Creamy Risotto and Scallops

The measurements for the risotto are to feed my family of six, that are total pigs with a little left over. I’m sure for a normal family 1/2 the recipe would be enough.  Please don’t be afraid to be brave and forget about measuring things. Just whatever feels right.  The hardest part about posting recipes is thinking of the measurements I use.  I NEVER measure, I cook by taste, sight, and touch.

You’ll need:

2 1/2 cups arborio rice

3 cans of chicken broth

3 cans of water (filled from the empty chicken broth cans)

1 cup parmesan or romano cheese

2 TB butter

Handful of fresh herbs (I used lemon thyme & parsley)

1/4 cup lemon juice

Zest of one lemon

1 large onion

1 bulb of fennel

2 pounds of scallops

1 bunch of asparagus

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Risotto can be made so many different ways and for some reason many people think it’s hard to make.  I find it pretty easy except for that it takes at least 45 minutes and you can’t go far from the pot.  Any herbs or veggies can be switched out, I really like my risotto with lots of mushrooms.  But, tonight I wanted the kids to eat it, so I left out the mushrooms. Caramelize finely sliced onion and fennel; set aside.

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Melt butter in pot and saute the arborio until slightly golden.  When the rice is golden start to add some of the broth, maybe 1/3 of the can.

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The key is to add a little bit of liquid at a time stirring regularly and as it cooks down add some more liquid.  This does take quite a bit of time, but it is so worth the wait.  Alternate between water and broth and you can put the lemon juice in the pot as one of the refills of liquid in the pot.

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Chop up fresh herbs of your choice and put 1/2 in the pot to cook down with the rice and save the other 1/2 for topping off the dish. Grate cheese if needed and set aside.  Wash and slice asparagus. I just cut it in half and stick it in a shallow dish with water and microwave it for 4-5 minutes.

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Then I remove it from the water and saute it in a pan with olive oil and salt & pepper for a couple of minutes, I like to cook it like this sinceit has a slight crunch and keeps the pretty bright green color. AND, it just tastes really good.

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When the risotto is almost all the way cooked, which you can tell by tasting it and making sure there is no hard middle, add the cheese and lemon zest.

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For the scallops it is important to dry them as much as you can by blotting with paper towels.  They suck up water so don’t rinse them and then they will let out a lot of water when you’re trying to get a golden crust on them.  See mine, I didn’t dry them as much as I should have, but I was hurrying off the Open House at one of the kid’s school.  Heat olive oil in pan until hot and cook the scallops with garlic, salt & pepper.

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Plate risotto, scallops, asparagus and top with fresh herbs.  You can throw some more cheese on top if you’d like.  My picture has the fennel on the side since my kids don’t like it.  Delish.

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Yes, I Ticketed my Teen for Not Listening!

I would like to think that this is part of the crafty side of this blog. Of course, maybe that’s up for debate. However, disciplining or reminding teens to do things does require a bit of creativity if I’m not going to continually yell at them or give up and do something myself instead of making them follow through.

I was pretty creative when they were little and I had a family store where the kids could buy little trinkets or privileges with family money (fake $) that they earned for good behavior or chores. As they’ve gotten older they haven’t really responded to the family money because they want the real stuff.

I find myself getting stressed out from the 2 older kids not listening. Every morning they need to eat breakfast and make their lunch for school. Now I used to make it for them but due to health issues the past couple years I have barely been able to take care of myself. Besides at 16 and 17 they should really learn skills to live. These sound like pretty easy tasks for teenagers, but every morning there I am telling them a count down of we leave in 15 minutes,  10 minutes,  etc and do you have a lunch? Most of the time the answer is no and we HAVE to leave on time to get 2 other children to their schools and myself to work. So they either rush grabbing some bogus thing they call a lunch or lately they resort to lying to me.

I decided that it’s not my problem to remind them and nag them. They are old enough to remember simple instructions and if they don’t take a lunch then they don’t eat. This was hard for me but hey, I survived and I hardly ever ate lunch at school and they’re not little kids anymore.

Along with that unnecessary stress that I was causing myself with the lunch ordeal I am constantly telling them to put their clean clothes away. They usually don’t and it ends up on the floor which makes me irate to see that they don’t care enough to take the little step of putting it away. So, you know how that ends. ..I see folded laundry in the dirty clothes hamper or clothes that I know they didn’t wear in there, but now it smells from being with dirty clothes. It’s such a waste of time and resources and it is so disrespectful.

My new tactic is this ticket. We’ll see this evening if it’s successful. The only reason I put 8pm as a deadline is because she’s at cheer until 5:30 or 6 and will need to eat dinner (after starving all day) and the point is for her to be successful and not set her up to fail the task. Yes I blacked out her name to protect the guilty but if you know us at all, you know who it is.

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I hope I’ve found another parenting winner here. Updates to follow.

Pad Thai with Chicken and Tofu

Yum. This was so good. I liked it better than anything I’ve ordered. It’s light and filling and chopped basil gives it a clean and refreshing taste.

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Ingredients:

Rice noodles

3 T Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)

Thai peanut sauce to taste

2 chicken breasts

1/2 container of firm tofu

handful of Shredded carrots

1 cup of Coleslaw from coleslaw package

handful of Bean sprouts

3 T Brown sugar

handful of Fresh basil

Peanuts chopped

Lime slices

Rice noodles have to be soaked 30 minutes in cold water before you cook them. I didn’t know that until tonight.

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Then boil for 5 minutes stirring constantly and rinse really well. I hear they have a tendency to stick together. I had them soak while I prepared the rest of the dish so I could then just rinse the noodles and mix with everything at the end.

Saute chicken in skillet with Tamari and brown sugar. After the chicken is cooked remove from pan and keep sauce in pan.

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Cook tofu in same sauce. Chop up peanuts and slice limes, set aside. Chop up basil and set aside.

Add cooked noodles to pan with chicken and tofu. Pour peanut sauce on top and coat well.

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Plate the pad thai and top with carrots,  lime wedge, peanuts, bean sprouts and basil.

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Serve and enjoy.  Delish.

I’ve been GLUTENED

I’ve only read about this until today. Went to a Mexican restaurant famished and carelessly ordered without questioning ingredients or how the food was made. Rookie mistake I’m sure. Almost immediately I felt very foggy like it was hard to concentrate and started to get really tired. I barely remember the drive home and I feel asleep for a couple of hours. I hardly ever nap. I woke up groggy and achy like I was coming down with the flu. My head is pounding. I guess this is what I get for being careless. I am even more convinced that Gluten is the enemy and it’s not good for anyone’s body. It acts like a drug and that’s scary.

Mango Salsa Salmon & Quinoa with Mexican Squash

Ingredients:

3 Salmon filets

1 Mango

2 Tomatoes

2 T Minced Garlic

Bunch of Fresh Basil

Few Sprigs of Tarragon

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

Quinoa

Mexican Squash

Cut up tomatoes, mango, basil, Tarragon and olive oil and balsamic vinegar (check for gluten-free). Stir up and set aside. I did not use onions or cilantro since I wanted it to be a sweet salsa.
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Season salmon (chicken for the picky kids) with salt, pepper, tarragon, and garlic powder and BBQ on grill.

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Cook up tricolor Quinoa (double the amount of water than Quinoa).

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Sauté Mexican squash with olive oil. Top cooked salmon with mango salsa.

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I inhaled this dish; it was so good that I had to make extra mango salsa to eat with chips later that night.

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Moussaka Recipe

I love Moussaka. It is so delicious with all of the intense flavors and is good comfort food also, served up in a casserole dish.  Luckily it was not hard at all to make this dish gluten free. You’ll need the following ingredients:

1 lb ground meat or lamb

1 can tomato sauce

2 large eggplants

salt & pepper to taste

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 large onion finely chopped

1/4 cup golden raisins or currants

1 cup red wine

For bechamel sauce:

1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour (or other gluten free flour)

2 1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup goat cheese or cream cheese (I used cream cheese since I ran out of goat cheese)

3 egg yolks

lemon zest from one lemon

6 T butter

1 cup romano or parmesan cheese

Season & brown ground meat with the cinnamon, garlic, ginger, pepper, cayenne pepper.
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Drain cooked meat and set aside. Saute onion and minced garlic with golden raisins. Add meat back in to pan and add red wine and tomato sauce. Simmer until sauce cooks down.

Slice eggplant into uniform pieces and brown with salt & pepper and olive oil.

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Spray casserole dish with non-stick spray and start to layer and alternate the eggplant and ground meat mixture (Just like a lasagna).

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Now this looks good to me just the way it is. The less fancy part of me would even be happy putting grated cheddar cheese on top and call it a day. But, I doubt that’s very Greek, so we’ll do the bechamel sauce on top.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the gluten free flour and cook, whisking constantly, until pale and smooth, 2 minutes. Still whisking constantly, add the milk and cook until thickened. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

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Let the sauce cool for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, goat cheese (or cream cheese), and lemon zest and whisk into the bechamel sauce until smooth. Pour bechamel sauce over ground meat mixture and smooth out with spatula.

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Sprinkle romano or parmesan cheese over the top. I baked for 30 minutes at 350 degrees and then I turned up the heat to 400 degrees and cooked for 15 more minutes. Watch your casserole since the bechamel seems to brown pretty quickly. Delicious!

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A Very Curious Saleswoman

Today I went to Macy’s to pick up some new make-up from Benefit that is gluten-free.  I asked to see the box that the make-up comes in so I could check for gluten in the ingredients list.  The woman was surprised and asked if my allergies were really that bad that I have to watch for gluten in things other than food. I told her that I have Celiac Disease and that yes, I have to watch for gluten in all products in case I ingest them and the still unknown of products potentially absorbing into my skin. She was amazed and had tons of questions all of a sudden. She went behind the counter to pull out a cosmetic dictionary, a thing I didn’t even know existed. I told her that I had questions about the tocopheral acetate (vitamin E), because it can be wheat derived. We looked it up and learned that the version Benefit uses is vegetable plant derived and free from wheat. She was so excited to be learning something new and I was relieved that someone was so willing to help me and make sure that I was going to stay safe.

After ringing me up she continued to have lots of questions; asking me what sort of symptoms I had, how many times I have to use the restroom and what kind of pain I felt after eating. She kept saying I’m sorry if this is too personal, but that her boyfriend is almost always in pain after eating. She wanted to know how I was able to be diagnosed and what had I asked for as far as testing. I let her know that I am pretty well monitored because of having a brain tumor removed a couple of years ago. She told me that she needs a new endocrinologist and I let her know that there is a great one right down the street. I told her the name of my endocrinologist and gastroenterolgist so she could make an appointment for herself and boyfriend. It’s so funny how you meet people and connect and can help someone out. I’m grateful to be able to provide information to anyone in need and feel blessed when someone else shares their knowledge with me as well.

On another note, this is my delicious, quick lunch! Prosciutto, sharp white cheddar cheese, arugula and Annie’s chive and lemon dressing. Make sure you check your packaged meats to see if they contain gluten.

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