Monthly Archives: March 2011

Fast, Fresh, Hot, Yeast and Dairy-free Squash Herb Bread

UPDATED 4/4/11

Originally, I suggested that this recipe could be baked gluten-free because it was originally published as a gluten-free recipe.  Since posting, two readers have encountered difficulties baking this bread gluten-free.  I’ve updated the recipe by removing the gluten-free suggestions.  My apologies for any disappointing results anyone may have experienced.

The title of this post basically sums up today’s recipe!  I’ve had this stashed away ever since I became “fascinated” by Gillian McKeith and her BBC show You Are What You Eat.  Actually, if truth be told, she kind of frightened me and some of her food combinations and recipes were a bit strange but I always agreed with her opinion that no one became unhealthy by eating too many fruits and veggies.

Unfortunately for those of us with Gastroparesis, getting our fruits and veggies can be a challenge.  While I was searching my recipe archives (digging through the pile of pages printed off the Internet that are precariously piled on the corner of my desk).  I came across this recipe I’ve named Squash Herb Bread and adapted from You Are What You Eat.  I thought it would be a perfect way to combine some veggie vitamins with hot, freshly baked bread.

This yeast-less recipe is very similar to an Irish Soda Bread which relies on the chemical reaction of a leavening agent to make the bread rise. It was originally written as a gluten-free recipe but only specified “gluten-free flour”.  I baked it with traditional white, all-purpose flour and substituted canned pumpkin for roasted butternut squash because, although I have some in the freezer, I felt that most people were more likely to have a can of pumpkin in the pantry.

Combining this handful of simple ingredients results in a golden, saffron-hued, rustic loaf of hot, savory bread that can be enjoyed hot out of the oven or toasted later…both with the added bonus of veggie vitamins.

Squash Herb Bread

This yeast-less bread baking technique is very similar to an Irish Soda Bread which relies on a leavening agent to rise.  The leavening agent in this case is baking powder.

Serves 8

1 1/2 cups roasted, mashed butternut squash (I used canned pumpkin)

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon herb seasoning (I used Italian Herb Mix)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 375 400 degrees.  Combine ingredients with a large spoon in a large bowl. Place on a lightly floured surface and knead until soft and spongy adding a little more flour if the dough is too sticky.  Do not over knead. Form into a round loaf approximately 6 inches in diameter.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and cut a cross in the top with a sharp knife that has been dipped in flour.  Bake for 35-40 minutes.  Remove loaf with oven mitts and carefully tap the bottom.  It should sound hollow.  If it doesn’t, return the bread to the oven for an additional 5 minutes.  Cut into wedges and enjoy.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

159 calories, 3.8 grams fat, 2.2 grams fiber, 27.6 grams carbohydrate, 3.7 grams protein

Confession Time…

Bless me, fellow GPers, for I have strayed!  It’s been about a month since the Vitamix entered my life and I’ve been indulging “off diet”.  There have been dalliances with berries, onions, peas and greens other than spinach…and I’m not the least bit repentant!  My instruments of debauchery: Vitamix blender, fine mesh strainer, rubber scraper and ice cube trays. Would you like to hear more?  Discontinue reading now lest you be lured into similar mischief!  You’ve been warned.

All kidding aside, as I have mentioned a few times already, I was told that all baby food is considered acceptable for Gastroparesis because it’s pureed and strained.  So, why can’t I make my own pureed and strained fruits and veggies, season them according to my taste and press them through a fine, mesh strainer for further peace of mind?  With that in mind I have been enjoying Fresh Strawberry Puree and Five Berry Puree poured over my daily plain Activia yogurt and I’ve even taken some berry puree with me to pour over frozen yogurt at Red Mango (my favorite frozen yogurt spot).  I’ve also been indulging in cups of pureed veggie soup including Spring Pea & Lettuce Soup with my dinner.

I’m in no way advocating that these recipes are appropriate for everyone.  Remember, if in doubt, just leave it out.  You know your tolerances best and your personal judgment is still your best guide.

Fresh Strawberry Puree/Five Berry Puree

Perfectly portioned for individual servings of yogurt (just defrost one or two cubes) or dropping into smoothies (no need to defrost).

2 pounds fresh strawberries, washed and hulled or

frozen mixed berries, defrosted (I used a bag of mixed berries containing cherries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries and augmented with a bag strawberries from Trader Joe’s)

Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Puree berries thoroughly and press through a fine mesh strainer.  Stir in a squeeze of fresh, strained lemon juice.  Spoon puree into ice cube trays (2 lbs of strawberries fill approximately two 12 count trays generously).  Freeze then pop out puree cubes and store in a Ziploc bag.

Spring Pea & Lettuce Soup

Adapted from Epicurious.com.  Makes 6 Servings of 2/3 cup each

To put things into perspective, a 3.5 ounce serving of Gerber 2nd Foods peas contains 45 calories, o grams fat, 3 grams of fiber, 8 grams of carbohydrate and 3 grams of protein.

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 head Romaine lettuce (approximately 1 pound) including dark green outer leaves, washed, trimmed and thinly sliced

10 ounces frozen baby peas, rinsed

1 cup low sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 cups water

3/4 teaspoon salt

pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill

fresh lemon juice

Spray the interior of a large soup pot with cooking spray, add olive oil and saute onion until soft (approximately 5 minutes).  Add garlic and saute an additional minute.  Stir in lettuce and cook until wilted (approximately 3 minutes).  Add peas, broth, water, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.  The lettuce should be very wilted and the peas should look “puckered”.   Stir in dill during the last minute of cooking.  Puree thoroughly then press through a fine, mesh strainer before returning to the pot.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.  Season each serving with a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

77.6 calories, 2 grams fat, 3.5 grams fiber, 10.4 grams carbohydrate, 3.26 grams protein

Note To Subscribers

Just a quick note to everyone with a subscription to Gastroparesis and Gastronomy.  WordPress has been a little quirky today and the wrong version of “Tasty Find!” went out to subscribers.  The correct version can be found at http://www.gastroparesisandgastronomy.wordpress.com  Sorry for any inconvenience!  Be Well, Mary

Tasty Find! And This Time It’s A Book

So you can’t eat it, but it may be able to help you eat better!  Fifty percent of those who were kind enough to participate in the most recent Poll were looking for ways to include more fruits and veggies in their diet…not always an easy task for those of us with Gastroparesis.

Recently, during a post-prandial, pro-digestive stroll, Hubby and I took  a browse through Sur La Table, one of my favorite cookware shops.  It was there I leafed through an interesting book: Cooking for Baby Recipes by Lisa Barnes. The cover boasts “Wholesome, homemade, delicious foods for 6 to 18 months”.  I’m always on the lookout for easily digestible ways to include more fruits and veggies in my day whether it’s juicing raw fruits and veggies, oven-roasting squash and root veggies, pureeing soups or even eating baby food.

During a visit with a Registered Dietitian shortly after my diagnosis I was told, because it has been pureed and strained, ALL baby food is acceptable for people with Gastroparesis .  Early on in the book the author asks “Do you eat a lot of  jarred, canned or processed food?”  The answer for most GPers is probably “Yes” given the constraints of the low fat/low fiber GP diet.  She then lists the benefits of making baby food at home: It’s unadulterated, more versatile, more varied and more nutritious.  I got to thinking, if it is that beneficial to babies why couldn’t it be beneficial to those of us with Gastroparesis, especially given our fruit and veggie challenges?  I ordered the book from Amazon (sorry Sur La Table) where it was cheaper and qualified for super saver shipping.

After reading the entire book, I feel the recipes are easily adaptable to be GP-friendly and provide a healthy and easy way to include more fruits and veggies day-to-day.  There are also suggestions for what herbs and spices pair best with certain fruits and veggies and the book includes a “how to” for making meat purees if that is or ever becomes necessary.

Recipes range from simple purees to more appealing dishes like Pumpkin Soup with Alphabet Pasta, Hidden Veggie Sauce (a combination of  homemade spinach and sweet potato purees combined with strained tomato sauce for sneaking in extra veggies plus a little Blackstrap Molasses for added iron) and Vegetable Oven Fries (using sweet potatoes, beets and rutabaga).  My only disappointment with the book is the lack of nutritional information for the recipes.

Just a reminder, purees can be easily morphed into very tasty soups with a little chicken or veggie stock and some creative seasoning.  Press purees and soups through a fine mesh strainer for extra peace of mind.  I regularly enjoy a teacup of pureed veggie soup with my dinner in lieu of plain, overcooked veggies.  I hope this “Tasty Find!” is able to help any of my fellow GPer’s who are looking for creative ways to increase their produce intake.  As always: Eat Well!  Be Well! Enjoy!

A Recipe is Only a Guideline…

The other day I came in with one thing on my mind: hot veggie soup but there was none.  Because of food allergies I can’t just open a box of Pacific or Imagine pureed veggie soup, which is a shame because some of the varieties look really tasty.  Every recipe I post here is just that a written recipe with specific measurements and directions.   In reality a recipe (unless you’re baking) is just a guideline.  Some of my favorite meals have no recipe.  I thought I’d do a post about flying on your own, untethered by the confines of a recipe.  With that in mind I will share thoughts for an Impromptu Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Soup and an Impromptu Carrot Ginger Soup that can be put together from whatever is in the fridge, freezer and pantry.

No squash, just sweet potatoes?  No problem!  Make Sweet Potato Soup.

Not enough squash or sweet potato?  Augment with canned pumpkin.

No chicken stock?  Use veggie stock or a bouillon cube or two.

No maple syrup?  Use some of the pear juice from the canned pears.

Feeling like a “creamed” soup?  Add a white potato and/or enrich with some fat free half and half, evaporated skim milk or a dairy substitute of your choice.

Looking for more exotic flavor?  Substitute a small spoonful of a mild Thai Curry paste of your choice.

Looking for less flavor?  Back off the curry powder or leave it out entirely.

Looking for a little protein?  Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt or even stir in a small amount of peanut or almond butter if you’re able to tolerate it.

By the way, a “palmful” is just enough spice to create a mound in the center of your palm.  Also, I’m always afraid of staining food processors and blenders with curry so I add it after I’ve pureed.

Impromptu Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Soup

1  sweet potato (any size), peeled and cubed

2 cups (or so) roasted butternut squash (or equivalent frozen puree or cubes)

low sodium chicken stock

palmful of onion powder

1 garlic clove (less or more depending on your taste), grated

1 cube Ginger Paste

pinch thyme leaves

2 canned pear halves

palmful pumpkin pie spice

palmful mild curry powder

2 glugs maple syrup (I like Grade B)

salt and pepper to taste

Bring sweet potato cubes and enough chicken stock to cover to a boil.  Reduce heat and add remaining ingredients except curry powder.  Simmer until sweet potato cubes are very tender.  Puree and return to the soup pot.  Thin to desired consistency with stock.  Season with curry powder and salt and pepper to taste.

Impromptu Carrot Ginger Soup

When I was able to eat carrots I made Carrot Ginger Soup often.  It too doesn’t require an actual recipe.

carrots, peeled and chopped

low sodium chicken stock

palmful of onion powder

1 garlic clove (less or more depending on taste) grated

1 cube Ginger Paste

pinch of curry powder or pumpkin pie spice

salt and pepper to taste

Bring all ingredients (except curry powder) to a boil in enough chicken stock to cover.  Simmer until very tender.  Puree and return to soup pot.  Thin to desired consistency with stock.  Season with curry powder or pumpkin pie spice, salt and pepper.

The GPers Have Spoken!

UPDATE: Check out my “Guest Blogger” appearance with my fellow Gastroparesis-friendly blogger friend Mollee at My Broken Stomach!

Just a quick post to share the Poll results with everyone. I didn’t forget!   Thank you to those who participated it was greatly appreciated and enlightening.  Here are the results:

50% of the votes and the overwhelming winner: “Getting more fruits and veggies”

17% of the votes were garnered by each of  the remaining choices: “High protein”, “Soups, Purees and liquids” and “Other”-specifically low sugar/diabetic recipes.

I shall try to accommodate each of the categories as each garnered a significant response.  As for recipes for diabetics, I have started to include the Carbohydrate Count with the Nutritional Information at the end of each recipe.  If there is anything else that would make it easier for diabetics please let me know.

Since there is such an interest in fruits and veggies, what fruits and veggies has everyone been enjoying or would be interested in seeing as a few recipes?  I must remind you that I cannot eat carrots, parsnips or apples.

Thanks again to those who participated.  As always…Eat Well!  Be Well!  Enjoy!

Sooo Clever…

Sooo clever I wish I had thought of it myself!  As you know, I’m the proud new owner of a Valentine’s red Vitamix and before you think it, I promise this will not become a “Vitamix Required” Gastroparesis recipe blog.  I just had to share one recipe from the Whole Food Recipes book that came as part of the order.

Ginger is every GPer’s best friend.  It aids digestion and relieves nausea plus, its spicy heat makes everything it’s added to (sweet or savory) warm, comforting and slightly exotic.  I thought I was being clever by peeling and freezing thumb-sized pieces of ginger then grating them and pressing the pulp through a fine sieve as needed.  Turns out there is an even better way!

Ginger Paste

What an absolutely fantastic way to always have ginger on hand for entrees, soups, marinades or even baking (use half the amount of paste if a recipe calls for ground ginger).

1 1/2 cups fresh ginger root (I peeled mine and sliced it into coins)

1.  If using a Vitamix:

Place ginger into the container and secure lid.  Select Variable 1 and turn the machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10 then to High.  Blend for 45 seconds, using the tamper to press ginger into the blades.

If using a food processor:

Chop ginger into small pieces.  Pulse in food processor stopping to scrape down the sides periodically.

2.  Press ginger puree through a fine mesh sieve with a spatula or rubber scraper.  Discard fibers.

3.  Spoon heaping spoonfuls (I used a 2 teaspoon measure) into an ice cube tray.  Freeze then pop out ginger paste cubes and store in a Ziploc bag in the freezer.