Menu #2

I’m back with another menu.  Menu #2 is Coconut Shrimp Curry, served with rice.

Menu #2
Menu #2

This dish is a nice mid-week recipe especially mid-winter – it’s warm and most of the ingredients are easy to pull from the pantry or freezer.

I usually stock up on the bags of pre-cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp when they come on sale as I find them really handy to have on hand.  I’ll thaw them overnight in the fridge (if I remember to pull them the day before), or just in a large bowl of cool water if (as usual) I am just trying to pull things together quickly.

The shrimp curry is just a variation of the recipe that I’ve posted before. I’ve found that it’s a very flexible recipe  – in this version, I’ve added some organic grated coconut to the coconut milk.

In a previous post I’ve talked about comparisons between different coconut milk, and I have to say that in a recipe like this, where some stronger spices are used, that the slight flavour differences between the brands that I’ve tried wouldn’t really matter.

3 types coconut milkOf course, the other differences (organic or not) play a factor as well.  I find that I reach for the Thai brand most often.

I love using coconut milk because it adds creaminess to dishes, without adding dairy.  It’s usually fairly well tolerated by those on a FODMAP free diet, and with my dairy intolerance it’s a godsend.

The rice, of course, could just as easily be switched out for pad thai noodles.  The noodles give it a different texture and are actually preferred by The Son, but we had the noodles with another dish the night before, so I switched it up.

I like this particular recipe, because I can add whatever veg is kicking around in my fridge or freezer.  Some diced peppers or tomatoes, or frozen chopped spinach all work well with the creamy sauce.

Menu # 2
Menu # 2

So, for the ratings, (with 1 star at the low end and 3 stars at the better end) I would say:

Ease of grocery shopping: * * *

Ease of preparation * * *

Family friendly * * (The Son ate the curry, but not the rice!)

I also like this recipe because it’s easily adjusted and is an excuse to eat seafood.  I find that without butter in my ingredient repertoire that traditional ways of eating shrimp and shellfish are out for me.

Happy Eating!  I hope you find Menu #2 easy to work into your menu rotation.

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.

Granola for Breakfast

Granola BreakfastOn the days I don’t have toast, I usually have granola for breakfast.  I love the crunchy, nutty flavour, and bursts of berries!  When I first discovered that I reacted badly to dairy I thought I’d have to give up my habit, but I was soooo grateful to discover that my system tolerates yogurt made from goat’s milk.  It definitely was an ‘hallelujah’ day for me…

 

I have found an off-the-shelf product that is FODMAP friendly – I found many granola mixes on the market have ingredients that are off-limits for those of us on a low-FODMAP diet.  Honey, apples, dried fruit, almonds… you name it.  My go-to product is Nature’s Path Coconut Chia Granola.

Store bought granola

 

 

 

 

 

For variety, I also make my own granola.  A recipe that I’ve been using for a couple of years now is:

Gutsy Broad’s Home-made Granola

  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups of any combination of nuts, seeds, coconut
  • 1/4 tsp each of ground cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg

Mix well.

  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Heat the liquids in a small saucepan until warm (not hot).  Pour over the dry mixture and stir to combine.  Spread over a parchment lined pan, bake at 325 degrees, stirring every 10 minutes, for 30 minutes.  Cool and store.

I can’t remember who authored the base for this recipe – I found it in our local newspaper the Herald a long while back.

For breakfast, I’ll use a small scoop of yogurt, about half a cup of granola and then a handful of washed berries.

granola extrasHaving granola for breakfast is one of my ‘I don’t have to think about it’ meals – which I find important on busy mornings.  Granola keeps well in the cupboard and is easy to have around, or transport.

 

Thanksgiving with Food Intolerances

Thanksgiving with Food Intolerances

Learning to eat following a FODMAP diet in your own home is tricky enough, but it can be very daunting when you get an invite out.  This Thanksgiving, The Husband, The Kid, and I have been invited out to a friends place for Thanksgiving dinner.  Even thought they are dear friends, I am still nervous about the whole thing, so I thought I’d give myself a list of things to do before I try to celebrate Thanksgiving with Food Intolerances.

Have Platter, will Turkey!
Have Platter, will Turkey!

In some ways, successfully eating out when you have a food intolerance seems a bit like waging a war: 90% preparation, 1% action, and 9% waiting around for the worst to happen.  So here’s my plan:

Gutsy Broads Top 10 List for Eating Dinner out as a Guest

1) Call the Hostess to let them know, or remind them, that I have food intolerances.  This is the hardest thing for me to do, because I don’t look sick, I don’t want other people to pity me, and I hate explaining an intolerance to eggs, dairy and what the heck a FODMAP is.  I’m lucky that the hostess for this year’s Thanksgiving Dinner knows that I have food intolerances, so I will assume (which I know is a dangerous thing) that she’s waiting for me to call and help her out.

2) When talking with the Hostess, I will ask about the main course she is planning on serving.  Thanksgiving is usually turkey, so I’m hoping she’s not planning on serving it drenched in a heavy garlic cream sauce or something.  If the turkey will be cooked simply and just the gravy will be off limits for me, I’ll know just to stay away from the gravy.  Because of my dairy intolerance, if she’s planning on serving a butterball turkey I may have to do some heavy strategizing.  I’m not going to tell her what she can or cannot cook so I will plan on taking a teeny piece for my plate and asking my husband to quietly steal it during dinner.

3) Also when talking with the Hostess, I will ask about side dishes.  Usually it’s potatoes – if her plans are to prepare it in a way I’m uncomfortable with I can offer to bring my own baked potato.  She will probably then offer to nuke a potato for me –  if she doesn’t that’s no big deal.

4) I may slip in a question about dessert.  I will already feel like I am grilling her, so depending on how the conversation is going I’ll decide whether to approach this or not.  I can always pass on dessert – there’s always at least one annoying person at every dinner party who refuses dessert, it might as well be me.

5) I will offer to bring something.  Actually, I already know that I’m responsible for bringing the salad, so I’ll make sure that it, and the dressing, is low FODMAP. I will then feel comfortable loading up my plate with it.

What else can I add?
What else can I add?

6) Before going to the dinner, I will eat something filling at home.  Making sure that you are ‘sort of’ full before going out for dinner seems counter-productive, but it is a tried and true strategy.

7) I will take two things to dinner (besides the salad):  A positive attitude and a purse with a couple of safe granola bars. I may take an appetiser if I feel brave.

8) I will go easy on the alcohol.  I know that I need to stay alert during dinner, and getting blasted isn’t conducive to that. Sigh.

9) I will not make a fuss at dinner.  If all I have on my plate is a piece of turkey (inedible or not), a baked potato and my salad – that will be fine.  Having something on my plate is less of a distraction for other guests than having an empty plate at the table.

10) I will be prepared in case I ingest something that sets off my stomach.  I always like to wait about an hour after eating something I’m unsure of, just to see if my stomach will reject it or not.  So, not eating dessert, sipping my wine or tea, and then chatting while cleaning up the dishes will give me time to decide if I’m ok to get in the car and head home.  My purse will have my emergency kit (extra underwear, etc.) just in case.  Having this with me gives me some comfort and helps reduce my stress which can make a mild symptom much worse.

Contents of my kit.
Contents of my kit.

My plan is to do what I can to make sure I can accomplish the real goal of Thanksgiving dinner: spending time with family and friends, enjoying each other’s company.

Hopefully this list can help you if you’ve been invited out to Thanksgiving dinner!

FODMAP-Free Rhubarb Crumble

Summer  is here and it’s time to enjoy fresh food from the garden or farmers market!  I have a rhubarb plant tucked into the corner of my yard and it’s the first thing I can harvest each year.  One of the things we look forward to is a warm Rhubarb Crumble, spooned over ice cream (or frozen coconut, rice or soy milk for those of us with dairy intolerances!).  A FODMAP-Free Rhubarb Crumble is a wonderful spring and summer treat…

FODMAP-Free Rhubarb Crumble
FODMAP-Free Rhubarb Crumble

I adapted this recipe from the one printed on the back of the GoGo Quinoa package.  Apples are a no-go, so it took just a little tweaking to make this into a FODMAP-Free Rhubarb Crumble recipe.

 FODMAP-Free Rhubarb Crumble

  • 8×8 pan
  • Chopped rhubarb, enough to fill at least 1/2 the depth of the pan
  • 6 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. Earth Balance dairy free baking margarine

Grease the pan, add the chopped rhubarb.  Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over the rhubarb.  Add small dots of margarine to the top.

For the crumble:

  • 4 tsp Earth Balance dairy free margarine
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup gluten free flour
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flakes

Melt the margarine and toss with the sugar, flour and flakes.  Spoon this over the rhubarb in the pan.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Uncover and bake until crust is golden and rhubarb is tender (approximately 25 minutes).

This is a terrific way to use rhubarb.  Rhubarb is given the green light on the Monash FODMAP app, so it’s nice to have this option for fresh fruit!

Chopped Rhubarb

 

Why not food lables for FODMAPs?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how far I’ve come in the year I’ve been on the FODMAP diet.  This time last year, I was a real mess – I remember clearly thinking ‘just shoot me’, when I thought about living the rest of my life with the pain and diarrhea and exhaustion.  I credit the FODMAP diet with giving me my health and life back – I’ve been able to make great progress in all aspects of my Manifesto!  One thing I haven’t really addressed is point number 5:  I want to be prepared for the future.  Why not look at food labels for FODMAPs?

As I see myself ageing, I see myself having difficulty managing a FODMAP diet.  Already, trying to read itty bitty ingredient lists (hello Campbell’s soup), on the sides of food products can be a challenge, never mind the likely eventuality of ending up in a Seniors Residence, dependant on others to cook for me.  Will they know what food products are FODMAP friendly?  Why not IBS food labels for FODMAPs?

 

FODMAP labeling
FODMAP labeling

I think it’s time I started doing my small bit to try and make some changes.  I see in Australia that some enterprising souls have set up the FODMAP.com website, which encourages food companies to identify their products as being FODMAP friendly.  I contacted them and this is what they tell me:

“Nice to hear from you, we are based in Australia but we have already had Fodmap
Friendly Certification approved in all countries including Canada.
We are currently just launching worldwide so at this stage no specific organisation in
Canada at this stage but hopefully soon the food manufacturers will get on board
and assist all those people who have difficulty in finding food they can eat
throughout the supermarket. This will make their lives so much easier.”

I think I’m going to try and do my bit to see if I can get food processing companies in Canada/North America thinking about utilizing the FODMAP friendly label.

To start, I’ve picked three food products (that I’ve mentioned on one of my previous Top 10 lists), and I’m going to write the companies with the following message:

I am writing to you to express how very much I enjoy your product.

I discovered this product after I began to follow a low FODMAP diet.  FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols (google it for more information) – the idea is that foods that are high in FODMAPs cause great digestive discomfort (gas, bloating, diarrhea) for many people, including people suffering from IBS.

These fermentable sugars are in many, many foods (honey, garlic, apples, among many others), and it is difficult to find prepared foods that are free (or low) in these ingredients.  That’s why I was so please to find your product: it is now on my grocery list nearly every week.

The FODMAP diet is gaining in awareness and is an effective way to battle IBS.  Many people are learning about the diet, but most find it difficult to follow because there are so few food products clearly labelled.  I would ask that you consider labelling your products so that we can more easily locate and purchase foods that we can eat.  Australia has a FODMAP labelling program already in place, and it is approved for use in Canada.  You can check out their website fodmap.com, to learn more about this program.

The three products I’ve chosen to start with are:

  • Earth Balance Vegan cooking and baking sticks (www.earthbalancenatural.com)
  • Betty Crocker gluten free cake mix (www.askus.bettycrocker.ca)
  • Aylmer Accents fire roasted tomatoes (www.aylmertomatoes.ca)
Three products I'm going to contact.
Three products I’m going to contact.

I’d love it if you joined me on this project – either by contacting the above companies too, or by contacting the companies whose products you use on a regular basis.

Let me know what you hear back…

 

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