Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Disappearing Gingerbread House

Evie made a spectacular gingerbread house in her class on Wednesday! It was great fifth grade Christmas fun. She brought it home carefully and put it on top of her dresser.

Evie and her gingerbread house

Note the presence of a roof. And the copious amount of candy decorating the roof and yard.

This….is the same house, this evening:

Pilfered gingerbread house

I was perplexed why her blood sugar was 476 mg/dL at 1:00am, but I think I have a pretty good idea now of what happened!

Anyone else have a T1D with a massive sweet tooth?

Why I’ll Never Buy Microwave Popcorn Again

PopcornI love popcorn. And my kids love popcorn! Plain popcorn is a healthy, crunchy, whole-food snack with only 6 grams of carbohydrate per cup (popped). What I don’t like, however, is popcorn smothered in butter, oil, and sugar and/or salt. I want it PLAIN.

I also want it to be quick, and without a lot of fuss, or an extra appliance to fiddle with. I tried Alton Brown’s Good Eats method once, but the process of shaking a metal bowl of kernels over a gas burner was cumbersome, and it turned my bowl black (and it was HOT!). I need something more kid-friendly.

Enter the microwave, the quintessential convenience tool. Throw in a bag, enter the time, stand back and listen for the POP. Great, right? Except that most of the microwave popcorn found on grocery store shelves is full of ingredients that make me cringe.

Even the few labeled “Home Style” and “Natural,” and the organic varieties, contain tons of oil (usually soybean or palm oils, sometimes partially hydrogenated) and salt. The worst offenders contain nasty ingredients like diacetyl, which gives a butter flavor, chemical preservatives and colorings, and artificial flavoring agents. To top it off, the bags are lined with PFCs (perfluorinated compounds). Yum.

So it dawned on me yesterday that there wasn’t really anything special about microwave popcorn. I have paper bags. I can buy plain popping corn. And sure enough, it was a breeze to make. Here’s what we did:

Evie measures out the popcorn into a brown paper lunch sack

The right amount of popcorn for a brown paper lunch bag is between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup. Our first try resulted in a bag that opened up mid-pop, so we solved that problem by threading it closed with half of a wooden skewer. I think a toothpick would work just as well.

A wooden skewer keeps the full bag closed while the corn pops

A wooden skewer keeps the full bag closed while the corn pops

We set our microwave for 4.5 minutes, and it finished popping around 4 minutes. Every microwave is different, so make sure you listen for when the popping slows to 1 or 2 per second to avoid burning.

Evie pours perfectly fluffy and white popcorn into a bowl

Evie pours perfectly fluffy and white popcorn into a bowl

Open the bag carefully (it’s hot!), pour into a bowl, and munch away! If you’re not really as into plain popcorn as I am, here are some fun recipes to try:

Source: foodgawker.com via Angie on Pinterest

Quick Lunch: Madras Lentils and Spinach

This is my latest go-to quick lunch for busy weekdays, when I often only have the time (and the inclination) to throw something in the microwave. It’s usually dinner leftovers, but those run out. This is a great alternative to a pb&j when you need a speedy meal that’s both filling and healthy.

I buy these shelf-stable packages of Tasty Bite pre-cooked Madras Lentils at the grocery store (in the Natural Foods section at Fred Meyer) or Costco. They contain 2 servings per package, but I’ve found the whole package to be a nice amount for lunch.

INGREDIENTS:
Water, Tomatoes, Lentils, Red Beans, Onions, Cream, Salt, Butter, Sunflower Oil, Chilies, Cumin.

All you have to do is tear the top of the pouch about two inches, toss the whole thing in the microwave for 90 seconds, and then pour it into your favorite bowl.

photo 1

Like so.

photo 2 The lentils will be piping hot at this point. To boost my veggie intake for the day, and to add some crunch, I pile on a big heaping handful of spinach leaves. The hot lentils will wilt the spinach slightly, but you can return it to the microwave for another 60 seconds or so if you like your spinach softer.photo (1)Voilá! A 300 calorie lunch packed with Vitamin A, fiber, B-Vitamins, essential amino acids, and trace minerals, made in under two minutes. Throw a kiwi (or other Vitamin C rich food) onto your plate to increase your iron absorption from the lentils and spinach, and dig in!photo 4

Calories: 307, Carbohydrate: 37 gm, Protein: 8 gm, Fiber: 11 gm. Vegetarian. Gluten-free.