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 pasta round 1

Something I definitely was no where close to giving up in the gluten free live I found myself in was pasta.

Luckily, despite living in a small town, I found gluten free pasta. The downside is it cost roughly twice as much.

I already knew this was going to be an issue because healthy food always cost more the junk food. Hence the whole fast food trillion dollars industry. Junk sells because of deflated costs and what will most people pick: a dollar cheeseburger or a seven dollar sit down meal. The cheeseburger because it’s cheap, mobile, and fast to make.

So we get the pasta. The HEB brand and I read the directions. Boil water, put pasta in water, and boil for 11 minutes. Previous to this adventure, I had been warned of the gumminess gluten free pasta possessed.

However, now I know why. The bloody pasta was no where close to being cooked. Therefore, it comes out gummy.

So I cooked it for a total of 20 minutes and ended up overcooking the dammit thing.

Maybe this pasta thing isn’t worth the hassle.  I don’t know. Maybe I got the wrong pasta? Either way,  HEB gluten free pasta is a no go in this journey.

A little experiment

There is a lot of things going on right now and I’m starting to believe I’ve bitten off a wee bit too much than I can chew. It’s not that I haven’t cooked food, I have, I just haven’t had time to post these new recipes. Especially considering, we’ve been doing the whole gluten free thing. I am doing 3 internships, taking 4 classes, and I have a part time job. So if I’m not at school, I’m at an internship or at work. I hardly have time to do the school work let alone type a post.

The other reason for the lack of posts is because of the gluten free lifestyle I am trying. What was originally a week was extended into two weeks and now may be more indefinite.

Why?

I did a little test yesterday. Bryan and I went out for chinese food and I ended up eating a few things with wheat in it. I decided to do this to find out if I got sick and how long it took to get sick if I did.

The answer: I did get sick but it was roughly 6 hours later instead of immediately. What does this mean? It means that I am healing. This diet is actually working. It also means that I will probably do another check in about a month.

Why am I doing these experiments? A) It is impossible to go on a diet or lifestyle change without falling off the bandwagon. So if I give myself a little lee way, I’m less likely to give into my gluten cravings. I’ve always believed in moderation, but in this case, it’s more of a rewards system for doing so well and sticking with it. B) I want to see when my stomach and intestines are fully healed. I started with 2 weeks, next will be a month, the time after that will be three months, then six months, and then a year.

I do realize that technically each time I eat gluten it will be causing damage, but I think the amount of damage will be limited and would therefore allow me to figure out when I can, if I can incorporate some gluten in my diet. Even if it’s a twice a year sort of thing.

In the next few posts, I will be talking about what to expect of the gluten free lifestyle, reading nutrition labels to see if a product is gluten free, gluten free pasta, gluten free pizza, gluten free cake and brownie box mixes and how to make your own gluten free all purpose flour (hopefully).

In between these posts, I am hoping to finish posting recipes I made before the gluten free lifestyle change. So please bear with me. If this ends up significantly reducing my insulin intake, the name of the blog may be changed as well.

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.