Friday, December 31, 2010

Pie! And Chai! Oh My!

    In my last post I showed you the Peppermint Patty Pie that we all enjoyed (it's in the Recipe file). This time I made the ice cream pie with a bag of Dove Sugar Free Peanut Butter Creme Silky Smooth Chocolates.
    I used a pre-made Chocolate Keebler Ready Crust,  4 cups of our store brand (Publix) premium Vanilla No Sugar Added Light Ice Cream, the bag of chocolates cut into quarters and a drizzle of Smucker's Sugar Free Sundae Syrup (about 4 Tbsp). Look at the bottom of the post for nutritional information.
     Last week I popped into a coffee shop to get a gift card for my son's stocking. Can I say it starts with a "D"? I spotted Vanilla Chai on the menu board. I haven't had one in years, so I got a medium to drink on the way home. It was as tasty as I remembered. Then I got home and checked the Nutritional Information on their website. And then I fell off my chair!!

It wasn't the 330 calories or even the 8g of fat. It was seeing that my little cup of happiness had
45g of SUGAR!!

The next day I tried to reproduce the drink at home. A cup of Chai tea with a splash of milk, one envelope of Splenda and one teaspoon of vanilla extract just wasn't the same. It finally dawned on me that the coffee shops have bottles of flavored syrups that are probably loaded with sugar.

You can make a sugar free syrup at home!
I searched the internet for you!

Sugar-Free Simple Syrup
1 Cup of Splenda
1 Cup of boiling water
1 tsp of vanilla extract

Keep it in a jar in the fridge for 5 days to flavor coffee and tea drinks.

Today I made a pot of tea with 16 oz of water, 2 Chai teabags, 1/4 cup of the Sugar Free Simple Syrup and a splash of Half-and-Half.
It was as satisfying as the High Calorie-High Fat-High Sugar cup of Happiness that I had last week.

You can get Chai teabags in grocery and specialty food stores. I have used Yogi Tea, Stash Tea and Tazo Tea. They are all good and I don't really have a favorite.

Nutritional Info for Peanut Butter Cup Pie: 1 serving= 1/8 of the pie
Calories: 262
Total fat: 12g
Total Carb: 39.5g
Total Sugar: 11g

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Recipe! Peppermint Patty Pie

I love the combination of chocolate and peppermint. I was craving some type of ice cream pie last week and came up with this pie recipe.

1 Nabisco Oreo pre-made pie crust
4 cups of  No Sugar Added Vanilla Ice Cream
4 Russell Stover Sugar Free Mint Patties (go to the Russell Stover website and see their assortment of sugar free candy. You could come up with your own variation of this pie...Strawberry or Toffee or Peanut Butter or Coconut! Imagine the possibilities!)

Soften the ice cream until it can be spread in the crust.
Cut each piece of candy into 4 pieces and arrange on top of pie. (Sorority Girl suggests cutting the candy into smaller pieces and mix in with the softened ice cream)
Freeze until least 3 hours.

8 Servings.
Per serving:
 Calories  230
Total fat   10 g
Total Carbs 36g
Sugar 13g

Recipe: Quick Chicken Dish and T's GREAT NEWS!

The Holidays are here and we're just busy, busy, busy.  All the people at work wanted me to cook some more of those Crab-stuffed mushrooms for our potluck lunch on Christmas eve .

What to do with all the mushroom stems? Garbage disposal? Heck no, make a dish!

Get out the wok and heat some olive oil at a low temperature so you can saute the chopped mushroom stems, 1 large sweet onion and 1 green pepper ( you can use any kind. I actually prefer the reds but they are more expensive and I didn't have one on hand).

 I started out to cook just these to be used in fajitas. But no, the cooking smells and the need for some lunches got me to experiment and see what I could come up with.

 I chopped 6 ounces of precooked chicken breast into just under an inch-sized chunks, added 2 tablespoons of a low sugar hoisin sauce (KaMe brand=2 Tbsp=10g of sugar and 50 calories for 3 servings of the meal) and finally threw in approximately 40 peanuts. Mixed all together in the wok, this made 3 very good, tasty lunches. So as you can see, it doesn't have to be complicated or a lot of work to come up with something tasty.

Good news from the Doctor!  I am getting off insulin and going to a pill. No more shots!!

 They didn't hurt 99% of the time, but every once in a while you can hit something not quite right. Ouch!!!! This was proof that eating properly does work.

 If i don't get a chance to post again, To everybody: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Mr Sunshine State

Friday, December 17, 2010

Recipe: AMAZING Crabcakes And Stuffed Mushrooms

A day off in the life of a diabetic cook.
  • Get up and without eating or drinking that 1st cup of coffee,  go to get bloodwork done for Dr visit on the next day off.
  • Go to 1st place possible for coffee.  I have bitten J's head off at least 3 times, and finally warn her I haven't had my coffee yet. End up at mickey D's. Good coffee but not the Dunkin I crave.
  • Egg Mcmuffin... uh oh,  2 breads already gone.
  • Backroad it to my absolute favorite place for food.  Freshfields Farm in Orlando is amazing. It is small, but has the best fresh fruit and vegetables that I have found and always worth the drive. If you need something, they've got it and it is fresher and  cheaper than the grocery stores.
  • Next we go to the meat market side...also amazing and if you are looking for something they usually have it. They didn't have the crab I needed for today's experiment. They did have the mushrooms though.
  • Off to Costco. They have a really nice lump white crab meat from Crown Prince, packaged with 2 cans... the perfect size for this recipe. It's lunch time at Costco and they have the best deal, with an all-beef hotdog and diet coke for $1.50
  • Uh oh, 2 more breads gone, but I am stuffed and we are going to be mostly eating vegetables and protein the rest of the day.
 This is the crab cake recipe that  gets better every time I make it, due to adjustments made from the original.

1 cup of Italian bread crumbs  ( I have changed this to 1 cup of chopped italian styled croutons, using the chopper. They are finely chopped, but not as fine as if I had used a food processor.)

3 eggs

1 rib of celery chopped small

3 tablespoons of light mayo

3 tablespoons of mozarella cheese  (I use the part-skim to save on fat content)

1 1/2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon of black pepper

3/4 teaspoon of paprika


2-13 oz (nt wt) cans of crab meat. I have found the lump white better tasting than other types. total of 16 ounces dry weight after the cans have been drained of liquid.

Fold in the crabmeat gently, but thoroughly, with the above mixture to make the crab cakes... or in this case the stuffing for Crab Stuffed Mushrooms.

When this is done I let the ingredients sit in the fridge for several hours to let the flavors come together.

For the crabcakes:

Form 12 patties, heat 2 tablespoons of oil (I prefer olive oil) over med  to just over medium heat and cook them 3-4 minutes per side or until nicely browned.

By far these are the best crabcakes I have ever had. They are not fancy and look more like a salmon pattie than a fancy restaurant's crab cake, but since I have had to change everything about the way I eat, I am more interested in how does it taste, than how does it look.

Today I am stuffing the mushrooms with this and baking them for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.


I took them to work and 24 people taste-tested. I told them it was imperative to be honest, as it was going out to the world.

I heard people talk about them when I wasn't around and I even heard they were off the shnizzle..Enjoy

Nutritional Info: 1 serving = 2 crabcakes or 8 stuffed mushrooms.

These amounts are approx since I have changed the original recipe a little:
Cal 93
Fat 4g
Prot 12g
Carb 1g

Monday, December 13, 2010

Fall Recipes! Pumpkin Cheesecake

I made this cheesecake at Halloween. The filling is rich and so satisfying. I made the crust with graham cracker crumbs instead of gingersnap, but next time I won't do the substitution. I also skipped the topping. The recipe is from Diabetic Gourmet Magazine

Pumpkin Cheesecake


  • 1-1/4 cups gingersnap crumbs

  • 3 tablespoons stick butter or margarine, melted

  • 3 tablespoons Equal® Spoonful*

  • Cheesecake:

  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

  • 1-1/4 cups Equal® Spoonful**

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 egg whites

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

  • Topping:

  • 1 cup reduced-fat sour cream

  • 2 tablespoons Equal® Spoonful***

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

  • Directions

    1. For Crust, combine gingersnap crumbs, 3 tablespoons Equal® and butter. Press onto bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan. Bake in preheated 325F oven 8 minutes. Cool on wire rack while preparing cheesecake.
    2. For Cheesecake, beat cream cheese, 1-1/4 cups Equal®, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in mixing bowl on medium speed of mixer until smooth and well combined. Mix in pumpkin. Mix in eggs and egg whites. Mix in cornstarch and vanilla until blended.
    3. Pour cheesecake mixture over baked crust. Bake in preheated oven 40 to 45 minutes or until center of cake is almost set. Cool on wire rack 5 minutes.
    4. Meanwhile, combine sour cream, 2 tablespoons Equal® and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Gently spread over top of cheesecake. Return to oven and bake 3 to 4 minutes until sour cream mixture is set. Remove cheesecake to wire rack. Gently run metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake. Let cheesecake cool completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. To serve, remove side of pan. Cut cake into wedges.
    Nutritional Information per serving:
    Calories 196
    Protein  7g
    Sodium  271 mg
    Chol  64 mg
    Fat  13g
    Carbs  13g

    Fall Recipes! Apple Cranberry Crisp

    I made this recipe, based on one from the American Diabetes Association, for a Thanksgiving dessert served warm with a serving of Sugar-free Cool Whip.

    Cranberry Apple Crisp  makes 4 servings

    2 cups peeled and sliced firm apples
    1/2 cup fresh cranberries
    1/2 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
    1/2 cup flour
    1/2 cup oats
    1 and 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp cloves
    1 tsp nutmeg
    1 and 1/2 TBSP light margarine

    Arrange apples and cranberries in a square baking dish, sprayed with Pam
    Combine all other ingredients until crumbly
    Press over fruit and bake at 350 deg for 45 to 50 min

    Nutritional information: per serving
    Calories  150
    Fat 4.5 g
    Sat fat 1.1 g
    Chol 0 mg
    Sodium 35 mg
    Carbs 30 g
    Protein 3g

    Fall Recipes! Pumpkin Chip Cookies

    When October rolled around I was ready to try some recipes with Fall ingredients. This recipe is from Diabetic Gourmet Magazine.
    These cookies had a soft cake-like texture and were tasty!

    Pumpkin Chip Cookies

    • 1/2 cup stick butter, softened
    • 1-1/4 cups Equal® Spoonful*
    • 3 tablespoons light molasses
    • 1 cup canned pumpkin
    • 1 egg
    • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
    • 1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1-1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • * May substitute 30 packets Equal sweetener


    1. Beat butter, Equal® and molasses until well combined. Mix in pumpkin, egg and vanilla until blended. Gradually stir in combined flour, baking powder, spices, baking soda and salt until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips.
    2. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto sprayed baking sheets. Bake in preheated 350F oven 11 to 13 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from baking sheet and cool completely on wire rack.
    3. Store in airtight containers at room temperature.
    Nutritional info: Per serving
    Calories 57
    Protein 1 g
    Sodium 51mg
    Chol 9 mg
    Fat 3g
    Carb 7g
    Exchanges 1/2 Starch, 1/2 Fat

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    Baking Tips!

    Learning to bake without sugar has been a work-in-progress for me. I somehow had the impression that you could substitute Splenda cup-for-cup in my regular recipes. The results were less than edible!
    I'm keeping at it, because I don't want to face the rest of my life without cookies and cupcakes!
    I'm making the mistakes, so you don't have to.

    Just because your baking is now Diabetic-friendly, it doesn't mean you will be eating handfuls of cookies. They are small and you are limited to 1 or 2 per serving.

    I found a Splenda Cookbook at my Mom's and also checked out the Splenda website and got a few tips.

    • The conversion charts for substituting the different forms of Splenda are here
    • In order to achieve volume in your cakes,  go down 1 pan size from 9 in to 8 in. Add 1/2 cup of non-fat dry milk and 1/2 tsp baking powder per cup of Splenda.
    • To keep muffins moist,  add 1-2 tsp of honey. My poor daughter has eaten some really bad experiments in this category.
    • In cookie recipes, add an additional tsp of vanilla extract and flatten the cookies a little before baking.
    • Recipes may require less baking time. For cookies, brownies and quickbreads check at 3-5 min before suggested baking time. For cakes, check at 7 to 10 min before suggested baking time.
    Good Luck!  If you have some success with a favorite recipe, let me know. I'll be sharing the best of my Fall baking and I'm already doing rehearsals with some Holiday treats to post in the next week or so.

    Thursday, December 9, 2010

    Tools Of The Trade

    (J's note) Most of our dinner posts will be by T. Since becoming diabetics, he is cooking the majority of our meals from scratch with fresh ingredients. He wanted to talk about the Tools Of The Trade.

    To start with you will definitely need a cutting board. In fact I have 3 that I use, because I don't use the same board for meat, as I do fruits and vegetables, and I have a little one for single prepped meals.

    You see 2 knives. I started with just the big one, but I like the shorter one for working with the meats. It's easier to trim the fat and slice for strips, which in my weekly cooking I do a lot. I also have a sharpener and keep them very sharp as it makes them easier to work with.

    Measuring cups and spoons are totally essential because now you are regulated to how much of everything you can have. What do you mean we can't have a whole pound of pasta!? Grrrr. What? I can't just lather my salad with dressing? Uh no, it has to be 2 tablespoons of low fat. I have tried some different dressings and there are some that are quite good.

    You noticed the scale I'm sure. This is important for measuring your meats, because you can't have that 16 oz steak any more or 8oz either. Everything you are cooking with now is weighed and measured and found wanting. Hey... that's a line from one of my favorite lighter movies. Can you guess the movie?

    I do use the larger knife when cutting up vegetables, especially when working with large amounts. But you might be looking at the cylindrical device with the black top and you're not sure what it is. This is my favorite tool of all.  Because like to chop up my veggies for salads, but not into the mushy puree I always seem to get with the food processor, this is my chopper. It is not the TV version but it does work the same. I got this one because I knew if  I bought one that was cheesy, cheap, and really didn't work out, I would have gotten discouraged. It works and it works very well.

    Now, not pictured is one more item, my Wok, that allows me to cook meals that I can take to work. I pretty much cook all my foods for work, and pack my meals. What?! No more whoppers for lunch? Well it is ok if you don't want to eat again that day. The days of 16" subs, General Tso's chicken, 12 sushi rolls (too much rice) or whatever you might have thought was good are now gone.

    It's ok, life is not over.  I promise to give great lunch ideas that you will be able to eat and enjoy.  The recipes we will give here will be things we have tried and are good enough to share.
    J's next post will be about some fall baking success!

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    Diabetes Day 1- J's Story

    T's Diabetes diagnosis was a complete surprise. Mine was not a surprise at all. It was not a matter of "if" I would become diabetic, more just a question of "when".

    My mother's younger sister has been on insulin for over 20 years. My mother's father was diabetic. My Mom was able to control her diabetes with diet and then oral meds for more than 10 years. Now, at age 76, she has only been on insulin for 5 months.

    During both of my pregnancies I gained a lot of weight. I thought I was eating well, but I gained 33 pounds with my first and about 50 with my second. My first baby was over 8 pounds, my second was over 9 (she was born a week early, can you imagine if I had been been overdue?). With both pregnancies, I had + glucose in my urine with every prenatal visit. I had Glucose Tolerance Tests that were normal, so I was never diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. The OB/GYNs did tell me that with my family history and my pregnancy history that I could potentially be diabetic in my 50's.

    Did I take this seriously? Not enough. I kept my weight at about 150-160 until I was 40 years old. Then I really started to pack on the pounds. I spent the next 10 years living on carbs. And Peanut Crack&M's.
    By the time I was 50, I weighed 235. My fasting glucose levels were always normal, but the doctors were telling me I needed to lose weight.

    That's when I decided to start losing the weight. It came off very slowly, by July of this year I had lost about 30 pounds, but it wasn't enough. I wasn't exercising and my fasting blood sugars were running in the 190's. At one of my routine checkups for other issues (fibromyalgia and arthritis) the Nurse Practitioner gave me an official diagnosis of Diabetes and handed me a whole lot of brochures about Diabetes and a prescription for Metformin.

    I was joining T on our journey to get healthy.

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Diabetes Day 1: T's story

     In early May 2010, I was feeling run down, a kind of weakness. Those who really know me, know that I can and will force my way through anything, and don't want to show any signs of weakness. It's just not in my nature. I had gone to a minute clinic due to a sinus infection that just wouldn't go away. I have been taking sinus medications daily since I was 16 . After the antibiotics and kicking the sinus infection, I still didn't feel right, so I went back to the clinic and was able to discuss the issues and the way I felt with the person there.

    She thought I might have a potassium defiency, which I found weird because I ate a banana every day at work and even a leisure banana now and then.  I made an appointment with my Dr, got some blood work done and in the meantime kept getting worse. I wasn't sick, but I was so weak I could barely walk.

    Thursday of Memorial Day weekend I went for the bloodwork and Friday I went to work. Sat, Sun and Mon, I couldn't get out of bed other than to eat, drink or pee and I mean pee a lot. No sooner would I drink a 16 oz glass of Orange Juice then in 15 minutes I would pee it out. Tues I get to the Doctors and they get me in the examination room. Routine height, weight, BP check, but then I hear the Dr and the Physician's assistant talking in the background, and they are discussing a patient.

     Oh shit... that's me they are talking about. They are arguing about sending me to the hospital or trying to stabilize the situation there. The Dr wins, and the next thing I know, they are giving me papers to go to the hospital. So I get in my car and drive myself to the hospital. I don't know how bad I am but I gotta be bad if they are sending me there. Remember I was driving, walking, and generally being myself.

     I am now in some admin. office at the hospital and they seem to be rushing things along, and the next thing I know I am heading to ICU.  I am thinking to myself WTF?!  When I get into ICU I start to get an idea as to how bad I must be. I don't feel sick just very, very weak.

    OK, here is the scoop. I have a blood sugar of 1023!!
     and I have Drs and nurses coming in to my room at a pretty steady rate.  I ask one, "how come so many visitors?", and she says they haven't heard of anyone with a blood sugar that high and if they had, it was in a coma and came in by ambulance. Of course my thought is "Cool, look what I have done". That tells you what kind of nut I am.

    After constant fluids, lots of insulin and many visits by every  type of Dr known to man other than a Podiatrist, they get my shut-down body back to normal. The Drs and nurses are amazed at how fast I came back to normal, and I was feeling better than I had for a month. That's my 1st day as a diabetic.

    Sunday, December 5, 2010

    We're Diabetic, Desperate and Cooking

    How do you cope when you are diabetic but you love to cook and eat?

    T was diagnosed in June of 2010. I'm J, and I was diagnosed in July of 2010. It was 3 days before my birthday and it sure put a damper on the whole cake and ice cream celebration.

    T embraced the new cooking challenges. He has actually cooked more than I have in the last 6 months.
    I miss baking. I started baking when I was about 16 and was depressed at the thought of giving up cookies, brownies, pies, cakes, holiday treats and Peanut Crack&M's (my own personal drug of choice)

    I have been browsing the web and all of the diabetic cookbooks in our county library. Most of our dinner experiments have been a great success. Most of my dessert and snack baking have been less than spectacular, but I'm still working on that.

    We'll share the recipes and show you the fabulous results. If you have a good diabetic-friendly recipe, let me know in the comments.We'll try it and if we like it, we'll feature it here and give you the shout-out! I'll post an email address for the blog as soon as I set it up.
    I'll be sharing some good recipes for Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake and Spice Cookies.
    We're also planning to show you our Before And Still-In-Progress weight loss photos!