Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mexican-Style Chicken and Bean Salad

I am always looking for more ways to bring vegetables forward to center stage, instead of putting them off to the side as if an afterthought. Main dish salads are a great way of doing just that! But when I tell my husband we're having a big salad for dinner, he puts on his skeptical face because he thinks he's going to starve tonight. I see him eyeing his chip and junk food cabinet (kept high out of my reach) even before I pull out the skillet to begin cooking. This hearty salad is far from skimpy. It contains high fiber beans and lots of chunky vegetables in a spicy sauce that more resembles a casserole than any salad. I included a few stone-ground tortilla chips to further the Mexican theme and provide a satisfying crunch that makes it a complete meal.

Mexican-Style Chicken and Bean Salad
(Makes 4 meal-size servings)

1 head of chopped or shredded iceberg lettuce
½ tablespoon olive oil
10 ounces chicken tenders (about 4 or 5), cut into 1-inch pieces
½ onion, sliced thin
1½ cups broccoli florets, fresh or thawed from frozen
¾ cup zucchini, quartered and sliced
15 oz. can of reduced sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
14.5 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with liquid
½ cup frozen corn
½ teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
½ teaspoon cumin seed
½ cup prepared salsa (mild or medium)
¼ cup chicken or vegetable stock
¼ cup sliced olives, drained
2 tablespoons fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried)
Salt and pepper to taste
24 tortilla chips (or substitute a gluten-free chip, if desired)

1. Divide the chopped lettuce equally among the four serving plates; set aside.

2. In large skillet, heat oil on medium high and brown chicken, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and browned. Add sliced onion to pan and cook until soft and translucent. Add ingredients listed from broccoli through olives and cook for 5-6 minutes until the broccoli is tender-crisp or cooked to your liking. Add chopped parsley and stir to combine. Check seasonings and add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Serve over lettuce along with 6 tortilla chips per serving. If desired, break chips over chicken-vegetable mixture and toss before spooning over lettuce. Serve immediately. (If storing any leftovers, do not add tortilla chips until serving time to retain crispness.)

Nutritional Information per serving: 330 calories, 46 g carbohydrate, 8 g total fat, 0.3 g saturated fat, 8 g fiber, 27.7 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mini Boston Cream Pies

Boston Cream Pie is my all-time favorite dessert. Whenever I have a special occasion to celebrate, this is what I want. The morning after my only child was born, my husband brought a slice of Boston Cream Pie to me in the hospital to celebrate. On Christmas Eve, most often this is the crowning touch to our family meal. However, the spike in my BG that invariably would come after even a small slice took a lot of the enjoyment out of this rare treat. It has been a personal quest of mine for the past few years to come up with a lower carb version that doesn't sacrifice on texture and flavor. There have been some down & out failures, some acceptable but less than satisfactory attempts but, finally, I am happy to report that my mission has been accomplished with this recipe! The best part is that these mini cakes are already portioned and can be assembled as needed, so I won't be tempted to sneak an extra generous slice from a whole cake smiling up at me.

Many people wonder why it's called Boston Cream Pie, instead of cake. The history behind that seems to be that Americans in the mid-1800's most often baked their cakes in pie tins because the average homemaker didn't have specialized cake pans, which were not common until much later. This particular recipe came on the scene around 1856, when the Parker Hotel in Boston first served it under the name "Parker House Chocolate Cream Pie." It's popularity has spread and endured for over 150 years and there's no wondering why: Thick vanilla cream sandwiched between two layers of light, flavorful spongecake and dripping with chocolate. How can anyone say no to that? Especially now, when the total net carbs per serving is 16.2 grams and they're as easy to prepare as cupcakes!

Mini Boston Cream Pies
(Makes 12 individual servings)

¾ cup almond flour (or finely ground blanched almonds)
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup sugar, divided
½ cup Splenda granular (not baking blend)
2 eggs, separated
¼ cup canola oil
1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons milk
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

For filling:
2 oz. mascarpone cheese (can be found in the specialty cheese section of grocery)
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pkg. sugar-free, fat free vanilla pudding mix (the one that makes 4 servings)

For chocolate glaze:
1/3 cup 73% chocolate chips
1/3 cup light cream or half & half

1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Prepare muffin pan by spraying with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a small mixing bowl, measure flours, baking powder and salt; set aside. Separate egg yolks from whites, putting each into separate mixing bowls; set egg whites aside.

3. In the mixing bowl with the egg yolks, add 2 tablespoons sugar and Splenda and beat with a handheld or standing mixer until mixture is very light in color and increased in volume, about 2 minutes. Add the oil and vanilla and beat for another minute. Add milk and beat on low to medium speed until well combined. Add dry ingredients all at once. Beat on low speed only until flour mixture is fully incorporated; set aside.

4. Remove beaters from mixer and wash thoroughly with dishwashing soap and warm water. Rinse thoroughly to remove any residue of soap. (It is important to get them very clean.) Rinse beaters under cold water and then dry completely before reinserting them into your mixer. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Add 1/3 of the egg whites to batter and fold until batter has been lightened and egg whites are fully incorporated. Add remaining egg whites in two batches and gently fold with each addition just until no streaks remain.

5. Using a ¼ cup measure or ice cream scoop, fill each muffin cup ¾ full. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cupcakes will not brown much, so watch carefully and do not overbake. Allow cupcakes to cool in pan for 3-5 minutes and then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

6. While cupcakes cool, make filling. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese, milk and vanilla with a wire whisk until well combined. Add the pudding mix and beat for 2 minutes. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes until quite thick and set.

7. When cupcakes are completely cooled, take a serrated knife and cut one cupcake in half and place top side down on serving plate. Spread 2 level tablespoons of the vanilla filling on cake, place the bottom half of the cupcake on top of filling. Repeat with remaining cupcakes.

8. Measure chocolate chips into a small bowl. Make chocolate glaze by heating cream until beginning to simmer. (Cream may be heated in a saucepan or in the microwave.) Pour hot cream onto chocolate chips and allow to sit for about 15-20 seconds. With a whisk, stir chocolate mixture until all the chips have melted and the mixture is smooth. Allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes. Glaze should be slightly thick, but still pourable. If too thick, add ½ teaspoon cream and stir. Drizzle or swirl 1 teaspoon glaze over each cupcake allowing it to drip down the sides. Serve immediately or refrigerate for 20-45 minutes. (NOTE: If not serving all the cupcakes, store uncut cakes in an airtight container or freeze. Fill and assemble within an hour of serving time, although assembled cakes can be refrigerated for up to 45 minutes.)

Nutritional Information per serving with filling and glaze: 214 calories, 18 g carbohydrate, 13.8 g total fat, 3.8 g saturated fat, 1.8 g fiber, 4.5 g protein.

Nutritional Information per cupcake only: 128 calories, 10 g carbohydrate, 8.7 g total fat, 0.8 g saturated fat, 0.9 g fiber, 3 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

How does this recipe compare with a slice of traditional Boston Cream Pie? It is much lower in calories and fat, appreciably lower in carbohydrates and sugar grams, and higher in fiber. For comparison, the average nutritional information for one slice of Boston Cream Pie made from a traditional recipe is 490 calories, 55.5 g carbohydrate, 27 g total fat, 0.25 g fiber, 5 g protein.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sausage-Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Zucchini is abundant at this time of year and, if you have a friend with a garden or have one yourself, you're probably knee-deep in this versatile squash. This easy recipe is a great way to put them in the spotlight as a main course. The turkey sausage is spicy and flavorful, so that not much else is needed to dress up the mild tasting zucchini.

If you want to make a vegetarian version, use meatless ground soy crumbles instead of the precooked link-style "sausages" and spice them up by adding your own garlic and italian herbs. Another suggestion is to take thawed Morningstar Farms Veggie Sausage Patties and break them up in the skillet with the onion and tomato. They have a nice sausage-like flavor and are appropriately spiced for this dish.

Sausage-Stuffed Zucchini Boats
(Makes 4 servings)

2 medium to large zucchini
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 sweet Italian turkey sausages, casings removed
1 large plum tomato, seeded and chopped
½ onion, chopped
½ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon parsley, minced
¼ teaspoon basil, minced
¼ cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)

1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet with olive oil or non-stick cooking spray. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Using a grapefruit spoon or teaspoon, scrape out seeds and hollow out center of each zucchini half. If necessary, cut a thin slice off skinned side to make it sit level on the baking sheet. Sprinkle each with salt and pepper; set aside.

2. In skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until browned, breaking up with spoon into small pieces. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to soften. Add chopped tomato and herbs and cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add bread crumbs; stir to combine.

3. Divide sausage mixture evenly among the four zucchini boats. Using a teaspoon, pack mixture into each cavity until filled to overflowing. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until zucchini is fork tender, but not too soft.

Nutritional Information per serving: 220 calories, 12.5 g carbohydrate, 12.2 g total fat, 2.75 g saturated fat, 2 g fiber, 19.2 g protein

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

Fresh Peach Custard Tart

This phenomenal dessert is a fabulous way to showcase the fresh peaches that can be found in your grocery store or farm stand this time of year. It is elegant enough for company, but really simple to prepare because the tart shell is a quick "press in" crust, so there's no need to find your rolling pin or make a mess on your counter. Pies are difficult for carb-conscience eaters because a purchased pie shell or traditional pie crust recipe will turn any sugar-free, low carb filling into high carb, guilt-burdened fare. This easy crust is extremely low carb because it uses almond flour in place of wheat flour, which is a difference of 89 grams of carbohydrate for 1¼ cup, plus the addition of 15 grams of fiber! The creamy "custard" filling is completely milk-free. Instead I used the natural sweetness of pureed fruit as the base of the cooked pudding, so very little added sweetener is required. The result is a light, beautiful dessert in which the fresh peach is the star attraction!

Fresh Peach Custard Tart
(Makes 8 servings)

1¼ cup almond flour (or finely ground blanched almonds)
¼ cup Splenda granular
½ teaspoon salt, divided
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon melted butter
2 fresh, ripe medium to large peaches
1½ tablespoons lemon juice, divided
About ½ cup water + 2 tablespoons cold water, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch (gluten-free, if desired)
½ cup Splenda granular
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Sprinkle of ground cinnamon for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. In food processor or medium mixing bowl, measure almond flour, ¼ cup Splenda, ¼ teaspoon salt and pulse to break up any clumps in the flour (or stir with fork). While machine is on, stream in melted butter until mixture resembles wet sand (do not over process because you do not want almond butter) or combine with fork. Once the mixture is thoroughly moistened, spread evenly into a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. With your fingers, press into bottom and only slightly up the sides of the tart pan making certain that it is evenly distributed and there are no thin places. Bake in oven for 15-18 minutes until very lightly browned. Remove to wire rack to cool completely before proceeding, about 45 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 375-degrees. To make filling, peel one fresh peach and cut into chunks. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and process in food processor or blender until pureed. Add enough water to equal 1 cup (about ½ cup) and process again to make sure mixture is smooth.

3. Place 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoons cold water into small saucepan; stir until cornstarch is dissolved. Add peach puree, ½ cup Splenda, ¼ teaspoon salt, nutmeg, and beaten egg. With a wire whisk, stir mixture until well combined. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thick and spreadable (boiling is not necessary). Remove from heat and add vanilla. Spoon onto prepared tart shell and spread evenly almost to edges.

4. Peel and thinly slice remaining peach. Toss with remaining ½ tablespoon lemon juice. Arrange peach slices decoratively on top of filling in a spiral pattern. Sprinkle top of peaches with a dusting of cinnamon. Place tart on a cookie sheet and cover loosely with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, only removing foil for the last five minutes.

5. Remove to wire rack. If your peaches are especially juicy, there may be small puddles of peach juice around peaches or on filling, dip the corner of a dry paper towel to soak up any standing peach juice. Cool completely. To serve, remove tart from pan by pushing up on the removable bottom. Tip: Because crust is delicate and flaky, allow tart to remain on bottom tin while cutting. Slide a spatula between bottom tin and crust to loosen each piece before carefully lifting and placing on individual serving plates.

Nutritional Information per serving: 179 calories, 11 g carbohydrate, 13.8 g total fat, 3.7 g saturated fat, 2.3 g fiber, 4.8 g protein

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

How does this recipe compare with a traditional peach tart? You might think a peach tart would be a lower carb choice because it doesn't have a top crust, but you would be mistaken. The bottom crust alone contains 1¼ cups wheat flour, not to mention the loads of sugar in the filling! The carbohydrates in my recipe are mainly derived from heart-healthy ground almonds and naturally sweet fresh peaches. For comparison, the nutritional information for a same size piece of peach tart made from a traditional recipe contains an astonishing 380 calories, 53.9 g carbohydrate, 17.8 g total fat, 8.5 g saturated fat, 1.6 g fiber, 3.5 g protein.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Anyway You Like It" Vegetable Bean Soup

Nothing is more comforting to come home to on a crisp, autumn day than a pot of warm soup full of freshly harvested vegetables. I love to make it on weekends, then have delicious, healthy leftovers for lunch for the rest of the week. No matter what type of soup I'm making, very often I'll throw beans in the pot to boost the fiber and protein. There's a trick I've learned to"degas" beans and minimize any discomfort later. Simply add baking soda at the end of the initial cooking, then rinse and finish cooking with stock, vegetables and seasoning. Unfortunately, this won't work with canned beans, that's one reason I like cooking my own.

I call this recipe "anyway you like it" soup, because there are many ways to prepare it. For example, if you don't have time to soak and cook the beans, simply use a variety of canned that have been rinsed before adding them to the stock and reduce the cooking time. Also, I suggest using turkey sausage, but you can substitute any meat (such as leftover ham or ground beef) or leave it out altogether to create a vegetarian soup. Finally, use whatever vegetables you have on hand. Carrots, celery, butternut squash and turnips will need more cooking time, but add soft vegetables (such as zucchini and peas) at the end. Make it your own way and enjoy the harvest!

"Anyway You Like It" Vegetable Bean Soup
(Makes eight 1½ cup servings)

1 pound dried beans (choose a variety or use a dried bean mix)
1½ teaspoons salt (optional)
1 tablespoon baking soda
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery (including leaves), diced
1 (14 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes (if using fresh, add at the end with spinach)
½ pound sweet turkey Italian sausage, casings removed (optional, or substitute another meat of your choice)
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (or to taste)
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1. Look over beans to make sure there are no stones and rinse. Cover with cold water and allow to soak overnight or for at least 3-4 hours. Drain and rinse soaked beans and place them in a large pot. Cover with fresh water, add salt and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Add baking soda to pot and stir to release gas in beans. (Note: The mixture will foam and bubble so, if necessary, do this in the sink in case hot liquid overflows the pot.) After foaming has ceased, drain and rinse beans and return them to pot.

2. Add stock to beans and set aside. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in skillet and add onions. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until onions are soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add sausage (or other meat of your choice) and saute until browned, breaking up meat into bite-size pieces with spoon as it cooks. Add about ½ cup stock from bean pot to skillet and stir to release any flavorful brown bits from bottom of pan. Add onion mixture and liquid in skillet to beans.

3. Add chopped vegetables, tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper to beans and stir. Simmer for 50 minutes or until beans are tender, stirring occasionally. (Depending on type of beans used, it may require more cooking time. Taste beans to determine doneness.)

4. Add spinach and boil for 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings before serving.

Nutritional Information per serving: 205 calories, 27.2 g carbohydrate, 3.4 total fat, 10.4 g fiber, 16.3 g protein

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fresh Peaches and Cream Pudding

Peaches are my all-time favorite fruit. A fresh, ripe peach is perfect just the way it is, but add a little cream and it becomes divine! You'll notice that this pudding recipe is different than most because it doesn't have milk or eggs as the base. Ripe, sweet peaches are the main ingredient, so it explodes with intense fresh fruit flavor that has been kissed with velvety creaminess. It's lightly spiced to replicate the taste of peach pie or cobbler, minus the high carb crust. (Note: If you wish to create a gluten-free or milk-free version, just substitute gluten-free tapioca and/or use vanilla flavored soy or rice milk for the cream.)

This soft set pudding is ideal for an afternoon snack or dessert. Thanks to the high fruit content, a serving fulfills one of your fruit requirements for the day…in a most delicious way!

Fresh Peaches & Cream Pudding
(Makes 4 servings)

6 medium ripe peaches, peeled and cut into chunks
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup Splenda, granular
2 tablespoons light cream (or half & half)
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cardamom or cinnamon
1 tablespoon quick cooking tapioca (dry)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Place peaches in large saucepan, add lemon juice and toss to coat. Add Splenda, cream, spices and tapioca and stir to combine. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before proceeding.

2. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Continue cooking for about 4-5 minutes until peaches are soft and mixture has reached a full boil. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Mash peaches with a potato masher only until pieces are broken down a bit, but mixture is still chunky. Allow to cool for 20 minutes.

3. Ladle pudding into individual serving dishes. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until completely cooled. Pudding can be eaten warm or cold. (Note: This pudding is meant to be soft set, although it will thicken slightly as it cools.)

Nutritional Information per serving: 89 calories, 18.9 g carbohydrate, 1.7 g total fat, 0.75 g saturated fat, 2 g fiber, 1.3 g protein

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Peaches and Ginger Cream Scones

One of my favorite quick desserts is fresh peach topped with crumbled gingersnaps. The combination is sweet, but with a spicy kick from the ginger. This recipe was inspired by that unique combination of flavors. The mascarpone cheese adds a creamy richness to this tender pastry and balances the sharp bite of the ginger. This scone is only small in size, but not lacking in satisfying, full-bodied flavor that will make your next cup of coffee or tea memorable. Weighing in at only 3.7 net carbs each, you don't have to feel guilty about eating two!

Peaches and Ginger Cream Scones
(Makes 32 mini scones)

1¼ cup almond flour (or finely ground blanched almonds)
¾ cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons Splenda, granular (not baking blend)
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons half & half (or light cream)
½ cup fresh peach (about ½ peach), chopped into small pieces
1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, finely chopped
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water for egg wash

1. Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Put butter in freezer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Prepare cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

2. In food processor or in a large bowl, measure flours, Splenda, sugar, spices, baking powder and salt. Pulse to combine or stir with a fork to break up any lumps and set aside while you measure out the rest of the ingredients. Place chopped ginger and peach into a small bowl and toss with 2 teaspoons flour; set aside.

3. When all ingredients are assembled, place cold cubed butter into processor and pulse a few times until butter is distributed and mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg and mascarpone cheese and pulse again to combine. Add peach and ginger and pulse 2-3 times to distribute. Finally, while the food processor is running, add half & half one tablespoon at a time until a soft dough forms, then turn off machine. Do not over beat dough. (If not using food processor, cut butter into flour mixture with pastry cutter. Add remaining ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms.)

4. Turn dough onto a well floured counter or board (the dough will be quite sticky). Knead a few times to form a ball. Again, flour board and pat dough into an 8” x 8” square, about ¾-inch thick. Working quickly, cut dough into 4 strips, and then cut across to create sixteen 2-inch squares. Cut each square into two triangles until you have 32 mini scones. (If necessary, dip knife into flour between cuts to prevent sticking.) Using a spatula dipped in flour, place scones on cookie sheet about 1-inch apart. Brush tops with egg wash.

5. Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer scones to wire racks to cool completely. These are best eaten warm out of the oven, or store in airtight container at room temperature.

Nutritional Information per mini scone: 69 calories, 4.3 g carbohydrate, 5.3 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0.6 g fiber, 1.6 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Salmon with Peach in a Balsamic Reduction

Every year I patiently wait for the perfect peach. Even though they show up in the stores in early summer, they tend to be hard as baseballs with no telltale peach aroma. Sometimes I fondle their fuzzy exterior, but these tasteless imitations are just a tease. So, I put them down reluctantly to wait for the real thing. Today I am happy to report: My peaches have arrived! My love affair with my favorite fruit can recommence, but we only have a few weeks together before it will go away again for another long year.

This is a super quick and easy recipe that I made especially for my salmon-loving daughter who is home visiting from college this weekend. The combination of the sweet, ripe peach and the balsamic vinegar is delightful and fresh tasting. Even though the days have cooled and we're wearing our long sleeves again, this dish sings to us the last tune of summer and helps us recollect fond memories of warm, lazy days gone by.

Salmon with Peach in a Balsamic Reduction
(Makes 2 servings)

2 center-cut salmon fillets (5 oz. each, no skin)
½ tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil (for high temp cooking, not olive oil)
salt & pepper
1 ripe peach, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks (reserve 4 thin slices for garnish)
¼ cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons agave nectar (or 1 tablespoon honey)

1. Heat a heavy skillet over medium to high heat (I use a cast-iron skillet). Season salmon fillets with salt & pepper and rub the oil on each side. When skillet is very hot, place the oiled salmon in the pan and do not disturb for at least 2 minutes until a brown crust has formed. Turn salmon and sear other side for at least two minutes. Turn again and complete cooking to desired doneness. (If you like your salmon on the rare side, the 2 minutes per side should be fine. I like mine cooked through to flakey and no longer pink in center, which takes another 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook, or fish will be dry.) Remove to serving plate and set aside.

2. Add chopped peach to hot pan and stir fry for about 1-2 minutes. Add stock, vinegar and agave nectar and stir to deglaze any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until sauce is reduced by half and slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Divide fruit and sauce evenly over salmon. Garnish with reserved peach slices and serve.

Nutritional Information per serving: 357 calories, 25.8 g carbohydrate, 6.8 g total fat, 2.75 g saturated fat, 1.1 g fiber, 35.15 g protein

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Caramel Apple Tea Bread

It's still the height of apple season here in Maine and I continue to be drawn to cooking and baking with these heavenly globes of goodness. Take my word for it, your whole house will become infused with the glorious splendor of autumn when the aroma of this moist, delicious bread floats out of the oven.

The addition of apple butter in the recipe gives it a boost of intense apple flavor that could not be gotten from ordinary applesauce. Also, the caramelized apples in the fruit butter combine with the tiny bit of molasses to produce a slight undertone of rich, creamy caramel. To get this same caramel flavor, traditional apple bread recipes require a cup or more of brown sugar! I think you'll agree that this low-sugar bread has a satisfying level of sweetness without all the added refined sugar that creates havoc on any person's blood glucose level, not just a PWD (person with diabetes). Of course, this bread is perfect for breakfast or with tea, but also it's an excellent snack paired with sharp cheddar cheese or slice it thin to make a wonderful peanut butter sandwich (no jelly needed).

Caramel Apple Tea Bread
(Makes 12 servings)

¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup almond flour (or finely ground blanched almonds)
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground allspice or cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs + 1 egg white
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¼ cup Splenda granular (not baking blend)
2 teaspoons molasses
¼ cup apple butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup canola oil
1½ medium apples, peeled, cored and grated
½ medium apple, peeled, cored and chopped
½ tablespoon lemon juice, divided

1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Prepare an 8½" x 4½" loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

2. Place the grated apple in a small bowl and sprinkle with half of the lemon juice and toss to coat. Place the chopped apple in another small bowl and sprinkle with the remaining lemon juice and toss to coat. Set both aside.

3. In a medium bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt; set aside.

4. In a large mixing bowl and using a handheld or standing mixer, beat the eggs, egg white, sugar and Splenda on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy (do not underbeat in this step because you need to incorporate air into the mixture). Add the molasses, apple butter, vanilla, canola oil and grated apple and beat for another 30 seconds. Add the dry ingredients all at once and beat on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl once until fully incorporated. Gently and quickly fold in the chopped apple. Pour batter into prepared pan.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Test at 45 minutes and bake longer if additional time is needed. Do not overbake to avoid drying out.

6. Remove from oven to a wire rack. Allow bread to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and continue to cool on wire rack for another hour. This bread can be left at room temperature for 1 day or overnight, or wrap well and store in refrigerator.

NOTE: This batter can be made into 12 muffins. Bake in 350-degree oven for only 15-20 minutes until golden and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not overbake. Cool on wire rack before serving.

Nutritional Information per serving: 163 calories, 15.5 g carbohydrate, 10 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 1.6 g fiber, 4.1 g protein

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

How does this compare with other quick apple bread recipes? This recipe is lower in calories and only half the amount of carbohydrate. It is higher in fiber and protein and is a good source of Vitamin E and monounsaturated fat (one of the good fats) from the almond flour. For comparison, the nutritional information for apple bread or a muffin made from a traditional recipe is 225 calories, 30.5 g carbohydrate, 10.5 g total fat, 0.5 g fiber, 3.5 g protein.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"Apple Pie" Fruit Butter

A few days ago, I made "Apple Pie" Sauce, which was incredibly delicious. My husband enjoyed it with light ice cream and for a week it was my go-to snack! Inspired by the same luscious flavors, today I turned my kitchen into an apple factory to cook up another spectacular creation. It was a bit more involved, but not difficult. First, I made a huge batch of fresh applesauce, then put it into my crock pot to simmer all afternoon and reduce into apple butter, which is a spiced apple spread for toast, waffles, pancakes, or anything in which you'd spread with butter or jam. (In spite of the name, it doesn't contain any dairy butter.) Also, it is a very flavorful ingredient in baked recipes to replace some of the oil or sugar, as you most likely will see used here in later posts. While it was cooking, my house smelled heavenly! It was better than any potpourri you could buy.

There are a lot of apple butter recipes out there, but very few that offer a sugar-free version and not any I could find that suggest adding vanilla with the spices. The vanilla seeds really gives this fruit butter it's distinctive "apple pie" flavor. A typical apple butter recipe calls for 1 or 2 cups of added sugar -- Yikes! In my opinion, if you use a combination of apples that include some sweeter varieties (or you start with "no sugar added" applesauce from the grocery store), you don't need to add any sugar. If your apples are tart, such as the local varieties I have used in my recipe, stevia works just fine. Homemade apple butter is a wonderful gift and this recipe makes enough to share with at least a few special people on your list!

"Apple Pie" Fruit Butter
(Makes about 6 cups)

10 pounds apples (about 34 to 36 medium to large apples), peeled, cored and sliced
1½ tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup apple cider
1/2 teaspoon stevia powder, or to taste (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
¼ to ½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon allspice or cloves, ground
¼ teaspoon salt
seeds scraped from one vanilla bean*

1. Make applesauce by placing sliced apples and lemon juice into a large heavy pot and, without adding water, cook covered on medium-low heat until soft, stirring occasionally. Mash with a potato masher until a smooth consistency has been reached. If desired, you can use a handheld or standing blender, food processor or food mill for an extra fine, smooth sauce. (Note: If you don't want to make applesauce from scratch, purchase 12 cups of no sugar added applesauce from grocery store.)

2. Pour applesauce into a large crock pot or roasting pan. Add cider, stevia, spices, salt and seeds scraped from vanilla bean* and stir to combine. Simmer on medium-low heat for 5 to 8 hours, stirring occasionally, until thick and dark brown in color. (If cooking in oven, set for 350-degrees.) Time will depend on the amount of moisture in the applesauce. You want the mixture to simmer to release the liquid and reduce in volume by about half. You will know when it is ready because, instead of simmering, the bubbles will begin to have a "plopping" sound and the mixture will be very, very thick. You can partially cover pot to avoid splatters, but make sure the steam can escape. (I have seen it suggested to place two butter knives across rim of crock pot and place lid on top to allow a space for steam to escape.) Apple butter will thicken slightly when cooled.

3. If you plan to preserve the apple butter in jars, prepare jars by sterilizing. (Note: Always use new lids, but jars and bands can be reused.) Jars can be sterilized in your dishwasher, or wash with soap and warm water then place in a 200-degree oven for 15 minutes. Lids can be sterilized by soaking in hot (not boiling) water for 5 minutes. Pour hot apple butter into hot jars leaving ¼-inch space at top to allow for a proper seal, wipe rim of jar with dry paper towel, top with lid and tighten band just until finger tight. Do not tighten rim too much or it will interfere with seal. Boil in water for 10 minutes making sure water is at least 1-inch over top of jar (higher altitudes need longer boiling time, check with jar manufacturer for proper amount of time). Remove to a towel on your counter and do not touch for 12 hours or overnight. Test to make sure the top has sealed by pressing on middle of lid. If it is sealed properly, it will not pop up and down.

4. Properly sealed jars can be left at room temperature for storage up to a year. Otherwise, store apple butter in airtight container in refrigerator and use within 2 weeks. (If any jars have not sealed properly, store in refrigerator and use within 2 weeks.)

*Note about the vanilla: Using the seeds from a vanilla bean is preferred. If you don't have that available to add to the sauce before cooking, then add 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract during the final 10-15 minutes of cooking because if it boils too long, extract's flavor will be altered. If you are planning to can your apple butter and you're using extract, the vanilla must boil with the mixture for at least 10 minutes before pouring into sterilized jars.

Nutritional Information per tablespoon: 23.8 calories, 6.4 g carbohydrate, 0 g fat, 0.6 g fiber, 0.1 g protein.

How does this recipe compare with other apple butters made with cider? This recipe is lower in calories and carbohydrates. The average nutritional information for 1 tablespoon of traditional apple butter that includes cider as an ingredient is 45 calories, 11 g carbohydrate, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Salmon in a Lemon Creme Sauce

Have you ever tried to make a cream sauce using sour cream or heavy cream? They can easily curdle if cooked at a high temperature or boiled. Creme Fraiche is a French-style cultured cream that can stand up to heat and will not separate when combined with wine or lemon to create a fool-proof, flawless creamy sauce. Also, it can be whipped with Splenda and vanilla to make a divine, low carb dessert topping. You can find it in the specialty cheese or dairy section of many large supermarkets or at Whole Foods. This product is so popular in England that reduced fat versions are available. Until there is a higher demand for this gourmet item here in North America, our only choice is the full fat version. So, let's create a demand!

Most recipes you'll find that use creme fraiche as the base for their sauce tend to use the whole 8 ounce tub, which is an extremely high 56 grams of saturated fat and 880 calories! In this recipe, I have combined it with stock which cuts the bad numbers by 75% while still maintaining a delicious, creamy consistency. Don't be too concerned about the total number of fat grams in this recipe because most of it is heart-healthy Omega 3 fatty acids from the salmon. This elegant main dish is so impressive, your guests will marvel at your culinary skill. So, just don't tell them how quick and easy it is to prepare! Although I have used salmon, other firm fish can be substituted, such as swordfish, mahi mahi or tuna. In addition, this sauce is equally delicious over chicken.

Salmon in a Lemon Creme Sauce
(Makes 2 servings)

2 center-cut salmon fillets (5 oz. each, no skin)
½ tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil (for high temp cooking, not olive oil)
1 tablespoon shallot, minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
¼ teaspoon dill weed
¼ cup creme fraiche
¼ cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste
Minced parsley or chives for garnish

1. In a small bowl, mix together the creme fraiche, zest, thyme and dill weed: set aside.

2. Heat a heavy skillet over medium to high heat (I use a cast-iron skillet). Season salmon fillets with salt & pepper and rub the oil on each side. When skillet is very hot, place the oiled salmon in the pan and do not disturb for at least 2 minutes until a brown crust has formed. Turn salmon and sear other side for at least two minutes. Turn again and complete cooking to desired doneness. (If you like your salmon on the rare side, the 2 minutes per side should be fine. I like mine cooked through to flaky and no longer pink in center, which takes another 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook, or fish will be dry.) Remove to serving plate and set aside.

3. Reduce heat to medium and add shallot to pan and cook until soft. Add stock, lemon juice and stir to deglaze any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add creme fraiche mixture and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and, if necessary, reduce until sauce is creamy and slightly thickened. Taste to adjust seasonings and spoon evenly over seared salmon. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve.

Nutritional Information per serving: 372.5 calories, 3.1 g carbohydrate, 17.8 g total fat, 9.9 g saturated fat, 0.1 g fiber, 35.25 protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Savory Apple & Cheddar Crustless Quiche

After picking two pecks of apples the other day, I have a lot of apples! Most often they are used in dessert and pastry recipes but, being diabetic and wanting to limit my intake of sweets, I try to be more creative and use them in different ways. This savory custard has only a hint of sweetness from the apple and onion combination. Thyme has an earthy, lemon quality and really adds a special flavor to this dish. This unique crustless quiche will be the star attraction at an autumn brunch or pair it with a salad and toasted cheese triangles for a light meal.

Savory Apple & Cheddar Crustless Quiche
(Makes 2 individual servings)

1 teaspoon butter or margarine
1 teaspoon olive or canola oil
½ small onion
¼ teaspoon salt
2 small apples, cored and cut into chunks
¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Ground pepper to taste
Leaves from 4 sprigs fresh thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried), divided
2 large eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 ounce very sharp 2% milk reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350°F. In small skillet heat butter and oil; add onion, ¼ teaspoon salt and sauté until onion is soft. Add apples, pumpkin pie spice, and pepper to taste and leaves from two sprigs of fresh thyme (or ¼ teaspoon dried). Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples just begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Divide mixture into two 10-14 ounce ramekins or custard cups that have been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. In small bowl combine remaining ingredients and beat until well mixed; pour half of mixture into each custard cup and bake until custard is set, 30 to 35 minutes. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information per serving: 256 calories, 23 g carbohydrate, 13 g total fat, 4.8 g saturated fat, 2.5 g fiber, 14.4 g protein

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

Homemade "Apple Pie" Sauce

Yesterday, my husband and I were walking the dog and commenting how early autumn seems to be arriving this year in Maine. Leaves have already started to change (a month too soon), the sun is setting noticeably earlier, the night temperatures are dropping into the 50's and we're pulling out our long sleeves and jackets from storage again. (Didn't we just put them away last week?) It feels like Halloween could be tomorrow! Even though we haven't done it since our daughter was young, all these sudden seasonal changes gave us the urge to go apple picking, so we did this afternoon and had a wonderful time!

This is first result of that adventure (with many more to come) and it is no ordinary applesauce recipe! It tastes exactly like delicious, homemade apple pie—but without the crust (and the carbs that come with it). It can be served as a dessert, side dish or snack. Since I love the combination of sharp cheddar melted on apple pie, I sprinkle grated cheese over this warm applesauce for a special dessert.

Homemade "Apple Pie" Sauce
(Serves 8)

12 medium baking apples (try to use two different types)
½ tablespoon lemon juice (juice from ½ lemon)
Seeds scraped from one vanilla bean
2½ teaspoons vanilla extract (if not using vanilla bean, increase to 4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ to ¾ cup Splenda granular (not baking blend)
1 tablespoon butter

Core and peel apples. Cut into slices and place in a large pan. Add lemon juice and mix until coated. Do not add water. Cover and cook on medium-low heat, stirring frequently. While the mixture is cooking, add vanilla, spices, salt, ½ cup Splenda, butter and stir. Cook until apples are soft, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and mash with a potato masher to reach desired consistency, but leave sauce somewhat chunky. Taste and, if too tart, add more Splenda 1 tablespoon at a time until desired sweetness is reached. Serve warm or cold. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator.

Nutritional Information per ½ cup: 103 calories, 23.3 g carbohydrate, 1.6 g total fat, 0.9 g saturated fat, 2.3 g fiber, 0.3 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Low Carb Cracker Jack Cookies

I love Cracker Jack, a mixture of popcorn, peanuts with a molasses caramel coating - yum! I remember when a box only cost 10¢. It was always a childhood favorite and I would spend my own money for this special treat. This incredibly delicious cookie mimics those flavors beautifully and will make you think you're a kid at the ball game again! Just like the song says, "...Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack. I don't care if I never get back." With only 1.3 net carbs per cookie, you'll be in sitting in heaven and rooting for more than the home team when you taste these!

Low Carb Cracker Jack Cookies
(Makes 30 cookies)

1-1/2 cup almond flour (or finely ground almonds)
3 tablespoons peanut flour or peanut butter powder (no sugar added)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup erythritol sweetener, granular
1/4 cup brown or golden erythritol sweetener
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon molasses extract (or Yacon syrup)
1/4 cup peanut butter (no sugar added)
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons peanuts, chopped
30 peanut halves for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 325-degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, peanut flour or powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sweeteners together with a handheld or standing mixer until well combined and fluffy. Add the molasses extract or Yacon syrup, peanut butter and beat until mixture is creamy and light. Add egg and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes until well incorporated and slightly thickened.

4. All at once, add the dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Then fold in chopped peanuts using a wooden spoon.

5. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls (or level small cookie scoop) about 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet and press down until 1/2 inch thick. Top each cookie with ½ peanut and press down slightly. Bake until set and just beginning to brown around the edges, about 18 minutes, turning once halfway through baking. The color of the cookies will not change much, so watch carefully and do not overbake. Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool completely. They will crisp up as they cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Nutritional Information per cookie: 71 calories, 2.1 g carbohydrates, 6.4 g total fat, 1.9 g saturated fat, 0.8 g fiber, 2.4 g protein. Net carbs per cookie: 1.3 grams

Photos and recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009, revised 2020
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission.

How does this compare to a traditional molasses cookie with no nuts? My recipe is much lower in calories and carbohydrates, lower in saturated fats and higher in protein. Although my recipe is a bit higher in total fat, it is rich in monounsaturated fat (one of the good fats) from the almond flour, which is good source of Vitamin E and known to be excellent for your heart and overall health. For comparison, the average nutritional information for the same size cookie made from a traditional recipe is 144 calories, 24 g carbohydrates, 4.8 g total fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 0.6 g fiber, 1.5 g protein.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

State Fair Chicken with Caramelized Apples & Onions

There is a definite change in the air here in Maine. The goldenrod is in bloom and, when it is gone, our short summer will be over. On my daily walk, I pass by an apple tree whose branches are heavy with ripe, red apples. It is apple picking season and it makes me think of the caramel apples I loved to eat every autumn at the State Fair when I was growing up. (It's odd, but only in fall do I have a craving for caramel apples. Any other time of year, I wouldn't be tempted.) Maine is known for their tart, crisp Cortland and McIntosh apples. They're too soft for pies, but are excellent for recipes that don't require much cooking time and they make the best applesauce! They become the key ingredient in many of my recipes at this time of year.

Since I can no longer eat them, this recipe is dedicated to the creamy and sharp caramel apples I fondly remember. The candy-like cinnamon and coriander spices combined with the tang from the hot sauce make this savory sauce the perfect compliment to the sweet caramelized onions and tart, still slightly crisp apples. The trick to bringing out the natural sweetness in onions is to cook them slowly for a long time over low heat. If you think you’re not an onion fan, I recommend that you try this recipe. Caramelized onions are not like any raw onion you've ever eaten. This recipe will change your opinion about them forever!

State Fair Chicken with Caramelized Apples and Onions
(Serves 4)

4 (6 oz) boneless & skinless chicken breasts (or 12 chicken tenders)
1 tablespoon olive or canola oil, divided
Salt & pepper
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 small apples, cored and thinly sliced (peel or leave skin, as desired)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ cup apple cider or juice
1 cup chicken stock
Dash of hot sauce (or to taste)
Green onions or chives, chopped

1. Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Place ½ tablespoon oil in skillet and heat to medium-high. Add chicken breasts and cook until browned and almost cooked through, about 5-6 minutes per side. (If using tenders, only cook about 3 minutes per side.) Remove from heat and cover with foil to keep warm. (Do not overcook to avoid meat from drying out. Chicken will continue to cook under foil and later in step #4.)

2. Reduce heat to low. To skillet, add the other ½ tablespoon oil and onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, sprinkle apples slices with cinnamon and coriander and toss to coat. Add to skillet and heat on low until apples begin to soften and onion caramelizes to a golden brown, about 6-8 minutes. Add butter and, when melted, sprinkle flour over apple mixture and cook for 1 minute.

4. Add cider, chicken stock and hot sauce and stir until sauce is smooth and thickened slightly. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Return chicken and any accumulated liquid to skillet and cook briefly until heated through and juices of chicken run clear when pierced with fork. Remove chicken to serving dishes. Divide sauce, onions and apples evenly over chicken and sprinkle with green onions for garnish.

Nutritional Information per serving: 226 calories, 16.2 g carbohydrate, 6.2 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 1.7 g fiber, 29.3 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"Carb-age" Bad Carbs vs. Good Carbs and Eating On the Road

I recently returned home from a vacation. We took a road trip to visit family in Illinois and Wisconsin, which was a long 2000+ mile car drive there and back again. I did my very best to eat right, but quickly became discouraged because dining out for nearly every meal made it quite difficult to eat low carb, high fiber foods that normally keep my blood glucose levels within an acceptable and healthy range. Even though I often chose salads, fish or chicken dishes, said "no" to the french fries that seemed to come with every meal and tried to eat light snacks in the car, I still managed to gain 4 pounds!!! Except in NY state, the food choices at most rest stops consisted mainly of bad carbs: chips, McDonalds, pizza, ice cream and candy. My husband and I came up with a new term for those bad carbs; we called them "carb-age." I liked that word so much, I've been using it ever since when referring to any empty, over-processed, high-carb, low nutrition foods.

I found a short article on the subject of good carbs verses bad carbs that is worth sharing: I think it is a nice, quick overview on the subject that reminds me to always try to make the best choices for the limited number of carbohydrates I can eat in a day and steer away from "carb-age."

My Tips for Traveling:

1. When on the road, it's vital that I plan ahead for snacks in the car or plane. I bring presliced carrots and celery, individually wrapped cheese sticks, small apples, cheese or peanut butter sandwiches made on Pepperidge Farm Deli Flats or Arnold's Sandwich Thins and make my own "trail mix" with mixed nuts and some dried fruit. (I'm careful about dried fruit because it is high in carbs.)

2. Whenever possible, I stop at a grocery store to buy fruit and low-carb snacks instead of relying on the roadside service areas that tend to offer only candy, chips, ice cream and fast food restaurants.

3. On this trip, twice I stopped at farm stands to purchase fresh, locally-grown peaches and apples. Those peaches were heavenly and such a special treat that it made it possible for me to resist my husband's bag of peanut M&M's that he kept in the cup holder to snack on when he felt tired at the wheel.

4. As often as possible, I get out of the car, stretch and walk at rest stops for exercise. When planning our trip and calculating travel time, we included several exercise stops each day in our itinerary.

5. I don't know why, but road trips tend to make me hungry -- maybe it's boredom. In reality, I'm not getting much exercise sitting in a car or plane, so I don't need as much food on travel days. I try to eat small, light meals (especially at dinner) for better blood glucose control.