Diabetes Eating: When what you can have is what you DON’T want

06/28/2017

Article # 249

Diabetes Eating:

When what you can have is what you DON’T want

It has been very hot in the southwest the last few days. I don’t want to cook. Even with air conditioning, the idea of turning on the oven seems awful. It is so hot outside that standing anywhere near the grill seems like the entrance to the gates of hell. So what IS for dinner?

Icy cold Gazpacho Soup
Thickened with chunky vegetables instead of bread

Two of the nights I made cold soup. I served them with a low carbohydrate (Joseph’s) pita and a seasoned butter (butter with parsley and tarragon, one night, and butter with basil and parsley the other). Absolutely delicious, but I wanted something more to chew on. Salad seemed the logical choice. I love salads and have enough recipes to make a different salad every-day for weeks. Salads work really well for my carbohydrate budget. For some reason I simply could not face the idea of a salad. It made no sense. It was perfect for the weather, my carbohydrate budget, my tastebuds, and everything else going on in my life, and I had not prepared a salad in over a week. What was wrong with me? Why didn’t I want to prepare a salad?  I make a number of salad dressings that are so good you can eat them with a spoon. They are by nature all low in carbohydrates. I get a kick out of creating slightly different versions.

     Kitchen sink Vegetable Salad

The answer to my question was really simple: no matter how much I like salads and the dressings I create, THAT night, I did not want a salad. There was no reason, nothing I had to justify. I simply did not want what could, and should have worked. It could have been chicken. Sometimes you don’t want what you can have.

This got me thinking about all the people that comment that they “hate” what they can eat with Diabetes. It always strikes me as an odd statement.

I keep saying: Eating while managing your Diabetes does not require that you eat anything in particular. It is not a case of eating things you don’t like, but it also is not the case where you HAVE to eat something you do like if you are not in the food mood for that dish at that time.

Call it Gallic Pot Roast, Bouef ala Mode
It the perfect comfort food you always ate…now even better!

I am an enormous fan of pot roast and stews. In the “old days” I would almost always make them with potatoes. Now I prepare mashed cauliflower (EXACTLY the same way I prepared the potatoes). I find them delicious. I do know a lot of people think mashed cauliflower is downright hateful. It is perfectly ok NOT to eat mashed cauliflower. Find something else.  You can make spaghetti squash or my new favorite shiritaki noodles. I know, I know, it is not the same thing as mashed potatoes. It is different. It is also a great replacement on your plate. Instead of getting caught up in how it must not be good because it is different, think about it as if you were replacing blueberries in a recipe with raspberries. Unless you hate raspberries, this substitution isn’t strange, or bad, it is different and a new variation to add to your repertory of things to enjoy.

While it is ok not to like something, it is far better to find something you do like and use that instead. Anything that fits both your tastebuds and your carbohydrate budget is perfect… for you.

For those of you wondering what I did that night when I did not want to cook (inside or outside) and did not want a salad, I had a salad. It was great. I used some leftover BBQ chicken, some blue cheese crumbled on top and very quick Italian dressing. I was really not looking forward to it but this really weird thing happened….I dug my fork into it, brought it to my mouth, and totally enjoyed my cooool dinner and forgot that I really did not want a salad…at least not that night.

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

“Hate to Cook” Mediterranean Spinach Salad

1 serving

Net Carbohydrates               3 grams

Chef’s notes: In Mediterranean countries they use a lot more tuna as an ingredient in their meals than we do in North America. It not only adds protein and texture to this salad; it acts as a flavoring.

All you have to cook for this salad is a boiled egg.

With a smaller amount of tuna and a handful of spinach this salad it works as a great side when you don’t know what vegetable to prepare tonight.

 Ingredients:

6- ounces  well washed spinach  ( I use baby spinach)

1- 5 ounce can of tuna, drained (either in oil or water)

1- ounce shaved (or chunked) Parmesan cheese

1- Hard-boiled egg

Toasted walnuts and radish are great additions to this salad

For the dressing:

2 -Tablespoons fresh LEMON JUICE (or cider vinegar)

1/3 – cup Extra Virgin olive oil

1/2 – tsp. Dijon mustard

Salt & pepper to taste

How to prepare this recipe:

Arrange spinach on the plate. Place drained tuna in the center. Cut boiled egg into wedges. Shave Parmesan cheese over the top.

Diabetes: The pain/pleasure paradigm

06/21/2017

Article # 248

Diabetes: The pain/pleasure paradigm

An ancient Greek philosopher suggested that pain is a major change from what we perceive as normal and that pleasure is a slight change from our perception of normal.

Many of us feel pain (and anger) because of having Diabetes. It is more than pricking our fingers to measure our blood sugars; it is also the pain of losing normalcy. Separation anxiety from the eating life we have always known?

Foods we were accustomed to eating are now either on the limited or no-no list. If we are being vigilant we can’t just buy a packaged food without reading the nutritional label on the side to see how that food fits into our carbohydrate budget. We see what we want on the shelf, hope that it will work but too often wind up putting it back. The apple a day that used to keep the doctor away is now a carbohydrate calculation. How many ounces (and carbohydrates is this?) What ever happened to the good old days when you saw it, bought it, ate it, and didn’t have to think about it? It is a big change from the “old” way of living and eating. Math, formerly reserved for your checkbook becomes a necessity for daily eating. Nothing feels simple anymore. Sure there are lots and lots of foods we can eat without figuring out how much it will cost us in carbohydrates. It may seem like the simple way out to focus just on those foods. But like one of my readers once said:

“If I have to face another piece of baked chicken and some vegetables again…I will_______”.

“Riced” Cauliflower Pilaf
This version topped with roasted pumpkin seeds and shallot

Some of us think that the foods do work for us are “icky”. Some of us think that without giving them a chance. Even as the “cauliflower ambassador” to the world, I will not tell you that cauliflower is for everyone. Lots of folks find it disgusting, smelly, and painful (?) to prepare and eat.

There is pleasure in eating foods that assist you in managing your Diabetes. Knowing that you are doing everything in your power to make your life healthier goes a long way to making us feel good about ourselves. The trick is NOT to allow the tiny mis-steps take away from that pleasure.

A slight change from the normal can be very pleasurable.

Going deliciously NUTS!!!!

Adding nuts or seeds to baked good to reduce total carbohydrates or using them as a crust for chicken or fish is great on the carbohydrates and on adding another layer of flavor to a dish. Using them for more texture and flavor in a salad can be downright scrumptious. It is a small change unless you think you HATE nuts and seeds.

Finding new ways to use old things is another small change. Does Diabetes now mean you are on cracker deprivation? If you like cucumbers and you like flavored cream cheese, consider making an hors d’oeuvre by stuffing the cucumbers with the cheese for your next cookout. Too much work? Ok, how about

Cucumber & Radish Small Bites

simply topping a cucumber slice with the cheese mixture and garnishing it with a bit of radish or fresh parsley. All the things that have been part of our lives combined simply into a new dish.

The small change from the normal doesn’t have to be complicated. Like eggs? Like tomatoes? Like cheese? Make yourself (and others) a super easy tomato and cheese omelet. It is really simple and quick and won’t break your carbohydrate budget. More important, the combination of those three basic things far exceeds the sum of the parts. Once you have fallen in love with this omelet, use mozzarella cheese and add a little FRESH basil to make a Caprese omelet. My bet is that you will want to write and thank me for the suggestion. We are talking eating pleasure here. Once you have made this omelet, perhaps you will stretch a little further away from your normalcy and create even more pleasurable eating patterns. Each increment becomes less frightening and more pleasurable.

When you think about making changes to what you eat in order to manage your Diabetes better, it is as much about the pleasure of new experiences and staving off or reducing the likelihood of more painful experiences down the Diabetes road.

On the hopeful side of the finger pricking, Apple and a number of other companies are working on a device that will read your blood sugar by just being placed on or above the skin. How much will it cost, how long it will take, and will insurance pay for it? This is still unknown. But we people with Diabetes are becoming a force to be dealt with. Perhaps not enough attention is being paid to us yet. Clearly one would hope insurance would see a one time expenditure for the device will far outweigh years and years of test strips. Well, one can hope.

We need to find pleasure where we can.

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

Cool as a cucumber soup
Elegant but oh so easy!

 

Cool as a Cucumber soup

4- 8 ounce servings

Net carbohydrates     6 per serving

Chef’s Note: Summer is the PERFECT time for soup. Cold soups that is. This is one of the easiest to make and yet most impressive to serve. No need to finely chop any of the vegetables in this recipe. They will all be blended smooth at the end.

Ingredients:

1- medium to large sweet onion Sliced (thick or thin, your choice)

2- TBSP. butter

2-4 cloves crushed and chopped garlic (depends on how much you love garlic)

Black pepper to taste

Salt to taste

2 Tablespoons flour

1 ½ quarts Low sodium chicken broth

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

2 TBSP. fresh dill (1 if you use dried)

4- large Cucumbers

3- heaping tablespoons sour cream

 

HOW TO PREPARE THE RECIPE:

Peel the cucumbers and using the tip of a teaspoon, remove all of the seeds from the cucumbers Chop roughly.

In a good sized soup pot sauté onion in butter until soft but not brown. Add salt and pepper about one minute into the process.

Add garlic and flour. Cook for one minute or so. Slowly add the chicken broth stirring so as not to have lumps. Add the juice and zest of the lemon.

Add ½ of the cucumbers to the broth. Simmer for 15-20 minutes on low heat. Remove from heat, let cool, and then add the remaining portions of the cucumbers, reserving some if you wish for garnish. Using an immersion blender, blender or food processor, whip the soup until smooth.

Add the sour cream. Blend to combine.

Note: Quickest if you have an immersion blender stick, but it works in a processor. Just do it in small batches.

Let cool in the refrigerator overnight

Diabetes Eating: no miracle foods


06/14/2017

Article # 247

Diabetes Eating: no miracle foods

“The food substitutes you have to eat are so awful I can’t even put them in my mouth. I hate Diabetes”

When I see a comment like this (and they are far too common), I want to pull what is left of my hair out of my head. I have been writing for almost five years now with the intention of leading people with Diabetes into a world of great tasting food that just happens to assist you in managing your Diabetes. THERE ARE NO FOODS YOU HAVE TO EAT! (!!!!).

Last week I did a product review for you on a food that has had a profound effect as to what is on my table. Pasta is back on my table with a vengeance and I hope some of you have chosen to look into the brands, yes brands, I have found. That is of course IF you like pasta. I would bet that ten to three, the person that wrote the comment above will not like the noodles. I bet that she won’t like them even before she tries them. It is pretty clear that she, like so many of us, has convinced themselves it is no good, because it is not a bad choice in terms of the carbohydrates. Adding to that is the fact it is made from vegetables “I NEVER ate before”.

One of the FIRST things I mentioned is that this product (Shirataki noodles) will NOT CURE your Diabetes. As far as we know, no food will do that.

So I go back to the comment above. If no food will cure your Diabetes, there seems to be no reason to eat any food you don’t like. There is some research on cinnamon being a good spice for people with Diabetes. But no real science says it will cure your Diabetes or even make it better. So…you know where I am going with this…don’t like cinnamon…don’t use it in your cooking or baking. Why suffer if you don’t have to suffer?

If you are not a fan of cauliflower as a substitute for rice or potatoes, don’t eat cauliflower. If cucumbers give you gas, don’t eat them. As far as your Diabetes is concerned, no harm, no foul.

Now you know me. I am always gonna tell you about what foods I have found that will help keep my Diabetes and carbohydrates in check. I share that information with you in case they work for you as well. I have written countless times, if you don’t like it, don’t eat it. It is fine with me. My feelings are not hurt. It has to be fine with you. There are countless foods that you can still enjoy and enjoy them without altering the recipe to suit your Diabetes.

Unless you ONLY enjoy chicken or fish or meat encrusted in potatoes or batter,

Chicken Parmesan served on a bed of Flavored Spinach

you can certainly eat fish and chicken and meat. They have to be prepared on one of the million ways that don’t spike your blood sugars. You don’t have to eat fish or chicken or meat (or any other food), but you can; and you can find a way of cooking those foods in a manner that is delicious to you. Food that works In NOT raising your blood sugars is just as delicious, or just as awful as any other food. It is up to you to choose to enjoy or choose to ewee.

Chicken Marsala
Deliciously Simple to prepare

I also know how difficult it is for some people to give a food that they have never tried, a try. To encourage you I want to remind you that as you get older, tastes change. What you loved as a kid, you may not love as much today. Conversely, what you did not love as a kid may actually taste mighty good to your more sophisticated (I mean older but was trying to be nice) palate. This is exactly what happened with my poor sister. She “hated” mushrooms. As an adult she loved chicken Marsala. In fairness to her, the only mushrooms we ever saw in our house were from a little can. They were tasteless and rubbery. By the time she tried the Marsala dish, fresh mushrooms were really available and the fresh mushrooms added flavors to the dish and did not chew like little brown erasers.

A lighter, lower carb change from the traditional “Green Bean Casserole”
All the flavor and even more crunch and color

Full disclosure; one of the few vegetables on my grandmother’s table were canned green beans. Not a big fan. I hated the way they squeaked in my teeth. What a delicious crisp revelation to finally eat a fresh green bean. I still need to cook them so they stay crisp and don’t squeak.

So, I answer the lady’s comment: If you “think” foods that help you manage your Diabetes are awful, and you know that they won’t cure your Diabetes, move on. Do the best you can…and much as it pains me to say, there is more to life than food. Did I really write that?

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

Double Pecan Tart

Chef’s note: I have been trying for years to make a more than acceptable pecan pie. The problem is the corn syrup. After some fiddling, I found that adding a little strong coffee and butter to the custard and a little Coffee liquor (or caramel flavoring) gives me the same kind of flavor without the carbohydrates. Using pecans in both the crust and the filling add to the “Pecan-ness” of the dessert.

Serves 8

Net Carbohydrates   12 grams per serving

Ingredients:

Crust:

Spray for the pan

(9-10 inch removable bottom fluted tart pan)

2/3. flour

½ cup toasted Pecans

¼ c. GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE

1 pinch salt

¼ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp. baking powder

4 tbsp. butter

1 large egg

FILLING:

3 large eggs

2/3 cup GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE

2 TBSP. coffee ½ cup. Sour cream or heavy cream

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 tsp. melted butter

2 TBSP. coffee liqueur or caramel flavoring

1 cup pecan halves

HOW TO PREPARE THE RECIPE:

CRUST:

In a food processor with a steel blade pulse all of the dry ingredients until very well combined and the nuts disappear into the mixture. Add cold butter and pulse until butter is well distributed in the flour mixture. Add the egg and pulse until mixture forms a ball on the blade. Remove the dough pat into a disc about 5-6’’. Wrap disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least ½ hour but overnight will also work.

Roll out the crust on flowered surface to about a 14 in circle. Using your fingers fit sections of the crust into tart pan. This dough is fragile and will break. Not to worry just piece it together with your fingers. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes before filling.

FILLING:

Beat the eggs until smooth. Add GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE and beat until incorporated. Add the coffee, vanilla, melted butter, and Sour cream. Beat until well mixed. Allow to sit for 20 minutes so some of the air from the beating is released (this will help keep the filling from cracking).

Arrange the pecans in concentric circles. Slowly (so not to disturb your pecan design), pour custard mixture into the crust.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours. allow to come to room temperature before serving.

I like to serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream or sour cream.

Diabetes: The search for Diabetes-Compatible pasta 2

06/07/2017

Article #246

Ward Alper, The Decadent Diabetic

Diabetes: The search for Diabetes-Compatible pasta 2

Product review SHIRATAKI NOODLES

Yes….PASTA!!!

I am so excited about this product I hardly know where to begin. Let me start with 3 things:

1- I want to thank one of my readers, Mary H. for suggesting this product to me. I am delighted with it and I think you will be as well.

2- I want to remind you that I only do a product review when I find something that makes a profound difference in the way I eat.

3- Shirataki noodles will NOT CURE Diabetes. But they will give you the opportunity for a big bowl of pasta with VERY few carbohydrates.

As you all know, I don’t believe in second best eating for anyone, and certainly not for me and others with Diabetes. Please, I plead with you, don’t let the name or what it is made from make you lose out on a really great eating experience.

I saw a comment online that I want to share with you:

 “Don’t think of this as: oh man, another “health” food jumping onto the crazy train”.

It is an almost tasteless vegetable product. It is also one of the best products I have found to allow me to enjoy, I mean really enjoy a serious sized bowl of pasta, and not go anywhere near blowing MY carbohydrate budget.

Bread, rice and pasta are the three things I miss most in eating lower carbohydrate foods. I have found a number of breads that work for me and when there is no getting around it, I indulge in a chunk of French bread or a bagel. Cauliflower that has been processed into rice is so good that I seldom long for real rice. Then there is pasta.

I use a lot of spaghetti squash in place of pasta. While it is not second best, it is also not pasta. A few years ago I reviewed a pasta product made from mung and soy beans. http://www.thedecadentdiabetic.com/2014/03/19/pasta-is-the-diabetics-search-over/. They are great products and I enjoyed them very much. The only problems are:

-They have a limited distribution

-Are on the expensive side (about $4.00 for 7.5 ounces).

-The company has decided to focus on gluten free rather than lower carbohydrate. My favorite Mung bean fettuccini has had edamame added to it and the carbohydrate count has gone way up.

They are so fiber rich that the recommended 2 ounce serving satisfies my appetite pretty well. However, you eat “first with your eyes” That 2 ounce portion looks almost sad on the plate.

When I tried the Shirataki noodles that Mary suggested, I was so happy with them that I thought I needed to share the experience with you as quickly as I could. So our house has been eating pasta like crazy. Nobody here is complaining.

Shirataki noodles are made from either tofu (I know, I know) or from the konjac yam. The word “shirataki” means “white waterfall”, describing the appearance of these noodles

Like so many products that work for people with Diabetes, this product is hidden in plain sight. While readily available, it is hidden in some very strange places in the “stupidmarkets”. I found it in the dairy section of one market, the vegetable section in Wal-Mart, and the tofu section of another. Doesn’t matter. It is well worth tracking down.

I have seen a number of “brands” for this product, notably HOUSE FOODS, PASTA ZERO, SKINNY NOODLE and MIRACLE NOODLE. They are sold in spaghetti shapes, fettuccini, and elbows (although I have not found that shape yet). They are packed in liquid and sold in 8 ounce containers. In my area they range in price from $1.79-$2.99. They are also sold online.

A 4 0unce serving (depending on the brand) has:

0-3 grams total carbohydrates

0-2 grams insoluble fiber

0-10 calories

The package instructions are to rinse them first and then boil for 2 minutes. When you open the package, there is a slightly unfamiliar odor. The rinsing and boiling removes that fragrance entirely. When preparing this product I like to go back to the Italian method and finish the pasta in the sauce rather than spooning the sauce over the pasta.

Like all pasta, these noodles have little flavor of their own. They are the perfect carrier for your best and most creative sauce. Unlike the bean based you can have about as much as you want that fits into your personal carbohydrate budget. I call it the Big Bowl Theory.

SPAGHETTI & MEATBALLS

I have used the spaghetti noodle with a red sauce and a mushroom/ garlic sauce, the fettuccini with a cream sauce, red sauce, pesto sauce, and with my “famous” clam sauce. For my PERSONAL likes, the fettuccini shape is visually the best. Thus far I have only done Italianesque preparations but I plan to try my hand at sesame peanut noodles. Stay tuned.

 

I have to tell you that I have not tried the Skinny Noodle (not available in my area) or the Miracle Noodle. This is just me. I see a product and see the word “miracle” and I am immediately skeptical. Way back (nine years ago), there was a brand on the market that “claimed” to have ONLY a few grams of carbohydrate per serving. They could not back that up with REAL science. I have noticed that that brand has disappeared from the shelves.

Shirataki noodles are well worth seeking out. I think you will be as pleased as I am to have a bowl of pasta as part of your eating plan.

Fettuccini with smoked salmon & snap peas

2 Servings

Net carbohydrates 7grams per serving

Chef’s Note: Salmon and peas have been paired in New England on July Fourth for centuries because the salmon used to run just as fresh peas came up. This recipe combines my love for smoked salmon and fresh snap peas that are far lower in carbohydrates than garden peas. For those who think they “hate” salmon, fresh shrimp do equally as well. For those of you that don’t “think” they will like snap peas, fresh asparagus works great. In fact, my original recipe (for Hisae’s in NYC) was with asparagus.

Ingredients:

3- 8 ounce packages SHIRATAKI fettuccini noodles

6 ounces fresh snap peas

2 TBSP. butter

1 medium shallot finely chopped

Or

4 scallions, finely chopped

1 clove garlic grated or finely minced

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

½ cup cream

½ cup whole milk

4 gratings of fresh nutmeg

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

6 ounces smoked salmon

3 TBSP. fresh parsley roughly chopped

 

How to prepare the recipe:

Rinse and drain the shirataki noodles. Boil for 2 minutes and drain.

Clean and blanch the snap peas for 2-3 minutes. Drain and place in a bowl of ice water.

Melt butter in a large skillet. Add shallot or scallion and cook for 1 minute. Add the garlic, salt and pepper and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the cream, milk and nutmeg and stir for about 2 minutes or until the liquid begins to simmer. Add the parmesan cheese and snap peas. Toss to cook for 1 minute. Add the salmon and cook until heated through. Add the fettuccine and cook until it is hot. Toss with fresh parsley and serve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diabetes Cooking: It is all in the wrist

05/31/2017

Article # 245

Diabetes Cooking: It is all in the wrist

“I need to find some recipes. Right now mostly eating salads but they get old.”

I do get it. Sometimes the thought of preparing another meal that works for you in managing your Diabetes is just plain boring and more energy than you want to spend. Facing another piece of chicken or slab o’ meat is about as interesting as a rainy Monday in Transylvania. The reader quoted above is right, it sometimes gets old. What is there to do?

I can answer this person in a number of ways. I could refer them to my article in The Albuquerque Journal, https://www.abqjournal.com/1001040/thinking-outside-the-bowl.html

A salad made with Frisee lettuce.
More flavor, More texture.
More delicious !

It is about thinking outside the bowl when it comes to looking at salads. But I thought : “there is more to life than a salad, lets explore that.

How about getting seasonal?

It is getting warmer out there. Think about taking that piece of chicken or slab o’ meat, giving it a nice seasoning rub and grill it out side. Don’t have a grill at your disposal, cook it for a few minutes on each side and finish it off in a hot (400°F.) oven. You will be delightfully surprised how good and how different it tastes. Each set of seasonings you use will give a totally new flavor.

Changing up what you already eat

If you choose to keep an open mind you should consider different proteins or at the very least, different cuts of a protein you are comfortable with. Because of the marrow in the bones of chicken and most meats, cooking them bone in will taste very different that boneless.

Also to be considered, a quick stir fry. You remember those. They were so very popular way back when fat was an enemy. They use less oils and fats than many methods. More important it is what you add to them that makes a world of difference. Start with onions in any of the varieties from scallion to Vidalia. Each type has its own special sharpness and sweetness. The longer you cook them, the sweeter they get, providing you don’t burn them. To start out, go with vegetables you know you like, then, as you get good at this method, venture out to some you have never tried.

Short Ribs
Elegant but simple cooked SLOWLY in the oven

Make your oven work for you and your pocketbook. Oven roasting and braising is incredible when it comes to bringing out the flavor in foods. Using cheaper and tougher cuts is actually better than say a filet mignon. I always suggest cooking these types of meals in big batches. When cool, you pop them in the refrigerator overnight, skim the excess fats, and pack them up for the freezer and a quick and easy meal for another night.

Consider thinking out of the box. An omelet is an omelet, unless it is baked, then it is a quiche. There is nothing wrong having eggs (and a salad) for dinner. It opens your cooking world because if you think it is a dinner, you might be more likely to put some vegetables in it that you might not otherwise consider.

“Put on your glasses, Maude and look!”

Foods that work with you in managing your Diabetes almost NEVER have a big label on them saying that they are “Diabetes-Compatible or friendly”. It is up to you to look at labels in the “stupidmarket” and find what you think will work for you. Often these items are hidden in plain sight. I was wandering around the market the other day. On one end cap was a big bag of Parmesan crisps. They have –0- grams of carbohydrates. You could eat them by the fistful if sodium is not a big consideration for you AND you have bucks to spare. Delicious as they are, they are expensive. On another endcap was a brand of high protein ice cream. It emphasized calories but on further inspection, this brand had a much lower carbohydrate value. I am in the process of trying most of the flavors and I hope to have a product review for you in a few weeks. Fingers crossed.

Talking to friends.

Talk to your friends either in person or those you find online. There are a lot of good recipes out there and it is really fun to explore them. One of my readers (friends) suggested a product that I had not yet tried. I found this product and have been cooking away with it ever since. It is so good I am doing a product review for you next week. No need for fingers crossed, this product is super. Thanks to my friend Mary, I am enjoying a new set of meals. And I will share them with many others. What is that expression, It takes a village.

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

 

Chicken Dijon

 Chef’s Note: This is the quickest and the most bang for the buck chicken dish I make. I prepared this dish years ago (and no, it has NOT changed just to be Diabetes-Compatible) for friends of mine for an after ballet dinner. It is quick, crisp, sharp and takes less than 15 minutes to prepare (in advance) and 30 minutes in the oven.

I suggest cooking this chicken in a heavy oven proof skillet or on a steak platter to lock in the juices.

2 servings

Net carbohydrates               3 grams.

Ingredients:

2 Boneless/skinless chicken breasts or thighs (4-6 ounces each)

Salt and pepper to taste

Juice and zest of ½ lemon

1 tsp. dried tarragon. 1 small clove of garlic (grated or minced)

1 TBSP. mayonnaise

½ tsp. Dijon mustard

HOW TO PREPARE THE RECIPE:

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Allow to marinade for at least ½ hour. Place in a heavy oven-proof skillet or on a steak platter. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes until done.

Diabetes Cooking: When YOU are not THE expert

05/24/2017

Article #244

Diabetes Cooking: When YOU are not THE expert

Having Diabetes does not restrict you from enjoying any cuisine from any place in the world; that is if YOU like that kind of food. You may have to make some changes to the recipes and be careful of the standard side dishes but the FLAVORS are there for you to enjoy. However, not everybody is an expert in every cuisine.

My friend Max (Mr. Divabetic https://www.facebook.com/divabeticorg/ ) asked me to assist him in setting up a menu for a Father’s day brunch. His request was:

“A Father’s brunch that would take the focus off the protein and put it on the veggies, etc. to encourage ‘meat loving’ men with diabetes to opt for different options.”

I went back over my vegetarian recipes. I was surprised to find that very few of those “old” recipes were what I consider to be good choices for people with Diabetes. With very few exceptions, they were very carbohydrate heavy. They relied on pastas, rices, grains, and potatoes to bulk up the dish.

“The ewee” factor

Certainly I have a few that work. They are, for the most part eggplant dishes. I love eggplant and I realize that eggplant (for too many) is an “ewee” food. I try not to publish recipes that get that response.

Replace wheat noodles with eggplant
for an even tastier Lasagna

 

Eggplant takes a number of steps to prepare. Many of my readers are not interested in a recipe with a lot of steps. I get it. There is more to some people’s lives than cooking.

The fun thing is that you always surprise me. I posted one of my favorite cold side dishes a few months ago. It was a celery, nut and cheese salad. I got two funny responses:

“Celery..gak”

and

“There must be some mistake. That is what my food eats”

What surprised even more is that I don’t have a lot of vegetarian dishes. I see vegetarian cuisine like a number of cuisines as better left to chef’s with a real background in that style of cooking.

A cook can substitute things like spaghetti squash for the pastas, cauliflower for the rice or potatoes in a vegetarian recipe, but it is not as simple as say replacing oregano in a recipe with basil. Using spaghetti squash or cauliflower changes everything.  Not that it is a bad thing but using those foods as replacements in a vegetarian dish makes them well…more vegetable-y. The starches are a lot more neutral in flavor.

I bring this up because I do understand other peoples’ feeling about experimenting and trying new foods. Even though I have been cooking since fire was invented, there are some cuisines that intimidate me. My mind set is that they are too difficult to master. I do a number of Asian influenced foods but any person brought up in an Asian culture would look at the dish and find it somewhat difficult to relate too. The flavors might be reminiscent of their home land, the preparation may be similar, but the finished dish might cause them to look sideways at this more European chef.

Sticking to what I know

Eggplant Napoleon a great side a super lunch

I do make eggplant parmesan, rolled and stuffed eggplant, and eggplant Napoleons. They are pretty luscious to those of us that like eggplant.

For the rest of my vegetarian repertory, I stick to what I know, as in “have I got a side dish for you”. I have dozens, no, hundreds of vegetable side dishes. I leave the entree to those who know.

If any food is “not your cup of tea”, that is really ok. Don’t cook it. There are so many wonderful foods out there to try and make part of your repertory. Find recipes you like and make them you own. Take the best of them and make changes to the rest of them. Do YOU like more garlic in your foods, add more garlic. Hate onions, lower the amount or leave them out. I cringe at the thought, but whatever works for you.

I like lemon ginger tea. If that is too experimental for you, you have my permission to stick with the kind you grew up drinking.

Taste, like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It is great fun though to keep your eyes wide open.

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

Snap Peas & Prosciutto
A Diabetic-Compatible version of Rea’s most popular dish

Snow/snap peas and Prosciutto

(The original is the bestselling side dish at Rao’s in New York City)

2 Servings

net carbohydrates   9 grams.

Chef’s Note: There is a 12- 15 month wait for a table at Rao’s in New York. The original recipe is with garden peas which are so high in carbohydrates. I think this is more than a great substitute.

 

Ingredients:

5 – cups of water

¼ -tsp. salt

1 – tsp. sugar replacement

½ – pounds snap or snow peas

2 – ounces Prosciutto (approximately 1/8 inch thick)*

1 – shallot, cut into thin slices

2 – Tbsp. olive oil

¼ cup chicken stock

* if your budget does not allow prosciutto, baked ham or even thick slices of bacon will work “almost” as well.

 

HOW TO PREPARE THE RECIPE:

Bring water, salt and sugar replacement to a boil.

Boil the snap or snow peas for two minutes. Drain and shock in iced water. Dry on paper towels.

Dice the Prosciutto

Heat a frying pan to medium high. Add the shallots and cook for 1 minute. Add the diced Prosciutto and cook for one minute more. Add the peas. Cook tossing so all the pods are heated through. Add the chicken stock. And cook until the stock has evaporated.

Diabetes: Food is not medicine, it is food

05/17/2017

Article # 243

Diabetes: Food is not medicine, it is food


Sweet potatoes with a cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg

A few weeks ago my recipe for cauliflower tots was posted on one of the sites that use my articles and recipes. A reader commented:

“No matter what I do, I can’t get cauliflower to work.”

I responded to her:

The trick is keeping the cooked cauliflower dry. Boy was I surprised that she responded:

“I keep it dry, I just don’t like the taste”.

I am always saying that if it doesn’t taste good you are not going to eat it. It did not occur to me that taste was the issue. Since my Diagnosis, cauliflower has become one of my BFFs. That and spaghetti squash have filled in the empty place on my plate formally filled by pastas, rice, and potatoes.

Ham Tomato & Cheese Casserole
It is like the best sandwich in a dish

What is interesting to me is that before my diagnosis, cauliflower was a once in a while thing, smothered in a cheesy sauce, or blanched for a vegetable tray. I liked it well enough. My sister on the other hand had never tried it and hated it…just because.  You have to remember we grew up with very little in the way of vegetables for most of the year. Even I thought that broccoli was a centerpiece on a friend’s table.

Another reader commented on a cucumber recipe:

“I eat cucumbers and I still got Diabetes”.

It won’t cure or prevent disease, but it will give you another menu option to help keep the carbs down.

There is no food yet (who knows what another day will bring) proven to cure or prevent Diabetes. Eat it for the taste and the lower carbohydrate (and sodium) value. There is a good chance that replacing some higher carbohydrate foods with those with less carbohydrates will help you to manage your Diabetes, if you have type 2 Diabetes.

Cinnamon comes up in too many conversations as a possible cure for Diabetes or a way to control blood sugar. EVERYTHING I have found online or in reliable medical journals, suggest that there IS NO CONCLUSIVE evidence of cinnamon curing Diabetes.

The man that owns the purified water store I use (water in New Mexico tastes awful) told me that he has a customer that is certain that he can cure MY Diabetes IF I used cinnamon. Smiling and nodding is becoming a way of life.

Truth be told, I do use cinnamon. Not as a curative but because I like the taste. If it turns out cinnamon DOES has health benefits…great. If not, I still like the taste of it. I did hear a diner at a restaurant say to their companion (with Diabetes):

“Oh, rice pudding is ok. If you put cinnamon on it, it won’t hurt your Diabetes”.

My companion had to practically nail me down to the table to keep me from screaming at the woman.

Eating better and exercise is going to aid your overall health. However, each of us is very different. My eating works for me and my family. The amount of exercise I do works for me…for now. I won’t suggest to you that you should eat EXACTLY the way that I do. I will tell you that there are hundreds of recipes that work well for a person with Diabetes. They won’t cure your Diabetes, but they will expand your possibilities and perhaps allow you to stick to your eating plan. Most important, those recipes taste wonderful…to me and many others. The reader that simply can’t make cauliflower work for her won’t agree with me. My late uncle, who would go into sneezing fits when cinnamon was in the air, will not agree with my views on the taste of cinnamon.

This is all perfect. It is wonderful people like some foods and hate other foods. If I had not been exposed to people with different cuisines, there would be too many foods that I would not have tried and that would be a loss to my taste buds. Unlike my crazy sister, I have always been adventurous in my trying new foods. There is a reason for that. I tried more foods that I really like than foods that I don’t. And yes, I draw the line at trying some things. Unless I change very much in the next few years, a caramelized cockroach is not on MY list of things to try, nor is chocolate dipped lima beans. Hey, we all got our stick.

As for curing Diabetes, I heard a rumor that if you_______________.

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

Shrimp Alfredo served over spaghetti squash
Simple to make but luxurious to eat

 

Shrimp Alfredo with Spaghetti Squash

(Trust me on this, it will just delight you)

2 Servings

net carbohydrates 12 grams per serving

Chef’s Notes: Quick and simple to make but it tastes like you worked for hours. I added the mushrooms to this dish to give it a bit more volume.

Ingredients:

3 cups spaghetti squash, cooked, cooled, and shredded

Salt and pepper to taste

1 TBSP. butter, melted

3 – Tbsp. butter

1 Shallot sliced thinly

1 clove garlic grated or minced very finely

14 – raw shrimp (16-21 size) shelled but tails left on.

8 – ounces Baby Bella or crimini mushrooms

¼ – cup cream

salt and pepper to taste

½ – cup grated Parmesan cheese to taste

1 tsp. – fresh parsley chopped

 

HOW TO PREPARE THE RECIPE:

 

Combine cooked squash, salt pepper and butter. Stir to combine. Place in a greased ovenproof dish.

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Place squash in the oven for 30 minutes.

Clean the mushrooms and cut into quarters or sixths (depending on the size of the mushroom)

Sautee the shallot in the butter for 1 minute. Add the garlic and mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook until the liquid just starts to come out from the mushrooms. Turn off the heat and add the cream. Stir to combine. Add shrimp and cook for 3 minutes on each side. Add parmesan cheese.

Remove the squash from the oven and dive equally onto 2 plates. Spoon the shrimp and sauce over the squash. Sprinkle with parsley.

Diabetes: NO reason food can’t taste Scrumptious

05/10/2017

Article # 242

 

Diabetes: NO reason food can’t taste Scrumptious

Scrumptious (skrum shous) adj. foods STILL available on a decadent diabetic’s plate.

I decided to come back to this topic again after seeing these two comments too often:

“I try to eat right but a lot of the food is so dull and tasteless”

“If I have to look at another plate of baked chicken and vegetables, I will barf”.

I get it. It is true many of the prepared foods labeled “Diabetic Friendly” are pretty tasteless. Worse still is that so many of the sugar free products are still very high in carbohydrates. If WE can figure out that it is carbohydrates, not JUST sugar, why can’t the manufacturers figure that out?

Photo by Indiana Public Media. org.

If you think you can ONLY eat the same thing over and over again it gets very dull and very boring.

What I don’t quite get is why people complain about the taste and lack of variety of the foods they eat and don’t do much about it. Is it REALLY that difficult?

It is not just because I am a chef that foods I eat taste great and cover a variety of items. I started out like everybody else. Oh wait, that was when I was a kid. I had to figure out how to make it taste better, way before my diagnosis of Diabetes.

Oh, for goodness sake, it is not about re-inventing the wheel, it is really about reinventing the way you think and use common ingredients. You don’t need to have a pantry full of fancy things to make great, NO Scrumptious, tasting EASY recipes.

Lemons are “almost” magical in the way they add flavor to food

Lemons

Take the humble lemon. Lemon is more than a garnish on a plate of fish or something to squeeze into your tea. It adds incredible flavor to all kinds of foods. Chicken, vegetables, fruits, coffee, desserts, and yes, fish. An added benefit to using lemons is: the sharp flavor allows you to cut back on salt. Lemon combines with all kinds of other flavors like basil, dill, ginger, pepper and cheese. Combine lemon (or lime for that matter) with any of the herbs or spices I mentioned and you have a super easy, super tasty dish.

From 3 jars of spices mix…27 meals…and counting

Spicing it up

When I was growing up, the foods in my home were flavored with salt and pepper, maybe a little garlic powder and onion powder. Cinnamon was reserved for rice pudding and apple pie; paprika for “a little color”. The groceries carried only dried herbs in little cans, and not a heck of a lot of those. I remember my aunt Kate discovering Lawry Salt. She was in kitchen heaven. She used it to death. Not that it didn’t taste good, but EVERYTHING seasoned with that product became as boring as using nothing at all. I looked at the ingredients just now and found it interesting that the mix contained sugar. No wonder we liked it. Nowadays, we have far more spices available in the “stupidmarket”. Take advantage of it. You can buy premixed spices if you are afraid, don’t have the skills or time to mix your own concoction, or don’t want to have too many jars on hand. I buy herbs de Provence and Chinese Five spice all the time. I like to suggest you find a market that has bulk spices. You can buy a little to try out. They also tend to be fresher than the bottle that has been in the back of the cabinet since 19…

Fresh herbs are available all year long. The taste of dried herbs is good, fresh herbs are sensational. I meant to say sensational. It is an entirely different sensation on your tongue.

Fast and Easy this recipe fills your plate with flavor, nor carbohydrates

Different cooking methods.

Depending on the method you use to cook a food it tastes different than any other method. The perfect example is the egg. It tastes entirely different boiled than it does fried; or scrambled than as an omelet; or baked (as in quiche) than any other method. The same goes for fish, meats, and chicken. If you, like my friend, hates the idea of baked chicken, broil it, fry it, sautee it, or stew it. The same chicken with exactly the same seasoning will taste different depending on the cooking method.

It is ok to complain. I am here to listen to you; but you can’t really expect me to keep silent.

There are so many great flavors out there to experiment with. There is no reason that Diabetes should stop you. In fact it is the other way around. Having Diabetes should encourage you to find new taste treats to inspire you, enlarge your repertory of menus, and help to keep you on track with managing your Diabetes.

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

Call it Beef Stew, Bouef Borguinion, Beef Forestiere or potted meat
No matter the name the taste is wonderful

French Country Beef Stew

Serves 4-6

Net carbohydrates               4-6 per serving

 Chef’s Note: Call it beef stew, Boeuf Bourguignon, Beef Forestier or potted meat this is a simple recipe for the tougher ( and less expensive) cuts of meat that turns into one of the richest and most delicious recipes you will ever eat. You can cook it in the oven, on the stove or in a crock pot. For those of you that will not cook with wine, you can get a very delicious cooking sauce using extra tomato paste, more beef stock and ¼ tsp. orange zest. For those of you that think you HATE mushrooms, this is not a dish for you.

 

Ingredients:

1-1/2 lbs. lean beef (eye round, sirloin etc.)

Salt and pepper to taste and your physician’s guidance

3 TBSP. salt pork cut into small dice (you may substitute oil or duck fat)

2 medium onions peeled

1 medium carrot chopped very finely

2-3 large cloves of garlic. Grated or finely minced

1 cup dry red wine (Cabernet, Merlot, Chianti, Burgundy)

1 cup low sodium beef stock

1 bay leaf

2 tsp. Herbs de Provence

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 TBSP. tomato paste

2 TBSP. chopped parsley

½ lb. mushrooms, cut into wedges

3 TBSP. mushroom juice (from reconstituted dry mushrooms) optional

 

HOW TO PREPARE THE RECIPE:

Cut the meat into 2 inch cubes. Dry on paper towels. Salt and pepper the meat. Melt the salt pork in a Dutch oven pot until the fat is dissolved and the meat bits start to turn crispy. Remove the meat bits for later. You can use 2 TBSP. of oil or duck fat for this part of the recipe.

Brown the meat in two batches. This will take about 8-10 minutes per batch. Remove meat from the pot.

Cut the onions into 8 wedges each. Reserve ¼ of the wedges for use at the end of the recipe. Sauté the remaining wedges in the fat until lightly golden. Add the chopped carrot and cook for one minute more. Add the garlic and bay leaf and cook for 30 seconds. Add the wine and beef stock and bring to a boil. Add the meat back into the pot. Add the herbs (EXCEPT THE PARSLEY), mustard, browned pork bits, and tomato paste.

You can cook on the stove at a low heat for 2 -1/2 hours, in the oven at 325° for 2- ½ hours or in a crock pot according to brand directions.

Add the mushrooms and cook for 30 minutes more.

Add the remaining onion wedges and parsley. Allow to cool and STRONGLY suggest refrigerating over-night. This way you can remove excess fat before reheating and serving.

The usual serving suggestion for this dish would be buttered noodles. I choose to use either “riced” cauliflower or spaghetti squash to keep this a lower carbohydrate meal.

Diabetes: It is about making choices

05/03/2017

Article # 241

Diabetes: It is about making choices

This is a no judgment zone. The choices you make are the choices you make. I don’t judge YOU for doing what you do. It does not affect my life of choices at all. Or does it? All I ask in return is YOU don’t judge ME for not liking….lima beans.

From the minute you get your diagnosis of Diabetes, your life is about making choices.

The first choice you can make is to do nothing at all. I hear from people all the time, even my electrician, that they “probably” have Diabetes. This is usually followed by: “I should do something about it.”

Another choice is to take some kind of medication, and go on as you have before. One of my friends does pretty much that. He injects a product once a day and goes on eating what he wants. For the fun of it he shows up at my door with his Klondike bar dripping onto his fingers. What are his readings? We don’t talk about it except when his doctor yells at him and he is depressed for a few days. He gets over it and goes on as before. For HIM that is perfect.

Another choice is to start exercising and watching what you eat. Lots of people do that to various degrees. Some to excess. As long as your medical team is in agreement, some more exercise and more careful eating choices is almost always a good idea…even if you don’t have Diabetes.

If you AND your medical team decide, you can combine a medication, eating and exercise. However it is TOTALLY up to you how you follow the regime.

“I am type 2 diabetic. I try to eat right but a lot of the food is so dull and tasteless.”

As for eating, you get to choose whether a new eating plan is a burden or a challenge. It can be either. It all depends on you. Clearly, my choice is to make it a challenge. The challenge turned into a joy I choose to share with you.

My goal is to create dishes that taste so good:

1- You enjoy eating them.

2- It makes it easier for you to “stick” with your plan.

3- The rest of your family enjoys the food for how good it tastes.

4- You lower the amount of carbohydrates you eat without feeling deprived.

Oven “Fried” Fish and Chips
Lower in Carbs (and fat) and Just as delicious

Some totally eliminate high carbohydrate foods from their table. Others use portion control. Both work for many. For me, too small a portion of something I love to eat is TOO SMALL. I usually go away from the table angry and hungry. Take that smaller portion and make it taste spectacular, then make it a part of a plate filled with other things that are lower in carbohydrates works better for me. I still have fish AND chips. The fish portion is larger (and baked with a light panko crust), the cole slaw is HUGE, and the beautifully seasoned baked “fries” is so good, I am happy for the smaller portion. It is exciting have the meal as part of my repertory.

 

Pasta is still a different story for me. Try as I might to search out new products that fill that slot on my plate, nothing as yet has completely satisfied my palate and carbohydrate budget. For now… it is off the table.

I keep going back to a comment made way back when I first started writing. The reader said:

“If I have to look at another plate of baked chicken and vegetables, I will cry”.

I can only hope that he has chosen to try some of my recipes and prepare the chicken in new and wonderful ways or tried some of the chicken dishes made on top of the stove. If he has the will, there is a way. I am not even going to go as far as to suggest fish. I grew up with it on the table. It was a non-issue for me. It was there and we ate it or my grandmother would pout. She was a great lady, who of us would choose to make her pout?

YOU and ONLY YOU get to choose what is right for you!

To the elephant in the Diabetes room: Sugar replacements. All I can say about this subject is YOU get to choose. I strongly urge you to look at REAL SCIENCE, not speculation, not rumor, not old data, and certainly not social hysteria. Then make your choice. I stay out of the fray with the exception of mentioning MY use of replacements in my baking recipes. It is up to you to try the recipes or not. I leave it all up to you. Whatever you choose to do about that subject is perfect.

Life with Diabetes, or anything else is what you make it. To those of you that find Diabetes a horrible thing, just remember you can choose to make it a less or even a lot less miserable….or not.

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

A Diabetes-Compatible version of my prize winning cheesecake

Chocolate Glazed Cheesecake

                                         8 slices

net carbohydrates   12g. per slice

 Chef’s Note: In 1986 I won a contest with my cheesecake recipe. It contained chocolate chips, walnuts and apricots. Carbohydrate-ly speaking this recipe no longer works for me. This is my equally scrumptious replacement.

8-9 inch Springform pan

Crust ingredients: Note you will only use about 2/3 of the crust recipe…make cookies.

2/3 cup flour

1/3 cup toasted Walnuts

¼ c. GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE

1 pinch salt

¼ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp. baking powder

4 tbsp. butter

1 large egg

HOW I PREPARE THE RECIPE:

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. Add egg 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 a 11 inch circle. Using your fingers fit into springform pan. This dough is fragile and will break. Not to worry just piece it together with your fingers. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes before filling.

Filling ingredients:

2 8oz. pkgs. cream cheese

1/2 cup Ricotta cheese

¾ cup GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE

4 tsp. lemon juice + 1 tsp lemon grated lemon zest

4 tsp pure vanilla extract

3 large eggs

Method for filling:

In the food processor combine GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE and cream cheese & Ricotta. Whip on high speed until combined. Add remaining ingredients and mix until well combined. Taste for balance of flavor. Adjust GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE or lemon or vanilla to suit your taste.

Roll out dough on a floured surface to form a crust about 2 inches larger than the bottom of your springform. Grease the springform all over and press the dough into it. (don’t panic, it always falls apart a little. Just press it into place)

Pour filling into springform.

Bake at 325°F for 50-min to one hour until sides are set but the center is still slightly jiggly. Remove cool completely.

Glaze and trim ingredients.

18-24 Dark chocolate chips

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 TBSP. coffee

1 tsp. milk or heavy cream

¼ cup ground walnuts

HOW TO PREPARE THE GLAZE:

Combine all of the ingredients in a heat proof 1 cup glass measuring cup. Microwave on high for 12 seconds. Remove and stir. If it does not totally dissolve, microwave for another 12 seconds. Pour over the cake and spread evenly.

Edge the cake with the ground walnuts.

Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving

Eating with Diabete:, Let’s make a deal

04/26/2017

Article #240

 

Eating with Diabetes: Let’s make a deal

In the article I wrote last week, I used the phrase “let’s make a deal”. I used it in reference to balancing what you want to eat to help manage your Diabetes and what the rest of the family wants.

I realized, even if you are just cooking or eating for yourself, making changes in your meals is also a case of: “Let’s make a Deal”. But the “deal” is with yourself.

Pizza made using JOSEPH’S low carb pita

It is as simple as wanting to eat pizza. Even with Diabetes this is still very possible. The “deal” is you have to agree to use some lower carbohydrate format for the crust. It can be zucchini, cauliflower, or as in my case a lower carbohydrate pita bread. I have made absolutely delicious pizzas for years now. I still make them with sausage, or mushrooms, or peppers, or any other topping I want. I still get the molten gooey, cheesy, tomato-y flavor that I crave, just not all the carbohydrates. Not a bad deal.

My favorite summer salad is Caprese. I grow tomatoes and basil in pots in the garden. To make the salad you add mozzarella cheese, olive oil, and salt and pepper. It is simple, elegant, and full of the flavors of summer. Usually one sops up the flavored oil with a good crusty bread.

Caprese Salad

Most folks with Diabetes watch their carbohydrates like a hawk so that nice crusty bread can present a problem. The “deal” is either to have a small amount of the bread or to find bread that is lower in carbohydrates. I do both. Sometimes it is the smaller amount of bread, sometimes I use the same Joseph’s pita bread that I use for my pizza crust, and sometimes a little of each. It depends on what the carbohydrates are for meals planned for the rest of the day. In all cases I win by getting that wonderful salad. Not a bad deal.

I have actually run into (on line) a person that does not like mashed potatoes. I suggested using mashed cauliflower or pureed roasted turnip and apple in the place of the smashed spud. I mentioned this because many people kvetch about using mashed cauliflower to substitute for the potatoes. It turned out that the suggestion I made to this person worked better for her husband, and she liked it equally as well. Making both sides in the marriage happy, not a bad deal.

Not to brag but until you try some of the desserts I have created for us, you may not realize that eating dessert is not only a possibility for people with Diabetes, but also a pleasure.

YOU and ONLY YOU get to choose what is right for you!

The dessert “deal” is that because you use a sugar replacement, the cakes don’t rise as well as if you used sugar. There is simply less volume. The other part of the “deal” is that you have to use a substitute for the sugar. EVERYBODY has an opinion of the taste and safety of the replacements. I refuse to be part of the fray. YOU GET TO CHOSE FOR YOURSELF. All I ever ask is that when making choices, let real science be your guide, not hysteria (“Well I heard/read that…;” “Somebody said that…”). Deal? ….Deal!

Many people think that there are not enough choices for people with Diabetes. Piffle, I say. Here is the “deal.” YOU have to be willing to try cooking foods in a different way, use different spices and combinations of flavors. If you are bored with same old, same old, the “deal” is try something new. This opens you up to a world of variety. Not a bad deal.

One of my favorite stuffings uses artichokes and blue cheese. My friend Linda all but gagged at the thought. She likes artichokes and she likes blue cheese. The thought of the two in combination make her feel faint. Not every combination works for everybody, not every combination works period. But you might be very surprised at things that do work in combination. No, not Snickers bars and tomato sauce, but it is amazing how well coffee works with meats. When I first saw that on a menu I thought it strange, then I thought it over the top, then I tasted it. It was delicious and surprising.

A little cheese please
Turns a simple salad into a simple joy

Dining out with family and friends may put extra stress on you. Don’t allow that. Make the deal that you will settle for a protein and vegetable and salad for the pure enjoyment of being with the group.

So, here IS the deal. Choose to be open to the possibilities. Figure out what works for your taste buds, your soul, and the management of your Diabetes. Do the best you can and be willing to make changes. Deal? ….DEAL!

 

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

Chicken Oreganata

serving size 1 breast or leg quarter

net carbohydrates     6g.

Chef’s Notes: Some recipes can do double duty and in the most unexpected way. One of my favorite appetizers is Clams Oreganata. I took my cue for this crunchy chicken dish from that old recipe. While fresh herbs are usually the best, Oregano is the one exception.

Ingredients:

2 –boneless chicken breasts or thighs

juice of ½ of the lemon (about 1 Tbsp.)

salt and pepper to taste

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

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

OR

2 scallions, minced

1 TBSO. Olive oil

2 – tsp. DRY oregano

grated zest of one lemon

2 TBSP. grated parmesan cheese

2 TBSP, panko crumbs

2 – Tbsp. olive oil

HOW TO PREPARE THE RECIPE:

Combine Chicken garlic, shallots, salt and pepper, lemon juice and 1 TBSP. olive oil. Cover and refrigerate for about 45 minutes or up to 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to:

Combine the oregano, lemon zest, parmesan cheese and panko. Drizzle the olive oil over this mixture and work LIGHTLY with your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Press the crumb mixture into the chicken pieces. Bake at 350° F. for 40-45 minutes