A Short Little Update…..Sorry no recipe yet.

I had the most kind person leave me a note on this blog asking questions and wanting an update on my condition.

From her request I have decided to give everyone a little run down about how I am and why I haven’t been blogging.  Well on this blog.  I do have a blog I keep up, but it’s all about living with my many chronic illnesses.  Not my food issues.  And we all know they can be a handful all by themselves!

I think I have mentioned before that I have a Vestibular Disorder, called Meniere’s Disease.  It has progressed very rapidly.  There is no cure, but it’s not fatal.  It has however really messed up my balance and taken away my hearing.  The balance issue is the reason I’m not in the kitchen.  It simply hasn’t been safe.  I am too likely to hurt myself.  I’m working on trying to do more, but I need to get more steady on my feet, and it will be more of a collaborative effort of me and my husband cooking.  Lucky for him, since he’s doing all the cooking now.

I keep trying to get him to take pictures, and give me recipes to put in here, but he doesn’t think anything is good enough.

I have found that there are a lot of things on the NO list for FODMAPs that I can have, and on the YES list that I can’t.  So my diet is a bit varied from the traditional “safe” FODMAPs list.  However, it is a learning process and we are all different.  But it does make it hard to keep up recipes that meet other people’s needs when I don’t need to watch my lactose so much, and I can eat beans…ect.

I have been eating mostly vegetarian for the past 5 months.  Just a personal issue, not a physical one.  That would be very hard if I couldn’t eat any beans.  I do tolerate canned beans best, well rinsed….and I keep trying different varieties to see if certain beans bother me when others do not.  I know lentils do very well.  I eat a lot of quinoa, it has a lot of protein, and it’s a seed, so no gluten….I can’t have any gluten.  Veggies I can tolerate…..stuff like that.  I do still eat eggs and cheese.  I may eat a little meat now and then, but it’s just a personal choice that I don’t want to.  It’s hard, especially on this diet, but well….I’m trying….and I feel better.  (maybe that’s just mental)

But alas, I’m rambling.  This really is to be just a short update.

The Meniere’s has been keeping me away.  As well as some other issues.  (if you are really interested you can check out my other blog at Picnic with Ants.

I promise it will probably bore you if you are just looking for help with your food issues.

I do have a couple of recipes I want to post…soon!!  Some treats!  Just need those photos honey!

Some Almond Butter Bars, and Banana Ice “Cream” coming soon.  (you may have seen the banana ice cream else where, it has been around, but I love it and you can do so much with it…and it’s a banana!!)

So thank you to all who follow.  I know I’m never here.  I wish I was here more.   If you ever need to ask anything, you can always leave a comment or email me.  (look in the About Tab)  If I don’t know the answer, I’ll try to find out or send you in the right direction.

Good Eating and Cheers!

More soon….very soon I hope.

Traveling with Food Issues…

First, I feel I must apologize for being away from this blog for so long.  I have another chronic illness that has made the past year very challenging.  I have a lot of recipes to share with you, however my husband cooked most of them and I don’t have photos of most.  The recipes have passed our tastes test, and I hope you will enjoy them as well.

Road Trip by Quert10101 at DeviantArt.com

Road Trip by Quert10101 at DeviantArt.com

The beginning of November 2012 we started on a road trip from Durham, North Carolina to Tucson, Arizona. Looking to spend the winter in a warmer climate hoping my health would be better, we took off to stay at my father-in-law’s house (he recently married and is not living in his house any longer).  So we packed up a mini-van we rented with enough clothes and essentials to last us for 5 months, a cooler, some snack foods, and a cat.

We learned a lot on the trip out.  Quickly we realized this would be a very long drive, especially with someone with food issues. We had packed just a little food, enough to tide me over if we couldn’t find anything safe for a meal or two.  We soon learned that we couldn’t find very many places we could trust for me to eat at.  I had boiled eggs, quick oats, crackers, cheese and some cut up veggies….maybe a couple of other things, but it wasn’t nearly enough.  Most days I ended up eating a burger in a lettuce wrap, or a salad.  My tummy was not happy.  I did find some good food at two of the places we stayed.  One hotel restaurant even knew what Fructose Malabsorption was!  I was shocked.  I had a great steak, potatoes au gratin, and green beans.  But most of the trip out was not a happy tummy feeling.  Not only was I eating poorly to try to stay on a gluten-free and low FODMAP diet, I ended up eating way too much salt.  The salt affects my other illness, Meniere’s disease.  Meniere’s disease is a vestibular disorder that causes sudden attacks of vertigo, tinnitus, aural fullness, and fluctuating hearing loss (I’ve completely lost my hearing.)  When we arrived in Tucson I was sick!  The day after arriving we were in a restaurant, planning to go to the grocery store afterward to stock up on safe food, and I started to have a vertigo attack.  It was miserable.  One of my worst fears, a vertigo attack in public.  Luckily, I got to the car before it was too bad, but riding in a car when the world is spinning around you is a horrific car ride.  Something I hope no one out there has to experience.

The trip back was much easier, we learned so much from the trip to AZ, the trip back to NC was a breeze.  On top of my snacks (GF Nut Thin crackers, Mozzarella Cheese, boiled eggs, and nuts) my husband made a Roasted Chicken in the slow cooker, roasted veggies that are safe for me (just toss them with a little olive oil, you can use garlic olive oil if you like, and some seasoning…we often just use Applewood Smoked Salt, then broil them…so much flavor!), potato salad (I will post the recipe we love for potato salad  soon), and pasta dressed with garlic olive oil and herbs.  This was wonderful.  I could have chicken with veggies and/or potato salad on the side, potato salad with chicken mixed in, pasta salad with veggies and chicken…..there were many mixtures I could eat so I wouldn’t get bored.  This food lasted almost all the way home.

We also stopped at grocery stores on the way to pick up fresh fruit.  We found a gluten-free grocery in New Mexico and picked up some nice crackers, and restocked my gluten-free quick oatmeal.  The oatmeal was a very good thing to have along.  If I had a hunger at night but didn’t want our packed food, I could have oats; or if our hotel didn’t serve a safe breakfast I had oats and/or boiled eggs.

We filled zippered freezer bags with ice before we left, and at each hotel we replaced the ice.  This way we didn’t have to worry about buying ice along the way, or having our food slosh around in water.

I also found a free app for my phone called Find Me Gluten Free.  This app has been very helpful, you can look up local restaurants that offer gluten-free menus close to where ever you are, it also finds grocery stores with gluten-free options…ect.  When I found a restaurant that I found interesting I would call them to see just how knowledgeable they were about cooking for allergies.  I would ask at that time if they could also make a meal that was onion, and garlic free?  If I was told yes to that question, I would ask if I could talk to the chef when I arrived, if I got a yes to all of these questions I knew I could most likely eat there safely.  We found a few restaurants this way.  Two in hotels we stayed in.  When a restaurant understands the need for all the precautions to serve gluten-free foods, they are much more adaptable to help you in your request for low FODMAPs food.  I do not overwhelm the wait staff or chef with what I can or can’t eat.  I ask about gluten, onion, and garlic….then when they give me options I ask the ingredients in the options I’m interested in, and I can at that time ask them to change something if necessary.  (always ask ingredients in Salad Dressings, they can really get you!)

I also take a Digest Spectrum when ever I eat out, I’ve been served the wrong food before and taken a bite full of onions and the Digest Spectrum helped save me from a night of misery.  I don’t use it every day, only when I’m eating out and I’m afraid of cross contamination.

With a bit of planning, and a lot of patience, traveling with food issues can be accomplished with much more fun than when you are unprepared.  Taking a trip?  Have you traveled and have good tips? Please share what you do or plan to do, we can all learn from each other.

**Please note, I am not lactose intolerant, that is why I can take cheese to snack on.  On a low FODMAP diet it says hard cheeses are safe, I am not sure what hard cheeses are.  If anyone wants, I will try to find out for you.

Garlic Infused Olive Oil

I talk a lot about Garlic Infused Olive Oil, but I’ve never really talked about how to do this.  A reader asked me, so I thought I’d tell you 3 ways I get Garlic Infused Olive Oil.

Of course,  you can buy Olive Oil already infused with different flavors, such as garlic, but it can be pretty pricy.  I do usually keep a purchased bottle on hand in case I run out of my own, or simply don’t feel like making it.  I normally use Annie’s Naturals Roasted Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  I’ve been lucky and have found this on sale a few times.

In a Pan.

You can easily infuse small amounts of olive oil with garlic by simply adding some olive oil and garlic cloves to a pan, heat…but do not let the oil or garlic scorch.  (The temperature you use will depend on the amount you are doing and how hot your stove gets….just be careful not to burn it.)   I like to keep moving the garlic around in the oil for a few minutes…the longer you cook it the more infused the olive oil will be.   This method is good if you just need a little bit for a recipe you are making.  Personally, I’ve never gotten a really rich garlic flavor like this…I think I try to rush it way too much.

In a Slow Cooker

My favorite way to infuse olive oil with garlic is with a slow cooker.   I have a mini-slow cooker so I use it.  If you don’t have a small slow cooker, simply put a Pyrex dish in your cooker the size you need, and it will work.   Even in my small cooker, if I only have one small head of garlic I will use a small Pyrex dish in it.

Today I made some using 3 heads of garlic, in my small slow cooker.

First I cut the top of the heads off, exposing the cloves.

Head of garlic with top cut off to expose cloves

Then I simply put them in the cooker and cover them completely with olive oil.   Use plenty of oil.  I buy a big container of Olive Oil when it’s on sale to save even more money.   If you are using a smaller dish in your slow cooker, you will want to cover it with foil.  This will keep the steam and flavors close to the oil.

Garlic in cooker covered well with Olive Oil

I cooked the oil I made today on low for 3-4 hours.  It kept boiling, so I finally turned it off and just let it sit until it cooled down.  (I think I may use the Pyrex dish again next time anyway, I don’t recall it boiling so much in the dish.)   The garlic heads looked delicious.

What the garlic looked like after cooking in oil.

If you have anyone in your family who can eat garlic and likes roasted garlic, you can use some of the cloves.  Remember though that they are soaked in oil.  However, just squeeze them onto bread and you have instant garlic bread.  Remember though, if you have fructose malabsorption, Do Not Eat the Garlic.   After the garlic oil has cooled, strain the oil into a glass jar.  Be sure to label the jar with the date you made it.

Garlic Infused Olive Oil
(this jar was put in the refrigerator before I got a photo, so it looks a bit cloudy. It’s not really.)

This oil will keep well in the refrigerator for over a week.   If you are using it to cook with you can use it longer….2 weeks is good.   If you are using it on salads and such I would use it in a week.   Once you put this oil in the refrigerator it will congeal.  So if you need to pour it out you will need to wait for it to warm up a bit, this does not take long.   If you I’m using it on meats, or vegetables before cooking, I often just brush the congealed oil on.

I hope this helps you make some wonderfully Garlic Infused Olive Oil.   I’ve found the oil I make in the slow cooker has the most intense flavor.

WARNING….garlic in oil can cause botulism if not prepared correctly.

From my understanding, roasting the garlic in oil as I do takes away the threat as long as it is refrigerated and used in a timely manner.

The biggest danger comes when people just drop raw garlic in olive oil and wait for it to get strong enough.  The water in the garlic is then sealed in and can grow botulism.  To avoid this, you can preserve the garlic first in vinegar or a brine.  But I think that would take away the flavor, and I still wouldn’t risk it.

Digest Spectrum – A product that has helped me.

Digest Spectrum by Enzymedica

I saw on a few Fructose Malabsorption boards that some people were having good results with this product.  I decided to give it a try.   (Please note, I was not given this product to try, I bought it myself.  I received NO compensation for this review.  All opinions are mine.)

Admittedly, I didn’t have the highest hopes that this would help me be able to eat more foods with fructose.  However, I was having a lot of trouble.  I would eat only from the Allowed Foods List, and was still having gastrointestinal distress.   I was having a hard time balancing the amounts that were alright for me.  (If I ate a 1/2 cup of an allowed vegetable at one meal, could I have an allowed fruit as a snack a couple of hours later?…sometimes yes, sometimes no.)  So eating was causing a lot of trouble.  Not to mention trying to eat out!  So I decided to give Digest Spectrum a try.

I knew every time I ate spaghetti I had issues.  (even though I only used allowed ingredients, and always add dextrose to help with the digestion.)  So the first test was taking a capsule before spaghetti.  To my amazement my stomach didn’t blow, I had no pain, and the next day things moved normally.  But I didn’t trust this first test.  I thought perhaps we put more dextrose in it this time.  So….next text.

I had a meal with 3 servings of allowed vegetables.  I took a Digest Spectrum right before I started, and to my amazement, again No bloating, No pain…and normal bowel movements for the next few days.  This gave me more hope that the enzymes were working.

I continued to use the product whenever I thought I might be eating foods with too much fructose.  But I NEVER intentionally ate anything on the Prohibited list…..but I really wanted some legumes.  I really missed beans!

I decided to make some hummus.  I didn’t use garlic, I used infused garlic olive oil, tahini, and lemon juice.  I took two Digest Spectrum (I thought I might really be pushing it this time).  I ate about 1/8 cup of hummus with vegetables.   NO symptoms.    Next test….I had pinto beans, a lot of pinto beans.  My meal consisted of a Pinto Bean mixture (much like refried beans, with corn tortillas, lettuce and cheese.  (remember, I’m not lactose intolerance, but many can eat hard cheeses even if you are.)  I ate 3 of these tortillas.  With a side of Black Beans!   Once again….NO symptoms.

I’m so excited I can eat beans again.  I don’t eat them every day, I always leave at least a couple of days between, but I missed beans more than any thing else.   (other than onions!)

There are certain foods I will not eat, even with this help.  Onions, Apples….ect.   I really try to stay away from the prohibited list that has foods really high in fructose and frutans.  (I know beans are on the no – no list, but all the books said that everyone has trouble digesting beans.  Well that’s why they have Been-o right?  And I’ve been eating them for years without adverse affects, other than a little excess gas, but I often have that anyway.  I felt beans were a calculated risk that I was willing to try.)

Then came a day we decided to eat out.  Mexican.  I took 2 Digest Spectrum, just in case.  I’m so glad I did!  I normally get cheese or bean enchiladas.  However, I’m trying to lose some weight, so I decided to order chicken enchiladas.   Still gluten free, and healthier….right???   I took 2 bites, and realized I tasted onion!!!   Oh NO!  Onion!!  I didn’t even think about that, I asked about the sauce to make sure it had no onions, or flour, but didn’t think about the chicken filling.  (I’ve never ordered it before, I thought it would just be shreaded chicken).   I just knew I was going to be in a lot of pain.  I decided to take aanother capsule right then, hoping it might help.   Normally, if I get just a tad of onion, onion flavoring, onion powder, anything….I bloat almost immediately to the point that it looks like I’m pregnant…very pregnant.  And it hurts, oh does it hurt.   Then for 3 days I’m in the bathroom, many, many times.

I waited….No pain.  No bloating.  I was shocked.  I’m sure if I’d had more I would have gotten ill, but I didn’t get sick!!  The only thing I can attribute this to, is the Digest Specturm.

Now I eat out with more confidence.  I’m still very careful (more careful after the onion incident) but I always take a capsule, just in case someone in the kitchen goofs, or I eat too many veggetables (I have a hard time not eating more vegetables.)

How does Digest Spectrum work?

Ensymedica states on their website that

“Our body uses enzymes to enhance digestion and turn the food we eat into energy. Produced throughout the digestive tract and available from raw foods and supplements, these enzymes include: amylase for carbohydrates, lipase for fats, protease for proteins, and cellulase for fiber. Like tiny shears, enzymes help break down the foods we eat leaving particles small enough to provide nutrition to the cells after they enter the bloodstream. In addition to aiding digestion, some enzymes provide additional support to the body by eliminating harmful toxins and by-products.”

They do say this is to be used in combination with special diets.

“Reducing or eliminating the foods which trigger digestive problems is a key part of managing food sensitivities.  While special diets are helpful to those with impaired digestion, dietary modification used in combination with enzyme supplementation provides peace of mind and complete spectrum digestive support.”


Do I take Digest Spectrum every time I eat?  NO.  Do I really go against the low FODMAPS diet and rely on this product?  NO.  (except for beans….but I’m thinking I can tolerate them more than others.)

So when do I take Digest Spectrum?   I always take it when I eat out….just in case.  It’s too easy for food to get cross contamination in the kitchen and I’d never know it just by looking!

I always take it when I eat tomato products.  (This is an allowed food, but I have trouble with it, however, I love it.  Since I don’t have a huge problem with it, I decided to start taking Digest Spectrum before eating it, and now I don’t have any trouble at all.)   I always take it if I’m having a meal with more than 1 cup of veggetables….any kind. (I was having a hard time wiht this before.)   I always take it before a get together…and place I’ll be eating food that I (or my husband) didn’t prepare.   I also take it just when I’m feeling a bit nervous.  I feel I don’t digest foods as well if I’m stressed out.

I know this probably won’t work as well for everyone.  I’ve read one person’s account and she uses it a lot so she can eat much more of the foods that she wants.  I think most people use it like I do….as a precaution under certain circumstances.

If you try it, please let me know how it works for you….and under what circumstances you used it.


Sesame Crusted Chicken Nuggets

I saw this originally on Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Meals, and finally found the original recipe on line….after much searching.  She called it Sesame and Herbs de Provence Chicken Tenders.   Please follow the link to see the original recipe.  I’m going to print my updated version.

Again, I’m sorry there is no photo…no real excuse this time, except I didn’t think they looked as good as they tasted.  I cooked them on parchment paper and the seeds didn’t brown, I think I will toast them first next time, it will also bring out more of the flavor.

Sesame Crusted Chicken Nuggets  (yes, you can make chicken fingers, but I had whole chicken breast and just cut them in nugget shape.)

  • 1 tablespoon or less of coarse sea salt.  (she added much more, it’s supposed to give a glaze like a bagel has on it, and help the seeds stick.  I’m on a low salt diet, so we didn’t use nearly as much as they said.  Also the only course salt I had on hand was Apple Wood Smoked Salt, so I used that.  However, we really didn’t taste the smoke, so I’m thinking I didn’t have much salt on the.)
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds   (I didn’t use as much as this called for, and felt bad I wasted so many…I think 1/3 cup would be plenty….and as I said I think I will toast them next time.)
  • 4 tablespoons Herbs de Provence  (my husband thought this was a bit much.  I thought it was just right.  Of course, we didn’t really measure it precisely…do we ever?  But it was pretty close I’m sure.)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 pounds Chicken Breast (cut into fingers or nuggets…your choice.)

Instructions  (These are Rachel Ray’s cooking instructions, except for the ingredients I omitted.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix the salt, seeds, and herbs on shallow plate then coat the chicken in mixture and bake on nonstick baking sheet 18 to 20 minutes until golden and firm. Turn halfway through the cooking.

I really loved the taste of these, but mine never got “golden”  I’m sure it’s because I used parchment paper, but it was disappointing.  I really think toasting the sesame seeds would enhance the recipe.   And really I didn’t have to put oil on the chicken or anything before dipping them in the mixture, it stuck very well. 

I promise, I’ll make this again with revisions, and post a photo…but it’s worth the risk if you want to try it.

(If you look at the ratings on Rachel Ray’s recipe it’s pretty low, because everyone said there was too much salt…so I think I did a good thing in reducing the salt.)

Hope you enjoy.


Chicken Stock – easy and Fructose Friendly

I always make my own Chicken Stock.  Not only do I prefer it, but in a pinch recently I looked for some and couldn’t find any that did not have onion in the ingredients.

***please not***  when you are looking at labels, often when it says spices that includes onion and/or garlic.  Plus most are full of sodium!  I suggest calling or emailing any company that just list spices in their ingredients before eating.  I recently wrote to Bell & Evans – they make the best GF breaded chicken strips.  I like to have something like this in the freezer for emergencies, for those times when it gets late and I’m exhausted and there’s no time to cook, or I’m not feeling well and hubby has to come up with food ideas and he’s exhausted….well you get the idea.  I was so disappointed when they wrote back and told me ALL of their products have onion.  If you need emergency type things.  Ian’s GF chicken patties and nuggets do not have onion or garlic (at the time of this writing.)   I also keep Annie’s Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese on hand for those days.  I do not eat this kind of thing as a rule.  Too much sodium!  and just empty calories…not enough nutrition for the calories taken in.  But in a pinch, it works.  (also note, I can eat lactose, I do not know if Annie’s Deluxe Mac and Cheese is NOT Lactose Free.)

Back to the Chicken Stock.  I have posted a previous recipe, but it’s more detailed and has onions.  This is very easy.

Easy Chicken Stock

  • Save chicken parts from chicken you have been using in freezer.  This means, I buy Split Breast and cut it off the bone.  I leave some meat on the bones, and the skin, I put this in a freezer bag and save.  If I cup up a whole chicken, I throw the liver, gizzard and such in the bag, we normally don’t eat the wings so they go in the bag.  I keep adding to the bag until I have enough for stock.
  • Save limp vegetables, or vegetable pieces in the freezer.  If I have some veggies get a bit too wilted for us to eat, I throw them in a freezer bag and save for stock.  I also save the tops of carrots, broccoli stalks…ect.  they go in the veggie bag until I have enough for stock.   I do not add any onion or garlic, or any vegetables I can’t eat.
  • On the day I make stock I use my 6 quart crock pot.
  • Add contents of the Chicken and Vegetable bags.  They can still be frozen.
  • Add water to cover completely.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar (this pulls the calcium from the bones and makes your stock more nutritious)
  • Add any seasoning you want.  (I usually add a couple of Bay Leaves, but that’s about it.)
  • Cook on low for hours and hours.  The longer you cook it, the richer your stock will be.  (Sometimes I let it cook over night, sometimes all day long.  Normally at least 10 hours)
  • Strain stock in a large bowl or two.
  • Let cool, put in the refrigerator to cool completely and have the fat congeal on top.  Spoon off fat..

Chicken Stock Frozen in Muffin Tins

I freeze my stock in muffin tins, each holds 3 1/2 ounces, so I leave some room at the top and know each one is about 3 oz.  If you want to be exact you can use a measuring cup to dip the stock in the tins.  Once frozen I pop them out and put them in a freezer bag, ready to use.  I often pop out a few cubes, warm them on the stove and have a cup of broth to soothe my stomach.  Or add some cellophane noodles, left over chicken and veggies…a great lunch.  Quick easy, and healthier than the other emergency meals.

Isn’t that easy??

Baked Trimmed Boneless Pork Ribs (or other cut of pork)

I have so many recipes to post…at least 6 or 7 I think.  Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of most, or possibly any.

As I posted before, I’ve been struggling with my health so I haven’t been able to cook much.  Some of the recipes I’m going to post were made by friends, some by hubby, and some I did help with, but I didn’t feel like taking photos.  However, this the whole purpose of this blog is to document recipes that I can eat successfully….and share them with those of you who are having the same problems.  So photos or not…we shall have a few new recipes listed!

When you hear ribs you usually think, smothered in sauce and very fattening.  These were light, and delicious.   Some friends were visiting and our friend, Chris, cooked for us a few times.  This is one of the dishes he prepared.  My husband later made the same dish but with a different cut of pork, it was equally delicious.

Unfortunately, Chris cooks a lot like I do, he just tosses in amounts that look and smell right.  The actually measurements are unknown.  When I do this I have some idea, but I can’t tell you what he did.  I think this would be pretty hard to completely ruin, don’t be afraid.

Trimmed Boneless Ribs

  • garlic oil – tsp – tbsp (yes that’s what he wrote down, I do know he put a little in the bottom of the glass Pyrex dish he was baking in and rubbed the pork around in it…so enough to lightly coat the pork)
  • carrots
  • celery
  • green onions or chives (green parts only)
  • salt and pepper  (he does salt things more than I do, I’m on a low salt diet so I don’t salt while cooking, I just add a little at the table if needed)
  • Pot Herbs and extra Sage (I found an herb mixture called Pot Herbs that I just love.  It contains chives, chervil, parsley, thyme, marjoram, and bay leaves.  I buy mine at http://www.myspicesage.com. )  Chris found he really liked this blend of spices too.  You can substitute other herbs if you like.  This is a French herb mixture.
  • 1/4 cup water

Rub pork in oil.  Season to taste.  Put Veggies on top.  Bake covered on 350F for 1 1/2 hours.

Really, this was extremely tender and amazingly good.

The Boneless Pork Rib cut was delicious…frankly I thought it better than the tenderloin my husband made just like this.  It’s a much less expensive cut of meat, so much easier to watch your budget.  The veggies are cooked at the same time as the meat.  You could add another veggie if you wanted.   Chris served this with wilted greens and mashed potatoes (very lightly mashed without much stuff added….did not need the extra calories.)

*all vegetables listed are on the well tolerated list in Food Intolerance Management Plan by Sue Shepherd and Peter Gibson, but always trust your own tolerance levels.


I do hate I don’t have a photo, but this was such an easy meal, and it was so delicious.   I admit I was hesitant at first, but this taste surprised us both and we will make it again and again.


Meatballs – with no onion or garlic

My husband loves spaghetti and meatballs, unfortunately I’ve always hated making meatballs.  They’ve always been time-consuming, and messy.  You have to mix them up then form the balls, then bake them, and finally you can add them to your sauce.  How long did that take, and how many dishes did we dirty?  I’d make them occasionally because he loves them so, but not very often.  After finding a slow cooker recipe and changing it to fit a low FODMAPS diet, I may be making meatballs much more often!

Once again, I found the original recipe on Stephanie O’Dea’s site, A Year of Slow Cooking.  Her recipe is called Not Your Mother’s Meatballs, it sounded easy and with just a few minor adjustments I made gluten-free, fructose friendly meatballs!

Slow Cooker Meatballs with Spaghetti Sauce


Here’s the original recipe Not Your Mother’s Meatballs in blue, my adjustments are noted:

1/4 cup chopped Italian Parsley    I used Italian Seasoning
1.5 pounds lean ground beef  
4 slices smoked bacon, diced (raw; don’t cook it)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Panko-style breadcrumbs (I used Kinnikinnick Gluten Free Bread Crumbs)
2 eggs  (I only used one large egg)
2 tablespoons dried minced onion flakes
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt  (I don’t salt anything while cooking, if salt is needed we add it at the table)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 good tablespoon garlic infused olive oil
(you could add some asafoetida powder if you wanted, but I didn’t this time)
additional ingredients:
1 cup flour (I used rice flour)  I used potato flour, just what I had on hand)
2 cups chicken broth (can use beef)
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 can Tomato Puree  (it’s the large can, I think it’s 22oz)or 
2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning
(as is this was very tasty, but I think next time I’ll add a little asafoetida powder or spring onion to the sauce, I missed the onion flavor, but everyone else said they loved it just the way it was!)
The Directions.
Use a 6-quart slow cooker. (I used a 4.5 qt slow cooker, this cooker is oval so it held more meatballs in a single layer) Spray the inside of your cooker with cooking spray, or rub it down with a bit of olive oil (don’t go crazy, just a little glisten)  *we simply forgot to oil the cooker, but had no sticking*  and set aside.
In a good-sized mixing bowl, combine the chopped parsley Italian Seasoning, ground beef, and diced bacon. Add in Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, eggs, and the dried spices black pepper. Combine well— I’d use your hands (remove rings, wash appropriately, and all that good stuff that if I had a legal team they’d tell me to include).
After the meat is mixed, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or non-stick foil. Pour 1 cup of flour (I used rice potato flour) into a shallow dish (pie pan works great).
Roll meat into golfball-sized balls and then lightly dust each meat ball with flour before placing  onto the lined cookie sheet. When all the meat is gone, put the whole cookie sheet into the freezer for 1 hour, or until completely frozen. It’s okay to freeze overnight, if you’d like to break this into two days (put in sealed dish/Tupperware if freezing for longer).  
Once your meatballs are frozen, place them one-by-one (this means don’t dump!) into your lightly greased slow cooker. It’s okay to stack them. In a  small mixing bowl, whisk together the broth and tomato paste to create a gravy. Pour this evenly over the meatballs. Cover, and cook on low for 5 hours, or until the meatballs have browned and are fully cooked. I cooked the meatballs pictured above on low for 5 hours, then let them sit on warm for another 3 1/2 hours before dinner was served.  I made the meatballs at night, and put them in a container and froze over night.  In the morning my husband simply added them to the cooker, and added the tomato puree, and Italian Seasoning.  Cooked on High for 4 hours, they smelled so good and looked done, so I tested and they were cooked through.  We weren’t going to be having dinner for a couple of hours and the cooker we used doesn’t have a warm setting, so I turned it off and about 15 mins before serving I turned it on High again.  Note: we did carefully stir these a few times because it was getting too done around the sides.  I suggest not to stir them for the first hour or so to make sure they stay intact.
Serve alongside pasta or rice, or all on their own. These are filling!
We served them with Tinkyada’s Spinach Spaghetti Pasta, and extra Parmesan cheese.
The verdict at my house?  Please make these again!!   Meatballs often fall apart in the slow cooker, the freezing is the key to this recipe!
The only things I might change, not add as much bacon and dice it up smaller than I did this time (possibly leave it out all together).  Add some asafoetida powder or the green parts of spring onions to the sauce.


Sticky Pork Chops

Sticky Pork Chops, brown and wild rice with carrots, and roasted green beans.

I found the original recipe for this on Food.com. I found a great cookbook there, created by a member, that is filled with recipes that do not use onion or garlic.  This is from that cookbook, there were some small adaptations to make it Fructose Friendly, but it was a pretty easy recipe.

The original recipe can be found at http://chinese.food.com/recipe/sticky-pork-chops-54715

Here’s the original recipe with my changes:

Sticky Pork Chops

By KitchenManiac on February 24, 2003

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Servings: 2

About This Recipe

“A mouth watering yummy pork chop Asian style. Double the recipe, you’ll want more. :)”


    • 4 pork cutlets, of chops trimmed  (I used 2 boneless pork chops)
    • 1/3 cup Chinese wine or 1/3 cup sherry wine  (I used Aji-Mirin Sauce)
    • 1 tablespoon soya sauce  (I used GF low sodium Tamari)
    • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
    • 2 tablespoons chili sauce or 2 tablespoons chili flakes  (I used about 1 tablespoon of chili flakes.)
    • 2 tablespoons honey  (I used Maple Syrup)

  1. Heat frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Cook meat for 2 minutes each side, or until meat is well browned.  (suggest you cook until done throughout, and just warm through when you add back to pan)
  3. Remove meat, set aside – Keep warm -
  4. Add cooking wine, soy sauce, ginger, chili sauce/flakes and honey to the same pan without washing the pan.
  5. Cook for 3 minutes.
  6. Return the meat to pan and cook on each side for 1 minute.
  7. Simmer until the sauce thickens, and pork is cooked through.
  8. Serve with rice and greens.

To make this super fast and easy, I served this with Steam Fresh Brown Rice with broccoli and carrots  (I picked most of the broccoli out of mine since I’ve been having tummy issues lately), and roasted green beans (simply broil or bake fresh green beans that have been sprayed with a little olive oil, and sprinkled with sea salt).

We both agreed, we will make this meal again!

Italian Sausage without onion or garlic – and a meal to go with it.

We bought some plain ground pork so I could make some sausage I could eat.  I simply cannot find any that doesn’t have onion or garlic.

I looked up a few recipes, but decided to just wing it.  I’ve made Sage Sausage before, but this is the first time I’ve made Italian Sausage.

Italian Sausage with NO onion or garlic

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup Italian Seasoning.  (I put in about 3 tablespoons but decided it needed more, so added even more…I think this is a good guesstimate on how much you should use.)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil  (yes I know I said, no garlic, and you can leave this out, but if you infuse the olive oil with garlic but DO NOT EAT THE GARLIC, it is low in FODMAPS)
  • 1-2 tablespoons black pepper (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons paprika

I mixed everything together in my Kitchen Aid mixer. So much easier than mixing by hand.

Just cook and eat.  I normally add Italian Sausage it to recipes.

Of course, this sausage does not have a casing, you can buy casing if you’d like and stuff them yourself.  I think it’s too much trouble, and kind of gross.  Plus, I normally remove the casing to use this type of sausage.

The night after I made the sausage I made Sautéed Kale and Potatoes with Italian Sausage.

simply brown crumbled sausage in a pan, remove sausage and drain most of the grease.

Chop and add potatoes.  Cook until tender.

Add the sausage back in.

Chop and Add the Kale, splash with Aji-Mirin Sauce (by Kikoman, this is the only brand I can find that does not have fructose. It has glucose as the first ingredient.  This sauce will not only add a little sweetness to your Kale, which is often a little bitter, it will also make them easier to digest.

Cook until Kale is wilted.   (you can add some herbs or spices if you like.  I think the sausage added enough flavor to this dish.)

If you would like further directions for this recipe, please see a previous recipe Sautéed Kale with Potatoes.