The GOAL of this site is to help people with Diabetes transform what we can or should eat, into what we WANT to eat!
A diagnosis of DIABETES is NOT the end of GREAT EATING
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 you know that:
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 Creative, Be DECADENT !
TO ACCESS MY RECIPES AND PAST ARTICLES, LOOK ON THE BLACK BAND UNDER THE PICTURE OF MY KITCHEN COUNTER AND CLICK ON EITHER POSTED RECIPES OR PAST ARTICLES
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!
Article # 236
Cooking with Diabetes, not EVERYTHING has to be from scratch
The restaurant business must be deep in my genes. When my grandmother and grandfather learned enough English to communicate easily, they opened up a grocery store/restaurant. That is actually how my father met my mother. After they were married, he worked alongside my grandparents. Eventually, he bought his own place and put me to work.
These restaurants were deli/home style affairs. The food was very New York City German /Jewish. Not everything was fully prepared on premises. Big batches of corned beef, pastrami and salamis were brought in from a purveyor specializing in curing those cuts of meat. Huge wet wooden barrels of the most delicious pickles were brought in every other day.
What were prepared in the kitchens were the meatloaf, Casseroles, chicken dishes,turkeys, roast beefs, and the final cooking of the cured meats. And all the vegetables and side dishes were prepared in the enormous kitchen out back. No customer thought of us as cheating. We did what we did best and let experts do what they did best.
Do people with Diabetes HAVE to cook EVERYTHING from scratch?
The answer is a resounding NO. You don’t have to grind your own meat or cut up your own chicken, or bake your own breads. There are lots of food items that fit very well into a carbohydrate budget. All you have to do is read and understand labels like crazy.
My personal favorite prepared food is frozen spinach. Other than for a spinach salad or for a bed to place my Chicken Parmesan on, I almost exclusively use the frozen boxes of chopped spinach.
It works like a charm in my Greek chicken soup, omelets, stuffed mushrooms and quiches. Defrost, squeeze out some of the water and go. There isn’t much difference in flavor or nutritional value between the fresh and frozen for these dishes.
Want cole slaw and discover it is too late to start shredding it yourself? Buy a package of ready cut cole slaw mix (I’ve done it) and add the sauce yourself.
Many recipes call for chicken or beef stock? Homemade is great but it is not a big problem to use a can or carton of store bought broth in place of one that took hours to prepare. The best choice is a product with lower sodium content. That way you can adjust the sodium to best fit your needs.
I like to make my own salad dressings, but there is any number of really good tasting dressings on the market with low carbohydrate content. They are naturally lower in carbohydrates. They are not made specifically for those of us with Diabetes. Go grill a steak or some chicken and make a quick green salad (perhaps a few slices of radish or cucumber) and use one of pre-made dressings. Dinner can be a snap to prepare.
Desserts can be hard to come by already made AND low in carbohydrates. Greek style yogurts and some fresh fruit and nuts can be a great dessert, especially when served in a great glass. However, cakes and that are sugar free are not necessarily low in carbohydrates, nor do the taste particularly great. This is a category you might want to save to make from scratch.
For those of you that “think” you hate to cook but “have” to cook, you can make it so much easier by cooking some of the meal and buying some of the meal.
Best example of this is when you entertain. Make some/buy some. Prepare the main dish, sides, and perhaps the dessert and buy the hors d’oeuvres or appetizers. A great platter of cheeses and veggies is as simple as buying them and making them look great on the plate. You can even buy a fully done platter of veggies and dip or shrimp cocktail and add a few wedges of lemon or lime.
One of my favorite dishes is Gazpacho soup, cold in the summer or in the winter as Hot Bloody Mary soup. You can slice up your tomatoes, squeeze out the seeds and dice them up….but a big can of already diced San Marzanno tomatoes is not only faster and easier, but the flavor is better than most of the fresh tomatoes you find in the “stupidmarket”.
My suggestion to ALL cooks: Make the best of it, buy the rest of it. Dinner does not have to be a chore to be delicious AND Diabetes-Compatible.
Enjoy, be happy, be Healthy, BE DECADENT.-w!
Serves 3 for a full meal (12 oz.)
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 more than a hundred years ago. It is a waste not want not style of soup. This recipe replaces the high carbohydrates of bread with 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 if you can get them)
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 chop it 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, barely 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. In the winter (perhaps for a brunch), heat to just below the boiling point and add a splash of vodka.
Diabetes PATTING YOURSELF ON THE BACK
Do you remember the last time you tested? Do you remember your last A1C results? I am also sure that you also remember the last time you felt that you cheated on your Diabetes.
QUESTION: When is the last time you patted yourself on the back for all the hard work and effort you put into managing your Diabetes?
My very tall doctor is the person that got me thinking about patting myself on the back. He and I had a great relationship built over many years. He would tease me that my arms were probably too short to reach, so he would pat me on the back for all the hard work and effort I put into managing my Diabetes. It wasn’t a physical thing. He would keep reminding me that what I am doing severely decreases the negative effects of Diabetes on my health. It wouldn’t cure my Diabetes, but it would drastically improve the quality of my life with Diabetes. Sharing my positive outlook and recipes with others, he thought, was good for me (my ego) and encouraging for others.
Be clear that simply by reading here and looking at the recipes available, you are doing something positive. It doesn’t matter if you prepare any of the recipes. You are exploring the possibilities in managing your disease. This is terrific. At some point you will get to trying one or more of the recipes.
Checking in on Diabetes-specific sites is a huge step in the right direction. We all come to acting on those steps in our own way and in our own time. Pat yourself on the back for being willing to explore the possibilities.
For all the hard work you have done, even if YOU don’t think it is enough, you deserve a reward. This space is all about food. My suggestion is to reward yourself with something wonderful to eat.
Start slowly if you like, and try a new vegetable fixed in a new way. Use it to replace a higher carbohydrate food that used to be on your plate. Make it taste so good, you have no choice but to see it as a treat rather than a poor substitution for what you really “think” you want. Take “boring old chicken”, spice it up, and turn it into a treat (reward). Move on to cheesecake or chocolate cake if YOUR carbohydrate budget allows. Start smaller with a single cookie made from a lower carbohydrate recipe. You really can eat just one…even if you can have more.
Triumph over your Diabetes. I am, and I think you will be, very pleased and surprised at how good eating and managing your Diabetes can be.
We don’t have to be perfect. We only have to strive to be better. We all need to recognize our efforts and not dwell in what we may not have achieved…..yet.
It is time to be proud of what and who you are. Go out and buy something in Diabetes blue. A coffee cup for example and make yourself a great cup of coffee or tea to start your day and remind you how far you have come. Perhaps a t-shirt or polo shirt. That shade of blue seems to look good on everybody. When people tell you how good you look in that color, tell them it is Diabetes blue. The money you spend will not only make you feel good but if you find a site that donates some of the proceeds to research, may have some benefits for others. Somebody seeing you in the shirt may feel a little less isolated and encouraged by your position on having Diabetes.
Get out there. Pat yourself on the back. If your arms are too short, get someone to do it for you. YOU are amazing. Try preparing a new recipe. You can do it!
Enjoy, be happy, be Healthy, BE DECADENT.-w!
CHOCOLATE NUT COOKIES
Makes 22-24 cookies
Net carbohydrates 3 grams. per cookie
2/3 cup flour
½ cup toasted nuts (pecans, walnuts or almonds)
2 TBSP. unsweetened ‘SPECIAL DARK” cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. instant espresso powder
1/3 c. GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE
1 pinch salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
4 tbsp. butter
1 TBSP. oil (ARISTON chocolate infused is THE best)
1 large egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
How to prepare the recipe:
Preheat oven to 350° F.
In the bowl of a food processor pulse the dry ingredients to mix. Cut butter into 8 pieces to distribute in dry ingredients. Pulse until coarse pea sized bits are formed. Add egg, oil and vanilla and continue to pulse until the dough forms a ball that revolves on the blade Remove dough, pat out to a disk and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 35-45 minutes. Roll out on flowered surface to about (do the best you can) 1/4 inch thick. Count on the dough cracking. Not to worry just piece it together and re-roll until you use up all the dough Using a lightly floured 2 -2 ½ inch round cookie cutter or juice glass, cut out cookies. GENTLY place on parchment or silicone lined baking sheet.
Bake at 350° F. for 9-11 minutes. Cool on a rack When completely cool place in an air tight container for up to 3 days.