SIBO-Friendly Sous Vide Egg Bites

If you’ve walked into Starbucks at any point in 2017, you might have noticed that they’re now serving Sous Vide Egg Bites. They come in two varieties: Bacon Gruyère and Roasted Red Pepper. As a gluten-free girl, I was excited to see these, and when I actually tried them, I FLIPPED. I began to crave them every day and proclaimed to Loren that our next kitchen gadget would have to be a sous vide. Here’s a pic from my instagram where I celebrate the gloriousness of the Starbucks version. (I’ll admit that I’m not generally the biggest Starbucks fan. When I go in there, it’s usually because I’m in an airport, which is why it took me a while to learn about these egg bites — but I started going out of my way to go there once I found these!!)

sous vide egg bites

This year started out a bit hectic — I quit my full-time job at the hospital and stepped down from a leadership role at my start-up, resolving to completely dive into my self-employed endeavor. The whole first half of the year flew by so quickly, and then suddenly it was July, and I’d never followed through on my vow to buy a sous vide machine and replicate these little yummy bites! I’d even been talking with the talented Nicole Ruiz Hudson over at Nibbling Gypsy about all of her gorgeous sous vide recipes, but I just wasn’t pulling the trigger to get my own. Luckily, just in time for the beginning of ‘funemployment’ kitchen experimentation, Amazon had a flash sale that highlighted the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker. It revitalized my egg bite-creating dreams, and I finally got my hands on one. 

Sous Vide

First things first: what does sous vide mean? Sous vide is a form of cooking that involves submerging a contained food item into a water bath and cooking it at a precise temperature for a set period of time. The ability to maintain a consistent SIBO-friendly Sous Vide Egg bitestemperature allows for even cooking and splendid results, especially for protein dishes. Eggs, in particular, are pretty finicky if you’re hoping for a very specific texture or level of ‘doneness’. The magic wand, of sorts, sits clamped to the edge of the bath (I used my big stock pot) and heats the water to the precise temperature you need.

What do I mean by ‘contained food’? I mean that you’re not dunking a steak directly into a water bath and boiling it to death — that would be gross. Rather, the food you’re cooking is contained in either jars (as we’ll demonstrate today with the sous vide egg bites), BPA-free cook safe plastic bags like these, or silicone bags like these. Today, it’s all about single-serving breakfast and replicating the silky consistency of the Starbucks creation — all within the guidelines of the SIBO diet.

SIBO-friendly

Next question: what makes these sous vide egg bites SIBO-friendly? SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) requires quite a few dietary restrictions, including very limited dairy. Specifically, only cheese that’s been aged for at least one month is permissible (along with only homemade, plain yogurt), and in limited quantities. (If you’re unfamiliar with my SIBO saga, check out this post, which explains what SIBO is, how I think I got it, and the signs and symptoms — which include a lot of overlap with IBS).

I did a little googling to see if I could find some recipes to serve as my jumping off point, and what I found was a whole lot of cream cheese, cottage cheese, and heavy cream. None of these could go into my version of sous vide egg bites, so I had to get creative. As I’ve done with other egg recipes like my Easy Veggie Frittata and my Paleo Bacon Veggie Muffins, I substituted full fat coconut milk for the heavy cream.

frittata

Kitchen Alchemy: Guesswork in ‘Substitution Land’

In considering what to exchange for the cottage cheese and cream cheese, I was kind of at a loss. No aged cheese has that same creamy consistency, so I was worried about how my bites would match up. I decided to try something weird: avocado oil mayonnaise. I say weird, because one of the two main ingredients in mayonnaise is egg, which kind of makes including it a little repetitive. I was unsure when I decided to try it, so I only included 2 tbs for the whole batch. I love how they turned out, but I’m honestly not sure if adding the mayo really had a substantial impact. In my next batch, I’m going to test it out — half the batch with mayo, half without, and I’ll report back my findings with an addendum to this post. 

Intuitive Cooking

I love recipes where there’s little to no measuring, and where creativity can take the dish in any direction. I like to call this kind of cooking intuitive cooking, because you’re trusting yourself in the kitchen, rather than chaining yourself to every tiny detail in a recipe that doesn’t require it. This is a perfect example of a recipe that allows for lots of variation. Include the bacon, or don’t. Add in cooked shrimp or shredded pork instead. Choose whatever cheese floats your boat. Or leave out the cheese entirely. Chop up some veggies for a quick sauté, and throw them in. Add fresh herbs, dried spices, salsa, or hot sauce to the egg mixture. Anything that suits your fancy!

Here are some regional flavor combinations to try out: 

  • Mexican: add cumin, cilantro, cotija cheese (use anejo if you’re sticking to SIBO rules), and a few tablespoons of salsa (only green onion if you’re sticking to SIBO rules). Grease the jars with avocado oil.
  • Italian: add fresh chopped parsley and oregano, parmesan and/or Romano, and few squeezes of tomato paste. Grease the jars with garlic-infused EVOO.
  • French: add bleu cheese, bacon, and green onion. Grease the jars with butter or ghee.
  • Persian: (borrowed from a fellow experimenter) add boiled shrimp, chopped dates, and turmeric. (skip the dates if you’re sticking to SIBO rules). 
  • ‘MERICA: add aged cheddar cheese, bacon, and breakfast sausage (use ground pork and spices if you’re sticking to SIBO rules).

The flavor experiments could continue forever! In my first go at this, I wanted to try to get as close to my original muse (the Gruyère bacon bites at Starbucks) as possible. But I couldn’t resist trying a couple of different cheeses, since I wasn’t sure how long Gruyère is aged, and I didn’t want to take the chance. I also greased half of the jars with bacon grease and the other half with garlic infused EVOO. Both were delicious, but I think I preferred the EVOO.

SIBO-friendly sous vide egg bites

Important Sous Vide Cooking Tips:

  1. Do not tighten the lids too much (do a “two-finger tighten”). Pressure builds as the eggs cook, and if the jars are too tightly sealed, you might have an exploded glass mess on your hands.
  2. Blend the egg mixture in a blender or food processor. Hand mixing won’t get you the silky, uniform consistency you want.
  3. Depending on the size of your jars and how much room you leave at the top, they might float in your water bath. If you find that your jars are floating, place a heavy plate or a big pot on top of them in the water to weigh them down. You can also try stacking them to keep them in place. Another option is to put something at the bottom of the pot (I saw a suggestion for inverted coffee mugs) and placing your jars atop them, so that they’re higher up in the bath and slightly breaching the surface.
  4. Grease the jars for your egg bites. It will make clean up much easier.

Supplies needed: 

  1. Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker
  2. 10-12 4 oz mason jars (you could also use bigger jars and only fill partially — that will definitely cause floating)
  3. A pot or tub large enough to fit the wand and all of the jars (I used a 2 gallon stock pot but only filled the liquid to the “min” line on my wand cooker)
  4. Food processor or blender
  5. Cheese grater (if using cheese)
SIBO-friendly Sous Vide Egg Bites
Serves 10
Set the sous vide to 172° F before beginning your prep. It takes longer for the machine to get to temperature than it does to get this recipe ready to go.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pack cooked bacon (7-10 pieces)
  2. 12 pastured eggs
  3. 2/3 cup coconut milk
  4. 2 tbs avocado oil mayonnaise
  5. 1/2 tsp salt
  6. 1/2 tsp pepper
  7. EITHER 1 cup grated parmesan or Romano
  8. OR 1/2 cup aged bleu cheese
Instructions
  1. Set the Anova to 172° F in the water bath
  2. Place the bacon on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and broil in the oven until crispy (usually 10 minutes, but keep an eye on it so you don't burn it)
  3. Add the eggs, coconut milk, salt, and pepper to a food processor or blender and mix on low until it's smooth and homogenous
  4. Grease 10-12 4 oz jars with either bacon grease or an oil of your choosing (I did half with garlic infused EVOO).
  5. Evenly distribute crumbled bacon in each jar
  6. Evenly distribute the cheese of your choosing in each jar
  7. If your blender or food processor doesn't have a pitcher spout, transfer the egg mixture to a spouted measuring cup and evenly distribute among all of the jars
  8. Screw on the lids (but not too tightly, see the cooking tips above this recipe for more detail)
  9. Once the water bath is up to the proper temperature, use tongs to carefully submerge your jars into the water bath
  10. Set the Anova timer for 50 minutes
  11. Remove using the tongs
  12. Use either a dish towel or oven mits to open if the jars are hot
  13. If not eating right away, allow the jars to cool before refrigerating
  14. Eat them right from the jar or slide a butter knife around the perimeter and turn over onto a plate to slide out your egg bite
Notes
  1. Cook the bacon to a pretty full crisp. On my first try, I cooked it exactly how I like to eat it on its own, and I found that it was too chewy in the recipe. On my second round, I cooked it longer and crumbled it into smaller pieces instead of using half pieces as Starbucks does. I liked it this way best.
Cultivated Wellbeing http://cultivatedwellbeing.com/

To reheat your egg bites, either:

  • Microwave for 30-45 seconds
  • Get a 140° F bath going with your Anova wand and submerge for 15 minute
  • Toast in the oven broiler for 5 minutes (ovens vary, keep your eye on it for this method to avoid burning)

FTC DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. All opinions are my own.

SIBO-Friendly Ratatouille [RECIPE]

One of the perks of getting to attend the Biocodex Foundation Kickoff event was experiencing the amazing food in Paris. On our second night, we were treated to a beautiful meal at Les Deux Magots, an iconic Parisian treat with an up close and personal view of the oldest cathedral in Paris. (When I told my friend who lives in Paris that we were going there for dinner, his response was, “Fancy pants.” I’ll take it!)Sibo-friendly ratatouilleMy last course of the evening — lamb saddle on a bed of house made ratatouille — is what inspired today’s recipe. I’ll go ahead and say up front that virtually nothing in this multi-course meal was “SIBO-friendly” — especially the dessert platter — but this dish was pretty close. I worked around the onions, but I know I ate a lot of garlic. That being said, I put my entire protocol on hiatus for the week that I was in France. I won’t say I went completely nuts — I did what I could to choose wisely — but there was no way that I was going to be there and not enjoy fresh baked goods or the amazing cultural delicacies this beautiful country has to offer. To be honest, I didn’t experience any digestive consequences until the very last full day. And I view that as a testament to how diligent I’d been before going. BUT, I digress…

Here’s the main course, paired with a perfect Rhone from Chateau La Borie:

Sibo-friendly ratatouille

Why is this a SIBO-Friendly Recipe?

This is a SIBO-friendly recipe because it features vegetables that are allowable in “unlimited” quantities: eggplant, peppers, yellow squash, tomatoes, capers, and olives. I also left out the major offenders: garlic and onions, which are traditionally included. I chose to use yellow squash instead of zucchini, because while zucchini is allowable in certain quantities, I wanted this to be a recipe that those dealing with SIBO could enjoy without measuring anything. And also because I just picked those glorious yellow delights from my backyard garden and wanted to use them! That being said, if you prefer zucchini, feel free to switch it out, bearing in mind that a serving is 3/4 cups.  Check out my SIBO Diet Short List for a list of other veggies you can eat “unlimited” on the SIBO Diet, along with some helpful cooking guidelines and a list of resources from experts in the field.

The trick with converting a garlic or onion-heavy dish to a SIBO-friendly version is to make smart substitutions. To do this, I employed lots of green onions (allowable without the white part) and then topped the dish off with garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil, which is SIBO-legal. And I added them both at the end of the cooking process to ensure that the they retained as much of their flavor as possible. 

SIBO-friendly Cheese

If you don’t have dairy allergies, hard cheeses that have been aged for at least one month are acceptable on the SIBO Diet. I was thrilled to find an adorable cheese shop in Bordeaux that vacuum-sealed customer purchases so that they would remain fresh and in-tact on a transatlantic flight. They were also kind enough to let me hang out and take some pictures of the goods. It was very very difficult to narrow down my purchases, but I did end up with a truffle-infused Pecorino that I grated on top of my SIBO-friendly Ratatouille to add double the umami. It was truly a divine addition.

Sibo-friendly ratatouille

Cooking on High Heat

I cooked my SIBO-friendly Ratatouille mostly on high heat, because I started the process a little later than I’d intended, and I wanted to get dinner on the table at a decent hour. It turned out great and ended up becoming a 30-minute meal, which works out for all of us, but it’s important that you use the right cooking oil if you plan to follow my lead. I used avocado oil, which is able to withstand high temperatures much better than EVOO.

These days, if I want an olive oil flavor, I usually cook with something else (like water, avocado oil, or ghee) and then add in some EVOO as a topper once I turn off the fire. This way, I get the flavor and nutrients without risking burning the oil and turning it from healthful to carcinogenic. Consider practicing that in your next few meals and see how it goes. It might take a little bit of an adjustment, but it will be worth the health benefits. And if you have a really good olive oil, you’ll likely notice that you taste more of the olive oil flavor while using less of it in your food.

More Food Pics!

I thought about using this post to share more exciting food pics from my trip to France, but then I realized that since most of them aren’t SIBO-friendly, that would kind of be cruel. SO, if you’d like to check out some of the glorious treats that I enjoyed (or at least enjoyed photographing), head over to my Instagram and flip your way through. There are some real works of art from Bordeaux in particular that you should check out.Sibo-friendly ratatouille

SIBO Friendly Ratatouille
Serves 4
This recipe is a mix of all SIBO Diet-approved veggies and spices, while still remaining delicious and satisfying. It also includes gut-supportive bone broth and nutrient-dense fresh herbs.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 tbs avocado oil [Buy avocado oil]
  2. 1 large eggplant
  3. 1 large yellow squash or zucchini (the one I used was so big I had to core it -- if yours are smaller, consider adding 2 or 3)
  4. 1 bell pepper (I used orange)
  5. 1/2 cup bone broth (Mine was homemade and pre-salted. You can adjust your salt based on how salty your own broth is)
  6. 2 cups POMI strained or chopped tomatoes [Buy POMI]
  7. 2 tbs capers
  8. 8-10 black olives
  9. 1 full bunch scallions (green part only)
  10. 1 cup loose fresh chopped herbs (I used fresh oregano, sage, and parsley from the CWB garden)
  11. 1-2 tsp Real Salt or pink salt
  12. 2 tbs garlic-infused EVOO [Buy garlic-infused EVOO]
Instructions
  1. Cube all the veggies
  2. Chop scallions and fresh herbs (and set aside)
  3. Heat a very large frypan before adding avocado oil on medium heat
  4. Add cubed eggplant, squash, and pepper
  5. Stir to ensure that all veggies are exposed to the heated oil and turn up the heat to high
  6. Stir in bone broth and cover for 5 minutes
  7. Uncover and stir in tomatoes
  8. Cook on high, stirring regularly for another 15 minutes (reducing things down)
  9. Coarsely chop the olives while everything is cooking
  10. Add in capers and olives
  11. Once all veggies are softened, turn off the heat and add in the freshly chopped scallions and herbs)
  12. Finish with 2 tbs garlic-infused EVOO (or drizzle on individual servings)
Notes
  1. This dish is amazing served warm as a side dish or as a base for 1/2 a cup of white rice or quinoa and a delicious cut of meat. You can also eat it cold as a Sicilian-style caponata with SIBO-approved rice crackers once you reach that phase of your protocol.
Cultivated Wellbeing http://cultivatedwellbeing.com/

FTC DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. All opinions are my own.

Flashback: Icelandic Pesto is the Best Thing Ever

Last August, Loren and I drove the Ring Road exploring the wonders of Iceland for 9 days. We enjoyed amazing food (mostly food we cooked on a single burner camping stove at campgrounds and stops along the way) and gazed upon some of the most spectacular features of planet earth. 

The food part was particularly memorable, because I had zero issues eating the baked goods we found at an amazing bakery called Brauð & Co in Reykjavik. Zero stomach cramps or digestive issues, zero discomfort. I’m guessing it has something to do with the strain of wheat they use or a nice, slow leavening … all I know is that we couldn’t get enough of this place for the short two days we spent in Reykjavik before hitting the road. And I certainly enjoyed my consequence-free glutinous vacation.

Icelandic Pesto

Brauð & Co: Baked Goods and Pesto from Heaven 

This bakery was truly a thing to behold: a tiny room that could hold no more than 7 or 8 customers, with 4 bakers and two cashiers behind the counter — and a line down the block. You could smell this place from a block away, following your nose to the long line of Icelanders patiently awaiting baked goods from heaven. 

Icelandic Pesto

They had staggeringly delicious, warm loaves of sourdough bread and the most incredible house-made pesto I’d ever tasted. I have never experienced pesto like this anywhere else, and I LOVED it. On our way to pick up our camper van and hit the Ring Road, we stopped and grabbed a fresh loaf of bread and a container of pesto, so we wouldn’t be without on our road trip. We made some pretty amazing sandwiches using those two ingredients. 

Icelandic Pesto Mission: The Translation

As I slowly grew more and more obsessed with this unfamiliar pesto, I decided that I needed to have the option of eating it forever. To do that, I’d have to find out what was in it. I took a picture of the label (all in Icelandic PestoIcelandic) and made plans to sit with Google Translate once I was stateside and figure out exactly how to replicate it at home. Then I had the chance to ask a couple of Icelandic natives to translate it for me. I wrote down their translations and deleted the picture.

Then I lost the piece of paper. That’s right. TRAGEDY. 

That being said, I do remember a few key ingredients from the translation, so I used those as my jumping of point and combined them with the circumstances of my refrigerator and cupboard to bring you today’s recipe.

The ingredients that I know overlap between my version and theirs are: arugula (which they called rocket), sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, and sunflower seeds. Everything else is a guess. And I’d say I made a pretty darn good approximation of what this stuff was all about. I’d love to have a side-by-side comparison, so if anyone is planning a trip to Iceland soon, please stop by Brauð and get yourself some pesto. I’d love to know how mine measures up. And also get a loaf of bread and a cinnamon roll. And then mail them to me. Thanks.

Icelandic Adventures

I’d be remiss if I didn’t say more about our amazing trip in this flashback post — after all, flashing back is all about reliving the glory of a wonderful experience.

icelandic pesto

Highlights (in no particular order):

  • We experienced some of the most majestic natural hot springs on earth, including a hot river. Almost the entire country is geothermally active, and there are areas where water and steam just pour out of the earth. It’s magical.
    Icelandic Pesto
  • I had my first experience using cramp-ons when we hiked the Svínafellsjökull glacier.Icelandic Pesto
  • We saw enough waterfalls and rainbows to satisfy the imagination of every child with magic in her heart.
    Icelandic pesto
  • We did a spontaneous beach clean up while waiting for a cave tour in Snaefellsbaer.Icelandic pesto
  • We got a unique view of Kirkjufell by hopping a fence and taking an unofficial waterfall tour into the mountains at Snæfellsnes.icelandic pestoicelandic pesto
  • We picked wild blueberries with the aid of two locals stocking up for winter (literally filling three giant buckets) at the beginning and end of a beautiful hike that required no trail to find our way.Icelandic pestoicelandic pesto
  • I learned how to drive a stick shift (but not really in a city, and definitely not to parallel park).
  • A tour guide in Reykjavik told us that we were too late to see the puffins, but in fact, we arrived at Black Beach just in time to see pretty much every puffin on earth preparing to leave for the winter. (They were too high up for a good photo without a better camera.) 

You Should Go to Iceland!

All of this, and we barely made it halfway around the country before having to turn back. Iceland is absolutely magnificent (and very tourist-friendly), and there are a lot of ways to stop through if you’re planning a trip with a European destination. We will definitely go back there in the not too distant future. It was just stunningly beautiful — so much so that it was difficult to take it all in. 

So with that, here’s the Icelandic pesto recipe — I recommend using it however you’d use regular pesto, including scrambling into eggs, dipping bread or crackers, stirring into veggies, pasta, or veggie pasta, and even cooking with shrimp or chicken. 

Icelandic Pesto
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups raw baby arugula
  2. 1/4 cup blanched carrot tops
  3. 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  4. 1/4 cup cashew pieces
  5. 1/4 cup pine nuts
  6. 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
  7. zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
  8. 1/2 cup garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil (split into 1/4 cups) OR 1 clove garlic + EVOO
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients (except 1/4 cup EVOO) in food processor and process until a choppy but incorporated mix is achieved. You can decide how chunky you want it to be.
  2. Once ingredients are mixed to your liking, stir in remaining 1/4 cup of EVOO.
  3. And you're ready to serve!
Adapted from Inspired by Brauð & Co Bakery in Reykjavik, Iceland
Adapted from Inspired by Brauð & Co Bakery in Reykjavik, Iceland
Cultivated Wellbeing http://cultivatedwellbeing.com/

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