Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Day 24, the Diabetic Food Stamp Project Month 2

Sunday is my day to cook.

I made a nice congee base with some rice and water with a lot of seasonings. It comes to .02 a cup for a very nice soup base.

Then I had my tiny breakfast.

Banana .19
Peanut Butter .09
Coffee with cream .17
Total .45
Carbs 27 grams

That was it. Until I began my dumpling making I had nothing else.
Gorgeous hu?

Let add up the costs.

Wrapper 1.49
Ham stock 1.00
Ground Turkey 2.25
Onion .10
Green beans .14
Cabbage .20
Ginger .30
Total 5.48

This made 50 dumplings.

.11 each. Excellent price for delicious dumplings.

I used two cups of congee stock and cooked 6 dumplings in it for lunch. These are both the least expensive and the best I have ever made. The jelled stock and vegetable lighten them up and make the moist. I got the super thin wrappers, hard to work with, but tender.


Dumplings .66
Congee .04
Iced tea .07
Pomegranate .50
Total 1.23
Carbs 58 grams

The fruit pushed it a bit high.

I'd an Oscar party to attend so I made hash for dinner.

I browned two small potatoes with some ground beef and a lot of cabbage.

Beef .40
Potatoes .20
Cabbage .20
Total .80
Carbs 40 grams

Ah...but I had to take something to the party. And it comes out of this budget.

I made cheddar corn.

Cheese powder, butter, and popcorn.

Cheese .50
Butter .60
Popcorn .38
Total 1.48 (there goes some surplus)
My carbs 23 grams

It was hard not to eat more but I wanted to keep it in line for the day. Cheddar corn is a gift from the gods.

Day Total 3.96, I had up to 8.43 (in a sense, explanation at end of month) but can carry over 4.47 to tomorrow

I got my fat down...but my calories were way down as well, 1,177.

Posts have been written

....but google has gone wonky again and won't let me do updates with photos.

As soon as they allow me to publish the rest of the series will go up.


In the meantime...private classes are starting if you want to check out

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Day 23 The Diabetic Food Stamp Project Month 2

It is taking all of my energy reserves to keep going right now.

I have to be mentally focused and sharp and get a lot done each day.

As some of you know Harlem Hospital de-funded the program they asked me move 3,000 miles in order to run.

I am currently working with one of the doctors to set up a not for profit in order to move the project forward.

Coffee is my friend.

I had my small bit with cream this morning, followed by a breakfast pizza.
Baked in a cast iron skillet it was crisp and delicious.

Pizza crust (whole wheat and flax) .10
Cheese .30
Bacon .34
2 tomatoes (1 as sauce) .50
Coffee with Cream .17
Total 1.41
Carbs 31 grams

...and then I got to work. I've begun teaching classes since Harlem decided they no longer care about the diabetic and congestive heart failure patients. I did a little work to put forth our most popular, food improvisation. It seems to sell best to tourists and corporate groups. I love it as people learn to think of food in a new way.  More information

...and later lunch. It was a late lunch of boiled dumplings in a seasoned water/broth.

6 dumplings 1.08
Iced tea .03
Total 1.11
Carbs 22 grams

This past week I had an interesting experience. I got a call about catering a dinner, last minute for a couple who were getting married/sort of a pre-wedding bachelor party type thing. The food was already at the party site and the caterer had walked out when he learned the party was to be for two men getting married. Two men who had been together for the past 40 years.

In 2013 on the East Side of Manhattan this was shocking. When I read stories about bakeries in podunk towns refusing cakes I always think...well it's because they are in _______ and ________ has not caught up to the rest of the world.

Presumably we have.

I went, took stock and prepared I later learned a vastly different menu than the original, but one that made the hosts and guests very happy.

Thinking about this....back before I went to the Dominican Republic to cook for a year I had done a number of bachelorette parties, from tacky as all get out to very upscale.

Who is doing gay bachelor parties?

Google says no one.

Guess who is doing them now.

I teamed up with a Sketch Comedy Troupe to offer an alternative to a greasy stripper, with off color, off beat sketch comedy. Naughty but not gross (unless requested) and have begun to build a web site for gay bachelors. 

To my does not matter who you love, or how you love, it only matters that you love.

And then very late I was off to the gym.

Despite almost daily workouts I have lost two inches off my chest during this diet. I think it is a combination of poor quality food and my lower energy.

Before I ran off for this workout I had a second pot of coffee with cream.


It was late when I got home and I made my cabbage tacos with two ounces of ground turkey to boost the calories. You use cabbage, onion and tomato and all the same seasonings you would for a taco. Wonderful dish. I had them with half a can of black beans. Fast and good. I only hate half of the cabbage and turkey mix.

Tortillas .30
Beans .47
Tomato .12
Cabbage .14 (whole head was .64)
Onion .05 
Turkey .25
Cheese .20
Yogurt .38
Total 1.91
Carbs 84 grams

WOW...I messed up, but not in a dangerous way.

A type I diabetic would take 8 units of insulin.  A type II would monitor their blood sugar for signs of crisis.

However when most of the carbs are from fiber and vegetables the changes of them being slow to digest and burn are very good and often crisis is averted.

Those same carbs as cake might have meant hospital. For the entire day I was only a few grams over.

How did I do with Money? 4.60 and I had a potential 8.78 to use. I still have 4.18 to carry over. Calories 1,582, fewer calories from fat, therefore fewer calories.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Day 22, The Diabetic Food Stamp Project

I am ready for this to be over.

At the same time I am mindful that for many it is never over. There are many in this country who can't point to a day on the calendar and say...on that day I can have apples and broccoli and salmon because they simply can't afford it.

Many who can never get food assistance because of the hateful bureaucratic system and mountains of paper required. Paper that often does not exist when you live on the margins.

Many who eat the cheapest food possible to keep going.

My skill, access and time has made me vastly more fortunate than they on a daily basis.

And thus my morning meal. A thin omelet in  buttered biscuits.

Biscuits .80
2 eggs .42
Mushrooms .25
Butter .10
Coffee/cream .17
Total 1.74
Carbs 31 grams

...and then there's lunch.

I had a networking event to attend so I had a late lunch and a substantial meal.
I had cured some pancetta with a bit of Chinatown pork belly and used it to make an awesome little portion of spaghetti carbonara. I added mushrooms making it even better.

Pancetta .33
Pasta .12
Cheese .30
Egg .21
Mushrooms .50
Total 1.46
Carbs 35 grams

I had a great time at Social last night (wine helped) and came home late and hungry.

I had mostly green beans with a little 5 spice braised pork belly. Those little flecks of white on the right, that was my miniscule amount of rice. I still hate brown rice with a white hot passion so I have my teensy measured portion of white.

Pork Belly 1.00
Green Beans .58
Ginger .34
White Rice .08
Total 2.00
Carbs 50 grams (including the wine)

Day total 5.20, and despite my opulent spending my nutrition was not great. I had 9.73 to spend and 4.53 to carry over.

2,110 calories 59% from fat.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Day 21 The Diabetic Food Stamp Project

I crave fat and salt. I was asked what had changed since I began this and that is the biggest change.

I crave fat and salt and am getting many more calories from fat than I used to.

When I began I was craving salad and vegetables, even a few weeks into it I wanted nothing more than a head of crisp broccoli and now if it isn't fatty and salty I have less desire for it.

I had my usual coffee with cream this morning along with a flat bread and a serving of soup.

Soup .19
Coffee/cream .17
Flatbread .10
Total 1.06
Carbs 36 grams

I checked on twitter afterwards...everyone is talking about Oprah Winfrey and her T-Fal Fryer giving her crisp french fries with little oil.

I was already craving fat and salt and Oprah Winfrey threw me over the edge. Witness lunch.

2 potatoes FRIED .20
2 Eggs FRIED .42
Bacon Fried .51
Tea .03
Total 1.16
Carbs 40 grams

Not a good trend.

 ...dinner did not veer into health food either.

I had a show. I was meeting a friend to go see Proof, a Pulitzer prize winner I had never seen, playing at the Gene Frankel Theatre down on 24 Bond.
Biscuits .80
Tomato .25
Cheese .30
Butter .20
Iced Tea .03
Total 1.58
Carbs 43 grams

I thought the play very well written, despite the amateur performances, with the exception of Andrew J. Langton as the father...great job, which stood out strongly against our two incredibly bad female leads. 2 of the actors were also producers and I am thinking this is the only way they could get cast.

Getting home at close to midnight I am happy to say I resisted the temptation to eat more food.

So why do the poor eat so much fat?

We ask it over and over again. What is wrong with 'those people' don't they know better?

Now that I am one of 'those people' I can tell you. Fat satiates, more than fiber, more than anything. Those days I have more than 50% of my calories from fat I am not hungry.

I know better, I say I am going to try and again and again I am drawn to the butter.

Let's look at my total. 3.80 out of a potential 9.28, leaving me 5.48 to carry over.

Nutrition and fiber....not good.

Day 20, the Diabetic Food Stamp Project.

I had yesterday's lunch as today's breakfast.

Chicken mix 1.45
Cheese .74
Crackers .07
Coffee with cream .17
Total 2.43
Carbs 44 grams

It was plenty of food and the red pepper and onion get a vegetable in me before noon.

A few hours later I tried one of my salted eggs. The recipe said they take 30 days, but these are almost done. I hard boiled one and I think with another two or three days of cure they will be congee ready.

Egg .21
Apple .50
Peanut butter .19
Second coffee/cream .17
Total 1.07
Carbs 22 grams

I went to the gym and to a friends where we caught up a bit and finally home.

I had pork belly ready to go, all seasoned and could not abide the idea of eating meat.

I wanted my sugar pea sprouts. I made my ration of 1.5 ounces of pasta with a lot of garlic, a touch of butter and oil and the pea shoots.

Totally delicious...a couple of hours later...popcorn with more butter.

I've the feeling it will be too many calories from fat again.

Pasta .12
Butter .10
Cheese .20
Pea shoots .70
Total 1.12
Carbs 37 grams

Popcorn .19
Butter .30
Total .49
Carbs 37 grams

Carbs were okay (a touch high) for the day but again, more than half of my calories from fat. Bad trend. 1, 726 calories, consistently higher for the wrong reason.

Day Total 5.11 out of a potential 10.14 leaving me 5.03 to carry over.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Day 19 the Diabetic Food Stamp project

I had soup for breakfast followed by coffee with cream. I had to run out and pick up some more venison for the cats. Remember that venison...the stuff I can't eat until March? The cats are loving the trimmings cut into cat sized bites.


Coffee with cream .17
Bowl of Stone soup .29
Total .46
14 grams of carb

It was a bit of a run around day and my foot (The one smashed at NYSC) was particularly painful today.

I've a class tonight and will be making enchiladas with the kids and they will be having rice. I have had rice on my brain all day so I had a dish at lunch with some rice, but not much.

1/2 cup rice .08
3 chicken legs shredded 1.50
1 red pepper .70
2 onions .20
Butter .30
Garlic .02 (4 cloves)
Capers .10
Total 2.90 (I ate half)

I shredded the chicken (pre-roasted) sauteed the whole chopped pepper, two onions and the garlic in butter. I added in the chicken and rice and toasted the rice, hit it with some oregano and capers. Added a cup of water and brought it to a boil, turned low, put on the lid and let it simmer for 20 minutes, turned off the heat and let rest and then I ate half with some crackers and cheese alongside.


Chicken mix 1.45
Cheese .74
Crackers .07
Total 2.26
Carbs 44 grams

...and I went to Trinity and we worked on cheese and roast pepper enchiladas. While there I had a bit of cheese leftover from a meeting. No cost, no carbs, but more fat.

I got home a little after 9 and needed to eat something.
A little puffy flat bread with bacon, tomato, and feta seasoned with garlic and oregano. Awesome little meal.

Tomato .25
1 oz of feta .24
4 slices of bacon 68
Flat Bread .10
Total 1.27
Carbs 27 grams

1,108 calories, 50% from fat. I hereby declare tomorrow vegetable day.

Total cost 3.99. I had 9.88 I could have used so I now carry  5.89 over.

I am better at budgeting but worse at taking care of myself and balancing meals.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Diabetic Food Stamp Project Day 18

I had an enormous breakfast. The enormity of it may be party due to my perception since most of the time I am eating little.

I had an entire apple with peanut butter followed by two chicken legs cooked in the leftover tomato sauce from my students stuffed peppers AND a flax filled flat bread.

Good Eats. I used torn bits of bread to tear the chicken and soak the sauce. Not a traditional breakfast, but an excellent one.

Apple (chinatown shopping) .50
Peanut butter .19
Flatbread .10
Chicken (Trader Joe's organic legs) 1.00
Coffee with cream .17
Total 1.96
Carbs 53 grams

...and did I stop eating. No. I had a great lunch. 4 chicken feet reheated and 6 dumplings in broth.
Chicken Feet Leftover from Dim Sum
1 dumpling leftover from Dim Sum
5 dumpling .90
Broth .25
Iced tea .03
Total 1.18
Carbs 22 grams

I got a workout in and came home and made stone soup and more bread dough last night.

Have you never made Stone Soup?

Same principal as the book, you find bits of what you have and put them in a soup pot. I pureed this one. I find it best if you have onion, garlic and potato for texture and flavor.

Stone Soup

8 cloves of garlic .03
2 potatoes .22
3 onions .30
1 carrot .12
Mustard green stems .18
Butter .30
Poblano chilies leftover (2)
Total  1.15
Carbs 16 grams per serving.

Cut all the vegetables into small pieces and saute in butter (or oil) until soft, remove to blender or processor and add 1 cup water and puree. Add an additional 5 cups water and season with salt and pepper and bring back to a boil. Serve.

It makes 4 nice servings and comes to .29 per serving.

I had one serving as my first course for dinner.

A small plate of mustard greens. I love those slightly bitter greens with garlic.

Then a little pasta with a hot sausage and Poblano chili sauce topped with a touch of cheese. Massively delicious.

Awesome 3 course meal.

Soup .29
Mustard green .32 (I love Chinatown prices)
Pasta .12
Garlic .03
Chilies leftover
Tomato .25
Sausage .70
Cheese .20
Total 1.91

An expensive but filling and delicious meal.

Let's look at the day total, 505.00 way more than I could spend if I did not have a cash reserve built up. I could have spent an entire 10.68 but I can carry  5.63 into tomorrow.

I managed 1,779 calories and decent nutrition.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Month 2 day 17 the diabetic food stamp project

Today was a party.

A party to be all parties. It was the Chinese New Year annual dim sum event.

I ate like I had never been fed before in my life, and brought home some chicken feet.

I counted each bite and tried to be careful as I had had a banana with Peanut butter and coffee before leaving the house.

Coffee/Cream .17
Banana .19
Peanut butter .19
Dim Sum including roast duck and beef ribs and turnip cake. .NA
Total .55
Carbs 65 grams

My head count had me at 60 but when I added up the bites by bite at home I was over my limit again. Damn. Not in the danger zone, but still too many carbs.

I do have to say every bite was bliss.

I love Dim Sum. I tried not to overdo on the dumplings because of the wrappers, but had rib tips and roast duck with impunity. This is approximate but I had at least 1,000 calories.

That was pretty much it for the day.

I taught a food improvisation class last night. These are the most popular and most fun class taught. So had had a few tastes, but the dim sum had me so full, other than to make sure the food was excellent (it was) I did not eat.

One great recipe came out of the mix I will share today.

Mushroom Coconut Soup

1 cup dried mixed mushroom
3 cups water
Rehydrate by putting mushrooms in water, bring to a boil then simmer
Add in
Stalks from 1 lb mustard greens (swiss chard or any other stalk would work just as well)
1 quart beef stock
1 small can coconut milk
4 large canned poblano chilies
Mix with mushroom mix
Scoop out mushroom and mustard solids
Puree solids

Add freshly ground pepper and about a teaspoon of beef concentrate, let simmer for approximately 30 minutes.

This is what the class ate.

Venison medallions in a butter and caper sauce
Beef mushroom soup with a coconut base and Poblano peppers
Mustard greens with Ma Po sauce and pomegranate
Pasta with chorizo and fresh tomato sauce
Buffalo stuffed peppers in a Spanish style tomato sauce
Chocolates made with fresh pomegranate sunflower seeds and dried cherries

Along with two wines, a California and a Spanish.

After I cleaned up for about an hour I had some popcorn with plenty of butter.
Popcorn .19
Butter .30
Total .49
Carbs 42 grams

As stuffed as I was my calories for the day were only 1,528. This will not be as accurate as when I cook, because when I cook I enter every ingredient separately. With Dim sum I put the number of pieces and the estimate of ounces of duck etc.

Estimates and counts are not as accurate as a food scale.

In other words the count could easily be off by a couple hundred calories.

Let's add up the day. I know I didn't spend much on myself; 1.04 out of a potential 7.47, leaving me 6.43 to carry over.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Day 16, Month 2, The Diabetic Food Stamp Project

I started my day with peanut butter and banana, a new favorite combination. What is it about peanut butter that pairs so beautifully with both bananas and apples?

Then I had last night's leftover pudding thing, which was great re-heated and spread with soft butter.

Banana .19
Peanut butter .19
Leftovers .58
Coffee with Cream .17
Butter .20
Total 1.33

Carbs 84 grams, danger territory.

I really messed up with this meal. I was not paying attention to how many carbs the banana would add to the total and I should have remembered how many carbs were in last night's dinner.

Lunch was two of the quesadilla I had made the other day, with an iced tea.

2 quesadilla 1.10
Iced tea .03
Total 1.13
Carbs 42 grams

To pretend that dinner was anything but odd would be wrong.

I was just eating stuff I had in the house. I knew today would bring a Chinatown trip and more vegetables so I ate what I had left.

1 carrot .12
1 kohlrabi .50
6 dumplings 1.08
Pork/Ham broth .25
Total 1.95
Carbs 35 grams
I am keeping my calories up with butter and ham fat, which is not healthy. I need to cut the fat. With the fat I am not hungry all the time, without....hunger.

Today's calories 1,887.

Total 4.41 out of a potential 7.63 leaving me 3.22.


Day 15, the diabetic foods stamp diet

I just had an entire apple.

With some bad coffee (more on that later). It was so satisfying, so delicious with a touch of peanut butter so expensive.

I knew I was building up a surplus and with last night's dinner invite could afford an apple.

It was .69 cents, so a good value for an apple, but you can see how food like that can burn up your budget pretty quickly.

I was given a bag of Starbucks blond as a gift yesterday. Starbucks dark has never appealed to me and the blond less so. It was like warm water overwhelmed by the teaspoon of cream. I may have to have some real coffee later.

About an hour later I had a large bit of ham mayonnaise with some of the remaining tortilla chips and some REAL coffee with cream.

Fake Coffee with cream .05
Real Coffee with cream .17
Apple .69
Peanut butter .19
6 ounces of ham .60
1 cup of chips .50
Total 2.50 a walloping sum of money for one meal. 

I decided to make ham and cheese quesadillas. I finely chopped 16 ounce of ham@1.60, added in one can of beans@.88, 3 onions@.30, 8 ounces of cheddar@2.00 and 10 tortillas @2.29.

The filling comes to .29 a serving divided by 11 (leftover) and the quesadillas are then 25 for the tortilla and .29 for the filling making them 55 each if we round up.

I didn't eat one, but I have them to eat. I also made a stock with the ham bone.

While this was going on I heated one of the turkey empanadas from the freezer. It made a nice little lunch.

Empanada .71
Iced tea .03
Total .74
Carbs 12 grams

I had 1/11 of the filling leftover when I came  home for dinner so I made this thing.

I chopped up the remaining broccoli finely and tossed it with the ham, bean, cheese onion mix with 1/2 cup flour and 3 eggs along with a cup of water I made a pudding.

It was somewhere between a pancake and a Yorkshire pudding or a spoon bread. Awesome with butter.

Broccoli .25
Leftover ham mix .29
3 eggs . 63
Total 1.17, However I only ate half making my dinner .58 plus
Butter .20
Total .78
Carbs 55 grams

Day Total 4.02 I had a potential 7.24 so I can carry over 3.22.

Calories 1,906,again way too many calories from fat.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

More google issues

google is not allowing me to publish posts with pictures.

This is not the first time that function has failed.

Updates are done daily and will show up as soon as google fixes their issues.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Day 14, the Diabetic Food Stamp Diet

To say I have no Valentine would be untrue, however that is not who I will be dining with tonight.

Before I realized what day today is my Uncle Carl had invited me for dinner on Thursday, a Thursday like any other I assumed. I wake up and the world is awash in red sweaters, and since I knew Christmas was over I knew it must be V.D. day.

What could I do...I had a presentation as a Senior Center to prepare for so I made a good breakfast.

Not pictured peanut butter and crackers. This was major, house cured ham, two eggs, one ounce of cheddar. Awesome meal.

Crackers .07
Peanut butter .19
Ham .40
Eggs .42
Cheese .25
Coffee w/cream .17
Total 1.50
Carbs 23 grams

Peanut butter, eggs with cheese and ham can sock your calories up. I am glad of that.

I was here doing paperwork...we are in the process of setting up a new 501C3 Corporation, not for profit. (If anyone has a line on an accountant who would be willing to work with us for no money, let us know)

...eventually it got to be lunchtime.

I had an exact duplicate of last night's dinner.

Broth .25
Broccoli .25
6 dumplings 1.08
Total 1.58
Carbs 34 grams

I then proceeded to my Uncle Carl's to make an amazing dinner.

I brought some of the flat bread dough to bak off and he had taken care of the rest of the meal.

I cooked but we had a amazing repast.
Atlantic char, a pasta made with only a few noodles containing Swiss Chard, tomatoes, olives, fresh basil feta cheese.

As a first course I baked off the flat bread and we had it with an awesome goat brie, and a little extra sharp cheddar.

I am almost afraid to add up the carbs.

Dinner; Courtesy of Uncle Carl
Flatbread .40
Total .40
Carbs 58 grams, still in the safe zone

Before I get into the day total etc...look at what more food of better quality did to my nutrition for the day.

I did not topple my carb count yet I went way higher with everything, even getting E and D which I rarely do.

Because the meal was a Valentine's gift my budget was unharmed. I also managed 2,253 calories without a lot of cheap carbs. Carl spent about 16.00 for the ingredients for that meal, making one amazing meal an extra 8 dollars per day.

Something to think about.

Day Total 3.48 out of a potential 6. 47 leaving me with 2.99 to carry over.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Month 2, Day 13, The Diabetic Food Stamp Project

Many cultures have a version of ham and cheese. In France they put the ham and cheese and a croissant for breakfast or lunch. It is a great day starter so it makes sense.

I came up with a newish one. I used the very dense dough from yesterday, rolled it as thin as I could and put 3 ounces of the ham I cured along with one ounce of shredded cheddar. I brushed with butter and baked in a hot oven.

It was a very good meal.

The bread might have been too dense for some as it was all whole grain, with oats, flax and stone ground whole wheat. However I lvoed it and the fiber kick is a very good thing.

I also had my coffee and a banana with peanut butter.

Coffee with cream .17
Banana .19
Peanut butter .19
Bread dough .10
Ham .30
Cheese .25
Total 1.20
Carbs 55 grams

I had a nice lunch of pasta...again.
I didn't intend to, but I needed to use the last of the sauce before it turned. Today I added a smoked sausage to the mix. Wow was it delicious and my tiny pasta filling with that sausage link.

Even though the portions are small I am finding I can't do this without pasta. It keeps the budget in line and gives me energy for the afternoon.

1.5 ounce of pasta .12
Sauce .58
Sausage .70
Iced Tea .03
Total 1.43
Carbs 46 grams

My workout today was pitiful. My energy dropping about 20 minutes into it. Looking back at my diet I see that I need more vegetables...

I made a point to have some for dinner.
Simple Soup Supper. I threw a few frozen dumplings in some chicken broth and added broccoli.

Broth .25
Broccoli .25
6 dumplings 1.08
Total 1.58
Carbs 34 grams

....but I download tv shows and rarely watch them, but my I was really achey from a fall that I had in November (NY Sports still has not dealt with it)and I wanted to sit in a chair and do little. So I started to watch Copper and got hooked. Somewhere in the middle of episode 2 I made popcorn.

Organic Corn .19
Butter .30
Iced Tea .03
Total .52
Carbs 38 grams of carb

Ah...but I did get my calories up, unfortunately they were 47% from fat, but I got a rare 2,144.

Day Total 4.73 I had the potential to spend 6.95. I can carry over 2.22 into tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Month 2 Day 12 The Diabetic Food Stamp Project

I am glad February is a short month.

Today I had cream for my coffee and it changed everything. My slightly acidic cup was transformed into a delicious deep flavor filled brew.

Coffee with cream .17
Potato cabbage pancake .62
Pomegranate .50
Total 1.34
Carbs 50 grams

Part of my exciting yesterday was a trip to Trader Joe's. I indulged. Just on one item, but it was an enormous indulgence for me.

They had on offer a 'fresh brie' not aged, no rind. I tend to love Brie that is dripping with age and ripeness. I asked about this cheese and they offered to sample it for me.

It tastes nothing like mature brie, but it has a fresh young taste and a super buttery creaminess.

I had a tiny fraction of it as my semi lunch with a few crackers and a second round of coffee. Exquisite. I had forgotten how good an ooey gooey creamy cheese can be.

Cheese .74
Crackers .07
Coffee with cream .12
Total .93
Carbs 21 grams

After my lunch snack I went into the kitchen to make some more bread dough. I loved that flat bread so much I decided to make it again with some flax added for more fiber. I have a starter bubbling away and will go mix it up soon.

Saturday pork should was on sale for .99 a lb. I had such success with my dry cured ham I decided to try a wet cure.

I took two liters of water and brought it to a boil with a big handful of garlic, some 5 spice, 1 cup of brown sugar and 1 cup of kosher salt. The shoulder rested in the cure until today when I got it out and roasted it.

The result was one of the best hams I have ever had in my life. Not too salty, wonderfully porky and just slightly sweet with that hint of garlic. I am a little in awe that something this good can be made in the refrigerator. Nitrate laden commercial ham was 4.99 a lb this same week. I saved 4 bucks a pound.

I just had a small plate. The skin was so brown and so crisp that my plate included a heaping helping of crackling skin. As far as calculations I weighed the ham both before and after the cure, deducting the bone it comes to about 10 cents an ounce.

I have 5 ounces for my snack so...

Ham .50
Carbs 0

I spent my evening at the gym and then met with the folks from the FUCTNYC comedy troupe. I won't give away the exciting plans underway just yet, but think about the possibility of food meeting comedy, comedy meeting food, of course with some alcohol involved.

I was given a glass of wine, oh my goodness I miss wine. I am not sure what wine it was, but it was fruity and filled with flavor and I slept well.

But not before making another quick snack. I got home and the cats declared they needed another meal so I decided to have a bite before bed.

Determined to be light I quickly heated up some chicken broth and threw a few egg noodles in.

Just enough savory goodness to ensure an excellent night's sleep. At one point I woke up laughing, and I wish I could remember that dream.

Broth .25
Noodles .11
Total .36
Carbs 21 grams

I am realizing how much harder it is to stick with good nutrition on a busy day. Calories 1,453.

Day Total 3.13, way under. I had up to 5.83 so I can carry over 2.70.

I need to make it a point to eat well today.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Day 11, Month 2 The Diabetic Food Stamp Project

I could not drink my coffee this morning. One sip and the acid hit my stomach and I did not want any more.

I did not throw it out, I chose to cool it and see if I could not make it work as iced with some milk later. ...(it is now later, I threw it out wasting 12 cents)

I had iced tea and a breakfast identical to yesterday. I made the last of the flat bread with the rest of the ham salad and some pomegranate.

Coffee .12 (I paid for the coffee, even it it was tossed)
Ham mayonnaise .60
Bread .09
Pomegranate .50
Tea .03
Total 1.34
Carbs 40 grams

I am really getting sick of this budget restriction and even more the carb restrictions. I understand how incredibly difficult it is to be diabetic and always HAVE to make the right choices.

I have learned a lot walking in these shoes. Even with the tiny restricted portion, nothing makes me more happy than pasta.

So I had it for lunch.

I used no cheese but added capers to the sauce for that extra volt of flavor.
That is a very bad picture but it was a very good lunch.

1.5 ounce of pasta .12
Sauce .58
Iced tea .03
Capers .08
Total .81
Carbs 40 grams

Dinner was an original. I had those rib tips that had Asian Spice on them and was in the mood for tomato gravy. (tomato gravy is what Southern women make when they are on a diet, it still has butter, but since you add tomatoes it becomes a magic diet food)

A truly rotten photo.

I began with a kohlrabi which I just peeled and ate sliced. 

I then put a tablespoon of butter in the pan and added a touch of flour to brown stirring in water and adding a chopped tomato and the ribs. I let that gravy simmer while I boiled a potato .50, added butter .40 and cabbage .15, plus some yogurt .19. the Total is 1.24.

I had half of the potato mix and all of the rib tips with gravy.

Ribs .95
Tomato .50
Butter .10
Kohlrabi .33
Potato mix .62
Total 2.50
Carbs 45 grams

I had no idea I was making such an expensive meal. Wow. It is a good thing I had only half of the potato mix.

I kept the carbs under control which was the most important thing.

Let's see if I managed my money well. I had a potential 6.23. My day total was 4.65 leaving me 1.58 to carry over. I did fine. Calories 1,439

Monday, February 11, 2013

Day 10, Month 2 The Diabetic Food Stamp Project

My teachers in the Middle East would be proud of the whole grain flat bread I am making. Complex carbohydrates, with a great flavor and texture. It turns out the wok is the perfect baking stone.

The pomegranate perfectly seeded would also make them proud, the ham however...Many Muslims have a problem with ham.


Breakfast was awesome save the coffee. I could not get my really good coffee at the 99 cent store, they had no more. I got the next cheapest and it is a touch acidic and bitter so I will likely get some cream or milk to soften it, further driving up my cost.

Coffee .12
Ham mayonnaise .60
Bread .09
Pomegranate .50
Total 1.31
Carbs 40 grams

At lunch I had a cup of the Bean soup with the other half of the sausage, along with some of those tortillas with a touch of melted cheese.

Soup with Sausage .65
Tortilla with cheese ..45
Iced tea .03
Carbs 40 grams
Total 1.13

I got in a good workout and as usual came home hungry and heated a cup of congee to sip while I cooked.

Broccoli, rib tip chow Mein.
Rib Tip .95
Broccoli .25 (chinatown)
Onion .15 (not on sale this week)
Noodles .35
Carbs 46 grams
Total 1.70

Looks like I kept the budget under control, kept carbs under control and upped my nutrition a bit.

Day Total 4.15 out of a potential 6.13. I can carry over 1.98.

Not a bad day.

It takes a lot of time and effort to eat well on this budget, even without the difficulties of health issues. Add in diabetes or congestive heart problems and you will have a real tough time.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Day 9 , Month 2The Diabetic Food Stamp Project

I have often made congee as a soup base and kept a plain congee in the refrigerator to add to as I eat it.

If I'd had plain this morning I would have added egg and maybe anchovy, but I had the meatball congee so I began my day with two cups of that.

2 cups of congee .56
Coffee .10
Carbs 10 grams
Total .66

And then I made French Fries. I blame Bobby Deen for the fries.

He was on Dr. Oz yesterday when I was at the gym touting his reduced fat versions of Mama's food again.

Someone needs to make clear to Bobby that Canola oil and genetically modified food are not healthy.

He was touting baked green tomatoes and baked chicken and pretending they tasted as good as fried.

Skinny bitches have been on tv since the 60's trying to convince the world that chicken baked in cereal flakes is 'just as good' as fried chicken and your 'mouth won't know the difference'. It is just not true.

We can't pretend that fried chicken is healthy, but neither can we pretend that some nasty chicken breast in corn flakes is good food.

That got me thinking about how good fried chicken really is.

Last night I dreamed of fried food. All night long.

I also had two potatoes in the house I picked up yesterday.

The congee while good did not fully satiate me and the potato wanted to be fried. I was powerless.

so I fried the potato and had it with coffee.

Man it was good.

Coffee .10
Potato .50 (oil can be recycled)
Total .60
Carbs 37 grams

Just under 300 calories.

I have to look in my frig and pick dinner and do something ahead so that I don't make fried chicken.

Bobby Deen can make you fat.

And then chicken soup. Just a little of the broth I had with a few noodles, not much.

Cup of broth with a few noodles .14
Carbs 16 grams

I don't blame Bobby Deen for this. It was a small plate of awesomeness.

I made a sauce.

3 cloves fresh garlic .03
1 can tomatoes .97
Home ground Beef .50
Home cured ham ground .25
Sauce total 1.75

This will give me at least 3 servings at .58 per.

1.5 ounce of pasta .12
Sauce .58
Iced tea .03
Total .73

From the gym I went to a friend's house. We had a nice talk. I am determined to turn Stirring The Pot into something bigger and more helpful than it ever could be run via a hospital. As soon as I can find an attorney who will work with me I will begin the process of setting up a not for profit foundation.

I got home around 9. My good intentions blown I quickly sliced and added a sausage to red bean soup and put it to heat.

I grabbed the dough from the frig and pressed out a disc, stuffed a little cheese inside and threw it on the hot wok.

10 minutes later I was eating.
Cheese .10
Bread .08
Soup .30
Sausage (1/2) .35
Popcorn .19
Butter (bread and popcorn).40
Total 1.42
Carbs 75 grams

This went 15 grams over my max of 60 per meal.

I sent an e mail to the nutritionist who has been advising me giving my food and carb count.

She responded that I would not have been in danger as beans are high fiber and slow to digest, and popcorn is filled with fiber, as was the whole grain bread. The fiber would have saved me, but at the same time I was reminded that it was important to eat the fiber AND go under that number.

I know it was a lousy day. I was focused on too many things and did a lot of random eating.

$ Total 3.41, I had 5.29 to spend so can carry over 1.88. It is time to eat some broccoli,

Calories 2,046 from carbs and butter.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Day 8, Month 2 The Diabetic Food Stamp Project

I had no appetite upon waking. The duck did me in.

Duck, which is high in fat is slow to digest, and while I was never uncomfortable it took a little time for me to have an appetite.

When it returned I had some ham salad, crackers and pomegranate with coffee.

The crackers were from a sample pack I got at a food show. They had been in my backpack for a long time and were a little broken but really good. Mary's gone crackers gluten free flax. High in fiber.

Coffee .20 (two cup day)
Ham 1.00 (this is from the ham I cured)
Mayo .10
Pomegranate .50
Total 1.80
Carbs 40 grams

Wow...I spent those coins without even thinking about it.

I am making congee. It is the simplest of soups and like Stone Soup most anything can be thrown in.

Keep in mind I have bean soup, and beef broth and cabbage soup in the freezer yet I still make another soup.

It is because I have some rice left over from last night and in Congee it dissolves giving you very few carbs per serving. It is also one of the most comforting of comfort foods. Any scrap around the house can be thrown in.

My favorite congee is with salted duck eggs but at 3.49 for 6 of them I did not purchase any yesterday.

I may have to learn to cure my own eggs. If any of you readers want to learn . It takes time so they won't be ready for today.

I got more kosher salt (I have now spent my held back 7.50 for January on seasonings)and boiled up 4 cups of water with one cup of salt and a few star anise, added a shot of vinegar and have eggs curing. I only have to wait a month.

By the time I had done all this my tiny bit of rice .04 and water had cooked down into a thick soup base. I added .40 worth of sliced cherry tomatoes, .25 frozen spinach and the 12 remaining meatballs .72. I seasoned with fish sauce and thyme and wow it was a good little pot of soup.

At 1.41 for the pot it comes to .28 a serving. I had two servings for lunch. It was warming and satisfying on a cold snowy day.

Soup .56
Iced tea .03
Total .59
Carbs 10 grams

I finally went out into the cold snowy day to head to the gym. I went to the Y 3 blocks from here.

It is still a dump, but not as much of a dump as it was 4 years ago. For a snowy day it was okay in a pinch.

When I got home I was suddenly ravenous and I was cold. I wanted soup. Yes, soup again.

I heated the broth leftover from my Chinese lunch and scrounged around...chopped steak, yes seared and added. Big bunch of spinach, yea..just cut and added. Those Asian noodles that are not too many carbs, absolutely.

The result

A massive bowl filled with some of the best soup I have ever made.

It was not inexpensive.
Noodles .35
Spinach .79
Beef 1.40
Total 2.54
Carbs 28 grams

So how did I do?

Day Total 4.93 with the carry over I had 5.97 so I still have 1.04 to carry into tomorrow.

However my calories were too low 1,078.

I was not very active, which turns out to be a good thing. I see why they always say to eat soup if you want to lose weight. It is VERY satisfying for few calories.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Day 7 month 2, the Diabetic Food Stamp Project

No bread needed and there is no reason to stuff with bacon and grill, just the Peanut Butter and Banana are perfect in themselves.

We can all learn something from Elvis Presley. Peanut butter and banana is a great food combination, and how I began my morning.

Coffee .10
Banana .19
Peanut Butter .19
Potato, eggplant leek soup (two cups) .75
Total 1.23

And lunch was out with an old friend giving me extra money which I joyfull spent in Chinatown.

It was cold in NY yesterday so I ordered soup. Spicy beef broth with egg noodles and spinach. I ate all the noodles, the spinach and the beef taking home extra both for another soup.

Lunch soup 52 grams of carb

...and down to Chinatown I went. Chinese New Year is approaching so all of the seniors of the family are preparing feasts and cooking the old way. I found one who spoke English to tell me some of the preparations for the following foods.

The Spleen is made into a soup called Batchoy, often with some tenderloin and other organs. It is chopped in fine pieces, fried, stewed in rich broth and topped with pork skin and Chinese leeks. It can be made with other meats but with organ meats is is supposed to give you strength for the coming year.

It is the dish that Chop Suey was derived from and the pork in Chop Suey often was organ meats and in some restaurants still is.

The tip is considered to be the finest cut of tripe or stomach. It has a stronger beef flavor and a more dense texture.

It is often cut into strips, stewed and then stir fried with ginger, scallion and hot pepper and small portions are served as Dim Sum. What is not used as tripe is ground and is part of the hamburger at chain restaurants and in 'all beef' hot dogs.

People in the states are funny in that they wont' eat what they consider nasty bits yet anyone who has eaten fast food gets little else.

There are many ways to use pig tails to celebrate the New Year. Note the elevated prices, at other times of the year they are half that or less.

It is served stewed in a soup with peanut or mushroom, or it is braised and then fried and tossed with chili pepper and garlic.

Having had it at the beginning of this project I can attest to the fact that it is the most delicious of pig parts. Were the price less I would have purchased some.

I am noticing something about my diet. Fatty meat satisfies, you are not hungry when you eat it. Of course it causes health issues etc. but as this project has gone on I find myself eating more and more meat for the in order to be satisfied.

This is after I made a conscience choice to use meat as a flavor vs. a main course.

When living in poverty do we become less capable of making a choice other than to be full?

...and we come to an absolute favorite of mine. It is also high priced for New Year's. Ducks have a small bone in their tongue so whether braised with 5 spice or fried the bone protrudes as the meat shrinks and you can pick them up easily with chopsticks and slide the meat off the small bone.

It was not that long ago I first tried duck tongue and I still crave it. This would not end up in a McDonald's hamburger, they are a delicacy and expensive.

Which leads us to dinner.

I bought two duck thigh/legs for 3.99. As the whole duck increases in price for the New Year the parts decrease. Don't ask me to explain the Chinese food economy.

I rubbed them with 5 spice and extra star anise, brushed with soy and let rest for about an hour.

I then steamed them for an hour removed the bone re-glazed and stir fried, and you can see the wondrous crisp result.

I made white rice and you see in the photo my carefully controlled portion but I did go back for more making my total consumption 3/4 cup.

I ate like a madman and skipped the vegetables but after the meal I had a nice bowl of blueberries. 
I was really pushing with this meal. Pushing the carbs, the calories (which I need) and the $$.

Duck 3.99 (yes I ate it all)
Rice .09
Blueberries .50
Carbs 60 (top of my limit)
Total 4.49

The total is more than I am supposed to spend in a day, but I was counting on the extra to cover me.

I spent a whopping 5.72. I had 3.19 to carry over giving me 7.44. I still have 1.72 to add to tomorrow.

I did get 1,893 calories, but the lack of vegetables did nothing to bolster my nutrition.

Too many carbs, high protein and not a lot else.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Day 6 Month 2, The Diabetic Food Stamp Project

I learned something new today.

I'd read in a piece online that flat bread could be made in a very hot wok with an excellent result. Just like a clay pot you throw it down, wait for it to bubble and rise and turn over.

This was an awesome whole wheat bread, more similar to any in the Middle East than those done in the cast iron skillet.

Coffee black .10
Blueberries .25
Pomegranate .50
2 flat bread .16
Butter .10
Total 1.11
Carbs 55 grams

Bread and fruit pushed the carbs but not over the brink. It was such good bread. I've plenty more dough in the frig and it will be difficult for me not to have it at every meal. I love bread.

For once I got lunch in before the gym. I stayed home this morning and did such ambitious things as laundry. I am still very bad at folding but a lot of hangers help.

I had almost an identical lunch to yesterday but 8 meatballs. I decided to live a little.  I also used more cheese.

Pasta .12 (1.5 ounces)
Sauce .50
Meatballs (8) .48
Cheese .30
Iced tea .03
Total 1.47
Carbs 46 grams

Dinner was a pig out.

This is some more of that beautiful bread as it baked on the wok.

I got chopped steak, you know those super cheap cuts they put through a machine to tenderize. I cut two of the thin cutlets into tiny strips and sauteed with 2/3 of an onion and 1/2 of a red pepper, I added Worcestershire sauce and butter. It was inspired by a preparation on the Pioneer Woman's web site before she became a tv person.

Getting hungry yet?

That's what I am talking about. Even though it was not massive buy many standards, to me it made me feel like a stuffed turkey, in a good way.


Bread .08
Meat 1.40
1/2 red pepper .33
2/3 onion .06
Butter .20
Total 2.07 (It was a costly indulgence)
Carbs 46 grams

In tallying up the day I realize that although I never went hungry my calories are WAY down. Too far down. I ate butter and bread and pasta and beef and am still not getting the calories I need. I am still trying for 2,400 but I really need to go above 1,600.

Today's calories 1,528

Today's Total 4.65. With the 3.69 carry over I had 7.84 so I carry 3.19 into tomorrow.