This website is for ALL OF US DIABETICS AND THE FAMILIES OF DIABETICS That REALLY like to eat!
The purpose of this site is to help people with Diabetes transform what we can or should eat, into what we WANT to eat!
My name is Ward Alper. I am a chef and food lover that is now diabetic.
Good tasting food is important to me so I won’t suggest you substitute one item for another just because it is lower in carbohydrates.IT HAS TO TASTE DELICIOUS OR WHY BOTHER TO PREPARE IT?.
As a Diabetic you need to alter your life, thinking, and eating in order to live and enjoy the life you have! It is worth the trip! I am here to cheer you on!
AS I SEE IT, THERE IS NO REASON FOR A DIABETIC TO EAT LIKE A SECOND CLASS CITIZEN!
The purpose of my website and the cookbook that is in the works is to celebrate our limitations, reinvent our diets, and applaud every positive step we make, every ounce we lose, every point our numbers go down and to let my fellow diabetics know:
YOU ARE NOT ALONE – IT WILL GET EASIER – LIFE WILL BE DELICIOUS AGAIN!
I hope to share with you that a DIABETIC COMPATIBLE RECIPE does not have to be a stand in for the “good stuff” but can stand alone as something wonderful.
enjoy, be Healthy, BE Happy, Be DECADENT
I do all of those things…and you can too!
If you want a reminder about my latest articles, go to Facebook and “like” Ward Alper, THE Decadent Diabetic The notice of a new post will show up in your “newsfeed”.
Disclaimer: I do mention some brand name brand products in some articles. I am not paid by the companies that make or distribute these products, nor do I own any stock in any of the companies. I mention them because…THE PRODUCTS WORK FOR ME!
Web Consultant: Benjamin Knopf
Diabetic-Compatible Food inspired by Memories
On one of the sites that feature my recipes, there was this terrific response to my recipe for Carrot and Pineapple salad (slaw). It seems that this recipe brought up memories for many of the readers:
My mom made a carrot and pineapple salad that was not exactly like this but reminiscent of this one.
We were raised on this salad.mom made it often. Added raisins or just had carrots w/ raisins.
My Mom used to make this all the time during the ’50′s. It’s really good
I was raised on this salad….
my mother in law always made this
My mom used to make this growing up. My brother in law loves it because is her. Didn’t think anyone else ate carrot salad
We’ve been doing this for years. Delicious!
Have eaten this with raisins (golden) since I was young
My sister loves carrot and raisin salad…..
There are so many memories attached to our lives. Food is a big one for most of us. That dish that grandma used to make, the first dish you had in a restaurant, the meal you shared with your first love. Most of them don’t need to be erased from your life.
There are quite a few food memories for me:
-My grandmother’s sponge cake every Friday night. “It fell, a little, but it is good in taste”. It was true it always fell in but always tasted great. Nowadays, I make a Moroccan Sponge cake with ground nuts replacing 1/3 of the flour. It, like my grandmother’s cake “falls-in a little”, but it is “good in taste”.
-Meatloaf was always a favorite. Whenever I asked my friend Tony over for dinner, he always wanted meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and squash. Then came the “cholesterol days” and meatloaf got replaced with turkey loaf. Oddly enough we found it just as good. I can’t even remember the last time I did a regular meatloaf. With Diabetes, the mashed potatoes got replaced with mashed cauliflower. For me and my friends and family, this was more than a necessary replacement; it was a new and wonderful taste treat. The squash got replaced by any number of green vegetables and the meal and the memory was saved.
- Desserts were, and are a big deal for me. The memory of my father’s restaurant still lurks in my brain. You walked in the front door and were greeted by a case full of Hortense Spier’s delectable cakes. Lemon meringue pie (replaced with a lemon tart), Nesserole pie (closest to my Italian crème Gallette, a dense rich chocolate cake (My King of the Night cake), and then there were the cheese cakes: Strawberry cheesecake, pineapple cheesecake, cherry cheesecake. All these flavors with a gloppy fruit topping covering the real gem:
Plain cheesecake. More than any other food memory, cheesecake stands alone.
I was not a very accomplished pastry chef. At one time everything I baked failed and failed miserably. Cheesecake was my first real success. Even to the point that I won a cooking contest with my cheesecake recipe.
Well, my friends let me tell you that as a man and a chef with Diabetes, I DO NOT LIVE WITHOUT CHEESECAKE. I even made cheesecakes for my wedding. People are still talking about them.
So since you ARE my friends, I share my recipe with you again this week.
Enjoy, be happy, be healthy, be creative, and BE DECADENT! –w!
Decadent Diabetic-Compatible Cheesecake
(A SHOW STOPPER- GREAT AS A BIRTHDAY CAKE)
Serves 6-8 people
Net Carbohydrates 11-13g. per serving
Note: I use this sweet crust below for all of the tart recipes. It does NOT have to be blind baked!
8-9 inch springform pan very well buttered or sprayed with Pam.
2/3 c. flour
1/3 cup toasted nuts (either Almonds, Walnuts, or Pecans)
¼ c. GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE
1 pinch salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp. cardamom (optional can substitute ground ginger)
½ tsp. baking powder
4 tbsp. butter or margarine
1 large egg
How I prepare this recipe:
In a food processor with a steel blade pulse all of the dry ingredients until very well combined and the nuts disappear into the mixture. Add cold butter and pulse until butter is well distributed in the flour mixture. Add the egg and pulse until mixture forms a ball on the blade. Remove dough from processor and pat into a disc about 5-6’’. Wrap disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least ½ hour but overnight will also work.
2 8oz. pkgs. cream cheese
1/2 cup Ricotta cheese
¾ cup GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE
4 tsp. lemon juice + 1 tsp lemon grated lemon zest
4 tsp pure vanilla extract and
3 large eggs
1 tbsp. flour
Sliced almonds & GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE to sprinkle over filling
How to prepare the filling:
In the food processor combine GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE and cream cheese & Ricotta. Whip on high speed until combined. Add remaining ingredients and mix until well combined. Taste for balance of flavor. Adjust GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE, lemon or vanilla to suit your taste.
How to assemble:
Roll out dough on a floured surface to form a crust about the same size as the bottom of your springform. Spray springform all over and press the dough into it. (don’t panic, it always falls apart a little. Just press it into place)
Pour filling into springform. Top with almonds
Bake at 300 for 45 min to one hour until sides are set but the center is still slightly jiggly. Remove cool completely. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.
(Shredded Cardboard, Packing Peanuts, and a salad? NOT!)
I remember the day back in 2008 that I was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes. My wonderful Doctor Dan was very kind as he handed me the diagnosis and some pamphlets with some information on Diabetes. He was right up front with me and said that he wanted me to meet with people more familiar with Diabetes. When asked, he did indicate that I could have a very, very, very little bit of chocolate. (Have you seen my recipes for chocolate cakes and crèmes?) His office made an appointment for me with a Diabetes clinic. I like to refer to it as the Diabetic’s house of horrors.
My experience with the clinic went something like this: “So you got yourself Diabetes. Well for the rest of your life you will have to suffer eating a diet of shredded cardboard (how many net carbs are there in cardboard?), used packing peanuts and for your birthday…a small salad, no dressing. Here is a cookbook with recipes to prepare those dishes” Ok, Ok, I exaggerate a “little”. How many of you felt that was almost exactly what you were told? Did you feel that you never again would eat something delicious?
For some of you, we can add insult to injury, when the very thought of cooking seems worse to you than double root canal.
And there is more:
When you are punched in the gut with the news that you have Diabetes, it seems that your world becomes full of “you can’ts.” When you hate to cook as well, your world seems full of I won’ts. I am not including here the things you simply won’t eat or have never even heard of as a food. Flambéed rutabaga puree anyone?
Good news for a change
I want to remind you that you can! It is not all that painful to eat a delicious diet that is also Diabetic-Compatible.
Please remember that for all of the things you need to remove or really cut down on with a Diabetic diet, there is still a gazillion things that you can eat a lot of and, more importantly, want to eat. Start with meat, fish, chicken, vegetables,… bacon. Oh dear, did I say bacon? Well yes, I did. I don’t want to suggest that you eat pounds of it at a sitting (I personally would love to do that), but a person with Diabetes does not necessarily need to eat less bacon than anyone else. It is your decision as a person that wants to maintain some degree of health whether you eat bacon or not. That goes for many (sorry, you do have to read labels) hot dogs as well. There really are fun things out there that you can eat. About that hot dog, the bun is the bigger carbohydrate villain than the dog itself. May I suggest you trying Joseph’s low carbohydrate (4g. per pita) to put the dog and the mustard and the relish, and the sauerkraut in? The soft doughiness gives you the same sense as a high carbohydrate bun. Great taste, not so much guilt.
Are you at least willing….
I do get it. You hate to cook, have no time to cook, don’t want to cook, don’t know how to cook. Ok! Are you at least up for grilling, or broiling, or pan frying (I did not want scare you and say Sautee) a steak, a burger, a pork chop, a piece of chicken, a bit of fish?
If you are willing to do that, I have these two outrageously easy, delicious, and versatile sauces that will even take the blandest and most ordinary and dull foods to absolute lusciousness. I like and use them so often I call them my “magic” sauces. They will even make shredded cardboard taste good. Ok, I lied. Not the cardboard but all sorts of foods taste new, fresh, and delicious, without any real work (cooking) on your part. These simple accent sauces will take your tastebuds to new and very happy heights. Each sauce should take you under five (5) minutes to prepare. I keep the mayonnaise based sauce in my fridge for weeks because there is always something to use it on, and if I have it ready, I don’t need to stop to make a batch. How is that for easy cooking?
One has four ingredients and the other only three. You may have never used the ingredients before (no, they are not weird), but like anything else, once you try it, you have a new food friend. These two are just the beginning. With a little thought…..
Enjoy, be happy, be healthy, be creative, and BE DECADENT!
(I love this stuff)
Serving size 2 Tbsp.
Net Carbohydrates 4g.
Note: This is one of the fastest, easiest, most useful sauce in my repertory. I use it to brighten up Fish, Steak, Pork, Vegetables, Sandwiches and all sorts of dishes.
½ – cup Mayonnaise with olive oil
1 – tsp, Dijon mustard
1 – tsp. coarse grained mustard
1- tsp white wine or cider vinegar
HOW I PREPARE THE RECIPE:
Mix together until smooth (how difficult is that?)
ROYAL CAPER SAUCE
Serving size 2 Tbsp.
Net carbohydrates 3g.
Note: This a wonderful quick sauce to brighten up Tuna, Swordfish, or any baked white fish like cod or haddock. It is also amazing on grilled meats.
½ – cup sour cream (BREAKSTONES is my favorite)
1 – Tbsp. capers,
½ – small shallot, minced
HOW I PREPARE THE RECIPE:
Rinse and drain the capers If you don’t, the sauce gets too salty). Chop them together with the shallot. Combine with the sour cream.
Making the “old stand bys” Diabetic-Compatible again!
In the old days before my diagnosis (can I even remember that time?), I was a busy guy. I did all the cooking for my household as well as holding down a demanding job. What made it easier for me was to have two pasta dishes and two soup dishes each week. I also prepared big batches of meals on my days off (ready for a quick defrost and a great dinner).
The problem with this today is that the pasta (as a meal) is out of the question. The soups I made were very high in carbohydrates (because of flour, noodles, or a potato base, or all of those things combined). The pre-done meals were much the same. It would be chicken pot pie, pot roast, cowpoke pie (aka Shepard’s pie) All the great comfort foods. All of these dishes want crusts, noodles, rice, or potatoes to complete the meal.
I still manage the pasta as a side dish using either spaghetti squash or a bean based pasta. The “comfort” foods have been modified with crusts using parmesan cheese to substitute for some of the flour, mashed cauliflower or “riced” cauliflower or super-rich (but small portion) of real potatoes.
Then there are the soups. They were a great challenge for me. A little easier is the winter with chicken soup or onion soup, or cream of this and cream of that. The summer was a much bigger challenge. My standby soups for summer were: Borscht and Gazpacho. Borscht is a middle European soup made with beets. This is still a problem for me. Even not using sugar, the beets are so very high in carbohydrates. Real gazpacho is made using leftover bread to thicken the soup (and not to waste good bread). The flavor is from the tomato base. In small enough quantities, tomato is not so bad, as the main ingredient, the soup had too many carbohydrates for MY diet.
So, you ask how did I manage to get back into routine this summer? First of all, most of my cream of this and cream of that soups are as good, perhaps better, icy cold. Cucumber soup is just a great summer treat, as are creams of cauliflower, celery, broccoli, and spinach. All are very easy to make have very few (10 or less) grams of carbohydrates. The color alone makes you feel cool with icy whites and frigid pale greens.
I had to rethink gazpacho. It wasn’t the flavor of the bread I missed. It was the tomato. I do still eat tomatoes, but as the main ingredient, tomatoes have too many carbohydrates for me. You can roast or grill tomatoes for the base. Roasting or grilling just intensifies the tomato flavor so you can use less (therefore less carbohydrates) to get the same flavor. Too much work? I agree! San Marzanno tomatoes already diced for you are readily available at most markets and even online. They are from a region of Italy with the same name. The flavor is so intense, that like a roasted plum tomato, you can use less for the same flavor. All you have to do is open a can and add the other ingredients in a blender or food processor. To replace the thickening of the bread, I keep the onions, cucumbers, and peppers chunky. You get a little crunch when you eat the soup. I also like to add fresh basil and parsley to the soup. It gives it even more flavor and counteracts the “canned” taste.
No different than the way I have had to rethink all my recipes, soups became part of my life again, with a lot of thought but just a little work.
What good is soup without bread, crackers, or better yet these “Little” sandwiches made with fresh herbs from my garden and cream cheese?
At 10 A.M. this morning it was 84 degrees with a dew point in the high 60’s. Can you guess what is for our supper tonight?
Enjoy, be happy, be healthy, be creative, and BE DECADENT!
Net carbohydrates 10g. per serving
Chef’s Note: This is a wonderful hot weather soup. No stove and no oven. It originated in Andalusia, Spain hundreds of years ago when olive oil and vinegars came into fashion. It was originally created as a way to use up stale bread (waste not, want not) but this recipe replaces the high carbohydrates of bread with wonderful chunky vegetables.
The easiest way to make this and keep it chunky is to chop each of the vegetables separately and add them to the tomato base at the end. I also recommend holding back a little of the chopped vegetables for garnish.
1 large cucumber, peeled and seeds removed (English/ hot house cucumbers work very well)
½ medium (4-6 ounce) red or sweet onion
¾ cup chopped bell pepper (any color)
3 cups diced canned tomatoes (San Marzano is my choice)
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
4 Tbsp. good olive oil
1-3 cloves garlic grated
Salt and pepper to taste (AND your doctor’s recommendation)
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. fresh basil (or 1 Tbsp. dried basil)
HOW I PREPARE THE RECIPE:
Cut the peeled and seeded cucumbers into chunks and process (or chop) them into very small pieces. If using a blender or processor, don’t allow them to liquefy. Set aside in a small bowl.
Cut the onion into small dice and chop into very small pieces. Set aside in a small bowl.
Chop or process the bell pepper the same way as you did the cucumbers. Set aside in a small bowl.
In a blender or food processor, liquefy the tomatoes. Add the vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and herbs and blend together.
Add ¾ of the chopped vegetables and stir to combine. Remember to reserve the remaining chopped vegetables for garnish and extra crunch.
Chill the soup for 2-3 hours or up to 2 days. Serve icy cold with a dollop of sour cream to smooth out the acid of the tomato.
Defying Diabetes with New friends and old recipes
I LOVE my readers.
A few weeks ago, one reader (Mindy) asked me if I would be interested in a recipe of hers. It was something she created when she was in her teens.
“Like I said I was 15 and wanted glazed chicken, but having been diabetic since I was 8, I knew the store bought kind would have blown my diabetes to kingdom come.”
Mindy sent me the following recipe:
Low sugar glazed chicken
6 chicken breasts (skin on)
20 Oz 100% pineapple juice
Garlic powder -to taste
Season salt -to taste
Parsley flakes-to taste
Slit open skin to drain off fat during cooking for crispy skin
Set in fridge overnight to let juice soak in
Bake @350 /1 hour
When I looked at Mindy’s recipe, a huge smile started to grow on my face. About a hundred years ago when I was 11 or 12, it became my household task to cook for the family. My training in my dad’s restaurant gave me a better base than any other family member. Besides at that time, I thought it was fun. What wasn’t fun was trying to make different things that would please all members of the household from my 4 year old sister to my 20 year old sister. I looked at all types of cooking magazines. One recipe I found was “Hawaiian” chicken.
Not unlike Mindy’s recipe, it was made with pineapple juice but also the each piece was topped with a pineapple ring. Very fancy for a 12 year old, don’t you think?
Well let me tell you that I reproduced this recipe in a million different forms over the years. Everybody seemed to love it. It was once one of the most popular items on one of my menus. Over the years the salt was replaced with soy for a darker finish to each piece. Cinnamon was added for another layer of flavor.
The same base was added to meatballs for “Hawaiian Meatballs.” (O.K. I am still embarrassed about that but it sold like crazy.) Just this week, I saw an advertisement for a steakhouse advertising… You got it, “Hawaiian” strip steak. As they say: “Everything old is new again”.
Over the years my taste for chicken or meat with pineapple changed. Rather than pineapple, I prefer orange juice (I use Trop 50 low carb juice). No different than the soy I added years ago for a darker finish, mustards got added for another layer of flavor with less sodium than the soy sauce. Infused oils like the Ariston Blood orange replaced the neutral oil. This too gave the chicken more flavors and it took less work to prepare the dish than grating orange zest into the marinade. Whether it was because I link the pineapple flavor to my childhood or that I have expanded my taste buds over the years, the subtler flavors of orange (or lemon) are now my go to for a fresh chicken dish.
All cooks change the recipes from time to time. Even Grandmother’s “sacred” recipe has had modern updates. I have a mortar to grind nuts and spices, but the food processor sometimes is the faster and easier way to go. “Work better NOT harder”
My thanks to Mindy. I am going to try her recipe. Her advice to “slit” the skin to allow fat to drain off is a great tip for all of us that like the skin and like it crisp. Yes, as a chef, I am going to make some “little” changes. I can’t help myself. Since I am always trying to encourage you to try new things and make it your own, I feel no disloyalty to Mindy’s recipe or to my memories. All I feel is thanks to Mindy for reminding me about something from my past and wanting to share her recipe with not just me, but all of you.
Thanks again Mindy!
Enjoy, be happy, be healthy, be creative, and BE DECADENT!
Orange Glazed Chicken
Serving 1 Breast
Net Carbohydrates 5 g.
1 -2 –cloves of garlic, grated (or 1/4 tsp. powdered)
1 – small shallot., minced
2 –scallions (white part only), minced
Salt and black pepper to taste (and your Doctor’s suggestion)
½ tsp. dried tarragon (or dried thyme)
¼- cup low sodium chicken stock or broth
1 -tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ – cup Trop 50 Orange juice
2- Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 – Tbsp. olive oil
2 – skinless boneless chicken breasts (optional to leave skin on)
HOW TO PREPARE THE RECIPE:
Pre heat oven to 350
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Allow to marinate for at least ½ hour but overnight is even better.
Remove chicken from the marinade. Reserve the marinade. Bake skin side down for 30 minutes. Turn the chicken over and bake for 20 minutes more. Spoon the remaining marinade over the chicken, raise the heat to 375 and cook for 10 minutes more until the chicken gets a light golden brown color.
Cold, this also makes “killer” chicken salad.