Cheesy Grits and Shrimp

Although it’s not a typical Bostonian staple,  a bowl of warm grits is truly one of my favorite comfort foods. Especially when made with a little milk and cheddar cheese. MMMMmmm….mmmm.

A big bowl of steaming grits was one of my favorite pre-exam foods from back at my college days at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

And every time I visit the South, I try to get a dish with grits.  On our recent trip to Charleston, South Carolina I enjoyed a nice bowl of grits topped with shrimp….and that was the inspiration for the recipe in this post.

I decided to keep the grits simple– a little lactose free milk, cheddar cheese, a bit of butter and a dash of salt and pepper.  Grits cookimg

Creamy and delicious.  Pure bliss in a bowl.

I purchased some frozen e-z peel shrimp–and cooked the shrimp in a skillet with a little drizzle of toasted sesame oil–which I think makes everything smell and taste extra special.

To garnish–just a few green scallions.  That is it, my friends.  So good. Russ and I helped ourselves to a bowl and a half.

Here is the recipe if you’d like to give cheesy grits and shrimp a try!  And, of course, I hope you make it a GREAT week!

Shrimp and grits ready to eat!

Cheesy Grits and Shrimp


  • Serves: 4
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup quick cooking grits
  • 3/4 cup lactose free milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 green onion (scallion), green part only chopped in small circles
  • Shrimp:
  • 16-24 large shrimp, de-veined and de-shelled
  • 1-2 teaspoons sesame oil


  1. Add 4 cups water to large skillet or large saucepan over high heat.
  2. When water is boiling, slowly add grits and stir.
  3. Reduce heat to simmer and cover for about 5 minutes, stir occasionally.
  4. Remove cover, add milk, cheese, salt and pepper then allow to simmer until creamy.
  5. In medium skillet, add shrimp and sesame oil and quickly stir fry over medium high heat. Should only take a 2 minutes until shrimp is opaque and cooked through.
  6. Dish out grits into serving bowl, garnish wi/ green onion slices and top with 4-6 shrimp per serving
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Monash U gives thumbs up to dark chocolate (FODMAP update)!

Okay, I stumbled on some new info this morning…and since chocolate has been a HOT topic…

Drum roll, please!

You can officially say, yes, to chocolate….dark chocolate that is.  But the quantity limit is about 2 tablespoons of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips or 30 grams.  BUT….yes, I will take it!  I have been allowing small amounts of semi-sweet chocolate chips in my recipes…. but today, I can rest easier knowing that they are officially allowed!Dark chocolate

White chocolate and milk chocolate had moderate amounts of lactose–so are ‘yellow or amber lighted’ on the app.

Click here to see the info as stated by the Monash Uni researchers!



Peanut Butter Quinoa Bars

Hello Friends!

I have been busy!  I just traveled to Little Rock to  speak at Arkansas’ Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spring Conference on the low FODMAP diet this past Saturday!   I enjoyed a nice dinner out with some fellow dietitians and enjoyed the city of Little Rock.

Before I headed out for Arkansas, I tried a recipe using quinoa flakes instead of flour for a blonde brownie treat.  They were so good!

I was inspired by a recipe in Eating Well magazine titled Almond Butter-Quinoa Blondies in the April 2013 issue and decided to morph the recipe a little to make a low FODMAP version.

quinoa bars

The mixture was thick and creamy.

quinoa bar mixture

I think you’ll go ape over these protein rich quinoa bars!

quinoa bars vertical

And….they were so  yummy…that my dog, Lucy decided to pull the pan right off the counter and finish up the rest of the brownies.  Oh….LUCY!! lucy relaxing

Peanut Butter Quinoa Bars


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup all natural peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flakes (Could sub in quinoa flour; I used Ancient Harvest quinoa flakes)
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees.
  2. Line bottom of 8 inch square pan with parchment paper.
  3. Beat butter and peanut butter until creamy.
  4. Add in eggs, brown sugar and vanilla.
  5. Blend in quinoa flakes, brown rice flour and baking powder.
  6. Fold in mini chocolate chips.
  7. Spread batter into prepared pan, flattening top evenly.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool for 1/2 hour and then cut into squares.
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One Skillet Company Chicken {low FODMAP recipe}

Happy April Fool’s Day!  I have a habit of fooling my husband on April Fool’s Day ….but he snuck out for an early flight this morning so I couldn’t ‘get him’ this year!  One year I had my friend who was also our insurance agent send my husband a fake itemized bill for $4,000 for ‘missed fees’ (it was all pre-fabricated)!  Another April Fool’s Day, I moved his car out of our driveway and onto another street.  When he woke up to get the morning paper…his car was gone! He thought it was stolen for just a few minutes…then he realized I was up to something.  Gotta have some fun, right?

Today, I thought I would share a recipe that I made last week for me and the boys.

I love meals I can whip up in one skillet.  Less dishes, less mess, less time cleaning up.

This dish was so simple and delicious.

Simply sauté chicken in olive oil.  Add  sliced yellow, orange and red bell peppers and a can of diced tomatoes.  Bright colored veggies often offer a better nutritional bang for the buck. Check out these gorgeous pepper strips! Makes me want to dive right in! :) bell peppers

I added the bell peppers and cooked until soft.  Sliced up a little ham or you could add proscuitto as well.  Then garnished with fresh basil.  Easy, right?  And so yum.  one skillet chicken

And here is the recipe for you…Hope you can pull off a few April Fools pranks today!

One Skillet Company Chicken {low FODMAP recipe}


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts halves (about 4-6 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (could sub in garlic infused oil if desired)
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium yellow, red and orange bell pepper, deseeded and sliced in strips
  • 2-3 sliced of prosciutto or ham, sliced
  • 1 can, (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes (I used hunt's--no onion, no garlic)-do not drain juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves cut in strips


  1. In medium skillet heat oil over medium heat and add chicken. Add salt and pepper to each side of chicken while it's cooking.
  2. Cook chicken for about 3 minutes on each side until almost cooked through.
  3. Add bell peppers, ham slices and the can of tomatoes including the juice in the can.
  4. Bring heat up to medium high until mixture boils, then reduce heat and cover skillet allowing the mixture to simmer for about 10-12 minutes. Turn chicken over to ensure even cooking.
  5. Add fresh basil during last minute of cooking to allow it to wilt but remain bright green.
  6. Chicken temperature should be 170 degrees to ensure it is cooked thoroughly.
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Cornmeal Orange Zest and Cranberry Cookies

This recipe is inspired by a Martha Stewart recipe titled cornmeal-cherry cookies and my favorite Dancing Deer Cornmeal biscotti.  I love anything made with cornmeal.  Sooooo…..good!

cornmeal cookies

I morphed the recipe a little to make it low in FODMAPs. Dried fruit tends to have FODMAPs but dried cranberries in small amounts (1 TB) are okay.

When you mix up the dough you roll it into a log and refrigerate until firm. Then cut into rounds and bake ‘em up!cookie doughSo….here you go.  These are such a light delicate cookie…and somewhat addictive. :)

cornmeal cookies w: orange zest 

Cornmeal Orange Zest and Cranberry Cookies


  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped


  1. In medium bowl, mix together flour, cornmeal and baking powder.
  2. In another bowl, beat butter, sugar until creamy.
  3. Add in egg and vanilla until blended.
  4. Add in flour and cornmeal mixture gradually until creamy.
  5. Fold in zest and cranberries.
  6. Roll dough out onto parchment paper and form into 2 inch diameter log (will be about 14 inches long w/ flat edges--more in a square shape).
  7. Place roll of dough in refrigerator until firm--about 2 hours.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  9. Slice dough into 1/4 inch slices and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  10. Bake for about 10 minutes.
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#FODMAP chat recap

We were SO lucky to have Jaci Barrett and CK Yao, two of Monash Uni’s low FODMAP diet experts and researchers on a worldwide twitter  FODMAP chat  last night. For those of you that stay clear away from twitter or simply didn’t have time to follow along (or it was too late to join in…it started at 11 PM UK time), here is a little recap.

First, I have to say, the chat was well attended and it is clear the interest in the low FODMAP diet is increasing.  I really loved seeing a global presence on twitter last night for this chat on FODMAPs.  How cool is that?

Here are some of the questions and answers that we discussed:

Where can we get the most up to date FODMAP food info?  The Monash Uni low FODMAP diet app was the overwhelming response.  And be sure you select the Monash University app which has the latest and most accurate info!  The app will be updated in a few months.  Another great place to look for new info on FODMAPs is the Monash site found here! Recent tea updates can be found here.  And know that by purchasing this app you are supporting more FODMAP research….which helps all of us!!

If a person only experiences minimal improvements on the low FODMAP diet what should be trialled next? There were a few ideas suggested including:

  • Evaluate for small intestinal overgrowth (SIBO) but the researchers cautioned that current testing methods are not very accurate.
  • Make sure the low FODMAP diet is being followed accurately.
  • Consider food chemical sensitivity–salicylates, amines
  • Get evaluated for pelvic floor dysfunction.
  • Be sure fiber intake is adequate
  • Gut directed hypnotherapy

Fiber intake can be reduced for some on the low FODMAP diet.  What are some good low FODMAP fiber sources? Low FODMAP fruits and veggies were recommended. Oat bran, rice bran, linseeds (flaxseeds), chia seeds, buckwheat, quinoa were also mentioned as top fiber without FODMAP food sources. Linseeds (flaxseeds) have been difficult to test due to their gelling nature–so limit to tolerance since we don’t have an exact cut off limit.

Any thoughts on the use of digestive enzymes, fructosin, beano for those with IBS? These have not been thoroughly tested in those with IBS.  Here is a paper on fructosin for those interested in learning more.  There are more studies forthcoming in this area.

Malto-oligosaccharides are being added to yogurt in the US.  Are these fibers FODMAPs?  This added fiber supplement should be adequately broken down by human digestive enzymes therefore is not a FODMAP.

What about probiotic use? When should they be added to the diet—before, during or after low FODMAP trial? Bifidobacteria infantis 35624 & bifidobacteria animalis have the best efficacy for IBS. Bifidobacteria animalis may increase stool frequency so perhaps not best option for diarrhea-predom IBS.  There is no evidence for use of probiotics pre or post low FODMAP diet.  Likely probiotic benefits are individual and more research is needed in this area for IBS patients.

Does cooking alter FODMAP content? Veggies that are cooked in water will lose some of the fructans and GOS into the water but cooking produce in water also leads to less nutrients in the food. Canned legumes have less FODMAPs as some of the FODMAPs leach into the liquid and then are drained off and removed.  Sourdough processing can reduce FODMAPs (fructans) in breads to varying degrees depending on processing time etc Trial of spelt or oat sourdough bread might be well tolerated!  In the US, Westbrae canned lentils without any onion/garlic may be worth a trial.

Do different varieties of wheat have different FODMAP content–einkorn, spelt, kamut? According to Jaci Barrett, only spelt has been tested for FODMAP content recently at Monash Uni.   So…it will be interesting to learn more about this ancient wheat grains and their FODMAP content at a later date.  Sourdough spelt bread tested in Australia is low enough in FODMAPs to be allowed on elimination phase of the diet.

Should the low FODMAP diet be followed for life? Any risks? Should family members be following along w/ the low FODMAP diet.  The short answer: NO.  The low FODMAP diet reduces beneficial gut bacteria and this may lead to unwanted health risks down the line. Try to limit use of the diet for 4-6 weeks and work with a dietitian to re-introduce/re-challenge FODMAPs to determine what foods you can add back and which may need to be reduced due to triggering symptoms.

We’ll try to connect with the Monash researchers again….maybe later in the year for more updates.  The low FODMAP diet is evolving right before our eyes….and changes with food analysis will be forthcoming!



Simple Kale Quinoa Salad

I seriously crave kale.  Not sure if that is a ‘dietitian thing’ but it really is one of my favorite salad ingredients.

Isn’t this kale gorgeous?kale

Today…I have a kale recipe for you….but first let me fill you in on why I made this recipe…

Last Friday, my daughter Chelsea had her wisdom teeth out….all 4 impacted teeth. Ouch! :(

So…as any good Mom would do  {I like to think I am a good Mom :) }….I drove her back home to her apartment in Manhattan.  I was busy with my little girl.  Icing, warm compressing, whipping up lots of soft foods for her tender mouth.

She had a rough time. :( I thought I would be back in Boston time for clients on Thursday….but it was not in the cards. Chelsea and her mouth were not ready for me to leave. So I stayed an extra night.

On the bright side, I enjoyed spending lots  one on one time with my daughter–laughing,  hugging and encouraging…watching lots and lots of TV together {something I NEVER do!}

But…I also enjoyed a little taste of NYC–gotta indulge in all the yummy food when you’re in the Big Apple.

My fav from this trip…a quinoa and kale salad with Dijon dressing…from the restaurant The Smith  So…I created my own version for you to try.

This recipe is really simple and quick to whip up….especially if you use Trader Joe’s frozen microwavable quinoa.  I added a few sliced almonds and chopped dried cranberries (limited to fit the low FODMAP diet). Check it out….

kale quinoa salad

Simple Kale Quinoa Salad


  • 1 bag frozen microwavable quinoa from Trader Joe's (or sub in 2 cups cooked quinoa)
  • 1 bunch kale, washed and cut in thin pieces
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • Dressing:
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard (I use Maille)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Microwave or cook up quinoa, set aside.
  2. Add chopped kale, almonds and cranberries in bowl.
  3. Whisk dressing and drizzle over kale.
  4. Fold in warm (not hot) quinoa.
  5. Season with salt and pepper, to taste
  6. Enjoy warm or cold.
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OH…and as a reminder…please tune into the twitter chat on Monday night 7 PM EST US for updates of FODMAPs with two of the Monash researchers studying FODMAPs, Jaci Barrett and CK Yao! Hashtag for the twitter chat is #fodmapchat   My twitter handle is @KateScarlata_RD follow me!

FODMAP twitter chat!

What are your thoughts about twitter?Unknown-8

I know many people think twitter is a crazy waste of time.

To be honest, I joined twitter somewhat reluctantly as I had no clue what it was about…and what value it might add to my career.  But, other dietitians urged me to give it a try.  So…I joined.

At first,  I spent very little time tweeting. I was a bit unsure of what I should really even say.  But, soon enough, I realized I could follow other health care professionals around the globe that shared my interest in digestive health and I started to shared information that I knew–and in return, I received information I was seeking from others.  Now…I have to say, I love twitter!Unknown-9

One of my favorite things about twitter is twitter chats.  And this is where you all come in.  I will be moderating a twitter chat with two very smart Monash University FODMAP researchers, Jaci Barrett and CK Yao, on March 24 at 7 PM EST US time (Boston)….that would be March 25 at 10 AM Melbourne time and March 24 at 11 PM London time! And I hope to have participants from all over the globe.  You don’t have to tweet during a twitter chat–you can just follow the tweets! But if you want to ask a question….of course chime  tweet on in!

So here is how it works.  Get a twitter account.  Follow me @KateScarlata_RD I will be on twitter at 7 PM EST US on March 24 at 7 PM with the Monash researchers and will start asking questions.  If you want to follow all the questions I ask and all the answers that roll on in… put the twitter chat hashtag in the search bar on your twitter home page.  The twitter hashtag needs to be placed on all tweets associated with our ‘chat’.  The hashtag is #fodmapchat

When you put fodmapchat in your search section on your twitter home page you will start to see tweets related to our fodmapchat! You will need to keep refreshing your search bar to get the current tweets that are being typed in.

If you look closely in the grey search bar below on my twitter page–I typed in fodmapchat.Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 8.22.54 PM

The twitter chat goes fast–lots of answers and tweeting back and forth.  The chat lasts for one hour.

Remember if you want to ask a question– be sure to put #fodmapchat in your tweet–or it will likely get missed.  I can’t promise that all questions asked will get answered but…many questions will be answered!  And if you have any burning questions–leave a comment and I will try to ask them during the chat!

OH…and I gave away two 21 Day Tummy Cookbooks today! Congrats Donna and Lora!

Gnocchi with Heirloom Tomatoes, Basil and Olives

Happy Sunday! I truly love the weekends.  Russ and I get in our morning run, indulge in a Starbucks coffee and ease in to our day just a little slower.  The weather is slowly turning here in New England…slightly warmer…YAY, for that!

This weekend there was a big conference in Miami called Gut Microbiota for Health featuring the latest science on the gut microbiome…(the microbes that live in our intestine).  I spent some time each morning catching some of the live feed of the conference.   Our gut microbes play a HUGE impact in our health.  Especially, it seems for those of us with a sensitive intestine! I find this science so interesting…and it will be the way of the future in medicine and probably in nutritional science as well.

On a less science-y note, I do have a recipe to share with you…

I whipped up a quick gnocchi meal this week for my son, Brennan and I and we loved it.  I used a fresh gluten free gnocchi that I found in the refrigerator section at the grocery store. I just chopped up some fresh basil and heirloom tomatoes. Then I tossed in some garlic infused olive oil and olives.  And here it is…

gnocchiFresh ingredients make everything taste better, right?


Here’s the brand I use which is suitable for the FODMAP gnocchi

Gnocchi w/ Heirloom Tomatoes, Basil and Olives


  • 1, 9 ounce package fresh gnocchi (FODMAPers use an appropriate brand, I used GF Nuovo Gnocchi)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted olives
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped small heirloom tomatoes or grape tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Boil gnocchi according to package directions.
  2. Drain gnocchi.
  3. Toss with remaining ingredients.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, if desired
  5. Eat immediately
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Oh…and by the way, I have two 21 Day Tummy Cookbooks to give-a-way.  This cookbook is only available at at the present time. It will be sold at bookstores at the end of the year when it is officially released.  You’ll love the low FODMAP recipes in the book. Leave a comment after this post for a chance to win!


Low FODMAP Brownie in a minute!

Well….the new blog is up! Woot! Woot!  I am still working out some tweaks but it should be fully functional in the next month or so. Bear with me…while it’s a bit of a construction site.  I am trying to make it a bit easier to navigate.

Today, I thought I would share with you a recipe we enjoyed at my recent class at Whole Foods on the low FODMAP diet.  It’s a simple and QUICK brownie recipe.

Hey, who doesn’t like a little chocolate treat every now and again….

I found a few  single serving cakes and cookies recipes online using a microwave and  a coffee mug that could be cooked up in just a minute!  Hmmm….a warm baked treat in a minute sounds so “American” to me! Ha!  We do love everything SO fast…..if not, faster, right?  Not that I like that….in fact, I try to slow down a bit EVERY chance I get.

But, I have to admit, a warm brownie sitting in front of me on a cold {YUP, it has been very cold} winter’s night generally sounds like a really good great idea to me….and so I started experimenting with low FODMAP ingredients to find a suitable fudge-y brownie recipe.

And here it it…Easy, yummy and low FODMAP.

Wheat tolerant folks can use all purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour, if desired.1 minute brownie

The girls at my recent FODMAPs and YOU made up the brownies themselves… they were a hit!

Cocoa powder is limited to 3 ‘heaped’ teaspoons per Monash researchers so the one level tablespoon in my recipe fits into the cut off.

Speaking of my recent FODMAPs and YOU class…we truly had a blast.  The culinary center at Whole Foods is amazing and I plan on doing another class in October.  It’s difficult to do a class on the weekends….some of you have asked…as this Whole Foods is SO busy it would be near impossible to do the grocery store tour on the weekend.

My friends at Bonnievilles Power Cookies surprised us with some cookie treats. What a nice treat for my FODMAP peeps….incuding me…I ate two of the coconut almond cookies yesterday. MMMMM…..Bonnieville’s is a great company with a great product. Thanks Bonnie for thinking of us!

And Green Valley which offers many great lactose free products including their very popular lactose free yogurt provided coupons for my FODMAPers too! Very nice! Thank you!

Here’s a few pictures from the the FODMAPs and YOU class!

Me being me.kate class

Overflowing brownie in the making! Next time use a slightly larger mason jar!

kate class 4

The gals doing some hands on cooking!kate class 5

I think I am contemplating and cooking at the same time in the picture below!  Someone must have just asked a thought provoking question?! :)

kate class 8 Well are your ready to make a FODMAP friendly brownie in a minute?  Well…then here’s the recipe!

Brownie in a minute


  • 2 tablespoons brown rice flour
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped walnuts or pecans, if desired


  1. Add ingredients to coffee mug, ramekin or small microwave safe dish. (Be sure mixture has some room to expand)
  2. Gently mix all ingredients until blended.
  3. Microwave for 1 minute. (May take 10-20 seconds longer if container is smaller than a coffee mug) Check at one minute mark and if still extremely wet and gooey--add back to microwave and cook for another 10-20 seconds.
  4. Brownie will NOT have a thick crust but rather more fudge-y consistency.
  5. BE sure to let cool for a while until cooking vessel is warm not HOT to touch. Brownie gets super hot!
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