Category Archives: Holiday

Valentine’s TruffleTreats for My Sweets

Nothing says “I love you” like a box of rich chocolate truffles for Valentine’s Day.  Food is love after all!  For all GPers who can tolerate their chocolate in the form of cocoa powder I have a recipe (thanks to an old Weight Watchers cookbook) for low fat Chocolate Valentine’s truffles.  Yes, I was skeptical at first, but these really are little bites of chocolate bliss…and the best part…each truffle has only 1 gram of fat and 1 gram of fiber!  So raise a truffle and toast someone you love.

Chocolate Truffles

Makes 24 truffles

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (use the best quality you can afford)

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/2 cup (4 ounces or 1/2 brick) of reduced fat cream cheese (Neuchâtel)

Flavoring of your choice-I divided the truffle mixture into 1/4’s, left 1/4 plain then used 1/2 teaspoon each Grand Marnier, Chambord, Frangelico to flavor the remaining 1/4’s (only if you can tolerate very small amounts of alcohol).  The flavoring will be subtle.  Non-alcoholic options are extracts (1/2 teaspoon almond extract) or seedless jam.

Combine 1/2 cup coca powder, confectioner’s sugar and cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor.  If you are using one flavor add it now.  If you are making multiple flavors wait.  Process until blended.  The texture will be like damp beach sand.  If you are making multiple flavors divide mixture evenly (a kitchen scale is your best tool to portion properly by weighing out and dividing mixture evenly) and reprocess each flavor separately.  Portion by rounded teaspoons (or a small ice cream scoop) and roll then place each truffle on a sheet of wax paper.  You should get 24 truffles. Roll each truffle in the remaining 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Truffles taste best when allowed to warm slightly before enjoying.

Nutritional Information Per Serving: 1 truffle

46 calories, 1 gram fat, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram protein

NOTE: To the kind GPer who participated in the poll and checked “other”- the comment you posted in the box was truncated after the first sentence.  I care about what you have to share.  Please post your thoughts as a “Comment”on that page if you wouldn’t mind.  Thanks, Mary

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Still Pukka Christmas Curry Redo

Christmas dinner took a fortuitous but unexpected turn this year…we enjoyed Chicken Curry made with my GP-friendly Christmas Chutney!  I respectfully withheld the recipe because I knew that with a little more time and thought (and some fresh curry powder!) it could be something special.  Hubby and I enjoyed a Chicken Curry redo this weekend and I couldn’t wait to share the recipe.  The Christmas Chutney adds and extra layer of flavor and texture because it’s already seasoned and savory with onion powder, garlic, ginger, cinnamon and cloves and sweet from the diced pears, peaches and baby food prunes…and GP-friendly with no onions, raisins or seeds.  At one tablespoon, I was conservative with the curry powder as some recipes call for up to three tablespoons.  Use the amount you’re most comfortable with.  Remember, unless you’re baking, a recipe is only a guideline.  Feel free to get as creative or conservative as necessary depending on your needs, tastes and tolerances.  Aside from the splash of fat-free half and half at the end this is a dairy free curry especially if you substitute some low fat coconut milk for the half and half at the end. We enjoyed our Chicken Curry redo with basmati rice and Roasted Butternut Squash Cubes sprinkled with a little garam masala before roasting.  And now as promised…

Chicken Curry

Serves 4

This curry isn’t sweet.  If you prefer a sweeter curry substitute some of the chicken stock with apple or pineapple juice or sweeten with a spoonful of honey.  Serve a little extra Christmas Chutney on the side, if desired.

1 teaspoon canola oil

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces

1 teaspoon salt

ground black pepper to taste

1″ piece of fresh ginger peeled and grated, press through a sieve to catch fibers

2 cloves garlic, grated

1 tablespoon sweet curry powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 bay leaf

1 cinnamon stick

1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup Christmas Chutney

1/2 cup fat free half and half

Preheat a heavy-bottomed pan.  Spray with cooking spray.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Saute chicken pieces until golden brown.  Remove to a plate.  Add canola oil.  Briefly saute ginger, garlic, curry powder and onion powder.  Do not burn!  Add  tomato paste, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, chicken stock and chutney.  Bring to a simmer then add chicken back to the pan.  Simmer for 20 minutes then stir in fat free half and half.  Cook until warmed through.

Helpful Hint: When you spray a pan with cooking spray first you can reduce the amount of oil needed in a recipe.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

298 calories, 5.8 grams fat, 2.8 grams fiber, 36 grams protein

Knoodling GP-friendly Style

I love Noodle Kugel (or Noodle Pudding, as Hubby’s family calls it)!  Noodle Kugel is, simply put, Jewish Mac and Cheese…only sweet and cinnamon-y.  It’s enjoyed warm, cold or room temperature, as a holiday side dish or as a dairy lunch.  Noodle Kugel is quintessential comfort food traditionally made with egg noodles, raisins and tubs of full fat sour cream, cottage cheese, butter and sometimes cream cheese.  But, thanks to my favorite healthy eating magazine: Eating Well, we can not only enjoy a delicious low-fat version but a Gastroparesis-friendly version with only one slight modification: no raisins in this kugel.

When Hubby first brought me home his mother served a Noodle Kugel from a local family deli.  Along with the cinnamon and raisins (and copious amounts of full fat dairy) this particular kugel always had the faintest taste of orange.  It wasn’t my first taste of Noodle Kugel, but it has always been my favorite.  I’ve always added a little orange flavoring along with the vanilla.  It’s optional but I think you’ll really enjoy it.  I promised a comforting casserole so without further ado…..

Noodle Kugel aka Noodle Pudding

Serves 12  (Recipe can be halved to serve 6 just reduce the size of baking dish)

10 ounces (8 cups) wide egg noodles (I used No Yolks brand)

2 tablespoons butter

2 large eggs

2 large egg whites

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 cups nonfat cottage cheese

2 cups nonfat plain yogurt

1 cup skim milk

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon orange extract (optional)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups crushed cornflakes

1/2 cup packed brown sugar (used dark brown)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (used Vietnamese-bolder flavor)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a 9″x13″ glass baking dish with cooking spray.  Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water for 8-10 minutes (I deliberately over cooked the noodles for us GPers so that they would be easier to digest).  Drain and refresh in cold water.  Set aside.

Melt butter in a small skillet over low heat.  Tilt pan to skim off the froth and cook remaining butter until it begins to turn light, nutty brown, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.  Do not burn the butter.  Pour into a small bowl to cool.

Whisk together eggs, whites and cornstarch in a large bowl (large enough to accommodate noodles and remaining ingredients).  Mix in cottage cheese, yogurt, milk, sugar, orange extract, vanilla, salt and browned butter.  Stir in the cooked noodles and turn into prepared baking dish.

Stir together cornflakes, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle evenly over the noodle mixture.  Spray top with cooking spray.  Bake until browned and set, about 1 hour.  If top starts to burn, cover with foil.  Let cool for at least 20 minutes.  Cut into squares.  Enjoy warm, cold or room temperature.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

273 calories, 3.8 grams fat, 1.9 grams fiber, 12.6 grams protein

Pukka Christmas Dinner

I honestly wasn’t planning on having curry for Christmas but one thing led to another.  Blame it on the creative process and my slowly evolving craving for more spice in my life.  Both good signs in my opinion!  Curried Chicken & Chutney is definitely a keeper but I’m respectfully going to withhold the recipe until I can perfect it further.  This simple dish consisted of chicken breast, my Christmas Chutney (see post from 12/13/10), mild curry powder, chicken stock and a splash of fat free half & half but it could be so much more with some fresh ginger and a few other flavors.  Paired with basmati rice and Roasted Butternut Squash Cubes it was a very unexpected, very delicious albeit very nontraditional Christmas dinner for us.  I’m hoping it can become some sort of new tradition.  So forgive me for not sharing any further on the chicken and chutney front…I promise it will be forthcoming.  I’ve included the Roasted Butternut Squash Cubes as they’re a pleasing alternative to mashed squash.  They can be seasoned sweet or savory…just remember to roast until really tender.

As for dessert…I can definitely share what was a simple but special treat.  Warm Banana Sundae with Sea Salt Caramel is another keeper…warm, creamy and sophisticatedly sweet with the unexpected savoriness of sea salt and crunch of crushed salted pretzels!  Frankly, it’s the sea salt and pretzels that make this dessert…without them it would just be cloyingly sweet and one-dimensional.  I love (understatement!) dulce de leche, the south american milk caramel…if you’ve never tried it just imagine “sex on a spoon” but at $10 a jar it’s not practical for everyone’s budget so I substituted Smucker’s Special Recipe Butterscotch Caramel topping ($2.29 at Target).  I hope you’ll try this scrumptious dessert.  The leftover caramel can be spread on toast (like Argentinians do with their dulce de leche!), spooned over banana pancakes, drizzled over bread or rice pudding, stirred into hot chocolate or served with warmed canned pears!

Roasted Butternut Squash Cubes

Serves 4 generously

2 pounds butternut squash peeled and cut into 1″ cubes

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Toss squash cubes in olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread cubes out on a sprayed sheet pan.  Roast 40-50 minutes or until very tender.

Nutritional information Per Serving:

122 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 4.5 grams fiber, 2.3 grams protein


Warm Banana Sundaes with Sea Salt Caramel

This combination is ALL about the crunchy salted pretzels and sea salt caramel!  Serves 1 but can be multiplied

1 small, ripe banana

1/4 cup scoop Edy’s Slow Churned vanilla ice cream (or fat free frozen yogurt)

2 tablespoons Smucker’s Special Recipe Butterscotch Caramel

a few grindings sea salt

4 mini pretzels, crushed

Peel banana and cut in half lengthwise then in half.  Preheat a no stick skillet and spray with flavorless cooking spray.  Saute banana until golden, turn and saute until golden and soft.  Meanwhile, warm caramel in microwave.  Remove bananas to a serving bowl, top with ice cream, warm caramel, sea salt and crushed pretzels.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

302 calories, 3.05 grams fat, 2.7 grams fiber, 3.75 grams protein

Tasty Find! Trader Joe’s Light Egg Nog

No holiday season feels complete without a little cup of egg nog (with “cheer” or without).  I’m one of those GPers who can’t tolerate whole fat dairy and most commercial egg nogs start at four grams of fat for a half cup serving and go all the way up to 10 grams for the luxurious full fat versions.  I’ve been pining for a small egg nog since Thanksgiving and downright fantasizing about a Starbuck’s egg nog latte.  I had given up my search at four grams of fat for a half cup serving so you can imagine my delight when I picked up a carton of Trader Joe’s Light Egg Nog!  A half cup serving comes in at 110 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein…yes, you read that correctly…1 gram of fat!  Just a little tidbit about fat: fat coats the palate and creates the pleasant “mouth feel” of super premium ice cream, full fat dairy and baked goods made with butter.  It also dulls flavor so when it’s removed low fat products become less than luxurious and very sweet.  This is true for the Trader Joe’s Light Egg Nog but I’ve chosen to overlook its shortcomings and focus on its possibilities…

Trader Joe’s Light Egg Nog Latte aka DIY Holiday Egg Nog Latte

Serves one but can be multiplied

1/2 cup light egg nog

1 cup (or so) hot coffee

vanilla sugar (optional)

Fat free ReddiWip (optional)

freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

Brew coffee.  Microwave egg nog until hot.  Froth with stick blender (or cover container and shake vigouously….the “poor man’s milk frother”…open carefully).  Blend coffee with hot, frothed egg nog.  Sweeten with vanilla sugar or as desired and top with optional Fat free ReddiWip and a fresh grating of nutmeg.  Sing Christmas carols at the top of your lungs…just kidding-it’s okay to be quietly festive while enjoying your egg nog latte.

Not all GPers can tolerate coffee.  Generally, I limit myself to one cup in the morning after my smoothie but made an exception for the latte.  Coffee has a tendency to kill my appetite and there are days when I can feel it sitting in my tummy.  If this is the case and you’re not sure what to do with the remaining seven servings left in the quart may I suggest adding it to pancake batter, french toast or bread pudding custard or baking a pumpkin egg nog flan.

Cookies! Cookies! Cookies!

My favorite cookie tin originally housed rich, French butter biscuits from Brittany (where the butter contains extra milk fat!) and it was feeling very empty, lonely and forgotten.  In case you haven’t noticed I haven’t exactly been shy about sharing my frustration with low fat baking.  Not one to give up easily, I thought I’d give it another try.  I was so hopeful, I even purchased a bag of Nestle’s Semisweet Chocolate Mini morsels the last time I was marketing…and I’m glad I did.  These Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies are like cakey, little baby chocolate chip banana muffin tops!  Thanks to the Taste of Home’s website only slight adaptation was needed to make it a Gastroparesis-friendly recipe.

I bake with parchment paper…it guarantees there will be no sticking and no clean up.  No spatula is needed-just carefully pull each sheet of baked cookies onto an awaiting wire rack for cooling.  Once cool, cookies will lift off the parchment easily.  And a word about portioning: this recipe makes 36 cookies so to ensure the correct portioning I placed four sheets of parchment out on the counter and dropped the dough until I had 36 relatively uniform servings before baking. Remember to start each sheet of cookies with a cooled sheet pan in order to get the best results.

Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies

Makes 3 dozen

1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

2 egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup mashed ripe banana

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup Nestle semisweet chocolate mini morsels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix first 5 ingredients (butter through sugar) until well combined.  In separate bowl mix remaining ingredients.  Combine liquid ingredients with the dry.  Drop by scant tablespoon measures 2 inches apart onto parchment paper lined baking sheets*.  Bake 11-13 minutes or until cookies are slightly browned around the edges.  Remove parchment sheet to a wire rack to cool.  Remove cookies from parchment.  Store in your favorite wax paper lined tin.

*I measured out all 36 on 4 sheets of parchment paper before baking to ensure good “portioning”.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

1 cookie per serving

50 Calories, 2.2 grams Fat, 0.4 grams Fiber, 0.8 grams Protein

An Eye on Christmas Dinner

UPDATED 2/3/11 Bonus: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup Recipe*

Hubby and I usually spend a quiet day at home for Christmas.  Last year we stayed in our pj’s well into the afternoon, watched on-demand movies, wished  our friends and family a very Merry Christmas and indulged in all our favorite Christmas treats…Christmas morning individual panettones with coffee then a beautiful Niman Ranch ham with all the trimmings and ending with sweet potato pecan pie.  For me Christmas treats involve lots of citrus, dried fruits, nuts and spices…most not GP-friendly I’m afraid.  So with an eye on this year’s Christmas dinner I developed a GP-friendly Christmas Chutney with a little inspiration from Epicurious.com.  I used white sugar in this version but plan on trying brown sugar next year.

Chutney is one of those items that people either love or hate and I find there is no in-between.  I love chutney’s thick, sweet and savory spiciness plus its versatility.  It is a nice accompaniment to turkey or chicken, makes a delicious chicken salad when mixed with a little low fat/no fat mayo or a tasty, albeit non-traditional, quesadilla when spread on flour tortillas layered with shredded cooked chicken and shredded low fat or no fat cheese then grilled in a sprayed no stick skillet.  Chutney can also be stirred into stuffing to give it a little zing.

This year’s Christmas will hopefully be as relaxing as last year’s but with a few menu changes.  We’ll be having chicken and I’m leaning toward either chicken breasts stuffed with chutney or chicken cutlets with a chutney infused pan sauce.  Both will adhere to the low fat/ low fiber GP diet suggestions we’re all quite familiar with.  As for dessert I’m looking forward to trying low fat individual chocolate gingerbread souffles.  As always I’ll be sure to post as soon as I’m able but until then and because it mellows nicely with age here’s my recipe for Christmas Chutney:

Christmas Chutney

Makes 2 1/2 cups or 20 servings of 2 Tablespoons each. Chutney mellows with age and this chutney is best after resting for a few days.

2 pounds ripe Bartlet pears, peeled, cored and diced

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, strained

1 cup canned peaches, diced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Pinch of salt

1/4 cup sugar (will try brown sugar in the future)

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 clove garlic, grated on a microplane/rasp

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, pressed through a sieve to collect fibers

1 package Gerber First Foods baby food prunes

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

Toss diced pears with lemon juice.  Set pears and peaches aside.  Pulse thyme and hot pepper flakes (if using) with a pinch of salt in a spice grinder.  In a heavy pan bring thyme mixture and remaining ingredients to a boil.  Add pears and peaches and cook, stirring often until fruit is soft and the mixture is thick approximately 40-50 minutes.  When cool pour into a clean container and refrigerate until ready to use.  Chutney will keep 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator or can be frozen.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

Based on a 2 tablespoon serving based on 20 servings

59 Calories, 0.1 gram Fat, 1.9 grams Fiber,* 0.4 grams Protein

*Analysis based on unpeeled pears and peaches, since the peel contains fiber this figure may be inflated.

* Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Thanks to some leftover Christmas Chutney and Roasted Butternut Squash from the freezer this was a quick, easy and satisfying soup.  Thin to a desired consistency for soup or leave thick for a smooth as silk squash puree…either way its delicious!

2 cups mashed Roasted Butternut Squash

1/2 cup Christmas Chutney

1 small head roasted garlic-cut top from head of garlic spray with olive oil spray and season with salt, pepper and thyme.   Roast in foil at 400 degrees until very tender.  Squeeze out contents of each clove.

chicken stock to thin

pinch curry powder

salt and pepper to taste

Combine butternut squash, chutney, roasted garlic and enough chicken stock to thin to desired consistency.  Bring to a simmer.  Puree thoroughly with a stick blender.  Adjust consistency with chicken stock.  Season with curry, salt and pepper.