New Year. New Me. And a Recipe!

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Many of you know that I’ve been making a solid effort to become a healthier me. I’ve been at the gym regularly. I took up hiking and even running. All of that culminated with my very first 5K! That’s all been really exciting and I totally do feel much healthier… but the one area that I really struggle with is food. I ask myself some of the same questions regularly:

  • How much food?
  • What kind of food?
  • When should I be eating?
  • How much protein is enough?
  • Do I have to eat like a caveman?
  • Are there foods that will decrease that bloated feeling?

I’m sure that many of you have asked yourself some of these questions before. I’m please to announce that I’ve partnered with MILK in a campaign to help spread the news about healthy eating (especially in the morning). Did you know that between 6am and 8am are your “power hours”? Starting your morning with high-quality protein will help you to stay fuller longer and help you (and me) to stick to those healthy eating resolutions!

As part of my partnership with MILK… I’ve been paired up with a Registered Dietician. Her name is Michelle Dudash and she’s pretty darn amazing. Michelle and I will be meeting up to discuss my goals, answer my questions, and even create some recipes that work for me and my family. At our most recent meeting… we talked about protein. I struggle to remember what foods have protein in them beside meat. I really don’t want to eat meat all the time just to get in my protein! Michelle helped me find other ways to get in my protein: nuts and seeds, eggs, yogurt, beans, cheese, and Milk! There’s 8g of protein in an 8oz glass of milk!

We started by taking a look at my morning routine and what sort of breakfast recipes will fit for my family. I’ve started with smoothies. The girls LOVE smoothies! And they’re so quick and easy to make! I don’t have to worry about the girls getting hungry at school because I know that the protein in milk and the fruits and veggies we’ve added will keep them full through lunch time. Here’s our current favorite:

Sneaky Green & Berry Smoothie with Ginger:

(I modified Michelle’s recipe just a bit to fit my family)

1 small banana, peeled and broken into chunks
1 cup of baby spinach (you can also use kale… I do)
1/2 cup of blackberries
6 ounces of low-fat Milk
1/4 cup of orange juice (I leave the juice out of Allison’s smoothie because of her diabetes)
3 peeled, thin, slices of fresh ginger root
6 ice cubes
Combine all ingredients in a blender, and working up to a high speed, puree until smooth.
Prep time- 5 minutes
Makes 2 servings

Michelle and I did a news segment recently. Don’t judge my on camera skills! But you can check it out below. We share some healthy and protein packed breakfast ideas for you and your family. I hope you’ll keep coming back. I’ll have something new each week to share!

Segment Link: http://www.azcentral.com/video/3033012592001

Disclaimer: I am a paid spokesperson on behalf of milk. As always… I would never share anything with you that I wasn’t behind 100%. Not for all the money in the world! xo

Get Fit! Coming Soon…

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Healthy things are happening up in this house…

Stay Tuned! #GotMilkGotProtein

Thai Chicken Curry — Slow-Cooker and Figure Friendly!

Don’t like ethnic food?  Don’t like Crock Pots?  This post is not for you.

I LIVE for curries.  Thai, Indian, I don’t care.  Flavorful?  Oui.  Spicy?  Only spicy enough to knock my socks off.  The more habañero, the better!  I don’t have enough recipes which call for habañero peppers, though.  This is why I depend on my totally not-neighbors to the far east.

I can put together a mean curry-in-a-hurry on the stove top, for sure.  But that recipe takes some attention and is not very healthful–still I indulge, because I cannot stay away from curry for more than a week.  But this recipe is delicious, spicy, and uses up only about 1/3 of my daily Weight Watchers points (without the rice, that costs extra).

This recipe is not kid-friendly.  It’s spicy.  But my kids’ bland palates are not the boss of me, and it satisfies my craving for Thai and my craving for Thai is definitely the boss of me.

Wait no longer.  Here, I give you Thai red curry chicken in a slow cooker.

Ingredients:

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  • a couple boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • a can of lite coconut milk
  • small jar of red curry paste (or use green curry paste.  I’m not the boss of you.)
  • a couple handfuls of small red potatoes, or medium/large sized potatoes sliced in half.  Enough to fill the bottom of your crock.
  • half an onion, sliced into forkable pieces
  • two large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2″ pieces
  • as much fresh garlic as your palate requires (at least 6 cloves, if you’re me), pressed, chopped or grated to your preference
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • enough green onion to float your boat (or 2-4 sliced scallions, if my casual measurement scale aren’t to your liking)

Whisk together in a bowl the can of lite coconut milk and about half the jar of curry paste.

Don’t forget to use a “Crock Pot condom”–or what the Reynolds company more blandly calls “slow cooker liners“.

Place the potatoes, onion, red bell pepper, carrots and garlic on the bottom of the slow cooker.  Pour coconut milk mixture over the veggies.

Place raw chicken breasts on top of veggies, and use a small spatula or spoon to scoop out the remaining curry paste and coat the top of the chicken breasts with it as evenly as you can.  Add a sprinkle of kosher salt if you want to eventually die of heart disease, or skip this step if you trust me.

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If your slow cooker has a timer setting, use it.  If your slow cooker only has low – med – high settings, get a new Crock Pot, or Google how long it takes to thoroughly cook raw chicken using your preferred setting.  (It’s something like four hours on high, or six hours on low, FYI.)

Towards the end of cooking, use metal tongs to shred the chicken within the crock (this should be easy–the chicken should shred itself if you even just glare at it at this point).  Just before serving, add sliced green onion and pulled cilantro leaves to the crock, toss to coat, and re-cover for a few minutes.

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Serve over rice (I prefer jasmine or basmati).

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DEEELICIOUS.

*I added a few tablespoons of peanut butter to the recipe when I made it.  I am not afraid of the taste of peanut butter outside of a sandwich so this seemed like an okay idea at the time.  It turns out that the mixture tasted better without the peanut butter.  It was still delicious, but the pb turned the dish into something else–heavier, more savory–but not what I wanted.  If you want to go this route, add the pb with 30-60 minutes to go in the cooking process and mix/whisk well, and plan to agree with me that you shouldn’t have done this at all.

 

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Cassandra can be found on Twitter @aclevergirl.  Learn more about her family’s unique challenges and why they have hope for a cure for muscular dystrophy at byrdsforacure.org.

I Send Myself Packages…

I love packages. Although… I must admit… I’m spoiled. Packages arrive at least once a week at our house. Some of them I agreed to write about. Some of them arrive in hopes that I will write about them. And some of them… I order. (I’m an Amazon junkie and I need help.)

A few of weeks ago… I was emailed a $50 gift code for Shari’s Berries for a PR campaign. (Thanks!)  I asked Cass if she could think of any reason to send off a gift basket. Neither of us came up with anything better than a “Just Because” basket to a friend. And these are Shari’s Berries… they are much more deserving of delivery than “just because”. So… I sent them to myself! After all… it is my birthday on Saturday. (November 3rd… for those of you who may have needed a reminder! Hehe…)

I glanced through the online store… drooling. And immediately thought of my Allison and how it would be really awful of me to order a basket full of sugary treats that she could only enjoy in tiny portions. Diabetes sucks… Then I saw it. The Sugar Free Treat Basket. That settled it!

The code was easy to use and the delivery calendar was a breeze. Whoever designed the delivery calendar was a genius. Anywho… this was a Thursday and I picked Monday. No extra delivery charge. Awesome.

The basket arrived and I didn’t happen to be home. My sweet girls left it undisturbed until I arrived… despite the warnings printed on the box of perishable food items… haha. Nothing inside was harmed though! We tore into that basket and nearly enjoyed every morsel that very night. Allison loved the sugar free dark chocolate covered almonds. Rachel adored the chewy sugar free gummy bears. And we all learned that we LOVE pistachios. Who knew?

Why am I sharing this all with you? Because you needed to know how easy it was to order from Shari’s Berries. You also needed to know how fresh and delicious our basket was. And you needed know that it’s o.k. to send yourself packages… even if your birthday isn’t this weekend!

So… in conclusion… Special days (or any day) + Shari’s Berries gift baskets = YAY!

Chick-O-Stick Cookie Recipe: Diabetes Friendly

Hi Friends!

I rarely bake. But I had these lovely candies from Atkinson’s Candy Company on my counter and I couldn’t help but take a shot at whipping up some cookies using them! These cookies not only taste amazing… but they contain only 7.5g of Carbohydrates! This is a fantastic little treat that doesn’t require me to give Allison any additional insulin. Around here… we call that a “free snack”. As you can imagine… free snacks are popular.

Here’s the recipe I used. I’ve adapted a basic peanut butter cookie recipe to make it low-carb and diabetes friendly.

Ingredients:

1 cup of peanut butter (You could use low carb for this and make your treats even lower in carbs…I used regular Peter Pan)

1 cup sugar substitute (I used Splenda)

1 egg

1 tsp of vanilla extract

6 finely crushed bite sized pieces of Chick-O-Stick

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl.

Scoop rounded teaspoons of the mix onto your cookie sheet. (I was able to get 12 cookies)

Bake on 350* for 12 minutes or until cookies have set.

Allow your cookies to cool before eating or they’ll fall apart!

That’s it!

Have you had a chance to check out Atkinson on Facebook and Twitter? You totally should. Join in the fun! Contribute your recipe ideas or be a part of fun contests held regularly on their page.

Disclosure: I was compensated by Atkinson Candy Company to write a promotional post and participate in a Twitter party on the evening of Oct. 2nd. This post was a bonus for you! Just for fun and to fill my tummy with cookies. *nom*

 

 

Diabetes and My Love/Hate Relationship With Sugar Free Candy

Ever since Allison was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes… I’ve had a love/hate relationship with sugar free treats. OK. Mostly *hate*. Too much sugar is a bad thing for someone with diabetes. We try to avoid it the best we can. I’ve written before about allowing Alli to participate in birthday parties by making adjustments to her insulin. I don’t shelter her completely from sugar… but I am choosy about what I do give her. Sugar free candy is one of those things that I just avoid. Why? Well…

Most sugar free candies are indeed sugar free… but… they are high in carbohydrates. Carbs become sugars and sugars spike Allison’s blood glucose level. Having Diabetes means that her body doesn’t produce insulin. Insulin is what helps to regulate a normal person’s blood sugar. So even if a candy is sugar free… if it’s high in carbs… that negates the idea of it being sugar free in my eyes.

Well meaning friends and relatives have purchased “sugar free” treats for Alli. The first thing I do is look at the label. If it has more than 10g of carbohydrates… I already know I’ll have to adjust her insulin to have the treat. Often times full sugar candies are better for her as a treat than the “sugar free” kind. I think what bothers me most is that the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation endorses some of these treats. That gives parents a false sense of trust. As parents, we can’t accept that. Just because something is endorsed doesn’t mean that it’s good for our child. Check the labels and be informed.

Do I *love* anything about sugar free treats? I do. I love treats that are sugar free and low in carbohydrates. This isn’t an easy thing to find. I actually had given up actively looking until I heard from Atkinson Candy Company. Who? The Atkinson family has been making candy in Texas since 1932! Their brands have been around for what seems like forever to me… Could candy that was created in the 1930’s possibly be relevant to me or my readers? They told me about their sugar free line of candy and asked if I’d take a look at it. Scott, the candy rep, had a sweet southern drawl. I was tempted to give into his smooth gentile ways but I stuck to my guns and said… “I can’t write about your candy unless it’s low in carbs. I’ll have to look at the labels.”

*yay me*

And I did look. The sugar free candy from Atkinson Candy Company is indeed sugar free and low in carbs. Allison’s favorite is the Peanut Butter Bars. They have a total of 8 carbs. They’re a crunchy little candy with a burst of peanutbuttery goodness. It’s a treat that satisfies even my sweet tooth! The best part about this candy? I don’t have to make adjustments to Allison’s insulin.

*hallelujah*

I’m going to write a bit more about the Atkinson Candy Company in the next week or so. I’m having some fun playing with it… I have a recipe in the works to share. Oh… and did I mention they also manufacture gluten free treats? Yeah. I’m a fan. And you can be a fan too by reaching out to them on Facebook and asking your own questions about Sugar Free. I know you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Just like I was.

*This is a multi-channel compensated campaign. I would never accept such a campaign, had I not truly loved the product. All views are my own. All of my daughter, Allison’s views are her own. Had she tasted the candy and spit it out… you would not be reading this post right now. *much love* -Kelly

 

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