Ginger Chicken with Sesame Non-Noodles

gingersoychixsesamenoodles

My husband and I are HUGE fans of any food that is Asian-inspired. When we go out to eat, nine times out of ten, we will opt for either Thai, Vietnamese or Korean. It’s just our fave. However, I don’t love some of the less glamorous ingredients that often accompany take-out. Asian food found in restaurants is notoriously laden with MSG. While there are many healthy options available usually, you can never really be sure what sort of nasty vegetable oils the food is cooked in, and you are usually not getting organic vegetables and grass-fed beef. So when we go out, I try not to be too uptight about it, and just enjoy the meal for what it is- DELICIOUS! However, when I cook Asian-inspired food in our home, I LOVE knowing that I’ve used organic chicken and veggies, that it’s cooked in healthy coconut oil, and that there’s absolutely NO MSG.

So this is one of my Asian-inspired meals. It was a big hit. My husband loved it, and my little one ate every last bit off of her plate! There are not actually noodles in this recipe (that’s why I call them “non-noodles”), but you still get that great noodle texture from zucchini noodles! This recipe is gluten free and Paleo, and you can most certainly make it vegetarian by swapping out the chicken for extra veggies. Enjoy!

Ingredients For the Chicken:

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (you can really use whatever cut you like. We really like thighs around here)
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos. You can use soy sauce if you prefer.
  • 2 tbsp raw honey, melted
  • 1 inch knob fresh ginger, grated (this is the microplane I use)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp red pepper flake

Ingredients for the Non-Noodles:

  • 3 medium zucchini. To make the noodle shape, I use a julienne peeler. You can find these at the regular grocery store. But if you don’t have one, just use a vegetable peeler. Your noodles will be thicker like fettuccine, but they will still be great.
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, any color, julienned
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 inch knob of ginger, minced
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup tahini (if you don’t have tahini, just use almond butter)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp honey, melted
  • Cilantro to garnish

Directions For the Chicken:

  • Throw the chicken along with the coconut aminos, honey, ginger, garlic and rep pepper flake in a dish and massage it into the chicken. Don’t be afraid to manhandle it- it will just make it more tender. Refrigerate and marinate for at least one hour but overnight is great.
  • Heat 1 tbsp coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and cook about 5 minutes per side if you’re using thighs.
  • When the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the pan and set it aside to let it rest while you cook you Non-Noodles.

Directions for the Noodles:

  • In the same pan you cooked the chicken in, add a bit more coconut oil if needed and heat it over medium-high heat. Throw your bell pepper and onion into the pan and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and ginger to the pan, and saute another 2 minutes, until fragrant.
  • Add the zucchini to the pan and saute another 1-2 minutes.
  • In the meantime, in a large mixing bowl combine coconut aminos, tahini, lime juice and honey. Whisk to combine.
  • When the vegetables have finished sauteing, remove from the pan and place into the mixing bowl with the sesame sauce. Toss to coat.
  • Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and serve. Enjoy!

Coconut Milk vs. Coconut Water: What’s the Difference?

coconut-watermilk

Coconut milk and coconut water have become super trendy in the last couple of years. Until a few years ago, I don’t recall seeing coconut water or coconut milk on the shelves of grocery stores. If it was there, you definitely had to search for it. But just as fashion trends come and go, health trends come and go, and all things coconut have become quite buzzworthy. Now you can find numerous different brands of coconut water, and even more brands of coconut milk. You can find flavored coconut water, light coconut milk, and everyone seems to have their own recipes and uses for coconut milk and coconut water.

It wasn’t until last week when someone asked me “what is the difference between coconut water and coconut milk?” that I realized that there was some confusion happening in this arena. But then I thought back to a time before coconut water was all the rage, and I remembered that I too pictured cracking open a fresh coconut to find that thick, creamy, milky liquid flowing out. Not the case.

What is the difference between coconut water and coconut milk?

Coconut water is the actual clear liquid that comes out of the fresh coconut when you crack it open. Coconut milk is what results from blending the white, fleshy meat of the coconut with water. The end products is a delicious white, creamy liquid.

Which is healthier? Coconut water or coconut milk?

Comparing coconut water to coconut milk is like comparing apples to oranges. They’re two completely different substances, with different benefits. But they do both have their benefits!

Coconut water is extremely hydrating and packed full of electrolytes. In fact, coconut water is actually isotonic, meaning it has the same osmotic pressure as our blood! Coconut water contains high amounts of lauric acid (also found in human breastmilk) which has anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and antibacterial properties! It’s awesome for rehydrating after a tough workout and a wonderful alternative to toxic sports drinks! Add it into a smoothie or drink it straight up with a squeeze of lime. Delicious and refreshing.

Coconut milk is an excellent source of protein and healthy fats! Like coconut water, coconut milk also contains tons of electrolytes, lauric acid and antioxidants. It may help prevent diseases such as alzheimers, cancer and Parkinson’s. Coconut milk is an excellent non-dairy alternative for those who have dairy allergies or just prefer to stay away from dairy. It’s great in soups and stews. You can bake with it! You can put it in smoothies or make yogurt out of it. You can accomplish most things with coconut milk that you would with cow’s milk.

Are all coconut milks and coconut waters created equal?

The short answer: no. Since coconut milk and coconut water are in trend, manufacturers have taken advantage of this, and added some nasty ingredients.

Ideally, we would all have a ready supply of young Thai coconuts at our disposal to crack open and slurp down when we’re in need of hydration. Clearly, that’s not an option for most of us. What should you look out for in coconut water? Simple. The ingredient list should read: 100% pure coconut water. Look out for added preservatives such as sodium bisulphate and citric acid. Many brands contain “natural” and artifical flavors (which most certainly translate to MSG). You may also often find artificial sweeteners and colorings hiding out in there.

When it comes to coconut milk, I’m in love with making my own. First of all, it’s cheaper. Second of all, I know there are NO unneccesary added ingredients (here’s my recipe). If your coconut milk comes in a can, that can is likely lined with BPA, which we know is a major endocrine disruptor, among other things.  There are some quality boxed options of coconut milk out there. But make sure to watch out for things like carageenan. Carageenan is an non-organic ingredients that IS allowed in organic food. It’s used to keep ingredients emulsified, but may cause a number of inflammatory processes in the body such as irritable bowel disease. Other things to look out for are artifical sweeteners, preservatives and MSG.

Both coconut milk and coconut water, although very different, can be great healthy options! If you cannot make your own coconut milk, or you don’t have young thai coconuts growing in your backyard, you just have to be certain to read those labels! Be an educated consumer and know what to look out for!

www.facebook.com/happyhealthnut

Source 

Gluten Free Un-“fried” Chicken

unfriedchicken

“I don’t like fried chicken”… said no one ever! Fried chicken is seriously one of my favorite foods in the whole world. It’s one of those things that I just never get sick of. But between the breading and the deep-frying, it’s not so healthy, and lets face it, deep frying equals a hot mess in my kitchen that I just don’t want to take the time to clean up. So I made this super tasty Gluten-Free Un”fried” Chicken. This recipe is really fast to whip up and there is no deep frying involved!

Ingredients:

  • 1 -2 lbs chicken thighs. You can use ANY cut of chicken here- legs, breasts, bone in or boneless. Just adjust cooking time appropriately. We like the thighs because they hold up to the high cooking temperature without drying out and they’re so flavorful!
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil or ghee

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  • In a shallow dish, whisk your egg.
  • In a separate shallow dish, combine almond meal and spices, making sure to get out all of the clumps.
  • Coat each piece of chicken in the egg, and then in the almond meal, pressing the almond meal mixture into the chicken and then shaking off the excess.
  • Place the breaded chicken on a baking sheet with a wire rack on top. This allows for the heat to circulate in the oven, ensuring proper browning and crisping. If you don’t have a wire rack, no big deal. Just line with parchment and flip the chicken halfway through cooking time.
  • Drizzle the chicken with the melted coconut oil or ghee, whichever you’re using. This well help is crisp up!
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until brown and crispy. If your chicken is done cooking before it becomes brown, just turn the oven up to broil for a couple of minutes, but watch it closely as it will turn into blackened un”fried” chicken real quick.
  • Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon on top. Enjoy!

www.facebook.com/happyhealthnut

Homemade Lactofermented Sauerkraut

sauerkraut

I LOVE sauerkraut. But I grew up eating the stuff our of a jar from the grocery store, which is delicious, but not as nutritious as it could be. This recipe for traditionally lactofermented sauerkraut is even more delicious, easy to make, and full of healthy probiotics! Probiotics help populate your gut with healthy bacteria, aiding in digestion and immunity! This sauerkraut is a great way to get some probiotics into your diet! Give it a try!

Ingredients:

-1 head of cabbage. Remove the outer leaves. Core it and shred it finely. You can make this easy and run it through the shredder blade on your food processor. But I actually love chopping veggies (I know, it’s weird) so I like to do it by hand- it’s relaxing to me.

-approximately 1 tbsp sea salt

-4 tbsp liquid whey

Directions:

-Place your shredded cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle over your sea salt. Now you want to get really friendly with your cabbage. Use the best two tools God gave you- your hands! It’s key to really massage the salt into the cabbage for a few minutes. The point of this is to draw the liquid out of the cabbage.

-Go back every 45 minutes or so and turn and massage the cabbage. I like to let the cabbage sweat for about 3-4 hours.

-Get a quart size mason jar and a wooden spoon. Place about 1/2 cup of cabbage into the jar and take the handle of the wooden spoon and beat the cabbage down. Just go for it here. REALLY beat the crap out of it. You need to push the cabbage down to minimize air bubbles. This will also ensure that the liquid is coming out of the cabbage. 

-Repeat this process until you have the jar filled, leaving 1-2 inches at the top. Don’t forget! Really beat down the cabbage with the wooden spoon good! You won’t hurt it!

-Add in your 4 tbsp of liquid whey. Between the whey and the liquid released from the cabbage, the cabbage should be covered with liquid. If it isn’t, you didn’t pound hard enough. Or, you can add in some of the liquid that accumulated in the bottom of the bowl you sweated the cabbage in. 

-Cover the jar, and let it sit UNDISTURBED on the counter top at room temp for three days. After three days, crack that baby open. There should be some fun fizzy bubbles at the top. Give it a taste and see if it’s sour enough for you. If not, close it and let it sit another day. Just keep tasting and letting it sit at room temp until you reach your desired sourness. When you’ve reached that, you’re ready to enjoy! And enjoy you will! It is DELICIOUS!

-Store it in the fridge for up to six months.

www.facebook.com/happyhealthnut

Broccoli and Citrus Superfood Salad

broccolicitrussuperfoodsalad

In our home, we eat broccoli with meals at least two or three times a week. Yes it’s great for you. We all know that. But really, we just love us some broccoli. We make it a million different ways, and it’s delicious in any preparation.

Most of the time I just steam it and squeeze some lemon over it or I roast it in the oven (which is delicious if you haven’t had it that way), but sometimes I like to get a little crazy with it. That’s how this recipe was born!

This recipe hits all the flavor notes for me. It’s a little salty and a little sweet. It’s got some tang from the ginger and some crunch from the cashews. It’s beautifully colorful from the carrots and goji berries. It’s definitely not your average broccoli salad! So if you’re ready to get a little funky with your broccoli and switch it up a bit, this is the recipe for you!

Prep time: 15 minutes

Yields: 6-8 cups of salad, depending on the size of your broccoli head

Serves: 4-6 people

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets. We’re also using the stems in this recipe because I’m a no-waste kind of gal (and they’re tasty). So peel the outer layer of the stalk off as it is quite fibrous. You can use a vegetable peeler or a paring knife. Chop the stalk into 1/2 inch pieces.
  • 2 carrots, peeled. I have a vegetable peeling gadget that cuts the carrot into really thin noodle-like strips. I love it! But if you don’t have that you may either grate the carrot, julienne it, or continue to use your vegetable peeler to make noodle-y shapes.
  • 1/2 cup cashews, chopped
  • 1/4 cup goji berries. These are optional. If you don’t have them, you can use raisins or some other dried fruit.
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for the vinaigrette:

  • zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp raw honey (if it’s solid at room temp you’ll need to melt it first)
  • 2 inch knuckle of fresh ginger, grated

Directions:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When I say salted, I mean salted. It should taste like the sea…so really salty.
  • Add the stalks of the broccoli to the boiling water and boil for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, add the florets to the water. Boil for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Fill another large bowl with generously salted ice water. After the florets have been in the boiling water for 2 minutes, remove all of the broccoli (the stalks and the florets) from the boiling water and into the ice bath to stop the cooking process and lock in that bright green color! You don’t want your broccoli to be thoroughly cooked through. It should still have a bit of texture to it.
  • Remove the broccoli from the ice water to a paper towel to dry it.
  • In the meantime, make your vinaigrette. In a small bowl or mason jar (I make all of my dressings in mason jars for easy shaking), add the zest and juice of 2 lemons, olive oil, honey, and ginger. Shake it up (or whisk) until emulsified. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, carrots, mint, cashews and goji berries (if using). Pour the vinaigrette over the veggies and stir to combine.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Fool Proof Fish: How to Cook your Favorite Fish Perfectly!

codenpapillote

I think by now we have all heard that fish is great for our health! It’s an amazing source of omega 3 fatty acids, which help maintain our cardiovascular health, help us to develop neurologically healthy babies, and aid in reducing tissue inflammation in the body.

However for a long time, the only time I ate fish was when I went out to restaurants. In retrospect I realize this was a bad idea, as the majority of fish found in restaurants is farm-raised unless otherwise specified. Oh well. You live and you learn. The benefits of eating wild fish as opposed to farm-raised is a different post for a different day! I’ll get to that.

Anyhow, I guess I always felt intimidated by preparing fish at home. I’m not sure why though. I think it’s because I just didn’t really know how to prepare it. If I grilled it, it always stuck to the grill. If I baked it, I always overcooked it and overcooked fish just tastes…fishy!

Enter En Papillote, pronounced on-pap-ee-ote. I know it sounds fancy but it’s really not. It’s a method of French cooking that literally just translates to “in paper”. And that’s just what it is. You cook the fish in a pouch made of parchment paper. It works beautifully everytime.

In this particular recipe, I used Thai flavors, because my husband adores any and all things Asian-inspired. It’s kind of a no-brainer for me. But you can absolutely use any flavors you like! If you learn this method, you can taylor it to your tastes.

There are just four components to this method:

  1. Vegetables
  2. Liquid (this is your flavor agent!)
  3. Fish
  4. Parchment

Ingredients (this is for 4 portions)

  • 2 lbs fresh fish, any kind you like (more on how to pick it in a minute). I used wild Atlantic Cod.
  • 4 cups mixed vegetables. In this recipe, I used 1 bell pepper- julienned (a.k.a. thinly sliced), 1/2 of a red onion- julienned, 1 zucchini- noodled using my vegetable peeler or a julienne peeler, and 2 carrots- noodled.
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, grated on a microplane
  • zest and juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos (you may use soy sauce)
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • sea salt and pepper

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Cut your parchment paper. You will need about a 12×18 piece for each pocket. Fold each piece in half lengthwise and cut into a heart shape (you know, like you would to make a homemade heart-shaped valentine).

enpapilloteveg

  • Prepare your vegetables. As I said, in this recipe I used red onion, bell pepper, zucchini and carrots. Feel free to use what you like, just make sure you slice them very thinly because the only cooking will be for a few minutes in the oven. Thinly sliced mushrooms would be great. Boy Choy would be awesome. Spinach even better.  I just really enjoy the carrots and zucchini because they become like noodles, yet they retain a bit of crispness- perfect!

enpapilloteinparchment

  • Pile about 1 cup of veggies onto your prepared parchement paper heart. You want to position the veg on the fattest part of the heart. At this time, if using, add your grated ginger, lime zest and garlic on top of the veggies.
  • Prepare your sauce. This is where you can get really creative. I used coconut aminos (like soy sauce but better), fish sauce, lime juice and honey. Just play around and taste as you create. If the sauce tastes good, the fish will taste good. You could use white wine, lemon juice, or balsamic vinegar, or just some chicken stock. You just about 1/2 cup total of some sort of liquid in your pouch to steam your fish and vegetables.
  • Next prepare your fish. As I said, you can use any sort you like. I chose my fresh fish based on two criteria: 1) What’s the best price that day? 2) What’s the freshest? Obviously the first question you can answer by looking at the prices in the cooler. The second you can accomplish by asking the fish monger what he recommends. Then, ask to see it. It should NOT smell fishy. Fresh fish has no odor. If it smells fishy, it isn’t fresh. Also, the eyes should be clear. If they’re cloudy, it isn’t fresh.
    Okay, we have that out of the way. So season your fish liberally with sea salt and pepper and place it on top of your vegetables.

enpapillotefinish

  • Beginning at the point of the heart, fold the paper over itself around the veggies and fish. Leave a hole when you get to the top so that you can pour in your sauce. I recommend pouring in your sauce with the pockets on a cookie sheet because they’re a bit awkward to transfer once they have the liquid in them. After you’ve poured in the liquid, finish folding the pocket, tucking the last fold underneath the pocket so that it doesn’t open up. Repeat this with all of your pockets.
  • Brush the outside of the parchment paper with oil (any kind, you’re not eating it) so that it doesn’t burn in the oven.
  • Bake the pouches (on a cookie sheet) at 400 degrees F for anywhere from 10-14 minutes.

For this cod, I baked for 10 minutes. If you have a thin filet of fish, such as tilapia, 10 minutes will be enough. If you are using a thicker cut of white fish, perhaps a mahi mahi, you’ll need to cook it for more like 12 minutes. Salmon, depending on how you like it cooked with be 12-14 minutes. If you like it medium, go for 12. If you like it well-done, go for 14.

To serve, transfer to a plate and take the whole pouch to the table. Rip open the paper and give yourself a facial with the steam! I served this one with a squeeze of lime and a garnish of cilantro! However you serve it, this makes a beautiful presentation and it turns out moist, flaky and delicious every time! Enjoy!

www.facebook.com/happyhealthnut

Fool Proof Fish: How to Cook your Favorite Fish Perfectly!

codenpapillote

I think by now we have all heard that fish is great for our health! It’s an amazing source of omega 3 fatty acids, which help maintain our cardiovascular health, help us to develop neurologically healthy babies, and aid in reducing tissue inflammation in the body.

However for a long time, the only time I ate fish was when I went out to restaurants. In retrospect I realize this was a bad idea, as the majority of fish found in restaurants is farm-raised unless otherwise specified. Oh well. You live and you learn. The benefits of eating wild fish as opposed to farm-raised is a different post for a different day! I’ll get to that.

Anyhow, I guess I always felt intimidated by preparing fish at home. I’m not sure why though. I think it’s because I just didn’t really know how to prepare it. If I grilled it, it always stuck to the grill. If I baked it, I always overcooked it and overcooked fish just tastes…fishy!

Enter En Papillote, pronounced on-pap-ee-ote. I know it sounds fancy but it’s really not. It’s a method of French cooking that literally just translates to “in paper”. And that’s just what it is. You cook the fish in a pouch made of parchment paper. It works beautifully everytime.

In this particular recipe, I used Thai flavors, because my husband adores any and all things Asian-inspired. It’s kind of a no-brainer for me. But you can absolutely use any flavors you like! If you learn this method, you can tailor it to your tastes.

There are just four components to this method:

  1. Vegetables
  2. Liquid (this is your flavor agent!)
  3. Fish
  4. Parchment

Ingredients (this is for 4 portions)

  • 2 lbs fresh fish, any kind you like (more on how to pick it in a minute). I used wild Atlantic Cod.
  • 4 cups mixed vegetables. In this recipe, I used 1 bell pepper- julienned (a.k.a. thinly sliced), 1/2 of a red onion- julienned, 1 zucchini- noodled using my vegetable peeler, and 2 carrots- noodled.
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • zest and juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos (you may use soy sauce)
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • sea salt and pepper

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Cut your parchment paper. You will need about a 12×18 piece for each pocket. Fold each piece in half lengthwise and cut into a heart shape (you know, like you would to make a homemade heart-shaped valentine).

enpapilloteveg

  • Prepare your vegetables. As I said, in this recipe I used red onion, bell pepper, zucchini and carrots. Feel free to use what you like, just make sure you slice them very thinly because the only cooking will be for a few minutes in the oven. Thinly sliced mushrooms would be great. Boy Choy would be awesome. Spinach even better.  I just really enjoy the carrots and zucchini because they become like noodles, yet they retain a bit of crispness- perfect!

enpapilloteinparchment

  • Pile about 1 cup of veggies onto your prepared parchment paper heart. You want to position the veg on the fattest part of the heart. At this time, if using, add your grated ginger, lime zest and garlic on top of the veggies.
  • Prepare your sauce. This is where you can get really creative. I used coconut aminos (like soy sauce but better), fish sauce, lime juice and honey. Just play around and taste as you create. If the sauce tastes good, the fish will taste good. You could use white wine, lemon juice, or balsamic vinegar, or just some chicken stock. You just about 1/2 cup total of some sort of liquid in your pouch to steam your fish and vegetables.
  • Next prepare your fish. As I said, you can use any sort you like. I chose my fresh fish based on two criteria: 1) What’s the best price that day? 2) What’s the freshest? Obviously the first question you can answer by looking at the prices in the cooler. The second you can accomplish by asking the fish monger what he recommends. Then, ask to see it. It should NOT smell fishy. Fresh fish has no odor. If it smells fishy, it isn’t fresh. Also, the eyes should be clear. If they’re cloudy, it isn’t fresh.
    Okay, we have that out of the way. So season your fish liberally with sea salt and pepper and place it on top of your vegetables.

enpapillotefinish

  • Beginning at the point of the heart, fold the paper over itself around the veggies and fish. Leave a hole when you get to the top so that you can pour in your sauce. I recommend pouring in your sauce with the pockets on a cookie sheet because they’re a bit awkward to transfer once they have the liquid in them. After you’ve poured in the liquid, finish folding the pocket, tucking the last fold underneath the pocket so that it doesn’t open up. Repeat this with all of your pockets.
  • Brush the outside of the parchment paper with oil (any kind, you’re not eating it) so that it doesn’t burn in the oven.
  • Bake the pouches (on a cookie sheet) at 400 degrees F for anywhere from 10-14 minutes.

For this cod, I baked for 10 minutes. If you have a thin filet of fish, such as tilapia, 10 minutes will be enough. If you are using a thicker cut of white fish, perhaps a mahi mahi, you’ll need to cook it for more like 12 mintues. Salmon, depending on how you like it cooked with be 12-14 minutes. If you like it medium, go for 12. If you like it well-done, go for 14.

To serve, transfer to a plate and take the whole pouch to the table. Rip open the paper and give yourself a facial with the steam! I served this one with a squeeze of lime and a garnish of cilantro! However you serve it, this makes a beautiful presentation and it turns out moist, flaky and delicious everytime! Enjoy!

www.facebook.com/happyhealthnut