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Stevia – Nature’s Sweetener and Asian Inspired Meatballs Recipe

Stevia refers to the many forms of alternative sweeteners derived from the Stevia plant. The “glycosides” contained in the stevia plant are what makes it sometimes 50 to 300 times sweeter than our usual go-to, sugar derived from sugar cane.  But unlike sugar derived from sugar cane, our bodies do not metabolize the glycosides contained in stevia, and therefore it is a calorie free sugar alternative.   However, not all stevia is created equal. Stevia in its most unrefined form is dried and ground stevia leaves and resembles and green dust. Most stevia you will find in coffee shops and stores are stevia derivatives that resemble white crystalized sugar.  These crystallin derivatives are highly processed and therefore less desirable than the simple ground up leaf form.  The Self-Healing and Wellness team finds that stevia is best used to accentuate the natural sweetness of a fruit component in a dish, adding enhanced sweetness without added sugar.  Be careful and use it sparingly.  Too much stevia can give a dish a bitter aftertaste and leave it completely ruined.  If used correctly, using stevia is a great trick to sweeten pies and jams all while limiting ones sugar intake.  Stevia is more versatile than one may imagine and can be used in incredibly creative ways like the Sugar Friendly Asian Inspired Meatballs Recipe below.  These little flavor bombs are packed with the delicious flavor of Asian inspired barbecue and skip the unnecessary sugar content.  This meatball recipe is a Self-Healing and Wellness team favorite, because it one of those recipes that is even more delicious than its less healthy counterpart. 

Asian Inspired Meatballs Recipe


1 Lb. Ground Pork

9 Dried Turkish Apricots (Diced)

1 Clove of garlic (Minced)

1 ½ Tbsp. Onion Powder

1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce

1/2 Tsp. Whole Fennel Seeds

1/2 Tsp. Ground Coriander

1/2 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper

1/4 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon

1/4 Tsp. Stevia Powder

1 /4 Tsp. Smoked Paprika

1/8 Tsp. Five Spice Blend

Sea Salt to taste

In a medium mixing bowl, combine fennel seeds, coriander, cayenne, cinnamon, stevia, smoked paprika, five spice, garlic, salt, and soy sauce.  Let sit for 5 minutes to allow combination to bloom.

Add the pork and apricots and stir in a consistent direction with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined.  Mixing the meat in one direction aligns the fibers and allows for a more juicy, tender, and delicious result.

Roll mixture into 1¼-inch balls, cover, and let rest in the refrigerator for one hour.  This resting allows for the flavors to absorb into the meat.

On a hot grill, cook the meatballs until grill marks appear on each side.

Turn down grill and allow meatballs to cook on medium heat without direct flame for 7-10 more minutes or until cooked throughout.

These flavor packed morsels are great as a appetizer and are even delicious served cold as a quick snack. Enjoy.

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The Perfect Winter Warmup Meal – Split Pea Soup with Bacon

Split pea soup is a Self-Healing and Wellness team favorite during winter months.  It is a great way to highlight split peas, which have a long and nutritious history having been enjoyed in various forms by many cultures around the world since antiquity.  Vendors sold split peas soup in the streets of Athens in 500 to 400 BCE and eventually found its way to the table of Louis XIV of France.  Split peas lend themselves to be a staple food, they are absolutely packed with fiber and protein but are also great source of folate, iron, and potassium.  They are easy to prepare and can be incredibly delicious.  Our Split Pea Soup with Bacon is a rich, versatile soup that is guaranteed to satisfy on a cold winter night.  Enjoy!

Split Pea Soup with Bacon


1 Lb. Green Split Peas

5 Cups Chicken Stock

1 Large Carrot Chopped

1 Large Onions Diced (or 2 medium sized)

1/4 lb. (4 strips) Smokey Bacon (or Pancetta or Leftover Ham Bone)

2 Tbsp. Onion Power

2 tsp. Fresh Ground Black Pepper (or to taste)

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon Powder

1/2 Tbsp. Sea Salt or to taste

Wash the split peas thoroughly with water to remove dust and unwanted bits.  Soak in clean water for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.

Dice onion, chop carrot into small pieces.  Set aside.

Cut the bacon or pancetta into tiny bacon bit sized pieces.  (Using sharp kitchen shears is the easiest way to do this.)  If you are using pre-cooked ham, once you have chopped you ham, set it aside and skip the rest of this step.  Sauté the bacon or pancetta on a medium-low heat until the bits are dark golden-brown and crispy, and most of the fat has rendered out of the meat.  Set aside.

Drain the soaked split peas and combine them in a large soup pot of pressure cooker with chicken stock, onions, carrots, onion powder, cinnamon, salt and black pepper.  Stir to combine.  If you like your split pea soup extra thick, cut the water in half and only add 4 ounces.  Vice versa if you like a very runny soup, add a bit more and adjust the salt for taste.

Add cooked bacon or pancetta including some of the rendered fat.  Adding more of the rendered fat will make the soup smooth and increase its thickness. Stir in thoroughly.

Cook in a pressure cooker on high pressure for 35 minutes or 2 hours in a soup pot on the stove.  When done, the green peas should disintegrate creating a thick base and the bacon bits and carrots should be nicely cooked and distributed throughout.

Enjoy with a side of hot and toasty dark or sourdough bread.