Saturday, February 3, 2007

The Scoop on the Skinny

Have you every heard of "Z Trim"? I was reading an article about a school in Pennsylvania which had decreased the fat in their cafeteria foods. One thing that caught my eye was that they reduced the fat in their Ranch dressing and the kids never even noticed. Salad dressings are one of my downfalls; I have never found a fat free or even very lowfat dressing that I really like. A nice, no fat salad can suddenly become 500 calories (or more), thanks to the dressing.

I dug around a bit and found Z Trim. It is a fat replacement "fibergel." It has zero calories, zero fat, zero side effects, and is totally vegetarian, made of water and bran fiber from the hulls of corn, oat or soy. (see ) You can mix it with prepared foods (like bottled salad dressings); you can bake with it and replace half the fat (or more); you can whip it with butter or cream cheese and decrease the fat. It is supposed to give the same "mouth feel" as fat, and also, the fiber makes you feel full.

I whipped some with some Earth Balance today and served it on toast. It wasn't very homogenous; probably would have been better if I used the food processor, but once it was on the toast it tasted just like the full fat product. I also added some to some packaged macaroni and "cheese" in place of the optional butter. It didn't change the taste, but it did feel like there was fat in there. I'm looking forward to experimenting!

One of the first things I will try to replace is the oil in my favorite tahini dressings. I love tahini dressing on everything: salad, grains, vegetables, EVERYthing! I promised Angie some recipes, so here are two of my favorites:

1. Greek Tamari Dressing ("The Kripalu Cookbook," Atma JoAnn Levitt)
3 Tbs. sesame seeds, lightly toasted and cooled
3/4 C canola oil
3 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. tamari
2 Tbs. tahini
2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp. chopped garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
dash cayenne
dash black pepper
1/2 C water
Combine in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

2. John's Tahini Dressing ("Diet for a New World," John Robbins)
1/4 C lemon juice
1/2 C canola oil
1/4 C tamari
1/3 C tahini
1 Tbs. finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 Tbs. maple syrup
1/4 C water
Blend as above.

Switching gears... I started (yet another!) new knitting project. I am still working on the JayWalker socks and the lace stole (photos coming soon), but they are both using very fine yarn and small needles and I needed a break! I've had some chunky yarn reserved for a piano bench cover for a while now, so I decided to work on that. I am knitting in a diagonal pattern, like a diagonal scarf, just sort of improvising for now. (It's really not very difficult!) The finish is worn off of my piano bench and I'm not very experienced in furniture refinishing, and I have no interest! More fun for me to knit something to cover it up with!!

Finally, something fun: I was browsing my knitting lists and people were talking about their favorite knitting bags. One woman posted some from Dick Blick ( ). I just fell in love with this one and it was ON SALE for only $14.99!! I can't pass up a bargain like that! It arrived in only 2 days and it is so cool! I love all the pockets around the outside. I love that it stands upright and then sits open if I want it to. The yarn feeds out of the sides easily, even when closed. Plenty of room for all my projects and books or whatever. Truly, a great deal!


Iris said...

Cheryl, I like your idea of a knitted piano bench cover. Have you seen the one in Mason-Dixon Knitting? They wanted theirs to look like needlepoint. They came close -- and the product looks strong enough to handle several years of fannies sliding across the bench to play Chopsticks!

Cheryl said...

I have seen the Mason-Dixon piano bench cover. You are right, it is gorgeous and sturdy! Maybe I'm lazy; I just wanted a quick knit:-)

Joanna said...

Did you buy your z-trim from the website you linked to? Or were you able to buy it locally?