Gluten Free Week Menu

Starting February 1st (Superbowl Sunday), I will be on a gluten free diet for a week.

Where is this coming from you ask? Good question.

I blame my husband.

Bryan has been on this build a better body be ripped quest and in this quest he’s been researching a lot about diet, how to gain weight, how to trim, food, and what have you.

In this quest with extensive research, Bryan found information pertaining to what a gluten allergy or insensitivity looks like. And the side effect described me to a T. If I have a gluten enriched day like eating at Fazoli’s, or an abundance of flour, my stomach disagrees with me and I’m running to the toilet every hour. I know it’s too much information about my bowels, but who knows, maybe your going though the same thing. I’m helping people here, damnit.

He also found out that this gluten whatever can imitate diabetes. This is major for us. When I was first diagnosed, after all the extensive blood work and tests, my endo informed me that beta cells were intact, however, they were inactive. He didn’t know what caused this and suggested I find a way to destress myself.

Why is this important? So with this gluten thing, what happens is that the gluten blocks the stomach from signaling to the pancreas to that it needs insulin. This causes sugar to get into the blood creating high blood sugar. The stomach tries to repair itself, but the more gluten you eat, the harder and slower it is to repair. I have beta cells. Diabetics don’t have beta cells, which means I’m abnormal. If I have beta cells and they aren’t working, it could be because they aren’t being signaled to produce insulin. Which means, I might have this gluten thing.

So the theory now is, if I go gluten free, it will allow my stomach to heal and be able to signal the need for insulin and this signal would actually reach the beta cells causing them to wake up and activate.

If this works, it means I will have to have a gluten free lifestyle for a while.

BUT!

It could mean that my husband CURED ME!!!!

I’m hopeful. But not looking forward to this new dietary restrictive diet. No more cake, cookies, brownies, bread, croissants, cupcakes, pasta, and what have you.

Gluten Free Menu

Meals:

Ground Beef and Hummus
Asian Beef with Mushrooms and Snap peas
Chicken with zucchini noodles and avocado cream
Fajita Style Chicken chili
Coffee rubbed steak with balsamic vegetables
Chicken Cacciatore RisottoSomething with polenta I’m sure

Desserts:

Banana and Berry Terrine
Flourless Chocolate Cake

We will see what happens.

Yogurt – Light VS Original

Bryan and I have a minorly set TV schedule. We don’t have cable, or else, every night there would be something.

Wednesdays – The Middle, The Goldbergs, and Modern Family.
Thursdays – Big Bang Theory (which I now miss thanks to school) and Elementary

It’s not much when you think about it, but still.

Last week I noticed yoplaits commercials about aspertame free yogurt.

I seriously love that commercial.

So I decided to buy both yogurts because I could never do the light versions due to the aspertame.

Why did I decided to do this taste test? Because I wanted to see if it tasted better than the original and if it did, I might start eating yogurt as a snack or something. That and I remember them giving me yogurt the morning after the woke me up from the coma during my first hospitalization and I actually enjoyed it. I think it’s the whole fruit chunks being in it or something. Back in the day, I hated yogurt with a mad passion.

Another reason for this taste testing is – yoplait light has 16 grams of carbs whereas the original has 33 gram of carbs. Therefore, if I like the aspertame light version, I still have 15 – 20 grams of carbs to play with for breakfast. It could be fruit, a water based smoothie with kale, half a bagel with cream cheese, maybe cereal or granola.

And it would be an awesome snack.

Problem was, I wasn’t too thrilled with the aspertame free light version. It was ok. And definitely not as good as the original. Maybe I should try a different flavor next time like strawberry or peach. The cherry one, which is the one I used for the test, was meh.

But at least the light doesn’t have aspertame in it now. Supposedly Dannon’s light and fit is aspertame free also.

{EDIT: 1/27/2015 – I have compared both the strawberry and peach. The peach is absolutely delightful and I feel there are more peach diced into it. The strawberry, although quite tasty, has that metallic, I’ve been sitting out to late before being cooked taste. You know what I mean, that it taste like a wonky strawberry taste. However, the strawberry did taste better than the cherry but not as good as the peach.}

 

Bacon Wrapped Maduros

A few weeks before Christmas, as I perused through various facebook recipe pages, plantain ptheperfectairs  across this amazing idea.

Bacon wrapped maduros.

It sounded like yummy awesomeness. It’s sweet plantain and bacon, perfectly deliciousness.

As I was discussing this amazing find with Mumika, she told me bacon was bad for me and would give a me a coronary.

Bacon is amazing. It’s the only thing I ate in the hospital that didn’t make me nauseous from the meds I was on. Turns out the antibiotics and fungal meds were wonking up my taste buds making everything taste horrible and nothing sounded good. Except fruit, bagels, bacon. No one in the hospital told me I couldn’t eat it and the nutritionist who always reminded me I could only have half a bagel every morning never told me I was eating too much of it. I think their thought process was, at least she’s eating.

I replied to Mumika’s statement by claiming, “I’m as healthy as a diabetic horse.”

Which cracked me up. A horse with diabetes.

With football playoff starting Sunday, this would be a great appetizer to chomp down on between bouts of screaming at the TV.

Maduros is plantain that is cooked when yellow or nearly black instead of when green. Pretty much it’s ripe plantain and the more yellow and black it is, the sweeter. It’s almost the same concept as using blackened bananas for banana nut bread, except, you’re slicing thick slices and frying the plantain.

When a plantain is green and fried twice, it becomes tostones. When plantain is green and fried once and then mashed with garlic and bacon or fried pork skin, it becomes mofongo.

This is why Puerto Ricans get mad when you call them Hispanic and ask them to make tortillas. We don’t know how to make tortillas, it’s not in our cuisine. But we do know how to cook plantain at least 5 different ways.

I heart maduros. Heart them. The thicker the slice, the better. But that will be for a different post.

bacon wrapped maduros

Bacon Wrapped Maduros

1 extremely ripe plantain
oil, for frying
4 slices of bacon, cut in half

Directions

Peel plantain and slice into thick slices. There should be 8 total.

Heat oil in frying pan.

Fry plantain until they become golden brown both sides.

Wrap half a bacon slice around the maduros.

Place bacon wrapped maduros on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until bacon is nice a crispy.Makes 8.

OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG.

Most amazing thing every created.

Where has this been all my life? Why didn’t I think of this?

The sweetness of the plantain pairs perfectly with the saltiness of the bacon creating the perfect sweetly savored appetizer. Or snack.

Hell, I would add a fried egg and some slices of avocado and call it breakfast.

That’s how good it is.

So the next time you have the guys over, impress them with this little slice of carribean wrapped in bacon. Because people will eat anything if it is wrapped in bacon.

To my readers –

Earlier this week I started a blogging workshop and my assignment for today is all about writing to my dream reader.

It made me start thinking about who I really want to entice into reading my blog. There are so many food blogs out there, its not even funny. I was also supposed to add a picture or something, but I already add pictures, links to previous posts and a few how to videos of life hacks primarily involving eggs. The poached egg one is by far my favorite thus far.

So who exactly is my dream reader. The people I primarily think about when writing this posts. Honestly, I think of everyone. I think of the type 2 diabetic wanting to eat healthy. The type 1 diabetic who is tired of boiled chicken and potatoes. The newly diagnosed diabetics who have no clue what they can eat and are crying daily because they feel they are starving. The mother’s out there who are scared their family might end up a type 2 family and is looking for ways to prevent it from happening. And the people out there who want to be healthy in general but don’t know where to start.

So I guess my dream reader is anyone who is trying to be healthy and understands that being healthy is eating in moderation. You don’t have to change your whole diet to achieve this and usually when people do that, they tend to fall off the bandwagon and go back to their bad eating habits. If you change your diet one step at a time, changing one thing like eating more vegetables a day, and doing that step until you feel it is fully incorporated into your everyday life before going on to the next step, you will be more likely to achieve. And then a year later you will bask in the glory of knowing you achieved what you set out to do. However, a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean sacrificing cake, donuts, brownies, and other sweets. It just means, make it homemade and don’t eat the whole cake in one sitting. I have more control of my sugar cravings since I started baking my own sweets. And knowing that I can cut half the sugar out and the sweet baked confection still tastes amazing helps me focus on my numbers more instead of telling myself I can’t eat this, that, or the other.

This blog is a food blog, yes. But it is also a tool to help you understand portion control. The servings I write are normal servings not modern day servings. I like to call them diabetic servings, but they aren’t, they are the actual size of what people should be eating, which I have stressed here.

So if you feel this is you, I hope you will read my blog. Because I’m not only writing it for me, I’m also writing it for you. For those who want or have to change their eating habits in order to live. And for those who struggle during their lifestyle and need some guidance or inspiration. Because it’s hard. It really is. And I get it. And I want you to know that I get it.

 

Pineapple Angel Cake

A little over a year ago, I was introduce to the whole angel food cake pineapple thing. I was excited over the sweetness and pops of fruity pineapple between the light and airy cake. And then my bubble was burst when someone told me it came from a box mix.

A box mix!

Ugh!

Seriously!

I really hate this lets transform box mixes phenomenon that are labeled as cheats. Don’t feel like making real cookies, then use a box cake mix with chocolate chips and get the gooiest cookies ever created. Make a box cake mix taste homemade by adding this that and all the other. Or why take time making banana nut bread when all you have to do is add banana and nuts to a yellow cake box mix. It’s so beguiling. And frustrating.

I mean, if you’re going to cheat, do it right and just by an already made cake or refrigerated cookie dough. Why add more ingredients to a mix ladled in sugar and carbs? A simple recipe with from scratch that has like 14 grams of carbs per serving, now has about 38 grams of carbs from the additions you made as a way to make it taste like you slaved an extra 30 minutes on it. You might as well have made it from scratch and save the overly abundant sweetness and carbs and thighs. Because you know all those little extras are going straight to that area of your body.

Where was I?

Because I was making a smaller angel food cake for the trifle in attempt to make sure it didn’t float like last year and to make it smaller which mean less carbs and sugar, I had to figure out what to do with the extra batter.

Pineapple Angel cake! Bahahahahahahahahha. I’m a genius. And it’s something we can enjoy for breakfast or brunch or a snack during the brisket smoking.

pineapplesponge

Pineapple Angel Cake

1/2 the angel food cake recipe
8 oz can of crushed pineapple, drained

Directions

Make angel food cake as instructed.

Before pouring into a square cake tin sprayed with cooking spray, fold in pineapple.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 12.

It’s perfect. Absolutely perfect.

Only one problem. I used a carton of egg whites instead of actual egg whites so they never peaked the way I wanted it to.

Moral of the story – DO NOT try to save money and USE EGG WHITES FROM A CARTON. It doesn’t work.

And if it does, it takes forever.

Other than that, it was perfect. The light airiness and the pops of yellow speckled in the cake bringing sparks of pineapple in every bite. Goes perfect with coffee or tea.

So make it for a luncheon and surprise every one when you tell them it wasn’t made from a box.

Take that Susie FastMaker, destroyer of yumminess, creator of type 2 diabetes. Okay, maybe I went a little too far with that. I fully respect Mom’s with busy life’s and handling the kids, the house, and a job at the same time. Mumika was a single parent. It’s not easy. So shortcuts to bring food onto the table or being reminded that you promised to make 36 cupcakes for class or a school fundraiser are desperately needed. But just think about what you are allowing your kids to put in their mouths by using these short cuts. That’s all I ask. The future health of your children will thank you.

For an even low sugar and carb version use the strawberry shortcake cupcake recipe.

 

 

Cuban Sandwich

I’ve eaten a lot of food in my life. Like, a lot. Before my diagnosis, I could have a 5 course meal and lose 2 pounds. It was amazing.

But I have also tried a lot of different cuisines. When I lived in Boston, I knew where all the good food was and it was all ethnic. No American or American bastardized ethnic food like tex-mex or what have you.

I’m always looking for that little hole in the wall that has the best _______ ever created. That’s the way I’ve been since undergrad. Hell, I planned my graduation for undergrad based on which restaurants we were going to eat at.

Mumika says I came out like my dad in that respect. Always willing to try something different and then introducing it to other people. Luckily Bryan is the same way. It helps when your husband is as big of a foodie as you.

My recent discovery has been the food trucks two towns over has been a beautiful experience for us both as we try different cuisines the food trucks offer. My favorite so far is a Korea fusion truck and their bulgogi tacos. Then there’s the empanada truck and another latina truck whose Horchata is amazing.

When I realized I was making Pernil for Christmas Eve, I immediately knew I wanted to make Cuban sandwiches out of it for the overnight brisket smoking. It was perfect as a midnight snack. And where did this idea come from, from one of the food trucks that made Cuban sandwiches of course.

Much to my amazement, Mumika had never heard of such a sandwich. How can she walking on this earth 27 years longer than me and never heard of such amazingness? I was baffled. I could claim it was the fact that she was in Puerto Rico during her teen and early 20’s. But that really isn’t reason enough. The truth is, Mumika is quite sheltered when it comes to food. It’s sad, but true. Don’t deny it Mumika.

When she took the first bite out of her sandwich, she raved about it. Then she went to the in-laws a talked about it non stop to my mother in law. Then she came over the next day and talked about it on the way to the mall. Then she talked about it at the mall, at the eye glass place, on the way home, and at my house. It was non-stop. It’s like nothing else mattered in life except this sandwich and that was all she wanted.

Unfortunately, Bryan was working on the tile in the kitchen so her dream of eating another Cuban sandwich sadly came to an end. Didn’t help that I froze the rest of the pernil later that night. I have all sorts of ideas for the pernil. All sorts of ideal.

cubansand

Cuban Sandwich

4 ounces pernil
4 ounces ham
2 slices swiss cheese
yellow mustard
3 sliced lengthwise dill pickles
1/4 of a baguette

Directions

Slice bread in half lengthwise.

Place pickles on bottom piece of bread.

Put the pernil on top of the pickles.

Place ham on top of pernil.

Put cheese on top of ham.

Slather on mustard on the inside of the top bread slice.

Put top piece of bread on top of cheese, mustard side down.

There’s two way to make it: toast it in the oven by baking it at 350 for 10 minutes.
OR
Putting it in a Panini press and toasting it that way.

Makes 1.

I didn’t use the tradition Cuban bread because 1) didn’t have time to make it, 2) don’t have a surface to flour, and 3) couldn’t find it premade anywhere.

You don’t have to use pernil, any left over pork loin will work.

What makes this sandwich amazing is how the tangy mustard plays with the saltiness of the pickles and cheese which ends up highlighting the pork and ham. The flavor profile of each part of the sandwich brings something to the table and creates a yumminess that cannot be done any other way.

Is this a traditional Cuban sandwich, no. Does it taste amazing, yes. Next time I make it, it will be traditional to the core. What is not added to this sandwich I made is the olive oil and garlic that is brushed on the bread as it toasts before assembling the sandwich. But this sandwich is something you can make in a jiffy if time is not on your side and i’s very filling.

What this blog is actually about

Over Christmas, this blog became a focus of the family. To the point that it became a topic of a discussion between Bryan and I. Bryan doesn’t believe in blogging, he feels that its main purpose is to give people the attention they feel like they deserve. Meaning deep down inside all bloggers are attention whores displaying their life publically where everyone can see it.

Because someone had taken offense over something I had written without providing sufficient details about what the post was about, Bryan felt he had to step in. The family did not like what I was writing about them and it needed to stop.

He literally asked me to stop writing this blog.

“Have you even read my blog?” I asked him already knowing the answer.
“No.” He replied.
“Then how can you say such a thing, if you don’t even know what it’s about. If you haven’t even read it to see for yourself if these complaints are justified.”

Which, by the way, I feel that they are not.

What is this blog about?

It’s about food. It’s about diabetes. It’s about how frustrating life is with this chronic illness. It’s about how people treat you. How people easily forget. It’s about going out to dinner, going to parties, showers, weddings, events, over to people’s houses and wondering if there might be something that can potentially ruin my numbers. Or worse, hospitalize me. My mother nearly killed me by accidentally food poisoning me with a bad piece of meat. My blood sugar was nearly 1500, 15X the normal and I had to be put in a medically induced coma for a week as well as dialysis to bring me back to life. That was my last hospitalization which occurred in late November of 2011. Food, as it turns out, can kill. Something none of us even contemplated despite vigorous research on Type 1 Diabetes.

Mostly, thought, it’s about food. It’s about making healthy meals that I can eat. Healthy meals anyone can eat. And how just because it’s healthy, doesn’t mean you have to lose flavor and have everything taste like cardboard. Just because I have diabetes, doesn’t mean I have to live a life of perpetual boiled food. Because that would be boring. And suck. Big ass monkey balls.

Of course I try to write a story about the particular recipe I’m writing about. From Mumika making King Ranch Chicken or Broccoli Cheese soup, to trying to figure out Bryan’s grandmother’s peach cobbler and modifying it so there isn’t as much sugar. Or in a lot of cases, making healthy holiday menus where I can eat everything I make.

And as usual, I give tips after the recipe on what I did differently. Where I went wrong. What you shouldn’t do. Most importantly, how it tasted.

That’s what this blog is about.

Of course there might be rants, but that’s due to frustration. Like the M&M Oreo Cookie bars that required a whole box of oreos when 20 was more than enough. Or how it feels when someone pulls the dietary restrictions card on me or how I hate asking people what sort of sugar they cook with because I know sweeteners contain aspartame and I can’t eat anything with it because my kidneys can’t filter sweeteners leaving my blood sugar over 750 which can lead to hospitalization. And it’s just as important to write these rants because it’s providing some sort of education for people that don’t live with type 1 diabetes.

Hell, it can save lives. When I was first diagnoses with type 1, I drank crystal light and ate sugar free Jell-O and could not understand why on earth my blood sugar would stay at 200 throughout the day. It was sugar free, sugar free is diabetic friendly, right? Little did I know that aspartame was the culprit and for some diabetics, sugar free with the use of sweeteners was worse than regular sugar. Bryan and I have tested every sweetener on the market including stevia and other natural sugar alternatives, all of which makes my blood sugar skyrocket out of control. Maybe this can help diabetics, especially newly diagnosed ones, get a better handle on the disease and how food ultimately contributes to it.

That’s also what this blog is about.

Also, I encourage healthy eating. Which is why, every recipe that is a dessert of some kind has the sugar cut in at least half. I even wrote a post as to why which can be read here.

What it boils down to is – If you have a problem with this blog then don’t read it. It’s that simple.

I started this blog as an outlet for dealing with diabetes and as a way to inspire people that you can eat healthy without sacrificing your taste buds. We all have ways to deal with our daily life stressors, some people drink, others play sports, I write.

 

 

Banana Nut Bread

A few weeks ago, I made banana bread in a rice cooker. You can read about it here.

I’ve made banana nut bread a ton of times. Bryan hearts it. And I always have to use chopped walnuts.

Before I made it this time, I looked in the cookbook called A Modern Family Cookbook written in the 1950’s to 1960’s. My edition is 1964, I believe. Bryan’s grandmother passed it down to his mother and it’s one of those precious items that could cause a feud in his family when his parent’s died. So I went on etsy and bought my own. I was so excited over this cookbook, it wasn’t even funny. Bryan remembers this cookbook used throughout his childhood and as a good wife, I want to be able to cook foods he knows.

So I figured there would be a banana nut bread recipe.

But there wasn’t. Much to my horror. Banana nut bread raised to popularity in the 1950’s so why isn’t it this old ass cookbook?

Oh, well.

Banana bread wasn’t a must in my household growing up but it was at a friend’s house. I swear the mother would wait until the near rotten bananas were on sale and then buy the whole lot of them just to make banana bread. And the oddest thing was that they were German, so for the longest time I thought this bread was a German thing. Then I found out it was more of a Southern thing from Bryan (Although he is also of German descent). Sweet tea and Banana nut bread, two main staples of the South and despite living in Texas, I had no clue.

One thing one must know about this recipe is that it needs to be cooked for longer than the recipe stated. I baked it for an hour and the middle fell out of it. So I put it back in the oven and cooked it for an extra hour. Banana nut bread should not take 2 bloody hours to cook. It shouldn’t. So just a head’s up. Cook it longer.

Also, it is important that you walnuts. Not pecans or any other nut, but walnuts. There’s something about the combination of bananas and walnuts that is down right magical.

banananut

Banana Nut Bread

3 ripe bananas, the brown/blackish, the better
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup of sugar
2 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup walnuts

Directions

Mash bananas in a medium bowl

Mix in the baking soda and salt and flour in a separate bowl.

Stir in the sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla extract with the mashed bananas.

Mix in the flour mixture with bananas until well combined.

Fold in walnuts

Pour the batter into a loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray.

If you have walnuts left over, sprinkle it on top.

Bake at 350°F for 1 hour.

Makes 12.

This is one of the most moist banana bread recipes I have ever made.

It made the whole house smell divine while baking.

This is technically my fourth time making banana nut bread. The first time being in the second apartments, Bryan and I lived in. The second time, I made amazing banana nut bread muffins out of it. Then the rice cooker experiment. And now today.

Am I a pro at this? Nope. Hell, I’m amazed it was able to rise the second time I put it in the damn oven.

I did cut the sugar down to 1/2 cup from 1 cup. If your bananas are black, there is no need to add extra sugar. The sugar in this case is more of a binding agent than anything else.

I do admit I liked the extra crunch from adding the walnut as a topping this time. I’ve done a sugar toping and a brushed brown sugar topping before. Also, this is the first time I’ve solely used white sugar. In the past it’s been brown sugar or a blend of the two.

Which means I’m going to have to do a brown vs white vs a blend bake off one of these days to declare which sugar reigns supreme when it comes to banana nut bread. It will be epic.

The great thing about banana nut bread is that it’s suitable as a snack, part of brunch, breakfast and incorporated in desserts. Quite a versatile sweet bread. And it never lasts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honey Vanilla Porter Chicken Skewers

Happy New Years!

Hopefully you will fulfill your resolutions if it tickles your fancy. My resolution is the same one I made in 2012 which ironically is the only one that I can fulfill – not dying or being hospitalized for diabetes. Or in other words – no DKAing.

The hubby has a whole different view of 2015. New year, new him. His descent into having a ripped body starts, and to be quite honest, I’m not looking forward to it. We spent part of last night watching youtube videos of bodybuilders routine and tips on getting massive. Eat big or go home or something like that. Lots of protein powder and pre workout drinks and protein this that and all other. It’s a lot to take in. A lot. But I’m happy he’s taking some initiative.

If you want something simple and tasty, these chicken skewers are perfect. They also go well if your watching all the bowl games.

honeyporterchick

Honey Vanilla Porter Chicken Skewers

2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup vanilla porter
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
6 boneless skinless chicken thigh, cut into cubes

Directions

In a large bowl, soak the bamboo sticks for 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix everything except the chicken to make the marinade.

Add the cubed chicken making sure the chicken is completely coated.

Put in fridge for 30 minutes.

While waiting, get grill going.

Pierce chicken with bamboo sticks. I would put about 4 – 6 cubes on each skewer.

Place the chicken on the grill.

With a brush, baste the chicken with the remaining marinade.

Flip the chicken after 3 minutes, basting again.

Take off grill.

Makes 15.

This was pretty amazing and happened to be the best appetizer as I made Christmas dinner. The honey paired well with the vanilla porter giving the marinade extra flavor as it penetrated the chicken. The smoke from the grill seared this flavor into the chicken allowing it to be tasted in every single bite.

It was absolutely fabulous. And welcoming.

Of course most people just do kabobs or slather barbecue sauce on chicken, but this takes bbqing chicken to a whole entirely different level of happiness.

Having the guys over to watch a game? Like, I don’t know the superbowl? Wow them with this offering to the superbowl gods.

Or make it into a meal with some rice and a vegetable kabob.