, part skim milk,sodium hydroxide, sodium citrate,lactic acid,artificial flavor,sorbic acid (preservative), yeast extract,artificial color,carrageenan,cellulose gum,enzyme, vitamin A palmitate, and cheese culture.Total 20 ingredients in the list.

 If you take the original cheese from the same company, ingredients are as followings.

 Part-skim milk,whey,whey protein concentrate,milk protein concentrate,salt,sodium citrate,calcium phosphate, milk fat,sodium phosphate,sorbic acid, cheese culture,vitamin A palmitate, and enzyme.Total 13 ingredients in the list.

 Again, original version has much less ingredients with less fillers such as artificial ingredients.

 Things that got me surprised is the cream cheese. “Fat free” cream cheese has 3 times longer list of ingredients compared to regular cream cheese ingredient list.

 Here is the ingredients list for “Fat free” cream cheese.

 Cultured Skim Milk Solids*, Cultured Skim Milk, Calcium Caseinate*,
Salt, Sugar*, Titanium Dioxide (Color)*, Sodium Tripolyphosphate,
Stabilizers (Carob Bean And/Or Xanthan And/Or Guar Gums And/Or
Carrageenan)**, Potassium Sorbate And Calcium Propionate (As
Preservatives)*, Corn Syrup Solids*, Modified Food Starch*, Enzymes,
Vitmain A Palmitate. *Ingredient Not In Regular Cream Cheese.
Total 14 ingredients in the list.

 If you take regular cream cheese, here are the list of ingredients.

 Pasteurized Nonfat Milk And Milkfat, Cheese Culture, Salt, Stabilizers (Xanthan And/Or Carob Bean And/Or Guar Gums). Total 5 ingredients.

 Among the cheese category, Ricotta cheese is the cheese I noticed there are not many difference between “Fat free” ricotta cheese and regular cheese.

 Among the regular ricotta cheese, some companies use key ingredients (milk,vinegar,salt) plus thickening agent such as xanthan gum or modified food starch but some are strictly to the real food and use only milk,vinegar,and salt.

 Among “Fat free” ricotta cheese, it seems that cheese is made with key ingredients (milk,vinegar,salt) plus whey,thickening agent such as xanthan gum,locust bean gum, and vitamin A palmite (sythetic form of Vitamin A).

 If you look through all the comparison ingredients list above, you would notice that many “Fat free” products’ ingredients have sweetening agent such as high fructose corn syrup or sweetener along with thickening agent such as modified food starch, artificial flavoring,coloring etc..

 If you read just the name of the product “Fat free”, it sure sounds healthy but when you actually flip the products over and read the label to see what are in it, you will find long list of not so real food name-like ingredients.

 Do they look healthy to you?

 I personally prefer to have real food that are made with simple ingredients and, I would pick the regular products over “fat free” products. If I had time to experiment making stuff from scratch, I would try making them for fun.

 I like making stuff from scratch and,it is fun. If you missed the Bacon making entry, you can see how I made my DIY Bacon here in the previous entry titled “People food for thought Part XVII;DIY Bacon”.

 When you make stuff from scratch, you know what are in the food and you know you are not using any artificial flavoring/coloring, or high fructose corn syrup etc.. It will be much healthier choice for you.

 Recently, I have experimented Ricotta cheese making at home. It is very easy and no technical skill required.What you would need are probably staples in your pantry.

 Do you have whole milk? White vinegar? Salt?

 If you have the 3 ingredients, you have all you need to make the ricotta cheese. The ricotta cheese I have made came out real rich in flavor (buttery) and it was very tasty. I could nibble the ricotta cheese all day long.

 Our stumpy little dog “Palette” loved the DIY ricotta cheese as well, and I decided to make the cool down treats,which I normally make with yogurt, with this homemade special ricotta cheese for her.

Frozen ricotta cheese treats..

 She loved it and the recipe of the cool down treats made with DIY ricotta cheese will come out later.

 Since it came out good and we liked it, I thought I would share the DIY Ricotta cheese recipe with you.

 DIY Ricotta cheese recipe is actually from local news paper article written by Russ Parsons, but I have changed the amount of ingredients to make only small enough amount to consume in short time at a time.

Ingredients; 4.5 C Whole Milk      1/2C butter milk
                       1/2 tsp salt                 1.25tbs white vinegar

1. To the heavy bottom sauce pan, add 4.5C whole milk,1/2 C butter milk and heat to 185F with medium heat

2. When temperature reached at 185F, add 1/2 tsp salt and 1.25 tbs white vinegar and remove from the heat

3. Let it stand for about 10 minutes until curds have formed

4. Line kitchen sieve over a bowl and, set the cheese cloth over

5. Using slotted spoon, gently lift cards and pour it into cheese cloth lined sieve

6. Discard whey

7. Drain curds about 5 minutes

8. Store in fridge in container

** Best used on the same day but still good for a couple of days in the fridge.

Yield; roughly about 1 C

 Russ writes the longer the cheese is strained,the firmer,drier the cheese texture will become.

 To read the full article written by Russ Parsons,please click here.
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Nov 01, 2011 | 0 | Uncategorized

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