Displaying items by tag: fructose malabsorption recipe

Sunday, 14 July 2019 00:27

Low Sugar "Puppy Chow"

My daughter is 12, has Fructose Malabsorption and recently was asked to go with her friend to their cabin.  She was super excited, but also very anxious at the same time.  Three days, two nights away from home at a lake with a good friend up in the Northwoods sounds magical when you are 12.  But, when you have Fructose Malabsorption food fears creep into your thoughts and elation quickly becomes apprehension.  You can quickly spiral and decline into full on angst!

What am I going to eat?

How will I know the food is safe if we go out to eat?

What if I get an upset tummy?

This was my daughter last week.  She was thrilled to be asked, and so scared at the same time.  

But, we have been dealing with Fructose Malabsorption for 7 years.  We have tackled preschool picnics, 1st grade Valentine's parties, hockey banquets, sleepovers and school carnivals.  2 nights away at a cabin-no big deal-we got this!!!  

We packed glucose tablets, shopped for safe snacks, and decided we would make a special treat that we know is safe and low in sugar.  We decided to make puppy chow AKA muddy buddies.  Every kid loves puppy chow and the more I thought about it the more I realized it would make a great recipe for my latest sugar experiment (see below). 

Recently I have been experimenting with reducing the sugar in every recipe by 1/2.  Here is an excerpt from my very scientific study and resulting blog: My Sugar Experiment.


  1. Make an observation:  My kids, let's be honest me, too, adore baked goods!  We love baking together.  It is one of the ways I can get my preteen and teenage children to interact me.  It truly is like I am dangling the golden carrot in front of their face.  But, it's actually a cookie, brownie or breakfast bread.  "Kids, if you come and bake with me we can have a special afternoon treat."  This addiction is hard when you have Fructose Malabsorption and are limited to 15 grams of fructose per day.  We know that 1 tablespoon of sugar has 12 grams of sugar in it.  That means there are 6 grams of fructose in each tablespoon of sugar.   That is a lot of fructose when a chocolate chip cookie recipe calls for 1.5 cups of sugar.  The odds are stacked against me here.  I love to indulge in baked treats, but I need to be so careful.  
  2. Ask a question:  Could I the reduce the amount of sugar in our favorite beloved recipes and still like them and will my kids notice?
  3. Form a hypothesis, or testable explanation:  If I remove 1/2 of the sugar in our favorite recipes like:  banana bread, homemade ice cream, chocolate cake, pumpkin bread and cookies will my family notice the missing sugar?  Well, this was certainly a reason to start baking, and luring my kids into the kitchen to bake with me.  Are you curious how I duped them?  I actually altered the recipe card before we baked together...so sneaky of me.  wink
  4. Make a prediction based on the hypothesis:  They will totally notice the difference!  They will be able to taste the lack of sugar.
  5. Test the prediction:  First sugar experiment:  bake banana bread.  Result:  no comment.  Second sugar experiment:  make homemade chocolate chip ice cream.  Result:  no comment.  Third sugar experiment:  bake chocolate chip cookies.  Result:  no comment.   You get the idea..no comment, yes no one even mentioned a difference in taste or texture.  They loved it all and devoured it all!  
  6. Iterate: use the results to make new hypotheses or predictions:  My kids have truly no idea that their favorite treats are actually healthier and missing 50% of the sugar.  WOW!

So why not try this hypothesis with puppy chow?  I knew I could reduce the sugar in the chocolate chips by purchasing extra dark chocolate chips.  My local co-up sells real peanut butter without sugar-that's a win!  And, why do puppy chow recipes call for 1.5 cups powdered sugar?  That's a gut bomb waiting to happen.  Basically,  you just need the powdered sugar to coat the cereal squares.  We reduced the powdered sugar to 1/2 cup.

Basic Puppy Chow Recipe:

In a large bowl microwave 1 cup dark chocolate chips on low in small increments until chips are melted.

Add 1/2 cup no sugar peanut butter and stir.

Stir in 9 cups Corn Chex.

Add this mixture to a large ziploc bag, add 1/2 cup powdered sugar, seal the bag and shake it.

Long story, short...not really....I like to give you all of the details.  The puppy chow was a success!!!  No one noticed the lack of sugar, in fact they devoured it.  


***Next time I am going to try straight up unsweetened dark baking chocolate-a great suggestion by my good friend who is a dietitian.  This would reduce the sugar amount even more!

Saturday, 29 June 2019 13:43

Northwoods Chicken Salad

One of my mom's dearest friends is a fantastic cook!  Her specialities include homemade English muffin bread (which I will be definitely adding to this website); and a quintessential summer chicken salad.  

Every 4th of July my family heads North to spend time at our cabin in the Northwoods of Minnesota.  We spend most of the time on the lake fishing, tubing, paddle boarding, kayaking, enjoying boat lunch picnics and "deep water swimming".  When not on the lake we enjoy playing golf at The Pines, a beautiful 27 hole golf course literally carved out of the woods.  If your golf shot isn't accurate, like mine, your golf ball inevitably ends up buried in the pine trees.  Typically, I do not go in search of all of my lost golf balls since I have a large fear of both ticks and poison ivy.  Two predators I definitely like to avoid.



When we are at the cabin over the 4th of July we try to avoid turning on the oven in the evening.  If you know MN our winters can be brutal-temperatures below freezing for months at a time.  And, our summers can be brutal, too-highs reach up into the 90's with 70% humidity.  When your cabin doesn't have air conditioning you want to avoid any extra heat source like the oven.  Therefore, we typically grill or make cold salads in advance.

This Northwoods Chicken Salad, appropriately named by mom's friend is perfect!  It is healthy; packed full of protein and nutrients from vegetables and nuts; and the colors of the salad truly complement our Northwoods local.

Northwoods Chicken Salad:


  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice
  • 5.5 cups chicken stock
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 large chicken breast, cooked and chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 oz fresh sugar snap peas, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • avocado
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh pecans


  1. Add rice to a medium size pan, add stock, and bring to a boil.
  2. Once it is boiling, reduce the temperature to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes.
  3. When the rice is finished cooking, drain, do NOT rinse, add the rice to a serving bowl, and add the fresh lemon juice.
  4. Add the chicken, bell pepper and sugar snap peas.
  5. Combine the garlic through olive oil in a small bowl and whisk.  Add this dressing to the rice, chicken and vegetables; and stir.
  6. Serve with sliced avocado and pecans.


  1. This recipe is best when it is made in advance and chilled in the fridge.
  2. My diet doesn't allow me to eat avocados and pecans.  I substitute pumpkin seeds, a few radishes and mixed greens.
  3. At some grocery stores you can purchase cooked wild rice in a can or package.  Both work well in this recipe.

Everyone with Fructose Malabsorption tolerates different levels of fructose and has their own unique gut and gut voice. It is best to make a list of what feels good and what doesn’t, listen to your gut voice, and remember it is all about the daily balance. 

Published in Quick, Easy, Healthy

On a whim today I decided to prep 7 of our family's favorite marinades.  I typically don't think this far in advance.  However, life is very busy right now at our house and I was thinking it would be kind of wonderful if I had the basics of 7 meals ready to go.  I had all of the ingredients in my fridge or pantry except for a lime.  I already needed to go to the grocery store today.  Let's be honest I find myself at the grocery stores most days.  Anyway, it only took me 30 minutes to prepare my 7 chosen marinades.  How awesome is that?  This list includes Asian, Southwestern and Mediterranean cuisines.  You can use most of the marinades with your favorite protein choice:  steak, chicken, fish, pork, turkey tenderloins, and kabobs.  All of the recipes work for 2 pounds of protein.  

Let's start off with the easiest one:

1.  Here Lemon Garlic Basil Dressing:  

  • pour 1/2 cup of my absolute most favorite dressing in a ziploc bag
  • add 2 pounds of protein and cool it for at least 2 hours in your fridge
  • bake it or grill it, it is simply delicious and super easy
  • my son says, "it makes the best chicken right Here in my kitchen"


2.  Disappearing Pork:  

I typically make this recipe with 2 pork tenderloins.  You can also use chicken, turkey tenderloins or your favorite fish.

Marinade Recipe:

Add protein source to a ziploc bag with marinade.  Allow it to cool in your fridge for at least two hours.

  • 2 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons apple cider vingear
  • 2 pinches of dried cloves
  • 2 dashes of hot pepper sauce 

Rub Recipe:

Once the protein has marinated, add the rub and grill it.

  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic


  1. Instead of Worcestershire sauce in this recipe I use a combination of soy sauce, apple cider vinegar and Sky Valley Sriracha sauce.
  2. Some patients living with Fructose Malabsorption find that garlic infused olive oil works better for them compared to garlic and regular olive oil.


3.  Mouthwatering Marinade:

This marinade pairs well with chicken and pork.  I like to serve it with steamed broccoli and steamed rice.  I can put a quick, easy and healthy meal on the table in 30 minutes.

Marinade Recipe:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup garlic infused olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  1. Make this marinade in the morning before you go to work and allow it to work it's magic during the day.
  2. When we are short on time we use Grain Trust Steamed Rice.  We cook a lot of rice in our rice cooker, but I always keep Grain Trust Steamed White Rice in my freezer for times when I need rice in 3 minutes straight from my microwave.  Grain Trust, "grains are always:  ethically sourced from farmers who earn living wages, organic, naturally gluten-free, and grown without the use of GMO's."


4.  Emerald Stir Fry:

This is Jack and Grace's favorite stir fry recipe.  I posted a link to it in our recipe section.  It is inspired by Ellie Krieger.  The orange juice and the ground red pepper give it a sweet, but spicy kick.



5.  Southwestern Rub Recipe:

We use this recipe a lot in our family because we adore all foods Southwestern inspired.  I use this recipe on chicken, pork, flank steak and fish.  Combine it with cilantro lime rice and your favorite Southwestern fixings and you have a quick, easy and healthy dinner that is kid approved. 



6.  Southwestern Fish Marinade:

This recipe works well with tilapia.  After you marinate the fish simply pan fry it for a few minutes per side and you will have the most delectable fish tacos.

Marinade Recipe:

  • 4 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper



7.  Smoky and Sweet Marinade:

The coriander in this recipe gives it a nice smoky flavor.  The brown sugar caramelizes when it is grilled and adds the perfect amount of sweetness.  This is a crowd favorite.

Marinade Recipe:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon coriander

Published in Quick, Easy, Healthy

Are you like me?  Do you feel like the words "gut biome" are everywhere?  In commercials? On grocery store shelves?  

And, we can definitely all learn about our gut on Social Media!  It is truly everywhere.

Along with the #gut biome you see two other associated popular words:  probiotic and prebiotic.

Probiotics and Prebiotics what is the difference?

Probiotics are foods with active live cultures like yogurt, sauerkraut, tempeh, miso, pickles and kefir.  

Foods like soybeans, bananas, whole wheat and oats are in a food category called Prebiotics.  

Probiotics introduce bacteria into your gut.

Prebiotics can stimulate the growth and balance of new, healthy bacteria in the colon.  

Both Probiotics and Prebiotics have been shown to potentially assist in the protection against colon cancer and other diseases; help in the absorption of calcium; and may reduce the presence of pathogenic bacteria in the colon.  

So, why am I rambling on about gut bacteria when this is a recipe for Banh Mi meatballs?  

Because this recipe includes both Probiotic Foods and Prebiotic Foods.

The pickled vegetables are Probiotic.  When you pickle a vegetable with vinegar you create a Probiotic Effect.

The cabbage and broccoli in the Asian slaw recipe are Prebiotic foods.

Therefore, this recipe is delicious and nutritious.  That is a double win for me!


Banh Mi Meatballs:


  • 1/2 cup cooked jasmine rice (make sure you do this before you start the meatballs)
  • 1 pound ground beef (you can also use ground turkey or chicken)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Sriracha
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup diced fresh mushrooms


  1. Combine all ingredients into 1 inch size meatballs, like the size of a golf ball.
  2. Cool the meatballs in your fridge for at least 30 minutes.  This allows them to set-up and for the flavors to mix together.
  3. Cook on a parchment lined cookie sheet for 18 minutes at 400 degrees.


  1. This recipe could be a good challenge recipe if you are following the FODMAP program and are in the challenge phase.  You would want to only use the onion or garlic.  For more information about FODMAPS link to my article: FODMAP, A Closer Look
  2. I like to make the meatballs in the morning or the night before and allow them to cool for a long time.  This makes the meal prep at night a lot easier.


Pickled Vegetables:


  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 of a large cucumber, sliced
  • 6 sliced radishes
  • 1 sliced jalapeño, including the seeds


Mix all ingredients in a medium size bowl and let chill in the fridge.  The longer the vegetables chill the more pickled they become.


Asian Slaw:


  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 1 bag broccoli slaw


Mix all ingredients in a medium size bowl and let chill in the fridge.  The longer the slaw chills in the fridge the more you will taste the cilantro and lime.



***You can see that most of this recipe can be prepared in advance.  I love recipes like this!  

Before dinner time you could have the rice steamed, the meatballs ready to cook, and the veggies and slaw chilling in the fridge.  When it is time to start dinner all you need to do is cook the meatballs.  How great is that?

Published in Quick, Easy, Healthy

When living with Fructose Malabsorption it is really difficult to find "ready made to go" food at the grocery store.  Life is busy and life is easier when you can grab something from your pantry, rip open the packaging and enjoy it as you walk out the door to work, school or a hockey game.  Yet, I am not willing to sacrifice my daughter's health for convenience.  

I have yet to find a commercial granola bar or breakfast bar my daughter can enjoy.  Honestly, I have probably wasted hours of my life looking at granola bar labels at my local grocery store and the co-op.  Most are made with some sort of man-made sweetener and have a lot of added non-sugar, sugar (sugar that is made in a factory and doesn't come from the Earth).  

In our house we prefer to eat things made with real sugar.  Why?  Because I know what is in real sugar;  50% fructose and 50% glucose.  Sugar is a safe food for my daughter when she eats it in moderation.  For every gram of fructose she eats there is an equal amount of glucose to balance out the fructose. Glucose is like a spaceship helping to transport fructose in our bodies.    

Recently, I have been experimenting with breakfast bar recipes.  My goal was to find a "to go" breakfast or pre-hockey snack for Grace that packs a punch.  I wanted it to be low in sugar, higher in protein, high in vitamins and minerals, and contain good fats.  I also wanted to make something that could be frozen easily and then re-heated as needed.  I added no salt sunflower seeds because they add a good crunch; and contain Vitamins B and E, and magnesium, iron, potassium and protein.  The ground flax seed is high in Omega 3's.  Dark chocolate is a good source of antioxidants and tastes great!


Low Sugar Breakfast Bites with Peanut Butter, Flax Seed, Sunflower Seeds, Oats and Dark Chocolate:


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature 
  • 1/2 cup real peanut butter without added sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup no salt sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 4.5 ounces dark chocolate


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a mixer combine the butter, peanut butter and sugar.  
  3. Add the eggs and mix at medium.
  4. Add the flour, baking soda, oats and salt and mix on low until combined.
  5. Add the sunflower seeds, ground flax seed and dark chocolate and mix on low until combined.
  6. Scoop the dough into rounded tablespoons and drop onto a cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 9-12 minutes.
  8. Allow them to cool.


  1. Allow the breakfast bites to completely cool before placing them in the freezer.  I like to let them cool on the cookie sheet, place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 15 minutes, and then transfer them to a freezer ready container.  This prevents them from sticking together.
  2. We purchase our peanut butter from the refrigerated section of the grocery store.
  3. The more cocoa in your dark chocolate the less sugar.  For this recipe I used Nestle Simply Delicious chocolate chips.  They are made with 3 ingredients:  dark chocolate, sugar and cocoa butter.  You could make these bars with even less sugar if you used straight up dark chocolate chopped into tiny pieces.  I actually think my daughter would love them made with dark chocolate and will try that next time.
  4. You could make this recipe gluten free by using a different flour.
  5. You can easily add other seeds and nuts to this recipe.
  6. About a month ago I started a science experiment; a sugar science experiment to be exact.  I have been reducing the amount of sugar in all recipes by 50%.  It is working.  It doesn't change the recipe or the taste.  For more information on this experiment check out My Sugar Experiment.  I am planning on trying it with this recipe, too.
Published in Quick, Easy, Healthy
Thursday, 27 December 2018 19:02

Minnesota: Home of 11,842 Lakes and the Hot Dish

Families Balancing Fructose Blog Article from January 2018:

I am sitting here, wearing my coat indoors, the coat that looks like I am walking around wearing a sleeping bag, and counting down the days until our annual trip to Florida.  This year in Minneapolis we have suffered through one of the longest stretches of seriously cold weather that I can remember. On New Year’s Eve the high was -16. Yes, 48 degrees below freezing.  Crazy? Yes, crazy!

Sometimes I can’t believe we can survive these temperatures.  However, Minnesotans are hardy. We embrace the freezing temperatures.  I wonder if it has something to do with our Scandinavian/Viking heritage?  

When the mercury starts dropping we haul out our winter coats that are truly meant for expeditions to the North Pole and live as if it is a balmy 50 degrees. In fact, our sense of cold starts to change.  This Saturday our local weather forecaster has predicted 15 degrees above zero. This actually truly excites me. At 15 degrees I can walk outside; and my kids will play hockey on our backyard rink and will not wear jackets because they will be hot. Yes, we are crazy.

In Minnesota we celebrate our seasons:  from freezing temperatures in January to 85 degrees and 85% humidity in August.  We Minnesotans easily transition from water skiing in the summer on one of 11, 842 lakes to ice fishing in the winter.  Yes, I did type ice fishing.  Minnesotans love to put on 15 layers, hike to the middle of a frozen lake, drill a hole 15 inches down through the ice into open water, and spend the day freezing their you know what waiting for a hibernating fish to take a bite.  If you don't believe me look at the Explore Minnesota website.  Somehow the Minnesota tourism board makes ice fishing look magical and a must for all travelers to Minnesota during the harsh winter months.

Not only do our activities change but our menus change.  In the summer it’s all about the grill and in the winter it’s all about the hot dish.  Yes, the hot dish like the one featured in the movie Fargo. We Minnesotans love a hot dish: a delicious melody of multiple flavors that truly warms your soul on a cold winter’s day.

Our friends recently traveled to Roseau, Minnesota for a hockey tournament.  Roseau is a very small town located 18 miles from the Canadian border. Every weekend Roseau hosts a hockey tournament.  Hockey is Roseau and Roseau is hockey. 8 NHL players have come out of this small town with a population of just over 2000.  

Our friends were not looking forward to the 6 hour drive north, nor the freezing cold temperatures; but, like any Minnesotan they embraced it-the freezing cold temperatures, the long drive and the hot dish.

Roseau residents are known for their hospitality. At one of the local rinks they stock a fridge with beer for the parents to enjoy during the period breaks and after the game they host a hot dish supper-in fact a tater tot hot dish supper.  My friends devoured the hot dish, sung it’s praises and came home loving Roseau and loving it’s residents.

This got me thinking.  I make hot dishes for my family in the winter, but why don’t I serve a hot dish when we entertain?  It might have something to do with the movie Fargo, or the fact that you have never seen a hot dish featured on the cover of Epicurious magazine.  But, why not? Hot dishes can be healthy, and they can be funky, filled with an unusual collaboration of flavors.

And, the best part is they are so much better if they are prepared in advance, given time to cool in your fridge and then reheated later.  The hot dish is actually the perfect food to serve when you entertaining. Your kitchen is clean when your company arrives, you can enjoy time with your guests sipping a cocktail and eating appetizers; and the clean-up is so easy---only one pan.  (I have posted a lot of articles about the one pan/pot/dish meal and it's clean-up ease.  Check out: Beef Stew, Italian Salmon Rice and Vegetables, and Crockpot Chicken and Vegetable Stew).

This year we hosted New Year’s Eve and I decided to make it Roseau themed.  I made one of my family’s favorite hot dishes, didn’t worry about impressing my company with a fancy meal, and actually truly enjoyed the evening.  


Roseau Hotdish:


-2 pounds ground beef

-1 tablespoon olive oil

-1 chopped yellow onion

-3 minced garlic cloves

-1 cup chopped celery

-1 cup chopped carrots

-1 8 oz packaged chopped mushrooms

-1 cup red wine

-6 oz tomato paste

-1 14.5 oz can diced Italian tomatoes

-2 teaspoons salt

-½ teaspoon pepper

-1 teaspoon dried oregano

-1 teaspoon dried basil

-8 oz pasta shells, cooked according to package directions

-⅓ cup shredded Cheddar cheese

-¼ cup shredded fresh Parmesan cheese



  1. Brown the beef in a large skillet over medium heat with olive oil.  Add onion, garlic, celery and carrots and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  
  2. Add the mushrooms, wine, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano and basil.  Bring to a slow boil, reduce heat and cook on low for 10 more minutes.
  3. Combine cooked pasta and skillet items in a casserole dish.  Top with shredded cheese.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees covered for 30 minutes.



  1. I use Muir Glen Organic Tomatoes.  The tomatoes are certified organic; are non-GMO; come in a BPA free lined can; and I like Muir Glen’s commitment to pollinators
  2. I think any red wine works with this recipe.  I tend to drink Malbecs and Zinfandels which are a little more earthy.
  3. I typically make this casserole the night before I am going to serve it and then keep it cool in the refrigerator.  It then needs to be cooked at 350 degrees for one hour.
  4. This recipe could be a great challenge recipe if you are in the process of challenging FODMAPS in your diet.  For more information on FODMAPS link to: FODMAPS, A Closer Look.

Cheers to our Roseau New Year's Celebration 2017:

Published in FBF Blog

I LOVE a good crockpot recipe!  There is something so satisfying about throwing all of the ingredients into one pot, pressing on and walking away for a few hours.  Every time I make dinner in a crockpot I feel lighter, and honestly at peace.  I find myself dancing around my kitchen, celebrating that I don't have to spend time preparing dinner later that evening.  Yes, my kitchen turns into a spur of the moment dance party because my crockpot truly brings me joy!  Today I was listening to some old school Hall and Oats, mixed with a little Uptown Funk. 

Everyone with Fructose Malabsorption tolerates different levels of fructose and has their own unique gut and gut voice. In fact everyone who eats food has a unique gut and gut voice.  What makes my tummy happy, may not make your tummy happy.  It is best to make a list of what feels good and what doesn’t and listen to your gut voice.

My daughter and I both struggle with a lot of tomatoes.  Our gut lets us know when we eat too many tomatoes or too much red sauce made with tomatoes.  We can eat a little red sauce on our Homemade Mama Sorem meatballs, and sometimes even skip red sauce and just use olive oil or pesto when we make Homemade Pizza.  So when my family wants chili I make two kinds of chili:  a red sauce chili for the boys in my family and a white sauce chili for the girls.  I know, that sounds like a lot of work:  two pans, multiple ingredients, different cooking times...  However, when I make chili we eat it two nights in a row for dinner.  I figure, yes, it is two times the amount of prep.  But, then the on next night my dinner prep only involves the microwave.  And, that is a win!

In this recipe I use one of my obsessions: Double Take Verde Good Green Chili Salsa.  Honestly, I can open up a jar of this salsa and eat it like a gazpacho.  It is divine!  


Crockpot Creamy Chicken Chili Made With Salsa Verde:


  • one pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 24 ounces chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 jar Double Take Verde Good Green Chili Salsa (a little over 6 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup diced fresh red pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced fresh green pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • fresh chopped cilantro
  • sour cream
  • shredded Mexican cheese


  1. Add chicken breasts to a crockpot. 
  2. Sprinkle chicken breasts with onion powder, salt, black pepper, cumin, oregano, chili powder and cayenne pepper.
  3. Add chicken broth, garlic, salsa verde, and chopped green and red pepper to the crockpot.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
  5. Remove the chicken and shred it.  Add the chicken back to the crockpot.
  6. Add the heavy cream and cook for 15 additional minutes on high.
  7. Turn off the crockpot and allow the chili to cool for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Serve the chili with chopped cilantro, sour cream, shredded cheese or your other favorite chili toppings.  My daughter likes to add tortilla chips.


  1. This recipe could be a great challenge recipe if you are in the process of challenging FODMAPS in your diet.  For more information on FODMAPS link to: FODMAPS, A Closer Look.
  2. If you want to make this chili extra creamy drop the heavy cream to 1/4 cup and add 4 ounces of cream cheese.
  3. If your gut doesn't do well with dairy products skip the heavy cream.
Published in Quick, Easy, Healthy
Sunday, 25 November 2018 14:44

Vanilla Almond Granola Recipe

This recipe comes straight from an experience I had 10 plus years ago.  A time when I succumbed to food product marketing rather than listening to my own gut.  When I chose bright, shiny, all tied up in a bow, supposedly healthy products.  A product that declared it would make everyone feel ready to tackle the day; a one size fits all type of product.  Hello, where was my intuitive eating, my gut voice?  Here is a direct quote from my About Me page on my website from this incident:

"My gut declared war on me when I listened to conventional marketing and purchased “healthy granola” and replaced my old-fashioned oats for breakfast. “Halt, don’t go there yelled my gut, you are going to regret this.”  But, did I listen, no!  I dove right into that bowl of honey soaked chewy granola with dried fruits and a sprinkling of high fructose corn syrup, agave syrup, and sorbitol on top.  Wow, was I wrong not to listen to my gut!!!  My gut fought back and this time I listened.  How had I got caught up in food product marketing?  Why wasn’t I living like my parents had taught me; and when had I let highly processed food products replace real food in my kitchen?"

This purchase, this poor decision actually was the catalyst for me to make a change in my life.  

After multiple years of assuming my constant brain fog and exhaustion were due to our hectic life schedule (even though I was sleeping 8 hours every night).  And presuming my joints throbbed because I had logged too many hours in the pool pursuing my dream of becoming a collegiate swimmer.  And, definitely knowing why all winter long I had sinus infections, bronchitis and a constant runny nose.  I thought it was because I was around little kids. I was just one of those people who got sick a lot.  In fact, one of my friends called me “Leaky Lindsay”.  Finally, after my granola debacle my gut was screaming at me; and I listened not knowing that my brain fog, sore joints and sinus issues were all related to my intolerable gut.  I made an appointment with a gastroenterologist and found out I had Fructose Malabsorption.  (Fructose Malabsorption and Chronic Inflammation)

I finally had an answer!  I knew what was making me sick, and I knew how to listen to my own personal gut voice rather than the multitude of voices shouting at me to make healthy decisions based on mass produced food product marketing.

Flash forward over 10 years later.  I am living and thriving with Fructose Malabsorption, not just surviving.  Most days are good, some days are bad.  But, I know how to eat, how to listen to my gut and how to advocate for myself.

I have tackled so many recipes over the last 10 years.  I have altered 100's of recipes and found safe substitutions.  Some of my substitutions have been complete failures; and others successful enough to be added permanently to my hardcover, 3 ring binder family favorite recipe book.  

One recipe I have struggled with is granola.  Honey and molasses are definitely a big NO in our house-both are sure to cause a Fructose Volcano.  But, this causes a dilemma.  How do you get the granola to stick together long enough to bake and create that wonderful granola crunch?

A few years ago a friend of mine made homemade lemon drop martinis in my kitchen.  She is a really good friend.  She asks questions about what I can and cannot eat, always sends me recipes to review before inviting me to her house; and most importantly supports me.   I am one lucky person to have a friend like this!  

Lemon drop martinis are apparently super easy to make at home.  The key is simple syrup and fresh lemon juice:  two things I can enjoy in small doses.  Simple syrup is boiled down white sugar and water.  The slower you boil it down the stickier it gets.  As I was patiently waiting for my martini it occurred to me that simple syrup was the missing link to my granola recipe.  Combine it with organic canola oil and Wallah!!!  We, fructose malabsorption patients, can eat simple syrup in small doses.  Simple syrup is much healthier choice for us.

As I am typing this it occurs to me I don't thank my friend enough for her kindness and willingness to dive into this Fructose Malabsorption adventure with me.  I will do this later today: thank her!!!


Vanilla Almond Granola Recipe:


  • 60 oz old fashioned oats
  • 24 oz non-salt blanched almond slices
  • 16 oz egg whites
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • I cup organic canola oil
  • 5 tablespoons vanilla


  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
  2. Line 3 jelly roll pans with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl combine the oats, almonds and egg whites.
  4. In a saucepan over medium-low heat combine the water and sugar.  Stir frequently until the mixture becomes like a syrup.  Stir in vanilla and canola oil.  Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir.
  6. Divide the mixture evenly among all 3 pans.
  7. Cook the granola for 135 minutes, rotating the pans every 45 minutes.
  8. Allow the granola to cool for at least 2 hours before transferring it to a container.


  1. White sugar is a "safe" sugar for people living with Fructose Malabsorption.  It is made up of equal amounts of glucose and fructose.  Glucose is like a spaceship transporting fructose in our body.  However, you still don't want to over do it on sugar consumption.  The goal each day is to keep your fructose to 15 grams.  For more information on sugar digestion link to my article: Cliff Notes on Sugar Digestion.
  2. This recipe has 3 grams of fructose in each 1/2 cup serving based on a little fancy math and an internet side, Nutrifox.
  3. Gastroenterologists and other medical professionals have also found that protein, like glucose helps to transport fructose.  This recipe has 7.1 grams of protein in each 1/2 cup serving.  In our family we increase our proteins loads by adding Naked Whey protein powder to our yogurt and/or milk.
  4. Each of us has a unique gut and unique gut voice.  Almonds may not work for you.  They work for me in small doses.  No, I do not eat almonds everyday.  I enjoy this granola a few times a week.  You could use walnuts or other types of nuts and/or seeds.
  5. About a month ago I started a science experiment; a sugar science experiment to be exact.  I have been reducing the amount of sugar in all recipes by 50%.  It is working.  It doesn't change the recipe or the taste.  For more information on this experiment check out My Sugar Experiment.  I am planning on trying it with this recipe, too.
Published in FBF Blog
Wednesday, 14 November 2018 15:40

Cranberry Streusel Muffin Recipe

Cranberry Streusel Muffins:


Streusel topping:

  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces


  • 2 cups flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅔ cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 cup frozen cranberries


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 12 serving muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl mix the streusel topping ingredients together with your fingers until the mixture comes together in clumps.  Set this aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Make a well in the center of the mix.  Add the eggs to the well and whisk it.  
  4. Stir in the milk and melted butter.
  5. Gently fold in the cranberries.
  6. Divide the batter among the muffin cups and top with the streusel topping.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  8. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes.


  1. This recipe could be a good challenge recipe if you are following the FODMAP program and are in the challenge phase.  You would want to only use the onion or garlic.  Remember to add this recipe to your food journal and write down how your gut responded. You would also need to purchase a safe beef broth.  For more information about FODMAPS link to my article: FODMAP, A Closer Look
  2. This recipe could be adapted to be gluten free:  substitute your favorite gluten free flour cup for cup.
  3. Cranberries are very low in fructose and a good choice for Fructose Malabsorption. Link here to learn more about the benefits of eating cranberries.
  4. About a month ago I started a science experiment; a sugar science experiment to be exact.  I have been reducing the amount of sugar in all recipes by 50%.  It is working.  It doesn't change the recipe or the taste.  For more information on this experiment check out My Sugar Experiment.  I am planning on trying it with this recipe, too.
  5. This recipe could be made gluten free by changing to a rice flour blend.  We discovered a great gluten free flour mix that tastes divine in baked products.  Mix 24 oz brown rice flour, 24 ox white rice flour, 24 oz sweet rice flour, 20 oz tapioca flour and 2.5 tablespoons Xanthum Gum in a large container.  When baking equally substitute this mix cup for cup if a recipe calls for regular flour.
Published in Quick, Easy, Healthy
Wednesday, 14 November 2018 15:33

Cranberry Chicken Salad Recipe

Cranberry Chicken Salad:


  • ⅓ cup Just Mayo
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon fresh Litehouse Basil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 large chicken breasts, cooked and diced
  • ½ cup frozen cranberries


  1. Mix mayo through fresh lemon juice together in a medium bowl.
  2. Add chicken and mix.
  3. Place cranberries in a coffee mug, cover the cranberries with water and microwave for one minute.
  4. Drain the cranberries and add them to the salad mixture.


  1. Our family prefers Just Mayo.  It is minimally processed, made in small batches, non-GMO, dairy-free, egg-free and gluten-free.
  2. I prefer to use rice vinegar.  It has no added sugars.
  3. Your favorite fresh vegetables would be a great addition to this salad.
  4. We use Litehouse Basil at our house.  It is freeze dried, not dried like spices you find in your spice aisle; and gives a very fresh flavor to dishes.  I have hard time keeping basil leaves fresh in my fridge.  Litehouse gives me this fresh option.  In the summer I grow fresh basil and love to use it.  That is not an option during our cold Minnesota winters.
  5. This recipe could be a good challenge recipe if you are following the FODMAP program and are in the challenge phase.  You would want to only use the onion or garlic.  Remember to add this recipe to your food journal and write down how your gut responded. You would also need to purchase a safe beef broth.  For more information about FODMAPS link to my article: FODMAP, A Closer Look
  6. We choose not to purchase rotisserie chicken in our house.  Yes, it is a meal prep shortcut.  However, it can contain a lot of unwanted ingredients. Read more to learn about rotisserie chicken and how to make a similar meal prep shortcut at home.
  7. Cranberries are very low in fructose and a good choice for Fructose Malabsorption. Link here to learn more about the benefits of eating cranberries.


Published in Quick, Easy, Healthy
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