Monday, March 28, 2011

Nate's Roasted Veggies

The rosemary is such a nice compliment to the sweet veggies in this recipe--thanks for sharing, Nate!

4 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and seeded
1 yellow or red bell pepper
1/2 yellow onion

2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon rosemary (I used dried--if using fresh probably use more)
dash of garlic powder

Cut all veggies into uniform, bite size pieces. Mix together with olive oil and spices. Roast at 425 degrees until veggies are tender, about 25 minutes.

1/4 cup sweet potatoes = 10 carbs
1/4 cup butternut squash = 5 carbs

Buffalo Chicken Sliders

Mike O'Toole introduced me to Louisiana Hot Sauce and I'm very grateful for that.

Grill 8-10 chicken breast tenders.

Make the sauce:
1/4 cup Louisiana Hot Sauce
1 tablespoon butter
2 garlic cloves
Simmer on low heat for a few minutes and set aside.

Make the spread:
1/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles
1 tablespoon chives

Pour sauce over grilled chicken and spread a thin layer of the blue cheese spread on slider buns. Add chicken and pour extra sauce on top. Yum!


As a parent, it's hard for me to picture the day when Leah will be managing this disease on her own. We teach her things all the time, and she's more active in her own care every day. But she obviously can not make judgement calls and interpret blood glucose numbers in relationship to her care. So meeting adults that are overcoming the many obstacles of diabetes every day always gives me perspective. Although I'm not sure how I'll ever "let go," this will be her disease one day, and she'll be okay.  While at a wedding reception this weekend, I had the unexpected opportunity of speaking with a woman who's lived with type 1 diabetes for 
over 40 years. She was incredibly candid and encouraging, and it was a moment I was really thankful for.

This woman was 13 when diagnosed, and she took on much of her own care immediately. It was the days of NPH, with very limited ways to test blood sugar. She still actually uses NPH, in conjunction with Humalog. After 45 years, she has no major complications thus far, (at her most recent doctor's visit they just began to suspect neuropathy) so her doctors can't argue with what she's doing. Although she tried a pump at one point, it was just easier for her to stick with the methods she learned with, and I totally respect that. She was very interested in finding out more about the technology we use--the capabilities the pump now has versus what she had tried years ago, and what kind of information the CGM gives us.

She said quite a few things that really stuck with me. The first was that in her experience she really learned how to take care of herself through food. She was obviously on an eating regimen based upon the peaks of NPH. She stressed that this taught her WHAT to eat and WHEN by listening to her body. Now, with technology, she feels people sometimes do the opposite of that. For instance, the mentality that with fast acting insulin you just keep eating and keep bolusing, which often backfires because the insulin isn't truly "fast" enough, and foods just keep elevating blood sugar while you're waiting for it to kick in. While the pump and fast acting insulin give you the freedom to eat on demand, I can think of plenty of situations where this is true. She agreed wholeheartedly that children today are much better off than at the time of her diagnosis, but I think she makes a good point. 

We touched on a lot of random daily care issues--like the fact that stress can send her blood sugar up to 400 in a matter of minutes. That illness lingers in her body more than anyone she knows. (both of which we see in Leah all the time). What highs and lows feel like, physically, because it's so hard to understand that as a non-diabetic person. How mentally challenging the disease is as well, and that she makes a choice each day to leave the previous day behind and just start over with that first blood sugar number. And when I said "So it's okay that I don't get things 100% right?" she assured me I'd never get it right, and letting go of that notion is the best thing I can do. She also admitted that while she feels she's really learned how to best take care of her body, the fact that she has no complications could be a result of that, or be genetic, or just dumb luck.

We spoke about how hard each day can be, because you don't know what unexpected challenges diabetes will give you. We agreed that life does not stop with a diagnosis, and that Leah will be anything she wants to be. However, diabetes is ALWAYS there, and the analogy she used was this: "Imagine you were with a group of people that were told  to jump into a body of water, and just start swimming. But when you jumped in, you were the only one who had one hand tied behind your back." 

In other words, it's a tremendous challenge. You might be with the group, but you've got something just enough in your way that you have to work that much harder, and be that much stronger to do the job. It won't stop you, but it can hang you up for awhile. And so often, no one ever sees that hard work, only you and a few very close to you. I've been thinking about that a lot the last few days, and I see that analogy in Leah's life. The many trips to the office throughout her school day. The waiting to go and play with her friends until her blood sugar comes up. The piano lesson with high blood sugar that makes it impossible to concentrate. The daily pokes and prods. Just "stuff" that gets in the way, even if it doesn't stop you from doing what the other kids are doing.

As I've thought about our conversation the last few days, I'm just really grateful she was so open and willing to share her experiences. It's impossible to know what the future holds for any of us, but at least I know each day we try our hardest. I just keep thinking of Leah, as an adult one day and being happy and healthy no matter what. That's all any of us ever want for our kids, whether their living with diabetes or not.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pasta with Creamy Tomato Sauce

3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 package baby Bella mushrooms, quartered
1/3 cup white wine
1 can Italian diced tomatoes
3/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
rough chopped baby spinach
1/2 pound pasta

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onions and pepper and saute 5 minutes.
Add garlic, mushrooms, wine, and tomatoes and cook 5 to 10 minutes more, until mushrooms start to soften.
Add half and half and simmer for another 5 minutes over low heat. Season with salt and pepper.
Remove from heat and stir in grated cheese. Serve over cooked pasta, with a handful of chopped spinach on top.

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

I discovered these yummy cupcakes a few summers ago when I had a million zucchini in the garden to use up. They have a nice dark chocolate flavor and are super moist!

Be sure not to over bake--they really will keep baking for a few minutes after being removed from the oven, and I've ruined a batch by leaving them in too long. The recipe says bake for 35 minutes, but usually mine are done by about 20 minutes.

I've never added frosting or anything--they are really good just on their own.

Total carbs in recipe = 784
Makes 24 cupcakes = 33 carbs each

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Crap List

One thing that's been surprising for us to learn since entering the land of diabetes is how many foods affect blood sugar adversely that I wouldn't have guessed. That whole misconception about diabetics not being able to have sugar? Table sugar is actually just ONE of the many foods that affect blood sugar, and we don't have much of a problem with cookies or normal sized treats (add a big blob of frosting, and then it gets tricky). Most of it boils down to having an accurate carb count.

What we've learned is that high carbohydrates mixed with high fat is where the real problems begin. French fries. Deep dish pizza. Fried chicken fingers. Restaurant style grilled cheese and mac & cheese. Those foods pretty much guarantee us a night of blood sugars in the 300s that won't budge at all despite giving multiple corrections. We didn't really see this until Leah started wearing her Continuous Glucose Monitor, which allows us to see in real time just how high things go and how long it takes to come down.

For lack of a better term, I've decided to call these foods the "Crap List." Crappy, because they aren't good for us anyway, and crappy because they literally make Leah feel like crap. Today I officially added Jimmy Johns to that list. Which is highly unfortunate considering how much I love to eat it.

We were running errands and stopped for lunch there, despite the fact that we normally avoid it due to seeing high numbers after eating that yummy french bread. I thought today could be test day, since there's no school and we didn't have much else going on. All other diabetes things were lining up perfectly--woke up at 132, didn't spike too bad after breakfast, and her CGM read in the 120s when we started eating. Leah and Lukas split the Slim 1 and we finished our errands.

By the time we got home, less than an hour and a half later, the graph on her CGM was climbing and an Up arrow accompanied that rising number. Two corrections later over the course of 4 hours, and she finally came down from the stubborn 300s. All that from a silly little 4 inch sandwich. Bummer.

So it doesn't mean we'll never eat JJ again, just like we'll still have Mexican food from time to time, and mac & cheese and pizza. But we definitely need a game plan to try to prevent those high numbers from getting too bad, and hopefully come up with a decent solution for times we want to indulge. It would be nice to have pizza night without setting ourselves up for 6-8 hours of high alarms and extra finger pokes. So we keep trying.

The problem is, there's only so much you can do when you're trying to make up for the loss of a vital bodily function. We can try a dual wave, or deliver the insulin in other ways, or be overly aggressive with corrections. But it's awfully hard to mimic a healthy pancreas when you're manually dosing insulin for tricky foods. There are definitely times it's not worth the battle, and you do just have to chalk it up to life with an unforgiving disease.

Of course, the moral of the story is that the Crap List is not good for any of us. We just get to ignore that fact a little easier because our body will make up for that rise in blood sugar by spewing out more insulin, which is not a good thing.

Leah takes most of it in stride. We try our best not to make it about restricting, but just about making the right choice at the right time.The last thing we want to do is make a food a bigger issue--it's hard enough with counting and weighing and never being able to put something in your mouth without thinking about it. We ALL need to live moderately, and trying to be her pancreas is a good reminder for that.

Italian Tortellini Stew

It's like winter here again....35 degrees and windy after recent days of Spring like weather. Yuck! So soup sounded good. This one can be done in about a half hour!

1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup diced carrots
1 clove minced garlic
1/4-1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 14 oz. can chicken broth
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans
1 medium sized zucchini, diced
1 9 oz. package store bought tortellini

Heat olive oil over medium heat and add onion and carrots for 5 to 10 minutes. Add garlic for a minute.

Add broth, tomatoes, and water and bring to a boil. Add zucchini and beans and simmer over low heat until veggies are soft, usually 15-20 minutes.

Add one package tortellini for last 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Total carbs in recipe= 215

**Carb count is tricky since broth, tomatoes, zucchini and carrots don't have much of an impact for us. We usually end up eyeballing how many tortellini and beans she actually has in her bowl.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Time flies.....

At the Omaha Zoo

Breakfast at an old fire station 
We met Nate & Mindy out at Penn State 9 years ago, and who knew that this many years (and 5 kids between us) later, we'd be visiting each other a few times a year and our kids would be such great buddies. 

Lukas & Edison striking a pose
Kalen scaling the rock wall at the park, broken leg and all!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patty's Day!

My kids discussing their Irish heritage...

Lukas: "Mom, daddy's Irish, right?"

Leah (jumping in): "Yep, daddy's Irish so we are too."

Lukas: "Oh yeah, and mom's just plain."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mashed sweet potatoes

Roast 3 medium sized sweet potatoes at 425 degrees for 60 minutes, or until soft. Let cool.

Peel off skin and put flesh in mixing bowl. Add 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Mix well.

1/4 cup sweet potatoes = 10 carbs

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Say hello to my new favorite vegetable.

"New" because it's been years since I had brussel sprouts, and I thought they were gross. (My kids would agree with that). 

But now I can't seem to get enough of them. Roast some for dinner and I think you'll agree!!

12-15 brussel sprouts, rinsed, stems trimmed, and cut in half
few tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch of pepper

Toss brussel sprouts, olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until fork tender (still a slight crunch). Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper, and eat hot right out of the oven!

Irish soda bread

Yummy recipe from allrecipes to celebrate St. Patty's Day.

(Everyone in my house likes raisins but me, so I added those too).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring break!

Spring Break starts at the end of the week, and I can't wait to go visit some great friends. I've started the daunting task of organizing supplies....

Traveling with diabetes just means you have to be a bit more organized. It always feels like I'm packing for a month long trip, even though we'll only be gone a few days. But we've got an eight hour car ride, and will not be in our normal environment, and I feel better going with way more than what we should need. Yes, there are 24 hour pharmacies that we can get things from (but they don't carry pump supplies). But when you need something, you NEED it right then and there.

So we've got a small bin stuffed with lots of test strips, lancets, extra insulin, glucagon and glucose gel, alcohol wipes, CGM sensors, site changes, syringes, extra glucose meter, batteries, etc. And a backpack that is a mini-version of that for when we're out and about. (there's also a bin stashed in the secret floor compartment of our car with some of the same stuff so I know it's there if we need it!)

Then there's food. We need to pack low carb, no carb, fast acting carbs, "regular"'s quite comical when you go through all the options. 

Of course, the goal as always is to enjoy living our lives and not let diabetes be in the way no matter where we are. So hopefully the more organized I am, the better that can happen.

Looking forward to a great week with my family!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

4 Year Old Wisdom

It's funny how when you live with diabetes, your life just BECOMES that, and kids pick up on it really quickly. Leah, of course, has learned a lot and does a wonderful job doing finger pricks, insulin boluses, and being aware of all the stuff that goes along with it. 

But I always forget that Lukas hears it all too. So the other day it just cracked me up when I was searching all over the car for a glucose tab and he said "Don't you have some attached to your keys, mom?" 

He's also been known to ask me really loud, in public, if I was going to the bathroom to check for ketones. 

And he frequently sings me a "high" or "low" melody to let me know which alarm on Leah's CGM is going off.

He's a good brother to have around. :)

Friday, March 11, 2011


I LOVE Fitfy 50 Pharmacy. 

Pretty sad to be so excited about getting a huge box of diabetes supplies in the mail, but they have seriously made my life so much better.

Instead of multiple trips to the pharmacy throughout the month, and wasting hours of my life on the phone with Liberty Medical (our only other option for pump supplies--horrible, horrible, horrible) I get a nice big box on my doorstep every 3 months.

After receiving a very friendly and helpful reminder call, they double check what we need and it's shipped out within two days. Then we have all the life saving medical supplies needed for the next three months--lancets, test strips, infusion sets, reservoirs, alcohol swabs, skin prep, tagaderm, and insulin. Love it.

And the best part is, half of their profits go to diabetes research. I don't even know WHAT research (perhaps I should look that up) but their so stinkin' nice I haven't even bothered to ask!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lukas Day

Painting a rainbow with cars
Showing his friends what's in the "Share Bag"
Today was my volunteer day at Lukas' preschool. It's always fun to see him in that environment and have a day that's all about him.
Hard to believe he's so old already.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Honey Glazed Carrots

Leah's favorite way to eat carrots!

Sick Days

I remember being in the hospital when Leah was diagnosed and the diabetes educator briefly talking about "sick days". They handed us a pamphlet to read about it, explained that insulin needs increase when ill, and that we would probably need help with that. Mostly, I remember their faces getting a bit panic-stricken and stressing that we'd need to call them as soon as she was sick. That sort of confused me and I figured we'd cross that bridge when we got there. After this winter, I totally understand what they meant.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Carmelized chicken with mushrooms

While we were eating this tonight Lukas said, "Mom, you're smokin' at dinner!" That kid cracks me up.

Once-a-week Lentil Soup

I really have made this soup about once a week since first trying the recipe! I think I found it on the MSN website by chance one day, but now I have it memorized the way we like it.

1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
2 1/2 cups water
1 14 oz can vegetable broth
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning
1/2 bag of baby spinach, roughly chopped

Spinach Orzo

Quick dinner side dish or easy lunch!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Awesome Endo

Can I just say how much I love Leah's endocrinologist??

She called me tonight, on my cell phone, just to say hi. We drive 2 hours to see her for Leah's appointments, because there's no pediatric endocrinologist in this area. (crazy). She was going to be in the area tonight to give a lecture to doctors. She knew we lived close by, and just wanted us to know she was thinking about us and Leah. How crazy is that? I told her she is a parent's dream. :)

(I resisted the slight urge to drive the 15 minutes where she'd be speaking and wait outside so I could badger her with questions).

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Banana Pancakes

It's National Pancake Day! Sounds like a good excuse to have pancakes for dinner. Or what we like to call "brinner."

Here's a yummy recipe I originally found on that I made a few changes to.

1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 ripe bananas, mashed

1. Mix dry ingredients and set aside. 
2. Mix egg, milk, oil, and bananas.
3. Add dry ingredients until combined. Mixture will be lumpy.
4. Cook 1/4 cup at a time on lightly oiled skillet.

Total carbs = 157
I made 10 pancakes, approximately 16 carbs each.

Veggie Wrap

If I could eat a Jimmy John's veggie sub everyday, I'd be a happy camper. But between the cost and calories, not really practical.