Monthly Archives: October 2010

Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet….

Give me a GP-friendly Halloween treat!  Historically, I’ve purchased a personal bag of fun size chocolate candy bars as a little Halloween indulgence for myself each year.  This Halloween will be a little different but that doesn’t mean there will be no treats.  Peeps…the little sugared marshmallow treats become something extra special when toasted over an open flame…bruleed as I like to describe them.  The sugar coating gets crispy while the marshmallow inside goes all ooey-gooey.  Delicious!  Toasty ghosties, crackled jack-o-lanterns and frightfully fudgey cats make festive sweets.  By the way, bruleed stale Peeps…extra delicious!  Remember to use CAUTION as hot sugar burns like napalm!  Always allow your Bruleed Peeps to cool slightly before eating.  Whether toasted over the gas flame of the stove top or over the open flames of an outdoor fire pit Bruleed Peeps are goulishly tasty.

Bruleed Peeps

Peeps sugared marshmallow treats-ghosts, pumpkins and chocolate mousse flavored cats (new this year!)

toasting forks, long metal bbq skewers

Toast Peeps over an open flame until sugar coating melts and marshmallow interior melts.  Sugar coating will crisp while cooling.  Let cool slightly before eating.

Picky Pumpkin Pickers are Prone to Pick the Plumpest Pumpkins!

I dare you to say that three times fast!  Halloween is just days away and all the pumpkins on all the doorsteps have given me a taste for something creamy, spicy and pumpkin-y.  One of my favorite places for jams and preserves has always been Stonewall Kitchens.  Their butters are particularly good…including the pumpkin butter.  I got to thinking I must have all the ingredients in the house why not just make some.  The following recipe for Maple Pumpkin Butter is a compilation of several recipes I found on the internet.  It’s dark, spicy and satisfying…without being overly sweet.  Not only do cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cloves and nutmeg taste great they’re all supposedly good immune system enhancers as well as sources of antioxidants.  Pumpkin is a “super food” high in Vitamins C and E, magnesium, potassium and zinc and several varieties of carotenoids (antioxidants).  Tasty and good for you!

The following recipe for Peach and Pumpkin Butter Tartine came to me while I was trying to use up some fat-free cottage cheese.  Cottage cheese is a great source of GP-friendly protein and “goes down easy” but I find it can cause (whisper voice here) constipation if enjoyed too often or in too big a serving so I try to limit my servings to no more than 1/4 cup per day…that’s still over 6 grams of protein.  With the toaster waffle this makes a nice mini-meal which provides almost 9 grams of protein.  Peaches and spiced pumpkin are surprisingly nice together.  By the way, a tartine is just a glamorous French name for an open-faced sandwich.

Maple Pumpkin Butter

Makes approximately 1 pint

1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree

1/4 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons maple syrup (I use Grade B)

1/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and allspice

1/4 teaspoon each: ginger, cloves and nutmeg

Whisk all ingredients in a heavy saucepan until well combined.  Bring to a boil and cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently until thickened-approximately 15 minutes.  Cool slightly and spoon into a clean pint jar.  Refrigerate for up to 3 months.

Peach and Pumpkin Butter Tartine

Makes 1 serving but can be multiplied

1 low-fat toaster waffle

a smear of Maple Pumpkin Butter

1/4 cup fat-free cottage cheese

canned peach slices, drained

Toast waffle and spread with a smear of maple pumpkin butter.  Top with cottage cheese and sliced peaches.

A Few Words About The Recipes

I just wanted to take a minute to share my methodology for developing all of the Gastroparesis friendly recipes that I’ve posted so far and will continue to post. My motto is: “Nothing tastes as good as being well feels” so I follow a strict interpretation of the Gastroparesis Diet (low-fat/low fiber) and the list of GP friendly foods that I received during a visit with a Registered Dietitian who was knowledgeable in digestive disorders including Gastroparesis…an important point when searching for a RD.  Even the Nutella from the previous post fits into the low-fat/low fiber guidelines of the GP Diet.  My Gastroparesis is idopathic…I don’t have diabetes.  It is my goal as a trained chef and more importantly as a GP patient to create easy, tasty and healthy GP friendly recipes that can be seasoned up or down depending on individual needs.  Honestly, there are days it feels like I’m working with one hand tied behind my back!

Everyone is a unique individual and their GP is as unique as they are.  Only you know what you can safely tolerate.  I have eaten, tried or regularly use ALL of the recipes, suggestions and products that I write about.  I will NEVER post anything that has not agreed with me unless it is to say that it was a “failed experiment” and did not agree with me.  I ALWAYS “sleep on things” first before posting anything to be certain that they don’t cause me any digestive distress.  My list of food allergies is a long one and unfortunately some of them are on the GP friendly list.  They include (but are not limited to!) all soy products (except for soy sauce), carrots, apples, sesame (tahini as a form of fat), cashews (nut butter made with cashews), sunflower seeds (sunflower seed butter) crab meat, veal, mustard and any seasonings with celery seed just to name a few.   Because I am unable to test any recipes or suggestions using these foods I will never include them in my recipes.

Lastly, this blog is a fantastic form of therapy for me and it is helping expand my food horizons slowly and responsibly while being creative with the medium I love.  Thank you for all of your comments, visits and support-they mean a lot to me.  Please don’t be shy with any recipe ideas, suggestions or questions.  They are all welcome.  Eat Well!  Be Well!  Enjoy!

Lustful Thoughts

It’s time for a confession…I’ve been having lustful thoughts.  The object of my lust: Nutella.  Spreadable chocolate and hazelnuts what could be more scrumptious!  February 5, 2011 is World Nutella Day and frankly I couldn’t wait that long.  Like some people with GP I’m able to tolerate almond butter a tablespoon at a time (8 grams fat, 2 grams fiber) so I did a little label sleuthing and to my delight a tablespoon of Nutella has 5.5 grams fat and less than 1 gram fiber.  Nutella isn’t a substitute for the nutrition in almond butter but it’s nice to have on hand for the occasional treat.

I found inspiration from a recipe for an English version of Pear Chocolate Betty posted on http://www.Telegraph.co.uk.  I thought chocolate and hazelnuts would pair well with pears and the following recipe for Pear Brown Betty with Warm Nutella Sauce was born.  I chose to use canned pears for two reasons: first, they are already peeled and poached and second, I love pears and find the thought of having a bowl of beautiful, golden ripe Bartlet  pears in the kitchen that can’t be eaten out of hand or with a few slivers of aged sharp cheddar cheese a little depressing.  Still adapting.

If you do not feel comfortable with Nutella the Pear Brown Betty can be enjoyed as is with a little cinnamon (1 teaspoon) added to the crumb mixture and a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt.

We enjoyed an easily digestible dinner of Pan Seared Scallops (posted 10/5/10) with mashed potatoes before diving into dessert.

Pear Brown Betty with Warm Nutella Sauce

Serves 4

2 15 ounce cans pear halves in juice (reserve juice)

14 lowfat Nilla vanilla wafers, pulverized into crumbs in a miniprep

2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed

1/3 cup reserved pear juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a shallow baking dish.  Slice pears approximately 1/4″ thick.  Mix Nilla wafer crumbs and light brown sugar.  Layer half the sliced pears on the bottom of the baking dish and cover with half the crumb mixture.  Layer with remaining pear slices and cover with remaining crumb mixture.  Pour 1/3 cup reserved pear juice around the sides.  Spray the top lightly with cooking spray. Bake 30 minutes until top is golden and juices are bubbling.  Serve with Warm Nutella Sauce.

Warm Nutella Sauce

4 Servings

1/4 level cup Nutella

2 1/2  tablespoons reserved pear juice

(an individual serving: 1 level tablespoon Nutella and 2 teaspoons reserved pear juice)

Carefully warm Nutella and pear juice in a small bowl in the microwave.  Stir. Drizzle over servings of warm Pear Brown Betty.

A Real Meal…

That’s what it felt like…a real meal.  It’s probably no longer a secret but I eat a  lot of spinach and chicken has been “the only meat so far”.  The two ingredients paired up for a tasty easy one skillet dinner thanks to one of my favorite web sites .  Lately I’ve been wanting meals with a little more flavor-anyone with GP knows that symptoms, tolerances and tastes are constantly in flux.  So far I’ve tried to create easy, tasty and hopefully healthy Gastroparesis-friendly recipes following the low-fat/low fiber guidelines that can be seasoned up or down depending on the day.  The following recipe for Chicken Florentine Saute is an adaptation from http://www.eatbetteramerica.com.  We enjoyed ours with good old mashed potatoes.

Chicken Florentine Saute

Serves 4

4 small boneless/skinless chicken breasts (about 5 ounces each), lightly pounded

1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock

1 large clove garlic, grated on a rasp/microplane

1 cup fat free milk

1 10 ounce box chopped spinach, defrosted, most of the liquid squeezed out

1 heaping tablespoon Crimini Mushroom Tapenade (posted 10/21) or a small can of chopped mushrooms, drained (optional)

1 tablespoon onion powder

freshly grated nutmeg, to taste

salt and pepper, to taste

grated parmesan (optional)

Preheat a sprayed non stick skillet over medium high heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Cook chicken breasts 3 minutes per side then remove to a plate.  Add chicken stock and garlic to the pan scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add spinach, onion powder, milk and mushrooms (if using).  Bring to a boil.  When all of the ingredients are heated through add chicken back to the pan and turn to coat.  Reduce to a simmer.  Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Simmer until chicken is cooked -approximately 5 minutes.  Serve with freshly grated parmesan if desired.

Add a Litttle Sweetness to the Day

I came upon some interesting information recently.  Blackstrap molasses is  a significant source of iron, calcium and potassium. Plantation brand from Whole Foods contains daily values of 20% iron, 20% calcium and 17% potassium at 42 calories per tablespoon.  It is obtained from the 3rd boiling of cane sugar (regular molasses is a result of the 1st and 2nd boilings) and it’s also what gives gingerbread and baked beans their unique sweetness.  I happen to like the taste of molasses…stirred into a cup of coffee or dissolved in a mug of hot water with a little lemon.  When he was a child, my father’s Nana made him glasses of milk (warm or cold) with a spoonful of molasses stirred in which he continued to enjoy as an adult.  A tablespoon of blackstrap molasses also has a mild laxative effect.  The following recipe for Gingerbread Sweet Potatoes was inspired by my well-worn copy of The Fanny Farmer Cookbook.  As always, moderation in all things.  Molasses is a sugar and iron is a heavy metal and too much of a good thing is still too much.

Gingerbread Sweet Potatoes

Serves 6

4 large sweet potatoes, baked until a skewer can be inserted without resistance

2 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate

1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses (or more depending on your taste for molasses)

1/4 teaspoon each ground ginger, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

Brummel & Brown, butter or spread of your choice (optional-I used B&B spread)

Peel then mash sweet potatoes with remaining ingredients.  Leftovers can be portioned and frozen for future meals.

It’s the Great Pumpkin “Polenta”, Charlie Brown!

The frost is definitely on the pumpkin around here as temperatures are hovering at freezing in the mornings.  I’ve had a hankering for something pumpkin but savory.  The following recipe for Pumpkin “Polenta” with Crimini Mushroom Tapenade was inspired by the season.    The “list” from my visit with the Dietitian includes grits as a GP-friendly starch.  I’ll be blunt: I follow a very narrow interpretation of the “list” so I’ve chosen to use instant grits rather than cornmeal or polenta.  I routinely use instant grits…I’m a Yankee and don’t know any better.

The Crimini Mushroom Tapenade was inspired by a recipe for Portobello Mushroom Gravy from Eating Well Magazine.  The tapenade is highly flavored and meant to be a condiment.  It freezes well, can be transformed into mushroom gravy by adding chicken stock and thickening with a little cornstarch and is a delicious addition to Three Cheese Pita Pizza (posted 9/3/10), as a stuffing for boneless chicken breasts, layered with spinach and Laughing Cow cheese in Eggo Benedict (posted 9/15/10), used as filling for an omlette and as a base with spinach for scrambled eggs.  As for the leftover pumpkin, I’m going to add some to my strained tomato sauce as a sneaky way to get some more veggies in when I make my next Pita Pizza and using the rest for pumpkin spice waffles.

Just a note about the following recipes: I was reminded during a Gastroparesis Webinar (8/25/10) sponsored by G-Pact that the Gastroparesis Diet is low-fat NOT no fat so I have been trying to discreetly add small amounts of healthy fats to my day.  Hence the olive oil in the mushroom tapenade.  During that same Webinar we were also reminded not to get stuck in a rut eating the same “safe” handful of foods we all rely on.   The advice was to add ONE new GP friendly food per week in order to expand our food horizons.  Good advice!

Crimini Mushroom Tapenade

Makes approximately 3/4 cup

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

10 ounce box crimini mushrooms, finely minced in a food processor

2 cloves garlic, grated on a rasp*

1/4 teaspoon thyme, crushed

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 tablespoon dry french white vermouth (optional)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat a large sprayed saute pan.  Add olive oil, mushrooms, garlic, thyme,  onion powder and pepper with a pinch of salt (to help mushrooms give up their liquid).  Saute until mushroom mixture gives up its liquid and becomes dry (about 8-10 minutes).  Add chicken stock, vermouth and soy sauce.  Simmer for 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and mushroom mixture has the texture of olive tapenade. *A rasp is a grating tool available at any cooking supply store.  It resembles the rasp woodworkers use and is a terrific way to grate garlic, ginger, nutmeg, parmesan cheese and citrus zest.

Pumpkin “Polenta”

Serves 4 modestly

6 tablespoons instant grits

2 cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

salt and pepper, to taste

grated paresan cheese, to taste

Bring stock to a boil.  Add grits, onion powder, thyme, salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally until grits are soft (approximately 5 minutes).  Stir in pumpkin puree.

Plate a serving of “polenta” season with grated parmesan and garnish with Crimini Tapenade.  I served this with roast chicken breast.