Thursday, January 30, 2014

Potato Crusted Bacon Quiche

It is time for a recipe, don't you think?

Now, I don't want to get into that silly debate about whether "real men" eat quiche.  The answer is that of course they do.  I think especially this one. This quiche recipe uses hash browns as the crust and has bacon in it. Could it be more manly?

This recipe is from the Diabetes Comfort Food Cookbook written by Robyn Webb, MS and published by the American Diabetes Association.  If you are interested in buying it, here is a link to Amazon. ( I only wish I got a commission.)

This is a cookbook that I was given after Silent Sam was diagnosed with diabetes. I had gone through it before but not found anything much. Funny how when you haven’t looked for a while, how you can look with fresh eyes and see interesting things.

I will say that this recipe has more ingredients than I usually choose and some of them I would use only to make this recipe. As usual, after the recipe, I will indicate the changes that I made to the recipe (or the things I screwed up...)

Potato Crusted Bacon Quiche


2 ½ Cups frozen, shredded hash browns, thawed with excess water drained
1 egg white beaten until frothy
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt


2 slices reduced-fat bacon
1 small onion, chopped
1 10 package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained, patted dry
1 cup 1% milk
¼ cup fat free cream cheese
¼ cup reduced-fat cream cheese
2 eggs
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup extra-sharp reduced-fat cheddar cheese.

1.        Preheat oven to 425 degrees. To make the crust, combine the crust ingredients and press into a 9 inch quiche or pie pan, covering the sides and bottom. Bake the crust for 10 minutes and remove from the oven and set aside.

2.       Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crispy, about 3 minutes. Remove from the skillet and crumble. In the pan drippings saute the onion, add the broccoli, and saute for 3 minutes.

3.       In a bowl, combine the milk, cream cheeses, eggs, egg whites, parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix well, add the cheddar cheese and cooked bacon.

4.       Spread the broccoli mixture on the bottom of the cooked crust. Pour over the milk mixture. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Lower the heat to 325 degrees and continue to cook for about 35 minutes until a knife inserted comes out clean. 

Serving size – 1/8 quiche              Serves -8
Calories  120 Calories from Fat 40, Total fat 4.5 g, Saturated Fat 2.2 g, Trans Fat 0.0g, Cholesterol 65 mg, Sodium 405 mg, Total Carbohydrate 10 g, Dietary Fiber 2 g, Sugars 3 g, Protein 10g

The things I changed –

1.       I used refrigerated hash browns rather than frozen.

2.         I used thick bacon rather than reduced fat bacon. I also used three pieces rather than two pieces. The package that I had open had four pieces left so I cooked them all. (Okay, I ate a piece – I had not eaten lunch.)

3.       I used sea salt rather than kosher salt. (because that is what I had on hand)

4.       I used non-chopped broccoli rather than chopped. This was a mistake. I had accidentally used the chopped broccoli two nights before. 

5.       I used skim milk rather than 1% milk.

6.       I accidentally used mild reduced-fat cheddar rather than extra sharp. 

What would I change?

 I would probably leave the salt out of the recipe or use less. It may be that sea salt gives a saltier taste than kosher salt but Silent Sam thought it was salty. I am immune to such thoughts. I don’t usually cook with salt but thought I would follow the recipe here. 

Also on the broccoli change, I liked the larger broccoli pieces.  When you use the larger pieces, the broccoli heads will stick up out of the batter and will brown. Sometimes that will not taste very good but this time they tasted good.  Using chopped would alleviate that problem.

The milk is a non-issue as far as I am concerned. I have always used skim milk so I don’t know of any taste difference.

 Using the right cheese would have added more flavor. I would probably use the extra sharp in the future.   But using the mild was fine. 

I know the serving size is 1/8 but we had 1/4 each.  We found that with a salad that was fine.  It is not that bad that having 1/4 is too much for dinner. We also had 1/2 left over for lunches.  It worked well re-heated for lunch.  

Overall it was a hit that I will make again.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Substitute Rather than Feel Denied

If you are trying to change things in your life in an effort to improve your health, you have probably thought about substitutions. 

Substitutions can be part of life. For example, I have a type of nail file that I really like but if I broke a nail and need to clean up a straggly sharp nail edge, I will use any type of file.  It can be the same with food. Sometimes rather than give up all your favorite foods, you can substitute foods in that can lower the calories or salt intake and still be satisfying. 
I like the taste of butter on rolls, potatoes, pancakes, and many other foods. But the calories and fat content are things I should avoid. (Dear State of Wisconsin, I love butter and will occasionally indulge. I wish I could eat it more often. You have a great product.) I have found – despite great resistance on my part – that I can use either I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light or go without. The light spread is not bad and for a very low calorie count can provide the feel of butter. 

I tend to overuse the salt shaker. If you like the taste of pepper on your food, I suggest that you switch and use Mrs. Dash (there are several varieties) rather than salt. No, the taste is not the same but I think you might find that there is more taste. Here is a link to their web site to see the 14 varieties of Mrs. Dash.

Is there anything like the taste of fresh popped popcorn with butter and salt? Well, yes, and you can save calories. I like the 94% fat free microwave popcorn. I have also tried air popping corn and using the spray on butter with some Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.  Both are great substitutions for popcorn with butter and salt. 

I like potato chips. As the catch phrase goes “Just can’t stop eating them.” But, of course you need to stop. I suggest that you get some of the new baked chips or crackers. I have a new favorite.  Wheat Thins has a line of baked crackers and the Parmesan herb crackers are delicious. Just make sure that you read the portion size and put that amount in a bowl for your snack. Eat slowly and enjoy the taste. No mindless eating! (something I am very good at doing!)
A dietitian once told me that having something crunchy with a meal can make you feel more satisfied.  Sometimes an apple will fill that void for me but there are other times that I need something more.  I have found that if I switch thin bagles for regular bagles, I get the crunch without all the calories.   

We have also switched our ice cream. We now enjoy frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. Since we view it as a treat anyway, switching in a great tasting frozen yogurt still feels indulgent.

As you know from the title of this blog, we switched plate sizes to help cut back.  Well, we also switched bowl sizes. We now have small bowls for our frozen yogurt.  A small bowl will restrict your serving size but it is still enough of a treat. 

Have you found a substitute that works wonderfully for you? Please let me know! I can always use more help. 

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hobby Time

Now that the winter doldrums have set in with a vengeance, it might be time for you to get off the couch and start a hobby. 

Ideally, you might want to pick a hobby that will have you moving. What do I mean about a hobby with movement? Well, photography can involve you going out to take pictures and moving around to get the right shots. Bird watching is another hobby that involves you getting out and moving to see the birds. Perhaps you are a car enthusiast.  There are car shows all around and you can go, walk around to  look at the cars and talk to the owners. Find out more about the car and then you may find other outlets where the car people get together. 

                                                              Photo by Peter Mazurek

Art and craft shows also provide a chance to get out, walk around, and talk to people. The craft people are there to sell, of course, but they are also willing to tell you about how they do what they do. You may just find a new hobby from attending the shows. 

Maybe you took up running for exercise this year. Join a running club. You not only will meet people to urge you on but they also can help you with tips to help your running. The support will help you keep up with the sport. 

While some might say that a belly dancing class or a tai chi class is an exercise class, it is also a learning experience. There is a lot to learn and remember in each of these classes.  Expand your mind and shrink yourself! 

There are so many different hobbies and there are groups for each. Maybe you like to read. That is great but wouldn’t it also be fun to meet and talk about the books you read? You can check out your local library or senior center to see if there is a book club. Ask at your local bookstore. If they don’t have one, maybe you could organize one for them. Or start a book club yourself.  You may find that your local coffee shop will be happy to let you use their space – especially at an off peak time. 

How about pottery or jewelry making? Check out your local community center or art center and see what they offer. Maybe you would be able to make next year’s Christmas gifts. 

Why and I talking about hobbies? One of my hobbies is quilting. I have found that when I am working on a quilt, I am absorbed and tend not to eat. My hands and mind are busy. (I can’t eat while I am doing it!) It is good for my mind to keep busy and not just sit and watch TV.(Where it is easy to eat while you are watching.)  Also, there are groups that I can join that not only would give me a chance to meet new people but also get help in advancing my skills. 

People, in general, love to share their hobbies. It gives you a chance to be more engaged with people and feel good about the knowledge gained. 

                                                         Photo by Robert Linder

So, are you sitting there thinking that you have no idea of a hobby that might interest you? Well, you can take a look at your local community center class list or maybe your local community college list. I know that our local community college has non-credit classes that teach on lots of topics from computer skills to photography to drawing. You could sign up for a class and in the class you will see if you like the hobby and then also be able to connect with others so that when the class is through, you can continue with the hobby. 

Also, I have found an umbrella organization called “Meetup”. ( Groups sign up and are listed in a weekly email. All members of Meetup receive the email to let them know about the meetings for the coming week. You can also sign up to attend the meeting through the email. For example, this week there is a group for people who like craft beers to meet and talk, a group of people who like to play games, a beading night, a knitting group, a writing critique group, a reading group, a chamber musicians group, a techie group, and a Mom’s group. Last week, there were completely different groups meeting all around town. 

Silent Sam told me last night that he read that most people give up on their New Year’s Resolutions by January 17. Let’s start something new on January 17th.  How about trying a new hobby? I would love to hear if you do, so please let me know. You can find me on twitter - @the9inchplate or on Facebook at The 9 Inch Plate or as always you can comment below.

Thanks for reading!

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Welcome to 2014!

What a year this is going to be! I am excited about all the possibilities. Aren’t you?  January 1 each year give us a blank slate to write a new story. 

I know that many of us plan to start exercising on January 1. Here in the Midwest, that has been much harder than usual. It has been so cold and there has been so much snow that getting out of the house is almost as much exercise as one can take! 

So, what can you do when you are stuck in the house or it is just too cold to take a walk? Well, you can do some simple things around the house to get some exercise. If fact, if you haven’t exercised in a while, it might be a good warm up for you to start a simple program around the house. (Here is where we insert the – always check with your doctor before starting a new fitness program.)

How about starting your day by simply walking from one end of your house to the other for 15 minutes? You could turn up the tunes and enjoy the time walking to the music. You can do it in your pajamas and no one will be the wiser! 

Do you have someone that you talk to each day? How about during that call (or any phone call) you just start marching in place. While you talk, just keep moving. Okay, it might shorten the phone call but try not to let it. Talk away while moving your feet. The phone call should distract you from thinking about the exercise.
I know that there are ways to avoid watching commercials these days. Why not watch the commercials but during them either walk around or march in place. That way you can easily pick up 10 minutes of exercise while you watch a half hour show. No, I don’t think you should eat while you are walking. Make walking the thing to do during commercials instead of going to the kitchen to get a snack. 

fitbit Tracker

One of my friends has that fitbit exercise tracker band. It is a great way to keep track of your movements.  The goal is to get to 10,000 steps a day. I had her check and both walking in your house and marching in place count.  (Granted, going out for a walk is a quicker way to gain steps but if you are stuck inside at least you are still working on it.)  In case you have never heard of a fitbit here is a link to find our more.

Oh and don't forget my old favorite - chair yoga.  Here is a link to a previous post about it.

How do you exercise in this inclement weather? Please let us know in the comment section. 

I ran across this article on 7 Resolutions for a New Year with Diabetes and I am passing it along.  I thought you might find it interesting. Click here for the link.

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Thanks for reading!