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Posts from the ‘Diet and Food’ Category

In the KNOW … Foods.

I was asked to review a box of KNOW foods, and I did that.  Forced to try waffles and muffins?  Twist my damn arm.

Actually, I didn’t do it alone, as the review process became a neighborhood taste-testing party.  We made a chart.  It was a thing.  Check out the review over at A Sweet Life!

Cauliflower Rice.

Not a cook.  Nope, not me.  Which is why this recipe for cauliflower rice was so useful, because it requires little thought, little cooking, and very little insulin.

Cauliflower rice

  • Buy a head of cauliflower.  Become friends with it.  And then rip it into small sections, keeping hold of mostly the florets (the tops of the trees, in Bird terms) and discard the stiffer stems.
  • Rinse the florets.  Dry them.
  • Put them in a bowl and mix with a little bit of olive oil and salt, to taste.  Also add garlic, if you’re gross.  (We’re gross.)
  • Take a food processor, if you’re one of those fancy people who has a food processor, and pulse the florets for 20 – 30 seconds in order to reduce them down to the teeny rice sized bits.  If you’re not the fancy type who has a food processor, take the blender and use that.  And if you’re full analog, grab a giant cheese grater and grate the florets.  (This last option will take a long time and you may be adding finger to your rice, so choose wisely.)
  • Fluff the “rice” with a fork and put into a bowl.
  • Take a picture of the bowl and realize it doesn’t photograph well, but put it on Instagram anyway.
  • Realize the whole process took four minutes and high five yourself for making such a healthy thing in minimal minutes.

Cauliflower rice

A post shared by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

At our house, we used the cauliflower rice as a base for our eggplant parmesan, replacing the pasta.  I won’t lie and say it tastes just like pasta, but I won’t lie and say it caused a wildly high blood sugar, either.  We had eggplant parmesan that required 1.8u of insulin to cover it (mostly for the pasta sauce carbs).

Most recipes online that I saw clocked the cauliflower rice in at 5 grams of carbs per cup, so that’s the ratio I used to calculate my insulin doses.  Which means I did not bolus at all for it, since I only had a half a cup and my I:C is 1:12.

WARNING:  If you put it in your fridge overnight, even if it is in a tightly-sealed tupperware container, your whole fridge will smell like gas.  And not the “runs my car” sort of gas.   Beware.  

Bliss Balls.

Do you know what bliss balls are?  I had never heard of them before.  There’s a coffee shop near the beach out here that sells these bliss ball things.  They look like desserty meatballs and are kept in a glass jar near the cash register.  If you’re sleep deprived, they look like pets held captive by the bakery ladies.

Chris bought one on a whim, assuming it would taste like garbage and we’d laugh about eating balls, but instead we thought it was delicious and felt ashamed at our immaturity.  To reclaim adulthood, we decided to attempt making our own bliss balls at home.

The sign at the coffee shop claims the ingredients are oats, peanut butter, honey, pepitas, coconut, and cinnamon.  The girls who worked at the coffee shop had no idea how much of each ingredient to use (Of course I asked; I’m baby-wearing and existing without sleep … no shame in going full-Mom and asking the college kids how to make bliss balls, right?), so I had to wing it based on the ingredient list alone.

I’m not a good cook, but I am good at baking, so I decided to give these bliss ball things a try.  The only missing element was that I didn’t have a recipe to follow.  Instead, I combed the web for different recipes and mushed them together, eventually following this one mostly, only tweaking it to fit the ingredients on the coffee shop sign.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup honey
1 3/4 cup peanut butter (the oiler, the better)
3/4 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup pepitas
cinnamon (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Put all of these items, except the pepitas (have you Googled that word to find out what the hell pepitas are yet?  I’ll wait …), into a bowl.  Stir everything together.  The mixture will resemble cookie dough.  Or meatloaf.  Cookie meatloaf.  (Mistyped that as “meatdough” initially.  Gross.  Going with it.)
  • Take the meatdough mixture and taste it.  Does it taste kind of like a snickerdoodle cookie with the texture of an almost-granola bar?  (My descriptions are not good when it comes to bliss balls.  On the whole, I think they look like meatballs or truck nuts, but they taste so nice and they are so mellow on my blood sugars that an embarrassing appearance becomes a non-issue.)
  • If the mixture tastes right to you, add the pepitas.
  • Shape the meatdough into round balls about the size of a golf ball and place them on a cookie sheet.  We put ours into the freezer for 20 minutes, then moved them to a tupperware dish and layered them in there, separated by sheets of parchment paper.
  • After about two hours, the meatdough will have “set” and the bliss balls will be all blissful.  Eat them with your face and forgive them for what they look like.

(Note:  I do not have an artsy-bloggy photo of the bliss balls, as they do not photograph well.  Use your imagination.  Or look at this Pinterest board for hints on how other people have done this sort of thing will more success.)  

The Vegetable Recipes That Didn’t Suck.

The battle remains uphill (couldn’t remember how to turn the stove on the other day, which is a testament to how scrambled my pregnant brain is becoming – add that to last week’s inability to use the gas pump on a car I’ve owned for over six years), but I’m still working diligently to cut more meat out of our diets and integrate more vegetable-based dishes.  Call it an experiment in vegebetes, if you will.

And I will.

There have been a few spectacular failures (undocumented) and a handful of poorly-photographed successes (documented and to follow), but we’re slowly making progress, and I’ve yet to burn the house down.  Pluses on all fronts.

Here are a few of the vegetable dishes that tasted nice, were Birdzone approved (for the most part), and didn’t kill anyone:

This eggplant from Jamie Oliver.  As mentioned, no one died.  And we’ve made it ten different times so far, with leftovers extending for a day or so, making it useful on several fronts.

I make it exactly as the recipe dictates, except I use gluten-free bread crumbs and I also add more garlic than should be humanly consumed.  We’ve eaten it on its own, served over quinoa, or over pasta.  Even Birdzone said it was “okay,” and the neighbor’s kid actually said it was “awesome!”  Everyone seemed surprised by this realization.

Eggplant. (Man, all my food pictures look mildly horrifying. Food blogger I am decidedly NOT.)

A photo posted by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

I also took a crack at making falafel last night, which was surprisingly awesome (and the patties stayed together much more effectively than the quinoa and sweet potato ones that haunt my dreams).  Birdy really liked these, and they actually tasted like something instead of me wishing they tasted like something.  The recipe came from a Better Homes and Gardens 365 Vegetarian Meals cookbook, which was more than worth the purchase because most of the recipes seem really easy … even for a novice like me.

Falafel attempt (before they were tossed into the pan).

A photo posted by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

Ingredients

For the falafel patties:
1 15 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup shredded carrot
2 tablespoons gluten-free flour
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, halved
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Once these ingredients are measured out, put them all in a food processor and mess them up together. That’s kind of it; it took more time to measure things out then to obliterate them in the food processor.

Problem was I used a food processor that was a teeny bit too small for the project.  I had to blend things by the half portion, and then smash them together in a bigger bowl, which was kind of fun in a chickpea snowball sort of way, but really messy to clean up.

Once everything is mixed up, you split the contents into four sections and shape the mixture like giant cookie dough balls.  Then, in a large skillet, you heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat, then put the patties in there.  The recipe called for the patties to cook for 6 minutes, but mine required more like 10.  Once they are brown on one side, flip them over and brown up the other side.  Then they are done.

(Note:  We liked the taste, but next time I make these, I’m splitting the mixture into smaller portions and making 8 patties, not 4.  That way, they’ll end up a little crispier and not be so gigantic.)

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Once the patties are ready to go, put them on a bed of spinach, top with the mayonnaise mix and some cucumber slices, and eat them with your face.

More experiments coming soon, but thank you guys for the recommendations and advice as I take a crack at this new way of cooking. I appreciate all the input, and should mail you all some cookies (like these cookies, because they are so damn good).

Plant-Based Faceplant.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve made an attempt as a family to eat more plants/eat less meat.  This is decision is rooted in a dozen different health reasons, but the end result is a move towards cutting back on the meat we’re consuming and integrating more than just a “meatless Monday” philosophy.

All well and good, right?

Except I still can’t cook.  And this is making anything “new!” a bit of a challenge.

Last summer, I worked towards a decent grasp on using our grill, making chicken and grilled vegetables and hamburgers that didn’t highlight my inability to create edible meals.  That learning curve was steep, though, and now the idea of trying to get creative in the kitchen with a renewed focus on plant-based meals is daunting as eff.

Because, as mentioned, I still can’t cook.  I’m having a plant-based face plant.

I tried to make these – sweet potato quinoa patties – and assembling the ingredients was easy enough.  I could get everything into a bowl and if I were to eat it like a salad, it would have worked out beautifully.  But the goal was to cook these on the stove top, creating a hot meal where the patties are crisped to a golden brown and cause people to put their fingertips delicately to their collarbones in delight – “My goodness – did you MAKE these?  They are DELIGHTFUL!” and then everyone gets drunk.  (This fantasy takes place post-August, when wine can re-enter the picture for me.)

Instead, I ended up with patties that didn’t ever crisp into golden perfection.  My attempt was more a lump of burned-on-one-side-barely-held-together-on-the-other-side patties, where they needed to be coaxed aggressively out of the pan and had to be eaten immediately or else they’d taste like not-awesome hash browns.

I’ve tried to make them twice now.  The first time, Chris and I had a “ho, ho, ho this is an experiment! and we’ll figure this out” response.  The second time, I was a hormonal mess and just about threw the pan across the kitchen with a pathetic sob of, “I can’t COOK I only make burnt vegetarian DOG FOOD.”  The third time, I’m afraid I will pitch a fit and then a tent in the backyard and force myself to sleep there until I can happily eat grass.

(Have I mentioned hormones?  I have them.  There are many of them.  Would you like some?  AHHHHHH!!!)

So what I’m hoping for is this:  Do you have a favorite non-meat recipe that is easy to make and that you enjoy eating?  I’m looking for recommendations to help expand my palette and my culinary skills without causing emotional chaos.  My kitchen prowess is limited, but I’m willing to try anything at least three times, and I’m really eager to reduce the amount of meat we’re eating.

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