Saturday, December 22, 2007

Oven-baked "French Toast"

Sometime in the past decade or so, a new family holiday tradition snuck up on us - oven-baked pancakes on Christmas morning. My Dad found the recipe somewhere (probably in the hunt for the elusive Finnish Pancake Recipe) and it was good enough to "stick". The original oven-baked pancakes are a fluffy, eggy dish with no sugar in the actual recipe - just in the sauce. They puff up in the oven and are really a sight to see! And all the fluff is caused by the eggs - no yeast, and not even any corn-tainted baking powder.

Here's my first attempt at a revision that might make this even friendlier.

Oven-Baked French Toast
3 lg eggs
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 t salt
1 t ground cinnamon
dash of ground clove
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1 t Torani Sugar-free vanilla syrup
1/2 c milk
2 T melted butter

Pre-heat oven to 350F and grease a medium cast iron skillet or a 2-3 qt casserole. Beat the eggs. Add the flour to the eggs slowly. Add the remaining ingredients. Pour into the greased skillet/casserole and bake for ~ 20 mins, or until the sides are high and brown and the center is puffy and cracked.

2 T melted butter
2 T warm orange juice

Combine melted butter and orange juice.

To serve - cut at least in halves, place on plates or in bowls, top with sauce.

Assuming two servings (I ate the whole thing myself this morning- yum!), this contains about 450 Kcal, 15g protein, 28g carbs and only 5g of sugar - including the sauce! I might try this with less flour or another egg next time - most of the carbs are from the flour, and the texture might be better with less flour, anyhow.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Almost entirely unlike cookies

It's the holidays.

Holidays are *hard* with allergies. Anything social that involves eating is hard. And almost everything social involves eating or drinking!

I attempted several "dessert" recipes around Thanksgiving. You never heard about them because they didn't work. And I am STILL trying to get merainge off of the cookie sheet. The pumpkin custard never got off the drawing board, but the pumpkin + flour added to the merianges that never fluffed up made very good french toast! (Not very good pumpkin bread though - it didn't have nearly enough sweetener in it)

So this was another attempt at sugar-free cookies. Sugar-free Sugar Cookies, actually. I pulled the original recipe out of Diabetic Living, but what I'm posting here has been edited heavily - first to make it "cheat" less, then because the actual recipe doesn't seem to have had NEARLY enough liquid to actually make it work.

Sugar-Free Sugar Almost Cookies

1/2 c. butter (1 stick, softened)
1/2 c. sugar substitute - or, in my case, 1 t. stevia blend, 4 t. maple syrup. I should try at least 2t of the stevia-lactose blend next time.
1t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/3 c. canola oil
2 eggs
1 t. Torani sugar-free vanilla
a few drops of orange flavoring
13/4c white flour
3/4c whole wheat flour (the magazine suggests "white wheat" flour)

Beat butter for about 30 seconds on high. Add sugar substitute, baking powder and sale, beat until fluffy. add eggs oil, vanilla + orange flavor. Beat in flours. Divide in half, cover, chill for 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters, arrange on cookie sheets.

Bake for 6-8 minutes or until firm, cook on wire racks.

I had more luck if I left the dough a bit thicker - probably because it was still too dry (I've uped the butter and eggs in this copy). They *look* like cookies, but mostly taste like a maple whole wheat biscuit. My housemate insists they taste like nothing at all.

We both agree that they might work as "sugar cookies" if they had sugar or frosting on top of them. They also might make a good "graham cracker" crust for, say, a pumpkin custard pie....

Monday, November 12, 2007

Why I've lost 15 pounds since I started learning to cook:

Tonight I tried another recipe, this one called for 2 cups of tuna, but noted that other fist would work fine, too. Tuna is just fine, but wild salmon contains less mercury, so when I saw cans of it, I grabbed a few! (I also always worry about getting, say, snowed in with no power. Cans of fish will keep for longer than the meat in the freezer...)

There are many differences between canned tuna and canned salmon, but tonight I discovered the only one I really cared about.

Canned salmon has BONES in it. Ew.

Ew. Ew. EW.

Not just a few virtually-nonexistent ribs, either. VERTEBRAE.

Now, I used to be a vegetarian because I didn't like the idea of eating things with spinal columns. Yes, I pulled them all out, but... ew.

It took me an hour after I took my finished fish patties out of the oven to actually eat them. And then I could only manage one. The rest will go into the freezer for some time when I'm less grossed out.


I'm telling you - the greatest glory of civilization is that we don't have to eat the icky bits. Or at least, we don't have to *know* that we're eating the icky bits!!!

Breakfast Granola

I mentioned a few posts ago that breakfast first thing was MANDATORY. And that I'm not trusted around sharp knives or hot things in the morning. Now, if you've gone looking recently, you know that there's a real lack of sugar-free, corn-free cereals. Mostly, my options are oatmeal (not really enough "stick with"-ness") or mini-shredded wheats. So, I try to usually make my own granola. It involves an oven, but only in the evening!

Kat's Granola
2 c. old-fashioned oats
2 c. puffed rice
2 c. puffed millet, or any other handy puffed cereal (wheat, etc.)
2 T. of each"small stuff" - flax seeds, wheat germ, wheat bran, hemp protien, for example)
2 t. of cinnamon, and possibly maple syrup if I'm feeling decadent
~ 2 T. sugar-sweetness equivilant of stevia
~1/2 t. of nutmeg
a dash of ground clove
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. oil

Mix together. Spread on a cookie sheet so that it's no more than 1" deep, put in a 350F oven for 30 mins, stirring half way through. Let cool before storing - best if stored in the fridge.

I really do mix in whatever's handy, too - the end of a box of "Woven Wheats", matzo crumbs, cereal I tried but didn't like - it all goes in the mixing bowl!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Treats - fluffy Ginger-maple banana muffins

Some cravings are harder than others to ignore. Sweets I've mostly stopped craving, partly because my palate has shifted a bit, and partially because I've got sugar-free Wether's for when they get bad (yes, sugar-free stuff generally has crap in it that's worse than sugar in many, many ways. But sometimes, it's that or a coke....). The cravings that really get me are pizza (?) and fluffy pastries. The Fluffy Pastry's modern incarnation owes much of it's texture to bleached white flour, white sugar, and soy shortenings - all forbidden foods. This weekend's food experiment was to create a Fluffy Baked Good with none of those things.

Fluffy (Ginger-Maple) Banana Muffins

2 bananas (my freezer is full of the damn things..)
1/4 c. canola oil
1/4 c. (that's 1/2 stick) of butter
3 eggs
1/2 c. water
1 c. of unbleached, unenriched whole wheat four
1/2 c. of unbleached, unenriched whole oat flour
1/2 c. of unbleached, unenriched white wheat flour (yes, it's cheating. A little.)
2 t. Trader Joe's stevia-lactose blend (sweetness ~ 2 T sugar)
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
(1 T. of minced ginger)
(1 T. of real maple syrup, also a small cheat)

Pre-heat your oven to 325F. Put muffin cup liners in 12 muffin cups (I like the "If You Care" brand. The muffins never stick to them!).
Thaw your bananas, if they're frozen. Peel and mash the bananas. Melt the butter - if your bananas are still very cold, heat both (and maybe the water and oil) in the microwave or in your pre-heating oven. Use a blender to mix these and the eggs all together - don't worry if some of the butter re-solidifies, as long as it's flecks all throughout and not one big clump. If you are adding the ginger and the maple syrup, do that now, too.

Add the dry ingredients. I recommend blending in no more than 1 cup of flour at a time, and saving the baking powder and baking soda for last (their chemical reaction causes some of the fluffy - but it's only temporary. You want that reaction to peak as close to when the oven starts to solidify the mix as possible!) .

Pour/scoop your mix into your waiting muffin tin. I have to admit that I filled the cups all the way, and almost had extra! You could probably even use this recipe to make a few more muffins, but you'd need more muffin tins because you don't want to wait for the first batch to come out before cooking the second - remember that chemical reaction!

Bake at 325F for about 30 mins, or until the tops are slightly brown + a toothpick comes out clean.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Old friends are new again - tuna fish

As a teen, I remember making a can of tuna into salad and just eating the entire thing. I wasn't at all into fish, but tuna was different...

In the intervening years, I've gotten to like (some) cooked fish. And raw fish. But with that my palate was less and less interested in tuna-from-a-can.

Friday, however, I got stuck out and a little desperate. I was leaving for the whole weekend, and all I had with me were wraps, rice cakes, matzo, hummus and butter. This wasn't going to work on my low-carb diet.

Not only that, but I was getting hungry already. And late. I still needed to drive for two hours, and by then my blood sugar would no doubt have dropped past any reasonable point for me to be driving!

In desperation, I searched Walmart's aisles for *anything* I could eat. All I could find were little single-serve shelf-stable tubs of (plain) tuna and salmon. I looked for the "kits" (you know, the ones with mayo, relish, crackers + a breath mint?) before I realized that I couldn't eat them.

At that point, I would've eaten the dog food if I wasn't allergic to it.

So I munched down the (plain) salmon on some Triskits (a bit of a cheat, probably, but the Trader Joe's and Nature's Promise ones are just wheat and salt!).. not easy in the car (and the cats did love me when I arrived!), but possible.

For lunch I had a hummus and tuna wrap. It wasn't half bad!

Tonight I had another tuna wrap, with a little lemon instead of the hummus. It did leave me grumbling about how even ATKINS let you have CHEESE, but it was pretty good.

I think I need to remember these!

(In other news, we located a chinese restaurant right near my husband's house that not only *said* they'd bring me steamed chicken + veggies with no sauce, but actually DID! I was thrilled. I ate it twice that weekend. )

(ETA: Canned tuna usually contains soy. Luckily, I'm not so allergic that I need to avoid these trace amounts. )

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A different lesson in care and feeding of Kats...

The Morning is crucial.

I'm super stupid in the morning. So stupid that I recently ate almost an entire bowl of granola before realizing that it tasted like sour cream. That kind of stupid. Sometimes people suggest I make eggs for breakfast for the protein. These are never the people who've seen me first thing in the AM - people who've seen KNOW that I can't be trusted with hot things (or knives) early in the AM!.

I have to eat FIRST THING. Alright.. I can pee first. But that is IT. I get up, pour a bowl of non-sugared cereal (usually bite size shredded wheat or granola), and eat.

If there's adrenaline involved (if I say, wake up 15 mins before I'm supposed to be AT work..), I can get away with a bit more, but I'll still feel "off" all day.

I usually get up around 7 am. Today my housemate woke me up at 12:40, because she knew I needed to eat. I'd needed the sleep, and my body would have gladly slept another 2 hours (I'd already slept at least 10..), but I got up. And it was already too late. I had shredded wheat immediately, struggled to open a window, then HAD to make myself eggs because I could already feel the blood sugar plummeting. Two hours later, I was overdue for food again.

So, in addition to losing several hours to "over" sleeping, I lost about 3 to the general fatigue etc. of low blood sugar.

I suppose it's a bit of a blessing that I have to be out of the house by 10 tomorrow AM - It's already late enough that I suspect I'd gladly (if stupidly) sleep until noon again!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Adventures in Mexican

Wednesday is my "off" day during the week, so I try to do more than just microwave dinner. Tonight's attempt was Mexican, sans cheese, pepper (black and bell) and corn.

I really should have done more research first, but I think "tacos" was one of The Meals that my Dad deemed workable in high school. You fried some ground beef with The Seasonings, chopped up a tomato, opened some salsa, pulled out some cheese and lettuce and you were golden. Maybe some sour cream, if you'd remembered while at the store.

No Seasoning Packet. No cheese, no sour cream. No taco shells. (and no lettuce, but that was purely because I don't eat it fast enough to keep around)

Mexican not-tacos.
1.3# ground turkey
2 pods of onion& garlic in bacon fat (or some chopped onion and garlic and oil)
1 tomato

Melt pods of onion + garlic in pan over med heat, add turkey. Add spices. Move turkey around in pan until brown. Add chopped tomato.

1 can Azuki beans (organic! Already cooked w/ the kombu in them!)
1 cup rice (from the freezer, I made rice on Saturday and froze to use whenever)

Put in pot together. Cook over low/med until warm.

Makes 4 servings

1 Food for Life brown rice tortilla per serving.

Each serving was about 490 calories, 37 grams of protein and about 50 g. carbs. The brown rice tortilla is about half that, and I actually would have been OK without it.. they taste a lot like corn (if you haven't had it in years) , but they crumble too much to actually use as wraps. I meant to try to make corn-free corn muffins from millet, which seems to have a similar consistency.

Other notes - 1.3# of ground turkey should either be thawed for more than 12 hours in the fridge OR cooked in a larger frying pan OR covered. Hard to split it apart and flip it in my standard cast-iron fryer.
Two onion/garlic pods were maybe not enough.
What else is in "Mexican Seasoning", anyway?
Cardamom... not really right.
Azuki may be a little sweet for this application

Overall... I think it came out pretty good, if a little bland (er, which translates to VERY bland for the rest of you..). I'll have to try it again sometime.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The problem with corn.

The problem with corn is it's ubiquitousness. Between 2000 and 2006 it had re-insinuated itself into my diet so successfully that I was surprised when it showed up on a test. It was so hard to avoid that I just...stopped.

If you've ever tried to avoid corn, you have an inkling how hard it is. If you aren't allergic, it's damn near impossible...mostly because it's impossible to tell when you've failed. Corn goes beyond "high fructose corn syrup" and into things like "food starch" or "sugar" (and I bet you thought "sugar" meant it was from sugar cane, didn't you?)

Driving home from dance class tonight, I heard a bit on the radio about a movie called King Corn. Which is yet more about how ubiquitous corn is. Here's the scary part though:

CHENEY: Yeah, Steve Macko is a professor at the University of Virginia and he had been testing his students and coming up with some pretty startling results. And we sent him some of our baby hair and some of our adult hair and he noticed a difference, actually, between those two samples. He noticed that our adult hair was made out of carbon that seemed to be coming from corn. Corn—the way it photosynthesizes carbon—leaves a kind of a signature that he could trace with his maspectrometer.

Creepy, huh?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Difficult food time - the pre dance-class rush.

Tonight I actually sampled one of the spinach Croquettes that I made on Saturday.. it was alright. I made a mock egg Florentine (or is it Benedict?) with an egg and a croquette - I was good and left out the bread altogether.

I reheated the croquette at the same time as I was making the egg - it's a big pan after all! And even then, the two looked like teenagers on a first date. Lonely and unsure.

Also, the croquette was a little chilly inside when I finally ate them. Perhaps I should have put it in the pan earlier?

Before this wacky diet, I would've scarfed down a grilled cheese sandwich, or maybe a quesidilla - this didn't take much more prep time, and I'm sure it has more protein, more vitamins and probably less fat.