Kale, an ancient green dating back to 300 BC,  is a challenging vegetable,  ( crunchy  when eaten raw with slight bitter overtones, when slightly heated, creates a softer kale . If made into a wilted Kale and ground nut salad with a warm vinaigrette,  as in the following recipe, something magical happens to make this vegetable crazy good!

First the science: Highly praised for it’s low Carbohydrate  content of 7 grams of CHO per cup, it is a diabetic friendly food called a non starchy vegetable like many other vegetables in this group. ( a free food for the carbohydrate controlled diets.)  Kale also possesses anti inflammatory components like Vitamin C and  alpha lipoic acid, preventing free radicals from developing high blood sugars.  Kale contains sulforaphane, a detoxifying enzyme activated when chopped .  A perfect  green for great immunity .

The secret to keeping the Vitamins from lowering their effectiveness in cooking is the “wilted salad ” One minute in a pan of warm oil, and mixed in a bowl with vinegar and other ingredients will maintain it’s healthy punch.  Lets get started with our dish.

This recipe uses ingredients like Sherry Vinegar, smoked paprika, walnuts or almonds, breadcrumbs (gluten free works well), and  optional Manchego cheese .

  • 4 cups of chopped kale with leaves ripped off from the rib of the green
  • 2 slices of bread
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or almonds
  • 4 tablespoons of Sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of  ground thyme or 2 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves
  • 4  tablespoon so Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1 shallot chopped

In a food processor, pulse together the nuts until finely ground. Put aside.  Process the  breadcrumbs until fine texture ( 5 pulses), mix with the nuts in a mixing bowl and add the smoked paprika, thyme, salt, cayenne and black pepper and 2 T sherry vinegar.

In a saucepan , heat the 1 tablespoon  of oil,  saute the shallot over medium heat until soft, and  add the nut/spice breadcrumb mixture, cook  for 3 minutes, until golden. Now add the kale, and wilt for only  one minute. Take off the heat and  pour into the mixing bowl. Wisk in a separate bowl,  the additional  2 T sherry vinegar and 3 T olive oil  and pour over the breadcrumb kale salad. Mix  until well coated and and serve.

When we shop now we are doing battle in the supermarket, armed with a list that constantly changes.  There is one item that seems to always proliferate the shelves..Cornmeal..mm you say -what do I do with it?  Cornbread ok, we have done that. Well try cooking up to some polenta. Breakfast? maple syrup with polenta is a great cooked cereal. Easy dinner? Polenta can be a main dish meal.  Cheap, fast and very satisfying. If you can get the stoneground even better but any make of ground cornmeal will do.

 What’s the difference between grits and polenta?  Polenta is made from yellow cornmeal and Grits is made from white cornmeal or hominy. Highly regional,  Italy makes polenta with yellow cornmeal which is a bit coarser and the Southern region of the US is always grits or white cornmeal and has a very fine consistency. Love both!

So here is a basic recipe for cooking cornmeal with some shredded cheese a little wine and cracked pepper. You can add anything to this dish and make it work for a main dish. Shrimp, vegetables, a beef stew or as a side to all grilled meats and poultry, making it a quick easy dish.  Let’s get started.

Cheesy Cornmeal 

  • 1  cup of cornmeal

  • 2 cups of water

  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth

  • 1/4 cup of white wine (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon of salt

  •  2 sprigs of thyme leaves removed from the stem ( or ground thyme 1/4 teaspoon)

  • 3/4  cup of any shredded cheese (Mozzarella, Colby or Cheddar)

  • 2 tablespoons of Parmesan Cheese

Heat to a  simmer  all liquids, broth, water and wine. Add the herbs, salt and paper and slowly add the cornmeal 1/4 cup at a time and mix thoroughly until dissolved and thickened like a pudding. Add the cheeses and mix until melted. Serve immediately. Keep covered on the stove for later use.

NOTE: Refrigerate overnight and don’t worry if it is solid! Place polenta in a saucepan and add some water or broth heat on medium heat and it will become soft again . Add more cheese if desired and serve with cooked shrimp, chicken or  beef with vegetables.  Mushrooms cooked ahead of time will work well with this dish.

 

 

 

 

 

Nutrition:

Has  vitamins,  Folate, Niacin and Thiamine, with 2 grams of protein per serving with 24 grams of cho (2 carbohydrate servings for diabetic diets)  and 1 gram of fiber.

Hi! Its been a while since I  blogged and share some tasty new food finds from my shopping sprees.   Today it’s a fruit I found called the Mandarinquat.  A hybrid fruit cross between a mandarin and a kumquaut  is short seasoned, January through March only.  Sorry we are getting to the finish line but Frieda’s on Amazon may ship some to you.   Originally they were cultivated in Southeast Asia now California in the citrus belt. I used to love the original kumquat around the holidays, in specialty food stores you could buy them candied. This fruit, the Mandarinquat, with tangerine notes, has a sweet and edible peel. I had to eat a couple from the bag to be convinced that this was blog worthy and it sure is!

They are high in Vitamin C , Beta Carotene, Lutein and Zeazanthin, an antioxidant found in foods like salmon, carrots, orange vegetables and citrus fruits . The only drawback?  Seeds which must be spooned out. Here is a twist on a salad made with sliced “quats” red onion, walnuts and kale (or any other choice of greens). A honey mustard dressing compliments this salad with citrus notes.

I also sliced them and added them to Mahi Mahi, a fish I was baking up and it was delicious with coconut oil, scallions and honey.  Everyone was on board in my house to eat fish! The fruit gets soft and caramelized with the fish baking.. a yum moment.  Or just slice and eat. Just remember to take the seeds out. Get 71%  RDA of your Vitamin C in about 2 Mandarinquats  or (100 grams  ), so not bad in order to get increased immunity, collagen production for good skin and great antioxidant protection too.

My Citrusy Salad

  • 2 Mandarinquats sliced (seeds removed)
  • 2 cups of assorted greens (kale, spinach, romaine)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • a few slices red onion
  • a handful of golden raisins

Mix together with a honey mustard dressing.

Note: add some zest from a orange or mandarinquat into the salad dressing.

We are in Apple heaven now, October and November and pies are all around  us.  Dietitians and nutritionists promote the apple as a super food with a lot of great nutrients in every bite. Fiber stays the same, enduring baking and roasting.  I brought 6 lbs of apples in my luggage back from Connecticut and  used Macouns and Cortlands, but any type will do. So what do they taste like roasted? Real apple taste and crispy like well bacon ?

When we bake a pie, lots of the real good stuff gets left behind..like the peels! They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber and a antioxidant called triterpenoids, which kills cancer cells  in the colon and the breast. We just throw the peels into the garbage BUT the peel has it all. So try  Crispy Apple Peel or as I call it Apple Bacon lol…with a dusting of cinnamon, regular or coconut sugar.  For diabetics, the peel has fiber and you can just coat the peels with a little powered stevia and bake.

Recipe:

2 apples of any kind, peels only  (except Granny Smith)

dash of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of sugar

Cut peels into 3 inches long pieces add to a mixing bowl  with a dash of cinnamon and sugar. Mix to coat and place on a parchment covered cookie sheet.  Bake at 275 degrees for 30-40 minutes until crispy and dry. Cool and store in airtight container.

 

 

 

What looks like tangled cables but is green and tastes like garlic? Garlic scapes!!  I just discovered, this penduncle as it is called or long stem flowering vegetable at a organic farm High Hill in Meriden CT. They are the flowering stalks of  the hardneck garlic bulb.  They only grow 4  weeks in the summer and have a  stem and flower which is all edible.  Check out local farms near you. Delicious when sautéed in oil, just break off the stem where it is woody.  You can buy this veggie on https://www.getgarlic.com/product/garlic-scapes.

This is one of those finds you must bring home wrapped in a towel  and packed in your luggage for check in ! When I placed them in my refrigerator, I stared at them and said WTH  do I do with them? After researching, a few days later I cut them in 2 inch long pieces, and sautéed in a pan. Wow! 

Flavorful with garlic overtones of the actual garlic especially in the flower, (but not strong),  I sautéed them in olive oil and add shaved parmesan cheese.  A great side dish or featured with grilled meats or pasta. Low in calories at 30 kcals per 1/2 cup and with 6 grams of protein. It is one of those esoteric veggies that are a delight in the summer if you can find them!

Here’s the recipe:

  • 2 cups of detangled 2 inch chopped scapes

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

  • Sea salt and ground pepper

  • shaved parmesan

    Heat oil in a pan and saute the scapes for 5 minutes moving them around the pan until slightly golden . Add the salt and pepper and shaved parmesan , serve as a side vegetable.

It’s hot and sometimes we overlook the low carbohydrate ideas for snacks and light meals in favor of  high blood sugar rising foods…you know what they are and nothing wrong with them .. no soap box today it’s too hot!

I made these rolls the other night when 115 degrees made one say oh no I’m not cooking!   Made these 3 years ago so a repeat this summer is in order. 

I am always thinking of new snack ideas for patients in my diabetes education class I teach.  I started to go more ethnic which is a process free, fresh and most times gluten free food world to begin with!  So a creative light carbohydrate food like a Vietnamese summer roll is one part of a very healthy cuisine.   Check out this part of the world -they have it right.

Rice papers are rolled over fresh non starchy vegetables, bean sprouts, rice vermicelli. A protein like shrimp, chicken or tofu is added with fresh mint and coriander . One roll is approximately 275 calories with dipping sauce.  The sauce can be made with peanut butter or almond butter for those who have allergies. The key to this recipe is to have the shrimp , chicken or tofu cooked ahead of time.

Recipe:

  • 4 rice papers

  • 1/2 cup rice pasta  ( follow package instructions)

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro stems removed

  • 1/2 cup packed mint leaves stems removed

  • 2 scallions ends removed and sliced into thirds.

  • 2 cups chopped Romaine lettuce

  • 1 English cucumber peeled and sliced into 3 inch logs

  • 8 peeled and deveined cooked shrimp 31-40 count

  • 1 cup fresh mung bean sprouts

Add 2 cups of warm water to a roasting pan and place 2 rice papers in the water to soak for 2 minutes until soft (Feels like a soaked paper towel) take out of water and place on a cutting board. Flatten out the rice paper on the board and start at lower third of rice paper and place the shrimp next to each other on the rice paper followed by : 

2 tablespoons of mung bean sprouts, a long scallion slice, a tablespoon of rice noodles, a teaspoon of cilantro, a tablespoon of mint leaves,  and a few cucumber matchsticks

Cover with lettuce. Roll tightly until half way and fold in the sides and tuck.  Place on a plate cover with a moistened towel and refrigerate until serving. Serves 4.

Now the DIPPING SAUCE

This can be salad dressing, a crudite dip or a great side sauce for tofu or grilled fish. My husband could not get enough of this sauce.

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter or almond butter

  • juice of 2 limes

  • 2 teaspoons of sesame oil

  • 2 teaspoon fish sauce (optional) named Nuoc Cham   see note

  • 1 teaspoon brown or coconut sugar

  • 2 tablespoon rice vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon siracha or chili paste

  • 1/2 cup water 

  • Add all Ingredients to a food processor or blender and mix for 2 minutes until smooth.

  • note: Nuoc Cham is standard flavoring ingredient in Vietnamese cooking which is like anchovy paste to Italian cuisine. Nuoc Cham adds and enhances the flavors that are in the sauce. If not available the sauce is still wonderfully without it.

 

 

 

 

Sometimes resurrecting an old dish can be seen with a new set of eyes (and palate). Take a salad which was created by a  a maître d’hôtel,  or dining room manager, Oscar Tschirky,  in 1896, for charity ball at St. Mary’s Children’s hospital in NYC.  It is the Waldorf Salad  and a comeback is in order.

When grapes,  apples and celery in your refrigerator bin are sitting in waiting, a salad like the Waldorf  can be made. This includes all your fiber and a  sprinkling of omegs 3’s with walnuts does the trick.  So all those buzz words you know fiber, omega 3’s, pectin  are in this salad.

Here is an updated 2019 version of the salad. Try roasting your grapes for a total transformation of flavor. Kale was added as a substitute for leaf lettuce.

Nutrition values for the main components in the salad

one stalk of celery: 9 calories, 50 mgs of Sodium, 161 mg of Potassium and 1 gram of fiber 9% of  daily value for Vitamin, 3% for Magnesium and 5% Vitamin C

one small apple: 55 calories 113 grams of potassium 2.5 grams of fiber 8% of daily value for Vitamin C

grapes: 1 cup has 100 calories, 27 grams of carbohydrate and resveratrol an anti-cancer fighting nutrient , potassium 288 mg,  also Vitamin C and B6 to name a few.

RECIPE:

  • 3 apples chopped ( any kind with skin on )
  • 1  1/2 cup of grapes
  • 2 teaspoons of coconut sugar or other sugar
  • olive oil 1 teaspoon
  • 1 cup of chopped celery
  • 1 /2 cup of walnuts
  • 1/2 cup of whole milk yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise or sour cream
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup chopped kale

Preheat over to 375 degrees.  Place grapes on a baking sheet with sugar and a drizzle of olive oil  and bake  for 25 minutes or until grapes soft and slightly caramelized. Cool to room temperature.

Add all chopped ingredients together in a bowl including the roasted grapes. Add chopped kale . Mix the yogurt, mayo or sour cream, mustard and lemon zest in a separate bowl and pour over the salad.  Serves 4.

 

 

 

They always take a back seat in the produce aisle. The jubilee over apples  goes on for months.. but the lowly pears seems to get shunned. Feelwellfood.com  is here to change that. The pear has the same properties in nutrition as the apple. Sweet with a distinctive grittiness that makes for high fiber. 

  • 58 kcals per pear

  • High in NSP  non soluble polyscaccahrides that means high fiber- good laxative power

  • Possess copper, iron and manganese, a  B complex vitamin   We have 2 reasons to celebrate this month of October and November- Apples and Pears. Why? These fruits have the highest fiber around for fruits,  due to the insoluble fiber which is also great for Diabetics too.  They  are a  good addition to any meal as a piece of fresh fruit serving with it’s blood sugar lowering ability. Pears are exceptional for the phytochemicals and fiber combined in the skin of the fruit!

  • Pears contain hydroxycinnamic acid,  which is found in the pear skin.  Studies have shown that this polyphenol might lower risk of stomach cancer. Pears have no sodium, and higher pectin levels than apples- good for the skin! Glycemic index rating 38. (as in 100 being the highest for raising blood sugar)  Insoluble fiber helps healthy bacteria stifle the production of bad bacteria and carries it out of the gut. 

  • Use pears in substitute or combo with apples in cakes and pies.

 

higher-up-apple-cake

 An Apple a day.. keeps the doctor way.. well maybe not literally but  good health is packaged in this piece of fruit. Apples do not lose their nutrients in baking either except for Vitamin C. The fiber, flavonoids and potassium stay intact. So when eating raw or baked always consider keeping the skin on for extra nutrition.  Not all apples are created equal. Some are better in baking like Rome, Macintosh, Jonagold and course Granny Smith while for eating, Pink Lady, Golden Delicious, Macoun and new apples like Opal and Envy rate high in the raw!

Here is a apple cake recipe I show every year ..dense blondie like and loaded with apples!

Apple Blondie

Here is a start to desserts for the fall, quick, low carb and brimming with fruit.. the way I like it. In this case apples, but pears or plums  (in summer) work well too!  This was adapted from a NY Times apple cake recipe. Add vanilla and lemon zest, which are key flavor enhancers  for all things apple. One slice is approximately  178 calories.  Look for more information on apples in the apple primer in my book  A Connecticut Kitchen .

2 1/2 cups of chopped unpeeled apples  (note: Granny Smith should be peeled) about 4-5 apples

2/3 cup of all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

4 tablespoons of butter softened

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1 /2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1/2 cup walnuts chopped

1/2 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar

Lightly butter  a 9 inch cake pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, spices and baking soda together.  Cream sugar and butter with an electric mixer.  Add egg, lemon zest and vanilla extract and continue  mixing on medium speed. Add flour, a few tablespoons at a time until incorporated and smooth . Mixture will be somewhat stiff and dry. Add apples and nuts and stir with a spoon until flour butter mixture coats all the apples. Place the batter in the buttered pan and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That wonderful aroma of raspberries you smell as I commented in my You tube is the chemical compound, raspberry ketones.  The real deal with the raspberry are  the anthocyanins or antioxidants and raspberries own it.

But I had to address as a dietitian /nutritionist the weight loss gimmicks that are out there in regards to losing fat. Ketones are extracted from a bushel of berries that are reducd to a 1000 mg of the substance. There is minimal research to support the theory that it enables adiponectin  to lose body fat and reduce appetite. Raspberry Ketones, are only considered possibly safe when taken with caffeine to lose weight in 8 weeks. Can increase blood pressure and create shakiness. So let’s forgo the  gimmick and get down to the real nutrition of the fruit!

Enjoy the anti inflammatory, goodness  improving your skin and adding high fiber to your diet as a low carbohydrate- 1 cup has 15 grams of carbohydrate and 65 kcals.

Try a recipe! CRANACHAN

The Scottish have a recipe which included raspberries and oats with heavy cream or yogurt. Sorta like a parfait. They add a dash of whiskey and I have that as option on this blog.  

Adapted from Serious Eats

  • 2 cups of heavy cream or full fat whole milk yogurt

  • 2 cups of raspberries

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla

  • 2/3  cup rolled oats or quick oats

  • 2 tablespoon of butter melted or coconut oil

  • 3 tablespoons of honey

  • 3 Tablespoons of sugar  (brown or white)

  •  1 teaspoon orange zest

  • a dash of whiskey (optional)

Mix oats, melted butter and vanilla extract with 2 tablespoons of sugar and flatten into a thin layer  on a cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until the  mixture resembles brittle or a granola bar. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Break the oats mixture apart  and set aside.  In a separate bowl, crush the raspberries until pureed with chunks and the honey and remaining sugar.  Layer whipped heavy cream or whole milk yogurt flavored with orange zest with raspberry puree and granola in parfait glasses.

 

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