Did you know that I am a trained Barista? Indeed I am.
It’s been years since I’ve worked at a certain famous coffee chain found in airports, supermarkets, and street corners across the globe, but I’m quite thankful for what I learned about coffee while I worked there. Like how much I love dark, roasty coffee. And those yummy, icy caramel frappes which go by a certain trademarked name that rhymes with “cappuccino”. (more…)
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It’s been a little over a month since I started Trim Healthy Mama, and it’s high time I start posting some recipes!
Since I’m going to a family get together today, I thought I’d share this recipe I whipped up for Party Bean Dip. It’s totally THM friendly and super easy…on top of tasting great! Everybody wins, right? Now you can make an on-plan dish for a party or potluck, and no one will even know it’s “diet” food. I love Covert Cuisine 😉 (more…)
Or have the corn tortillas in your life been purchased at the grocery store? I’ll admit to falling into the latter category – up until the other day. I’d never liked corn tortillas, so I had no motivation to make homemade corn tortillas. Why would I make something myself that I didn’t like anyway?
Because I just didn’t know any better. I have since seen the error of my ways and have been reformed. (more…)
We recently went on a motorcycle ride with our “gang” and stopped to eat at a lakeside restaurant that won Best Burger in that particular county this year.
Hubby had stopped there to eat one day and just completely raved about their Patty Melt. Since burgers are one of my favorite foods, I was excited to try this “famous” burger. Fortunately they had more options to choose from than just Patty Melts, and I chose their “House” burger with their “special sauce.”
When I asked what was in their “special sauce” our server said she couldn’t tell me. Then she asked if I had ever had their Firecracker Shrimp and that’s all I needed to know. It had to be their rendition of Bonefish Grille’s Bang Bang Sauce – and I couldn’t wait to taste that burger!
You see, I completely fell in love with Bang Bang Sauce one year at my husband’s office holiday party.
Me, who did not like spicy food, went completely ape over this stuff. I had to have it again, so that meant making it myself, because the Bonefish Grille is too pricey for us to eat at as often as I want to eat Bang Bang Sauce. So, I searched online and found a recipe from The Noshery to try. It turned out amazingly well, and since I don’t eat shrimp anymore, I put it on homemade chicken nuggets.
Oh. Sweet. Mercy. Yes, it is that good.
Ever since the first time I tried those delicious, creamy, fiery nuggets of deliciousness I began to crave Bang Bang Sauce from the Bonefish Grille.
This copycat recipe, which I found over at The Noshery, is just about as close as you can get to their sauce. It’s easy to prepare and tastes good on just about anything to which you’d like to add a little sweet, spicy sass.
I followed the directions exactly, only substituting, for the shrimp, one decent sized boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into 1″ cubes.
You can usually find all the ingredients for Bang Bang Sauce at your local grocery store.
Let those ingredients mingle and get to know each other. I believe it’s called marrying. It’s a big sassy wedding! Also, get your chicken soaking in the milk right away.
The original recipe for Bang Bang Sauce calls for Panko bread crumbs and they really do make these nuggets CRUNCH!
Since going gluten free, however, Panko crumbs are off the menu. I’ve substituted crushed rice square cereal with great results in other recipes (like my gluten free Mozzarella Cheese Sticks) and they work well here, too.
The trick to these chicken pieces ending up with a crunchy, golden coating that doesn’t fall off is actually very simple. Take your chicken pieces (that have been soaking in milk, right? Right!) and dredge them in corn starch (or potato starch), dip them in the milk again and THEN in the Panko crumbs (OR crushed rice square cereal). To keep your fingers from ending up a gloppy mess, remember this:
One hand for wet, one hand for dry
Place the coated chicken pieces on a plate until they are all breaded.
Heat oil of choice for frying and add pieces to the hot oil, frying until golden brown on both sides and chicken is cooked through. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel lined plate, keep warm.
After you have fried the chicken pieces, coat them liberally in that sassy sweet Bang Bang Sauce.
You’ll see it kind of melt into the chicken, that’s when it’s ready to eat. Serve on a plate of lettuce or shredded cabbage and top with chopped scallions or chives.
Then dig in.
Savor the sweet. The sass. The Oh-Sweet-Mercy-This-Is-Good(ness). Share if you like, or don’t. Fortunately, I’m the only one in my house that likes Bang Bang Sauce. I don’t have to share!
Try this copycat Bang Bang Sauce on other dishes as well.
It’s excellent on omelettes, scrambled eggs, as a dip for french fries or onion rings. Fire up a Beef Bacon BLT. Slather it on a burger. The possibilities are endless.
Now, please excuse me while I go savor some sweet sassy goodness. Nom nom nom…
A copycat recipe for Bang Bang Sauce plus a recipe for Bang Bang Chicken (instead of shrimp). Sweet and sassy, this sauce is awesome on more than just chicken nuggets! Try it as a condiment for other fried foods, on a burger or even on your favorite omelette.
FOR THE SAUCE
½ c real mayonnaise
6 tsp Sweet Chili sauce
3 tsp (more or less to your taste) Sriracha Sauce
2 tsp rice vinegar
FOR THE CHICKEN
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1" cubes
1 to 1 /12 c crushed rice square cereal (gluten free) or Panko bread crumbs
Milk - enough to just cover chicken pieces in a bowl
Cornstarch or Potato Starch, for dredging (about ½ cup)
½ tsp salt
Oil, for frying (such as expeller pressed coconut oil or peanut oil)
Shredded lettuce or cabbage
Chopped green onions or chives
Soak chicken pieces in milk
In a small mixing bowl, thoroughly combine ingredients for sauce and set aside
Next, dredge a piece of chicken in corn starch, coating completely
Quickly dip piece in milk, then roll in crumbs and set aside
Repeat with each piece of chicken until all are coated
Heat oil in fryer or skillet
Fry chicken pieces until golden brown and cooked through, frying in small batches
Drain cooked chicken pieces on a paper towel lined plate and keep warm
Place cooked chicken nuggets in a medium bowl and pour sauce over pieces
Stir gently to coat all the nuggets
Place on bed of lettuce or cabbage and top with green onions or chives
You can use chicken strips or breasts if you prefer, but you may need to increase amounts of breading ingredients. Make a double batch of sauce and you'll have some for later for eggs, french fries or burgers.
I’m a serial appliance killer. This became painfully obvious to me while I was trying to whip up this delicious beverage quickly before my friend The Homesteading Hippy came over for some afternoon girlfriend time. This year alone, I have killed a stand mixer, a regular blender, and now, my stick blender. The rest of my appliances cringe when I come near them anymore.
I had intended to make some sun tea, but was out of tea – at least tea that would be good as sun tea, anyway.
I used it all making my DIY Iced Tea Bags last week. There was a bunch of watermelon left over from our housewarming party the night before, and I had everything else I needed to make this refreshing Watermelon Mint Cooler so what could possibly go wrong?
Well, There could be spiders hiding in the mint I cut from the big pot on my deck.
And the stick blender could have been in the last throes of life (from when I used it when I killed my regular blender a few months ago). There’s THAT.
And then you could mention how your watermelon mint cooler is not as smooth as you’d like it to be, and your snarky monkey friend might not let you live it down. Maybe mention it every five minutes or so. There’s that.
I should probably add that snark and sarcasm are just how we roll, really. We have some good laughs, and I really enjoy her friendship – even when she makes fun of my beverages!
You could forget to take a picture of yourself and your friend enjoying the chunky drink with the sticks of something in it (and the drink itself), too. Really, what blogger forgets to take pictures?
But, if you’ve got a friend who isn’t snarky, spider-less mint, appliances that work well and are you not genetically bent toward killing them you should have no problems at all making this refreshing watermelon mint cooler.
Seriously, this is such an easy and delicious recipe – very refreshing on a hot summer day! Best of all, it only has three ingredients – fresh fruits and mint, no sugar or artificial colors or flavorings. Ditch those sugary drink packets and feel good about serving this delicious drink to your kids this summer.
You simply add the watermelon chunks, mint leaves and lime juice into your blender jar and give it a good whirl until it’s smooth.
I used a large jar and stick blender since my regular blender is…indisposed at the moment.
Trust me, you don’t want any sticks of something in that stuff. Especially if you have snarky friends.
Drink it right away or refrigerate until you want to drink it.
.Serve this refreshing watermelon mint cooler over ice (or freeze until slushy) and sit under a big shade tree while sipping slowly and savoring the refreshing summer-ness in your glass (and work on an alibi…if needed).
We aren’t a dairy-free household, although it often crosses my mind to take a break from dairy products for a season.
I just love cheese too much. And butter. And ice cream. And puddings. I’m not afraid to try something new (usually), and while searching for recipes to use coconut milk, I came across a recipe for Chia Seed Pudding and decided to give it a try. Besides, making pudding yourself is both healthier and frugal.
It’s reminiscent of tapioca, so if you dislike tapioca pudding you probably won’t like this one.
I happen to love tapioca pudding so I was eager to try it. Besides, it’s super easy! Just mix the ingredients together and refrigerate. It’s not instant chia seed pudding (if such a thing actually exists) but that’s part of why it’s good for you – minimally processed ingredients and real, whole foods. It may take a little bit longer to set up, but it’s worth the wait.
As is often the case, I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand so I had to improvise.
I have to confess – that doesn’t irritate me! I love the challenge of making something work in spite of not having what I need. Here’s my version:
Use the Slim Belly Jelly from the cookbook or just use fresh or frozen blueberries. Be sure to use an on plan sweetener, such as Gentle Sweet.
I loved this chia seed pudding!
It was sweet enough just using the blueberry preserves and I didn’t feel the need to add any other sweetener. I used unsweetened almond milk, if you use sweetened almond milk be sure to taste the mixture before adding more sweetening ingredients. None of the flavors stood out more than the others, it was just a nice combination and it paired well with sweet-tart mandarin oranges. This is a pudding you can feel good about serving your family for breakfast, even! Chia seeds have a ton of nutrition – rich in EFAs and antioxidants.
You can make this chia seed pudding with any kind of milk, any kind of fruit – or none at all.
You can use any healthy sweetener and top it with just about anything – fresh fruit, nuts, cacao nibs, cinnamon…whatever your heart desires. I love recipes like this – they work so well in my kitchen, which is often a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants operation.
Be Sure to Pin this Chia Seed Pudding Pin to Your Favorite Pinterest Boards!
Gluten free foods that are intended to be “mock” gluten foods can often leave something to be desired. There’s just something about wheat flour that is hard to replicate with anything else. That chewiness in bread or the crunch in a cracker, for instance, are two things I really miss! So when I found and made a recipe earlier this year for Gluten Free Oat Matzoh Crackers that had that crunch I was missing, I was absolutely thrilled to be able to eat gluten free crackers that tasted terrific!
For fellowship this Shabbat, I made the matzoh recipe again, only this time I made small, square crackers instead of large matzoh pieces. Served with four different styles of bruschetta, they were quite tasty. They were good by themselves, and since I made them Friday afternoon, I had to practice self-control and not eat all those yummy and unbelievably gluten free crackers all by myself.
As often happens in my frugal kitchen, I don’t always have the exact ingredients I need.Now that we don’t live in town, running to the store isn’t always an option and I really need to get creative sometimes to make a recipe work. This was one of those times, but I’m pleased with how it turned out and will probably make them like this in the future just because these gluten free crackers really satisfied my craving for crunch.
The original recipe calls for potato starch (to make it kosher for Passover) and almond meal. I was out of potato starch but corn starch is a perfectly fine substitute when it’s not Passover season. I never have almond meal because it’s so expensive, but ground flax works fine instead. However, I didn’t have any ground flax this time, either. After a quick look through my stash of ingredients, I decided to grind chia seeds with one of my favorite kitchen tools – my marble mortar and pestle (affiliate link). You could probably use poppy seeds, too…that’s what they reminded me of when I ate the crackers.
This is a super simple recipe for gluten free crackers that doesn’t take long, unless you’re making a LOT of crackers. The yield from a batch will vary depending on how thin you roll out the dough and how many crackers you cut. I made four batches, and got anywhere from 26-40 crackers per batch. You could certainly use cookie cutters for fun shapes, but I was pressed for time and chose the easiest route – the square shape.
I started with freshly ground oat flour.To get a bit of the nuttiness that flax or almond meal would impart, I also added some freshly ground buckwheat flour. One tip on using freshly ground flours – they absorb liquid differently, so add your liquid a bit at a time and wait a minute or so before adding more. The first time I tried making a similar recipe, I just added the ingredients as listed and it was a disaster! Way too much oil, I ended up with oily flour, not matzah!
Mix your dry ingredients together well, then using a fork, add the oil one tablespoon at a time. When the flour and oil mixture starts to hold together when you squeeze a handful of it, that’s good. For me, three tablespoons of oil was enough. You may need more depending on the type of flour you use.
Add the water one tablespoon at a time, until the dough begins to stick together. For me, when I could “clean” the sides of the bowl with the dough, I knew I had added enough water. Form the dough into a ball and knead a few times, right in the bowl. The original recipe said to flour the counter and knead it but I found that to be unnecessary…and messy…so I just kneaded it in the bowl about four times.
If you’re going to make square crackers, save yourself some time and frustration and just form that dough ball into a rectangle before you start rolling it out. Then you can either put the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll it out or if you have a rolling pin that isn’t prone to sticking, just roll it out on one sheet of parchment paper. I tried both ways and ended up going with the one sheet method.
Roll the dough out as thin as you’d like. I like a hearty cracker so I made them a bit thicker than most people might. Be sure to try and roll it out evenly, or the corners and edges will get very dark. You can leave the edges ragged or trim them with a pizza cutter. Since I was taking these tasty gluten free crackers to Fellowship, I made them look purty. Plus, the trimmings went to my son so he could make his own matzah.
Brush the top of the dough with olive oil and sprinkle some coarse salt on top, if you like.
Then, cut the dough into squares with the pizza cutter.
Bake them for around ten to twelve minutes in your preheated 450 degree oven. If you’ve rolled them very thin, I’d check them at around eight minutes. I stick a pizza stone in there to make it easy to transfer them in and out of the oven, but if you don’t have a pizza stone, you can just put the parchment paper on the oven rack. If you don’t have parchment paper, you can just roll these out on a cookie sheet. However, if you would like to get a pizza stone, my affiliate partner has one you may like!
After ten or twelve minutes (depending on thickness, your oven and even the humidity in the air!) the crackers should be a bit golden brown on the edges. Take them out of the oven and let them cool on a wire rack. Or on the parchment paper on the counter if you don’t feel like getting out the cooling rack. Ahem.
When they cool, you should have firm but crunchy gluten free crackers. If they’re soft-ish, they need a bit more time in the oven or let them dry out overnight. Serve with whatever you like to eat with your crackers. I had four types of bruschetta: artichoke, olive, sundried tomato and roasted pepper. Interestingly, even though I don’t like olives all that much, the olive bruschetta was my favorite! So was mixing all of them together. It almost tasted like pizza.
You don’t need to buy pricey apple dips for your next party or to serve as a snack to your kids.You can easily make a tasty, healthy, probiotic treat with ingredients you probably have on hand! If you have a peanut allergy to work around, try substituting almond or another kind of nut or seed butter instead. This Creamy Peanut Butter Apple Dip is so easy, there’s no reason you need to ever buy expensive premade dips loaded with sugars, and who knows what else, again!
In a pinch for a lunchtime “dessert” the other day, I whipped up this super easy and healthy creamy peanut butter apple dip for the kiddos. This is another one of those things I hate to even call a recipe, because you can just dump the ingredients together until you get the consistency you like, no measuring needed! But, since I’m trying to do a better job of paying attention to measurements, I measured.
I used Greek Gods Honey Kefir for this, I love this stuff! I’ve made all kinds of fruit salad dressings with it, and it’s great on top of oatmeal. Ideally, I would have my own raw milk kefir brewing on my counter but I’ve found that it’s just a bit strong for my family’s tastes. It’s really good for ranch salad dressing though, just replace buttermilk with plain kefir.
Not sure what kefir is or why you should include it in your healthy diet? Check out these great posts from my fellow bloggers at Nourished Living Network, an amazing resource for real, healthy foods:
Ideally, I would also use my own homemade peanut (or other nut) butter, but since I’m not “there” yet on that, I look for peanut butter that contains no hydrogenated oils. I’ve found this brand (in photo below) at Aldi’s reasonably priced, but it only comes in creamy. Creamy is best for this Creamy Peanut Butter Apple Dip, of course, but for other applications, I’m a crunchy peanut butter gal. Since I’m talking ideal here, I can say that I at least have some awesome raw, local honey. That is definitely ideal! Only, with the Greek Gods Honey Kefir, it is sweet enough without adding more. If you don’t have kefir, you can use vanilla or plain yogurt. With the plain yogurt, you’d definitely need to add honey (or other natural sweetener).
This is delicious with sliced apples, and I’m going to try it with celery sticks too. The kids loved it, and I love that they’re getting some healthy probiotics without even knowing it! And honestly, it’s just good enough to eat right out of the bowl. With your finger, if necessary. But I’m just speculating there, really. Ahem.
I was making these delicious Shredded Beef Tacos last week and wanted to use my homemade Taco Seasoning Mix. To my dismay, I was out of it – but hey no problem, right? Just whip up another batch.
Only I didn’t have chili powder.
I haven’t bought chili powder in ages because I had bought some at a bulk foods store and it seemed like it would never run out. But it did, and I had no desire to go outside in freezing cold and snowy weather just to get chili powder.
Nope. Unless the house is on fire, I’m not going outside. I’m fully embracing my inner hermit this winter. (more…)
It’s been a little over a week since I decided to give the No Poo thing another try. Last week I shared how to make Aloe Vera Shampoo using fresh aloe gel. This week, I’ve got another DIY shampoo recipe, but this time it’s for dry shampoo.
Dry shampoo sounds funny, although I guess not more funny than shampoo does. I have a friend I’ve known since middle school who comes from a seriously funny family. They have a very special kind of wit that not everyone gets, but I do and I love them for it! One of the quips I heard often was that they were so poor they had to use shampoo because they couldn’t afford real poo. I still giggle over that one.
I must admit I’ve never used dry shampoo before. I bought some on clearance once because I thought it would be good for camping or an EOTWAWKI scenario. I haven’t used it though because it just seemed counter intuitive to me, in addition to having an almost addiction to sudsy lather. I’m having a hard time not reaching for the regular shampoo in the shower, especially since I’ve entered that awkward adjustment phase. My hair is getting kind of oily and I can’t stand it.
There are only three ingredients and no special equipment is needed so it’s a snap to mix up. I probably used it wrong, because I ended up with it all over my hair instead of just at the roots. And, I rinsed it out because I probably used too much, too. But, I needed something to clear out the oil slick quickly. I think once my scalp gets the memo that oil production overtime has been nixed, this will be great for stretching out “wash” days. Right now, there’s just too much oil to use it like you’re supposed to!
DIY Dry Shampoo
1/2 c cornstarch (oil absorbent)
2 Tbs baking soda (deodorizer)
2-4 drops of essential oil of choice (optional)
Mix dry ingredients well. Add essential oils and mix well. I used equal amounts of rosemary and peppermint essential oils, 2 drops each. Store in an airtight container. Or, be a rebel like me and put it in a glass jar with holes poked in the lid so you can shake it out on your head. Just don’t keep it in the bathroom.
Apparently, you are supposed to just put it on the roots and pat or rub it in then brush it out or give your head a good shake. And just a little bit! I tried brushing it out and my brush was full of clumps of cornstarch that had obviously absorbed some oil. I then left what remained in my hair for half an hour or so.
Since I went overboard and covered my head with it, I had to rinse it out. My hair is almost dry as I type this and noticeably less oily. I think it would do a great job of removing normal amounts of oil between washes. The longer you go between washing (with some kind of substance, not just water) the less oil your scalp will eventually produce. This coming week I’m going to try to go three days between washes. Why I decided to do this during the holidays is beyond me…
What about you? Have you ever used dry shampoo before? I’d love to hear what you think of it so please leave a comment below!
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