A Week of Cooking

Rustic Sourdough Bread--part of this last week of cooking
Rustic Sourdough Bread

Living with Diabetes

Anyone who knows me knows that I live with a chronic condition called diabetes mellitus. Many Americans do. It is a national health crisis–one for which the medical profession claims there is no cure. I have read many articles claiming that medical science is wrong. I can’t say, but I know what works for me. And I’m here to share my findings with you. Here’s how I got through the last week of cooking.

It may seem ironic that a post about living with diabetes would open with a photo of bread. Bread is one of the worst offenders when it comes to spiking blood sugar. There are those, however, who claim that sourdough is “healthier.” Alina Petre, MS, RD (ML) wrote for the website Healthline, “Why Sourdough is One of the Healthiest Breads.” She gives various scientific reasons why sourdough isn’t as likely to spike your blood sugar. She also explains why sourdough is easier to digest and lets your body absord more nutrients than regular bread. I won’t go into those here. If you’re interested, read her article. Also know she’s not the only one saying these things.

The bottom line is that I don’t live alone. And I doubt that many of my readers live alone. That means making tradeoffs when it comes to food. I love broccoli, for instance, but Kevin will not eat it. These days, I make broccoli beef with cauliflower. I have no idea why he finds cauliflower acceptable but hates broccoli. But that’s one of the facts I have to deal with when planning meals. Another fact is that everyone in this house (including me) loves home-made bread. So if I’m going to bake bread, I’ll bake sourdough and then watch how much of it I eat. Everyone is happy that way.

This Week’s Cooking

I started the week by baking the loaf of bread shown above. I followed a recipe closely–the King Arthur Flour Rustic Sourdough Bread recipe. The one point I deviated from the recipe is in the baking. I have come to love baking bread in a cast iron Dutch oven. Most of the recipes I have seen say to heat the Dutch oven in the oven for up to an hour before putting the bread dough in the pan. I have found that a half hour works just fine. I will not go into the mechanics of baking in a Dutch oven. There are plenty of web sites that do just that. All I can say is that I have been very pleased with the way my bread bakes in the cast iron.

Keto Baking

Surely you have heard of the Keto Diet? It shows up on my web feeds several times a day. At least two of my cousins adopted the diet and loved the results. I’m not going to get into the benefits or potential hazards of following a keto diet. What I know is that there are a seemingly endless supply of “keto” recipes out there that allow me to make things I love. This week of cooking let me try two completely different recipes–brownies and cinnamon rolls.

Keto Brownies

I love brownies. Everyone in my house loves brownies. Is there anyone anywhere who doesn’t love brownies. The trouble comes with the sugar and flour. We usually have a Costco sized box of Ghirardelli’s Triple Fudge Brownie mix in the pantry. Right now, there isn’t one, so I looked on line to find that your typical brownie has 14 to 26 grams of carbohydrate. Now when you’re trying to keep your total meal count to under 30 grams, that would mean a brownie is a full meal. Uh-huh! I don’t think so.

A pan of Keto Brownies (less than 2 grams carb per brownie) part of my week of cooking
Keto Brownies

Searching on line for “Keto Brownie,” the first site that came up was Chocolate Covered Katie–the Healthy Dessert Blog. Her recipe looked quick, easy, and I had all the ingredients, so why not. The recipe was quick. It was easy. One problem. The recipe calls for 2/3 cup  granulated erythritol. I took that to mean Swerve. I now keep Swerve in the cupboard, and had an open bag.

Unfortunately, that bag didn’t have 2/3 cup inside. Rather than open a new bag to complete the recipe, I dipped into my granulated stevia bag instead. Big mistake. While I used at most 1/6 cup of the stevia, it was noticeable. Turns out chocolate and stevia don’t play well together. Even with that little bit of stevia in the mix, you notice an aftertaste–an unpleasant after taste. Guess that means that I’ll be the only one eating the brownies. Oh well. There are worse fates. These brownies have less than 2 grams of carbs. I can handle that. I eat them with a cup of hot tea–and I always put stevia in my tea.

Keto Cinnamon Rolls

If you thought that counting a brownie as a full meal was hard, imagine what it’s like looking at cinnamon rolls. Again, looking on line, I found that a cinnamon roll can have as many as 100 grams of carbohydrate. That means that one cinnamon roll has all the carbs I can eat in a single day. But man does not live by cinnamon rolls alone.

Last week, this recipe for Low-Carb Cinnamon Rolls showed up on my Facebook feed. Now I like cinnamon rolls, but can take them or leave them. Kevin, on the other hand, LOVES cinnamon rolls. I thought this would be a good way to make breakfast for the whole house. This time, I followed the recipe exactly. Well almost.

The recipe supposedly makes 12 rolls. I got 8. The recipe says to cut the dough into strips before adding the cinnamon/”sugar”/butter mix. I thought–you don’t do that with regular cinnamon rolls, so I left the dough flat on the counter and brushed the melted butter mix onto it. I then tried to roll the dough up into a log–the way you do with a yeast bread based roll. It didn’t work so well. But with Kevin’s help, we got the dough rolled, then cut.

With only 8 rolls, they didn’t fill the pie pan. Kevin just reached over and shoved all 8 into the center of the pan. As they baked, they spread. As you can see in the photo, I ended up with a pretty flat mess. Tastes good, but looks terrible. Still at only 14 grams of carb, I can live with the bad look. (Kevin didn’t like them at all.)

Low-Carb Cinnamon Rolls

Fathead Bread–a Side Trip

I first heard about fathead bread when I looked for a pizza dough that wouldn’t raise my blood sugar. I later found a recipe for bagels that weren’t carb heavy. In short, fathead “bread” is a mixture of grated mozzarella, cream cheese, and either coconut flour or almond flour. It’s amazing just how bread-like it is. But, word to the wise, it’s a b*tch to work with. Especially if you’re using coconut flour. Talk about sticky dough. But it tastes great, and is so light I’m surprised it doesn’t float away. The cinnamon rolls use fathead bread, and I ended up leaving them in the oven for an additional 15 minutes. They were so light, I didn’t think they were done, even though the toothpick came out clean. I recommend fathead bread if you’re looking to cut carbs.

Last nights supper–the end of a week of cooking

I was busily engaged in reading when Kevin asked how long it would take to make chicken and dumplings. This is a comfort food, and not one that is especially low carb, but I usually make it in the slow cooker. My grandmother made chicken and dumplings, and taught Momma how to make it. I grew up with the dish and love it. Using a slow cooker, I can throw the dish together, set the timer on the cooker, and forget about it. I dare say it’s one of the few dishes I make that actually tastes better than Momma’s.

Yesterday, when Kevin posed his question, it was after 3 p.m. We didn’t want to wait until 7 (or later) for supper, so I looked for an Instant Pot™ version. There are lots, suffice it to say. I didn’t find anything that particularly appealed, so I took several different recipes and mixed and matched. Neither Kevin nor I thought this tasted as good as my normal, but I didn’t use cream of mushroom soup in the mix. One thing I did try–and this went completely against everything I “know” about dumplings: they cooked along with everything else under pressure.

I just this week discovered that I have a recipe widget in my WordPress pack. This is the first time I have ever used it. Hope it works as well as it looks. (Silly mean, I thought I had to number the steps. Turns out the widget does that automatically. That’s why the step number shows up twice. Live and learn.) Oh, and the next time I make this recipe, I’ll put the cream soup in the pot. Don’t judge me.

Instant Pot™ Chicken and Dumplings

bryandspellman
A quick way to fix a family favorite
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 3 mins
Time for cooker to come to pressure and then release 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 5 men

Equipment

  • Pressure Cooker

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb Chicken (boneless, skinless)
  • 3 each Carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 each Celery stalks, chopped
  • dash Onion powder Substitute 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • dash Poultry Seasoning
  • 4 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 Tbsp Butter Substitute Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream (Optional)

Dumplings

  • 1 cup All purpose flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup Buttermilk Substitute regular milk

Instructions
 

  • 1. Make dumpling batter: mix flour, baking powder, salt, and optional dried parsley
  • 2. Break egg into 1 cup measuring cup and beat lightly.
  • 3. Add enough buttermilk (or milk) to make 1/2 cup.
  • 4. Mix liquid with dry ingredients to make a soft batter, and set aside.
  • 5. Set Instant Pot™ to sauté
  • 6. Chop vegetables
  • 7. Cut chicken into 1" square pieces
  • 8. When Instant Pot™ reads "HOT", melt butter and add onion powder and poultry seasoning. Stir to blend. (If using chopped onion, add it now and stir for approximately 5 minutes or till onion softens.)
  • 9. Add vegetables and stir to soften (3 minutes).
  • 10. Add chicken broth, stirring to deglaze pan
  • 11. Add cut up chicken, and stir to mix veggies and chicken
  • 12. Using an ice cream scoop, drop balls of batter into the broth
  • 13. Turn off Instant Pot™
  • 14. Lock lid and close vent
  • 15. Set Instant Pot™ to Pressure Cook for 3 minutes
  • 16. When cooking time is up, let vent naturally for 15 minutes, then release remaining pressure.
  • 17. Stir in heavy cream being careful not to break the dumplings
  • 18. Serve and enjoy
Keyword chicken, dumplings, pressure cooking, soup, stew

Instant Pot™ Chicken and Dumplings

So much for a week of cooking

As I write this, I have the cast iron in the oven with more sourdough baking. I will keep up trying to balance my dietary needs with the tastes of my housemates. It’s what we do, right? And while we’re at it, check out my recipe page where I have linked to a variety of recipes I’ve either tried, or want to try. Some of those may well find their way into another week of cooking. And as for my health? This mornings blood glucose reading was 93–that was with 2 bowls of chicken and dumplings for supper. Something’s working. Two months ago I had trouble getting my sugar below 150.

Until tomorrow, as they say on The Great British Baking Show, “Ready, Set, BAKE!”

TTFN

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