Misen en Place = Everything in its Place

When you make a healthy life change what steps do you take?
Some people throw everything out and start brand new. Start a gym membership, start a new job, divorce, move across country, etc. 
What happens then?  It works for a little while, untilllllll…..Until what? 
Until your stress level go up again. Life comes at you and you back to your comfort zones.  Wether it is going back to stinking thinking, a bad relationship, ice cream, etc. 
How do you stop yourself from going back to old unhealthy habits? 
Misen en Place.  Pronounced “mees un plah”.  It is a French Culinary Term that means “Everything In Its Place”
I spoke about this briefly on my March 30th Live Cooking Scope.  The cookies did not come out right.  Which was not a problem, because things happen on live tv. That was not the real issue. The real issues were I was not as focused on the measurements as I thought I was. And, the biggest issue was I did not have a backup plan.  Aka Contingency Plan. My Misen en Place was a little out of wack.  
It wasn’t a total loss because I told myself when I started out live cooking there would be mistakes, accidents and issues.  I realistically put things in there place. 
And that is what we all have to do when it comes to dealing with life.  Especially, when you are trying to make healthy life changes.  As soon as you try to do something good for yourself obstacles, speed bumps and stumbling blocks all of a sudden drop out of the sky. They usually come in the form of one of the following: family relations, financial relations or health issues. 
The big question is how do we keep ourselves from not easily falling back into old unhealthy habits?  No one is perfect. We all have our moments. 
The best way to not go back to our old familiar habits is to take baby steps. We can’t run a marathon if we can even do 20 mins on the treadmill. We need to be realistic with small changes that build upon each other. That way we can establish a strong solid foundation of healthy habits. 
After awhile you won’t believe you even used to do some of those old bad habits. 
One of the hardest things to change are eating habits. Even harder is having the whole family change together.  Changing your pantry basic is first step.

Sugars/Sweeteners Part 5 Honey Please!


Source of graphic www.sugar.org

How Honey is Made:

Honey starts as flower nectar, which is collected by bees, naturally broken down into simple sugars and stored in honeycombs. The design of the honeycomb, and with constant fanning by the bees’ wings, evaporation to takes place, creating the thick, sweet liquid we know as honey.

The color and flavor of honey varies from hive to hive based on the type of flower nectar collected by the bees.

Honey has trace enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids.

Wikipedia’s Definition :

a sugary food substance produced and stored by certain social hymenopteran insects. It is produced from the sugary secretions of plants or insects, such as floral nectar or aphid honeydew, through regurgitation, enzymatic activity, and water evaporation. The variety of honey produced by honey bees (the genus Apis) is the most well-known, due to its worldwide commercial production and human consumption.

My Definition:

Slightly Dehydrated Bee Regurgitation

Believed Benefits of Honey:
1. Helps prevent cancer and heart disease:
Honey contains flavonoids, antioxidants which help reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease.

2. Reduces ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders:
Recent research shows that honey treatment may help disorders such as ulcers and bacterial gastroenteritis. This may be related to the 3rd benefit…

3. Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal:
“All honey is antibacterial, because the bees add an enzyme that makes hydrogen peroxide”. This contributes to the incredibly long shelf-life of honey.

4. Increases athletic performance:
Ancient Olympic athletes ate honey and dried figs to enhance their performance. This has now been verified with modern studies, showing that it is superior in maintaining glycogen levels and improving recovery time than other sweeteners.

5. Reduces cough and throat irritation:
Honey helps with coughs, particularly buckwheat honey. In a study of 110 children, a single dose of buckwheat honey was just as effective as a single dose of dextromethorphan in relieving nocturnal cough and allowing proper sleep.

6. Balances the 5 elements:
Honey is referred as “Yogavahi” since it has a quality of penetrating the deepest tissues of the body. When honey is used with other herbal preparations, it enhances the medicinal qualities of those preparations and also helps them to reach the deeper tissues.

It is also said to be useful in improving eyesight, weight loss, curing impotence and premature ejaculation, urinary tract disorders, bronchial asthma, diarrhea and nausea.

7. Helps regulate blood sugar:
Even though honey contains simple sugars, it is not the same as white sugar or artificial sweeteners. Its exact combination of fructose and glucose actually helps the body regulate blood sugar levels. Some honeys have a low hypoglycemic index, so they don’t jolt your blood sugar.

8. Heals wounds and burns:
External application of honey has been shown to be as effective as conventional treatment with silver sulfadiazene. It is speculated that the drying effect of the simple sugars and honey’s anti-bacterial nature combine to create this effect.

9. Is probiotic:
Some varieties of honey possess large amounts of friendly bacteria.

10. Helps improve skin:
Its anti-bacterial qualities are particularly useful for the skin, and, when used with the other ingredients, honey can also be moisturizing and nourishing.

Varities of Honey:

There are over 300 varieties of Honey in the United States alone.  The following are just a few:

Alfalfa Alfalfa is a legume with blue flowers. It blooms throughout the summer and is ranked as the most important honey plant in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon and most of the western states. Alfalfa honey is white or extra light amber in color with a fine flavor. The honey makes a perfect table honey for everyday use.

Avocado Avocado honey is gathered from California avocado blossoms. Avocado honey is dark in color, with a rich, buttery taste. It is wonderful in dressings and sauces.

Basswood This tree is distributed from Southern Canada, to Alabama, to Texas, and is the product of blossoms from the Basswood tree. Basswood honey is often characterized by its distinctive biting flavor. The honey is water-white with a strong flavor that works well in many recipes.

Blueberry Taken from the tiny white flowers of the blueberry bush, the nectar makes a honey which is typically light amber or amber in color and with a full, well-rounded flavor. Blueberry honey is produced in New England and in Michigan. Many people believe that Blueberry honey is honey to which Blueberry flavor is added; this is not so. Pure Blueberry honey is the result of bees gathering nectar from the Blueberry bush. It has wonderful applications in sauces and baked goods.


Buckwheat Buckwheat plants grow best in cool, moist climates. The buckwheat plant prefers light and well-drained soils, although it can thrive in highly acid, low fertility soils as well. Buckwheat is usually planted in the spring or is found growing wild. It blooms quite early and it yields a dark brown honey of strong, distinct flavor. Buckwheat has excellent application for BBQ sauces and baked goods.


Clover Clover honey is what most people think of as being typical honey flavor and color. It is widely used “on the table.” Despite being the most common nectar producing honey plant, Clover honey is still a variety. White clover, alsike clover, and the white and yellow sweet clover plants are the most important for honey production. Depending on location and source, Clover honey varies in color from water-white to extra light amber and has a mild, delicate flavor. (There are a few different varieties of Clover – look on Honey Locator for White Dutch Clover, Sweet Clover, White Sweet Clover and Red Clover).


Eucalyptus Eucalyptus is one of the larger plant genera with over 500 distinct species and many hybrids. Eucalyptus honey varies greatly in color and flavor, but in general, it tends to be a bold-flavored honey with a slightly medicinal aftertaste. It may be used in baked goods, sauces, dressings.


Fireweed Fireweed honey is very light, or “water white” in color and comes from a perennial herb that affords wonderful bee pasture in the Northern and Pacific states and Canada. Fireweed grows in the open woods, reaching a height of three to five feet and spikes attractive pinkish flowers. It is delightfully sweet, and wonderful in dessert applications.


Manuka a small tree with aromatic leaves which are sometimes used for tea, native to New Zealand and Tasmania.


Orange Blossom Orange Blossom honey may be a single variety, but often it is a combination of citrus floral sources from Oranges and nearby Grapefruit or even Lime and Lemon trees. Orange is a leading honey source in southern Florida, Texas, Arizona and California. Orange trees bloom in March and April and produce a white to extra light amber honey with a distinctive flavor and the aroma of orange blossoms. It is savored the world over on the table for everyday use, or in cakes and cookies.


Sage Sage honey can come from many different species of the sage plant. Sage shrubs usually grow along the California coast and in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Sage honey has a mild, delicate flavor. It is generally white or water-white in color. It is quite sweet in flavor, and pairs extremely well with strong cheeses.

Sourwood Despite its name, the Sourwood tree, found in the Appalachian Mountains from Southern Pennsylvania to Northern Georgia, has a sweet, spicy, anise aroma and flavor. The honey has been highly valued for table use or in a myriad of cooking applications such as glazes. It is said to have a wonderful lingering aftertaste.


Tulip Poplar The tulip poplar is a magnificent, breathtaking, tall tree with large greenish-yellow flowers that are unforgettable when viewed. It generally blooms in the month of May. Tulip Poplar honey is produced from southern New England to southern Michigan and south to the Gulf states east of the Mississippi. The honey is dark amber in color, however, its flavor is not as strong as one would expect from a dark honey. It has many applications in baking and cooking.


Tupelo Tupelo honey is produced in the southeastern United States. Tupelo trees have clusters of greenish flowers, which later develop into soft, berrylike fruits. In southern Georgia and northwestern Florida, tupelo is a leading honey plant, producing tons of white or extra light amber honey in April and May. The honey has a mild, pleasant flavor and will not granulate. The Tupelo tree has been designated as being on the “Ark of Taste,” those plants and animals that are endangered and that must be protected.


Wildflower a flower of an uncultivated variety or a flower growing freely without human intervention.

Types of Honey:

Comb honey is taken directly from the hive beeswax comb, just as it is stored by the bees.
Liquid honey is prepared by cutting the wax cappings and processing the combs in a honey extractor. The centrifugal force removes the honey from the cells.

Granulated honey is a powdered form of honey that is made by drying or freezing the honey in order to draw out the water.

Creamed honey is a blend of one part granulated honey and nine parts liquid honey that is stored at about 57 degrees until it becomes firm.

Chunk honey is comb honey stored in a jar with liquid honey poured over it.

Raw vs. Pasteurized Honey

Honey is also categorized as either raw, which means it has not been pasteurized, or processed honey, which has been heated and strained to kill bacteria such as botulism.

Raw honey contains vitamins, minerals and enzymes not present in refined honey.


Sources of Information:



Sugars/Sweeteners Part 4 (The Ose’s)

cow milk sugar
a simple sugar from corn, a bulking agent, chemically identical to glucose, or blood sugar.  Often used in baking products as a sweetener
Corn Syrup (glucose)
from the starch of corn, prevents crystallization of sugar,
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
manufactured from corn syrup by converting a large proportion of its glucose into fructose using the enzyme D-xylose isomerase, thus producing a sweeter compound due to higher levels of fructose.
Splenda, most of it is not recognized by our body so it is considered zero caloric.

Sugars/Sweeteners Part 3 (Vegan/Plant Based)

Blackstrap Molasses

the dark liquid that remains after sugar cane has been processed and boiled three times. The most nutritional sweetener.

Brown Rice Syrup (Rice Malt Syrup)

Whole Grain Rice steeped into sugar. Consistency of Honey.

Coconut Sugar

made from the sap of the Coconut Flower.  It is high in nutrients.  It is a brown granulated sugar, that looks like Turbinado Sugar.

Date Sugar

from the Date Fruit. Dehydrated it is granulated or blended fruit with water as a paste. It can be substituted 1:1 in place of Brown Sugar.


a sugar alcohol that is found naturally in certain fruits, unless in dried form. If it is powdered it was factory processed but still considered vegan.

Evaporated Cane Sugar

the crystalized liquid that remains after sugar cane has been processed. It is granulated similar to white table sugar.

Maple Syrup

sap from Maple Trees. Often imitated but never duplicated. There are many syrups on the shelf which are simple syrups with added flavors and colorings.


extracted from the leaves of a plant called Stevia Redaudiana. You can use the powder or the whole leaf (if you can find it).


a sugar alcohol found in birch trees (wood) and several kinds of fruit and vegetables (mainly corn cobs). Looks like white sugar.

Yacon Syrup

from the Yacon Plant and pours like Maple Syrup.

Sugars/Sweeteners Part 2 (Sugar Alcohols)

Foods that are labeled “sugar-free” use sugar alcohols for sweetness and have fewer calories than table sugar (white sugar). They also have fewer carbohydrates, therefore may have a lower glycemic number than table sugar.

Sugar Alcohol is neither a sugar nor an alcoholic beverage.

Examples of sugar alcohol are:


made from plant sugars, it is fermented, filtered, allowed to crystallize, and then dried. It either looks like granulated white sugar or a powder.

Glycerol (also known as glycerin or glycerine)

syrupy colorless, odorless, liquid that is sweet-tasting and non-toxic. Used in medicine.

Hydrogenated starch hydrolysates

derived from corn starch, potato starch or wheat. Similar to Sorbitol.


made from beets, hydrogenated, looks like table sugar. Natural laxative.


derived from lactose (milk sugar), made by DuPont


hydrogenated corn syrup

Mannitol & Sorbitol

isolate of the mountain ash berry (genus Sorbus), diuretic, baby laxative, naturally found in some fruits, oral enema, thickener and moisturizer in beauty products (soaps, moisture’s, etc.).


found in birch trees (wood) and several kinds of fruit and vegetables (mainly corn cobs). Looks like white sugar.

Sugar alcohols can have a laxative effect or other gastric issues in some people. As I mentioned in my Xylitol Blog Post (March 8th), your body can only digest so much when it comes to sugar alcohols. It is best for adults to consume 50g or less per day. Our bodies treat sugar alcohols as fiber, not carbohydrates. Diarrhea and flatulence are the most common issues.

Photo by myself, Jean E. King.  Sweetener section at local Natural Grocers Store.

Sugars/Sweeteners (Table Sugar) What is it really?

I blogged about xylitol on March 8th.  Because, one of my co-workers said he would change my cream cheese recipe a little.  He wanted to replace 1/3 of the powdered sugar with xylitol and add a scope of protein powder.

Ummmmmm. Really? What?(so many emoji faces would go here)

One of my other co-workers said, “If you want more protein, eat a piece of chicken”.

That is what lead me to investigating xylitol and thinking about what else I could use that is low glycemic.

The other day I went thru the sweetener section of my local Natural Grocers Store.  I saw Xylitol, Erythritol, Lactose, Dextrose, Cane Sugar, Coconut Sugar, Stevia, Brown Sugars, Honey, etc.  How confusing.


Photo by myself, Jean E. King.  Sweetener section at local Natural Grocers Store.

The month of April is going to be about Sweeteners.  Each Monday & Wednesday I will post about a different type of sweetener.  I will also discuss them on www.periscope.tv/cookinmeanjean.

I have broken the sweeteners down to five categories to make the information easier to digest: Table Sugar, Sugar Alcohols, Plant Based Sweeteners, The Ose’s (lactose, glucose, etc.) and Honey.

Some items fall into more than one category.  I chose these five categories because they are the most identifiable and easiest to find.

First, let’s start with Table Sugar. Which is derived from Sugar Cane or Sugar Beets.  Also, called Sucrose.

Source of graphic www.sugar.org

Sugars Derived from Sugar Cane or Sugar Beets:

White Sugar (table sugar)

derived from Sugar Cane or Beet Sugar. See above photo

Raw Sugar/Turbinado Sugar

Cane Sugar which has been minimally processed.  Made from the first pressing of sugar cane and retains some natural molasses.  Larger crystals than white sugar.  Can be used in place of white sugar for coffee, tea, sprinkled on top of baked goods, etc.

Evaporated Cane Juice

The crystalized liquid that remains after sugar cane has been processed

Brown Sugar

White Sugar with Molasses added, then dried again.

Demerara Sugar

Large Crystals, pale color, toffee flavor, can replace brown sugar
Mascavado or Barbados Sugar – very moist texture and a strong molasses flavor. Looks like dark brown sugar

MSG The Food Additive of the Day

The following information is just that information.  It is not meant to be a substitute to visiting your doctor or professional medical advisor.  Your life is a result of the decisions you make.  After reading this information do your research, talk to your doctor and start to ask yourself questions about your personal health desires.  You reading this is not an accident.


MSG Is a result of  processing proteins to create enhanced food flavorings.  Proteins naturally breaks down in our bodies and our foods in various levels.

(1) MSG or free glutamic acid is also found in many health foods as a result of vegetable protein breakdown or hydrolysis. These MSGs or free glutamic acids are not added into food as a flavor enhancer but exist in varying quantities in many foods as a result of protein breakdown

(2) When proteins are ingested in their natural state, the stomach breaks these proteins down only into L-glutamic acid.  When proteins are processed, heated, hydrolyzed or fermented as in the flavor enhancer MSG or proteins powders, veggie proteins etc… they break down into both D and L-glutamic acid.

(2) Monosodium Glutamic Acid (MSG) refers to a chemical process in which glutamic acid is isolated, and then, bound to a sodium molecule and purified into a white powder that is added to foods as a flavor enhancer.

Some studies suggest MSG can cause the following issues:
  • Obesity
  • Increased production of insulin
  • Dysplasia (enlargement of an organ or tissue as the result of abnormal cell proliferation).
  • Migraine, Headaches, Autism, ADHD, Seizures, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, and Alzheimer’s
The following are USDA FAQ’s and answers concerning MSG:

(3) Will I know if there is monosodium glutamate (MSG) in a processed meat or poultry product?

MSG is classified as a flavor enhancer by Federal regulation. When it is added to a product, it must be identified as “monosodium glutamate” on the label.

(3) MSG and hydrolyzed protein related?

Yes. MSG is the sodium salt of glutamic acid. Glutamic acid is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of protein. It is found in virtually all food and, in abundance, in food that is high in protein, including meat, poultry, cheeses, and fish.

Hydrolyzed proteins, used by the food industry to enhance flavor, are simply proteins that have been chemically broken apart into amino acids. The chemical breakdown of proteins may result in the formation of free glutamate that joins with free sodium to form MSG. In this case, the presence of MSG does not need to be disclosed on labeling. Labeling is required when MSG is added as a direct ingredient.

(3) Can hydrolyzed animal or vegetable protein be identified as “natural flavoring” on the label?

No. FSIS regulation requires that animal or vegetable proteins must be specifically identified in the ingredient statement on the labels. The source of the protein must also be disclosed. On the label, you will read “hydrolyzed wheat protein” or “hydrolyzed milk protein,” not just hydrolyzed protein.(2)

If you feel confused about MSG or not sure if it is affecting you, consider eating a cleaner diet of food.

Eating more fruits & vegetables (unprocessed),  also more organic and fewer GMO foods is a good place to start.

Other Names For MSG:

Accent Seasoning (MSG is the only ingredient)

Anything “protein fortified”

Anything “hydrolyzed”

Anything “enzyme modified”

Anything containing “enzymes”

Anything “fermented”

Anything containing “protease”

Autolyzed Plant Protein 

Autolyzed Yeast


Calcium Caseinate

Calcium glutamate

Citric Acid (when processed from corn)



Glutamic Acid

Hydrolized Plant Protein (HPP)

Hydrolized Vegetable Protein (HVP)

Monopotassium Glutamate

Monosodium Glutamate

Natural Flavoring

Natrium glutamate 

Natural Meat Tenderizer

Sodium Caseinate

Senomyx (wheat extract labeled as artificial flavor) 

Soy sauce extract

Soy protein

Soy protein concentrate

Soy protein isolate

Yeast Food or Nutrient

Yeast Extract

ingredients that may contain or produce MSG during  processing:


Bouillon and broth


Any “flavors” or “flavoring”

Natural flavor



Citric acid, Citrate

Anything “ultra-pasteurized”

Barley malt

Malted barley

Brewer’s yeast


Malt extract


Sources of Information:

(1) Hunger For Change

(2) LifeSpa

(3) USDA (United States Department of Agriculture)

Xylitol The Food Additive Of The Day

The FDA has approved xylitol as a food additive or sweetener.

Xylitol is a carbohydrate found in the birch tree and in small amounts in many fruits and vegetables and is therefore considered natural.  It is a white crystalline powder.  Since it is a refined sweetener,  so it doesn’t contain any vitamins, minerals or protein.  Therefore, an“empty” calorie.

Table Sugar: 4 calories per gram.     Xylitol: 2.4 calories per gram.

Xylitol looks and tastes like sugar, but has 40% fewer calories and it has a very Low Glycemic Index and Doesn’t Spike Blood Sugar or Insulin.

The glycemic index measures how quickly foods raise blood sugar. Xylitol is only 7, compared to regular sugar, which is 60-70.

•dentists like it because it is not converted to acids that cause tooth decay in the mouth.

•It is believed to be a big component in fighting middle ear infections in children.  Some studies showed that children who chewed Xylitol gum reduced their chances of developing an ear infection by 40%.

•If you take large amounts of xylitol, such as 30 to 40 grams, you may experience diarrhea or gas. Increasing the dose gradually may help minimize these effects.

•Xylitol is Highly Toxic to Dogs.  When dogs eat xylitol, their bodies mistakenly think that they’ve ingested glucose and start producing large amounts of insulin.   This can lead to hypoglycemia and be fatal.

Sources of Information:





For The Love Of Food

I love food!!  I really do, especially desserts.

As a baker, I love the various combinations of flour, sugar, butter, eggs and flavorings.  When I am in my kitchen measuring, creating, baking and tasting, I am in therapy.
WE all need therapy, wether you admit it or not.

My customers and friends say they love or would love to eat the desserts I create, but….they are vegans, have gluten sensitivities or prefer organic ingredients.  So I expanded my baked goods to reflect one or all three requests.

Like most people I thought using ingredients that are organic, gluten-free or vegan was going to be too expensive, going to taste like tree bark and that I would have to by a lot of other ingredients to replace the flavor.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Some of my recipes actually taste better.

Watch me live on www.Periscope.tv/cookinmeanjean. We will discuss food additives, definition of food label terms, define organic, etc.  It is free to watch and type in your comments and questions.

I go live Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays, 6:50am Arizona Time.  Currently that is MST.   Since Arizona does not observe Daylight Savings Time, we don’t change time,  just switch time zones.  March 12th is Daylight Savings Time and Arizona will then be PST.
(Just for clairification we don’t ever change our clocks we just pick the time zone that matches our clocks.)

Also, I have started having live cooking demos once a week, usually Thursday nights.  I like to take my test recipes to work and get my co-workers opinion’s  on Friday mornings.

Please join me.  I would really love to see your comments, questions and suggestions.