It’s March and I’m sick and tired of oatmeal. Nothing personal against the humble grain, but somehow over the winter months I had become like a Pavlov Dog. The sun would rise and I would find myself automatically measuring one-half a cup of organic oats with one-and-a-half cups of water and a pinch of salt. After stirring hypnotically for five minutes I would “reward” myself with the finished product.
I snapped out of this routine when the gang called to say they wanted to come down to our cottage on the Jersey Shore for an early spring visit. How could I deny my fellow friends with diabetes a chance to escape the stress-laden asphalt of New York City? “Sure!” I said, “Come on down!”
Since all of us consider ourselves diabetic gourmets, and had all been eating oatmeal all winter, I was pressed to prepare a special breakfast for my guests. Stirring my oatmeal that morning, I daydreamed of a cool March morning kitchen with arcs of frost lingering on small windowpanes … an open fire crackling and a wood stove with a well seasoned cauldron of savory onion soup simmering for later in the day … I pictured hot nourishing breads announcing themselves from the oven, silver bowls of tangerines and ripe pears, a smoked ham and a carafe of vintage burgundy slumbering on an old oak sideboard. I could almost smell the hot tea with fragrant cardamom pods brewing in a big, white porcelain teapot. I wanted to sit here until June reading poetry, Dickens and Colette, glancing outside from time to time to watch tender buds blossom.
This daydream inspired me to create the following breakfast menu. We measured cautiously and sliced thinly so we could taste all the sumptuous foods. Then, with spirits filled with laughter and bellies filled with food we geared up in turtlenecks and windbreakers for an invigorating hike on the beach to insure good blood sugars and breathe in the fresh salty air of spring on the Jersey Shore.
Custom Blend Granola
(Makes 8 cups)
In this recipe you can mix, or use all of one kind of nuts and fruits, or eliminate either. Eight cups is a nice big batch that should last about a month. Store in an airtight container.
4 }cups rolled oats (Thick rolled oats from a health food store are best since they are fresher, sweeter and chewier than the commercial brands.)
1 }cup seeds (sesame, sunflower or a combo of the two)
1/2 cup raw wheat germ or bran
2 tablespoons each of honey and maple syrup warmed with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, grated orange zest and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
Optional: chopped or diced dried fruit (8 apricots and 1/4 cup raisins) and 1 cup nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans and/or cashews)
1. For the right bite size, halve the nuts. Toast in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until they begin to color, about 3 minutes.
2. Add oats and seeds. Stir for about 2 minutes.
3. Add wheat germ (or bran). Stir for 1 minute.
4. Remove from heat. Add warmed honey/maple syrup mixture and stir into nut mixture.
5. Spread on cookie sheet and toast for about 15 minutes at 325 degrees turning carefully and thoroughly every five minutes.
6. Stir in fruit (optional). Place paper towels over granola until cool. Break up and store in an airtight container.
An ample serving size is 1/2 cup granola plus 1/2 cup milk.
Estimated Nutritional Profile: 1/2 cup portion = 205 cal., 30 g carb., 6 g protein, 5 g fiber. 1/2 cup 1% milk = 60 cal., 6 g carb., 4 g protein, 3 g fat.
Optional: 6 nuts = 5g monosaturated fat and 45 calories. 8 apricots = 136 cal., 6.5 g carb., 4 g protein, .8 g fat. 1/4 cup raisins = 180 cal., 30 g carb., 1.3 g protein, .5 g fat.
Santa Fe Railroad French Toast
I’ve carried this recipe around with me for many years. When you try it you’ll understand why. I’m not sure if the story is legitimate, but the friend who gave me the recipe said she discovered this wonderful French toast in the dining car of the Santa Fe Railroad headin’ west where she had breakfast with a Brazilian trumpet player she met on board. She always told intriguing stories that made her recipes so romantic.
3 }eggs or 1 egg plus 2 whites
1/4 cup 1% milk
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 }cup corn flakes
4 }slices dense wheat bread
1 }teaspoon sugar (optional)
1. Whisk together eggs, milk and nutmeg. Pour into flat bowl.
2. Coarsely crumble corn flakes on waxed paper.
3. Slice bread in half on the diagonal and dip both sides in egg mix. Then press into corn flakes to coat well.
4. Melt butter in large skillet over low heat. Add bread slices and cook until golden on each side. Sprinkle with sugar (optional).
Estimated Nutritional Profile (with three whole eggs): 270 cal., 31 g carb., 11 g protein, 10 g fat and 1.5 g fiber.
I make a batch of apple/pear butter and use sparingly on the French toast (or on plain toast or mixed into yogurt).
1} pound pears
1 }pound Golden Delicious apples
3/4 cup water
1 }teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 }teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
A dash of nutmeg
1. Wash, core and chop one pound pears and one pound golden delicious apples.
2. Add 3/4 cup water and one teaspoon fresh lemon juice.
3. Boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
4. Puree fruit and return to liquid.
5. Add one teaspoon grated lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg.
6. Simmer for about 1/2 hour on very low heat until thickened.
Estimated Nutritional Profile: 1 tablespoon = 15 cal., 3 g carb.