Its Sugar Time!

Not this kind of Sugar!!
March has rolled in like a lamb this year with temperatures on the Ridge reaching the 60 degree mark. The sap is rising FAST around here and maple syrup producers are racing to get their buckets emptied before they runneth over! With all this talk of sugar, in the form of maple syrup or otherwise, whether to eat it, drink it or have it at all, I could not resist using some of it. The manifestation of this strong sense of sugar were these cupcakes and boy are they delicious, or so I hear. I wouldn't know because I have not eaten one. I have resisted temptation to devour one of these little cuties by giving them away to the staff of the YMCA Teen Center where we are having the Kickstart Classes. The staff have been so wonderful and accommodating during the last 3 weeks of classes, helping me move furniture, work the somewhat complicated TV/DVD player, etc. I did not feel so bad providing them with a vegan treat because I have seen what is in the cupboards and vending machines around that place and these cupcakes, although not my usual low or no-fat style, are much healthier! They have a minimal amount of oil and sugar, lower than the recipe from Chef Chloe Coscarelli's. I used only 1/3 cup of oil and 3/4 cup of sugar and made 24 mini cupcakes from this recipe. I used the aluminum cupcake liners which make a nice size mini cake, more than enough for a single serving. For the frosting, well I made it almost to the recipe (less sugar) but I used less than a tablespoon on each cake. Like I said, I didn't eat 'em!
Maple Syrup Sunday is March 25

On to other things, like more SUGAR! What is the difference between Maple Syrup, honey, dehydrated cane juice, agave, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, etc. Is Maple Syrup "healthier" than the others? All of these sweeties are just a different means to the same end if you consume too much ~ a toxic overload in your system. No matter which the source, these sweeteners break down to fructose and glucose unlike other complex carbohydrates which break down solely in to glucose.  Glucose is needed by our cells for energy, fructose needs to be broken down even further which is where the liver enters the equation, and if we hit it with too much fructose, nasty things can happen. But, on the bright side, unlike table sugar or HFCC, Maple Syrup has other positive health benefits because it is less processed, still retaining some antioxidants and minerals but there is no science to support this according to the Cornell Sugar Maple Research & Extension Service.

Maple syrup can be substituted for while sugar in cooking and sometimes this is a nice swap for flavor's sake. For each cup of white sugar, use 1 cup of Maple syrup and reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by 3 Tablespoons.

Yes, it is lovely at this time of the year in our little neck of the woods. We watch the sap dripping into the buckets and wait for the rest of spring to arrive. Robins, Cardinals and other birds fly by, busy feeding in the now exposed and softer ground and soon-to-be bud-bursting trees. Will we have another nesting pair of Robins above our entryway? We are busy planning this year's garden and Rosie is still eating Kale, when she can convince us to share. Life is Good!

Sláinte!

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