Diabetes Diet #4: Harvest Lunch – A Picnic Menu

Diabetes Recipes:

Autumn Squash Soup
Swiss Chard Tart
Fried Green Tomatoes
Orchard Apple Bake

Anatomy Of A Hypo And A New Season For Good Diabetes Care

Some things in our diabetes diaries are hard to forget. For me, it’s something that happened 8 Septembers ago, but the memory still pops up around this time every year. I was a guest at an ADA (American Diabetes Association) “volunteers luncheon” at a fancy New York hotel. At the appropriate time, I took a shot of insulin to cover what I anticipated to be a big meal. It wasn’t. I, Miss Picky Eater, didn’t like any of the menu choices. I rationalized that I’d be leaving shortly and would eat at home.

I remember walking down the busy subway steps (a daily ritual for native New Yorkers) and finding, oddly, that things had changed. I couldn’t remember which train to take and jumped on an uptown train to Harlem instead of downtown to Greenwich Village. A heavyset Afro-American man sitting near where I was standing, tapped my arm and asked if I wanted to sit down.I became very macho and refused the seat, thinking — hmmp! he thinks I ‘m not in good shape. Does he know I ran a mini marathon last week. I wondered if I should I tell him, as the A express screeched and rocked, speeding along dark winding tunnels, taking me further and further away from my downtown home, and deeper and deeper into a hypoglycemic reaction.

Finally, at 125th Street, I got off the train and switched back to a very crowded downtown train, where I stood pinned near the doors to get tousled and trampled by the rushing crowds. At last I heard the conductor announce my stop. When I came up from the hole in the ground, I didn’t recognize anything. I saw a “Pizzeria Uno” restaurant and thought, maybe I was in Chicago. I wondered through the flutter of noisy pulsating streets, not actually feeling my feet on the ground. It was as though I was invisible.

Next scenario, was someone shouting orders to drink more juice Where was I? Who was this person? I was home in my apartment and it was my dear husband, Danny, force-feeding me a glass of fruit juice. It took awhile to shake the feeling of confusion and disorientation.

Hypoglycemia is not a good trip to take. When I eventually regained my senses and came back to the real world, I noticed a gigantic butternut squash sitting on the table. Apparently I found it, or picked it somewhere along my journey. But 8 years have passed and I still don’t know where or how I wound up with that 5 lb. squash. I did however, learn a few good lessons from that hypoglycemic episode.

The most important lesson was that, in the case of diabetes, timing is always of the essence. Whether you take shots, medication or wear a pump, the time line of balancing food and insulin must always be respected. Violating that rhythm can lead to disaster.Another lesson that has stuck with me from butternut squash day is to always carry a glucose meter and candy or glucose tabs. This simple ounce of prevention which I had been educated about in the past, took hold when reality struck.The third lesson learned form that day was, what to do with a big September butternut squash. I created a soup recipe that I continue to use.

Since now is the perfect time for autumn squashes, I hope you check out Recipe Central for it, and with a nice Fall lunch menu. September and October are great months for a bicycle ride or hike along country roads to view the magic of matire changing colors. Pack a picnic to take along. Oh, and don’t forget your meter and a few glucose tabs

Diabetes Recipes
Autumn Squash Soup (4 servings)
3 T. canola oil
4 cups peeled, seeded and cubed butternut squash
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 small fresh apple of your choice (I like Macintosh or Cortland, peeled, cored and cut up)
1 ts. curry powder
1 half ts. each: mace and ground cardamom
1 half cup apple cider
3 cups chicken broth
1 half cup whole milk
salt and white pepper to taste
Snipped fresh chives and/or fresh thyme leaves for garnish

  1. Saute squash, onion, and apple in oil over medium high heat until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in spices and cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to brown.
  3. Add cider and bring to boil. Cook about 2 minutes.Then add broth . Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Puree to smooth velvety consistency in blender or food processor, adding milk in steady stream.
  5. When ready to serve, garnish with a sprinkling of fresh herbs.

Nutrition Value (1/4): 180 calories, 28 grams carbs, 3.4 grams fat, 10 grams protein, 7 grams fiber

Swiss Chard Tart (8 servings)
1 cup flour
Pinch of salt
1 quarter cup water
1 quarter cup olive oil

Mix flour and salt. Add water and stir. Add oil and stir to form dough. Knead with fingers for 1 minute. Press dough into a 9 inch tart pan.

1 lb. Swiss chard, stems and leaves, washed and coarsely chop into bite sized pjieces
3 eggs
1 half cup low fat milk
1 half cup grated Romano or Loccatelli cheese
Grated zest (yellow outer skin) from 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, dash of cayenne pepper

  1. Cook chard in large covered skillet for 1 minute. The water remaining from washing will steam chard.
  2. Mix all remaining ingredients together in large bowl.Add drained chard and pour into crust.
  3. Bake about 30 minutes in 375 oven.

Nutrition Value (1 eighth slice): 205 calories, 6 grams carbs, 5.1 grams fat, 5 grams proteing

Fried Green Tomatoes (4 servings)
At the end of the season, before the first frost, there are, inevitably a few green tomatoes stranded on the vine. Rescue them by picking and frying them up in this simple recipe.

4 medium green tomatoes
1 quarter cup cracker crumbs
1 T. cornmeal
salt and pepper to taste
1 quarter cup fresh parsley, minced. I prefer the Italian (flat leaf) type. It has more flavor.
1 T. canola, or olive oil

  1. Slice tomatoes crosswise into thick slices
  2. Mix crumbs, cornmeal, seasonings and parsley
  3. Heat oil in large skillet. Dredge tomatoes in crumbs and fry on medium heat for a minute or 2 on each side. Serve alongside swiss chard tart and garnish with a sprig of parsley.

Nutrition Value (1 Tomato): 75 calories, 8 grams carbs, 2 grams protein, 4 grams

Orchard Apple Bake (2 servings)
In culinary circles, it is often said that the best fruit is local fruit. So if you live near an apple orchard, hop over the fence and pick a few for this recipe. Or, take a nice bicycle ride to a local farm and go apple picking. This recipe may easily be stepped up for any amount of apples you’d like to bake.

1 medium size local tart apple, cored and peeled 1 quarter of the way from top
1 4 inch slice of lemon rind cut into very thin shreds
1 ts. butter
1 half lemon
1 ts. ground cinnamon
1 ts. sugar
2 T. plain or vanilla yogurt
1 ts. sliced almonds

  1. Place apples in small baking dish. Stuff the cored apples with the lemon rind and butter
  2. Squeeze lemon juice over apples and into opening.
  3. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Add about 1 inch water to baking dish and bake in 350 oven for about 30 minutes. Test for doneness. If there are juices remaining in the dish, use to baste apples
  4. Serve warm with a dollop of yogurt and crunch of almonds.

Nutrition Value (1 half): 145 calories, 35 grams, 2 grams protein, 3 gram fats, 5 grams fiber

For a little extra zip, grind a few cracks of fresh nutmeg over the apples before serving.