What’s better than Romaine?

What is it about Romaine Lettuce?

I can’t deal with the wraps that are sold in supermarkets, deli’s, restaurants. I’ve tried, and tried again. They’re tasteless. The consistency is dreadful — at least to ME. I just can’t use them as a substitute for bread. I need something, but wraps? No thank you. ūüė¶

I searched for a healthy alternative to bread. Finally, it dawned me to try lettuce. This is certainly not a new idea. I started out with iceberg. I know — there’s no nutrition to be found there. It wasn’t¬†the right consistency either — just a tad too thick. When I added the contents and rolled them up, the iceberg wraps “cracked under the pressure” of my expectations. Back to the supermarket — this time Boston lettuce. My hopes were rising!

As I peeled off the leaves, I thought the thickness and consistency of this vegetable might just meet my needs. My heart raced as¬†I began. One leaf of the Boston, followed by one slice of turkey, then a slice of cheese (my fave, Alpine Lace Swiss (YUMMY!), topped off with another beautiful leaf of green goodness. I started to roll it, slowly, carefully. Disappointment ran across my face. There was no denying it — this experimental lettuce wrap did not make the grade. The leaves were just not long enough. They were too round. Just not right.

I took my search seriously, googling the various types of lettuce, determined to find the right “gem” for my purpose.

I searched the supermarkets and local farms, looking for just the right fit. It was an education to see just how many types of lettuce there are; never noticed them! Similar to roses: A rose by any other name is still a rose. Guess what? A lettuce by any other name is still a lettuce! Red leaf, green leaf, Boston Bibb, radicchio, arugula, rainbow chard, cabbage, endive and kale. Lots of different names, but all in the lettuce family. I considered each of them and tried the ones that I thought might live up to my ever-growing standards.

Finally, I noticed what was right in front of me the whole time — ROMAINE! How did I miss it? I took a beautiful head of fresh Romaine and started for home.

Success!¬†The leaves were just the right size, thickness, color — perfect for forming a wrap. The green color, dark on the outside, was lightening as I peeled off the leaves, heading for the lighter center. I started the process: one long leaf of Romaine, one slice of fresh turkey, a slice of alpine lace, and one more leaf of Romaine. I began to roll it. Not one crack in the lettuce and the turkey and cheese were safe inside this outstanding wrap. Perfection!

Sometimes I add a condiment, for variety, but for the most part, I enjoy my wrap on the “naked” side. To glam it up, I might add VERY thinly-sliced apples, or artichoke hearts. For that matter, add whatever you like, as long as it’s not going to push up your blood glucose too much.

In the end — in my humble opinion — What’s better than Romaine? NOTHING! It’s the winner. ūüôā

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Food and Friendship

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Going to a friend’s home for dinner, who does NOT have diabetes, ¬†and being served a¬†diabetic-friendly meal, is the definition of FRIENDSHIP!

Friday night, whether you work, go to school, or are retired, is the night when oftentimes people are just plain pooped! That was me last night.

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Large crocheted afghan

Nothing would have made me happier than to curl up on the couch with an afghan, a cup of tea, and a book. Sound boring? Not to me; not last night. But, a commitment is a commitment. I dragged my body into the shower, got dressed, put a smile on my face and was off to an evening with some great friends. ¬†I didn’t regret it.

As is with most times when I don’t “feel” like doing something, it was spectacular! ¬†¬† Good friends, fabulous food, and lots of laughter is the perfect recipe for a most enjoyable evening.

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I don’t drink anything but water with either lemon or lime and that’s what I floated in all night. ¬†Iced cold H2O was sublime.

 

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Simplicity was the key. Tired friends gathered together to “break bread,” and have some laughs — simple.

It was perfect.

Our hostess served a colorful display of a variety of cheeses, thinly sliced, paired with Water Crackers. A basic hors d’oeuvres that appealed to this weary group of revelers.

Oh, how I wish I’d thought to take pictures of what was to come—

We moved on to an incredible dinner. ¬†SIMPLE, really simple = wonderful! Are you ready? The entree consisted of two PIZZAS! ¬†Wait. ¬†I thought you said a “diabetes-friendly meal.” ¬†Oh, it was!

There, on an enormous white oval-shaped platter, sat slices of two different types of mouth-watering pizza. The first was tomato based, sprinkled with a small amount of melted mozzarella, basil, and a touch of oregano. The second pie “wore” a coat of finely chopped spinach, dotted with tiny speckles of warm mozzarella. How is this a friend to the diabetic? ¬†The secret was in the crust — the thinnest, crispiest pizza crust I’ve ever seen. ¬†Like paper, browned to perfection! ¬†Freshly grated parmigiana was served in a lovely, small glass bowl, that rested off to the side of the table — there for the taking, if you so desired.

Then, the piece de resistance. ¬†A huge, white ceramic¬†serving dish, filled to the brim with piping hot pieces of butternut squash covered with chopped kale, was placed, with a certain reverence, on the end of the table by our hostess. If I had been standing, I would have genuflected! ¬†Ooo’s and Ah’s prevailed as we each took our share (maybe more).

Later, with tea, our hostess-with-the-mostess served dessert. Her homemade pound cake, gelato (I passed on that, I promise!), and something she’d never made before. Only a BRAVE person would serve an “untried” dessert to her guests, right? She is courageous, but also a Gourmet Cook, so not to worry — it was superb. Perfect for the diabetic guest, it was homemade sugar-free jello (not the boxed stuff¬†I’d make). This was prepared on the stovetop with sugar free gelatin, water, unsweetened apple juice, and pureed strawberries. ¬†After it set, our friend topped each individual serving with blueberries, raspberries and a small dollop of whipped cream. I THANKED THE GODS OF “DELICIOUS,” because that’s what it was!

It’s a real friend who looks out for the health of her BFF’s. Thanks, Jane, for an evening of good company, intelligent conversation, an incredible dinner, and LOTS of laughs!

 

Blood Sugar ¬†= ¬†98 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Weight = 153.4 ¬† ¬†Nope — impossible considering what I’ve eaten! Time for a new ——->—–>—–>—–>IMG_4436