Friday, December 24, 2010

The Holiday Diabetic

Happy and Merry Yule, Christmas, Hanukka and Kwanzaa to all, and to all a good night!  I hope to find you, my many readers in good cheer!  I am waiting for the oven to cool from my diabetic friendly pumpkin pie, with sugar free shortbread crust.  So I can put in, on timer the ham for the morning brunch to be had with family tomorrow.  I will put up recipes for my additions to a diabetic friendly holiday fest, but alas, must wait until a day after today, and after tomorrow most likely,  Love with you all at this Holiday time!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Double (say it) neufchâtel

I failed. Yesterday anyway.  Well the day before if you want to be specific.  The recipe mentioned in my last post didn't work well at all when butter was replaced by (say it) neufchâtel cheese.  There, I said it.  I blew it.  I hate throwing cookies away.

I personally think it was part recipe(cornstarch), part that it needed some butter. Either way, I tried a different recipe, that called for more flour (of which I replaced one cup flour for rice flour). I think my failure had to do with the higher moisture content in the (say it) neufchâtel cheese and the corn starch, the cookie produced was tough and weirdly chewy and just no bueno. 

I've not had much luck with cookie recipes containing corn starch come to think of it. The recipe listed in the previous post was rated pretty high on but the fact that I hadn't tried it yet just shows that I clearly need to try all these ideas of mine before I go broadcasting, so I solemnly swear from now on to try these things first.  BuuuUuuut I did try again, as you knew I would.  As usual, the link to the actual recipe is at the bottom and all my tweaks are in red.  So here goes:

Shortbread Cookies II

  • 2 cups butter, softened *I used one stick butter and 4 oz (say it) neufchatel cheese
  • 1 cup white sugar *I used a bit over 3/4 cup splenda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract *didn't have any (GAH!) so put 2 tsp lemon juice in instead
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour *3 cups all purpose flour, one cup rice flour.  In the future I'd do more rice flour, less wheat.  My grandmother makes shortbread with just rice flour and it's awesome
  •  *I put in the zest of one orange, you could do lemon too.  You could add cocoa powder too, maybe 1/4 cup.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  2. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Stir in vanilla; add flour and mix well. 
  3. I found the cookie dough to be WAY to dry for anything but smooshing into a 9" pie plate.  I also reserved some for a pie crust for my diabetic friendly pumpkin custard pie, details tba.  
  4. Put through cookie press and form cookies onto baking sheets. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes.  Baked shortbread laden pie plate for probably around 45 -50 minutes.  Did I mention AWESOME?!

Nutritional Information open nutritional information

Nutritional Information
Shortbread Cookies II
Servings Per Recipe: 12
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 490
  • Total Fat: 31.1g
  • Cholesterol: 81mg
  • Sodium: 219mg
  • Total Carbs: 48.6g I cut this into something like 16 pieces (I didn't count before we ate nearly all of it), not including the amount I set aside for pie.  So, maybe 4 g carb per cookie if I guess that my reserve would have made 4 more cookies.
  •     Dietary Fiber: 1.1g
  • Protein: 4.6g

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Cookies and Pies and stars in your eyes

I got a question this am from a friend who has a friend who has a friend that is diabetic, about cookies.    It was typical, until this year, that I made all sorts of cookies and truffles every Christmas with the intent of giving them all away to my friends and family.  And some of them even made it out.  But mostly I ate them.  So obviously this year, my first officially diabetic Holiday season, making a bunch of cookies and truffles wasn't in the cards and I've had to revamp my gift giving ideas.  So you're all getting steak rub.  There, I said it.... 

Shortbread is great for diabetics, although kind of high in fat.  It's low in sugar though, even if  all the butter kind of kills it.  Although you don't eat this stuff all day, every day, nor should you.  But I might.  So I am going to tweak things around and try and get it a little lower in the fat arena. 

I'm a fan of...say it...neufchatel cheese.  Not only for the fact that it's cool to say....come on, say it with me...neuf-cha-tel.  Although I must admit when I just went to check just now that I spelled it right, I find that I have cream cheese, not...say it...neufchatel cheese.  Ah well, cream cheese has 9g fat for 2 tbsp (...say it...neufchatel is half I think so 4.5g), compared with a whopping 22g fat for butter.    That and butter is like nine dollars a pound and cream (...say it...neufchatel) cheese is like a dollar fifty.  'nuff said

So here follows the recipe I'm going to use today to make some lovely shortbread cookies.  Thanks Linda!  Link to original recipe is below this post.  I'll put my tweaks in red throughout the recipe, as usual.  I should also add that I've not made this particular recipe but I'm a fan of and this one comes at nearly 5 stars from about 549 reviews.  I'm going to use the handy dandy cookie press I hooked up this year at a yard sale but you could do anything, even roll them out and use a cookie cutter if you want, making sure to reduce the cooking time, Just don't roll them thin, that's no bueno.  They need to be a little on the thick side, like 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick.  I likes me the thick cookie and these just don't cook well if they are thin.  I'm going to make 2 batches, one with just....say it....neufchatel cheese, no butter, and one with half and half butter and...say it...neufchatel cheese.  As usual, if you cut the sugar and replace with sucralose, use only half the called for amount.   

Melt - In - Your - Mouth Shortbread


  • 1 cup butter, softened *replace half or all the butter with...say it...neufchatel or cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar *use 1/4 cup sucralose .  Taste the dough, if it's not sweet enough, just add more 
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour*try rice flour  BUT, if using regular flour, use white flour not whole wheat.
  • zest of a whole lemon, or orange is awesome
  • try adding some unsweetened cocoa powder here, maybe a couple tablespoons 
  • No liquids!  Trust me.  It's bad.  And you don't want to eff up your awesome cookies.  So no vanilla extract or anything like that.


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). I'm using a cookie press here, so will decrease the heat to 340 degrees, these do better low and slow.
  2. Whip butter with an electric mixer until fluffy.  Beat the hell out of it. The more you beat, the better your cookie texture.  Plus it's gratifying to beat the hell out of something this time of year, since you clearly can't beat the hell out of the dude in that giant stupid truck who flipped you off.....aaaahhhh.....ya, so focus, back on track. Stir in the confectioners' sugar*splenda, cornstarch, and flour. Beat on low for one minute, then on high for 3 to 4 minutes. Drop cookies by spoonfuls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Roll out and cut, or use cookie press.  PLUS if you roll or use cookie press, you can have more than one cookie, bc you will have made smaller cookies than the recipe calls for.   Score!
  3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Watch that the edges don't brown too much.  These things don't brown really at all, you want to pull them when they still have a little give, or they get dry.  But if they get dry, you can always dip them in your coffee or tea or whatever. Cool on wire racks.
Nutritional Information **based on original recipe**
Melt - In - Your - Mouth Shortbread
Servings Per Recipe: 24
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 111
  • Total Fat: 7.8g
  • Cholesterol: 20mg
  • Sodium: 55mg
  • Total Carbs: 9.7g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 0.2g
  • Protein: 0.9g
Nutritional info above is based on the full butter version.  Removing the sugar will reduce the carb count some but since these are pretty low sugar anyway, it won't make a huge difference.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tiamisu? Why Thank You!

I made heaven on a pie plate last night.  A fluffy, orangey, lovely cloud of marscapone cheese, ladyfingers and whipping cream.  And it was easy.  Like easy.  

No sugar added, except for what was in the ladyfingers, which are surprisingly low carb.  At least lower carb than I expected.  I got the Trader Joes ones, and you can have 5 cookies for 13 grams carb, if I remember correctly.  I also got the marscapone cheese at Trader Joes, they rock, and the cost is WAY better than the local supermart.  Like $3 at TJ's and $6 at the local store that starts with an A and ends with 'sons.

As it happens, tiramisu is my favorite dessert anyway, so it was great that it adapted so well.  I'd show you pictures, but our main computer took off for warmer climates and we can't do any picture stuff on the laptop, or it will fly south too.  But I'll share the recipe anyway:

Amy's Awesome Tiramisu

2 containers marscapone cheese (room temp)
one pint whipping cream
one box ladyfinger cookies
an orange, or lemon or neither if you like.  Espresso or coffee is rockin' here too.  About a 1/4 cup.
sucralose, or other sweetener to taste

We were out of sweetener, so I winged it and put in a package of no sugar vanilla pudding mix.  Yep, it rocked.  I think I'll try banana next time.  You could also use neufchatel cheese here, if you like, it's a bit of a stronger taste but would still be good.  I'd use one 8 oz package here if I were to do that.  Which I think I might for Christmas.

Whip the marscapone cheese, with the zest of whatever fruit you choose.  Oranges are great here, as you can squeeze the juice on the ladyfingers, moistening everything up.  In a different bowl, whip the whipping cream, adding sweetener to taste, maybe a little vanilla extract, or almond or lemon or anything would work here, so if you wanted to make a peppermint tiramisu, you could.

After the whipping cream is all fluffy and lovely, stir it in with the marscapone.  I ended up using the mixer again here, I know you are supposed to use a spatula, and slowly mix together, but I'm a lazy cook and did the mixer, and it worked fine, although was maybe not as fluffy as it could have been.

While the beating and whipping are happening, you can turn a child loose with the cookies, arranging them in the bottom of the pie plate, or square casserole dish.  You could make individual ones in ramekins too, mmmmmMMmmmm.

Once everything is arranged and beaten, pour the orange juice(coffee) over the ladyfingers.  I followed here with a sprinkling of unsweetened cocoa.  Then spoon on the lovely goodness, sprinkle on some more unsweetened cocoa and put the whole thing in the fridge to chill.  Then lick the beaters (you know you want to) and after about an hour or so, cut and serve.  It flew off those pretty princess plates we were using, and everyone loved it.  Yay!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Apple Banana Chocolate Awesomeness

I love banana bread.  

I love nearly everything about it.  And if you add pumpkin to it, I'm gone.  It's lovely.  After my unsatisfying coffee shoppe (I like spelling it that way) experience this morning, I got inspired and made the following recipe.  The company at said coffee shoppe was fabulous, but the coffee shoppe itself not only didn't have a single thing I could eat freely, but the girl also sort of pretentiously suggested I go to Portland to find a coffee shop who did in fact provide for such a picky person as to need low sugar or low carb for my health.  But I don't live in Portland, I live in Beaverton, so I ended up with a bran muffin that I paid $1.95 for and of which I was only able to eat half.  So, while the company more than made it worth going, I felt the need to make myself a coffee shoppe-related goodie once home.  And my son is going on a cave tour/field trip tomorrow and will appreciate the nice banana bread in his lunch.    

I've made the base banana bread recipe many times, and it's by far the best I've found.  Easily tweakable, moist and without oil;  it's healthy and yummy; and when I replace the sugar with extra bananas and some splenda; perfect for my diabetic self.  And it smells awesome.  And it is awesome, because there's  chocolate.  I'd put up a pic, and I took one, but our computer is out so I have no way to upload.  So I'll just leave this to your diabetic imagination.  Moist, dark banana bread, with a hint of chocolate and cinnamon.  mmmmmmmmmMMmmm

I got the original recipe from the net, but haven't been able to find it again, so if I've re-used your recipe, let me know and I'll give props where props are due, this is the best recipe I've used, by far.  I almost always double it and it works fine.  And if you feel the need to add some oatmeal perhaps, just add a couple teaspoons of milk extra and some extra baking powder.  This current tweak is never before tried, so I'll comment to review it once done, but it sounds and smells awesome and like I said, I've made this base recipe many, many, times, and I've yet to have it truly suck.  Some times it's been maybe not as good as it could have been, but that's my fault, not the recipe.    

I'll list the base recipe then my tweaks in red: Remember:  I doubled the recipe, so what's listed here are the single batch ingredient lists, with my add-ons and tweaks. 

Nana's Banana Bread

The dry squad:
1 3/4 cup flour  *1 3/4 cups wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour and 1/4 cup almond flour this time
1/2 tsp baking soda *1 tsp
1 1/2 tsp baking powder * 3 tsp for double batch, a little more if using oatmeal
3/4 tsp salt *I still use 3/4 tsp for a double batch
I added 1/4 cup unsweetened chocolate to the dry squad here

The wet stuff:
3/4 cup sugar *I doubled the recipe, so used 5 bananas and 1/2 cup splenda here)
1 beaten egg *2 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas *I use 2 more bananas here, sorta mushed up with my fingers
1/2 cup milk 

The fun stuff:
about a half cup cranberries
a good handful of dark chocolate chips
a cored, peeled and chopped apple

Yes I do indeed use 7 bananas altogether.  But if your banana experience is anything like mine, I'm tossing these things into the fridge regularly.

Put in all 5 mashed bananas (ones you've tossed in the freezer and then thawed work the best) and beat the life out of them.  If you've beaten them long enough then they get all lovely and frothy and yummy.  Then add in the splenda and the eggs, beating some more.  

Then, mix your dry squad together in a bowl, stirring well to get all the baking powder and soda and salt mixed in.  Cuz that's just yucky to bite into a giant bite of baking soda.  Especially if someone else made it and you can't say it's bad...  

You know that look you make, like when your kids make you something and you have to eat it, or break their little hearts in pieces.  "Wow, this is great!  Thanks, I love it!"  meanwhile your taste buds are trying to murder each other.

But I digress.  Once you mix the dry squad, alternate it with the milk about a third each at a time, until it's all mixed and happy.  You want it all to mingle, but don't kill it.  

Then using some big spoons, you can spoon it into prepped cupcake cups, maybe do 12, and still have enough for a second batch AND a loaf.  Or, if you have those cute little mini loaf pans, then go for like half an hour, maybe checking at 20 minutes.

350 degrees for about 15 minutes, for muffins or until the middle just barely depresses, but isn't gooey.  And for those of you who don't stick your fingers into hot from the oven muffins, just use a tooth pick.  If you have sort of moist looking crumbs, that's good.  If you have batter, then maybe let that go for a couple minutes or more, just for grins.

If you do a loaf, then go for 45-50 minutes, or until the above mentioned toothpick test is completed and passed.  Mini loaf pans take from 20 to 30 min.

Then let it cool off, and eat.  I have 2 boys and a hubbs, and this stuff never lasts for long.  Makes a great snack, like when you get up predawn to drink a cup of coffee before the hooligans come down to eat and get ready for school.  It's healthy so you don't die (ideally) but just decadent enough to satisfy your need for Apple Banana Chocolate Awesomeness.  Because it is...Awesome...really....try it...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Two in one day?!

we pretend it's chocolate crust

This was a request, so I'm putting up my diabetic pumpkin pie recipe. Just in time for Thanksgiving.

I'm a pumpkin-holic.

There, I said it.  I love pumpkin, anything pumpkin. Pumpkin soup, pie, scones, latte, painting pumpkins, gutting them and roasting their seeds, and the list goes on and on. In fact, as I'm penning these words, I'm eating pumpkin pie for breakfast. Life is good when you have to test out your recipes before the big day.

Because you have to.

Really, it's for the good of the family.

I should point out here, as I'm extolling the wonders of the pumpkin, that the pie I'm eating is in fact butternut squash, not pumpkin. My bad, it still rocks. Probably because I roasted the butternut and everything myself. But I'm in no way opposed to the tried and true can method. People say it's better if you grow, roast, scoop and blend your own, but really, I have 2 kids and an awesome hubbs and not enough time. BuuUut, I did the sunday morning cookoff this last weekend and had the squash so decided to use it. And I have a just-a-month-shy-of 13 year old, so I pressed him into squash scooping.  So in reality, while I did gut it and roast it;  by pressing my son into sous chef duties, I did very little work at all.  So it was very similar to using a can anyway.  The point is, do what works, it's all good.  As is pressing your children into kitchen duties.

I've put the recipe below for a single crust pie, although I did the double batch (big can) so I'm guessing a little on the exact measurements. I taste my filling prior to the great pouring to make sure things are good, even though it has raw egg in it. *insert gasp here.*  I don't taste much, just enough to make sure, so no freaking out, ok?  I'm not really condoning you eat anything with raw egg in it, but we're all grown ups here so just use common sense. You could mix everything but the egg and then taste, and this is a great idea, I just didn't think of it till just now. I also saw a recipe with just egg whites, so I think I'll try that next time I make this since who doesn't need a little less cholesterol?

'sigh, I guess I'll just have to eat you too...

I am going to start perfecting the lower-butter-so-I-can-have-more recipe, but haven't done so yet, it will morph, young one, do not worry.  For now, follow this:

I tried buckwheat which has next to no carbs, compared to wheat flour, and it's gluten free, but that's just a side benefit for me. I used the same recipe I always use (cholesterol!!  run!!) but will probably morph things over time.

Replaced the flour with buckwheat flour which I found at Winco in the bulk section. I think Bob's Red Mill grinds it too. I like to go local.

Added some vanilla seeds but next time would probably use the liquid and earlier in the process.  You have to work with that a little, get your hands in there.  Not a whole lot but some, just knead it a little and use regular flour when rolling out the crust. It needs a little extra moisture *insert vanilla extract here, like 1/2 tsp*, but it doesn't have any gluten so there's no time limit on how long you mess with it but let it rest just after you get all the wet/dry mixed up. I would put some nutmeg or cinnamon and some splenda in with the crust next time, buckwheat has a it and could use some help, plus I just realized I forget completely about putting the *sugar substitute* we use sucralose. All in all it was awesome.

And there is no more pie.  Except for the lonely piece pictured, whose days are numbered.

Once you get done mixing the pie crust, let it rest in the fridge, maybe use a zip top bag bc it's crumbly till you work with it. You can squish it around in there too, it's fun.  Almost as much fun as getting the cat ripped on catmint so I have some entertainment.

While that's resting, check this link: 

I also pasted the recipe below, with my tweaks:

1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust
3/4 cup white sugar (use 2/3 cup splenda instead, or maybe a little less bc you can always add more)
**add about a teaspoon of honey to cut the bitter, or about a half teaspoon of sugar**
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon *extra is fine*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger *I use a smidge less here*
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves *use a smidge more*
**I add in about 1/4 or1/4 nutmeg here**
2 eggs
1 (15 ounce) can LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin, *or whatever you decide to use, about 2 cups*
1 (12 fluid ounce) can NESTLE® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk  *or whatever you have, could use coconut milk, mmmmm**

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar substitute *sucralose*/spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell.
Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F.; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. (Do not freeze as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling.)

Feel free to ask any questions, I'm always close by.

In the beginning

There was food. And the food was good, and I ate the food and said "The food is good".

Now just for some back story, the D-word has been rampaging its way through my family for some time. So I've always had this thought towards complex carbs, protein, low carb, low sugar, and on and on and on. But I still made things full on sugar, didn't eat enough leafy greens and had portions that were way too big. And pumpkin lattes, and pumpkin scones, and pumpkin anything really. Starbucks made a mint off me for a while there.

And then there was diabetes, type 2 to be exact. Not all slam bang right in the face, but over time, the D-word crept up and wrapped its cold, non-sugar fingers around my pancreas. I had gestational diabetes with both of my boys, and was even on insulin with my youngest. When that happens, you have like a 80-150% chance of becoming diabetic yourself, later on. And with just about everyone in my fam having it too, my chances crept up to 315%. So in June of the fine year of 2010, about 2 weeks before I broke my ankle (another story, for another time). I got the diagnosis of....the D-word. Wheee!

Now this wasn't a surprise considering my fam and self history, but there was still a fair amount of pumpkin grief. And chocolate grief, and pasta grief, bread grief, potatoe grief, and just flat foodie grief. And while I'll never again enjoy the All-American Chocolate Cake from Costco, I've found lots of things, in my fledgling little D-word having life that are pretty darn good. And as time goes on, I'm finding more and more things to gratify the foodie in me and have decided to share.

The following posts will contain the recipes, tweaks, and info I find on the journey to health and well-eating. I am not and will never be a health professional. I am merely a fellow D-wordite on the path to yum. Always ask your health care professional health related questions. I'll be sharing tips, travails and perhaps funny things, as there is a dearth of them on the web. I hope you enjoy, and read and comment and give your own tweaks and tips and funny things. Nice to meet you!!