Category Archives: snack, dessert

Simple, Yet Sophisticated, Single Ingredient Sorbets

What if I told you that two cool, creamy and easy fruit sorbets were just a blend away?  That’s two sorbets with no peeling, pitting or poaching required? And the best part: no ice cream maker necessary! It’s true! Simple, yet sophisticated Pear & Peach Sorbet is that easy! All you need is canned fruit halves in heavy syrup, a freezer and a food processor or sturdy blender. Fruit packed in heavy syrup is what makes this recipe work as sugar syrup doesn’t freeze completely like juice. Avoid fruit packed in juice as it will yield disappointing results.

These sorbets are nice enough to serve as is or garnish with some very finely diced candied ginger, homemade or store bought berry syrup or diced canned pears or peaches for a little flavor alliteration. No matter how you scoop or serve  them these sorbets are keepers. And by the way, I’m happily eating candied ginger again. There was a time that even those fibers bothered me. It’s so nice to have a useful old friend back in my life.

Pear & Peach Sorbet

For best flavor allow sorbet to soften for approximately 5 minutes before serving

2 15-16 ounce cans pear or peach halves in heavy syrup

Freeze unopened cans of fruit for a minimum of 8 hours. Dip unopened cans in hot water for 20 seconds to loosen filling. Pour contents into the bowl of a food processor (I used my Vitamix) tearing at the filling with a fork to break up the pieces of fruit. Puree until smooth. Transfer sorbet to a covered container and refreeze. When ready to serve, remove from the freezer and let soften for approximately 5 minutes.


Moist, Quick & Lemony

I love all things citrus and love cooking with buttermilk so imagine my delight when my friends at Eat Better America posted a recipe for Buttermilk Lime Tea Bread! I’ve adapted their recipe slightly by replacing the lime with lemon for a moist, simple tea bread with a light lemony flavor. Enjoy a slice as is or smear on a spoonful of seedless blackberry jam for an extra special treat. The folks at Eat Better America suggest mixing 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of zest into a tub of spreadable cream cheese.

I can read your minds and they’re thinking: “Great, but what do I do with the other 3 cups of buttermilk in the quart because that’s the only way it’s sold?”. I’m one step ahead of you on that one! I plan on using the remaining buttermilk in Buttermilk Chive Mashed Potatoes-simply stir buttermilk and some very finely snipped chives (only if you think you can tolerate them), salt, pepper and just a touch of butter (again, whatever you can tolerate) into a batch of mashed potatoes. Next, I’m going to make Buttermilk “Fried” Chicken followed by Impromptu Buttermilk Ranch Sauce (for dipping oven fries and dressing baked potatoes) by mixing buttermilk, some fat free Greek yogurt, a squeeze of fresh lemon and a sprinkling of my favorite all-purpose seasoning Penzey’s Mural of Flavor…add some freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano for even more savory flavor. Finally, because I know the little mouse I’m married to will polish off the tea bread faster than it took to bake it, I’ll be making Raspberry Filled Chocolate Layer Cake (such a keeper!). Any questions? Go get cooking!

Low-fat Lemon Buttermilk Tea Bread

Makes 16 servings

1 3/4 cups flour

3/4 cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup canola oil

2 teaspoons finely grate lemon peel

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9×5 inch pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Mix flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In another bowl mix egg, buttermilk, oil, lemon peel and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice until well blended. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and stir until just moistened (there may be some lumps). Spread mixture in prepared pan.

Bake 50-60 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Meanwhile, mix remaining lemon juice with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Brush mixture over the top of the warm bread then cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, remove bread from pan and cool an additional hour. When completely cool, wrap in plastic wrap. This bread is best served the next day.

Nutritional Information Per Serving: Based on 16 slices

130 calories, 4 grams fat, o grams fiber, 2 grams protein, 22 grams carbohydrate

Helpful Hints: For dark or non-stick pans reduce the oven to 325 degrees to prevent too much darkening. Also, remember, a plastic or metal washable ruler makes portioning a snap. This recipe makes 16 slices-keep yourself honest by measuring out the slices before you enjoy.

Mmm Milkshake!

Like a good GPer I eat several small meals a day…six to be exact. Yes, it’s a hassle and requires planning but I find it’s the easiest way for me to fulfill my nutritional needs as well as ward off unpleasant shifts in blood sugar. Most recently (and at least three times a week!) my last meal of the day has been a No Ice Cream Frozen Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Milkshake inspired by a recipe I found at The Kitchn  Anyone following on Twitter during my hiatus got a Retweet I was so excited to share it. By the way, keep an eye on the Twitter feed…sometimes there are a few gems there.  Back to the milkshake! It is YUMMY, easy and satisfying…and for anyone looking for packages of discounted bruised bananas in my neighborhood…I’ve already been there and you’re out of luck because they’re all in my freezer! Cool, creamy and just a tad bit savory thanks to the salted peanut butter this milkshake is “Hubster Approved” so it appeals to everyone.

Originally, I made the milkshake as published (click on the link above for the original version) then streamlined it a bit. My version is as follows:

Frozen Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Milkshake

Makes one modest milkshake but I usually double it for Hubby & I.

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 tablespoon peanut butter (Trader Joe’s Creamy Salted-just salt and peanuts)

1 frozen banana*

1 square Lindt 85% Extra Dark chocolate**

Place all ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth and creamy.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

263 Calories, 14.15 grams Fat, 5.1 grams Fiber, 6.1 grams Protein, 33 grams Carbohydrate

A few of the variations I’ve tried include:

Substituting unsweetened chocolate almond milk.

Adding a small container of baby food prunes for an extra serving of fruit, some additional sweetness or for their “magical properties”.

Substituting a squeeze of chocolate syrup when I was out of chocolate squares.

Adding a 1/2-1 scoop of whey protein isolate to make it an “I’m too hot and tired to cook dinner” milkshake. It does contain protein, carbohydrates and healthy fat plus at least two servings of fruit depending on how big the banana is and if you add some baby food prunes.

*Based on a medium banana (7-7 7/8″)

**1/10th of a 3.5 oz bar=50 Calories, 4.5 grams Fat, <1 gram Fiber, 1 gram Protein, 2 grams Carbohydrate)

Tasty Find! Red Mango Frozen Yogurt

I find a stroll after dinner helps with digestion.  In mild weather Hubby and I walk our neighborhood or take the dog for a walk at a local university campus. Since the evenings have turned cold and dark we’ve had to get creative with our post prandial strolls.  I like to do my errands on the weeknights and a stroll around Target or a quick walk around Whole Foods is usually all I need to help get my dinner moving and take my mind off that feeling of lingering fullness.  Then there’s window shopping at the mall and with 2 million square feet of floor space its the perfect location to walk off a meal on a cold winter’s night.  It also just happens to be the locale of my new favorite frozen yogurt place!

I have a confession to make.  I don’t really like frozen yogurt.  It’s like soft serve ice cream and I don’t like that either which is why I usually opt for sorbet when we’re out for “ice cream”.  Red Mango has changed that opinion!  It’s still soft serve frozen yogurt but unlike the ubiquitous Dannon frozen yogurt it retains its yogurt-y twang.    Red Mango is all-natural, certified gluten-free, contains no artificial sweeteners (including high fructose corn syrup) and is fortified with an exclusive probiotic.  All Red Mango frozen yogurt is no-fat with approximately 100 calories per half-cup serving.

They offer flavors like Original (plain yogurt), Pomegranate, Madagascar Vanilla and the Flavor of the Day…usually several flavors.  So far I’ve tried the Original, Pumpkin Spice and new Dark Chocolate flavors.  YUM!  Several toppings are available and potentially GP-friendly options include sliced fresh banana, honey, graham cracker crumbs and fun cereals like fruity pebbles, cocoa pebbles and Cap’n Crunch.

Their menu lists Parfaits, Smoothies, Hot Chocolate Chillers and Probiotic Iced Teas…some may or may not be GP-friendly depending on your tolerances and how you order.  Red Mango has locations in 25 states.  Hopefully you have a location near you!

Eat Well! Be Well!  Enjoy!

Cozy Afternoon

It’s been cold and snowy here and rather than staying in cozy hibernation I’ve done more shoveling than I’d like.  We’re simply running out of places to put it!  Gastroparesis and shoveling are not compatible companions and I have a specific window between my last meal and doing anything that requires bending over…this “sweet spot” is about 3 hours.  So in anticipation of the morning’s snow moving and removal I used my pre-sweet spot time to bake up a batch of Low Fat Cinnamon Buns from a recipe I’ve had in reserve…because as you know, I’m oh so enamored with low fat, GP-friendly baking.

These little gems are not the sticky, gooey Cinnabons from the mall they’re more like crumbly glazed cinnamon bun cookies and were just right apre-shovel with a steaming cup of Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea sweetened with a spoonful of local honey.  For those GPers who can tolerate a cup of tea the Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice is a delicious blend of black tea, three types of cinnamon, orange peel and sweet cloves.  I usually keep my tea and coffee unsweetened but the honey really makes the cinnamon, orange and spice sing.  Stir with a cinnamon stick for extra zing!

During my recent internet travels I learned a few interesting facts about cinnamon and honey.  Along with numerous other health benefits, cinnamon and honey, when consumed together, help improve digestion by removing gas from the stomach and intestines and soothing stomach aches and indigestion.  A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down but in my experience a spoonful of honey soothes the tummy (and a cough and a sore throat too).

Too much of a good thing is usually too much…except for glaze!  I’m a complete nut for glaze and plan on doubling the glaze portion of the recipe the next time around.  They are delicious as written.  I’ll let you decide about the glaze on your own.

Helpful Hint: Portioning is easier when baking with a ruler.  An inexpensive plastic or metal ruler that can be washed between uses takes the guess work out of making the 10″x6″ rectangle as directed below and keeps the slices for each mini bun a uniform size.

Low Fat Mini Cinnamon Buns

These are not the ooey-gooey Cinnabons at the mall…they’re crumbly and cookie-like and go nicely with a warm cup of tea with honey.  If you’re a nut for glaze like I am double the glaze portion of the recipe and spoon with abandon!  Makes 24 – Serves 8 with 3 mini cinnamon buns each.

3 tablespoons sugar, divided into 2 tablespoons and 1 tablespoon

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg

1/4 cup milk, divided into 3 tablespoons and 1 tablespoon

1 1/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

4 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

1-1 1/2 teaspoons water

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a 24 cup mini muffin plaque with canola spray.  Mix together 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon.  Set aside.  In another bowl mix together egg and 3 tablespoons of milk.  Set aside.  Mix together flour, remaining sugar, baking powder, salt and butter.  Blend with your fingers, pastry cutter or food processor (my favorite method) until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add milk mixture (while food processor is running) and mix until just combined.  Pour out onto a floured surface and roll dough out into a 10″x6″ rectangle about 1/2″ thick.  Brush with some of the remaining milk and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  Roll to form a 6″ log and slice into 24 pieces.  Place one piece in each muffin cup (you will need to squeeze and crimp each slice to fit).  Bake for 13-15 minutes.  Meanwhile, stir together confectioner’s sugar, water and vanilla until smooth.  Drizzle over warm buns.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

8 Servings of 3 mini cinnamon buns

142 calories, 3.7 grams fat, 0.7 grams fiber, 3.1 grams protein

(each Low Fat Mini Cinnamon Bun: 47 calories, 0.9 grams fat, 0.2 grams fiber, 1 gram protein)

Making The Most of Baby Food…The Sequel

Yes, I’ve been enjoying Noodle Kugel, Chicken Curry and even a small ham sandwich for lunch…my first red meat in over a year (anything with four legs is considered red meat, by the way)!  And, I’m still buying baby food fruits and veggies.  They’re convenient, already portioned plus they’re pureed and strained, making them easy on the tummy-tums.  Despite the progress I’ve made over this past year I’m still a very cautious eater because: chant it with me now…Nothing tastes as good as being well feels!  I periodically give my tummy a rest in order to enjoy a few more highly seasoned solids.  According to the Registered Dietitian I saw shortly after I was diagnosed, all baby food is considered acceptable on the Gastroparesis Diet and anything that spared me from some of the endless pureeing in those days was a blessing.

Back in September, I posted the original Making The Most of Baby Food with a recipe for No Puree Baby Food Sweet Potato Bisque and promised to revisit the topic.  I’m still enjoying my daily vanilla Activia yogurt with a jar of baby food fruit poured over the top.  My favorites are Gerber 1st Foods prunes, Gerber 2nd Foods peaches, peach cobbler smoothie, pears, pear with wild blueberries and pear with pineapple and Earth’s Best Organic pear with raspberries.  Except for the peach cobbler flavor, which is sweetened with white grape juice and thickened with rice flour,  none of the fruit has added starch or sweeteners and at approximately 60 calories each are considered a serving of fruit.  I’m allergic to apples so I haven’t been able to try the varieties that are cut with apple like Gerber 2nd Foods cherry and in my opinion anything mixed with mango is revolting.  Each flavor has one to three grams of fiber but since the fruit has been cooked, pureed and strained it hasn’t bothered me (which is why I use it as a very sneaky way to include a little “legal” fiber in my day).  I still buy canned peaches and pears packed in juice for when I want to enjoy fruit I can chew or use in a quickie recipe.

Baby food veggies are a different story.  Because they have no added sugar, salt or flavorings like adult processed food, they require a great deal of seasoning.  I stick to the veggies that are not considered GP-friendly except in baby food form like peas and corn.  I’m able to eat frozen chopped spinach and preferred it pureed (when necessary) to other forms of spinach.  I absolutely love crisp blanched french green beans so I haven’t been able to bring myself to try baby food green beans and am allergic to carrots so I haven’t been able to try any varieties mixed with carrots.  I heat up a package of Gerber 2nd Foods peas whenever I have fish or scallops for dinner.  They are especially good poured over baked or mashed potatoes but be warned, because we are all so used to processed adult food (even frozen and canned peas are packaged with salt and sometimes sugar) they are blander than bland without some serious salting and peppering, garlic powder or onion powder.  As far as fiber is concerned the same is true for baby food veggies as is with baby food fruit…each serving has one to three grams of fiber.  The veggies have been pureed and strained and I haven’t had any difficulties with the small amounts of fiber.

Recently, after a cold day out I wanted an easy cup of warming soup with a little substance.  No Puree Cup O’ Green Pea Soup was born.  Thicker and more substantial than a broth based soup and not tomato based it was savory and felt hearty and substantial without being overwhelming.  My newest baby food veggie find is Earth’s Best Organic corn and butternut squash.  It actually inspired me to develop (with a little inspiration from two Whole Foods recipes for Cod Chowder) the following recipe for Non-dairy Baby Food Corn & Cod Chowder.  Unlike some of my more recently posted recipes with curry and cumin this chowder is warming, plain and comforting…yes, I said “plain” but I mean it in the most positive way possible.  The corn, potato and cod are gentle, simple flavors that make this mild soup very easy to eat.  I have found white fish very easy to tolerate even on more symptomatic days.  So if thoughts of curry, cumin or anything tomato based make you recoil this is the soup for you.  Hubby and I enjoyed it with Ritz-type crackers because I forgot to pick up the oyster crackers.

No Puree Cup O’Green Pea Soup

Serves 1

1 package Gerber 2nd Foods peas

1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock

1 teaspoon onion powder

pinch Herbes de Provence or oregano, pulverized with a pinch of salt to form a powder (I use a coffee grinder specifically to grind spices or use a mortar and pestle)

1/4 teaspoon salt (can always add more but can’t take away)

pepper to taste

pinch Spanish smoked paprika (optional)

well-cooked or canned diced potato, carrots (if tolerated) and/or lowfat ham (optional)

Combine peas and chicken stock in a small saucepan.  Whisk in seasonings.  Bring to a simmer and adjust salt to taste.  Optional: add well-cooked or canned diced potatoes, carrots and ham if “Chunky”-style pea soup is desired/tolerated.

Nutritional Information Per Serving: (does not include additional potatoes, carrots or ham)

52.5 calories, .5 grams fat, 3 grams fiber, 3.5 grams protein

Non-dairy Baby Food Corn & Cod Chowder

Serves 4  (Can be easily halved.  For a true “dump recipe” if you’re too tired to peel and dice potatoes, drained and rinsed canned diced potatoes can be substituted for the diced fresh potatoes just reduce the chicken stock by half.)

2 cups unsweetened almond milk

1 cup low sodium chicken stock

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, ground to a powder with a little salt

1 pound red skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice

4 4 ounce jars Earth’s Best corn and butternut squash baby food

1 pound cod, cut into 1″ chunks

salt and pepper, to taste

Spanish smoked paprika (optional)

Bring almond milk, stock, spices and potatoes to a boil.  Simmer until potatoes are very tender (approximately 20 minutes).  Stir in baby food and bring back to a simmer.  Season with salt and pepper and be generous with the salt as up to this point there has been very little added to the chowder.  Add cod chunks (do not stir) and cover.  Simmer until cod is cooked (approximately 7 minutes).  Dish up bowls of hot chowder and garnish with Spanish smoked paprika, if desired.  Serve with Ritz-type or oyster crackers.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

315 calories, 3.3 grams fat, 3.6 grams fiber, 29 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