Tag Archives: Food

enJoy the journey to Gluten Free


As some of you know I have recently been advised to try to eliminate Gluten from my diet due to a suspected Gluten Intolerance.   Wondering why I am capitalizing the Gluten?  Because its so damn yummy and hard to replicate of course!   This week – in a distinct effort to eat the same meal as the entire family, I tried to – ungluten-ize (ya that’s sooooooo a Joy word 🙂  ) some of our family-faves-clean-up-your plate recipes.  If you follow my blog – you will see that I found a Brown Rice Pasta that works perfectly for Penne and GF Meatballs.   Here are my next 2 attempts – one successful – scored a 10 from me, a 10 from hubby and a 7 from my 6 year old – Sweet Potato Enchiladas Verde Casserole and a “So-So Recipe With Potential” – Gluten Free Turkey Meatball Dumplings – scored a 4 from me, a 7 from Hubby and a 5 each from the kids.

**(skip to bottom for review of Chunky Green Salad with Basil Vinaigrette Dressing).

Sweet Potato Enchiladas Verde Casserole


*This casserole made of corn tortillas (make sure you read the ingredients – to ensure that yours do not contain gluten), sweet potatoes and spices combined with black beans & spinach makes a hearty & tasty meal These Sweet Potato Enchiladas  can’t be beat!

Filling:

2 1/4LB Sweet Potato – peeled and cut into chunks  (about 2 Large Potatoes)
1/8 LB (a bunch) or 10 g fresh spinach – washed & trimmed & blanched & drained
2 TB Cilantro Salsa (or 1/2 c fresh cilantro mashed with lime juice)
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 large Red Onion
1 – 15oz can black beans drained and rinsed
1/4 LB (100g) shredded part skim mozzarella cheese (omit to make it vegan -maybe substitute in avocado for cheese? might be worth a try)
1tsp cumin
8 small (6 or 8 ” corn tortillas)
1 lime cut into slices or wedges.

Verde Sauce

Mix together – 1 jar ( 10-12oz) green salsa, 5 dashes cayenne sauce (optional), 1 1/2 c sour cream & 1/2 tsp minced garlic.

Directions:

  1. Bring a saucepan to a boil and add sweet potatoes until very tender.  Drain, return to hot sauce pan to eliminate any moisture.  Mash potatoes, add rest of ingredients except the cheese, sauce, lime  & tortillas.
  2. In the bottom of a greased lasagna pan/casserole dish spread a bit of sauce.  Add a layer (slightly overlapping) of tortillas (they may go up the sides of the pan a bit), top with a thin layer of cheese, then 3/4 of the filling, top with 1/2 of remaining sauce.
  3. Add another layer with the remaining tortillas, then the remaining filling and top with the remaining sauce. Top with lime slices.
  4. Cover with tin foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until heated through.  enJOY!

BONUS!

Extra Bonus – Grab a bag of Gluten Free Corn Tortilla Chips and reheat any leftovers and top with a bit more shredded mozzarella cheese and feast on no guilt nachos with the family!

Gluten Free Turkey Meatball Dumplings

This one we were expecting to come out like a turkey meatball stuffed yorkshire – however the “all purpose” gluten free flour I  was using made the batter almost like  a chicken ball batter, and they were difficult to brown.  That being said  – next time I would substitute a big chunk of chicken breast and a sweet and sour sauce and serve it as Chicken Balls…. or do this again and make a hollandaise  type of sauce, maybe a cranberry sauce for  a holiday meal, we dipped it in dijon mustard and that worked too.

Ingredients
1LB extra lean ground chicken (or large chunks of chicken breast)
1 Egg (beaten)
1 Tsp Oregano (or herbs to taste)
1/4 c gluten free bread crumbs
Dumpling:
1  Cup Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Milk
3 Eggs

Heat oven to 400 degrees and place muffin trays inside to heat while the oven heats up.  meanwhile,  mix meat (if making meatballs), with beaten egg, herbs and bread crumbs – roll into large or small meatballs (we tried both).  Remove trays from oven, spray with cooking spray or mist some EVOO onto the tin).  Place Meatball into the centre of each muffin tin (we made some with a mini muffin tray and some with a full sized muffin stone.   Bake for 10 mins or until meatball is browned.  Remove tray from oven, pour batter over top to between 3/4 and totally full.  Put back into oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Enchiladas Casserole -shown served with Chunky Green Salad with Basil Vinaigrette Dressing (Tomatoes – Avocado – Chick peas – Green Leaf Lettuce – as expected was AWESOME  – that salad will be added to the rotation for sure!)   Thank you to fellow blogger:  Mrs Buena Vida for sharing the recipe!

My 7 Steps to Get Healthy & Green Tea Iced Tea!


Alright – I will be the first to say it – Failure on the getting to exercise classes!  However – I have been making an effort to go for jogs walks with the kids and my obliques and abs can tell you  all about the planks I’ve been doing in the evenings.   In the meantime – I also started seeing a Naturalpath because I have felt just “not right”.  Well low and behold – after taking a look at my symptoms and my last 2 sets of blood work – turns out, its suspected I have some food in-tolerances, my B12 and iron are low and my thyroid is still not being controlled properly (this is not a surprise – my MD and I have been trying to get it stable for about a year).   Well what do all of these symptom have in common in the human body?  They have a cumulative effect of overall tiredness, unrest, stress, no energy and reduced adrenal activity!  OK, so maybe I wasn’t quit as lazy as I thought – well maybe as lazy – but not without an excuse!  So my new self mandate is to GET WELL – that includes trying to eliminate Gluten (one of my suspected in-tolerances),  as well as other items suggested by my ND, and get my butt moving!

  Pause for my Epic Fail this week:   I made french toast with strawberries  for the kids for lunch and enjoyed it with them, then realized after that gluten, strawberries and eggs and are all the list of foods for me to avoid while figuring our in-tolerances!  Oops)

Get Healthy Plan

  1. The first step  this week was to try and cut down/eliminate gluten.  Not as hard as you would think actually – this week (my first week) I simply made easy adjustments to my diet – bought some gluten free bread for my toast (I love toast for breakfast!), and changed out any white rice to brown.  I tried some Brown Rice Gluten Free Pasta  – which was great!
  2. The entire family loved it with my Marinara Joy Sauce and homemade meatballs (gluten free breadcrumbs).
  1. Added a lot more Quinoa both hot and cold.
  2. Get weekly B12 shots – yup I was THAT low – so far I have had 3 shots and am starting to feel more energy and less “brain fog”.
  3. Add Flax seed to my dishes to help with my cholesterol (yes I am one of those people that have high cholesterol despite healthy eating habits! Grrr, at least my “good cholesterol” offsets my bad cholesterol so I don’t currently have to take any meds for it.
  4. Take a Vitimin D supplement – ok, so I knew that baby’s needed Vit D when they were being breast fed – but I had no idea adults (sometimes) need to take it too for gut strength (due to the damage caused by eating foods I am in-tolerant too)  and to help streghten my immune system.
  5. Incorporate Green Tea. OK I am supposed to be drinking at least 3 cups a day of decafe green tea – however a tea drinker I am not!   I do really enjoy Iced Tea though – so what I do now is make a pitcher of Green Tea and sweeten with Svevia (vanilla) (plant based sugar substitute), and keep it in the fridge – now I drink about 1 litre – 1.5 litres (or more) daily! recipe for Green Tea Ice Tea, below.
  6. Get off my ass and walk/run/jog/move/plank/Pilates/yoga/kettleball/exercise whenever possible

Next Weeks additional steps 

  1. Walk for 30 min (or run or jg etc) 3 times next week.
  2. Start Meditating – I’m thinking I am going to get a CD since I really don’t know how to do this ….
  3. Get Stricter in Gluten Free Diet … (more quinoa anyone?)

 Green Tea Iced Tea

This for me is the easiest way to get the benefits of green tea without having to drink hot tea.

This is what you need.

  •  Decafe Green Tea tea bags (3 per 1.5 litre)
  • 1.5 Litre’s hot boiling water
  • 3 packets of a plant based sweetner (or 6 tsp sugar if you eat sugar) – I like the vanilla flavoured

Method:

Boil water,  pour into glass pitcher or tea pot, add decafe green tea, tea bags, allow to steep (I let it sit for 1/2 hr – 1 hr!).  Once steeped, remove tea bags and stir in sugar or sweetner (you can adjust to taste). Chill.  Serve. EnJOY.

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From My kitchen  to yours – Happy & Healthy Eating!

Joy

Eat better than your cat.


You are what you eat … no seriously you are….

I was standing in a particularly slow line at the grocery store this morning and overheard the women in front of me chatting with the cashier about the cat food she was buying.  She was remarking that it was good she had a coupon because the cat food was a little more expensive but she lived alone and her cat was her friend and companion and was worth the extra money spent on a “better-for-it” food.  Ok, makes sense.  Then I looked down at what was on the belt and noticed what she was buying – the cat food, was indeed a higher end brand  but the rest of the “people food” was all garbage…. Keeping in mind this women lives alone, she was buying 13, yes 1. 3. full sized bags of assorted chips, 3 containers of chip dip, 2 boxes of granola bars, juices, a case of pop, and multiple boxes of premade process crap  umm I mean “food” (term used loosely here) like frozen dinners, breaded sodium and fat filled stuffed chicken (ahem again – term used loosely) breast, nuggets, pizzas and other assorted frozen non food.

Do see anything wrong with this picture? Why is her pet worth spending more on than herself?   Now this women was a heavyset women, and was huffing and puffing and out of breath shuffling her groceries around and heaving them into the grocery cart.  Now I am not here to judge about weight – its not about weight – its about health.   All I could think of to myself was – that women has 1 bag of frozen corn and that’s the only vegetable she is buying  (and really lets face it – its really more of a starch then a veggie) and not one fresh  or frozen fruit!  Then to top it all off – when all was said and done the cashier announced “OK, that comes to $161. 91 – I just about fell over!  I mean, I did our main grocery shopping for our family of 4 (2 adults, 2 young kids)  the other day, and spent $111 and change.  However we bought, meat (real meat), lots of fresh veggies, fruit, toilet paper, milk, cheese, butter, etc etc. real food – yup I will say it again REAL. FOOD.

OK, I get that not everyone likes to cook  – or cooks for a living like I do. However there are alternatives out there, people and businesses like mine (Joy In Your Kitchen) – I make homemade fully cooked meals from whole foods and deliver them frozen – but there are also so many things you can do yourself with little to no effort to make a healthy meal quickly.  In the time it takes to bake one of those pre-made breaded chicken “breasts” stuffed with broccoli and cheddar, you could bake a real chicken breast, with freshly squeezed lime juice and sprinkled with chili flakes, steam some broccoli throw on some rice (NOT that instant crap – brown or long grain is great – or try jasmine or basmati rice – I use our rice cooker to make it easy peasy- chuck the rice and water (or use chicken stock) in close the lid and forget it) or quinoa and make a salad.  Heck – don’t want to go to the trouble of buying all the ingredients for a salad – buy a salad in a bag complete with dressing!  Better yet – forgo the typically fat laden dressing (you know the creamy stuff),  add a bit of feta cheese to the salad (it keeps FOREVER in the fridge) and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar.  Save yourself a whole lot of calories and saturated fats and feel better.  If you use this type of eating as fuel for your body – doesn’t it just make sense that your engine (body) will run cleaner?  Naturally flush the toxins out, and sustain a healthier and happier lifestyle – I mean who wants to huff and puff hauling groceries?  Even better add a little exercise (consult your doctor first before starting any exercise program) – baby steps – go for a walk then shovel the driveway, heck – pay things forward – surprise your neighbour and shovel their driveway!  Go tobogganing with the kids – or with your friends (who cares if your 40 – tobogganing is fun!) and walk up the hill, walk the dog, try out snow shoeing or cross country skiing.  Not an outdoor person?  Go to the mall and walk around it (briskly) for 25-45 minutes (you can go shopping later –  this is about continual movement), go to YouTube and search Yoga or Pilates – do some poses, buy a exercise DVD, join a class, try swimming, aquafit or walking the lengths of the pool (in the water).   Maybe you can only get moving for 5 or 10 mins at first  – that’s fine, DO IT!   I promise if you keep it up and eat cleaner you will be able to do 10 mins, then 15, then 20 and so on and so on.  Make your mind up and do it – get a friend to promise to motivate each other – heck write to me! Because no matter who you are or what you do, have or have not done in the past – you deserve it …. yes … even more so than your cat. 🙂

Easy Baked (or Grilled) Chicken Meal … or make it into a two-fer!
(sorry guys, I didn’t have time to take any pictures today!) 

Chicken & Quinoa Meal 1
1-2 chicken breast (or however many you need for you or your family)
1 lime
chili flakes to taste
Quinoa (you can get it at the grocery store typically near the rice or the Bulk Barn)
1 lemon
Broccoli – fresh is best but get the frozen kind if you don’t want to deal with fresh
optional – dried cranberries or crasions
optional – feta cheese
bag of salad
balsamic vinegar (the older its aged the sweeter it is)

Equipment needed:  1 manual juicer (I think it makes it easier – you don’t have to use but they cost about $1 at the Dollar Store) and a cookie sheet or baking pan. 1 saucepan.

Instructions
squeeze the juice out of the lime -pour over chicken breast, sprinkle with chili flakes (no you don’t need salt TRUST ME – this is good just like this)  bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until juices run clear (internal temperature is 165-170).
*tip: if you are not using a juicer to juice the lime or lemon, roll it on the counter a few times before cutting in half – you will get more juice this way.

Meanwhile just before chicken is done, set a pot of water (amount specific to the quinoa directions) to boil on the stovetop, add lemon to water (or use chicken stock), add broccoli and boil for 2 min, add quinoa to broccoli pot (cook according to directions), add cranberries or craisons and (optional) a bit of feta cheese,  just before serving, and fluff with fork or mix together. Dump some of your bag of salad into a bowl, add some feta if you like, top with balsamic vinegar. Voila dinner is served – 2 pots/pans, 1 dish, fork and knife. pretty easy eh?

Meal 2
Wait – have extra Quinoa? Don’t toss it out yet! Throw in some parsley, spinach and feta and make it into a salad for the next day’s lunch or dinner! Extra chicken throw that in too?  Or make extra chicken while you are cooking anyway and throw it into a wrap with and feta some of the bagged salad for lunch or dinner.

*Quinoa Tip 1:  if you are cooking quinoa on its own, you can play with flavours by adding different juices (from the fruit not from the bottle) like oranges, lemons or limes, chop up some pecan or almonds, substitute chicken (or vegetable) stock for water, add different spices play with different options till you find something you like!
* Quinoa Tip 2: rinse the quinoa before cooking to prevent bitterness – if you are losing it down the sink put it in a sifter (like for flour) and gently run the water over it

*To get more of the skinny (haha) on quinoa -check this article out.

I love to hear your comments or suggestions – please subscribe to my blog and/or leave me your comments!

From my kitchen to yours, happy and healthy eating!

Is Take-Out (Away) – Fast Food really that bad for you?


Ok, if you know me at all by now you’ll know my answer by no question is YES, all caps, bolded letters YES!! Now to prove my point I went out and did a little research and entered the results here.

First I went to a certain taco joint with a freaky little Chihuahua making a run for the border, and ate what I would have eaten previous to avoiding fast food: 2 Mexi Melts made with beans instead of meat and a nacho’s supreme (or whatever the damn thing is called now), with a Dr Pepper.

Timeline:
While ordering: Wow, this is going to be great –  I am so looking forward to eating some yummy fast food”
While Paying :”Holy crap this is expensive – did I really just spend $9???”
Walking to table:”mmmm this smells good”
Unwrapping & eating: “can’t wait”
2 minutes after first bite: “Wow this is salty -I’m really glad I ordered a drink”
10 minutes after finishing: “Huh, that wasn’t as good as I remembered it being”, followed by “Wow , I’m still really thirsty”
In the car on my way home: “Huh, I feel like my belly is bloated out to here (imaginary hand waving in front of my belly) – maybe I should have walked the 5  km instead of driven”.
5 minutes later: – “O ya I definitely should have walked– boy I’m still really  thirsty.”
1 hour later: “Wow, I think I need a nap, but first I’m going to get another glass of water”

What the?  I used to LOVE (all caps LOVE) that fast food – now it just reminds me of a bad blind date “Not what I hoped for but about what I expected” 🙂

So I decided to “get the goods” so to speak and actually compare the nutritional “buzz words” floating about in conjunction with other fast, convenience or take out foods. Even I was a little astounded at the findings.  To give you some perspective I have included the following:

 “Recommended daily sodium according to Doctor Tylus  of Hamilton, ON 1000 mg for children aged 1 to 3
1200 mg for children aged 4 to 8
1500 mg for people aged 9 to 50
1300 mg for adults aged 51 to 70
1200 mg for seniors aged 70+

Now lets take a look at some of the most popular fast – convenience foods around (below you’ll find a chart comparing some of my dishes that I sell through my Joy In Your Kitchen business as thaw – heat and serve as a comparison.

Fast (Convenience) Food     vrs.   Joy In Your Kitchen – Heat & Serve

Contender One: Convenience Foods

  Fast Food (Drive Thru) Take-Out or Delivery Supermarket
2 pieces Fried Chicken
dinner with  med fries
Double Quarter
LB Burger with cheese
& Large Fries
Submarine
Sandwich
(Assorted)
2 Chicken Soft Taco’s
& cheesy fries
New York Style
Pepperoni Pizza
(2 Slices)
Fried Rice
&
Beef Broccol(15 oz)
Roasted Chicken
Wedges &   Mac.  Salad –
(1cup ckn + 4 wedges)
Pre Packaged
Lasagna3/4 LB
Calories 1440 1320 290 830  1360 720 798  459
Total Fat 79 g 72g 9g 40 g 48g 24g 35g 25.4 g
Saturated Fat 10 g 24 g 3g 19 g 22g 6g 10g 8.35 g
Cholesterol 160 150mg 20mg 85 mg 100mg 155mg 100mg 35 mg
Sodium 2860 mg 1740mg 1000mg 2620 mg 3540mg 1620mg 1750mg 1462 mg

Reminder Doctor Tylus   recommends no more than 1500mg daily sodium intake for most of our audience (ages 9-50).

Wow! There is not one choice in our Popular Fast Food/Take out menu that is below the recommended DAILY intake for any age group – let alone at just one meal!

Contender 2  Joy In Your Kitchen

Comparable Joy In Your Kitchen Dishes
Roasted
Chicken
Shepherd’s
Pie 
3/4 LB
Thai Coconut
Basil Chicken
(1 cup serving)
2 Chicken
Enchiladas
& Refried Beans
& Mexican Rice (combo)
Joy’s Signature
Lasagna 
3/4 LB
Baked Beans(4oz)
Chicken breast &(1/4 c Joy of BBQ Sauce) 
Joy’s Pizza Dough,
Joy of Pasta  sauce,
& 1/4c mozzarella
(2 pc of lg pie)
Butternut Squash Soup (1c)
1/2 twice baked potato
(with cheese & broccoli) 
Calories 233 187 677 473 260 309.5 259
Total Fat 5g 12g 22 g 13 g 4g 10 g  6 g
Saturated Fat 1.1 g 7.9 g 8 g 3.7 g 1 g 6 g  3.4 g
Cholesterol 54mg 32.3 mg 82 mg 64 mg 3.6 mg 32.9 mg  15.4mg
Sodium 292 mg 683 mg 1332 mg 243 mg 942 mg 431 mg 854 mg

top

Other interesting facts:

From Livestrong.com

“Salt does not cause your body to gain or lose fat. In fact, salt has no calories. High consumption of salt only results in temporary weight gain as it causes your body to retain water. Conversely, low consumption of salt can result in temporary weight loss as it causes your body to expel water.

It is interesting to note that many crash diets which boast quick weight loss rely on foods with little or no salt content. The weight loss is mostly water, and as soon as you eat foods containing salt again you regain the weight.

A Word of Caution

Our opening paragraphs would lead you to believe that salt is of little concern in regards to long-term weight loss. In fact, a diet high in salt content can not only affect your blood pressure (see below), but is typically associated with weight gain.

The reason is that high levels of salt in our diets usually come from calorie dense, fiber poor, processed foods, like those found in fast food and restaurant meals, as well as on supermarket shelves. If you adhere to a low salt diet, it will likely consist of the lower calorie, healthier foods associated with weight loss.

Salt vrs Sodium

Though the terms are often used interchangeably, salt and sodium are not the same thing. Sodium, which is found naturally in most foods, accounts for approximately 40% of table salt. Therefore when salt is added to food, the sodium content increases by approximately 40% of the amount of salt added.”

Other Facts

Another Expert’s Opinion on why water is so important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle:

Proper hydration is one of the keys, not only to staying fit and healthy, but to looking and feeling our best, as well. Find out what Dr. Cousens, a renowned nutritionist, has to say about the connection between water and health. We also offer you a great formula for energizing the water you drink. It’s all here:

If you avoid dehydration, you can avoid overeating. As Dr. Cousens says, “When you start to hydrate by drinking enough water, then your appetite goes down because you’re actually fulfilling what your body needs—which is water. And that’s also a very powerful way to lose weight, but also, in a sense, the hydration makes everything, including your brain, work a lot better.”

So the next time you are thinking about “Just grabbing something to eat” – bypass the drive-thru, open your freezer and pop in your favourite Joy In Your Kitchen item, pour a tall glass of water and feel guilt free!

From My Kitchen to yours, Happy & Healthy Eating.

Joy

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hey y’all – it’s Gumbo!


Some of my loyal followers here know that I worked a couple of Blues Festivals (Southside Shuffle & Kitchener Blues Festival) over the summer with Mississippi Queen Foods.  If there was anything I learned while working with the Mississippi Queen  a.k.a Connie  herself is that if your going to serve southern to a bunch of BoozeHounds  I mean Blues Fans it had better be good – and if its good people will LOVE it! I tried my hand out at making some Gumbo myself last weekend and have the pictures to prove it 🙂  and damned if I don’t think it tastes pretty freaking awesome!

But first the lesson part of today 🙂  What is Gumbo exactly anyway?  Gumbo is a soup/stew that typically contains 3 different meats,  or whatever you have, with a base is made from a roux,  the “Holy Trinity” of onions, green peppers and celery (the base to a lot of  creole or cajun dishes).  It usually contains Okra, Andouille Sausage (spicy pork sausage native to the N’awlins area) and seafood. Gumbo was born on the plantations where the slave owners would throw the slaves the “scraps” and thus Gumbo was born (hey I didn’t say it had a pretty beginning!) .

When I decided to try my hand at Gumbo I didn’t have any filé (ground Sassafras leaf) which is used as a thickener & to add flavour,  instead I used okra as a thickener.  (If you are wondering where you can buy the filé or other southern groceries here in Canada – take a look at the MQF – General Store.)
The first thing I did was start my stock – you can use chicken stock or water, but I was making my gumbo with shrimp and was peeling them anyway so I went ahead and made my own shrimp stock.

Shrimp Stock

Peel shrimp for gumbo, add peels to a pot of water with a roughly chopped/chunked  onion, a green pepper and a tomato (I used organic ones from my local farmer, Svetec Farms but any will do).  Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until you need it (at least an hour or so), when ready to use, pour stock thru strainer and disregard veggies & peels.

Here’s my recipe!

The Joy of Gumbo (come on – I haven’t made a “Joy” reference for a long time!)

You will need:

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 LB chopped  lean bacon (pay more and get the less fatty ones – we use side bacon)
  • 2 cups chopped okra (wash, cut stem off and chop

  •  1 LB spicy pork sausage
  • 10 tomatoes chopped
  • 1-2 Jalapeno’s chopped
  • 1/2 c butter – melted (or lard 0r bacon fat! yikes!)
  • 2/3 c  all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups or so chopped onion
  • 4 green onions – chopped
  • 10 small green peppers diced finely

  • 2/3 c celery chopped
  • 2 TB parsley
  • 3 TB minced garlic
  • water
  • 8 c Shrimp Stock
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 10  dashes Louisiana Hot Sauce (or cayenne pepper sauce)

  • 1 Tsp dried Thyme
  • 1 1/2 LB peeled uncooked shrimp – large sized
  • 1/2 LB peeled uncooked shrimp – small

Cooking Equipment:

  • stock pot, sauce pan, frying pan/skillet, strainer

Method

Gumbo is an all day process – or ideally overnight – leave yourself lots of time!
Time saver hint:  Use a food processor to shred or chop your veggies except okra and tomatoes.

  1. Brown the sausage in the skillet – preferably use andouille sausage but if you are here in Canada its harder to get – I used a hot pork sausage, removed it from the casing and added cajun spice to it.
  2. Once the sausages are browned, discard the fat in the skillet, drain sausage meat on paper towel and set aside.  Add bacon to skillet and. cook until well done.  Remove to paper towel and set aside.
  3. Stir the okra into the hot bacon grease and saute for about 5 minutes,  drain the okra in a colander and discard the bacon drippings.
  4. In saucepan, add okra, jalapeno and tomatoes over medium heat, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer the okra mixture for about 10 minutes.
  5. In a large stock pot, melt the butter (or lard)  over medium heat, and cook and stir the onion, green onions, green pepper, celery, parsley, and garlic until the onion begins to turn brown.
  6. After about 10 minutes, remove the vegetables but leave the butter in the pot
  7. Pour a glass of wine.  (you’ll be standing in one place for a while – might as well enjoy it)
  8. Stir in the flour, reduce heat to low, and cook the roux, stirring constantly, until it darkens in colour (anywhere from carmel to a milk chocolate colour).
    30 to 45 minutes.
  9. Whisk in 2 cups  of water or stock
  10. Do not the roux burn.
  11. When the roux is the correct colour, Raise the heat to medium; stir in salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, thyme, and bay leaves, bring the mixture to a
     boil and stir in the sausage, bacon, okra-tomato mixture, and 6 more cups of
    stock.
  12. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer the gumbo, stirring occasionally, until the soup has thickened and the flavors are blended, about 45 minutes.
    Stir in the shrimp, and simmer until they turn pink and opaque, 6 to 8 more minutes. Discard bay leaves and adjust the seasonings, if desired, before serving.

Optional Step but I recommend.  

  1. If you can stand it, let the soup simmer for a few hours skimming fat/grease off the top every so often.  Personally, I like to refrigerate it overnight and let the fat form a layer on top, it can then can be easily skimmed off in the morning.

I serve this with Jalapeno Cheese Cornbread Muffins /Loaf. (Yes- I know its a stone and not a cast iron skillet – I couldn’t find my skillet- I sprayed the stone and preheated it previous to adding the batter, it worked pretty well)

Interesting to note: In Mississippi style southern cornbread there is no sugar or honey, the sweeter version is more popular in the north.   I make and prefer the unsweetened classic version but I had extra jalapeno’s so I them in.

You may wish to use filé or offer to anyone that wants a thicker gumbo (although this is pretty damn thick!).  You can substitute the meat ingredients however you wish,  chicken, catfish, crabmeat, crawfish, etc

Try it!  En”JOY” <grin> it and let me know what you think!

I recommend The Bayou Butt Burner Hot Sauce or Melinda’s Habanero Hot Sauce! ( you can order it online from MQF!)

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Till next time y’all
from my kitchen to yours,  happy & healthy eating

Joy

What am I all about?


Well I think its high time, since I’ve had this blank blog for almost a month now to create something profound and important and share with you all …. wait – I don’t really have anything profound to blog about – important?  well I guess that all depends on who’s reading!  Welcome to my blog – I write about the things that are important to me – nutrition, and well living whilst dabbling in a bit of humor and story telling (all true!!) wanna come along for the ride?  Fasten your seat belt here we go!

An intro might be in order – as much as I’d love to say I was fun, fit, and fabulous  – I’d be fibbing (see that literary skill with alteration pretty impressive eh?) so I will go with a definite fun and fabulous and striving to be fit.   O ya – I happen to be Canadian too (just in case you didn’t catch the “eh” at the end of my last sentence).  Of course I do have 2 young children, a husband and am starting a business,  so sometimes I’m just having a fit, or fit to be tied or not “fitting” into an outfit … But then I digress…. so besides being a typical time crunched mom I also used to be a commuter – used to be is the key there – ahhh there’s something to be missed about sitting in traffic breathing in environmental toxins and elevating your blood pressure for 3 hours a day isn’t there? – (Ya like you miss having a root canal).

When I decided to leave my corporate job and go out on my own I thought hmmm, what interests me?  What am I good at?  Well I love cooking so I started there.  I looked at my past situation – that being no time to do anything let alone nutrition – I mean I know its important but who the heck has time to whip something up after work before taking the kids to swimming, dancing, gymnastics or whatever else maybe on the agenda?  So I looked around – and hey wow there were lots of people just like me! I started doing some market research and found out some interesting stuff I mean facts.   Like – how about the fact of the 100 ish families  I surveyed 47% of them eat take out, or hit the drive thru 1-2 times a week for dinner 19% go thru 3-4 times a week.  Wow!  Then those same people stated that they check the nutritional breakdowns in the food they buy and are concerned about sodium, fats, and cholesterol and overall nutrition. Whaaaa?  Does anyone else see a contradiction here?   Everyone knows its bad but save from making things yourself, there just aren’t a lot of options out there.   This spoke to me – actually jumped up – slapped me in the face, wiggled its butt and shouted to me – WOOOOO – Girl I think you are on to something here … and thats how my story begins….

Once upon a time there was a girl named Joy that loved to cook, and be healthy, and live well and wanted her cake and to eat it too (‘cos everyone knows there are no calories in cake)  and so I bring you Joy In Your Kitchen.  – I’m not here to tout the virtues of my business – you can visit my web site for that  – I want to share with you my passion for living well (mentally, emotionally and physically) and along the way share some of my more humorous stories, trials and tribulations  – cos everyone knows that laughter is the BEST medicine and there’s just nothing better sometimes then a good ‘ol belly laugh ….

Welcome to my blog.