A few years ago, a friend of mine made some amazing turkey larb lettuce wraps for us when she had us over for dinner. I became obsessed with them since then. She could not remember the exact recipe that she used, so I started a process of trial and error to find my own perfect blend of ingredients. All of the experiments came out good, but I think my final mix comes out amazing. This has turned into a part of the regular dinner lineup in our house.
1 bag of Trader Joe’s frozen Confetti Rice
1 package ground turkey
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 small red dried chili peppers, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped lemongrass (using only the white part)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
Juice from 3 limes
1/4 Thai fish sauce
A few sprigs of fresh cilantro for garnish
1. Put coconut oil in wok and add in ground turkey. Cook on medium heat, stirring the turkey periodically until the turkey is about 75% cooked.
2. Add in the garlic, chili peppers & lemongrass. Continue to cook while stirring regularly until the turkey is completely cooked and the garlic is softened and slightly opaque.
3. Heat up rice in microwave for 3 minutes.
4. Pour lime juice & fish sauce in large serving bowl.
5. Once turkey is finished cooking, add it into the serving bowl with the liquid mixture, and mix well to blend.
6. Add in Confetti Rice, and mix well.
7. Add a bit of chopped fresh cilantro to garnish.
8. Scoop mixture into individual pieces of lettuce to form lettuce wraps.
So easy, tasty & healthy! It usually takes me 15 minutes or less to make the whole thing!
Once our baby is consuming food other than just breastmilk, I plan on making our own organic baby food and freezing portions of it. I found these baby food freezer containers and like the fact that they are bpa free. I originally bought these freezer containers only for that purpose (you can find containers here) but soon realized they could serve other purposes too. When our little lemon tree had its big bumper crop of fruit for the year, it was more lemons than we could use at one time, but I didn’t want to waste any of that precious juice. I juiced all of the lemons that we weren’t going to be able to use right away and poured the juice into the baby food containers. It worked out to be approximately two lemons worth of juice for each 2 ounce container. After they were frozen, I transferred the frozen cubes to freezer bags for long term storage so the cubes could be used for other things (you can find the freezer bags I use here). It worked out really well since now I always have fresh squeezed lemon juice on hand whenever I need it for a recipe or for making lemonade!
After I perfected my pot roast recipe (recipe shown here), I wanted to save every last drop of the delicious broth that was left over from the crock pot. I used the baby food containers again to make some small portions of broth, perfect for making my homemade dog treats (recipes here and here). I also saved larger portions of the broth in the freezer bags.
My husband is originally from Texas, and before I met him, I was a vegetarian. In our house, he is definitely the top chef when it comes to making any kind of beef dish. I have been working on perfecting my pot roast recipe for a while now, and have finally found the perfect blend of ingredients. There is a Sunday pot roast that we love from a local diner, and sometimes I wish we could have it on days other than just Sunday. We actually enjoyed my newly perfected recipe even more than our favorite diner’s recipe
Beef chuck roast
White potatoes, cubed
3 sprigs each of the following fresh herbs: thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano
3 large cloves of peeled garlic
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon salt
The process is super simple. I just threw all of the ingredients in the crock pot, and filled up the rest of the way with water. I left the herbs whole on their branches. I cooked it all in the crock pot for 6 hours on high and an additional two hours on low.I used a very large cut of meat though to make quite a few meals, so you may want to adjust that if using a smaller piece of beef. Super easy and amazingly delicious! I even saved the broth for other uses (post coming tomorrow!).
In the theme of replicating street vendor food treats, like yesterday’s post, I wanted to share my favorite easy snack. it is especially great during the summer when cucumbers are in season and plentiful. Every time I see a street vendor selling cucumbers, I cannot resist getting one.
1 peeled and sliced cucumber
juice of 1 lime
When the street vendors make it, they toss all the ingredients in a bag and shake to blend the ingredients together. I usually just put everything together in a bowl and mix to make sure all of the cucumber pieces get coated, but either way works!
In most parts of Los Angeles, you can often find street vendors selling some amazing bacon wrapped hot dogs. We never see any in the part of the city where we live, so I decided to make my own version of this greasy yummy mess. Plus, by making it myself, I can make sure it is actually free of my long list of food allergens. I was even able to find some hot dog buns from Ener-G that have no wheat gluten, dairy, soy, or egg! They were surprisingly tasty!
1 diced green bell pepper
1/2 diced red onion
1 diced tomato
2 very finely chopped cloves of garlic
butter or margarine (I used the dairy-free, soy-free Earth Balance margarine)
juice of two limes
dash each of salt & pepper
hot dog bun
I started by adding some margarine to a pan and cooking the bell pepper, onion, tomato & garlic over medium heat. After a couple of minutes cooking, I added in the juice from two limes, and the salt & pepper. I continued cooking until the onions were cooked through.
Next, I removed the vegetable mixture from the pan and set it aside in a dish. Then I wrapped the hot dogs with the bacon, and cooked them in the pan until the bacon was cooked to my liking.
I heated up the Ener-G buns in the microwave, which helps soften them up a little, then assembled everything together. They tasted even better than how I remember the street dog versions! The recipe above made enough topping for 6 hot dogs. Perfect for summer entertaining!
My grandfather used to make some amazing kabobs that everyone in our family remembers fondly. He used to say that his recipes were from his Lebanese mother’s family recipes. After both of my grandparents on my mom’s side had passed away, I found a middle eastern cookbook in their kitchen with two very well-worn pages; a tabbouleh recipe and a kabobs marinade recipe (two things that he cooked frequently). Unfortunately, we will never know if he was actually following these recipes, and whether or not his mother’s recipes actually existed. I tried the kabob recipe in the book, and after some experimentation and modification to my own tastes, I came up with a similar version that my husband and I love. I can’t remember if it is exactly like my grandfather used to make, but we think this version is pretty darn tasty.
16 oz. can of peeled tomatoes
juice of 1 lemon
1 yellow onion, diced
2 dried bay leaves, crumbled
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp garam masala
salt & freshly ground pepper
chopped vegetables for skewers
I start by crushing the diced onion in a mortar and pestle to release some of the juices. Then I combine the onion, tomatoes, lemon juice, bay leaves, olive oil, garam masala, salt and pepper into a large bowl and mix to create marinade.
I use a jar of peeled tomatoes from our garden, but regular canned tomatoes can be substituted.
The marinade before mixing it all together.
Then I trim the excess fat off the lamb steak, and cut it into cubed chunks.
Once the lamb is cut up, I put it in the marinade and let it sit in the fridge as long as possible, usually a full day. When we are ready to cook them, I skewer the lamb chunks on with some chopped veggies, and grill them on the barbeque. I usually put them with some red and yellow bell peppers, onion, mushrooms, and sometimes some cherry tomatoes. The final result is shown below!
I absolutely love gnocchi, and was so excited to find some frozen gnocchi recently that are both egg-free and gluten-free. I decided to do something a little different with the gnocchi than what I usually do and paired them with scallops. If you have never had gnocchi before, they are delicious little Italian potato dumplings, and a great substitute for pasta. They are very filling so you don’t need as much as you would with pasta.
frozen scallops (I used 6 scallops per person)
3 cloves of garlic
salt & pepper
I started by lightly browning the garlic in a few tablespoons of olive oil. While that heated up, I started boiling the water for the gnocchi. Once the garlic is lightly golden, I crushed the garlic and reduced the heat to low. Then I added about 5 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, the juice from one lemon, salt & pepper. I put in the scallops, and covered while they cooked. Once the scallops were about halfway cooked, I turned them over in the pan. When the scallops were closed to being finished cooking, I added in a bunch of cherry tomatoes with the scallops to lightly cook. I also added the gnocchi into the boiling water.
Gnocchi cooks very quickly, so once they were all floating at the top, I strained out the water and rinsed the gnocchi. I combined the gnocchi, scallops and tomatoes and topped with the balsamic mixture left in the pan. To finish the dish, I topped it with a few leaves of julienned fresh basil. So easy and so delicious!
One of our favorite frozen dinners from Trader Joe’s has been their pre-made shepherd’s pie. Unfortunately, now that I have cut wheat gluten, soy & dairy out of my diet for the baby, those frozen dinners are no longer an option for me. I decided to try making my own version, with none of the offending allergens, and we loved the end result! The best part…it made enough for dinner that night, and the other half frozen for another night. It was a little more time consuming than most of the dinners I usually make, but since we love it so much, it was definitely worth the effort.
I started with making this soy sauce alternative, recipe found here. I modified the ingredients a little and used 1 1/2 cups of organic beef broth instead of the boullion cubes and water.
For the shepherd’s pie, I started with the recipe from Alton Brown, found here. However, many of those ingredients listed are on my avoid list. Below is my list of modified ingredients. I used ground turkey instead of ground lamb since that was what I had on hand. I also made a couple of other changes, to add even more veggies into the recipe.
For the potatoes:
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
1/4 cup almond milk
2 ounces Earth Balance soy-free margarine
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Ener-G Egg replacerFor the meat filling:
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup chopped onion
4 carrots, peeled and diced small
3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 container ground turkey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free All Purpose Flour
1 can tomato paste
1 cup beef broth
1 teaspoon soy-alternative sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup frozen English peas
One thing that I used to make fairly regularly for dinner before our son was born was a turkey and couscous casserole. Since there are quite a few things that I am now avoiding eating after noticing reactions from the baby via my breastmilk, I am trying to modify some of my old standbys so they are now free of wheat gluten, dairy & soy (as well as no egg or chicken for my own allergies). Since couscous is made from wheat, I decided to try using quinoa instead. Very similar to the couscous I am used to using, but it has the added benefits of being higher in protein and gluten-free!
I started by cooking four servings of quinoa in water in a medium saucepan. In a separate pan, I added some olive oil, two cloves minced garlic and half a package of ground turkey. I cooked the turkey until opaque, then added in about a cup and a half of beef broth. After that, I added in a variety of veggies: red and yellow baby tomatoes, chopped yellow squash (blanched and frozen from the garden), peeled and chopped sweet potatoes, and baby spinach. Once the quinoa was finished cooking, I added that into the mix as well, added salt & pepper to taste, and cooked for a few more minutes. Super easy, and I had extras to save for later!
For the most part, our baby boy has been feeling better now that the dairy and soy seemed to have worked their way out of my system and his. However, after snacking on a bunch of tortillas one evening, I noticed that his stomach started getting really upset again. He didn’t have all of the extreme symptoms he was getting from the dairy & soy, but it was still enough to raise a few red flags for me. I decided to try to add wheat gluten to my list of potential allergens to avoid while breastfeeding. I was really craving some pizza, so I decided to try making one from scratch that would not have any gluten, dairy, soy, or egg in it. Seems like a tall order and that the result would not be worthwhile, right? It came out amazing! I cannot wait to make this again. Just as good, if not better than any “regular” pizza that I have had in a while!
3 fresh artichokes
1 package Bob’s Red Mill Pizza Dough Flour
1/2 large tomato
handful of basil leaves
Earth Balance Soy-Free Margarine
Daiya dairy-free soy-free cheese
Two slices of prosciutto
I started by steaming a few artichokes from our garden. Next I started preparing Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Dough Mix, and made the dough according to the instructions. Since I have an egg allergy, I used Ener-G Egg Replacer instead of real eggs.
After the initial short baking of the crust, I brushed on some melted Earth Balance Soy-Free Margarine with a pastry brush, all over the crust. Then I sprinkled on some Daiya dairy-free and soy-free mozzarella cheese. I added some thinly sliced tomato and julienned basil. I removed the leaves from the artichoke hearts (and saved the leaves to eat while the pizza finished cooking), and broke up the artichoke hearts into chunks and added on top of the pizza. I cooked for the remainder of the time recommended on the dough flour package.
Once I removed the pizza from the oven, I finished by adding the julienned prosciutto slices. I added the prosciutto at the end so it didn’t end up overcooked. The end result was amazing…I can’t wait to make it again! On a side note, you could always leave the prosciutto off for a great vegan option.