Tamara Duker Freuman, MS, RD, CDN
The Bloated Belly Whisperer
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Recipes Index

I like to cook. And I'm undaunted by the challenge of cooking for folks with restricted diets for reasons of celiac disease, digestive intolerances or allergies. Some of my favorite recipes are housed here-- feel free to poke around and see what looks good!

Posts in Low Sugar Treats
Oatmeal Banana Bars (Low FODMAP)
 
Oatmeal banana bars (Low FODMAP)  (image T. Freuman)

Oatmeal banana bars (Low FODMAP) (image T. Freuman)

Have I gotten your attention yet?

We all have our ingredient buzzwords.  You know, those words your eyes gravitate towards on a menu and compel you to order the item that features them?

For most people, it’s probably bacon.  But in my case, peanut butter and banana are major turn-ons, and fortunately, I have bequeathed this passion to my kiddos, who will happily eat these foods in any incarnation.

Always on the search for a healthy, low-sugar, portable snack for the kinder, I came upon a great recipe on my local online mommy board for Oatmeal-Banana-Peanut Butter squares.  They were fast, easy, froze well, and when I brought them to the playground for my kids’ snack, I was like the Pied Piper of toddlers… they swarmed me like little toddler zombies in search of brains. The bars’ texture was soft, chewy and cake-like… but not so cakelike as to be crumbly.  Perfect, portable toddler fare.  I wish I knew this recipe’s origin so I could give proper attribution to its author!

Never one to leave good enough alone, however, I thought I could cram even more nutrition into these already wholesome snacks.  Since my dear son seems to have strong vegetarian (actually, fruitarian is more accurate) inclinations, I’m always trying to make sure he gets offered one or two iron-rich foods per day.  And while oats are naturally a good source of iron… so are chia seeds.  So I decided to spike the squares with some chia and see if the kids would notice the difference.

I’m happy to report that they did not.

I’m even happier to report that these can easily be made gluten-free by using certified GF quick-cooking oats (such as Bob’s Red Mill), that they make a great low-glycemic mid-morning or pre-workout snack, and are nutritious and delicious for kids and kids at heart alike.  The recipe as written contains < 1 tsp added sugar per bar, though if your banana is super ripe, you could probably even cut down on the brown sugar even further.  

Oatmeal-Banana-Peanut Butter-Chia Bars 

(Let’s call them “OBPB” bars, for short)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats (for gluten-free, use a certified GF brand, like Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar (not packed)
  • 3 TBSPs Chia Seeds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk (can use lactose-free or swap in a non-dairy milk if you prefer)
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 large mashed banana
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Directions:

  1.  Mix together the quick cooking oats, light brown sugar, chia seeds, baking powder, kosher salt and ground cinnamon.
  2. Add in the vanilla extract, milk and egg.
  3. Mix the ingredients together. Then add in the mashed banana and peanut butter.
  4. Combine all of the ingredients. Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 8 by 8 inch metal baking pan. Bake at 350 F degrees for 20 minutes. Cut into squares and enjoy!

 

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Pumpkin Paletas (Popsicles)
 
Pumpkin Paletas (Popsicles)  (image T. Freuman)

Pumpkin Paletas (Popsicles) (image T. Freuman)

I don’t remember all that much about the foods my mother made for us growing up, other than that things were pretty simple and homey.  Baked chicken with potatoes and broccoli.  Scrambled eggs with salami.  Macaroni and cheese with tuna.  Chopped liver on Ritz crackers (!).  Homemade desserts were equally simple: Chocolate pudding.  Frozen bananas.  Apple pie.  And then there were the pumpkin popsicles.

I’m not sure how these frozen pumpkin treats made it into the rotation, though if I had to guess, I’d bet my dad bought a huge pumpkin one year that, when gutted, left a glut of innards that needed to be purposed.  In any event, when colder weather came calling, these unusual, creamy pumpkin treats would show up in the freezer.  And this was years before popsicles became fashionable and before exotic ice cream flavors made frozen pumpkin treats de rigueur in the frozen confection section of specialty markets.  Now, I’m not trying to claim my mom invented Post-It Notes or the Internet, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and assert that she may have been an early pioneer of frozen pumpkin novelties.

I asked her recently if she could recall what went into her original recipe.  She claims they were made with leftover cooked pumpkin custard that was destined for pie; a blend of pumpkin puree, eggs, milk and sugar.  Interesting.  But far too much work (and sugar) for my purposes.

My goal was a low sugar treat whose creamy texture and warm flavors delivered seasonal indulgence without the requisite fat and calories.  One that didn’t require any cooking of ingredients; more like a frozen pumpkin smoothie than a frozen pumpkin pie.  To that end, I chose low-fat kefir for creaminess without the fat; some pumpkin pie spice and vanilla extract for flavor, and a touch of agave nectar to take the bland edge off of plain pumpkin puree and tame the tang of the yogurt to allow the warm, autumn flavors to come through.  The great thing about using agave is that it’s so much sweeter than sugar, so just a little bit can go much further flavorwise.  Also, it’s liquid, which makes it very easy to blend into this recipe.  I’ll admit that when the final product was done, even I was surprised at how low calorie and healthy these puppies were.  And satisfying!  

Lastly, I call them “paletas,” which is Spanish for “popsicles,” because I used to work in marketing and recognize that Pumpkin Paletas sounds way more interesting than Pumpkin Popsicles.  If you need to market these to xenophobic or neophobic relatives, other descriptive names that would be appropriate would include: Pumpkin Pie On a Stick or Frozen Pumpkin Spice Treats.

Pumpkin Paletas  

Makes ~6 pops (may vary depending on the size of your molds)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 cup lowfat plain kefir*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 TBSP agave nectar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice  (note: if you don’t have pumpkin pie spice on hand, blend 1/2 tsp cinnamon + 1/4 tsp ground ginger + 1/8 tsp nutmeg + 1/8 tsp allspice or cloves)

Directions:

  1. Blend all ingredients in a blender until well mixed
  2. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until solid

* To make these lactose-free (as I do), use Green Valley Organics lactose-free kefir**. To make vegan/dairy-free, substitute 1 cup LITE canned coconut milk.

 

What to do with Leftover Canned Pumpkin

It’s a first-world problem that we all face every fall: What to do with that extra bit of pumpkin puree thats leftover from piemaking?  In our house, I freeze any remaining puree in an ice cube tray.  When the cubes are frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe ziploc bag.  Then, next time you’re making pancakes or waffles from a mix, defrost 2 cubes (about 2oz) of pumpkin puree and add it to the batter along with a dash of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.  Voila!  Pumpkin pancakes!

**FTC disclosure: I am a paid consulting dietitian for Green Valley Organics

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Cranberry Fig Jam
 
Cranberry Fig Jam  (image T. Freuman)

Cranberry Fig Jam (image T. Freuman)

Growing up, I never touched the cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving.  Back then, my mom served the cloyingly-sweet jellied version, straight from a can, and I never quite understood the appeal.

Fast forward to adulthood, when I had the good fortune to acquire a sister-in-law who is an expert maker of all things jelly and jam.  She has taken on the annual Thanksgiving cranberry sauce-making, using fresh cranberries, a hint of orange zest, and only half the sugar called for by standard recipes.  Finally, I came to appreciate the important role of this seasonal condiment on the Thanksgiving table beyond the gorgeous pop of magenta it provides on a plate dominated by brown-hued mounds ofcomfort food.  When done right, a good cranberry sauce adds tart counterbalance to a meal dominated by earthy flavors, while the acid helps cut through the fat of those buttery mashed potatoes and gravy.  After all, there’s plenty of sweetness come dessert time; I want my cranberry sauce to be a bit more on the tart side.  If you’re in the market for a classic cranberry sauce that fits this bill and has 75% of the daily value of vitamin C to boot, here’s recipe #1: a simple Cranberry Sauce that’s just sweet enough.

But if you’re going to go through the trouble of making a cranberry condiment from scratch, wouldn’t it be great to make one with legs beyond its one-meal-a-year debut at Thanksgiving dinner?

It was this idea that got me thinking about making a hybrid condiment–part jam, part spread, part chutney– that could dutifully serve its function at the Thanksgiving table, but could continue on into the season to adorn the bread that holds together the leftover turkey sandwiches…to serve as a fruit filling to seasonal cookies…to accompany nutty, aged pecorinos on a holiday cheese platter… to spread on pancakes and waffles for winter morning breakfasts… to put into mini mason jars and give as gifts for the holidays…

After tinkering with a recipe provided by Chef Greg Aversa of Smokin’ Betty’s restaurant in Philly, I came up with a jam-like, chutney-ish spread that tastes sort of like a cranberry fig newton filling and has me finding all sorts of excuses to spread it on foods both savory and sweet.  It’s a super-fast, beyond-easy and incredibly versatile condiment to have on hand as the holidays approach.

Cranberry Fig Jam

Adapted from Smokin’ Betty’s restaurant, Philadelphia, PA

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb dried figs, stems removed, cut in half
  • 1 cup 100% cranberry juice* (unsweetened; look for it in the 32oz jars in the unrefrigerated juice aisle of your supermarket by brands like Lakewood or R.W. Knudsen)
  • 2 TBSP pomegranate molasses (Look for it among the Middle Eastern foods of your specialty market.  If you can’t find it, regular molasses will do fine, too.)
  • 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or honey (orange blossom or clover honey are best)

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine figs, juice, molasses, mustard, sugar, pepper and salt.
  2. Simmer ingredients, stirring occasionally, until figs are nice and soft.  If too much liquid evaporates and your figs start sizzling, add a bit more juice or water
  3. When figs are soft, transfer them to a food processor.  Add the agave nectar or honey and pulse briefly until the mixture is an even texture.

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Gluten Free Biscotti
 

For years, my mom has been making these crunchy biscotti to serve with tea at our Passover Seder.  She calls them mandelbread (or mandelbrot), but I’m sorry– they are so very biscotti to me.  More nuts than flour, kissed with cinnamon and subtly sweet, they are the perfect antidote to those heavy, cloying storebought passover desserts that sit in your stomach like lead.

When I went gluten-free, so did my mom’s biscotti.  When I became a dietitian, her biscotti went lower in sugar.  Let’s hope neither of my children develops a nut allergy, or these lovely little cookies may not survive to see another Passover.

Enjoy these at your Seder, and make them again this around the December holidays as a gluten-free treat to enjoy with hot cocoa or coffee.

Gluten Free Biscotti (Kosher for Passover)

Adapted by my mom from Helen Nash’s Kosher Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz hazelnuts or pecans, chopped coarsely in food processor or by hand
  • 6 oz shelled almonds, chopped coarsely
  • 8 oz dark raisins
  • 8 TBSP gluten free Passover cake meal, such as Yehuda brand (or year round: any gluten free all purpose flour blend; I like Bob's Red Mill 1 for 1 flour)
  • 6 TBSP sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten (you might need a little more egg)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Grease 2 9×5 (or slightly smaller) loaf pans and dust with GF cake meal or flour
  3. In large bowl mix nuts, raisins, cake meal, sugar, spices.
  4. Add eggs and mix with wooden spoon.  If mixture does not hold together, add a little more egg. Divide dough in half and put it in 2 pans.
  5. Press very firmly to pack it down.  Bake side by side in oven, reduced to 300 degrees, for 1 hour.
  6. Cool, turn over pans and release the biscotti. Cut them into 1/4 inch slices, then place them on cookie sheets to dry out in 200 degree oven for 45 min. on each side.
  7. Cool completely before storing in airtight container.

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