Recently, Natalia over at Traveling Hummingbirds wrote a post about a plate of delicious ribs she had while in Amsterdam. Being from the south, and married to a rib connoisseur, AND having mastered the art of making fall off the bone, fork tender, melt in your mouth ribs myself (I shared the recipe here way back in 2013), I had to know more, and she told me they were corned and smoked. Corned? Ribs?
I’d heard of corned beef, but this was new, and when I tried to find a recipe online, there was very little info about it. Naturally, I was intrigued. And I couldn’t help but feel challenged. So, even though I was positive I was going to ruin a perfectly good rack of ribs winging a corned rib recipe, I gave it a try anyways – and was delighted to discover I was wrong!
I’m not going to lie – there were MANY moments during this process that I thought we’d be ordering takeout at the eleventh hour. I didn’t even take pictures to document the preparation. The ribs weren’t very pretty. And unlike when I usually cook ribs, the smell didn’t make my mouth water. But the meat was succulent and delicious, which is all that matters!
Because most of the information I could find about brining to make corned meat was for briskets, and ribs are much thinner, I only brined the ribs for 48 hours.
1 rack of pork ribs
salt for brining (I used Morton’s coarse grain salt)
plastic Ziploc bags
Cut the slab of ribs into 2-4 pieces (I made 3). Place each piece in a separate plastic bag. (Tip: Flip the ends of the bag over to the outside to prevent spreading raw meat germs.)
Mix your brining solution. I used about 1/8 cup salt for every 2 cups of water.
Place enough brining solution in each bag to submerge the meat and seal tightly.
Put your Ziploc bags inside another plastic bag (like a grocery bag) to guard against disaster and refrigerate.
Allow the meat to soak for 48 hours.
Rinse ribs under cold water, then place in a large pot, bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 hours.
And that’s it! We ate the entire rack that night, which we’ve never done before! If you try it, please let me know if you like it!
When most people think of air fryers, they think they’re frying the food they put in them. But if you look at the broad range of food you can cook – even bake – in them, you’ll see that they can also be used as a substitute oven. Not a huge deal considering that most people use them in their homes, but in Florida, where the heat an oven puts out can make the indoor temperature quite unpleasant, or even in an RV or travel trailer when camping, using your air fryer as an oven can be a great option.
When we have lamb chops, we often grill them, but when it’s pouring down rain, an air fryer comes in a close second. This recipe is quick and easy – who can argue with that?!?!
lamb chops, 1″ thick
Make a paste by mixing olive oil, freshly crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Placing your lamb chops on a piece of wax paper, coat both sides thoroughly with your mixture and allow to rest while you bring them to room temperature, about an hour.
Spray the inside of your air fryer with oil. Preheat air fryer to 390 degrees for a few minutes. Place lamb chops inside the air fryer bed, spacing so they don’t overlap. Cook for 3 minutes. Flip. Cook for another 3 minutes. Let sit in air fryer for 5 minutes, then serve. This recipe will cook your lamb chops to the medium side of medium rare. For an overcrowded basket, thicker or thinner chops, or to cook to a different temperature, adjust time accordingly.
And that’s it! If you try it, please let me know if you like it!
This week I want to share a new product that I just discovered that I’m really excited about. This isn’t an affiliate post, I’m not making anything off this, but if you’re like me and you can’t have normal bread, you know what a struggle lunches can be. And even though I was never big on sandwiches, there’s no denying their convenience factor.
So imagine my excitement when I discovered a store bought bread that doesn’t contain yeast or sugar!
The brand is Base Culture. Their ‘Original Keto’ bread is gluten, grain, dairy, yeast, sugar and preservative free! It’s not low calorie, and it isn’t as yummy as those big fat yeast rolls I remember from my youth, but toast it and slather it with fresh avocado and I’m one happy Foodie!!!
Base Culture’s ‘Soft Sandwich’ bread is higher in calorie (160 a slice versus 110) and does have some sugar – not added, but from the natural ingredients they use like honey. But variety is the spice of life and it’s nice to have choices! Taste wise, it’s also the better option if you don’t want to toast the bread.
I’ve found this bread at multiple stores now in the freezer section, but their website is www.baseculture.com if you want to check them out – they have other healthy products you might be interested in!
If this makes one dietary restricted foodie a little bit happier today, then this post was worth it!
Check back next Friday when I’ll have another Foodie Flavor recipe for you!
I feel like it’s safe to say that most of us are on the same page about being ready to welcome in a new year. Symbolically, it’s become a time of change, fresh starts and new beginnings, and while I personally don’t use it as a catalyst to make resolutions (they can and should be made at any time of the year), I thought I’d share some of my favorite health conscious foodie things.
1) These are absolutely awesome. One of the hardest things for me about having a food sensitivity is how much it can complicate mealtimes – especially lunch. I can’t just throw a quick sandwich together. But these Crepini egg thins – again, awesome. They also make them plain, without cauliflower, but I prefer the taste of these. And only 8 calories a thin? Take that, bread! I sprinkle a little shredded cheese on one, add some lunch meat, a little more cheese, and a second thin, thenpop it in the microwave for 12 seconds (because I like that number) and you have yourself a sandwich-like meal. Or, add some avocado and roll it up like a burrito. So many possibilities!
And did you see? No net carbs, keto friendly, paleo friendly, gluten free and dairy free? They really are awesome!
I find these by the ‘premium’ lunchmeats in the refrigerated section near the deli at Publix.
2) Most of us know that olive oil is good for us, but did you know that some is better for us than others? Things to look for in a high quality olive oil are:
Is it First Cold-Pressed? Because that’s what you want.
It’s Country of Origin. Olive oils with multiple countries of origin listed are making their oil with whatever olives they can get. Not ideal. So first, find an olive oil with one country of origin.
The type of olive used. A quality olive oil should tell you what type of olive they’re making the oil from, and only one type should be listed.
The highest quality olive oils source their olives from a specific farm or location, and will tell you this information on the label.
Ideally, you also want your oil to be organic.
The good news is that you don’t have to pay ridiculous prices to check most of these boxes. Flora brand olive oil is first cold pressed, lists the country (Italy for organic, Greece for not, tells you the type of olive used, and the area it comes from. I buy the organic shown for less than $10. It has a strong, fruity taste and is great when I want to drizzle some oil on an avocado for a snack. The larger bottle, while not organic and with a someone milder flavor, is less than $12 and works great for sautéing, roasting, etc.
3) There are SO many good pasta alternatives these days! I’m only showing one brand, which also makes pasta (spaghetti and other styles) using black beans and edamame, but there are also pastas made from cauliflower, lentils, chickpeas, and many more healthy, tasty alternatives!
As an added bonus, these pastas are often high in plant based protein. They do tend to be around the same count calorie wise as traditional wheat and flour based pastas, but they metabolize much better!
Do some experimenting to find ones that suit your texture, shape, and flavor needs. The pasta shown tastes and feel just like traditional pasta. And if you have an Aldi’s in your area, you can’t beat the price!
4) Birch Benders makes THE BEST mix for Paleo friendly pancakes and waffles! They also have a Keto friendly variety. Just add some water for pancakes, some water and a dash of oil for waffles, and you have a guilty pleasure that’s not so guilty!
The recipe uses cassava starch, almonds and coconut instead of flour, and they’re also dairy free. I find the batter tends to thicken between batches, so I keep some extra water on hand and mix more to consistency than the proportions listed on the package, but the taste and texture is very close to the real thing.
I’ve seen this at multiple stores, but found the best price at Walmart. It’s in the baking aisle.
5) I’ve tried a lot of cheese crisps over the last few years, and all pale in comparison to these. I’m not going to lie – I’ve eaten an entire bag of these Whisps brand Parmesan Cheese Crisps in a sitting more than once. (My dog helps.)
They do make other flavors, but, unfortunately, the other flavors tend to throw more into the mix than just good old cheese. Some even add my arch nemesis, yeast, which I don’t understand, but whatever. I have these. These are enough.
I’ve found these at many stores with varying prices, but both Publix and Winn Dixie occasionally run them Buy One, Get One – stock up then for the best deal!
6) I feel like Bone Broth was one of the trendier health fads to hit in recent years, but it seemed to have quickly died off – perhaps because of the prices. I’ve seen this stuff sold for up to $15 for the 2 pound carton. If I had to pay those prices, I wouldn’t be buying it either.
But the health benefits! Bone broth is good for so many things, including gut health, which is so important because your health in general starts in your gut. So make it happy!
I use in place of chicken broth or stock. Sometimes I’ll cook my veggie pasta in it, like when I do my One Pan Pasta (recipe here). The noodles absorb the broth. If you’re able, add some milk and/or wine to make a thick, delicious sauce!
I buy mine at Aldi’s for about $3 a piece.
There are so many more favorites I want to share with you, but I’ll save those for another post! Hopefully this is enough to get you off to a healthy start, whether you’re making a New Year’s Resolution for better health, or simply maintaining – either way I wish you all the best! Happy New Year!
Check back next Friday for another Foodie Flavors recipe!
Now, I am not a fan of anything spicy. Hot peppers and I are mortal enemies. But, if you look in my garden, you’ll see that I grow 7 different types of peppers, from Jalapenos all the way to Carolina Reapers. Sigh. The things we do for love.
As you might of guessed, my husband is a fan of the spicy. In a family of people who love the hot stuff, his nickname is Leather Tongue. I’ve yet to find something too spicy for him to eat, and even though I do most of the cooking, and I can’t handle the hot stuff, I still make a lot of it. So, for those of you who are like me, here’s a simple solution for poppers: stuff baby bell peppers. I’m not a huge fan of those, either, but my stuffing is too tasty to miss out on!
(I’m giving you the measurements necessary to make 36 poppers, but the amounts are easily reduced and if you have any stuffing left over, it’s great on bagels, sandwiches, celery, or just by the spoonful!)
Mini Bell Peppers
one 7.5 oz. container of Cream Cheese (whipped is easier to work with, I like the chive flavor for this recipe)
one and a half 8 oz. blocks of Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
lots of fresh crushed garlic
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Empty the cream cheese into a bowl. Crush plenty of garlic on top, and mix well. Grate your cheddar and mix into the cream cheese a little at a time, until you absolutely can’t get any more in.
Wash and dry the peppers. (I take my contacts out AND wear gloves anytime I’m handling peppers.) Remove tops and core. They make a nifty little tool for this, but if you don’t have one, carefully cut around the inside with a knife. If you can’t get the seeds and pith out, push them to the bottom.
Stuff the Peppers.
Spray a baking cheese and your popper holder with spray oil. Place poppers in holder or in a baking dish as you stuff them. Cook for 30 minutes. Keep in mind that the insides are going to be piping hot, so do your best to wait a few minutes before you enjoy them!
If you try it, please let me know how you like it!
There’s no denying that this past year’s been a rough one. We’ve all had to make sacrifices and changes. And unfortunately, like the rest of 2020, the holidays are taking a hit. It kind of makes it hard to celebrate, or even want to. Even those who rallied for Thanksgiving and still cooked a turkey despite the fact they were feeding far fewer people were then faced with what to do with all the extra leftovers.
But cooking a nice holiday meal on a smaller scale doesn’t have to pose a problem. And I know some people cooked chickens instead this year, but that doesn’t really feel special, does it? So why not give duck a try?
People tend to be reluctant to cook duck, but here’s the thing – they’re less hands on than a turkey. You don’t have to baste it. And while duck skin is fatty, if you prepare it right, not only will the fat render from your bird, the meat will be fork tender – no knives required! Also, for presentation, you can easily remove the entire breast with one cut!
Duck is a great option for special occasions, date nights, and even just for a change of pace!
A 6-7 pound duck will feed 3-4 people.
spices (I use garlic powder, onion powder, garlic salt and Old Bay)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray your baking pan and wire rack with oil for easier cleanup.
Rinse your defrosted duck, making sure to remove all loose parts from the inside cavity, and dry well.
Using a very sharp knife – if you have a sharpener, give your knife a fresh blade – carefully score the duck skin diagonally, being careful not to cut through the skin into the meat. The bottom side will require much shallower cuts than the breast side, where the skin is more fatty.
Rub the inside with olive oil and spices. Using a lighter hand with the olive oil, do the same to the outside. A duck’s skin is fatty enough that you don’t actually have to use oil, and you certainly don’t have to baste the skin, but a light coat of oil helps the spices stick and keeps the meat moist and tender.
Even if your baking pan has a lid, cover the pan tightly with tinfoil. Your duck won’t take up as much room as a turkey, and cutting down on the cooking space helps it cook a little quicker, plus you can get a much tighter seal using tinfoil, which will help the meat practically steam off the bones.
Most ducks will have cooking instructions on the package. I’ve found the sweet spot is to bake them for about 22 minutes per pound.
When 1/2 hour of cooking time remains, carefully remove the tinfoil and let the duck roast uncovered.
And that’s it! Remove the duck from the pan, let it set for a few minutes, carve and serve!
When I cook this I’m just feeding two, so instead of carving the breast meat like a chicken or a turkey, I simply remove the entire breast in one stroke (possible because you just cooked a fork tender bird!) and serve it that way.
If you try it, please let me know if you liked it!
Coconut Shrimp are one of those tropical treats that are hard to resist. But they’re breaded. And deep fried. And restaurants usually use sweetened coconut, so they’re sugary.
Then those dipping sauces! Orange Marmalade, Mango Sauce, Pina Colada Sauce, Sweet Chili Sauce . . . you get the picture. All are delicious, but quickly turn a treat into a dietary disaster.
But I’m all about finding healthy ways to still have the foods I want, so I created this recipe for Baked Coconut Shrimp using unsweetened coconut flakes and almond flour instead of bread crumbs. I’ll be honest – it’s not as good as deep fried, sugar coated shrimp, but it is tasty, and best of all, it’s guilt free and kind to your body. So, here it is.
1-2 pounds shrimp, shells removed (you can leave tails on if you want)
eggs (I’ve found you need 1 egg for every 10 shrimp)
unsweetened coconut flakes (you’ll use most of an 8 ounce bag)
Old Bay Seasoning
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray both sides of an oven safe rack and the cooking side of a baking sheet with oil.
I work in batches because when you use an egg wash, things tend to get clumpy fast, so I use one egg at a time and mix the seasoned flour twice. You can add more coconut as you go along.
In one bowl, beat an egg.
In a second bowl, mix your almond flour with the garlic powder, onion powder, and Old Bay to taste.
In a third, fill with coconut flakes.
Dip your shrimp in the almond flour mix, then the egg wash, letting excess drip off, then cover in coconut. Place on the rack on top of the baking sheet so the shrimp can bake from both sides.
When all your shrimp are coated, place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes for large shrimp (16-20 per pound), adjusting time accordingly for smaller or larger shrimp. If you want the shrimp equally crisp on both sides, you can flip them halfway through, but I’ve found you lose most of your coconut this way. They cook just fine (and it’s less work) if you don’t flip them.
Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. (I enjoy mine with a mustard based sauce.)
And there you have it! Coconut Shrimp with a fraction of the calories and fat, no fry oils, no sugar, no gluten, and no yeast.
Today I have a riddle for you: What do eggplant, basil and garlic have in common?
Answer: This delicious (and nutritious) dish!
All corniness aside, this is another recipe where I have to give credit to my mom., so you know it’s gotta be good! When she first tried it, she sliced the eggplant lengthwise and had my dad grill it, which is great if you have the time and patience to man the grill and if you seek a smoky flavor, like you’d find in baba ghanoush.
Jump forward a few decades and I’ve mastered how to create this dish in either the oven or on the stovetop! The oven preparation is more hands off, but for those times when your oven is already in use, the stovetop method works well too!
Bonus: This recipe is keto, paleo, celiac, and anti-candida diet friendly!
2 large cloves garlic
1 handful fresh basil
2 tablespoons capers
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice eggplant widthwise into 1/4 – 1/2 slices. Using a bowl, dip slices in olive oil until well coated. Place slices on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, flip, and bake another 10-15 minutes. (The thicker your slices, the more time they’ll need.)
Mix 2/3 cup olive oil, 2 large crushed garlic cloves, a handful of basil chopped finely into ribbons, 2 tablespoons capers, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well.
Remove cooked eggplant from baking sheet, put a serving on a plate, and spoon mixture on top.
Cube eggplant into 1 inch chunks.
Heat 1/2 cup olive oil over medium heat. Add eggplant. Cook until soft, stirring frequently and adding additional olive oil as needed, about 10-15 minutes.
Add crushed garlic, capers, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until garlic is fragrant, and serve.
Any leftovers (if you have them) taste great the next day!
I’m always looking for new flavors to try! What’s your favorite way to cook eggplant?
If you try it, please let me know if you like it! Check back next Friday for another Foodie Flavor!
I eat a lot of seafood, but I can’t stand fishy flavors. Seriously. To me there’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re eating fishing bait that’s been sitting out in the sun. But the catch is, if you stick with only milder flavored fish, you lose out on some of the health benefits found in those stronger tasting swimmers.
And sure, you can make a fancy sauce to mask the flavor, or use copious amounts of condiments, which is great when it works (until you read the nutritional label on that bottle of YumYum sauce). But what if you have dietary restrictions, either self-imposed or medically necessary?
Then you’re stuck either suffering through the flavor or missing out on one of the foods you should be including in your diet. Or, you can give my quick, easy go-to that works well on every fish I’ve used it on a try. Bonus? It’s paleo, keto, anti-candida and I believe even celiac friendly.
Fish of choice
Mix spices with almond flour. Proportion to your own taste: I usually go heavy on the Garlic and Onion Powders, light on the Salt and Pepper, and medium on the Old Bay. Amount will vary based on how many fillets or the size of the fillet you are preparing. I usually allow at least 1/4 cup of Almond Flour for every small fillet. And when I say I go heavy on a spice, it means pretty heavy, at least a tablespoon or more.
Rinse and dry fish. Dredge in your flour mixture.
Pour a small amount of Olive Oil in a non-stick pan and heat on medium high heat for thinner fillets, medium for thicker. When oil is hot, add fish. If the fillet has scales, begin with the scaled side down. If you’re cooking a thicker fillet, turn heat down to about a 4 after adding the fish.
You will need to add more oil as you cook – the secret to developing a nice crust is to use the minimal amount of oil. When the pan gets dry, add a dash more oil as needed.
When the fish becomes cooked about 60% through (track the change in color as the cooked portion rises from the bottom to the top), flip. Cook until done. For a small fillet, this is usually 4 minutes on the first side, 3 on the second. For a thicker fillet, 12 and 8, and sometimes a minute or two on the sides and ends. Check to ensure doneness. Serve with a wedge of lemon if desired.
And that’s it! Much simpler than masking the flavor with a fancy sauce, much leaner than most condiments.
If you try it, please let me know how you like it!