Taking a day off …

No that doesn’t mean we’re going out to eat tonight … my husband is in the kitchen whipping up his famous chili! While it may only be famous in this house it is pretty yummy and I’m sure it could win an award. Beans and meat make a chili, please don’t argue with that. If it’s only meat then it may as well be spaghetti sauce; if it’s only beans then it’s a soup. GROSS. I just love that I don’t have to lift a finger for today’s dinner. What a blessing 🙂 As I type this he is wandering around the kitchen looking for things … so I’ll just direct from the couch as I sip my morning coffee. Today he picks up a flight so it’s a slow cooker dinner since we don’t know when he’ll be called in to work.

As for the last week, he got to grill a few more times before going back to his hectic schedule.

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Teriyaki pork chops, rice, and egg rolls … I decided to make my own marinade to control the ingredients and boy am I glad that I did! The recipe called for 3/4 cup of sugar which surprised me and after finding a few other recipes I saw they all called for sugar. Of course we don’t use real sugar so I did a quick look on my Stevia conversion chart: 1 cup of sugar = 1 tsp of Stevia. HOLY COW! It’s such a drastic decrease. Do yourself a favor and make the switch (if you can eat Stevia) – stop consuming so much sugar – GROSS!
1 cup soy sauce, 1 cup water, just under 1 tsp Stevia, 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce, 3 tbsp white vinegar, 3 tsp onion powder, 2 tsp garlic powder, just under 1 tsp ginger (I used powder, it called for fresh) … mix and pour over chops, let marinate for at least 30 minutes – I let them sit for maybe 5 hours.
Easy sides: 5 minute white rice, I put a few dashes of soy sauce on it and frozen egg rolls. How easy is that?! It was so good and even better since the chops were grilled. YUM!
IMG_8040 Not a grill night … just enjoying a glass of wine after a crazy day. Of course McLane had to be in the picture. These nights about about to be a rarity with my husband’s leadership class ending however that will make them even more special.

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I loosely followed this recipe by Giada for sausage and peppers … I think the marsala wine made the difference. It’s a keeper!  My husband helped make the side, squash and zucchini cakes (baked not fried, thank you Paula…). DO NOT USE a ton of salt, parmesean cheese is salty enough. We dipped the caked in the juice left behind from the hoagies, so good!

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The intended dinner was to be fajitas but that idea quickly faded when the peppers and avocado had gone bad 😦 So when life hands you chicken and onions … you make tacos! My husband asked for pickled onions which is super easy and added flavor to the chicken because other fajita seasoning, I had nothing, lol! I used leftover chicken pieces and let them sit (seasoned) for the day, bake and it’s done. As always, Mexican rice as a yummy side.

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I’m always looking for new pasta dishes and found this one on Pinterest, of course mine turned out nothing like the blog however it was pretty good. Yes it looks like a pile of poo-poo but I’m a home cook and who really has time for pretty presentations?

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Another popular dinner, pork chops – this time stuffed with blue cheese and topped with pears. I couldn’t find thick cut chops at the store so picked up butterflied chops, put a spoonful of cheese in the center, and tied the chops shut. Easy. The pears go in after to soak up all of the juices from the meat. Buy a steam bag of veggies and dinner is complete.IMG_8092

A super simple “gratin” also known as a casserole, lol. Mushrooms, potatoes, turkey sausage, and swiss cheese. This was a great diabetic friendly dish since there was no sauce (which is where most the “bad stuff” hides in a recipe). Mushrooms contain so much moisture that when cooked down and all of the seasonings have time to mix it flavors the entire dish.

Last but not least, mozzarella stuffed meatballs! There’s no recipe for this … it’s pretty basic.IMG_8097

Italian seasoned ground turkey, I added bread crumbs and an egg. Portion out a sch-medium meatball, flatten it, place a DRIED OFF moz ball in the center, and roll up! Bake at 400 for about 12 minutes (while the pasta boils/cooks) and dinner is ready.

So in the time that I wrote this post my husband got dinner ready and in the slow cooker. The house smells amazing and I can’t wait for some yummy chili. Sorry folks, he doesn’t follow a recipe … honestly! He tosses stuff in the slow cooker and it always comes out amazing. It’s a bit different each time and I think that’s what I like most about it. You never know just how yummy it will be, 5pm can’t come soon enough!

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I’ve been hooked to Instagram lately – one of my photos got over 300 likes and quite a few followers … I can’t take full credit because it was a Pioneer Woman recipe and when you use that tag, let me tell you – it will be seen! I’ll talk about that recipe in a minute.

Why have I been stalking IG so much? I decided to search photos with any tag related to Type 1 Diabetes. Healthy food creations, pump readings, and body builders. Yes, body builders. The diabetic diet is one that most body builders follow so it seems that a lot of Type 1-ers become a body builder by default. You wanna live? You need to work out. I don’t mean these people have thighs bigger than their head, but they sure are more muscular than your average gym goer. This has to do with the amount of protein that is consumed and the (almost) zero intake of sugars. My husband walks 12 miles a day (due to his job) and runs another 6 at least 3 times each week (again, due to his job). He’s very fortunate however we all know that depending solely on running as your workout isn’t very healthy for you. He lifts 5x per week, maybe 2 hours at the gym ON TOP of the 18 miles of running/walking each day. He’s a beast! But he’s got to, this isn’t a choice and he certainly sucks it up when he’s not feeling up to a gym trip.

What kills me is then doing a search of Type 2 IG tags. Mounds of sweets, ice cream, people saying “if I eat this I might just get diabetes” (can I smack those people?), and overweight people complaining about their pump readings. Oh man, where do I begin. First of all we know by now that eating ice cream doesn’t cause diabetes *face palm*. I know most are joking but it’s really freaking annoying. Just as annoying as people who use the R-Word to describe an object *double face palm*. I digress … on to the overweight people who complain. Y’all can do something about Type 2: get rid of it completely, maybe need 1 pill, or only evening insulin.  You can make a change FOR THE BETTER. So why not? The people who have a disease for the rest of their life are working their butts off to live a healthy life knowing diabetes will never go away. The overweight people should start working their butts off to live a healthy life knowing they could get rid of having diabetes. Although, most of the overweight people got diabetes from being lazy in the first place … they may not ever change and it’s really sad. 

I guess there are the people who take the wheel to control their lives and others who like sitting in the passenger seat. To each their own, just don’t complain about it. Please and thank you.

Roar roar roar, sorry for that rant – it’s been a discussion in our house for the last few weeks and I had to get it off my chest.

On to some of my creations over the last 2 weeks. It was concert season at my school so that means I’ve had pretty much no free time (except to cook amazing meals). I’m getting this post in real quick before I write out some music for graduation. BUSY BUSY BUSY.

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These are the yummy pork chops I mentioned in my last post … zucchini and onion “salad” with a honey mustard vinaigrette, pork chops with blue cheese/cranberries chunks, and of course biscuits. When there’s this much yummy food we can add a “no no” side like biscuits 😉

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Ok, these 2 dishes are now our favorites … I’m sure that’ll change in a few weeks when I find another amazing recipe but for now, we’re in love.  A flatbread pizza taco by the Pioneer Woman herself. This is the IG post that got over 300 likes. It’s the small things in life that make a day better. We made some healthy substitutions, as usual.  Now, that sandwich you see is by Rachael Ray .. the pierogi-wich. Sorry, there’s no cheating this one … adding pickles makes it healthy, right? Just kidding. One was filling so please do not make extra … helping yourself to seconds on a meal like this will surely send you into a food coma.

 

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Ah, ending the week with steaks … I love when my husband is home to grill 🙂 And yes you are seeing double with the rice/broccoli/cheese casserole. My version was loosely based off of the link I provided (I changed a few ingredients) but I measured for 6 servings; I wanted leftovers but not THIS much! A week later and I still have 1 casserole in my fridge 😦 .

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Here’s Cinco de Mayo! Enchiladas from the Pioneer Woman. I used corn tortillas for my husband and flour for me. They were so good!  I was feeling a little guilty from the lack of seafood on my menu so I whipped up this easy fish bake, courtesy of…. drum roll…. Rachael Ray! I used cod filets, topped with a mixture of mayo & diced garlic (A LOT OF GARLIC because we don’t care for the taste of mayo), and panko mixed with parm cheese; finished off the leftover mashed p’s from the pierogi-wich and microwaved some veggies. Don’t judge me based off of that last side dish.

 

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Annnnnd here’s our big cheat for the week. Bacon wrapped meatloaf. Sheesh, stop drooling! Oh Ree Drummond, you get me every time with your amazing creations! Yes, that’s the leftover rice casserole. From the 1st dish. I told you it was an insane serving amount!

Woo Wheeeee! That was a long post. That’s what I get for not posting after 2 long weeks.  Please don’t get mad with my opening rant, I’m not saying that all Type 2’s are lazy and don’t want to change their lifestyle … it’s the posts I saw on IG that upset me.  I’m sure the people who are changing their lives aren’t on IG (hence them actually losing weight, not being glued to their phone).  Just understand where I’m coming from and enjoy some of these delish/healthy meals before you bash me.

 

Gotta pinch those pennies!

After splurging last week on my grocery trip I needed to pull from a colleague’s blog, all about cooking on a budget. As a fellow music teacher she knows all about making those dollars stretch.  I was inspired by 3 of her recipes and was able to come up with a remix of chicken alfredo, vegetarian quesadillas, and a polenta bake; the remaining 2 recipes for the week are basics: pork chops with new potatoes and veggies, and salmon burgers with a quinoa salad. I seriously planned this menu is record time! Sometime I’m beyond stumped on what to make and today I didn’t feel like dwelling on my grocery trip so I went to her blog, knowing I’d find something yummy! I’ve made a few of her recipes in the past and they were successful.

I’d also like to brag that last night I wrote on my menu board: “goal: leftovers” … WINNER WINNER! I cleared out the remaining containers and put together a real meal for myself! THIS NEVER HAPPENS. My human garbage disposal (aka my husband) takes care of any and all leftovers so I never have a chance to revisit my dishes.  His work schedule was in my favor – there was not enough for both of us. Anywho, with the fridge being cleared out I’m definitely ready for what this next week brings 🙂

On to the remaining of last week’s meals – gourmet grilled cheese (Wed) and blue cheese turkey burgers (Thurs)

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I used smoked provolone cheese and sauteed yellow onions, swapped out regular white bread with sour dough – so good! I brushed the bread with melted butter (you need something to keep it from turning rock hard!).  Nix the mayo (some people use it on grilled cheese).  I baked sweet potato fries; let them soak in evoo/garlic powder/smoked paprika – what a combo. This is absolutely diabetic friendly – surprised? You shouldn’t be if you actually listen to your doctor/nutritionist/dietician. And as always, we had a side salad… because who doesn’t love some greens in their life? It keeps you regular, people!!!

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Who doesn’t love a good burger? 1.5 lbs of ground turkey makes 4 perfect burgers 🙂 It’s cheap too! After I measured each patty, I flattened it out, sprinkled blue cheese in the center and mixed it. After the blue cheese looked to be evenly distributed I formed the patty, done! It was beautiful weather so Josh got to man the grill; he was off on Thursday so I took advantage of me not having to actually cook. I really do loathe cooking on Thursday’s – it’s my longest day with zero breaks, the last thing I want to do is stand for another hour prepping/cooking dinner. I was able to prep the burgers & corn in the morning before I left for work. I had 1 potato leftover from the day before – 1 large sweet potato makes enough fries for 2 people (good to know!).  I microwave-boiled them in quarter size chunks for faster cook time (12 minutes!); once they came out I sprinkled cinnamon, ground nutmeg, s/p, and topped them with hunk of butter… mashed them up in the skins and voila! A perfect side dish.  For the corn: rubbed on butter, sprinkled s/p and parsley, wrap in foil, and grill it. Top each burger with MORE blue cheese and dinner is ready!

Get your cookin’ started! Where do you get your inspiration from … a family cook book, TV shows, your favorite restaurant… tell me!

Quit Yer Belly Achin’

I love the Facebook posts around holiday season: “Oh my God I ate too much” or “Oh my God I REALLY ate WAY too much”.  I say, host your own gathering and control the food spread. Obviously you may not be able to do this every year but it could be a start; show your friends how you can create an amazing buffet and not feel disgusting at the end of it.  Oh the other part of that is, freaking control yourself! Just because 10 trays of cookies are prepared doesn’t mean you need to sample a few from each.

Honestly sometimes I eat a light snack before going over to someones house. It’ll hold me over in case there are some bad foods offered – I won’t be hungry to eat; it can also curve my hunger in case there aren’t any finger foods and one must wait until dinner.  I don’t want to scarf my dinner down so fast that my belly hates me. It’s all about self control.

I may be blessed in the sense that my good friend Chelsea is all for eating healthy and cutting processed foods, it made Thanksgiving easy. There were no cries from the peanut gallery when I introduced my low carb/low calorie menu.

On to Christmas, my family came to town! I got to cook one dinner (Christmas Eve) for them, Chicken Marsala.  It was a bit difficult cooking for 5 adults when I’m used to only myself and my husband (even though he counts for 3 or 4 sometimes 😉 ) Dinner turned out great and they liked it.  Clean plate clubs all around. I added prosciutto this time (now that I don’t live in the ghetto, my new/fancy grocery store sells it!) and now I can taste why it’s necessary.  You need some kind of salty flavor since mushrooms are quite bland – the flavor of the Marsala wine cooks out and even using s/p on the chicken, the dish was still missing something the first time I made it.

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Everyone was in the kitchen! Josh requested ‘rusty mashed potatoes’ so he had to prepare them. They are pretty easy because they don’t require any peeling. He lucked out. My mom is a slicing and dicing machine.  She turned her nose to my mandolin and said “I’m your mandolin, give me those veggies”. Yes that’s my standard peppers, zucchini, and squash medley. It’s easy and tasty. Plus how pretty is it? So many colors!

We did have Christmas dinner at home, it was prepped and cooked by everyone.  It started with marinating a 3 lbs beef tenderloin the night before. I’m still getting used to the fact that my fridge can hold such an item – I love marinating food over night, the flavors are amazing! Easiest marinade ever, I didn’t “food process” it, just throw everything in the baggie (yes, dice the shallots and I put the rosemary branches in whole). I doubled everything since this piece of meat was extra special. Let that baby sit over night, pull out 30 minutes prior to grilling and you’re set.

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My dad braved the cold San Antonio weather to man the grill. He is the ultimate grill master; I won’t EVER order steaks at a restaurant.  He has made me expect the best when it comes to meat.  We’re slowly working on our grilling skills so hopefully Josh learned a thing or two while my family was here. I never experienced an oven cooked meat for a holiday while growing up. Even in 5 feet of snow, the grill was going.

Of course we had a theme for dinner, surf and turf! The seafood market at my new/fancy grocery store is fantastic. Obviously so is the meat market; they trimmed the tenderloin to perfection.  Seafood counter purchases: large scallops, jump shrimp, crab legs, and salmon. We kept it simple with the first three items: melted butter and threw in garlic, boom, there’s your sauce.  I used my favorite Martha recipe for the salmon.  Chelsea helped prepare a double recipe of it, brushed some on prior to cooking the salmon and then people could spoon on whatever they wanted once it was on their plate.

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I know you must be dying to find out what side dish I served. Drum roooolllllllll…. Mushroom Orzo! Geeze it was delish! I went back for seconds and there was only a small spoonfull! WHAT! The chef missed out! I have officially added it to my recipe box and will be making it again.  I actually didn’t have enough orzo so I threw in some quinoa. It was so pretty!

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I went with probably 2 dozen pearl onions, I don’t even know where the creator got only 8 from. Each of us would get 1/4 of an onion? Ridiculous! You’ll have to peel these stubborn suckers. Boil them for a few minutes, let them cool, and you should be able to pop the skin right off. Do this, save your sanity. Why yes that is a wine measuring glass! An awesome gift from my parents, based on the cooking regime Julia Child believed in: “I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food I’m cooking.” One side of the glass is “sips for the chef” and the other is an actual measuring cup.

I’ll leave you with an assortment of pictures from that day – going back for 2nds or 3rds isn’t so bad when you prepare a healthy dinner! Enjoy!

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