Posted in Learning Project

Harvesting food….ideas

A great internet resource I’ve managed to find to help with Diabetic/Transplant cooking has been Allrecipes. There is so much more depth to this website than simply being a recipe sharing page.
For instance, you can cater the recipes you are presented with by editing your preferences.  You can also share, subscribe to, create grocery lists, watch videos of the recipe being cooked (hello visual learners), review, add friends, photos, and personal recipes to the site.
After I set up my profile, I edited my food preferences to select the kinds of recipes to show up  on the front page after I login.
Because I am an efficient (see lazy) cook, I also subscribed to “Quick and Easy” recipes. I consider it the Holy Grail when I can find a complete meal recipe with five ingredients or less. Bonus points if they are common ingredients I already have.
Here is a shot of my preference page on Allrecipes:
You can see where I subscribed to “Diabetic” and “Heart-Healthy” recipes above.
So what is really cool, is that now as soon as I log in, Allrecipes will display meal suggestions based on my preferences. See below where a bunch of different ideas are offered, categorized by my preferences:

If I see something I like, I can save it to my favorites by simply clicking the heart icon on the recipe. Here is where it gets interesting: I can save it under pre-loaded categories, or I can create my own. We eat a lot of chicken in my family. Its affordable, its healthier than other meats, and it is ooooh so versatile. This recipe passed the salt and sugar test, and I know that Spare Parts loves mustard of all forms, so I had to add it to my favorites. I created my own chicken category though so that when I am inevitably staring at my thawing breasts in the sink I can come to this place quickly for inspiration. Winner Winner Chicken Dinners! No seriously, that’s what I categorized it under. WWCD

So that is Allrecipes in a Nutshell. The user-friendliness of the site is a plus for me, and the diverse recipe content is a definite plus for finding food that matches our needs and desires in my family. Did I mention that they have an app?!

Posted in Learning Project

Salt-Free is hard

Let me be the first to admit how much I loooooooathe food blogs.
The irony of that is not lost on me here, tell me I’m not alone here?
There is nothing that gets my goat more than having to read someones life story just to get to a recipe. I find Pinterest particularly rife with food blogs, but the recipes on them are usually pretty delicious.
Before I try a recipe I’ve pulled from online, I usually take the time to read through comment sections as well to see if they worked, and what people added, omitted, or changed.
SketchRecipeMy background knowledge with Pinterest and comment sections has made searching for Diabetic recipes a little easier, because I kind of know how to weed through them now.
So this week, discussing what to make for dinner with Spare Parts, she suggests that we try to use whats available in the house to make chicken soup.
Drumsticks? Check. Carrots? Check. Onions? Check. Celery? Check. Rice? Check. Chicken bouillon? Big fat check! Its very rare that I can put together a meal that isn’t Kraft Dinner without requiring at least one trip to the grocery store.
So I proceed to start making the age old family recipe of chicken soup. Did not think I would need technology for this recipe at all.
But then, reading the bouillon nutritional ingredients, I realized that there is a lot of sodium in it. Added salt (sodium) has become the enemy in our house.
Cue technology:

Trusty ole Google.
One of the search results returned a page from the British Heart Foundation with a complete list of herb and spice substitutions for salt. Bingo!!
This list is very helpful and one I have bookmarked, but sadly I did not have any of the spices it suggested on hand. Again, trying to avoid a trip to the grocery store halfway through cooking dinner. Back to google. I definitely needed that salt flavour to add to my soup because at that point it was looking and tasting a lot like dishwater.
Stack Exchange ended up being my saviour. It was neither a food blog, nor a recipe site. Rather, it is a discussion board! Discussion boards are like comment sections, but usually aren’t accompanied by other content such as a blog. Typically you will see a question posed or a topic of discussion where users are free to contribute. I like discussion boards. There usually isn’t a ton of media in them, and you can tell which ideas might be good or bad depending how how they’ve been voted upwards or downwards. Democracy at its finest. There are some pretty good suggestions in this thread but it was the one mentioning lemon juice that caught my eye. I know enough about cooking to know that lemon and chicken are complimentary flavours to each other, so by George, this just might work!
Boy Howdy, let me tell you, lemon juice is an excellent substitute for salt in chicken soup!
I had to give myself a pat on the back for 1: successfully avoiding a food blog for another day, and 2: salvaging my dishwater soup while keeping it diabetic friendly and 3: reaffirming my faith in discussion boards.
The lesson here? Shop around without leaving the house when it comes to cooking! 🙂

Posted in Learning Project

Cooking with Spare Parts

So, my learning project requires a bit of a backstory.
On November 24th, 2017, my mother underwent a double lung transplant. She spent a month in the hospital and came out better than ever. Life changing experience for our whole family.
That being said, WOW! There are sooooo many dietary restrictions that come along with being a transplant recipient (goodbye soft cheeses and rare steak!) We have pages and pages of restrictions in the book I like to call “The Bible”, which is basically her manual for post-op life.  On top of that, shes also duhn duhn duhn…..Diabetic! Yay! So fun!
So, needless to say, managing blood sugar, potassium, sodium and iron levels has been quite a challenge.
I figure what better new skill to learn that to master the art of diabetic friendly cooking while still keeping Spare Parts happy and fed. Spare Parts is the nickname we gave my mom because well….obviously. 😉
Join me over the next few months as I chronicle my triumphs and tribulations in diabetic cuisine.