Dinner: French Toast and Monte Cristos

The Plan: French toast for the kids. It’s easy, filling, and they both eat it. But how could I turn it into something else for me and Old Man Diabetes? Stuff them with yumminess, of course! I didn’t include sugar in the egg dip so it could be used for both meals as well. I used Milton’s multi grain bread for the kids and Dave’s Killer bread for us.

The recipe:
Egg mixture:
1 egg
3 or 4 glugs of egg whites out of the carton
Big splash of milk

Kids’ version:
Cinnamon sugar mixture, optional
Strawberry jam or maple syrup

Parents’ version:
Ham
Cheese, I used Havarti
Kale spinach mix (it’s a Costco sized bag, so I’m putting this shtuff on *everything*)

I meant to add a capful of vanilla extract, but forgot, and nobody seemed to mind.

I cooked the kids’ French toast first. After dunking the slice into the egg mixture, I’d place it in the pan over medium heat. To add a bit of flavor to theirs, I’d sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture on top of each slice before flipping. I set my toaster oven to warm and throw them in there while I cook the rest.

For the parents’ version, I only dipped one side of one slice of bread, put that in the pan, then pile the insides on, then dip the other slice and place that on top. It made it easier than trying to dip a whole sandwich.

The Verdict:
Me: good, hearty, filling.
Huzz: surprised it turned out so well.
Girl: asked if there were any leftovers the next morning!
Boy: ate without a fuss, which is basically the best response I could get from him.

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Dinner: Coconut Chicken Curry

The Plan:
Dump some stuff in the crockpot, serve it as soup for me and the huzz, and serve just the chicken and veggies to the kids with rice. It was both a success and a fail.

I started by throwing frozen chicken tenders into the crockpot, then covered them with one can chicken broth. (Yes I use very technical terms and precise measurements) I heated some butter in a pan, added some curry powder (not too much…. you know…kids) garlic powder, powdered ginger, black pepper. I let them bubble away in the butter (I think it helps ‘wake up’ the flavors) but careful not to burn them. Added that whole mixture into the crockpot. I then added one can coconut milk.

Do NOT do that. Don’t add the coconut milk at that point. It cooked for way too long and became…. I don’t know the word for it… coagulated? separated? Anyway, it was not appetizing to look at, so the soup idea was no longer an option.

I turned the crockpot on high, started the rice cooker (with quinoa in the top steamer!) and we went to the gym. When we came back was when I discovered the liquid got all gross, but added some cauliflower florets and peas to the pot. Now, if I had a bottomless bounty of every kind of veggie out there, I would have added maybe some potato, red pepper, some fresh basil. But I don’t, so I work with what I have and what everyone likes/needs. Cauli is good for the huzz’s diabetes, the kids like peas. Close enough for me.

When I make this again, I would add the can of coconut milk at the same time I add the veggies. I think it would cook just long enough to heat it through, but not for it to break down. To make mine at least appetizing looking, I added a bit of half and half to make it appear creamier. Now would be a good time to readjust the seasonings if needed, and break up the chicken tenders if you wanted.

 

The Recipe (not very precise):

8 frozen chicken tenders

1 can chicken broth

1 can coconut milk

veggies (I used cauliflower and peas, but potato, sweet potato, bell peppers, green onions, basil or lemongrass would work wonders)

curry powder, and, if you want, black pepper, powdered ginger, garlic. Sriracha if you like it hot.

 

The Verdict:

Huzz: Had 2 helpings., but didn’t say much.

Me: It was alright. I want to make it again to see if I can improve on it.

Girl: She ate it, she said she liked it, but I’m pretty sure she was just being polite.

Boy: OMG the boy. Refused to eat it. He kept screaming that he wanted “the chicken but without the chicken.” W.T.F. We tried to understand, really we did, but I think 3 year olds are just not to be understood sometimes. I gave up and walked away, when I came back, Huzz said he got the boy to eat everything on his plate. And yes, even the chicken, and even the “chicken without the chicken.”

 

Side Dish: Rice and Quinoa Cooked at the Same Time! In the Same Machine!

Really folks, it CAN be done.

I had the rice cooker ready to go for the kids, and thought, “Oh well. Might as well try it.”

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My rice cooker came with a metal expansion pan that you just put on top.

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First I tried to cover the base with plastic wrap…..yea….don’t do that. Then I switched to aluminum foil. I put a ½ cup quinoa in the foil and carefully added 1 cup water. I gently and carefully pulled the foil up, so that the outside ring of holes were visible.

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We came home from the gym and both were cooked to perfection! I served them with  coconut chicken curry. I’m not the biggest fan of quinoa, so I mix half rice and half quinoa. Oh and I ALWAYS rinse it after it cooks.

Dinner: Egg Scramble

The Plan: I was planning to do a quiche, but as usual, time got away from me and I had to rethink it. I didn’t want to cook the eggs 2 different ways, so I decided to do one big scramble and let everyone whine about it.

Egg Scramble:

A “kitchen sink” type of recipe.

 

8 eggs (3 for huzz, 2 for me, 2 for girl, 1 for boy. Changed my mind and only added 7, glad I did)

1/2 cup frozen spinach/kale mix

1 cup ham

1/4 onion, chopped

1/4 cheese

Splash of milk

Salt, pepper, whatever

 

Cooked at med-low heat. Served us huge portions, and kids got small portions with toast.

 

The Verdict:

Mom: quick and easy and pretty darn good.

Dad: had 2 bowls full. Whenever he has seconds I KNOW he likes it.

Girl: Pouted through dinner but ate it anyway and was promised dessert.

Boy: Devoured the toast. He informed me eggs were not “his favorite”, which apparently is a legally binding rule that means you don’t have to eat it. Sigh.

Dinner: Mini Meatloaf

The Plan:

Make a meatloaf, pasta and veggie mix for the kids, buffalo cauliflower for us. But the best time for us to go to the gym is right before dinner. Sooooo convenient, right?

We were all so hungry by the time we get home, we couldn’t wait for an entire meatloaf to bake in the oven (not to mention here in Phoenix, it’s WAY too hot already to be baking anything). So I decided to turn them into hamburger patties and just call them mini meatloaves.


Mini Meatloaves

With veggies and pasta for the kids, buffalo style cauliflower for the parents

ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef

1 slice of bread (this is a great way to use up those heels)

enough milk to soak bread thoroughly

1 egg

1/2 onion, chopped small enough so children won’t notice it

2 handfuls frozen spinach and kale mix, chopped smaller, cuz you know, kids.

directions:

Dump all that in a bowl. I usually put the bread in first, then the milk, and let that soak in. I break up the bread along the way so there’s no big chunks of bread anywhere. Put everything else in the bowl and mix well.

Divide the mixture into fourths. Shape 2 of the fourths into patties. I stuffed my patty and the huzz’s with cheese but it didn’t even need it. The other 2 fourths I cut in half again, to make 4 smaller slider sized patties for the kids.

I cooked these in a pan with minimal oil over medium to medium high heat. Because these had other ingredients in them, I wanted to make sure these cooked completely before getting too brown on the outside. I was concerned these would crumble or break, but they did fine.

After they cooked in the pan, I kept them warm in the toaster oven. I squirted on a little ketchup before putting them in there.  For me personally I can’t have meatloaf without that ketchup top.


The Verdict:

Mom: Wow. Freaking delicious. Why have I not made these before.

Dad: Gives me the thumbs up every time we happen to make eye contact during dinner. Cannot speak due to food constantly being in mouth.

Girl: Took one bite and made a face and quickly took a drink of water. I explained to her that getting healthy isn’t just about going to the gym, it’s about eating right too. She said okay and ate the rest of it and smiled. Sometimes I love her.

Boy: The boy did not even try a bite, because it “looked disgusting” or “smelled like fart” or whatever 3-year-old boys say when they are being impossible. Both kids ate their pasta, because what isn’t delicious covered in butter, but they picked out some of the veggies because it is imperative that they must hate one aspect of all meals.

Parent Side Dish: Buffalo-style Cauliflower florets

The Plan:

The huzz and I are trying to really limit our carbs. We eat some during the day, but I realized I really needed to cut back on them for dinner. I had made these once before and we both liked them, but this time I made them way less complicated and we didn’t seem to mind.


Buffalo style Cauli

2 cups-ish of cleaned, trimmed cauliflower florets of bite-size

2 TB butter (just do it okay)

Several dashes of hot sauce (I use Frank’s for authenticity, but the huzz adds Valentino or Sriracha to his)

Salt, black pepper, garlic powder if you so choose

Melt butter in a med-hot pan. Throw in seasonings, and hot sauce. Beware of the sizzling hotness.

Throw in the florets and toss to mix thoroughly.

I added a splash of water to help cook the florets more and also to help the sauce get into all the nooks and crannies. Cook until heated through and water has evaporated but before the florets get mushy.


The Verdict: (no kids on this one)

Mom: Cooked them the laziest way possible and huzz still loved them. I wish I could get that fried-crispiness on them, but I didn’t care at that point.

Dad: “Excellent dinner, babe. Mmm!”

Recipe: Zucchini Lasagna

This dish was one of the first things I made the hubs after finding out he was diabetic, and he. freaking. loved. it. And he’d never been a fan of zucchini in the first place (he would claim it tasted “metallic.” *insert eye roll here*) The first time I made this was the best; unfortunately, I didn’t write anything down so now I wing it every time. I guarantee you will not miss the pasta in this. It is so hearty and filling!

This recipe serves 2 hungry adults, or 2 adults and 1 kid, or 2 adults and enough for lunch the next day

Zucchini Lasagna*

You will need all this. Or most of it. Whatever.

You will need all this. Or most of it. Whatever.

*This recipe is still under construction/not perfect, so cook at your own risk! Or just use it as inspiration to experiment for yourself!

2 medium zucchini

2-3 slices cheese, anything light colored and melty, I use havarti because it’s what I have

2 handfuls frozen spinach

1/3 lb ground turkey, or ground beef, or whatever you have. I had no time to thaw the ground turkey so I just used a couple slices turkey lunch meat.

Spaghetti Sauce (watch for sugar content!)

Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Maybe 375. Line a 8×8 pan with foil and lightly oil if you want to make your life easier.

Handy dandy slicer thing.

Handy dandy slicer thing.

Peel zucchini, trim off the ends, cut in half. slice maybe 1/4 inch thick, or use a handy dandy slicer thing if you have one. I have one.

Spread a light layer of sauce on the bottom, just enough to act as a glue to keep the zucchini slices in place.

Layer zucchini, then spinach, meat, cheese, then sauce. Repeat. I also flip the next layer of zucchini so they go the other way. I don’t think it makes a difference, to be honest with you.

Top with any extra cheese and extra parmesan.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or so. I just keep checking by how easy a knife comes out of it, if it sticks a bit then the zucchini isn’t cooked all the way through. If you let it sit for a bit after it comes out, some of the excess liquid will get absorbed.

Note: It comes out watery. I’m sure if i blanched the zucchini a bit beforehand, or thawed and drained the spinach before too, it would help, but keep in mind while I’m cooking this I’m making something for the kids, so quite honestly i don’t care.

Edit: I added chopped cauliflower too. Even better if you are browning the meat first, add to that pan so it takes on that deliciousness as well. About a handful of florets or so. Anything left over gets chopped even finer and added to the kids’ sauce.

Family Rating:

Girl: “No.”

Boy: “Mmmm! Good! Pasta?”

Diabetic: “Dude I’m so FULL! Are you sure there’s no pasta in there?”

Recipe: Banana Coconut Pancakes

Mmmm, pancakes. I’ve never been able to make a perfectly fluffy batch of pancakes, so I’ve resorted to making pancake muffins for the kids. They love them and no more flipping for me! So naturally I had to make things harder on myself and create a low carb delicious pancake for the diabetic. Disclaimer: These are a bitch to flip. I find that if I make them smaller, and spray the spatula, it helps in the flipping. And you have to do a wiggling jiggling thing up the side of the pan. But still expect at least one to flop instead of flip.

This will make enough for either one hungry husband or one mom and one kid.

Banana Coconut Pancakes

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You will need all this stuff. Coffee is just for sanity.

1 banana

2 eggs

1/2 cap vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon almond flour/meal

1 T shredded coconut

1 T coconut flour (lightly packed, like you would for brown sugar)

nonstick cooking spray or a light oil for the pan


In a medium bowl mash the banana until it’s nice and smooth.

Add eggs, whisk until fully combined.

Add vanilla extract, stir.

Yes, I'm using a hand mixer beater thing instead of a whisk. My whisk was dirty. Don't judge me.

Yes, I’m using a hand mixer beater thing instead of a whisk. My whisk was dirty. Don’t judge me.

Add almond flour, coconut, and coconut flour. Stir until smooth.

*I like to add the shredded coconut to make the coconut flavor more obvious. Coconut flour definitely has a distinct flavor to it. Luckily we love us some coconut, so I add the shredded coconut to make it bolder.

Heat your best non-stick pan to a medium low, maybe lower than you would regular pancakes. Spray generously or oil well.

Pour in your batter, 1/4 cup or less. Don’t crowd the pan, because you’ll need room to flip. The smaller the better.

Cook until, like regular pancakes, the edges start to dry, and bubbles start to pop.

My pan wasn't being nice and these are darker than I would like, but still tasted good.

My pan wasn’t being nice and these are darker than I would like, but still tasted good.

Serve with fresh fruit, agave nectar, whatever you want. We happened to have whippred cream (it was low in sugar!) the first time we tried this and it was faaaaaaantastic.

Family rating:

the girl: “But I don’t like coconut, Mommy.”

the boy: “Mmmm! Good! More?”

the diabetic: “Hon, these are great. If I ordered these in a restaurant I would not be disappointed. These don’t even taste healthy. Those were good babe.”

I don’t think he liked them.

Recipe: Air Biscuits

Yes, you read that correctly. On Pinterest, you can find similar recipes under the names “cloud bread” or “oopsies bread” but my husband decided to call these air biscuits.

These are light and fluffy, if made correctly. I top with sesame seeds for some extra texture and to almost resemble hamburger buns. They are not bready at all, but my husband doesn’t eat food that he cannot immediately shove into his mouth, so these make for fast and good sandwiches.

Air Biscuits

3 eggs, separated

3 Tablespoons cream cheese (I use Neufchatel)

3 generous pinches of cream of tartar

A couple pinches or grinds of salt

-Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

-Greased (I use any nonstick spray) parchment paper works best for this, but if you don’t have parchment paper, just grease the cookie sheet generously. Trust me on this one.

-You will need 2 bowls. In a smaller bowl, add the cream cheese and egg yolks and salt. In the larger bowl, add the egg whites, and cream of tartar.

-I use a hand mixer, you know, those old schooly kinds with the two whisk beater things. Yes I’m going to describe things like that. First, whip the egg white until stiff peaks form. *What does that mean, you ask??? It means you whip and whip and then you turn the mixer off, lift the whisk beater things out of the mixture, and two little mountains appear where you pulled the beaters out. If they kinda fall over, those are called soft peaks and it means you only have a bit more to go. I like to beat until stiff peaks form but before the mixture gets shiny.

-Next, combine the cream cheese and egg yolks and salt together. I just use the same beaters without cleaning them or anything. *You can’t mix this first, then whip the egg whites. Egg whites are tricky lil suckers, and if there is anything else in with them, they will not get all fluffy and nice.

-When cream cheese is smooth and combined, add a spoonful of the egg whites to this mixture and gently fold in. Then add all of this mixture into the egg whites and fold gently. If you stir too much it’ll make the biscuits come out flat and horrible and you will cry.

– Spoon onto the greased parchment paper. I make either hamburger bun size circles, or longer ovals, to sort of make a small sub sandwich size. This should make about 8 buns, or 4 subs, more or less. Make them as fluffy as possible, and do not crowd the cookie sheet. I usually use 2 sheets.

-Sprinkle them with coarse salt and pepper, parmesan cheese, or sesame seeds, or whatever tickles your fancy. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden and yummy looking. Slide the paper off the cookie sheets, or transfer the biscuits to a drying rack. Let cool and keep in the fridge.

*These don’t last too long, they get chewy if they’re old. This recipe can be made into smaller batches too, basically it’s 1 egg to 1 T cream cheese to 1 pinch of cream of tartar.

Family rating:

Girl: won’t even try

Boy: took one bite, said yum, walked away

Diabetic: “when are you making more of those?”