Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Too busy to post and cook, so here's a Meatless Wednesday!

I’ve been quite busy lately. So much so that I rarely post on my other blog anymore, but I am doing my best to keep it up here. I’ve been busy for a number of reasons.

1.    We’re moving this weekend, so that’s a big project for obvious reasons.
2.    Father’s Day weekend was pretty full with a pleasant church ceremony, brunch with my dad, and spending time with Lily’s daddy of course
3.    Working from home obviously takes up a nice chunk. I had a fun project to work on last week that proved to be fruitful despite the long hours put into it
4.    My sister is due to give birth any day now, so that’s been mental busy-ness
5.    My grandmother is in town this week
6.    It’s finally officially summer!!!!

Yes, lots going on. Planning and packing and working and mommying and all that stuff that falls in between. Whew! So, yeah, cooking’s been kept simple and to a minimum when possible. We’ve been eating a lot of perishables that are readily available due to the move and trying to clear out the freezer. So, what do you get when you decide to use fresh and frozen veggies along with mixed dairy? CREAMY CURRY!!!! (yes, another curry recipe! I just love my curries!).

So, if you didn’t have a Meatless Monday, have a Meatless Wednesday instead and I’ll also post a second recipe this week for the teriyaki I’ve got in the slow cooker right now. Then, since it’s summer and all, I’ll try to fire up the bbq and get some tasty grilling recipes here, since I do know quite a few.

Creamy Curried Veggies over Rice

2 cups jasmine rice
1 cup of each (fresh or frozen): corn kernels, chopped carrots, peas
1 cup milk
1 tbsp flour
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp curry powder
2 tbsp shredded coconut
¼ tsp salt

Cook the rice in a large pot or rice cooker. While that’s cooking, steam the veggies for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the butter and flour together, stirring to avoid lumps. Then mix the curry and salt in stirring until well blended. Pour in the milk and bring to a boil, stirring, for about 1 minute. Bring back down to a low simmer and stir until smooth. Add the coconut and cook for about 2 minutes more. This will add a light sweetness to the sauce, but you can omit if you prefer it to be extra spicy. Simmer and stir until at an appropriate taste and consistency. Feel free to add a little water if it’s too thick or more coconut or curry depending on how sweet or spicy you want it to be. Spoon the vegetables over rice on a shallow plate then add a few scoops of sauce over it. Makes 4-6 servings.

I used edamame instead of peas here because that's what I had, but I'd recommend peas. Any vegetables you have on hand that go with sweet and spicy, like potatoes and peppers, will work with this

You can also use coconut milk in place of milk if you want; that’s what I probably would’ve done if I’d had some on hand, but like I said, I was just using what I had readily available.

Lily also liked this style of curry since it was so buttery and creamy. She especially loved it on the carrots. For baby you can puree any of the veggies you have on hand and blend with rice cereal and/or milk. For tots:

2-3 tbsp mixed steamed veggies
2-3 tbsp rice
1 dollop of creamy curry sauce on top

Mix it all up and let your toddler feed themself. If baby objects to the curry, just add some butter for flavor or leave it as it is. I always use salt-free organic butter for Lily.

One of Lily’s current favorite vegetables is the carrot. She seems to be going through an unfortunate phase (yet again) of not wanting to eat her veggies unless they are covered in sauce or cheese. Sometimes not even then! But, carrots she will not object. This is most likely due to the fact that they are sweeter than most vegetables since Lily does not object to any fruit whatsoever. Her new favorite in that department is watermelon!

I also want to mention that today Lily used a spoon all by herself for the first time! She treated herself to some peaches and yogurt…yum! SO proud of my little angel!

Happy summer, everyone!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Last Minute Meal for Meatless Mondays

Hello everyone! I know I am posting this last minute, and because of that I decided to stick with the last minute theme and provide you with a super simple, cheap and healthy recipe for the entire family, picky eaters and all!

Now, some of you may be familiar with this recipe since it's not an original of mine and most people who like to cook know of it. I felt compelled to share it with you for reasons I stated already, and also because MY HUSBAND actually made this for Lily and me yesterday for lunch. Can you believe it? For those of you who know Paul, you will know what I mean. As for everyone else, Paul rarely cooks anything that isn't ready to heat right out of the box, so I was pleasantly surprised when out of the blue he told me he wanted to make these. He even went to the store and got the ingredients for it himself! And he made them really well!

So, without further ado, I present to you a quick an easy Mini Pizzas recipe!

Mini Pizzas

I didn't think to photograph the finished product myself, so this image is courtesy of jspatchwork via
1 package of 6 English muffins
1/2 cup tomato sauce, homemade or store bought
1/2 cup shredded mozzerella cheese
Any of the following additional toppings, or whatever you like: olives, peppers, fresh tomato, fresh basil, eggplant, onions, broccoli, mushrooms, etc.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread each English muffin with 1-2 spoon fulls of tomato sauce. Top with shredded cheese and topping of your choice. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and muffin looks crispy around the edges. Top with a little oregano and/or basil.

And voila! Mini pizzas! I only offered meatless ingredient suggestions here, but you can obviously top with whatever you want, such as chicken, pepperoni, know what to do :) Lily just gobbled this up and I did too, also relishing in my break from preparing lunch.

For baby 6 months+:

1 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tbsp shredded mozzerella
1/2 English muffin

Blend tomato sauce and cheese together either manually or in blender. Crumble muffin into cheesy sauce mix and spoon-feed to baby. Makes an Italian-style bread pudding! Alternately, mix into cold, cooked small-shaped pasta then spoon-feed to baby.

Make it even healthier by:
  • using whole wheat English Muffins
  • using fresh tomatoes only instead of sauce
  • use low-fat cheese
 Enjoy this simple recipe that ANYONE can make!!!

Love you, Paul!!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

More reasons to love coconut

My sister came to visit me shortly after Lily was born with the intention of trying out a coconut shrimp recipe she’d came across recently. My sister has the same passion for cooking and baking that I do, although she normally chooses to go with the more flavorful and fatty recipes rather than the healthier ones I choose. When we made the shrimp together, she wanted to deep-fry them, and even though I rarely ever fry anything (unless you count sautéing), I didn’t protest and figured I’d treat myself to a little deep-fried naughtiness for once. Frying is also a lot faster than baking anyway, so we got to enjoy our food sooner.

They definitely came out being quite yummy, although I felt kind of gross afterwards from all the oil I consumed. We used canola oil that time and the shredded coconut had sugar added to it. We also didn’t have any dipping sauce as we were a little short on time when we actually got around to cooking the shrimp (we’d spent so much time shopping and talking prior to actually executing our original plans).

I enjoyed the recipe so much, I decided to make it myself later for my husband and I, but this time I baked them instead and they came out tasting just as good if not better than when they were fried. I also used smaller shrimp, thus dubbing them “Coconut Popcorn Shrimp” and although we didn’t have the delicious mango dipping sauce (see recipe below), we used cocktail sauce and that worked too. Recipes for both are below, but this time I suggested using coconut oil instead of canola, although either one is fine.

Coconut Popcorn Shrimp


1 lb shrimp, peeled and de-veined
½ cup flour
½ cup breadcrumbs
½ cup shredded coconut
1 egg beaten
1 tsp coconut oil

Note: you may need to add a little more of each coating ingredient as you go, so keep extras handy

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Have 2 cookie sheets greased with the coconut oil ready to place shrimp onto. Mix the breadcrumbs and coconut together. Put the breadcrumb and coconut mixture, egg, and flour each into separate dishes ideal for dipping the shrimp into. Dip each shrimp first into the flour, then the egg, then lastly into the breadcrumbs and coconut, and then place gently onto cookie sheets. Place into oven on center rack and bake 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy-looking. Serve with mango sauce for dipping.

Served with brown rice with edamame


This recipe requires all of the same amount of ingredients for baking, only you’ll need enough coconut oil so that there is about 1-2 inches of oil in the pan or wok you use for frying. Heat the oil to 350 degrees, then use the same steps you would use for coating the shrimp as you would in the baking recipe, and place each shrimp gently into the frying pan. Cook for about 2 minutes each side, or until golden brown and crispy-looking, then place on dishes or a large platted lined with paper towels to soak up the excess oil. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes then serve with mango sauce for dipping.

Each recipe variation makes 4-6 servings.

Mango Sauce

1 mango, peeled and diced
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 lime, juiced
½ tsp red pepper flake
½ tsp ginger powder or 1 tsp fresh chopped ginger

Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth with some pulp still intact.

Lily is not really into shrimp yet, so I made her a small piece of tilapia using the breadcrumbs and coconut mixture alongside the shrimp topped with some of the mango sauce. I also gave her a couple slices of fresh mango.

For baby (age 6 months+):

2 tbsp pureed mango
1 tbsp plain yogurt

Mix together and serve. Delish!!

Coconut oil is recently gaining popularity for cooking with. Also being a widely used ingredient in body products, coconut oil is a great replacement for just about any cooking oil you normally use. It is full of healthy fatty acids and vitamins E and K, as well as iron and amino acids. It’s also good for the heart, boosts immunity, and also has anti-viral, -fungal, and –bacterial properties.

Besides being good for your body, coconut oil also has a high heating threshold, which means it’s less likely to burn and become carcinogenic (do not heat higher than 350 to prevent carcinogens). I do want to point out that although coconut oil clearly has many health benefits, that does not mean it makes it ok to start deep frying everything all the time just because you’re using a healthier oil. Frying food makes it fattier no matter what oil you use, and eating burned oil will increase cancer risks no matter which oil you use. Frying foods should always be kept to a minimum to maintain a healthy diet.

You may now be wondering, but does coconut oil make everything taste coconutty? The answer is no. Coconut oil has a very delicate taste, one that is almost non-existent. That’s why it is ideal for recipes that require oil that doesn’t affect the flavor of what you’re cooking. Of course I wouldn’t recommend using coconut oil in place of olive oil for certain Italian dishes, or using it in place of peanut oil for certain Asian dishes, but I think it works particularly well with chicken, fish, and vegetables. It also isn’t too expensive, costing about the same as a good bottle of olive oil. It typically comes packaged in a jar in solid form, but it melts very quickly.

Like I said before, coconut oil is used in body products and can be applied directly onto lips and skin for an all-natural moisturizer. Only use if you have dry skin, it’s a bit too greasy for oily skin. Smells and feels great! I recently started using it for a variety of things, and I think once you try it, you just might do the same.
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