Thursday, January 22, 2015

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup



Hello!

I hope you are doing well. I made another new Sunday night soup this week and I am dying to share the recipe with you. We really loved this one.

Do you have problems with crock pot recipes not having enough taste? We seem to run into that frequently. I am beginning to think that part of the solution is to stay away from recipes that say that “kids love it” because those recipes seem pretty bland. I am not sure that I have found the exact reason why some work and some don’t. For example, I made a recipe a few weeks ago that called for a tablespoon each of basil, oregano, and parsley. I thought that was enough spice to make it work but I was wrong. The soup just ddidn'thave much taste.

So, when I started to make this week’s soup, I decided to not just follow the recipe but think about what I knew had worked in the past. For example, the original recipe called for using 2 cups of cooked chicken. I took out three chicken breasts and started to cook them. While I was doing that I started thinking. The recipe called to cook the mixture for almost 5 hours on high. That is a long time for cooked chicken to be in a crock pot. So, I stopped cooking the chicken breasts – they were slightly browned on each side – and put them into the pot slightly cooked. (next time I would not cook them at all)  

Also, as you will see, the recipe calls for two cans of condensed soup. That can be a lot of sodium. The original recipe also called for using seasoned salt and salt and pepper. Instead of doing that, I used Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb. I also added a tablespoon of pesto to the recipe. I thought it might be a good addition and add some taste to the recipe.

The soup turned out great. It was creamy and flavorful. It was also good for lunch the next couple of days.


Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
6 servings

 Inspired by recipe from Six Sisters Blog -  http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/

Ingredients

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
5 cups skim milk
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables. I used the Birds Eye Steamfresh with carrots, asparagus, corn, and beans
1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb
1 tablespoon of pesto
2 cups of uncooked egg noodles

Directions

1.       Put the soups, milk, Mrs. Dash, and pesto in the crock pot and mix using a whisk.
2.       Add the chicken and vegetables and stir.
3.       Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours
4.       Add the noodles and cook for an additional ½ to 1 hour.

Changes I might try for next time –

Let me start by saying that we really liked the soup this way. While I hate to tinker with something that we like, there are a couple things I would try.

I think I would try low sodium soups. I would not say that the soup was salty but I just think it would be a good idea.

I would also try it with fresh vegetables rather than the frozen. You could also try frozen that did not have corn in it. It  would be a way to reduce the starch.

Nutritional Information –

I fed the recipe into one of those on-line sites that then tells you the nutritional information. I do not know how accurate it is but here is the information.

Calories – 410, Total fat – 13.2 g., Saturated fat – 3.4 g., Cholesterol – 87 mg., Sodium 850 mg., Total Carbohydrates 36.5 g., Dietary Fiber 2.7 g., Sugars 12.8 g., Protein 32.9 g.


Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Sunday Night Soup



Several years ago, my neighbor was talking about the concept of  having soup for supper on Sunday nights during the winter.I actually talked about it for a couple of years but never quite started doing it until this year.

If you regularly read this blog, you know that I am a self-admitted terrible cook.  When I make a recipe, it has to be easy.The idea of Sunday night soups was  appealing but it meant that  I had to find recipes and then make them.

There are soup recipes everywhere. I discovered that some of them are more involved than others. I immediately discounted any recipe that called for cooking then putting everything in the food processor or blender and then doing more. Too messy! Too involved! I found some easy recipes and we stared having soup on Sunday nights.

I would say there are two problems with Sunday night soup.The first problem is that  having Sunday night soup just begs to have bread with the soup. For those of us who might have a tiny (HUGE) problem with portion control, this is an issue. We had gotten to the point where we just did not have bread in the house very often but with Sunday soups, we would buy a loaf at the grocery store each week. So, the advisory is to watch your portions with the bread.

The second problem is the sodium content in soup. Canned soup is infamous for its high sodium and if you are using that as a base in your soup, you are starting out with a lot of sodium. You need to  use low sodium broth as a base.  We have had a problem with soups tasting salty.  Here is where some of you "real" cooks might react - I never add salt when a recipe calls for it. For some reason, soup recipes will have these great phrases like "add salt to taste" or my absolute favorite "salt" with no instruction as to how much.  I just leave it out.



We have found several recipes that we really like.  Today, I am giving you my favorite so far.  This recipe is from Crock Pot: Diabetic Recipes.  (It is available from Amazon)


Italian Sausage Soup     Serves: 8


Sausage meatballs

1 lb. bulk mild Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2  cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup skim milk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

Soup

4 cups hot fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup uncooked mini pasta shells*
1 bag (10 oz.) baby spinach
Grated Parmesan cheese
* or other tiny pasta

1. Combine all meatball ingredients. Roll into marble-size balls.

2. Combine broth, tomato paste, garlic and red pepper flakes in Crock-pot slow cooker. Add                    meatballs. Cover; cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours.

3.  Add pasta 30 minutes before serving.  When pasta is tender, stir in spinach.  Sprinkle with                  Parmesan cheese: serve immediately.

Nutritional info:  Calories: 170, Total Fat: 6 g., Saturated Fat: 3 g., Protein: 14g., Carbohydrate; 15g., Cholesterol: 45 mg.,Fiber: 2 g., Sodium: 700 mg.





If you have looked at my recipes before, you know that I give you the recipe as it comes from the source and then I tell you how I changed/screwed it up.  So here it goes with this one.

1.  The first time I made this, I did not use low sodium broth. THAT IS A MISTAKE. The soup was still good but too salty.  You should not substitute regular broth.

2.  I used panko bread crumbs rather than regular.  This move might add a little more sodium but I wanted to make sure there was plenty of flavor.

3.  One bag a spinach in my grocery store is 5 oz.  So I used two bags.  (In case I have not said this before, I am a huge fan of adding spinach in recipes.)

4.  Instead of garlic salt, add just garlic powder.  Once again, just trying to cut back the sodium.


If you are looking for soup recipes, I suggest that you look at Pinterest. I have a board there where I have pinned "Sunday Night Soups" (and probably some things that don't apply..)  Here is a link to my Pinterest page.

I feel that I need to apologize to those of you who are nice enough to read this blog regularly.  It has been dark for a few weeks. Sometimes, it seems that life gets in the way.   But just think, it means that I have more recipes for you!

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Giving Tuesday






Do you ever wonder if you are the last to know something?  I felt a little out of touch this morning when I heard about "Giving Tuesday".  Here is a video that explains the idea/movement.




I then received an email from the American Diabetes Association.  They have received a pledge from Sun Live Financial to triple each gift.


"Give today and your gift can have TRIPLE the impact to Stop Diabetes®.

TODAY ONLY! In honor of Giving Tuesday, our national sponsor, Sun Life Financial, will triple your gift, dollar-for-dollar — up to a campaign total of $75,000. That's triple the funding to help families coping with diabetes, and triple the funding for the research that will unlock a cure."
If you would like to make a contribution today to help the American Diabetes Association, here is the link to the donation site.  

Of course my snarky side suggests that they should hold this day BEFORE all the shopping days but I guess that just having a worldwide day of giving is pretty important no matter when it is.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Time Change Got You Down?


Time change by committee
Perhaps it is just the people that I know but it seems that the time change this year has hit people harder than usual. There is just something about how dark it has been that can really affect how you are feeling. I went from appreciating the beautiful colors this fall to getting up in the dark and coming home in the dark. Add to that the early cold weather that we are experiencing and it could make the word “trudge” sound like a good thing.

If you are a reluctant exerciser like I am, it really takes a lot got get out there and exercise. Also, I find that when I am not at my cheerful best that it is hard to keep to my better eating habits.

So what do we do to conquer this feeling? As they say, I guess the first step is to admit that we are feeling a bit sluggish. Admit that you would just like to hole up until this winter stuff goes away.

Also, there are holidays and holiday parties closing in on us. There are so many temptations at holiday time between parties and treats at work. Also, it is a time when there are family traditions for food and activities surrounding food. In my family, we always got together to bake cookies and decorate them. The kids would bring friends and they would have a great time. These cookies were not going to win any awards for their beauty. There was a lot of silliness and that went into decorating the cookies.

At the Christmas cookie decorating party, silliness ensues.


WHAT TO DO ABOUT THIS?

First off, I am certainly not an expert but I have some ideas. My first idea is one that I struggle with all the time. I try and make myself do things. For example, it is really easy to sit down in your comfortable chair after dinner and watch TV. (I swear that I grow roots into the chair.) How about playing a game or putting together a jig saw puzzle instead?. Turn the lights up bright and sit at the dining room table. Once you get your mind engaged, it will help you stay awake and could even keep you from eating any snacks after dinner.

During the day, get outside. Even if it is for only a few minutes, walk at lunchtime, get out and breathe some fresh air. The sun does come out even in the winter. Get out for a few minutes and enjoy the air and light.



I am one of those people who would tell you that it is easier to eat non-healthy food than healthy food. In my mind, healthy food takes more work to prepare. (You might want to fight with me on this point but I will tell you that opening a package of cookies is pretty darn easy.) So it is time to do two things. The first is stop having the easy non-healthy stuff in your house. Really. If you want cookies, decide that you have to make them yourself. I don’t know about you, but that will stop me just about every time. The other thing is find some healthy food that you can have ready when you want a snack. You can pick up those single serve packages of nuts or buy a big package and make your own small packages. Buy some fruit and keep it ready to go. I am sure you have seen lists of great snacks for people with diabetes but if you need a refresher (like I do) here are some ideas

Also, when you are heading out to a party, eat a snack before you go. The thought behind this idea is that you won’t walk into the party hungry and eat everything in sight.

Another idea that I have seen is that when you are going out to a restaurant that you should look up the menu on line before you go and decide what you are going to have. If you have made up your mind ahead of time, then you can tune out what everyone else is getting and just enjoy the outing without thinking about the food.



With regard to exercise, there are three things that I do that might help you. They are by no means full proof but they do help. The first is that I joined a pretty stripped down gym (Planet Fitness). I don’t know anyone there. I walk in, exercise, and leave. I am there about 45 minutes. It is hard not to fit that into my schedule (although I can tell myself that I don’t have time.) The second thing I do is put on my gym clothes in the morning. I am then ready to go so that excuse is out the window. Last but not least, go when there is a TV show on the TVs that you want to watch. This is actually my latest find. The gym I go to has about 12 TVs across the front of the room. Because I go during the day, the TV selection is just terrible. I had no idea there were so many “DNA shows” on during the day.(Who knew there were so many people not clear on who is the father of a child.) But there is a game show that I will watch. (To each his own…) I will try and schedule my trip to the gym to coincide with the game show. That way  my mind is really occupied while I am exercising and the time goes faster.



Also, don’t forget that November is Diabetes Awareness Month. There are some great ideas for this month and beyond at the website.  

I hope you have a great week.

Thanks for reading!




Thursday, November 6, 2014

November is Diabetes Awareness Month




The American Diabetes Association is hoping to raise awareness during the month with Get Moving Mondays, Tasty Tip Tuesdays, What's Cooking Wednesdays, Get Together Thursdays, Fact Check Fridays, and other things.  I urge you to take a few minutes and check out the web site to see what each of those things means.  There is lots of information there that could be of interest to you.

Did you know that it was Diabetes Awareness month?  Do you do anything special for Diabetes Awareness Month?  I would love to hear about it if you do.  Silent Sam and I don't usually do anything but I think it would be a great time to do some fundraising for the American Diabetes Association.  Maybe one small thing (and small things add up) would be to go to the Association web site and look (and perhaps buy) something from their shop.

Another thing you could do was make sure that you have seen all the doctors that you should see.  Have you been to see your eye doctor in the last six months or year?  How about your podiatrist?  With the end of the year just around the corner, it is a good time to go and see them before your deductible starts over again on January 1.  (How could it almost be 2015??!!)

Maybe you could take some time to read about diabetes and the progress they are making with the disease.  While the numbers of people with the disease are increasing, the people living longer healthier lives than they were before.

Thanks for reading!






Saturday, October 18, 2014

Discussion with the FDA on MONDAY



I just found out about an upcoming event - ON MONDAY - and I wanted to let you know.


The people behind diaTribe.org put on great virtual programming.  If you have not checked them out, I urge you to take a few minutes and see all that they do.  

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Diabetes Sisters Virtural






Hi Everyone!

Sorry, this will be a quick update this week.  I am wildly behind.  I did want to tell you

about something new I found out about this virtual group that may interest the women in the group.

Instead of paraphasing the information from Karen Graffeo from Bitter~Sweet Diabetes blog, I

would like you to go to the page with the information.  You can find it here.


I have talked before about how important it is to have support when you have a disease like diabetes.

This organization offers virtual support for those of you who do not have any support groups in their

area or are not interested in attending meetings.  You can attend these meeting in your jammies and

no one will know!


Have a wonderful week!  Somehow, I think next Thursday will be here before I am ready for it!


Thanks for reading!