Friday, June 29, 2012

The Non-Cook's Rosemary- Garlic Pork Tenderloin

My cooking skills are not legendary.  If a recipe has too many parts, I don't make it.  So, the recipes that you will find here are easy.  Today's is really easy and it tastes better than I ever thought it would.

Let me explain.  I read the recipe, thought it looked good and decided to make it.  While making it, I decided that this was a mistake and was going to be terrible.  I was wrong.  So, if you get concerned, just keep going.  It works out.

This recipe is from Weight Watcher's Five Ingredient 15 Minute Recipes.  It is a magazine from 2009. I have no idea if you can still get a copy.  I have searched and have not found one online.  There did seem to be a cookbook from Weight Watchers from 2002 that had the same title.  I checked the Weight Watcher's web site and did not find the recipe on the site.  (It must have been drummed out of the corp.)

This recipe has two important parts before you go to make it.  The first is that it is to be cooked on a grill outside.  The second (which is why we had it for dinner Thursday instead of Tuesday) is that  it has to chill with the ingredients for 2 hours in the refrigerator.  I prepared it Thursday morning and left it in the refrigerator until dinner time.  

Rosemary-Garlic Pork Tenderloin

(Just another quick aside - I did not read the recipe to find the number of servings before I made it - as a result I made 8 servings for the two of us.  DUMB!  So please note - THIS SERVES 8)

1/4 cup minced fresh rosemary
1/4 cup minced garlic (about 10 cloves)
1    tablespoon olive oil
2    teaspoons kosher salt
1    teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2    1 pound pork tenderloins, trimmed

1.  Combine the first 5 ingredients in a small bowl, mixing well to make a paste.  (Mine did not look like a paste - just mixed together garlic and rosemary.  This is where I was sure I had made a mistake)

2.  Make several 1-inch slits in the pork and stuff each slit with 1 teaspoon rosemary paste. Spread any remaining rosemary paste into the top and sides of pork.  Cover and chill for 2 hours.

3.  Prepare grill

4.  Place Pork on the grill rack coated with cooking spray.  Grill pork 23 minutes or until a thermometer registers 155 degrees, turning once.  Remove pork from grill: cover and let stand for 15 minutes.

Per serving:  Calories 154, Fat 5.6g (sat 1.6g), Protien 222.8g, Carbohydrate 1.8g, Fiber 0.3g, Iron 1.4mg, Sodium 516mg, Calc 17mg.

The recipe also suggested that you can use the same paste mixture on chicken.

There you have it.  Really easy and very tasty.  Oh, I did go out to my (new) trusty garden to harvest the rosemary.  In case you were wondering, a 1/4 cup of rosemary is A LOT OF ROSEMARY.  I ended up using 1/8 cup fresh and 1/8 cup dried - which was practically the entire container.  Also, I was not in the mood to mince 10 cloves of garlic.  I used the jar of minced garlic that you can buy in the produce section of the grocery store.

So enjoy.  We still are - only two meals of it to go....

Cheer me up and let me know some of your cooking errors!  Let me know I am not alone...

Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 25, 2012

New Products for Us

If you have been following this blog, you know that we have been trying to change the way we eat.

We are trying to eat more natural foods and we are moving to try the gluten free life. Since we have changed so much of the way that we eat, this is just another experiment. Going gluten free is really hard. So many of the foods that we eat and enjoy contain gluten.

We had been eating pretzels and some snack crackers. In moving to gluten free, we would have to give them up. As an experiment, we have tried sweet potato chips. The first kind that we tried was from a company named Food Should Taste Good. I thought they were very good. Then I saw sweet potato chips by Terra. The Terra chips are ruffled. In comparing the two, the Terra chips have less ingredients (sweet potatoes, canola oil, and sea salt) but more calories (160 per servings vs. 140 per serving) Interestingly, the Terra chips have less carbohydrates - 15 vs. 18. I think they both taste good - I like the ruffled chips but that is a person preference. We have also tried and liked Dippers - 3 seed veggie dipping chips by R W Garcia. (140 calories and 18 carbohydrates per serving.)

I have a new hummus recipe to try that uses a lot less olive oil than the recipe I tried before. I will get to it next weekend and let you know how it comes out.

One of my newest finds is dill mustard from Dillman Farms in Bloomington, IN. You can see their web site at I found it at a local store (Shaker Traditions in Evanston, IL). A few weeks ago, we had grilled chicken breasts for lunch. I noticed that Silent Sam put some mayonnaise on his bun. I certainly wasn't going to be the calorie police (since he is doing so much better than I am it would be silly) but I thought that there should be something better. And then I saw the dill mustard. We tried it on grilled chicken breasts last week. It was very good. Last night, we had salmon on the grill and SS put some dill mustard on the salmon during the last few minutes of grilling. It was really good. So much better for us than the other recipes that I have seen. Easy and really tasty. The dill mustard has 5 calories per teaspoon. Dillman Farms also has a honey mustard that I picked up and it has 0 calories. I like honey mustard as a dip with pretzels and on pork as a glaze. I am looking forward to trying it.

I swallowed hard a couple of weeks ago and asked SS to pick up some turkey smoked sausage. This is a product that I know we should use but the idea of it didn't do much for me. On the appointed evening, I cut it up and put it in the pan with lots of vegetables and made it into a stir fry. It was FINE! I can't tell you that I noticed a big difference from the smoked sausage that we normally bought.

We are making these changes slowly but they are for the better. We decided that instead of our normal Saturday lunch of brats or polish, we could substitute the turkey smoked sausage. At least we would not feel as guilty....

Have you made eating changes that you thought would be questionable but turned out good? Please let me know in the comment section below. 
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Spinach, Artichoke, and Mushroom Toss

It is recipe day!  If you are new, you need to know that I can't cook.  So you are pretty well guaranteed that this recipe is EASY. 

Today's recipe comes from my favorite cookbook, Diabetes and Heart Healthy Cookbook from The American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association.

Spinach, Artichoke, and Mushroom Toss

3/4 cup uncooked brown rice
1 large onion chopped
8 oz sliced button mushrooms
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 oz. coarsely chopped fresh spinach leaves (about 2 cups)
14- ounce can quarter artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained, and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers, rinsed and drained if bottled
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup snipped fresh parsley

1.  Prepare rice per package directions - omitting salt and margarine

2.  Meanwhile, heat a 12 inch skillet - spray with cooking spray (my friend Pam) and start cooking the onion for 4 minutes or until it starts to brown slightly. Stir frequently.

3.  Stir in the mushrroms, garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes.  Lightly spray with the cooking spray.  Cook for 6 minutes or until the mushrooms begin to lightly brown.  Stir frequently.

4.  Stir in the spinach, artichokes, and roasted peppers.  Cook for 1 minute, or until mixture is hot and the spinach begins to release moisture, stirring gently.  Remove from the heat.

5.  To serve, spoon the rice onto a platter.  Top with the vegetable mixture.  Sprinkle with the feta and parsley. 

Serves 4 - 1 cup vegetable mixture and 1/2 cup rice per serving

Exchanges:  2 Starch, 3 Vegetable, 1 fat

Calories:                  274
Total Fat:                     8 g
Cholesterol                25 mg
Sodium                    579 mg
Total Carbohydrate    42 g
Dietary Fiber                5 g
Sugars                          8 g
Protein                        11g

We had this as part of our New Year's Eve supper.  We loved it!  I thought it was much better than I thought it would be from the recipe.  Enjoy!

Do you have a recipe that you think is better than you thought it would be?  Please forward it so I can try it too!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

5 Things that Scare Us About Diabetes

Silent Sam and I were talking the other morning.  I asked him what 5 things scared him most about his diabetes.  His ability to answer quickly indicated to me that these things really concern him.

1.  The long term effects on his heart. 

2.  The long term effects of the medicine that he takes.

3.  The threat of losing body parts.

4.  A change in his quality of life due to any or a combination of #1, 2, or 3.

5.  How his choices affect those around him.

He then asked for my list.  While we share some concerns, I have some that are different.

1.  The long term effects on his heart.

2. To go with his fear of losing body parts, I have a bit of a foot obsession with him.  I am so worried that he will get a foot sore and it will get infected and cause problems.  While I feel bad about it, I have asked him to please wear shoes all the time.  I am crazy (yea, I know!) but when I see him in his bare feet, I just cringe. 

3.  Because we have come to rely on our health insurance over the years, I worry about the insurance changing and the expenses associated with the disease.  And yea, it is another area where I can show how crazy I am. 

4.  I worry about our kids.  While a component of the disease is hereditary there is a strong component connected to lifestyle choices.  We did not really demonstrate the best lifestyle to our kids as they were growing up.  We can only hope that they see the effect of our previous lifestyle and the changes that we have made.  (I do have my doubts that we will ever talk them into turkey sausage or sweet potato chips, though)

5.  I worry that we will go back to our "old ways".  That we will slide down that slippery slope and not keep his health (and mine!) at the forefront of our thoughts. 

So there you go.  What  scares you about diabetes?  How do you face that fear?

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Let Me Tell You About My Friend

I want to tell you about Ann. 

When Ann was 4 years old, she got sick.  She had an infection went to her hip and effectively ruined her right hip.  She spent years growing up with crutches or lifts in her shoes, or other aids that make a child feel that they are odd. 

As she grew up, she got used to the pain and the limp.  She had a great circle of friends and they were there to support her.
By the time Ann had her 34th birthday, the pain had really escalated.  She found a terrific doctor that she trusted and he replaced her hip.  The hip replacement was a success although she did not have feeling in her right foot. This did not stop her - she would swim, walk, ride an inter-tube off the back of a boat and  in general get around just fine. 

This went on for 18 years and then it was time to have her hip replaced again.  She went into the surgery looking forward to being pain free.  That was two years ago.  Her recovery, due to all she has been though, has not been as smooth as most hip replacements. 

She has not given up.  She still uses a cane to walk although it is sometimes more for security than a necessity.  She meets with a trainer each week to work on getting better.  She swims. She rides a bike. She walks. 

When she started working with her trainer, they set the goal that she would do a triathlon.  The trainer was familiar with a female only triathlon that would be held in June of 2012 and they used that as their training goal. 

In the meantime, she heard about an small local triathlon in May of 2012 and she and her husband entered to participate.

She also joined us when we did the 5K in May. 

All three events have taken place and Ann finished all three.  She did it!  I am so proud to be her friend. She made a decision that she would finish a triathlon and she did the work to be able to do it.

Ann is an inspiration. She set a goal and then worked on each of the pieces that, when put together, pushed her past the finish line. 

I think it is time to decide what I would like to accomplish.  How about you?  Do you have a goal that you have set and are working toward?  Please let me know about it and I will be your cheerleader!  

  Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 11, 2012

5 Things About Diabetes that I Find Interesting

In reading about diabetes, I have found things that I find fascinating.   I thought I would share some of them with you.  Most of the information can be found through the American Diabetes Association web site -

(Here is that general warning - I am not a physician.  I cannot dispense medical advise.  Please check with a physician if you have medical questions.)

1.  Genes are not enough to cause diabetes - Having the predisposition is one part of the disease but the other is that something in your environment triggers the onset.

2.  If you have Type 1 diabetes, the risk to your child depends on a couple of factors.  If you are a man with Type 1 diabetes, the odds of your child getting Type 1 diabetes is 1 in 17.  If you are a women, it depends on your age when you give birth.  If you are under 25, the odds are 1 in 25.  If you are over 25, the odds are 1 in 100  - the same as in the general population.

3.  In contrast, with Type 2 diabetes, your chance of a genetic link are higher if your mother had Type 2 diabetes.  Also age plays a factor - if the parent was diagnosed before the age of 50, the odds are 1 in 7.  If the parent was diagnosed after the age of 50, the risk drops to 1 in 13.

4.  The research indicates that while someone may have the risk factors to get Type 1, it is felt that there is some triggering event that sets the disease in motion.  This triggering event can be a virus or in some cases they think it can be something that causes trauma to the body, like a car accident. 

5.  There are actually three types of diabetes.  There is Type 1, Type 2, and Type 1.5 or LADA.  Type 1.5 is often thought to be diabetes Type 2 because it typically is found in adults.  The expectation is for the person to have Type 2 but upon further testing, it can be found that the person has the presence of autoantibodies, which is indicative of Type 1 but not Type 2 diabetes.

There are 5 things I find fascinating today. What do you think?  Do you have an interesting fact about diabetes?  Please share it in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Do the Shoes Make the Man?

Okay, so maybe I am harping on the foot thing a bit too much but it is really important.

About a month ago, we had a discussion about  Father's Day and what to get Silent Sam.  I had gone out that morning with him for a run/walk.  He runs.  I walk.  I noticed that he was wearing his regular old New Balance shoes that he has worn for a long time - the same model not the exact same shoes. 

It came to me that we should get him some new running shoes.  It was suggested that we go to this sports store in  a neighboring town because do all this "fancy" stuff to fit the shoes.  So off we went to surprise SS for Father's Day.  (Yes, we went early - schedules were busy...)  At the store, you can see that there is this special platform that you stand on and they can see the pressure points on your feet.  They also have treadmills so that you can run in the shoes to make sure they are comfortable.  It all looked really high tech. They did not have many shoes out on display but most of the ones on display were in neon colors.  I was really chuckling to myself and just dying to see Silent Sam in neon shoes. 

It came to be our turn (the store was busy) and the salesman started with SS.  He didn't do any of the fancy stuff!  I was pretty disappointed.  He did, however measure SS's feet and get him fitted in new shoes.  It seems that they measure, talk to you about how you use the shoes, and then bring out pairs that they think would be appropriate for you.  SS ended up with a black pair with red accents.  Not quite what I had hoped - I was really pulling for neon. 

What I didn't know until later was that the shoe size was different from his normal size.  He had always gotten a 4E width -he has flat little feet.  It seems that these shoes were a D width.  I think that this change made both of us nervous.  I think he didn't want to get blisters from tight shoes - although he thought that they fit fine. I, of course, was weary of anything that can cause foot sores for him.

We are now a week out with the new shoes and he is thrilled.  They fit great.  I won't go as far as saying that his running is vastly improved but he likes his new shoes. 

Lesson learned - you really need to get your shoes measured so that the fit is the best that it can be for you.  You really should go to a shoe store that knows the products - especially in sport shoes - to get the best fit for your foot - not only size-wise but the correct shoes for your method of exercise.

I'm looking around the the store that sells the best shoes for sitting on the couch.  I think they are called slippers....

Thanks for reading!                                                                                                

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Quinoa Spaghetti

If you have been following this blog, you know by not that I can't cook.  I have had to change and branch out since Silent Sam's diagnosis but it is still only the simple recipes for me.  

The following is an easy spaghetti recipe.  The original recipe was in the April/ May 2012 issue of Healthy Cooking Magazine but I have made a fair number of changes to it so I call it my own.

Quinoa Spaghetti

1 lb. ground turkey
1 3/4 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion cut up
3 cloves of garlic minced
3 cups tomato juice
1 can (14 1/2 oz) no salt added diced tomatoes
1 can (8 oz.) no salt added tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp oregano 
6 oz. quinoa spaghetti noodles broken into pieces

In a large pot, cook the ground turkey, mushrooms, onion, and garlic until the turkey is fully cooked.  Add the tomato juice, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, mustard, Italian seasoning, and oregano. Stir.

When the mixture starts to boil, stir in the quinoa noodles.  Cover and simmer for 15 - 18 minutes.

Garnish with some shaved Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Serves 6  

Since I changed the recipe, I don't have the exchanges or nutritional info.  Sorry!

Not only is it easy to make but it only takes one pot!  Clean up made simple!   This is my kind of recipe. We serve it with a salad and we are good to go. I am sure it would be even better with bread slathered with garlic butter but those days (seem to be) behind us. 

The original recipe called for lean ground beef (90%) so if you want to you can use that instead of the turkey.  

And let me give a big CONGRATULATIONS!!! to Silent Sam.  The doctor reduced his medicine again last week.  He is down to one metformin a day and one "prick" a day. I am so proud of him for all he has done to make changes.  Hip Hip Hooray!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 4, 2012

We are thinking of making more adjustments....

So we are thinking of trying a gluten free diet.  I am not sure that is the most accurate way to say that. It might be better to say a more natural food diet.

Does this sound a little hocus pocus?  A little "earth mother"?  In other words, not like me at all?

You are right. This is a bit of a stretch for the people who got themselves into this mess.  But as Silent Sam says, "we've changed so much already, what is a little more?"

I will have to give up my beloved Coke.  (audible shudders)

How did we get here?  It may have been in the back of my mind for awhile but it was brought forward by a reader who suggested that I read the book Wheat Belly.  The book is written by a cardiologist from Wisconsin and from the cover, you would think that he wants you to give up wheat.  Turns out he wants a lot more than that.  He is kind of a no carbs guy.  The reviews of the book are great but I just don't see it as a long term alternative.

Then our local public broadcasting station had a show on Friday night about the Blood Sugar Solution.  The show featured a doctor who, besides making up words (diabesity was a favorite) was a proponent of going gluten free and other offensive ingredients like high fructose corn syrup.  One of the things I remember was that he wanted you to go through your cabinets and get rid of any canned good that had more than 5 ingredients or any ingredients that you cannot pronounce the name.

My impression of both of these physicians is that they were perhaps a bit full of themselves.  They are quite sure they are genius's and are there to save the world.  Yea, uh huh.

Setting that smarmy feeling aside, we think that they might have a point.  Especially the second doctor.  He really advocates eating fresh foods.  "Your pharmacy should be at the end or your fork" was a favorite quote.

To dabble into this world, I went to the local Whole Foods (Whole Paycheck per Silent Sam).  The store has quite a selection of gluten free foods.  I was looking at pasta in particular.  It seems that my new friend, quinoa, has several different pasta offerings.  I have been using the spaghetti noodles but they have several other shapes also.  I picked up a bag of gluten free pretzels.  They are fine but golly, they were pricy.  Also for some reason I cannot explain, I picked up two packages of gluten free cookies.  This was just idiotic since we aren't eating cookies anyway.  (They were okay)

Then Silent Sam checked out the pasta in our regular grocery store.  Turns out the quinoa pasta was at our regular store and even more surprisingly, it was about the same price. 

This is not a change we are talking about making tomorrow.  We have some cleaning out to do before we will make the change.  While doing a massive toss of all offending items works for the doctor, it doesn't work for us.

So what do you think of a gluten free more natural food diet?  Have you tried it?  Have you succeed?  What was the hardest part?  Any help would be gratefully accepted.  Please leave notes in the comments section below. 

Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Spouse's Role... Lights Camera Action

I was thinking this week about the spouses of diabetics and the role they play in the life of the diabetic.  So much of the role depends on the diabetic.  Do they recognize that they have the disease and try and manage it or are they caught in denial?

In any case, the spouse is walking a tightrope.  They need to be supportive but what exactly does that entail?  Do you go to every doctor appointment?  Do you check on what they have eaten?  Do you ask what their level is when they check it? Do you remind them to check their levels?

How can you be supportive but not be over zealous?

I think that it depends on the person.  Silent Sam was fine with me going to the first rounds of appointments but after that he was ready to be on his own.  He shares the information that he learns and we talk about his appointments.  I think that there are others that might want  their spouse to go to the appointments with them - to show their support and also to listen to what the doctor has to say. Some people really want/need to have someone there to help absorb the information. 

I do ask Silent Sam about his levels.  I don't interrogate him, I ask him just as part of  conversation.  I think that if he were having a lot of control issues that it would  either feel like an interrogation or it could feel judgmental.  It is part of that tightrope walk. 

If you don't have or live with someone with diabetes, you may not know that there can be mood swings with the disease.  When the levels are off - extreme in either direction, your spouse can have surprising behavior.  If you can gently ask about their levels or when they ate last, you may find that they need to eat something. Needless to say, this is more quick sand than tightrope. It is a time that a spouse needs to toughen up and be understanding.  Much easier said then done......

One of the things that I did when Silent Sam was diagnosed was that I ordered some (what I considered to be ) masculine diabetic medic alert bracelets.  I was concerned that if he were traveling for business or commuting to work that he could have a problem. They have yet to see the light of day.  While my intentions were good, I think that I may have overstepped what he needed from me.  He did not get upset with me (at least I didn't know that he was) but I think that I pushed him. Chalk one up for the overzealous spouse. ( or the spouse that spends too much money!)

Part of the spousal support also includes encouraging exercise.  Silent Sam works really long hours.  When he gets home, he changes and gets on the treadmill for awhile.  This means that dinner should usually be ready around 6:45 - 7 p.m.  I know that it is better if we eat earlier but  he needs the time to exercise and I am happy that he is doing it.  (Okay, the treadmill is broken again.  I thought that people usually got rid of them because they weren't used not because they broke!)  I think that if your spouse doesn't want to exercise that you might be able to entice them if you do it with them or find a way for them to get involved in something they would like.  If they need some push and are open to it, set a goal for the two of you - say walking a 5K.  There are probably some in your area that you can sign up for and do it together. 

Do you have any tips for me or others as a diabetic spouse or caretaker?  I am certainly always open to the suggestions.  Please leave a comment!

Thanks for reading!