THIS WEEK – A ham, a fish & a meatloaf walk into a psychiatrist’s office

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

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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

My WEDDING CAKE Diabetic "Happy" Amaretto Cheesecakes

CHEESECAKE!!!! Need I say More?

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!

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07/20/2016

Article #202

did you hear

A ham, a fish & a meatloaf walk into a psychiatrist’s office

One of my favorite stories is about this cook that always cut off both ends of a ham before she baked it. When she was asked why she did that she replied:

“I dunno, I always do it that way. It is how my mother taught me to bake a ham.”

We decided to ask her mother why she cut off both ends of the ham. The mother’s reply was:

“That is how my mom taught me to bake a ham.”

Luckily the grandmother was still around. When asked why she did that to a ham she replied:

“We were poor in the old days. We couldn’t afford a big variety of pots and pans. The biggest one we had was too small to fit a whole ham so we cut off the ends of the ham to fit in the pan.”

Like the pan and the ham, we have things ingrained in us by our family traditions that we can’t explain why we do, or don’t like to cook or eat certain foods.

Friends of mine back in Maine hated fish. Why? Because their parents hated fish. More correctly, their grandparents earned their living fishing, particularly they were lobster fisherman. . When times were tough, lobster is what they had to “settle” for too often for their dinner. For her parents, fish/lobster was better than going hungry, but far less a good thing as meat.

Ground Turkey Loaf Different but just as good, maybe better?

Ground Turkey Loaf
Different but just as good, maybe better?

Another of my good friends absolutely refuses to eat anything like meatloaf or Sloppy Joe’s or a casserole. It comes from her parents. When the parents were young, there was little money to go around. They had to make do with stretching the proteins by adding some kind of filler. The other side of the coin for many of us is macaroni and cheese. My younger days consisted of a boat load of “mac & cheese”. They were great times and even today the smell of that dish brings back positive memories. What my friend saw from an early age was her mother turning up her nose at poorer cuts of meat or casseroles. My poor friend has never been able to enjoy a meatloaf thanks to the prejudice of the parents..

Too sad for her. She has never had one of the true comfort foods. Since my diagnosis, she has learned to eat some of my Diabetes-Compatible versions of these dishes without gagging. What is funny is that she absolutely loves a pate. A pate is little more than a glorified meatloaf. What is being glorified are usually less expensive parts of the animal that usually are discarded.

The other “things” she won’t eat are leftovers. I had to stifle back a laugh when she told me that leftover lamb is mutton. The woman makes fresh chicken for her chicken salad. She does not realize that chicken kept overnight (in the refrigerator) develops more flavor. Don’t get me wrong, her chicken salad is good but it could be better.

I have made buckets and buckets of tuna salad for years using dill and lemon juice along with the mayo, celery, and pepper. Because the concept of that preparation was so alien to one of my friends, she declared my tuna salad “yetchy”.

Funny how the mind works. Many of us think we only like certain foods. This is based not on having tried them, but on something not really connected to the taste, texture, or scent of the food. I am as guilty as they are.

Is this how YOU see a chicken Dinner? Image by cnbc.com

Is this how YOU see a chicken Dinner?
Image by cnbc.com

After leaving home, I decided that I hated chicken. It was in part because of how often my grandmother made chicken; and how she killed the poor thing. Happily, I got over it. For all sorts of reasons, chicken is a staple at my house. I have (and you can have) more ways of preparing this protein than most any other protein out there. The good news/bad news is that the flavor has been so bred out of the poor birds that they are now a totally neutral flavor. They are ready to absorb any flavor you add to them.

This also works in the opposite way. We are lovers of the tastes of onions (shallots, scallions). These show up in almost all of my savory dishes. It was my grandmother before me that would say:

“and a little onion for good taste.”

Now that you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Diabetes, how about taking the opportunity to try adding a few “new” things to your menu?

Try a different preparation, or look at some foods in a whole new way. You may surprise yourself. Deciding that you don’t like something that you never tried might be an old joke that has lost its punchline.

Ginger Lime Chicken A fun and EASY fusion of tropical and Asian flavors

Ginger Lime Chicken
A fun and EASY fusion of tropical and Asian flavors

Ginger Lime Chicken

 

Serving Size 1 breast or leg quarter

Carbohydrates          4 grams

Chef’s note: This is an inexpertly good fusion of flavors from the Caribbean and Asia. If you really, truly won’t consider lime, you can use lemon. If you are watching your sodium, this will also work with a low sodium soy sauce.

1 -2 cloves of garlic, grated (or ½ tsp. powdered)

1  small shallot., minced  (or ½ tsp. powdered)

OR

2 scallions, minced

¼ tsp. black pepper

2 TBSP. soy sauce

1 tsp, fresh (or ground) ginger

½ tsp. Dijon mustard

2 TBSP. FRESH lime juice

Zest of one lime

2 TBSP. vegetable oil

2  skinless boneless chicken breasts or leg quarters

2 TBSP. Sesame seeds (OPTIONAL)

HOW TO PREPARE THE RECIPE:

Preheat oven to 350°

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Add the chicken and allow to marinate for 45 minutes or even over-night.

Place on a baking sheet and (OPTIONAL) sprinkle with sesame seeds. Lightly press them into the flesh of the chicken. Bake for 25 -30 minutes.

 

07/13/2016

Article # 201

Diabetes-Compatible Eating…Keep the faith

I am saddened as a person, and encouraged as a writer by the comments I see so often on how difficult it is for some of you  to find YOUR way to creating a sustainable Diabetes-Compatible menu plan. This week I want to share with you a comment made a few years ago by one of my readers and some suggestions on finding your way through the hills and valleys of eating and managing YOUR diabetes.

“I have been in touch with the author, Ward Alper. It was when I first became diabetic. He really has inspired me to keep the faith and keep plugging! It is doable!”

The entire purpose of my writing and sharing recipes (since August 2012) is to be of some small (yes I mean that) assistance to some of you that struggle to eat in a way to help keep your Diabetes in check.

I felt alone and lost eight years ago. I looked online for recipes and suggestions about eating with Diabetes. Some were good, some so-so. Some I would not feed to a ______. As chef and eater, so-so ain’t good enough.

"Little" sandwiches for your soup Made with Joseph's Lavash and herbed cheese

“Little” sandwiches for your soup
Made with Joseph’s Lavash and herbed cheese

Last week’s article was about keeping it simple. The simple truth is that many of the foods you have always eaten are still available to you. Since 2008 I have focused more on what we/I can eat and not so much on what we/I can’t eat.

I would like to suggest to you that you find 5 foods that you like and are Diabetes-Compatible. 5 too many? How about 3? Then all you have to do is look up a few preparations for each of those few foods. What you wind up with is a big bunch of things that you enjoy eating. You just need to place them in a rotation on your table. Doable? You better believe it.

No need to force yourself to eat foods you don’t like. You have Diabetes not a nutrient deficiency.

Lip Smacking, Plate Scraping, "like Crazy Delicious Mashed Cauliflower

Lip Smacking, Plate Scraping, “like Crazy Delicious Mashed Cauliflower

I use a lot of cauliflower nowadays to replace the potato and rice from my “old” menus.  I made some “riced” cauliflower for last night’s dinner. We (I do not live alone in a vacuum) decided it was the best version I ever prepared. All I did was to add a little more chicken broth to the pan. That is it. It just made it richer and, dare I say it, more rice-like? I won’t pretend that cauliflower is a perfect substitute for potatoes or rice. It is a perfectly delicious food on its own. That it looks a little like potato and can be used in a lower carbohydrate dish that is a thing wonderful unto itself. As I mention in my CAULIFLOWER SALAD (S) recipe, my 17 year old neighbor liked it better than plain old potato salad. See, he did not feel that he HAD to have cauliflower rather than potato; he simply tasted what was in front of him and evaluated it on its own merits.

I also know for some of you, the taste of cauliflower is horrid. That is fine too. Just avoid the cauliflower recipes and find other items that work for you, say spaghetti squash? Not everybody likes everything.

I liked chocolate ice cream even though I knew vanilla is the best-selling flavor world-wide. What does that say about flavor? For me it is pretty simple. I like chocolate but am not planning to rule out vanilla. If most people like it, how bad can it really be? I can always put chocolate sauce over it.

This simple sauce for ice cream also works as a drizzle or topping for cakes

This simple sauce for LOW CARBOHYDRATE ice cream also works as a drizzle or topping for cakes

Using new spices, cooking methods can be the “chocolate sauce” on your new foods. What should make it easier for you is to find YOUR way to satisfying YOUR taste-buds without letting your mind get in the way .It is ok not to like a food. That is if you have given it a chance.  Me and the lima bean, for example.

When I started doing Diabetes-Compatible recipes, not every one was a winner. It took years for me to work out what flavors I liked and what flavors went directly to the trash. The great fascination now is that a tweak of an older recipe can reveal something entirely new and even more delicious. The evolution continues. It is completely up to you to let go of old habits and embrace new ones. The only one that stands to gain from this attitude is YOU.

My continued low A1C and good health has made it all worth it. More so those readers who have told me about getting their own aha! moment and gone on to create what will work for them..

If I can be a spark for you…I am grateful.

Before I forget,

Enjoy, be happy, be Healthy, BE DECADENT!

 

Shrimp Alfredo Using lower carbohydrate spaghetti squash in place of pasta

           Shrimp Alfredo
Using lower carbohydrate spaghetti squash in place of pasta

Shrimp & Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

Servings 4

Carbohydrates          3 grams

 

Chef’s Notes: One of the new items I discovered Spaghetti squash. I thought that it would be a substitute for the real thing. It isn’t!  BUT It can be treated in a similar manner Unlike acorn or butternut squash it is low in carbohydrates. But meatballs and spaghetti squash is one of my great failures. This lower carbohydrate take on a classic shrimp dish is a real crowd pleaser. The spaghetti squash portion can be prepared hours or even a day before, making this an quick and elegant meal.

2 cups cooked spaghetti squash (directions below)

2 TBSP. butter

1 large shallot sliced thinly or 3 scallions sliced thinly

1 clove grated garlic

6 medium Baby Bella or crimini mushrooms, sliced thickly

Salt and pepper to taste (and your doctor’s advice)

3/4 cup Half and Half (whole milk can be substituted)

2 tsp. fresh dill

1 TBSP. fresh parsley

Pinch of nutmeg

1 pound raw shrimp (16-20 count)

2 TBSP. parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°

HOW TO PREPARE THE RECIPE:

Cut squash in half lengthwise. I USE A CLEAVER AND HAMMER. Scrape out the seeds and pith. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with a release agent. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for ½ hour. Using a fork, scrape the meat of the squash into a bowl and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the shallot and cook for 30 seconds, add garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the sliced mushrooms. Cook just until they have absorbed the butter in the pan, Add salt and pepper. Add the half and half (or milk) and dill. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the Half and half comes to a simmer. Add the dill, parsley, and nutmeg. Stir to combine.  Add the cooked spaghetti squash and  warm through. Add the shrimp and cook until it turns pink on one side. Turn the shrimp over and add the parmesan cheese. and heat through.

 

07/06/2016

Article # 200

Diabetes-Compatible eating…Make it simple

I just looked up at the article number. I have been writing and sharing recipes with you for almost 4 years now (August 2012). Even I am amazed at 200 articles of living and eating with Diabetes. What more can be said … and yet?

Perhaps this:

A diagnosis of Diabetes suggests that you may have to change the way you eat and the way you look at what you eat. It however does not have to be complicated. It is really NOT about re-inventing the wheel but more about changes to your (food) wheel that make the road smoother. The foods that work easily for managing your Diabetes are not any different than what you have been eating for years. Nothing is so awful that you have to create complicated recipes to cover up the taste of your food.

KING OF THE NIGHT CAKE Diabetic Compatible, CHOCOLATE, Need I say more?

KING OF THE NIGHT CAKE
Diabetic Compatible, CHOCOLATE, Need I say more?

Some recipes can be complicated. They involve more steps and ingredients than other recipes. For me, these tend to be special occasion recipes. Not what you might make every day or every week but for a special holiday. Face it, how many of us make corned beef and cabbage more than once a year? Or for that matter a whole turkey? The recipes are there for you to know that YOU CAN. You can, but you don’t have to get that involved, unless you or a loved one has a chocolate craving and for their birthday you make a King of the Night Cake. Yes this cake recipe takes a little more time and effort, but who is more worth it than you…or that loved one?

Diabetes-Compatible recipes don’t have to be complicated. You can make them complicated (just the way you did before) but you get to choose how involved a recipe has to be to satisfy both your taste-buds and help you manage your disease.

Hungarian Cucumber Salad Light, Refreshing, and easy to make

Hungarian Cucumber Salad
Light, Refreshing, and easy to make

One of my most popular recipes is Hungarian cucumbers (sweet and sour cucumbers). It could not be easier to prepare. It takes only three everyday ingredients (cucumber, vinegar, and a sweetener) and a result that will make your mouth water. You can make it more involved if you want to, but the original recipe is great. Many readers have memories of a similar dish that a parent or grandparent would make. They would add sliced onions or sour cream or yogurt to the recipe. Still an easy and still delicious recipe and still low carbohydrate.

Royal Caper Sauce DON'T let the name scare you. EASY to make and amazingly delicious

        Royal Caper Sauce
DON’T let the name scare you. EASY to make and amazingly delicious

You also don’t have to eat slab–o-meat or slab-o-chicken. Try a simple “magic” sauce like Remoulade or Royal caper sauces. Each has only 3 or 4 ingredients and takes some very basic (almost boring) foods to new and delicious heights. The sauces take less than 5 minutes to prepare and the Remoulade sauce will stay in the fridge for weeks. You can even coat a piece of chicken with the Remoulade sauce and bake it in the oven. The sauce not only flavors the chicken but helps keep it moist. See what I mean “Magic” sauce?

Nothing can be easier than a pan sauce. Remove the protein you have been cooking (beef, chicken, pork, or fish) from the pan, add a little chopped onion and a liquid like broth or wine and scrape up the cooked bits from the pan. Reduce the liquid down by about half and spoon over the protein. It takes just a few minutes but makes an outrageous difference to the flavors of your food.

YOU get to choose!!!

YOU get to choose!!!

Making smashed cauliflower is not any more difficult than making smashed spuds. I treat the cauliflower EXACTLY the same way I did the potatoes and the result, although different, is a scrumptious side for your pot roast, or anything else you used to serve with mashed potatoes. The process is still little more than boiling water and seasoning the cooked cauliflower.

I have posted a lot of cake recipes. I know that “sweets” are some of the most missed items from a Diabetic-Compatible menu.

Chocolate Cake- Crumb Cake- Almond Cake All variations from the same "master" recipe

Chocolate Cake- Crumb Cake- Almond Cake
All variations from the same “master” recipe

I want to offer up the possibility of still having a people sized portion of a dessert with all the flavor (sometimes more) and far less of the carbohydrates. Some readers have commented that these recipes have too many ingredients and too many steps. I am good with that observation. However, if you have been paying close attention, you might have noticed that ALL of the cake recipes have the same basic ingredients and the same instructions. All I am doing for you are slight flavor alterations to a “master” recipe. The concept is that once you have master one of these recipes, you have really mastered all of them. Making them over and over again, they will become as simple for you as baking chicken.

Don’t get stressed by cooking for yourself or a loved one. Stand up in your kitchen and relax. Eating to manage YOUR Diabetes (deliciously) can be a piece of….CAKE.

An incredibly simple and delicious side salad So fast and easy, you will make it over and over again

An incredibly simple and delicious side salad
So fast and easy, you will make it over and over again

Tomato and Olive salad

4 servings

Net carbohydrates    7g.

Chef’s note: With today’s tomatoes, I find using either cherry, grape or cocktail tomatoes are the ONLY ones that still gives me the old fashioned tomato flavor.

1 – pint cherry, grape or cocktail tomatoes

¼ – cup pitted calamata olives, sliced in half

1 –large shallot sliced thinly

2 Tbsp. Lemon juice

5 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. chopped parsley

1 TBSP. chopped fresh basil

salt and pepper to taste

2- ounces Feta or Parmesan cheese, crumbled

HOW TO PREPARE THE RECIPE:

Slice the tomatoes in half (quarters if you use cocktail tomatoes)..

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and let sit for 15 minutes or more before serving. NOTE: The longer it sits, the more juice and flavors are released

 

 

 

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