Maple Nugget Cornbread

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Hello and Happy New Year!

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I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday. As you may remember, we drove clear across the United States to visit with my mom, our son, some of Tony’s family and celebrate Christmas. We were able to stay for 11 days and even squeezed in an overnight trip to Walla Walla, WA to visit with Tony’s sister and her family.

But the time just sped by much too quickly!

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I filled my mom “bank” with lots of Brandon time and hugs and kisses and as much following him around, sitting next to him, and talking as he would tolerate. Which he did very well, by the way. He was very patient with that weird mom need to drink your child in and imprint everything about them on your brain no matter how old they are. That mom account never stays full for long though when you live 2700 miles from your child.

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The trip was certainly an adventure. The drive was actually not that terrible on the way there. Of course, you’re always excited when you’re headed toward your vacation destination.

The drive there went very smoothly, unless you count the 1500 miles it took us to figure out the heater in the rental car.

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Honestly, who makes a car heater so complicated! We didn’t notice it was necessary until we left Chicago and started heading toward North Dakota. Once the temperature dipped below 5 degrees, we were freezing!

All through North Dakota and Montana the temperatures at night were well below zero so I was so thankful when I woke from a cat nap (who knows where we were) to find I was hot. Tony had spent the quiet time figuring out how to work the heater.

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Somehow he was able to figure out that the air conditioning button needed to be on in order for the heat to work.

We drove from our home in New Hampshire to Chicago, from Chicago to Billings, Montana, and from Billings to Spokane, Washington. The roads were pretty good and the total time for the trip to Washington state…43 hours of driving.

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Now the trip home, that was a different story.

I didn’t keep track of the driving hours. We, well I say we but I mean Tony, had to drive home in a blizzard.

A blizzard that was so scary that I kept my eyes closed or had my face buried in a book and my foot on my imaginary brake for at least 2,ooo miles. We went from Spokane to Bismark (944 miles around 2:00 AM) where it started snowing heavily and continued to snow throughout the night. The next morning (still snowing and 12 below zero) we packed up at the hotel and made it through the ongoing blizzard to Toledo, Ohio (1084 miles 2:30 AM), then from Toledo to home (701 miles 12:30 AM).

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On the way, there were cars off the road, semi trucks jack knifed and off the road, a few horrible car wrecks that were cause for immediate prayer for whomever was involved, a traffic jam that lasted an hour, and lots and lots of trying to pass semis and plow/sanding trucks in big clouds of billowing snow that made it impossible to see.

The most dangerous part of the blizzard started in Wisconsin and didn’t stop until we were parked in our garage. We came home to at least a foot of snow in the driveway. Needless to say, we were quite happy to arrive home safely, eat a piece of toast, and crawl into our own bed.  

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I’m sure I will be hard pressed to get Tony to do a trip like that again any time soon.

In fact I think when we finally got home, I may have heard out of his mouth the words…never again. 

However selfish it may sound, the only thing I cared about was filling up my mom bank account.

Which I did, so it was worth it!

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Maple Nugget Cornbread with Maple Butter

1 Gluten Free Pantry Yankee Cornbread & Muffin Mix

1/4 Cup Pure Maple Syrup

1 1/3 Cups Almond Milk plus 2 Tablespoons of Fresh Lemon Juice (this makes “buttermilk”)

1 Large Egg

6 Tablespoons of Melted Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

Maple Nuggets (You can call him here to order: 802-489-2286)

Dairy Free Butter (I use the Soy Free Earth Balance)

Extra Pure Maple Syrup

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Measure the almond milk in a glass measuring cup and add the lemon juice. Set aside. Pour the mix into a medium sized bowl. Add the maple syrup, egg, and melted coconut oil. Add the almond milk mixture. Pour and spread into an oiled 8×8 square baking dish. Sprinkle with the maple nuggets. I probably used about three Tablespoons.

Bake for 17-22 minutes. Do not over bake or the cornbread will be dry. Remove from oven and set aside.

For the Maple Butter: For two people I fork whisked about 3 Tablespoons of dairy free butter with about 1 Tablespoon of Pure Maple Syrup until it was combined. Then I spread it in a nice dish and drizzled with more maple syrup.

Top cornbread with the Maple Butter and drizzle with Pure Maple Syrup. Serve warm.

Dizzy Dinner Rolls

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After making it through a few ugly days of the flu last week, I woke up a couple of days ago with an even uglier illness…vertigo.

If you haven’t had it, I envy you and you should probably add “not getting vertigo” to your prayer list because it’s something you never want. If you have had it, well, my heart aches for you and you know exactly where I’m coming from.

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However, I have to tell you that I’ve had it two other times in the past, and because I caught it early this time, it’s not nearly as bad as it could be. With the help of anti-dizzy drugs I managed to walk the dogs today , make home-made soup to settle my stomach, and to make these extremely easy dinner rolls. I’m not a pill popper and I don’t like to take anything that makes me feel weird in any way, but I must say, thank God for vertigo medication. Without it, I wouldn’t even be able to stand to look at my computer screen, or get out of bed for that matter, and here I am making chicken soup and rolls for myself. Meclizine gets two thumbs up.

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Don’t burn your towel while raising the rolls like I did. We’ll chalk that one up to the drugs.

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I was quite happy this afternoon when I finally felt like things were taking a turn for the better. The ground stopped moving and my brain stopped feeling like it was on fire. And I was hungry! I had been trying to gag down toast, tea, and apple slices just to get something into my stomach, which has to be one of the most unsatisfying meals on earth.

No matter what sickness I may have, absolutely nothing tastes better to me than home-made chicken soup. They’ve actually done studies on how healing it is, even just smelling it.

You can find my organic chicken soup recipe here.

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And of course, who doesn’t love a good dinner roll? Those of you who live the gluten-free life know exactly how hard it is to find a dinner roll recipe that doesn’t turn out like a hockey puck or resemble that salt dough we used to make Christmas ornaments out of in kindergarten.

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Search no more because this is by far the best one I have ever tried. I could eat them every day. They smell like a yeasty dinner roll, look like a dinner roll, and amazingly enough…taste like a dinner roll.

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Guess where I found the recipe? Pinterest. And it uses my absolute favorite gluten-free flour blend, Mama’s Almond Blend All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend.

I’ve been told by anti-Pinterest snobby snobs that, “Pinterest is a complete waste of time.”

I think not snobby snobs.

 I. Think. Not.

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You can find the recipe for these awesome rolls right here at Mygluten-freekitchen.com.

I use bread machine yeast and allow mine to rise for 1 hour and bake them about 5 minutes longer than the time listed.

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Oven Fried Zucchini with Homemade Pizza Sauce

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This recipe has been floating around Facebook for a while now. I’m a fan of pretty much anything fried (who isn’t?) so I thought I’d tweak it and give it a try.

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I would change two basic things the next time I make it:

#1. I would dip the zucchini in dairy free butter instead of almond milk prior to breading.

#2. I would shpritz the breaded zucchini lightly with a good olive oil before placing them in the oven.

If you want to keep it healthy you can just follow the recipe below and it will taste just fine. But I think that the butter and olive oil would add more flavor and moisture to the breading so it would crisp properly. And keep in mind that although the addition of butter and olive oil will increase the fat content, it’s not by much. Certainly not as much as if you were to deep fry them.

Oven Fried Zucchini

1/2 – 3/4 Cup Gluten Free Breadcrumbs

1/4 Cup Dairy Free Parmesan

1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 teaspoon Garlic Powder

Several Grinds of Pepper

About 1/4 Cup Almond Milk

1 1/2 – 2 Medium sized Zucchini, sliced about 1/4 inch thick

Non Stick Spray

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with tin foil and spray an oven safe cooling rack with non stick spray. Lay the cooling rack on the baking sheet covered with foil.

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a shallow baking dish and stir to combine.

Pour milk into a cereal sized bowl. Dip the zucchini slices in the milk and then dredge well in the breadcrumb mixture. Place each slice on prepared cooling rack, don’t allow sides to touch.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until lightly browned, outside is crisp and middle is tender.

There’s so many different ways you could make this. You could add Italian seasonings to the breading mixture and dip them in a meat sauce. You could add Mexican seasonings and dip them in a spicy chipotle mayo, you could add fresh herbs and dip them in a lemon vinaigrette…

*Don’t stack them while hot like I’ve done for this photo. The steam will make them soft. If you’re serving them to a crowd, allow them to cook just a bit longer to become extra crisp and then you should be able to place them on a platter without them becoming soft. If you’re just serving them to your family, leave them on the rack and family can help themselves.

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Homemade Pizza Sauce

I don’t have a written recipe for this sauce, I just wing it each time. So I’ll give you my basics and then you can add your own flair.

Canned Fire Roasted Tomatoes

Canned Tomato Paste

Sun Dried Tomatoes

Dried Basil (or fresh if I have it)

Dried Oregano (or fresh if I have it)

Minced Garlic

Kosher Salt and a Little Pepper to Taste

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until somewhat smooth.

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Apple Blueberry Crumb Cake

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Apple Blueberry Crumb Cake

For the Filling:

3 Medium Apples (sweet ones are better), peels on, sliced 1/4 inch thick and then cubed

1 Cup Frozen Blueberries

Juice of 1 Lemon

1/2 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar

1/2 Cup Raw Sliced Almonds

For the Streusel:

2/3 Cup Dark Brown Sugar

Pinch of Kosher Salt

1/2 Tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice (Cinnamon would work fine too)

3/4 Cup Artisan Blend Flour Mix

1/4 Cup Dairy Free Butter

For The Cake:

3/4 Cup Dairy Free Butter

1 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar

1/3 Cup Dark Brown Sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder

3 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

3 Large Eggs

3/4 Cup Plain Goat’s or Sheep’s Milk Yogurt, or Almond Milk Yogurt

1 1/4 Cups Almond Milk

3 3/4 Cups Artisan Blend Flour Mix

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 pan lightly with non-stick spray and set aside.

Wash and dry apples. Core and slice, then cube into a medium bowl. Squeeze the lemon over the apples and stir. Add the cinnamon and sugar and stir, fold in blueberries, set aside.

For the streusel measure the sugar, salt, flour, and pie spice into a medium bowl, stir to combine. Add butter and crumble through with fingers until the mixture has pieces a little large than pea size. Set aside.

For the cake, cream together the butter, salt, baking powder, and sugars until light and fluffy. Scrape down bowl. Add the vanilla and then begin adding the eggs and mixing until blended one at a time. Scrape down bowl. Add yogurt. Incorporate on low. Measure out flour into a bowl. Measure out milk into a cup. With the mixer on low gradually add 1/3 of the flour until incorporated, then add 1/3 of the milk until incorporated. Continue until all of the milk and flour have been added. Scrape down bowl. Mix on low for about 20 seconds.

Pour half of the cake mixture into the pan. Smooth with a spatula. Stir the apple mixture and with your hands, lightly place the apples and blueberries on top of the cake batter.

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Pour the remaining cake batter on top of the apple mixture. Smooth carefully with a spatula.

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Sprinkle the streusel over the top as evenly as possible. (Forgot to take a picture on the counter, so now you get to see my dirty oven too.)

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Place in a preheated oven and begin checking with a wooden skewer or knife in the middle at about the 55 minute mark. The oven in this house is old and doesn’t hold the temperature well…I had to bake mine for 75 minutes. Once I checked at the 55 mark, I then went in 10 minute increments. You don’t want to burn the streusel or make the cake tough.

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Stuffed Yams

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I am saddened to say that for about the first 40 years of my life, I only had yams once a year. Typically on Thanksgiving and usually swimming in Karo syrup, brown sugar, and pineapple juice.  Just a little slice because I liked the brown sugar.

Now however, I could eat them every single day.

They’re delicious, what’s not to like? It turns out they’re extremely good for you and if you eat even one little cup once a week it has been shown to reduce the risk of lung, skin, and prostate cancer dramatically.

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They’re versatile.

You can stuff them with whatever you like or just have them with a drizzle of heart healthy olive oil and salt and pepper. You can slather them with dairy free butter and sprinkle them with brown sugar…my personal favorite, and they’re even good plain.

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Have you ever been confused by the whole Yam Sweet Potato thing? We call the orange ones Sweet Potatoes. I don’t know why, but that’s how I was raised. I always thought the yellow fleshed ones were the Yams. Turns out I was wrong. If you don’t believe me, you can go here and scroll down for a visual and an explanation. So technically, that Sweet Potato pie that looks like pumpkin pie, is really made with Yams. Doesn’t sound as good though…Yam pie.

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Call them whatever you like, and make sure you don’t miss out on them for 40 years like I did simply because the sound of Sweet Potato or Yam grosses you out.

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Try stuffing them with all kinds of different things.

Then serve them with your favorite gluten free beer.

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You might just be surprised.

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Here’s how I prepared them tonight:

Lay the potato(s) on a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt, garlic powder, and oregano. Roll them up tight and place them in the oven seam side up. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Remove from oven and cool enough that you don’t burn yourself when you unwrap it and cut it. Once cooled, unwrap and slice vertically. Using a fork, rough up the flesh, sprinkle with kosher salt. Set aside.

On a gas grill or in a grill pan, grill boneless, skinless chicken thighs. The amount will depend on how many people you are serving. I placed 1.5 chicken thighs on each potato.

In a separate pan, saute onions, bell pepper, kale, and sun dried tomatoes. (Or any combination of any vegetable you like)

Layer the chicken on the potatoes first, then add the sauteed vegetables. Top with sliced buffalo mozzarella (made from buffalo milk), sprinkle with kosher salt, a few grinds of pepper, and dried oregano. Place under a pre-heated broiler until cheese is bubbly and begins to brown. But not too much or the mozzarella will become tough.

Serve with gluten free beer.

Soda Bread ~ Two Ways

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It’s still winter here…but I’ve made a pact with myself just like Miss C. over at The Kitchen’s Garden not to complain about it anymore.

With the weather being so…delightful…I’ve had some time to go through many of my cook books and food magazines. I think I’ve probably bookmarked at least 300 recipes to experiment with.

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The Dried Cherry & Walnut soda bread (on the left) is adapted from a new cook book I found on the book store’s discount table. (Hers called for raisins, allspice,  and is not GF or DF) It’s hot pink and called, “Baking Style – Art, Craft Recipes” by Lisa Yockelson. It’s kind of Martha Stewart-esque. Cool, somewhat fancy recipes, and a lot of tasty things that go well with tea or coffee. I’ve put a little sticky note next to 34 of her recipes that I want to try to de gluten and de dairy, so you’ll no doubt be hearing her name again in the future.

The Raisin & Cinnamon Soda Bread (on the right) with Cinnamon Maple Butter is a recipe that I created. It’s similar to any basic soda bread recipe you’ll find, but of course gluten-free and dairy-free with more moisture added. I like both of the recipes, but if you forced me to choose between the two, I would have to go with the Raisin & Cinnamon. It’s more moist and probably better as a breakfast bread or snack bread and of course… spread with the heavenly Cinnamon Maple Butter. The butter is probably what tipped the scales for me.

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The Mourning Doves like to keep an eye on me when I’m in the kitchen. Right now as I type this there are six of them on the deck along with several Dark Eyed Juncos, a big Black Bird with a blue neck, a Black Capped Chickadee, and a Red Winged Black Bird. I do enjoy the   birds!

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They aren’t the least bit disturbed by Chloe, either. That probably really irks her.

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Dried Cherry and Walnut Soda Bread

2 Cups Artisanal Flour Blend

2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/4 teaspoon Table Salt

3/4 teaspoon Nutmeg

1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar

3 Tablespoons Dairy Free Butter

3/4 Cup “Buttermilk” (measure almond milk and add the juice of 1/2 lemon, let rest for 5 minutes)

1 Large Egg Yolk

1 1/4 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Cup Dried Cherries

1/2 Cup Walnuts, roughly chopped

Raw Sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (I use convection).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and sugar into a food processor (or a large bowl and whisk) and pulse a few times to mix.

Add the butter and pulse a few times to distribute. Empty the flour mixture into a large bowl and set aside. Measure the almond milk, add the lemon juice, and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and stir with a fork.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients (don’t stir yet!), add the dried cherries and chopped walnuts and fold with a spatula just until incorporated and all of the ingredients are wet.

Scoop out onto the parchment lined baking sheet and form lightly into a well domed shape. Sprinkle the top with raw sugar and with a sharp knife, cut a cross on the top of the bread.

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Bake for about 60 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.

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Delicious with tea or coffee.

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Raisin & Cinnamon Soda Bread with Cinnamon Maple Butter

3 Cups Artisanal Flour Blend

1 Cup Gluten Free Rolled Oats

4 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt

1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon

6 Tablespoons Dairy Free Butter

1 3/4 Cups “Buttermilk” (Measure almond milk, add the juice of 1/2 lemon and let rest for 5 minutes)

2 Eggs

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Zest of 2 Clementines

1 1/2 Cups Raisins

More Ground Cinnamon & Sugar For Sprinkling On Top

*Cinnamon Maple Butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (I use convection).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Measure the flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and sugar into a food processor (or a large bowl and whisk) and pulse a few times to mix.

Add the butter and pulse a few times to distribute. Empty the flour mixture into a large bowl and add the Clementine zest. Set aside. Measure the almond milk, add the lemon juice, and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and stir with a fork.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients (don’t stir yet!), add the raisins and fold with a spatula just until incorporated and all of the ingredients are wet. This batter will be much wetter than the Cherry & Walnut recipe above.

Scoop out onto the parchment lined baking sheet and form lightly into a well domed shape. Sprinkle the top with ground cinnamon and granulated sugar. With a sharp knife, cut a cross on the top of the bread.

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Bake for 70 minutes, remove from oven and allow to rest on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack.

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Slice, and serve warm with the Cinnamon Maple butter.

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Baked Halibut and Sweet Potato Fries

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I only have one photo today of our lunch. Although I’m using it twice.

I took several but evidently something happened between taking them and saving them. When I went to upload, all were just plain white, except one. With all the positives of fantastic technology, also come a few negatives.

The fish was fantastically flaky and delicious. I’m sorry you had to miss it!

My husband has a huge aversion to oil. He hates greasy food and particularly liked this fish because “it gives you the sense that you’re eating something fried but it’s not overly oily”. I would have to agree with him. This meal feels like you’re really indulging, but in reality, it’s all baked and has very little fat. What fat it does have are pretty healthy fats; the mayo is even made with olive oil.

It feels like we’re finally settling in to our new home and getting into somewhat of a routine. The one thing we can’t seem to acclimate though, is dinner time. We’re hungry for breakfast a later time than usual, then end up missing lunch, and are ready for dinner around 2:30. That would be 11:30 Washington time, which I guess is actually lunch… See what I mean about time acclimation? Amazing how firm our inner clocks are set, isn’t it? This is why it appears that we are having dinner for lunch…because we are. It’s probably better that way anyway. Then we aren’t full when we go to bed and we can have dessert for dinner. See how that works out so nicely? Yay!

For those of you who are visiting for the first time, in November we moved almost 3,000 miles away from our home town in Washington State to southern New Hampshire.

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We love the new house, the neighborhood, the surrounding area, and the abundance of fresh seafood. I’ve probably eaten more mussels and clams in the last three months than I have in my entire life.

But I would have to say that the people of New Hampshire are what really have made all the difference and have taken the sting out of what would normally be a rather stressful experience. They are just so nice. I know it sounds odd, and maybe even kind of dorky…and you may think I’m exaggerating, but I kid you not. In the three months we’ve been on the east coast, I can say I have not seen one person in public be rude to another person, I haven’t seen anyone flip each other off in their cars or yell, people actually stop for you to cross the street whether you’re in a cross walk or not and they don’t get angry about it, and they don’t invade your personal space at the check out stand (all things that happen frequently in our home town). They stop and talk to you and shoot the breeze as if they don’t have any thing better in their day to do than really chat with you and find out how you’re doing. And they are incredibly patient people.

And these are the strangers, people we don’t even know!

Just a few days ago I stood in the gluten-free isle at Hannaford’s and talked to a couple from Massachusetts for about a half an hour (we’re only a few miles from the border).  The wife has Celiac and the husband does all of the cooking for her. I would say they were in their early 60’s. They were shocked to hear that we love the east coast so much and when I told the husband that I was amazed by how genuinely friendly people are, the man was taken aback and thanked me and told me that he considered that quite a compliment.

Moving almost 3,000 miles across the country and starting a new life in our mid 40’s has been an adjustment to say the least. But it is also a fantastic adventure and I’m incredibly thankful we were smart enough to set all the “what-if’s” aside and take the leap!

 “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”  

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

And I’m going to have to say, Amen Eleanor! Amen!

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Baked Halibut with Sweet Potato Fries

You can find the recipe for the sweet potato fries here.

You’ll want to start the sweet potato fries about 30-40 minutes ahead of baking the fish, which only takes about 20 minutes.

For the dipping sauces:

Tartar Sauce

About 3/4 Cup Olive Oil Mayonnaise

2 Baby Sweet Gherkins, finely diced

1 teaspoon Maple horseradish Mustard (Dijon would be fine too)

About 1 Tablespoon Gherkin Juice

About 2 teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice

Dash of Tabasco

Kosher Salt & Pepper To Taste

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to use.

Red Sauce

1/2 Cup Olive Oil Mayonnaise

3 Tablespoons GF Ketchup

1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika

1/4-1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder

Dash of Kosher Salt

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.

For The Fish

Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

1 Halibut Steak, skin removed and boned

(This will depend on how many people you are feeding, you can also use any other type of firm fish that you like)

About 1 Cup GF Bread Crumbs

A Generous Pinch(s) of Kosher Salt

About 1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano

About 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder

About 1/4 Cup Dairy Free Butter

About 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Baking Sheet, Cooling Rack, Aluminum Foil

Remove the skin and bone from the halibut if necessary, this will leave you with four pieces. Dry each one off with a paper towel and set on clean paper towels.

Place the bread crumbs, salt, oregano, and garlic powder in a shallow dish and stir with a fork until completely combined. Set aside.

Melt the butter and olive in a shallow dish in the microwave for about 30 seconds, not until it’s boiling, just melted.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and top with a cooling rack.

Take the fish and roll it in the butter, then roll and cover completely in bread crumbs. Set on rack and repeat until all of the fish are dipped and covered in bread crumbs.

Next, take any remaining butter and olive oil mixture and drizzle it with a spoon over the breaded fish. Sprinkle a little more bread crumbs over the top.

Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Don’t over cook or the fish will become rubbery. You want it to flake nicely with a fork.

Serve with the sweet potato fries, lemon wedges, and a dollop of both dips.