Archive for July, 2008

Soupe au Pistou

For my mom’s birthday this year we had a big party with several different soups, and breads and crackers for people to choose from (and gourmet cupcakes for dessert). It was a big hit, and so was this soup, the most GI friendly of all the soups made (use red potatos or omit all together).

Soupe au Pistou

2 cups dried white beans, soaked overnight and rinsed
10 cups water
2 leeks
2 carrots, chopped into quarter pieces
2 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
2 zucchini, cubed
3 potatoes, cubed
15 green beans, cut into small pieces
3 tomatoes (or 6 canned), peeled, seeded, and chopped
¼ cup parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, bring the soaked beans and fresh water to a boil. Add all the vegetables and herbs, bring to a second boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for an hour. Meanwhile, make the pistou if you don’t have any handy in the freezer.

Add the salt and pepper to the soup, stir well, and continue simmering uncovered for another 15-20 minutes.

When ready to serve, ladle the soup into big bowls. Pass the pistou–and extra Parmesan cheese, if you like–so people can load up the bowl with flavor that releases itself right under their noses.

**Instead of pistou you can used storebought pesto. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone!


6 cloves garlic
4 Tablespoons tomato paste
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup olive oil
3-4 Tablespoons fresh parsley

Press the garlic, then whisk the tomato paste, basil, cheese, oil, and parsley with it in a blender til it is a rich paste.

***Note from my Mom: leave out the tomatoe paste, use some sun-dried tomatoes in the soup***


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Drinking the water from Mexico

 I’ve been working hard to reduce my caffiene intake (for my blood pressure, which is just high enough to worry my doctor because I’m diabetic).  I’ve switched to herbal tea in the morning at work during the team meeting, but my biggest challenge is giving up Diet Dr Pepper.  I keep flavored waters (both carbonated and not), no sugar added juices, diet juices and the above, Topo Chico water.

Topo Chico is made in Mexico and can be bought by the case at any local grocery store as well as Sam’s Club in south Texas.  It reminds me of the German mineral water, it’s super bubbly and almost a bit salty.  I also love the lime flavored Topo, but haven’t found it by the case.  I buy cases of it, drink it straight, with True Lime, or with a dollup of sugar free rasberry syrup.  Delish!

More info here:

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Books About Bread

Most low carb diets make bread out to be the enemy.  It’s not, of course.  But it is my drug of choice (bread, popcorn, and potatoes far outweigh sweets anyday).  If you eat breads that are made from whole grains and are higher in fiber they can be a good part of a glycemic index/diabetic friendly diet.  There are plenty of good ones on the market, already.  My favorite whole wheat bagette? The one made by Panera Bread and is one of the side options available to you for no extra charge.  I also really like to bake my own bread, and have been adapting recipes to make them more GI friendly and sharing those recipes here on the blog.  But alot of people are scared of baking bread.  Working with yeast is a bit scary, isn’t it?  My first (many, many) loaves of bread were shapeless nasty lumps.  I finally got successful with foccacia, but it wasn’t until I discovered the Tassajara Bread Book did  I finaly really start to understand the chemistry of bread.  Here are my three going to a deserted island with me bread books:

The Tassajara Bread Book By Edward Espe Brown — This is the one mentioned above.  It explains the chemistry of how yeast reacts, how to manage the temperature of water, how to speed up and/or retard the rising, and all those scarey aspects of bread making in a way that even an idiot (me) can understand.  I have never, ever had any of his bread recipes fail on me.  Ed Brown is my bread hero.

Beard On Bread By James Beard — If the one above is Bread Baking 101, then this book is a good 201.  It’s full of delicious recipes (including the un-GI friendly but so delicious potato bread, a carb lovers dream) that are easy to follow once you feel comfortable with the basis.

The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book: A Guide To Whole Grain Breadmaking by Laurel Robertson — A great understnading of working with whole grain breads, before whole grain breads were cool.  I wouldn’t start with this one (I tried that back when I was about 19, whole grains are harder to work with hence the bricks) but once you are comfie with the chemistry of bread and want to start getting more GI friendly with your recipes, this book will be invaluable.

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Sunday Linky Goodness

No Kneading But Some Fine Tuning — Mark Bittman updates on the no knead bread recipe, including info on adding more whole grain flour.

Growing vegetables by the square foot via The Food Section

Iced Coffee? No Sweat via The New York Times

 Top 5 Things To Do With One Pint Of Berries via The Kitchn

Straight From The Farm blog

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A good source of whole grains or an excellent one?

I posted last week on how to recognize the difference between something “made with whole grains” and something that truly is a good source of whole grains.   Sneaky labeling can make something seem to be a good product when it really isn’t what you expect it to be.  However the FDA 2005 dietary guidelines did change some labeling laws regarding whole grain products.  Whole grains are an important part of any diet, especially the glycemic index diet.  The FDA now states:

The dietary requirement for fiber was increased significantly based on scientific evidence of its health benefits. The requirement was set at 14 grams of fiber per 1000 calories. So the average person with a 2000-calorie intake needs 28 grams of fiber per day

So how do you tell if the product you are buying really is good for you.?

In order for a food product to be considered a whole grain product, and to use a health claim on its label it must contain 51 percent or more whole grain ingredients by weight. This means, of course, that whole grain should be the first ingredient in the ingredient list.


In order for a manufacturer to make a nutrient content claim on a food product of a “good” source of dietary fiber, it must contain 10 to 19 percent of the recommended daily intake or Daily Reference Value (DRV) of fiber per serving. If you want to label your product as an “excellent” source of dietary fiber it must contain 20 percent or more of the recommended daily intake per serving.

Fiber content decreases the glycemic index of foods so this is an important label to watch for.


Source: FDA Whole Gains and Health Speech May 20, 2005.

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Summer Salads

I tend to add alot more goodies to my salad this time of year, when there are alot more goodies to add.  This salad was made with local lettuce, tomatos, and cucumbers.  As well as avocados, sunflower seeds, and homemade sourdough croutons.  Yummy!

Tossing and Turning: I posted this link last year, but it bears repeating…it’s a mix and match salad inclusions PDF printable from Oprah’s website.  It’s full of wonderful ideas!

For more salad and salad dressing recipes from Oprah, click here!

What salads do you love?

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Pillsbury Reduced Sugar Mixes


I tried the Pillsbury low sugar brownie mix recently.  The low sugar cake mixes and frostings have been available for about a year now but the brownie mix was new to me and probably the best  low-sugar mix they currently have.  It actually tastes…just like brownies!  The texture is at the cakey end of the brownie spectrum (I prefer fudgey) but still very good.

I have tried the cake mixes in  yellow and chocolate.  Both taste good as well and have a good texture, I actually prefered the yellow over the chocolate.  The chocolate frosting tastes good but the texture is different from the full-sugar frosting.  This will probably be where you notice the biggest difference.

It’s nice to have an easy lower-sugar option at the same price point as other cake mixes, kudos to Pillsbury for offering this diabetic-friendlier option!

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