Fodmap Free Pancakes

This is my final installment on my current breakfast options.  When I first started following a low-FODMAP diet, (also eliminating eggs, bovine dairy and beef due to intolerances) meal planning was a daunting task because I had no handy list of what menu items would be appropriate.  Breakfast is particularly tricky because, really, who wants to think that hard about a meal first thing in the morning?  At first, every morning started with a rice cake, organic peanut butter and a sliced banana on top.  It’s ok, but – every day?

This weekend when my family had pancakes for Brunch, I really felt that I’ve come a long way from those days.

Pancakes

See?  Doesn’t look too bad, does it?  The super best part about this (besides the meal being gluten, dairy, egg and FODMAP free), is that I didn’t have to make it.  That’s right!  The Husband and The Son whipped this up.  This is a looong way from when I insisted that I prepare all meals for myself.

It’s a pretty simple menu:  Orange juice or almond milk, Fruit Salad (The Son’s speciality – I just have to set out whatever fruit I want him to use), bacon (mmmm, bacon), and pancakes served with organic maple syrup.

The best part is that the pancakes are made from a mix, so super easy to prepare.  Betty Crocker, Bisquick has come out with a gluten free option and it’s pretty good.  The back of the box lists the ingredients needed for pancakes or waffles, and I just made sure The Husband knew the appropriate egg and dairy substitutes to use.

Pancake ingredientsTo be fair, The Husband is an experienced pancake maker (usually makes from scratch), so getting him to make a ‘safe’ version for me wasn’t a big stretch.  It did take some experimenting, though, as they don’t brown quite the same way as a standard recipe.

Because an entire extra set of bowls are needed to make up a batch just for me, I ask him to make a full batch, and then once they’ve cooled, I freeze them flat in a baggie.  That way, if we have pancakes for brunch again, I can just pull them out of the freezer and pop them through the toaster to warm up.

 

The Husband and The Son have their hands busy flipping two batches of pancakes and watching a pan of bacon (the first couple of times it was almost funny how stressed they got – kinda like how I get when I make a Christmas dinner for 14 people).  But after a few times, they now have the hang of it, and it is a real treat for me to see some else cooking for me.

The Husband cooking for me!
The Husband cooking for me!

Sitting down to a full and decadent brunch is a long way from my peanut butter/rice cake/banana slices.  Yes, I know the calorie count is crazy higher too, but once in a while it’s ok.  Just because one has IBS, doesn’t mean they need to live off of tree bark and water, do they?

 

 

So, there you have it – my menu ideas for FODMAP friendly (and dairy and egg free too!) breakfasts.  It’s not a long list, but I’m not someone who demands a lot from breakfast.  Protein, some fruit, and some energy to start the day….

  • Toast and peanut butter (and bananas) (splurge on the expensive bread that tastes the best to you, it’s a huge psychological start to the day).
  • Granola, goat yogurt, and berries
  • Scones
  • Fodmap free Pancakes for brunch (and fruit salad and bacon!)
  • ok, ok, ok – I still have the Spartan rice cake/peanut butter/banana breakfasts when I’m travelling.  So, I guess it’s still on my list!

 

Scones

This installment tells about my most favourite treat for a weekend breakfast – Scones.

scones baked

 

 

 

I save these for the weekend, because who has time to bake on a weekday morning?  Before I developed IBS, I loved to bake on the weekends and the thought of never being able to do that again really brought me down.  One morning I thought I’d give it a try and pulled out one of my old favourite cookbooks – Company’s Coming.  I pulled this recipe right from the book:

scone recipeI had to substitute out some ingredients that weren’t FODMAP friendly.  The flour I replace with a gluten free baking mix, I leave out the currants, replace the egg with an egg replacer product and use vegan margarine and almond milk.  As you can see from my messy writing, I add cinnamon – more on that later.

I’ve also found that it’s easy to halve the recipe.

Once the ingredients are mixed as instructed, forming them into two ‘wheels’ on a parchment lined paper goes a lot easier if your hands are wet.  Once the dough is patted into the flat circles, I sprinkle a mixture of cinnamon sugar on top. (that’s what my messy note refers to).  I then score the discs with a large knife, so they do look like wheels.

scone formOnce this is done, I pretty much bake according to the instructions as well.

I was so pleased the first time I made these!  It sounds funny, but I felt ‘normal’ again.  Who knew a scone had that power!

Because of the substitutions, these are a little more crumbly than the originals, but I eat them with a fork anyway.  This scone is delicious topped with a jam or jelly or marmalade (The Monash FODMAP app gives marmalade a green light, but I’ve found that it still pays to read the ingredient list).  They keep pretty well, too.  I’ve nuked leftovers in the microwave and they come out fine.

Once I had a pantry stocked with the basics for this recipe, it became really easy to do a bit of baking on a weekend morning.

Gluten Free Bread

Dairy, egg, gluten free breadOne of the trickiest food products I’ve had to search for is bread.  I’ve discovered that there are many options when it comes to selecting a gluten free bread – and that’s a good thing….

The only trouble is that I am also dairy free and egg free.  Finding a bread that meets those two dietary requirements has been pretty tricky.  I do have my favourite brand and I’d like to share it with you.

Glutenull Bakery is a small bakery out of Coquitlam, BC, Canada.  They have three bread products that I adore: Brown Rice, Quinoa and Buckwheat (they also have an Amaranth zest).  The first time I bit into a piece of toasted quinoa bread I thought I was in heaven.  The texture is light and fine and feels decadent on the tongue!

These products are vegan, and have an ingredient list that sounds more artesian than science experiment (the Buckwheat ingredients are listed as: Organic buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, organic flax, baking powder, xanthan gum, water, sea salt).

I usually try to have a slice of the Buckwheat bread for my toasty breakfasts – it’s a pretty hearty loaf.   The loaves are rounded and I’m not a huge fan of the heels, but I save them and chop them up for breadcrumbs.  Especially the quinoa and rice loaves  – I’ve found that they make great breadcrumbs that are perfect for breading fish or chicken.  I even made Christmas turkey dressing – took a loaf of the quinoa bread, cut off the crust, chopped the bread into chunks and mixed it with poultry seasoning.  Sauteed some green onions in olive oil and tossed in the bread chunks.  Smashed the whole lot in a small casserole dish, and poured on a little of the juices from the roasted turkey.  Baked for a half hour and bam!  Fabulous FodMap free turkey dressing!

I find this bread at my local Planet Organic.  Once, when a clerk there told me that they wouldn’t carry the Quinoa bread anymore, I ordered an entire case of it.  It still sits in my freezer, and I’m slowly chipping away at it.  Planet Organic is still carrying the product too…. So much for my attempt at hoarding!

It’s getting easier to find gluten free bread, but still very challenging to find a vegan or dairy and egg free bread as well.  I’m so pleased that bakeries are taking up the challenge!

Meal Planning for Breakfast

I’ve been doing some thinking on how far I’ve come from when I first figured out I had IBS and discovered the FODMAP diet.  Besides the constant threat of diarrhea and the pain associated with it, what I remember clearly is the panic I felt around the question ‘what can I eat today?’. I didn’t start out consciously meal planning for breakfast, but I do have a small list of go-to menu items that make it easy for me to start my day AND to grocery shop for.

I can readily admit that I’m not a health nut.  I try to eat balanced, nutritious meals, but I don’t calorie count.  Maybe I’ll get there, but for now, I’m mostly just concerned about the basics about feeding myself.  I love eating for pleasure (having candles on the table makes food taste better, somehow), and can’t see myself gulping down a kale smoothie just ‘because it’s good for me’.  Maybe someday, but not today.

If anyone reads this and is starting out on their FODMAP journey, I hope you can get some inspiration from this post.  I shop at two stores: Safeway and Planet Organic.  Hopefully the ideas will make life just a teeny bit easier for you…. I’ll include recipes in later posts…

Granola Breakfast

toast

 

 

 

 

Breakfast – Weekdays

I tend to alternate between two menus during the week.  Easier to buy groceries for, easy to prepare on mornings when I need to eat before I’m fully woken up.

  • allergen free (gluten, egg, dairy, FODMAP free) bread, toasted, spread with organic crunchy peanut butter and topped with slices of bananas.
  • a dollop of goats-milk yogurt (for some reason my body can handle milk from goats but not a cow), granola (either a low-FODMAP kind from the store or home-made), and fresh berries sprinkled on top (I alternate between raspberries and blueberries, and have discovered that I can tolerate a small amount of blackberries (high on Polyols on the Monash FODMAP app).

scones baked

Breakfast – Weekends

If I’m lazy, I stick to the above.  But I do enjoy baking, and preparing foods with my family so will have one of the following for a special breakfast on a weekend.

Pancakes

  • Oat scones topped with marmalade.
  • Allergen free pancakes, with fruit salad (made with whatever I have on hand that’s got a green light from the Monash FODMAP app), and bacon. Served with pure maple syrup.

Breakfast – on the road

  • Travelling can be a real challenge for someone with IBS.  If I’m staying in a hotel, I make sure I have my rice cakes and organic peanut butter with me.  I’ve found that as long as I’m at a table of people who are ordering off the menu, my bringing food doesn’t cause much of a stir (I do try to be a little discreet, though). If I get an odd look, I’ll order a side of bacon off the menu and that seems to make everything OK.  On the bonus side, crispy bacon on a peanut butter slathered rice cake is incredibly yummy.

And those are about it.  I’ve experimented with other options, but these seem to be my go-to menu items.  At first, deciding what to eat can be daunting, but I’ve discovered that meal planning for breakfast doesn’t have to be a mind-bending, expensive or earth shifting experience.  Good luck to your own breakfast plans!

Eating out for Lunch

Happy New Year!

It looks like we’ve successfully rang in the new year… I had a great Christmas, quiet but not boring, wintery but not too frigid, and most importantly, everyone came down with the flu AFTER Boxing day (actually, I haven’t gotten it yet – thank you thank you thank you).

The Husband surprised me this year by wrapping a couple of gifts for me that were a nod to  my ongoing efforts to follow a low FODMAP diet.

The Mother-In-Law lives in a Seniors residence, and the family often takes her out for lunch.  We go to a typical pancake house, which makes it a challenge for me to select something that’s gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free and low FODMAP.  I don’t want to make a spectacle out of ordering, so I managed to come up with something that’s become ‘the usual’ for me.

My 'usual' for lunch out with the family.  I bring my own dressing!
My ‘usual’ for lunch out with the family. I bring my own dressing!

I order a side salad (often a regular salad is entire head of lettuce and that’s just crazy), checking to see that no shredded cheese or onion is added.  Usually, a side salad at these places is pretty predictable: head lettuce, grated carrot, tomato, maybe some shredded red cabbage.  All ok.   For protein, I ask for a side of bacon.  Hold the dressing.

I bring my own dressing – I make it up at home and bring it with me.  A real challenge to get it there without marinating the inside of my purse!

I picked up a ‘Dressing to Go’ container at my local grocery store – it works pretty well, but is a pain to put the top on – the container itself is soft silicone so pressing down on the lid results in a geyser of the contents…

 

Handy, but be careful getting the lid on!
Handy, but be careful getting the lid on!

The Husband, bless him, has been paying attention to my cursing and picked these travel containers up at a shop that specializes in camping/backpacking gear.  They aren’t supposed to leak, and will carry just enough dressing for a lunch-sized salad.

Travel Containers - from a backpacking specialty store.
Travel Containers – from a backpacking specialty store.

The dressing I make is typically (and these measurements are approximate, I just eyeball it):

Gutsy Broad’s Dressing To Go

  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2-4 Tbsp orange juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

It’s incredibly yummy over the bacon and greens, and also works well over tuna on the salad (I admit to bringing a small pop-top tin of tuna to a restaurant if I’m looking for a change).

It’s always a relief to figure out another piece of the ‘living with IBS’ puzzle.  Eating out for lunch – my solution isn’t a fancy solution, but it’s doable, stress free and lets me join in on family time.

Christmas Cookies

I can’t believe it’s time for Christmas again….  I have to admit that this year I’ve fretted less about my health at this time around.  I’ve attended office Christmas parties, house parties, lunches out and am planning the annual family Christmas dinner…. and it’s been awfully nice to not have a ‘delicate tummy’ to fret about.  What am I fretting about? – I need some Christmas Cookies!!

I am a sucker for a treat.  And Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without some sort of special treat on the table that was ok for me to eat – despite having an intolerance for dairy and eggs, and following a low (LOW) FODMAP diet – that means gluten free, preferably.  And, I want it to be nice enough to serve to others.

One of the wonderful things about this time of year is the scent of rich spices.  My mothers gingerbread cookie recipe was a staple in my house for many years (I still make them, even though I can’t eat them), so I wanted something that had that gingery/nutmeggy flavour.

I’ve come up with a chocolatly spicy cookie, and attempted the ‘yule log’ theme.  Mash it all together and I’ve got:

Chlogs

Spicy Chlogs

(ok, the name needs a bit of work.  I am terrible at naming things – any suggestions?)

For the Cookie

  • 1 Box gluten free vanilla cake mix (I use Betty Crocker)
  • 1/2 c margarine (I use  Earth Balance dairy free)
  • 1 extra large egg (I use egg replacer)
  • 1/3 cup almond milk (I use the regular, not the unsweetened kind)
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

For the coating

  • dark baking chocolate (I use Camino semi sweet) for melting
  • icing sugar (to dredge)

Instructions

Mix the cookie ingredients as usual.  Roll by hand on waxed paper into thin ropes, cut roughly as long as your pinky finger.  Bake on parchment at 350 for about 12 minutes.

cookie dough size

Once cooled, dip one end into the melted chocolate, and then dip in bowl of icing sugar.  Let dry on a rack (over some waxed paper to catch the drips).  Can be frozen.

chocolate dipped

So, unless someone can come up with a better name, my Spicy Chlogs are a new part of my holiday baking.  They are crunchy, chocolatey and spicy… rather good dipped!  I hope everyone is able to find a Christmas Cookie that they enjoy this year….

Along with good health, family and friends!

FODMAP-Free Blueberry Chia Jam

FODMAP-Free Blueberry Chia Jam

This is a recipe I tried this summer on a whim, and I have to admit it’s pretty cool.  I bought the package of Bob’s Red Mill whole seed chia to include with some granola bars I was making.  On the back of the package is a recipe for a rather unique jam.  With some slight modification I was able to turn it into a FODMAP Free Blueberry Chia Jam.

 

Chia Package
Chia Package

 

According to Authority Nutrition, Chia is loaded with fiber, protein and antioxidants, and we all know how good blueberries are for you!  After checking out the  Bobs Red Mill website, I see they note that the recipe is High in fiber, lactose free, Low Cal, Low Carb, Low Fat, Soy Free and Vegan.

The interesting thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t call for pectin – the package notes that chia is a ‘nutrient rich substitute for pectin’.  Because of this, it doesn’t call for much in the way of sugar either.  The 1/4 cup of Agave syrup was easily swapped for a more FODMAP friendly Brown Rice syrup.

Here’s the recipe, right off the package with the minor sugar substitute:

FODMAP Free Blueberry Chia Jam

  • 3 Cups fresh Blueberries
  • 1/4 cup Brown Rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup Chia Seed
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Ingredients
Ingredients

Combine berries and syrup in a small saucepan.  Cook on medium heat until berries soften.  Add chia seed and cook, stirring often, until very thick, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and add vanilla. Store in refrigerator. Makes 10 servings.  Keeps best refrigerated or frozen.

The resulting jam has a mild flavour and fun texture.  I love it loaded on a piece of my toasted gluten, egg and dairy free bread.  Or a rice cracker for a snack!.  I find that regular jam is often overwhelmingly sweet and this is a nice alternative.  It also makes a smaller batch than most jam recipes, so is a little more convenient for a home cook like me.

Blueberry Chia Jam on a rice cracker
Blueberry Chia Jam on a rice cracker

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

TOP 10 INGREDIENTS (That I always have in my fridge)

Now seems like a good time as any to set out what the staple ingredients in my fridge are.  These items always seem to be on my grocery list and most of them I can use in many different ways. 

I’m starting to feel more comfortable grocery shopping – I know what I can get at my ‘big chain’ supermarket and what I have to pick up at a specialty store.  Yes, some of these specialty things are more expensive, but my stomach thanks me by behaving itself.

 Top 10 Ingredients that I always have in my fridge:

  1.      Almond Milk.  Both the Unsweetened and the Regular.  I use the unsweetened to have a glass with dinner, and I use the sweetened for my tea or baking.
  2.       Goat Cheese and or goat yogurt.  When I found out that I couldn’t have bovine dairy any more I was really crushed.  Goat cheese has let me down gently.  I don’t have it that often, but it really adds a creaminess to sauces.  Goat cheese can be made into feta, brie and may other types of cheese, in addition to the traditional chevre.  Goat yogurt is awesome with fresh raspberries and some FODMAP friendly granola.
  3.      Leftovers!  Because there is no such thing as ‘Safe Fast Food’ for me, I always make more than I can eat, and stash the leftovers away.  Leftovers from dinner make easy lunches the next day.  I make sure I use glass (pyrex) storage containers, for safe reheating in the microwave.
  4.       Tamari Sauce.  I had no idea what this ingredient was until I started researching alternative recipes.  Like Soy Sauce, but without wheat or garlic, so it’s great for an IBS friendly stir fry.  Mixed with wine and some herbs it makes an awesome marinade for a pork roast. 
  5.       Carrots.  Must have your veggies!  I am starting to buy these at a farmers market as the taste sooo much better than what is usually found on the supermarket shelves.  After steaming or boiling, I toss them in olive oil and dill.  Once I had them in a restaurant and they were roasted – soooo good and I will definitely be trying this at home.
  6.       Broccoli.  Must have different coloured veggies!  Broccoli is on the ‘be cautious’ list for people on the FODMAP diet, but it’s safe for me (although I don’t eat it by the potful, it is a great side dish).   I’ve learned to cook it without it getting brown and mushy – a key learning moment!  I toss it in some olive oil and sprinkle on a little salt.
  7.       Gluten Free Bread.  I don’t have celiac disease, but I do like to limit the amount of gluten I consume.  I’ve found an awesome bread that is gluten free, egg free and dairy free.  Prepared by the Glutenull Bakery, the quinoa bread is AWESOME, but needs refridgeration to keep fresh. 
  8.       Earth Balance Vegan baking sticks.  This is my alternative to butter or margarine (which often has hidden dairy in it).  I use it for baking and haven’t noticed a taste difference.
  9.       Organic Peanut butter.  I prefer my peanut butter to be as unprocessed as possible and this means preservatives aren’t added.  Because of this, this product needs to stay in the fridge once it’s opened.
  10.  Orange Juice.  Besides being good on it’s own, I will use this as an ingredient in marinades, sauces and salad dressings. 

I could have added a 11th item called: something I bought and am waiting to throw out.  These things are in my fridge because either I bought them thinking that I’d like to try them on a ‘challenge’ to my stomach, but I have since chickened out and won’t risk upsetting my stomach.  Or, I didn’t check the ingredient list carefully enough in the store, and once I got home discovered that a non-FODMAP friendly ingredient is in there.  Currently I have a nice wedge of (expensive) goat cheese gouda in my fridge – can you believe that egg whites are on the ingredient list?  Weird.  I will let it go bad (or try to fob it off on The Husband) and then throw it out.  A shame.

What sorts of staples do you have guaranteed to be in your fridge?  Love to hear from you!

Looking forward, I’m hoping my next blog will be a product review on Italian Spice mix.  I’ve been thinking about my last Top 10 list (ingredients in my pantry), and how boring the list was.  Time to spice it up!

 top 10 fridge