April 28, 2008

A Weird Meal

As has become our habit, Ben and I cooked dinner on Sunday. It was a weird meal. I thought the recipe was weird to begin with because the serving instructions didn't seem to match the meal itself. It was called a "casserole," but it was really a skillet meal made with ground beef rather than chicken or steak.

It actually turned out ok, but I would say it is more a dip than a main dish. I think it would make a fantastic appetizer. We put ours in taco shells, and that was fine. It actually tasted really yummy even though it looked a little weird.

Basically, the recipe said to fry up hamburger, add in stir fry peppers (we accidentally doubled ours), a can of stewed tomatoes, and 3/4 teaspoon of cumin. Bring it to a boil, then let it simmer for 20 mins. After that, it said to sprinkle cheese and some crumbled chips on top.

We began in good faith, accidentally doubling the peppers, but so what? I added in a half a can of black beans because I thought it looked weird and I can usually eat anything if there are black beans in it. Then, after about 15 minutes, we decided it looked kind of like soup, so I decided it would be a great idea to throw in a half a pack of shredded cheese. This made it even more soupy, if you can believe it. So, basically, it was cheesy and good, and we threw it in taco shells rather than put chips on it (fewer carbs) and added lettuce on top. Then it was pretty yummy. We woulnd't eat it every day, but it was acceptable, and we didn't need to throw away the leftovers and never speak of it again.

I would not advise making this as a main dish. This is a chip dip, not a dish to sit down and eat with a fork, no matter what the recipe says.

On the whole, we had a meal, and it was pretty good, and we might even make it again. I wouldn't say it was 5 stars or anything, but it wasn't half bad.

Posted by LoWriter at 01:56 PM | Comments (3)

April 21, 2008

Another Winner!

We made another great meal on Sunday for lunch. This one came via the magazine Diabetic Cooking from a co-worker. I can't seem to find the receipe on the website, probably because it's in the last year. It was pretty good, so I'm thinking of subscribing, especially since it seems that the receipes are not online.

You Need:
1 box of pasta (we use Dreamfields--it may be false marketing, but it claims it's only five carbs per serving, and we're believing them until we hear otherwise)
3/4 bag to 1 bag frozen broccoli (it calls for fresh but why when frozen is so cheap and easy?)
A couple of carrots. Maybe like 4. Depends on how much you like carrots.
1 teaspoon veggie oil
2 (or more) large cub frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Dried thyme
(the original recipe called for 1/2 teaspon. I used 2 teaspoons because we thought we were quadrupling it, but that did not turn out well. Go easy on the thyme.)
1 red bell pepper
2 green bell peppers
Black pepper
to taste
Some crumbled feta (original called for blue cheese, but Ben doesn't like it)

1) Cook the pasta like you normally would. 3 minutes from when it's finished, add the broccoli and the carrot to the pot.

2) While you're doing that, fry the chicken over medium heat (we used medium-high, but my stove is crappy). Add thyme and salt if you want some (we used salt). Stir it until it is cooked and not pink anymore.

3) Take out the chicken (set it aside on a plate) and throw the peppers in the pan. Coat them with non-stick cooking spray. Fry/stir them until they are sort of like fajita peppers. Take the pan off the burner.

4) Drain the pasta. Save some water (they said 1/3 cup, but like I said, we made a great big batch). This seems to help things mix up better. Throw everything together and sprinkle on some pepper. Add the cheese and stir some more. Cover and let sit for five minutes.

A serving size is 1 and 1/2 cups. The original version was 309 calories and 33 grams of carbs. We probably cut the carbs back a lot with the pasta. We made a lot so we would have left-overs for lunches.

I would say this is a medium recipe as far as how hard it is to make because you have to time everything pretty well.


Posted by LoWriter at 10:37 PM | Comments (4)

April 15, 2008

We're All Getting Old

There was a time when 10:30 on a Tuesday night meant just one thing: Beer night was just getting started.

These days, we still go, though not as religiously, but when we go, we start earlier and we put away fewer beers. Sometimes, we don't go, and that's ok, too, because then I can type blog entries and watch TV in my PJs and be in my bed before the second episode of Sex and the City gets underway.

On weekends, I'm finding that I do less. I do more laundry and less running around. I spend less money. I eat more fruit. I drink fewer rum and cokes. I go out to the movies less.

And in some ways, this is beneficial. I don't wake up on Wednesdays feeling like someone drove over my head, and my arms don't ache all over in every joint, and I don't feel like I sucked on a sock all night. In addition, My body seems to like to go to bed at the same, reasonable hour every night rather than staying up until 2 or 3 or even 6. My spending is down because I am cooking more because we have grown-up, old-people problems like my high blood pressure and his diabetes, etc.

But you know what? I miss my social life. I feel like it is DOA, MIA, and whatever else you want to call it. I miss sitting around and drinking beers and having fun, meaningless conversations about things I can't remember clearly in the morning. I miss running from one social activity to the next on a Saturday, sometimes seeing three or four people or groups of people in one day and never needing to sleep. I miss Sunday brunch after church. I miss games. And it's nobody's fault; it's not like we're avoiding each other. We're all just feeling older right now.

I never thought I would get old. And everybody I work with is like, "Oh, you're a baby." False! I am not a baby. I get tired at 10, and I want to be in my bed by 10:30. If I'm up until midnight, I suffer the next day. S-U-F-F-E-R. And I have never needed sleep. Now, I like to nap when I get home from work. I like to go to bed early. This from the girl whose mom used to tell her that she couldn't get up until the clock had chimed six times. If that doesn't make me old, I don't know what does.

I gotta say, I thought getting older would be more exciting. I thought I was done with my quarter-life crisis, but it turns out that I'm just having a really early and long mid-life crisis. I thought by now I'd know what I wanted, and I would go get it, and I would have the resources to attain it.

Turns out, what I want right now is more sleep (and a pudding pop). And since I do have the resources to attain ithat, I'm going to go get it.

Posted by LoWriter at 11:04 PM | Comments (1)

April 01, 2008

Sweet Success and Becoming 87

A couple of you already know this, but Ben has given me permission to write about my feelings about it and thus broadcast it to the world.

We found out several weeks ago that Ben has diabetes.

It's surprising how much of an effect this news can have on a person. I knew he was getting tested, but as far as either of us knew, he hadn't been sick, and it was an extra test he asked for just as a precaution. So, when he told me, I was pretty freaked out. I didn't know if he'd have to give himself shots or if he was going to die or lose an appendage or how any of this stuff worked. I spent whole days worrying that he was going to go into shock or a coma or who knew what because his sugar was too high or too low. I felt like it was all my fault, that if I'd been a better woman and made him eat better, then he wouldn't have gotten it. In short, I was a nut case. For days. For weeks. More so than usual.

He doesn't have to give himself shots. He just has to count carbs. This does not mean that he should stop eating carbs; in fact, he has to eat between 3 to 5 "carb choices" (45 to 75 grams) per meal to keep his sugar from dropping too low. And I have been coming along for the ride because I need to lose weight, too, and this is a healthy option for doing so. It's actually the way everybody should balance out their diets, according to the nurse tonight. (Though women should eat between 45 and 60 carbs per meal.)

And at first, it was really exhausting (and, let's be honest, it still is on a Friday night when my stupid job has sucked the big one all week, and I just want a cheesburger in a sack to console myself with). We have to do a lot of math when we're figuring out our meals. We can't just walk into the kitchen and grab whatever we want and call it good. We have to calculate what will get the most diversity of foods in the carb limits with enough food to fill him up so that he won't be starving and crashing by the time the next meal rolls around. This means we have to cook, which neither of us enjoys, but we're both getting better at. And it means that we cook as a team. (He handles the raw meat, which means I can eat meat that didn't come in deli slices.)

And there's so much to learn; for example, we just found out that dietary fiber can be subtracted from total carbs (according to his nurse). (So, Dr. G, the word on the street is that Dreamfields pasta is better for you than regular pasta. Sorry for the previous misinformation; we are taking the box to class with us in two weeks to see for sure.) But it has gotten less exhausting as we've started to memorize how many carbs are in things.

And today, we finally got to go to our diabetes education class (he can bring a guest)! Today, he found out that his A1C went down from 7.2 to 6.2, in about a month, which is apparently pretty rockin' awesome, and the nurse at the class practically gushed over us. Today, I feel so much better.

I have a real need for positive feedback, and I was really needing some today. Ben has also been telling me all along how much I'm helping him, but I'm a perfectionist, so I always feel like I could be doing better and being more supportive. I feel guilty if I eat cereal around him or have one more piece of bread than he does, and it's not because he makes me feel that way. I just feel that way on my own.

So, it was good to hear that I am not holding him back and that I am helping in some real solid ways. I feel energized to work harder and lose more weight myself (13 pounds so far, though), and I feel like I am gaining tools that I asked my doctor for, but they wouldn't give me. The nurse was really impressed that we were both asking good questions. She was very, very impressed with Ben's efforts and how much they'd paid off.

Actually, Ben got kudos all around from the nurse and the doctor this morning and from the nurse tonight. :) He's been a real trooper, and I'm very proud of him. He is exercising and filling out his blood sugar book and eating better, and I am impressed. I wish I was as dilligent as he is.

So, we have been eating a lot of veggies and fruits and meat and cheese (though he has eaten less cheese than me, and this is probably why he is winning the weight loss race--see cheese has no carbs, but it has tons of fat). I mostly hate meat (I'll eat it in a restaurant, but I rarely cook it myself), and prior to this, I suspect that Ben hadn't seen a vegetable since 1987. (No, PopTarts are not a vegetable, for the last time.)

Essentially, we have been in low-carb hell.

But Ben is just trucking away, and it doesn't seem to phase him much, and I am so impressed. He has helped with planning meals (and we are spending a lot of time planning meals these days), and he has started packing a lunch, and he is doing everything they told him to do.

In the beginning, I joked that it seemed a little like we skipped over our life and now we were 87, wandering through the grocery aisles arguing about whether or not we can both still eat lima beans.

But by and large, I feel like the worst has blown over. We eat a few more salads and not so many noodles, and this is probably a good thing. And I've been impressed with us as a team. We have really been working well together and hitting our stride pretty quickly, considering that neither of us knew anything about diabetes a month ago. We pull well together. We take care of each other. I feel like if this is a taste of what we'll be like together when we're 87, then bring it, life. I'm all game.

And with any luck, if we keep changing things now, we'll still both be around to see 87.

So if you see us arguing about the lima beans, avert your eyes. We'll still be holding hands when we eventually navigate out of the frozen section and leave the store, and that's all that matters.

Posted by LoWriter at 11:09 PM | Comments (6)