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Gluten Free Orange Chicken – The Real Deal!

My son loves loves loves orange chicken!  Did I say love?  Yup, loves and always asks for it.  He will eat it here and there.  He will eat it anywhere and from anywhere.  Where can most people have access to orange chicken?  Panda Express.  The fast food chain of Chinese food for the non-Chinese!!  As a Chinese gal myself, eating at Panda Express is the worse sin I could ever commit.  It’s like a guy from Italy getting pizza at Pizza Hut or from Mexico buying tacos at Taco Bell or from the south buying fried chicken at KFC! You get the picture?  Can’t do it, won’t do it… my chef dad would never speak to me again! So, I must make my own orange chicken to appease my son and my entire family and also, put my mind at ease knowing I’m feeding my family organic, antibiotic free chicken with fresh ingredients and sauce made from real foods – no chemicals, no dyes, no additives. Oh yes, I made it one step better and also made it gluten-free.

I use a mix of thigh meat and breast meat because the darker meat fries a little crispier.  This is not a heavy batter that creates a thick skin.  It’s light, crispy and flavorful.  I have to use at least 3 pounds of chicken because there is just never enough orange chicken in my family

 

Gluten Free Orange Chicken - The Real Deal!
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Light, crisp, flavorful orange chicken.
Servings
6
Servings
6
Gluten Free Orange Chicken - The Real Deal!
Print Recipe
Light, crisp, flavorful orange chicken.
Servings
6
Servings
6
Ingredients
Chicken
Fresh Orange Sauce
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Cut chicken into bite size pieces. I cut them about 1 1/2 inches. Make sure your chicken is somewhat dry and that the pieces aren't wet.
  2. Place chicken in large bowl or ziploc bag and massage sea salt into the pieces.
  3. Mix potato and corn starch together and then add to chicken to coat pieces thoroughly. You can also use 1 cup of cornstarch if you don't have potato starch handy. Add more starch if the chicken isn't fully coated.
  4. Heat coconut oil on medium-high in wok or heavy pan until temperature reaches 350 degrees.
  5. Start putting 10-15 pieces in the oil at a time. Fry for about 5 minutes if the chicken is submerged in oil.
  6. Strain and place on paper towel to absorb excess oil. Fry all pieces until coating has a nice crispiness to it.
  7. For the sauce, place of the sauce ingredients into sauce pan and whisk it together.
  8. Place saucepan on stove and turn on to medium high. Keep mixing until the sauce thickens and bubbles.
  9. Once the sauce bubbles, place all your fried chicken pieces into the sauce pan to quickly coat.
  10. Put your chicken on a serving plate and you're ready to eat!
  11. Orange chicken goes great on fluffy white rice and sautéed garlic spinach!
Recipe Notes

I use a combination of potato and corn starch, but you can use all of one or the other, depending on what you have handy.  Also tapioca starch is a good substitute as well.

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Hainan Garlic Ginger Chicken Rice

My ethnic background is Chinese.  My mom was born in Nanjing and raised in Taipei, Taiwan.  My dad is ethnically Chinese but was born and raised in Da Nang, Vietnam. I grew up the majority of my life in Seattle, Washington and my only connection to my parents’ culture is through the food.  Taiwanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indo-Chinese..you name it, I loved eating it.  One of my favorite dishes that my father introduced me to is Hainan chicken rice.  It’s from his father’s hometown of Hainan, China.  This dish is what Hainan is famous for and there usually are 1 or 2 restaurants in every chinatown that specializes and serves only this dish.  It’s so flavorful and delicious!  It’s a family favorite and I love making it for friends.

This is a dish full of garlic and ginger and savory chicken flavor and you can easily replace the chicken broth for vegetable broth to make it vegan.  This side dish pairs well with my Perfect Salmon and definitely any chicken dish.  Heck, this dish is so good on its own and with anything you want to accompany it with!

Enjoy!  Chi Fan!!!

Hainan Garlic Ginger Chicken Rice
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Servings
8
Servings
8
Hainan Garlic Ginger Chicken Rice
Print Recipe
Servings
8
Servings
8
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Soak rice in water and put aside while you prepare your ginger and garlic. Let it soak for at least 10 minutes.
  2. To easily remove the skin off ginger, use the edge of a spoon and scrape. The spoon makes it easy to scrape around the curves and bumps of the ginger root and minimize waste.
  3. Mince your ginger and garlic.
  4. Rinse rice until water runs clear. Usually this take 3 rinse and drains.
  5. Add coconut oil to a large pot on medium high heat and then add all your minced garlic and ginger. Stir for 30 seconds until you smell the aromatics of the garlic and ginger.
  6. Add drained rice in pan and stir constantly with the garlic and ginger for 1 minute. Add sesame oil and salt and stir a minute more.
  7. If you have a rice cooker, add all the ingredients from the pan as well as the chicken broth into the cooker and turn it on. It will be done when the cooker notifies you.
  8. If you don't, just add the chicken broth directly into the pot and bring it to a boil. Once it starts to boil, turn down the stove to low and put a lid on the pot. Let it cook for about 17 minutes.
  9. When the rice is done, use a wooden spatula or spoon and fluff up the rice by gently scooping and stirring. Your Hainan Rice is ready to serve!
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Bulletproof Sanity, I mean Coffee.

My fellow parents, school has begun and I am getting into the swing of early mornings, hearty breakfasts, making lunches and rushing out the door!  To succeed at my daily routine and get the kids to school on time (most of the time), I need a little help.  So, I jumped on the coffee trend bandwagon. Heard of bulletproof coffee?  Bulletproof coffee was created by a guy named, David Asprey who traveled to Tibet and tried their yak buttered tea drinks.  He had a revelation and came up with this recipe of grass-fed butter (very important), mct oil and coffee.  This super octane recipe is suppose to sustain your energy and zing, promote weight loss (me likey very much) and give a brain boost.

I’m not sure if these claims are real but I can say, it gives me way more energy than plain coffee and i feel satiated in the morning.  It also taste rich and creamy!  Seriously, it’s good.  The key is to blend it in a blender.  Don’t just put a dollop of butter and stir it in your coffee.  It will not be the same.  You need to take that extra step and blend that coffee into a frothy energy boosting fuel! I use coconut oil instead of MCT because, hey, I can’t go out and buy everything that’s trendy.  Plus, coconut oil is where mct is derived from. As my dear friend, Dori, who has been drinking bulletproof coffee for over a year told me that you want to avoid sugar as you don’t want any kind of carbs with the coffee.  She said it took awhile, but she got used to not having sweet coffee.  I am not that person.  I like my coffee sweet, so my recipe has a little stevia in it. If you can handle it, don’t sweeten it.  If you need it sweet, I say a little stevia can’t hurt…maybe high calcium blackstrap molasses or grade B maple syrup…Ok so I like to cheat…I still get a buzz!

Below is my ultimate cup of super coffee.

Bulletproof Sanity, I mean Coffee.
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The original recipe asks for unsalted grass-fed butter. I use the salted one and, believe me, it's good. Kerigold is my favorite in the gold foil.
Servings
2
Servings
2
Bulletproof Sanity, I mean Coffee.
Print Recipe
The original recipe asks for unsalted grass-fed butter. I use the salted one and, believe me, it's good. Kerigold is my favorite in the gold foil.
Servings
2
Servings
2
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Put all the ingredients and blend until it's frothy. It will have a nice mocha color to it. Drink, enjoy and get a million things done!
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As Good As It Gets Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup

My first few weeks of blogging, I get an email from my dear friend, Debra.  She and her lovely daughter Kyla, love eating Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar Soup but feel so guilty after eating it because it’s filled with cream, butter and tons of cheese.  She wanted to know if I can create a healthier version for them that they can enjoy anytime minus the guilt, fat and calories.

This sparked a ‘light bulb’ moment for me.  How many people go through a diet overhaul due to lifestyle changes, allergies, health problems and/or weight?  How great would it be to have healthier versions of the ‘no-no list’ and make it ‘yes’ again?  Hence, the birth of my Naughty to Nice Challenge!  Each month I will take a recipe that you send me and turn it from something sinfully naughty to something deliciously nice!

So my first challenge:

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I thought to myself, hmm, I could keep it simple and just replace some of the ingredients to lower the fat content and call it a day.  No!  That’s no challenge for me!  If I’m going to go there, I’m going to go all vegan and healthy!  My vegan and health conscious friends need more options and would love to have a creamy, faux cheesy soup recipe to add to their menu.

So, I started testing things out in my kitchen for the right flavors and consistency.  My results?  Something pretty darn good!  Is it like the real thing?  That’s up for debate.  My kids loved it.  My cheese-loving-husband loved it but said you can’t replace the taste of real cheese. Me?  I say, it’s as good as it gets!

 

As Good As It Gets Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup
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As Good As It Gets Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Use a large soup pot and sauté on high heat onions, cubed butternut squash and onions in 1/8 cup of coconut oil until onions are translucent.
  2. Add 2 cups of vegetable broth, turn down heat to medium low and cook it down until the butternut squash and potatoes are soft. About 20 minutes.
  3. Pour the ingredients from the soup pot into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Be careful blending hot soup. Set aside.
  4. Use the remainder of the coconut oil and sauté the broccoli and carrots for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle sea salt and sauté for 5 more minutes.
  5. Add both cans of coconut cream and light coconut cream, remainder of vegetable broth, and the pureed onion/squash/potato mixture.
  6. Stir well and let it cook for another 20 minutes until broccoli softens and breaks apart.
  7. Add nutritional yeast and nutmeg. Stir well. Add more salt if needed and add pepper to your liking.
  8. Your vegan broccoli soup is ready to serve!
Recipe Notes

What is nutritional yeast?  I'm glad you ask! 

Nutritional yeast is jam-packed with essential vitamins and minerals. In fact, it’s one of the best non-animal sources of folic acid and vitamin B-12.  The yellow color of the flakes is a result of their large amount of vitamin B – ½ tbsp. fulfills your entire daily vitamin B needs. In addition to B-12, nutritional yeast is high in 15 different minerals and 18 amino acids. Talk about a super food!

The yeast itself is grown on beets and dehydrated, so don’t let the word “yeast” scare you away. Since it is plant derived and dried out, it’s free of the harmful candida that can wreck havoc on your digestive system. Think of it as the kind of yeast your body will love!

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Wait, What? Pancakes are done?

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I finally bit the bullet one day and bought one of those fancy super-powered blenders.  I made my healthy smoothies and then asked myself, “What else can I do?”  I saw a generic pancake recipe in the booklet that came in the box and decided to make my own version that is super healthy and can be gluten-free. They are so easy and quick to make that my kids couldn’t believe pancakes can come out so fast to the table

They will love you even more if you can shape it like a bunny!

 

Wait, What? Pancakes are done?
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These are so good plain that maple syrup is not even necessary but if you must, I suggest grade B syrup as it is filled with more nutrients. I sometimes like to add my homemade blueberry compote, the link is below.
Wait, What? Pancakes are done?
Print Recipe
These are so good plain that maple syrup is not even necessary but if you must, I suggest grade B syrup as it is filled with more nutrients. I sometimes like to add my homemade blueberry compote, the link is below.
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Throw all the ingredients into your fancy super blender until everything is smooth.
  2. Pour straight from you blender onto a skillet no bigger than 4-5 inches diameter. Flip when you see it bubble on the edges
  3. Mind you, this picture is the 3rd round because for some reason, your first round on the skillet never looks so pretty.
  4. Top with 100% pure maple syrup. I like Grade B as it has a lot nutritious minerals in it.
Recipe Notes

Here's the recipe to my Berry Compote that go great with these pancakes.

*Don't have GF flour? You can forgo the flour and replace it with another cup of oatmeal (GF)

**Egg-free?  You can replace eggs with 1/2 cup of flaxseeds

***You can use any fruit! In the fall, I use 1 cup of pumpkin puree, in the summer I use a pitted peach or a whole apple (cut the seeds out first).

Griddle the whole batch and freeze the leftovers.  They reheat quickly in the toaster oven.

They are also great pancakes to go in the car as they are sweet without syrup. Great for morning rushes to school

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Ping’s Crunchy Super Granola

I love granola but could never find one that had all my favorites in one package.  i decided to come up with my own that was nutrient dense, packed with flavor and gave you energy for those in-between meal hunger pains. Since my recipe has not nuts in them, they are a fantastic snack to pack in your child’s lunchbox  too.   Also, these are fabulous in a bowl swimming in coconut milk!  You will save money and have so much more flavor and nutrients than anything you can get at the market.

Ping's Crunchy Super Granola
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Quinoa packs in protein. Chia seeds give you so much energy that marathon runners drink a mix of it with lemon water the day of the race. Also flaxseeds are high in omega 3 as well grade B maple syrup has nutritious minerals in it. These ingredients puts the super in my granola!
Ping's Crunchy Super Granola
Print Recipe
Quinoa packs in protein. Chia seeds give you so much energy that marathon runners drink a mix of it with lemon water the day of the race. Also flaxseeds are high in omega 3 as well grade B maple syrup has nutritious minerals in it. These ingredients puts the super in my granola!
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Mix all the dry ingredients (except chocolate chips) in a big bowl.
  2. Mix the liquid separately and then combine with the dry ingredients.
  3. Spread the mixture out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Allow it to cool and then mix in the chocolate chips. Viola! Yummy granola!
Recipe Notes

You can add any dry ingredient in addition or in replacement of dried cherries.

If nuts aren't a factor, feel free to add your favorite nuts to them.  About 1/2 cup would be fine without changing any part of the recipe.  I hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

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Easy GF-Vegan Double Chocolate Brownie

My kids go to an amazing progressive school and one teacher is gluten-free and the other is gluten-free vegan.  Having so many dietary restrictions makes it hard to treat yourself to dessert.  So, I wanted to make them brownies that are just as good as the real thing and just as  rich, chocolatey and decadent. What I came up with so happen to be somewhat healthy too!  One bite and you can barely tell the difference from my brownie and the standard brownie in taste but you will feel much better eating this one!  It was a hit with the teachers, my kids and even, my hard to please (I like the real stuff) husband!

 

Ping's Easy GF-Vegan Double Chocolate Brownies
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This brownie recipe taste so decadent that you will forget that it's almost healthy!  Super easy if you have a good blender because you just throw everything in the blender. This recipe can be easily doubled and placed in a 9x12 casserole dish without changing the baking time. Feel free to add nuts if you like too. 
Ping's Easy GF-Vegan Double Chocolate Brownies
Print Recipe
This brownie recipe taste so decadent that you will forget that it's almost healthy!  Super easy if you have a good blender because you just throw everything in the blender. This recipe can be easily doubled and placed in a 9x12 casserole dish without changing the baking time. Feel free to add nuts if you like too. 
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Blend all the ingredients except the chocolate chips in a food processor or I used my Blendtech (like vitamix) where I blended until smooth - which i had to mix with a wooden spoon and blend a couple of times.
  3. After blended I mixed in the chocolate chips except for a handful.
  4. Grease a 8 x 8 glass pan with coconut oil and then pour and spread the mix evenly in the pan.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining chips on top and then bake for 25 - 30 minutes. I baked mine for 25 and let it sit for 10 minutes since we like it a bit gooey.
Recipe Notes

*    Non vegans can substitute flaxseed for 1 egg.  The results make a richer brownie and adds more protein.

 

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