Friday, January 30, 2009

if you don't hear from me this week..

Don't panic! Mike and I are doing a cross-town move this weekend, so I'm not going to be wired to the Internet for a few days. That means no blogs for a while - please continue eating as normal.

Actually, my blood sugar is part of the reason we are moving now. Since I've been working on the Westside, I've been having to get up early to traverse the 405 at a snail's pace each day. Just being awake that much longer in the day has increased my chances of getting all hypoglycemic to a notable degree. So, the exhaustion and sad quality of life have prompted us to live closer to work. Finally!

I can't wait to try out my new kitchen (now with dishwasher!!) and blog about the recipes. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

oatmeal...while there's still time!

OK, the title might seem a little dramatic, but there are only a few days left in National Oatmeal Month! In honor of the official breakfast food of January, I thought I'd offer my top two oatmeal treatments.

Oatmeal is something that most people eat with a heapin' helpin' of sugar. You either ladle the filthy sucre on directly, or if you eat flavored instant oatmeal, you're usually getting 12 grams or so of sugar per bowl. Just for the sake of comparison, a Milky Way bar contains 14 grams of sugar. I really read the labels for breakfast items because I find that if I start my day with something sugary, I'll be in trouble before lunch. I stay away from any cereal with more than 4 grams of any kind of sugar, which, by the way, severely limits my choices. As a slight digression, I just noticed online that Quaker has a reduced sugar flavored oatmeal now (with 4-6 grams) and McCann's has a sugar free maple-flavored oatmeal. Good for them. I wonder if any grocery stores are actually stocking those...

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I remember how my sister and I used to eat oatmeal whenever we stayed at our Grandma's house. Southerners like things pretty sweet (as in they tend to assume you are diabetic if you don't order sweet tea). We ate our oatmeal with lots of sugar, plus pools of sweetened condensed milk, which is normally only used if you are, say, making a pie. It was tasty, but did I mention that these are the same grandparents with all that family history of diabetes? Still, I have to give Papa credit for always drinking unsweetened iced tea.

Anyway, I'm not an oatmeal purist. I know some people look down upon instant, but I just don't have the energy before breakfast to be a snob about it (just ask Mike how many times I hit snooze in the mornings). So my recipes here are ones I use with plain non-flavored instant oatmeal, but you could certainly use made-from-scratch stuff. Trader Joe's has a really healthy instant oatmeal with high Omega-3 content from flax, plus protein powder and a bunch of calcium and other vitamins. On to my two oatmeal variations:


1 packet plain instant oatmeal
1/2-2/3 cups milk or water, depending on how thick you like it
1 heaping teaspoon peanut butter (crunchy is good)
generous sprinkles of cinnamon
optional - apple slices

This is a power breakfast. It's what I ate at 4:30 in the morning before that one sprint-distance triathlon I did a couple of years ago. I use milk instead of water in my oatmeal, because it makes it a little bit richer and boosts the protein, which is always good for hypoglycemics. Add the peanut butter before you microwave your oatmeal (according to the directions on the box). Don't worry about stirring the peanut butter in until after it's heated. Once the oatmeal reaches its optimal consistency, sprinkle on your cinnamon. By the way, cinnamon is an overlooked superfood that is good for you in many ways, including blood sugar control. I use it a lot as a semi-sweet flavor, especially at breakfast. If you are really hungry, you can slice up an apple and add it to your bowl of oatmeal. This is also a great small meal for rebalancing your blood sugar if you are feeling low or borderline.


1 packet plain instant oatmeal
1/2-2/3 cups milk or water
a big handful of fresh raspberries
optional: a little Splenda for extra sweetness

I think this one might go over well with little kids...who knows how I came up with it, since I'm not all that functional before I eat breakfast. Just put the raspberries in the bowl with the oatmeal packet and milk or water, and heat it all up together. Once it's hot, smoosh the raspberries and stir them in. Your oatmeal will be nice and pink, and fairly sweet just from the fruit. If you really want more sweetness, you could add a little Splenda. I try not to go too crazy with artificial sweetners, but Splenda seems better than the ones with aspartame. And for hypoglycemics, it's definitely better than anything with real sugar.

P.S. If you want to keep eating these in February, I won't tell.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

filthy sucre so far: cool word cloud

Mike made me this amazingly cool word cloud of the Filthy Sucre blog so far. (If you click on it, you can make it bigger.) To make your own, go to

One thing is clear: I need to calm down about beets.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

whole wheat spaghetti with ricotta and meyer lemon zest + a salad dressing recipe

I've realized that I've been posting a lot about root vegetables lately, and there's more of that to come, but let's not forget that citrus is also at its peak in the winter (frigid 80 degrees that it is here in LA at the moment). So, tonight for dinner, Mike and I had this recipe by Celestino Drago from Food & Wine magazine, which I found through a great website called Mighty Foods. This is a little bit decadent since it's a cream sauce, but it is extreeeemely tasty. The only change we made from the original recipe was in using Meyer lemons instead of regular ones. You may not be able to find these unless you are in California, but use them if you can because Meyer lemons are rather special. They're ony available for a short time each year, and they are quite sweet in comparison with normal lemons. I sliced up some of the lemon after grating the zest off, and used small wedges as a garnish - they were delicious with the creamy, savory sauce. It was a very easy recipe and came together quickly.

Served with a salad, this pasta made for a bright and refreshing dinner. Here's the salad dressing I put together tonight.


3-4 Tablespoons olive oil
2-3 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 heaping teaspoons dijon mustard
1/4-1/2 teaspoon coriander

This should be enough dressing for two side salads. I actually make it in a little glass and stir it with a fork. Just put everything in together, taste it, and mix it up to the best of your abilities. It's hard to keep the oil and vinegar mixed, so you have to pour a little on one salad, then a little on the other, alternating back and forth to make sure no one ends up with all the oil. I also don't really measure this as I'm doing it, so the above quantities are estimations to guide you in getting the proportions right. Coriander is amazing, by the way. It is made from cilantro seeds, but has a warm, orangey flavor. Chill your salads with dressing on while you make the pasta. It'll be so good!

more on beets: are they high in sugar?

After posting my raw beet salad last weekend, I started seeing beet articles and recipes everywhere - kind of like when you buy a new car, and suddenly it seems like everyone on the road has the same model as you...

I know beets are in season in much of the country, but clearly, I am a trendsetter. However, this one post from the kitchn gave me pause, because it says that of all the vegetables, beets are highest in natural sugar...hmmm.

I didn't feel like the beets affected my blood sugar, but I did a little research anyway to see if I really should be eating them or not. (It's a recent like-affair I have with beets, anyway.) I found this website about glycemic index, which "ranks carbohydrates based on their rate of glycemic response." It's a little suspect in my book, though, because the list has Snickers bars ranked better than brown rice. I think we all intuitively know that can't be right. Way over to the side on the chart, you can see the "glycemic load" of the food, which is actually more useful than the "glycemic index" number because it factors in fiber content. If they had listed the foods according to glycemic load rather than glycemic index, people would not have been tempted into justifying that Snickers as healthy. Then there's the whole part of the site where they explain the limitations of the glycemic index, which are pretty significant due to the small test groups used to generate the rankings. As a result, widely varying - even anomalous or outlying - results have been averaged together along with the other measurements, and that's the number you see assigned to each food on the chart. As they point out, russet potatoes have scored as low as 56 and and high as 111. This would help explain why spaghetti (42) and macaroni & cheese (64) got such different rankings on the chart, which I thought was weird. You'd think the protein in the cheese would help the mac...otherwise what's the big difference? The main ingredients are pretty much the same before you add sauce. FYI, beets scored 64 on glycemic index and 4.3 on glycemic load - high in sugar carbs, but high in fiber with a lower glycemic load than either apples or bananas.

For me, the clincher is this statement: "And finally, different people have different insulin responses (i.e. produce different levels of insulin), even with an identical glycemic response. It seems to me that this fact captures the essence of hypoglycemia - having a body that doesn't react to sugar like everyone else's. That's why, even though I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist or whatever, I do OK just going by how I feel after I eat a given food. I don't have a chart with a magic number for each food, but I've learned a lot along the way. My verdict on beets: fine as a side dish, but I won't be going on any all-beet diets.

While I'm still on the beet topic (beeting this dead horse, you might say), here's an article from The New York Times that includes facts about beets being good for you (and under-recognized, apparently). And, here's Martha Stewart's recipe for Raw Beets with Orange Coriander Vinaigrette, which sounds pretty good. I love coriander, and the picture on the recipe is really beautiful (Martha would have it no other way, of course). I would skip the honey entirely, or use agave nectar instead. Honey has more sugar than sugar, if you know what I mean.

And, I know I'm always encouraging people to buy food that's grown locally, but I can't resist passing along this beet producer you may have heard of in Pennsylvania. If you're in the Scranton area, be sure to check this place out - it will be...unique.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

so hypoglycemia helps make a lame movie character lamer...?

Well. I don't know what to think about this. I have a Google alert set up for "hypoglycemia," and it has been going crazy this week as the film reviews for Paul Blart: Mall Cop have been coming out. Yes, that's right. Mall Cop. Apparently, the hapless suburban mall security guard is hampered in his dream of making the big time (becoming a state trooper) by his hypoglycemia, which makes him pass out at inappropriate times.

Clearly, we hypoglycemics are not being taken seriously. If we were, someone would've made a Lifetime movie about us by now. Instead, we get Paul Blart and about as much street cred as nearsightedness gets you. Well, I have nearsightedness, and I can confirm that the hypoglycemia sucks much, much more. It's not like I can just put on blood-sugar-fixing glasses that look cool and double as an accessory. No, I have to carry nuts everywhere. Did you know there's an arthritis foundation? Just saying.

Back to Mall Cop. So, it's probably not going to win any Oscars. On the bright side, this might finally be enough to get rid of Segways once and for all. The Hollywood Reporter made a valiant attempt to analyze it, while the Washington Post reviewer said, "If I were home sick and came across 'Paul Blart: Mall Cop' on cable, then discovered that the remote was wayyy on the other side of the room, I could lie on the couch and watch the entire thing without being unhappy." (For real, click the link, I'm not making that up.)

Maybe if I'm wiped out on my couch with low blood sugar, I'll do the same.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

hypoglycemia is not just being hungry

It's true - I cannot go for long periods of time without eating. I once ended up with low blood sugar because I did not have a snack before seeing The Lord of the Rings in the theater. No joke. I can't wait until 10:00 to have dinner, I can't skip meals, and if I sleep in until 11:00 (lazy, I know), I'll still have a small breakfast even though I'm planning lunch in an hour-and-a-half.

But, aside from the fact that the body needs fuel at regular intervals, hypoglycemia is not just about being hungry. It also kicks in when the body gets too excited about producing insulin, like if blood sugar levels get too high too fast. That's what would happen if I decided it would be a good idea to have a plate of pancakes and syrup for breakfast: first my blood sugar would rocket up to the stratosphere thanks to all the sugar and refined carbs, and I would feel kind of buzzy (not in a good way) and might have a rapid, fluttery-feeling heartbeat and a feeling like I'm having to work extra hard to focus my eyes. Then - that's right, we're not done yet - the pancreas freaks out and produces an overabundance of insulin, which pushes the blood sugar waaaay down...and I get a migraine, sometimes nausea (which makes it hard to eat anything that might help), I get shaky and I tend to mumble when I'm trying to talk. Not fun. This is called "reactive hypoglycemia," and it truly is a rollercoaster (and I don't even like the real kind of rollercoasters, much less this metaphorical one). I'll have the eggs, thank you.

Of course, diabetics also have problems with hypoglycemia, especially if they accidentally take too much insulin. I think it's easiest to think of hypoglycemia as basically an oversensitivity to the fluctuations of blood sugar. So, like a diabetic, I am trying to keep my blood sugar from going too low or too high by keeping digestion of sugars (carbs) nice and slow. In fact, at Johns Hopkins, they have a theory that treats hypoglycemia more based on the speed of the blood sugar change rather than the (somewhat arbitrary) ultimate level of glucose measured in the blood - that's what I'm talking about.

I also have to point out this amusing list of hypoglycemia symptoms in Wikipedia, especially with all its technical terms like "borborygmus" and "abnormal mentation." Hmm...that does sound familiar. It also says that a hypoglycemic episode can resemble drug intoxication, which is what Nicole Richie was getting at when her PR handlers released that statement saying she's hypoglycemic. Most people laughed it off, but I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt (as a potential blog reader).

One more link in this longer-than-intended-and-hopefully-not-too-technical post: This article, recently printed in an Arizona newspaper, offers a good description of the blood sugar-insulin relationship, but it's also an example of how hypoglycemia is usually considered only as an afterthought - a subset of diabetes. This is not to take away from how serious a condition diabetes is (my Grandpa had it), but it's just worth noting that there's comparatively little research or awareness of hypoglycemia as its own problem. That's how we routinely end up getting such bad advice ("eat some candy, you'll feel better") like at the end of the article I just linked to. So, my rule for the Filthy Sucre blog is that I will only post recipes that I have eaten, or could eat, without anything happening like in the hypothetical pancake story.

More recipes and more random-ness later!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I hate beets...or do I?

I've always hated beets. I often describe them as tasting like dirt. But, those were generally beets out of a can, so maybe that doesn't count. Anyhow, I guess you could say it's a New Year's resolution, but I'm branching out and trying new things. And beets are in season at the farmer's market.

At a picnic a few months ago, Nicole brought a beet salad that I actually liked. That was a turning point, and the difference was that she used fresh, raw beets. They were crispy - and yes, they were earthy, but not overbearing. So, here's an easy new beet salad that I invented tonight.


1 medium-sized apple (any crispy variety like Fuji, or even sour Granny Smith)
3-4 radishes
2 large fresh beets, washed with greens removed (and saved for salad or wilting on the stovetop)
handful of chopped pecans or walnuts
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons red balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint

Wash and chop the apple into bite-sized pieces. Dice the radishes into small pieces. They will add a nice, crispy kick to the salad. We found the radishes in mixed-color bunches today, but liked the regular red ones (the spiciest) the best in the salad. Slice the beets into thin strips (but not as many as the picture). Toss the apples, radishes and beets together in a medium-sized bowl. Throw in a handful of pecan or walnut pieces, and stir everything together.

In a separate, small bowl or cup, mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, agave nectar, tarragon and mint. This was my first time experimenting with agave nectar, which is a low-glycemic natural sweetener. I'm not sure yet how much of it I recommend using (because the sweetness comes from fructose, which is also a sugar), but I'll get into more of that in a future post after I've played with it some more. Anyhow, you should be able to buy it at most natural food stores, and Trader Joe's has their own brand. In any case, sweetener is probably not essential for this recipe.

You may have noticed that fresh tarragon has been in a lot of recipes lately, but that is mostly because I'm still using up the bunch I bought last week (for $1!). Tarragon's sweet-savory taste works really well for this salad, and the mint is a perfect flavor complement to the overall crispy texture.

Toss everything together, and refrigerate for 15 minutes or so. Serve on a plate with a few slices of gorgonzola or bleu cheese - traditional allies of the beet, and a creamy contrast.

Beet on Foodista

Heirloom Carrots

Most of us have heard of heirloom tomatoes, but in the winter, you can find heirloom carrots at the farmer's market. They come in orange, white and red.

Thanks to Mike for taking the picture on his camera phone at the Long Beach Farmer's Market today!

More on the carrots later...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Pasta Dijon...or Mustard Madness!

First of all, thanks to everyone who has been reading and subscribing to my blog! I've enjoyed getting your encouraging emails, and I'm having a lot of fun with this new-found outlet for my cooking/nutrition/eating hobby. Don't be shy about adding comments to these posts, especially if you decide to make one of the recipes.

Pasta Dijon/Mustard Madness is based on a recipe that Mike and I invented a couple of years ago. I say "Mike and I" to be diplomatic about it, because I say that I invented it, and he says the same. In fact, I sort of named it "Pasta Dijon," while he suggested "Mustard Madness." The fact that we are vying for credit should give you some indication that this is a tasty dish! And now we've developed it further, using more of our farmer's market haul from last weekend.

The basic idea here is a pasta dish with a sauce based on Dijon mustard and white wine. You can use whatever veggies you have to fill this out. We discovered purple cauliflower at the market and decided to give it a try - we haven't been the biggest cauliflower fans, but it was fantastic roasted in this recipe. Plus, it's in season right now (along with regular white cauliflower, which you can certainly use if purple ones aren't readily apparent). For a list of what's in season in your neck of the woods, check out this handy-dandy website.

This would work with whole-wheat pasta, but we used the mild-tasting Barilla Plus, which is multi grain and totally stacked with protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Protein and fiber both help to slow the entry of sugar carbs into the bloodstream, and omega-3s are unbelievably good for you in a whole host of ways.


1 small-medium head of cauliflower
2 Tablespoons olive oil
5 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons fresh chopped tarragon
fresh squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
5 stalks green onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
1.5 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard (such as Grey Poupon Country Dijon)
3/4 cup dry white wine
2-3 teaspoons fresh chopped tarragon (or 1 Tbsp dried)
Barilla Plus or whole-wheat penne pasta
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Has anyone else noticed that both Parmesan and Dijon are supposed to be capitalized because they refer to the place names of Parma, Italy and Dijon, France? Anyway...

Separate your cauliflower head into stalks and place in a baking dish. Drizzle a few tablespoons of olive oil and white balsamic vinegar onto the cauliflower. Squeeze the lemon juice onto it, add the tarragon, salt and pepper, and toss the veggies to coat. Roast the cauliflower in a 450 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. They'll get a little browned on the outside, but will be delicious in the pasta.

Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a skillet and cook the green onions for a minute or so. Add the garlic and mushrooms. After a few minutes, begin your sauce by adding the mustard and white wine. Turn up the heat to allow the sauce to reduce and thicken. If it gets too thick, add a little more wine. If it seems too runny, add a little more mustard. When the sauce is close to the right consistency, add the chopped tarragon.

Cook the pasta.

When your cauliflower has finished roasting, add it to the mustard sauce, and cook it all together for a few minutes to let the flavors mix. Serve the pasta in bowls, tossed with the mustard sauce. Use the Parmesan cheese as a finishing touch in each bowl, and allow the heat of the food to melt the cheese. Mmmmmmmm.

Cauliflower on Foodista

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Do you know what 'borborygmus' is?

No? Then click here. Sometimes you just have to hand it to Wikipedia for teaching you stuff you weren't even trying to learn.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Pan-Grilled Polenta with Blood Orange Relish

Mike and I went to the Farmer's Market in Long Beach today and loaded up on stuff that's in season (which in CA is a lot, even in January). One of the interesting things about living in Southern California is that you can't always tell what season it is by the weather or foliage. The grass is currently quite green, and you can find just as many purple-blooming trees as gold-colored leaves. But, you can still celebrate the seasons by paying attention to what is available at the Farmer's Market at any given time.

One of our favorite winter treats is the fabulous blood orange - sorry, Nicole, I mean raspberry orange! (The sanguine name of this fruit can be a little off-putting, but don't miss out on the beet red, berry flavored citrus.) So, we bought a bunch of them and made this easy Pan-Grilled Polenta with Blood Orange Relish that I found at as an appetizer tonight. It was amazing!!

We did use pecans instead of pine nuts, since we had a bunch leftover from a salad we made last week. We just threw them in the pan to toast alongside the polenta we were grilling (or frying, really). We also added a little fresh mint to the relish, after a suggestion from one of the commenters on the original recipe. And, instead of following the recipe for the polenta, we took advantage of a Trader Joe's shortcut and simply cut thin slices off a tube of their ready-made polenta and put it in the pan to heat. If you're not familiar with polenta, it's like a more glamorous Italian version of good ol' grits. It is served in a more stiff form than some people's grits (which can be soupy), and more like my Mom's grits, which you could sculpt.

One last thing - I got lazy and didn't bother peeling the skin off each segment of the oranges, but it was still good. I was getting too hungry and impatient. Did I mention I'm hypoglycemic?

Another last thing - it seems some people recommend that hypoglcycemic people should not eat fruit. I don't buy that. The fruit sugar is tempered by the fiber, and I don't feel it making my blood sugar swing. Also, the polenta is made from corn, and counts as a whole grain. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Spinach Crepes with Herbed Ricotta and Mushroom Sauce

On January 1st, you are supposed to eat some greens in order to bring in money during the new year. In the South, that means collard greens or turnip greens, traditionally. More recently, I've just been making a salad. So, this year I got a little more creative, and cooked our symbolic cash into some delicious whole-wheat crepes. This recipe makes your crepes bright green, which is lots of fun.

If you're thinking, "Hmmm...crepes. Aren't those French? That sounds hard..." you'd be selling yourself short. If you can make pancakes, you can handle this. The recipe here is a slightly simplified version of one in Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Suppers (one of my favorite cookbooks), and as in her instructions you'll layer your crepes with ricotta - kind of like a mini-lasagna - and bake them, in contrast to the usual crepe-folding procedure.

King Arthur brand White Whole Wheat Flour is perfect for this recipe. It is whole grain, but made from mild white wheat instead of the coarser, nuttier red wheat we are mostly accustomed to. Wonder Bread and all of its white bread cousins are actually red wheat stripped of most of its grain characteristics (especially the fiber), so this is definitely not the same thing. You can order it online, but I either got it at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods, can't remember which.


1 bunch of spinach or a 7 oz. bag of salad spinach, washed but not dried
sea salt
1.5 cups milk
3 eggs
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon tarragon
1 cup whole wheat flour (preferably white whole wheat)

Ricotta Filling:
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 or 4 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary, or marjoram
1 tablespoon freshly chopped chives (tip: snip them with your kitchen scissors)
sea salt

Mushroom Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 chopped green onion stems
1 lb. fresh mushrooms sliced 1/4 inch thick, you can mix different kinds of shrooms such as portobello, crimini, or white
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon of any of the herbs used above
1/2 cup mushroom broth or cream of mushroom soup

1. Place your wet spinach into a big skillet, sprinkle with salt, and cook it for a few minutes until it turns dark green and limp. Put the cooked spinach into a blender (or food processor if you have one, unlike me) and add the milk, eggs, melted butter, and herbs. Puree until the spinach is in tiny little bits and the whole mixture looks green. Add the flour and a teaspoon of salt to the blender mixture and puree until it's smooth. Pour your crepe batter into a bowl and set it aside to rest for at least 20 minutes while you work on the ricotta and mushrooms.

2. Chop all the herbs you need for the ricotta, then mix all of the ricotta filling ingredients together in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and a little pepper. Set that aside, and do all your mushroom and green onion chopping.

3. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in an 8 inch (small) skillet (though I don't usually use it, teflon helps a lot here). Use a brush to coat the sides of the skillet with oil so your crepes won't stick. Stir the batter and pour 1/4-1/3 cup into the pan - not too much, you don't want these to be as thick as pancakes. Quickly swirl the batter in the pan or guide it into shape with a spoon, but stop prodding it when the bottom starts to form. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes. Lift an edge to peek underneath the crepe. When it starts to turn golden, flip it carefully with a spatula and briefly cook the second side. Transfer your cooked crepe to a 13x9" pan. Add a little more oil each time you make a new crepe to avoid sticking.

4. Spread the ricotta mixture onto each cooked crepe, making stacks layered crepe-cheese-crepe-cheese-crepe, etc. I make 2 stacks because that seems to fit in a 13x9" pan, but this is enough food to make 4 people very stuffed. Once your stacks are complete, place the pan in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees to make the cheese nice and melty.

5. While the crepes are in the oven, make your mushroom sauce. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the scallions and cook over medium heat for a minute, then add the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, tossing frequently until they begin to color. Add the wine, and turn up the heat. Once the liquid has reduced somewhat, add the mushroom broth or soup. I've used the organic mushroom soup that comes in a carton for this before, but I couldn't find it this time (went to 3 grocery stores) and I ended up using Amy's organic cream of mushroom soup. That worked well because it's not as gloopy as its Campbell's counterpart, and it added some thickness to the sauce. Anyhow, once your mushroom sauce is heated through, it is ready to go.

6. Place a crepe stack on each plate, or cut them into halves or triangles, and spoon the mushroom sauce on top. Enjoy your amazing meal!

Spinach will be in season here in February, so maybe I'll grab some at the farmer's market and make this again then. Leave enough time to babysit the crepes - they are not hard to manage, but cooking them one at a time in the skillet takes a little while. I promise the end result is worth it!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Eat This, Not That

Over several years, I gradually figured out what to eat to balance my blood sugar and what to avoid. Obviously, the #1 rule is no sugar. But many, many common foods are digested just like sugar. This filthy sucre lurks in the form of simple, refined carbohydrates. I'm not anti-carb at all, but picking carbs that don't make me feel crappy is really important...quality of life and all.

For most foods, it's an easy substitution:

  • corn tortillas, not flour tortillas
  • brown rice, not white rice
  • whole wheat bread/flour, not white bread/flour
  • whole wheat/multigrain pasta, not regular white pasta
  • an orange, not orange juice
  • etc.

Basically, carbs should come with fiber. If they don't have fiber “holding them down” (as I like to put it), the sugar from the carbs goes into my bloodstream way too quickly. Sourdough acts just like Snickers, Rice just like Reese's, and Penne just like Pie. Hypoglycemics and diabetics have bodies that overreact to these kinds of foods, but I don't think the refined carbs and sugar are good for anyone, really. But, as I said earlier, I'm not really trying to convert you. Maybe.

Fruit juice may have vitamins, but it doesn't have the fiber of the fruit itself. Also, it's less filling for the calories. Check the fiber content as well as the sugar content when you read labels at the store. You want your bread to have at least 2 grams per slice – the more, the better!

I got a new cookbook!

I'm so excited! I was over at my friend Anne-Marie's apartment the other night, and was enthralled by a cookbook she had on her coffee table: The Farm to Table Cookbook by Ivy Manning. So, I had to go buy my own copy yesterday. (You should visit her website, because she has some of the recipes posted.)

Subtitled "The Art of Eating Locally," the recipes are all about what to get at the farmer's market in each season, and what to do with it when you get home. The pictures are gorgeous, and there are charts to help you figure out which heirloom tomatoes are which, and what all those different types of squash are. Some of the recipes - Whole Wheat Penne with Wild Mushrooms, Seared Broccoli and Sweet Onion Salad, Roasted Butternut Soup in Dumpling Squash Bowls - are already friendly to my no-sugar-no-refined-carbs-hypoglycemic diet (which is also good if you're diabetic, by the way), but others will have to be adapted.

Next, I think I'll post some quick tips for what to look for when you do tweak an ordinary recipe to fit the Filthy Sucre standard...