NATIONAL PECAN MONTH

NATIONAL PECAN MONTHWhen I think of pecans, my mind goes to our Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson, KS.  There’s one building in particular that smells positively divine from the moment you enter – with the scent of warm candied pecans!  To be honest, that is my favorite way to eat pecans!

To me pecans taste like childhood,
They fell from the family tree.
Sticky leaves, crackling branch wood
Hulling and cracking, we three—
Siblings, nuts in varied degree.
– Terri Guillemets

Pecans pack a punch with dense calories and high fat, but as we all know by now, it’s the good kind of fat.  Just one ounce is a hefty 104 calories!  That’s a point and a half if you’re counting points like me.

The apples and pears in the grocery store look especially good right now.  This recipe for Apple-Pear Crisp is a real crowd pleaser at potluck dinners.  I leave the peel on the fruit, but you can peel it if you want to.  🙂

Apple-Pear Crisp (makes 9 servings, 5 points per serving)

Ingredients: filling

Cooking spray

1 lb. Granny Smith apples, cored, cut into 1″ thick slices

1 lb. Bartlett pears, cored, cut into 1″ thick slices

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

4 Tbs. Splenda brown sugar

Ingredients: topping

1 large egg

6 Tbs. Splenda brown sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 c. uncooked rolled oats

6 Tbs. butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Coat a 9×9 glass baking dish with cooking spray.  Place fruit slices in medium bowl.  Toss with lemon juice and Splenda.  Set aside.

To make topping – in another medium bowl, beat egg.  Add Splenda, salt and cinnamon.  Mix to combine.  Add oats and mix well.

Spoon fruit into prepared baking dish and evenly sprinkle oat mix on top; drizzle with melted butter.  Bake until fruit starts to bubble and topping starts to brown, about 45-50 minutes.

Allow crisp to cool for a minimum of 2 hours.  Cut into 9 pieces.

Enjoy!  🙂

 

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NATIONAL CHICKEN CORDON BLEU DAY

TL 4-4 NATIONAL CHICKEN CORDON BLEU DAY

As you have undoubtedly noticed, I enjoy the “foodie” holidays!  If I was at a healthy weight, I could enjoy these days with wild abandon…  however, I have to put on the brakes when it comes to making the high-fat, high-carbohydrate versions of these dishes.  Fortunately, I’m usually able to do a little research and come up with a recipe even I can make without feeling guilty!

Here is a healthy recipe that takes hundreds of calories, fat grams and sodium milligrams out – but has all the great flavor of the original.  It goes from over 700 calories to under 300.  The original recipe has nearly 50g of fat!  Our recipe has just 10g of fat.  And instead of a whopping 850mg of sodium, we’ll have just 500mg.

Prep time – 30 min.

Makes 6 servings

CHICKEN CORDON BLEU

6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 oz. each)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

6 slices deli ham

3 slices aged Swiss cheese, halved

1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

Cooking spray

sauce

2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 cup 2% milk

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/3 cup finely shredded Swiss cheese

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper; arrange in a greased 9×13″ baking dish.
  2. Top each with 1 slice ham and 1/2 slice cheese, folding ham in half and covering chicken as much as possible.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs.  Carefully spritz crumbs with cooking spray, keeping crumbs in place.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and a thermometer inserted in chicken reads 165 degrees.
  3. For sauce, in a small saucepan, whisk flour and milk until smooth.  Bring sauce to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir 1-2 minutes or until thickened.
  4. Reduce to medium heat.  Stir in wine and shredded cheese; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is thickened and bubbly.  Stir in salt and pepper.  Keep warm over low heat until ready to serve.  Serve sauce with chicken.

Per serving:

285 calories, 9g fat (4g sat. fat), 89mg chol., 490mg sodium, 12g. carb, trace fiber, 33g pro.

Diabetic Exchanges:

4 lean meat, 1 starch

I hope this encourages you to celebrate around the dinner table with your family tonight!  🙂

IRON SHARPENS IRON

IRON SHARPENS IRON (2)

I was with a group of women recently and the discussion came around to ways to streamline your routine and get to work on time.  The big issue seemed to be breakfast in the morning.  Everyone agreed that it just takes too long and that’s when Sylvia shared the best suggestion.

How about a fix-ahead breakfast that you just reheat in the microwave?  Here ya go!

Banana-Nut Oatmeal

Makes 8 servings

2 cups steel-cut oats

1/2 tsp. salt

3 large very ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar

1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

8 12-oz. Ball canning jars with metal rings and lids

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

  • To prepare:  In a medium pot, combine oats, 5 cups water and salt; bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cover.  Cook 10 minutes (oatmeal will be very watery).  Remove from heat; stir in bananas, Splenda brown and lemon juice.  Distribute oatmeal evenly among glass jars; screw on lids.  Cool on countertop and refrigerate overnight.
  • To serve:  Remove metal rings and lids.  For each jar, stir in 1 Tbs. milk, 1 Tbs chopped nuts and, if desired, additional Splenda brown sugar.  Reheat in microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until hot.  Let stand 1 minute.  Carefully remove, stir and garnish with sliced bananas, if desired.

Per serving:  266 calories, 8 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 8 g pro, 47 g carb, 6 g fiber, 165 mg sodium, 1 mg chol

You may see the number of carbs in this and decide it’s too high, but it happens that the one who suggested this is a diabetic nutritionist.  She explains the health benefits like this:

Because of its soluble fiber content, adding a banana to your daily oatmeal can also help lower your risk of developing diabetes. When you consume a carbohydrate-rich meal, your blood glucose tends to rise quickly, stimulating your pancreas to release insulin rapidly. Adding food high in soluble fiber, however, can slow absorption of sugar from your food, producing a more gradual increase in blood glucose and lessening the demand for insulin.

She said this breakfast has saved her family an average of about 5 minutes, and that means you don’t have to go over the speed limit while driving to work.  It’s also a healthy, hot breakfast on these chilly mornings for the kids (and for you).  It gets everyone started on the right foot.

Click image to enlarge

What a great idea to prepare these on the weekend and serve during the week!  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (15)

So…  am I the only one who wants to know how LITTLE exercise I can do and still see results???  Hey, I’m just being honest.  I wish I enjoyed exercise, but the fact is, I really do not like it.  I’ve tried everything to try to “distract” myself from the task at hand (TV, music, etc.) – but the fact remains that I really don’t want to do it.

I read something that made me so very happy!  Apparently, a Scottish study found that just 10 minutes of leisurely cycling with two 20-second bursts of hard pedaling, done three times a week is equal to a quality workout!

Is it too good to be true?  You can bet I’ll try it and hope for fabulous results.  Feel free to join me!

Sometimes I get bored with the bike – so I go bowling.  I burn 237 calories per hour (if I stay away from the snack bar) – yikes!  :-/

Eating habits still count as well.  If you can find some blue plates (they are not easy to find here in Wichita) that would be great.  Why?  Psychologically, blue does not stimulate the senses – or make us think we need to eat more.

The happiest plate is not the one that is empty – it’s the one that is filled wisely.  Most of the plate should have green on it (i.e. broccoli), then a protein source (i.e. beef, chicken).  You can have a bit of complex carbohydrate, such as 1/4 baked potato with that, but if I can skip it, I do.  I’ve learned to enjoy veggies, fruits, beans and nuts.

I learned that skipping meals just makes you binge at some point.  It’s best to just eat all three meals and be smart about portions.

Have you ever kept a food journal?  I didn’t used to, but sometimes it helps because I catch triggers that make me want to fall off the diet wagon.  I can thwart the urge to sabotage my efforts and be successful.

If you have a choice between eating out and brown-bagging – pack your own lunch.  It’s a matter of control.  For example, I like the Arby’s Turkey & Swiss sandwich, but they use mayo on them, which adds about 100 calories that I can do without.  I can get similar ingredients and make my own – but hold the mayo.  I think the bread I use is probably fewer calories than the bread they use too (certainly lower in carbohydrates).

I’ve learned to swap ice cream for yogurt.  It’s going to sound weird, but I am hooked on Dannon Light & Fit 80 calorie yogurt.  All of the flavors are delicious – no lie.  Some of them are fruit, but others are dessert flavors like Boston Cream Pie and Toasted Coconut Vanilla.

Heart disease is the number one health risk for women – and a major complication of type 2 diabetes.  I have to make some small changes in my daily diet and exercise routine.  I’ve also learned that it’s okay to laugh more and stress less.

I’m thankful that with a few baby steps, this diet thing seems to be working well.  🙂

 

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (23)

ON THE SUBJECT OF CHEESE
The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.
– G.K. Chesterton

There is nothing better than to be going through a dry spell in my writing, then see a quote like this one! Thank you, G.K. Chesterton, for saying that – I am breaking the silence today! I wrote about my love for cheese.  What an awesome writing prompt!

Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash. – Leonard Cohen

Is it a poem that could have remained unwritten? Well, yes it is, but I chose to write it anyway. I have been to Wisconsin and at times I’m tempted to make another trip back for no other reason than pick up the best cheese in America!TL COLUMBO ABOUT CHEESE

If you ever get to Nelson cheese shop in Nelson, Wisconsin, I promise you will not regret visiting there. They have a variety of cheeses and once you taste them you will not want to buy cheese at your local market ever again.

These days I use cheese sparingly. I like to add a little to my salads or chili or soup. Melted cheese melts my heart! Most dishes are not complete without a little cheese for garnish.

A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery while on a detour.
– Unknown

Since 1994 when I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, I have been more selective about the cheese I use. For example, I can no longer eat Velveeta due to the sodium content.

I do believe that a diet should be inclusive of all food groups, so I use cheese more sparingly than I used to, but have not cut it out of my diet – nor would I.

I need no reason to melt cheese. – Linda Palmer

I measure the portion, I count the calories, I count the carbohydrates, I melt the cheese! It’s the little things – it really is.

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART 35

THE WHITE LETTUCE BLUES

I’ve made the most extraordinary discovery! The more restricted my diet becomes, the more picky I get about my food! There was a time I just ate what was put before me whether it was fixed perfectly or not. I just mindlessly ate it. Those days are gone. I only get 1200 calories a day and I will not waste them on food that does not taste good.

If I’m at a restaurant and order a salad, or go to a salad bar, there had better be some green leafy lettuce in that bowl or they will hear about it. I try not to be rude, but really, people, does anyone like the white part of iceberg lettuce??? I don’t. It’s even worse if it is rusty and white!

When I pick out more of the lettuce than I eat, this is a problem and I don’t like it. I’m paying money for a green salad, not a white rusty salad.

That’s one reason I enjoy our local deli – Jason’s Deli. They not only offer the iceberg lettuce, but they have a large bowl of spinach as well. When I make a salad at home it is always with spinach! I never buy lettuce. I’m in heaven with a spinach salad with a little raspberry vinaigrette on top.

It’s been difficult to become a picky eater because I was raised by parents who lived through the great depression era. They knew what it was like to be poor and eat what was put before you and “like” it. My dad used to tell me about the lines they stood in to get a block of cheese. I learned that you use it until it’s used up – haste makes waste. Those values were passed on to me.

I still appreciate everything I have, don’t get me wrong, but now I recognize my likes and dislikes. I’m not a garbage disposal – I’m a person. I don’t have to eat whatever is put before me. In my mind – eating food that is not good for me or does not taste good – well… that haste makes WAIST. So…

I only get 1200 calories a day. Why should I eat anything I don’t really like?

NATIONAL CHOCOLATE CHIP DAY

TL 5-15 NATIONAL CHOCOLATE CHIP DAY

I like to think of chocolate chips as tiny little pieces of sanity.
– Linda Palmer

There are two ways to eat chocolate.  You can either throw caution to the wind and eat an entire chocolate cake, or have a short stack of chocolate chip pancakes.

Today is NATIONAL CHOCOLATE CHIP DAY!!!  Allow me to be your voice of reason for just one minute.  By the time you eat just half of that cake you will no longer be hungry – for anything.  You will probably be feeling pretty sick.

Something as innocent looking as say, a frosted chocolate fudge Pop-Tart is a whopping 200 calories!  Two bites and it’s gone – straight to your hips!!!

I would suggest something that is just as yummy and has just a bit of chocolate, such as Van’s Natural Foods Mini Chocolate Chip Waffles which are only 15 calories each.

Think of it this way…  for one Pop-Tart, you could have 13 mini-waffles!!!  I don’t even add butter or syrup to them, they are that good.  They give me some much-needed chocolate therapy and restore my sanity.

Forget love – I’d rather fall in chocolate!   – Attributed to Sandra J. Dykes

Once in a while, I melt a few chocolate chips in a saucepan and drizzle it over my Quaker chocolate crunch rice cake, which is only 60 calories.  Yes the melted chocolate adds a few more calories, but it sure tastes better than a dry rice cake.  In fact, there are times when I just eat the melted chocolate without the rice cake.  :-/

My friend Lucinda Berry Hill wrote a poem for this day too. We can never have too many poems about chocolate chips – and I like that hers is called CHOCOLATE CHIP FRIENDS.

CHOCOLATE CHIP FRIENDS

Remember that you do have friends and they are more precious than chocolate chips!  God loves you more than chocolate chips too.  He guides and directs your paths if you ask Him to – and your photo is on His refrigerator because you mean so much to Him.

Enjoy your celebration!