THIS WEEK- Diabetes and using alternative ingredients

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

Site pix

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:


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 !


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!



Article #213

Diabetes and using alternative ingredients


Potato Gratin 1/2 cup = 15g. carbohydrates

With Diabetes you might find yourself changing the portion size or using alternative ingredients to create meals that assist you in managing your Disease. No, I don’t mean only sugar replacements, but also cauliflower for potatoes or rice, nuts for flour, and a host of other items to make your meals Diabetes –Compatible and delicious. Even in the years before my diagnosis, there were things I substituted for others. Substituting chicken stock or broth for part of the milk or cream to lower the amount of fats in my gratins comes to mind. It is something I still do, not just for the fat content but more for the flavor.

A few weeks ago, I shared a recipe of mine that contained some wine. I suggested that you could also broth or stock in place of the wine. I received this comment from one of my readers, DeAnna;

“Love that you always include alternative ingredients”

Whenever I can, I like to suggest an alternate ingredient in a recipe. Some people don’t like certain foods. Some people are allergic to some foods. Some of us live in areas where finding ALL the ingredients on the list isn’t so easy. I too like some flavors better than others. Moving from the Northeast to the Southwest I have many difficulties getting the staples of my old pantry. Where I live, I have to online order my Joseph’s Bakery products that allow me many of my lunch food pleasures .Yes, even in 2016 not everything is available everywhere.

It may sound fancy but the oven does most of the work

It may sound fancy but the oven does most of the work

I use wines, sherry, and brandy in my cooking and baking. Some people don’t use alcohol for any number of reasons. For me it makes sense to keep them on hand. If you don’t feel the need to keep a whole shelf full of cooking alcohols in your pantry try replacing one for another or replace with broth/stocks and tomato paste or citrus juice. Will the dish be different? Of course it will. Different can often be better.

What happens is, occasionally we need to make adjustments to recipes. Some people have been doing this for so long that it is easy for them. Others panic when they see an item they don’t like or have never tried. For those of you that have never tried something, this is a great opportunity to expand your taste buds. But know it is ok with me if you don’t.

No Carbs but.....

No Carbs but…..

In sharing my recipes with you I am trying to have you increase the flavors and textures that work for both your Diabetes and your taste buds. In my opinion, they are two sides of the Diabetes cooking coin. If you can learn to cook things that help you manage your Diabetes that is great; if you can make those things taste so good that you actually enjoy eating them…even better. I learned from sad personal experience that I was not going to stick to an eating plan that tasted like cardboard and packing materials. No, not even if I knew it was better for my health.

Recipes (even mine) are not set in stone. They are meant to be a guide to lead you down a new and delicious path. I was always told that the exception to that is in baking. Since I have changed the amount of flour (high in carbohydrates) in my baking with ground and toasted nuts, I have, and those of you that use my baking recipes, have had to make some changes in the ratio of leavening (baking powder/soda) in recipes. If you are also not using sugar, you have to do something else to make your cakes rise and crisp your crusts. Learning to do this and sharing it with you has made it clear that sometimes rules and recipes are made to be broken.

 Chicken Osamara Bone in Skin on Served with Baked Zucchini Pancakes

Chicken Osamara Bone in Skin on
Served with Baked Zucchini Pancakes

Not only do some of us not like things, some of us like some things better than others. Giving you choices to alter the recipe changes the flavors and gives you the opportunity to make the dish work for you. For example: my recipe for Chicken Osama is wonderful and makes great use of rosemary. But rosemary is a strong herb. If you want a gentler flavor, basil will work just as well. So well that I often use basil in place of rosemary. That is also true for oregano. YUP works great. So does tarragon. More important, by switching out one item for another, you get a brand new dish.

When I was starting out, I would do substitutions all the time. Some worked better than the original, others not so well. I kept what I liked best and moved away from the other flavors. I want to encourage you to do the same thing. Keep the best of it, toss the rest of it.

Cooking can, no, should be fun.

Enjoy, be happy, be Healthy, BE DECADENT.-w!

Chicken stuffed with walnuts Simply to make...simply delicious

Chicken stuffed with walnuts
Simply to make…simply delicious

Walnut Stuffed Chicken

Servings 4

Carbohydrates                      7 grams per serving

Chef’s Note: This very simple dish has been on my menu for decades. It just happens to work for a Diabetes-Compatible Diet. The ONLY change was using parmesan cheese in the stuffing instead of breading. If you are as big a fan of blue cheese as I am, add two ounces of it crumbled into the stuffing.

Some folks don’t like walnuts. Perfect, try pecans or pistachio nuts.

1- medium sweet onion, thinly sliced

2- brown mushrooms, chopped (OPTIONAL)

2 TBSP. olive oil

2- cloves of garlic (grated or minced)

1- tsp. dry tarragon or thyme

4 oz. grated parmesan cheese

1- cup walnuts, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

4- chicken breasts

1 TBSP. olive oil

1 oz. grated parmesan cheese


Sautee the onion in 2 TBSP. of the olive oil until they become a LIGHT golden brown. Add chopped mushroom and cook until some moisture is released from the mushroom. .Turn off the heat and add the garlic. Stir for 30 seconds then add the salt, pepper, and tarragon or thyme Allow to cool slightly.

Add the nuts and 4 oz. of parmesan cheese. Stir to combine.

Place two of the chicken pieces between two pieces of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Using a rolling pin or heavy pan, pound the pieces to about ¼ inch thickness. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Place the chicken best side down on a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Distribute the stuffing mixture evenly on each piece and roll up.

You can freeze all or part of the chicken at this point or spoon the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the rolls of chicken and sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese. Place in a greased baking dish. And bake in a preheated 350° oven for 45 minutes.



Article # 212

ward photo

I wrote about justifying what you eat last week. It is really important, I think, to also celebrate what you have accomplished. Or for that matter, simply remembering that having Diabetes still leaves you room to celebrate. You may or may not be where you and your medical team want you to be, but are you on your way to that goal? Are you looking at your progress and pushing forward or finding assistance in reaching your goals and overcoming your obstacles? Then find a reason to celebrate your progress and determination.

Celebrating is not just about food, or should I say not JUST about the food. This is my birthday month. Why should I settle for only one day? When I hit the milestones (21, 25, 30….31 1/2, etc.) I spent a year in celebrating or mourning. The date and year is a TOTAL secret. Ok, If you can keep a secret, 21 + more than just a few. I plan to celebrate my advanced age in style. It is not just about what foods I will eat, but where I will eat them and who I choose to eat them with. Being a chef, I usually don’t lack much in the way of dinner companions.

Love cocktail sauce? Try it with cucumbers or zucchini spears

Love cocktail sauce?
Try it with cucumbers or zucchini spears

The simplest of foods can be made more attractive to you by how they are served. Paper plates are out except for my lunch. We sit down to dinner every night with flowers (from the “stupidmarket”) on the table, candles (as inexpensive as I can find), and music. In our house it is classical or jazz. Without getting silly with dots of sauce tragically placed on the plate, I try and make the plate look pretty and happily full. I haven’t dressed up for dinner in eons. We sit around in comfortable clothes. Dinner, every dinner is a celebration of what we have and what I can do with what we have. If only I could slow down. Years of restaurant work have made me a fast eater. There was and is never enough time for the staff.

I am not only celebrating my continued good health and progress in managing my Diabetes, but I am celebrating the fact that more people are reading my articles and using my recipes to help themselves to get to a better place, Diabeticly speaking. You have no idea how you make my day. Every reaction from you, good or bad, lets me know that what I do is of some value to other people. Food as love is part of my tradition. Sharing food ideas with you is my way of giving back to the world.



When I was diagnosed in 2008, I knew that I was not alone, at least in the sense that there are millions and millions of others with Diabetes, including my brother and sister. But I felt alone in where to go and what to do in terms of managing my Diabetes rather than having my Diabetes manage me. Like so many of us, we are afraid of the consequences of Diabetes. Some of us are frozen in place not being able to move off the spot. Others ignore it and go on as before. Most of us seek out ways to make it easier and more pleasurable to live with our Diabetes. It is those of you that are going online, not only to read what I have to say but to see what other people with Diabetes are thinking and feeling. It is thrilling to see that there is an un-named community of people out there willing to share their experiences, concerns, accomplishments, and yes recipes with the rest of us.

So thank you all for my birthday present (your readership) and the support you show me and others.

To paraphrase an old tune, “It’s my birthday and I’ll cook if I want to, cook if I want to, cook if I want to. Happy birthday to me!”

Enjoy, be happy, be Healthy, BE DECADENT.-w!

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

Diabetic Compatible, CHOCOLATE, Need I say more?

The King of the Night cake

(Based on the Queen of Sheba cake)

8 servings

Net Carbohydrates     11g.

Chef’s Notes:

This cake is only about 11/2 inches high but very chocolaty and rich

It is only a little bit more difficult than the most of my cake recipes but it is really, I mean REALLY worth it. I thought to make it easier to follow I would group the ingredients by step.

My 98 year old aunt Sylvia wanted to know why I named the cake king of the Night and not Queen of the night. I told her :”It has nuts”. She exploded with laughter.

1-1/3- cup toasted almonds, cooled

2– 1/2 cup flour divided evenly

3– 1 Tbsp. unsweetened dark cocoa 

4– 3.5 ounce bar of PERGINA (or any really good dark chocolate) bittersweet chocolate or equivalent

5- 2 Tbsp. Strong cold coffee

6– 2 Tbsp. Bourbon (may substitute more coffee or Trop 50 Orange juice)

7– ¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature


9- 4 egg yolks

10- t ¼ tsp. Almond extract

11– 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla extract

12– 1- Tbsp. Sour cream

13– 1/2 tsp. cider vinegar

14– ½ tsp. baking soda

15 – 4 egg whites

16– ¼ tsp. cream of tartar

17 a pinch of salt


Butter or cooking spray for the springform pan


Preheat oven to 350°

STEP 1 -Butter or spray an 8-9 inch springform pan with Pam. Cut a piece of parchment paper or waxed paper to just fit into the bottom of the pan.

STEP 2 –In a food processor, pulverize the almonds with ¼ cup of the flour and the cocoa. ( ingredients 1-2-3)

STEP 3 –Over, not in, BARELY SIMMERING water, allow chocolate to melt into the coffee and Bourbon (ingredients 4-5-6)

STEP 4 –Beat butter until fluffy and add the GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE and beat one minute more, then beat in the egg yolks. Add the almond and vanilla extracts and beat 30 seconds more. (ingredients 7-8-9-10-11)

STEP 5 –Combine the sour cream, vinegar and baking soda and add to the egg mixture. Beat one minute more. (Ingredients 12-13-14)

STEP 6 –Add the melted chocolate to the egg mixture.

(Note: Should the chocolate mixture break, add a few drops more coffee and whisk until smooth again)

STEP 7 –STIR the nut mixture into the egg/ butter/chocolate mixture.

STEP 8 –Beat egg whites until they form a froth. Add the cream of tartar, the salt and 2 Tbsp. GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE (ingredients 15-16-17-18) Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

STEP 9 –Spoon ¼ of the egg whites into the chocolate batter to lighten. Add the remaining egg whites and fold into the batter ALTERNATELY with the remaining ¼ cup of flour.

STEP 10 –Pour into an 8 inch springform pan that has been sprayed with a cooking spray.

STEP 11 –Bake at 350 for 20-20 minutes CHECKING after 20 minutes. For this cake the center should move slightly when the pan is gently shaken.

Let cool for 15 minutes on a rack before removing the spring form.

This cake is so rich and delicious that I do not frost it just dust it with a bit of unsweetened cocoa powder and garnish it with a dollop of SWEETENED(WHIPPED OR SOUR) CREAM and a few berries.



Article #212

Justification and Diabetes Eating

Once in a while every one of us really craves eating something that we know we want and know/ think is not the best choice for us. There was a customer of mine at the Diet Gourmet Shoppe in Manhattan. She came in every day and had a sample taste (the size of a grape) of our low calorie frozen dessert. This lady had a severe eating disorder and was far too vigilant in watching her calorie intake. When she discovered that the sample had more than 1 calorie, she stopped coming in for it. In her mind she could not justify 1 calorie for something she wanted.

Can we justify having what we truly want by saying: well every once in a while we deserve a treat / cheat? I think we can as long as we are honest with ourselves about it.

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

My sister had a problem with this concept. For her, every once in a while became every month then every week. Then two or three times a week. She thought that is was ok if she was “good” most of the time. I have no idea if she was right or not. What I do know is that she was not really willing to try to manage her Diabetes.

Food was a big issue for us growing up. Food was a direct expression of love. Love from the cook (our parents and grandparents) and love from us to the cook.

Sure, we could get away with complaining about one or two dishes every once in a while, but we had to express our love and appreciation most of the time. That meant a clean plate.

Last week I wrote about dealing with stress and eating. There is a reason “they” call it comfort food. My concern is that we get too comfortable and start to neglect our health.

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

My basil is still in full strength even though it is later in the year than I am used to seeing it grow. How can I ignore this bounty when for years the basil was long gone from the garden back in Maine? So I said that I would make a Caprese salad. The thing is that I don’t live in isolation or in a camp for people with Diabetes There is another person to consider. It is fine for me to use a low carbohydrate pita bread to sop up the oil from the salad. But why should I deny my spouse the pleasure of a good hunk of crusty porous French or Italian bread? The answer is that I shouldn’t. The next question is how to resist the good bread and eat the bread that is good for my Diabetes-Compatible eating plan?

How can I justify just having one or may two itty bitty pieces of the crusty bread? The label on the package has a serving of 1/9 of the bread with 20 grams of carbohydrates and a grand total of ZERO grams of fiber. For me, for a regular meal, that is too many carbohydrates to waste on just the bread.

I made this salad a week ago. I did have a piece of French bread. Half of the loaf still wound up in my freezer. This time I still can’t use up the rest of the loaf. In the “old” days, I would pop the remaining bread into the food processor for fresh bread crumbs. But now, I seldom use bread crumbs. How to I justify wasting the bread? You know the adage: “waste not, want not”. However, my continued health, and my pride in managing my Diabetes will give a good justification for tossing out the last bit of bread.

Over the years it has become my practice to have something special to honor or celebrate an occasion. I have no trouble making my King of the night cake

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

Diabetic Compatible, CHOCOLATE, Need I say more?

for my birthday. Interesting here, it is NOT the carbohydrates (11 grams per people sized slice) that I am justifying but the amount of time it takes to make this amazing cake. I do have sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving, and a bagel on the days my A1C results come in. I celebrate my hard work three times a year with something I really enjoy. Now that is not to say that when I visit NYC I won’t have a “real” bagel. It is not a problem to justify it. They are far and away the best bagels anywhere and to deny myself would simply be cruel. My justification for that extra bagel in NYC is that if I didn’t have it I might just feel too deprived and have a harder time sticking to a Diabetes-Compatible plan. For me it is the reward for creating all of the other dishes and making them so good that eating with my Diabetes is not chore at all. I also don’t visit as often as I would like to.

The recommended serving size for a bagel is 1/4 of the bagel WHO thinks this is ENOUGH?

So that NYC bagel becomes a once every few years treat. Before you ask me why I don’t have them shipped home, the answer is simple, they don’t ship well. By the time they get here they are hard as bricks. See, I am saved.

Enjoy, be happy, be Healthy, BE DECADENT.-w!


Recipe makes 10 standard sized low carb muffins That are high in flavor and texture

Recipe makes 10 standard sized lower carb muffins
That are high in flavor and texture

Blueberry Crunch Muffins

Makes 10 standard (2 ½ inch) muffins

Net Carbohydrates              8.5 per muffin


Chef’s Notes: This recipe makes 10 standard muffins, NOT the giant muffins that you often find at the donut shop. The lemon is used to enhance the flavor of the berries and does not leave a distinctly lemon flavor. I love blueberries, but if you are not as big a fan as I am, you can cut the amount down by ¼ cup.

I use toasted and ground walnuts in the recipe but you can substitute almond flour.

For the dry mixture: (you can do this a day ahead)

1 cup walnuts, toasted or 1 cup almond flour

¼ tsp. salt

¾ cup all-purpose flour ( you can substitute up to ¼ cup whole wheat flour)

½ cup (or equivalent) granulated sugar substitute

2 tsp. baking power

½ tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

For the wet mixture:

2 large eggs

1/3 cup whole milk (either whole or low fat)

3 TBSP. vegetable oil

2 tsp. lemon juice

4 TBSP. sour cream

½ tsp. baking soda

Zest of ½ lemon, grated

1 cup blueberries (I recommend the frozen wild Maine ones)

For the topping:

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

4 tsp. granulated sugar substitute

1tsp. ground cinnamon

How to prepare the recipe:

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the nuts, salt and ¼ cup of the flour until the nuts are ground into a fine flour. Add all the remaining DRY ingredients and pulse to combine thoroughly. (This can be done a day ahead)

Preheat your oven to 425°

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil and milk. In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream, lemon juice and ½ tsp. baking soda.

Using a spoon, slowly combine ½ of the dry mixture into the egg mixture. Add the sour cream and lemon mixture then the remaining dry mixture. Stir together until combined, but do not over mix. Add the blueberries and stir to combine.

Topping: Combine the 1/3 cup of chopped walnuts, 4 tsp. granulated sugar substitute, and 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Line a 12 muffin tin with muffin cups. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the batter into each cup. Top with the nut and cinnamon toping mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a tester comes out dry from the center of the muffin. Cool in the muffin pan on a rack. When completely cooled you can  remove from the muffin tin and place in a covered airtight container and keep up to 2 days.




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