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Friday, August 31, 2012

NECTRESSE™ Sweetener: An All Natural Zero Calorie Sweetener!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of NECTRESSE™Sweetener for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

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I don't mind using sugar in my recipes but I do look for alternative 100% zero calorie natural sweeteners at times. One thing I won't use is artificial sweeteners. When I am cooking or baking, I don't always want sugar and the added calories, so I look for alternatives.

I found a great alternative! It is 100% natural, zero calorie and it derives it sweetness from monk fruit. The product is NECTRESSE™Sweetener. I like the clean sweet taste and the fact that it holds its sweetness through the whole cooking process. Other sweeteners, in my opinion, seem to have a taste change when heated and baked. What good is that when I want to add sweetness to my spaghetti sauces? NECTRESSE™ sweetener is my solution when I don't want sugar but need a natural sweetener.

Don't take my word for it but how about Lisa Ling's testimonial. Check out her video with more information on this monk fruit product.

Not convinced? I know it is hard to figure out what is a great natural alternative to sugar and  has zero calories. I personally won't use artificial sweeteners and I had the opportunity to taste and try NECTRESSE™ sweetener. Why not get a FREE sample of NECTRESSE™Sweetener? Sometimes seeing is believing but in this case tasting will be believing. Get the free sample and taste it for yourself.

The product is available in individual convenient packages for coffee and other drinks and it comes in a canister for your cooking and baking needs.

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I grow a lot of vegetables and have a passion for gardening. One of the things I enjoy making is a rustic pasta sauce from my garden heirloom tomatoes. I have a standard recipe that I follow but don't like adding sugar to my pasta sauces.

Sometimes the tomatoes work fine for sweetness but sometimes I need to add a sweetener. I have been using NECTRESSE™ as my sweetener because it is all natural, zero calorie and maintains a great sweet taste through the entire cooking process of making pasta sauce. I recommend giving it a try in one of your recipes and see if friends and family notice that you used a alternative sweetener to sugar.

 

My Rustic Pasta Sauce Sweetened with NECTRESSE

Rustic Tomato Sauce Recipe

Step One:

De-seed 8-12 baseball size tomatoes. Remove the seeds and liquid surrounding the seeds. They will not be used in in the sauce. Roughly chop up the remaining tomatoes with the skins and  put them in a pot.

Chop 1-2 large onions into medium pieces and put them in the pot.

Mince or press 1-2 cloves of garlic into the pot.

Add 1-2 tablespoons of sea salt into the pot.

Add 1 tablespoon of  black pepper into the pot.

Mix the ingredients together and boil them down on medium high to 1/2 to 2/3 contents. You are reducing the ingredients down by evaporating out the liquids.

Step Two:

Stir the contents regularly mashing the larger chunks against the inside of the pot. When the ingredients have boiled down and thickened to your liking add the following ingredients to taste.

1-3 tablespoons of dried oregano

Additional sea salt to taste.

1 tablespoon of NECTRESSE™ sweetener (add additional to taste).

Simmer contents for another 20 minutes.

Step Three:

Add 1 cup of basil as full leaves

Add 2 cups of split cherry tomatoes.

Reduce heat to lowest setting and serve over pasta of your choice.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Video: How to Pickle Garden Jalapenos

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The peppers are coming in full force. Which is great! Sometimes you get more than you can use fresh. If I am not drying my cayenne peppers, I am pickling my jalapeno peppers. This video shows you the basic. I did it with the standard salt amount I showed in the video. I would cut that in half and add more salt to taste if needed. Instead of table salt, you could also use sea salt for more minerals.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Harvesting Kholrabi: Tastes Like Sweet Cabbage!

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Khorabi is great garden vegetable. You can harvest the leaves and use them for salads to stir-fries. This is a root crop where the actually ball/bulb that you eat grows above the ground. You just peel it and eat it whole like an apple or chop it up and use it as you wish in many dishes.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Video: How to Dry Cayenne Peppers to Make Crushed Red Peppers

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A great way to use you 'cayenne' peppers is to make dried crushed red pepper for pasta. It is very easy to make. Here is a video that shows you how to do it and some pictures. Enjoy!





'Cayenne' Peppers - The Rusted Garden

'Cayennes' Ready to be Oven-Dried - The Rusted Garden

The process is pretty simple. Set them up on the foil like pictured and dry them at an over temperature no higher than 175 degrees. If you go over 175 degrees, you run the risk of cooking them and they may burn. They will change flavor and get bitter. Peppers will take 4-8 hours to dry. 


Dried 'Cayenne' for Crushed Red Pepper - The Rusted Garden


Friday, August 17, 2012

How to Treat Tomato Leaf Diseases: Pick and Spray

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Many tomato leaf diseases can be managed with preventative care. There is no cure for leaf spot or early blight but you can manage it. This video provides the basic principles for managing tomato leaf diseases.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Video Recipe: Rustic Heirloom Tomato & Herb Pasta Sauce

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Rustic Heirloom Tomato Herb & Pasta Sauce: The Rusted Garden


This video recipe shows you all the steps to make a great rustic pasta sauce from heirloom tomatoes and herbs in under an hour. The trick is to deseed the tomato and boil the meat of the tomato down in a reduction. Always add the fresh herbs in when there is only 5 minutes left of cooking time. You don't want fresh herbs to get boiled away!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Video: Tomato Profile: The 'Orange Kentucky Beefsteak' Heirloom Tomato

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Here is a video tomato profile of a great heirloom beefsteak. Orange, sweet and I got a 2 pounder.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Video Recipe:How to Grill Heirloom Tomatoes to Absolute Perfection

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How to Grill Heirloom Tomatoes 
to Absolute Perfection
(in Garlic, Oregano & Olive Oil Dressing)

If you are like me, you love tomatoes, and always over-plant them. Even if you don't over-plant, there comes a point in season when all the tomatoes are ripening faster than you can consume them or give them away. I have been oven-drying the smaller tomatoes but wanted to find new ways to eat the larger heirloom tomatoes. I discovered the best way to grill tomatoes... let them simmer from the inside out on the grill!

Don't slice and grill heirlooms. The juice will drip away and your are left with tomato mush. Grill them whole and dress them later. This video will give you instructions for absolute grilling perfection and show you how to make an outstanding garlic, oregano & olive oil dressing. See the heirlooms go from grilling to plating and all the steps in between. They are absolutely delicious. This is a must try if you love tomatoes!


Grilled Heirloom Tomatoes - The Rusted Garden



Visit My How to Vegetable Garden Video Blog

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My New How to Vegetable Garden Video Blog

Twitter will be used for Q and A, Reminders and Gardening Tips This Rusted Vegetable Garden is my active blog for publishing. It is filled with a lot of information and videos.

I now have over 70 garden videos and have hosted them on their own blog called:
My How to Vegetable Garden Video Blog

It is a dynamic blog with images of the videos all over the page in a mosaic format. Just mouse over the picture and the title of the video will appear.

Enjoy! Gary

Monday, August 6, 2012

Video Recipe: How to Oven-Dry Tomatoes and Pack Them in Olive Oil

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I oven-dried my cherry type tomatoes this weekend and packed them in olive oil. The oven-drying really concentrates the tomato flavor down into delicious bites! There are so many things you can do with oven-dried tomatoes.  The video explains the whole process from drying to packing them in olive oil. Try it!


Still Motivated! Garden Cleared and Fall is Planted

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 I have to say keeping up this blog and making garden videos has helped me get through my typical garden burnout period which is about now. I cleared out 90% of my beds this weekend.  Took down my massive cucumber plants because I have new vines maturing. They were still producing but were getting disease riddled and beat up. Don't stay over attached to your plants. Remove them when it is time.

There is a level of odd remorse taking out plants that aren't totally spent. However I took that old cucumber section and planted it with a round of 'Super Sugar Snap' peas. Peas are a great crop to put into soil that has had the nutrients sucked out of it by heavy feeders like cucumbers. Peas fix their own nitrogen.

I also managed to plant the following:

Heirloom Leaf Mix 
(It did really well to well. I cut the scatter plot to 1/3 spring planting size)


Wild Italian Arugula
(Spiciest variety I have found)


'Bloomsdale Long Standing' Spinach

Red Lettuce (Lollo Rossa)


'Salad Rose' Radish
(Long stem radishes can go in now)

Cilantro

And 'Oregon Sugar Pod' and 'Super Sugar Snap' peas

Sunday, August 5, 2012

August Already! What's Going on at the Rusted Garden?

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I hope you all had a great gardening Spring and Summer. I feel for those drought hit areas. My garden remained relatively disease free this year! No and yes I said no signs of leaf spot. Woohoo! A few plants had signs of Early Blight but between baking soda in the Spring and wettable sulfur in the heat of Summer... mostly controlled. I did have my standard return of powdery mildew but baking soda spray knocked that out.

The garden did really well. The heat, rain and humidity took a bit of a toll on the plants but mostly a toll on me. The weather seemed to spawn weeds overnight and the growth of everything (I'm not complaining) was a bit daunting. I am currently going through my 2nd massive weed cleaning, plant pulling and general maintenance of the beds. I am planting things for the Fall this weekend.

My tomatoes have been staggered planted so as many die out, some are just hitting their peak. My container tomatoes are doing really well and I will have video of them next week. I even started some early determinate cold weather varieties a few days ago. Yes I am an addict. Garden addict to clarify.

I managed to shoot nearly 70 HD garden videos with a goal of 50 for the year. I really enjoy the videos. I hope to do a series on Fall planting in Maryland. Ah well back to the garden.  I have about 5 hours of maintenance that needs to be done and the humidity is already making me sweat.


Good Gardening!
Gary

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Video: Tips to Grow Large 1-2 pound and Record Heirloom Tomatoes

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Twitter will be used for Q and A, Reminders and Gardening Tips The title says it all.

Part Two 8/2/2012: Planting the Fall Garden - Time to Start

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Planting the Fall Garden: Time to Start 
(Part 2 of 8)

Now is the time to clear out the old and plant the new. The main thing to accomplish this week is getting rid of the spent vegetables and turn the beds for the fall crops. You also want to get some seeds in. It is better to be early than late with your seeding.

You have time to get some warm weather crops in that mature within 60 days in the Maryland Zone 7 area. You might get in some beans and bush type cucumbers too. 

I started seeds for 3 varieties of 60 day determinate type tomatoes yesterday. I never made it to starting them last week. I staggered my tomato plants over the months of May and June and have some plants that are just starting to turn fruit red. I do this so I have tomatoes through mid Sept, if disease and heat don't kill them off. This year I am trying to get tomatoes through 1st frost using cold tolerant early determinate tomatoes.

You can get your first wave of longer growing lettuces in the ground, spinach and even plant kale and collard seeds for a spring harvest. Faster growing lettuces and lettuces that are less heat tolerant can go in mid August.

Radishes can go in now and ever 2 weeks till mid September. And by all means get your peas in the ground. You want to plant some now and in 2 weeks.  Cilantro can go in and you probably have time for another tight round of basil. I will also be planting some beets and maybe some other faster growing root crops. Hmmm... and some bunching onions.

Good luck!

Ah garlic too can get planted for a spring harvest.

Planting Radishes



Planting Lettuces

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