A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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I’ve kept 20 pounds off for several months – and that’s a RECORD for me!  In the past I was the quintessential yo-yo dieter, making bargains with myself that I will get back on the horse, but when I start to climb the ladder to mount the horse, I slip and land on the proverbial ground instead.  Keto is different – it’s less of a traditional diet and more of a lifestyle change that uses common horse sense instead of rules, regulations and restrictions.  It’s a smart way of eating.  Yes, there’s portion control – there has to be – but I have not felt deprived like I have before.  I’m never hungry.  If I feel hungry, I can have all the fresh vegetables I want.  I get keto friendly veggie dip – and have a virtual feast at snack time!

But…  what about ice cream – for breakfast???  Hmm…  Lucinda thinks it’s perfect!  😉

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Thanks first to my Heavenly Father, of course, for without HIM – well – I’d not get anything done!  I’m thankful to my friend Dana for adding me to a great group on facebook called Keto 2nd Breakfast – and all the other meals!  I’ve gotten such help and support there – and then I turn around and share what I learn in my group (which is more or less health-related – well, we try)…  A Second Helping of Wellness…  with a Dash of Humor & a Pinch of Faith. 

Then, I’d like to thank the academy, and all the little people, for without the little people, I would not have had the stick-to-it-tive-ness to achieve success!  Okay, now I’m being silly.  Too much coffee maybe?  Oh…  surely not!  There’s no such thing!!! 

Of all the foods that are on the high carb side – I miss ice cream the most.  I pass the Braum’s store and nearly have a fit – I want ice cream – well, a twist frozen yogurt, to be exact…  so bad!!!  But I think there’s a wonderful solution – and I found a post from Amanda Balster in the group – about Halo Top.  I’ve decided that’s a great name for it, because it feels as though Halo Top is Heaven sent!

A 1/2 cup serving is 80 calories, 2.5g fat, 7g net carbs, and 6g of protein.  I call that a WIN!

Thanks Amanda for these photos!  🙂

16195856_10102165268262236_4125207851832379837_n16298581_10102165261994796_4571245357092043781_nEveryone says that all the flavors are good – except lemon.  I don’t know because I’ve not tried it yet.  I’m blogging without trying the product first hand, which I rarely do, but I trust my friends to steer me in the right direction – they always have.  Shoot, I’m just happy to hear about a legal ice cream alternative!  😀

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE WITH ALMONDS DAY

tl-11-7-national-bittersweet-chocolate-with-almonds-day

Bittersweet chocolate is chocolate liquor to which sugar, cocoa butter and vanilla have been added.  It has less sugar and more liquor than semisweet chocolate.  Recent studies have revealed health benefits from eating small quantities of bittersweet chocolate. Almonds have health benefits as well.
 So of course for this day I have a low-carb recipe for you! sacher-cake-1194524
LOW-CARB SUGAR-FREE CHOCOLATE HEAVEN CAKE
Ingredients:
10.5 oz. dark 70-75% chocolate
6 oz. butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
6 eggs
6 Tbs. heavy cream
4 tsp. granulated Splenda
Instructions:
Melt chocolate & butter together over low heat in saucepan.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before adding vanilla extract.  In another bowl, beat eggs, cream and Splenda together for 3-4 minutes with a stick blender or hand whisk.  It will be frothy and remain runny.  Slowly add egg mix to chocolate mix in the saucepan, stirring constantly.  As you add more egg mix, the chocolate and butter will thicken to the consistency of custard.
Grease an 8″ round spring form pan with butter and line the loose bottom with parchment paper.  Push paper through the outer ring to seal and stop the cake batter from leaking.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Garnish with slivered almonds, if desired.
The greater percentage of cocoa you use, the less sugar there is – but if you try to use anything higher than 75% it gets very bitter.  Most of the time I use 70% because it seems to be easier to find.  I get it at my local Walmart. 3b00db48ffe0a619
Feel free to put as much whipped topping on your cake as you want.  There are no carbs in Reddi Whip (my favorite).  Of course, I put it on my cake and immediately shoot a little in my mouth when nobody’s watching!  Just because I’m adult doesn’t mean I have to act like one.
I don’t know of any businesses with freebies today.  It’d sure be nice if our local nut shop would give some bittersweet chocolate and / or almonds away today.  Eating low-carb can get a little expensive.  That’s why I got so excited when I found 70% cacao bars at Walmart.  Score!!! 
Have a blessed day – and enjoy your cake!  🙂

VEGAN BAKING DAY

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The awesome foods that do not raise blood glucose include:

☆ Eggs,
☆ avocado,
☆ Fatty nuts (walnuts pecans sunflower seeds almonds etc.),
☆ Dark green leafy veggies, i.e., “greens” ( mustard, kale, spinach, turnip greens), also lettuces
☆ Low carb crunchy veggies e.g., cucumber, celery, cabbage, bok choy, celery cabbage, green bell pepper,
☆ Any lean meat or
☆ fish,
☆ cheese (depending on the type this will give you protein & a smidge of fat or a whole bunch)
Greek yogurt, plain (be careful one cup will give you about 15 grams of carbohydrate and at least two to three servings in that 1 cup ),

and of course,
☆ herbs, spices etc… lots of flavor to our foods without adding tons and tons of carbohydrates or salts, provided you use straight season and not the seasoning salts {those are really just plain old table salt that’s been introduced do a minimum of herbs… you can make your own for far less money and far less salt}.

dessert-haiku

Just because you say VEGAN, it does not necessarily mean that you’re home free as far as baking goes.  Vegan can be low-carb, but it is not necessarily, so be careful.  This recipe does use a cup of all-purpose flour and a cup of non-dairy yogurt, but everything else looks “legal” for low-carbers.  Notice that is LOW CARB and not NO CARB.

Vegan Cherry Almond Coffee Cake

Makes 1, 9×13″ sheet cake

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cup sugar-free cherry jam
1 ¼ cup slivered almonds
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup vegan butter, softened
1 cup non-dairy yogurt
1 cup Splenda
4 ½ Tablespoons arrowroot or tapioca flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

Instructions:

1) Grease your baking dish

Preheat your oven to 350F (177C). Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with vegetable oil or cooking spray.

2) Prepare the cherry almond topping

In a medium bowl, mix together sugar-free cherry jam, almonds and set aside.

3) Whisk together the dry ingredients

In a large bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, salt, baking powder and set aside.

4) Build the batter

In a large bowl, cream the soft Vegan Butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the non-dairy yogurt, then beat in the Splenda, followed by beating in the arrowroot or tapioca flour. Stir in the vanilla and almond extract. By hand, fold in the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Spread half of the batter into the baking dish then top with half of the cherry almond topping. Spread the other half of the batter into the baking dish, followed by the other half of the cherry almond topping.

5) Bake the vegan coffee cake to perfection

Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Wait until cake is completely cooled if you’re going to remove it from the baking dish.

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So…  maybe we can have our cake and eat it too.  🙂

NATIONAL BLUEBERRIES MONTH

TL JULY IS NATIONAL BLUEBERRIES MONTHI’m the first to admit that most low carbohydrate blueberry muffins, while keeping my blood sugar in check, don’t taste as good as the real McCoy.  Today I want to share a little trick I’ve learned that will enable type 2 diabetics to enjoy the real McCoy and keep blood sugar in check.  It’s called “piecing” or “pinching”, and believe me, it works!

You can’t “piece” or “pinch” if you don’t work out.  If you are not exercising, this won’t work for you.  But you can have a little bit of real as long as you work it off.  After my workout at the gym, I headed over to my favorite breakfast spot, The Egg Crate.  They make the most wonderful blueberry muffins in Wichita!

IMG_1319If I were to dig in and eat this whole muffin, my blood sugar would spike – and that’s not good.  I will begin by eating an egg.  You can have whatever style egg you want – I just crack open an egg and whisk it up in a mug and microwave it so I can eat it quicker.  Add a little cheese if you want – it’s low or no carbohydrate so that’s fine.  Always eat protein first!

Eat just a pinch of your muffin and enjoy it with coffee or tea if you wish.  Then wrap it with foil so it doesn’t dry out.  Check your sugars in a couple of hours.  If they’re okay…  you can eat a cheese stick, then another pinch of your muffin.

Eating pinches of carbohydrate-rich foods is not a new concept, but it’s one that works!  I don’t know why eating protein makes carbohydrates nicer to my body, but I’m sure glad it does!

If you’re exercising on a regular basis and eating plenty of vegetables every day, there’s no reason you can’t introduce a complex carbohydrate following a little protein.  Maybe that’s why dessert forks are smaller than dinner forks.  The idea is that we can eat as much protein and vegetables as we want, but when it’s time for dessert, we need to dial back our enthusiasm a bit and try to think about what we’re eating and how it will affect our blood sugar.

I’d rather have a pinch of the real McCoy than live without it completely.  A wise diabetic educator once told me, “You can eat pretty much anything you want as long as you are exercising on a regular basis.”  I can eat as many vegetables as I want.  I can eat tuna salad until I turn into Charlie the Tuna.  I can go nuts eating nuts.  Black olives are my friend, as are other Mediterranean foods.  Those are the go-to foods.  But once in a while, I get a craving for a blueberry muffin.  Maybe it’s all this writing about blueberry month, I don’t know…  but I just had to get one!  But I know how to work it into my diet without spiking my blood sugar…  one pinch at a time.  😉

Slow and steady will win this race.  Exercise consistently and eat protein first.  I can do that!  🙂

BIRTHDAY #55

TL 4-2 BIRTHDAY #55

4-2 PERKS & PITFALLS

Last night I got such a sweet present from Lucinda Berry Hill.  Thank you, my friend!  You’ve made turning the ol’ double nickel so much better!  🙂  I love that basket heart too – don’t you???

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God has blessed me with another year of life!  Today I am the ol’ double nickel…  old enough to receive a senior citizen discount at most restaurants and I could join AARP (but that will never happen because I am not a fan…).  I am a fan of good health, happiness, faith and joy.  I’m thankful for every day God gives me to begin again and do better with His help.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,  compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and,  if one has a complaint against another,  forgiving each other;  as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  – Colossians 3:12-13

Of all the things I could pray for, today I ask God to give me more compassion for everyone and everything around me.  I want to be more relatable than ever because it’s what God wants for me.  He wants all of us to be more gentle and kind with one another.  I KNOW I need to have more patience and compassion for those young drivers…  Lord help me with road rage!

Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.  –  Albert Schweitzer

You are not going to believe this, but shortly after I wrote this post, Lucinda sent me a poem to design.  As I read it – the little blurb about compassion just reached out and slapped me!  I have to share it today.  I love how God guides both of us to write – but it’s especially cool when we’re both directed to write so similarly!  I just got chills when I read this.12571279_1738613263049803_574237969_n

Yes – I will make an effort to bring calmness where I walk, to show kindness and compassion, and pointing all to God.  SEE why I got chills up my spine???  WE LOVE HOW GOD WORKS

Love you, my sister in Christ!  ❤

My husband gave me a a 3.5 qt. Dutch oven.  Of course I’ll be trying it out today.  So, let me share the recipe with you.  Just one more thing…  if you are not a vinegar fan, you may want to add a couple of packets of Splenda or Truvia to this.  It’s got a pretty strong vinegar flavor.  😉

Vinegar-Braised Chicken & Onions (serves 6)

Ingredients:

2 lbs. pearl onions

Kosher salt

3 Tbs. olive oil

8 oz. pancetta (Italian bacon), cut into 1/4″ pieces

4 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed

5 lbs. chicken pieces (I use thighs & legs)

Freshly ground black pepper

3/4 c. balsamic vinegar

3/4 c. red wine vinegar

2 c. low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 c. golden raisins

2 bay leaves

Directions:

  • Cook onions in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, 5-8 minutes. Drain and let cool. Trim root ends; peel.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add pancetta to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and pancetta is brown, 8-10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to a large bowl.
  • Add onions to same pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer onions and garlic to bowl with pancetta.
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add chicken to pot skin side down and cook, turning, until browned on all sides, 10-15 minutes per batch; transfer to bowl with onions.
  • Carefully drain fat from pot and return to medium-high heat. Add both vinegars to pot and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Add broth, raisins, bay leaves, and reserved chicken, pancetta, onions, and garlic to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until chicken is fork-tender, 35-40 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken and onions to a large platter. Skim fat from cooking liquid and discard. Remove bay leaves, and season sauce with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over chicken and onions.

For dessert we will probably have some fresh sliced strawberries with whipped topping.  Sounds like a great birthday dinner to me!  🙂

NATIONAL HEAVENLY HASH DAY

TL 2-2 NATIONAL HEAVENLY HASH DAYYes, it’s called HEAVENLY, but if you have diabetes like me, this little treat packs a sugar PUNCH and should be eaten with extreme caution!  Even if you substituted Splenda for sugar, that would do very little to lessen the intensity of the sweetness.2-2 SWEET

Heavenly Hash Bars

Makes approximately 12 squares or 16 clusters; can be doubled

1 cup sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
16 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
2 cups roasted, salted almonds, kept whole
2 cups miniature marshmallows

Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper with enough excess hanging over the sides of the pan to use as “handles”; spray paper with cooking spray.

Combine the sugar, evaporated milk, and corn syrup in a medium-sized, heavy saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking often, and continue boiling the mixture until it reaches 218°F to 220°F on an instant read thermometer, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let cool for 2 minutes. Fold in chocolate and vanilla and stir until melted. Let cool for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, then fold in the nuts and marshmallows.

Transfer the chocolate mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread evenly with a silicone spatula. Refrigerate the candy until firm, at least two hours. Using the parchment paper handles, remove the candy from the baking dish and cut into squares. (It helps to use a knife dipped in hot water.)

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Pull 5 to 10 minutes prior to serving.

Recipe Notes:

To make clusters instead of bars: using a spring-form ice cream scoop, drop round clusters onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Refrigerate until hardened, at least 1 hour. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator; pull out 30 minutes before serving.

If you indulge, ENJOY!  🙂

NATIONAL PIE DAY

TL 1-23 NATIONAL PIE DAY

 

1-23 OUR FAVORITE PIES

The First Pies Appeared around 9500 BC, so they are not only a tradition in our everyday lives, but a force to be reckoned with as diabetics.  We have a choice to make – we can either be miserable and deny that pie exists in society, or we can outsmart the evil parts of it by coming up with a diabetic-friendly alternative…  a kind of pie-like experience that makes us feel as though we get to take part in the pie party!  And you guys know me – I like a good party – so let’s find some smart, diabetic-friendly recipes!

I know it may seem like a contradiction in philosophy when I talk about diabetes and desserts in the same sentence.  I’ve lived with this disease for over 20 years and I’ve learned that you have to make friends with it – I mean you have to find ways to enjoy the same things everyone else does.  You just have to be smart about it.
Where pie is concerned, I focus on the filling.  I’m not a big fan of pie crust to begin with, so the way I handle things seems to work for me.  I usually leave most of the crust on my plate, but I do eat a couple of bites of it.  I don’t think there are enough carbohydrates in two bites of crust to do too much damage.
Stressed spelled backwards is desserts. Coincidence? I think not!  – Author Unknown

If you can make little tartlets instead of one big pie, that seems to help if you’re exercising portion control.  Again, I don’t do a heavy crust, but enough to make it look like I’m being bad.  I use a Greek dough called filo or Phylo dough, a very thin unleavened dough used for making pastries such as baklava.  Any pie crust or bread will have yeast, which will definitely raise blood sugar.  My blood sugar doesn’t spike and stays pretty level if I use the Phylo dough.    By the way, I make a great baklava with sugar-free honey.  It’s the bomb!

I would use Splenda brown sugar and no salt butter in this recipe to make it more healthy.

The real secret to enjoying pie is to make the little individual serving sizes.  She is right, if you make a whole big pie, there is nothing to stop you from devouring the entire thing.  I’ve never used coconut flour, but I suspect it is much lower in carbohydrates than traditional all-purpose white flour.

Key limes are not always at our local market, but it really makes a difference in the flavor of the pie if you don’t use key limes.  I spent a lot of time and money just to end up with a pie that gave me a permanent pucker!  LOL.

 

Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.  – Ernestine Ulmer

My husband makes a great no sugar added apple pie.  He knows I love cinnamon, so he makes sure it has plenty of cinnamon in it.  No canned filling either – he peels the apples and seasons them perfectly.  When I make a pie, I often “cheat” and buy a can of sugar-free apples or sugar-free cherries.  They’re sweetened with Splenda and nobody can tell they are healthy pies.

So I guess the take-away is:

  • Don’t play the “I can’t eat like everybody else” card.  You can – you just have to be more smart and creative about it.
  • Remember portion control.  For me, having a whole pie in front of me is too much of a temptation, so I like the idea of having my own little pie.  When it’s gone – that’s it.
  • The carbohydrates live in the yeast – so either make your crust very thin, use Phylo dough for your crust, or try a pie with no crust – there are Adkins recipes like that all over You Tube!  I highly recommend the pumpkin bake – it’s the pie without the crust (a.k.a. carbohydrates).
  • It’s okay to buy the canned filling.  You don’t have to peel and core and prep all day long to have a good pie.  Get one can of apple or cherry sugar-free filling sweetened with Splenda.  It works great!
  • If you make key lime pie, make sure you use key limes or you will discover you have a permanent pucker.  You’ve been warned – lol.

There’s no reason a diabetic can’t enjoy a slice of pie once in a while.  Just think – be smart about it.  Enjoy NATIONAL PIE DAY!!!  🙂