Friday, December 30, 2005

Very First Post - With Trepidation and Anticipation

I guess it's time to join the wonderful community of cooks and bloggers. I'm inspired by Sweetnicks, whose cooking-related blog is my favorite place to visit. I plan to focus my blog on my endless fascination with food, with food that tastes great, food that is USUALLY healthy, and recipes that have been given to me by family and friends. I was just diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes a couple months ago, so I'll also be talking about my search for good diabetic recipes. I'm a camper, meaning my husband (DH) and I go out a lot in our pop-up tent trailer, so I'll also have great recipes here for camping - both with and without electricity. Most importantly, I suppose, will be the family heritage recipes - the ones that are tried and true, passed down from both my family and from my husband's.

So - what's for dinner tonight? I'll start with a favorite: Lemon-Garlic Schwenks. What's a schwenk? When we were stationed in Germany (Zweibrucken Air Base), a popular food in that part of Germany was the schwenkbraten. It's a boneless pork sirloin marinated in curry powder, garlic powder, parsley, paprika, sliced onion, and oil, then grilled and slapped on a crusty roll. No cookout or carnival at ZAB was complete without the POL troops manning a booth that had schwenkbraten. DH loved to cook them; keeping them warm in a pan of German beer was crucial. While I still make the German kind of schwenks, I discovered a new marinade for boneless pork sirloin that my family likes just as much.

Marinade for Lemon-Garlic Swenks

1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1-2 tsp chopped garlic
1 t dried oregano
2 T dried parsley

Marinate the pork sirloin in it for a few hours or overnight, then grill. Serve on a crusty sandwich roll.

Now, since I'm watching carbs, I'll be eating mine without the bread. As side dishes, we're having Jamie's Choppped Salad and my 4-bean salad. I throw the bean salad together every once in a while to get some beans into our diet. I switched from sugar to splenda a few months ago and don't even notice the difference in taste.

Cyndi"s Four-Bean Salad

2 T finely diced onion
1/2 c white or cider vinegar
2 T Splenda granular
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 14-15-oz. can cut green beans, drained
1 14-15-oz. can cut wax (yellow) beans, drained
1 14-15-oz. can red kidney beans, drained
1 14-15-oz. can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained

In medium bowl, whisk together the onion, vinegar, Splenda, salt, and pepper. Add beans. Stir to mix.

Jamie's Chopped Salad is an adaptation of one I got from "the naked chef," Jamie Oliver. I've made it fit two people (since
DH eats two bowls). I added crumbled blue cheese to mine, which reminds me of my first tip for this blog:

CYNDI'S TIPS: Store dry cheeses in the freezer - they'll last for months. By dry cheeses, I'm talking about grated cheddar, swiss, mozarella, and parmesan, as well as block or crumbled feta and blue cheese. I keep the cheeses in plastic zip bags, and can take out just what I need.

Anyway, on to the recipe:

Jamie's Chopped Salad

1 head romaine (the heart - from a bag of three), sliced and then chopped
about 3" of a cucumber, peeled, diced
2 small roma tomatoes (or other ripe tomato), diced
thinly sliced purple onion to taste

3-4 T red wine vinegar
3 T olive oil
1/4 t salt
1/8 t (one twist of the grinder) black pepper
3 t Splenda granular
1/8 t paprika

Whisk together the vinaigrette, toss with the salad. Add blue or feta cheese crumbles, if you like.

Okay, now it's on to dessert. I crave sweet stuff in the evenings, and sometimes I just don't want another sugar-free jello or pudding cup. Tonight we'll have some of my cranberry-orange bread that I made yesterday. I started cooking with whole grains, and really don't use white flour any more except for thickening gravy or coating meats before sauteeing. This bread is dense but the cranberries make it moist. The dried cranberries, which are sweetened, offset the tartness of the fresh ones, and using Splenda helped cut back on some of the "bad" carbs. This bread is high in protein, too, so two slices make an excellent breakfast.

Whole Wheat Double Cranberry-Orange Bread

1/2 c butter, softened
2/3 c honey
1 1/2 c Splenda granular
3 eggs
2 c orange juice
3 2/3 c whole wheat flour
1/3 c nine-grain cereal (can substitute oat or wheat bran)
1/2 c powdered milk (I use Milkman brand)
1/4 c ground flaxseed
2 t baking powder
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 T dried grated orange peel
2 c chopped pecans or walnuts
1 bag (about 2 cups) fresh cranberries
1 6-oz. package (about 1 1/3 cups) dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325˚. Grease two 9-inch loaf pans. Cream the butter and honey; beat in Splenda, eggs, and orange juice. In a separate bowl, stir together all dry ingredients (except nuts and berries); add them gradually to the liquid mixture. Fold in nuts and cranberries. Turn the batter into the prepared loaf pans. Bake 1 1/4 hours. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to finish cooling.

GREAT FIND: Crystal Light's "on the go" packets. They are perfect for diabetics - and anyone trying to lose weight. One little packet sweetens a 16-oz. bottle of water, and they come in several different flavors. The orange flavor tastes like Tang, which I like, and there's also raspberry (which tastes like kool-aid), tea, and lemonade. I've also seen a green tea flavor made by Lipton. I keep a bottle mixed up all the time, and it's a great drink when I don't want a carbonated soda or sugary fruit juice.

1 comment:

Cate said...

Congrats on the new blog! If you need any help, feel free to drop me a line. My grandfather was in the Army and my Mom was stationed in Germany for awhile - printing out the recipe.