Friday, June 29, 2012

Itchy and Scratchy

Did anyone else religiously watch Friends and memorize every episode that was ever aired? Do you remember the episode where Phoebe and Charlie Sheen, her love interest at the time, get the chicken pox together? And to stop them from scratching, the "friends" duct tape oven mitts to their hands?

Meeeee too! Total soul mates!

I had a Friends moment this week. Our lives are so similar!

Prior to our trip to Cape Cod, Jerry decided to roll around in poison ivy, just to make that 5 hour drive extra special! His itch only intensified as the days past until I was certain I was going to find him in the kitchen in full-on Saw position, debating which leg to cut off first. It eventually culminated in Jerry being in so much pain, he could barely stand and us making an emergency trip to the local Urgent Care Clinic, where we learned that Jerry had a serious infection. 

One of the most annoying/endearing things about Jerry is his ability to morph into a 5 year old at any given moment. Whether it be to show you his boogers or to ask for help because he isn't feeling well, his child-like nature sucks me every time!

I spent the majority of Thursday with my sick man/child, threatening to cut his hands off if he didn't stop scratching and preparing his favorite comfort foods. I made his requested meal of scrambled eggs and Heinz beans (because, apparently, he becomes Charles Dickens when he's sick) for lunch, but dinner was going to be something we could both enjoy, soup! Because who does't enjoy soup in the middle of a heat wave?!

I'm not usually one to make meat, but for my little/big guy, I made the exception.

Chicken Meatball Soup for the Poison Ivyed Soul

by Bonnie Graham
Keywords: soup/stew tomato grain chicken

    Chicken Meatballs Ingredients
    • 1 package lean ground chicken
    • 2 cloves garlic, grated
    • 1 1/2 slices of bread, broken into smaller pieces
    • 1/2 c Italian seasoned bread crumbs
    • 2 tbsp oil
    • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
    • 1 tsp fennel seed
    • 7 basil leaves, ciffonade
    • 1 egg
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    Soup Ingredients
    • 1 large onion, diced
    • 2 -3 garlic cloves
    • 2 carrots, sliced
    • 1 large can of diced tomatoes in juice
    • 2 1/2 tsp oregano
    • 1 1/2 tsp celery seed
    • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
    • 1 cup cooked wheat berries (or preferred grain)
    • 1 cup cannelli beans
    • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
    • 1 handful parsley, chopped
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    1. Combine all of the meatball ingredients in a large bowl.
    2. Heat non-stick pot with olive oil over medium-high heat. With wet hands, roll chicken meatballs and drop into hot pot. Cook meatballs in batches. Be sure not to crowd the pan.
    3. Flip meatballs to ensure even browning. Don't worry about the meatball being cooked all the way through as you'll be adding it to the soup later.
    4. Once you have finished browning your meatballs, put them to one side. In the same pan, over medium heat, add onions and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and add in some of your spices. Let soften.
    5. Add carrots. Season with another sprinkle of spices. Saute a few minutes.
    6. Add tomatoes, grains, and beans. Sprinkle in the rest of your seasoning.
    7. Allow soup mixture to come to a simmer, then add broth and parsley. Mix well.
    8. Once broth has been added, add chicken meatballs back to the pot.
    9. Allow pot to come to a low boil then reduce heat to maintain a simmer.
    10. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or whenever your carrots are at a desired tenderness.
    11. Remove oven mitts so eating can commence!
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    Tuesday, June 26, 2012

    99 Recipes...

    ...and a bitch ain't one!

    You may have noticed that Get the Grub tab underneath the Goodbye Pancreas Header. Do you see it there under the main title? You may have also noticed that it has been "Soon to come!" for the last...oh, I don't know....12 months!

    Well, no longer, my friends. This vacation has given me the motivation (and time) to get my new recipe page up and running. Go ahead and click on over to the "Get the Grub" for a complete listing of all my recipes. I'm using the amazing Recipage to help organize this page.

    Sooo...if you're having recipe problems, I feel bad for you, son. I've got 99 recipes and a bitch ain't one.

    Hit me!

    Monday, June 25, 2012


    This week starts the first of several (much needed) summer vacations. Yay! Oh yes, my friends, several.

    Excuse me for rubbing your nose in it, but...are you jealous? Oh, just you wait! It gets better. 

    We have several mini-vacations that culminate into a big, huge, awesome vacation to Spain in August. What better way to kick off a vacation season that ends in the Sangria Capital of the World then to make our sangria with a $5 bottle of wine?! I'm sure it's very authentic to what we'll get in Barcelona.

    Until then, a glass of sangria in Cape Cod will do.

    White Peach Sangria

    by Bonnie Graham

    Ingredients (1 pitcher)
    • 2 ripe white peaches
    • 5 ripe plums
    • 1 nectarine
    • 1 cup triple sec
    • 1 bottle white wine
    • Optional: fruit juice, sweetener, mint leaves, basil leaves, etc.
    1. Slice fruit and add to a pitcher.
    2. Add triple sec and white wine.
    3. Let sangria sit for an hour up to several hours. Enjoy!
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    Sunday, June 24, 2012

    Oh My God, It's Your Birthday!

    Growing up, I always wanted to be like my older sister.

    Except for maybe in the hair and clothes department. :)

    I actually feel bad for people who don't have sisters. Sure, sure, siblings are siblings. But there's really nothing like having a sister. No one understands you quite like your sister. 

    Without my sister, I'd probably fall apart far more often, definitely have been arrested by now, and certainly would have less laughter in my life. I would have an emptiness in my life, void of that one person I can call at any time and have her be just as enraged/excited/happy/sad as I am in that moment. I wouldn't have that person to remind me of all the silly and embarrassing things I've done and laugh just as hard at the 100th telling of it as we did at the first.

    A sister gives that to me.

    Happy birthday, Lisa.
    May things only go up from here.

    Wednesday, June 20, 2012

    Dirty Veggies, Part 1

    With reusable, eco-friendly bags in hand and a $10 budget, I make my way to the White Plains Farmer's Market each Wednesday. Have I mentioned my recent obsession with the farmer's market?

    Oh, I haven't...well then.

    I'm soooo in love with my farmer's market. In fact, I'm so smitten that I've decided that you need to be too! With that, I'm going to be posting a weekly installment of all my fresh veg buys as a way of maybe convincing you to go and check out your local market too!

    This week's rundown:
    1 bunch fresh carrots - $1.75
    1 bunch radishes - $1
    1 bunch cilantro - $1.50 (so fragrant)
    1 bunch parsley - $1
    1 head green leaf lettuce - $1.25
    5 vine-ripened tomatoes - $3.75 (my splurge)
    garlic scape - $.60
    Total: $10.85....just $.85 over budget, not too shabby. 

    At one point or another, all those veggies will be in my salad...and then in my belly! I have something wonderfully delicious in store for you with the cilantro and parsley.

    Aren't you excited?!

    Monday, June 18, 2012

    Dad's Day

    I have many memories of my father growing up. One memory that stands out is when I played PeeWee Soccer in the third grade. The first year I played, I happened to be friends with the superstar player, Sean.  It’s amazing that PeeWee soccer had superstar players, but it did. I had the honor of being Sean’s friend because our parents were buddies.

    Being one of the only girls in the entire league was tough, but I managed to have a successful first season (with Sean’s help). By the time the second season came around, Sean had aged up to the big league, forcing me to fend for myself. The second season definitely was not as good. The boys were horrendously mean to me and the coach was even worse.

    A few games into the season, I had spent most of the time on the sidelines. I wasn’t the best player ever, but we were in the third grade. No one was a good player! I’m not sure what had exactly pushed my dad over the edge, but one day, as I sat bundled in a blanket, watching the game clock tick by, having barely played at all, my dad went up to the coach. Why wasn’t I playing? It’s a recreational league. Everyone should have time to play! Was it because I was the only girl on the team? Because no one else had sat out the entire game!

    Granted, my dad was a bit of a bulldog back then. He threw the jersey in the coach’s face and we marched off the field. Soccer was no longer my sport of choice.

    That definitely wasn’t the last time my dad came to my aid when things were unfair. Over time, his approach has definitely mellowed. His support may now come more in the form of hugs and supportive words then telling off a soccer coach, but I know, without a doubt, my dad always has my back.

    When I hear other people’s stories of absent fathers (or worse, abusive fathers), I am reminded how sincerely lucky I am to have my dad. Whether it is to give me directions, paint my apartment, or harass my car insurance agent 15 times a day, I know my dad is always there for me.

    And true to form, to show that I am definitely my father’s daughter, I write this post a day late. J

    Thanks for everything, Dad.

    Happy Father’s Day.

    Friday, June 15, 2012

    Dirt Eater

    I love when there's dirt still on my vegetables! It excites me to think that it was not so long ago that they were in the ground at someone's family farm. It reminds me of where my food comes from, the people who grow it, and the health/environmental/financial benefits of shopping at my local farmer's market.

    With the market in full swing, I have made it my mission to attend the White Plains Farmer's Market every Wednesday. This market is small, but convenient to my job and has some good deals on dirty but awesome produce. Just wait until garlic is back in season! Oh. My. Lord. So good.

    I usually leave the market with a big, fat bag of produce and delicious lunch/dinner ideas swirling around my head. However, once that bag of produce enters my apartment, it is in danger zone, fighting to get out of the abyss that is my vegetable drawer!

    Thank goodness that my obsession with the farmer's market also happens to coincide with my obsession for all things salad. Almost every single veggie in the recipe was grown in the Tri-state area and Pennsylvania.

    Maybe now you'll let me forget that whole banana thing?

    Farmer's Market Salad

    by Bonnie Graham

    Keywords: salad low-carb salmon

    Ingredients (Enough for two large salads)

    • 2 salmon fillets, preferred size
    Marinade ingredients:
    • 1 tbsp liquid smoke
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tsp smoked paprika
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • salt and pepper
    Salad ingredients:
    • 1 head red lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
    • 1 ripe tomato
    • 1 bunch radishes, halved and roasted (recipe to come)
    • 1 bunch baby carrots or 2 - 3 regular carrots, halved and roasted
    • 6 - 7 strawberries, sliced
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar


    1. Place salmon in a ziplock bag with all of the marinade ingredients. Let sit for at least 20 minutes or several hours.

    2. Prepare all of your veggies and add whatever ones you like/have on hand.

    3. Cook your salmon over medium high heat, skin-side down, until desired doneness is reached. You should try to get a crispy bottom. It may help to put a lid on the pan to help the fish cook all the way through.

    4. Dress your salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, or a dressing of your choice.

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    Tuesday, June 12, 2012

    Breaking Down

    Shockingly, this isn't a post on the status of my mental health. It's about my resolve.

    Remember that rather impassioned lecture I gave you on bananas not growing in the US, but in some third world nation where entitled gringos snapped pictures of the day laborers as they placed our Dole products into bags for shipment? How disturbed I was by the whole scene?

    Yeah....well....I'm a total hypocrite. I have been knocked off my high horse.

    But at least I can admit it.

    Due to my recent obsession with Pinterest (if you don't know you MUST try it) and all of my vegan blogs, the call of banana usage was reinstated. So many recipes use bananas as an alternative way of sweetening a variety of baked goods without adding any other sugar. Plus, bananas are a great source of potassium and other vitamins & minerals. AND with the warm weather here, my craving for all things ice cream is kicked up 10,000 notches. Bananas have been able to provide a nice frozen treat alternative without ruining my blood sugar.

    Does it sound like I'm making excuses? Like I'm trying to convince you why it's okay that I'm buying bananas again? Trying to sway you into thinking that I'm NOT a hypocrite?

    Well, you'd right.

    But maybe I can distracted you with THIS:

    Yogurt pops just don't photograph well.
    Peanut Butter Banana Greek Yogurt Pops

    Ingredients (Depends on your popsicle mold)
    • 1 1/2 c nonfat Greek yogurt
    • 1 large, ripe banana
    • 2 - 3 tbsp honey
    • 2 - 3 tbsp peanut butter
    • Popsicle molds
    1. Mash bananas in a large bowl to your preferred consistency. I left a few chunks in mine.
    2. Add Greek yogurt and honey. Stir well to combine.
    3. Swirl peanut butter through yogurt mixture, trying not to combine too much that there are still swirls of peanut butter running throughout your popsicles.
    4. Fill your popsicle molds. Freeze until solid.
    5. To remove your popsicles, run the mold under hot water for 5 - 10 seconds or until pop slides out. Enjoy.
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    God, you're so easy. Look at how I distracted you there. 

    Sunday, June 10, 2012

    Sugar, Sugar, Honey, Honey....

    "But you can't have honey!!"

    I've been hearing those words a lot lately. It makes complete and total sense why people would say it. Espeically since when I was first diagnosed, all liquid sweeteners were forsaken. I wouldn't even touch them for fear that they would be absorbed through my skin causing my blood sugar to sky rocket!

    However, lately, I've been reconsidering my stance on all things sweet. Well...most things.

    Most of the food blogs I read use sweeteners like maple syrup, honey, or brown rice syrup as their sugar of choice. While it's not surprising that these healthy, all-natural blogs aren't touting granulated sugar and high fructose corn syrup as their sweeteners, I had assumed that things like maple syrup were just as bad.

    For someone like me, it is. At least in terms of carbohydrates, but not in terms of health.

    Confused yet?

    The reality is that a carb is a carb is a terms of insulin need. Fifteen grams of sugar requires just as much insulin for my body to process it as 15g of whole wheat bread or apple sauce. Each will raise my blood sugar, maybe just in different ways.

    Still with me?

    When I started doing some research on what the benefits of using alternative sweeteners, such as honey, molasses, and maple syrup were, I learn that these things actually have significant health benefits in addition to just makin' shit taste good. They're high in minerals and vitamins where sugar does not have any. Plus, they're often sweeter then regular sugar, causing you to need less in recipes.

    While I'm not going full throttle and using only honey as my sweetener of choice, I have started to use it more frequently in recipes in conjunction with Truvia, an all-natural, low-carb sweetener made from the stevia plant. I do feel like this fits in more with the life style I'm trying to create of clean, healthy eating.

    Plus, it gives me an excuse to "practice" all my baked good recipes. :)

    On note on a agave nectar, this substance has confused me for some time. While it's low on the glycemix index (and therefore good for those with impaired pancreai), it apparently isn't any better for you then the high fructose corn syrup. It's just as processed. It happens to also just be marketed a way to make you think it's healthy. Talk about informed consumers!

    Thursday, June 7, 2012

    Out of the Box

    Ingredients: Sugar, Vegetable Oil Shortening (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oils, Monoand Diglycerides, Polysorbate 60), Water, Corn Syrup. Contains 2% Or Less Of: Cornstarch, Salt, Natural and Artificial Lemon Flavor, Preservatives (Potassium Sorbate), Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Colored with (Yellow 5)

    Standing online at Target, that was my reading material.

    For my birthday, I thought I would make myself some cupcakes. Lemon ones with lemon icing. Sounds delicious, right? Until the lemon icing rolled on its side, exposing its nasty under belly. Once I saw that list of ingredients, I knew there was no way I was buying that icing. Or the cake mix!

    I figured, "I'm creative. I'm a good cook! It shouldn't be hard to make a healthier, more natural icing!" Still wanting the shortcut, I bought a new organic cake mix with a list of familiar ingredients and set out to make my own frosting. 


    Noticing the lack of pictures here? 

    Unfortunately, the organic cake mix ended up tasting more like corn muffins then lemon cupcakes. I know I'm in trouble when my friends politely decline finishing a cupcake! The frosting, however, was actually pretty good...if it had ever achieved it's full frosting potential. Which it didn't. Because I refused to put in the required 3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar!!!! Diabetes. Blood sugar. Come on, people!

    Feeling a little deflated from the previous night's insulin pump adventures and disappointed that no real birthday cake had yet been consumed, I decided to take another crack at cake making. Except this time, it would be for breakfast. It would be a tried and trusted recipe. It would still be lemon flavored!


    Lemon-Strawberry Birthday Breakfast Cake
    Makes 1 cake, but could easily be increased to make more

    Cake Ingredients
    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 lemon extract
    1 1/2 tsp sweetener of your choice (Brown sugar adds a nice flavor, but I usually opt for the truvia!)

    2 - 3 strawberries, chopped
    pinch of salt

    Icing Ingredients1/4 c cottage cheese
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp to 2 tsp sweetener of your choice
    1/2 tsp lemon extract
    splash of milk, if needed
    1 - 2 strawberries

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a small ramekin.
    2. In a small bowl, whisk the egg.
    3. Whisk in applesauce, lemon, 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. 

    7. For icing, place all ingredients in a small blender or food processor. Blend until combined. Add milk if you prefer a thinner consistency. 

    Tuesday, June 5, 2012

    Home is Wherever I'm With You

    It's strange to think of breaking up as a necessary part of a relationship. It's a bit counter intuitive, really. You work to stay together, not to fall apart. Many people feel like once a relationship is over, it's done with, never to be re-visited again!

    While I do think that this can be true, for Jerry and I, our break-up was an absolute necessity for our relationship. As hard as we worked to keep our relationship together, we both knew we needed our separate time and space to figure our shit out. While there's still things for us to work on, having that space gave us the breathing room we needed to be the people we truly are in a relationship we actually wanted.

    And I guess it worked because, here we are, at our two year anniversary.

    Having just entered a new chapter in our lives, I can't say that it has been all rainbows and sunshine. We're definitely making our way through this transition process to come out on what I am sure will be a stronger, happier side.

    I'm always amazed by Jerry's patience, his easy-going nature, and his playfulness. It's something I'm rather grateful for as I definitely would have killed me by now or at least locked me in a closet for several hours.

    Whether it's because we had a three month break in our relationship or because I love him just as much today as I did last year, it certainly doesn't feel like two years have passed. As much as I might complain about his emanation of scents (which I'm sure are contributing to global warming), his guitar-related paraphernalia, or any number of his other idiosyncrasies, I have myself a really great man. I am thankful for each day that he is in my life.

    Happy Anniversary, Dearling. Thank you for resisting the urge to lock me in a closet.

    Monday, June 4, 2012

    Diabetes: Ruining Birthdays Since 2010

    Initially, I had this as a working title for a post about Jerry's birthday last year. Now I'm recycling it since diabetes reared it's ugly little head this weekend in attempt to ruin mine!

    Not-uh, douchebag!

    For my birthday this year, my friends and I took a wine tasting tour of vineyards on the North Fork of Long Island. We had a great time. It was beautiful day. Wine and plenty of food was consumed!

    I knew I had over eaten throughout the day and was completely aware of the fact that I would most likely have high blood sugar throughout the day as a punishment for my gluttony. When I know high numbers are coming, I tend to be a little avoidant of testing. I know, I know. I shouldn't do that. Blah blah blah. Whatever.

    After several hour of not eating had passed, just as I was getting ready for bed, I gave in and finally tested. 398!! Holy shit! I knew the day was bad, but I didn't think it was that bad.

    I walked into the bedroom to play my favorite "Guess the Hyperglycemia!" with Jerry. As he took his turn, I started to program the high number into my insulin pump in order to correct the blood sugar (meaning give myself insulin to come back into normal range). Except, my pump was not cooperating.

    In fact, as I press the button to go up to 398, the numbers are the meter just kept running, going higher and higher. No worries. No insulin was given during this time. In fact, that right there was the problem....and explained my 398 blood sugar. My pump was broken! It probably hadn't been giving me insulin for hours.

    Want to add insult to...well, insulin pump? My back-up plan, you know the plan every good diabetic should have when wearing an insulin pump, where you have "just in case" insulin pens sitting in your fridge to give yourself shots in the event something was to go wrong with your pump. Oh yes, that plan. Well, that plan was still in the refridgerator at my old apartment in Queens!!

    After getting off the phone with Medtronic, the manufacturer of my pump, who couldn't magically fix my pump over the phone and was sending me out a new one to arrive on today, Jerry and I had to get in the car and drive over to Astoria to pick up my "back-up plan," only to turn around and drive right back to Jersey so our exhausted asses could go to bed.

    While this little venture was quite the annoyance, it is also an excellent lesson. First, it shows me how to dependent I have become on the pump that figuring out how much insulin to take at each meal has definitely been a challenge. Second, the importance of actually having a back-up plan accessible and not just saying that I do. Third, to always think ahead in terms of birthdays because diabetes can be such a dick!

    Saturday, June 2, 2012

    30 Years Young

    I was out to dinner with my good friend, Erica, a few weeks ago. During dinner, she said something rather wise. It must be because she's approaching her 30th birthday too.  

    She said something along the lines of when you're 16 years old, you think you know everything. Everyone else is an idiot. Your parents, your teachers, pretty much an adult in your life just doesn't get it and probably never will. At 21, with your alcohol-infused brain in the driver's seat, you realize you obviously didn't know everything at 16....because you know it all now! At 25, you start to get the sense that maybe there are things you don't know. You consider the possibility that there might still be things for you to learn. And at 30....well, at 30, you realize you actually don't know shit!

    I have come to have a new appreciation for the saying "Men plan. God laughs." As life moves along, it's clear that it just doesn't unfold the way that you expect it to. Things get tossed in the way that you never would have expected. Oh, hello there, Diabetes!

    If you had asked me at 16 or 21 or even 25, what I'd be doing when I was 30, I probably would have told you that I would be married with at least one or two kids while successfully running my own non-profit organization. Of course, by 30, I would be wildly successfully, completely healthy, and well on my way to financial independence!

    You can stop laughing now.

    If I was today what my deluded younger self thought I should be, I would married to the wrong person, with children I wasn't ready for, in a job that was over my head. I am actually really glad that I'm not any of those things.

    While at times I still feel like I'm waiting for life to start, I see how much life I've already had and how really fucking good its been. Its had its ups and downs, but it has shaped me into the person I am today.  And she's not too shabby. I also see how much more life there is to come and it's pretty damn exciting.

    So...go ahead! Come at me, 30! I am ready for ya!