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!
New loves (Diabetes–Compatible) for old
When I moved from the east coast to New Mexico over a year ago, I knew there were foods, brands, and products I loved and used regularly that I would not be easy to find here. I miss those products and still wish they were easily available. But there have been compensations. I have found new things to love without being entirely unfaithful to my old loves.
I feel the same way about foods I ate before my diagnosis. I still love them, but there have been compensations and new food discoveries. There have even been new ways to fix “old” staples. Then again, I wanted some tabbouleh to go with dinner tonight. In New Mexico the store managers looked at me like I was crazy. One asked me if it was a kind of cheese. I guess it will be a cucumber salad instead.
What is the point of kvetching and moaning about all the foods we are not supposed to eat if we have Diabetes? What good does it do? In truth, is eating with Diabetes really as bad as we say it is? If it helps, think of eating with Diabetes like breaking up with your not-good-for you boyfriend/girlfriend. What good is sitting alone in your room sad, depressed and wearing your old torn sweatpants?
So what if bingeing out on rice, breads, potatoes, cake, ice cream may not be in our healthy future. We can find more than enough really good things that we can eat, and eat in the quantities we would like. You may be surprised to know some of those foods are better than we ever ate before. All we have to do is think of them as that new possible love that we never bothered to notice or took for granted but was there all the time.
I have written about “skinny slaw” many times.
It is cole slaw. The original recipe (Diet Gourmet Shoppe) made and sold buckets of it every day. It was made with a low fat mayonnaise and a sugar substitute. The version I make now is made with a mayonnaise with olive oil and YES, a sugar replacement. The old was very, very good. The newer version (because of the full fat mayonnaise) is even better. The thing is, you can eat a pile of it. Your plate of fish and chips (I’ll Fish Fry tomorrow recipe) may not be loaded with chips, but you get lots of baked crunchy fish and a pile of slaw. It is what I call a full plate meal.
One of the funny things I can not easily find in New Mexico is turnips. My local SPROUTS keeps telling me they are seasonal. When I point out that they are a big deal for many people at Thanksgiving, they just smile and shrug their collective shoulders. I can find them at WHOLE FOODS and the COOP…for a price. Little purple topped turnips are usually about .69¢ a pound. At both those stores they are upwards of $2.50 a pound. When I want them for a great roasted turnip and apple puree, I pay the asking price. The dish is a great accompaniment for a rich pot roast or braised short ribs. The “original” dish was made from pear and turnip. Both are too high in carbohydrates for my budget. The replacement is just as luxurious as the original….if I can find the turnips.
Cheddar cheese is another item that is very different. California, English, New York, Vermont, and Wisconsin Cheddar all have their fans. I live with a cheese-head from Wisconsin so you know what is in my fridge…if I can find it. It is simple geography. New Mexico is a lot closer to California than it is to Wisconsin.
Growing up in NYC, I was used to certain brands. Breakstone’s Sour cream was the ONLY one I would use. Out here, it doesn’t exist. Luckily the Smith’s (Kroger) out here has a natural sour cream that tastes just as good, even better for being so very thick.
Even a national brand (like Dannon) has a different presence here. I can’t find all the flavors I like, but having Diabetes means having to manage….one way or another.
Now I can order foods I simply don’t feel I can replace. I order my low carbohydrate breads (Joseph’s) from Massachusetts, my favorite Balsamic Vinegar and chocolate infused olive oil (Ariston) from Connecticut, and my Italian dark chocolate (Perugina) from New Jersey. I am with you. You want what you want when you want it. …me too. We just have to be prepared to pay the price(s) to get it. Unless…we are willing to try out some new loves. Playing the food field may be better than you think.
Enjoy, be happy, be Healthy, BE DECADENT.-w!
Net carbohydrates 9 grams.
Chef’s Note: I just heard the collective groan. Is nothing sacred? NO not when it comes to making things Diabetes-Compatible that you remember as a child and miss as a person with Diabetes. I make this in big batches and freeze what I don’t plan to use that meal. Funny thing is that as kid-like as this dish is, it is also an elegant side for a grown-up meal if you place the mixture in a pastry bag fitted with a star tube and press out the “tots”. To quote my friend Michael: “Who doesn’t like a good “tot?” The answer is:…his wife.
1 – large head of cauliflower
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
2 – TBSP. Butter
Enough salted water to cover the cauliflower by about 2 inches.
1 medium shallot (you may substitute ¼ red onion or 6 scallions)
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup. grated parmesan cheese
2 – tsp. fresh dill (optional)
2 – tsp. fresh parsley
2 TBSP. whole wheat flour (you may substitute white flour)
1 egg, well beaten
HOW TO PREPARE THIS RECIPE:
Sauté the shallots (or onion or scallion) in the butter until just barely golden in color. Set aside.
Bring salted water and garlic slivers to a boil. Cut cauliflower into florets.
Add the cauliflower to the water and cook for 10-12 minutes until the cauliflower is very soft. Drain and return to the pot. Keep the heat on and allow the excess moisture to evaporate a little.
Remove to a mixing bowl or the bowl of a food processor Whip the cauliflower until it is smooth. Add the dill and parsley, salt and pepper then whip until combined. Add the parmesan cheese, egg and flour and combine well. Add the sautéed shallots and stir in by hand.
PREHEAT OVEN TO 400°
Using either a small ice cream (1 ounce) scoop or two teaspoons, scoop out the mixture and round out the “tots” Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or oiled aluminum foil.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until the “tot” start to turn golden brown.
Diabetes: Under the family influence
Fair Warning: This is not an article about how your family traditions contributed to your Diabetes. Don’t start blaming grandmamma/papa for being a good cook. My point is to encourage you to re-imagine the foods you loved as a kid.
The inspiration for the article is a comment from a reader of New England
Historic Genealogical Society, AND the fact that I have just mastered a Diabetes-Compatible minestrone recipe.
Having a mother who was 100% Swedish, we celebrate with her family on Christmas Eve. The holiday started out all Swedish, but neither she nor her five siblings married Swedes, so the festivities evolved. First, my Italian aunt brought Italian cookies and then we became more American in our food choices. When the cousins got married more of a mix was brought to the party. This year, the only Swedish food on the buffet will be Swedish meatballs. Pickled herring is usually eaten only by myself and a couple of my Lithuanian cousins-in-law.
There are foods in all of our traditions that we might want to look at as a good/bad/possible (?) choice for us when trying to manage our Diabetes.
I grew up under the influence of Bella, my maternal grandmother, but I was also influenced by the grandmothers of my friends. All of these women were from different cultures. They all made foods that I can still taste in my mind years later. I grew up in New York. The melting pot was very real to us.
Ask any of them for a recipe and they would look at you asked if them the unanswerable question:
“What is the meaning of life?”
My own grandmother would respond to the question:
“Shteln in genug es zol tem”.
She had no recipe. She put in enough it should taste.
I know she was not hiding the recipe from me (unlike the Italian grandmother that taught me to make pesto sauce, hid the recipe from her “cheap” sister). My grandmother was born in the late 1800’s, before standardized measuring spoons and cups were in use. Recipes were handed down from parent to child; ONLY if the child paid attention. Depending on the size of the cook’s hands, the same “recipe” tasted different from cook to cook.
Fanny Farmer introduced us to a standard in 1896.
“Although spoons have been in use for thousands of years, the first standardized measuring spoon was invented in the year 1896. It was invented by Fannie Farmer, the then director of the Boston Cooking School.”- Wikipedia
If I told Bella that standard measurements were introduced when she was a girl. She might have replied to me:
In my town we knew from the butcher and the dairy man. Fanny Farmer, from Boston yet, what did we know from her?”
For many reasons, our traditional foods are lost to us. They depended on what our ancestors had to work with. Most everybody I know, no matter what their current net worth is, comes from “poor” immigrant ancestors.
Back in the “cholesterol daze”, my thought was to try to recreate the flavors and textures of the foods of our childhoods, without the fatty properties. Then came the salt-free(ish) days. So much of what our families ate depended on large amounts of salt to preserve the foods. We naturally got used to a saltier taste. Now, with Diabetes, I have learned to recreate those dishes without the carbohydrates and less of the salt.
Not all memories of grandma’s cooking were pleasant ones. She would make a chicken vegetable soup and I pronounced it horrible. Mrs. T. on the other hand made a vegetable soup that I can still taste with pleasure. Mrs. T’s minestrone and Bella’s vegetable soups were cousins from opposite sides of the flavor tacks. What happened to Mrs. T’s recipes? Only one of her children married another person of Italian heritage. Even that child married a person from another region and cooking style. The other children married Irish, German, French, etc. decedents, and their cooking styles melded into hers. The worse thing was that so many of her children wanted to eat ONLY American. Bella on the other hand continued to cook in the style she knew. She would say:
“If you want to eat American….Go to a restaurant.”
More about that in another article, but you should know that she, and my Grandfather Sam did own a restaurant.
In recreating a minestrone taste that I remembered, the obstacles were the pasta and the beans in the soup. Both have higher carbohydrate values than I want in my cooking today. I used barley in place of the pasta and a smaller amount of beans to get the numbers where I want them. I use more herbs to get the flavor to where I remember it.
Under the grandmother’s influence, we can aspire to eat the foods we learned to love and still manage our Diabetes…..Just as long as it is good in taste….and lower in carbohydrates.
Enjoy, be happy, be Healthy, BE DECADENT.-w!
Serves 6 as a meal
Net carbohydrates 15 per serving
Chef’s note: It has to be the memory of the minestrone soup that a friend’s grandmother made that has kept the sense of wonderfulness so long in my mind. Her soup contained a lot of high carbohydrate ingredients AND pasta. Neither is necessary to recreate this wonderful soup.
You can create a vegetarian version of this soup using a vegetable stock. For ME it lacks the right ”something”.
2 TBSP. Olive oil
Pepper to taste
1 large onion sliced thickly
2-4 garlic cloves grated
1/3 cup raw barley
1 cup dry red wine (optional)
2 ½ quarts of low sodium beef broth (you can use ½ chicken ½ beef or even all chicken but…)
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes (Italian brand preferred)
8 ounces red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Salt to taste and your doctor’s recommendation.
2 medium carrots, diced roughly
3 stalks celery, diced roughly
3 medium zucchini cut into half circles
1 TBSP. olive oil
½ pound fresh string beans
HOW I PREPARE THE RECIPE:
Heat a large soup pot. Add the olive oil and pepper. Add the sliced onions. Cook until the onions become golden in color. Add the garlic and stir to distribute. Add the raw barley and stir to coat in the oil. Add the wine and allow to come to a boil. Add the broth(s) and the tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Add the beans, carrots, celery. Taste for salt and add if necessary. Sautee the zucchini in the 1 TBSP. of olive oil. When it starts to brown, add it to the soup. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 25-25 minutes. Remove from heat and add the green beans. Refrigerate overnight.
Soup benefits from sitting in the fridge overnight. If you can’t wait, then add the green beans to the soup about 10 minutes before serving. Top with grated parmesan cheese.