Low FODMAP Holiday Treats

I love to bake. And I love to make candy. Not all the time, of course, because I’m sure it would get old quickly, but I typically make special treats a few times a year. For me, feeding people is my first language, and making desserts is one way of celebrating holidays and special occasions. I enjoy making desserts more than I enjoy eating them, actually, which is one of the first reasons why my husband and I connected. 😉

For most people, the holidays involve celebration and food. As I work with more and more people on a low FODMAP diet, I’m aware how few recipes are out there with holiday options, so I decided to pull together options that are either my own recipes, or ones we’ve made/enjoyed at Chez Harris. PLEASE NOTE THAT FOR ALL SWEETS, IT’S ALL ABOUT SMALL PORTIONS!

Angel Food Cake: Light, airy, delish. Perfect for a celebration.

This is a birthday present yearly for a friend–his absolute favorite!

Several others have shared low FODMAP dessert lists as well. Here are ones from Patsy Catsos, Kate Scarlata, and Delicious as it looks.

So…enjoy treats. Savor, stick with small portions, and remember, you don’t get points back for feeling guilty.

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Fresh Cranberry Relish (low FODMAP)

I wanted to see if I could adapt my favorite cranberry side to make it FODMAP friendly, and indeed, it’s delicious, and only takes a few minutes.

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries, picked over
  • 1.5 cups fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1 large orange, divided into pieces, or 4 clementines
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup sugar (optional–can increase or decrease based on taste)

Put ingredients in the food processor and pulse until only small chunks remain. You want to retain some texture.

Refrigerate. The tastes mix beautifully and get even better overnight.

If you are FODMAP sensitive or fructose intolerant, portions matter! 1/2 cup or less works for the elimination phase.

Walnuts can be omitted for allergy or preference, but give a nice texture.

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History repeating itself

Like so many people, Charlottesville has left me feeling sick, scared, and very, very sad.

Afraid for this country in a way that I never have before, and deeply discouraged.

I wanted to share my grandmother’s story, because it’s more important than ever.

In the 1930s, Nazi sentiment affected many countries around the world, including Iraq. There weren’t Nazis per se, but “just” people who believed that Jews should die because they were taking the jobs, money, etc. Yes, there were once Jews living peacefully in Iraq—many people have never heard of them because Iraqi Jews no longer exist.  In the 1940s, there was an outbreak of violence, known as the Farhud, and it simply was no longer safe to be a Jew in Iraq.

Savta (Bela) lived outside of Bagdad in a very wealthy Jewish family. She had two babies, and by the early 1950s, the danger was so great that she fled with my grandfather, father, and uncle. They lost all their money and possessions. Someone at the border tore up her wedding photo out of spite.

My family members fled anywhere that would take them: Israel, Canada, Australia, England. Eventually, many did come to the US.

My grandmother never stopped grieving the loss. As she got older and had issues with dementia, she would get in loops of repeating the same thing again and again. And her upset was not at the mobs who hated the Jews, or losing her house nor her comfortable lifestyle.

She never got over the abandonment by her neighbors who were once her friends.

They did nothing to protect her.

They once would celebrate each other’s holidays, and eat together, and they did nothing to help her.

50 years later, she still felt the pain of good people doing nothing.

Yes, white supremacists and Nazis are a problem, but that’s just a piece of it. It’s all of the people who harbor hate, and all those who turn a deaf ear because their (tush) is not on the line.

There’s so much talk, and labeling people alt right, alt left, and a lot of name calling. I can admit that it feels good in the moment, but I also suspect it’s counterproductive.

In terms of promoting a healthy society, the people who will make the most difference are likely those “good people” who voted for 45 and still defend him. It’s the people who want their “history”–their statues and monuments, the people who are saying that our current leader represents jobs and growth. Most people hate admitting they are wrong, and calling them Nazis causes them to double down on their commitment to El Naranja. Alienating those people is going to push our country in a (more) dangerous direction.

Like so many, I do not know what to do, and I do not have any of the answers. I’m grieving that history is repeating itself, and I don’t want to be one of Savta’s neighbors. All I can do is donate money, practice kindness, and see where I can be a tiny voice sending support all of the many people who are vulnerable now.

I am so sorry for all of the suffering around us right now.

With love,


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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.

Makes 2:

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 if FODMAPs aren’t a concern, cashew milk (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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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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