Monthly Archives: July 2013

Cauliflower Shrimp Fried Rice; AKA Cauli-Rice

Is there a more recognized American Chinese takeout dish than fried rice? I can’t think of one. Okay, well maybe Chow-Mein but today we’re talking rice.

Fried rice.

Delicious, yes. Healthy, not so much. Sadly traditional fried rice is loaded with sodium and high-carbohydrate, insulin spiking white rice. Not exactly top of the menu for anyone wishing to drop a few pounds or clean up their diet. Which is sad business if you are like me and absolutely love the stuff.

“The next time you’re at a Chinese restaurant, back away from the fried rice … many dishes are loaded with sodium, oil and carbs,” says Jayne Hurley, a senior nutritionist for the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “Those dishes are basically three quarters of a day’s calories, and you’re just getting four or five cups of white rice with oil and a sprinkling of vegetables,” Hurley says. They’re especially dangerous because they’re often served alongside people’s main orders, she says, and deliver “not much more than a smattering of vegetables or protein from the meat.” Unhealthy Chinese Food Choices,

Bummer.

But all is not lost because in steps cauli-rice to the rescue. Cauli-rice is something I have been eating a lot of lately and am absolutely loving. If cauli-rice is unfamiliar to you, I am about to expand your healthy option horizons. What is it exactly? It is “rice”, made out of cauliflower.  Or cauliflower grated to mimic rice in just about everyway.

Did you just close your eyes, sigh and shake your head in a skeptical fashion?

Okay, you may not believe it but I am asking you to trust me here and go with me on this … it looks, tastes and acts like rice; except for the fact that it doesn’t raise your blood sugar and spike your insulin. Really, it does. Still skeptical? Here, let me prove it to you.

Cauliflower Shrimp Fried Rice

Ingredients

  • 1/2 large head of cauliflower, grated
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth or stock
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 12 ounces shrimp, cooked, cleaned and chopped
  • 6 ounces cubed lean ham
  • 1 cup egg whites
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Scallions, chopped for garnish

Shrimp-Fried-Cauli-Rice-Ing

Directions

Chop your shrimp into small pieces.

Shrimp-Fried-Rice-Shrimp

I thawed these pre-cooked and cleaned shrimp and then cut them into three pieces.

Use a box grater to grate raw cauliflower into “rice”.

Cauli-Rice

It is a messy business but well worth it!

Sauté the cauli-rice in chicken broth for 3 to 5 minutes.

Shrimp-Fried-Cauli-Rice-2

Add in the remaining ingredients, just to warm them, starting with the peas, then ham and shrimp and finally scrambling in the egg whites by making a well in the center of the rice and pouring them in. This will only take about another 5 minutes. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.

Shrimp-Fried-Cauli-Rice-5

Top with a sprinkling of chopped scallions and a splash or Bragg Liquid Aminos in place of soy sauce (it tastes the same and is far better for you) and you’ll have a healthy shrimp fried rice dish that you can fill up on – guilt free!

If you are following the THM lifestyle, you know it is not always easy to come up with truly satisfying “FP” (fuel pull) or even “E” (energizing) meals. This fried rice fits the bill perfectly. I am an “S” loving girl and this has become one of my absolute favorite meals for lunch or dinner.

If you want to make it a bit more hearty, you can fry it up in a few tablespoons of coconut oil and use whole eggs for a satisfying S meal.

My goal with this dish was to make it as “Chinese takeout” authentic as possible. Put skepticism aside, give it a try and let me know how I did.

Enjoy!

Advertisements

Baby Portabella Sliders

I have had my eye on these babies for a while. Baby portabellas that is. As the name would suggest, they are smaller than a full grown portabella but a bit bigger than a cremini. So technically, they are really more of an adolescent portabella.

Baby-Portabellas

So, while that very important distinction has been made, the question what to do with them? remains.

Hmmmm. Slice and sauté or stuff like a cremini? No.

Marinate and grill like a big portabella? No.

More creative. Must be more creative.

They are the perfect size to replace the burger in a slider.

No, that’s not it either. Think. Think. Think.

Does anyone else out there have similar conversations with yourself?

Okay, yes, but do you have them about mushrooms?

Marinate and grill. Burger. Slider. I like it but not the burger. The bun? Oh, now that is intriguing.

The bun. Hmmmm. Sliders with baby portabella mushroom buns.

No bread, low carb, sounds delicious. I like it. I like it very much.

Baby Portabella Sliders it is!

Now, who else should we invite to the party?

Blue-Cheese

Ahhhhh, blue cheese. My favorite party guest.

Applewood-Smoked-Bacon

And applewood smoked bacon. Come on in!

Let’s get this party started!

Baby Portabella Sliders

Frying-Sliders

Prepare slider sized burgers.

You can grill or pan fry them. Right now, it is about 482 degrees outside so I opted for the cast iron on my stovetop in my air-conditioned kitchen. If you are using ground beef at an 80/20 ratio, you don’t really need to do more to it than add a little salt and pepper. I had a leaner blend on hand so to one pound of ground beef, I added one egg as a binder and a dash of cream for moisture (about a tablespoon) along with a bit of freeze-dried parsley just for fun. Season on both sides with salt and pepper. As always, be sure your pan is good and hot before you put the meat in! I am a medium-rare kind of gal so I cooked the burgers on medium-high 4-5 minutes per side.

Marinating-Portabellas

For the “buns”, I pulled the stems out of the mushrooms and then brushed both sides of the caps with Drew’s Rosemary Balsamic Dressing (I absolutely love the stuff) and seasoned both sides with salt and pepper. Use whatever dressing you like or even just a bit of olive oil or coconut oil.

Frying-Portabellas

I adore my cast iron grill pan and it worked perfectly for “grilling” up the mushrooms. Make sure your pan is hot before you put the mushrooms in. I cooked them on medium-high for 2-3 minutes a side. Don’t move the mushrooms after you’ve turned them and you will end up with perfect grill marks.

Now, to build the sliders.

Portabella-Sliders-1

I selected the least attractive mushroom caps to use as the bottom “bun” and set each on a leaf of butter lettuce. The sizes varied but still worked out just fine.

Portabella-Sliders-2

Next, the burger patty.

Portabella-Sliders-3

Blue cheese crumbles.

Portabella-Sliders-4

Applewood smoked bacon.

Portabella-Sliders-5

Just a bit of thinly sliced red onion.

Portabella-Sliders-6

And finally, the second mushroom cap. See those grill marks?

Portabella-Sliders-7

Buns? What buns? Who needs buns? Not when you’ve got baby portabellas!

These were delicious! The mushrooms were flavorful and juicy and perfect. Messy but perfect.

I can hardly wait to make them again. In fact, I can’t stop thinking about them.

Oh, the possibilities …

Ground lamb with feta crumbles and tzatziki. Maybe a little olive tapenade?

Smoked Cheddar. BBQ sauce. Jalapenos. Caramelized shallots. Garlic aioli. Brie. Pesto. Mozzarella. Roasted red peppers. Goat cheese. Avocados. Serrano ham. Monterey Jack. Pickles.

Infinite possibilities that beg the question … what are your favorite burger toppings?

I would loved to know!

Enjoy!

This Trim Healthy Mama approved “S” recipe is happily linked with other Trim Healthy Tuesday recipes at Stacy Makes Cents and Gwen’s Nest.

Key Lime Pie – a Perfect Summer Treat!

Tangy & Tart. Creamy & Rich.

Key Lime Pie. I love you.

With that slightly crunchy buttery crust and smooth velvety filling. I can’t imagine a summer without you. But alas, I am no longer an eater of  gluten or sugar.

Key-Lime-Pie-2

And the limes on our lime tree are starting to ripen.

Lime-Tree-1

And they are gorgeous and are just begging me to use them for Key Lime Pie.

Lime-Tree-3

Can you just hear them? Pick me! Pick me! I was made for Key Lime Pie! You won’t be sorry!

Fresh-Limes

Yes, fragrant little lime, you are indeed destined for a pie. And no, I won’t be sorry because this won’t be just any pie. No, this Key Lime Pie is very special. It is gluten, sugar and guilt free.

Insert Hallelujah Chorus here.

GUILT-free.

As in no worry over calories, carbs, blood sugar spikes, tummy bulges or the need to spend 45 minutes on a treadmill just for a little indulgence.

No guilt. Zero.

But wait, it gets better.

There is no compromise here either. No rub. No sacrifice. Because this Key Lime Pie is delicious!

D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S.

As good as any I have ever had and that is saying something because I used to always make Barefoot Contessa’s Key Lime Pie, which is fantastic but sadly, not guilt-free or on plan for a gluten-free/sugar-free lifestyle.

No need for despair, there is hope!

Aand there will be Key Lime Pie thanks to Lauren at Healthy Indulgences.

I love Lauren and she doesn’t even know it. Her blog has been a lifesaver as I learn to use new ingredients and concepts in the effort to become good at this whole gluten-free/sugar-free baking thing. She has really mastered the craft and has created some very special recipes. I am looking forward to the day when I can venture out confidently on my own but for now I’ll stick to her stuff and will share her Key Lime Pie recipe with you.

She calls it Scrumptious Sugar-Free Key Lime Pie … and she’s not exaggerating.

Key-Lime-Pie-1

It is indeed scrumptious (and no, it is not green). I have made it twice now and it has been a huge hit with everyone who has tried it, including my husband who is still a bit of a gluten-free/sugar-free skeptic. I’m starting to win him over though and this pie certainly didn’t hurt.

It does require a few ingredients that you may not have heard of or have on hand but I promise, it is worth heading to the health food store or Whole Foods to pick up what you’ll need to give this a try. I know you’re curious. Don’t be afraid, give it a shot!

If you’ve been a “Trim Healthy Mama” for a while,  you’ll most likely already have everything you need.

GFSF-Baking-Essentials

Next week, I will talk a bit more about “Trim Healthy Mama” (THM) and the changes that have occurred in my pantry but for now I’ll let you know that Xylitol has become my favorite sugar substitute. Lauren uses erythritol in her recipe and either one is fine. A note about xylitol, while it is healthy and fine for humans, it is very bad for dogs so make sure too keep it away from your furry babies.

The recipe calls for NuNaturals NuStevia pure stevia extract which is not easy to find. I had to order it online. It is a highly concentrated sweetener. You can find a similar version at Trader Joes but it is not quite as good (a little bitter). If you don’t have it, you can use 8 packets of an easily found stevia product such as Truvia. The combination of sweeteners results in a better flavor.

I did make one other change to the original recipe and added a whole lot more lime zest. Lauren’s recipe calls for 1/4 tsp. and I add 1 heaping tsp. because I LOVE the tart flavor the zest.

Key-Lime-Pie-3

The crust is so delicious and so much more nutritious with a blend of almond and pecan meal. Almond meal or flour is easy to find. As for the pecan meal, I just grind up pecans in my mini-food processor until they are a fine texture. Don’t go too far or you’ll end up with pecan butter.

One final note. The pie tastes best at room temperature but slices easiest right out of the fridge. When you go to serve it, slice it right away and then let it sit at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes – if you can wait that long.

Fresh-Limes-2

Now go grab yourself some limes and get baking!

Even if you are not normally a gluten-free/sugar-free kind of gal (or guy), I urge you to give this a try. The only thing you have to lose is dessert guilt!

Key-Lime-Pie-5

I photographed this gorgeous piece of pie this morning.

And then I ate it for breakfast. Guilt-free!

Enjoy!

This Trim Healthy Mama approved recipe is happily linked with other Trim Healthy Tuesday recipes at Stacy Makes Cents and Gwen’ Nest.

Nothing Says “I Love You” Quite Like Banana Pudding

A few weeks ago, the phone rang. All plans were set aside. The busy-ness on my ever-present “to-do” list suddenly became unimportant and I found myself hastily throwing a bag together and waiting in the airport for a seat on a flight to Oklahoma.

My husband’s Uncle Milt passed away. My Uncle Milt passed away.

We quickly decided I would be the one to go and be with the family for the funeral services and my husband would stay home with the boys (Sara is in Washington with my mom for a month). It might seem strange that I was the one to go when the loss was on my husband’s side of the family but that is the funny thing about family, love blurs the lines. And I loved my Uncle Milt so very much.

I first told you a little about Uncle Milt and Aunt Peggy last fall when I shared Aunt Peggy’s delicious corn casserole recipe with you. I told you a bit about their love story and what they came to mean to me so many years ago when I was a new military bride desperately missing my own family. And I briefly mentioned the banana pudding.

This is the first chance I have had to sit down and gather my thoughts after the five beautiful days I spent in Oklahoma (that busy list didn’t go away while I was away). And I am struggling a bit. It is hard to find the words to sum up this sweet man. To sum up what he meant to me; to so many. To sum up a life lived so well that left behind is a far-reaching legacy that winds its way through an entire family, binding together a wife of 56 years, four children and their spouses, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, cousins, sisters and brother-in-law, nieces and nephews. And me, married to a nephew but embraced as a daughter.

As I write, I remember that today is Aunt Peggy’s birthday and I am thankful that these words have waited until today. I can think of no better gift than to remind her of the blessing she and Uncle Milt have been in my life.

And it all started with banana pudding.

Banana-Pudding-11

I don’t remember the exact moment I had Aunt Peggy’s banana pudding for the first time but it instantly became my absolute favorite thing in the universe. No exaggeration. Better than French fries.

And Uncle Milt quietly took notice.

We lived about 45 minutes away from Uncle Milt and Aunt Peg when my husband was stationed at Altus Air Force base. We spent a lot of weekends playing cribbage around their cozy dining room table; always Aunt Peg and I teamed up against Uncle Milt and my husband. Those boys like to think that they won most of the time but I don’t remember it quite that way. What I do remember is feeling loved and welcome. I remember missing my own family a whole lot less because Uncle Milt and Aunt Peg became like parents to us and their four children and their families like siblings.

Milt-&-Peg-for-Blog-2

So many times I walked through their front door to hear Uncle Milt quietly say “it must be ‘That Girl’! Go look in the fridge, you might find something in there for you.” Always there was a banana pudding waiting for me. If it wasn’t Aunt Peggy’s banana pudding, it was a Styrofoam container from Ryan’s Buffet heaped full of banana pudding that he had gone and gotten for me. He was a big man with a big presence and an even bigger heart and I adored him.

We were stationed in Oklahoma for only two years and too soon, it was time for us to move to Arizona where my husband would fly part-time for the National Guard and full-time for American Airlines. I was devastated to leave and cried most of the way through Texas. Life quickly took over and we didn’t see or talk with Uncle Milt and Aunt Peg nearly enough but the bond we had forged with them in that two years remains such a part of us.

Over the years, Uncle Milt’s health declined with the onset of Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s/Dementia. He eventually had to be placed in the Veteran’s Center where his growing needs could be met. Aunt Peg was right by his side everyday. Such love. Such an example.

Milt-&-Peg-for-Blog-3

I have heard it said that while Alzheimer’s may rob your loved one of his memory, what matters is that you remember. You remember.

I remember.

I remember and was blessed to join this amazing family  to celebrate the life of a man who meant the world to me. Cousin Jim’s sweet wife Yvonne even made a banana pudding for me shortly after I arrived and I jumped off of the gluten-free/sugar-free wagon with reckless abandon. Only for banana pudding. And I did stick five spoons in the bowl and share it. The only thing better than a big bowl of banana pudding all to yourself is a big bowl of banana pudding shared with five people you love.

We told stories, we laughed, we cried, we prayed and we rejoiced in the knowledge that Uncle Milt is restored and again whole in the arms of the Savior he spent his life glorifying.

I promise you Uncle Milt, I will remember.

And I will forever remember so many things about saying goodbye.

I will remember Uncle Chuck’s story about the anger he felt when his own father passed. A man poor in the pocket but rich in all the ways that matter. How he was unable to comprehend that the sum of a man’s life could end up a few papers and documents in a shoebox. It was you who showed him that the true sum of his father’s life was not in that shoebox but was in him and his four beautiful sisters. It was you who helped him to realize just how remarkable his own father was. He remembers.

I will remember Jim’s eulogy and the stories of a husband and father’s love and strength. Your wife and your children and their children remember.

Peg-&-Milt

I will remember the internment ceremony at the beautiful military cemetery that is your final resting place. I will remember the full military honors for a man and a career that included two tours in Korea and one in Vietnam. I will remember the cry of the bugler sounding TAPS as the wind gusted mightily and it was finished. All of your family remembers. And a grateful and free nation remembers.

I will see you again Uncle Milt. I know you will have the cribbage board waiting and I will smile to again hear “oh, here comes ‘That Girl’ – go look in the fridge, you might find something in there for you.” Until that day, I will remember.

Aunt Peggy’s Banana Pudding

Banana-Pudding-14

It isn’t a fancy recipe. It isn’t a complicated recipe. But it is how someone very special shared with me just how much I meant to him. How he reminded me how much I was loved. I am happy to share it with you and hope that you will make if for someone you love.

Banana-Pudding-1

Ingredients

  • 1 – 3.4 ounce package of instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • 2 cups heavy cream, whipped
  • 3 bananas, sliced
  • 36-48 Vanilla Wafers

Banana-Pudding-2

Directions

Whisk together the sweetened condensed milk and water. Add the instant vanilla pudding and whisk again until smooth and well blended. Chill the pudding mixture for 5 minutes.

Banana-Pudding-3

The pudding mixture will be starting to set. Fold in the whipped cream.

Banana-Pudding-4

Begin layering the ingredients …

Banana-Pudding-5

Start with pudding,

Banana-Pudding-6

add a layer of vanilla wafers

Banana-Pudding-7

and then a layer of sliced bananas.

Banana-Pudding-8

Top with more pudding, wafers and bananas and finish with pudding.

Banana-Pudding-9

It is always pretty to have some of the wafers peaking through a glass bowl.

Banana-Pudding-10

Top with crushed vanilla wafer crumbs. You can garnish with a few fresh banana slices and vanilla wafers just before serving.

Banana-Pudding-12

Or dress up individual serving bowls. You can also eat it right out of a Styrofoam container. Whatever works for you!

Banana-Pudding-Gift-3

When I got home from Oklahoma, I whipped up a batch for the girlfriends who had stepped up to take care of my boys for the two days I was gone and my husband had to work. One batch fit nicely into two 8×8 disposable pans.

Banana-Pudding-15

Just layer in the same manner as above.

Banana-Pudding-16

Banana-Pudding-17

Banana-Pudding-18

Top with vanilla wafer crumbs and pretty up the packaging and you will have a gift that is well received.

Banana-Pudding-Gift

Banana-Pudding-Gift-2

It is simple but it is my absolute favorite banana pudding. For many reasons. I hope you love it too!

Banana-Pudding-13

Happy Birthday Aunt Peggy. I love you so much!

One final note, I am working on a gluten-free/sugar-free version. Right now, as we speak. I’m having a little trouble with the vanilla wafers but I am determined to eat this whenever I wish. Well the bananas will still be a splurge but not the end of the world. Stay tuned …