Friday, December 28, 2012

No More Cookies....

I seriously think I experienced a Sugar Hangover last week. Seriously. I had a headache. I felt nauseous. Smelling chocolate chip cookies elicits the same response as when I smell cheap tequila. Ugh.

Between multiple cookie parties (when did this become a thing), Christmas Eve, Christmas, and then the left-overs the day after Christmas, I have had my fair share of all things gluttonous. What I havebeen fiending (word? maybe.) for is a salad. But not any limp lettuce, weak veggie salad. I wanted a REAL salad. A manly man's salad. One filled with delicious healthiness. 

I'm not sure if I ever would have considered anything from France as a "manly man" thing, but this Tuna Niçoise Salad hit the spot. In reading the directions, you're going to think that it seems like a lot of work for just a salad. But it's definitely worth it and you can throw this salad together in 25 to 30 minutes. 

If you multi-task like you're schizophrenic. But it can be done. 


Tuna Niçoise Salad

by Bonnie Graham
Prep Time: 25 - 30 minutes
Keywords: roast salad entree potato eggs tomato tuna

Ingredients
  • 1 bag of baby spinach
  • 4 tuna steaks
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 bag frozen green beans
  • 1 lb teeny tiny potatoes (or fingerlings)
  • 4 tomatoes
  • olives of your choice
  • 2 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 2 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp ground mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • olive oil
Instructions
1. Begin by pre-heating your oven to 400 degrees and heating a medium pot of salted water on the stove.
2. Prep baby potatoes, rubbing them with olive oil and salt and pepper on a cookie sheet. Place them in the oven to roast for about 20 minutes or until tender.
3. While waiting for the water to boil, begin to season your tuna steaks with the rosemary, thyme, mustard, salt and pepper. Add olive oil to help the seasonings stick to the steaks. Place a skillet on the stove over medium high heat.
4. When the pot of water has boiled, quickly blanch your frozen greens, allowing for no more then a minute or two in the water. Remove green beans from pot.
5. Re-fill pot with water, placing the 4 eggs in the pot to make hard-boiled eggs. Place eggs in the water and allow pot to come to a boil. Boil for approximately 1 minute and allow eggs to sit in hot water with heat turned off until ready the salad is ready to be served. Then, crack and peel.
6. With your skillet heated, sear your tuna steaks, making sure there is enough room in the pan to have them heat evenly. Cook fish on each side for 7 - 8 minutes or until desired doneness.
7. Once all the ingredients are done cooking, plate each ingredient over baby spinach. Squeeze lemon over each plate and a swirl of olive oil. Salt and pepper as needed.
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Monday, December 24, 2012

Enough Already....

I know what you must be thinking, "Really, Bonnie? Another baked good?" There's something moderately uncomfortable about having a diabetic force so many baked goods down your throat, right?

But it's the holidays!

That's pretty much my excuse for everything. 

"You're really going to eat that, drink that, buy that, wear that?" It's the holidays! I'm milking it for at least two more days and I won't hesitate to try to use it through the new year.

So enjoy these....because it's the holidays!


Eggnog Scones

by Bonnie Graham
Cook Time: 20 - 22 minutes
Keywords: bake breakfast dessert eggnog Christmas

Ingredients (8 scones)
  • 1 c eggnog (I used Lite Trader Joe's)
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • 1 c whole wheat white flour
  • 1 1/2 c all purpose flour
  • 1/2 c sugar/Truvia
  • 1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 6 tbsp coconut oil
  • Glaze:
  • 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp eggnog
  • few shakes of nutmeg
Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine eggnog and lemon juice and set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, nutmeg, and salt.
4. Add coconut oil and mix until the mixture is uniform and coarse in texture.
5. Add in eggnog. Stir until a dough forms. Mixture may be a bit crumbly.
6. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and form into a round circle, approximately 10 inches in diameter and 1 1/2 inches high. Cut into equal wedges (as many as you'd like) Transfer scones to a baking sheet.
7. Bake for 20-22 minutes until scones are set.
8. Meanwhile, prepare glaze by combing all ingredients in a small bowl and mixing until it comes to a drizzly consistency. Let scones cool and then serve drizzled with icing.
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Friday, December 21, 2012

Cookie Exchange

There's something just wrong with the concept of a cookie exchange and being diabetic. Not only does it require me to make my own batch of cookie, but then I need to sample everyone elses' cookies too!

Oh dear insulin pump, how overworked you must be!

A cookie exchange was agreed upon at my office for this holiday season. Which sounds like fun. If you have a functioning pancreas. Otherwise, it sounds like High Blood Sugar City!

Shockingly, I struggled with finding an appropriate cookie recipe. It's shocking because just about everywhere you look there is a friggin' cookie recipe. Let me clarify. I struggled with finding an appropriate diabetic cookie recipe. You know, one that actually would still be appetizing to my co-workers and not just to my blood glucose meter. One that I wouldn't have to empty my insulin pump in order to eat. That kind of cookie.

After scroll through recipes that used cups of sugar, sticks of butter, or the ever unpleasant alternative of Splenda, I said fuck it and just picked a recipe.

But, of course, it can't be that easy. It's never that easy. I started with one cookie recipe, Fudgey Nutella Cookies with Sea Salt. They turned into flat little pancakes. Not good. The next recipe was Almond Florentine Cookies, which didn't initially look promising; however, they turned out to be quite good. BUT there wasn't enough of them the cookie exchange. Recipe can be found here.


I panicked and finally whipped up these bad boys, Chai-Spiced Eggnog Cookies.


Now, I totally have a Sugar Hangover.


Chai-spiced Eggnog Cookies

by Bonnie Graham
Keywords: bake dessert cinnamon coconut oil cookie winter

Ingredients (24 cookies)
  • 1/3 c coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger (optional)
  • 3/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c eggnog, plus 1 - 2 tbsp (depending on consistency)
  • 1/2 c powdered sugar, sifted
Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Mix oil with sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl until well blended. 3. Stir in flour, spices and salt until just combined.
4. Add in eggnog and mix until combined, having the dough be slightly sticky.
5. Scoop and roll dough into small teaspoon-sized balls and place about an inch apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
6. Bake until lightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
7. Cool on the sheet for 5 minutes. Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar and let cool completely on a rack.
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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gratitude

Gratitude is such a funny little thing, isn't it?

It's not something we often reflect on, especially during times of great sadness or turmoil. Sometimes, it is hard to get through the muck to see what is truly amazing in our lives.

Maybe it's the yoga rubbing off on me. Maybe it's just the time of year. Maybe it's the impact of the Sandy Hook shootings. Or maybe it is that I realize I have so much to be grateful for.

What are you grateful for today? 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Consider This Your Warning

Below is a recipe that contains chocolate. It also contains beans. 

Yes, I know. You were all hoping I would get over this "beans in baked goods" thing, but I'm not yet. And these brownies were good! Damn good. So good, in fact, an entire tray was eaten in one night.





No Flour Black Bean Brownies

by Bonnie Graham
Cook Time: 15 - 18 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert vegetarian beans coconut oil




Ingredients (9 brownies)
  • 1 1/2 c canned black beans
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c quick oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp sucanat
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 c to 2/3 c chocolate chips
  • optional: more chips, for presentation
Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Combine all ingredients except chips in a good food processor, and blend until completely smooth.
3. Stir in the chips, then pour into a greased 8×8 pan.
4. Bake 15-18 minutes, then let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to cut.
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Friday, December 14, 2012

Diabetes Police

It is always with hesitation I put up posts that talk about some of the silly/stupid things I might do as a diabetic. Usually the hesitation revolves around the involvement of the Diabetes Police. Dundundun They're kind of like the Fashion Police, only their job is to tell me what I should or shouldn't be doing as a diabetic. It should be mentioned that they are usually not diabetics.

Most of the time, people make comments either out of concern or just plain ignorance. I need to constantly remind myself of that. And, most of the time, I have patience for it. In fact, I like to explain why I can eat what I'd like as long as take insulin, why it's possible for me to get Type 1 at 28, and that high and low blood sugar is just the name of the game in this crazy, messed up world of diabetes.

But sometimes...every once in a while....it really pisses me the fuck off. Can you see where this post is heading?

With the holidays here and parties galore, the Diabetes Police are out in full force. Those who feel the need to comment on what I am eating, how I am eating, and what I should be doing about it. For anybody who thinks that I am not fully aware of what the impact of eating, drinking, blood sugars, and all the rest, you are a fucking asshole! 

Trust me. I know. I'm aware.

But I still need to live my life. And living my life means I may not be the perfect diabetic. It means I forget to bring juice boxes everywhere I go, may not eat a strict low carb diet, and my blood sugar occasionally gets out of range. I'm going to eat an occasional slice of cake, have high blood sugar, have low blood sugar, and occasionally forget a honey packet all while keeping my baby toes, legs, and vision.

It also means that, 90% of the time, I skip the bread at meals. I test my blood sugar multiple times a day. I always take my insulin. I exercise. I carry something with me to treat lows. I take care of myself.

All without the help of the Diabetes Police!

So....are you a member of the Diabetes Police?
Think about it. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Nuggets

Sometimes, you just need a snack! Am I right or am I right?

Now, I am sure the idea of Tofu Nuggets sounds like something offered to you by a middle-aged white woman with dreadlocks, wearing a tie-dyed t-shirt who reeks of reefer smoke at a hippie commune. Which actually sounds kind of awesome to me! 

Regardless of your judgements on clothing made out of hemp, these nuggets are a delicious and easy snack that can be dipped in tomato sauce, ketchup, and my personal favorite, BBQ sauce! Truth be told, I love anything that can be used as a vehicle to get any kind of sauce into my face.

Whatever you're preconceived notions of tofu are, you should try this recipe. You'll be ordering your Birkenstocks and googling recipes for pot brownies in no time.




Crispy Tofu Nuggets

by Bonnie Graham
Keywords: bake snack tofu

Ingredients (8 - 12 nuggets, depending on y)
  • 1 package firm or extra firm tofu (I used Trader Joe's High Protein)
  • 1 egg, scrambled
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1/3 c cornmeal
  • 1/2 c seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 t smoked paprika
  • 1/2 t oregano
  • 1/2 t chili powder
  • scant 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • BBQ sauce, ketchup, tomato sauce, or sauce of your choosing
Instructions
1. Place tofu on a couple kitchen towels (I use paper) on the counter. Wrap the tofu with more towels and set several heavy cookbooks on top. Let sit for at least 20 minutes to soak out the water.
2. Mix together egg, water, and liquid smoke in a bowl. In another bowl, mix together the cornmeal, breadcrumbs, salt, and spices. Set aside.
3. Preheat oven to 400F and grease baking sheets.
4. Slice tofu into 8-9 strips, lengthwise, depending on how thick you want it.
5. Dip the tofu strips into the egg mixture and then into the cornmeal/breadcrumb mixture. Coat both sides entirely and then place on baking sheet.
6. Bake tofu for 20 minutes, then flip and bake for another 15-20 minutes until crispy.
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Friday, December 7, 2012

Bad, Bad Insulin

I was worried after Hurricane Sandy that we hadn't rescued my insulin vials in time! Under-prepared and only one cooler to our names, I moved my insulin from the fridge to the freezer to the cooler with fingers-crossed that all three had been keeping it cool enough to prevent from degrading. 

These past two weeks, I have really been struggling with my blood sugar numbers. They've been pretty terrible in fact, hanging out in the 200's like I had been eating cake for breakfast. And you know what the most annoying part of it is....I haven't been eating motherfucking cake for breakfast! I'm getting these high numbers and not even enjoying the crap food to go along with them! WTF, pancreas?!

However, I wasn't quite ready to admit to myself that there are 12 useless vials of insulin sitting in the fridge. I played the usual game:
Maybe it's because I'm getting sick? I'll just wait a few days. Still feel fine. Okay, not that. 
Maybe it's just the infusion site? I'll just change it. Nope, still high. 
Maybe it's just this one insulin vile?  I'll just change that. Hey 210, guess it wasn't just that insulin vile!
Maybe I have lost my ability to accurately calculate carbohydrates? I'll spend the next few days eating only items that I know for sure the carb amounts. F-U 223!!!

Finally, I had to give in and contact my Certified Diabetes Educator. While I am still not fully committed to the idea that 12 vials of insulin have been wasted, they are sending out another three month supply next week. 

I'll let you know how it goes. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

No Soup?

I can remember a time back in high school where I dined at some "fancy" restaurant with a group of friends. I think it was Uno's. After reading the menu, I was so excited to order the Baked Potato Soup. As soon as I saw it, my decision was made. My menu was closed. I waited anxiously for the waitress to come take our order.

Everyone went around the table, ordering their lame burgers and gross deep-dish pizza. When it was my turn, I enthustiacally said "I'll have the Baked Potato Soup please!" The waitress said there was no soup that day. "No soup?" I asked, deflated. The entire table burst into laughter. They equated my reaction to that of a child who just lost their puppy, completely heartbroken. I don't remember what I actually ordered that night, but I do remember that there was no soup!

Needless to say, I have a crazy ridiculous enthusiasm for soup. In fact, I've been told its one of my best qualities! When the weather changes, I probably eat soup every day.

But wait, a diabetic posting a potato soup recipe? That seems unholy! Poor Mr. Potatohead gets a bad rep when it comes to carbohydrates. Potatoes are still vegetables, my friends. And while they may be more carb heavy then say...baby carrots...there is still a place for them (in moderation) for a low-carb diet. 


Creamy Potato-Kale Soup

by Bonnie Graham
Cook Time: 35 - 40 minutes
Keywords: soup/stew potato kale

Ingredients (4 - 6 servings)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 - 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 4 – 5 medium potatoes, diced - I used Yukon Gold.
  • ½ c white wine
  • 3 ½ c vegetable broth
  • 2 c kale, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
1. Heat oil in a large pot. Add the onion over medium-heat. Stir every minute or so, until soft and lightly golden.
2. Stir in garlic and thyme until fragrant, about a minute or two.
3. Add chopped potatoes and sauté for a few minutes.
4. Add the white wine and deglaze, making sure to scrap all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
5. Add veggie broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer for about 20min.
6. Stir in chopped kale, desired amount of salt and pepper if needed, and simmer for 10min.
7. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, puree your soup to desired consistency.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Love/Hate

I have a love/hate relationship with bread. I love it. It hates me.

Forget that it makes my blood sugar skyrocket. The real problem is that I want to make it. It does not want to be made by me. Every (yeast) bread I make falls flat. Literally. They never rise!

Maybe I should take it as a sign. Maybe it's the universe trying to tell me something. Maybe it's because Jerry didn't let me pick that used breadmaker up off the sidewalk that would have forever changed my bread-making ability. I just have not been able to make a good, solid yeast bread that we could use for everyday sandwiches instead of breadcrumbs (since my breads are usually a messy crumble).

Until now....

Breadmaker, schreadmaker. I've gots my crockpot, yo! Yes, my crockpot. It has helped me produce some damn good bread without even turning on my oven!

And Jerry wanted to get a breadmaker. Pssssh.


Whole Wheat Crockpot Bread

by Bonnie Graham
Cook Time: 3 hours
Keywords: slow-cooker bread

Ingredients (1 loaf)
  • 1 c warm milk
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 package active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp vital wheat gluten (optional)
  • 1 1/2 c whole wheat flour, divided
  • 1/3 to 1/2 c all-purpose flour
Instructions
1. Grease a loaf pan or other baking pan that will fit inside your crock-pot.
2. Combine milk, oil, honey, salt, yeast, dough enhancer, 3/4 cups wheat flour and 1/3 cup all-purpose flour. With a handheld mixer, mix at medium low speed for 2 minutes.
3. Gradually add remaining wheat flour. Mix until completely combined. Unlike other bread recipes, dough should remain sticky.
4. Pour dough into greased baking vessel. Place into crock-pot and cook on high for three hours.
5. For a more browned top, put the bread loaf under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes or until desired brownness is acquired.
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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Dates: Nature's Candies

I love dates. Not the dinner and a movie kind, but the ones that slightly resemble insects.

I've totally turned you off to dates now. But really, they're awesome despite their bug-like appearance. Okay, the last time I refer to them like that, I promise. 

I've talked about the benefits of dates before. But just for ha-ha's, here is my spiel again. Dates are an excellent source of carbohydrates, contain no cholesterol, are high in fiber, and boast a wide range of nutrients. They aid in digestion and help to regulate blood sugar levels. They also make an excellent all natural sweetener. 

I pretty much covet any recipes that use dates as its sweetener. Luckily, all of the crunchy, granola-munching blogs I obsess follow provide me with plenty of options. 

In constant pursuit of the perfect snack to bring with me to Yoga Teacher Training, these Peppermint Patty Bars on Oh She Glows have been begging to get in my belly! After a recent trip to BJ's and the purchase of a 3 lb bag of dates, it was on! 





Peppermint Patty Bars

by Bonnie Graham
Keywords: vegetarian sugar-free dates oats nuts
Ingredients (12 small bars)
  • 1 c packed, pitted Medjool dates (approx 12)
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c hemp seed (or protein powder)
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp plus 1 tsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 3 tbsp chocolate chips
Instructions
1. Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap. Set aside.
2. In a food processor, process the pitted dates until chopped and sticky.
3. Add in the rolled oats, cocoa powder, protein powder, salt, peppermint extract, and milk. Process until combined, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed.
4. Finally, add in the nuts, and chocolate chips and pulse until combined and sticky. It should be sticky enough to easily make a ball. If it's too dry, add some milk. If it's too wet, add some oats.
5. Add mixture to loaf pan, smushing evenly into the pan.
6. Freeze for about 15 minutes or until set. Slice into 6 rows and then slice rows in half to make 12 small bars.
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The Lowest Low

I like to think that I have already had my lowest low. The low so low that you never want to be low again. That's how low your lowest low is. In case you didn't catch it....it's pretty low.

When I was diagnosed, my first night in the hospital, I experienced my very first  hypoglycemic episode. My head was spinning. My brain slowed down. My body didn't cooperate. Nearly passing out, my entire body tingled. I did a very dangerous thing that night.

I waited.

Not knowing what was going on or what to do, the whole concept of hypoglycemia as a life-threatening event being completely new to me, I waited. The nurses were doing regular checks each hour and I figured that she would come eventually. Rookie mistake. 

I have quickly learned that hypoglycemia is not something that you wait to treat. The longer you wait, the shittier you feel and more dangerous it becomes. I think this is in part to the "slow down," where my brain slows to the point where stringing together a coherent sentence becomes increasingly difficult as though I am a recovering stroke victim. My only diabetic friend says that she knows she's in trouble when she finds herself staring at the same box of cereal for an uncertain amount of time.

Occasionally, I read blogs written by other diabetics. Some of these bloggers talk about lows so low that other people might need to intervene to help them treat their hypoglycemia. Posts like that make me nervous.  I felt pretty cocky content that I haven't needed help to treat a low. That was until I realized that I was lying to myself.

This realization happened the other night. Jerry and I had been out drinking, which is always tricky at the end of the night since alcohol may initially cause a high blood sugar but drop my levels later on. I'm not sure which happened first, Jerry getting out of bed to use the bathroom or my waking up sweaty and shaking.

When Jerry got back from the bathroom, I asked him to get my tester from the living room. Through bleary, sleepy eyes, I held my shaking finger to the test strip. Before I had even heard the familiar beep of my meter announcing my low, Jerry was standing there with an apple sauce packet in his hands.

Could I have gotten up and retrieved my tester myself? Yes. Did it help that he was there? Certainly.

It definitely doesn't reach the level of not being able to get out of bed and needing someone there to guide my arm to my mouth, but it counts as an intervention, as help.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ebb and Flow

Ebb and flow.

Isn't it strange when several, completely unrelated people share similar sentiments that so perfectly fit your present life? Maybe it's this whole hippie-dippie yoga thing rubbing off on me, but the concept of "ebb and flow" has recently become a theme in my life.

While I can expound on how this theme is so perfectly playing itself out in several areas of my life, I am going to narrow this post to a recent experience I had at a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) appointment.

Remember back in September when I had a zen approach to my 7.2 a1c, a number that would have previously sent me into hysterics, I was somehow able to take that number in stride, recognizing that I will have a million a1c tests in my lifetime and I can't fall apart every time one comes back higher then I want.

Right.

How quickly that fell apart in the CDE's office last week. While I didn't get a new a1c test done, we reviewed the data from my insulin pump. Which seemed horrendous. I had thought that my numbers were better. That I had been more in line with my blood sugar goals. As we looked through the list of numbers, I saw more 180's, 190's and 200's then I had expected.

I could feel my heart sink in my chest.

When I said to the CDE "I thought I was doing better" and repeated several times throughout the appointment how disappointed I was, she assured me that I was looking at skewed data. That most of the numbers on the insulin pump are going to seem high because that's when I will use it most. I won't plug my blood sugar numbers into the pump if I am in range. There's no reason to.

Regardless of all the perfectly logically reasons why numbers appeared so high on that sheet, I was feeling pretty shitty. I tried to remind myself of that zen feeling from only a few months ago. Reassure myself that I am getting back on track and that my a1c will be lower when I test again in December. That "doing better" isn't just about numbers on a page.

Sometimes things will be better. And sometimes they won't. And chances are, even when things seem rough, that better times will return. It's just the ebb and flow.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Mind Games

Every weekend, Jerry and I play this game. It's the "Let's Ask Each Other What We Want for Breakfast Until the Other Person Says What I Actually Want for Breakfast" game. Except he doesn't know we're playing.

Me: What do you want for breakfast?
Jerry: I don't know. What do you want for breakfast?
Me: I don't know.
Jerry: How about some oatmeal?
Me: No, definitely not oatmeal. Oatmeal's okay for my regular weekday breakfast, but NOT my special weekend morning breakfast. How about some muffins?
Jerry: I don't like muffins. (Liar) How about....?

On and on, until someone either agrees to the other's breakfast choice OR we just make separate breakfasts. One morning, I announced that I really wanted to make Chocolate Zucchini Muffins. I didn't care that Jerry doesn't like muffins (Liar). I wanted to make them.
Then, Jerry suggested something amazing! Chocolate Zucchini Pancakes (made with oat flour)! The muffin versus oatmeal dilemma was solved.
For now.

Chocolate Zucchini Pancakes

by Bonnie Graham
Keywords: breakfast oats zucchini




Ingredients (9 - 10 pancakes)
  • 1/2 c oat flour (or use all whole wheat flour)
  • 3/4 c whole wheat pastry flours
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp sweetener of choice (I used Sucanat)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 c shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 to 2/3 c milk, depending on consistency
  • 1/3 c chocolate chips, optional
Instructions
1. Mix all the dry ingredients until well combined.
2. Add liquid ingredients, including zucchini. You can add chocolate chips to the batter or put them on top of the pancakes when done.
3. Heat a pan over medium high heat.
4. Using a 1/4 cup measurement, pour pancake batter onto the pan. Flip pancake when you start seeing bubbles rise to the top. Cook until golden brown.
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Squash-a-mania!

The squash situation had definitely gotten out of control here. Here a squash. There a squash. Everywhere a squash squash.

Here was the Squash Countdown:
1 gigantic butternut squash
1 spaghetti squash
3 acorn squash
1 patty pan squash

That's six squash in total! Six squash! All locally grown. Never mind the 5 cans of pumpkin I have sitting in the pantry (which is also squash). Ironically, despite having an abundance of squash, I kept waiting for the perfect squash recipe to come along. To be inspired to make something different then the usual.

By the way, I've already used the word "squash" 15 times so far in this post. Make that 16 times. 

Finally, I had to give in and just cook something. This soup is a variation on the usual seasonal butternut squash soup. And it's gooooood.

Garnish with spiced pumpkin seeds for some crunch

Spiced Butternut-Apple Soup

by Bonnie Graham
Keywords: blender soup/stew vegetarian butternut squash apples carrots



Ingredients (8 cups)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tart apple, peeled, quartered, and chopped
  • 4 c chopped butternut squash
  • Coarse salt and pepper
Instructions
1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
2. Add ginger, sage, cinnamon, and cardamom and cook until fragrant.
3. Add carrots, apple, squash, and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil; cover partially and reduce to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.
5. Working in batches, puree until smooth in a blender. Adjust seasoning, if necessary.
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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dirty Veggies, Part 13

Dedication. That is what I have to the farmer's market.

Despite the freezing temperatures and swirling snowflakes, I (proudly) made my way through the market yesterday. There was part of me that wasn't going to go. It was too cold. Too rainy. Too snowy. But then I thought those vendors who drive down (or up) from their farms to set up shop in weather that is too cold, too rainy, and too snowy. I figured if they could do it all day long, I could do it for the 15 minutes it takes for me to park, shop, and leave.

I am also in storage mode since winter has made its early arrival and feel I need to take of advantage of the last few weeks of the market that I can! Which also, of course, means that I have bought an abundance of squash again this week! Which also means that there will be a squash recipe at the end of this post. Yay!

This week's round-up:
1 spaghetti squash - $2.35
1 butternut squash - $1.45
1 1/4 lbs Brussels sprouts - $2.45
5 large parsnips - $2.25
1 large head of kale - $2.25
5 onions - $1.50
1 head of garlic - $1.25
Total: $13.50

Onwards to the recipe!

I am always looking for new ways to use spaghetti squash. It's fine plain with butter and cheese. Better with tomato sauce. But I was really trying to think of something even more creative then the usu. That's when I thought of Spaghetti Squash Gratin! It was actually quite good. And low carb!

Until Hurricane Sandy came and I had to let it go to waste. Or force myself to eat 2 pounds of squash gratin! It was good, but it wasn't that good.


Sage-Infused Spaghetti Squash Gratin

by Bonnie Graham
Cook Time: 1 1/2 hours including roasting
Keywords: bake vegetarian low-carb spaghetti squash sage

Ingredients (6 - 8 servings)
  • 1 large spaghetti squash, roasted
  • 1 c milk
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 1 to 2 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 4 - 5 chopped fresh sage leaves
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/2 c almond meal mixed with 1/4 c nutritional yeast (or use bread crumbs)
Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half and place face down on a cookie sheet. Roast for 40 - 45 minutes or when squash is soft. Let cool. Reduce heat to 350 degrees.
2. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, whisk milk, butter, cheese, anchovies, and sage until combined and anchovies are brown up.
3. Shred spaghetti squash with a fork. Add to a greased 2-quart baking dish.
4. Pour milk mixture of the squash and mix to combine.
5. Top gratin with almond meal mix or breadcrumbs.
6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. You can also place gratin under the broiler for a few minutes to brown up the top.
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Monday, November 5, 2012

Meat and Potatas!

I am not much of a meat-eater. I usually keep meat consumption to once or twice a month. And the more often I eat meat, the more convinced I am that I would be okay never eating meat. It is not something I ever buy or prepare at home unless its for a special occasion. It's just not my thing!

Jerry usually indulges my faux-vegetarianism and will even dabble in it himself every now and again. Since Whatever They are Calling It Now Sandy hit last week, Jerry has been working 12 hour shifts every day, coming home to a cold and dark apartment until Saturday afternoon when our power came back on.

When he said he wanted pot roast for dinner, how could I refuse? Even though meat isn't my thing, he definitely deserved a home cook meal of his choosing.

Since I don't usually cook meat, this meal was a bit of an adventure...in that I almost messed it up in 12 different ways! I didn't have some of the ingredients I wanted to use! I forgot ingredients altogether! Miraculously, it came out pretty good. Jerry (and our fat, naughty kitties who tried to break into the garbage to eat the scraps) seemed to enjoy it.

Pot Roast with Root Veggies

by Bonnie Graham
Cook Time: 2 1/2 to 3 hours
Keywords: bake entree carrots parsnips potato meat

Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 3-pound chuck roast, trimmed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large coarsely chopped onion
  • 1 cup dry red wine (optional - add 1 c beef broth instead)
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/3 c less-sodium beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 c baby large carrots
  • 2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 large red-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350º.
2. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.Salt and pepper roast and add to the heated pan.
3. Cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove roast from pan.
4. Add onion to pan; sauté until tender.
5. Return browned roast to pan. Add the red wine, thyme sprigs, chopped garlic, beef broth, and bay leaf to pan; bring to a simmer.
6. Cover pan and bake at 350° for 1 1/2 hours or until the roast is almost tender.
7. Add carrots, parsnips, and potatoes to pan. Cover and bake an additional 1 hour or until vegetables are tender.
8. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf from pan; discard. Remove veggies and roast from the pan leaving the juices.
9. Skim excess fat off of the juices if desired. Return the pan to the stovetop over medium-high heat.
10. Whisk in 2 tsp of corn starch to pan with juice. Continue to whisk until juices thicken slightly to make a gravy. Pour over meat and veggies.
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Sunday, November 4, 2012

What Do You Do....

...when the power goes off and you have 12 vials of insulin in the fridge?

I may have mentioned before that insulin needs to be kept cold otherwise it will degrade and become less effective, becoming altogether useless. Jerry and I were a little arrogant when preparing for Hurriance Sandy, in that we didn't really prepare at all. Sure, we filled up a few water bottles, had plenty of food, knew we had flashlights somewhere in the apartment, but I think we assumed that we would maintain power and go on our merry ways. I'm sure that's what most people assume....up until the moment the lights go out.

I was hopeful naive in thinking that the power would be out only for a short time. Five days later, we're still sitting in the dark.

My first thought when the lights went out was "What do I do with all my insulin?" Actually, my first though was "Shit, I just made pumpkin mousse and now it's going to go bad." Priorities, people.

I had just received a three month shipment of insulin which means that every single vial I will need for the next three months was in a slowly warming fridge. You think that in all of our "extensive" planning, I would have thought through what to do with these extremely valuable, life-saving vials.

Luckily, Jerry's brother maintained power and has been able to baby-sit my insulin until we can give them a good home again. I'm worried that they still have become too warm in the 24 hours without power, but I guess I'll have to wait and see.

Friday, November 2, 2012

MIA

For the three of you who read this blog, you might have noticed that I have been MIA these last few days. That's primarily because we have been without power since Monday evening as a result of Hurricane Sandy. No power means no cooking. Or so one would assume.

But not I. I can't go  more then a few days without cooking! When we had finally given up on preserving what was left of our freezer goods, I got to cooking. Thankfully, our stove top is gas! Probably the only time I've been truly grateful for gas in our apartment. That was a Jerry/flatulence joke in case you didn't get it.

To reward us for not going completely insane without power or real running water for three days, I made us as delicious a dessert as one can make in the pitch black. Nothing like cooking by camp latern!



Black-Out Berry-Peach Dumplings

by Bonnie Graham
Keywords: dessert berries peaches cinnamon

Ingredients
  • 1 bag of mixed frozen berries, de-frosted
  • 1/2 bag frozen peaches, de-frosted
  • 3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 c rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 c sweetner (or more depending on your taste)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 c milk or water plus 1 - 2 more tbsp depending on consistency
Instructions
1. Add your berries and peaches to a skillet over medium-high heat. Allow to come to a low simmer.
2. Meanwhile, add all dry ingreidents to a bowl and mix well.
3. Slowly add in liquid, mixing as you go. The amount of liquid added will depend on the dough consistency. You want to be able to form the dough into dumplings, but they shouldn't be stiff.
4. Once the berry/peach mix has started to bubble, form your dumplings using a spoon on drop on top of the berry mix. Cover pan with a lid.
5. Lower to medium-low heat to allow the dumplings to cook.
6. Allow to cook 15 - 18 minutes or until the dumplings are firmed up.
7. Serve and enjoy!
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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dirty Veggies, Part 12

This week's farmer's market was a bit of a challenge for me. Mostly because we can open up our own little farm stand with the amount of veggies we have in the house! Have I mentioned our squash problem? Because we have such an abundance, I didn't want to over do it at the market and end up throwing away any pretty produce.

However, I went to the farmer's market with a particular recipe in mind. Parsnip-Rosemary Muffins. Parsnip. In muffins. Doesn't that sound like the most amazing idea ever? Okay, okay, fine, I'm sure that chocolate and peanut butter in muffins sound much more amazing, but I love parsnips! And I love rosemary. Can you see how putting the two together would equal excitement? 

This week's roundup:
1 head of garlic - $1.25
1 bunch of kale - $2.00
1 bunch rosemary - $1.50
7 Bosc pears - $2.25
6 large parsnips - $3.00
Total: $10.00

These muffins were quite good if parsnip and rosemary are your thang. This recipe could easily be made into a bread loaf too.


Parsnip-Rosemary Muffins

by Bonnie Graham
Cook Time: 20 to 25 minutes
Keywords: bake breakfast snack vegetarian parsnips rosemary

Ingredients (1 1/2 dozen)
  • 1 3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 c apple sauce
  • 1/4 c brown rice syrup or sweetener of your choosing
  • 1 c plain fat free yogurt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 large parsnips, grated
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tins.
2. Mix all dry ingredients together until combined.
3. Add all wet ingredients except grated parsnips and rosemary. Combine well.
4. Add in parsnips and rosemary. There are a lot of parsnips in this muffin!
5. Fill muffin tins 1/2 way with batter. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and muffin top bounces back when pushed.
6. Allow muffins to cool for 10 minutes.
7. Enjoy toasted with butter!
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Friday, October 26, 2012

Snacky Snack

I have a goal to never puke on my yoga mat. I think it's a good goal. It's something that's generally frowned upon in the yoga community.

When my Yoga Teacher Training started two weekends ago, I knew I needed to come up with some light, healthy snacks that were portable, good on the blood sugar, and wouldn't make me want to hurl in the middle of my Downward Facing Dog.

What I came up with were this cookies, inspired by Dr. Oz. Dr. Oz has started to make a strange appearance in our household lately. Mostly because Jerry has decided he is a middle-aged housewife who just loves Dr. Oz.

I have to admit, his show can be pretty engaging. Especially since he often tauts a lifestyle we already live, which includes a non-processed, whole foods diet with plenty of physical activity. You can keep this recipe in line with that philosophy by using plant-based protein powder and unrefined sugar.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Cookies

by Bonnie Graham
Cook Time: 10 - 12 minutes
Keywords: bake snack vegetarian oats peanut butter

Ingredients (12 cookies)
  • 1/3 c natural peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp sucanat (unrefined sugar)
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c oats
  • 2/3 c ground flaxseed meal
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 scoops chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (optional)
Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix together eggs, sucanat, applesauce, peanut butter and vanilla.
3. Add protein powder, oats, flax meal, salt, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice, if using.
4. Drop spoonfuls dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheet.
5. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until golden brown.
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Apple Challenge

I love apple picking. Mostly because I love to leave the orchards with a ridiculous little plastic bag (what's with that?!) packed to the gills with apples that I can never possibly finish before they all go bad.

I see it as a challenge! The apples are challenging me to eat them! And I do. In every possible variation.

Two simple ways to enjoy all those fall apples are in apple sauce and apple butter. These recipes are reeeeeeediculously easy and delicious. So easy, it makes you spell bad, yo. Also, there is no added sugar. Yay for those of us with broken pancreases!



Slower Cooker Apple Sauce and Apple Butter

by Bonnie Graham
Keywords: slow-cooker sauce apples cinnamon fall





Ingredients
  • 5 lbs sweet and tart apples, leaving skins on - the natural pectin in the skin helps to thicken the sauce
  • 1 - 2 tsp cinnamon, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg, or to taste
  • juice of 1 lemon
Instructions
For Apple Sauce:
1. Slice apples and add to slow cooker. Add lemon juice and spices.
2. Set to low heat for 4 hours. Stir occasionally if you can.
3. After 4 hours, remove from slow cooker and puree sauce to desired consistency. Enjoy!
For Apple Butter:
1. Follow the directions for the apple sauce, except puree until their are no lumps and mixture is smooth.
2. Add pureed apples back to the slow cooker. Cook on high for 1 hour without the cover on. Stir occasionally if you can.
3. You can cook longer if you're looking for a more caramel-y consistency, but you'll end up with less apple butter.
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