Chipotle Fish Tacos ala Deb!

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Yay!  I am finally getting my world-famous Fish Taco recipe on the interweb-thingie! You know, that thing that a certain Billionaire said wouldn’t catch on?  I wonder what he thinks about that statement now?

Anyway, back to fish tacos….yum..yum..yum! Ramona ~ This is for you, so go ahead and share away!

This recipe is great when you need to whip up a dinner fairly fast, the only part that needs time to percolate (love that old fashioned term) is the salsa, it’s basically being pickled to develop the favours.  It is also fairly waist friendly when the chipotle sauce * is used in moderation,  for an even lighter option, check out the * tip at the bottom of the page.

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Chipotle Fish Tacos ala Deb!

Ingredients

1 Haddock fish filet per person (or any firm, white fish), sliced into 1″ chunks
2 Cups shredded iceburg lettuce
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup diced red or green bell pepper
1/4 cup diced radishes or jicama
1 Tbsp finely diced jalapeño
1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning (recipe below to make your own)
Juice of 2 limes
3 Tbsp mayonnaise (Hellman’s)
1/4 tsp (or more to taste) of Chiptole Chile powder
3 Large whole wheat flour tortillas
Fresh cilantro leaves
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions

1. At least 4 hours before serving, prepare the salsa by combining the radish (or jicama)   , peppers, onions and the juice of 1 lime.  Stir to combine, cover and keep refrigerated until time to assemble.

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2. Thinly slice the lettuce into a bowl, cover and chill until needed.

3. Prepare the Chipotle Mayo by combining the mayonnaise, chipotle chile powder and 1/2 tsp of the fresh lime juice.  Stir to combine then refrigerate until needed.

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4. In a frying pan set over med-high heat, add 1 Tbsp of Olive oil and sprinkle half the cajun seasoning all over the bottom of the pan.  Add fish and liberally sprinkle the remaining seasoning on the top side of the fish.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until fish starts to brown on the bottom, flip fish and cook until the bottoms start to brown.  Add remaining lime juice to pan and cook for another 2 minutes or so until the juice cooks off and the fish flakes easily with a fork.  Remove from heat.

To assemble Tacos

1. Warm tortillas by zapping in the microwave for 15 seconds.
2. Spread a tsp of chipotle mayo in the middle of each tortilla.
3. Divide shredded lettuce evenly among the 3 tortillas
4. Divide the salsa evenly among the 3 tortillas.
5. Divide the fish pieces evenly among the 3 tortillas.
6. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.

We roll our tacos up burrito style, but these would also be good in hard corn tortilla shells but way messier!

Note ~ This makes 3 tacos ~ 1 for me and 2 for hubs,
so increase amounts for feeding more people.

* To lighten up the chipotle mayo, sub fat-free yogurt for the mayo.

Make your own Cajun Seasoning

In a mortar and pestle, combine the following ingredients (makes about 3/4 cup):

1 1/2 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp Onion Powder
1 Tbsp Dried Thyme
1 tsp fresh ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp dried Basil
1 tsp dried Oregano

We have ours with a large side salad, but these would also be great with a side of Mexican rice. Enjoy!

Deborah

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Bok Choy and Mushroom Stir Fry In A Wrap

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I know, I know, I have been remiss of late, life gets in the way you know?  I have many ideas and unfortunately not enough hours in the day.  BUT, today I managed to pull this together in less than 15 minutes, combined with the time it took to make lunch AND type this out, it gives me hope I can throw together some more gems to this blog in the future.

So here it is!

I love wraps.  The food kind that is, although I do like the knitted kind as well, but you can’t eat those.  I love to rummage in the fridge and see what’s in there to insert into the ever-present whole wheat wraps that are a staple in our house.

Usually its lettuce, tomatoes, cukes, avocado, etc that get layered and rolled up to be scarfed down at lunch, but today I had some Asian inspiration with the leftover bok choy from the weekend.

I thinly sliced the bok choy (about a cup), and thinly sliced the remaining half of a yellow bell pepper, one crimini mushroom and a couple tablespoons thinly sliced red onion.  I added everything to a hot pan over medium heat with a tablespoon or two of Olive Oil (along with fresh ground pepper and salt) and sauteed until veg’s were tender.  Oh, and I added a sprinkling of ground garlic as I thought a whole clove would have over-powered the dish seeing as the amounts were made for one wrap.  If making enough for 4 people, then I would definitely add a clove or two of garlic.

After the veg has cooked until tender (about 5 minutes, you may have to add a couple tablespoons of water if it starts to dry the pan out), add a couple shakes of red pepper flakes and about 3 tablespoons of Hoisin Sauce.  Stir together and remove from heat.

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Zap the wrap in the microwave on high for 10 seconds, place the sauteed veggies in the middle of the wrap, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and top with chopped green onion.

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Roll up and eat!  This totally hit the spot and was quick, easy and done in slightly less than 15 minutes.  This is also one of those recipes that can be totally customized, like tossing in leftover grilled chicken or pork…and BAM! a new menu item created to feed the masses.

Buen Provecho! (Oh wait, that’s Spanish…. I wonder how it is said in Mandarin?…. I must go google…)

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Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

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Hubby says these are NOT cookies.  Cookies are super sweet and bad for you.

I beg to differ.

DSC04550I found this recipe in a magazine and as usual, tweaked it to add things to my liking.  These are a great option for when you have zero time in the morning for breakfast before you run out the door.  Just grab and go.

I also sub them for a quick lunch and/or snack when I am on the road for several hours of the day.  Quick, healthy and good for you, regardless of hubby’s opinion.

Super easy to make, start to finish they are done in half an hour.

Ingredients

1 medium banana, mashed
1/2 cup peanut butter (or almond butter), smooth or chunky – your preference
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbsp skim milk or almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup regular oats
1/2 cup 12-grain flour (or whole wheat flour, I like the 12-grain though)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup pepitas (raw or roasted, no salt)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (raw or roasted, no salt)
1/2 cup dried cranberries, cherries, raisins or blueberries (experiment!)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F

2. In a large bowl, combine mashed banana, honey, milk, peanut butter and honey, mix well.

3. In a smaller bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda and cinnamon

4. Combine dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix until just coming together.

5. Add seeds/fruit and mix to combine.

6. On parchment lined baking sheets (2), drop 1/4 cup spoonfuls and flatten to 1/2″.

Bake in pre-heated oven for 12-16 minutes.
Makes 12 cookies

These freeze beautifully too so may just want to double or triple the batch if you are making for a family.

Enjoy!

Deborah

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Guacamole Wrap

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I wonder how many posts I have written with the word guacamole in it?  I must search the site one day to see…or maybe not, lest I discover I am an guacamole addict.  Oh wait, I already am.

Well then, now that we have confirmed that I am indeed a guacamole addict, let’s get this blog post over with.

I came back from grocery shopping yesterday morning and was famished.  So I grabbed an acovado, a wrap, some leaf lettuce and the bowl of leftover salsa from Tuesday’s dinner of fish tacos (which is one of hubby’s favs).  The salsa is a snap to put together and is a perfect condiment to the fish tacos.  So I figured I would combine the leftovers with a mashed avocado and heap it on top of lettuce and chopped cucumber.

What a winning combination.  As I was famished, it certainly didn’t last long.  Time to keep a bowl of this salsa on hand in the fridge for further famishness (is that a word?).

DSC04134Ingredients

One, large 10″ whole wheat wrap
One large leaf of red leaf lettuce (bibb lettuce would also do nicely)
One avocado, flesh scooped out and mashed (keep skins and pits for another use in freezer, more on that later)
1/2 fish taco salsa (recipe below)
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
Cilantro for garnish

Directions

Place lettuce in middle of wrap, top with chopped cucumber and avocado/salsa mix.  Roll up and dive in.  Lament you only made one.

Fish Taco Salsa

1/3 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup finely diced green bell pepper
1/3 cup finely diced red onion
1/3 cup finely diced radish (or use jicama if you can find it)
juice from one lime

Mix all of the above in a small bowl, cover and let sit in fridge for at least 4 hours.

Try it and let me know how you like it!

Deborah

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2016 ~ The Year of the Wheel!

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Happy New Year to everyone!  Yes, it has been awhile, but how many of you had the time to try and keep up a blog AND do all things Christmas-y?  Baking, cooking, shopping, wrapping, visiting, etc?

That is my defence and I am sticking to it.

I can also add spinning, knitting and weaving into the above as many of you who follow me on Facebook can attest to as I  regularly post pics of FO’s or WIP’s (Finished Objects or Work in Progress) to brighten the days of those cruising on FB.

Now that the holidays are fading in the rear view mirror, it’s time to concentrate on a New Year.  I have a couple resolutions, but these ones I am sure to stick too.  I gave up on the ‘must lose 10 lbs!’ or ‘stop eating chocolate!’ resolutions a couple years back.  Moderation is the key, you can still have your chocolate, just make sure you walk that stuff off the day you eat it.

My resolutions this year are to refine and hone the skills of my latest obsessions um…hobbies.  Weaving and Spinning.  I am well on my way in the weaving world, but there is always room for improvement and while spinning is a fairly recent craft, I am generally happy with where my spinning skills are at, but again, there is always room for improvement.  I am spinning yarn to not only knit with, but to weave with on my looms.  There is something so satisfying from taking a lump of fluffy fleece and turning it into yarn, then weaving it into a finished product.  Whether it is a scarf, blanket or fabric for clothing, it’s like taking raw food ingredients and assembling them into a Five Star restaurant type meal.

To aid me in my quest to hone my spinning is the addition of another wheel.  Yes, I clearly hear you when you scoff – “another wheel?! she’s turning into the crazy cat lady of the fibre world!”  No, not really, as there are many others that have many more wheels than I do.

20160105_134117Each of these 3 wheels are vastly different in function and spinning style.  The one on the far right, the small, boxy shaped one is a Spin-Well.  Made in the 1930′s in Sifton, Manitoba, she is the youngest of the herd and is a workhorse of a wheel.  She was built mainly to make thicker yarns, but I love her for plying 2 or more yarns together as the bobbins on her are just huge.  This is the one that I *obtained* from my Aunt & Uncle a year and a half ago that started me on my spinning odyssey.

Next up, the one in the middle, is the wheel I picked this past summer.  She is a sturdy little wheel that will spin miles and miles of thinner yarn, and even though her bobbins are small, I can fill them to the max and then use the Spin-Well for plying.  I am not sure on her pedigree as there is no maker’s mark on her but she is similar in style to the Young family of wheels (there were 4 makers in the family) from Nova Scotia back in the 1800′s, which is where she came from and is estimated to be between 150 and 200 yrs old.  She is in exceptional condition for her age too.

My latest wheel is the largest of all, she certainly didn’t look that big when I picked her up yesterday.  Not until I brought her home and set her beside the other two – eek! her drive wheel is huge!   This means she can spin thinner yarn, faster than the others.  This wheel also has no maker’s mark but the owner said she was made in Quebec, which is info she received when she obtained the wheel last year.  I am currently on a hunt to narrow down her style/maker and while she is similar in stance to a CPW (Canadian Production Wheel), she lacks the tilt-tension which is the key to her not being one.  She is also very, very similar to a Louis Bisson, but again, lacks a very important detail, a swooping treadling piece along  with no maker’s mark.  She was incredibly filthy too, I spent a good hour cleaning her up with Murphy’s Oil Soap (excellent product for any wood furniture), she now functions as she should and looks much better for it.

20160106_081914And if I haven’t sounded crazy enough, I have names for all the wheels (and looms too).  As soon as I brought the new wheel home and sat her beside the other two, she just paled in colour against them…so I named her Blanch.  The Spin-Well (Grand Dame I call her) is much darker and Beth, is more reddish-orange in tone, so I have Grand Dame, Beth and Blanch.

I am looking forward to finding out as much as I can on these wheels, as well as to further my knowledge and skill in using them.  Cheers to 2016! ~ The Year of the Wheel will be a fun journey!

Deborah

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Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Salad

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One very busy day over the summer when I was back south for appointments, I didn’t have time to make a veggie wrap (my favourite go to lunch item on the run) in the morning so I popped in to Denninger’s (a local  deli/European food market) to rummage through their prepared food aisle.  I came across this salad and after scarfing half of it down in the car (the other half saved for dinner), I vowed to recreate it.  Now that the apparent heat wave of summer is over, I can turn the oven back on for roasting fall veggies.  So here it is.  Awesomely good for you too.

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Roasted butternut squash and kale salad

Ingredients

1/2 of a small butternut  squash (peeled, seeded and cubed)
4 large kale leaves, washed, trimmed from stem and chopped into bite size pieces
½ cups dried cranberries
¼ cup sunflower seeds (roasted)
2 tbsp Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1 bottle of Honey Mustard Dressing ( I cheated and bought one)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F.

Toss squash cubes in 1 tbsp olive oil and roast until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool to room temp.

Toss kale in remaining olive oil and roast for 5 minutes, any longer and you will have kale chips (which are yummy!), let cool to room temp

On a large plate, arrange kale, add cubed squash and sprinkle cranberries and sunflowers over all.  Drizzle dressing over, add salt and pepper to taste and serve with a crusty loaf of bread.  Makes one large salad!

Deborah

p.s…..a “what I did on summer vacation” post is coming soon…so stay tuned.

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Pancake Tuesday Rocks!

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Today is Shrove Tuesday…aka Pancake Tuesday.  Which is the day to stuff yourself silly before Lent.  I accomplished step one.  As for Lent, I don’t normally partake in the practice, being that I have a hard time giving up anything for longer than 5 minutes.  I may participate this year in the chocolate department….I said *MAY*…I will decide later, but right now, let’s get on with the totally awesome-good-for-you pancakes I made this morning.

DSC02812Healthy Whole Grain & Nut Pancakes

Ingredients
1/2 Cup Whole Rolled Oats
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 Tbsp Ground Flax
1/2 Chopped Walnuts
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Large Egg, beaten
1 1/4 Cups Buttermilk*
Olive Oil
1 Banana
100% Pure Maple Syrup

Directions
1. Heat buttermilk on high in a microwave for 1 minute. Add the butter and whisk until the butter melts and incorporates into the milk.

2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, whole wheat flour, flax, nuts, sugar, salt and baking powder. Pour the heated buttermilk/butter mixture over the the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Let sit for 20 minutes so the oats/flour absorb the wet ingredients.

3. Add beaten egg and mix well.

4. Heat a griddle over medium-high heat and add a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Add enough batter to make a round about 5-6″ in diameter. Cook until bottoms turn brown and bubbles start to appear on the top. Flip pancakes and cook until browned.

5. Serve with maple syrup and slices of banana.

6. Seriously consider Lent after eating 2 of these.

Makes 4 really large pancakes.

* To make buttermilk, add 1 tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice to one cup of milk, stir and let sit for 5 minutes.

Deborah

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Stop and Smell The Roses

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Or the dandelions, or mums, or whatever plant tickles your fancy.

Take the time to savour each and every day.
Every minute.
Every second.
As it could (unknowingly) be your last.

My new motto is: “Enjoy your time on this planet while you can”.

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That is all for today.

Deborah

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How To Make A Bean Bag Heating Pad

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We all get aches and pains now and then which require the use of a heating pad, but sometimes the “traditional” heating pad that you plug in is impractical not to mention it uses up costly energy.

Instead, here is a super quick way to make your own bean bag heating pad using scrap cotton fabric and your choice of fillers.  I can’t stress enough that 100% cotton fabric is the only choice to use, if you use any other type of fabric, you run the risk of melting it in the microwave (definitely not desirable).

Fillers can be any type of dried rice, hulled grain (like wheat or barley) or small dried beans.  You can even add a fragrance for some “aromatherapy”, like Lavender or fragrant essential oils.  Just mix the fragrance and fillers and place in a seal-able container and allow to sit covered for a day or two to distribute evenly.

DSC00972To make the heating pad, cut one rectangle (or whatever size/shape you desire) of cotton fabric large enough for its intended purpose.  This piece was a remnant of the table runner I wove and measured 19″ wide x 11″ tall.

DSC00975Fold the piece in half with right sides together, then sew up the 3 sides leaving a 3 inch opening.

DSC00981Turn right side out and press seams flat.

DSC00983Now add the filler to the bag.  To make it easier, make a funnel out of a plain piece of paper and pour the filler into the bag.  Only fill the bag about 2/3rds full as you want it to be flexible.  Slip-stitch the opening closed and voila! your very own bean bag heating pad.

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Bean Bag Heating PadTo use, just heat in the microwave on high for about 90 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave.

I have been using mine after each loom threading marathon session as it is an awkward, tedious and muscle fatiguing job.  I just drape it around the back of my neck and let the soothing heat radiate and release the tension for about 20 minutes and then I am able to get back at it.

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The Power of Kale

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I did it.
I tried something new in the way of food.

I am usually pretty good in the food department.  Comes from loving to eat I guess, but there are some things in this world that I had not tried yet and Kale was one of them.

I discarded it as a ‘healthy-therefore-it-must-taste-awful’ vegetable.  But I admit when I am wrong and today is one of those days.

Kale isn’t just a healthy vegetable – it is a Super-Duper Healthy Vegetable that has the power to lower cholesterol better than Doctor prescribed medicines (if you want, you can read more of the benefits here) and has a very low GI index which is a boon for diabetics.

So I decided yesterday to buy some Kale and give it a whirl.  Since I had no idea how to cook/prepare it, I googled Kale recipes and found a basic recipe to test drive with some quinoa (another Super Food!).

KaleI must say, I was impressed with the taste as initially, it doesn’t look like something you would want to eat…..like eating the  leaves off the outside of a cauliflower plant, only with curly fringes.  But the taste is similar to broccoli, mild and depending on when it is picked, can be bitter (early in the season) or sweet (allowed to stay in the ground well after frost hits).

Kale SaladBut the salad I made turned out fantastic, of course, it contained avocados (another super food) and if you put avocados in or on anything, it will taste even better.  So now I am a Kale fan and will hunt down other recipes as well as do some experiments of my own.

Perhaps I will have to be brave with other food types that I currently shun i.e. oysters, mussels – uh, nope, forget those.  You can wrap those things up in chocolate and I still wouldn’t eat them.  I will stick to weird looking fruit and veggies…like Dragon Fruit, I have always loved the look of Dragon Fruit.

Oh…You want the recipe for the above yummy looking salad?  Keep scrolling down….

Kale, Quinoa and Avocado Salad

Ingredients

2 Cups roughly chopped Kale
1 Avocado, halved and sliced *
3/4 cup chopped Cucumber
1/2 cup chopped Bell Pepper (any colour)
1/4 cup chopped Green Onions
1 Cup cooked Quinoa (see tip below)
1/4 cup Olive Oil
3 Tbsp fresh squeezed Lemon Juice
1 1/2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
Salt & Fresh Cracked Pepper to taste

Directions

1. Steam kale for 3 minutes on high in a microwave safe bowl with 1/2 cup water; remove, drain and divide Kale evenly among two plates.

2. Divide cooked Quinoa in half and place on top of the Kale, top with remaining veggies.  Add avocado slices sprinkled with additional lemon juice to  keep from browning.

3. In a small bowl, whisk oil, dijon mustard and lemon juice, add salt and pepper to taste and pour over the salad.

Dig in!

Makes 2 servings

(Tip for cooking Quinoa, use chicken, turkey or veggie broth for more flavour!)

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