Saturday, September 24, 2016

Brazilian Fish "Stew"

Today, truly felt like fall-- 44 degrees upon awakening. Flannel sheets now on the bed. Autumn Gold Festival in Ellsworth. It was apropos to make a nice, hearty dinner. My microbiome thanks me also. :)
I've made this dish before but today I changed things up a bit because I didn't have all the ingredients teaspooncalled for in the original recipe. Now you know why I started this blog!

Brazilian Fish "Stew" (over Arborio Rice)

2 Servings

1 pound cod (or you can use any firm white fish, but us Mainers love our cod!)
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons "21 Seasoning Salute" (Trader Joe's)
1/2 cup onion
1 teaspoon paprika
1 zucchini (large chunks)- make 1/3" slices and quarter those
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 cup diced tomato
1/2 cup coconut milk (in a can, unsweetened); plus another 1/2 cup coconut milk for rice.
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (more or less)
1/2 cup basil (you can use cilantro, but I didn't have any!)
1 cup Arborio rice
Basil ((about 4-6 leaves)

1. Place fish (whole) in a ziploc bag with lime juice, garlic, and 21 Seasoning Salute. Marinate ~15-30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, prepare rice. I used 1.5 cups water plus 1/2 cup coconut milk. Bring to boil. Add 1 cup rice. Cook on low for about 20 minutes. This rice is sooooooo creamy!!!!
3. Saute in a cast iron pan (or other good pan) the onion, paprika and zucchini in coconut oil on medium-low for 5 minutes. Add tomato and fish. Cook about 5 minutes. The fish will start to become opaque.
4. Add coconut milk and hot sauce. Simmer about 10 minutes.
5. Taste for seasoning-- feel free to make hotter.
6. Plate: Place about 3/4 cup rice on plates (I preheated them in the microwave for 1.5 minutes). I like my food on warm plates. :)
7. Spoon fish and onion/zucchini mixture over rice. Spoon sauce over. Add basil. I cut the basil into slivers and artistically (not) placed it on the fish/onion/zucchini mixture.
8. Enjoy!!  This dish only takes ~40-45 minutes or so to prepare and it is soooooo yummy!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sunday mornings are better with (gluten free) blueberry pancakes

Good morning and happy Easter, happy Spring, happy Everything!

I really am going to try to be better at blogging (i.e., more than once a year) as I have so many new recipes to share. My husband and I have been in the Microbiome Diet for about 8 weeks and we feel great. So much so, it is now our food plan, not a diet per se. More on that in another blog.

I do get a hankering for bread, brownies or pancakes every now and again. I especially like pancakes while enjoying the Sunday Morning show. I am experimenting with gluten free options and I tried this recipe today. I was quite pleased!

I wish I had taken photos along the way, but I didn't think about blogging until now. Honestly, the recipe is so easy that you don't need pics. 😉
Try them out and let me know how you like them!
Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes
(Makes about 12 4" pancakes)

  • 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur brand)
  • ¼ cup gluten free oatmeal (I used Red Mill)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon roasted flaxseed (optional, I used Trader Joe's)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons REAL maple syrup (or Lakanto Monkfruit sweetner or honey.)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla f
  • ¼ cup unsweetened apple butter (I happened to have some but you can also use unsweetened applesauce. You could even add Greek yogurt)
  • 1 cup coconut milk (I used Silk brand; or you can use almond or cashew milk)
  • 1/2 banana mashed with a fork
  • Maine Blueberries (about 1/2 cup, or to your liking. If you aren't lucky enough to have Maine bloobs, you can add any others)
  1. Preheat a griddle pan over medium heat on the stovetop.
  2. Preheat oven to 150 -200 (just to keep the plates and pancakes warm)
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, oatmeal, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and flaxseed.
  4. Add the maple syrup, vanilla, apple butter,  banana and milk. Whisk about 15 seconds just to get the large lumps combined. Gently stir in blueberries. 
  5. Spray griddle with canola oil or grease with a little coconut oil. Add about ¼ cup of the batter for each pancake.
  6. Cook for about 2 minutes ( or until you start to see a few bubbles) and flip. Cook for another 1 - 2 minutes.
  7. Remove from the griddle, and keep warm or serve up directly on your preheated plates!

Top with a little organic butter, a few more blueberries and a little more real Maple syrup. (Promise me you will away from the other stuff that is full of high fructose corn syrup).


Friday, February 1, 2013

Scrumptious Shrimp and Vegetable Stir Fry

Happy Friday and Happy Ground Hog's Eve everyone!

Where did the week go? In fact, where did the entire month of January go? Tomorrow will be Punxsutawney Phil's 127th prognostication! What's your prediction? 6 more weeks of winter or will spring come early? I did a little research and found that Punxsutawney Phil has had only a 39% accuracy rate regarding his early spring/late winter forecasts. Hmmmm. I am thinking that I could do better than him just by predicting the opposite of what he predicts. Here in Maine, the little bit of snow (2 feet) that we got after Christmas has all melted, and tomorrow is supposed to be mostly cloudy, however, I'm still banking on 6 more weeks of winter. I really want to use my new cross-country skis (that I got last year for Christmas!)

OK, now on to why you really logged in to read my blog. Tonight's dinner-- Scrumptious Shrimp and Vegetable Stir Fry-- was sooooo simple and sooooo yummy. I really did change up the recipe quite a bit. First, I don't have a wok so the "stir-fry" happened in my Lodge cast iron pan. Second, I have lots of vegetables to eat before I go on travel next week.... so they all got incorporated into this dish. Third, you know me... I never follow a recipe exactly!

These are the INGREDIENTS

  • Large Shrimp (16-20/lb) – 1 lb.
  • Garlic cloves, minced – 2 or 3 (I love garlic!)
  • Onion, chopped – 1  (I used Pearl onions because I only had 1 yellow onion that I am reserving for my Super Bowl chili recipe!).
  • Broccoli, chopped – 1 cup
  • Zucchini- sliced, about 1/4 inch thick - 1
  • Mushrooms, sliced – 1/2 cup. –Shitake or button or whatever your favorite mushrooms are or happen to have on hand
  • Corn starch – 2 Tbs.
  • Soy sauce – 2 tbs. – I used Mitsukan Ponzu Citrus-Seasoned Soy Sauce (no MSG)- from Reny's!
  • Rice vinegar – 1 tsp.
  • Brown sugar – ½ Tbs. (you can also use honey or maple syrup- the real stuff, of course)
  • Vegetable stock – ½ cup (of course you can use chicken stock or OJ or white wine or even water)
  • Canola or Grapeseed oil – 2 Tbs.(I used Canola. Someday, I will get some Grapeseed oil to have on hand)
  • Lemon juice – 1 Tbs.(Please try to use the real stuff; not the "RealLemon" that is "lemon juice from concentrate, sodium benzoate, and other ingredients used as preservatives" - really?) 
  • Dash Red Pepper flakes


  1. Remove shells from shrimp, leaving tail on. (You can leave the entire shell on, but know that it will be messier when you start eating). 
  2. Place shrimp in Ziploc bag and toss with 2 Tbs. of corn starch and Pepper (I use Luce’s Maple Garlicky Pepper)
  3. Combine  soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, 2 tsp. corn starch, and vegetable stock
  4. Heat a cast iron pan over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. Add 1 Tbs. oil and heat for 30 seconds more. Add shrimp and sauté for 2 minutes, until outside is golden. You are not cooking them all the way; just giving them a golden coating. 
  5. Transfer shrimp to bowl and set aside. 
  6. Add onions and sauté for 1-2 minutes until softened.
  7. Add broccoli and zucchini. Stir-fry for ~2 minutes; add sliced shitake mushrooms
  8. Add shrimp back to the pan. Create a space in the middle by pushing the shrimp/vegetables toward the outer edges of the pan. Whisk sauce briefly to stir up the settled corn starch, and add sauce to center of pan. Cook for about 30 seconds. Coat all of the ingredients with the sauce by gently stirring.
  9. Remove from heat and add lemon juice (the real stuff!) and a dash of red pepper flakes. Bam!

Enjoy this dish "as is" or feel free to serve over rice or pasta (I ate this meal “as is” because I’m trying to cut back on my daily carb intake).  Feel free to change it up a bit because this is definitely a recipe that you need not follow exactly..... if fact, I was just thinking that if you have some tortilla shells, you could make these into tacos!

Enjoy. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Bean Good Fudgey Brownies

One of my New Year's resolutions was to become a better blogger. "Better" means not waiting a year between posts! "Better" means working fewer hours so I have more time for blogging.  "Better" means sharing the many fun recipes that I have been trying in the hope that I will inspire others to try these dishes. 

With that intro.... I'd like to share an interesting dessert that I made today. This one is in keeping with my other New Year's resolution, which is to eat healthier (bet you never heard that one before, huh?)  As a chocoholic, I am always looking for ways to lessen the carbs, reduce the sugar and/or fat in desserts. This recipe does that and also packs a protein punch; plus, they are gluten free.

My "Bean Good Fudgey Brownies" have a "secret" ingredient in them. I guess as soon as you read the first ingredient in the recipe, the secret will be out!  Now, when you make these for your family, friends, and co-workers, you can keep the ingredient a secret or see if they can guess what it is. My husband just tasted them and said, "Mmmmm, I like them!" (I think I'll keep the ingredient a secret).

Bean Good Fudgey Brownies (Makes 16)


  • 1 can (16 oz) Black Beans (you can also use Garbanzo Beans or Navy Beans)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (you can also use agave nectar or honey)
  • 3 Tbsp natural peanut butter
  • ¼ cup  light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup oat bran 
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 4 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 ripe banana
  • ¼ cup Egg Beaters (or 1 egg)
  • ¼ cup Chocolate Chips or Carob Chips (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350oF. Lightly coat 8×8 pan with PAM® cooking spray.
  2. Rinse beans in water and drain. 
  3. Blend garbanzo beans, maple syrup, and peanut butter in a food processor until smooth. 
  4. Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth. 
  5. Stir in ¼ cup chocolate or carob chips (if using). 
  6. Spread batter in pan and bake for 25-27 minutes. 
  7. Cool slightly and then cut into squares. 
Enjoy these as is or sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar, drizzle with chocolate sauce and/or top with a scoop of ice cream! Let me know how you like them and remember, never follow a recipe exactly...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pink Himalayan Salt Block-Grilled Top Sirloin Steak and Scrumptious Crab Cakes

Sorry about the brief hiatus. Here I promised you my deeeelish recipe for cooking on a Himalayan salt block, and I left you hanging....I had a bit of unexpected travel and now I am back. So, as a token of my appreciation for your coming back to my blog, I am giving you a two-fer:  One recipe for Salt Block-Grilled Top Sirloin Steak and one recipe for  Scrumptious Crab Cakes. You know what? You can even cook these together for an awesome romantic Valentine's Dinner. Just sayin'.....

Salt Block-Grilled Top Sirloin Steak
Serves 2
If you are not familiar with a Himalayan Salt Block, I suggest spending a few minutes perusing this site as they explain it better than I, and I the salt block that I own came from Salt Works (thanks kids!!!!).  
This block is HOT!!!!! 
The biggest tip I can offer is that you want the meat as dry as possible -- so that you "sear" the steak rather than "steam" it (Steaming will result in a very salty, unpleasant taste.)

2 Top Sirloin Steaks (or a beef fillet or strip)
1 (8 x 8 x 2 inch) Himalayan Pink Salt block

  1. Place the Himalayan salt block on a broiling pan and place it onto the middle rack of your oven. Heat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Meanwhile, dry the meat by dabbing paper towels to soak up any moisture, meat blood, etc. Sprinkle the meat with pepper. (Use no salt as the salt block will impart enough salt!!). Set aside while salt block heats.
  3. Heat the  Himalayan  salt block for about 30 minutes. Prepare any other side dishes (e.g., salad, rice) because when the salt block comes out of the oven, you will be ready to cook the beef! I made onion soup so we could eat it while the steak was cooking.
  4. Remove the salt block from the oven and transfer it to a trivet.  
  5. Place your meat on the hot salt block. Sear meat on both sides for about 3 minutes per side (I like my steak medium rare); go for 5 minutes on one side and 3 on the other, if you like it no longer pink.
  6. Remove and serve the meat.
  7. Once the salt block cools completely (after about 2 hours!), rinse it quickly and scrape off any meat residue (I like to use the Pampered Chef scrapers). Dry overnight between two paper towels.

French Onion Soup that we ate while the steak was cooking.
Toasted English Muffins work great if you don't have a baguette! 
Scrumptious Crab Cakes

Serves 2 (with 2 crab cakes for leftovers!)

  • 1 pound lump crab meat
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 2 teaspoons green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay™ seafood seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon low fat mayonnaise or low fat sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons of frozen corn (I like Trader Joe's Roasted Corn)
  • Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with foil (makes for easy cleanup!).
  2. Combine crab meat, parsley, green onion, mustard powder, pepper, and seafood seasoning,  mayonnaise, corn, Worcestershire, and egg. Stir together with fork to blend all ingredients. Do not over mix.
  3. Place about 2 Tablespoons bread crumbs in palm of left hand. Add 1/2 cup crab mixture to left palm. sprinkle about 2 more Tablespoons on top and shape mixture into a crab cake using right palm. You want just enough breadcrumbs to help hold the shape.
  4. Repeat for rest of crab meat. This should give you 4 crab cakes. Place onto plate. 
  5. Heat oil and butter in electric skillet to 320 degrees F.
  6. Add crab cakes and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned.
  7. Flip using two spatulas. Cook crab cakes for about 3 minutes on other side.
  8. Transfer to cookie sheet.
  9. Finish baking crab cakes in preheated oven for 15 minutes, until nicely browned.

Next recipe: 3 Mustard Chicken

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Not Really Leftover Beef Stir-Fry with Bell Peppers

Since my husband and I moved to Maine in July 2011and "officially' became "empty-nesters" (except I guess we flew the coop!), I have become quite adept at scaling back recipes to serve two (or maybe 3-4 if I wanted leftovers). For years, I scaled recipes "up" to feed our family of five plus have enough for friends, in-laws, parents, etc. who so often joined us for dinner. Leftovers seem to have such a negative connotation; there are certainly two camps - those who love them and those who toss them. Just look at this blog. I will admit that I fall in the camp of loving leftovers, however..... I often will create a new recipe to make use of them (hmmm.... so does that still make them leftovers or makeovers?) 
So, where am I going with this? Well, tonight's recipe actually was prepared using leftover (rare) Eye of Round. You can only buy a roast so small.... Recognizing that not everyone has a half roast in their fridge, you can also make this dish using top sirloin. The other awesome tidbit to share is that this dish was on the table in 20 minutes (and that was due to the cooking time of the rice!)

Serves 4 (Cut in half if you abhor leftovers!)


  •          1 pound top sirloin** (about 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick)
  •          Freshly ground black pepper
  •          1 large garlic clove, minced
  •          Olive oil
  •          1 large green bell pepper, sliced into 1/4-inch strips (feel free to also use red and/or yellow peppers)
  •          1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  •          1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce


  1. Season the beef with pepper and rub minced garlic over them, both sides. Place the steaks between two sheets of plastic wrap. With a meat pounder, pound the steaks to a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut them across the grain in 1/2-inch wide strips. 
**NOTE: I actually used leftover Eye of Round Roast that I had cooked. The meat was still rare so I was not concerned with it becoming overcooked. I sliced the meat into 1/4-inch slabs, and sliced those again into 1/4-inch strips. This is a great use of leftover roast beef!

2. Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the sliced onions and bell peppers, and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. (This is just long enough to make them tender but not soggy). Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and cover with aluminum foil or a lid to keep warm.

3. Heat an additional 1 Tablespoon of oil in the skillet on medium high heat, for 1 minute. Add the strips of beef and let them brown on one side for 1 minute, then use a spatula to stir them and brown the other side. Cook for another minute (the meat will be medium rare, so keep cooking if you like your beef more well done). Add back the vegetables and add the Worcestershire sauce. Cook for another minute, stirring with a spatula. Serve with steamed rice. (I used Jasmine.) Enjoy!
Tomorrow night: What's cooking? Join me for a meal that I'll be be cooking on my Himalayan salt block. It's fun, unique, hot, and deeee-lish!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Creamy Shrimp Linguine

I'm so excited! This is Day 2 of my new blog. For those just joining, the theme is "never follow a recipe exactly"  because I never do and that is what makes cooking fun!  As I said yesterday in my introductory blog, I hope that the recipes I share over time become part of your repertoire, but that you also feel empowered to change something to make it your recipe. 
Tonight's dish-- Creamy Shrimp Linguine -- is a dish that I pulled together quickly based on what was in the fridge, freezer and pantry. There are a few things I always have on hand: pasta (I AM Italian after all!), olive oil, cheese (of some sort), chicken broth, shrimp and wine. If I had a can of clams or scallops, I probably would have added those too (in step 7). On the EVOO.... we discovered a WONDERFUL artisan olive oil and vinegar store in Bar Harbor. They are open year round and you can order online. I have many recipes that I'll be sharing in which you will see a link to Fiore, but feel free to use your own favorite EVOO.  Sometime, treat yourself to one of theirs. You won't regret it. The one featured here is the Tuscan Herb.

The other thing I should mention about my recipes is that I typically try to use fat-free or low fat whenever I can. My waistline thanks me as does my heart. Finally, I rarely if ever add salt to my recipes. You can always add to your own taste, but I find that the herbs and  other flavors more than compensate for the NaCl, which most of us do not need.
I hope you enjoy it. I look forward to hearing from you.
-- JoAnne

Makes 4 servings.

6 ounces linguine
1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth
1/2 cup low-fat half-and-half
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons Fiore Herbs de Provence (or your favorite EVOO) plus ~ 1 Tablespoon for a "toss".
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
28 large shrimp
1/2 teaspoon Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
12 oz. bag of Frozen Vegetables (Broccoli, Yellow Squash, Green Beans, Carrots, Onion, Red Pepper)
1/4 cup sweet vermouth (you can also use a white wine like Riesling)
1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley
  1. Bring pasta water to boil in large pot. Cover and reduce heat so water stays at a simmer. 
  2. Toss shrimp in Trader Joe's Seasoning Salute** and Cayenne.
  3. Blend chicken broth, half-and-half, and cornstarch in small bowl.
  4. Increase pasta water to a boil and cook pasta according for about 9 minutes. When 3 minutes are left, add frozen vegetables. Bring back to a boil for 2 minutes. Drain pasta/vegetable mixture, pour back into hot pan, toss pasta with a splash (~ 1 tablespoon) of olive oil, and set-aside.
  5. Heat oil in cast iron skillet on medium high.
  6. Saute onion and garlic for about 2 minutes.
  7. Stir in shrimp.
  8. Stir in broth mixture (from Step 3) and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes to allow mixture to thicken.
  9. Pre-warm plates (An awesome touch.I like to microwave a stack of 2 for for about 1 minute but you can also place them in a warm oven)  
  10. Serve pasta topped with shrimp in sauce. Sprinkle with cheese and fresh chopped parsley.

** If you don’t have this spice, mix together your own concoction of all (or some) of the following spices: Black Pepper, Celery Seed, Cayenne Pepper, Parsley, Basil, Marjoram, Bay Leaf, dried onion, Oregano, Thyme, Savory, Rosemary, Cumin, Dry Mustard, Coriander, Garlic, Orange Zest, Tomato Granules, Lemon Zest. The “21st ingredient is citric acid which you can leave out!