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Easy Strata

Easy Strata

Need an easy, versatile, make-ahead recipe to serve at Easter brunch? Try these individual strata that you can customize to each of your guest’s tastes or nutritional preferences.

A strata is a cross between bread pudding and quiche. You put cubed day-old bread into ramekins, then add cheese, eggs, milk and seasonings. Let them sit in the refrigerator overnight and pop them into the oven just as your guests start to arrive.

Making strata is a great way to use up those hard baguette pieces or any other leftover bread. It can be whole grain bread, white bread, gluten-free bread, herb bread, sun-dried tomato bread, jalapeño bread, whatever you have that is past its prime. Similarly, you can use any cheese you like – cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, feta, pepper jack, gruyère, or a combination. Now is also the time to pull out those specialty seasoning combinations you bought.

Here are some combinations to try:

  • Herb bread, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning
  • Olive bread, feta cheese, Greek seasoning (such as Greek Freak)
  • French bread, cheddar cheese, Cajun seasoning
  • Whole grain bread, pepper jack cheese, taco seasoning

Watching your fat intake? Try low-fat cheese, nonfat milk and an egg substitute.

Avoiding gluten? Use your favorite gluten-free bread.

The possibilities are truly endless. If you come up with an interesting combination, I’d love to hear about it.

Easy Strata

3/4 cup cubed day-old bread (about 2 slices of a baguette)
2 tablespoons grated cheese (any type)
1/3 cup milk
1 large egg
1/8 teaspoon seasoning blend (Italian, Greek, etc.)
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Spray a 7-ounce ramekin or small ovenproof bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Place bread in ramekin. Sprinkle cheese over bread. Add milk to measuring cup, then add egg, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Whisk right in the cup, then pour over the bread and cheese in the ramekin. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the strata from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place ramekin on small baking pan and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the strata is set.

Makes 1 serving
Per serving: 229 calories, 10g fat (5g sat), 199mg cholesterol, 499mg sodium, 19g carb, 2g fiber, 10g sugar, 15g protein

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Review: Diabetic Kitchen Natural Snack Bars

This post contains affiliate links, which is one way I’m able to continue providing free content. Images courtesy of Diabetic Kitchen.
Diabetic Kitchen snack bars

I’m a snack bar fiend. I have them in my car, in my purse, in my computer bag and stashed near my desk. Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of bars. Some I love, some I hate and some I simply tolerate.

Taste and carbohydrate/protein counts used to be the most important things to me in a snack bar. They still matter, but now I find myself scanning the ingredient list when evaluating whether to try a new bar. If I see things like almonds, ground flaxseed and organic cashew butter, I’m happier than when I see high fructose corn syrup and ingredients I can’t pronounce. I prefer snack bars that are organic, don’t contain GMOs or artificial sweeteners, have less than 200 calories and contain fewer than 20g of carbohydrates. They also get extra points when they are gluten-free and high-fiber.

I sampled three snack bars from a company called Diabetic Kitchen – Vanilla Almond Bliss, Chocolate Cashew Crunch and Peanut Butter Surprise. Well, let me rephrase. You won’t get me to voluntarily try ANYTHING with peanut butter, so I enlisted the help of my brother and his kids to taste those. If you’d like to sample the bars too, you’ll have an opportunity to do just that. Keep reading.

The first thing I noticed was the bars’ fluffiness. Lots of snack bars can be way too dense. The Diabetic Kitchen bars were light and airy, almost like a soft nougat. I detected a very faint aftertaste and checked the label for what ingredient might be responsible. Ah, yes. Stevia. My brother, nephews and niece, who are pretty picky about such things, didn’t mention the aftertaste. Of course, they gobbled up the peanut butter bars so fast, I’m surprised they tasted anything!

The flavors in the Chocolate Cashew Crunch bar were more pronounced than those in the Vanilla Almond Bliss and the nuts were chunkier so it had more texture. In a blind taste test, the CompostMaster knew the chocolate bar was chocolate and the vanilla was vanilla, but had trouble identifying the nuts present in each. He also (wrongly) thought the bars were dense rather than fluffy.

The bars are high in fiber – all have at least 12g – and you definitely feel full for a long time after eating them.

Let’s take a look at some of the nutrition facts for each bar:

Flavor Calories Total Fat Carb Fiber Protein
Vanilla Almond Bliss 180 8g 21g 16g 17g
Chocolate Cashew Crunch 200 11g 20g 12g 15g
Peanut Butter Surprise 190 9g 20g 14g 17g

I would definitely buy these bars and I know my brother and his family would too. The CompostMaster probably wouldn’t, however. There’s one in every crowd.

Free diabetic snack bars

Free Samples

Diabetic Kitchen is offering two free samples of their snack bars to Diabetic Foodie readers. All you have to do is pay the shipping. If you try the bars, come back and let me know whether or not you liked them.

Disclaimer: I received samples of Diabetic Kitchen’s Natural Snack Bars for review purposes. I will also receive a small payment if you request the free samples from Diabetic Kitchen. That being said, all opinions belong to me and my other reviewers.

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Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic

Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic

I discovered cauliflower as a substitute for mashed potatoes many years ago when I tried the South Beach Diet. Mashed cauliflower is tasty, but I prefer to combine it with a few potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold. This dish is terrific as a side when you’re craving comfort food and also makes a great topping for Shepherd’s Pie.

Reduce the fat: Use olive oil instead of butter, nonfat milk instead of half and half and/or nonfat sour cream. You could also replace the sour cream with yogurt cheese or skip the sour cream altogether. To make yogurt cheese, line a strainer with cheesecloth and place over a bowl. Add plain yogurt and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. Discard the liquid that collects in the bowl.

Reduce the carbs: Use more cauliflower and fewer potatoes.

Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic

Adapted from food.com

1 head garlic
olive oil
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 pounds potatoes, sliced (I used Yukon Gold)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup sour cream
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Roast the garlic: Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut off about 1/8 inch of the stem end of the garlic to expose the cloves and remove as much of the papery exterior as possible. Place the bulb on a large piece of foil, cut end up. Drizzle with olive oil, then wrap in foil. Place bulb on a small baking sheet and roast for about an hour. Remove from oven and let cool. Squeeze cloves out of skins.

Make the mash: Place the cauliflower and potatoes in a large saucepan or stock pot and cover with water by an inch or two. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and partially cover. Cook for about 20 minutes or until vegetables can be easily pierced with a fork. Drain and return to pot. Mash the cauliflower and potatoes, then add butter, half and half, sour cream and garlic. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 8 servings
Per serving: 145 calories, 6g fat (3g sat), 14mg cholesterol, 179mg sodium, 20g carb, 4g fiber, 3g sugar, 4g protein

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