Mrs. Clemmerbottoms “Almond Joy”

Sometimes it seems like I just can’t satiate my sweet tooth. When I am hooked on carbs I am a sugar junkie. Metformin makes me less inclined to eat sweet treats, but my brain still wants to end a perfect meal with something sweet.  The other night as we were craving our sweets J. say to me….. Almond Joy! I gave him a look as he proceeded to explain…….

Low GI Almond Joy

1-3 small portions of a 70% cocoa chocolate bar (if you can find it with almonds already in it. More power to ya)

1 tsp of Coconut Butter for each portion

1-3 almonds

Warm coconut butter in microwave for a couple of seconds until warm. Scoop out and onto chocolate, top with almond.

Brilliant I say! You don’t want to eat a lot of coconut butter because it has a lot of fat, but coconut butter is kinda like peanut butter. As in, the flesh of the coconut has been pureed until it becomes thick and spreadable. It is nutritional, melts in your mouth and has no sugar. You can buy coconut butter at natural food stores, look over by the other nut spreads. It is a bit expensive so be prepared.

Chocolate has been shown to have some good health attributes, and it seem to me that if you are pairing your chocolate with enough fat and the sugar content is kept low enough, that a few pieces now and then might actually be beneficial.

Hope you enjoy your “almond joy”

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Burnt Out

My doctor told me to try and eat 6 small meals during the day. I can’t even sit 6 times a day, let alone remember to eat.

I am starting to question my career as a teacher. Isn’t that terrible? After 10 years I am beginning to dread the walk down the hallway to my classroom, I dread staff meetings and I am losing my connection with my students. My job satisfaction is at an all time low and I feel burnt out. Are there any other teachers out there that have felt this way and overcome the throb of discontent? How can I possibly make it another 15 years? Where do I look to find that spark?

I am tired of being misunderstood and under-appreciated (I actually had a student say she hated me under her breath the other day, and that NEVER happens to me…ever) I am tired of thinking that education is headed down the shitter and I am just along for the ride. I am tired of fearing I will be laid off because of budget cuts and the lack of community support of education.

No one takes into consideration that I take on the confessions of the suicidal teens, run 2 after school clubs (without pay), fight for the equality of all my students, take on the special education students without assistance, facilitate my students entering  and winning contests, participate in community projects, serve on the committee for underachieving and at-risk students, give up my plans to conduct independent studies and carry the whole department on my shoulders.

Eat? Who has time to eat?

Today I had yogurt and blueberries, half of a protein bar, an apple and MCB snack attack and dinner. Is 4 our of 6 good enough? I took my metformin yesterday and tried to drink more water today.

 

(I teach art, this is a project we did last year. Can you believe they didn’t like this one? I can’t win!)

 

Butternut Squash Soup with Apple Bacon Compote

Butternut Squash Soup with Apple Compote

Serves 6

  • 3 pounds butternut squash, cut lengthwise and seeded
  • ¼ cup blended oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    salt/pepper
  • ½ tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons + 4 tablespoons chilled butter
  • 3 cups Chicken Stock
    Pinch of curry powder
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Apple Compote, below

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Place squash cut side up in an ovenproof pan. Drizzle with oil and brown sugar.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bake until squash is tender and golden brown, about 45 minutes. In a soup pot, sauté onion and apple with 2 tablespoons of butter until it is translucent.  Using large spoon, scrape squash into soup pot with onions and apples. Discard peel. Add 3 cups chicken stock and curry powder.  Simmer for 10 minutes. Mix in cream and lemon juice.  Add mixture into a processor or blender.  Puree until smooth.  Finish by whisking in 4 tablespoons of chilled butter.   Stir soup over medium heat until heated through.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Top with Apple Bacon Compote from previous entry and crumbled blue cheese.

Roast Pork Loin with Apple Bacon Compote

I went to the dr. today for the first time since stopping metformin.

I started the drug about two years ago and had terrible side effects, including heart problems, anxiety and upset stomach. It also occurred to me that while on metformin I was actually in a state to conceive a baby, which totally blew my mind and I panicked. So I stopped taking it and instantly felt better and gained back all the weight I had lost.

The dr is a little older than I am, which one of the reasons that I like going to her. She recommended acupuncture (I live near Boulder, so this is not such an off the wall idea for the area). She prescribed Metformin but at a lower dose and encouraged me to eat 6 small meals a day and to actively try for 6 months before we revisit the topic.

I have had acupuncture in the past, and I can say that it helped with what was bothering me, so I am not against the idea. I am willing to go back on the Metformin and try to balance out my blood sugar and lose some weight. I will try to come up with some snacks I can take to work so I can eat a few meals there. Ha what a laugh, I have no idea how I will manage that, but you all can follow along as I put my ideas up here.

But the main obstacle I think I might need to overcome is the actuality of wanting a baby. I don’t think I am there yet. I don’t have a bone in my body that feels like it “needs” a baby to complete my life. I need to get my head in the game, and that’s a sports reference for a girl that doesn’t watch sports.

Roast Pork Loin with Apple Bacon Compote (adapted from Martha Stewart and The Girl and the Fig)

  • 1 bone-in pork loin roast (3 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons Maldon sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh, coarsely chopped marjoram leaves
Apple Bacon Compote
  • 3 Gala apples, peeled, cored, and each cut into thin slices
  • 2 tablespoons + ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 onions sliced thin
  • 2 slices of bacon cup into small bits
  • 1/4 cup cranberries
  • ¼ cup dried cherries
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
  2. Using a sharp knife, score fat that covers the top of pork. Rub pork fat with salt, garlic, and half of the marjoram leaves. Set a roasting rack in a heavy-bottomed roasting pan; set pork on rack. Transfer to oven and roast for 30 minutes.
  3. Decrease oven temperature to 350 degrees, and continue roasting the pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the pork reaches 140 degrees, about 45 minutes more. Transfer pork to a cutting board, keep warm, and let rest 30 minutes.
  4. Pour any pan juices into a small bowl and whisk together with remaining marjoram; cover to keep warm and set aside.
  5. Meanwhile, render bacon in a medium saucepan until crisp. Remove bacon leaving the fat.
  6. Add onions to bacon fat and cook stirring often until carmelized (20 min)
  7. Toss apple pieces with the 2 tablespoons of lime juice in a bowl.  Set aside.  Simmer cranberries cherries, water, the remaining lime juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, onions, bacon and mustard seeds in a sauce pot for 10 minutes.  Add apples and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  8. Thinly slice pork and drizzle over reserved pan juices and serve immediately with apples and carrots.
(I fully realize that compote is a dessert, but I took liberties)

Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps

Today I went to the grocery store, and as I was picking up my receipt the coupon machine spit out a coupon just for me: Pamper Diapers. Now I have never ever bought anything close to a baby item, not even baby powder. So my nose did a scrunch as I tried to figure out just how they think they can pin me so well. We live in a strange time.
Originally this recipe calls for a pork loin that you cut into chucks and process in a food processor. But this summer J. and I bought a quarter of a cow and with it came 37lbs of ground beef. So I am always looking for interesting and fun ways to incorporate the large amount of ground beef we have. There is a tad bit of sugar and rice, but it is nominal and necessary. I also included Cellophane noodles (made from mung beans) to give it some texture . You can omit this if you want. This recipe was quick, easy and had just enough heat to spice up this cold January day.
Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)
  • 1lb of ground beef (preferably grass fed organic)
  • 2 1/2tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 oz. package of dried Cellophane noodles
  • 1tablespoon white rice (see note)
  • 1/4cup low-sodium chicken broth (or water)
  • 4 scallions sliced
  • 3tablespoons juice from 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3tablespoons roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 3tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1head Romaine lettuce , washed and dried, leaves separated and left whole

Instructions

  1.  Heat a sauce pan of water until simmering. Turn off heat and drop in noodles and let set for at least 20 minutes. Drain noodles.
  2. Heat rice in small skillet over medium-high heat; cook, stirring constantly, until deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool 5 minutes. Grind rice with spice grinder, mini food processor, blender or mortar and pestle until it resembles fine meal, 10 to 30 seconds (you should have about 1 tablespoon rice powder).
  3.  Bring broth to simmer in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook, stirring frequently, until about half of beef is no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon rice powder over beef; continue to cook, stirring constantly, until remaining beef is no longer pink, 1 to 1½ minutes longer. Transfer beef to large bowl; let cool 10 minutes.
  4.  Add remaining 1½ tablespoons fish sauce, remaining 2 teaspoons rice powder, shallots, lime juice, sugar, red pepper flakes, mint, and cilantro to beef; toss to combine. Serve with lettuce leaves.

Zucchini and Bacon Frittata

Am I the only one that doesn’t like eggs? I swear I must be the only person on this planet that just can’t support a plate of eggs. I used to like them when I was small. There was a funny story of how I really wanted to eat something and I knew what I wanted  but I couldn’t remember the name of it. So my little three year old self tried to explain what it was… “ok, it’s white and then it is still white.” My wonderful grandmother finally figured out my toddler riddle: Hard Boiled Egg, because the shell is white and then when you peel it , it is still white. Around the age of 5 I made the decision that I did NOT like eggs, much to the chagrin of my bewildered parents, who probably figured I would grow out of it. But I didn’t.

My husband does like eggs, he likes them so much that we have backyard chickens. So far we have had 9 chickens in the span of a year and no eggs. I repeat, 9 chickens no eggs. Our first experience with the chicken world almost (I am convinced) killed us, I believe the chicken rangler we bought them from might be a serial killer. But it turned out he cheated us and purposely sold us two roosters, and one died. Then one of my students asked if we would help raise chicks, on the week that we were most likely to receive our first egg, Ms. Matilda Ann Justice (dog) killed both of them. So now we have 4 new chickens braving the winter and not producing any eggs.  Sounds a lot like me! Get it? Lame PCOS joke! I always joke that maybe this spot in the world is a black hole for fertility.

So what do I eat for breakfast if I don’t eat carbs and I don’t eat eggs. Long story short…nothing. I don’t have time on weekdays to eat breakfast, but on the weekends I usually put together a healthy snack to tide me till a regular meal. But being that someday soon I will be swimming in about 4 eggs a day… and that everyone in the world seems to like eggs……

Zucchini and Bacon Frittata

  • 1 medium zucchini or yellow summer squash, sliced
  • Salt
  • 4-5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • ¼ lb. smoked Canadian bacon or ham, diced
  • 6 eggs
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar
Directions

Combine the zucchini and 1 teaspoon salt in a colander and toss well. Set aside to drain for 30 minutes.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat in a large, well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or ovenproof nonstick skillet. Add the onion, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, flipping and stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent. Remove the onions and return the skillet to the stove.

Transfer the zucchini to a clean kitchen towel and pat dry. Add the zucchini and Canadian bacon to the skillet and sauté over medium-high heat, until the zucchini is just tender, about 4 minutes. Remove the zucchini and Canadian bacon with a slotted spoon. Keep the skillet over the heat.

4. Beat the eggs and pepper to taste in a medium bowl until well blended. Fold in the potatoes, zucchini and Canadian bacon, and cheese.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil to the skillet as needed to lightly coat the bottom. Pour in the egg mixture, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook without stirring until the bottom is set, about 10 minutes.

6. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the top is set, 5 to 15 minutes, checking every 5 minutes.

Place a serving plate on top of the skillet and carefull invert. The frittata should fall out of the pan. Cut into wedges and serve.

Turkey Barley Soup

The drive home on Friday afternoons is always glazed and unfocused. Some where at the end of the week during the hours of 3 or 4, my brain just shuts off. I left school feeling a bit  sick, tired, sore throat, spacey. So when I got home all I wanted was to sit on the couch and eat soup. So I present to you Turkey Barley Soup, the answer to the Friday Afternoon Blahs. Barley is a great grain to use while dealing with PCOS, it is low on the gycemic index and can actually help with insulin resistance.

 

Turkey Barley Soup

  • 2 to 3 cups of cooked turkey
  • 1 Tbs of olive oil
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup of diced greens (kale, collard, swiss chard)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • 5 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup medium pearl barley
  • 1 teaspoon salt, optional
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Directions
1. Heat oil in dutch oven or large pot. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook until softened.
2. Add turkey to vegetables. Then add broth and water. Heat to a simmer.
3. Add barley, greens, bay leaf, spices and salt to taste.
4. Cook at a simmer for half and hour.