Friday, April 27, 2012

Freshman 15

In college, my idea of "healthy" was well intentioned, but definitely misguided! I thought if I ate salad (with blue cheese dressing) every night for dinner, only ate the vegan desserts in the dining hall, and bought the reduced fat Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup, that I was healthy. Imagine my dismay when the pounds kept piling up despite my "healthy" lifestyle. Hello Freshman 15. Where'd you come from? 

Hopefully, my knowledge of healthy living is more advanced now then it was in my beer-laden, college-aged mind. However, there are a few bad food habits from college that I occasionally wish to indulge in, but seek more mature, healthy alternatives. These include Doritos on buttered rolls (so bad, but oh so good!), Buffalo chicken wings with real blue cheese sauce, and that disgustingly delicious Cream of Mushroom soup! How was I not diabetic then?

In a monstrous craving attack a few weekends ago, where I thought I would die if I did not have a cup of Cream of Mushroom soup (I'm dramatic about my food), I created this recipe that does not come from a can nor require the use of cream! My ass, thighs, and stomach all thank me!

Bubbly from the Immersion Blender
Kickass Cream of Mushroom Soup*

1 medium onion, diced**
1 -2 garlic cloves, minced**
1 package cremini mushrooms, sliced and cut in half depending on the size**
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp butter - just for a little bit of richness
3 tbsp flour (I used whole wheat)
2 1/2 cups mushroom or vegetable broth
1 12 oz can evaporated fat-free milk
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat oil in heavy bottomed pot. Add onions and garlic. Let saute for 4 to 5 minutes.
2. Add chopped mushrooms and thyme. Let cook another few minutes until mushrooms begin to soften and brown.
3. Add butter. Wait for butter to melt before adding the flour. Mix in flour and let roux brown for a few more minutes.
4. Slowly, while whisking, add in broth, making sure to scrap up whatever bits may have browned on the bottom of the pot. Whisk for another minute or two. Salt and pepper to desired taste.
5. Let soup simmer for 15 minutes. It will thicken as it cooks. If the soup is too thick, a little broth at a time, remembering that you will be adding the milk.
6. Turn down heat and add milk, making sure never to let the soup boil after milk has been added. Heat through.
Optional step - 7. Use an immersion blender to slightly puree soup to get desired texture. This step isn't necessary depending on your preference.

*The ingredients in this soup can be reduced to make this into a vegetarian mushroom gravy, which happens to be awesome over meaty non-meat meatballs!
** indicates that produce in locally grown in NY and PA

Meaty Non-Meat Meatballs in Mushroom Gravy

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Missing Something

Sometimes, when I read articles or other people's diabetes blogs, I get the sense that I'm missing something.

Despite my adjustment to diabetes, I am still not completely fluent in its language. I get the sense that there are things that I'm not doing that I should be (besides avoiding eating entire loaves of bread and seconds on desserts).

Even though my A1Cs have been where they should be, I'm usually fearful that each time I go to get my blood drawn my results are going to be skyward of 7.0. I end up becoming avoidant of getting the blood test done, which just increases my anxiety about it! It's really quite stressful.
Sometimes, I convince myself that I will actually start doing some of the things I think I'm suppose to...tomorrow. Not today.  Things like logging my blood sugars, following a stricter diet, doing the occasional basal test (which I'm still not exactly sure what that is, but I know I should be doing it!), making an appointment to see the Diabetes Educator, checking my pump data to see if there are patterns, and making an appointment with a nutritionist. I can go on.

I realize that there are still so many nuanced questions that I just don't get answers to. Foods that I'm still not sure how to bolus for. High blood sugars that seem to come out of no where. The occasional panic that I'm losing my vision and my toes are gangrenous. How to eat and insulin prior to working out.

There's so much that goes into living this life. It's all very overwhelming sometimes. I wish diabetes came with a guide book.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


We're in the final weeks now before my move-in with Jerry. By May 12th, I will be an official fist-pumper, livin' in Jersey. Maybe Snookie and I will become friends. I give complete permission for anyone who reads this blog to punch me in the face if I say that again!

While I'm excited to start the next chapter of my life, it is bittersweet. I love living in Astoria. I'm definitely it's number one fan! I sometimes have to remind myself that Astoria won't cease to exist once I've crossed state lines. I can always come back to visit my old favorites. Plus, with the roomie staying in our apartment, I will have a permanent crash pad whenever I need it.

What better way to say good-bye and pay homage to my favorite place in Queens then to have a party! We also just like to throw parties.

Of course, it wouldn't be party without food. I have to say that this was probably my easiest party menu with being able to prepare so many things ahead of time. I've put asterisks by all the things that could be made the day before.

Here's my Greek inspired menu.

Ode to Astoria Menu

Hummus - Regular and Chipotle Pepper* 
Baba Ghanoush*
Mini Spanikopita*
Greek Salad on a Stick
Lemon Fingerling Potatoes
Bakalava Cups*
Mini Greek Yogurt Parfaits*
* Can be made the day before

Now for one of the recipes.....

Greek Salad on a Stick


"Greek Salad" 
1 seedless cucumber, sliced
grape or cherry tomatoes - as many as you'll need for skewers; I used Campari tomatoes
1/4 lb feta, cut into cubes
kalamata olives - as many as you'll need for skewers

Red Wine Vinaigrette
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste

1. Skew your "salad" ingredients, starting with the olive. Then, add the feta, tomato, and cucumber.
2. Mix together all of your vinaigrette ingredients.
3. Dress skewers with vinaigrette simply by evenly pouring it over the sticks. 

And done! How easy is that?!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Working for a Jewish agency, I have come to know a fair amount about customs, traditions, and rituals of Judaism. I even know about a dozen Hebrew words. For the previous two weeks, everyone at work has been preparing for Passover, a holiday where you are not able to eat leavened bread. A holiday where eating carbs is frowned upon? Count me in!

All this talk of Passover gave me a serious hankering for Matzo ball soup!

I had mentioned this craving to Jerry, who quickly agreed to make it for dinner. When I got home, I checked the soup pot and noticed that the matzo balls were speckled with darker colors. Assuming that this was Jerry's continued obsession with flax seeds and wheat germ, I asked "What grains did you put in the matzo balls?" He said "Those aren't grains. That's pork!"

I told this story to several of my co-workers, who said "He's obviously not Jewish."
"No, definitely not Jewish, but his balls are awesome." His matzo balls, that is. Badabump! That's a little bit of Jewish humor for you.

Still craving some more traditional matzo ball soup, I decided to make my own. I'm going to do you a mitzvah and tell you the secret to making nice, fluffy matzo balls. Add seltzer instead of water or broth to form your matzo balls. Pork is optional. Aren't I a good pretend Jew?

Sorry for the shitty picture. 

Whole Wheat Matzo Ball Soup

For Balls:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup whole wheat matzo meal
2 tablespoons seltzer - helps to make the balls lighter, who likes heavy balls anyway?
1 teaspoon salt, if desired
sprinkle of garlic powder and any other preferred seasoning

For Soup:
1 -2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium-size onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, sliced into similar sized pieces
3 celery stalks, sliced into similar sized pieces
5 - 6 mushrooms, diced (optional)
4 cups chicken or veggie broth (you also have the option of adding in actual chicken)
1 tsp oregano
1 bay lead
1 handful fresh chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a bowl, beat eggs; add oil, matzo meal and salt. Blend together. 
2. Add seltzer and mix until uniform. Cover and chill in refrigerator for about 20 minutes. 
3. In the meantime, saute your veggies in a large stock pot, starting with your garlic first and adding other ingredients as you go. Continue to add spices. 
4. Add broth to pot and bring to a boil. 
5.  Remove chilled matzo ball mixture from refrigerator. Moisten hands and form batter into matzo balls, approximately 1 inch in diameter. Reduce heat. Drop matzo balls into pot of soup. 
6. Cover tightly and simmer until thoroughly cooked, about 30-40 minutes. Enjoy soup!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hi Hater!

Yes. 'Tis true. I am a hater. Of many things. But for the purpose of time (and this blog's word limit), the focus of this post on diabetes blogs.

I know. I know. How can I possibly hate diabetes blogs seeing as how I have one and all? I'm just a dick like that. It's why Jackson and I get along so well.

Actually, it all started when I was first diagnosed with diabetes. Scouring the Internet for information led me across many amusing, interesting articles and blogs (read crazy cat lady post), but mostly what I found overwhelmed me and ultimately led to tears. I was still struggling with accepting this new life and each post I read made me more aware of things that I just wasn't quite ready to hear.

Over time, I have come to accept diabetes and are better able to hear those things that so quickly would have moved me to sobs a year and half ago. For example, when I was first diagnosed, I stumbled on the popular diabetes blog of Reading through Kerri's posts, I came across one about her insulin pump and her wedding day. She wrote about having a special pocket sewn into her wedding dress so that she could wear her pump, unnoticed.

I read this now and think "Wow, what a great idea!"

The Bonnie who read that a year and half ago burst into tears because she hadn't considered the ways diabetes would affect the special occasions in her life, like her wedding day. When that Bonnie got to the posts about Kerri's pregnancy....forget it. She had to close the laptop, unplug it, and leave the room. It was just too upsetting.

Now, I'm finding reading other diabetics' blogs much more enjoyable. There are still some experiences that I haven't yet had and make me nervous to read about (like hospitalizing lows and premature health complications). There are other times, when reading a similar experience, helps to calm me. It's nice to know that other people get burnt out by diabetes, have high blood sugars,  splurge on their diets and use their diabetes to get out of work early!

Maybe I'm not so much of hater after all. Just don't get me started on Lady Gaga. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hey, Are You?

Every week, we order pizza at work for our social skills group. It's usually the same delivery guys from week to week. People whose faces grow familiar to us as time passes, but who we know little about. 

But, last tonight...something different.

Delivery guy points to me and asks, "Hey, are you?"
Confused, I question "Am I?"
He reaches into his pocket and takes out his pump. He asks again, "Are you?"
Big smile across my face, "Yes, I am." 
"I would notice the tubing any where."
"How long for you?"
"Long time. Since I was 8."
"Really. It's just been a year and half for me."
"Really?! A year and half since onset?"
"Yup. How long you on the pump?"
"12 years. It's awesome!"
"Definitely. Best decision I've made. Thank you for asking me. I'm always on the look out for others. It's so funny."
"Yeah, me too. I'm always listening to see if beeps in the room are someone else's alerts. Have a good night."
"Yeah, you too."

Having met him several times before, always thinking he was a pleasant guy, tonight, for some reason, I liked him so much more.

Others do exist. Who would have thought?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Mother's Daughter

Growing up, I always thought I took after my father. My father is a talkative, outgoing person who loves to tell stories. He is also rather pig-headed and can give you the silent treatment like nobody's business. Qualities I happen to share with him.

However, as I have aged, I am starting to see more and more of myself in my mother. In fact, I have inherited an apparently genetic disease from her. No, not diabetes (but her genetics probably played a role in that too). It's "There's Not Enough Fooditis." 

As my mother prepared for Easter dinner, we listed off all of the food to be made, which included antipastos, dips, soup, fish, veggies, salad, and enough desserts to put me into a diabetic coma. We DEFINITELY had enough food. 

However, I realized that whenever I am preparing for a meal or party, where I am responsible for feeding others, my number one anxiety isn't if everything will taste good or poisoning everyone (though maybe I should move that concern up to the top of the list), it is will there be enough food. Which leads me only to make so much food that only a small army of men would be able to finish it all. 

Case in point, I recently had to prepare lunch for a staff meeting. Having worked a long day, I cooked for several hours after work, adding new dishes as I went to ensure plenty of food. However, whatever I had made the night before did not register as enough in my mind. I woke up the next morning and threw together this quick bread. 

Crazy for me. Lucky for you, because it happens to be an awesome bread!

This bread happens to be Herbed Sun DriedTomato and Parmesan Cheese Bread.
Buttermilk Quick Bread with 10 Variations
Adapted from
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
2 tbsp olive oil


1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease or spray with nonstick cooking spray a standard 9x5 loaf pan.
2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Melt the butter, if using. Whisk it in a separate bowl with the buttermilk and the egg.
3. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients. Gently stir and fold the ingredients until all the flour has been incorporated and a shaggy, wet batter is formed. Be careful not to over-mix.
4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and pat it into the corners. Bake for 45-50 minutes. When finished, the loaf should be domed and golden, and a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing and slicing.
5. Wrap baked loaves tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature. Baked loaves can also be wrapped in plastic and aluminum foil and frozen for up to three months.

10 Variations:
1. Cranberry-Walnut Loaf - 1 c. dried cranberries, 1/2 cup toasted and chopped walnuts, 1 tsp vanilla, zest from one orange
2. Apple-Cinnamon Loaf - 1 c. diced apples, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 cup toasted and chopped nuts
3. Cherry-Almond Loaf - 1 c. dried cherries, 1/2 cup toasted and chopped almonds, 1 tsp almond extract
4. Blueberry Loaf - 1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries, 1 tsp vanilla, zest from one lemon
5. Ginger-Orange Loaf - zest from two oranges, 1/4 cup minced crystallized ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon, pinch of cloves, pinch of nutmeg
6. Herbed Sun-dried Tomato and Parmesan Loaf - reduce sugar to 1 T, 1/2 c. grated cheese, 1 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp thyme, 2 T minced sun-dried tomatoes
7. Onion-Dill Loaf - reduce sugar to 2 T, one minced onion cooked until soft, 1 T minced fresh dill
8. Pesto Loaf - reduce sugar to 1 tablespoon, 1/4 c. pesto, 1/2 c. shredded parmesan cheese
9. Spicy Jalapeno Loaf - reduce sugar to 2 tablespoons, 1/4 cup minced jalapeno peppers, 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese, 2 tsp chili powder
10. Irish Soda Bread Look-Alike Loaf - reduce sugar to 1/4 cup, 1 T caraway seeds, 3/4 cup raisins

Friday, April 6, 2012

Blended Family

Ah, moving in together.

Some bumps in the road should be expected. Some time needed to adjust to one another's routines. Time to get use to each other's annoying habits, like horking a lung into the bathroom sink every morning and the endless need to fart every time you bend over. Have you ever met anyone who literally gags on their toothbrush every morning? Because I have. With any significant change in life, some anxiety is to be expected.

Maybe I'm being overly optimisitic, but my biggest "moving-in" concern has very little to do with Jerry and I. Really what I'm worried about, feel the incessant need to talk about, discuss with my how our cats will get along.

Look how fuzzy he is!
I know, I know. It's my own fault. I haven't given Jackson's the greatest rep with all my posts about his assholey behavior, but he really is a sweet kitty. Sometimes. When no one else is looking. 

Whereas Bilo, on the other hand, is the sweetest, most loving cat that has ever walked the planet. He doesn't stop purring.
He was purring as I took this photo.
In their few visits together, things have not gone well. Our last visit ended with Bilo shitting on the couch, just to really punctuate the fact that we were not welcomed! Message received, my friend. The only problem now is that this time I can't pack Jackson up at 3AM and take him home! We'll already be home!

I'm hoping our furkids can pull their shit together (both figuratively and literally) to make one happy family!

Wish us luck.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Diabetic Cereal

Growing up, we were never allowed to have sugar cereals. Frosted Flakes were as wild as it got in our house (and that was mostly reserved for my mother). I envied all my friends whose parents would let them go hog-wild on a box of Cookie Crisp. I would sneak upstairs to my best friend's apartment and eat bowl after bowl of Fruity Pebbles, Trix, and Cocoa Puffs. Are you wondering how diabetes took so long?

As I aged, my taste matured and looked towards to the more refind breakfast cereals, such as Honey Bunches of Oats and the cereal with the squirrel in the commerical. You know what I'm talking about! Eventually realizing those boxes of cereal have just as much sugar as a candy bar, I started to explore more wholesome cereals, like Puffins and Kashi Honey Sunshine (uuuuuhhhh, so good!).

Suddenly, all this cereal joyfulness ended! It's been a sad, sad time.

Delicious, processed cereal and my blood sugar just do not mix! I can guarantee, no matter how carefully I measure out the cereal, how reserved I am with the milk, almost 100% of the time, without a doubt, I will end up with a blood sugar in the 200's. It can't be helped.

Not worth the stress and hassle of battling a high, I had foresaken cereal (besides sneaking the occasional bite out of Jerry's bowl when he's not looking)! Until now, that is! I have come up with a reasonable cereal substitute that hasn't caused any issues with my blood sugar.

I'm going to go ahead and take all the credit for this creation. You might refer to it as muesli, which obviously has already been created. But you see, muesli is something my grandmother use to eat to keep herself regular. It's the food of old people. I am not an old person!

I am a hip, young diabetic just trying to get her breakfast on!
It's really not the same.

Oat Cereal with Mixed Nuts and Berries
This is a good base for any cereal mix. You can certianly add any preferred nut, dried and fresh fruits.

2/3 cup oats
1/3 cup golden, roasted flax seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
2 tbsp wheatgerm

1/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, dethawed
1/4 cup milk

1. Toast oats until lightly browned. Watch closely as they can burn quickly. You can also toast up your nuts if you so desire.
2. Put all the ingredients into a Tupperware container and mix 'em up.
3. Place half a cup in a bowl. Add skim milk and seasonal fruit. Enjoy!

If you'd like the oats a little softer, you can add the milk and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes or even overnight.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cleanse Me, Baby!

My detox is over and I know you've been on the edge of your seat to see how it went!

Overall, I think it went quite well. This detox gave me pause to consider and reflect on my current diet, eating habits, and my overall thoughts of "being healthy."

I have organized this nice, neat list of my reflections. You're welcome.

Eating Habits and Portion Control
Portion control. Something I very clearly lack. I'm a "clean my plate" kinda girl. Even though I was detoxing, the constant urge to stuff my face was ever present. However, I became much more aware of when, what, and why I was eating. Remember the M&M story? I have become more mindful of eating when I'm hungry, leaving food on my plate when I'm full, and making better choices when I want something to snack on.

Blood Sugar Control and Insulin Usage
My blood sugar was awesome during the detox! It's probably related to the almost complete lack of carbs, but still. I don't think I have seen such great blood sugar numbers. In addition to great numbers, my insulin usage was significantly reduced. I was changing reservoirs on my pump that still had 20+ units in it after 3 1/2 days! Seeing such a change in numbers is definitely motivating to stick with a diet that more closely resembles this detox then what I had been eating.

Sugar Addiction
I realized how incredibly dependent I had come on sugary treats. Things that hadn't even occurred to be as being sugar laden were. Though my cravings for sugar didn't necessarily disappear, I drastically reduced the amount of my sugar consumption. It's amazing how we can become addicted to something and not even realize it!

Body Image
I definitely have issues when it comes to my body image. In my mind, I'm always fluctuating between too thin and not thin enough. I commented on this in my last post. It definitely takes a toll on my self-confidence. Overall, I felt less bloated and had a greater sense of healthiness.

Overall, I felt healthy on this detox and especially in relationship to drinking less alcohol. While I enjoy my weekly bottles of wine far too much to give them up completely, this detox encourages me to drink less often. Maybe just reserving it for the weekend? Maybe.

It seems like such a silly thing, especially since every health magazine you ever pick up tells you to drink water, but it's really true. I can definitely feel a difference in my concentration levels, energy, and hungry when I am well hydrated. And I mean water hydration. Drinking tea or coffee is not the same as plain ol' H20.

In sum, while I looked at this detox as just a three week diet plan, it has showed me a better, cleaner way to eat. I hope to incorporate into my every day life. While, so far, I've been pretty bad in following that way of life, I'm hoping to get back on track. Any that helps me to keep my toes is all good thing in my book!**

**Creepy diabetes amputation reference