Hungry Hungry Hippie

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Last day of October

Our Halloween was awesome.

Just like the Christmas season last year, I am realizing more and more how much more fun the holidays are with kids.  The spirit is infectious.  It’s so sweet seeing everything through their eyes…especially things they’ve read about multiple times, but are now experiencing themselves for the first time.  Like trick or treating!  He got to knock on doors and say trick or treat and do all that stuff for the first time. Equally as thrilling was seeing all the other costumed children in the street.  A ghost!  He loved recognizing the spooky things he’s read about.  Which brings up another thing…how many costumes he didn’t “get” because they are TV/movie characters.  I feel a little bad that he is in the dark (and has a blank stare when the kids or parent says what they are), but he actually doesn’t seem to notice or mind, so whatever.  I think for him, it’s still fun to see others in dress up.

Our city does a downtown trick or treating thing every year and we went again this year.  It’s always super packed, but still fun.  They had a mariachi band, which was way more exciting than candy, and P put on quite the dance show.

I know I’ve brought it up here before, but I think you guys are a like minded audience so I can vent to you because I’m in a safe space.  The thing is, I feel like I get the side eye by other parents because I don’t let my kids eat candy.  Now, I’m sure it would be a lot different if my kids actually expressed interest in the candy, but they forget about it the second we get home.  But there’s no way I’m letting my 2 year old eat candy!!  That’s insane.  And yes I know it’s a once a year thing, but (a) it’s not – there are a bunch of holidays that involve treats from now until January and it’s part of the problem that most adults have with this time of year; and (b) that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable – just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t make it right.  Sugar is addictive and I’d like to postpone their foray into that as long as possible.

Self defense mode:  I’m not a total scrooge.  I let them have one thing of their choosing (highly guided by me) on the way home, which they liked well enough, but they weren’t THAT into it (P chose organic fruit gummies and V chose a dum dum lollipop).  But it’s like they are being trained by society to feel all the feelings about candy when it’s NOT ABOUT CANDY.  In the few days that have followed the 31st, it’s crazy how much of the discussion revolves around sugar.  Stop bringing it up!  Stop telling my kids to want candy above all else!  Let’s celebrate the costume and festivities, not the gluttony.  Ok, I’ll get off my soap box.  Don’t hate me for my anti-sugar views?!

I should back up to the morning though, because the first part of the day was insanely cute with his preschool’s parade.  V joined in on the fun.  Most of the time she thinks she’s in his class.

The different classes basically just waltzed around the campus, in and out of each others’ rooms, etc. getting stickers and stamps along the way.  Anyway, I wasn’t going to blog much about Halloween since I’ve already covered the previous 500 times we celebrated, so I’ll wrap it up and move on to the food.

I went to library with V that morning and saw my friend’s book on display!  I texted her immediately of course. 🙂

Lunch salad.

After I ate, I made the pot luck dinner item for our neighborhood Halloween party.  Both kids were napping because I convinced P that he’d get to stay up later and go trick or treating if he got a good long rest in the middle of the day.  It worked out perfectly, and by the time they both woke up, Kyle was able to get off work and come join us for the aforementioned downtown trick or treating.

Look at these homemade macarons at our neighborhood party!  WOW.

The get together was so fun because there are a ton of kids on our block.  It’s become an annual tradition and this year was even better than last because they are growing up and can do more.  Also, his allergy status is WAY different, which completely changes how we approach parties.  Last year I brought food for P but then he was fed a bite of Asian noodles off a girl’s plate when we weren’t looking (it was so sweet, but she didn’t know abut his allergies and wasn’t old enough to comprehend it anyway) and we had a mini freak out when we found out until we tracked down the person who made the dish to make sure it didn’t have any peanuts. This year I basically let him eat whatever he wanted – sausages, mummy hot dogs, chips, etc.  And that was super exciting for him.  What a difference a year makes.

Kyle gave V a bath and put her to bed whileI gave P his dose.  Once we had observed a decent rest period I took him out trick or treating in our cul de sac.  His favorite thing he got?  A toy spider.  He legit thinks the point of trick or treating is to get candy for me and Kyle though.  I had a candy party after everyone was in bed.  With as many peanutty bites as I could get. 😉

Trunk or treating

I’d never heard of “trunk or treating” until P was a nine months old and I had recently joined MOPs and they held a party with this theme.  Now I’m doing it with V!

Bring it Monday!  Bring. It.

I felt pumped after my sweat sesh and that’s because I did a new workout.  I am a little embarrassed to admit this…buttttt…I did a new T25 this morning.  Yes, I’ve had the T25 DVDs for just over a year now and there are still a few workouts I haven’t mustered up the courage to attempt.  But Kyle did this one the day before and I was immediately jealous and had workout fomo.  It’s a thing, I promise.  The one I did was beta cycle dynamic core, which is basically the abs version of the alpha cycle.  For the T25 rookies, “beta” is harder than “alpha”.  I really like the abs one from the alpha round, and this was like that one but with a bit more cardio first, so you get your heart rate up first and then your core muscles get taken out.  Awesome. I’m newly inspired to re-commit myself to T25.

Moving on.  Waffles.

And almond butter.

So about this trunk or treating thing.  It’s a canned food drive too, but the kids don’t care about that part obviously.  Instead, they go from car (trunk) to car (trunk) and get treats while parading with their costumes.  The trunks are decorated too, in case I forgot to mention that part.

Oh and all of a sudden it turned into Fall!?  It was 60 degrees and I wasn’t dressed for it, but aside from that small detail, I was very excited that the weather has caught on that it’s late October.

This was the best trunk of all, obviously.

She was super excited about those blueberry muffins (and since she has no allergies I let her go for it!).  Perks to having a child who can eat anything – home made Halloween treats are a ok!

V just got her first chapstick (of her own – she uses mine all the time).  She asked for it a while ago and I told her she could get some when she went a week without accidents.  And then she and I both forgot about it.  But a certain four year old with selectively remarkable memory reminded us the other day and so I had to make good on that. She applied it approximately 200 times that day – not even exaggerating.  Not gonna lie, I’m pretty excited to be on the other side of THAT milestone.  I just gifted all our leftover diapers and pull ups to friends. Hallelujah emoji to the max.

When your kids eat muffins and cookies for snack all morning long, this is what lunch looks like.  It’s actually not that out of the ordinary…

I don’t want to alarm you, butttttt…I finished off the chips.  Natch.

They’re like croutons for a salad but better.

And also, I wanted more calories but didn’t feel like protein at the moment.  Well, that’s not totally true, I didn’t feel like salmon or HB eggs, which were the two options on hand.  Also, I had a ton of nuts with breakfast, so I was trying to give them a pause.

I really thought he was going to doze off, but he was just super relaxed listening to a new music cd.  I have no idea where we got it, but it’s African (folk?) music with stories narrated by Nelson Mandela mixed in throughout.  Who knows.  He likes it.

I have had a food scale for years (got it on our wedding registry) and have used it once, maybe twice before. Replaced the battery before cooking dinner and measured out 1/2 an ounce of dried mushrooms for pot roast.

I am SO proud of that home-made stock/bone broth right there.

Set the IP to 75 and went on with my biz…

Want a really easy craft idea?

Get toothpicks, apples, and raisins.  [I was going to use marshmallows, but they’d already had enough treats for the day.  You could use marshmallows in addition to raisins, though.]

Slice the apples into flat disks.  Give them a bunch of toothpicks and tell them to build whatever they want.

I gave P a nudge in the beginning and helped V a little throughout, but for the most part this occupied them for a while.  They made a few different structures and told me stories about them.  And then I let them eat it all.

Anyway.  I think they liked this well enough to do it more frequently and it made snack time simple too.

Before we left the house I opened the pressure cooker to throw in some veggies (potatoes and carrots).  All they needed was 10 minutes so I didn’t cook them with the meat, obvs.  When I came home it was ready to go.

 

This was another nom nom paleo instant pot recipe, which you can find online here.

It’s the instant pot version of the OG recipe in her first book, for Yankee Pot Roast.

I used a tiny bit more meat than called for but the same amount of cooking time since I was going to add another 10 minutes of time with the potatoes and carrots.  Which I served it with instead of the cauli mash that she suggests.

This was a hit with the entire family, naturally, and I have enough for two servings of leftovers.  I gave Kyle one serving but since he’s going out of town for the rest of the week, it looks like I will get the other portion!  😉

I wasn’t going to have dessert but then I wanted some.  So I caved.  It’s like Halloween week makes it impossible for me to resist sweets.  Because I know I’m going to eat a ton tomorrow night.

Never-ending Halloween

Is it just me or has this Halloween been 5 days long?

Coffee and crafts…what else is there to do when it’s dark out at 7 am?!  We’ve been extra into art projects lately because I am cutting off all TV.  We got into the habit of letting them watch one show a day to keep P calm during his post-dose “rest time” at grandma and grandpa’s house.  And then somehow, it made it’s way to our house every once in a while.  And now they are actually asking for it (whining for it) after his doses!!!  NOT HAPPENING.  It’s seriously like a drug. It’s not even about the screen time, because there are plenty of quality shows I can get on board with (Daniel Tiger is awesome for helping them develop emotional intelligence).  It’s how much they want it, need it, beg for it, and lose their minds over not getting it that has me concerned.  They used to be content with puzzles and coloring and so I did a reset this weekend.  Goodbye TV.  Hellooooo sticker collection.

 

I promised I’d make something special for breakfasts this weekend and I made good on that with Danielle Walker’s waffle recipe from her first book, Against All Grain.

The thing about her recipes is that they work.  They aren’t fussy.  And they are made with the ingredients I prefer to cook with.  Waffles may seem simple to make but when you are using ground cashews and coconut flour, it’s not as obvious as to what amounts to use. Her recipes come out stellar.  Every.  Time.  Plus, she’s SCD, so that overlaps with FODMAPs mucho mucho, making my gut and taste buds both very happy.

Whooaaaaa, half way there.

Time to serve!  I added almond butter on top because there are cashews in the batter and I try to diversify when it comes to nuts in my meals.  It doesn’t work out all the time, but I keep it in the back of my mind, and really do make an effort not to have almond flour bread with almond butter and almond milk in my coffee and then add almonds to my lunch salad and then have almonds in my chocolate dessert.

SO GOOD.  And now I have leftovers for the next few days 🙂

Kyle and P went off to have special one on one time so Valley and I took on the weekly grocery shopping – first to TJs and then to Nugget.  I promised I’d let her help me in the kitchen after we unloaded, which delighted her. I realized I cooked with P a bunch when he was her age and haven’t had as much solo time with her.

After chopping all the veggies for the week I let her enjoy the fruits of her labor for lunch.  🙂

We also had a “tea party” with warm water.  The simplest things thrill these kids.  I need to try to remember that when I’m bored and trapped indoors this winter.  They don’t need much.

Sometimes she reads herself nap time stories.

Random notes about my lunch…

1. These bags of kale have lasted a long time!  I’m going to get another couple next time I’m in WF for sure.

2. This avo was the longest ever.  Born to be a basketball player for sure.

3. I made a bunch of balsamic vinaigrette.  Go prep work!

All together now with smoked salmon.  [See?  No nuts!]

After naps we went to the UC Davis football game.  It was homecoming, so they were playing their rivals Cal Poly.

Even better than the fact that a ton of their friends were there?  Trick or treating at half time!!!

Look at her sweet hand waving them on (I didn’t think she was quite old enough to run all over the field unsupervised). And him bouncing along with delight.  🙂

He was so distracted by the band playing that he only returned with three candies – ha!

We left shortly after, but not without getting food to bring home with us for dinner.

It was so hot! Even at 6 pm!  Fall???  Where are you?!

Kyle and I split pulled pork nachos and a tri tip sandwich from Buckhorn for dinner.

MMMMMMMMM.

The kids did not get take out. Instead I made them rice and beans (all ready in the rice cooker) with avocado and nooch.

I had to re-nooch their bowls 4-5 times.  B vitamins – check!!

I spent the rest of the night setting up (and practicing) crafts for them to do the next day at a Halloween party.

Sunday morning started toooo early.  Kyle and I alternated workouts and I got back on the T25 train.  I’m so sore now! I did the lower body focus and my legs were quivering the rest of the morning.

I had more waffles for breakfast. With almond butter again.

And then it was off to church.  As a foursome!  I decided to make the commitment to get us all to attend church, which meant playing the long game with V in child care.  So after P went into his Sunday School class, I went in to V’s with her and then stayed with her the entire time.

As a result she loved it. Of course. And at the end when all the kids were outside, she found P and his friends and played with them like she was one of the big kids.  THAT is her happy place.  Hopefully after a few more times I will be able to leave her on her own.  I just have to keep reminding myself that this is so short lived and (like potty training) I will eventually be on the other side and have amnesia about everything that came before it. Just in typing this up now I’m realizing that having her be okay with separating from me is truly the end of babyhood and that my job as a parent will be shifting so much in the coming years…wahhh…such a bittersweet milestone.  Incidentally, we ran into our babysitter at church that morning and it took P a while to place her (she’s only stayed with him twice before after all).  But as soon as he did he shouted her name and ran up and hugged her.

Kale, much?

I had chips with this too.  And football.  Sunday’s are the best.

I also squeezed in vacuuming and weekly prep while they were sleeping (tuning in and out of football games).

Once they were up it was time for our Halloween get together!!

My sweet little ballerinas.  <3

We didn’t have a family theme, but at least Kyle and I both dressed up this year.

Check out my pregnancy scrubs on my husband!  Hahahaha.

We left at dinner time and came home to freezer odds and ends.

I had a lentil and veggie soup thawed which I bulked up with leftover rice (and nooch – obviously) for the kids.

Tomato soup and sheep pecorino romano for the adults.  Kyle had bread on the side, but I saved my carbs for…

Deezer.  The last of my birthday pecan pie, plus two pieces of fudge that my girlfriend made for me for my birthday.  I had wine at the Halloween party too, so the combo of the chocolate sugar bomb and alcohol was actually kicking in ALREADY as I went to bed.  Dude.  This is 35.  Very humbling indeed.

We have approximately 5 more Halloween costume things left and I am basically feeding my kids nothing but veggies for the next 48 hours.  Ok not really, but kinda…

Chicken dinners and painting pumpkins

You’re gonna be bored of this breakfast shot soon. If not already.  I’ll make something new this weekend just to have a different start to the day.  it makes the weekends special.  Until then…

Today was our last day with froggy, which meant I was doing some last minute scrambling the day before to finish up his adventure journal.  I was not ready for homework this soon.  I need to get my A game on before next year when it really matters.

The best part about having froggy come stay with you is the backpack, naturally.

Anyway, V and I went to creative playtime after his drop off and made it home in time for me to prep their lunches before pick up.  That got them into bed faster than usual, which was nice because then I got to properly sit down and enjoy this, nice, and, slow.

Stars of the meal include these roasted nuts and this dressing.

I’ll get to the nuts in a sec, but first lemme tell you guys how awesome this dressing/marinade is!!  Totally mind blowing!  I’ve never tried any Kewpie products before, but bought this on a whim after Costco stopped carrying my beloved miso dressing and I went searching the aisles of Nugget for a replacement.  I need an Asian-ish salad dressing on hand at all times.

It’s really really good.  It’s unlike salad dressing in a way that I can’t really describe, but I don’t know that I’d use it exclusively as a marinade because it’s so good I feel it would be wasted in that limited role.  After this one use I’m hooked.

Now for the nuts.  I meant to share the recipe when I posted about it a few days ago but somehow forgot. Oops!  Sorry.  I don’t know if it’s a perfect recipe, but it’s good enough, and I will tell you the ways I may tweak it next time so you can hopefully improve upon it and get it just right.

Sesame Coconut Oil Roasted Almonds

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups raw almonds
  • 4 tbsp melted coconut oil (was too much – consider reducing to 2 tbsp)
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey, warmed

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F.  Warm the honey and the coconut oil and combine them so they are melted together (this will help you avoid the issue I had of clumping honey clusters).  Next add the almonds and toss them in the honey/oil.  Once they are coated, add the rest of the ingredients, stir to combine, and pour onto a large greased baking sheet so they are well spread out. Roast for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

The salty sweet combo of these is irresistible and the savory nature of the sesame really gives them something special with the creamy coconut oil.  I can’t stop eating them.  They are the perfect salad topper, but they are also a perfect snack on their own.

Off to score some goals!

I had dinner all prepped so it was seamless when we got home.

Whole chicken from the IP made into…curry lettuce cups…AGAIN.  We just love this recipe.  V even said, out of the blue, how much she liked the meal and asked if we could have it again some day.  There’s nothing I love more than someone appreciating my cooking, but it’s usually Kyle (or me) so when it’s one of the kids, it’s a real joy.

I put there’s in flatbreads and gave them lettuce on the side because it would be way too messy to have them attempt lettuce cups.  Sometimes P is okay with it when they are super sturdy lettuce cups.

Once again I allllmost forgot to add mint, but remembered just in time to put it on mine and Kyle’s.  Why do I always forget fresh herbs when I make meals. It’s like the end of the cooking process and I’m just so relieved that everyone is at the table and the chaos of the kids getting settled with their food makes my mind go blank.  I swear it is alarming how many times a day my brain fails me.  It freaks me out, to be honest.  I hope this is just because I’m in the thick of this crazy time of life and that my synapses once lost will not be gone forever.  Fingers crossed.  Either way, I probably won’t remember that I felt this way in an hour.

I ended up going back for seconds an hour later and finishing off the meal.  I didn’t feel like anything sweet (ie dessert) but knew I’d be hungry if I didn’t eat more that night and the curry chicken was so good I just went ahead and polished it off.  Don’t mind if I do!

My kids aren’t super early morning risers (maybe I’m jaded but 6:30 isn’t too bad in my opinion) but until the time change, it’s quite dark at that hour nowadays.

I set them up with some crafts while I took on the pomegranates…

Our friends have a tree and gave me some for my birthday.

Such a gorgeous color!

They ate pom arils and pancakes for breakfast and then played until 9, at which point we packed up for stroller strides.  It was a special pumpkin themed day, and they could hardly wait for the mamas to finish up with the workout so they could start their craft.

There was a potluck too, but we steered clear as soon as I saw a peanut butter and apple platter.

They went to playground instead and next thing I knew it was noon.  Time flies when you’re surrounded by mom friends.

Once home, they read books while I made lunches.

Friday fridge scraping at it’s finest.  Truth be told, I’ve been regularly giving them lettuce as their veggie when I run out of other stuff.  Even when I chop a bunch of cucumbers, bell peppers, and celery at the beginning of the week, it’s definitely gone by Friday.  So spinach and kale are my fillers because I always have one or the other on hand (they eat so many carrots, I try to give a bit of diversity).

My lunch!

I finally got around to the leftovers from Monday’s dinner.  Just as good the second time around but I wish it had more dressing.  I used smoked salmon instead of chicken this time.

V took a super short nap so I decided to get to Costco and get something crossed off the weekend to do list early.

As soon as the kids saw this it was in our cart.  They have different characters on the stickers.  Oh Disney.  You are so sneaky. They were a good ($) deal though, so it was a win win.

They played in the back yard with the boxes from our haul while I put things away and made dinner.

One of the main perks of doing a whole chicken in the IP is having chicken on hand for last minute meal options.  Thursday’s curry chicken was planned, but Friday’s dinner, which also used up the chicken meat, was not.

I’m getting ahead of myself though.

As soon as Kyle got home from work we went to fundraiser downtown for the Sonoma Fire Relief.  It had a bounce house and – with white knuckles – we let V go in and have a turn.  Eeeek!  She was fine.  I sprouted 10 gray hairs in the process though, I’m sure.  But due to the aforementioned short nap, their moods were subpar, and we wound up leaving after only 30 minutes.  She wailed the entire walk to the car, but we left without any broken bones, so I’m considering it a success.

Dinner was spaghetti with peas and chicken.

The kids got nooch which is basically a sure fire way to get them to eat anything.  They like noodles and peas and chicken, so it wasn’t necessary in this case, but they each asked for more nooch multiple times throughout the meal.

Kyle got parm instead.

After getting the kids in bed and hot tubbing we got our dessert on.

After feeling bloated and blah the past few days, I finally got my period and now feel relieved that it wasn’t all due to my gut reacting to my indulgent (not strictly fodmaps friendly) birthday diet.  I thought my body was back on track after a missed month, but it looks like I’m still having kinda wacky irregular cycles.  Sorry for the TMI nature of this, but I don’t want you guys to think I’m a loser who can’t keep track of when 30 days comes.  I assure you I can count.  It’s been 45 days though.  So at least now I know why my gut has been so sensitive this week.  I was annoyed that I had made such an effort to reset it on Wednesday, and then again on Thursday, and didn’t feel like it worked. So that’s the silver lining I suppose.

These smores bars are really good.  Even though the marshmallows aren’t fluffy anymore they’re still burnt and chewy, giving off a seriously authentic campfire flavor.

I had two squares for dessert. 🙂

Have a good weekend!

 

B is for balance

After a few days of too many FODMAPs, my gut was really really acting up.  I decided I had to get it on track stat.

Thank goodness I sometimes plan ahead for moments like this, when I realize at 9 pm that I don’t have breakfast for myself, and then I pull home-made bread out of the freezer to thaw overnight.

It was still a little icy when I sliced into it, but nothing a quick zap in the microwave couldn’t fix.

Cashew butter como siempre.

I really think that she may be the cutest thing ever.  Which is good for her since she’s also…I think the PC term is…willful??  Spirited?  Something like that.

I used up the last of my home-made balsamic dressing in this salad, so I have to make more before I repeat this, but that will probably be soon because it was stellar.

I used a new(ish) TJs lettuce combo with kohlrabi and kale and beets and cabbage.  I added plain kale to it, and massaged everything in dressing before topping it with candied pecans and avocado.

It’s hard to get a good shot of beauty like this.

The salad didn’t hold me over as long as I would have hoped, but I was also still feeling a little gross.  I ended up drinking half a kombucha that afternoon which helped soothe my gut a bit.

Both kids took a nap and then we played a bit before soccer.  V has officially restarted, and is showing zero effects from breaking her femur, so that’s good.

I really wanted to get dinner finished before we left since I knew we wouldn’t get back home until 6 pm, which is basically when we eat dinner.

FINALLY at 4 pm, this arrived.

It usually comes around noon so I kept checking…obviously I would prefer to cook while they are napping so as to maximize my kidless efficiency.   Oh well.  The good news about gobble is that it is actually the fastest thing ever.  So it really did only take 10 minutes for me to get everything mostly done (or at least 100% prepped) before we left the house.

Our oven has a delay setting, so I came home to this…

I only ordered two gobble meals for this because Kyle was supposed to be out of town, but then his trip got cancelled.  Luckily I had two filets of salmon in the freezer.

Kyle didn’t get any cauli rice, but it had dill so he didn’t mind missing out.  I made him brown rice instead, and then just used the extra sauces and toppings with his meal.

The kids had a bit of everything.  V even tried some of the red pepper sauce from my dish and wanted more so I served her some as well.  P tolerated it, but didn’t really like it, so I didn’t serve him any more.  This is how I trick him into liking things, though.  I casually give him bites without pushing and over time he somehow he winds up liking it.  If I force him to eat something he doesn’t like, he will resist it forever after.  But if I just offer one bite, he doesn’t feel like he’s getting pushed into something against his will, and then the next time I say “I remember you liked this a little so here’s one bite” and after doing that a few times, he usually comes around and asks for more than just one bite.  He’s not a picky eater, so this probably isn’t great advice for those parents with truly picky kiddos.  But it works for him.  It’s worked for almost every food except tomatoes.  He still doesn’t like tomatoes.  Although he has now consented to the fact that he likes tomatoes “cooked in things” like Sunday gravy sauce (only home-made though – sheesh).

Gobble hit this out of the ballpark, again.  I saved up my FODMAPS for this meal – but feta is the only thing that really contributed to that count.  I used the green parts of the green onion for my portion of the dish.  Also, I think I’m into dill all of a sudden!?  I have a little extra so I’ll probably make ranch dressing again.

After dinner we got a knock on the door…and this appeared on the porch.  Fun game!  It took a while for us to figure out who it was from…but by the end of the night we got to the bottom of it.  And now we get to boo someone else.  The kids are super excited about it.  So I guess we have to get shopping to make a fun basket.

I finally busted into this chocolate that my parents brought back from Belgium!

So fancy…

The anticipation…(with all those wrappers!!) felt like I was opening the golden ticket!

Wow.

I had a bite of smores bar and candied ginger, too, and then went back for one more tiny square of the bar once everything was gone.

See that balance there?  FODMAPs friendly without sacrificing a n y t h i n g.