I’ve got you beat, Olive Garden.

I was craving Panda on Sunday … not just “Oh I could go for some Panda right now” … but “I really REALLY want stir fry and egg rolls, there’s a Panda 5 minutes away”. I think I was craving it because there’s one next to the UPS store I’ve been frequenting.  You pass something enough and your brain starts wanting it. I had a moment to myself and gave a kind reminder that any trip to Panda has left us not feeling well. Take matter into your own hands and make a home made stir fry! Which is exactly what I did 🙂

Seriously it couldn’t be easier. Chop up your favorite veggies; I used:
– yellow squash
– green bell pepper
– yellow bell pepper
– orange bell pepper
– onion
– broccoli
– water chestnuts
– baby corn
– bok choy
– garlic

Here’s what took some time – I had to find the best choice of stir fry sauce, originally I wanted teriyaki but the sugar content was really high so I went for stir fry sauce instead. The goal is 2g of sugar per serving, I used the entire bottle though because I wanted leftovers and MADE a ton of it! I read about 6 bottles/labels and picked the best, so do your reading!

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How could anyone NOT want to eat that beautiful rainbow of veggies?

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Yes I cheated and bough yummy, crunchy egg rolls.  They actually weren’t greasy like most of these prepared items are.  20 minutes in the oven and a delish side dish.  Regular white rice was the base; with the amount of veggies it was ok to eat 1 1/2 servings of rice (measured out, seriously do it – you’d be surprised what 1 serving actually is). Such a filling dinner and it didn’t require extra insulin for my husband, he did his normal 3 units. When we’d go to Panda, he’d take 5 units… what a difference!

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My sous chefs staring at me because I NEVER cook on Sunday’s. They were really confused.

Monday: venison sausages and polenta bake.
The sausages were from our friends in Austin. These were packaged after a hunting trip, so we’re talking FRESH and absolutely not processed in some big ol’ factory. There was pork added (fat is necessary with such a lean/gamey animal), jalapeno, and cheddar cheese chunks. WHOOOO WEE these were good and super spicy! I could only eat one saving the other two for my husband. Now onto the polenta bake; I never get these kind of casseroles to turn out properly! It’s like, there’s always too much liquid. I drain and strain but crap keeps coming out soggy! I’m getting so tired of this. The flavors were good and boy did it look pretty but I’m going to leave out the spinach and tomatoes next time.
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Tuesday: chicken alfredo.
Yes, this was a diabetic friendly dish … I KNOW, RIGHT?! Quick, to the kitchen you must go!
White sauce is typically a ‘no no’ item but again, read your labels and find the right brand for you, I picked Bertolli Light. Really flavorful, lots of garlic – YUM!

I used Dream Fields spaghetti *GASP* I didn’t use ‘alfredo noodles’ … oh please. But, but, but … you’ll have a bigger butt if you opt for the regular, carb filled noddle. Ha!

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Steam fresh broccoli (it takes 20 minutes … don’t be lazy); I baked 3 chicken breasts (evoo, s/p); stir in enough sauce (lightly coat) once the noddles are done, add in broccoli, slice the chicken and serve it on the side. I put a bit of the sauce on the chicken so it wouldn’t be dry. You don’t need a ton of sauce! It’ll weigh the noddles and broccoli down, becoming slimy and gross. You want to keep the integrity of your dish! I mean, you bought fresh broccoli so why not showcase it. Again, husband only needed 3 units of insulin, his norm/doctor recommended.   You know Olive Garden probably charges $12.99 for chicken alfredo … mine was $4.30 per serving.

Voila. 3 easy dishes that were nice to my wallet and really friendly to our health. My menu board quote for this week: “good food doesn’t have to be fancy”.  I hope I keep proving that to you with my weekly blog posts!

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You’re not dying: you just have diabetes: you can do something about it.

My latest blog search: diabetic cooking. I was hoping to find other adventurous home chefs out there, not people telling me what diabetes is (I already know) or how horrible diabetes is (um, get yourself together).

Here is what I found: “what is diabetes?”, “how to manage diabetes”, “Type 1 vs. Type 2”, “the worst day ever” (that person just learned of their type 2 diabetes), and other BOOOOOOORING blogs. It’s unbelievable that there are people out there posting blogs as if they’re doctors.  A lot of the info they give is incorrect, if I compare it to what Josh’s doctors/dieticians/nutritionists taught us. The last blog was a kicker, the author was pretty much in tears when they learned about having type 2 – they went on to say “I know I’m over weight and I want to see my kids grow but I am so devastated to learn of my diagnoses”. WTF?! You are overweight, you don’t have cancer! Get off your butt and do something about it! They continued complaining about how it’d be sooooooo difficult to change their eating habits. I get it to a certain extent, you’ve been eating fast food for pretty much every meal – it’s convenient, it’s fast, it can be cheap … but at what point is a cheeseburger ranked higher than your own life? I am going to follow up on that blog and see how this person is doing and suggest they follow me – I’m not the health queen by any means but maybe my dishes will help them get closer to either not being insulin dependent (some type 2’s only need a daily pill to maintain sugar levels) or hey, getting rid of diabetes altogether.  I don’t know what they physically look like (i.e. height/weight/body fat) however we all know exercise does a body good.  Even if it’s a 30 minute walk around the block each night.

Please note, I am not writing a “woe is me” post today … yes my husband will have diabetes for the rest of his life but he’s doing something about it. He’s eating right (thanks to MEEEEEE), watching his weight (to make sure he’s not losing any again), and he exercises daily.  He does his insulin routine too, obviously the most important thing to never miss. I just don’t understand why some people think their lives are over when learning about diabetes … put down the quarter pounder and diet coke, pick up a glass of UNSWEET tea (Crystal Light has come a loooooong way) and a grilled chicken sandwich on one of those “thins”, top it with lettuce, cheese, tomato, MUSTARD (no mayo!!). You have just taken your first step to eating better.

I must brag for a moment.  Those of you who can’t stand “skinny people” talking about losing weight, please stop reading. Now.

Since beginning this new cooking adventure I have given random updates about how my health is improving. Just because I’m “skinny” doesn’t mean I’m 100% healthy. I am 5’5″ and weighed 145 in November of 2013; mind you I was down to 130 one month prior. If you look up any height/weight chart, I was in the “large” frame category. SAY WHAT?!! I didn’t look large but I sure felt it – my jeans didn’t fit and I loved living in yoga pants (I literally got upset if I had to wear jeans somewhere). Fast forward to yesterday, I weighed myself at 130. HOORAY! It’s been over a year since I was that number. Over that time I started feeling better (not so tired, lazy, yucky) and my jeans started fitting again – I knew I was losing weight, I’d check every few months to see the results … you can’t check every day or week – dropping weight takes time. I’m not an exercise buff but I am up/moving every day … I really don’t like to sit on my butt, I get antsy watching more than 1 hr of TV.

It’s up to you – keep feeling gross and not like what you see while getting dressed or you can do something about it. Ya won’t lose weight but wallowing in your own pity. My husband and I have discussed this a few times – we’re in a way thankful for his diabetes diagnoses. Do not take that as me wishing anything horrible on him; we realized that our eating/cooking habits needed to change and this was our wake-up call. It’s just unfortunate it came as a life changing event.

 

To give thanks … part 1

Author’s note: I wrote this on Thanksgiving Eve … we’re without internet for a few more days but I was feeling the urge to blog.

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How do you prep for a diabetic Thanksgiving and keep traditions going?  I’ve gotten some grief for changing recipes you’d typically see on the table.  My gut feeling tells me that once you actually see what I’m doing, you might be inclined to change your eating habits for next year … or why wait, try it for Christmas.

1 carb count (1 dose of insulin) = 15g of carbs … be shocked as you read some of this info.

Green bean casserole … you know, the one drenched in cream of mushroom soup.
My spin on it: green beans, low sodium vegetable broth, sliced mushrooms, flour (to thicken), and top with a light sprinkle of crunch onions
Classic: 1 carb count/161 calories (per serving)
Diabetic Friendly: 1 carb count/98 calories (per serving)

Sweet potato casserole … you know, the one covered in candied pecans and marshmallows.
My spin on it: twice baked sweet potatoes – brown sugar, cream cheese, and various spices.
Classic:  3 carb counts/326 calories (per serving)
Diabetic Friendly: 2 carb counts/under 200 calories (per serving)

Cream corned / any kind of “gratin” dish / some kind of overloaded veggie with cheese
My spin on it is a huge stretch actually: cheesy mushroom casserole – grits, sliced mushrooms, and topped with shredded cheese.
Classic: creamed corn – 4 carb counts/376 calories … gratin dish – 2 carb counts/360 calories … veggie & cheese – 2 carb count/295 calories (all per serving)
Diabetic Friendly: 2 carb counts/235 calories (per serving)

So those are the sides that I’m whipping up and to keep people from going back for 2nd and 3rd helpings, I’m making 4-6 servings for each recipe (there will be 4 adults eating).  That’s the easiest way to cut your intake – if it’s not there to eat then how can you over-indulge?  My partner in crime (Chelsea) is taking on the task of mac n’ cheese, stuffing, and a few appetizers.  She’s also keeping in mind the 4-6 serving limit and is swapping out some bad ingredients for better choices.  Just to give you an idea: the stuffing calls for apples which are a complete no-no for diabetic folks. She opted for apple & chicken sausage; it calls for sausage anyway so by doing this she cuts out the ground beef too. You might be wondering about the mac n’ cheese; there’s no way to cut corners on this dish.  It is what it is and Josh will only be able to have a spoonful. Not everything can be improved!

At the end of the day Thanksgiving isn’t all about food, we need to be thankful for our family, friends, and health.  The last thing takes on a bigger meaning in this household.  I am thankful for the night I saw a diabetes commercial and forced Josh to see a doctor. I am thankful for my friends who we get to be with on this holiday but I’m also thankful for our long distance friends.  It’s hard to maintain friendships when hundreds of miles separate you but I think we’re all doing a pretty good job. I am thankful for our family, that no matter the distance our parents find a way to visit and they understand (with Josh’s job) it’s easier for them to come to us. Trust me, we sure do wish we could visit Florida and Pennsylvania but give us a few months and we’ll be able to make that happen. 

And to end on a lighter note, please, for the love of God … I hope you watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Not the Macy’s Day Parade (unless the Pilgrims had Macy’s, then by all means…).

Go ahead, clog your arteries!

I love waking up on a Saturday and realizing we have nothing planned for the day. I can enjoy my coffee (BONUS: finish it before it gets cold); I flip between HGTV and cooking channels; and figure out what this week will bring in yummy dinner delights. My plan for repeating dinners has been great, I remember the recipes and already have the pantry ingredients which means less time at the grocery store. I guess I need to update you on a few days, of course all very hectic!

Tuesday actually wasn’t too bad but I got mad when I realized I purchased “sub” rolls instead of the normal “slider” rolls for my Hawaiian Ham & Swiss Sandwiches.  You know what, it actually turned out for the better.  It was so messy when I made it the first time, the lunch meat slid all over the place and cheese became a slimy mess; don’t let that scare you – it was and still is my favorite sandwich for dinner. The sub rolls made it easier to fit the meat and cheese perfectly.  This time around to make it a bit less messy (and better for you), I didn’t add butter to the mustard/Worcestershire sauce.   Josh and I agreed that we didn’t miss the butter; I sauteed onions, honey mustard (I don’t care for Dijon mustard), and Worcestershire  – it turned out great. When everything was ready to go in the oven I stuck toothpicks in each sandwich just to ensure they’d stay together. Since the bread was dry from not using butter, I had to cover the dish with foil about half way through so the bread wouldn’t burn. I made a side salad to accompany the sandwiches and dinner was served. Easy!

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my changes: no butter in mustard/Worcestershire sauce; used ham and turkey lunch meat

On to Wednesday … I prepped lasagna rolls before lessons even started; this is a perfect dish that you can keep in the fridge until dinnertime.  If you love lasagna but don’t love the cooking time, opt for these rolls.  You’ll get the same dish in about half the time. You can make it as healthy as you’d like; spinach is a super food for Josh so I added more than what the recipe called for.  I always purchase the fat free, low fat, or light versions of the called for ingredients or you can purchase the fatty stuff and feel your arteries clog as you eat; just sayin’.  I’ve made it in the past adding diced mushrooms; I’m guessing whatever you’d layer a lasagna with, you can add it “diced” to the ricotta mixture.  Again, served a side salad; another easy dinner.

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Thursday I was treated to dinner with one of my piano families. I hate losing students to a military move but am thankful for Skype; I’ll be able to teach her even being in a different time zone.

Josh was left to fend for himself… he managed to survive.

FRIDAY, FRIDAY, GOTTA GET DOWN ON FRIDAY! (You’re welcome) If my blog becomes as popular as Rebecca Black, my life will be complete. Seriously. 😉
Mexican Stuffed Peppers – a new recipe, but who doesn’t love stuffed peppers?! I about died when I purchased stupid quinoa, that crap is expensive! $*#^&$^^%&!!!!  Rice would have made the dish “heavy” (and technically unhealthy) so in my opinion, pay for the quinoa because it was worth it. Also for two people I could have cut the quinoa in half, 1 cup of uncooked quinoa made a butt load of leftovers which I will use on Sunday 🙂 Josh was actually left to prepare most of the dish while I taught lessons, I chopped everything and wrote on a note pad what he needed to do. He sent a text to inform me of the amount of cooked quinoa … I had to quickly text back that he should save it (didn’t need another cheesy chicken debacle, lol). To spice it up a bit, we used 1 can of mild enchilada sauce and 1 can of medium… yeah, too spicy for me!  I have weak taste buds but I know Josh loves spicy food so I tried it for him; I could only eat one pepper. I’ll stick to mild sauce only and maybe heat a small sauce pan with medium sauce then spoon it over his peppers next time. Half way through eating Josh realized it was a meatless meal and then I reminded him of the lasagna rolls… also meatless.  He was impressed that I could find such tasty recipes sans meat, that didn’t leave him hungry afterwards.

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Remember the diabetic dessert I wrote about the other day? It was a huge success; we both love it.  Since a.f.c. is so sugary, it balanced out the other ingredients that were f.f. or s.f.; you wouldn’t think it was a “diet” dessert.  Josh checked his sugars before eating a small square, it was 88 so he took 2 units of insulin to be safe (every 15g of carbs = 1 unit of insulin); after eating the dessert he checked it again and it was only 105! For those of you not having to live a diabetic life style, he could have taken only 1 unit of insulin to balance out this dessert.  This means the dessert isn’t really all that “bad” for you. So eat up and enjoy a no-bake cherry cake (one square per day, don’t be greedy) 🙂

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