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!  🙂

NATIONAL GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH MONTH

TL APRIL IS NATIONAL GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH MONTHIt’s a meal we usually enjoy in front of the fire as snow flies outside – but yes, April is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month.  I must say, my husband makes the most delicious ones in the world!  Oh, so good!

Here’s a traditional recipe – one that most of us are familiar with.

WW MINI GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES WITH TOMATO SOUP (makes 4 servings – 6 points each)

INGREDIENTS:

2 Tbs. reduced calorie vegetable oil butter spread

4 slices reduced-calorie whole wheat bread

4 slices WW American cheese

14 1/2 oz. cream of tomato soup

DIRECTIONS:

Spread 1-1/2 tsp. vegetable oil & yogurt spread on each slice of bread. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Lay 2 slices of bread, dry side up, in skillet. Place 2 slices Reduced Fat American Pasteurized Process Cheese Product Singles on each slice of bread. Top each with the remaining 2 bread slices, spread side up. Cook until sandwich is golden brown on each side.

Remove from pan and cut each sandwich into 4 squares. Arrange 4 grilled cheese sandwich squares onto a skewer; repeat. Serve 1 grilled cheese skewer with 1 cup prepared soup.

I ran across the most interesting recipe for a grilled cheese sandwich – but hang on…  it’s really different – but in a good way.  😉

WW GRILLED SWISS CHEESE SANDWICHES (makes 4 sandwiches – 6 points each)

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 c. light mayonnaise

4 tsp. Dijon mustard

8 slices reduced calorie rye bread

8 slices WW reduced fat Swiss cheese slices

cooking spray

DIRECTIONS:

In small bowl, combine mayonnaise & mustard.  Spread 1/2 Tbs. on each piece of bread.  Top 4 pieces of bread with 2 slices of cheese each; cover with remaining bread, mayonnaise side down.

Coat skillet with cooking spray.  Heat over medium heat.  Grill sandwiches, pressing down lightly with a spatula, until lightly toasted & cheese melts, about 3-5 minutes.

If you’re looking for something to break the monotony, give this a try – it’s really pretty good!  If you have the points to spare, you can even have a little pouch of Goldfish crackers for 3 points!  Put them in your soup or just eat them on the side – either way they are so good!  🙂

NATIONAL FIG WEEK

TL NOVEMBER 1-7 IS NATIONAL FIG WEEK

Have you tried any of our fig recipes yet?  Let us know in the comments section below!  The fiber-rich fig is probably the most forgotten fruit in the grocery store!  This week we want to revive interest in figs.  There’s more to the fig than what you find in Fig Newtons – trust me!

The recipe I’m sharing today is one of my favorites.  I know I tell you they are all my favorites, but…  this time I really mean it!  😉

VEAL ROAST WITH FRESH FIGS

INGREDIENTS:

2 Tbs. olive oil

2 1/2 lb. veal roast

1 lb. fresh figs, trimmed and cut in half

1 large onion, thinly sliced

3/4 C. dry white wine (optional)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 bay leaves

Fresh flat leaf parsley for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  When the oil is hot but not smoking, brown the veal on all sides.  Remove veal and add the figs.  Cook until they are golden but not too soft, about 5 minutes.  Remove figs and reserve.  Add onions to the Dutch oven.  Cook, covered, until onions are tender and golden, stirring occasionally so they don’t stick, about 10 minutes.

Return veal roast to the Dutch oven with the onions.  Season it with salt and pepper.  Pour wine over all.  Tuck the bay leaves around the veal, pushing them under the wine, cover, and roast in the oven until the veal is nearly cooked through, about an hour.  Turn halfway through cooking.

Remove veal from Dutch oven.  Add the figs to the veal, pushing them gently down under the cooking juices.  Cover and return to the oven and bake until the veal is cooked through and figs are tender and melting, and additional 15 minutes.

Remove the veal from the oven and transfer the veal to a warmed platter.  Place the pan with the cooking juices over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Boil gently just until the sauce has thickened enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon, 4-5 minutes, making sure that the cooking juices don’t evaporate too much and that the figs and onions don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

To serve, remove the strings from the veal roast and slice it.  Spoon the figs and onions and the cooking juices over it, garnish the platter with parsley and serve immediately.

It’s a little labor intensive – but so worth it!  Enjoy!!!  🙂

NATIONAL FIG WEEK

TL NOVEMBER 1-7 IS NATIONAL FIG WEEK

Hello!  It is NATIONAL FIG WEEK!!!  For those of you who think that the only good thing about figs is found in FIG NEWTONS, hold on to your hat, because every day this week I’ll be sharing some of my favorite recipes using this naturally sweet fruit!

When I think of figs, I naturally think of one of my favorite books, The Bell Jar.  Chapter 7 talks about figs:

I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story.  From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked.  One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out.  I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose.  I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.  – Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, Chapter 7

I know we associate autumn with all things orange – pumpkins, cinnamon (okay, that’s brown) – but there are also some purples to consider when doing your holiday cooking and baking.  Here is fig recipe number one:

FIG AND LEMON CHICKEN (serves 6)

INGREDIENTS:

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 c. Splenda brown sugar

1/4 c. white vinegar

1/4 c. water

1 1/2 lbs. dried figs

1 sliced lemon

12 chicken thighs

salt to taste

1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp. dried parsley

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, Splenda brown sugar, vinegar and water; set aside.

Place figs and lemon slices in the bottom of an 11 x 16-inch baking dish.  Arrange chicken thighs on top, then pour vinegar mixture over chicken.  Sprinkle with salt and dried parsley.

Bake for 50 minutes, basting frequently.  Turn figs over if they begin to burn.

Remove chicken from baking dish with slotted spoon onto serving platter.  Skim fat from juices and pour over chicken or put in gravy boat.

Garnish chicken with fresh parsley.

Serve and enjoy!

Note:  We always take the skin off our chicken before baking it.  I know…  I know – but it makes it healthier.  The good news is, with this recipe – it doesn’t matter if the skin is on the chicken or not – it’s so delicious you won’t miss the skin.  🙂