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!
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

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

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

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


"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 guessed it....a stick of butter!

End of Summer Vegetable Sauce

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.

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

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

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

My obsession with food blogs started with

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 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 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.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

For You

Break-ups suck. There's really no way around it. They're hard. They're painful. They may make you want to consume large amounts of ice cream, plates of Rocky Road Brownies, and numerous bottles of wine.

Or break-ups, on the other hand, cause something to happen that NEVER EVER happens! It's really quite shocking! You lose your appetite! GASPS! You? A fat kid? Lose your appetite? I know. It's crazy. Even when you're deathly ill and can barely keep food down, you still have the urge to stuff your face with saltine crackers and chicken soup! But when you're sad, nothing seems appealing.

And while the "break-up diet" is great for dropping those pesky few pounds, it is not so great with that pesky diabetes. With diabetes, you HAVE to eat. It's not really a choice, unless you want to keep an IV of apple juice strapped to your arm. And when you eat, it's probably best not feed that sadness sugary treats. During this time, you need something that you want to eat (besides spoonfuls of peanut butter straight from the jar) and not make your blood sugar go crazy.  Like stocking up on your favorite granola bars, making yourself a large pot of tomato sauce, and having plenty of good friends who make sure you always have dinner plans.

And while surrounding yourself in the foods you enjoy takes care of the subsistence side of things, there is still the emotional. Because, really, isn't that the purpose of food any way when you're sad? Whether you're distracting yourself by cooking, forgetting by baking, giving yourself too much or not enough, it is because you're trying to find some way to dull that ache in your chest.

There's no easy way to get past this point. It will take some time. And, maybe, remembering to be grateful for all that person added to your life, sad they're not there right now, and hopeful your paths may cross again one day can help too.

And, obviously, when I say "you" and "your," I really mean "I" and "my."

Monday, October 10, 2011

Animal, Vegetable, Soapbox?

Just give me a second while I hoist myself onto my soapbox. Ok, good! Are you ready?

I recently read the nonfiction book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (thanks Tom!), which is the true story of author Barbara Kingsolver and her family's one year pledge to eat only what they were able to grow themselves or purchase from other farmers in their community. At the beginning of the book, the family moves from Tuscon, AZ to a restored farm house in Appalachia, VA, where they farm everything from fruit and veggies to poultry and eggs. Through the family's story, you begin to see how far removed we are from the production of our food. As a nation and as consumers, we remain rather detached from knowing where our food actually comes from. When was the last time you thought about where your avocado came from, who grew them, and how did they get to your supermarket?

Inter-spliced with the families' stories of how they managed this venture are also essays on the state of agricultural affairs in the US and around the world. Basically, what these essays show the reader is that the business of agricultural is a mess. Large corporations are under-cutting and eliminating smaller local farmers while slowly poisoning our food with pesticides, herbicides, genetically modified mutations, etc. while ruining the environment and our health. Obviously, it was a light read.

While this book has definitely changed the way I view food and increased my awareness of the social and environmental impact of how I shop, there were times when I found myself getting defensive while reading. This defensiveness primarily occurred when Barbara Kingsolver suggests that eating organic, local produce is within most people's means, but we make the excuse not to out of convenience.

As a broke-ass social worker, I took a bit of offense to it. If I have to provide myself with food for a week and I can get 5 conventional, not locally grown apples as opposed to the 2 organic, local apples, guess which one my limited budget is buying? Not because I don't appreciate the health benefits, the environmental benefits, and the benefits to local farmers, but because I need to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. What are you suggesting, Barb? That I'm cheap? Lazy? Entitled?

I realized the answer to all those questions are yes, yes, and yes. I was feeling defensive because she was right. I would love to live the way the Kingsolvers do, but get overwhelmed by the amount of time, money, energy, and sacrifice it would take. It's much easier to buy produce that has been shipped across the country (or world) because it's cheaper and I want it NOW! But if I considered the amount of money I waste in vegetables gone bad at the bottom of my fridge, it's hard to claim that I can't afford to support my local farmers.

While I don't have the means to pick up, move to Appalachia, and live off the land, I am able to be more conscious of my buying and eating patterns. I may not have the opportunity to "get to know my farmers," but I can definitely be more mindful of local and seasonal buying. I am making a resolution to utilize farmer's markets more for my produce, share recipes using locally farmed ingredients, and even consider having a container garden for my own veggies next spring. You saw how well the peppers worked out!

I'm putting it in writing. I hope you hold me to it.

All the Rage!

Baby hands. It's the newest food craze! Saute them with butter and garlic! Stir-fry them with srichacha and ginger! Or simply roast them with salt and pepper!

Excellent on the blood sugar. Requires hardly any insulin at all.

I'll resist the urge to share any Dead Baby jokes.

I'm sorry. This picture was just way too creepy to not share. Google Images has the craziest shit!

Real post to come soon!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Breakfast Cake

Cake for breakfast? My mother's so disappointed. 

Don't worry, Mom. It's a healthy breakfast cake! I promise!

Sure, it looks like a muffin, but it definitely taste like cake with a slightly custard-y texture.

The way I figured it, this breakfast custard cake thing has about 24g of carbohydrates. Given what a normal piece of cake would be, that's not too shabby. Plus, it's good for you since it's made out of oat bran, little sugar, and no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, etc. With this and a glass of milk, I only insulin for 34 grams of carbs (which for me is 2.2 units of insulin).

Vanilla Breakfast Cake

1/3 c oat bran 
2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
3 tbsp milk
1 large egg
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 - 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp sweetener of your choice (Brown sugar adds a nice flavor, but I usually opt for the truvia!)
pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a small ramekin.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the egg.
3. Whisk in applesauce, vanilla, and milk.
4. Mix in oat bran, sweetener, salt and baking powder until just combined.
5. Pour into well-greased baking dish, spread evenly, and bake for 32-36min, until a toothpick comes out almost clean.
6. Slide a knife around the edge and flip out onto a plate. 

For interesting variations, you can replace the applesauce with pureed pumpkin and add the usual pumpkin pie spices. Or you can stick to the original recipe, but add a tablespoon of cocoa powder. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Green Thumb!

Most of you probably don't know that I am an AWESOME gardener!

Check out these peppers!

I grew those! On my deck! In a pot! All by myself!!

How did I do it, you must be asking? How did I manage to cultivate the world's most perfect green pepper in a pot, on my deck, all by myself?

I actually have no idea! I stopped watering that plant in JUNE! But those little peppers persevered through the summer heat, Not-a-Hurriance Irene, and Jackson's incessant digging into my potted plants (fucker)! I'm so glad they made it so I can now chop them up into little pieces and eat them for lunch! Whahahahah! -- evil laugh, did you get it?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Summer Meets Fall

Some people shoe shop. Others clothes shop. I food shop! I love to go food shopping, but my eyes are bigger then my actual time to cook. I have this notorious habit of letting produce go bad in my fridge. It usually results in swampy puddles at the bottom of my veggie drawer.

That's usually when kitchen sink cooking comes into play. I try to hurry up and cook all the usable produce in my fridge, in one pot if I'm feeling particularly talented...or adventurous. Sometimes it works. Sometimes, it really doesn't. The broccoli rabe and cilantro soup wasn't exactly a shining moment of cooking for me. However, this recipe worked out quite well. In fact, they came out so good, Jackson decided to help himself to one while I as at the gym. Naughty kitty.

I needed to use the rest of my farmer's market zucchini before it made soup in the bottom of my fridge. Plus, I had some newly purchased sweet potatoes from Goshen, NY.  I'd like to think of this recipe as the seasons (summer squash, fall sweet potatoes) colliding. Isn't that very Martha Stewart of me?

Zucchini-Sweet Potato Muffins

2 c whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c brown sugar (you can definitely add more sugar, but I don't because of the obvious....)
1/2 c apple sauce
1 tbsp canola oil
1/3 c milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 c shredded zucchini
1 c shredded sweet potato

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Shred the zucchini and sweet potato on a box grater.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients together, making sure there are no lumps of flour, etc.
3. Add all the wet ingredients with the exception of shredded veggies.
4. Once all the wet ingredients are mixed, then add the shredded veggies, making sure to incorporate them throughout.
5. Add batter to a greased muffin pan.
6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until lightly golden and spring back at the touch.