This will be our first Thanksgiving on a semi-vegetarian diet, I say "semi" as I do not plan on buying meat, but plan to start using up what I have in the freezer, but only serve meat once a week. We had Cheerios for breakfast along with a tablespoon of ground flax seed, which we purchased at Costco after listening to Dr. Esselstyn's lecture last Saturday and being inspired to eat healthier by his wife, Ann Crile Esselstyn.
Dr. Esselstyn mentioned that we need to avoid sucrose. I just bought ten pounds of sugar for holiday baking and hope sugar lasts for a very long time. Dr Esselstyn does not suggest using Stevia or sugar substitutes and I seem to have more than a few varieties in my kitchen! Dr. Esselstyn does not promote maple syrup or honey either, sugar is a "no, no."
I know I will have to modify recipes as sugar is a liquid in baking, but for cooking I can easily come up with some quick fixes.
I purchased fresh cranberries and wondered how to sweeten them for my cranberry relish. After thinking about, since my family loves bananas, I decided to add the usual apple and orange to the cranberries and chop them up in the blender or food chopper. I started in the blender and decided to use the sweetest fruit I have in the house, other than dates. I added a sweet Yellow Delicious apple and an orange to the cranberries as I usually do. I did not add the usual 1/4-1/2 cup of sugar as I usually do.
I saw two ripe bananas on my counter and dates from California. I decided to put the two bananas in my Ninja chopper and puree them into a soft, creamy consistency. I poured the pure banana "syrup" over the cranberry/apple/orange relish and gently folded the banana, which turned to a liquid, into the mixture.
The relish is just sweet enough, perfectly sweet, and we do not mind the banana flavor in our cranberry relish and have the benefit of not having to use sugar!