Thursday, December 29, 2011

Grandma's Gnocchi

Hey there! Some of you may have noticed my absence. While the holidays definitely took up plenty of time, our family also had an unfortunate loss over this holiday season. My grandmother, who has been struggling with dementia for years, finally passed away on December 23rd.

I took on the responsibility of giving my grandmother's eulogy, which was no easy task. I thought I would share a portion of it with you here since it directly relates to why food really is so important to me. Try not to cry. :(

"I have always loved my grandmother's gnocchi. Ever since I was a little girl, when my mother asked what I wanted for Christmas day dinner, the answer has always been gnocchi. Besides actually loving the pasta, it also evokes a connection to grandmother. I can still remember being in the kitchen with her as she patiently rolled out the dough, floured the pans, and dropped each batch into boiling water. She always allowed me to help, no matter how much of a mess I would make. Years later, even with my mother being as wonderful a cook she is, no one's gnocchi is better then grandma's.

It’s probably what we remember most, sitting down to a table full of food surrounded by family. You gather together, eat, laugh, tell stories and love each other. And what we all knew, was that above all, your family was always there for you."

When I first read the opening lines to my friends, they joked that, of course, it had to start with food! I'm not sure if it's because we're Italian or that we come from a family of fat kids, but food has always been the thing to bring us together, whether it be holiday dinners, barbeques, or banquets. Food brings traditions and stories to the forefront of our minds in a way few other things can. Every time I make gnocchi, I will think of my grandmother and be reminded of my time with her. These last few days, I have had the urge to make gnocchi every day.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Waiting Not Required

When my "Eat Local, Grow Your Own" kick started, I decided that I was going to make my own beans!

Let me clarify. I don't mean grow my own beans. More in that I would purchase dried beans and cook them myself. How that relates to eating locally and growing my own, I'm don't really know. My logic eludes me even now, but I'm sure it made perfect sense when I bought 5 pounds of dried beans! Five pounds of dried beans that have been sitting in my pantry for the last 4 months!

While there are parts of my life that can be very organized, prepping food ahead of time is not my strength. When I what to cook something, I want to cook it NOW! I don't want to wait for pre-soaking, soaking, marinating, rising...anything that requires me to wait is  a recipe I usually skip. I am the product of the immediate gratification generation!

This past weekend, I told myself that I would commit to soaking my beans! I got myself pumped for it! It was going to happen, my friends! Yes! Yes, it was! Chest bumps and high fives all around!

Then, each day passed and I didn't soak my beans. Disappointing.

Finally, I googled whether there was any other way to make these beans without having to soak them overnight and boil them for 8 hours. I came across this method and tried it with my garbanzo beans. It worked! And trust me, it is definitely worth the extra effort. These beans are much more flavorful then your usual canned ones. I measured the beans into 1 and 2 cup portions, which then went into the freezer for later use. I put a little cooking liquid in each bag to prevent them from drying out.

These are especially yummy when used in Chick(peas)'n Biscuits.

Easy Peasy Garbanzo Beans

Ingredients
1 1/2 lb dried garbanzo beans
1 tbsp salt
Water to cover the beans by 1 1/2 inch

Dutch oven

Method
1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
2. Put beans, salt, and water in the dutch oven and heat over medium high heat.
3. Let beans boil for 15 minutes on stove top. Make sure you start your timer once the beans have started boiling and not before.
4. Once the beans have boiled for 15 minutes, cover and put in the oven for 75 to 90 minutes or until tender. You may need to check the beans to ensure there is enough water during cooking.
5. Cool and add to ziplock bags for freezing. Will last in the fridge for 1 - 2 weeks.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Perspective.

I've been fantasizing. A lot.

Sadly, my fantasies have not been about fortune, fame, or men. Okay, well, at least not fantasies I'm willing to share while my mother is reading. 


I've been fantasizing about my A1c. Yes, the blood test that shows how well I've been controlling my diabetes for the last few months. I lead a wild life! I've been picturing my endocrinologist (who actually isn't hard to fantasize about) coming into his office with the results of my blood work in his hands. In my head, he looks up from my file to tell me that I have achieved a 5.9 blood sugar. Then, he pins a shiny gold star to my shirt and lets me eat a whole pie in his office!

Having been on the insulin pump for four months now, I was hoping to have a significant drop in my a1c. I decided that I would be content to stay at the same awesome 6.2, but 5.9....it was what my dreams were made of.

Imagine my disappointment when my endocrinologist told me today that my a1c is a 6.6! "It went up?" I said to him sadly. He explained that there is an adjustment period with the pump and that 6.6 is a great a1c result. He went through the rest of the results of the blood work, but that 6.6 just kept bouncing around my head. At one point, I said, "Yeah, but a 6.6." I can tell that he stopped short of calling me crazy and instead opted to say "These are great results! People would kill to have this a1c. I'm thrilled! You're doing great."

However, it wasn't until I got into the car that I started to process everything else the doctor had said to me. Like that my kidneys, liver, and thyroid are all functioning perfectly. Go organs! My cholesterol was actually lower then it had been several months ago. And the big one is that I have reduced the number of hypoglycemic episodes from 5 - 7 times a week to maybe one every once in a while. All while learning how to manage diabetes with an insulin pump.

Despite the increase, this result and my reaction shows me how much progress I really have made in the past several months. If I had this increase 6 months, I would have been an absolute mess, so upset and disappointed. While it motivates me to be a little more mindful of my eating and blood sugar testing, I have also come to accept that diabetes is a work in progress, constantly changing, but something I have a better grasp on understanding every day.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Effectiveness of Marketing

Have you seen the Denny's commercial for their Holiday Breakfast Menu? Or IHOP's new limited time specialty pancakes? While the plates of plastic eggs and spam are definitely not appealing, the description of Egg Nog and Pumpkin Spice pancakes definitely catch my fat kid attention. In fact, every time I see one of those commericals, I have to stop myself from getting in the car and finding the nearest Denny's (which is probably in Binghamton).

Usually, I'm not a pancake kind of girl. Fluffy carb cakes covered in liquid sugar isn't exactly a diabetic's breakfast! But I will make the occasional exception.

This weekend, having endured the torture of Denny's and IHOP long enough, I finally broke down and made myself Pumpkin Walnut Pancakes! This recipe makes a rather large batch. You can actually cook the pancakes, cool them and freeze them to be enjoyed at some later date.


Pumpkin Walnut Pancakes

Ingredients
1 1/4 c whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
5 tsp brown sugar (those with functional pancreai can add more)
2 - 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 - 1 1/4 c milk
3/4 c pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c chopped walnuts

Method
1. Add all the dry ingredients together.
2. Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl until well mixed.
3. Add dry to wet and mix well. Stir in walnuts. You may need to add a little extra milk depending on the consistency of the batter. This tends to be a rather thick batter because of the pumpkin puree. If you leave it too thick, the pancakes won't cook all the way through...unless you prefer your cakes partially charred.
4.  Heat a pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Pour 1/3 cup of batter onto the hot pan. Repeat twice more to cook three pancakes at a time.
5. Pancakes are ready to flip once you see air bubbles coming to the surface of the pancake. Flip and cook for a few minutes longer.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Honeymoonin'

What do you think of when you hear the word "honeymoon?" That happy time when love is in the air! Butterflies in the stomach. Infinite patience. Anticipation to see each other. Doing the nasty ALL THE TIME!

Ah, honeymoons.

However, there is another kind of honeymoon that I've become accustomed to. The pancreatic honeymoon. Certainly not as fun, but does leave you feeling less sore. 

After initial diagnosis, when you start injecting insulin to live, your dumb ass pancreas remembers to do it's friggin' job and starts to produce insulin once more. This period of time can last any amount of time from three weeks to three years. For some time now, I thought I was out of my honeymoon period. However, lately, I'm thinking my pancreas may be producing some insulin again.

Overall, my blood sugar is well controlled, but there are times when I may under-insulin for a meal, preparing to go to the gym, and will end up hypoglycemic! Or I'll check my blood sugar, expecting it to be high, only for my numbers to be right on point! The topper was this weekend, after an entertaining night, when I forgot to re-connect my pump before falling asleep and still woke up with a 130 blood sugar.

My pancreas is like one of those characters in an awful B movie that twitches through their prolonged death scene, pushing you to point where you're screaming at the screen "Just die already!!!" He (meaning my pancreas) is trying to pump through his last bit of insulin producing power before crapping out completely. My endocrinologist says that I want functionality in my pancreas for as long as possible as it will reduce the risk of future complications. That it's a good thing I'm still honeymooning!

Awesome!

If only it was the same as doing the nasty all the time. :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

I'm Baaaacccckkkk!

It's been a WHOLE week of no posting! Did you miss me?! I know you did. It's okay. You don't have to say it. We're just that connected. 

The last few weeks have been INSANE! This last one especially. My very busy work week was followed by a very busy weekend, which included lots of booze, a Christmas Sing-a-Long, karaoking, and dressing up like Santa to meander around Manhattan! While this weekend provided hours of endless entertainment, it also wore me down a bit.

My plan for this week (and the weekend) is to take it easy, get back on a regular sleeping/eating/exercising schedule, and avoid anything related to tequila! I figured a good way to start the week was to make myself a good, comforting meal that would carry me through to Friday.

I know. This picture is awful.
But I figured it's better then having no picture at all!
Chick(peas)'n Biscuits 

Ingredients
For chickpea mixture:
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove
3 carrots, diced
3 celery ribs, diced
1 handful mushrooms, sliced
1 ½ c chickpeas
1 c peas
1 c vegetarian gravy (see below)
1 c veggie broth
salt and pepper
olive oil

For biscuits:
1 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp canola oil
½ c milk

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Sauté onions through mushrooms in an oven-proof skillet over medium heat until onions are translucent and other veggies are starting to soften.
  3. While the veggies cook, mix the biscuit ingredients together. This mixture is rather thick.
  4. Add chickpeas and peas. Sauté a few minutes longer. Salt and pepper.
  5. Add gravy and broth to vegetable mixture, coating the vegetables well.
  6. Drop biscuit mixture into ¼ c balls onto vegetable mixture.
  7. Place in oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or when biscuits look fully cooked. 
Vegetarian Gravy
Ingredients
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 cup vegetable broth
1/3 cup organic milk
salt and pepper to taste

Method
  1. Sauté onion, thyme, and garlic over medium heat until translucent.
  2. Remove from heat and add flour, yeast, and soy sauce.
  3. Return to heat and slowly whisk in vegetable broth, trying to breakdown any clumps.
  4. Once ingredients are incorporated and beginning to thicken, add milk, salt and pepper. Whisk together. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hell Week

I am bracing myself for the week ahead! 

Lists have been made. Schedules have been arranged. The apartment has been cleaned. A week's worth of meals have been prepared. I had to stop myself from laying out all of my clothes! Thank goodness I still have those underwear with the days of the week on them!

This Friday, I am coordinating a half-day conference for professionals that has been several months of hard work in the making. Organizing a conference has been a professional goal for the last three years. While I'm expecting this to be tough work week on top of an already insane work load, I feel proud to finally accomplish it!

With that said, a girl's got to eat! 

I know I'm not going to have a lot of time (or motivation) to come home after a long day and make myself dinner. In preparing for this week, I decided to make several meals ahead of time. While they are all delicious now, I'm sure by the time Thursday rolls around, I'll never want to eat them again! Until then, let's eat!

Recipes Prepared:
Reversed Apple Crumble
Millet-Veggie Bake
Sweet Potato, Mushroom, & Farro Soup
Oyster Mushrooms, Rockefeller-style

Recipe for you now:


Photo credit to E. Gordon!

Sweet Potato, Mushroom, & Farro Soup

Ingredients
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp fresh thyme
1 pad butter
1 very large sweet potato, diced
1 8 oz container cremini mushrooms, sliced
3 cups vegetable broth, plus more for adding
1/2 c farro
salt and pepper

Method
1. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and thyme. Saute for several minutes. 
2. Add the butter and sweet potato. Cook for several more minutes. Salt and pepper.
3. Add mushrooms. Cook for several more minutes. 
4. Add veggie broth and farro. Let soup simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until farro is cooked through. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Childhood Memories

Cynthia Martieri was my best friend in the 3rd grade. She was a very sweet girl who always had the best lunches. Her mother was from Italy and would send Cynthia to school with thermos of warm soups, couscous in broth, and kick-ass snacks! Plus, Cynthia had an "in" with the teachers as she went to the teachers' lounge WHENEVER she wanted to! She also had special containers of orange juice in their fridge. The perks of being her friend were awesome!

Had I realized then the reason for her special teachers' lounge privileges, I probably wouldn't have peer pressured her into sharing her lunch and orange juice with me quite so often. I am a fat kid, after all. Cynthia was a type 1 diabetic. But one of those normal ones, whose pancreas never really worked to begin with. Unlike mine, who decided to claim work-related disability and retire earlier. Lazy fucker. 


I can remember going to the teachers' lounge with her before lunch so that she could take her blood sugar. She was squeeze a huge glob of blood out onto a strip and wait 2 minutes before a color (much like an acidity test) would appear. She would then compare the color of the strip to the color code on the bottle to find out what range her blood sugar was in. I don't remember her taking any insulin shots. Funny how one blocks out things out. 

I can also remember one morning after a sleep over, Cynthia testing her blood sugar. Her mother was disappointed and said in her broken English, "Too many sweets last night." We had attended a neighborhood birthday party the night before where Cynthia and her family weren't quite as diligent in monitoring her eating. I distinctly remember blue and white iced birthday cake.

Remembering back to Cynthia actually makes me grateful for the advances in diabetes care. I can find out my blood sugar levels in 5 seconds from a .5 milligram of blood. I have a pump that can provide me with the insulin I need to .10 of a unit. There's no guess work or waiting involved. I can take a blood test that can let me know how well I am controlling my diabetes for the PAST THREE MONTHS! How incredible is that!

Diabetes sucks no matter when your pancreas decides to crap out. But I really am so grateful to be diabetic at this point in time where the technology has come so far and continues to only get better.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Get Ready to Play....

Name that Substance!

Ok, this is a toughie! But...can you NAME THAT SUBSTANCE?!


Tick Tock.....clock is running down!

Is it something Jackson might have puked up?

Perhaps something that has formed in the bottom of my refrigerator?

Could it possibly be the remains of my busted pancreas?!?

Or BBBRRRAAAAIIIINNNNSSSS? (Zombie reference. It's okay if you didn't get it.)

No, no, no, and no, but good guesses!

Believe it or not, this is something far more delicious then its outward appearance!

But first, let me help take your mind off its appearance by telling you about one of my new favorite ingredients, Liquid Smoke. If you've never used it, go out and buy some right now. Have you ever smelled a freshly open bag of BBQ potato chips, that lovely, spicy sweet scent? And you get the disgustingly delicious, artificially flavored mesquite goodness glued to your fingers? It's as though someone taken the experience, grounded it up, and turned into liquid form! In other words, it's like heaven in a bottle.

 With that distraction underway, this, my friends, is actually my vegetarian version of a McRib sandwich. Because despite my loving description of fast food (chips included), I actually have no interest in consuming any of those things. I just wanted to sell you on the Liquid Smoke. I haven't eaten McDonald's in at least 5 - 6 years (besides Apple Dippers, a girl's gotta live!).

Obviously, I'm sure this taste nothing like a real McRib sandwich, but it was worth the recipe adventure!


McVegan BBQ Riblet Sandwich!

Ingredients
1 c vital wheat gluten flour
1/3 c nutritional yeast
2 tsp paprika
1 - 2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp peanut butter (weird, but you can't really taste it)
2 tsp liquid smoke (you may want to use less if you don't think it smells like heaven)
1 c water (possibly more depending on the mixture)
1 c BBQ sauce
Rolls of your choosing for consumption

Method
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together. Once mixed, add all the wet ingredients. Combine until mixture starts to come together.
3. Knead your seitan (didn't know that's what you were making, right?!) for a few minutes. It will seem a little wet. That's okay because you want to be able to flatten it into a 8x8 inch baking pan.
4. Once you're done kneading, flatten seitan into a greased baking dish. I had a little bit of a hard time with this and add a sprinkles of water here and there to help it out. Once in the pan, score the seitan into pieces so it will break apart more easily after baking.
5. Bake 25 minutes. In the meantime, begin thinning out your BBQ sauce. You want to be able to coat the the pieces completely.
6. Once done baking, break apart the seitan pieces and toss with more BBQ sauce. Then, place back into the oven for another 15 - 25 minutes. I wanted my pieces to be less chewy, so I left it in there longer.
7. Let the seitan stand for 15 to 20 minutes before adding more BBQ sauce and enjoying on a roll!

Note: That this has a consistency more similar to other products on the market when left over night and then gently reheated the next day.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Soul Mates

After you made my Pumpkin Cupcakes, did you save the remaining vanilla cake mix because you were too cheap to just throw it out knowing that eventually you'll come up with some recipe for it? Has it been sitting in your pantry all this time, staring you in the face, taunting you because you have no idea what you can do with it?

Really?! Me too!!!! We must be soul mates!

Well, Soul mate, I'm here to offer you a solution for that douchey cake mix, Spiced Mini Bundt Cakes. This recipe was inspired, not only by that taunting Betty Crocker box, but the mini bundt cake pans I recently came across in my kitchen. I forget all the cool/cute cooking and baking stuff I have!

Some of you might be thinking, "She bakes an awful lot for a diabetic!"

Well, first, I'd tell you to shut your pie hole, Diabetes Police! Being a type 1 diabetic doesn't necessarily preclude me from enjoying any particular food. It just means that I have to take insulin for it. Second, I usually dramatically reduce the amount of sugar in most of my baked good recipes. Lastly, I live my life by the principle of "moderation" (except for when it comes to Dirty Pickle Martinis and tequila shots, ugh). When I make baked goods, I'm either eating them in very small portions over a series of days or bringing them to someone else's house to get high blood sugar on!


I'm a considerate diabetic like that. 






Spiced Mini Bundt Cakes 
Makes 3 mini cakes
You could also add a drizzle of royal icing to help spruce them up!


Ingredients
1 cup vanilla cake mix
2 tbsp apple sauce
1 egg
2 heaping tsps pumpkin pie spice (might as well use it up, right?)
1/2 tsp nutmeg (for some extra spice)
1/4 c milk

Method
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Using an electric beater, combine all ingredients until smooth.
3. Pour into prepared mini bundt cake pans or a cupcake pan.
4. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gobble, Gobble!

I cried my way through last year's Thanksgiving dinner.

Having only been diabetic for two months by that point, I was still navigating my way through diabetic eating. Actually, that description is far too kind. It was more like......Having only been diabetic for two months by that point, I was still pouting and temper tantruming my way through diabetic eating.

I still was finding my bearings and obsessing over every blood sugar number I had. I avoided eating some of the usual favorites, like homemade stuffing and canned cranberry sauce. Nothing says yummy, or high blood sugar, like gelled, ruby reb high fructose corn syrup in the shape of a can! Mmmm....

You can be rest assured that there will be no crying at the Thanksgiving Day table this year! Besides that fact that it made my dinner soggy, I feel like I have a much better grip on eating as well as accepting that I may possibly have a high blood sugar after eating for 5 hours straight. Though it's my goal not to have high blood sugar, it's bound to happen at some point!

To help the ol' pancreas out a bit, I came up with two yummy Thanksgiving recipes that are low (or lower) in carbs that could easily replace the traditional favorites. Make them and give me thanks! :)

Oh....but first, a comment or two on ingredients. First,  Whole Foods has Pumpkin Puree for $1.25/can! I know! I was excited too! Second, I use Pumpkin Pie Spice in this recipe, which feels like a little bit of a cop out. Usually, I like to add my own flavor combination. However, Trader Joe's has this awesome Pumpkin Pie Spice mix, that include cinnamon and cardamom. Really good. Also, this recipe uses only 1/3 the amount of sugar (depending on how much you add)!



Pumpkin Pie Pudding - aka Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1 12 oz can evaporated milk - I used fat free, but you could easily use 2%
2 eggs
1/4 - 1/2 c brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Method
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix all the ingredients into a bowl until well combined.
3. Pour pumpkin mixture into a prepared baking pan or ramekins.
4. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until mixture is set, but with a slight jiggle. Less if using ramekins.

Because you're saving some carbs on the crust and reduced sugar, I give you permission to add a dollop of whip cream!

Mashed Cauliflower - which could easily replace those traditional spuds!




Ingredients
1 large head of cauliflower, broken into smaller pieces
4 cloves of garlic, whole with skins on
1/4 c milk
1/4 c olive oil, divided
salt and pepper


Method
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Toss cauliflower and whole garlic cloves with enough olive oil to coat. Salt and pepper.
3. Place cauliflower in oven to roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until pieces are golden brown. May be less depending on your oven.
4. Squeeze garlic cloves into food processor. It should come out pretty easily.
5. Add cauliflower, milk, and more salt and pepper if desired. Puree cauliflower, streaming in an extra tablespoon or two of olive oil, until you have reached desired consistency. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

I want a DAD!

And I'm not talking about fathers! Love you Dad! I'm talking about Diabetes Alert Dogs! YAY!!!

Recently, we had a volunteer therapy dog visit one of our groups at work. While the owner was insanely quirky (which is putting it insanely nicely), she told the children about the different uses for therapy/service dogs, which includes Diabetes Alert Dogs, or DADs. DADs are used to help detect hypoglycemia by picking up the scent of a person whose blood sugar is dropping. That might be the answer to my zombie/scent question, huh? They are also trained to get necessary items to treat hypoglycemia, such as candy, juice, etc. and to help a person stand if they have fallen.

While this isn't the first time I heard of DADs, it suddenly dawned on me, "Hey wait! I can have a DAD!!!" Sorry, Dad. Though I do (sometimes) love Jackson, I desperately want a dog. One that can come with me to work, cuddle up on the couch, and fetch me a beer whenever I need one!

In fact, I think it is a very clever way to buck the system. I'm diabetic! Of course I need my dog at work! It doesn't matter what it says on the lease, he's a service dog! What do you mean I can get my own beer? 

I realize that this kind of dog is not completely necessary for me right now. They're usually used for diabetics who develop Hypoglycemia Unawareness, which is exactly how it sounds. Eventually, over time, some diabetics lose their ability to sense low blood sugar as their bodies have adjusted to its symptoms. Very dangerous. I'm definitely not at the point yet. Thankfully, I'm pretty far from it since I still feel the symptoms of hypoglycemia not only as they happen but for 15 - 20 minutes after it's been treated!

But, whatever. I'm still putting a DAD on my Christmas list this year! And, to be clear, a short 61-year old man who talks too much, is usually late, and makes sloppy sandwiches is not what I'm looking for underneath the Christmas tree. Got that, Mom?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Call Me Classy!

Now that my last post referencing my pooping habits was enough to solidify my position that I'm a pretty classy gal, I feel I can share this recipe.

Generally, I'm not fan of those sneaky, make-your-kids-eat-veggies-without-them-knowing-it cookbooks. I feel it only furthers the disconnection between what we eat and where our food comes from. It's the reason why so many children think that chicken nuggets are an actual part of the chicken and potato chips are considered a vegetable.

However, I came across a recipe for "sneaky" mac & cheese that I thought could be classed up a bit and appropriate for adults! It uses winter squash puree (which helps to replicate the artificial neon orange color from the box, totally classy). I made individual portion sizes for our party and baked them in aluminum foil liners! Because nothing says good etiquette like eating mac & cheese out of your hand from aluminum foil!


This is a pretty basic recipe that can definitely dressed up. You can add in a bunch of different veggies, possibly bacon, different cheeses, etc.

Winter Squash Mac & Cheese

Ingredients
1 box of pasta shells
1 - 2 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tbsp flour
1 c milk
1 box of frozen winter squash
2 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
pinch of nutmeg

Method
1.Melt butter over medium heat in heavy bottomed pot. Once butter is melted, add chopped onion. 
2. Place winter squash in microwaveable bowl and heat for 2 minutes. 
3. Add garlic and cook for 1 - 2 minutes. 
4. Stir flour into the pot to create a roux. Let the roux cook for several minutes, until it browns slightly. 
5. Once roux is browned, slowly whisk in the milk, scrapping up whatever brown bits have formed on the bottom of the pan. 
6. Once milk has been fully incorporated, add the winter squash puree. Stir frequently as the puree may not be thawed all the way through. Let the mix simmer slightly and start to thicken. Add grated cheese.
7. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Boil water and cook pasta as per package directions. 
8. Once pasta is done, drain and combine pasta with cheese sauce. Add to your baking vessel and top with extra shredded cheese and paprika. 
9. Bake in oven for 15 - 20 minutes, depending on how well done you like your mac & cheese. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Beans, Bean, Good for Your Heart....

....the rest of that line doesn't really apply to me. Farting is not my thing. Though I am mighty open about sharing my crapping habits! Every day. 9:30 AM. Like clockwork!

Beans and I are good friends. I love to eat them, as I do most of my good friends. Weird. They're a complex carb with lots of fiber who are nice to my blood sugar. While I still need to take insulin for them, they do good things for my sugar, heart, and digestive track!

Now that I've open this post with TMI (Too Much Information, Mom), let me share with you a recipe I prepared for our Halloween soiree. Yes, soiree! I'm trying to class it up here after all the poopin' talk!


Rosemary-White Bean Dip

Ingredients
1 - 2 garlic cloves, depending on your taste. This is raw garlic and can be rather potent.
1 can cannelli beans, drained
1 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 c olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
1. In a food processor, process garlic cloves until the pieces stick to the side of the processor. Scrape down.
2. Add all ingredients through cannelli beans to lemon juice. Turn process on.
3. Slowly add olive oil and puree until desired consistency is reached. You may want to use a little more olive oil if you're looking for a thinner dip. Serve with cut veggies and pita chips!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Which is More Awesome?

The iPhone or the Insulin Pump?

It's been about two months since I started on the insulin pump. It has been two week since I joined the rest of the society and got myself an iPhone. Both devices are very exciting! Because they are so awesome, I've decided to put them in a head-to-head competition to see which piece of technology reigns supreme! It's like Iron Chef, only the nerdy techie version!






















Let's review. The iPhone is awesome! It allows me to listen to music all day at work, fulfills all of my important "need to know this NOW" googling needs, hone my zombie killing skills, and prevents me from walking one full avenue block in the wrong direction before realizing it! The insulin pump certainly doesn't do that!

The iPhone is slimmer and weighs less then the insulin pump. It doesn't need to be worn on my body at all times. However, this may actually count as a disadvantage. Knowing me and my occasional absent mindedness, it's probably better that the insulin pump is attached to me, otherwise, there is a great risk of me either losing it, forgetting it, or dumping a bowl of oatmeal onto it. It happens more times then I care to admit.

The iPhone can provide me with hours of endless entertainment, where as I would struggle to be entertained by the insulin pump. There's only so many buttons one could push without causing a massive, life-threatening episode of hypoglycemia.

Both allow me to calculate my insulin needs, the insulin pump through the Bolus Wizard, the iPhone through the CalorieKing app. However, the insulin pump is able to provide me with a life-saving hormone that happens to be deficient in my body. It's as close a fake pancreas as one can get (at least without the use of some cloned sheep). The iPhone does not have this capability (although I hear they're working on that too).

The pump also prevents me from having to give myself multiple injections that caused nasty bruises and needle marks on my stomach. Besides making me look as though I have a large tumor on my side, the insulin pump allows me to shoot up in a less instrusive way. Lastly, the pump allows me to give myself a more accurate dosage of insulin to promote overall general health and ultimately led to longer life. Whereas the iPhone may be discovered to cause actual tumors in a few years! Who knows?

It was a split decision and a tough one, at that! But the win goes to...............The Insulin Pump.

But only by a slim margin. And only because it happens to save my life.

See, I do have my priorities straight, Mom!

I <3 my iPhone!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Wonder Food!

I'm not sure if you noticed, but I have a lot of food crushes. It's a requirement of being an official fat kid. If I had more time on my hands (and if you actually had any interest in it), I could probably go through all of my posts and list the very many ingredients and dishes that I'm enamoured with. Eggplant, oregano, farro, eggs, sauces, dips...the list goes on.

Surprisingly, peanut butter has been under recognized for its special place in my heart! Sure, I taught you how to make your own, but then I never shared any of my delicious peanut butter creations with you! Well, that stops now, my friends. I have been denying you for far too long!

Plus, peanut butter has wonderful qualities for diabetics. It won't raise my blood sugar and will even help stabilize it. It's recommended that I eat peanut butter with fruit and other carbs since the healthy fats will slow down the absorption rate of the carbs in my body. My CDE actually called it a "Wonder Food," like it should be wearing a cape and some kick-ass Batman underroos!

This recipe is very versatile. You can use it as a dipping sauce like a satay (as I did for our Halloween party). You can thin it out and use it as a dressing for salads. Put it in a stir-fry. The possibilities are endless!


Spicy Peanut Sauce 


Ingredients
1 - 2 garlic, minced
1 tsp grated ginger
1/2 c peanut butter
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/4 - 1/3 c vegetable broth (depends on how thick or thin you want the sauce to be)
1 - 2 tsp srichacha (optional)
1 tsp sesame oil
canola oil
salt and pepper

Method #1
1. Place garlic cloves into a food processor or blender. Blend until garlic is minced. Grate ginger into processor.
2. Add all of your ingredients and blend until thoroughly combined. You can choose to add a little more broth to thin it out.

Method #2 - good for those of you who don't like the flavor of uncooked garlic and ginger
1. Heat some oil in a small pot. Add the garlic and ginger to the pot and cook until fragrant (about 60 seconds).
2. Add the peanut butter, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and broth whisking as you add the ingredients. Bring to a simmer.
3. Once the ingredients blend together, you can add the srichacha, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Cook for a minute or two longer.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Red Handed

12 voicemails
35 e-mails
2 meetings

Those are the averages for my work days before 10:30 AM. Those numbers only get exponentially higher as the day continues. Hectic. Chaotic. Ridiculous. Those are all great words to describe my work day.

My work space, on the other hand, can be rather quiet, calm, desolate even! There may be whole days where I won't have a single person walk through my workspace (usually on Fridays when I'm the only sucker sitting in the office). Initially, it was a little isolating. Now, I relish the emptiness. I deal with people all day long. I love days when I don't actually have to see any of them!

At times, I may take this desolation for granted. I get use to it. I forget that other people do actually work in the building and may occasionally find the need to walk through my space. This becomes particularly problematic when I'm caught with my hand down my shirt. Which I, of course, blame on diabetes. Isn't everything diabetes fault, after all?

When you work with impulsive, grabby, snot-handed little kids and are on the insulin pump, you find creative ways to hid it, especially on days where you fancy up and wear a dress to work. On those days, I will place my insulin pump in my bra strap.

Recently, I was sitting at my desk, preparing for lunch, and realized I needed to bolus (take a dose of insulin) for my meal. Without thinking, I casually reached my hand down the front of my dress (this is starting to sound seductive, isn't it?), when at that exact moment the socially awkward IT guy decides he needs to update my anti-virus software.

Now, what's the appropriate response to someone catching you with your hand down your shirt? Why it's to blurt out "I'm not feeling myself up! I'm on an insulin pump!" of course?!?

Because that definitely makes it less awkward.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Curried Crack

This recipe is inspired by a local restaurant/bar in my 'hood, Queens Kickshaw. My very first time to Queens Kickshaw lasted about 6 hours and included at least 4 orders of these pumpkin seeds! When Heather first had them, she looked at me quite seriously and said "You need to make these!" 

And so I have!

They are highly addicting and something that you may consider grinding up and snorting. Consider yourself warned. I take no responsibility for whatever may get logged up your nose. 


Curried Crack (aka Pumpkin Seeds)

Ingredients
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 large egg white
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp curry powder
1 ½ tsp coarse kosher salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 ½ c pumpkin seeds 

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with parchment; spray with nonstick spray.
  2. Whisk egg white, lime juice, and oil in large bowl. Add next 4 ingredients; whisk.
  3. Add pumpkin seeds; toss. Transfer to baking sheet, spreading evenly.
  4. Bake until toasted and fragrant, stirring often, about 24 minutes. Cool on sheet. 
These can definitely be made ahead.  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

ZA Liability

It was established long ago that I would be a serious liability in the event of the Zombie Apocalypse. And then I got diabetes.

Now, I'm not a big television watcher, but I got sucked into a show on AMC last year called the Walking Dead. This show scares the hell out of me, gives me nightmares, and creates an unreal fear that zombies are walking through my neighborhood at 2 AM. Obviously, I watch it religiously week after week.

After each episode, I try to think of the many ways I could survive the Zombie Apocalypse in spite of diabetes. This includes me looking up how long insulin can last outside of the refrigerator before it goes bad, how long I could sustain on a high protein diet before my body would start to process the protein as carbs, and whether zombies will be attracted to my scent if I ever go into ketoacidosis. You may be surprised to learn that I haven't been able to come up with an answer to that last question, but I'm certainly working on it!

In an attempt to hone my zombie killing skills, I downloaded the iPhone app Contract Killers: Zombies. In this game, I'm responsible for shooting zombies to protect myself and others. Obviously, this is just a game and NOT an indication of my actual performance during the Zombie Apocalypse. But let's just say, my zombie killing skills need some work!

Does being able to see the sight of blood, give injections without problems, remain calm in crisis situations, and crochet some kick-ass scarves help my chances at all? :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Silver Lining on the Crap Cloud

When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, it was not a happy time. Obviously, being sick for several months and being told you have a chronic illness is not like finding the Golden Ticket! It fucking sucks. I was pissed about it. I was sad. I was angry. At times, even a little resentful, especially when I would see others with unhealthy lifestyles in perfect health.

During this time, there was a lot of "Why me's?" I am healthy. I exercise. I eat well. Why me? Coming on the heels of a bad break-up, where insecurities were swirling around inside my head, I thought that diabetes was the universe's way of saying that, yes, there was, indeed, something inherently wrong with me. It was the cherry on top of the proverbial shit cake.

Depression definitely set in and my future became harder to picture. Suddenly, getting married, having children, living past the age of 30 seemed like far away possibilities. That marathon I planned to run at 60 years old would never happen. Instead, I would now have to worry about poor circulation, amputation, blindness, neuropathy, kidney failure, high cholesterol, heart disease, the list goes on. I was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. Life seemed bleaked. My relationships suffered.

However, since that I time, I have made some significant progress. I don't see my life as cursed the way I once did. I have let go of a lot of those initial thoughts and feelings. On my optimistic days, I think, of course I got diabetes! I'm one of the best people to get it! I would have an easier time integrating diabetes management into my life then most people. Eat healthy? No problem! Want me to exercise? Got it covered! Need to not be squeamishness about blood and injections? I can work on it.

On less optimistic days, I think shit happens, in all its crappy glory! There's no rhyme or reason to it. In those moments, I let myself be angry or sad. I acknowledge that sometimes being diabetic can suck and try to move on from there. 

What I have realized in the last few weeks is that, on most days, I don't even think about it! It has become a natural part of  life, the way that brushing your teeth or feeding your obnoxious cat at exactly every fucking morning no matter what day of the week it is, does! You don't necessarily think about it, but you certainly do it every day. Although Jackson definitely has me consider otherwise!

When I reflect on diabetes, I am now able to see some of the positive qualities I had lost track of. Like that I'm resilient. Strong. Intelligent. I'm fun! I have a wicked sense of humor, particularly when it comes to amputation! I'm going to be a great wife and kick-ass mother! I have awesome people in my life who love me. Diabetes didn't change those things. It enhanced them!

Instead of seeing diabetes as the universe snubbing me, maybe it is the universe kicking me in the ass! Of letting me know that I am a much better person then what I had been telling myself. That a stupid boy and broken pancreas doesn't define who I am. I do.

Either way, I come to realize that it's all about looking for the silver lining on the crap cloud. It's there somewhere. You just have to find it.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Here a Pumpkin, There a Pumpkin....

Everywhere a pumpkin!

Now, I'm definitely a summer baby. I love warm days, sundresses, and flip-flops. There's a part of me that gets a little depressed every fall when the days grow shorter and the frost is always days away. However, as I have aged, I've definitely developed an appreciation for Northeast falls and all of its flavors. As soon as the leaves start to change, I want to start eating pumpkin and I don't want to stop until I'm the color of an Ommpa Loompa!

On a completely unrelated topic (but will make sense to you in a minute), I've previously mentioned my dislike for a particular semi-homemade television "chef" whose made millions by combining Campbell's soup and pre-cooked rice and selling it to the American public as a healthy dinner! But for some reason, when it's party time, Sandra Lee keeps appearing in my kitchen! Bitch. 

For our recent Halloween party, I wanted to include my obsession with pumpkin into the menu and the only recipe I could come up with included the use of a pre-made cake mix. Whatever. If Betty Crocker perfected a recipe, why should I mess with it? I wasn't sure if this recipe would really work until I made the batter. I tried a little taste before putting the cupcakes into the oven. And my head exploded because it was so fucking good! Just from tasting the batter!

Make these. Now.



Pumpkin Cupcakes!

Ingredients
1 1/2 c canned pumpkin
2 cups vanilla cake mix
1/2 c milk, at room temperature
1/4 c vegetable oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake molds with paper liners. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, cake mix, milk, oil, eggs, and pumpkin pie spice.
3. Using an electric hand mixer, beat the mixture on low speed until smooth. Increase the speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, 2 minutes.
4. Using a small ice cream scoop, fill the prepared molds with the batter.
5. Bake until puffed and golden, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
6. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting, about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween, Baby!

Ugh! Never. Drinking. Again.

But I will certainly make this menu again!

This past weekend, Heather and I decided to have a pre-party costuming party. Friends came over to enjoy cocktails and munchies before heading out into a blizzard for Halloween festivities. Uh, hello, Mother Earth, it's still fucking October! This ridiculous weather sort of fucked up the party theme since it was based on the fall season and not the Christmas season, but whatever. Food was still eaten. (Too many) drinks were still consumed. Costume contests were won! Bags were puked in! Dancing was enjoyed by all. Wahoo!

Note to self: Black lipstick further accentuates your chompers!



Occupy Halloween

Fall-Inspired Halloween Menu

Dips & Snacks
Rosemary-White Bean Dip
Thai Peanut Dip with mixed veggies
Roasted Pear, Blue Cheese and Walnut Bruschetta (recipe below)
Curried Pumpkin Seeds

Apps
Spicy Deviled Eggs
Winter Squash Mac & Cheese
BBQ Pulled Chicken Sliders

Desserts
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
CANDY!

Booze - Just writing out these names makes me feel queezy.
The Dirty Bloody Martini
GINger Tonics (recipe below)

Here's a couple of recipes to hold you over.



Roasted Pear, Blue Cheese and Walnut Bruschetta

Ingredients
2 pears, diced
1 wedge of blue cheese, crumbled
1/3 c walnuts, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Method
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray.
2. Place diced pears onto to tray and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until pears are slightly caramelized.
3. Let pears cool before adding the blue cheese, walnuts, oil and salt & pepper.
4. Toss to combine. Enjoy with toasted bread or crackers.


GINger Tonics - This is actually so simple it doesn't even deserve a whole recipe.

1 (or 3 depending on how sloppy you'd like to get) part gin
2 - 3 parts tonic
fresh ginger grated (to taste) into the glass.

Mix all together and enjoy!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treat!

Sour Power Kids, Swedish Fish, Smarties, Pixie Sticks, Cry Babies, War Heads, Fun Dip, Candy Buttons, Necco wafers, Butterfingers, Twix bars, Good & Plenty, those weird wax candies filled with crack juice. All things that if I tried to eat now would probably make my teeth hurt and my broken pancreas explode! Is that the sign you're getting old?

Every year, my endocrinology's office hosts a Halloween party/candy exchange for kids with diabetes. There are large, framed pictures in the waiting room, showing the little kids all dressed up in their costumes, enjoying a magic show, eating healthy snacks. The take-away message is that Halloween doesn't have to be about candy.

But who we kidding? As a kid, of course Halloween is about candy! Luckily, I am at an age where Halloween is more about slutty costumes and drunken parties then trick-or-treating and hoarding my candy! Going through that mental list of candies and looking at the kids in those photos made me realize how lucky I am to have become diabetic at 28 instead of 8.

Thanks bum pancreas for waiting to crap out until after I had my teeth-rotting candy fix!

Hey Chubby!
Sisters!
Care Bears Share!


This looks like a Punky Brewster costume,
but really this is how I dressed all the time as kid. 


Hello Forehead!
I was ahead of my Harry Potter time!
All costumes were handmade made by Mary Poppins. Oops, I mean my mom. :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Meaty Balls

I love good, meaty balls. Nice round ones. But not ones that are too big that you can't fit them in your mouth. Because I like balls in my mouth two at a time! Obviously, I am talking about meatballs here. You're so dirty.

I may have mentioned before that I generally don't buy or eat meat when I am at home. And, on the whole, I'm not one to really order meatballs when out to dinner. In fact, the only time I really eat meatballs is when I'm at my parents' house, enjoying them with Sunday sauce.

However, the craving for meatballs does come up for me every once in a while. Well, maybe not so much a craving for meatballs, per se, more like a craving for a vehicle to enjoy copious amounts of tomato sauce besides pasta. Pasta isn't necessarily a diabetic's friend. That whole insulin/carb thing.

Given the lack of meat in my house (both literally and figuratively), I came up with a veggie-friendly meatball using tempeh. Now I know all of you have tons of tempeh just kickin' around your fridge. Here's a good way to use it. You could eat these with pasta or on a sandwich! I hear there's a kick-ass tomato sauce recipe somewhere on this blog too!



Meaty Veggie Balls

Ingredients - this recipe makes about 5 medium sized balls ::snicker, snicker::
1/2 package 3 grain tempeh
1/4 c seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 small onion, small dice
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
1 - 2 medium eggs, depends on how well the mix holds together
salt and pepper
olive oil

Method
1. Break tempeh up into smallish pieces.
2. Add all the ingredients with the exception of eggs. Mix well.
3. Add eggs to mixture and blend with your hands (it's really the best way to do it). Add a little more bread crumbs if the mix is too wet and another egg if it is too dry. You'll have to play around with the ingredients a bit.
4. Heat a frying pan with olive oil. Shape balls using your hands and place into heated frying pan.
5. Pan fry balls on all sides until nice and golden brown. Serve with good tomato sauce possibly on an Italian roll with melted mozzarella.

Have I used the word "balls" enough in this post? Well, just in case I didn't.....balls, balls, balls, balls! :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jackson, My Hero

When I first became diabetic, I scoured the Internet for information. I came across all kinds of crap.

One story that stuck with me was from a diabetes blog, where a woman posted a story about her diabetic son. Her son had an active day, helping a friend move. After moving boxes all day, he returned home exhausted and decided to lie down for a nap. This silly diabetic didn't check his blood sugar before doing so. During his nap, the normally docile family cat kept jumping on and scratching at his legs. He eventually woke up and realized that he felt a little woozy. He checked his blood sugar and was at a low 29. Tsk, tsk, diabetic!

The moral of this story (according to this obviously crazy cat lady) is that had it not been for the family cat, her son would have died in his sleep from low blood sugar.


I try to remember this story when Jackson is driving me crazy, especially in the middle of the night. Like when he attacks my legs when I'm on my way to the bathroom. Or when he scratches at the rug/bed/box spring. Or when he knocks things off of my dresser just for ha-ha's. He's actually doing all these things to save my life!

Except for when he tries to eat the tubing of my insulin pump. Then he's just being a dick.



Aww, that Jackson. My hero.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Living on a Farm....

I'm not sure if you've picked up this hippie, farming theme lately, but Old McDonald's has been sounding more and more appealing to me these days. I could handle a cluck-cluck here and a moo-moo there!

My sister and I recently visited Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Westchester County. It's a four season farm with a philosophy of growing and using local produce, which they use in their cafe, restaurant, and farmer's market. They have farm fresh vegetables, fruits, goats, cows, sheep, turkeys, chickens....and I'm sure a bunch of other fun farm things we didn't see.

We had lunch in their cafe, which included a tomato and goat cheese sandwich and their awesome veggie frittata. The veggies were grown on-site. The cheese was made that morning. The eggs were squatted out right there on the farm! It was delicious. So delicious that I immediately wanted to go home and make my own version. Except I didn't have homemade cheese, freshly laid eggs, or garden grown veggies. I know, I live a disappointing life.

What I did have was plenty of fresh, local veggies bought from my farmer's market.

Ee ii ee ii oooooooooooooooooooo!


Farm Stand Frittata


Ingredients
7 large eggs (from PA)
2 - 3 tbsp milk (from PA)
1 zucchini, thinly sliced (from NY)
4 - 5 mushrooms, sliced (from PA)
1/2 medium onion, sliced (from NY)
1/2 large yellow pepper, sliced (from PA)
1/2 c crumbled feta (from NY)
salt and pepper

Method
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Beat eggs and milk together until frothy.
3. Add all the sliced veggies, salt, pepper, and cheese to the beaten eggs.
4. Pour eggs into well-greased baking dish.
5. Let frittata bake for approximately 35 - 40 minutes. The eggs will be slightly set, but still seem a little gooey on the top.
6. Place the frittata until the broiler for a minute to two to slightly brown the top.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thingy

"Ummmm, sooooo, what is this thing?" as she hands over my insulin pump. "I just call it 'the thingy.'" Giggle, giggle, twirl of the hair. 
And then I bitch slapped her.

Ok, no, not an actual bitch slap. But certainly a mental one!!!

When I first began wearing my insulin pump, figuring out what to do with it during yoga class was a bit of a concern. Usually when exercising, I simply disconnect the pump and put it in my bag. But my yoga studio was a bit more challenging.

I take a Hot Vinyasa yoga class every week. The room is heated to 98 degrees and is generally very humid and wet. Heat and mositure is not an optimal combination for anything filled with insulin. Insulin will degrade faster in higher tempatures. Unfortunately, the only way to know if that has happened to your insulin is when you're actually trying to use it.

I could just put it in a locker, right? Except this yoga studio doesn't have any. They have open cubby holes in a large, open "locker" room. That whole trust and be trusted crap! Now, I'm not paranoid or anything. I don't think any one is walking away with my insulin pump, but it's not necessarily a piece of equipment I want just lying around.

This left me the option of asking the front desk if they would hold it for me. I had some hesitation about doing this. It would mean disclosing to people I don't really know that I'm diabetic. I'm fine sharing with instructors who will need to know to pour honey in my mouth (or eye, if the situation is really dire :)) if I ever get too low in class. But do random front desk staff need to know my business? Especially ones that giggle, twirl their hair, and refer to my life-saving device as a "thingy?"

It's been working out pretty well. I just hand it off to whoever is working at the front desk when I sign in for my class. And they all take it from my hands like I'm asking them to hold Baby Jesus for me! The way the gently take it from my hands and delicately place it behind them on the counter lets me be reassured that my "thingy" is safe.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Stick of Butter - Optional

Isn't it redundunt to have to have two posts about end of summer sauce? Yes, but I'm doing it anyway!

In college, I had a roommate named Missy. Missy had a large, traditional Italian family who wanted to feed everyone...everything...all the time. Though Missy and her family's food was ridiculously good, it was also ridiculously bad as almost every meal had at the least one stick of butter! Everything! Shit you didn't even think would need butter had butter. Hmmm, wonder where that freshman 15 came from?

I learned many things that first year of college. One was that a stick of butter in everything you eat really isn't good for you (duh!). Two, that my high school metabolism was not interested in receiving a higher education and decided to drop out as soon as I hit 19! Lastly, there was one "healthy" dish I could count on my roommate to cook that had the option of no butter! Well, that and 10 cent beer nights with $3 tequila shots never ends well, but that's another post altogether.

I remembered this recipe when I was staring at the summer's last batch of zucchini and yellow peppers at the bottom of my fridge. The additional bonus to this recipe is that I could make it in my slow cooker! And I looooooovvvvveeee my slow cooker!

My roommate would make this sauce for family-style dinners with friends with the option of toasted breadcrumbs over the top. And, of course, the breadcrumbs were toasted with.....you guessed it....a stick of butter!


End of Summer Vegetable Sauce

Ingredients
1 large onion, sliced*
1 - 2 garlic cloves, minced*
2 medium zucchinis, sliced*
1/4 c veggie broth
1 yellow pepper*
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper

1 stick (or pad) of butter (optional)
1/2 c bread crumbs
* indicates that these are locally farmed ingredients from Goshen, NY and PA.



Method
1. Heat olive oil in a pan and begin to saute sliced onions. Cook for few minutes until onions begin to soften and brown.
2. Add chopped garlic. Let garlic cook for a few minutes until slightly browned.
3. Add zucchini, yellow pepper, and veggie broth to deglaze the pan. Cook for a just few minutes longer.
4. Move your cooked veggies to your slow cooker. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper. You can add a little more broth if you need more liquid, but remember that you veggies will continue to give off water as they cook down.
5. Set slow cooker to low for 4 hours.
6. To serve with breadcrumbs, melt butter (I'll let you judge how much you want) in a pan. Once butter is completely melted, add 1/2 c breadcrumbs. Toss in butter and let breadcrumbs brown slightly in the pan.

Serve sauce over pasta with breadcrumbs sprinkled on top. Or you can use this sauce to create a kick-ass flatbread.

End of Summer Sauce Flatbread

Ingredients
1 package prepared whole wheat dough
1/4 - 1/2 c flour (depending on how sticky your dough it)
1/4 - 1/2 c olive oil
1 - 1 1/2 c End of Summer Sauce (depending on how saucy you like it)
1 c grated cheese of your choosing
toppings of your choosing
salt and pepper

Method
1. Prehead oven to 450 degrees.
2. On a floured counter or cuttig board, roll out pizza dough to desired thickness. I find that prepared pizza dough doesn't really roll out that well, so don't feel bad if you can't get it to that thin.
3. Brush dough with olive oil. I find this helps it crisp up.
4. Layer on your sauce, cheese, and whatever other toppings.*
5. Bake in oven for desired doneness (some people like their shit burned).

* If you're using a lot of sauce, then I suggest par-baking the crust a little before layering on your sauce and toppings. You can place the dough in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, just to give it ahead start.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tastespotting.com

My obsession with food blogs started with Tastespotting.com.

I stumbled across it one day and soon was addicted to its food porn! It would consume my entire day! I would plan out whole menus for pretend dinner parties, BBQs, cocktail parties, birthday celebrations, luncheons, teddy bear picnics, whatever! It was getting a little out of hand. I had to cut myself off. Who the hell plans luncheons?! What am I, an 80 years old Southern woman?!

I had visions of one day having my own food website and then I could submit my own food porn pics to Tastespotting.com. Hey now! Lookie here! I have a food blog! But, as with any at-home pornographer, I soon learned the dream is much harder to attain. I'm assuming. My regular pornography has never been a problem -- haha, just kidding Mom. 

Understanding that my pictures aren't awesome, I did think a few were good enough to submit to the website. After my submissions, I excitedly waited for my notification of publication. I checked my account and clicked on the Published tab. Nope, none there. Maybe in the Pending tab? Nope, none there either. Then, I clicked on the Declined tab. And there they were. All three of my submissions! Whan Whan Whaaaaaaa! Maybe it's the diabetes? Maybe Tastespotting.com is an anti-diabetes website?! Fuckers!

Dejected, but not giving up, this picture is going to be published! I just feel it!!!!!

I'll let you know how it goes!


Open-faced Italian Tuna Melts


Sandwich Ingredients
1 can tuna fish
1/4 c - 1/3 c prepared or homemade pesto
1/4 small red onion, chopped
Bread of your choice (whole wheat English Muffin pictured)
1 tomato, sliced
1 roasted red pepper, cut into strips
1/4 c shredded mozzarella cheese


Pesto Ingredients
1 large handful basil leaves
1 - 2 garlic cloves
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
1/4 c nuts (I used almonds)
1/4 c olive oil
veggie broth used to reach desired consistency
1 tsp sweetner of your choice (optional, but mine definitely needed it)
Zest of one small lemon (optional)
salt and pepper


Method for Pesto
1. Add garlic cloves to blender or food processor and chop to small pieces - I hate having large chunks of garlic in my pesto.
2. Add the rest of your ingredients, except the oil, to the blender. Pulse for about 30 second.
3. Leaving the blender running, slowly add your olive oil until well incorporated and desired consistency. You can use more oil to achieve that consistency, or if you prefer a lighter pesto, you can use veggie broth.

Method of Tuna Melt
1. Preheat your broiler. Toast your bread/english muffin.
2. Mix your tuna, pesto and onions all together, being sure to salt and pepper the tuna as you go.
3. Take your bread and place tuna slice, scoop of tuna, and roasted red pepper on top. Place shredded or sliced mozzarella cheese on top.
4. Place melt under the broiler to melt the cheese and heat up the pepper. Watch it carefully as it can burn quickly. Sprinkle with dried oregano.