Foods with FLARE: Inexpensive Go-To Options for when you’ve got the IBD Blues

Foods with FLARE: Inexpensive Go-To Options for when you’ve got the IBD Blues

When I started this blog I swore up & down that I wouldn’t become one of those Super Health Nuts.

You know, the ones who are all “Ummm….is this nonfat?”

Or “Sorry I don’t eat animals, and you shouldn’t either because……the environment”

And I can’t forget the “No” folks. Those are the ones that make my skin crawl, especially when standing in line behind them to order.

“Can I get that with NO sugar, NO dairy, NO flavor, NO fat, NO high fructose corn syrup, NO nothing.” 

Ugh! I have a massive internal eye roll every time I come across one of those people.

rdj eyeroll

 

 

And then, the unthinkable happened. I BECAME one of those people.

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I’ve been living with Ulcerative Colitis since 2008, and I’ve been in remission for 5 whole years now. I’d realized back in 2013 that processed meats were the cause of many of my flares, prompting me to go meatless. Since then I had been without incident, until a few weeks ago.

For those of you without an Irritable Bowel Disease, let me hip you to the tea: Flares are NOT fun. Everyone is different, so it stands to reason that everyone’s symptoms are also different. Symptoms can be anything from intense abdominal cramps to frequent diarrhea, to bloody stool, and other symptoms. Sometimes it can be so severe that you can be hospitalized. I had all the above & then some but luckily for me, mine was nowhere near hospitalization bad. The worst I suffered from this last flare was some extreme fatigue & a little short-term embarrassment in the restroom. But it was still a flare nonetheless. 

So to manage my symptoms, once again it was back to the drawing board. Back to the elimination method. Meaning I had to yet again figure out what to eliminate from my diet. So I began researching…

I consulted my food diary and quickly realized what the culprit was: DAIRY.

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Granted, I was eating mostly grains & veggies, but they were almost always covered in some sort of dairy product. If I made a zucchini & squash casserole, it was held together by a mixture of sour cream & scrambled eggs. Making a sauce? It was nothing to throw some heavy cream in it to thicken it up. Late night snack? You guessed it! Cheese & crackers.

I ate so much cheese it’s a wonder I didn’t turn into a block of cheese myself

(Though, I did have a nightmare once where I woke up as a life-sized grilled cheese sandwich and drowned a terrible death in a bowl of tomato soup..but that’s neither here nor there)

That being said,  I recently made the decision to adopt an entirely plant-based diet.

I WENT VEGAN Y’ALL!!

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I know what you’re thinking. “OMG Nooooo!!! We’ve lost another one. She’s gonna be a super annoying nutritionally conscious health nut! What are we gonna do with this weirdo?! Revoke her invites to any future potlucks, this heffa aint cooking nothing worth your time if it’s meat AND dairy free.”

I know, I know, I’ve beat myself up about it the first few days, but I promise you it’s not that bad. Remember guys, my hubby is still an avid meat-eater and cheese connoisseur. So fear not on the recipe front. I’m forever dedicated to frikkin deliciousness & I vow not to leave you hanging.

I will even throw in a recipe or two that I make specifically for my carnivorous husband.

On that note, I’m dedicating this post to all those guys & gals out there singing the Irritable Bowel Disease Blues

Here are my 7 favorite foods to eat during an Ulcerative Colitis flare. They’re easy on your wallet and your tummy 🙂

THE BRAT DIET

(Bread, Rice, Applesauce, Toast)

The first 4 items are ones my mom hipped me to long ago. They are tried & true no matter what has you bedridden be it IBD or the flu (Look, I made a rhyme! Lol). 

And let’s be real, tis the season for all those common cold germs so stock up, kids!

Bread

My personal favorite is the King’s Hawaiian Dinner Rolls. They’re just sweet enough to feel like a dessert but still savory. Careful though, they are addictive. And of course, Aldi carries a similar product for just $1.29

Rice

Cooked white rice is perfect for anything. Use it as a side dish or throw in in a veggie soup to feel fuller faster

Applesauce

As a legit sufferer of a sweet tooth, applesauce to me is grossly disappointing. But alas, there are a number of flavored applesauce varieties so it gets the job done.

Toast

When all else fails, regular schmegular toasted sandwich bread slices are the bee’s knees. I like to start off with mine plain, and then work my way up to toppings like peanut butter or Nutella

And of course, my personal faves….

Bananas & Potatoes

Y’all are gonna think I’ve lost my ever-loving mind, but for real…this combination is legit. There are so many ways to eat them! You can freeze your bananas & blend it like ice cream, or you can slice them up into little discs. You can mash your potatoes or cut them into wedges & bake them for some yummy fries. This is my absolute fave go-to meal during a flare.

Water

Last but not least..water. The unsung hero. Water truly doesn’t get enough credit, but in general and ESPECIALLY during a flare, you must make sure you’re staying hydrated. Your tummy will thank you!

 

What about you guys? Are you living with an Irritable Bowel Disease? What are some of your fave things to eat during a flare? Are you vegan? What prompted you to make the change? 

Til next time,

Stay (mostly) meatless!

-A

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Meatless Monday: 3 Ingredient Better Than Aldi, BOMB AF Black Bean Burgers

Meatless Monday: 3 Ingredient Better Than Aldi, BOMB AF Black Bean Burgers

Yes, it’s Tuesday.  Yes, this post is a day late. Sue me.

If you guys haven’t noticed by now, I tend to lean towards recipes with few ingredients.

I keep trying to tell y’all. This is because I’m lazy.

Once I actually muster up the strength to get into my kitchen the first thing I have to do is wash and/or put away any previous dishes. So by the time I’ve satisfied my OCD and have a clean kitchen to work with, I don’t want to stay in my kitchen for much longer measuring out ingredients & dirtying up even MORE dishes.

I know what you’re thinking: “Just buy paper plates, already!”

Man look, call me boujee or whatevs but after a childhood riddled with mismatched cups and paper utensils, I vowed that when I became an adult with my own house I would have a select set of ceramic & glass dishware. We all have that one relative who uses food containers purchased with their food item to store leftovers.

You know how frustrating it is to go into the fridge for butter for your toast or to make a grilled cheese sandwich, only to find that there’s leftover chili in the container?

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So when I got my first apartment, nothing was exempt. All my cookware had to be part of the same set, and my Tupperware had to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye as well as functional. Judge me if you must. But it’s the little things that bring me joy in this world..and yes matching dishes is one of them.

But alas, matching or not..I try to limit myself from having to be stuck in dishwashing hell either way.

AAAAANYWHO…Black Bean Burgers.

Being meatless for a while now, this is one of my favorite go-to meals. I mean, who doesn’t love burgers & fries? While I absolutely love the veggie burgers offered at Aldi, I am not always able or willing to go to the store. These varieties, especially the black bean burger, got me to thinking of ways to make meat-free burger patties at home.

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I’m gonna get a little TMI with you for a second. If you have any, and I mean ANY issues with digestion or being “regular”…this is the burger you need in your life. Seriously, I’ve never been so regular in my life. You can almost set your watch to it.

So for those of you with an Irritable Bowel Disease such as myself, be it Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease or GERD..rest assured you now have a quick 3-ingredient solution for when you haven’t had a BM in a while. And we all know how important it is to stay regular when maintaining your symptoms in remission.

So by all means, poop with impunity!!  We’ve all “bean” there.

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(Slaps knee…Whew! I crack myself up!) Y’all know I had to leave you with a food pun. Lol

 

RECIPE: 3 Ingredient Black Bean Burgers

Yields: 8 patties

*Feel free to add in any other veggies you like. As you can see, I chose red onion for this batch

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INGREDIENTS

  1. 2 Cans Black Beans, mashed

           *Side Note: I got a potato masher for $1 at Family Dollar but a fork works too

  1. 2 Cups Oats, ground

           **Another Side Note: Instead of buying oat flour, I grind oatmeal in a blender

  1. Pasta Sauce (however much helps you stir everything together)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Mix ingredients together in large bowl

Form into patties & place on greased baking sheet

Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown

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Then…Enjoy!!

I toasted my bread in some olive oil & topped my burger with spinach, tomato & sauteed onions, mustard & barbecue sauce.

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Til next time, stay (mostly) meatless!

-A

Sweet Treat Saturday: BROWNIES! (Dairy-Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Only 2 Ingredients)

Sweet Treat Saturday: BROWNIES! (Dairy-Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Only 2 Ingredients)

If you know me at all, you know my absolute favorite dessert is brownies.

For my 23rd birthday party, I specifically asked to only be gifted with brownies of all kinds..homemade, store bought, didn’t matter. I’d just been working out & eating well for months up until my birthday and I was ready to do some damage.

I’ve always loved chocolate period, but when you combine chocolatey goodness with the dense gooey texture of a good brownie….Chiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiile, it’s heaven on earth!

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Sometimes when you just need a good late night snack, you want to indulge on something that takes little effort to make. I’ve seen recipes for brownies in a mug and other seemingly simple hacks but they always involve measuring out ingredients and dirtying up multiple dishes and ain’t nobody got time for that!

sb meme

I’m super excited about this recipe because most of y’all have seen “What the Health” on Netflix and were ready to go vegan with a vengeance. I totally understand, so I figured I’d at least try my hand at dairy-free desserts. SO….OUT WITH THE EGGS!

My husband and my best girlfriend are deathly allergic to nuts, so anything I came up with could not include nuts as a substitute. SO….OUT WITH THE NUTS!

(**Disclaimer: The brand of brownie mix used here warns that it was manufactured on shared equipment with peanuts and tree nuts. If you don’t want to chance it, feel free to try another brand of brownie mix. Don’t say I ain’t warn ya tho!**)  

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Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity also came on my radar. My sister and I both deal with terrible migraine headaches, and my research cited gluten might be a trigger. I recently stage managed a show where the actors were to drink alcohol onstage, but one of the actresses could not consume gluten, and therefore could only consume tequila, as it is gluten free. This experience got me to thinking of ways to eliminate gluten from my diet. And what better way to go for it than to start with my all time favorite dessert?!  SO….OUT WITH THE ENRICHED FLOUR & WHEAT GLUTEN PRODUCTS!

So what are we left with? How can we possibly have brownies that are absolutely yummerz without those 3 staples? And how the heck can you do it with only 2 ingredients?

Fear not, kids. I give you…the two mystery ingredients:

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Yep, that’s it. Gluten free brownie mix (from Aldi of course #DontSleep)  and Canned pumpkin.

CANNED PUMPKIN?!!

Yes. Canned. Pumpkin.

Before y’all come after me with Tiki Torches, hear me out:

The pumpkin not only makes these brownies moist, but they act as the glue that holds everything together, much like the eggs would. Be advised though you might have to put in a little extra elbow grease just to make sure everything is mixed thoroughly.

I had my family try some of these brownies, and before I had a chance to tell them what was in it, all they raved about was the chocolatey taste. So even if you despise veggies like pumpkin, you’d be hard pressed to even notice it in your dessert because it’s overwhelmed by the chocolate in the mix.

This pumpkin-infused treat is so yummy you’ll be screaming “Oh my Gourd!”  

See what I did there??

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Lol, Pumpkin Puns…or should i say….

PUN-kins

hahahaha (slaps knee) Whew! I crack myself up. Ok, ok…I’m done for now 😉

 

Ingredients

1 box Gluten free brownie mix

1 can pumpkin

Directions

Mix ingredients in bowl

Pour into greased pan or casserole dish

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes

Allow to cool for 10 minutes

Dassit!

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Give this recipe a try and let me know if you love it.

Til next time, stay (mostly) meatless.

-A

Meatless Monday: Eggplant Parmesan Sliders

Meatless Monday: Eggplant Parmesan Sliders

Soo….. you got a bunch of baby eggplants & you don’t know what to do?

Never fear my loves, I got 3 words for you:

Eggplant.

Parmesan.

Sliders!!!

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Inspired in part by my absolute favorite sandwich of all time from Snarf’s, these eggplant parmesan sliders made me almost forget there was no meat in them!

THE SAUCE IS THE BOSS

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I decided to forego regular marinara sauce for this recipe and instead chose Freddie Lee’s Ghetto Sauce. It’s made, packaged, & sold locally here in St. Louis. It’s frikkin delicious and that’s an understatement.  I found this divine gift from above at the Historic Soulard Farmer’s Market one Saturday afternoon. I just gotta say, this sauce really took this dish to a whole new level. It is marketed as a multipurpose sauce and baby they ain’t lying. I’ve used it as a marinade for salmon, and as a salsa in my tortilla soup. And as if it being delicious wasn’t enough, it’s gluten free and has no high fructose corn syrup! Now that’s something I can get with. 

No worries though all you non-St.Louisans. Even if you don’t have Ghetto Sauce on hand, regular pasta sauce will do just fine.

PREPPING THE PRODUCE

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So first of all, let me just say that when you’re working with eggplant you must remember it is mostly water so you will need to prep it by drying it out.

I did this by slicing them all into small discs then placing them in a colander with a bowl underneath to catch the water. Sprinkle sea salt over each layer of eggplant, then place a paper towel over the top & weigh it down with something heavy. I used two cans of soup, but you can use anything heavy like a tea kettle or a jug of water. Let your eggplant sit for about 30-45 minutes.

I know, I know, it seems like forever but just watch an episode of Blackish, or Queen Sugar, you’ll be fine. These sliders are worth every minute of your time.
When you return, pat the eggplant dry with a paper towel & get ready to roast it, baby! I seasoned mine with olive oil & pepper but you can use whatever you like.

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After roasting, it’s time to prepare your sliders!

INGREDIENTS

Sliders:

  • Dinner rolls or Hawaiian sweet rolls
  • Eggplant, sliced & roasted
  • Red pasta sauce
  • Shredded mozzarella

Butter Glaze:

  • Melted butter
  • Minced garlic
  • Parsley flakes
  • Grated parmesan

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Slice the rolls in half lengthwise.
  3. Place the bottom half on a 9×13 baking tray.
  4. Spread the eggplant evenly on the rolls, followed by the red sauce, then mozzarella,
  5. Place the remaining half of the rolls on top
  6. Mix the melted butter with the garlic, parsley, and parmesan.
  7. Brush the top of the rolls with the butter glaze.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes.
  9. Slice, then serve!

I must say, this dish was truly egg-cellent, some might even say egg-straordinary!

(hehe, I had to throw those in there guys) 😉

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Give this recipe a try and stay (mostly) meatless 🙂

-A

Mushroom “Beef” & Broccoli

Mushroom “Beef” & Broccoli

There is no Chinese food quite like the kind you will find in St. Louis. Period. Hands Down. Other cities can’t hold a candle to it.  It’s so delicious it’s indescribable, but I will try to do it justice.

For all intents and purposes, I will be referring to the Asian cuisine as “Chinamen” from here on out. It is the politically incorrect term of endearment that us St. Louisans use to describe our beloved hometown staple. And no, we’re not talking P.F Chang’s or Panda Express..We’re talking about the mom & pop shops nestled between liquor stores and nail salons. We’re talking about eateries equipped only to place & receive orders, where seating is minimal and the soy sauce packets are plenty.

So, what makes “Chinamen” so good here in the STL?

1. FRIED RICE

When we say fried rice, we mean business. If your fried rice is light brown with peas & carrots in it..your rice is NOT from the Chinamen. No ma’am. Veggies or not, the complexion of your fried rice must be similar in color to a salted caramel or darker. Real Chinamen fried rice is still delicious sans soy sauce..and if you don’t get high cholesterol just by looking at it…that ain’t the rice for you, boo.  

2. FRIED ANYTHING REALLY

As if the fried rice isn’t already heaven, a true Chinamen will also have an artery-clogging assortment of deep fried items to choose from..many of which are not necessarily considered chinese food to begin with. Fried chicken, fried shrimp, fried fish, fried crab sticks, fried mozzarella sticks.

Hell, depending on the place, if you ask them to batter & deep fry a whale’s scrotum they might just do it for you.

3. ST. PAUL SANDWICHES

Ahh, a Missouri delicacy. The St. Paul sandwich is so unique it’s earned itself it’s very own Wikipedia page (no joke, just google it). It’s an egg foo young patty topped with pickles, onion, & mayo on two slices of white sandwich bread…cause you know..buns are for those uppity restaurants. If you really want to intensify this eating experience…ask for it with cheese!

If you ever decide to cross the Mississipi & come to St. Louis, immediately upon seeing the Gateway Arch you need to stop what you’re doing, find yourself a black friend, and have them escort you (during daytime hours of course) to the nearest poverty stricken, borderline gentrified, predominately African-American neighborhood for some Chinamen.

It’ll be the best thing your taste buds will have ever known.

CHINAMEN…GONE MEATLESS?

One day my love and I decided to get dinner from our Chinamen of choice, and I realized that with my meatless lifestyle I had to forego my regular order and (gasp) try something new. I settled on a Veggie St. Paul sandwich with cheese. Never one to leave me feeling left out, my husband decided to also try something new on the menu. He settled on Beef & Broccoli. He loved it so much it got my wheels turning. I just KNEW I had to find a way to make a meatless version of his new fave.

I’ve told you all once before…I’m incredibly lazy. That being said, your girl was not about to create her own beef substitute measuring out & kneading mixtures of coconut flour, nutritional yeast & what not. That’s just not my ministry.

Enter…MUSHROOM CAPS!

I’ve always been a fan of mushrooms, but when you take a portobello cap, slice it and season it a certain way..it’s very reminiscent of beef. I mean, I’d already done something similar with my Mushroom Burgers, but this time, I knew I was on to something.

Now, this here recipe STILL ain’t got nothing on real St. Louis Chinamen, but if you want to stay in the house and save a few coins, give this recipe a try:

Mushroom “Beef” & Broccoli

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SAUCIN’..I’m SAUCIN’…I’m SAUCIN…on you..

THE SAUCE PREP

sauce..beef n brocc

1⁄2 cup beef broth

2 tbsp Soy Sauce

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp cornstarch

THE GOODS PREP

1 tbsp Olive Oil

2 Portobello Mushroom caps, thinly sliced

Salt & Pepper

1 white onion, chopped

1 tsp minced garlic

1 broccoli crown, cut into florets

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, make your sauce by whisking broth, soy sauce, brown sugar and cornstarch. Set Aside
  2. In a large wok or skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat
  3. Add mushroom caps and saute with salt & pepper until fragrant
  4. Remove mushrooms from the skillet and set aside
  5. To the skillet, add onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes
  6. Add garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds
  7. Add sauce and broccoli
  8. Cover and cook until broccoli is bright green
  9. Add mushroom caps back into the pan:
  10. Stir well and cook for another 2-4 minutes

And enjoy!

I think this is pretty amazing on it’s own but you can always pair this with fried rice, but regular rice works too. 

Stay (mostly) meatless!

-A

Parmesan Roasted Asparagus

Parmesan Roasted Asparagus

ER-MAH-GERRRD!! You guys, I had no clue how delicious these things would turn out. I’d never made asparagus before, the sound of the word alone made me turn up my nose.

I’d seen people wrap their asparagus in bacon before. Though it seemed tempting for a second, pork and I just don’t agree. So what’s a girl to do with a new piece of produce?

Cover it in cheese & roast that bad boy!

I received my asparagus as part of another veggie haul from a friend of the family. I’m glad I got it when I did because I’d just finished paying bills, and I had about $7 to my name. While I’m certain that my love would have no problem at all bringing home a pizza, I just cringe when I see too many food purchases on the bank statements, especially when there’s a kitchen full of food. Y’all know how I am about my coins, so I figured hey…time to make a miracle happen in this kitchen.  

PREP TIME

My asparagus was right on the edge of going bad, so if this ever happens to you, know that you can still salvage it by washing off the liquid really well in the sink, and cutting off the stems and tips. Be advised, produce going bad (especially the green stuff) will stink. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  

ROAST IT BABY

This one took no time at all. I ended up pairing it with a zucchini/squash casserole that I’d previously made on Sunday, and some honey garlic potatoes. Definitely making this simple side dish again!

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Ingredients

(I didn’t really measure anything this time, so use your best judgment on what works for you)

parm asp 1

Asparagus

Sea Salt

Black Pepper

Olive Oil

Shredded Parmesan

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Prep Asparagus by washing and cutting down to size
  3. Place asparagus spread out on greased cookie sheet
  4. Drizzle olive oil, salt, and pepper
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes
  6. Remove from oven
  7. Sprinkle shredded parmesan over asparagus
  8. Return to oven for another 10 minutes

And enjoy!

Stay (mostly) meatless!

-A

Carrot Chips – 2 Delicious Ways!

Carrot Chips – 2 Delicious Ways!

You guys…it happened. I almost gave in. It was just before pay day, my stomach growled and I ransacked my cabinets looking for a fix.

It was like a cruel & surreal joke..cereal, no milk…peanut butter, no jelly. What was I to do? My cup of hunger-induced tears ranneth over.

It doesn’t help one bit that I live next door to a McDonald’s, and the smell of chicken nuggets rose throughout my building. As much as I like to avoid McDeath, that chicken nugget smell really takes me back..

Then I found it.. a small mostly eaten bag of veggie chips. The blend included sweet potatoes, parsnips, beets, YOU NAAAAME IT!…

But for some reason, I just wasn’t feeling it. I’d already picked out a majority of the sweet potato chips, my favorite of all the chips in the bag.

Bruh..

Remember that gargantuan, donated bag of carrots I mentioned in my  ‘Brown Sugar Baby Carrots’ post?

Behold my loves, Carrot Chips!

carrot chips prep

They’re so easy to make. I recommend making a bunch at one time because once you start snacking it’ll be hard to put these babies down. Be advised these are super delicious so prepare yourselves.

If you happen to find yourself binge eating carrot chips, no worries! They’re lower in calories and fat than traditional potato chips.

So “romaine” calm & “carrot” on. (haha, I couldn’t help myself with that one)

Pack some for your lunch or keep them in the car to keep you from pulling into the drive thru after work.

 

And for added measure, I’ve given you 2, count em..TWO seasoning options.

So whether you prefer a savory snack, or if you’ve got a sweet tooth, these are sure to satisfy either way.

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Carrot Chips! It beats buying a can of Pringles

Carrot Chips 2 Ways

 

Ingredients:

2 or 3 large carrots

Olive Oil

Seasoning Options

  1. Salt & Pepper, Parsley for garnish
  2. Cinnamon & Nutmeg

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
  2. Using either a knife or mandolin slicer, cut carrots into circular disks
  3. Toss carrots in olive oil & whichever seasoning option you like (see above)
  4. Spread evenly across greased baking sheet
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes

Enjoy! Leave a comment & let me know if you love it!

-A