Mint Chocolate Egg Creams–Low FODMAP version

solo egg creamIt’s definitely time for a chocolate fix, yes? I decided to tweak an old recipe to make it FODMAP friendly, and Mr. E and I are loving it!

Years ago, I was flipping through a magazine that had a recipe for chocolate egg creams. I’m surprised that I actually read it, as someone who can’t eat eggs or cream, but hey. Essentially, a chocolate egg cream is a chocolate soda. Fluffy, fizzy chocolate soda. Who’s going to argue with that? According to my old buddy Wikipedia, back in the day, they were made with egg and milk, egg creamsnow it’s usually made with sparkling water, milk and chocolate syrup, making it very easy to adapt to any diet.

They’re ridiculously easy and delicious, and with ingredients I always have on hand. I’ve been making them for years, especially on hot summer days, and I’ve never gotten a good picture until now. Many thanks to Mr. Dude for his photography.

2 TBSP cacao powder, sifted (cocoa powder works, too)

2 TBSP maple syrup

1/2 cup of creamy non-dairy milk, like almond milk for FODMAP friendly, or cashew (water does work in a pinch, btw) We make our own at home in the Vitamix

8 drops of vanilla stevia concentrate

1/4 tsp peppermint extract

1 cup sparking water, like San Pelligrino

egg creamSift the cocoa powder, and stir in the maple syrup. Stir really well…this is key for a smooth and yummy egg cream! Add in the milk, stevia and peppermint and stir thoroughly again until smooth and there are no lumps.

When you’re just about to enjoy, split the chocolate mixture into 2 cups, and add 1/2 the sparkling water to each glass. It fizzes up to fill the glass.

Enjoy the fizzy, chocolaty, bubbly goodness.

Can’t have maple syrup? I’ve made it with agave in the past and any sweetener will most likely work.

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Garden bounty 2017

Happy almost summertime! I love seeing my garden grow, and I’m in the excited anticipation phase. I’ve learned, from past experience, that all it takes is one big fat groundhog to clear out my garden overnight, but fingers crossed that I’ll actually get to enjoy some of the bounty.

 

First! Above, some beautiful carrots, and a little onion, too.

I’ve also already pulled a lot of garlic up, and gotten a bunch of scapes, too.

 

My blackberries are just coming up. I’ve already eaten 3…but gobbled them before I took a picture! Lots more to come. Unless the birds get them first.

 

 

The kale plants are doing well, although I’ve got fewer than usual this year. The plant to the left is a potato plant.

 

 

 

There are also green beans on the way! So very exciting.

 

 

 

The tomatoes are still in progress, and some of the garlic is still happily growing. So far, mostly leaves and buds. But I can wait.

 

and saving the best for last, I planted a grape vine last year on a lark, and didn’t expect much. Turns out I’ve got grapes! They’re not anywhere near ripe yet, but I’m still really excited.

 

 

Need some inspiration for veggie recipes? I just posted a few here.

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Eating Evolved–Chocolate Love

*please note, some posts on this website do contain affiliate links*

I’m in love. E doesn’t seem threatened, which is a good thing. The problem is, sometimes I just can’t find my beloved, or my love just can’t handle sitting in the car on a hot day. And that’s the downside of chocolate love.

Eating Evolved has Chocolate Coconut Butter cups, and they’re just amazing. Really rich, really creamy and really satisfying. I’ve had the classic, the caramel and the mint (banana just doesn’t sound good to me, but to each their own). They’re just sweet enough, but don’t give the sugar high with a crash. They’re also vegan, Paleo, whole-food and simple ingredients. They’re also most likely low FODMAP-ish (coconut sugar isn’t tested yet)

The only problem is they can be hard to find locally. Mom’s sometimes has them locally, and so does Roberta’s in Fairfax.

You can make them at home fairly easily. I’ve used a recipe like my Honey Mint Cups  but just put coconut butter as the filling. They were delicious I gave (some) away around the holidays but to be totally honest, I haven’t had the time to make them regularly.

I have not been reimbursed for this post and have no financial or other connection with Eating Evolved. It’s simple–when you’re in love, you want to tell the world!

 

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My IBS Journey

April is IBS awareness month, and for way too many of my years, I’ve been entirely too aware of IBS. You could say it owned me for parts of the past decade. I know many of you can relate.

So here’s my story and a few thoughts on IBS—and this applies to other digestive disorders, too.

In 2003, I started having massive digestive issues. It actually began around Easter, and I remember this distinctly, because I couldn’t manage to stomach my favorite candy eggs. I was in the bathroom 20+ times a day, and I was physically and emotionally wrecked. I lost 40 pounds, 30 in one month. I didn’t think that was physiologically possible, but indeed it was.

At that point, I was already a nutritionist, running the breastfeeding programs for DC WIC and didn’t have a clue about digestive disorders. Neither did the gastroenterologist I was seeing, apparently. He did an endoscopy (no biopsies) and a colonoscopy, and told me that since I was a dietitian I should figure it out.

In desperation, I saw a wide range of practitioners. I spent a whole lot of money, did a whole lot of tests, and not much useful happened. Lots of people told me to go on antidepressants. On a lark I went gluten-free and I was pretty immediately less miserable. It helped my digestion a bit, but the biggest change was in my fatigue, balance and stability and overall pain levels.

Over many, many years and gobs of trial and error, I’ve found the foods that fit me and those that didn’t. Getting diagnosed with SIBO really did wonders for my digestion. This happened first in 2005, then I had a re occurrence in 2010. And for many years I’ve been great without any issues. However, thanks to a recurrent dental issue needing gobs of antibiotics, I’m unfortunately staring down round 3 of SIBO.

So…key take home messages:

There’s a lot you can do for yourself. Anyone who says diet doesn’t help digestive disorders needs to update their medical reading. There’s good data on low FODMAP for IBS and IBD, SCD for IBD (I have a paper on it coming in June!) and…you know, different things work for different people. Sometimes it’s FODMAPs, sometimes grains, sometimes meat, sometimes fatty foods…we may all have different irritants.  Mindfulness can be a huge help for digestive and other pain, and so can physical activity and overall self-care.

Listen to your doctors and health care team…but not too much. Lots of doctors said I wouldn’t walk again—I can now, even if not perfectly. All the docs I consulted said PCOS is lifelong and only treatable by medication, and my levels have normalized for more than a decade without meds. I had a Sjogrens’ flare in 2011 and was told I’d have to learn to live with the symptoms, but (knock on wood) those symptoms have been gone for the last 5 years.  I do take the input of my health care team seriously, but I do my best not be limited by their expectations. I’m only interested in working with people who will help me try to get to my best and healthiest self.

And lastly—none of us have total control over our genes and bodies. The idea that our actions influence our health is really empowering and also very accurate. The flip side of that is falling into the idea that if we’ve got illnesses it’s a personal failing or flaw, and if we just work harder, everything will be perfect. So the wholesome message that we can influence our health can be distorted into a really destructive message of pain and body shame.

I think it’s important to talk about stories of hope. I can’t count the number of times people come to see me and say, I have *fill in the blank* (IBS, gastroparesis, SIBO, etc.) but no one ever gets better. That’s just not true! and it’s a sad and limiting message to hear.

If you’re interested in sharing your journey to a happier tummy, check out posts #IBelieveinyourStory from Kate Scarlata.

 

 

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Chocolate PB Fudge–Happy Blogniversary!

I’ve been blogging for 9 years now. 9 years! So, to celebrate, I give you fudge.

I love peanut butter. Lovelovelovelovelovelovelove. And I avoided it for years, and then gradually reintroduced it a decade later…no problem at all. So I’m making up for lost time with my beloved peanut butter.

E loves this fudge, and it was actually the dessert that disappeared first at our annual party. I adore this fudge, but my tastes can be a little…different, since I rarely eat sweeteners.  So I have ample reassurance that it has wide appeal beyond just super crunchy people like me.

And it’s easy. And you can make it ahead for a party. Pretty awesome, I tell ya!

4.5 oz unsweetened chocolate

1 cup PB (unsalted, crunchy is super-awesome)

3 TBSP coconut oil

1 cup creamed honey*

2 tsp vanilla stevia (optional)

½ tsp sea salt

¼ cup chopped salted peanuts

Melt the chocolate–90 seconds in a heavy glass bowl in the microwave, or use a double boiler. Stir in the peanut butter, coconut oil and creamed honey until combined, and then stir in the salt.

If it’s not sweet enough, add in the stevia. It seems to depend on the kind of creamed honey. Sometimes it’s already perfect without.

Pour the fudgy mix into a a bread pan lined with wax paper. Press chopped peanuts into the top.

Refrigerate overnight.

Cut into pieces and enjoy!

*creamed honey is honey with air whipped in Thanks to Shirley, I learned something new about creamed honey! It’s actually crystallized differently than regular honey. I get it at a monastery I go to, but I’ve seen it at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, too. I don’t think regular honey would work.

 

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When words fail me.

I haven’t been blogging as often for many reasons, but for at least the last year, I’ve been at a loss for how to respond to what I’ve seen happening in our country.

This is a food blog, not a political blog. But in some ways it feels frivolous to talk about dessert when it feels like the world I know is falling apart.

My father was born in Iraq, and was a refugee as a child. My (Jewish) family was forced to flee due to religious persecution. My grandmother’s biggest hurt was that her neighbors, who she once considered friends, stood by silently and did nothing to prevent violence against their Jewish neighbors and former friends.

I can personally assure you that children and adults who suffer these kind of traumas don’t just magically shake them off, and this pain and suffering affects future generations.

We are inflicting the very same kind of damage to our Muslim, Native, immigrant and trans communities right now, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s naive to believe the fear-mongering will stop there.

We, collectively and personally are deciding who we are and what we stand for. Our actions (or inaction) in the next months and year are important than ever to our country and our planet.

One of my very favorite wise women, Dianne Connelly spoke of living in a way that honors your ancestors and grandchildren. That feels like a particularly reliable compass through turbulent times. I know I will regret it if I don’t make sure that I can live with my choices decades from now.

So please. Choose kindness. For yourself, and for those around you. Maybe that’s making phone calls or writing letters. Maybe it’s donating money. Heck, maybe it’s running for office. Or maybe it’s just being much more conscious about offering kindness to the people you see every day. Especially the people you habitually pass by and don’t really see.

But choose to care. It matters.

And Genghis Khat says hi.

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Salsa-mole

With the Superbowl right around the corner, I’ve updated one of my very favorite recipes with a few tweaks. This always goes at warp speed at our parties. Count me in for anything that involves avocado, lime, cilantro and tomatoes!

1 avocado, diced
3 medium sized tomatoes, diced
1/2 sweet pepper (red, yellow or orange) diced
1 Tablespoon diced sweet onion
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 lime
salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

Add everything together, mix 20 min prior to serving, and enjoy!

While tortilla chips are the classic pairing, try jicama sticks for a nice crunch with some extra healthy fiber.

For a winter-friendly version or if you’re short on time, use a can of drained diced tomatoes instead of the fresh tomatoes.

 

 

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Meringue Christmas Trees

*please note, some posts on this website do contain affiliate links*

Aren’t these adorable?

I love making meringues. They’ve delicious, they’re festive, they decorate and keep well, and they work for people who are Paleo, people looking for a lighter dessert…the list goes on. They’ve been a staple over the years in Chez Harris, but I’ve recently switched to a different recipe because I didn’t want to deal with finding grain-free powdered sugar. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  • 3 egg whites–separate them a day before baking, and leave out 1 hour before making for best results
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • dash of salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground vanilla bean*
  • food coloring–I used the new Color from Nature line from Mc Cormick.

    Meringue Snowmen from GFgoodness.com

Whatever toppings amuse you.

Preheat oven to 250, and prepare 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Put a medium, flat tip in piping bag. In a pinch, you can just use a plastic bag instead of a pastry bag, and places like Michael’s are great to find these kits locally.

Whip egg whites on medium speed with cream of tartar and salt. Turn up to high speed, add sugar 1 TBSP at a time. Add in vanilla beans. Continue to beat on high for ~5-6 min, or until you have stiff peaks.

Add food coloring, and pipe out into shapes. This batch was trees, but I’ve done snowmen, ghosts, and all sorts of fun shapes. Decorate as desired.

Bake at 250 for 45 minutes. Keep oven shut and leave them there overnight.

Store in an airtight container and enjoy!

*because you don’t want to add too much total moisture, ground vanilla bean is better than vanilla extract if you’re going to color the cookies. If you’re not adding food coloring, it doesn’t matter.

*please note, some posts do contain affiliate links*

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Raynaud’s Survival Tips (updated)

 

Since I had my first Raynaud’s attack of the season last week and it’s supposed to get cold on Thursday, I figured it was time to update and re-share this post.

I was really grateful to be diagnosed with Raynaud’s a quite few years ago. No, not right way, but as soon as the dust settled, it was actually a relief. I was in such pain whenever it was cold, and it was truly unbearable. I’m sad to say I blamed myself for years, because I thought I was doing something wrong or just complaining too much.  As a teen I was at track meets with purple hands and feet, and sometimes my lips and face would turn purple! Since everyone else was okay, so I assumed that I just was whiny and needed to toughen up. (why do we do that to ourselves?) So it was actually a huge weight off to find out that there was a real reason the cold was so painful.cat mat

But then part 2 is, okay then, now what?

I’ve been able to make a lot of changes by what I do and what I wear.

The best purchase I think I’ve ever made was a heated floor mat. I got a small one (above) which was about 2 foot by 3 foot, and it was a complete fail. Or at least, it was a fail for me. It was catted in about 60 seconds flat, and G would OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAnot share with me, no matter how much I begged. So now I have a big one, and it’s often catted as well, but there’s room for the two of us. Yes, it’s pricey, but I honestly think it’s the best investment I’ve made in years in my health, and I think that’s made a bigger difference for me than anything else. I am pushing for heated floors for my work space at home (eventually) but because that’s so expensive, it’s going to be a while.

I also have a ridiculous amount of clothes from Under Armour that I wear every day under my normal clothes, just about from November to April. My favorite? The base 4 leggings. They’re supposed to be for going outside in “brutal cold”, I need to wear them even INSIDE daily, just to avoid the numbness and tingling. And for super duper cold days?  They have extreme coldgear leggings, which are thicker and not as comfortable, but they’re such a huge help for my circulation so I don’t mind being bulky. I hate to admit it, but when it’s really cold, I have to wear both–and pants over them. It’s the only way to go outside and walk on the coldest of days.

It’s annoying, but such a big help! It’s kinda painful to spend $90 on a pair of pants, but I wear them every day so it kinda-sorta evens out. The UA site also has an outlet which I tend to stalk to get more stuff. More recently, My Fitness Pal has been sending out some decent coupons for Under Armour as well, so that may be a help, too. I also really like that they have pants for short people like moi and that they have the leggings numbered by coldness rating. I did try out the leggings from Nike and I found the site really hard to navigate and didn’t like how those leggings fit, either.

I’ve got the UA gloves, but I’m not crazy about those and still looking for something that may work better. Suggestions are welcome.

The combination of wearing leggings/warming shirts under my clothes and OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAusing the heated floor mat daily makes all the difference in the world. I honestly can’t imagine how I managed to deal with the pain and numbness  all those years…and I can’t believe it took so long to realize how simple the solution was!

So weeks like this one aren’t super comfy, but they’re doable. Between all that stuff and an ungodly number of blankies, I’m all good.

I know most people don’t have to go to such extremes, but honestly, I can’t believe that it took me so many years to realize that this was a necessity for me and take it seriously, and I’m sure I’m not the only one out there.

*please note, some posts do contain affiliate links*

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Pumpkin carving XV

food-leftAh yes, yummy Autumn food. We just finished our 15th (!!!) annual pumpkin carving party, and it was so much fun seeing old friends. Of course, we’ll be fishing pumpkin seeds out from random places for a few months, but that’s par for the course.

Lots of delicious food, and a few new recipes that I’ll share ASAP.

Drinks:

Hot mulled apple cider

Appetizers:

caramel dip

Raw caramel dip from Whole Life nutrition and honey crisp apples

 

guac

Guac!

Spinach and artichoke dip. I’ll share the recipe soon, I promise!spinach-artichoke-dip

 

 

 

 

 

Desserts:

apple crisp 2013

Apple crisp Vegan, grain-free—one of my very favorites

cookies

 

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies: I do believe there would be a riot if I didn’t make Carrie’s cookies every year.

 

 

 

pb-fudge

 

Amazing…new recipe. I’ll have to post it soon. It was E’s favorite.

Chocolate PB fudge

 

pretty pralinesPralines  This batch is made with a classic recipe

food-right

Brownies (see pic above) I used a new recipe because I wanted  a flaky top. And it WAS flaky…but it didn’t fill out the pan well, so I’ll need to tweak that.

My Sweet Potato Pie (pictured above)

Pumpkin Paleo Bread:

I used this recipe, and good good feedback.

We did have food, even though most people didn’t notice. I made this White Chicken Chili, and I absolutely love it. It was in the crockpot, and super simple.

I need a nap…and I’ll be happily eating leftovers for the next week!

 

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