I had a wonderful and interesting chat with Xagave creator and book author Stephen Richards.  He came early to the studio to do prep works for food items he would be displaying along with Xagave.   Tita Veronica Leighton asked me and Tito Joe Mauricio to pick up some chicken pieces at Jewel.  So we did on our way to the studio.  Just as Tito Joe was making his way to the car with a bag of fresh chicken, I received another call from Tita V and Stephen actually meant for us to buy the rotisserie chicken.  Well it was just past 10 a.m. and no rotisserie chicken was available yet.  So that caused some delay.  And timing was so critical as Stephen had to rush to WGN to do another TV shoot.  So, we got to the studio and then camera started to roll.  No ifs no buts, just sat down with my usual sunny smiles (I just made that up!)

*Agave (pronounced ah-GAH-vay) nectar, or agave syrup serves as a complete sugar replacement, and Xagave is a premium agave nectar blend that’s packed with healthful inulin from the blue agave plant and infused with calcium-rich white agave

*Xagave is the only all natural sweetener that is as versatile as sugar, drastically reduces calories, consistently contains inulin and has a low glycemic level

*Stephen Richards was a successful attorney and recreational chef who founded BetterBody Foods because of a long family history of diabetes and a vested interest in staying healthy

*Stephen is the author of Delicious Meets Nutritious, the country’s best-selling agave nectar cookbook*Xagave and Delicious Meets Nutritious are available at Kroger stores throughout the country and on www.xagave.com Stephen made cole slaw, BBQ sauce, peach pie and cool lemonade drinks for the TV shoot.

What Does Agave Nectar Taste Like?

I got curious myself…so I really did pour some on a spoon and taste it. It was pure sweetness, with none of the taste of honey, and not thick at all. I love it!

More facts about Agave nectar:

*Agave nectar is calorie-free natural sugar substitute but 1.4 to 1.6 times sweeter than sugar. It is used as a substitution for sugar or honey in recipes. It is preferred for cold beverages and cocktail drinks (actually nowadays agave nectar is a must-have cocktail ingredient) because it can dissolve quickly. Agave nectar is sweeter than honey, though less viscous or thinner.

*Agave nectar or syrup comes from the sap of the agave plant, which can grow up to eight feet tall and 7 to 12 feet across. Producers typically use the blue agave plant to make nectar due to its high carbohydrate content. Producers grow agave plants for 7 to 10 years before harvest. At this time, they remove the leaves from the plant and harvest the core or pina, which can weigh in at 50 to 150 pounds.*Substitutions —

Honey: Replace each cup of honey with one cup of agave syrup.

Maple Syrup: Replace each cup of maple syrup with one cup of agave syrup.

Corn Syrup

When replacing a cup of light corn syrup, use 1/2 as much agave, and increase other liquids in the recipe by up to 1/3 of a cup. Like corn syrup, agave nectar will not crystallize.

White Sugar

For each cup of white sugar replaced, use 2/3 of a cup of agave and reduce other liquids by 1/4 to 1/3 cup. This substitution will also work for Demerara Sugar, Turbinado Sugar, Evaporated Cane Juice, or Sucanat.

Brown Sugar

For each cup of white sugar replaced, use 2/3 of a cup of agave and reduce other liquids by 1/4 cup. Because the moisture content of Brown Sugar is higher than that of white sugar, liquids may not have to be reduced as much when substituting agave nectar.

*Important: Agave syrup may cause baked items to brown more quickly, so reduce oven temperatures by 25°F is and increase baking time slightly.

*Uses: sweetener in ketchup, coffee sweeteners, even tonic waters; used in marinades and barbecue sauces..

Here’s a great Teriyaki Sauce recipe from Stephen Richards’ book, Delicious Meets Nutritious (visit website www.xagave.com to avail of combo special, book and 25 oz agave bottle): 

Teriyaki Sauce (or Marinade)

This is great with chicken, beef, pork, or mixed with a vegetable stir fry (With half the calories of traditional teriyaki sauce!).

1 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1/3 cup Xagave

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced ginger

thickener (2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water)

Whisk all ingredients (except cornstarch mixture) in a small bowl. Pour blended ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once sauce begins to boil, immediately reduce to simmer. Add cornstarch mixture to sauce, stirring constantly until thickens (about one minute).

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