Sunday, December 10, 2017


This isn't exactly low cal, but it's a tasty dessert that can be adjusted with low-calorie pudding to make it a little less of a guilty pleasure and it easily adjusts for food allergies.

 The vanilla really pairs well with the peanut butter, so it isn't too rich or overly sweet.  Top with whipped topping or whipped cream, it's a super easy to make holiday treat that people will think you fussed over all morning

Vanilla Peanut Butter Pie

1 9" pre-baked regular or gluten free pie crust (a gluten free graham cracker crust is also nice.
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 small package vanilla instant pudding (3.5 ounces) (Jello brand vanilla, chocolate, lemon, pistachio and banana cream flavors are soy free, gluten free, and vegan).
2 cups 2% milk or almond milk
8 ounces whipped topping, whipped cream, or non-dairy whipped topping

1. In a small bowl, crumble together the peanut butter and powdered sugar.
2. Sprinkle 3/4 of the peanut butter mixture on the bottom of the baked pie shell. Save the rest to garnish the top of the pie.
3. In a small bowl, mix one small package of vanilla instant pudding with the two cups of milk. Whisk until smooth.
4. Pour the pudding over the crumbled peanut butter mixture in the pie shell. Allow the pudding to set for 5 minutes.
5. Spread the whipped topping over the pudding and then sprinkle the remaining peanut butter crumbs on top.
6. Cover loosely and store the pie in the refrigerator

Monday, December 4, 2017

Food Sensitivity Test Results - Surprise!

Well, I got my results from the EveryWell Food Sensitivity Test.

There were a couple of surprises.  I have always known I'm sensitive to wheat if I eat a bunch of it, but it only showed as moderate as far as a food trigger.  Yet, every time I eat breakfast cereal (with the exception of Rice Chex or the specifically labeled Gluten Free Rice Crispies) my IBS goes nuts.  I figured it was the dairy, but switching to almond milk didn't help.

That made a quick breakfast problematic as a couple of eggs with even gluten-free toast would set me off as well.  The only thing I'll eat before the drive to the office or church/Bible study is my Go Macro Bar (assorted flavors), with gluten-free, no soy, no GMO ingredients, just oats, raisins, coconut, brown rice, natural sweeteners, and nut butter. It literally is the ONLY quick to eat packaged food that I like for breakfast that doesn't trigger an IBS flare-up (and all the flavors of the bars are really filling and tasty though the coconut granola is my favorite!)

My biggest food sensitivities? (those the test said I have a "high reactivity to)

Soy (Nor surprised as many people are sensitive to it, and I knew if I ate too much meat-free soy-based products my IBS flared up big-time

But the big surprise?


Yup, an ingredient in almost all breakfast cereals and prepackaged breads (not to mention the single malt scotch I sip on weekend evenings). It's in my breakfast cereal, it's in my packaged cookies, it's in my beer with pizza, it's in the Vitamin C powder I take every single day. It's no wonder I live 10 feet from a bathroom.

Malt is hard to spot in packaging -  it's usually listed as:

Malted barley (or corn, etc)
Malt Extract
Malt Vinegar
Maltodextrin (technically not a malt but may be made from wheat so I'm including it)
Malt Syrup
Ethyl Maltitol
Hydrogenated Isomaltitol
Malt Sugar

It looks like I'm going to be eliminating a TON of processed food and my occasional nightcap is going to have to be brandy  (which is distilled from wine) instead of single malt Scotch.  I also checked my favorite frozen pizza brand Connie's and it has BOTH malt and soy.  On the plus side, the runner-up favorite pizza, Chicago's Home Run, is malt and soy free, so as an occasional treat (as it has wheat) I'm good.

On the moderate food sensitivity, some things I"ll have to watch out for are:

Dairy  - except for mozzarella (I knew this already just from experience)
Apples - I LOVE apples :-(
Barley (which includes some brown rice syrups)
Wheat Bran (oat bran appears to be OK)
Chicken Eggs
Avocado (not a huge fan anyway)
Sweet Potato (regular potato OK)

Moderate means I can probably have them on a special occasion but not as a regular part of my diet.

On the plus side - there are 80+ foods that are NOT triggers for me including almost all fruits, nuts, veggies, meat, honey, cocoa, tea, and coffee.

I am so glad I spent $199 for this easy at home test.  Yes, it is NOT a true allergy test but it explains some of the foods I thought were "safe" were actually likely triggering my chronic IBS.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Cauliflower Bites - Who Needs a Deep Fryer for a Tasty Appetizer?

Craving a sweet or savory appetizer that is not just tasty but it's full of nutritious goodness from cauliflower? And it's vegan, if you are so inclined (I'm not - but eat meat free several days a week - good for me, and good for the planet)

Cauliflower bites - baked, not fried, easy to make regular or gluten free, and no deep frying.

1 head Cauliflower, chopped into bite sized florets
1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour (For Gluten-Free, use GF version)
3/4 - 1 cup Water or Almond Milk
2 tsp Garlic Powder (optional)
1/2  tsp Salt
1/2 cup  Orange Sauce (I like Iron Chef brand) or your favorite BBQ Sauce


Preheat the oven to 450 F. (230 C.)

Place cauliflower in a bowl and set aside.

In a small bowl mix the flour, water/milk, garlic powder (if using) and salt. For a thinner consistency, add more water.

Dip the cauliflower into the batter and place on a lined (I used foil which made for some crispy crunchy spots on the final outcome) baking tray. Be careful not to make the batter too thick on the cauliflower.

Allow the cauliflower to bake for 25 minutes.

Remove the cauliflower from the heat and coat with the Orange Sauce or BBQ. Bake for another 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat and serve immediately.  Recipe can easily be cut in half for a snack for two. It's also good over rice as a main course with extra sauce on the side.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Everly Well Food Sensitivity Test - Review

Any of you who have visited here for any time know I have some "gut" issues.  I had ulcerative colitis as a teen and as an adult displayed all the symptoms of IBS.

I've gotten better through eating "cleaner" food with less additives and junk, but still, there are days I'll eat something pretty plain and get an attack.

I've never done the test for Celiac - I'm sensitive to wheat (but do fine with Einkorn ancient grain flour) but I don't know about other food sensitivity issues.

So when I read about a test I can take at home to measure my immune response to 96 common food triggers for less than $200 and no charge for a doctor's visit,  I was in.

From the well-regarded folks at EveryWell, it's not a true allergy test (those are done through a doctor's office) but does measure your food sensitivities to craft an elimination diet with the least effort

The box arrived from EverlyWell pretty quickly and there were clear instructions as well as an online tutorial on their website where I first went to register my product. Everything you need is included, bandaids, gauze, alcohol swab (I would have preferred Bourbon) instructions, a biohazard mailer, the paper that collects your blood drips and the lancelets.

It required blood collection.  I was hoping for spitting in a cup or something but the scientist part of me know there would be a blood stick.  Users have said it's pain-free.

Remember I'm a redhead - redheads and pain are a whole 'nother animal, but it was only a very quick "poke", not one I'd volunteer for on a daily basis (as evidenced by how I sent their box back with my results) but worth it, if it means a calmer gut. For you non-redheads you will probably say "Boy is that L.B. a WIMP!"

But secretly I think the video provided, which shows a young lady picking up the lance, not actually poking her finger, then delicately letting the drops of blood fall to the paper editing out the "Son of a (*#)@*" scene that occurred at my house.  Just saying.

But I'm a wimp.

One word of advice - they recommend running your finger under warm water 30 seconds then hold your hand down at your side shaking it a few times.  Don't do it longer than that (don't ask me how I know). Still, they said I might have to "milk" my finger (by rubbing in a circular motion) to get a drop of blood.

Nope - in typical LB fashion, my very warm finger bled like nobody's business when meant I had to be FAST to get the drops collected, but I got it done with minimal mess and after the initial surprise of a poke, my finger didn't hurt at all.

It's all boxed up (they supply everything) and I will mail back to the lab first thing in the morning.  I'm supposed to have the results by email in less than a week.  I'll keep you posted.  So far I'd recommend this as a product for being easy to use and understand! They literally walk you through it with online and paper tutorial.

From their website;

Our Food Sensitivity test measures your body's IgG immune response to 96 foods that are commonly found in western diets.
An improvement in food sensitivity symptoms after eliminating the triggering food source is always the best test. Rather than randomly eliminating foods over many months and assessing your change in symptoms, you can have a directed elimination plan. An antibody IgG immune response can offer guidance on what foods may be the best to eliminate. Note that this test is not a food allergy test, which measures severe allergies that can be life-threatening conditions. Food allergy tests measure IgE antibodies and can't be currently taken at home. This test also cannot diagnose Celiac Disease.
Food can trigger an immune response which may manifest itself in physical symptoms such as:
  • Dry and itchy skin
  • Other miscellaneous skin problems
  • Food intolerance
  • Feeling bloated after eating
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Migraines
  • Headaches
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) distress
  • Stomach pain

Monday, November 20, 2017

Sourdough Oatmeal Muffins

I haven't posted in a while as my husband was in the UK for a couple of weeks after I too was across the country visiting my widowed Dad. So time to catch up on some baking.

One thing I make regularly is muffins. My husband loves one as a mid-morning snack with an apple, and I often will grab one for breakfast on my drive to work with a small portable kefir drink. But so many of them are super high in fat and sugar.

 This one is neither low sugar or fat but it's still in an acceptable range with only three grams of fat per muffin and it makes a very moist and tasty muffin with extra fiber from the oatmeal.

 Sourdough Oatmeal Muffins

 In a large bowl mix:
1 cup oats (not instant)
1 and 1/2 cups flour
 1/3 cup brown sugar
 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of Cardamom

In a medium bowl mix:
1 cup skim milk or nut milk
1/2 cup sourdough starter
1 large egg whisked (or equivalent veggie egg substitute)
splash of pure vanilla (about 1/4 tsp)
3 Tablespoons butter melted or Vegan "butter" baking stick. (drizzle in slowly while whisking)

Pour liquid ingredients into the large bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until combined.

Spray 12 muffin tins with non-stick spray, add batter using a 1/4 or 1/3 cup measure and bake in preheated 375 F. oven for 16-18 minutes (lightly brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

 NOTE: To make gluten-free use King Arthurs gluten free flour and add 1/2 teaspoon Xanthan Gum to the dry ingredients.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Super Easy Chicken Soup

Whether made with real chicken or chicken style veggie protein this is a quick easy soup that you can have on the table in less than 20 minutes. (and it's way better than canned soup).

2 cups water and 2 cups chicken or veggie broth
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup diced sweet onion (optional)
1/3 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced (I used two different varieties)

1/4 pound egg noodles
small handful of shredded spinach

2 cups diced fully cooked chicken or cooked veggie protein.

Saute carrots, celery, and onion (if using) in a teaspoon or two of extra virgin olive oil (or butter) for 2-3 minutes to soften.  Add liquid and bring to a low boil and simmer 9-10 minutes.  Add noodles and cook 8 minutes more, adding mushrooms the last couple of minutes.

Add protein and bring to a boil, adding in spinach to wilt in the last minute or so.

Season to taste (I used a couple of dashes of salt and pepper, a pinch of Italian seasoning, a dash of crushed red pepper and 2 pinches of thyme).  If you want a more "noodley" soup use 1/2 pound noodles, I make mine rather low carb.