Rockfish In A Pocket – Asian Style with Tangy Sesame Salad

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I am not a lover of fish. It’s not necessarily that I don’t like it, because I do. But…it just doesn’t seem like a real meal to me for some reason. So when I do make it, I like to add things to it, some excitement, so that it seems like it’s more “meal-ish”. I know it sounds weird, but what can I say? I was raised in a meat, vegetable, and potatoes household. A biscuits, bacon, pancakes, homemade soup, steak, turkey dinner and pie kind of household. You know, real food.

This meal actually shocked me. I really liked it. Every flavor was distinctive. Even the tiny amount of clementine zest and ginger added a unique and powerful dimension. Maybe the addition of a starch, the rice, made it feel like more of a normal meal to me, I don’t know. But either way, it was quite tasty and it received great reviews from my husband.

Tangy Sesame Salad

2 Cups Napa Cabbage, thinly sliced

1 Cup Shredded Carrots

1/2 English Cucumber, peeled, cut down the middle and thinly sliced

1 Green Onion, sliced down the middle and thinly sliced

1 Heaping Tablespoon Cilantro, chopped

For The Dressing:

1/2 Cup Rice Vinegar

3 to 4 Drops Dark Sesame Oil, about 1/2 teaspoon

1/8 teaspoon Grated Fresh Ginger

1/2 teaspoon Gluten Free Soy Sauce

Prepare the salad ingredients.

Prepare the salad dressing. Whisk until fully incorporated.

Place the vegetables in a medium bowl, toss, cover, and refrigerate. Cover and refrigerate the dressing. Don’t dress the salad until the fish is finished cooking or the salad will become limp.

Rockfish In A Pocket – Asian Style

Preheat Oven to 350°

4 Non-Oily Fish Fillets (I used Rockfish)

1/2 of a Large Red Bell Paper, thinly sliced

2 Green Onions, thinly sliced on an angle

1 Clove Garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

1 teaspoon Grated Ginger

1/2 teaspoon Clementine Zest

Olive Oil

White Rice

For The Sauce:

1 Tablespoon Gluten Free Soy Sauce

1 Tablespoon Sweet Chili Sauce

1/2 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Sriracha Sauce

Get the rice going first so it can cook while you are preparing the fish. Rinse and pat the fish dry with paper towels. Set aside. Prepare the pepper, onion, garlic, ginger, and clementine zest and set aside. In a small dish, add the soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, rice vinegar, and sriracha sauce.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside. Cut 4 pieces of parchment for the fish pockets.

Place two fish fillets in the middle of one piece of parchment. Drizzle with a tiny amount of olive oil and rub it over the fillets. Take 1/2 of the clementine zest and grated ginger and rub into the fillets, dispersing it as evenly as possible. Spread 1/2 of the sliced garlic over the top.

Layer 1/2 of the peppers and onions over the top.

Stir the sauce well and drizzle 1/2 of it over the fillets.

Place another piece of parchment over the top of the fish, joining the long edges together by folding them over.

Continue rolling the sides and pressing along the edge with your fingernail or the handle of a butter knife until there is a sharp edge and the folded parchment reaches the fish.

Then roll the short edges the same way until it is completely folded and sealed.

Repeat with the remaining fillets. Place both pockets on the parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. While the fish is baking, toss the salad with the dressing.

Remove the pockets from the oven. Carefully slit open the top and pull apart. Be very careful, the steam from the fish is very hot.

You can eat this two ways. you can place the pocket on a plate and put the rice in it to soak up the juices and eat it that way. Or, you can put rice on your plate, place the fish on top of the rice and then pour the juices over it, which is what I did.

Oh, and in case you were ever curious about the “behind the scenes” recipe writing in food blogs…here’s how I do it. Recipes scribbled on napkins, minus a picture of the incredible mess I made. A glamorous hobby, huh? Complete with a soy sauce stained pen. ;)

A Little of This and a Little of That

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Get Up and Go Smoothie

You can pack a lot of really great things into a smoothie glass. A smoothie has a lot of positives. It’s can be a  healthy and tasty breakfast or snack for people on the go. For those of you who are terrible about eating breakfast, it only takes about 8 minutes to make and you can drink it while you’re getting ready in the morning. It’s not messy to drink in the car on the way to work or while you’re chauffeuring little ones around because it’s thick and you can put a straw in it. If you have a hard time getting your fruit or veggie servings in, a smoothie is a great way to do that. The options are endless and the only thing limiting you is your gag reflex. I know a lot of people that can drink a smoothie packed full of spinach, kale, and beet greens. I’m not one of them. I can handle a small amount of greens and herbs in my smoothies, but major amounts of cold, pureed, kale and spinach for breakfast make me shudder. Don’t be afraid to venture out a little bit though, you never know, a morning smoothie might end up being your new “go to” healthy drink.

What I used:

*This recipe makes 1 – 16oz smoothie

• A Vitamix Blender (I highly recommend it, it’s worth every penny)

•1 – 8oz Can of Pineapple Tidbits in 100% Pineapple Juice

•1 Cup Frozen Mixed Berries (Blackberries, raspberries, & blueberries)

•1 Very Ripe Frozen Banana (Stash your overripe bananas in the freezer)

•1/4 Cup Slivered Almonds

•1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley

•1 inch of Fresh Peeled Ginger (If the skin isn’t tough you can leave it on)

•Juice of 1 Small Lemon

•1/4 Cup of Ice

Lemon, pineapple, ginger, and parsley are all considered “detox” foods and are fantastic for digestion and inflammation. You can read more below on the health benefits of all of the ingredients in this smoothie. Even if you only add a smoothie to your daily routine 3 to 4 times per week, you are packing your diet full of vitamins, minerals, and adding all kinds of other major benefits to your health.

Health Benefits of Pineapple

Health Benefits of Berries

Health Benefits of Bananas

Health Benefits of Almonds

Health Benefits of Parsley

Health Benefits of Ginger

Health Benefits of Lemon

Banana Plum Tart

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A few days ago I bought a bag of fresh Italian Plums at the outdoor market. I had eaten several but wanted to set aside a few to make something…I just wasn’t sure what that something was. For the last couple of days I’ve been mulling it over and going through what I have on hand that I might be able to pair with them to make something nice. I also remembered that I had stuck a bunch of very ripe bananas in the freezer. If you’ve never done this, you should. You don’t need to bag them or anything, I just stuck mine on the shelf. When they thaw they are amazing. Very intense banana flavor, like a banana liquor, and the texture is perfect for smoothies and baking.

This recipe is adapted (very loosely) from a tea cake recipe I used to make in the “olden days” when I could eat gluten and dairy. It was in the Better Homes & Gardens Old Fashioned Home Baking Cookbook. An absolutely amazing cookbook that I would highly recommend. If you’re into adapting recipes to fit your needs and aren’t the type that sticks to a recipe, you’ll love it.

Banana Plum Tart

Preheat oven to 350°

8-10 Very Ripe Italian Plums

1 Frozen Very Ripe Banana

2 1/2 Cups Mama’s Almond Flour

1/2 Cup Sugar

3/4 Cup Dairy Free Butter

1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/8 teaspoon Sea Salt

1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum

1 Egg

3/4 Cup Almond Milk, with 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice

About 1/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar

Spray a round tart pan with non-stick spray and pour about 1/8 cup sugar in the pan.

Wiggle the pan around to disperse the sugar, coating as evenly as possible. Set aside.

Wash and dry the plums. Cut in half, remove the pit, then cut into quarters.

Set the banana on a plate to partially thaw. (This shows two bananas, you will only need one.)

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and xanthan gum. Add the dairy free butter.

“Cut it in” with your fingers until it resembles course crumbs, I prefer this over a pastry blender. What fun is cooking and baking if you can’t touch it? Do it quickly though, you don’t want the butter melting in your fingers.

Set aside about 1/2 cup of the mixture.

Into the remaining flour mixture, add the baking soda, baking powder, sea salt, and cinnamon. Stir or whisk until combined and set aside.

Measure out 3/4 cup Almond milk and add the lemon. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. This makes buttermilk. Or at least the scientific equivalent.

When it has set for 10 minutes, add the egg and beat with a fork until thoroughly combined.

Mash the partially frozen banana with a fork. The reason you want it partially frozen is because if you allow it to thaw completely it gets very runny and mushy.

Add the egg mixture and banana to the dry mixture.

Stir just until combined, do not over mix. Baking ingredients don’t like to be fiddled with and over-mixed, it makes them tough and cranky.

Spread two-thirds of the batter over the bottom and sides of the tart pan with a spoon.

Add the Italian plums in a pretty pattern.

Use the remaining one-third batter to dollop over the plums.

Sprinkle with the reserved dry topping and brown sugar. Why more sugar? Because frankly, dark brown sugar just makes everything taste better and it makes a perfect friendship with plums and bananas.

Bake for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted into a couple different places comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely (or for at least 30 minutes) before removing it from the pan.

Because Sometimes, You Just Need To Start Your Day Off With Chocolate

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We all have those days, don’t we? This is just a little treat that somehow helps to right what went wrong in our morning routine. Please drink it out of a beautiful cup, it makes all the difference in the world.

Dairy Free Hot Chocolate

* Makes 1 Serving

1 Cup Almond Milk

1 Square Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate

1/2 Tablespoon Sugar

1/8 teaspoon Instant Coffee Crystals

Sprinkle of Cinnamon

Mini Marshmallows

Give the chocolate square a few chops. Pour the almond milk, chocolate, coffee crystals, and sugar into a small sauce pan and heat on medium.

Whisk the entire time until the chocolate is completely melted and incorporated. Sprinkle with a tiny pinch of cinnamon and serve in your favorite glass or cup.

Veggie & Cheese Omelette

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Sometimes I just can’t face another bowl of oatmeal or dairy free yogurt for breakfast. I actually prefer dinner leftovers for breakfast, but that’s another post I suppose. I like an occasional omelette, and having it filled with vegetables is certainly not  an unhealthy way to start your day.

Veggie & Cheese Omelette

2 Organic Eggs

1/4 Cup Diced Summer Squash

1/4 Cup Diced Red Bell Pepper

1/4 Cup Chopped Broccoli Florets

1/8 Cup Diced Red Onion

1/2 Minced Jalapeno, Seeds & Membrane Intact

1 teaspoon Minced Garlic

Daiya Vegan Cheese

Olive Oil

Non-Stick Spray

Sea Salt & Pepper To Taste

Fresh Thyme Leaves

Gather all of the main ingredients. It might look like a lot of vegetables for 1 omelette but they cook down and end up being the perfect amount.

Drizzle a skillet with a little olive oil and saute the bell pepper, broccoli, and red onion for about 5 minutes. Add the squash, jalapeno, and garlic and saute for another 5 minutes. Set aside.

Whisk eggs in a small bowl until fluffy and completely combined. Pour into a small omelette pan that has been prepared with non-stick spray and heated on medium. If you’re not sure how to cook the egg part of the omelette, you can go here for tips . Really, it just takes practice. Mine don’t always turn out and sometimes they have to be morphed into scrambled eggs. It will taste great either way.

Once the eggs are cooked to your liking, add the cheese.

Then, add the sautéed vegetables.

Flip the empty side of the omelette over the ingredients, leave omelette in the pan for about 3 minutes to allow the cheese to melt. Season with sea salt & pepper and a sprinkle of fresh thyme.

Quick & Healthy Breakfast

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Oatmeal. Sometimes I have a scowl on my face when I think about it. It’s very hard for me to get excited about oatmeal. Especially, when I woke up this morning craving bacon. Lots and lots of bacon. Unfortunately, I’m not the skinny chick I was last Fall. Therefore, oatmeal for breakfast it is. I suppose one good thing about oatmeal is that you can dress it with all kinds of things that are a lot more exciting than the oatmeal itself. It also keeps you full longer than a regular breakfast of let’s say….a pound of bacon. Or cereal, or eggs, or yogurt or toast. I think you know what I’m getting at. According to Care2 Make A Difference, a healthy living blog, there are 10 Benefits to eating oatmeal. Who am I to argue?

Peach & Walnut Oatmeal

Gluten Free Oatmeal, cooked

1/2 Very Ripe Peach, peeled & sliced

About 1/8 Cup Walnuts

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Almond Milk

This is pretty self-explanatory but I’ll give a quick run down. Cook the oatmeal, top with the peeled peaches, break up the walnuts over the top of the peaches, pour the almond milk, and sprinkle with the pumpkin pie spice.

Heaven in The Form of Caramel Corn

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I’m not a big fan of crunchy, crispy, caramel corn. I like mine warm, gooey, and slightly salty with a hint of vanilla. It’s a totally different experience than regular caramel corn. It seems lavish and special. Because it  is special. It’s not one of those desserts you make all the time because frankly, it would just seem so wrong to eat it on a weekly basis. But when you do decide to splurge,  it’s worth every gooey, morsel. The caramel is cooked just enough so that it attaches itself to the popcorn but not too much so it can stay gooey. Warm, rich caramel, with a hint of vanilla and a few sprinkles of sea salt, trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Dairy Free Caramel Corn

*Please remember, melted sugar is very dangerous! It continues to burn when it hits the skin and can cause major damage. Use caution when making this recipe and please don’t involve your little ones in the caramel part of the recipe.

1 Medium Bowl of Plain Popcorn, seeds/kernels removed from bottom of bowl

About 1/2 Cup Dairy Free Butter

About 3/4 Cup Dark Corn Syrup

About 2 Large Handfuls of Dark Brown Sugar

Pure Vanilla Extract

Sea Salt

Pop the corn and remove all seeds and hard kernels from the bottom of the bowl. I use two bowls. Pop into one and shake it until all of the un-popped kernels go to the bottom. Then carefully scoop out the fluffy corn into another bowl leaving the hard pieces behind.

Place the butter, corn syrup, and dark brown sugar in a large skillet.

Stirring constantly, heat on medium until boiling. Stop stirring and continue to boil for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and add about 2 teaspoons of vanilla, stir.

Pour half of the caramel mixture over the bowl of popped corn. Sprinkle with sea salt and toss carefully with a wooden spoon. Poor the remaining caramel over the popped corn and sprinkle with another layer of sea salt.

The stirring cools the caramel corn so at this point, it’s safe to eat.

Spinach Pasta With Grilled Veggies, Chicken Thighs, and Walnut Pesto

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Typically if I’m on my own for dinner I eat leftovers or toast, or cereal, or sometimes just dessert. However, all day today I was thinking about pasta and that Vegan Walnut Pesto I made a few days ago.  The day that I made it I didn’t have a chance to use it so I stuck it in the freezer. This is an incredibly simple meal that is absolutely packed with flavor. A perfect meal for two, but if you’re on your own, you’ll have enough for dinner tonight and leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Enjoy!

Spinach Pasta With Grilled Veggies, Chicken Thighs, and Walnut Pesto

Tinkyada Spinach Brown Rice Pasta

3 Chicken Thighs

1/2 Red Bell Pepper

1/2 Orange Bell Pepper

1/2 Summer Squash

1/2 Tablespoon Vegan Walnut Pesto

About 3 Tablespoons Gluten Free Barbecue Sauce

About 1 teaspoon Chopped Garlic

About 1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar

Olive Oil

Garlic Powder

Dried Oregano

Sea Salt

Combine the BBQ sauce, chopped garlic, and vinegar in a small bowl. Add the chicken thighs (rinsed and dried) and toss. Set aside. Cook the pasta (reserve about 1/4 cup pasta water), rinse, and set aside. (Some people are completely against rinsing their pasta, however, with gluten-free pasta, I have found that if it’s rinsed right after draining it doesn’t stick). In a medium bowl, add the peppers, sliced in half, and the summer squash, sliced but not too thin. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with a generous amount of garlic powder, oregano, and sea salt. Toss and set aside.

Heat the grill to medium to medium high and grill the chicken until it has about 7 minutes to go. Add the vegetables and grill everything until done.

Next, slice the chicken and vegetables. Place the pasta in a large bowl and add the pesto, vegetables, and chicken. Heat the reserved pasta water in the microwave, add about 1/2 to the mixture and toss. You may have to add more pasta water as you toss depending on the consistency of the pesto and how it disperses throughout the pasta, veggies, and chicken.

My Kind Of Sundae

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Trust me, living an allergen free life is not nearly as hard as people will tell you. I rather enjoy it.

Gluten Free & Dairy Free Sundae

1 Gluten Free Namaste Brownie

1 Scoop of Luna & Larry’s Dairy Free Coconut Bliss Ice Cream

Several Roasted Salted Almonds, Roughly Chopped

Chocolate Syrup

Nectarine Peach Crisp for Two

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It’s finally peach season in the Inland Northwest. They are about two weeks late but still just as delicious as always. I’ve been waiting and waiting for some really good peaches and nectarines to make a crisp and it’s finally time. I put them in awesome over-sized ramekins from Pier 1. If you don’t have them, you must go out and buy them this week! They are perfect for so many things and incredibly cheap. I think I only paid around $2.50 for each one. Then after you go on a little shopping spree, you can come home with your ramekins and read my nightmarish experience when I went to buy them. It will give you a good chuckle.

Nectarine Peach Crisp for Two

2 Peaches

2 Nectarines

1/2 Lemon, juiced

1 1/2 Tablespoons Sugar

1 teaspoon Mama’s Almond Flour

Peel and slice the peaches and nectarines into semi-thin wedges. Add the lemon juice, sugar, and flour. Stir to combine and set aside.

While the peaches are resting, make the topping.

1 Cup Gluten-Free Old Fashioned Oats

1/4 Cup Brown Sugar, packed

1 teaspoon Granulated Sugar

1/4 Cup Mama’s Almond Flour

1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon Xanthan Gum

4 Tablespoons Dairy Free Butter

Add all ingredients except butter to a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Add butter and crumble with fingers until mixture begins to come together. Set aside.

Fill your new cool ramekins evenly with the peaches and nectarines.

Top with the oatmeal topping.

Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes until top is lightly golden and crisp and peaches are bubbly.