Low-FODMAP Braised Kale Frittata

Hubby and I moved into our first home back in November. Even before we moved in, we knew we wanted to take advantage of the spacious backyard and put in a garden. When early spring rolled around, we built raised garden beds from old wood that was left on the property and planted our very first crops. What we didn’t know at the time was just how well some of our seeds would take off! The kale and spinach have absolutely flourished, so much so that we’ve had a difficult time keeping up with it and have had to give quite a bit away! I really haven’t used kale much in my cooking, so with two gallon-sized ziploc bags full of it in the fridge, I felt that it was time to find a new recipe. I came across this braised kale frittata recipe over at Health.com. I had never made a frittata before. Confession.. I didn’t really even know what it was! But after reading the ingredient list, I decided to give it a go. While I did tweak some of the proportions and also halved the recipe (we were a bit short on eggs…), I only had to change one ingredient to make it low-FODMAP. Read on for the recipe!

Low-FODMAP Braised Kale Frittata

Low-FODMAP Braised Kale Frittata

Ingredients
3 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp parmesan, grated
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
1/4 cup tomatoes, chopped or sliced

For the braised kale…
1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3.5oz/100g kale
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth (be sure to pick one that’s free of garlic and onion!)

Instructions
First, we need to braise the kale. Warm your olive oil over medium heat in a large pan on the stovetop. While it heats, devein your kale – basically, you’re just separating the leafy part of the kale from its stiff stem. I like to use a sharp knife, but the leafy part can also be stripped off by hand.

Chop the kale and add it to your heated olive oil. Also add the chicken broth at this time. Cover and let cook until kale is tender, which will only take a few minutes. Low-FODMAP Braised Kale FrittataTa-da, your kale is braised! You may wish to drain it before setting it aside.

Now for the frittata. Preheat the oven to 375F and grease a small oven-safe baking dish. I used a 3-cup rectangular glass pyrex dish and it was the perfect size. Mix eggs, egg whites, salt, pepper, cheese, and oregano in a medium mixing bowl – a whisk is best for this.

Return your pan (with the kale!) to the stovetop and set burner to medium heat again. Add the tomatoes at this time as well. Once hot, pour in egg mixture just to combine – we don’t want it to cook too much here. Quickly transfer to the greased baking dish. It is now ready for the oven!

Low-FODMAP Braised Kale FrittataBake until egg is cooked completely – mine took almost 20 minutes.Low-FODMAP Braised Kale Frittata

I was very pleased with how it turned out. It has a great flavor, but if you’re not that into kale, you may want to reduce the amount of kale and even add an additional egg or two. The kale-to-egg ratio was definitely kale-heavy, but I liked it 🙂 Hubby also suggested adding more tomato. Being a tomato-lover, I wholeheartedly agree and will do so next time I make this. The recipe was enough to feed myself and my husband for dinner. Let me know how yours turns out and whether you changed anything about it!Low-FODMAP Braised Kale Frittata

Fluffy Low-FODMAP Pancakes with Berries

Breakfast. The most important meal of the day, as they say, right? I also happen to think it’s the most delicious meal of the day. There are so many possibilities, and all so tasty! Cereal, oatmeal, french toast, pancakes, waffles, eggs… the list goes on!

The hubby requested pancakes on this magnificently warm and sunny Saturday morning – my favorite time to try new breakfast recipes. If you ask him, he might tell you I’m always trying to ‘healthify’ his meal requests, which, for pancakes, has often led to rather dense, flat results in the past. So, today I wanted to go for the more traditional ‘fluffy pancake.’ Easy enough to find a recipe for that… I simply did a Pinterest search for fluffy pancakes 🙂 The pictures looked tasty and the recipe fairly simply over at The Wood Grain Cottage, so I made a few low-FODMAP modifications and got some (very) fluffy results. These pancakes are gluten-free and dairy-free. Read on for my adjusted recipe!  Fluffy Low-FODMAP Pancakes with Berries
Fluffy Low-FODMAP Pancake Recipe

Ingredients
1 cup gluten free flour mix (make sure it’s one that can simply replace regular flours – I use Namaste Organic Perfect Flour Blend)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 egg
1 cup non-dairy milk (I used rice milk)
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted

For topping, 1/2 cup blueberries and about 5 strawberries. I like to use frozen, but fresh is okay, too.

Instructions
Mix dry ingredients together in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add egg, non-dairy milk, and melted coconut oil.

Fluffy Low-FODMAP Pancakes with Berries The batter will be thick, but don’t worry – that’s what will give us such fluffy pancakes! Scoop about 1/4 cup of batter onto your cooking surface. I prefer to use a griddle, but a pan on the stovetop will do. I also like to use an ice cream scooper to transfer batter from the bowl to the griddle. It helps me avoid flinging batter everywhere while trying to remove it from a regular measuring scoop.Fluffy Low-FODMAP Pancakes with Berries

I set my griddle to 300F. After several minutes, they will start to puff up and you can flip them. These don’t bubble very well since they’re so thick, so it can be tough to know exactly when to flip. Just keep an eye on the insides to ensure they cook completely! I ended up flipping mine several times just to make sure they cooked all the way through. Fluffy Low-FODMAP Pancakes with BerriesLook at how tall and fluffy they are!

Fluffy Low-FODMAP Pancakes with BerriesWhile the pancakes are cooking, you can get your berries ready for topping. Warm them in a pan over medium low heat. If you’re using frozen berries, I like to break the strawberries up as they thaw. I prefer frozen berries because I think they juice a little better than fresh ones. Mashing them slightly can help with the juicing as well.Fluffy Low-FODMAP Pancakes with BerriesWhen the berries are warm and have generated some juice, they’re ready to go. Load up your pancakes and dig in!!!Fluffy Low-FODMAP Pancakes with BerriesIf I’m being completely honest, they’re not my favorite pancakes as far as taste goes. The original recipe does call for 2 tbsp of sugar, which would sweeten them up… I wanted to keep them on the healthier side with less added sugar. If that’s not a concern, you can also add sugar to your berries as they cook. This can help them juice better and sweeten your topping at the same time. Mixing dark chocolate chips into the batter wouldn’t hurt either 🙂 I would love for you to share how yours turned out and what you did or would do to improve them!

Low-FODwhat?

Low-FODMAP! Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols. These are essentially short-chain carbohydrates in our foods that, for some unfortunate souls like myself, are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. Disclaimer: I am not a dietician or expert on the matter in any way. For a more in-depth explanation of what FODMAPs are, head over to dietician Sue Shepherd’s blog or the website for Monash University. Both are great, educated resources to learn from.

So what do FODMAPs have to do with me, anyway? Well, let me provide you with some background information.

My digestive tract went south in 2010 during my sophomore year of college. Whether it was the pressure I placed on myself to do well in class or some other life stressors I dealt with that led to my tummy woes, I will never know. All I know is I had never thought twice about my digestion, and then I started having abdominal pain and… well, I’ll spare you the in-depth details. I tried eliminating dairy at one point, but nothing changed. For the next two years, I resigned myself to ‘just dealing with it.’ I was a broke college student without the time or money to bother addressing the issue medically.

In 2012, I entered a graduate program. I needed some vaccine testing done for school, so while I was at the doctor, I mentioned my digestive distress. She tested me for celiac’s disease, but it came back negative. She then gave me some smooth muscle relaxants and said “if these work next time you have abdominal pain, it’s most likely IBS.” Well, they worked. After that, I again resigned myself to ‘just dealing with it,’ using the medication in ’emergency’ situations. I know, I know… I could have worked with the doctor, gotten a referral for a nutritionist or dietician, etc. etc. But my excuse remained the same…I was a broke graduate student without money or time to deal with it!

And now, 2 1/2 years later, I’m one year post-graduate school and almost finished working my first year as a school-based Speech-Language Pathologist! What could be more exciting than that?!? Well, my wonderful mother (who, bless her heart, has listened to me complain on and off about my stomach over the last several years) gave me an article from our local paper about FODMAPs about a month ago. You can read it here.

Upon reading the article, I felt both dismayed and hopeful. These HEALTHY foods that I love might be upsetting my stomach?? But if I change my diet, I could get my digestive issues under control?? I immediately delved into further research and decided to follow the diet for a little while just to see what would happen. I was shocked that my stomach felt pretty darn good after only a few days! But I found that strictly adhering to the diet was really difficult. In addition, if you read up on the FODMAP diet, you will see that it has two phases. First, one goes through the elimination phase where the diet is followed very strictly. Then, each type of FODMAP is slowly reintroduced to determine which ones you tolerate and to what extent.

You will also read that working with an expert is essentially a necessity. In order to carry out the phases correctly and really figure out what’s causing you trouble, an expert’s help is best. With the school year nearing its end, I plan to visit my doctor ASAP this summer to get started on conquering my digestive issues once and for all.

My hope for this blog is that I might help someone else who has the same frustrating, uncomfortable, somewhat embarrassing personal struggle find solutions and relief! I will continue to post as I find new research and resources, modify recipes to fit the low-FODMAP requirements, and move forward in working with a doctor and dietician to get everything under control. I hope that you will stick around and follow my journey 🙂