Sunday, November 30, 2008


I have recently learned about and experimented with Agave at my favorite cooking shop, Shar's Kitchen.  It is a natural sweetener that is retrieved from the Agave Plant in central Mexico.  Yes, it is the same plant from which Tequila is made.  The type of Agave I use is Xagave, which is a blend of blue and white agave.

The glycemic index is 30, and I have used it in baking, cooking and beverages.  There is no after taste.  It is 100% natural and for me, has caused no rise in blood glucose levels.  Agave is being used more and more by diabetics and is recommended by the ADA.

It is a bit costly, but you only use 1/3 - 1/2 cup for exchange of 1 cup of sugar as it is at least 1.5 times more sweeter than sugar.  As in the previous recipe, it reduces down to make a thick syrup.   2 cups of Agave Nectar and 1 1/2 tsp of maple flavoring makes a delicious syrup for whole grain pancakes or waffles.  It is not quite as thick as syrup, however every bit as yummy.

Everything in moderation, but for that special recipe, treat this is a good option, keep in mind it is not calorie free so again, as with many foods,  I caution to use in moderation.

I will be posting more recipes that use agave.  In most of the recipes you can use Splenda in place of agave if you choose.  I do believe Agave is worth a try.

Sticky Chicken

An adapted recipe from My Kitchen Cafe and Janae, once again, thanks Janae for this suggestion!

6-8 boneless skinless chicken breast tenders
1 cup canned Lite coconut milk

1 Tbsp. Crystallized ginger or ground ginger 
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Marinade chicken in coconut milk, ginger, pepper and red pepper flakes for 1-5 hours.

Cook Brown rice:  I used the remaining coconut milk as part of the cooking liquid for the rice. Portions of rice to equal 4 servings=2 cups liquid, one cup rice.   Remember it takes about 50 minutes for brown rice to cook so allow enough time when preparing unless you have a pressure cooker in which it takes just 20 minutes.  (I love my pressure cooker! )

Glaze:  3/4 cup rice vinegar (Mirin)    1/3 Cup Agave  Nectar    3 Tbsp. Braggs Liquid or soy sauce
   1 tsp. red pepper flakes

While the chicken is cooking, bring above ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until mixture is reduced and thickened, about 15 minutes. Be patient because it takes a little while for the Agave nectar to reduce. Once it starts getting really thick, immediately take it off the heat! Glaze both sides of chicken the last few minutes of cooking. 

Serve chicken over brown rice, drizzle remaining sauce on rice.  Serve with steamed oriental style vegetables.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turkey Breast a la Crockpot

I found this recipe that sounded so good, with a little change here and there I have made it a healthier rendition.  It is delicious!

1 Turkey Breast  It would be as good with chicken breasts)
1 Tablespoons I can't believe it is not butter + 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 package dry Italian seasoning mix
1 large onion in quarters
4 stalks celery
1 can low sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 can Healthy Request Cream of Chicken soup
8 oz Low Fat Cream Cheese
(can salt to taste)

Brush margarine/olive oil on all sides of the turkey breast.  Rub the Italian seasoning
into the skin of the breast.  Place the onion and celery into the cavity.  Place the turkey
into a crock pot.  Add the chicken broth and pepper (salt to your taste).  Cook on low
for 6 - 8 hours.  See *** below.

Combine cream of chicken soup and cream cheese.  Warm in the microwave until smooth.
Stir into the broth in the crock pot.  *** ADD this during the last 45 minutes of cooking.
The result is tender, flavorful turkey and gravy.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sweet Potato Pear Bisque

This is a lovely soup to serve prior to the Thanksgiving meal.  It is also a wonderful comfort soup for a cold winter night.  It is easy to prepare, high in fiber and vitamins it is a perfect diabetic friendly/family friendly soup with a slight sweet yet savory taste.

  • 2 ½ cups water
  • ¼ cup powdered chicken broth/or canned low sodium.  
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ tsp dried thyme, crushed
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 pears, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • zest of one lemon

  • 2 cups - half and half
  • Fresh ground nutmeg to taste

Combine the first 8 ingredients in 3qt pot and bring to a boil.  Cook for approx 20 minutes until
potatoes are tender.  Pour vegetables and broth into a blender. Blend until smooth. (You can
use a hand blender if you have one and it works perfectly). I use my pressure cooker to make this soup in 8 minutes.

Pour mixture back into the pot and add the half-and-half, and fresh ground nutmeg. Heat through and serve.

Serves 4-6


Pumpkin Bread

This recipe is from a co-worker that I tweaked a bit to fit into the diabetic friendly blog.
Thanks Janae!  This is a wonderful moist pumpkin bread.  
Serving size = 1 slice large loaf about 1/2 inch thick or 2 slices mini loaf 1/2" thick.
 20 carbs and 7 g fiber.


1 1/4 cup canola oil
2 cups pumpkin (canned is good)
1/2 cup brown sugar spenda
1 cup splenda granular
2 packages of sugar free coconut cream or vanilla pudding mix
1 tsp baking soda
5 eggs
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chopped nuts of choice (optional)


In a large bowl, mix together oil, pumpkin, both types of splenda, pudding mix, cinnamon and salt and set aside.   Slightly beat the eggs, and mix into the batter.  Mix in the flour and baking soda until just combined.  Stir in nuts (optional).
Spread batter into two greased and floured 9x5 inch loaf pans,  three 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 loaf pans
or 7 mini loaf pans.
Bake at 325 F or 165 C.  for 1 hour, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  For the mini loaf test at 40-45 minutes with a toothpick, if it comes out clean it is done.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Turkey Chili

1 pound ground turkey
1 medium onion/diced
1 clove chopped garlic
2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes/I use tomatoes with green chilies.
2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
1 Tbs taco seasoning
2 cans black beans (can use any bean of choice, but keep in mind the darker the bean the lower the glycemic index)  Beans are a wonderful source of protein and fiber.  You can also use a variety of beans in the same soup.
16 oz water
Brown the ground turkey and onion in a skillet. (did you know ground turkey is 50% less fat than ground beef?)
In a crock pot or large soup pot add all the remaining ingredients juice included. (do not drain)
If you use a crock pot no need to tend to the soup at all and can stay on all day.  For a soup pot stir occasionally set on a medium low setting for 3 hours.
Top with a dallop of fat free sour cream, some low fat shredded cheddar cheese and a few
crispy tortilla strips or chopped green onion.


I woke up this morning to 46 degrees outside and cloudy, my favorite weather!
inally it is soup weather here in Arizona. It takes little to create wonderful meals that can serve for dinner, lunch or even an after school snack. I have found that it is easy to "tweak" soup recipes to suit each family by changing the vegetables, beans or base a little. Let's face it, even the most novice cook can create a soothing and filling meal. I will be sharing some of my favorite recipes that with a salad or some warm whole grain bread will be healthy comfort food for the whole family. I pulled out the crock pot this morning, opened the cupboard doors, searched for soup like ingredients and can I just say, the aroma in the house at 9:30 AM is wonderful!