Thursday, December 5, 2013

Letting Go...

I recently had dinner with a friend who was celebrating her quarter century birthday (25, for those mathematically impaired). We toasted with Cucumber Margaritas to the final night of her 24th year. She shared her reflections of this past year, what it brought to her life, what changes had occurred, what sorrows she had experienced. Quite deep for a soon-to-be 25 year old, right? It's why we're friends. 

I shared in her reflection of the past year. If this past year had to be defined by a single word, it would be change. I have experienced a whole lot of change. I ended a relationship, changed jobs, and moved into a new apartment, all in three months time. I completed a yoga teacher training, gained a greater sense of spirituality, and started studying  Buddhism. I made new friends and built stronger relationship with old ones, which helped to ease that empty space in my chest left by an old love. I've starting asking myself with more frequency what is it that I really want, where do I want to be, and how do I get there.  

Many of you have made mention of the lack of posting happening in this space. While I could give you a litany of reasons for this slow-down in posting, the best reason points to this exact idea of change.

Goodbye Pancreas helped me process and start on this crazy journey of health in terms of diabetes. It was a place to write pithy posts about blood sugar control and cravings for Greek salads. I'm thankful to have had a place to go through this journey of diabetes, to explore my interest in writing, to gain supports from the others around me, and to keep in touch with those who I may not talk to regularly.

But as I evolve, so, too, must the things that I am putting my energy into.  Unfortunately, Goodbye Pancreas isn't really a reflection of that evolution for me anymore. 

All this being said, it's time to let go. I'm putting Goodbye Pancreas to rest.

Have no fear, though! I have started a new blog, which I feel is more of a reflection of me, who I am, and where I am heading. Hop over to suddenlyseekingbuddha.com to follow my antics.

Hope to see you there. 


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Hankering

Occasionally, I get a hankering for a specific kind of food and that's all I want to eat. Lunch and dinner can sometimes be the same exact thing if it's what I'm truly craving. I've had this type of obsessive love over this Greek-inspired Barley and Chickpea Salad with Tzatziki Dressing I've been making myself for lunch (and dinner) for the last two weeks.

Whenever I've tried to veer from this, I find myself feeling unsatisfied. Like something was just missing from my day. Obviously, this salad recipe isn't a revelation of ingredients (chickpeas, cucumbers, olives, oh my!), but the dressing....the dressing makes it. It's super simple and delicious.


Greek-Inspired Barley and Chickpea Salad with Tzatziki Dressing

by Bonnie Graham
Keywords: salad chickpeas grain olives
Ingredients (1 large lunchtime salad)
    Tzatziki Dressing
    • 3/4 c plain Greek yogurt
    • 2 tbsp lightly packed fresh parsley, torn into pieces
    • 2 1/2 tbsp lightly packed fresh dill, roughly chopped
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    Barley and Chickpea Salad
    • 2 cups washed salad greens
    • 1/4 c barley
    • 1/3 c chickpeas
    • 1/4 of a large cucumber, sliced
    • 2 tbsp chopped kalamata olives
    • 5 - 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    Instructions
    1. Add all the ingredients of the dressing to a small blender or food processor. Blend until combine (just a few seconds).
    2. Toss all salad ingredients together, adding salt and pepper to taste.
    3. Toss dressing with salad and enjoy!
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    Monday, August 12, 2013

    Farm Love: Post 3

    I woke up one morning last week and had this text exchange with my sister.


    And I do have a farmer fantasy going on. Just not the naughty kind. The kind where I truly believe that I must have been a farmer in a past life because my desire to be outside, on a farm, with goats and chickens and pigs and horses...it's out of control.

    Since I don't have regular access to a farm (or farmers), the farmer's market is the next best thing. It's definitely my happy place. Which is probably why I spend so much money there.

    Does that seem like a whole lot of produce? Because it is. 



    Weekly round-up:
    1 head of Tuscan Kale - $2
    1 pint cherry tomatoes - $2
    6 nectarines - $2
    1 pint blueberries - $3
    4 poblano peppers - $2.25
    3 lemons - $1
    1 bunch carrots - $1.75
    1 pint Yukon Gold baby potatoes - $2.50 - my splurge for the week
    3 ears of corn - $1
    2 large zucchini - $2.25
    Total: $19.75

    Wednesday, July 31, 2013

    Fruit of the Month Club

    Have you ever seen the Everybody Loves Raymond episode where he buys his parents Fruit of the Month Club? And, in typical Marie and Frank form, they act as though he has order stinkbugs to their house on a montly basis. "It's a club??!! Oh, my god! What do I do with all this fruit?"

    In seems as though, at some point every summer, people turn into Marie and Frank Romano over their zucchini. I notice the prices on the zucchini get cheaper and cheaper as the summer gets on. Except no one is buying....because zucchini has taken over their gardens or their friends' gardens or their friends' friends' gardens and people can't seem to give it away fast enough. It can become so unweilding, that may parents decided to skip the whole zucchini craze in their garden this season.

    Which I am sad about. Because I happen to love zucchini!

    It also so happens that the only way people ever think of using zucchini is in a baked goods. Zucchini Bread. Zucchini Muffins.  Not so good for the diabetic.

    Instead of producing muffin tray after muffin tray (which you know I'm totally down with too), I've started to use shredded zucchini as the main base for many of my salads. This has become my new favorite salad, complete with Pickled Red Onions (recipe to come)!

    Shredded Zucchini & Kale Salad

    by Bonnie Graham
    Keywords: raw salad avocado beans kale zucchini summer
    Ingredients (1 large lunchtime salad)
      Shredded Zucchini and Kale Salad:
      • 3/4 - 1 c shredded zucchini
      • 1 cup shredded Tuscan Kale
      • 2 medium-sized carrots, sliced
      • 1 ear of corn, kernels removed from the cob (you can use leftovers!)
      • 1/2 c garbanzo beans
      • 1/4 - 1/2 cubed avocado (depending on your preferences)
      • 1 - 2 spoonfuls of Pickled Red Onions (recipe to come), or raw red onions
      Lemon Basil Dressing:
      • 1/3 c rice wine vinegar
      • 1/3 c olive oil
      • 2 tbsp lemon juice
      • 1 tbsp honey
      • zest of half the lemon
      • 1 large handful of basil
      • 1 garlic clove
      • water if needed for consistency
      Instructions
      1. Add all chopped veggies into a bowl.
      2. Combine all salad dressing ingredients in a food processor or mini-blender, adding water if you prefer a thinner dressing.
      3. Add dressing to salad, toss, and eat!
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      Thursday, July 25, 2013

      Farm Love: Post 2

      Jeez, has it really been two weeks?

      Despite my lack of commitment to regular posting (sorry guys), my commitment to the farmer's market has remained strong. I'm even beginning to think that some of the farmers are beginning to recognize me from week-to-week. That makes my heart happy. I love being able to connect with the people who bring me my food.

      I've noticed that it has also makes my pancreas happy. My blood sugar numbers are coming back in to normal range. Even though I know it is more likely that is happening because I'm more conscious of keeping my insulin cool, I'd like to think eating more fruits and veggies from the farmer's market has something to do with it. Let me live my delusion.

      With it being such a beautiful day and my heart singing from the sunshine, I got a little overzealous in my purchases and went WAY over budget. You're shocked. I know.

      Here's the weekly roundup!


      Purchases
      1 large head of kale - $2
      1 bunch red onions - $2
      1 pint blueberries - $2
      2 ears of corn - $1
      6 plums - $2.50
      1 bunch of basil - $2
      3 baseball sized peaches - $5 (my splurge)
      3 plum tomatoes - $2.25
      2 zucchini - $2.00
      Total: $20.75 

      The peaches were totally unnecessary, but they are literally the size of my head! They were so big and gorgegous, I couldn't resist. Plus, I like to buy for each of the farmer stands every week.

      No worries, I will have an amazing recipe using much of this fresh produce coming up soon.

      Wednesday, July 10, 2013

      Trickery

      I'm like one of those little kids who steals a cookie and feels so bad about it that she comes clean even though nobody would have ever notice that the cookie was gone.

      I sort of tricked you guys last week. My Farm Love post didn't actually have the list of veggies I bought last week. It was a picture from the week before. Gasps! Atrocious, I know! How can I be such a liar?!

      In my haste to get back into posting, I used an old picture in the post rather then share what I had actually bought but had yet to photograph. The shame.

      It's okay though. Because I'm bringing you a ridiculously awesome Taco Bar menu for your next shindig (that I'm hoping you're still going to invite me to despite the fact that my pants are on fire). In an attempt to save money (which it did not), I invited some of my best girlies over for dinner at my place, with a Mexican Taco Bar theme! Which was completed by a sweltering hot apartment. Authenticity is my middle name. 

      Taco Bar Party

      Starters & Toppings
      Pico de Gallo (recipe to come)
      Guacamole
      Pickled Red Onions (recipe to come)
      Sliced radishes and fresh cilantro
      Queso Fresco

      Taco Filling Options
      Chile Lime Shredded Chicken
      Creamy Roasted Poblano Peppers and Onions (recipe to come)

      Sides
      Mexican Street Corn Salad (recipe to follow)
      Black Beans and Rice

      Dessert was supplied by my friend, Jess, who had just returned from a trip to Israel. However, I probably would have made something along the lines of Mexican Hot Chocolate.

      Mexican Street Corn Salad

      by Bonnie Graham
      Prep Time: 15 minutes
      Keywords: salad side cilantro corn sriracha smoked paprika
      Ingredients (3 - 4)
      • 3 ears of corn, kernels removed from cob
      • 1 tablespoon olive oil
      • 1 garlic clove, peeled
      • 1/2 to 1 jalapeno, chopped
      • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
      • 2-3 tablespoons mayo (optional)
      • juice from 2-3 limes, plus extra for serving
      • 1/3 cup crumbled queso fresco (but you also use a stronger cheese like cojita)
      • a big handful of cilantro
      • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
      • salt
      • sriracha for serving (optional)
      Instructions
      1. Remove kernels from corn cobs by running a sharp knife down along side the cob. Add to your bowl.
      2. Chop up both garlic and jalapeno finely. Careful with those jalapenos. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling. Add to bowl along with chopped scallions.
      3. Mix in mayo (if using), cheese, paprika, cilantro, lime juice, and salt. Toss well.
      4. Add a few squirts (as desired) of sriracha to the top and serve.
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      Monday, July 1, 2013

      Breakfast Fiend

      From reading this blog, it might seem like all I do is eat breakfast. In fact, I have to stop myself on a regular basis from posting yet another breakfast recipe.

      Truth be told, breakfast is probably my favorite meal of the day. Besides snacks. Because snacks are a meal in my book. But it is also one of the most challenging as far as diabetes management goes. Mostly because everything is a carb. Well, everything worth eating. Bagels, muffins, pancakes, waffles, granola, toast, french toast, crepes.....you see my point. Even eggs, which are my stand-by meal no matter what time of day, are usually best served with a side of lightly toasted, buttered bread. Am I right or am I right?

      Well, this post offers no solution. In fact, it contributes to the problem.

      Some of my lovely friends who know me so very well gave me the wondrous house-warming gift of a waffle maker! After my Should-Have-Been-Carrot-Cake-Waffles debacle, they made sure I never went waffleless again!

      Which is awesome. Waffles everyday! Except for that whole broken pancreas, diabetes thing. Waffles every day is definitely NOT part of a low carb diet. I checked with my doctor. Just in case.

      Instead of waffles every day, I've been saving them for when I've been especially good....or felt like climbing up on top of my counter to fetch waffle maker from the highest shelf I could have ever possibly put it on!

      My contribution to the carby breakfast conundrum....Spicy Chai Waffles. If these are wrong, I don't want to be right!

      Spicy Chai Waffles

      by Bonnie Graham
      Prep Time: 10 minutes
      Cook Time: As long as it takes your waffle maker!
      Keywords: breakfast
      Ingredients (4 waffles)
      • 1 1/4 c whole wheat pastry flour (though any flour will work)
      • 2 tsp baking powder
      • 1/2 tsp baking soda
      • 1/4 tsp salt
      • 1 tsp cinnamon
      • 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
      • 1/4 tsp cardamom
      • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
      • sweetener of choice based on your preferences (start with 1/3 c)
      • 2/3 c milk, plus 1 - 2 extra tbsp depending on consistency
      • 1 tbsp oil or another splash of milk
      • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
      Instructions
      1. Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, and stir well.
      2. Turn on and grease your waffle maker with oil or oil spray (be sure to grease well if using the oil-free version), then let it preheat.
      3. Pour wet ingredients into dry, and stir to make a batter.
      4. When the iron is hot, pour quarter of the batter into the center of the iron, and close the lid. My waffle maker tells me when the waffles are done. If yours does not, then give it 2 - 3 minutes and then check on doneness.
      5. When waffles are done, pile on your favorite toppings and syrup!
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      Wednesday, June 26, 2013

      Farm Love

      During my recent trip to Colorado, the combination of hungoverness, exhaustion, and altitude had finally caught with me. Feeling rather low one morning, my friend suggested we stop by a farmer's market since, as he stated, "farmers markets make you happy."
      And he was right. They do. They really do.

      My mood immediately lifted as I walked around the different vendors with local products and produce. The market was not yet in full force as the season had not yet hit Colorado, but what was there was enough to excite me!

      Getting caught up in all my angstiness at where I wish this blog was, I have neglected to share my continued  passion for the beauty and wonders of my local farmer's market! Which I have been going to religiously, week after week. Well, no longer, my friends! The weekly installments of Dirty Veggies is back!

      Only, this season, I'll be calling it Farm Love. Seems more appealing, no?

      In case you're not familiar, here's the deal. Each week I share with you my farmer's market purchases with the intention of sharing the recipes that become of these beautiful fruits and veggies in hopes of encouraging you to support your local farmer's market too. I also hope to dispel the myth that farmer's markets are too expense. I go to the market each week with a $15 budget which gives me a enough produce to last me through the week.


      Here is this weekly roundup:
      1 head red leaf lettuce - $1
      1 large head of kale - $1
      1 bunch of baby beets - $2
      2 zucchini - $2
      1 large head of cilantro - $1.50
      1 heirloom tomato - $1.75
      1 pint of fresh, local strawberries - $3.50 - this was the splurge of the week
      Grand Total: $12.75 - wahoo, I'm under budget for a change!

      To learn more about Farm Love posts, read here and here.

      Monday, June 24, 2013

      Holy Crap!

      Has it really been two weeks since my last post?!

      Apparently, it has.

      I've been writing less and less, if you haven't noticed. I think there are multiple reasons for this decrease in posting. First and foremost is I'm a little disappointed in where the blog is right now. I had high hopes of moving platforms, taking more professional looking photos, and spending more time developing recipes. Unfortunately, none of those things have happened and I'm feeling pretty down about it.

      Second, I've been busy and haven't had as much time to enjoy myself in the kitchen as I would like. I can provide you with some simple instructions for scrambled eggs as that ends up being my week night dinner a lot of times, but I'm sure you're interested in more than that.

      Lastly, I am pretty embarrassed about my diabetes control lately. In that there hasn't been much of it. My numbers have been crazy, scary, skyrocketed through the roof high, so I haven't felt good about that either. I'm not sure what the deal is, if it's insulin run amok again or I'm just bad at being diabetic. Either way, I need to get shit under control.

      Jeez, what a downer post!

      I guess I'm writing to ask all of you to bear with me as I try to make changes and transitions in my life. I am hoping to accomplish some of the goals I had set out for myself way back in January, which included turning this into a kick-ass professional looking blog (that I can hopefully make some dough off of...and not the literal kind). It's on my summer bucket list to get Goodbye Pancreas a nice new home with nicer photos then those taken with my iPhone.

      Hang around, please. It'll get better soon.

      Monday, June 10, 2013

      Hey, Hello there....

      Hey friends,

      It's been a while since my last post. Were you worried that I had been arrested at the airport, violently clutching onto my Brooklyn Bagels, screaming that they could take my life, but never take my bagels?! Luckily, the TSA agents and I did not come to blows. In fact, I feel like I made it to second base with the lovely older woman who frisked me at the Denver International Airport when I refused to go through the 3D scanner. I offered to buy her dinner afterwards.

      I have returned home from my trip in desperate need of some water, rest and blood sugar regulation. My blood sugar has been quite screwy lately. I believe "screwy" is a clinical term. I feel like I have not been able to get out of the 200 and 300's no matter how hard I try. I'm not sure if it's coming back down from vacation-mode, another Bad Insulin Debacle, or if I throw caution to the wind as soon as my pasty legs are able to see the sun again.

      Here's an interesting diabetes fact. Usually, in the summer, insulin needs are lessened. Whether it's due to increase in heat, in general activity due to nicer weather, or just the bodies need for less, generally, most diabetics will need less insulin. It seems, for me, however, that I am an anomaly. It seems that I struggled with blood sugar control at this time last year too. Not sure what the deal is, but I'm definitely trying to get back on track with regulating my blood sugar, eating a healthier diet, and exercising more regularly.

      You should start looking forward to new recipes and the start of my ever-popular (at least in my own mind) weekly farmer's market roundup! Yippee!!

      Monday, May 27, 2013

      TSA Diabetes Challenge

      I'm in a secret Diabetes Challenge with the TSA. They don't know it. But it's happening.

      I'm constantly testing to see how much stuff I can actually get on the plane in the name of diabetes.

      Going through security at the airport as a diabetic is a very weird experience. The first few times I was pretty nervous about it. I'd have the letter from my doctor front and center, out of the envelope, fully unfolded. I'd put all my diabetes supplies right on top, my syringes, the mysterious vials of insulin, the oddly sexual looking site injector for my pump. Plus, whatever juice boxes, apple sauce packets, honey packets, all ready to go.

      The next part is the controversial 3D body scanners, which I use the D-card for. "Oh no, I'm sorry. I can't walk through that violation of our personal freedoms because I'm a diabetic," flashing them my insulin pump as if it were a badge. Confused, they usually pull me over to the side. I am always pulled over to the side. I have yet to get through security without a pat down or my bags searched.

      Because of this, I figured, fuck it. Let's see how much I can get through. Once, I've tried to make it through with a PB&J sandwich, a Chobani yogurt, a pack of almonds, and two apples. Yes, that was all for one flight....that was approximately four hours in duration. I get hungry! The Chobani didn't make it!

      This week, I'll be taking a trip out west to Colorado. I'll be visiting a friend who I imagine is missing New York bagels, breads, and pizza pretty hardcore. Of course, being the amazing person I am, I want to bring bagels. But not just any bagels, the best bagels in Astoria, which are Brooklyn Bagels.

      This is the challenge! How do I convince a TSA agent, that yes, as a diabetic, I need a half dozen bagels for the trip. No, no sir, juice boxes aren't going to cut. When I have a low blood sugar, I have to shove a bagel or two in my face. Yes, I'm sure. Call my doctor!

      Wish me luck. And promise to bail me out TSA jail because I will throw down for these bagels!

      Thursday, May 23, 2013

      Switching It Up

      Lately, I have been having a beautiful bowl of homemade (non-pepper-flavored) yogurt, berries, and almonds for breakfast each morning. As the weather gets warmer, this is one of those breakfasts that you can get addicted to!


      Except when you're sick with a whateveryouwanttocallit and you've got some serious nasal drippage going on. The last thing you want to do is eat something that is going to be phlegm-producing. But when you're in love with yogurt and berries as much as I am, you can't switch to any old breakfast stand-by. It's got to be good! This is where this pretty little dish came into play. 


      You could top this baked oatmeal with yogurt if you'd like....or peanut butter....or more berries. Toppings are endless!

      Individual Berry Baked Oatmeal

      by Bonnie Graham
      Keywords: bake breakfast berries oats nuts
      Ingredients (2 baked oatmeals)
      • 1/3 c rolled oats
      • 1 1/2 tbsp sliced almonds
      • 1 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
      • 2 tsp sugar or sucanat/brown sugar
      • 1 tsp ground flax meal
      • 1 tsp cinnamon
      • 1/4 tsp baking powder
      • pinch of ginger
      • pinch of salt
      • 1/3 c milk
      • 1/4 c berries of your choosing (this had strawberries and blueberries)
      • 1 inch piece banana, well-mashed, or 1 tbsp applesauce (banana is really for sweetness then flavor)
      • 1 tsp coconut oil, melted
      • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
      Instructions
      1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease two ramekins
      2. Mix the oats, 1 tablespoon almonds, flour, flax meal, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger, and salt together in a large bowl.
      3. Place 3 tablespoons of the berries and the sugar in the baking dish.
      4. Lightly toss together and spread evenly around the dish.
      5. Evenly spread the dry ingredients over top the berry mixture.
      6. Whisk the milk, well-mashed banana, melted coconut oil, and vanilla extract together.
      7. Pour the wet mixture over the oats, hit the baking dish [carefully] on the counter 1-2 times, then poke the top surface all around with a fork so the wet mixture penetrates through. Do not stir.
      8. Top with the remaining sliced almonds and berries.
      9. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and the surface is set.
      10. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
      11. Serve with any toppings you desire!
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      Sunday, May 19, 2013

      Sit Down!

      I've been sick all week.

      But I wouldn't admit it.

      Sure, I sounded like crap, coughed like a two-packs-a-day smoker, and ended each day with body aches. I've been struggling with this whateveryouwanttocallit since last Sunday.

      But, again, I haven't been willing to admit that I am sick.

      I've been going to work, going to yoga classes, cleaning my apartment, etc. etc. I have not allowed myself to just to sit the fuck down. However, at the end of each day, my body would force me to. It's made me realize how much I push myself to keep doing more, when really all I should have been doing was wrapping myself up in a blanket and going to bed early.

      To add insult to injury, my blood sugar has been ridiculous! Numbers haven't been out of the 200s in days! It's very stressful. I know it's because I'm sick, but I'm starting to worry that my insulin has gone bad again. I just switched to a new vial a week ago. I'm hoping that's really not it.

      Either way, I'm hoping shit gets back to normal quick. One day of sitting around is fine. But anymore then that and I'm pretty sure my head will explode!

      Thursday, May 16, 2013

      Diabetic Pizza

      Diabetic Pizza?

      Sounds terrible, right? Anything food that has the word "diabetic" as a descriptor has got to be bad. Usually, "diabetic" foods are either tasteless, so laced with chemically-processed, unnatural ingredients, they would glow under a black light, or filled with so much fiber you might as well sit on the bowl while you eat it.

      Do any of those things sound appetizing?

      That's why I name the following recipe with care as Diabetic Pizza. It may be a recipe you've seen floating about the blogosphere or Pinterest. It's one that I've had an interest in trying, but has taken me a really loooong time to do so. It's Cauliflower Pizza Crust!

      Yes, I know. That sounds just as unappetizing as fiber bars eaten on the toilet bowl, but trust me, it's good. Have I ever led you astray?

      The recipe below is just for the crust and not necessarily for the pizza. Basically because I am of the assumption that you know what you like on your pizza. In case you don't, here are a few favorites:
      • Straight up margarita - an oldie but goodie of just cheese, sauce, basil
      • Arugula, Parmesan, squeeze of lemon
      • Grilled chicken, slice red onion, goat cheese, and BBQ sauce
      • Feta cheese, olives, lots of oregano over zesty tomato sauce

      Sorry for the terrible picture, but you get the idea
      Cauliflower Pizza Crust

      by Bonnie Graham
      Cook Time: 35 - 40 minutes
      Keywords: bake food processor entree low-carb cauliflower
      Ingredients (1 large pizza)
      • 1 head cauliflower
      • 2 tablespoons olive oil
      • salt and pepper
      • ½ cup cornmeal
      • 2 eggs
      • 1/4 c shredded mozzarella
      • Toppings of your choosing
      Instructions
      1. Chop the cauliflower into medium pieces. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
      2. Add the oil and heat until shiny. Place the cauliflower in the hot oil, stir to cover with oil, and place a lid on the skillet. Check skillet every few minutes to keep cauliflower from burning, but let it get a nice browned roasted outside.
      3. Continue to let cauliflower cook, covered, for about 10-15 minutes, or until tender-crisp. Let cool for a few minutes.
      4.Preheat the oven to 450.
      5. In a blender or large food processor, place eggs, cornmeal, cheese, and seasoning. Place cauliflower in blender and puree until you have a semi-smooth, thick batter.
      6. Cover a pizza pan with parchment paper and pour batter into the center of the paper. Spread until you have about a ½ inch thick crust or thinner if desired.
      7.Bake the crust for about 20 minutes, checking occasionally to keep from burning.
      8. Top with your favorite sauce, cheese, and toppings and add back to the oven to cook for an additional 10 - 15 minutes.
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      Saturday, May 11, 2013

      Oh, Crockpot!

      I loooove my crockpot. Like a high school girl loves Justin Bieber kind of love. Love.

      It's not a word I throw around lightly. It has real meaning when I say it.

      One of the things that I especially love about my crockpot are the unique things I can make in it. Crockpots aren't just for soups and stews anymore. Oh no, my friends, it is capable of a whole lot more. Besides the amazing ability to make fresh bread, crockpots can also be used to make yogurt. Whaaat?! Yes, yogurt!

      I have wanted to make my own yogurt FOREVER! Besides being far too cheap to spend $5 on a 16 ounce container of Chobani, I just think it seems cool.

      With my beautiful new crockpot fresh from its wrapping, yogurt was to be made.

      Now, I'll admit it. I got a bit overzealous. When I saw that most recipes called for a half gallon of milk to be used, I balked! Half gallon?! I can get a half gallon of yogurt anywhere! If I'm coming to play, I'm coming to play hard. Give me the gallon, baby!

      Do you know how much yogurt a gallon of milk makes? You would be correct if you said a GALLON OF YOGURT! Yes, a gallon of yogurt! I swear I prepare food as though I am a family of five.

      What's worst is that I had apparently prepared something very peppery in my crockpot previous to this yogurt-making, which tinged the entire gallon of yogurt with a slight bell pepper flavor. Now, I have a gallon of pepper flavored yogurt!

      Lessons Learned from Yogurt Making:
      1. No, you do not need a gallon of a yogurt
      2. Sterilize your crockpot as best you can to prevent unwanted flavor profiles from popping up in your creamy goodness
      3. Do this again because (in spite of its mishaps) it is freaking awesome!


      Homemade Yogurt topped with Chai-spiced Granola

      Here are the step-by-step directions on how to make your own yogurt at home.

      Homemade Yogurt

      by Bonnie Graham
      Ingredients (1/2 gallon)
      • 1/2 gallon milk
      • 1/2 c of plain yogurt (for a starter)
      • 1/4 c powdered milk, optional if you'd like a creamier yogurt
      • Crock pot
      • Thermometer
      • Blanket
      • Colander and cheesecloth (if you want to make a more greek yogurt consistency)
      Instructions
      1. Pour your milk in your crock pot and set it on high.
      2. Heat milk until it reaches 180° (this took about 2 hours for me)
      3. When 180° is reached, unplug crock pot, take the lid off and let cool until it's around 110°.
      4. In a separate small bowl, mix together plain yogurt and powdered milk (if using)
      5. When the temp is around 110°, add yogurt mixture and stir well.
      6. Place the lid back on, and wrap crock pot in a blanket and let it sit on the counter for about 8 hours or overnight. You now have yogurt!
      7. You'll notice a watery substance on top, this is whey. You can mix it in and put your yogurt in the fridge. If you'd like a thicker consistency, pour yogurt into a fine mesh strainer covered in cheesecloth. Drain in the fridge until desired consistency is reached.
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      Tuesday, May 7, 2013

      Game Day

      I did it.
      It's done.
      I rode my bike 40 miles through all 5 boroughs of New York City.
      It was pretty fucking awesome.

      Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of pictures to share. You know....because I was on my bike.


      But it was incredible. In fact, it's what I imagine the apocalypse to be like....before the zombies come in and start trying to eat our faces. Riding my bike up 6th Ave with not a single car on the road as if I (plus 32,000 others) was the only person awake was surreal.

      Diabetes management was not nearly as difficult as I would have thought either. Here's how I managed.

      First, rather then buy a "too-cool-for-school (or Sizzler)" fanny pack, it was cold enough for me to wear a light fleece with plenty of pockets. I loaded myself up with a snacks, including granola bars and applesauce packets plus what ever additional freebies were given out at the rest stops.

      I ate a hearty breakfast of oatmeal, sliced banana, and soy milk eaten with a little less insulin then normal. I figured it was better to go into the tour with a slightly elevated blood sugar then low. When I checked my blood sugar right before the race, it was 168. I lowered my basal insulin to 50% of its normal dosage. Ah, the wonders of the insulin pump never cease to amaze me!

      About 5 miles in, my riding partner needed a potty break, where I checked my numbers again. In 5 miles, I had dropped to 98 BG. I ate a mini Larabar without insulin (only 8g of carbs). After another 7 miles, my riding partner needed another break, which gave me time to eat some raisins and half a bagel. This time, I gave myself the proper dosage of insulin, figuring the bagel was going to keep me even (high carbs, high activity rate). At mile 15, we stopped again (she had a very small bladder). This time, I ate a banana, more raisins, and a dose of insulin.

      Things were going pretty well until about mile 35. It was the longest stretch we had gone without stopping and snacking. It also happened to the hardest part of the tour, which was the BQE and over the Verrazano Bridge. About midway through the bridge, I was feeling a little shaky and not just from the uphill climb. Luckily, I came prepared with snacks and was able to quickly suck down a GoGo Squeez apple sauce packet (Apple Grape!), a diabetic's best friend.

      By the time I arrived at the finish line in Staten Island, I was spent! And hungry! And had a 125 blood sugar! Which meant I could go to town on the free samples and eat an amazing vegan black bean burger with vegan cheddar cheese and relish from Bareburger at the tour's finish line festival.  Holy crap, I'd bike another 40 miles just to eat another burger!

      So....that's how it went.

      I didn't die. I made through all 40 miles without keeling over from exhausted or hypoglycemia (always a success in my book). I experienced the city in an entirely different, glorious way. I ate a delicious burger. And now have a much better sense of what to expect during the zombie apocalypse (sans zombies).

      All and all, quite the happy experience!

      Friday, May 3, 2013

      Fanny Pack City

      The 5 Boro Bike Tour is quickly approaching (this weekend EEK!) and I have to say that my "training" has been less then stellar (if we can even call it training). I'm sure 40 miles is NOT going to go quickly. One thing I have been considering as d-day approaches is diabetes management.

      How am I going to bike for 40 miles and not pass out from hypoglycemia? Conversely, how am I going to manage my diabetes so that my blood sugar doesn't get so high that it dehydrates me? It really can be such a delicate balance.

      Up until this point, my planning has been....light. In that I hadn't been doing very much at all. Mostly because I figured the day before, I'd throw some applesauce packets, juice boxes, and granola bars into my backpack and consider myself responsible.

      Except, recently, the 5 Boro Bike Tour people sent an e-mail with new security precautions as a result of the tragedy of the Boston Marathon. While I appreciate the increased security, it has led to a bit of a diabetes dilemma. New security protocols state that there will be no backpacks, saddlebags, or hydration packs allowed. Well, piss in my Cheerios, what am I going to do now?

      It's time to start Plan B-ing it. Which is really Plan A-ing it. Because I hadn't really started planning at all.

      Fanny Pack City, here I come!

      Tuesday, April 30, 2013

      Three Times Fast

      Banana Bread Bars.

      Try saying that three times fast.

      Since I've been on this "Make Everything Myself" trip, granola bars have been at the top of my list. My goal is to try to make one that replaces my favorite Kashi Peanutty Dark Chocolate Granola Bars. Those might take a while though, so these Banana Bread Bars are the next best thing. These bar are almost an exact replica of Oh She Glow's Banana Bread Protein Bars, with just a few changes to make them a little less fat heavy (even if they're good fats).

      They are definitely a hardy bar! Great for eating as I ride 40 miles in this weekend's 5 Boro Bike Tour. Weeeeeee!

      Banana Bread Bars

      by Bonnie Graham
      Keywords: bake snack oats nuts peanut butter bananas
      Ingredients (8 - 10 bars)
      • 2/3 cup gluten-free rolled oats
      • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
      • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
      • 3 tbsp chia seeds
      • 3 tbsp mini dark chocolate chips (such as Enjoy Life brand)
      • 1 tsp cinnamon
      • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
      • 3/4 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 small-medium)
      • 1/4 c butter
      • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup
      • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
      Instructions
      1. Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8-inch square pan with 2 pieces of parchment paper, one going each way.
      2. Whisk all dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
      3. Mash bananas until smooth and measure out 3/4 cup. Stir together the banana and all the wet ingredients in a bowl.
      4. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir well until combined. The dough should be very sticky.
      5. Scoop batter into prepared pan. Press batter down to spread it out evenly with wet your hands lightly
      6. Bake at 350F for 22-26 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the bread is firm to touch. Cool in the pan completelybefore removing and slicing into bars.
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      Wednesday, April 24, 2013

      Countdown

      I'm sure I have 15 posts that are entitled "Countdown" on this blog.

      And each and every time I write the title, Final Countdown plays through my head. I hear the electronic rock pumpin' through my ears as I type. This is normal, right?

      Well, this post is not a countdown to vacation or detox or whatever other silly things I may have counted down to before. This countdown is for something far more exciting (with exception of vacation, nothing is more exciting then a vacation!).

      It's for the start of the Farmer's Market! Yippee, I looooooooove the farmer's market!

      And I am determined to make you love it too. Again.

      It starts May 1st and trust that we will be at the very first one! Because you and I are BFFs like that.

      To learn more about my love obession of the farmer's market, read here and here.

      Wednesday, April 17, 2013

      Ricotta: Not Just for Lasagna

      I'm doing it, people.

      I am single-handedly changing the food profile for ricotta cheese. Yes, me. I. This gal right here.

      I am breaking you out of your "ricotta is only for lasagna" boxes! I am freeing you from the constrictions of "ricotta is only stuff shells!" I am giving ricotta to you as a....wait for it....dessert!

      You can totally thank me later.

      Wait. What? What did you say? That you've had ricotta cheesecake. And cannolis, where ricotta is the main filling.

      Couldn't you just let me know have my moment?



      Cinnamon Ricotta Cream with Maserated Strawberries

      by Bonnie Graham
      Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus berries
      Keywords: dessert strawberries cinnamon
      Ingredients (4 servings)
      • 1 1/2 c homemade or store-bought ricotta cheese (homemade recipe to come!)
      • 1 tsp cinnamon
      • 3 - 4 tbsp milk, depending on desired consistency
      • 2 - 3 tbsp honey, depending on your taste
      • zest of 1 orange, optional
      • 3 - 4 tbsp chocolate chips
      • pinch salt
      Maserated Berries
      • 2 cups sliced strawberries
      • 1 tbsp sweetener of your choice
      Instructions
      1. Clean and slice your strawberries. Place in a container with sweetener of choice and toss thoroughly. Allow berries to sit for 4 hours or overnight.
      2. Add all ingredients for ricotta to a food processor, starting with the least amount of liquid to start. Taste and add milk/honey as you go until you reached your desired consistency and sweetness.
      3. Top ricotta with maserated berries and chocolate chips!
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      Thursday, April 11, 2013

      For My Consideration

      I have been neglectful in sharing that I will be doing the NYC 5 Boro Bike Tour in less then a month!

      Whaaaaaat?!?! I know, right?

      It is 40 mile bike ride through the 5 boroughs of New York City, where you're able to bike over a number of the amazing bridges all over the city. It should be awesome. I love to ride my bike and this has given me a great excuse to get on it as much as possible.

      What was pretty amazing about the registration experience is that diabetes did not come up at all. Not for me. Not for the good folks who manage registration. It was just a straightforward "I want to do this. I am signing up for it. Oh, look, done." There was no debate about whether I could/should do it with diabetes.

      Yay for being over diabetes!

      But then the reality set in. It was great that diabetes didn't play a role in my decision making AT ALL in doing the bike tour, but now it definitely has to be part of the training plan. My longest ride so far has been 10 miles. A far cry from 40, I know. Each time I've gone riding, I have come home with a low blood sugar. As I move forward in my training process, and on the day of the tour, I definitely need to do some planning.

      I'll let you know how it goes.

      Tuesday, April 9, 2013

      Should Be Waffles

      Recently, I went way for the weekend and assumed the place I was staying had a waffle maker. What American household doesn't, right? Imagine my enormous disappointment when there was NOT a waffle maker. Especially since I had glorious plans to make Healthy Carrot Cake Waffles.

      Doesn't that sound amazing? With the exception of the healthy part. Which only sounds amazing to me.

      I had to Plan B it and turn those glorious waffles into pancakes. The disappointment of no waffle maker and just pancakes subsided a bit when I realized that there was real maple syrup. Can we say fat kid? Usually, I don't let myself have real maple syrup for the obvious pancreatic reasons, but I figured since I lost out on the waffles, I could go for the syrup.

      And, yes, I realize that the pancakes are just waffles in a different form! What are you, the Pancake Police?

      Let me enjoy my should-be waffle pancakes and syrup!



      "Should-Be Waffles" Carrot Cake Pancakes

      by Bonnie Graham
      Keywords: breakfast carrots
      Ingredients (2 servings)
      • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
      • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
      • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
      • 1/4 tsp ginger
      • 1/4 tsp salt
      • 1/4 tsp baking soda
      • 1 tsp baking powder
      • 2 tbsp sweetener of choice (I used stevia)
      • 1 large carrot, shredded (about 1/3 c)
      • 2/3 cup milk or water (more or less may be needed based on desired consistency)
      • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
      • 1 tsp vanilla extract
      Instructions
      1. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, and stir well.
      2. Add shredded carrot and liquid ingredients. Mix well.
      3. Heat a frying pan over medium heat.
      4. Grease pan and drop 1/3 c amounts of batter into the pan. Flip when sides firm up slightly or if the tops start to bubble.
      5. Flip and cook for 30 - 60 seconds on the opposite side.
      6. Remove to plate and enjoy with toppings of your choice!
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      Tuesday, April 2, 2013

      Passover Challenge

      Even though I'm not Jewish, Passover is an exciting holiday for me! Not because I feel the need to sell my food or clean out my pantry, but because it's a week where everyone else has to eat a low carb diet! Haha, suckers! Well...I guess with that exception of most people eating their weight in matzo. That's not so low carb.

      When I recently invited friends over to my place for dinner, it hadn't initially occurred to me that it was Passover and one of my good friends was observing. Which meant no bread (have I mentioned that I am on a bit of bread-making kick lately), pasta, refined flours, or beans. That sort of put a damper on my plan for Three-Bean Chili with a side of Cheddar Cornbread and Triple Layer Chocolate Cake for dessert.

      No worries. When the going gets tough, the tough get....matzo? New favorite saying!

      It was a challenge. And I love me some challenges!

      Challenge.....Accepted!


      The Tough Get Matzo Menu
      Build Your Own Crepes (made with matzo flour)
      Filling choices: roasted red pepper, sauteed spinach & onions, sauteed mushrooms, marinated chicken cutlet, cheese
      Roasted Sesame Broccoli
      Crunchy Quinoa Salad

      Honey Cinnamon Ricotta Cheese with Macerated Berries (recipe to come!)

      The Crunchy Quinoa Salad seemed to be the biggest hit. I share it with you now. Mazel Tov?



      Crunchy Quinoa Salad

      by Bonnie Graham
      Keywords: bake nuts quinoa sweet potato
      Ingredients (4 - 6 servings)
      • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
      • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes, all around rhe same size
      • 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
      • 4 scallions, sliced
      • 3 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
      • 4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
      • 2 teaspoons honey
      • 1/4 teaspoon salt
      • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
      • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
      • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
      • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (optional, I didn't have any on hand, but they'd be good!)
      Instructions
      1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
      2. Place the quinoa into a small saucepan and add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes, or until the water is evaporated. Turn off the heat and let quinoa sit covered for at least one hour.
      3. Place the sweet potato cubes into a roasting pan and toss with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes, or until you can just pierce the cubes with a fork. Set aside.
      4. In a small bowl, place the remaining three tablespoons olive oil, vinegar, honey salt, pepper, cumin and cinnamon. Whisk well.
      5. When the quinoa is dry, use a whisk to break apart the seeds and place into a large bowl. Add half the vinaigrette and mix with the whisk. Add more to taste, depending on how wet you like your quinoa; I add it all.
      6. Add the sweet potatoes, walnuts, cranberries (if using) and scallions and mix gently. Serve at room temperature.
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      Thursday, March 28, 2013

      A Quickie

      Sometimes, we all need a quickie!

      What I mean, of course, is a quick recipe that we can throw together on a moment's notice. Dirty, dirty mind. A recipe that can usually be put together using ingredients you already have in your pantry. Or one that uses a few pre-made ingredients to make for an easy assembly.

      The thing about those quick recipes is that they usually make me feel like a fraud. A recipe that uses a pre-made pie crust....well, that just feels like cheating to me. But when it needs to be done, it needs to be done.

      My job looks upon potluck celebrations quite favorable. In that there is at least one potluck event a month! This month, a fellow coworker's wife is pregnant and we had a baby shower for he and his wife. Considering it was to be held at a 10:30 meeting, it needed to be something that was a nice compromise between breakfast and lunch. And easy enough to make for a Monday morning.

      Quiche was the first thing that came to mind. It's one of those quick, straightforward recipes that can easily be made in advanced and re-heated.

      Pan Roasted Veggie Quiche

      by Bonnie Graham
      Cook Time: 60 minutes
      Keywords: bake entree eggs spinach
      Ingredients (1 large quiche)
      • 1 premade pie crust, defrosted
      • 1 tsp olive oil
      • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
      • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
      • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
      • 1 1/2 c frozen spinach
      • 6 large eggs
      • 1/3 c milk
      • 1/3 c shredded cheddar or cheese of choice
      • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
      • salt and pepper, to taste
      Instructions
      1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
      2. Add onion, garlic, and red pepper with oil to a saute pan. Saute veggies over medium high heat until soften, about 8 - 10 minutes.
      3. Add frozen spinach to the pan, reduce heat to low, and cover. Cook for an additional 4 - 5 minutes.
      4. While the veggies cook, place pie crust in a 9 inch pie plate. Once pie crust is in the baking pan, spray or rub oil on the crust and prick with a fork. This will build a moisture barrier for the eggs as well as stop the crust from bubbling up.
      5. Once spinach is de-thawed, uncover and let veggies cool for a few minutes.
      6. Beat together the eggs, milk, and cheese. Add paprika, salt, and pepper.
      7. Mix veggies and eggs together. Pour into pie crust. Place aluminum foil around the edges of the crust to prevent the crust from burning.
      8. Bake quiche for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Then reduce heat to 350 for 45 minutes.
      9. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes before serving.
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      Tuesday, March 26, 2013

      MAKE STUFF

      You may have noticed in my "30 Intentions in 2013" that I had "MAKE STUFF" very clearly listed.

      Obviously, I make stuff all the time, right? Wouldn't be much of food blog if there weren't some recipes on it!? But, the intention to "MAKE STUFF" is slightly different then my usual day-to-day recipes. This intention to really make stuff!

      Clarifies it, doesn't it?

      Like stuff you would normally just buy, but can make yourself with some time and energy. Stuff that when you say "I made that myself," people are impressed, nay, amazed! You made this? I didn't even know you could make this yourself!

      Yeah, man, that kind of stuff!

      Homemade Stuff for 2013
      Good whole wheat bread - I'm sure we've all had plenty of NOT good whole wheat bread
      Greek yogurt
      Tofu
      Seitan
      Almond milk
      Beer
      Ricotta, mozzarella and goat cheese
      Infused alcohols
      Veggie broth (from scraps)

      I am sure that the list will grow from here, but this is for starters. I'll keep you updated.

      Thursday, March 21, 2013

      Last of the Snow Days

      We had this random snow day last week. It was barely any snow at all, yet the schools closed, alternate side street parking was suspended, everyone acted as though this was the Blizzard of the Century. By mid-day, the snow had melt off my car all by itself.

      However, I took advantage of the weather and called into work. No one wants to come out in bad weather anyway. At least, that's how I justified it.

      I also took advantage of the fact that this is probably my last opportunity to make a gigantic batch of warming chili before Spring is underway and the craving for fresh veggies and salads overtakes any desire for something hearty. Plus, this was a recipe I could whip up using what was already in my pantry, not having to venture into the "snowstorm."

      Smoky Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Quinoa Chili

      by Bonnie Graham
      Keywords: soup/stew avocado beans quinoa sweet potato
      Ingredients (A lot of chili)
      • 1 tbsp olive oil
      • 1 large onion, diced
      • 3 cloves garlic, minced
      • 2 medium carrots, diced small
      • 1/2 tsp turmeric
      • 1 tsp cinnamon
      • pinch of nutmeg
      • 1 tsp cumin
      • 2 tsp Smoky Chipotle and Paprika spice (you can just do one of each separately if you have it)
      • 2 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into small cubes
      • salt and pepper, to taste
      • 1 can diced tomatoes
      • 1 1/2 c cooked quinoa
      • 2 can black beans (15.5 oz), drained
      • 4 cups water or broth, plus more to thin if desired
      • 1 ripe avocado, diced
      Instructions
      1. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots and salt; saute for 5 minutes or until onions become translucent.
      2. Add the sweet potatoes and spices. Let cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently so spices do not burn.
      3. Add the black beans, water or broth, and tomato. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium, add diced sweet potatoes. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
      4. Add quinoa to chili and let cook for an additional 10 minutes.
      5. Spoon chili into bowls and garnish with avocado. Enjoy!
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