Welcome the new year – January 2, 2017

Happy New Year!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and spent time with family and friends. I had time with both and enjoyed some quiet time in the city as well.  Below is a snap of my favorite mulled wine from Jamie Oliver; friends of mine make this every year at our Christmas gathering, and I love it!

A few pics from city wandering and a trip to the Whitney to check out some art.

As for New Year’s Eve itself, it looks like one of two options for me – attempting to make a difficult, new recipe or ordering gluten-free Domino’s :).  This year was the new dish option, and I am so glad I did that!  I made gluten-free, low-FODMAP Pork and Shrimp Spring Rolls and gluten-free, low-FODMAP Shrimp Pad Thai.  I’ll share the Pork and Shrimp Spring Rolls today; look out for the Pad Thai later this week.


Gluten-Free, Low-FODMAP Pork and Shrimp Spring Rolls

Makes 10 – 15 rolls

Ingredients

   

Spring Roll

1 large carrot

4 -5 scallions, green end only

1 inch ginger, chopped finely

3 garlic cloves

1 1/2 cups red cabbage

1/4 lb. pork

1/4 lb. cooked, de-shelled, de-veined shrimp

1 tbsp. canola oil

1 tbsp. rice vinegar

1 1/2 tbsp. gluten-free soy sauce

1 tsp. sesame oil

1 tsp. sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Rice paper wrappers / spring roll skin

10 -12 basil leaves

Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tsp. chopped ginger

1 chili pepper

Directions

Spring Roll Filling

Shred carrots, chop scallions and ginger and slice garlic cloves in half.

Heat wok or frying pan over medium hear.  Add canola oil and warm through.  Add scallions, ginger and garlic to the oil and cook for 1 – 2 minutes.

Add the pork to the frying pan and cook through completely.

Remove the garlic from the frying pan, and add carrots and cabbage to the mix.  Cook for several minutes until the cabbage wilts and carrots soften.

Add the shrimp and heat through.

     

Add rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar per measurements above.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for several minutes until the flavors come together and some of the sauce is absorbed into the vegetables and meat.

Set the filling aside while making the dipping sauce and preparing the spring roll skin.

Dipping Sauce

Slice chili thinly, removing seeds if desired to cut back on the heat. Place in a small mixing bowl.

Add remaining ingredients into the bowl and whisk together until fully combined.

Spring Roll

This may take some trial and error to get the feel of the spring roll skin.  I would encourage making 2 spring rolls at a time to ensure the paper maintains its form.

Slowly dip a spring roll skin into hot water, covering the entire surface. The spring roll skin should begin to soften and become pliable.

Place on a cotton dish towel for ~30 seconds.

Slowly peel the spring roll skin from the dish towel and bring to your serving plate for creation of the roll.

Place 1 – 2 basil leaves (depending on size) in the lower part of the spring roll skin.

Add about 1 1/2 tbsp. of the filling into the spring roll skin, on top of the basil leaves.

Roll the skin, folding in the sides as you go.

Serve with dipping sauce.  Enjoy!  Let me know how you like it 🙂

 

Kombucha and Ketchup – December 18, 2016

I’m toying with the name Kombucha and Ketchup for my blog for a change – mostly because I’ve become obsessed with making my own kombucha and ketchup :).  Both are extremely easy (see my Low FODMAP ketchup post ), and the kombucha is really fun to watch it develop and change.  Before I talk more about my kombucha obsession, I wanted to share a few fun experiences from this week.

I took my son for a half day on Wednesday this week following the holiday potluck at school.  With an afternoon free to explore in the city, we decided to attend an interactive show called Pip’s Island in Chelsea.  ABC News was there recording and even interviewed us after!  It was a fun experience, empowering the kids to attack problems – check out the link below (click on the image).

Kids are the stars of 'Pips Island,' an interactive theater experience
Pip’s Island adventure

The other really awesome discovery I had this week was to find more delicious gluten free pizza on Mott Street in the city.  I had some amazing pizzas at Emporio yesterday and can’t wait to go back!

Now, back to kombucha.  There are differing views on how kombucha affects people with IBS, following a low-FODMAP diet.  FODMAP Friendly blog shared in 2015 that kombucha exceeds the thresholds set for low FODMAP but note that some people may be able to tolerate.  The FODMAP Life blog notes that fermented foods nourish the healthy bacteria in our guts and can actually help.  For me, the key to kombucha is understanding the ingredients and having control over what goes into it!

I started the process of making kombucha a few months ago actually.  I made my own SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) using a store-bought plain kombucha and homemade tea.  I used this recipe from the Kitchn blog to build my SCOBY.

Once you have a SCOBY, the process is easy and fun!  You will be able to brew a new batch of kombucha each week, using your initial SCOBY or smaller ones that form as you go.  Check out the instructions below.


Fruit-Infused Kombucha Recipe Here

                         
 

Fall is for Pumpkins – December 8, 2016

I’ve been loving this fall.  Absolutely loving it – trying to experience everything I can and take something away from every encounter.  Last week at work, we brought in an outside trainer to facilitate a course for our team on running programs and managing stakeholders.  It’s a topic with which we are all comfortable, but the instructor shared different perspectives and brought some interesting insights.  He asked us to consider when we do our best thinking and decision making, to which most of us answered “sleep”, “when I’m not thinking about it”, etc.  He asked us to consider walking and the benefits of clearing your head and getting “inspiration”.  Here is a short article on the topic as well.

So that was my big takeaway from last week, and today I decided to take that advice.  I walked home from the gym today over the Brooklyn bridge, and it was such a great experience – even in the freezing cold 🙂

                   

 

Enough about self-help and on to the cooking!  I’ve been trying to come up with a pumpkin muffin recipe that represents the true flavors of a spiced pumpkin pie while maintaining a moist feel in the center.  I think this one does it, but I would love to hear your thoughts!

Low-FODMAP Pumpkin Muffins Recipe Here 

Pumpkins are low fat, highly nutritious and provide a huge amount of Vitamin A which is good for your eyes, skin and circulatory system.

 

 

Me enjoying a cocktail last weekend at Prime Meats in my neighborhood 🙂

Thanksgiving Week 2016 – November 27, 2016

It’s been awhile since I posted – I have a small kitchen that overheats in the summer…that’s my excuse for cooking less this summer! 🙂 I am back now, and happy to be at the cooking again.

We started a tradition last year to travel at Thanksgiving and be home with the whole family for Christmas.  Last year we took on London; this year we went to Las Vegas!  It was my son’s first time in Vegas, and he had a blast.  We ended up having Thanksgiving dinner at Sushi Samba, making the most of their gluten-free menu. I should mention this was my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner – butternut squash and clementine bellini! 🙂

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We also had a dinner at Yardbird with gluten-free fried chicken and a delicious iceberg wedge salad – YUM!

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Before heading out to Vegas, we spent a few days in California with my sister.  The weather was so much better than NYC, and we had a few great cooking days.

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We made a butternut squash soup that was amazing – a low FODMAP diet seems to allow for small amounts of butternut squash.

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Ingredients

  • 1 large or 2 medium size butternut squashes
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 sprigs sage
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (confirm that the stock does not contain onion or garlic)
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 bay leave
  • 2 – 3 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg, and more to taste as needed
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream, as tolerated
  • Sour cream, as needed and tolerated

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil.  Cut the butternut squash at the neck, and then down the middle.  Scoop out the insides of the bulb and discard.  Cut the neck into 1 inch slices.  Drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper on each section of the squash and flip the bulbs face down.  Under each bulb, place onion, garlic and sage (this will allow the onion and garlic to roast and provide flavor to the squash without having to cook the remainder of the meal with it). Place in the oven and cook for about 1 hour, or until tender, flipping the squash as needed throughout.
  2. Remove the squash from the oven and scoop from the skin, chopping into 1 inch squares.
  3. Add the additional olive oil, roasted squash,  1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns, parsley and bay leaves into a large saucepan and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaves from the soup.  Puree with an immersion blender.  Stir in the nutmeg and heavy cream until nicely blended.  Season with additional salt and pepper as needed.
  5. Serve with a dollop of sour cream if you like 🙂

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The Search for BBQ – June 6, 2016

I love BBQ – tender meat, tasty sauce, eating with your hands; it doesn’t get better than that! BUT it is nearly impossible to have BBQ sauce out that isn’t full of our favorites – onion and garlic :(. I’ve been experimenting with a few recipes at home in the slow cooker.  I’ll share one below, and you can expect to find more as I continue exploring!

Before I share my recipe, though, I thought I would let Matt debut his chef skills.  He’s been obsessed with Man vs. Child, Chopped Junior and Master Chef Junior this past year.  He somehow pulled together something edible – despite starting with hot sauce, yogurt and cheese on the counter!  We ended up with banana, blueberries, nutella and yogurt.

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FODMAP-friendly BBQ Pulled Chicken

Ingredients – BBQ Sauce

  • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp tobasco
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic-infused ollive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • Splash of water

Directions – BBQ Sauce

Combine all ingredients in a small pot and heat on medium-high heat. Simmer until the mixture thickens, adding additional water to keep from becoming too thick if needed.  Continue to cook for 10 or so minutes, until the sauce is well combined to a good consistency.

Add 2 full chicken breasts, cut in half and the BBQ sauce to the slow cooker.  Add a splash of water or FODMAP-friendly chicken stock if you need more liquid in the slow cooker.  Heat for 4 1/2 hours on low, removing at 4 hours to discard bones and skin and shred the chicken.

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And then of course, I enjoyed it over salad for lunch – sneaking out of the office to enjoy the sunshine 🙂

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Weekend Travel Season – May 21, 2016

As the weather starts to get nicer, we spend a lot of our weekends out of the city – beach, friends, back out to Cali :).  That limits how much cooking I can do on the weekends, so you will find my posts shifting a bit to sharing restaurants and meals and travel fun over the coming months.

A few weeks ago, I took some time in Connecticut exploring the gluten-free / FODMAP options with one of my best friends. I arrived in CT to a homemade steak and kale salad with all FODMAP-friendly ingredients (because I have the best friends!) and the beach 🙂

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We went around to a few restaurants as well that weekend, trying out the great options, just 1.5 hours outside the city!

We took a trip to a local seafood spot called Lenny’s and got a lobster roll over lettuce – delicious!

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One evening, we stopped for a glass of champagne and a snack at Shell and Bones.  The fact that the shrimp cocktail was in a heart shape only made it better 🙂

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We wrapped up my trip with a night walk on the beach, with the sun beginning to set.  Perfect weekend away!

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My Best Beach Bud – May 9, 2016

In case you have missed this about me, I will tell you – I love the beach.  Absolutely adore it.  Winter, spring, summer and fall – all you have to do is call.  No, but really…it has this strange power of me.  It is also the only place where I can truly relax.

 

And, lucky me, I got a little one who loves the beach as much as I do!! 🙂 Matt and I will take any opportunity to get close to the water.  A few weeks back we went to a picnic with some friends out at the beach in the Rockaways.  We had the best kite-flying weather I have ever seen, and a great day of sun, sand and friends!  I also made some yummy cookies (see recipe below) for the day.

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And now on to the fun snacks!

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Gluten-free Chocolate Chip and Coconut Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups gluten-free flour (I use Bob’s 1:1)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups flaked coconut (unsweetened)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Place foil down on a cookie sheet or lightly coat with extra coconut oil to prevent sticking. 

In a large bowl, beat together the coconut oil, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Stir in vanilla.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl.  Slowly stir into the liquid mixture.  Fold in the chocolate chips and coconut.

Spoon cookie dough onto the cookie sheet.  Bake for 7 – 9 minutes.  Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for several minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool.

The recipe will make about 25 – 30 cookies depending on size.  Let me know how you like them!

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Pizza Saturdays – April 24, 2016

Saturdays were made for pizza; I will believe that as long as my stomach can tolerate mozzarella and tomatoes (I am probably a bit too hopeful that it lasts the rest of my life :)).  I’m not sure how this new routine started for us; I think it may be related to my discovery of the best gluten-free pizza in NYC at Numero 28.

Since we didn’t leave Brooklyn this weekend, I tried out a new recipe at home after the DUMBO Family Festival (views below near the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges).  I’ve been relying too much on my favorite gluten-free pizza recipe from Minimalist Baker, so I created my own thick crust recipe this weekend, and it turned out great.  I just need to get Matt eating some veggie and meat toppings now 🙂

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Thick Crust Gluten-Free Pizza

Ingredients – Dough

  • 2 cups gluten-free flour (I use Bob’s 1:1)
  • 1/4 cup coarsely ground cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (plus 1 tbsp. for coating the dough)
  • 3/4 cup warm water (about 100 degrees)

Ingredients – Sauce and Toppings

  • 1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes (make sure there are no onions and garlic in the tomatoes)
  • 2 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 clove garlic (in muslin bag)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 block grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp. ricotta cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a deep baking dish with olive oil to prevent sticking.

In a medium-size bowl, place the gluten-free flour, cornmeal, yeast, sugar and salt and stir to combine.

Create a hole in the middle of the flour mixture and add the warm water and olive oil.  Slowly stir the flour into the water mixture until it begins to come together.  Begin to mix the dough with your hands if needed to combine further.  If the dough becomes too sticky, sprinkle additional flour until the mixture forms a ball without sticking to your hands.

Coat the outside of the dough with the remaining olive oil and press down into the baking dish.  Flatten so the crust is about 3/4 in. thick, with a higher wall around the outside.  Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until the crust begins to lightly crack.

While the crust is cooking, heat tomatoes, garlic, basil and salt over medium heat.

Remove dough from oven and coat with sauce, ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella.  Cook for another 10 – 15 minutes or until the cheese is beginning to brown and bubble.

Allow the pizza to cool for 10 minutes before serving.  Sprinkle with hot pepper flakes for some extra flavor! Enjoy!

I’d love to hear from you! Let me know your FODMAP experience with cheese / pizza – leave feedback in the comments 🙂

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In Love with Lemons – April 11, 2016

Despite all my best efforts, sometimes FODMAP-unfriendly food just sneaks into a meal and my stomach is off for a few days.  I have a few go-to remedies that help get my digestion back on track – one of them is hot water with fresh-squeezed lemon juice first thing in the morning.  “They” claim it helps gets your metabolism going, and I do find that it helps just wake my body up a bit and help get my digestion back on track after a day or so.

This next recipe calls for heavy lemon and some orange, as well.  Makes for a great snack with one of my favorite flavors at the moment.

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FODMAP-friendly Lemon Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups gluten-free flour (I recommend Bob’s 1:1)
  • 1.5 cups coconut oil, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 orange (1 orange zest, 1/2 orange juice)
  • 2 lemons (2 lemon zest, 1 lemon juice)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease a bread pan with extra coconut oil to cover bottom and sides.

Prepare the orange and lemons – gathering the zest of 1 orange and 2 lemons and the juice of 1/2 orange and 1 lemon.

In a medium bowl, beat the coconut oil and sugar for around 5 minutes, until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.  Crack in the eggs, add the orange and lemon zest and mix with a wooden spoon to combine.

Combine the baking powder and flour in a separate medium bowl.  Slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar and egg mixture, stirring in as you go.  Add the orange and lemon juice until the mixture softens and smooths out.

Add the mixture to the bread pan and cook for 20 – 30 minutes (depending on the depth of the pan), checking about halfway through.  The bread should be golden and an inserted tooth pick should come out clean when the cooking is complete.

Serve for dessert or take for mid-week snacks at work or school 🙂  Share your feedback and comments here!

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April Showers… April 3, 2016

It’s been a stormy week in NYC, and it looks like it isn’t getting better anytime soon. Matt said to me the other day, “Well, you know what they say about April”. Thinking he was going down the path of the common phrase, I said, “April showers bring May flowers?” To which Matt replied, “What?! That’s silly.  But…Come on April showers, make me proud!!!” He’s such a special kid 🙂

One day last week it started to rain on our walk home, and Matt saw a man sitting outside of a coffee shop in our neighborhood and shared his umbrella.  Not sure how much of this was just Matt identifying a good photo opportunity 😉

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I’ve been making at least one quick meal per week in the slow cooker, but I was struggling with being limited by onions and garlic.  This week, I added something new to the mix  – a muslin bag!  Life changing.

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Slow-cooker Balsamic Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock, plus extra to cover chicken before cooking (remember to check ingredients to confirm no onion and garlic powders are used)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 2 lb. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. dried pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 3 large carrots, coined
  • 1/2 zucchini, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic

Directions

Whisk the balsamic vinegar, chicken stock, sugar and maple syrup together until well combined.  Place the 3 cloves of garlic in the muslin bag and knot or tie at the top.

Place all ingredients into the slow cooker and cover with additional chicken stock if needed (chicken should be covered to support keeping moisture in the chicken).  Mix well so that seasoning is spread over all chicken.

Place slow cooker on low heat for 7 – 8 hours.  With about 30 minutes left in the cooking, take the chicken out from the slow cooker and remove bones and skin.  Shred the chicken with a fork and place back into slow cooker for the remainder of the cooking time.

Serve with rice or gluten-free pasta!

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