Monday, 22 August 2016

Meal Planning Monday w/c 22/08/16

Today is a special day. Its bread day! Now that might not seem very exciting, however when you have not eaten real bread in hmmm maybe 10 weeks actually eating a 'real' sliced is quite exciting!! Not some pappy, dense stuff that makes you really question how much you wanted to eat. Don't even start me on the 'freefrom' crumpets I had yesterday morning - they were a real big disappointment and I struggled to finish them! The reason why its bready day is that last week I met with my lovely Dietitian, who commented how well I had stuck to the FODMAP so strictly (not often as a patient I have been told I am good, I am usually the awkward one who can't tolerate half the meds they want to give me and never conform to how plans should work!) and so after going through the re-introduction and inside nervously thinking how on earth will I manage this I had a long hard chat with myself - I survived nearly 8 weeks of elimination and got this far, we can do this!

To manage the re-intro is a bit of a challenge in itself however meal planning is essential to keep my head straight as you have to have a small portion of one the ingredients on the naughty list, double the next day, and double again the third day! Whilst still eliminating everything else and regardless of the results and if I tolerate it, you have to then not have said ingredient until all completed. Hmm! In my head I think I will try every Monday to re-introduce something though to the Wednesday...

Unfortunately after several really good weeks my IBS flared on Saturday on the tail end of a funny reaction to some pain meds, so I held out till today to re-introduction start. I so hope I can eat real bread again long term!

So this weeks plan is:

Corned beef hash, carrots, kale 
(B's favourite and was requested!)

Basa parcels, courgette and pepper rice noodles 
(easy dinner as getting my hair done!)

Chicken and aubergine pilaff, bread and butter 
(A new recipe cut out from a magazine, have made similar dishes before so hopefully good! The bread addition is part of my FODMAP challenge!)

Mini turkey meat loaves, homemade tomato sauce, buckwheat mash 
(May wrap the meatloaves in bacon...)

Gammon steaks, fried eggs, crispy potatoes 
(Friday night easy dinner!)

Monday, 15 August 2016

Meal Planning Monday W/C 15/08/16

Ooops I missed last week! I had a plan on paper, well my excel sheet but I knew the week was going to busy and subject to change so I never blogged it on purpose! The week flew by, Monday saw the arrival of my dad back from a long holiday and for once the M25 was kind to me and didn't take too long to get him back from the drop off point. However it still meant I was not going to be home anytime before 7pm so we ended up getting a Chinese takeaway! Fortunately one near to us actually are very good about food intolerances and allergies and were really helpful and I managed to navigate the menu and still enjoy my dinner! In the end I had chicken wings, chicken with cashew nuts and boiled rice. Not entirely FODMAP but about the closest I could get! 

The original plan that night was actually for slow cooked pork steaks - I thought I could get home from work, stick them on the back of the hob on low and then let them gently simmer away.. however that would of required prep the night before.. and we actually ended up spending most of the afternoon and late into the night in our local A&E as my boyfriend hurt his knee at cricket! Fortunately nothing is broken but he is rather uncomfortable whilst it heals up. Then on Friday night I managed to take a tumble at home when a stall I was using to put some boxes on top of the wardrobe gave way and I  have ended up a little bruised and scratched so we are a right pair!! 

We did eat a few new things last week - on one of the nights we had some leftover ham slices that needed using up and I made mini baked ham and egg cups - alongside roasted green beans and new potatoes. An easy dinner and was a popular dish!

Some other choices...well may have been made under the influence slightly.... I was next door at my friends... we have opened some wine my Dad bought back... then a bottle of bourbon got opened... then I admitted I'd bought some Pigeon breasts... and well after discussion whether we could get dinner quicker than the Chinese takeaway could arrive... we did indeed manage dinner in 20 minutes! I made stir fried pigeon with 5 spice, aubergine and peppers, really quite excellent basmati rice dressed with sesame oil and very randomly we also heated up some ragu I'd made in case there was not enough meat for the boys! The pigeon wasn't bad at all, quite gamey.

So this week is a little flexible - I am meeting with the dietitian tomorrow to discuss the re-introduction phase of FODMAP (I'm scared!) so I have made a loose meal plan!

Bacon wrapped cod fingers. Green beans and polenta chips 
(only just taken the cod out of the freezer oops! Saw it on tv looked good...)

Quorn 'Chicken' Spanish style with potatoes and tomatoes and chorizo 
(My dad found me gluten free chorizo yay!)

Ikea meatballs for b, me - Salmon fillet. New potatoes and
(two meals as meatballs been in the freezer forever!)

Slow cooked bbq pork steaks, buckwheat mash
(aka last weeks dinner!)

I have root canal booked. B can have ready made pork tortellini!
(goodbye money!)

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Chocolate and Almond Brownies - Gluten free and low #FODMAP

For these brownies they are definitely both gluten and wheat free, the FODMAP part is on the border - I did check them out with my dietitian as under FODMAP you are allowed 10 almonds - which after working out the total and scaling down is roughly 8-10 almonds per portion, so if you eat two, ahem, then they are taking you over that almond limit! Not that I ate two of course... that would never happen.. though I did have an amusing conversation at work today with a dental health nurse over a particular form she was showing me and after reading through it (as part of the project I am on) I did mutter the words 'is it bad I had a brownie for breakfast'! Apparently, yes. Oh well...

Baking is a passion of mine - it tends to happen quite organically without much prior planning and I love nothing better than destroying the kitchen and dusting everything with a fine scattering of icing sugar but following FODMAP has definitely tested my repertoire to the max and I've explored whole new areas of baking! After initial hit and miss I seem to be getting into a rhythm and these brownies are pretty darn good! The fact that there are just under 4 left out of 9 from the last night is a pretty good sign they are keepers! (though by the time I have now finished writing this up post a blinking windows update grr there are two!) B even gave them a 10 which is a huge improvement on the previous experiments!

These are not fudgey as some brownies but they are soft, light but not too light and chocolatey. I did umm and arr over putting rum in them but I did resist on this occasion. Maybe next time....(though I think am getting a reputation as at a friends annual birthday bbq the other night I was asked if my flapjacks had alcohol in them!!)

The one main ingredient in making these brownies a little on the squidge side - mashed banana. They need to be very ripe, on the edge of packing their bags and walking out the fruit bowl. You won't taste the banana but they keep the brownies so moist without lots of butter - I found with earlier gluten free bakes they were a little on the dry side but not with these!

Makes 9 brownies


100g butter
125g light brown muscavado sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
75g rice flour
25g ground almonds
25g cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
2 small ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs beaten
50g dark chocolate,chopped
2 tbsp flaked almonds

Preheat oven about 190o (my oven still flexible but basically a medium hot oven)
Line a square tin with baking paper

In a pan melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup until slightly foaming and syrupy, leave to one side

Sift together the rice flour, ground almonds, baking powder and cocoa. Stir in the mashed banana and lightly beat in the eggs.

Use a fork to gently stir through the melted sugary mix until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks. Pour into the prepared tin, scatter over the flaked almonds and bake for 35-40 minutes or until just cooked through.

We had ours in a bath of soya custard (surprisingly nice!)

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Recently In My low FODMAP Kitchen...

Since I started trialing the FODMAP diet back in early June to try and tackle my misbehaving digestion, which frankly now feels like a lifetime ago, a lot has changed:

1 - Our food shop has gone up in price which came as a surprise. I think I went possibly a little over the top finding alternatives to pasta and having to rethink my lunches. Quinoa flour doesn't come cheap, even more so if its still sitting in the cupboard a month later wondering what on earth to do with it! Also special breads and flours are roughly 3 times the price of regular stuff, not that I've used them a huge amount it all adds up. As part of trying to tame the IBS symptoms before starting the FODMAP I also don't eat any leftover pasta or rice dishes any more due to the resistant starches that form when cooled so a packed lunch that is also tasty and filling has proved a very big challenge!

2 - Eating out is frequently frustrating - I have utter sympathy for anyone with genuine food allergies as navigating menu's is a proper challenge! I must admit most places have pleasantly surprised me with their flexibility and even one particular chain said the manager had to take my order for special diets and another when I asked for the vinegar for my chips said no, it was  malt and unsuitable, however I was actually asking for my mum so they let me have it!

3 - I am bored of reading labels. Basically most things not made by your fair hands will be unsuitable in the shop. So its best not to look and save yourself the disappointment. Oh and don't go shopping hungry! This is not always easy and admittedly I was so hungry following a long drive the other night I bought a gluten free fruit loaf in the supermarket and ate two slices in the car fresh out the bag dry with no butter on! Fortunately this Genius loaf was actually quite tasty!

4 - I have discovered as lovely as onions and garlic are, you can still cook delicious food without them. Finally. There was some tears. At least garlic oil is surprisingly allowed... 

5 - Last but not least - and its a biggie. My tummy is happy for the first time. Its not all plain sailing and I miss real cake sooooo very much but not being constantly bloated, able to wear pretty dresses that are fairly snug is quite wonderful. I still have the odd day when perhaps I had a nice chilled fruit cider on a hot day and I accept there may be some comeback on that ... 

Here are a few of the highlights that were all low #FODMAP and also wheat and gluten free:

Thai Pork with rice noodles
Bacon and Halloumi Salad
A rich and meaty ragu with freefrom penne
Lemon green tea and sesame crumbed Tuna steak and stir fried veggies

So hopefully if you are entering FODMAP territory in order to tame your IBS or similar digestive issues - don't lose hope - food can still be your friend, its just learning who your friends are! I can't honestly tell you the relief after nigh on 16 years with IBS symptoms ranging from mild to severe - its been so bad I've even fainted a couple of times, not fun!

Oh and you can still eat cake! Just make sure its wheat and gluten free! These chocolate and ginger buns were delicious!

Monday, 1 August 2016

Monday Meal Plan

Hello shiny new Monday. Question, where on earth did the weekend go?! I had all these plans to be super productive including making a gigantic To Do list but roughly achieved other than making some rather fabulous fruit n nut flapjacks, a very late night BBQ (got home at 2am!) and a few hours wandering in the sunshine around Henley yesterday I don't think I did much else! One thing I did at least cross of the to do list was the meal plan- mostly because I'd started it on Friday, actually ahead of going food shopping for once! Not sure I actually spent any less but on the up side I didn't buy any random stuff either!
Last week we actually managed 4 our of the 5 planned meals! The poor Pad Thai got bumped again - as on Friday night I was tired but also going out so dinner became an omelette and B got some very exotic tortellini from the fridge instead! Lets see if its third time lucky this week? We had some real treats last week - the Slow cooked Pork steaks were amazing - and how typical I didn't write down any blinking quantities! Despite rushing home from work, late again I somehow got dinner ready and on the table for 8pm! The pork was so good, just melted in the mouth, alongside a rich tomato and veggie laden stew - it also had a sneaky 1/2 can of ginger beer in - it adds such a nice sweetness to the sauce and the little hint of ginger just complements the rest of the ingredients:

There was also last week a very tasty pilaff, though I don't think B was as enamored by it and wanted more meat - there was enough but it was shredded up and I guess it didn't look very meaty! However for me it was perfect - fragrant rice, oh and an egg baked in at the end was a happy meal for me!

So this week is fairly busy - Mum is over tomorrow and is very fussy (even though she denies this!) but hopefully she will enjoy the halloumi salad!

GF Crustless pizza, carrots-b rocket 
(A Nigella favourite, trying to make a gluten free version, I'm having carrot salad-B wants rocket but I don't like it anymore!)

(This is what I dreamt up the other week, very good it was too!)

Braised Venison with rice 
(I think, found a packet of Venison mince in freezer, either that or meatballs with it!)

Salmon en papilotte with courgettes 
(The new freezer staple meal, all cooked in a paper parcel)

Pork pad thai-rice noodles 
(3rd time lucky?)

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