Caribbean Fruit Punch (with rum)

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Mix all the ingredients together and serve cold or over ice.

When I was in the Cayman Islands I fell in love with ginger beer. If you can find it, that’d be the best. But you know, I am the cook that believes in making do.

Onto The Bar

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LadyJustice

For the next 10 weeks I will be studying for the bar. And taking MBA classes. And cleaning house and taking care of three dogs and a cat. In other  words I am going to be busy. Studying for the bar is 8-10 hours a day 5-6 days a week for 6 weeks and then 10-12 hours a day 6-7 days a week for 4 weeks. So I shall be BUSY!!

But that’s alright. That does mean that my blog will be mostly on hiatus until then. Not that I don’t love you and love cooking, just that other things are taking priority.

On July 30th and 31st please pray for me to do well. See you in August.

Grown-Up Grilled Cheese

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2013-04-23 18.23.29

I love grilled cheese but after I became gluten-free it took me awhile to have one. I would however go in restaurants and lust after their grown-up grilled cheese. But then I began making my own and they are so yummy.

The ingredients are so-o-o simple:

  • Cheese – I used smoked gouda, chipotle cheddar, swiss and provolone (one of each kind).2013-04-22 13.08.47
  • Bread
  • Butter
  1. Heat your griddle up (or frying pan).
  2. Butter both sides of your bread. (I have begun keeping a glass bowl in the refrigerator with previously melted butter to remelt, so that I can just brush it on and save calories).
  3. Brown one side and turn with a spatula.
  4. Add cheese.
  5. When it melts put one side on the other. I always try to line it up because once you put melted cheese on another piece of melted cheese, it’s over.
  6. Slice as desired and enjoy.

Tapioca

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The other day I ran to the store to buy eggs because I wanted to make tapioca. The woman there said she hadn’t made tapioca in years. It’s so easy, I don’t know why more people don’t simply make it more often.

  • 1/2 cup small pearl tapioca (you can usually find it in the baking section of the grocery store, do not use instant tapioca)
  • 3 cups milk (I used 30 calorie Coconut Milk)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla (this will darken the tapioca though, so if you are looking for a light color go with almond extract or another neutral color extract)
  1. Combine tapioca and milk. Let soak for 20 minutes or so.
  2. Heat to boiling. Add sugar. Bring to a boil and let boil.
  3. Beat eggs in separate bowl. Add some of the hot tapioca to make it easy to add without curdling. Add to tapioca in pan.
  4. Continue to boil until it thickens.
  5. Let cool 15 minutes and add vanilla.
  6. Serve hot or cold.

Tuna-Stuffed Squash

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2013-04-28 13.09.05I had a butternut squash and when I went to cook it, I realized I didn’t have any coconut milk to make Butternut Squash Soup with. So I had to improvise. I decided to bake it and I was trying to figure out what to eat with it. Voila! This is a new invention.

  • 1  Butternut Squash2013-04-28 12.44.02
  • coconut oil
  • 1 can tuna
  • 1 1/2 T. Catalina Dressing
  • 1/4 c. chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 t. poppy seed
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cut the squash in two and remove seeds. Rub lightly with coconut oil.
  3. Bake for 1 hour.
  4. Mix tuna, Catalina dressing, onion, garlic and poppy seed in a bowl.
  5. Spoon into squash.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes more.
  7. Enjoy.

Eggplant Parmesan

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2013-04-15 17.29.00As we know, I love fried eggplant. But obviously, I’m not going to eat an entire eggplant in one meal (unless it is the meal). So, I fried it all and saved the leftovers for Eggplant Parmesan. I even invited a friend for dinner and she loved it.

Ingredients

  • About 1/2 an eggplant, fried in slices (see my recipe for Fried Eggplant.)

    2013-04-15 16.12.30

    This is the first layer with provolone. Don’t worry about how it looks at this stage – go for coverage. It will be covered and melted and no one will be the wiser.

  • Mozarella Cheese
  • Provolone Cheese (optional)
  • Marinara Sauce of your choice (I used Bertolli Vodka Sauce – we can argue whether or not it is GF later, I can argue both ways)
  • Italian Seasoning
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Put a layer of eggplant in a baking dish. Add cheese. This is where I used the provolone, but you can opt to use the mozzarella if you like.
  3. Add another layer of eggplant. If this is your final layer (as it was mine) then add the Bertolli Vodka Sauce and then mozzarella cheese.
  4. Sprinkle with Italian Seasoning.
  5. Bake for  35 minutes at 350.
This is before baking

This is before baking

Fried Eggplant

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2013-04-14 16.55.44Alright this is one of my guilty pleasures. I love fried food. I love eggplant. My mom use to make this when I was a child on special occasions. Viola! I love it.

  • Eggplant2013-04-14 16.36.37
  • Flour (I used my GF Flour Mix #1)
  • Milk (I used coconut milk)
  • Oil
  1. Heat the oil until its hot (350 if you’re using an electric fryer)
  2. Slice the eggplant in circles.
  3. Dip the eggplant in the milk and then the flour
  4. Deep fry 4-5 minutes on each side.

Gluten Free Grilled Sandwiches

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2013-04-12 11.09.46I know, this is probably too elementary, but just in case, I thought I’d share what I’ve been doing. It’s also close to a Panini, which is something that I have missed. And yes, I used meat (mea culpa). Sometimes you just want the meat.

  1. On a griddle (or in a pan) fry the meat.
  2. Butter both sides of the bread and brown on one side.
  3. When one side is browned turn the bread and add cheese.
  4. Add the meat to one side of the bread.
  5. When the cheese is melted put the piece with just cheese on the piece with the meat, carefully lining up the bread.

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Saving Money and Calories

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French Laundry Sashimi from Meiji

French Laundry Sashimi from Meiji

I don’t know about you, but I, like many, many people in America struggle with too many calories and too much eating out (which translates into too much wasted spending). Well, over the last couple of years, since my eating out has grown, the quality of food has declined – or maybe my palate has become pickier. Whatever the case, I have been beating myself up for eating out because of the calories and the money. I imagine many of you are doing the same thing too. I mean, all too often, after I eat, I realize that my taste buds weren’t really satisfied and I feel cheated by myself.

2 rolls from Meiji

2 rolls from Meiji

I’ve discovered that very few restaurants are worth the money.  A few are. For example, Meiji in Fayetteville, Arkansas is one of the best sushi restaurants ever. Keep in mind, sushi is my favorite food and I eat it everywhere. Thai Diner in Fayetteville, Arkansas has some of the best Thai food (their sushi is only “good” though). Saii in Oklahoma City is the best in the city and is good. Legal Seafoods is worthwhile. Las Culebrinos in Coral Gables, Florida, Cali Cafe in Doral, Florida (which has gone out of business), and the American Grill at L’Enfant Plaze [Hotel] in Washington, D.C. are just a few of the really good ones. There’s a few more, but these stand out in my mind over all the other meals I’ve ever had.

Saii in OKC

Saii in OKC

So how do I spend and eat less? I don’t know how many meals I’ve eaten and afterwards thought “thatwas half a pedi.” But I know I am going to spend it. So I’ve come up with a new idea. If I put in mysavings account the money I would spend on eating out and use it for something I really want, then maybe, I’ll eat out less. For example, today is dollar tacos at Hugo’s Taquiza. Instead of going to Hugo’s, I’m transferring $3.25 to my savings account. So I’m trying. I don’t know if it will work, but I know that when I was teaching smoking cessation it is something that works for smoking. Smoking is an addiction, overeating is an addiction, let’s try it. So far, my bank account is a wee bit bigger and I’m back to losing weight. Let’s just see how it goes.

(BTW can you see a pattern in what my favorite food is? Yes, fish. I love fish).

Salmon at L'Enfant Plaza in DC

Salmon at L’Enfant Plaza in DC

Chocolate Rum Sheet Cake (Vegan) with Cream Cheese Whipped Frosting (Vegetarian)

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2013-04-07 17.11.29Admittedly, this is just doubling my recipe for Chocolate Rum Cake (Vegan) and I was doubling it. However, cooking time had to be increased, along with I invented a new icing (which is yum). So I decided for those of you who want a larger cake, here it is.

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Combine all ingredients except for the rum.  You can modify the sugars if you want. This is what I used by default, I didn’t have enough white sugar or coconut sugar to do it any other way.
  3. Mix the dough with a mixer until it is thoroughly mixed. It will be almost like a bread batter thickness – it’s definitely too thick for a cake, but I want it thick so that when I let it cool and pour the rum on it it will absorb. Spread in an 10×13 cake pan.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes. Set a timer and do not look at it.
  5. Let cool. I tend to be in a hurry and stick it in the freezer for 30 minutes or so. The cake has to be cool or the alcohol will evaporate.
  6. Poke holes in the cake with a toothpick. Pull the cake away from the sides to allow the rum to soften the corners.
  7. Pour rum over cake.
  8. Let sit overnight. Ice with Cream Cheese Whipped Frosting.

Icing

Put mixing bowls and mixing attachments in freezer for at least 15 minutes.

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Whip until it is whipped and smooth. Ice cake.