Poached chicken breast, pigeon peas, cabbage and flatbread

24 Sep

I tried a couple of products I’d never used before in this meal, and a new recipe as well. The poached chicken recipe comes from the Everything Mediterranean Cookbook, which is loaded with recipes that fit the diabetic diet without explicitly setting out to do so.

Here’s the chicken recipe:

1 leek

1 shallot

2 cloves garlic

1 carrot

1 stalk celery

1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken breasts

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 cup chicken stock

1. Thinly slice the leek. Mince the shallot and garlic. Peel and shred the carrot. Shred celery.

2. Place veggies in the bottom of a skillet and lay chicken breasts on top. Pour in the wine and stock and bring to a slow simmer.

3. Simmer chicken for about 10 minutes, then turn off heat and let breast sit in hot broth for 15 minutes to soak up liquid. Serve with a ladle full of broth and veggies.

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Butterbanzo Soup

24 Sep

This basic soup can be made with any beans you happen to like, but I always make sure to include butter beans. They really do impart a buttery smoothness to the broth as it simmers. I’ve used cannelini before, but this time I went for the full fiber-load of garbanzos, and it was excellent.

1 can butter beans (0 sugars, 5 grams fiber)

1 can garbanzo beans (0 sugars, 7 grams fiber)

1 carrot, julienned or a handful of pre-cut slivers

1 medium onion, diced

1/2 tsp italian seasoning

1 or 2 minced garlic cloves

1/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup flour

2 cups chicken stock

1. Heat the oil on medium in your soup pot, slowly stirring in flour to make an easy roux. This helps thicken the final product.

2. Add the onion and carrot.

3. Empty both cans of beans, liquid and all, into the pot. Stir everything up a bit, then add the chicken stock, garlic and seasoning. You can alter the amount of chicken stock based on whether you want a thick or thin broth.

4. Simmer it up, serve when the aroma has you begging for a taste.

This recipe is very basic, and you can take it many other directions if you’re comfortable experimenting. I’ve given it an asian flair with ginger and curry or cayenne. It can also be more down home if you cut up a tomato and add it toward the end, as well.


23 Sep

I’ll be honest. I’m as suspicious of trendy foods as I am of trendy music. Trendy usually means temporarily interesting, and that’s not something I want in either of those areas of my life.

So when I started hearing “edamame” every five minutes on the Food Network, I wasn’t moved to run right out and buy some. However, when we drove to Richmond (takes about an hour) to go to our nearest Trader Joe’s, I saw some frozen and decided it was time to decide for myself.

Edamame is people! IT’S PEEEEEEOPLE!!!!! Sorry, I mean it’s basically soybeans. So really, it’s the use of the Japanese name that’s the trend here. The prep is super-easy. I poured them into some boiling salted water and they were ready five minutes later.

They look like peas, and the consistency even reminded me of eating freshly shelled peas, which was a welcome revelation. Edamame has that same kind of al dente snap, which I favor. It’s nicely nutty in flavor and the bit of salt I added to the water while cooking them added a little flavor as well. I put them on my salad of napa cabbage and loved them. Since then, I’ve been taking the leftover beans out of the fridge and eating them in little handfuls, like peanuts.

Here’s a look at the nutrition information for edamame. It looks like a very good choice for diabetics, and fulfills my desire for more variety in my diet in spite of the restrictions.

Homemade sriracha!

23 Sep

I saw this recipe online, and I’m dying to try it. I’m a little uncertain how it would taste if you reduced the sugar content, so there may be a fly in the ointment there. Still, my theory is that if diabetics come up with a few simple sauces we can prepare ahead of time, we can add tons of flavor to some of the bland items we’re allowed to eat.

Sriracha is a brand name, of course, and the bottled stuff you can buy at the grocery store has 1 gram of sugar per teaspoon. If this works out about the same, you’d have to pour a heck of a lot of the hot stuff on to encounter any real sugar issues.

Serves 1 1/2 cups

  • 1/2 pound red fresno chiles, coarsely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar
  1. Place all the ingredients except the sugar in a jar and let sit overnight to mellow the heat of the peppers. I guess one could consider this a brine.
  2. Place the mixture and sugar in small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  3. Transfer to a blender and puree for about 5 minutes, until a smooth, orange-red mixture forms. Run through a strainer and smush out as much juice as possible.
  4. Once refrigerated, the sauce should have the same consistency and texture as the ‘Rooster’, but less salty and a whole lot fresher tasting!
  5. I’ve also adapted a spicy Sriracha spread recipe combining a 1/2 cup vegenaise (or mayo, if you prefer), 1/8 cup of this fresh sriracha, and a Tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk. Yum for anything you’d use mayo on, but with a kick.

Read more: http://www.food52.com/recipes/6441_fresh_sriracha_aka_home_made_rooster#ixzz0zTaOnwXx

What a hill of beans is worth

13 Sep

I’m not going to copy down the children’s rhyme about musical fruit. Not because I’m above that kind of thing. I most decidedly am not. Mainly because I know you’re already humming it in your head, so I figure I’ve done enough damage for today.

As I’ve said before, I was able to assuage some of my fears about the diabetic diet by ignoring the recipes and focusing on ingredients. I thought about the fruits and vegetables I love to eat and then realized I could just combine flavors to get what I like.

One thing that I feel can really jazz up the diet is variety. For a long time in America, if someone said they were going to buy beans, you probably thought of canned baked beans or kidney beans, and probably not much else. These days, the international food aisle of even a modest local grocery store is going to give you multiple options, including some you may not have known even existed before.

I made this pyramid of beans to show the varieties that were available at my local grocery store in Charlottesville, VA. Most of the exotic types were from Goya, but I did have some other brands at my disposal for several of these types. I just grabbed what I saw first, but the Mayocoba beans are from Bush’s and the butter beans from Hanover.

Beans generally don’t have any sugar to speak of, so they’re stars because of the load of fiber we get from eating them. One danger of canned beans is the sodium content, but I think you can ameliorate some of that right off the bat by washing the canning liquid off of them.

A caveat: I didn’t buy lentils because my parents’ hippie friends served them to me so often when I was a kid that I lost my taste for them. If you can still enjoy them, good on ya. I have no doubt they move the mail.

So, here are the fiber and sodium contents of the beans I found at my local grocery store.

Butter Beans: 5 g fiber, 390 mg sodium

Field Peas w/ Snaps: 9 g fiber, 180 mg sodium

Garbanzos: 7 g fiber, 360 mg sodium

White cannelini beans: 7 g fiber, 390 mg sodium

Red kidney beans: 8 g fiber, 350 mg sodium

Pinto beans: 8 g fiber, 360 mg sodium

Blackeye Peas: 5 g fiber, 380 mg sodium

Black beans: 6 g fiber, 460 mg sodium

Pigeon peas: 4 g fiber, 390 mg sodium

Mayocoba (Canary) beans: 7 g fiber, 290 mg sodium

I’ve never eaten field peas before — I actually bought them this time just so I’d have the widest variety possible — but they’re clearly the champion on high fiber and low sodium grounds. I don’t know how I’ll prepare them, but I look forward to experiencing what they will and won’t do to my system. I haven’t tried pigeon peas before, either, but they look like the biggest loser, with very little fiber but plenty of salt.

I plan to share how I end up using each can of beans. I already used the cannelini in the spinach, almond and cannelini salad I had for lunch yesterday.

Like I said, I just love having options. Even though I’d honestly rather be eating nachos or chinese food, there’s a real enjoyment to be had from getting creative with the variety of ingredients at hand.

Spinach, cannelini and almond salad

13 Sep

This is my first recipe attempt, so I’d better set the parameters. I’m no dietician, and as of today, I’ve only known about my diabetes for about five days. I cannot guarantee that any of my recipes are ideal for a diabetic, but I will give the salient nutrition information for whatever I prepare, so you can judge for yourself.  I’ll stay away from obviously problematic ingredients like sugar and fat, so I think it’s pretty safe to assume that these will be decent options.

The other thing is, I’m literally making these up as I go along, so they aren’t always perfect mixes. I’ll be honest in my assessment of each dish, and probably try each one again in different combinations.

That said, here’s a salad I made today in hopes that it would solve my lunchtime hunger pangs.

Spinach, cannelini and almond salad

1 c. spinach leaves (zero g sugar, 4 g fiber, 25 calories)

1/2 c. cannelini beans (zero g sugar, 7 g fiber, 80 calories)

1/4 c. slivered almonds (1 g sugar, 4 g fiber, 17o calories)

2 tbsp. cottage cheese (3 g sugar, zero g fiber, 100 calories)

2 tbsp. raspberry walnut gorgonzola dressing (5 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 70 calories)

Total calories: 445

Ingredient logic: spinach for phytochemicals, almonds for omega-3s, beans for fiber, cottage cheese for calcium, dressing for flavor.

This salad tasted good, but it ended up being pretty busy. I hadn’t planned to add the cottage cheese, but at the last minute I had a craving. I’d say it’s probably better off without: the glops of cheese add heaviness and not much else. Otherwise, the salad had everything I was looking for. The spinach was a tasty, leafy green base, the beans had a mild mushiness that I enjoy, and the almonds added the snap. Using so many white items made the color balance a bit off, but I wasn’t interested in other types of beans I had, or other types of nuts. I thought the purple dressing would offset that a bit, but it faded into the jungle.

Another possible issue is sodium. The beans conferred 390 mg per serving, and the cottage cheese 400. Again, however, I’m suggesting the cheese not even be in the salad. Maybe to the side for some calcium.

If you like the general idea of this salad, but not the overall execution, I’m sure there are plenty of other ways to create a similar effect.

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Kashi TLC bar

10 Sep

My wife went to the drugstore to pick up my initial prescriptions for Glipizide and Metformin last week. She knew I was bumming hard about the food restrictions, so she picked up some Kashi TLC bars at the CVS and brought them to me as a present.

For a plank of pressed wood chips and sawdust, I had to admit that the first one I ate was pretty good. The consistency is dry but nicely crispy. The variety I tried was Honey Almond Flax. I don’t have any strong opinions about the flavor profile of flax, but I love honey and almonds, so my ambiguity about the other ingredient was quickly forgotten. The bars also have a fair amount of oats in them, and I’ve always enjoyed the taste and chewiness of rolled oats.

For something that came off the rack at the drugstore, I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised. When I was craving dessert last night, I ate a TLC bar and went away mollified, if not wholly satisfied. That’s good enough for now.

These are great little portable items that you can keep around the house or stash in a pocket for cravings/sugar crashes. They also come in other flavors: Cherry Dark Chocolate, Dark Mocha Almond, Peanut Butter Mix and classic Trail Mix. I haven’t tried any of those other flavors yet, and I’m not sure how they’ll compare in all the big categories, but I can categorically recommend the Honey Almond Flax version. I give them the thumbs up.

Nutrition Panel Highlights

Good for the Diabeetus:

  • Whole grains galore: red wheat, oats, rye, triticale and barley are in the flour and whole in the bars.
  • Omega 3s from the almonds and flax add up to a whopping 250 mgs per bar.
  • Four grams of fiber in each bar. It’s the wood chips.
  • Only 140 calories, mostly from things that will help your metabolism.
  • No cholesterol.

Bad for the Diabeetus:

  • 5 g of unprocessed sugars from honey and sugar cane.
  • 5 g of unsaturated fat

I’m pretty sure you’d have to eat the whole box — maybe two — in order to harm yourself with those measly amounts of sugar and fat. On the bright side, if you did eat the whole box, you’d ingest enough oats to qualify for the Kentucky Derby.

The verdict: A surprisingly addictive and satisfying snack with a hint of sweetness.