My name is Ward Alper. It has been four years since I was diagnosed with Diabetes. I am a chef and food lover that is now a diabetic. Good food is important to me so I won’t suggest things to you like substituting one item for another just because it is lower in carbohydrates.I may suggest that you try a recipe of mine that you and everyone will love, because it is lower in carbohydrates……….. AND IT IS DECADENTLY DELICIOUS.
As a Diabetic you need to alter your life and eating in order to live and enjoy the life you have! It is worth the trip! I am here to cheer you on!
I am passionate about cooking, eating, and entertaining. I have worked in the restaurant business since I was a kid. My passion is to reach as many diabetics as I can and to share with those of you that have just gotten the diagnosis, and those of you that are struggling to keep your disease under control, some of the trials, successes, tricks, food products, and fun diabetic recipes and stories that have helped me to keep my diabetes OUTRAGEOUSLY under control for the last four years while taking back my life and table and laughing out loud!
AS I SEE IT, THERE IS NO REASON FOR A DIABETIC TO EAT LIKE A SECOND CLASS CITIZEN!
Every day I meet or hear about another person with diabetes. I meet them in the workplace, online, over the phone and in the “stupidmarket”, When we are told we are diabetic, our lives seem to become all about limitations. 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!
In coming posts I will share with you some of the weird things that have happened (the diabetes clinic- see article #8- 9/12/2012), some readily available food products I have found and keep in my pantry, some easy but decadently delicious diabetic recipes I prepare, a trick or two and whatever I think will help you on your journey.
I hope to share with you that a DIABETIC RECIPE does not have to be a stand in for the “good stuff” but can stand alone as something wonderful.
I am hoping to post once a week either on Wednesday or Thursday. Each post will contain a little more about the journey, or the recipe, that I have done and shared over and over again.
My motto/ credo is:
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
Tired of hearing about, eating, thinking Diabetic Friendly? Me Too! What does that mean anyway? For me it conjures up dry, tasteless, have to settle for less food. And, please when was the last time your food said anything nice to you? “Hey there, how is it going?” Well for me, starting here and starting now it is no longer Diabetic Friendly, it is Diabetic HAPPY foods.
What does that mean? It means foods that don’t cause problems for you to maintain your Diabetic lifestyle, foods that look good, taste good and you look forward to eating. Foods that satisfy you and not leave you craving what you can’t have. Not second class food, not just better than you expected food, but really great tasting foods you are HAPPY to eat and HAPPY to serve your family and guests.
Now, what do I mean by that? Many different things go into making up my criteria for Diabetic Happy Foods. All share the same two things. They satisfy and they taste great (to me).
1- Foods like “Skinny Slaw”. I made tons of it years ago for a restaurant in NYC called the Diet Gourmet. It is the same cabbage, the same carrot, the same mayonnaise (I use Kraft of Hellman’s Olive oil mayonnaise for the benefits and the taste of the oil) same mustard (I like Dijon), and vinegar (apple cider is my choice) as plain old fashioned slaw; I just use a sugar substitute instead of sugar. It is so low in carbohydrates that you can eat mounds of it without out “carbing” yourself. So your plate of fish or chicken is very full with the side dish that tastes like it is supposed to taste. Do a great job seasoning your protein and you got it made. You get to walk away from your table….HAPPY. ..and full!
2-Then there are foods loved and remembered like Pizza and Chicken Parmesan. Once you realize that you can use JOSEPH’S Pita bread for a crust for the Pizza and that you don’t need the breading to add flavor for the Chicken Parmesan, you still have the taste and flavors you crave. It is the tomato and cheese that you really wanted anyway. Ok, a little pepperoni if you must, anchovies anybody?
3- New combinations of foods that work for you that you use in a different way can not only satisfy but delight your taste buds and spur on your creativity. For example: Spinach is great. Mushroom is great, Lemon is great. Parmesan cheese and/ or feta cheeses are great. Combine the spinach (squeeze out the excess water) with the lemon and cheeses and stuff a Portabella mushroom. Dinner is served, dinner is filling, dinner is DECADENT, and you are Diabetic Happy. Add a little tomato sauce over the top and yet another new level of flavor on your plate. One of my readers tells me: “I never have these things in the house” Make your life easier. Go to the “stupidmarket” and put them in the house. Once they are there, trust me you will use them. If a stuffed portabella is too much veg for you, try this as a small bite (canapé)
4- I can not begin to express how happy I was to find out about some readily available products that are not made exclusively for Diabetics but are good choices for some of us. They include among many others, JOSEPHS Lavash , Tortillas, and Pita, Trop 50 juices, KEN’S STEAKHOUSE salad dressings (Hey I am a chef, I can make my own dressings but sometimes ain’t it grand to have something just ready?), Dannon “GREEK’ light and fit Yogurt, and Healthy Choice Premium Fudge Bars.
5- Surprises, good surprises make me very happy. I have always said that I miss the rice and pasta. I use spaghetti squash more as a substitute for rice than for pasta. I love rice pudding. It occurred to me a few weeks ago that if I think of spaghetti squash in its savory form to be used in place of rice, what about in a sweet form. Let me say this about that. You will not believe just how good the recipe below tastes. I gave some to my neighbor, Jim (also a Diabetic) and he was wild for it. What it is about rice pudding is the juxtaposition of creamy custard and the chewiness of rice. Spaghetti squash used in place of the rice is the perfect fit. The squash itself is more neutral than rice and lets the custard shine.
This is, until the next time I create something, my new favorite recipe. I do get excited about eating. I will share the recipe with you once I make it “perfectly” 5 times.
Enjoy, be happy, be Healthy, BE DECADENT!
Spinach Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms
(or “Greek” mushroom small bites)
2 as a dinner – 24 as a small bite
Net Carbohydrates 12g.
I have done this with fresh spinach and frozen. To my surprise I can’t taste the difference. Frozen is MUCH quicker and simpler. I have also substituted grated Swiss cheese for the feta in this recipe.
This recipe is a great small bite. No need to top with extra cheese
1 Package good quality frozen spinach
3 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese + 2 Tbsp. for topping
1 small or ½ half medium onion
1 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
juice and zest of ½ lemon
2-3 ounces Feta cheese (diced into small cubes)
Salt and pepper to taste
1- tsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. Panko, divided
2 good sized Portobello mushroom caps
2 thick cut slices of provolone or Swiss cheese (for topping)
HOW TO PREPARE THE RECIPE:
Squeeze as much moisture as possible out of the spinach. Combine all ingredients except the mushrooms, 1 tablespoon of the panko and the cheese for topping
Clean Mushroom caps
Stuff with spinach recipe
Sprinkle each cap with 1 Tbsp. Panko. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until heated through. Top with thick slice of cheese and bake 4-5 minutes more until cheese has started to melt.
The Happy Handy Diabetic
(Putting your own signature on your food)
I just submitted a recipe and an article to one of the websites I write for. It was about making leftovers into something wonderful via a recipe for my Tortilla Provençale. Part of the recipe calls for using ROASTED TOMATOES. As I am writing, it occurred to me just how much I use that roasted tomato recipe. It is an essential part of that recipe. Great for use on Chicken Parmesan, works great in a frittata, super on fish, and a wonderful addition to a simple cheese sandwich. It is something I use so much that it only makes sense to make it in bulk and have it in the fridge or freezer. It takes very little more work to make a batch of tomatoes than it does to make it for one recipe. Twenty minutes in the oven if it is four tomatoes. Twenty minutes in the oven if it is twelve tomatoes. Bottom line, I never have enough of it around.
There are a few other recipes I use over and over again and usually forget to make a batch in advance. One very simple one is CINNAMON “SUGARLESS”. How hard is that to make in bulk? It is basically cinnamon sugar made with an artificial sweetener. For a quick cinnamon toast in the morning to a sprinkling over fruit in a custard tart, to making a syrup with Trop 50 to put over my lower carb waffle. I always try to have it at hand. Having it handy saves a lot of my food preparation time. One of the things that I have noticed cooking foods for my Diabetic diet is that it takes much more planning and time.
TOASTED ALMONDS too are another can’t live without item. It takes just a few minutes to toast them in a dry pan, a toaster oven, or a regular oven. You gotta watch them like a hawk. They go from barely warm to burned to a crisp in a twinkling of an eye. Toasting almonds or any nut is not a time for multi- tasking. Let them cool completely and store in an air tight container. Sprinkling a few toasted nuts over your DANNON “Greek” light and fit yogurt takes a weekday snack from ho hum to OOOMPAH!
REMOULADE SAUCE is another of those things that I use again and again. From the simple use as a spread on a turkey sandwich, to a sauce for pork or chicken, to a coating base for my meatloaf, having it readily available saves time and energy. This too is as simple to make in bulk as it is to make for one use. It may even be easier to make a big batch and not have to clean a new bowl each time I need to make it. It stays in the fridge forever. Store bought mayonnaise, and two mustards and some vinegar, how much easier can it be? The uses are endless. When I need it, boom, it is there. No need to stop and make a fresh batch.
These four very simple recipes have become staples in my house. Having them at hand has become the same thing as having Parmesan cheese at the ready, or my favorite balsamic vinegar (ARISTON) in the cupboard. Only one place around here (Portland, Maine) carries that product. If I had to go and get a small amount of that vinegar each and every time I needed it, I would go crazier. I can not even imagine NOT having parmesan cheese in the house. Even I don’t have enough words to describe what a loss that would be to my cooking.
The great thing is that I get to control the amount of sodium in the tomatoes and the kind of spicing. I control the amount of cinnamon in the cinnamon sugarless. We like a lot of it so I prepare it to reflect that. The same is true for the remoulade sauce. I like it on the mustardy side so that is how I prepare that recipe. You may like it milder and YOU should prepare it milder! What all of this does is put my personal signature on the foods that I prepare. I start from a point where I like the base flavors and let it grow from there.
I hope YOU will do the same for your favorites, or take one or more of mine. It will help you to take back your life and your table!
Enjoy, be happy, be Healthy, BE DECADENT!
(use alone or as part of a recipe calling for tomatoes or tomato sauce)
Net Carbohydrates 5g. per cup
Note: Just as easy to make sixteen or twenty tomatoes as it is to make four. Make a batch and freeze them in small containers. You will be happy you did!
Remove stem end and cut core out of a plum tomato+
Cut tomato in half horizontally.
Squeeze to remove excess jelly and seeds
Drizzle with olive oil.
Sprinkle with salt pepper and:
Your choices of: dried basil or dried oregano or dried tarragon, Herbs de Provence, or all of them
HOW TO PREPARE THE RECIPE:
Place on baking sheet. Roast at 400 for 10 minutes, rotating the tray and roast another 10 minutes
After cooling, sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese or crumbled Feta cheese or Parmesan cheese. Serve hot or at room temperature. Or as I do, use in dozens and dozens of other recipes.
+ I use either tomatoes on the vine or plum tomatoes but have used hothouse ones with very good results.
Note: You decide the proportions for yourself. We love cinnamon so I use the following:
1- cup Granulated sugar substitute
2- Tbsp. Ground cinnamon
Just mix together.
(I love this stuff)
Note: This is 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 – Dijon mustard
1 – tsp. coarse grained mustard
HOW I PREPARE THE RECIPE:
Mix together until smooth.