Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holiday Dinners

I don't know about you, but holiday dinners always kind of pose a problem with me: how much do you eat, how about carb heavy meals, what do you do if there is nothing appropriate to eat? I have these issues every year. I try to eat what I can, and just take small amounts of the carb-y food. As much as I love it, I do have to limit my intake. I still haven't figured out what to do if there is nothing appropriate to eat, I usually just have bites of a few things, and then wait until later to eat like a normal PWD. Check with your doctor, and try to let the people who are cooking of any dietary restrictions. I had to do this recently, and everyone was really understanding.

This year, I decided to experiment a little on my own and make my own Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. I had to work on Thanksgiving, so we just put a ham in the crockpot and cooked it that way. Just plain, wrapped in foil and about a cup or two of water. Once we got home, we put it in the over for about 20 minutes to get the outside crispy. It didn't lose any of the flavor, and it wasn't overdone at all. And of course, the leftovers were great for sandwiches and split pea soup (my mom's recipe).

I had Christmas off this year, so I spent two days cooking for my husband who had to work. I also received a brand new camera for my birthday a week before, so now I have awesome pictures to post on here.

Here is the menu that I had for Christmas day:
eggs with cheese, green onions and pepper
maple bacon
Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bar triangle (homemade, not bought at the 'Bucks.)

Yes, breakfast was much of a cheat. The cranberry bar, probably had WAY too much sugar and the rest of the meal had salt and cholesterol. But for something that I never make or eat, it was tasty. And well worth it.

Now, for dinner:
Turkey - in brine
Mom's stuffing
mashed potatoes and mashed cauliflower
steamed broccoli with cheddar and bacon
cranberry chutney

Low carb Pumpkin cheesecake

The turkey. I've only made two turkeys in my life. One, I barely remember, and one was a few years ago and I had lots of help. This year, I was doing something totally different, even for me. I was determined to brine this turkey. Problem is? I have No clue how to begin. I knew there was salt and water involved. So, I jumped on facebook while doing a google search and asked for advice. The recipe that I liked and that came the most recommended was Alton Brown's from Good Eats. It was a little more complicated, but it sounded tasty and interesting. The only thing I would have done differently, was bought a bigger turkey. It was fabulous, but a tiny bit dry.

The stuffing is my favorite holiday food. Not because it's carb heavy, but because it tastes fantastic. I hated it when I was a kid, but now, it's not a holiday without it. It's my mom's recipe and I always forget to ask for it. This year, I remembered, and it was just as fantastic as I remember and I am going to pass it on to you. It's simple, yet delicious.

Mashed potatoes and mashed cauliflower, no holiday is complete without mashed potatoes, don't you agree? Well, I can't have very much of them. So... for my low carb replacement - I make Mashed Cauliflower. I love it. But then, I love love love cauliflower.

I just wanted a fairly plain veggie for dinner, but we had some leftover bacon and cheese from breakfast. I don't like to waste anything, especially food, so I just threw the leftovers in there with it.

Cranberry Chutney. I've been looking for a really good recipe for this for years. Always cranberry sauce I can find, but I can do that on my own. This last year, I found a fabulous recipe. I had planned on making a Turkey around May, (which never happened) and so I made this stuff, and I made it Diabetic friendly. It was wonderful. I froze it and just defrosted it a couple weeks ago and it's STILL awesome.

Obviously, If I was going to make a dessert, it was going to have to be a diabetic/low carb recipe. I got this pumpkin cheesecake recipe from a Low-Carb cookbook that I have had for a couple of years.

So for the next couple of days, I'm going to post the recipes to this holiday dinner, and then I will post recipes for the dinners that I am making with the turkey leftovers. As well as my traditional New Years dinner. Complete with awesome pictures because me husband is the very best.

One footnote about gravy: My husband and I do not really care for gravy, so none was made. For me, there is really nothing good for me in traditional gravy, so there was no loss there.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Black Bean and Chipotle Pepper Soup

This has become one of my favorite recipes. And it has become this for several reasons: 1. It's easy. 2. It tastes fantastic. 3. It's Diabetic friendly. Very Diabetic Friendly. It's a little hot, so you may want to experiment with how much chipotle chilis you actually want to put in the recipe. My husband actually begs for this recipe. And it may be pretty good for kids, if you really slow down on the peppers. Oh, and it's mainly vegetarian, except for the beef broth. Which can be substituted, of course. I got this recipe from a friend, who apparently got it from the Better Homes and Gardens Website.

And as usual, I made a change here and there. I also double the recipe so I have some for dinner the following night (it reheats beautifully and even more flavorful).

Extremely bad picture of a most tasty chili

Black Bean and Chipotle Pepper Soup

  • 1 cup chopped green sweet pepper (1 large)*
  • 1  cup chopped onion (1 large)
  • 2  cloves garlic, minced
  • 1  tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
  • 2  15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1  14-ounce can beef broth **
  • 1  cup chopped tomato (2 medium)***
  • 2  tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 1  tablespoon snipped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 2  teaspoons snipped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 2  teaspoons chopped canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce ****
  •   Dairy sour cream (optional)
  •   Fresh cilantro sprigs (optional)*****
1. In a large saucepan cook sweet pepper, onion, and garlic in hot oil for 3 minutes. Stir in black beans, beef broth, tomato, snipped cilantro, thyme, oregano, and chipotle pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
2. If desired, mash beans slightly.# If desired, garnish with sour cream and cilantro sprigs.
3. Makes 4 servings (5 cups)

* I omitted the bell pepper

** You can substitute veggie broth if you want to keep it vegetarian.

*** I accidentally forgot to buy tomatoes for this the first time I made it, but had a can of tomato paste. It was awesome. More chili-like in it's consistency, but still amazing taste.

**** Make sure you wash your hands WELL after cutting this stuff up. It is HOT.

***** I am sure you already know that I did not use any cilantro in the making of this recipe. :-)

# Note: For a pureed bean soup, cool soup slightly. Place half of the soup in a food processor or blender. Cover and process or blend until smooth. Repeat with remaining soup.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hot Chicken Salad

The name of this recipe made me think - Oh, gross! Hot lettuce! But no. I had to read it a couple of times before I realized - ooooh, like chicken salad sandwiches! Yum! And yum, it was. It's simple. It's tasty. And I think you can just about add anything that floats your boat, that you would normally like in your regular chicken salad. Have fun with different veggies, add raisins, or apples. The original recipe is from Diabetic Living Magazine again, and it asks for yellow sweet pepper - I don't like peppers. I just don't. I don't like the way they taste at all. So, I omitted them from this recipe.

I hope you like it.

Hot Chicken Salad
3 cups cubed cooked chicken (about 1 pound)
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup chopped yellow sweet pepper
3/4 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese (3 oz)
1 10.75 oz. can reduced-fat and reduced-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup
1 6 oz. carton plain low fat yogurt (I could not find low fat plain, only nonfat, and it worked just fine)
1/4 c slilced green onions
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup crushed cornflakes
1/4 cup sliced almonds

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, stir together chicken, celery, sweet pepper, cheese, soup, yogurt, green onions, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Transfer to 2 qt. rectangular baking dish.

2. In a small bowl, stir together cornflakes and almonds. Sprinkle evely over chicken mixture.

3. Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until heated through. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

I have no notes on this, except to read the recipe through first and make sure you have enough time to cook the chicken. I didn't realize that I had to do this and it took me a little longer to make dinner than I had originally anticipated. It was totally worth it, but I wish hadn't had to wait so long for it.

Oh, I also apologize for the lack of pictures. We have been pretty hungry when dinner comes out of the oven lately, and have forgotten to take pictures. I will try to get on that as soon as I can!

And another thing... I notice a few people looking at this, do any of you have any suggestions to make the page better, and types of recipes, stats, food types that you would like to see on here? Links? Anything? I am open to suggestions. I haven't done this type of blog before, so any help is welcome!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mediterranean Pork Chops and Spinach Strawberry Salad

I "forced" my husband into making dinner the other night because I was too tired. So, I gave him something fairly (OK, really) easy to make. Although there are very few ingredients in the main dish, and several in the salad, it was simple and flavorful. We have no pictures because it smelled so good and we were so hungry that we pretty much devoured it when it came out of the oven. The pork chops are another Diabetic Living recipe from the Winter 2009 issue. The salad was our own concoction.

Mediterranean Pork Chops
4 boneless or bone-in pork loin chops, cut 1/2 inch thick (1 - 1/2 pounds total)
1 tablespoon finely snipped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried, crushed
3 cloves garlic, minced

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Sprinkle all side of chops with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In a small bowl, combine rosemary and garlic. Sprinkle rosemary mixture evenly over all sides of the chops; rub in with your fingers. (Please remember to wash your hands thoroughly after doing this)

2. Place chops on a rack in a shallow roasting pan*. Roast chops 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue roasting about 25 minutes or until no pink remains (160 degrees) and juices run clear.

*We used just a glass 9x13 dish. It worked just fine.

Spinach Strawberry Salad
*These are odd amounts - we just used what we had on hand
1/2 head spinach, washed and torn apart
8 strawberries - cleaned and sliced
1/4 cup chopped pecans
8 oz. Feta cheese, crumbled

Toss ingredients together in a large bowl. Add your favorite sweeter vinaigrette dressing and toss again. I will try to add the recipe we used, but since it was made without being written down, I don't know how accurate it will be.

Hope you enjoy dinner!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Spicy Shrimp Casserole

I was having a craving for shrimp. I came across this recipe in Diabetic Living Magazine. It was pretty good. I made some adjustments, of course. My husband loved it, but I think next time I'll leave out the tomatoes and have a salad on the side. It's very easy and quick to make (other than cooking time), which is great for after work one night.

Spicy Shrimp Casserole
6 - 6 inch corn tortillas, cut into bite sized strips*
1 cup bottled green salsa
1 cup shredded reduced fat Monterey Jack cheese (4 oz)*
1/2 cup light sour cream
3 Tablespoons flour
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro*
1 - 12 ounce package frozen, cooked, peeled, and deveined shrimp, thawed
1 cup frozen yellow and white whole kernel corn
1 medium tomato*

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place half of the tortilla strips in the bottom f a lightly greased 2 -quart baking dish, set aside. Arrange remaining tortilla strips on a baking sheet; bake 12 to 14 minutes or until crisp.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together salsa, cheese, sour cream, flour, and 2 tablespoons of the cilantro. Stir in shrimp and corn. Spoon shrimp mixture over tortilla strips in baking dish.

3. Bake 40-45 minutes or until heated through. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with baked tortilla strips, tomato and remaining 2 tablespoons of cilantro.

4. If desired, serve with 1/4 cup light sour cream divided among servings.

*Tortillas - I used low carb whole grain flour tortillas. I really like them, they add an interesting flavor, and you don't need as many. Plus, with what's left over, you can make some chips to have with salsa later.

*Cheese - We tried chipotle cheddar. It was really good.

*Cilantro - I don't like cilantro. At all. So, I didn't add it.

*Tomato - I cooked it into the casserole, but I still didn't like it. I don't like tomatoes too much, unless they are in some sort of sauce. Like I said, I think I may omit them from my serving of the casserole next time.

Sorry about the picture quality, I must have had it on the wrong setting, but it was really yummy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

Sorry for the lack of posts, my husband and I have been really sick. Luckily, no H1N1, but just sick weirdness.

So, we have made a couple of wonderful dishes in the last week, but unfortunately, I did not take any pictures. And just for a warning, I am a terrible photographer. Some things turn out well, some things don't. Alright we got that out of the way, let's move on, shall we?

I had a craving one day for chicken pot pie, and just figured it was going to be too high in carbs or too hard to make. This recipe proves to be neither. I got it from dLife, of course. And I made a couple of tweaks to fit what I like to eat. The original recipe called for bell peppers and I do not like bell peppers except on my pizza. It also called for green beans, but I forgot to pick some up. So, instead, I used some mushrooms. I like the taste much better.

Without further ado, here is the recipe from dLife modified to my liking and a few notes added a long the way to help you out.

1 lb. Skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp margarine
1 large onion, choped
3 med celery stalks, chopped
1 cup carrots, sliced
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
12 oz. poultry gravy, low sodium, prepared (such as Heinz)
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
2 tbsp white all-purpose flour
2 frozen 9" pie crusts (if you freeze them, be sure to leave 60-90 minutes for defrosting. If you refrigerate them, leave about 12-15 minutes)

1 Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2 Season the chicken with the poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.
3 In a large deep skillet or saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 teaspoon of the margarine.
4 Add the chicken and cook just until slightly pink in the center.
5 Remove to a cutting board. When cool, chop into bite size pieces.
6 Melt the remaining 1 teaspoon margarine in the same skillet or saucepan. Add the onion, celery, mushrooms, and carrots.
7 Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped chicken.
8 In a medium bowl, mix together the gravy, sour cream and flour.
9 Stir into the chicken mixture in the skillet or saucepan.
10 Scrape the filling into the prepared pie crust.
11 Carefully fit the top crust over the filling. Cut 3 to 5 slits in the top crust for ventilation.
12 Place the pie plate on a cookie sheet covered in foil (this tends to leak all over the inside of the oven)
12 Bake until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
13 Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

This was the first one that I made

I made this one tonight - my husband's eyes were bigger than his stomach.

This is great the first night, but even better the next couple of days. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Way To Start The Day - Breakfast!

The first thing I had to change about my diet was breakfast. I was a little sad, because I am pretty much an easy in, easy out prep for breakfast - cereal. Unfortunately, that was not cutting it in the blood sugar department. Luckily, about that time, dlife - a Diabetic website - came out with a 7 day breakfast meal plan. I didn't like all of the choices, of course. So, I skipped some things, and tweaked others. I'm going to post a couple of my favorites. dLife listed reasons for the food choices they had, and so far, they seem to have worked for me.

On my weekends, I try to prep stuff for my breakfasts and lunches, so I don't have to spend too much time on it before work during the week. One of the things that I do, is prepare the nuts for a Greek Yogurt Parfait.

Nuts to Add to Greek Yogurt Parfait
1 Cup Almonds
1 Cup Macadamia Nuts
1 Tablespoon Ground Flax Seed
1 Tablespoon of butter/margarine
1 Tablespoon honey
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon

I use a nut chopper and chop up about a 1/4 cup of nuts at a time, set them aside and add the flax seed. Melt butter and honey in a frying pan. Once melted, add all nuts/seeds and cinnamon. Toast over medium heat, making sure not to burn them.

Cool, and refrigerate for use later.

Greek Yogurt Parfait
1/2 cup of Greek Yogurt (plain)
2 Tablespoons Nut Mixture
1/4 Cup Berries
1 Teaspoon Splenda or other sweetener
1 Teaspoon Vanilla

Add vanilla and sweetener to yogurt and mix with spoon. Add berries and nuts.

According to dLife, Greek yogurt has more protein and less carbs and is easier to digest than regular yogurt. It's also great for those that are lactose intolerant.

Fruit and Yogurt Smoothies
1/2 Cup Milk (I use 1 %)
1/2 Cup Greek yogurt
3/4 Cup Fresh or Frozen Fruit (my favorite is blackberries)
1 Tablespoon Wheat Germ or Flax Seed
Vanilla to taste
Sweetener to taste
Ice Cubes

If you use frozen fruit, put that in the blender first, if you use fresh fruit, put the ice cubes in first. Add milk, yogurt, fresh fruit (if not using frozen), vanilla, sweetener, and wheat germ/flax seed. Blend until liquid and smooth.

Steel Cut Oats
This takes some time, so I generally make it either the night before, or on my weekends.
This makes four servings - but it refrigerates well for later.
1 Cup Uncooked Steel Cut (Irish) Oats
1 Tablespoon Butter/Margarine/Oil
3 Cups Boiling water
1 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Chopped Fruit
1/2 Tablespoon Butter/Margarine
1 Teaspoon Flax seed

Toast uncooked Steel Cut Oats for 2 minutes in melted butter. Add boiling water. Cook for 25 minutes on med-low heat, stirring a few times during. Add milk and cook for 10 more minutes. Cover and set aside for 2 minutes. Spoon out into bowl and add butter, fruit (or dried cranberries, raisins, etc) and flax seed. You can substitute 2 Tablespoon Peanut Butter or 1/2 cup nuts, for the extras on here.

When reheating this - add a little milk or cream. It helps a lot with the consistency.

I hope this gives you some good starts for the day. I encourage you to check out dLife for some other ideas.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Hi, I'm Jen, or Tink, as the case may be. I have been a diabetic since I had Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2002-2003. After I had a stem cell transplant, the Diabetes never went away. Since then, I have had tons of trouble keeping my blood sugar in check. I have tried diet and exercise for treatment, oral medication, and now I am on fast acting as well as long term insulin, and oral medication. Finally, there seems to be a regimen that is working for me. My numbers are finally normal.

I have also started eating extremely healthy... I would like to eat all organic, but it's hard enough to make ends meet with the cost of the meds. So, I have started relying on other websites and recipes that I find to eat as well as I can. The problem? I am extremely picky. I don't like many of the things that I should be eating, so food has become almost boring for me. Searching for recipes of things that make my mouth water, and also actually taste good has become a game for me.

My husband and I have really started enjoying cooking again, mostly cooking together. It makes for a fun activity, and it's good to know that we are both being proactive in treating my disease. He's very well aware of what I need, and helps keep me in check when I want to falter.

So, this leads to why I started this blog. I know many people who love to cook as much as I do. I have posted (some really awful) pictures on my facebook profile, and have had a ton of requests for the recipes. While most of my recipes come from several different websites, I am, again, very picky. Sometimes, we find ways to tweak the recipes to make them work for me. Being in my late 30's, it's time to start worrying about my heart, cholesterol, and all that good stuff. Most of the recipes I list here are for that - as Diabetes diets concentrate on the side effects of the disease. These can help just about everyone retain a healthy lifestyle and still enjoy cooking and food.

I also love to bake (it relaxes me - and that's important), so I may occasionally post something that I have baked for the other people in my life, but I will list that as non-diabetic. But I will also experiment and show you even if I fail, the things that I try to make into a diabetic dessert.

If you ever have any questions, would like some feedback, need any sources for Diabetic help, please feel free to ask me. I am not a doctor, I am not the be-all end-all in Diabetic health, but I can try my best to lead you in the right direction to answer your questions and get you some help. Occasionally, I may also review some Diabetic products, sites, readings, so stay tuned!

I hope you enjoy the blog and that it makes you excited about food, and your health!