Friday, July 25, 2014

Peanut butter cup baked rice pudding

Peanut butter cup (or sunbutter) baked rice pudding with chocolate sauce
Don't call me a cook anymore. These days I'm a scientist. Instead of splitting atoms, I'm examining the composition of the carbohydrates I eat. I want to eat mainly easy-to-digest carbohydrates because difficult-to-digest ones lead to malabsorption, fermentation and bacterial overgrowth.

On a given day, my carbohydrate intake is a balancing act between carbs that range from low to high glycemic. Admittedly, most of my foods are in the moderate glycemic category. Foods that are low glycemic (most grains, legumes, nuts/seeds) have the greatest fermentation potential.

I select most of my foods from moderate glycemic vegetables. Then, I sprinkle in a few higher glycemic foods such as seed or nut butter and fruit. Proteins, such as meat, fish and eggs, and healthy fats are added to the mix, along with an occasional grain, like jasmine rice.

Then, of course, there is the chocolate/sunbutter/peanut butter food group. Even in restricted diets, you have to make room for an occasional treat. Peanut Butter (Sunbutter) Cup Baked Rice Pudding falls into that special food group.

 But on my diet, I have to plan my entire day around the fermentation potential of whatever treat I prepare and eat. If I decide to eat Peanut Butter (Sunbutter) Cup Baked Rice Pudding, I know I am looking at some ingredients with low to moderate glycemic indexes. That means throughout the day, I need to eat lots of foods with little fermentation potential, such as salads with lots of protein and some moderate veggies. It would mean skipping other seed or nut butter snacks and limiting fruit to one-half-cup serving at most.

You will need these ingredients for one huge serving of PB (SB) Cup Baked Rice Pudding. The whole thing has a fermentation of 6, out 20-25 points for an average day. You also could prepare it in two small ramekins and have two servings with FP of 3 per serving.

1/2 cup cooked jasmine rice
1 egg
1/8 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 cup milk beverage of choice
Liquid stevia drops
1/8 tsp. salt
1 T. cocoa powder (raw powders are harder to digest)
1-2 T. sunbutter or peanut butter
Optional: chocolate topping (melt coconut oil and stir in additional cocoa powder and some stevia, to taste)


Add all ingredients (except for chocolate topping) into a small bowl. Stir to mix. Pour mixture into one large ramekin or two small ones. Microwave for 1-1/2 minutes. Top with chocolate topping and serve hot.

Naps are special with friends
Note: Freeze leftovers and defrost in microwave when ready to eat.

Recipe contributed to:

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunbutter rice pudding, dessert or breakfast in a bowl

Fur pups chilling out on a hot day
These days when I prepare a meal or snack, I feel more like a scientist than a chef. Why? I need to know so much more about my food than, "Does it taste good?"

 I need to know it's chemical composition; whether it contains "resistant starch" (starch that isn't easily absorbed); whether it digests easily (it's fermentation potential); whether it's high or low glycemic.Why do I need all this information? I must limit difficult-to-digest carbohydrates in my diet in order to control my IBS-like symptoms, related to bacterial overgrowth.

I can't just grab food and insert into mouth anymore. Everything has to be scientifically evaluated for fermentable material.
Sunbutter rice pudding becomes dessert with chocolate bits on top
Many individuals with an autoimmune disease find relief by eliminating traditional foods and switching to low glycemic foods, like quinoa, lentils, black beans, oatmeal, etc. I can't eat these foods without increasing my symptoms. These foods contain resistant starches or starches that aren't absorbed. Moderate amounts of resistant starch aren't a problem for most healthy people but in individuals with digestive illnesses, they can fuel the overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine or SIBO.

My new scientific know-how about foods has enabled me to find some starches I can eat in moderation.I look for ones that contain more amylopectin starch (higher glycemic index), such as jasmine rice, short grain sticky rice (sushi rice) and certain varieties of potatoes.

Yes, I can't believe I am eating jasmine rice, something I avoided for years because it was high glycemic. It's easier to digest and absorb than foods containing more amylose starch (lower glycemic index), such as basmati rice or oats. I always eat it fully cooked and hot because undercooked or cooked, then cooled foods contain more resistant starch---another science lesson.

Here's what you need for 4 servings of heavenly Sunbutter Rice Pudding:

1/2 cup uncooked jasmine rice
1 1/4 cup milk of choice
pinch of salt
1/4 cup sunbutter or peanut butter or other nut butter
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
stevia or other sweetener, to taste
optional chocolate chips

 Here's what you do:

In a medium saucepan with lid, cook rice, milk with pinch of salt for 40 minutes. Stir in the sunbutter and water and return to boil. Turn off the heat and leave for 20 minutes. Stir in the sweetener, vanilla and optional chocolate chips.

Now, enjoy your delicious pudding for breakfast or dessert.

Recipe contributed to:


Friday, July 11, 2014

Get dreamy with a Dreamscape chai latte

Bailey, king of the ice chests
"Chai. It starts with a soft “ch” and rhymes with sigh (of contentment, naturally)." I borrowed this from the Oregon Chai website because the sigh of contentment is exactly what I experience when I sip a cup of chai tea.

No wonder, I couldn't resist purchasing a box of Oregon Chai Dreamscape tea bags. Dreamscape is a blissful blend of organic Rooibos, organic honeybush, ginger root, clove bud, cardamom seed, cassia bark (cinnamon). This caffeine-free blend is perfect for an evening cup of tea or latte. What am I saying? This chai tea is perfect anytime. If you prefer a bit of caffeine, there are the Oregon Chai Original Tea Bags, made with Assam black tea.

Chai. It starts with a soft “ch” and rhymes with sigh (of contentment, naturally)."
Along with its blissful taste, chai tea offers many health benefits. Rooibos and Honeybush are caffeine-free herbal teas grown high in the mountains of South Africa. Like regular tea, rooibos tea contains flavonoids which act as antioxidants. The flavonoids in rooibos can't take on those found in green tea but are pretty close challengers. And if you are avoiding caffeine, rooibos is a great alternative to green tea.

I love foam on my lattes. Here's how you get a super foamy Dreamscape Latte.

Place in your blender: 1 1/2 cup  of brewed Oregon Chai Dreamscape Tea, 1/4 cup milk beverage of your choice, 1/4 tsp. vanilla bean powder, 1 tsp. cocoa powder, dash of ground cinnamon and nutmeg, 2 tsp. coconut oil, 1 T. Great Lakes gelatin powder,  stevia or sweetener of choice.

Adding the gelatin powder is the trick to getting a great foamy latte.

Blend your latte until smooth and foamy. Sip while uttering a sign of complete contentment.

Recipe submitted to:

Friday, July 4, 2014

July 4 cheesecake: lactose intolerant may be able to enjoy dairy treat

Mini New York cheesecake

Cheesecake can be on your menu for July 4th even if you are lactose intolerant. Researchers have found that lactose intolerant people can tolerate up to one serving of milk, yogurt, cheese or other dairy products in a sitting.

I am one of the estimated 50 million sufferers of lactose intolerance in the U.S. Lactose intolerance is the body’s inability to break down the natural sugar, lactose, found in dairy products. Those of us who do not produce enough of the enzyme lactase come in all shapes, sizes and ethnicities. About eight percent of European Americans have lactose intolerance, about 10 percent of Hispanics and 19.5 percent of African Americans.

Lactose intolerance is not the same as milk allergy. An allergy is triggered by the immune system not the digestive system as with lactose intolerance. Someone with milk allergy must avoid milk and dairy products.

For years, I have avoided milk because that’s what most people believed you had to do to prevent the symptoms of lactose intolerance which include abdominal pain, nausea, bloating, gas, cramps or diarrhea after consuming dairy products. Turns out total avoidance of dairy wasn’t necessary, according to researchers.

Imagine my surprise when a lactose intolerant friend conveyed this information to me. She regularly consumes Greek yogurt to get the beneficial bacteria, calcium and protein. I was dubious until I checked out her information.

Here’s what I found out. Both the National Medical Association and a National Institutes of Health expert panel recommend that lactose intolerant individuals try to keep dairy foods in their diet. Studies show that many can tolerate up to one cup of milk or 12 grams of lactose.

Keep in mind these guidelines are a general rule of thumb. How much you can handle varies from individual to individual. Eating dairy with some other food also increases its odds of being tolerated.

You can start by trying just a little. Here is a list of some dairy foods to try and the amount of lactose they contain per serving.

  • ¾ cup of plain yogurt: 13 grams of lactose
  • ¾ cup of low fat or nonfat Greek yogurt: 4 grams
  • ½ cup low fat cottage cheese: 3 grams
  • 1 ounce of sharp cheddar cheese or Swiss cheese: less than 1 gram. 

Here’s a recipe with Greek or regular yogurt that you can add to your July 4 picnic menu.

New York Cheesecake recipe ingredients
(Makes 5-6 mini cheesecakes in ramekins or one 7-inch cheesecake)

½ cup almond flour
½ cup pitted dates
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Water as needed

1 cup farmer’s cheese or cottage cheese (low fat)
2 cups non-fat Greek yogurt or regular yogurt
2 tsp. lemon juice
3 T. honey or sweetener of choice
2-3 tsp. unflavored gelatin


Place the almond flour, dates and vanilla in a food processor. Blend until combined. Add 1-2 T. water if needed to make the mixture stickier. Press the dough into a 7-8-inch pie pan, lightly sprayed or oiled. Place in the fridge.

For the filling, process the yogurt, cheese, lemon juice and sweetener in a food processor. Set aside while you prepare the gelatin. Place the gelatin in a small heat-proof mug or cup. Add 3-4 tsp. of water and stir until the gelatin softens.

Place the cup with gelatin in a skillet, filled with ½-inch of water. Heat the skillet with mug on the stove on medium heat. Stir the gelatin until it dissolves. Then, turn off the stove and remove the cup of gelatin from the skillet.

Add the gelatin solution to the filling mixture in the food processor. Blend until mixed.

Pour the filling in the crust-lined pie pan or ramekins if making mini cheesecakes. Refrigerate for one hour to allow the cheesecake to set. Serve topped with berries.

Recipe submitted to: