Saturday, August 30, 2014

Apple Spice Wheat and Flax Muffins

Good Morning! Summer is winding down for us in the US. As fall starts to roll in, that means apple season is starting! Fresh apples are such a delicious treat and while the majority of the apples are not ready quite yet for picking and eating, our local supermarket had a great deal on some apples that I just couldn't resist. I also had made a promise to my aunt that I would try my hand at a recipe she had found for whole wheat and flax seed apple muffins. I finally got up the courage to try making these muffins, making only a couple of changes from the original recipe. I also used to calculate the calories, fats, carbohydrates, and proteins in this recipe, since the box didn't have that information available. Too bad, since the recipe is actually quite reasonable in terms of calories, fat, and carbs! The basic recipe can be seen here, if you look at the back of the box. You need:

1/4 cup Milled Flax Seed
3/4 cup Whole Wheat Graham Flour
3/4 cup White Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp Ground Clove
1 Egg, beaten
3 Tbsp Canola Oil
1/2 cup Skim Milk
1-1/2 cup Finely Chopped Apples
1/2 cup Chopped Nuts (optional; I did not use)

Heat oven to 400F (204C). Blend flax seed, flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove in medium bowl. In large bowl, combine egg, oil, and milk. Carefully blend the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, stirring until the ingredients are just wet. DO NOT OVER STIR. That is the key to tender, yummy muffins. If you keep stirring after the dry ingredients are moist, the muffins will be tough. I find using a wooden spoon seems to work best to stir muffin batter without over stirring it. Finally, fold in the apples and nuts (if you're using nuts). Batter is very thick! Line your muffin tin or spray the tin with non-stick spray, fill 2/3 of the way up with the batter, and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the top springs back when touched. Makes 12 muffins.

When I put the ingredients into, I found the entire batch as I made it (no nuts) has 1,755 calories, 57.4 grams fat, 212.5 grams carbohydrates, and 38.4 grams protein. Now, I know I wouldn't eat all 12 muffins at once, but would eat one. Dividing the batter by twelve, each muffin has approximately 146 calories, 4.78 grams fat, 17.70 grams carbohydrates, and 3.2 grams protein. Not bad, all things considered! In addition to the muffin, I had some turkey bacon, a 3-3/8 ounce apple, and a 6 ounce container of Yoplait light yogurt. Together, that's approximately 48g carbohydrates, for which I take 2.5 units Humalog.

If you decide to add in walnuts (for example), each muffin will have approximately 178 calories, 7.95 grams fat, 18.38 grams carbohydrates, and 3.94 grams protein. Adding nuts does increase the fat content, but for people who are not quite used to restricting their fat to around 5 grams per serving, the nuts will make the muffins seem more moist and more like what they are expecting their muffin to taste like. Be aware, though, that the more fat you consume, the longer the carbohydrates will stick around in your system, which will keep your blood sugars higher for a longer period of time, so keep that in mind.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Spicy "Fried" Chicken

Though summer is coming to an end, tonight felt like one of those night when some good, old fashioned food might taste good. Lately, chicken has become B-O-R-I-N-G and often times it's dry and not very good. Then, if I buy fried chicken, which is usually juicy and full of flavor, I know it's also full of calories, fat, and carbohydrates that are not good for anyone, and especially not for me with my diabetes and my tendency to high cholesterol. So, tonight, I decided to try my hand at making "fried" chicken -- a first for me!

The basis for the recipe comes from the book Diabetes Meals on $7 a Day -- Or Less (2nd Ed) from the American Diabetes Association and is Marilyn's Spicy "Fried" Chicken. It's a fairly simple recipe and my adjustments have been deemed "delicious". The original recipe calls for:

3 egg whites
1 1-oz packet ranch-style salad dressing mix
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
5 6-oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
cooking spray
1 tablespoon corn oil

I didn't have any ranch style salad dressing mix and I thought I could spice this recipe up even more, so I made some adjustments:

3 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
pinch of salt
3/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
5 6-oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon canola oil

Heat your oven to 375F (190C) and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Whisk egg whites in a large bowl and set aside. Place bread crumbs and seasoning in a large, zip lock plastic bag and mix well. Dip the chicken pieces in the egg white, making sure the chicken is completely covered. Then place each piece in the bag with the bread crumbs and seasoning, shake until covered and place on the baking sheet. Yes, this is very much like a homemade Shake-N-Bake, but one good thing about making this yourself is that you can control your ingredients and your spices. Want this spicier? Increase the Cajun seasoning and the paprika. Craving an Asian flair? Use Chinese 5 spice in place of the other spices except for the garlic (garlic is wonderfully versatile!). It's up to you how you flavor your chicken!

Bake for 20-25 minutes, then brush the chicken with the oil. Return the chicken to the oven and bake again for another 10 minutes. Juices should run clear and there should be no pink evident when done. 

The recommended serving size is 3 ounces and has 187 calories, 7 grams fat, 7 grams carbohydrates, and 24 grams protein. Though packaged Cajun seasoning is loaded with salt, since I used only 1/2 teaspoon over 30-oz chicken, I believed that there was far less salt per serving of chicken than when I use the Cajun seasoning as a rub. 

Admittedly, this is not like Grandma's fried chicken or even KFC, but it's also a whole lot less greasy than the pre-made stuff. It also didn't take very long -- Had I not had to help a neighbor, it would have been done and plated in about 35-40 minutes. But, that's OK. I  don't mind helping friends and it didn't take any longer than if I had gone to a store and bought the not-so-healthy chicken instead. And, I love trying new recipes and this definitely was a winner!