Grating butter

I recently read somewhere that the easiest way to make pastry that involves cutting butter into the flour was to grate it with a grater.

The inner Michelle ears perked up. Grating butter. Why haven’t I thought of that.

The whole reason why I fave been leary about pastry and making my own pie dough was the butter part. It seems frustrating and tedious. I could see myself screaming, cut damn you, cut.

That and using knives seemed pointless.

A week ago, I found a recipe that only used rice flour to make a gluten free pie crust.

I was leary.

And then I remembered to grate the butter.

So I tried it.

It WORKS!!!!!!!!

And you use less butter by grating it.

1/2 cup butter becomes 1/2 a stick. Cutting fat is always a plus.

Now no pastry is too hard to make and I can make homemade pie crusts.

Amazing. Absolutely amazing.

Grating butter, a life hack every Susie homemaker baker needs in her arsenal.

Glutino Decadent Chocolate Cake

You know how you try a product and it’s really good, so you try another product of the same brand.

What you don’t realize is that the high expectations you gained from trying the first product influences your feelings when you try a second product. And, in all honesty, it dooms the new product to fail from the start.

A long time ago, Mumika and I tried a gluten free chocolate cake box mix. Why? I don’t know. Probably to try something different. This was before gluten free became all the rage that it is today. It was one of those, it’s supposedly healthy, why not try it? What’s the worse that can happen?

It was the most god awful tasting chocolate cardboard posing as cake I had ever had. Flash foward a good few years, technology, and the time to create a better method of gluten free flower blending, and one would think there would be a better tasting cake.

One would think.

I ended up making cupcakes instead. The thought process was chocolate cake with a strawberry mascarpone cheese frosting, but that totally didn’t happen.

First and foremost, when making this box mix, the batter was extremely runny to the point that I feared it would end up being a hot soupy mess. Also, it had to be baked longer causing the cake to dry out. On top of that, the cake was extremely dense and not that fluffy awesomeness we all know and love of cake.

In a nutshell, it failed on so many levels that when it came to taste, I didn’t really care that much. It tasted better than chocolate cardboard but not by much.

Which means, I’ll have to experiment with different flours or flour blends before finding the perfect cake.

Grrrr……

I would try to make this again but I fear it would end the same causing me to waste money on it. Maybe I’ll try a different cake box mix next time.

Martha White Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin Pouch

As I was walking down the baking aisle at HEB, looking for anything gluten free, I came across Martha White Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin mix pouch thing.

I hate muffin pouches. They are as pointless as cookie pouch mixes. But I was like, you know what, what the hell, lets try it. It was only $1.50, how could I say no.

When I got home and looked at the ingredients, much to my horror, I realized my mistake. On the list of ingredients, I found artificial blueberry bits. What.the.FUCK does that mean?

Seriously?

I don’t get it. Why claim there’s blueberry, if there aren’t blueberries in the bloddy thing.

But I made it anyway, because this is all about trying new things and gaining a better understanding and what have you. Although, part of my understanding now is that homemade where you physically had fresh blueberries to a muffin mix is the way to go. This way you know that there is actual blueberries in it and artificial, imitation, blueberry bits, pieces or whatever it claims. These so called blueberries is nothing but dye, high fructose corn syrup and sugar. So basically, they are adding extra sugar and calling it blueberries. I don’t know how that works, or even how on earth they get it to remotely smell like blueberries. Must be that artificial flavor or in this case smell.

So yeah.

Um, no. No no no no no. No. NO. NO. no. Did I say no? Because I mean no. No. NO. no. No. Just no.

Don’t do it. Don’t ever do it.

And if someone offers you blueberry muffins and the bits look oddly round and small and questionable and bubbly blue colored melted sugar, kindly say no thank you. Because it’s a facade, a horrible blueberry muffin facade. It’s not real. It never was real. I never will be real. Boycott it. Yes, boycott it.

Sadness.

Glutino Double Chocolate Brownie Mix

As Bryan and I were looking at protien powder, a few weeks ago, I found myself staring at gluten free box mixes. The gluten free area shares an aisle with the fitness health and homeopathic stuff.

Before this journey, I was dead set again the whole box mix crap. But, I had an epiphany as I looked at brownie, white cake, chocolate cake, yellow cake, chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, banana bread, pizza crust, and pie crust box mixes.

I have no idea what I’ve truly gotten myself into.

I needed to try these box mixes to see if the baked goods of the gluten free lifestyle were even remotely edible. And, there was a coupon. Most gluten free box mixes are an absurd $3.99 and up. The $1.50 off coupon sort of made it remotely worth it.

So I made it.

AND.

Oh.My.God. Most amazing brownie ever created. It’s gooey, collapse in your hand and shape it into what ever yummy of awesomeness. Almost every part of the brownie was the awesome middle part people everywhere fight for and rejoice over.

Screw brownies with wheat in it. They never come out this perfect.

So moist. So chocolatey. You can actually see the chocolate chips in the mix.

Bryan ended up eating pretty much the whole pan in one sitting. He claimed he was saving me from the evil brownies. But I knew better.

What in it? SUGAR, CHOCOLATE CHIPS, COCOA POWDER PROCESSED WITH ALKALI, WHITE RICE FLOUR, POTATO STARCH, CORN STARCH, XANTHAN GUM, SALT.

Hmmmmm. Maybe I can figure how to make this on my own and cut the sugar down. Yep, definitely need to figure out how to do that.

Despite being on a gluten free diet, I’m still trying to figure out how to tweak things. There is always room for tweaking. Always.

But until then, if you have $4 on you and want to make the best brownies in the universe (thus far), go ahead and get a box. You won’t regret it.

Gluten Free pasta round 2

Bryan and I are huge pasta lovers. We could eat spaghetti everyday. Literally.

After the first attempt of pasta, Bryan brought home a different brand to try.

Ronzoni.

This gluten free pasta is amazing. And it tastes better than regular pasta.  The flour blend used is quinoa, white, and brown rice.

I think the biggest thing is that it cooks correctly.

And it works great in pasta based casseroles.

I wouldn’t mind trying Barilla gluten free pasta, but until I can find it Ronzoni works perfectly for me.

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.}

 

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.

 

 

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.