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Posted by on Sep 10, 2012 in Try Something New | 0 comments

A Day in the Life: Eating for Bradley Method and Gestational Diabetes (Fun!)

Have you ever tried to balance 3 specialized diets at once? It’s so much fun (sarcasm!).

  • First up you have pregnancy (get your veggies and your fruits stay away from too much fish watch out for deli meats no soft cheese cook everything all the way!).
  • Next you have Bradley Method (eat ALL of the protein eat your veggies eat two eggs a day eat three potatoes a week eat dark leafy greens salt to taste and water to thirst).
  • And finally, you have gestational diabetes (watch your carbs watch your sweets watch your fats watch what you eat at your baby showers).

Well, this has been my life since about 28 weeks. Thankfully, most things in these diets don’t compete with each other, and you can still find your way (and something to eat!).

First of all, I want to say that I’m being monitored for GD as a precaution. All of my levels have been great and well below the range. I have a lot of diabetes in my family, and my glucose tolerance test came back high…so we’re not taking any chances. It has been easy to manage and monitor, and I don’t have to go back to the doctor until after the baby is born.

Turkey burgers have been one of my go-to dinners these days. I found a tasty way to prepare and serve them…full of flavor!

Turkey Burgers

A friend warned me that straight-up ground turkey burgers with no binding fall apart when you cook them so I wanted to add a little something extra to mine to avoid this issue and add a little extra flavor.

1 lb. ground turkey (I got Publix brand ground breast meat so it’s very low in fat – some say that’s the culprit for them falling apart)
2 T bread crumbs
1 T burger seasoning
1 T Worchestershire
1 egg
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Mix together all ingredients with your hands and portion out patties.* Grill until temperature reads 160-170*.

*I had 1.30 lbs of meat, and I got 4.75 patties out of it (one was a runt).

To serve, I melted provolone cheese on top and spread herbed mayo (Duke’s low fat mayo with chopped, fresh dill and basil) on top. I served with 2 servings of brown rice, broccoli, chopped tomato, and a peach. This was a LOT of food.

Total protein: 31.4
Total carbs: 45
Mommy: full
Baby: happy

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Posted by on Jul 14, 2012 in Store-bought Remix, Try Something New | 0 comments

Black Beans (from Scratch!)

I’ve had a bag of dried black beans in my pantry for probably a year now. I thought that little project (cooking beans from scratch) would be a perfect next step on my store-bought remix mission. I kept putting it off because it seems like a long time commitment, but it’s totally hands-off (hello, I was sleeping while they cooked) and so worth it!

Well, I finally tried it last weekend. Thanks to my trusty crockpot! See that method here.

Here’s the recipe I used, minus the green pepper because I didn’t have any. I kept willing Neighbor Frank to bring some over just as I needed it, but that didn’t happen. It is really flavorful and delicious! I highly recommend it.

A few tips I learned:
+I didn’t use enough water. By the time I woke up, all of the water had been absorbed, and things were smelling a little crispy. I just added about 4 more cups of water and let it go for a couple of more hours. There are probably a few underdone ones in my mix from the top of the pile, but they’re definitely still good. 9-10 cups as directed in the crockpot bean preparation recipe is a better bet. I used way less because I only put enough to cover by an inch and a half like the pressure cooker recipe says. Duh! My beans probably cooked for 10 total hours (8 overnight + 2 extra in the morning).

+ I’ve heard the longer you store dried beans, the longer they take to cook. I’m not sure if this is true but beware …and don’t put it off as long as I did.

+You don’t get the unpleasant side effects as with canned beans: the one we all know that has to do with digestion and HIGH sodium. Sometimes I feel like I need to drink a gallon of water after eating chili made with canned beans. Always drain off the cooking water (and rinse your canned beans until they don’t froth), to minimize that first issue 😉

+The thing with canned beans is their on-demand handiness. So to mimic this, I froze 1 cup portions in plastic zip baggies so that I could grab them whenever I need to (see photo above). So far, this is working great. They thaw out enough to add to another recipe after about 30 seconds in the microwave or they can be thrown in the fridge overnight or into a lunch box until lunch time with fine results.

+Black beans will leave a ring around your crockpot like nobody’s business. Even if you soak it and scrub it and run it through the dishwasher…bummer. A little more elbow grease should do the trick!

+You have to sort your dried beans before they’re cooked. Apparently, they can have pebbles in them…not sure where those come from, but I swear I picked a few out. You want to look for any misshapen beans, any particles that don’t belong, and any beans that aren’t whole. I used a cookie sheet so I could lay them out flat and processed through the bag in about 4 batches. From the cookie sheet, I transferred them all over to a colander (make sure your holes are small enough so you don’t lose any beans) to give them a good rinse.

Next up, dried lentils. Wish me luck!

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Posted by on Jan 9, 2012 in Try Something New | 0 comments

Glorious Brussels

Brussels sprouts are one of those foods with a bad rap. Broccoli, too. Personally, I love them. A while back I picked up a bag of frozen Brussels sprouts from Publix, and they’ve been hanging out in the freezer waiting for some inspiration. I decided tonight that I wanted to bust them out with a balsamic glaze. The results were amazing.

I cooked the sprouts according to the package directions to get them thawed and softened. The end results from this method might be a little mushy for some tastes, but I liked it just fine. Once they were done cooking, I spread them out on a baking sheet to cool just a bit. From there, I cut them in half lengthwise with a dinner knife. In a cast iron skillet, I added 1 T of olive oil and set the stove to medium-high. I added the cut up Brussels, and let them hang out. This is the hard part…leaving them alone. Getting the beautiful brown…almost caramelization…is key. You don’t want them to burn, of course. Once the Brussels start to brown, mix them once or twice to let another side brown.

At this point, it was time to get going on the glaze. It’s really complicated…wait for it…I measured out 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar and added it to a small saucepan on medium-high. Then I let it do it’s thing, bubbling away, until the liquid was reduced by half. That’s it!

To the Brussels, I added 2 T of unsalted butter, 1 t salt, and 1/2 t black pepper for seasoning. When the vinegar is reduced, add it to the Brussels, and stir to combine.

Enjoy! They’re so good!!!

It would also be good to cook a little bacon in the pan before throwing in the Brussels sprouts, and a few chopped walnuts or pecans would really take it over the edge. I’ll just have to experiment and report back!

Oh, and I was surprised to find out what Brussels sprouts look like when they’re grown. I saw them on the “vine” at the Farmers’ Market one day, and it totally freaked me out. I couldn’t believe it.

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Posted by on Jan 1, 2012 in Try Something New | 0 comments

Spicy Collard Green Bites

Image source

Greens are another New Year’s food. Here’s a little background from

Cooked greens, including cabbage, collards, kale, and chard, are consumed at New Year’s in different countries for a simple reason — their green leaves look like folded money, and are thus symbolic of economic fortune. The Danish eat stewed kale sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, the Germans consume sauerkraut (cabbage) while in the southern United States, collards are the green of choice. It’s widely believed that the more greens one eats the larger one’s fortune next year.

I received a Paula Deen calendar from my in-laws, D & T. Each month features a yummy recipe. For March, she makes Collard Green Wontons (similar to these). I thought they sounded delicious, but I didn’t want to fry them. So…I’m remixing them in puff pastry. I also wanted to make them vegetarian so I omitted the bacon.


3 T olive oil
2 – 16 ounce bags of collard greens, leaves cut into small pieces
1  T hot sauce/Tabasco
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1/2 t salt
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 T unsalted butter
1 – 8 ounce package onion and chive cream cheese + 2 ounces regular cream cheese, softened
2 packages puff pastry, cut into square pieces (about 15 pieces per sheet, roll out if necessary on a floured surface)

In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and chopped greens. Add hot sauce, red pepper flakes, garlic, and salt to the pan. Saute collards just until beginning to wilt (about 20 minutes). Stir in butter and cream cheese. Remove from heat and check seasonings.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a small bowl with water. With the tip of your finger dipped in water, moisten the edge of the square of puff pastry, and place a scant teaspoonful of the collard mixture into the center. Fold over to form a triangle and seal the edges with a fork. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until tops of pastry are golden brown.


I’ll be bringing these guys to a party later on tonight. I love a New Year’s Day party…so much different (and more my speed) than NYE. Happy 2012, folks!

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Posted by on Dec 31, 2011 in Try Something New | 0 comments

Simple (but Tasty) Black Eyed Peas

This time of year, I love to cook the traditional New Year’s foods, which are usually dishes said to bring good luck. Black eyed peas are one of those things that I just have to eat this time of year. According to Wikipedia, eating these black-eyed beauties is said to bring prosperity. I was going to go for frozen, but I found fresh black eyed peas at Publix today for a great price. See? Prosperity!

Last year, my preparation was to roast them until the peas were crunchy (like this recipe). They were well-seasoned and fun to eat…almost like a peanut. The previous year I made Hoppin’ John (Check out this recipe from Emeril). It wasn’t my favorite, but it was fun to make.

Since I found them fresh, I wanted to go with a simple preparation that still packed a good flavor, and I really liked how this came out. The first bite I put in my mouth made me long for Rosy Relish, a sweet church bazaar favorite my grandmother and mom always served with black eyed peas. I’ve made a note to make it for the past couple of summers, but this year will be the year I will follow through. Do you want to make it too? See the recipe at the bottom. Now for the main attraction…the pea recipe:

2 T olive oil (divided)
2 pieces bacon
4 cups water
24 ounces fresh black eyed peas
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t Tabasco/hot sauce
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 T red wine vinegar
1 small onion, finely diced to garnish


Add 1 T oil and bacon to saucepan over medium heat, and cook until bacon is crispy. Add water (carefully) and bring to a boil on high. Add black eyed peas and reduce temp to medium. Cook until tender approximately 15-20 minutes. Drain most of the cooking liquid. Return to low heat and add seasonings and 1 T of olive oil. Stir well to incorporate. Serve with onion on top. Great served over cornbread, too!


Rosy RelishRecipe from Mary McDaniel in the First United Methodist Church of Rutherford, Tennessee Cook Book (1979).

4 cups chopped tomatoes
4 cups chopped apples
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped green peppers
2 cups chopped celery
3 cups vinegar
2 T red pepper (optional)
5 1/2 cups sugar
2 t salt
2 sticks cinnamon
4 T mustard seed
16 whole cloves

Tie spices in a bag. Combine vinegar, sugar, salt, and spices. Bring to a rapid boil. Add the rest of the ingredients, and simmer until mixture is rather thick, about 30-45 minutes. Pour into hot sterile jars and seal.

Now, this is all the detail that Ms. Mary gave us in the original recipe. I promise to give some more details when I make it in a few months.

Happy New Year!

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