Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Try it Tuesday - Gluten Free...

Gluten Free...
Recently a friend decided to go "Gluten Free"...and I hear once you go Gluten Free (GF) you never go back! (couldn't resist). And in doing so she has had some difficulty in her meal planning. I will also explain to you that she is only going GF in support of her boyfriend, which makes her a true doll or totally nuts. Either way I applaud her desire to continue having meals with her boyfriend. But what I didn't realize is that this endeavor would involve me. I am happily gluten-full and have no plans on changing my wheat loving life. Yet here we are experimenting with some GF recipes. I told Luke that we were being supportive and that we should also be sensitive to the needs of others...He gave me a dirty look and asked when this would be over and he could have a bagel, pretzels, whiskey and chocolate cake. I'm not sure if he wants that in one meal, but I'll make it happen!
So here is the main thing that I learned on my GF adventure....if it says GF it will no doubt cost double.
Well, Caleene and Corey and all you other GF friends out there here's a couple recipes for you...

Kale Salad with Chicken 

4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard - Grey Poupon is GF

2-4 cups kale, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 small fennel bulb, diced
1 cup walnuts, chopped
2 cups dried cranberries
2 chicken breast, cooked and chopped - to make this super easy, I bought a rotisserie chicken at Publix

Whisk together garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, zest, and mustard. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine kale, onion, pepper, fennel, walnuts, cranberries, and chicken. Pour dressing over and toss to coat. Serve.

This was really good, a bit tangy which I enjoyed. This kale was a nice surprise.

Chicken Piccata

1- 1.5 pounds chicken cutlets - I used chicken tenders, its what I had available
salt and pepper
4 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken stock - gluten free
1/4 cup capers, drained
1 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup parsley, chopped

Season chicken generously with salt and pepper. 
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium/high heat. Cook chicken in oil for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove chicken from pan and cover to keep warm. 
Stir in the chicken broth, lemon juice, and capers, scraping up any bits in the pan. Simmer until sauce is reduced and slightly syrupy. Return chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes; remove from pan. Add butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.
Serve and enjoy...

Another easy meal would be Fajitas - chicken or steak....corn tortillas are gluten free and according to McCormick's web site, their seasoning packets are also generally gluten free...

 Just a few ideas for you and your GF life...it took me awhile to type this because I was eating pretzels...don't worry they were GF.
Once this bag is gone we are back in wheat, rye, etc. action!
I hope these recipes are enjoyable and helpful....Just give them a try...its GF Tuesday!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Try it Tuesday - Chicken Strips for Everyone

Baked Chicken Strips for Everyone...

Baked Parmesan Chicken Strips
Most of us love chicken tenders, chicken fingers or chicken strips. Generally the best versions of these chicken strips are fried and unhealthy. I originally found this recipe for Jackson but after I tried them I figured out that they were wonderful and really versatile. There are few ingredients and no real skill involved! That's likely what makes them so good.
I slice these up and put them over any salad; Luke likes them on Caesar salad. They can be chopped up and put in a wrap for lunch. Or simply eaten alone...I'm sure there are other ways to incorporate these into your meals...But you will have to give them a try.

1 package of chicken tenders - I like Publix Greenwise
2 cups buttermilk
right next to the bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs - Lemon Pepper is so yummy  
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 F.
Place chicken tenders in a shallow dish, pour buttermilk over the chicken and let stand 15 - 30 minutes.
In another shallow dish, mix panko and Parmesan cheese.
Prepare baking sheet. What has worked for me is a wire baking wrack over a baking sheet.
Dredge each chicken strip through the panko mixture to coat completely, pressing to adhere. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat for each strip.


Ready to bake

Drizzle 2 Tablespoons olive oil over the chicken strips. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.
Serve...however you see fit.

Golden Brown and crispy!
You're going to love these I promise! But you'll never know unless you give them a try...it is Tuesday!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Don't Pee on My Floor and Don't Push out a Toot

Potty training an inmate...

Before you even start reading this...just be forewarned that if you don't want to talk about pee or poop, we can no longer be friends. I spend the great majority of my day discussing these two riveting subjects with one small terrorist and it somehow spills over into all my adult conversations.
Who ever thought that potty training a 2 year old is a good idea? I mean honestly a toddler has a long enough attention span to get them though the flushing part of the process. And why is wearing diapers until middle school frowned upon? I obviously assumed that Jackson, you know the future Bill Gates, would be potty trained by the time he was 2. And that potty training would take about 3 tries and we would all move on with our life. Hahaha, again you will find that Jackson is always "winning" and I'm generally just searching for another glass of wine. I frequently wonder how these things happen to me...
An example of why toddlers shouldn't be allowed in a bathroom alone..."just getting the toilet paper ready"
I have felt that Jackson was ready to be potty trained for months, he felt otherwise and did not hesitate to tell me so. I would ask do you want to use the potty..."No, not yet!" I asked my pediatrician when it would be time. This was my largest tactical error as a parent, to date. I asked this question in front of the  scheming diaper lover. Dr. Cohen said stop asking him about the potty...WTF?...(I ignorantly thought that if you wanted someone to learn a new skill, you must introduce that skill.) He explained that Jackson knew that using the potty was an option and that "When HE is ready, HE will use it." These words were like were like the magical sound of a new package of gummy spidermen being opened to Jackson's ears. By December I was done with Jackson singing to me, "Momma, guess what... I'm peeing!" Or, "I just peed and burped at the same time." He said that as if I should run to his baby book and add that to the page of developmental milestones...I looked, no where is there a spot for peeing and burping at the same time.
We made a deal - NO, I have not learned not to deal with terrorists...I continue in my negotiating efforts. The deal was New Year - No Diapers. Jackson looked at a box of diapers and said with sadness, "I guess that's my last box." You can bet your happy little ass that's your last box, is what I wanted to say!
We were ready...7,000 pairs of little boy underwear, potty books, Clorox wipes and 6 cases of wine. The underwear went on and we had constant potty talk. "Do you have to pee?" "Do you think we should go sit on the potty?" It goes on and on. Jackson immediately decided that he will not sit to pee. He needs to do it just like daddy. And really only girls sit to pee because we pee out of our butts. This standing to pee thing is not a good idea for grown men who understand the concept of proprioception, much less a toddler. Jackson will turn to talk to me when he is standing to pee and where his head goes so too does is pee...Hence the Clorox wipes.
Then there are the step stools. There is a step stool in front of each of our toilets, which is great when Jackson says "I need to poop right now" but not so fantastic at 3 am when you stumble into the bathroom...my shins are taking a beating. And then I am angry that I may have woken a child with my loud cursing. I'm also pretty sure that Luke is standing on these stools when he uses the bathroom just for fun.
The step stool does come in handy for the reading of the books. Jackson likes to be read to while he is attempting to poop. This was cute the first 20 times that I was sitting on the bathroom floor. But then I realized that I was being had and that he just wanted to hear about Josh and his his new potty. One day I read through all the potty books and still no poop...then you must not have to go. But I forget that he has an X and a Y chromosome so this pooping thing is a lengthy process. So he looks over at a basket full of magazine and says "what about some of those?" So there I sit reading ESPN the magazine to him. And like a moth to the flame...one article about LeBron James and we had poop. Live and learn.

Here he has roped Luke into reading the potty book

Notice the step stool and the pile of books

One night after he pooped, I left him naked because we were heading upstairs to the bath. He says "Oh, I think I have to poop some more. No. It was just a toot." And he walks past me...that was not just a toot...
Then there is the constant need to examine the poop. "How many poops?" "That poop looks like bacon."  I don't even know what to say to that, except yet another reason I don't eat bacon!

But the beauty of all this has been, it has gone really easily. He has had few accidents. And I have only thrown away 2 pairs of his underwear. And I have learned to say things like, "Don't pee on my floor" and "Never push out a toot." If you are starting your adventures in potty training I will allow you to take those phrases on as your own.
And of course, because I am not suckered enough in this relationship with the prince. There was of course a potty present. The first week that he went all day, including naps, dry he got a potty present...Cars, duh!

opening the potty present
Posing on a table in his undies with his potty present - just like momma

So one down, one to go. I'm pretty sure that Blake will potty train himself when I am not looking. This second child thing is a whole different experience.
If you are gonna potty train your toddler, just remember, accidents do happen...but running out of wine is unacceptable.

Peaks - As if having one kid out of diapers wasn't delightful enough! Little B is eating so many things now and is oh so happy about it...and he is starting to walk.
Great, walking - another possible escapee
having some cheese...its good

 Pits - My house is not getting any cleaner with all this bathroom time. I've started allowing Blake to cook...my Try it Tuesdays are really recipes that he invents. And Jackson now thinks he is a rockstar since he pees in the potty

This took only 4 potty books to happen...

But he swears he didn't do it!

Just getting some ingredients

No photos please...unless you want to see my undies

I saw this and thought is was a wine glass...I was  hopeful

Have a wonderful week...and try to talk about your own pee and poop, its very liberating!

Try it Tuesday - Turkey Chopped Salad

Turkey Chopped Salad with Spicy Avocado Dressing
I swear this tastes good...and no that is not mustard on top!

This is one of the EASIEST things that I have ever made. No tricks and No cooking involved! This is going into our dinner rotation.

     1 large avocado, halved, pitted
     1 1/2 Tbsp lime juice
     1 clove garlic, minced
     1 1/2 tsp Sriracha hot chili sauce - photo below in case you don't know what it is
     3 Tbsp olive oil

      2 cups diced cooked maple-honey turkey (about 10 ounces) - I found this near the bacon and     precooked sausage in my grocery store
     1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained
     1 cup red onion, diced
     1 large red bell pepper, diced
     1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

     Dressing - Scoop avocado avocado flesh into food processor. Add lime juice, sriracha sauce, garlic, and olive oil and process until smooth. (Careful with the sriracha sauce, its spicy. You can always add more to your taste.) Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

     Salad - Mix turkey, beans, red onion, red pepper, and cilantro in a large bowl.
Spoon salad onto plates and top with dressing.  

Yes that's right, its just that easy...and its really good.
Give it a try and see if you want to add it to your dinner rotation! I think a nice, cool glass of pinot grigio would be the perfect side item!

 It's Tuesday...Time to try something new!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Try It Tuesday - Sweet Potato Crusted Fish

Sweet Potato Crusted Fish... 

 I'm always looking for ways to camouflage jazz up some fish so that Luke and Jackson will agree to eat it. I'm not sure where I found this recipe, but it was a little tricky. I think I can offer a few pointers.

     1 pound mild, flaky fish - I used grouper but tilapia or snapper might work too
     2 sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded
     1 egg plus 2 egg whites
     1/2 cup flour - seasoned with salt and pepper
     2 Tbsp olive oil
     2 Tbsp butter - if you like

     Add seasoned flour to a shallow dish (sized for dredging fish). In another shallow dish, whisk together 1 egg plus 2 egg whites.
     Preheat oven to 375. You will need a large oven safe skillet (this means no plastic anywhere). Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add one Tbsp butter.
     This is the tricky part....estimate the size of your fish and add a thin layer of shredded sweet potatoes that is about the same size and shape as your fish to the skillet (one little pile for each piece of fish).
     While this is heating up, dredge your fish through flour mixture and then through egg wash; set on top of your sweet potato mixture. Do this for each piece of fish. Cook for about 4 minutes - until there is a slight golden crust to the potato. Lift fish out of the pan with a spatula (This will fail miserably if you did not properly oil your pan or if you have a lousy pan...just saying).
     While you are holding the fish with the spatula, add another Tbsp of butter...then add another layer of the shredded sweet potatoes to the pan - you know making sure it is approximately the size of your fish. NOW...flip your fish onto this layer of potato....
     Place entire skillet into the oven for about 5-8 minutes.

I did not take pictures of the baking process, I'll do it next time and I'll post follow up photos. I was just trying to get dinner made while drinking my wine, without tripping over Blake who was crawling between my legs!

Give it a try...fish is so good for you...I served this fish over a Green salad with Feta, black beans and red pepper....let me know if you try it and if you like it...