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Food Conundrum.

My inability to cook is the punchline to many jokes in my family, and it's making my culinary credibility limited to that of chips and soda.  For example:

"Easter is a potluck. Do you want to bring chips and soda?"
"You guys should be at the cookout at 2 pm.  Bring chips and soda?"
"The party starts at noon, but we have everything we need.  Can you just bring a few bottles of soda?"
"What can you bring? Oh, how about soda? And chips?"

I'm sensing a trend.

Not having any cooking talent serves me well when it comes to obligatory "whipping something up" (as in, no one ever expects me to, unless it's 2 am after we've come back from the bars and my husband and my friends want brownies ... NBF, I'm looking at you), but on the diabetes front, it's not cool. 

My blood sugars fare reasonably well when I'm sticking to a dietary routine, but I'm bored, bored, bored TO THE MAX ALL CAPS with everything I'm capable of cooking.  Eggs?  Bah - I scramble them and hard boil them and over-easy their asses, but they're still just eggs.  I love turkey and cheese sandwiches, but I don't like eating bread that often, and rolled up tubes of turkey and cheese just makes me feel like I'm smoking the most unreasonable cigar.  Soup?  Awkward when it's getting warmer outside, because sweating while eating isn't the loveliest notion. 

Being a crappy cook is giving me a food conundrum.

Thankfully, I have the Internet.  And a quick Googley-eyed search gives rise to lots of lower-carb recipes. (Going lower-carb my preferred method of eating because, for me, it requires less insulin, gives me fewer post-prandial spikes, and keeps me from ballooning up like a blowfish ... which I've eaten, even though I thought blowfish was poisonous, and yes, I learned this all from an episode of The Simpsons. /digression) 

It's just the lack of desire to learn to cook.  I have no interest in it.  I'd rather go do yardwork (I bought a saw recently and it's excellently fun - makes me wantLow "crab" meals.  Evil crabs.  Spellchecked crabs. to be a lumberjack) than spend time in the kitchen trying to figure out how to use the stove.  However, when one of the pillars of my disease management is food, my anti-chefitude makes meal-planning boring and routine.

I'm aiming to diversify what I'm eating, while sticking to the low-carb plan.  And I'm looking for suggestions ... do you have websites that you check out for meal ideas that aren't complicated and don't require a lot of talent?  How do you keep your diabetes from going off the rails without eating the same thing, a la Adam Morrison, every single day?

In the meantime, I'll be eating hard boiled eggs ... and bringing chips and soda to every family gathering.

Comments

One word: Pinterest

It makes sense that you haven't wanted to cook--diabetes is enough work on it's own and cooking can seem like work. Very few people enjoy being workaholics!

HOWEVER, Pinterest can be your friend here. There's tons of recipes, including low carb, healthy, and easy recipes just waiting to be found. Plus, with the pictures it's easier to tell if it's something you might be interested in.

http://pinterest.com/search/?q=Diabetic+recipe

http://pinterest.com/search/?q=low+carb

OOOOOO! Here's a whole board dedicated to recipes for diabetics and the people who love them!

http://pinterest.com/rauqyroad/recipes-diabetes-friendly/

I second the Pinterest comment. I HATE cooking (I'm actually rather good at it, but I just don't enjoy it.) Thankfully, hubs is the master chef in our house and very good. I do baby's bath time while he cooks dinner. Total win/win for us, but when I do have to cook (or get a wild hair or entertain) I'm always on Pinterest. Hasn't let us down yet!

Myself and my family have been in a food rut lately, looking foward to seeing what others have to say. :) Also, I now know way alot about Adam Morrison. :)

Honestly, the easiest meals in the world for me have been crock-pot meals. You literally just throw a bunch of stuff in it in the morning, and by the evening you have a simmering pot of tender deliciousness.

just found: eatingwell.com.

it's got great meal plans for a month of food, they're simple to make and use "everyday" ingredients in the kitchen and best of all, everything has a carb count and calorie count (if that matters too).

we've made a bunch of meals from it and have loved almost everyone.

My cooking skills are very limited too and the hubs just does not see why low carb for the T1 boy. Key for anything I cook is it has to have explicit directions and few ingredients. I use sparkrecipes.com because I can put in the ingredients from a recipe we like and it will figure out the carbs for me.

I (immodestly) highly recommend the recipes on www.asweetlife.org. :). We try hard to find low-carb, easy dishes. I can't cook either (even my hard boiled eggs crack), but I married someone who can and does!

I recommend using the slow cooker...particularly you might want to check out the Stephanie O'Dea's books (or online) Make it fast, cook it slow. OR
www.crockpot365.blogspot.ca/

She uses normal, easy to find ingredients and her recipes are NOT difficult at all and I've written about them numerous times on my own blog.

I like a lot of things from http://diabeticskillet.com It's not really "diabetic" recipes, it's more just healthy recipes that are easy to make. Good luck!

The "chips and soda" requests were hilarious! Even to this day, I still get asked to bring the sodas. My wife always asks, "Do they think you're still a bachelor?!" Too funny!

I do everything on allrecipes.com, can't live without it.

For garlic lovers: Take one spaghetti squash, boil it whole in lg. pot H2O till cooked - 20+ minutes depending on size. Ok, now let it cool a bit. Halve it, scoop out the seeds as best you can. Olive oil your 9x13 inch baking pan and scoop the spaghetti squash into it. Dump some more olive oil onto the squash. Then sprinkle over as much garlic, sliced/chopped as you want (lots! |I use a whole head) along with oregano, pepper, salt, basil, etc. - any herbs you like. Pour a jar of spaghetti sauce or salsa over the squash. Then cover the whole thing with grated mozzarella cheese, sliced black olives and some parmesian cheese on top? Sure, why not? Then bake the whole thing at 350 for maybe 45 minutes.

You can add or subtract what ever you do or don't like to this. Like mushrooms, onions, peppers, sausage...think pizza toppings. |Yummy, and the leftovers tase good for days.

I do 45-50g carbs at dinner. I also have a toddler as a sous-chef helping to mix and wash and shake and smell the spices. I'm fast, efficient and tasty
The menu: fish, grain, and steamed veggie every night
Fish:
white fish -spice it up (garlic, salt, pepper, fine herbes) with a touch of olive oil and either bake it wrapped in parchment paper or pan fry in a sprayed pan
Or pink fish -coat in dijon and sear in a hot sprayed pan
Grain:
1.rice (Uncle Bens MW with a reasonable 33g carb for a good portion)
2.Quinoa -35g for 3/4cup cooked(it's 15min: boil in twice the amount of liquid)
3.Couscous: -35g for 3/4cup cooked (it's 5min: pour 1.5cups boiling water onto 3/4cups dry couscous + 1 tsp fake chicken stock, cover it well and let stand for 5 min)
Veggies: wash em and steam them and drizzle with lemon and black pepper and 1-2tsp olive oil
1. broccoli
2. swiss chard
3. brussel sprouts

Healthy and low glycemic!
Bon Apetit

Desserts are on my blog

I can cook but still use a service, right now we use http://www.myfitfoods/

They aren't local to you, but bet there is someone who is.

I recently discovered "pumpkin pie custard". You make the pumpkin pie filling as described on the back of the can of pumpkin, except you add one extra egg and use a pumpkin can full of unsweetened almond milk instead of the sweetened condensed milk (I like the vanilla almond milk). Also, I use Sweet One instead of sugar because it can take the heat in the oven, but you can just sweeten it when you are ready to eat it if you prefer Equal. Bake at 400 for an hour in a pie pan (no crust!). I cut it into four servings. It's around 10 grams of carb per serving, high in fiber, and very filling for breakfast.

Get the small Showtime Rotisserie and keep it on your counter (it is small enough to do so). Chicken and most meats taste better on the rotisserie. Roast a chicken breast WITH skin and it only takes 45 minutes. Use allrecipes.com. Put in a few of the ingredients you have on hand and it will come up with a list of recipes using them. Lots of low carb cookbooks out there. But for meats, veggies, salads, soups and stews it can be very easy. Use crockpot. See A Year of Slow Cooking blog. You throw everything in, put it on low for 8 hours. I have found it is better to do this the night before, put in fridge and heat up rather than put everything in the crock early in the morning (no time).

Three suggestions.

1. Mark Bittman. NY Times food writer and author to the "How to cook everything" series. Someone suggested to me the Vegetarian version when I first joined a CSA (community supported agriculture - a box of fresh veggies, fruit, and eggs each week from a local farm.) The book is my bible for figuring out what to do in the kitchen - and the 1/2 the book is dedicated to every possible vegetable at the market. How to pick, store, and cook.

2. Learn knife skills. Best thing I have ever done for my cooking skills hands down. Saves time and lots of anguish.

3. Join a CSA (see above). Before joining I would only eat maybe 4 or 5 different vegetables. Easiest (and healthiest) way to go low carb is to fill up on veggies. I have learned to like and cook so many different things just because they ended up on my counter - and I wasn't going to waste them.

I have many more suggestions on cooking - but those are my top three. I honestly believe - once you learn the basics cooking becomes a less dreaded task.

I hear ya with the boredom thingy...so I'll offer up my 2 cents.
I eat the same breakfast and lunch each day for 6 days. I then use my creative cooking skills to make dinner on 3 days and eat the leftovers the next day for dinner. That way I'm only doing the math for the 9 meals once a week. On Sunday we go to Brunch and I just swag the large lunch, enjoy it and have ice tea for dinner. On Sundays I review the breakfast/lunch plans for the week and check the freezer for meats for dinner. It's enough variety to keep me from being bored and enough structure to keep me on track.

One step at a time. You like turkey and cheese...don't want to eat bread to much. Roll it up into a piece of lettuce.

INDIAN FOOD.

and by indian food I mean tons of veggies and beans + delicious sauces.
Most of these sauces are hearty and flavorful without being too carb-y.
Avoid navratan korma, that one has a coconut base and is more sugary.
But seriously. any veggie you can dump in a skillet + an indian sauce + olive oil, add a little jasmine or basmati rice and you'll be full and satisfied. SO easy and delicious. I occasionally add fish or chicken to the mix but i've found I don't need it to be full.
Try Trader Joe's Indian foods. Great portions and delicious for low carb. Sodium is a little high, but that's OK for me because it's the only pre-made type of food I eat.

This is the very best recipe site I've come across yet. Her recipes call for ingredients that go *amazing* together and often in really new combinations for me. And there is even a low carb section! :))

http://101cookbooks.com/

Enjoy!

I have found some great recipes on www.skinnytaste.com. It is a blog by someone who follows the WW plan and all of the nutritional information is included (like carb counts.) I hate to cook too be have found a couple of easy and very tasty recipes on this site!

I learnt to cook by experimentation. It wasn't following recipes, rather looking at a Jamie Oliver DVD and then saying "oh, he uses these ingredients over and over, so they must taste good together. I'll use those!" start with things that don't need much cooking, like excellent salads, simple egg dishes (like frittatas), and things dry fried in the pan. Move on to simple oven cooking like roast veges. That's how learning to cook happened for me. I attacked more as "I want something tasty and nutritious for dinner, with [name of vege I have in fridge or garden]" rather than the more terrifying "I want to learn to cook" break it down into much smaller tasks :) and take lots of photos for us to drool over your efforts please! :D

My crockpot is my weapon against days I don't really want to cook.

One of the easiest things I make: Chicken breasts & salsa & a little taco seasoning... dumped all together, no defrosting, cooked on low all day. Shred the chicken at supper time and you've got delicious tacos (low carb tortillas) or nachos or topping for a baked potato. And I'm guessing it would work on a Chicken Taco Salad, too, as a super low option, but I haven't tried that yet.

And as someone else mentioned, Stephanie O'Dea's crockpot books/ site are the best: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/

When I was diagnosed (40 years ago this summer) it was Type I diabetes that made me want to learn to be a better cook. Back in those days, with the food exchange diet (rather than carb counting) I was doing so much of measuring foods with measuring cups, etc. that I figured I'd put them to use to prepare meals. My favorite cookbook is The Joy of Cooking (now) but I believe I first bought a Betty Crocker cookbook (easy-to-follow recipes inside.) Cooking for oneself can lead to healthier eating. Good luck to you!

i can't cook either, kerri. at all. i can bake pretty decently, but cupcakes and cookies for dinner everyday just don't work.

thank the lord that josh can cook. otherwise, i don't know what i'd do. :)

I love to cook. I have been wishing I liked it less now that I have this T1 person to care for. He doesn't care much about food. It is pretty much all I think about all day: what am I going to eat? What am I going to cook? Will there be time for cookies? My patient would be happy with a steak and a carrot, administered nightly.

Have you tried avocado with hard boiled eggs? Also, I like to wrap slices of turkey around slices of avocado. Pretty much avocado makes everything better!

For dinner, I roast vegetables pretty regularly. Broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, etc. Just toss with a little olive oil and salt, and put in the over until at the desired doneness. They're amazing. Paired with a protein you've got a low carb, balanced meal.

What else?? Greek yogurt with walnuts (and a little honey to balance the tartness of the yogurt) is really yummy. If you want to splurge for a litle more carb then adding fruit is good too.

Let us know what other ideas you come up with!

I just (re)joined a CSA, too. I struggle with the winter shares some, but most of the summer shares are so tasty, you don't have to "cook" them much at all. They will often provide recipe ideas, too. Plus, if you pick your share up yourself, it's really fun to take little kids to see the farm.

Good luck!

This best thing I tend to do is a bunch of vegetable and tofu stir fry's. Go to your produce market, pick up some pretty looking veggies (broccoli, peas, green beans, peppers, bak choy, bean sprouts, etc). Also make sure to get garlic, onions, and ginger (fresh). Chop all your veggies and place each one into different bowls. Also pick up soy sauce, fish sauce, hoisen sauce, etc. Throw a little oil in the pan or wok throw the onions, garlic and ginger in.

Put the veggies into the pan in order of which will cook faster. More dense longer cooking time. Add the tofu last, all you are doing is warming it. Throw some random spices in, if it smells good it tastes good.

For variety you can take a package of Ramen noodles break them up and partially cook them and then add them in.

For carb counts just add the total of carbs and divide it evenly. Viola.

I love pasta.... I have a coworker who brought in a low-carb lasagna that is AWESOME!

"all you do is mix pasta, sauce, whole spinach, and mozzarella cheese together and bake for about 35 minutes. When you cook the noodles first, only 1/2 cook them."

I usually cook my pasta first and mix in ricotta or feta, but I love my cheese ;-)

No one mentioned epicurious.com, but it's my first line of defense. Some recipes are easy, some more complex, but definitely inspiring. Two things I like about it: 1. Most recipes are from Gourmet magazine (may it RIP) or Bon Appetit, so they already went through test kitchens and 2. There are readers reviews that give good alternative ideas.

Another thing: I recently asked a chef friend of mine to come over and teach me to sear salmon -- I don't know anything about cooking fish. We had a blast and now I have one fish dish under my belt.

Good luck with your culinary endeavors. The little bird will thank you someday!

don't know about you, but, when I am hungry, I want to eat food that is satisfying. and, 1/2 a cup of this or that just doesn't cut it.
I love most veggies, and, low sodium stir fry can add variety, volume (and healthy fiber) to a diet.
You can eat quite a bowlful of stir fry without going over the carb limits, then, when dinner is over, you can still eat a donut !!!
a wholegrain, high fiber, low carb donut, of course !.....=)

I don't enjoy cooking either, but even more is researching recipes and then grocery shopping is what I don't enjoy even more, so I am really screwed.

Take chicken breasts, stab the heck out of them with a fork.

Put them in a ziplock bag covered in your favorite Italian dressing... push all the air out before you seal it.

Let it marinate for a couple days.

Grill it up in some olive oil in a pan with salt and pepper.

Throw it in a salad or eat it over rice! So good and easy and tender! :)

Eating paleo has changed my diabetic life! Nomnompaleo.com
And I've lost 10 lbs!

Try the New Pioneer Woman cooks newest title. Cooking great with pictures. My 16 year old diabetic with no interest in cooking is interested after seeing this cookbook. Made the apple dumplings tonight with her. She did "premeditated blousing" ( 15 min. ahead) and after BG= 127!

I like to cook, but since I work 4 days a week and have a toddler, I definitely don't make as many things from scratch as I used to. Last night's dinner was turkey burgers and bagged broccoli slaw with a dressing made from ramen noodle seasoning (I formed the burgers and made the dressing while my son was napping, so it didn't take long to put it together at dinner time). We also do variations of taco salad a lot - I think my husband could eat that every night. One thing I use often is the ingredient search on allrecipes.com - I just plug in a few things I have already to come up with ideas. Good luck!

I second Kelly's post--I've been eating 80-90% Paleo and it's changed my life for the better. And fixing meals is easy too, no carbs to deal with other than fruits and vege. Get a grill! Grill up steak, chicken, etc. Make a salad. Boom, dinner! :)

I was complaining about this to my roommate recently and being the awesome person she is, she bought me 2 cookbooks. Both were Diabetic Cookbooks by Phyllis Pellman Good with ADA. One was for slowcookers (Fix It and Forget It) and the other was for stove-top and oven (Fix It and Enjoy It). They are awesome so far! There is even a weekly menu in the back that gives you ideas for what to eat each day for all meals.

Ever tried emeals? They have a low-carb plan. (I'm personally using the Whole Foods plan at the moment.) They make it really easy with a nifty shopping list. All the dinner recipes for the week fit on on page, quick and easy. Might be worth checking out... https://emeals.com/meal-plans/low-carb-meal-plan-2-any-store

We all struggle with what's for dinner!! :-) Good Luck!

I'm Paleo-which is easy, flavorful, low carb and has helped me healthwise as well as in my diabetes management! I've never felt so good! Here's a good place to start: http://paleodietlifestyle.com/ Also a tip I've learned through cooking on my own is that typically, the fewer and more whole the ingredients, the more flavorful things are! Quite easy too :)

When I was diagnosed with T1 a few months ago, this fritatta recipe was passed on to me. It's super easy and only uses a few ingredients (major plus for a busy grad student with no money).

Here's how to make one:

First, cook some veggies in a little oil in a frying pan. Any veggies will work. You can add in some meat.

Once the veggies are soft (or at whatever point you deem them ready), dump them in a bowl. Mix in enough eggs to keep it all together and stir in some cheese.

Next pour the mixture back into the frying pan and cook over medium heat. (If you are feeling compulsive, you can clean the pan before pouring the egg mixture in, but I rarely do that. A little extra oil might be a good idea though.)

Put the oven on broil. Once the fritatta is cooked through, stick the whole thing in the oven. If you are using a frying pan with a plastic handle, wrap the handle in foil first--I promise it won't melt! Leave the fritatta in the oven until it's golden brown. If you want, you can sprinkle more cheese on top before you stick it in the oven.

Eat up!

Unless you put a starchy veggie in the mix, this recipe is carb free. And it's filling! It's just as good at room temperature as it is warm, so a slice is a great thing to pack for lunch. And since you can use just about any ingredients (veggies, meat, type of cheese) and seasoning, it's easy to mix things up and keep it from getting boring. :)

I can't cook either! Thankfully my husband can. A few low-carb recipes that I can make all by myself are homemade pizza on a whole-wheat tortilla, a crustless quiche, and a chicken broccoli casserole (contact me if you want these recipes). I literally can only make about 5 dishes (the other 2 are spaghetti, eggs and toast), so when I say these are easy I really mean it. And I don't use the word easy very often, it's banned in my classroom and I tell people often that I find that word offensive when it comes to cooking, because little is actually easy for me in the kitchen.

I enjoy cooking but have very limited time, so here are our staples: chicken breasts (either grilled outside or dip in egg, then crackers and bake), spinach salad (just spinach with your favorite dressing, add nuts, blue cheese, mandarin oranges, etc), crescent rolls (Pillsbury, yummy, and only 11g each) – We also use the crockpot to make stews, beans, carnitas, etc. Sometimes in summer, a simple bit of meat (fish, chicken, steak, whatever) and fresh (not cooked) vegetables. For lunches, leftovers, or leftover ground beef, beans, salsa, olives, etc and make sort of an open burrito.

Thanks to all of you for some great ideas and resources. Maybe I'll branch out beyond my (burned) grilled cheese sandwiches!

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