Omega Oil Benefits, Why I’m Picky.

Omega Oil Benefits, Why I’m Picky.

Omega oil benefits go far and wide. Or should I say ‘Oh-me-ga’ on the omegas? There is a lot of hype about these fatty acids and it can be overwhelming. Healthy oils for our bodies can be tricky to figure out. Let me make it simple for you with this quick go-to guide that brings an emphasis on omega oil benefits. As an added bonus, I’ll tell you about the best-saturated fat that benefits our bodies! Huh?

omega fatty acids and oils
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To supplement, or not to supplement? You might not need to. There are 3 major oils in the omega family: omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9. All are unique and serve a different purpose. I’m here to simplify the explanation of them all.  

Omega Oil Benefits from Omega-3

First and foremost, Omega-3 cannot be produced in the human body, which means you need to get these from your diet. This fatty acid gets a lot of attention and it should! It’s good for producing good HDL cholesterol, which is good for your heart. This omega can reduce symptoms of depression, help with mental disorders, can prevent and manage autoimmune diseases, and can also help with weight management. Did you hear that? Fat can help you lose weight. Omega-3s are good for your liver and they’re anti-inflammatory. This oil can prevent dementia and improve memory. Not only that, but it betters bone mineral density, and get this, it can help reduce symptoms of asthma. Wow, powerful oil, no wonder it gets so much attention. The two highest sources of Omega-3s are fish oil and flaxseed (vegan) oil.

Some other sources include:

  1.  Atlantic Mackerel: 6,982 milligrams in 1 cup cooked (174 percent DV)
  2. Salmon Fish Oil: 4,767 milligrams in 1 tablespoon (119 percent DV)
  3. Cod Liver Oil: 2.664 milligrams in 1 tablespoon (66 percent DV)
  4. Walnuts: 2,664 milligrams in 1/4 cup (66 percent DV)
  5. Chia Seeds: 2,457 milligrams in 1 tablespoon (61 percent DV)
  6. Herring: 1,885 milligrams in 3 ounces (47 percent DV)
  7. Alaskan Salmon (wild-caught): 1,716 milligrams in 3 ounces (42 percent DV)
  8. Flaxseeds (ground): 1,597 milligrams in 1 tablespoon (39 percent DV)
  9. Albacore Tuna: 1,414 milligrams in 3 ounces (35 percent DV)
  10. White Fish: 1,363 milligrams in 3 ounces (34 percent DV)
  11. Sardines: 1,363 milligrams in 1 can/3.75 ounces (34 percent DV)
  12. Hemp Seeds: 1,000 milligrams  in 1 tablespoon (25 percent DV)
  13. Anchovies: 951 milligrams in 1 can/2 ounces (23 percent DV)
  14. Natto: 428 milligrams in 1/4 cup (10 percent DV)
  15. Egg Yolks: 240 milligrams in 1/2 cup (6 percent DV)

(source: Dr. Axe)

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With the olive oil craze, it is a source of all the omegas. My favorite, hands-down olive oil is California Ranch Olive Oil. It’s 100% olive oil. It has a great taste for salads, dipping…my mouth is watering…and cooking. Click on the picture below for more details.

Omega-6

You don’t hear much about Omega-6, because if you get too much it could backfire. And according to this article, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in the diet should be 4:1, but in the Western diet the ratio is much higher, 10:1 and 50:1! Ouch. They are still essential for producing energy and if taken correctly this fatty acid helps with treating the symptoms of chronic disease like rheumatoid arthritis and breast cancer (in conjunction with another drug). On top of that, it can also reduce body fat, once again, a fat to reduce fat. The top two sources of Omega-6s are Evening Primrose Oil and Safflower oil.

Nitty Gritty on Omega-6

I personally supplement evening primrose oil to help with my hormones. A word of caution, you don’t need to supplement with omega-6. Remember too much could increase inflammation. Keep in mind that other sources of omega-6s are soybeans, corn, and sunflower oils. Note these sources are usually treated with chemicals in the field before processing…which some chemicals leach into our food…hence digestive disorders and disease. If possible, consume organic.

Omega-9

These fatty acids are a bit different. They can be produced by the body. Some studies indicated they could help reduce inflammation and assist with insulin sensitivity. Yes, you shouldn’t have to supplement Omega-9’s because our bodies do a good job of taking care of them. The top three sources include macadamia nut oil, hazelnut oil, and olive oil. Avocado oil is also a source.

IBD Triggers and what to do
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Now what?

First off, I’m not a doctor, nor am I trying to be. I share the information I have either experienced myself or am extremely interested in, and then I keep things simple and give it to you in a nutshell. Please consult your physician before jumping into new things.

So what do we do with all this information? Out of all of the Omegas, Omega-3 is the most important. If you eat enough seafood and healthy fats, like avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts & seeds, eggs, grass-fed organic beef, and dark chocolate, you should be good to go. I obviously didn’t go into the difference between monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, or saturated fats; if you want more of a ‘science’ explanation there is a great article here.

Bonus! Don’t miss this one.

There is an amazing fatty acid that is 90% saturated fat, but the highest in content of lauric acid, which in a twisted way can help improve the level of lipids traveling through the blood. That means it is likely it will reduce the risk of heart disease! That sounds pretty technical, but I wanted to share this with you because I eat this every day.

What I’m talking about is Coconut Oil. There are so many benefits to coconut oil, you will be blown away, in fact, there are so many benefits it can be a bit overwhelming. To keep it simple I’ll list the top 15 in a minute. But get this, some studies show that it may reduce belly fat and dampen our appetites…hello…more weight loss from fat! Word of CAUTION: too much of a good thing can backfire. Don’t consume more than 2 TBSP a day. If you have too much it can cause diarrhea.

Coconut oil
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What kind of coconut oil to get?

Coconut oil is a staple in our family. I no longer use butter on my toast, pancakes, or in my baking. Not to mention fish frying. We just had gluten-free fried walleye last night and fried it in coconut oil. And of course, we used our cast iron pans. Seriously, cast iron is a must. It’s the healthiest chemical-free pan, and it’s super easy to clean. The walleye was absolutely amazing!

Keep in mind when cooking with coconut oil you won’t taste the coconut. It’s a clean oil with a high flash point. When buying coconut oil get the Virgin, Unrefined. A little coconut oil can go a long way, just don’t overdo it. Ready for the powerful impact this stuff can do?

Coconut Oil Benefits – Top 15

1. It helps prevent heart disease and high blood pressure.

2. It can help treat Alzheimer’s.

3. It BE good for the ole liver.

4. Reduces Inflammation and Arthritis

5. It’s antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral! Works well on cuts and skin issues.

6. Improves energy

7. It helps the gut heal by destroying bad bacteria and that nasty Candida (yeast overgrowth).

8. Prevents Osteoporosis by helping to increase the absorption of calcium and magnesium.

9. It’s Anti-aging. Now we’re talkin’!

10. It helps balance hormones naturally. Now we’re really talkin’!

11. Thickens hair and helps with dandruff. It’s a natural hair conditioner.

12. It helps improve sleep when consumed every day.

13. It can help with environmental allergies if you rub the inside of your nose with it.

14. Speeds up the healing of sunburn.

15. It’s an amazing oil to make homemade popcorn with. Just sub coconut oil in place of your other oil. Yum!

Sources: Dr. Axe, Wellness Mama

Where to buy?

We get our coconut oil from Costco because we go through quite a bit. If you don’t have a Costco Membership, no problem! You can get it on Amazon. I highly recommend this product, especially if you use it a lot. If you don’t use a whole lot, get a smaller container at the store.

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Coconut Oil Shelf-life

Coconut oil can go bad, here’s an article from David at KitchenAmbiton.com about what to look for in rancid oil. All in all, keep your diet simple and powerful with clean fresh food. Oil does a body good. Don’t be afraid of it, just choose wisely.

Need a cast iron pan? You can get one on Amazon. And it’s Prime! Click on the picture below to go to Amazon.

Wrapping Omega Oil Benefits Up!

I used to think oil was super bad for you. Back in the 1990’s, there was the low-fat craze and I fell hard on it. Oil was a big NO for me, and that was a mistake. Choose your oil carefully. There are oils that are not good for you like trans-fats, some canola oils, vegetable oil, and even some olive oils that are mixed with other oils. Please read the label and know what you’re getting. You won’t get fat or high cholesterol if you choose wisely.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

Food Combining Does What? Manage stomach acid now!

How to help your digestive system: 10 triggers to watch for

Quick Healthy Meals On a Budget? 5 Criteria

How to Stay Healthy: 15 Powerful Ways

How to Reduce Stress in your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

13 Natural Stress Relief Products for Anyone!

Stay Connected

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly, All Rights Reserved.

Better Belly Steak: Healthy Steak Recipe

Better Belly Steak: Healthy Steak Recipe

If you missed my post about food combining you’ll want to check’r out. This amazing steak recipe I’m about to give you goes in line with food combining. You might think to yourself, “Food combining matters? It’s all going to the same place anyway. What gives?”

Steak

When I was a kid, eating with my grandparents was torture for me. Not only did I have to eat everything off my plate, including the extra ketchup…yes, with a spoon, down the hatch it went; I had to watch my grandparents pretty much swirl everything on their plate and eat it. As a kid, I didn’t want my peas to touch my mash potatoes, or for Pete’s sake my jello to touch my chicken pot pie! This kind of food combining is not what I’m talking about, but it gives you a visual.

What happens in the belly

Let’s take steak n potatoes, a classic meal. It’s a meal that has withstood the decades. Many would call it a ‘healthy’ meal. To the eye, it is, but to the stomach not-so. Combining a protein with heavy-duty starch-like buttery mashed potatoes spoils in your stomach. Starchy sugars don’t mix well with hard-core proteins. Ew! With spoiling in the stomach comes indigestion, bloating, gas, burping…sluggishness.

If you want to feel better after a steak dinner, change your side to a low-starch veggie, like salad, broccoli, green beans, or grilled summer squash. I know garlic mashed potatoes with steak is OH SO YUMMY, but if you’re feeling icky after a meal like that it could be the food combo. Hold up, I’m not telling you to stop eating that combo, not at all. All I’m saying is that you might want to mix it up every once in a while. Just letting you know what I’ve learned. If you want a download of my food combination aid, you can get one here at freebies. It gives you examples of what to eat with what, along with a list of foods, and when to eat fruit. I personally tape mine to my kitchen cupboard.

IBD Triggers and what to do
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Ingredients needed for this dish

With this healthy steak recipe, I use a cast-iron pan. It really does make a difference, especially if you can’t cook on the grill. I highly recommend getting one, even if it’s the small one. You can find them on Amazon.

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As for other ingredients, I used McCormick Grill Mates 25% Less Sodium Montreal Steak Seasoning. This has amazing flavor and it’s gluten-free! It also comes in regular sodium and 25% less sodium. Delicious!

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I also use Kirkland’s Frozen Organic Green Beans. Love these things. They come pre-washed. And for my other side, I simply visit the frozen veggie section at the grocery and pick up a steamable veggie dish. This is actually my new go-to when I’m running low on time.

On to the healthy steak recipe!

Steak
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Better Belly Steak

Want an amazing steak with loads of flavor? Try this steak recipe for a quick and easy meal that tastes like it came from a fancy restaurant.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, steak
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 300kcal
Author Christy

Equipment

  • Cast Iron Pan
  • Tongs

Ingredients

  • 1 steak Strip Steak, highest grade
  • 1 tbsp McCormickGrill Mates 25% Less Sodium Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen organic green beans Washed and trimmed
  • 1 box Green Giant SimplySteam, Riced Cauliflower Italian Style In frozen section at grocery

Instructions

  • Take yourcast iron pan, put it on the stove, and preheat on high for 4-5 minutes, oruntil very hot (wink).
  • Pat your steak dry with paper towels. In this recipe I used Strip steak, highest grade.
    Strip steak
  • Sprinkle McCormick Steak Seasoning, this is gluten-free!
  • Put alittle salt in the bottom of your hot cast iron pan.
  • Place the steak in your hot pan. It might get a little smokey, so make sure you’re cooking in a well – ventilated space…I do not recommend a tent. I personally turn my kitchen vent on and crack a window.
  • In the next one to two minutes, carefully flip the steak placing it in a different spot on the pan. Cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Continue turning and flipping the steak until it’s cooked to your desired doneness.
  • To be on the safe side, use a meat thermometer and insert it in the thickest part of the steak. Here’s a quick guide on temperatures.
    ·        Medium-rare:135º
    ·        Medium: 140º
    ·        Medium-well: 145º
  • Place the steak on your plate and let it rest for 10 minutes before cutting into it. Keep in mind the steak may continue to cook after it has been removed from the pan.
  • While steak is resting, take your green beans and put them in a sauce pan with an inch of wate on medium heat. Cover the pan. with lid. Cook 5 minutes and check. Keep checkingevery couple minutes. Cook to desire. Do not burn!
  • While green beans are cooking. Grab your box of Green Giant SimplySteam, Riced Cauliflower Italian Style and follow the microwave instructions. Stir after it has been cooked.
  • Dish up the steak, green beans, and cauliflower rice on your plate. Salt lightly if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

Calories are an estimate. 
Be sure to check out my other simple and delicious recipes!

All recipes are gluten-free and dairy-free recipes.

Simple Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Leg Recipe

Better Belly Steak Recipe

Simple Game Day Sloppy Joe Sandwiches

Fried Walleye Recipe

Easy Dairy-Free Nachos with Simple Ingredients

Brat n Bacon Stew Recipe

Salmon in a Skillet Recipe

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

Food Combining Does What? Manage stomach acid now!

Food Combining Does What? Manage stomach acid now!

Tired, bloated, indigestion after you eat? Let me fill you in on a little secret, it probably has something to do with food combining. Our stomach is known for acid. Stomach acid, along with the help of enzymes, helps break down food. Not only that but it actually helps support the body in absorbing protein and vitamin B-12, which we only get from protein (meat). In this post, you’ll find tips on how to feel better and get more bang for your nutrition buck! How to reduce stomach acid, how to increase stomach acid, how to test which one you have, and why food combining has a lot to do with stomach acid is in this post. Plus! You can download my free easy to understand food combining chart!

Let’s jump into the stomach.

If you have high levels of stomach acid you’re probably experiencing one of these symptoms: acid reflux, burping, or you may even feel nauseated. If you have too little stomach acid you may feel bloated, experience diarrhea or constipation, have food intolerances, osteoporosis, leaky gut, malnutrition, and heartburn. It’s kind of confusing, eh?

If you have either too high or too low of stomach acid it puts stress on the digestive system which can lead to further problems down the road, for instance, if you have heartburn (GERDS) and don’t pay attention to it, it can cause permanent damage to the esophagus and upping your chances of precancerous cells. If the stomach acid is too low and left untreated it can lead to hair loss, GI infections, anemia, lupus, allergies, chronic autoimmune disorders, and thyroid issues to name a few. Yikes!

how to manage stomach acid

How do you know if you have high or low stomach acid?

First off, I’m not a doctor, nor am I trying to be. I share the information I have either experienced myself or am extremely interested in. I keep things simple and give you the nutshell version of what I’ve learned. *Consult your physician before jumping into new things.*

There are a number of things you can do to figure this out:

1) You could visit your doctor and have them order a test. Most likely it will be a CBC (complete blood count) and CMP (comprehensive metabolic panel). From the test they’ll look at a variety of factors, some include iron and phosphorous levels.

2) The other test is the Heidelberg Stomach Acid Test, this test requires fasting for 12 hours and swallowing a tiny electronic capsule. You will need to drink a baking soda solution and then the capsule will record how long it takes your stomach to restore normal acidity levels. Cool!

3) If you don’t like doctors or want to spend the extra cash, there is a simple at-home test is called the Baking Soda Acid Test. The accuracy of this test is not 100%, so it’s best to do this test regularly to get a better idea of where you are on stomach acid.

Here’s how to do it: Mix ¼ tsp of baking soda in four ounces of water. In the morning before you eat or drink anything else, drink the concoction. Next, start your timer on your phone and time how long it takes to burp. If it takes more than five minutes or you experience no burp at all, it’s a sign of low stomach acid.

IBD Triggers and what to do
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Tips on how to reduce gastric juice:

1) Understand what food combinations cause high acidity. See my chart on freebies.

2) Eat smaller meals. Overeating can put pressure on the esophageal sphincter, which causes it to open and leak acid into your esophagus.

3) Try a low-carb diet. When our system can’t digest carbs well, we get gassy and bloated, which then leads to GERD. Numerous studies support this idea. Looking into amylase, a digestive enzyme that helps break down carbs may significantly help you when you can’t say no.

4) Limit the guilty pleasures of caffeine and alcohol. The alcohol relaxes the esophageal sphincter and the caffeine weakens the sphincter. They basically have the same effects on the sphincter. Try decaf coffee instead, that’s what I do and my body has adjusted well after the caffeine withdrawal ended.

5) Chew gum. This helps increase saliva production and helps clear the esophagus of stomach acid. It helps with symptoms but doesn’t solve the root cause. No wonder my son loves gum!

6) Cut back on carbonated drinks and citrus juice. Again both of these kinds of beverages weaken the esophageal sphincter.

7) Mint is a no-go. Mint chocolate-chip ice cream should take a backseat if you experience symptoms. This refreshing herb is so relaxing that it too relaxes the sphincter. Peppermint tea, peppermint chocolate or candies, and peppermint-flavored gum have the potential to fire back, literally up your esophagus.

Some other tips to help alleviate symptoms are not eating too close to bedtime, elevating your head while sleeping, and avoiding laying on your RIGHT side. These tactics help calm the acid and keep that pesky sphincter closed!

banana fact

4 little ways to increase low stomach acid at home

1) I wouldn’t hit the meat & potatoes to fix your low stomach acid, instead, take a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar that includes the Mother. This is an easy way to help your stomach acid get ready to work before a meal. Mix one tablespoon of the vinegar in water and drink before a meal. Make sure you get the right one. You can see it here.

2) Like honey? Try Manuka Honey. This honey comes from New Zealand and has amazing antimicrobial properties. It helps with IBS, indigestion, stomach ulcer prevention, oral health, and like most honey, helps with wound healing and sore throats. Get more details on Manuka Honey here.

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3) Chew. “Chew, chew, chew.” When we’re hungry, we tend to eat fast and take big bites! It’s like a welcome mat for a stuck burp. Chew every bite so it turns into mush. There is no need to eat your food fast. Simply use a smaller fork to help with bite-size.

4) Digestive enzymes also do the trick. Unfortunately, the first time I tried these they gave me diarrhea. They can actually cause constipation in some people too. But don’t let this discourage you. Digestive enzymes play an important role in vitamin and nutrient absorption. As you age or if you have a digestive disorder, or have pancreas issues, your enzymes deplete and lead to uncomfortable symptoms. For instance, one sign is a change in bowels and/or seeing undigested food in your stool. Yes, you should look at your poop! So before I completely gave up on digestive enzymes, I gave them another try. This time I played with the dose. Instead of a whole pill before a meal, I only took a pinch and it worked a lot better. After your body gets used to them you can move forward from there.

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What are digestive enzymes?

In a nutshell, there are three main types of digestive enzymes: proteases, lipases, and amylases. Here is a list of the enzymes and what they do. Helpful Hint: Pancreatic enzyme names usually end in “-in” (like trypsin or pepsin), while other digestive enzymes usually end in “-ase” or “-ose” (like lactose, sucrose, fructose).

The trick for making digestive enzymes work for you is to first determine if you are a candidate for supplementation. Know your body, pay attention to how it reacts after you eat. Are you burping, bloated, having to run the bathroom, heartburn, stinky gas and a lot of it, or cramping?

The next step is to determine what kind of enzyme you need. Asking your doctor, a nutritionist, or a functional medicine doc for their recommendations is the way to go. Just note the FDA does not regulate digestive enzymes, so everyone will have their own opinion, but you know your body best. You want clear ingredients from a reputable manufacturer.

Third, you’ll have to experiment to find the right dose. Remember this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. I’m not a doctor. Seek advice from a qualified health provider before trying something new. This post is to help you investigate how to help heal your body and ask the right questions to your healthcare provider.

digestive enzymes list

Stress can increase stomach acid?

Does stress increase stomach acid? That’s a great question. The answer is debatable but most likely. Stress affects our muscles, our immune systems, and our minds. All of those things work together to keep our bodies functioning. When one is off, it affects the other. If your muscles are tight around the stomach, it might push your stomach contents around and increase pressure. It doesn’t hurt to manage stress. For managing stress you’ll want to check out this post: How to Reduce Stress in your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips.

Food Combining 101

Back to Food Combining. Yes combining food makes a difference with stomach acid. Food combining gives you a little bit of control. When certain foods are put together they can either wreak havoc on your stomach or can give you energy. For instance, the classic steak n potato with melted butter, well it’s going to spoil in your stomach. You will most likely have bloating, stinky ‘wind’, and indigestion. This combo could also contribute to weight gain. And the melon salad with grilled chicken, well that’s going to do the same thing. This is not to confuse you, it’s just the opposite.

Keeping a diet with a few simple rules will reap benefits in the short and long term. I made a simple, easy-to-understand food combining chart to help regulate your stomach acid. In my kitchen, I tape it to the inside of one of my cupboards. Don’t forget to head to Freebies to download yours today. All in all, remember to eat fruit alone on an empty stomach and only eat proteins with non-starchy vegetables. We’ve covered A LOT of information. Keep this post handy to reference for a quick guide.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

Better Belly Steak Recipe

How to help your digestive system: 10 triggers to watch for

Omega Oil Benefits, Why I’m Picky

4 Amazing Tips for Weight Loss

How to Reduce Stress in your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

9 Easy Ways to Learn More about Yourself

Stay Connected

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

Fried Walleye Recipe

Fried Walleye Recipe

This walleye recipe is a family favorite! Not all walleye recipes are the same. If you want a clean taste with no trans fats, you’re going to want to keep this great walleye recipe. Speaking of trans fats, if you missed my post about Omega, Oils, Why I’m Picky, you’re going to want to check it out.

Walleye has got to be one of the best fish to fry, well Crappies are good too. But walleye is definitely a special treat. This white freshwater fish is a hot item for any restaurant. Once you’ve had a good walleye, you’ll be hooked! Did you see what I did there?

More about Walleye

The walleye fish got its name from its eye. The eyes on a walleye are very big and they’re pearlescent, which helps them see and feed at night. With that said they are a nocturnal fish. Walleye live in freshwater and are related to the perch family. They like cold deep waters…this is a fishing hint if you head out on the water. You can find walleye in the Great Lakes region, Canadian lakes, Northwest Territories, and the Mississippi River Basin.

Walleye is one of the healthiest fish. It’s a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for our hearts and brains. Walleye is also a good source of vitamin D. The fish has white flesh and a clean, succulent taste, it’s mild and sweet perfect for frying or baking. Yum! My mouth is seriously watering now. I should mention to not eat ‘walleye sushi’ so to speak. Always cook walleye before eating.

Tools needed for this dish

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Fillet the fish without skin. No fish skin allowed in this dish. You’ll need a good fillet knife to get a smooth cut. Watch those fingers, we don’t need any cuts.

After you have the fish filleted. My favorite tool for trying walleye is the good old cast-iron pan. Remember we’re pan-frying not deep-frying. A regular cast-iron pan will do. Cast-iron is super easy to use. This historic cookware brings more depth to the food. Cast-iron pan cooking is actually a super healthy way to cook!

A little bit more about cast iron. Don’t be afraid of it. Always use a hot pad for your hand when cooking with a cast iron pan. Never touch the handle without anything protecting your hand. As for clean-up, it’s SUPER easy to clean, no soap required. Seriously, no soap, you’ll ruin the ‘seasoning’ of the pan. You can find a variety of sizes on Amazon, even the small size works for this recipe.

Fried Walleye Ingredients

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As for other ingredients for this amazing fried walleye recipe, we use coconut oil. It has a high flash point, which is great for frying. It heats up quickly. Coconut oil is a clean oil. It doesn’t taste like coconut at all. Again, it doesn’t taste like coconut. And it’s good for you! All grocery stores should have it on their shelves, but we get our coconut oil through Costco because we go through quite a bit. If you don’t have a Costco Membership, no problem! You can get it on Amazon. I highly recommend this product and encourage the Virgin, Unrefined.

For the breading, since my family and I need to be gluten-free we use a gluten-free pancake mix. I personally like Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Buttermilk Pancake Mix. We’ve tried Bisquick Gluten-Free too (that’s dairy-free). And I should mention we also tried Potato Starch. All work well! There are some mixes specifically for frying fish, and honestly, the gluten-free mixes are better than the regular. With this recipe we only want a dusting on the fish, we aren’t getting the pancake mix wet. Simply put the mix in a bowl and dust the fish with it, done!

Don’t want breading on the fish? That is totally okay! Simply heat up a tablespoon of coconut oil in your cast iron pan and pan-fry the fish. Cook until flaky, salt, and eat!

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Side dish for fried fish?

The star of this dish is the walleye, so keep the side dish simple. I have a great sweet potato hash recipe or go with a healthy coleslaw or kale salad. Fresh-cut green beans or even macaroni & cheese can bring the kids coming back for more. Our family favorite is the infamous broccoli/bacon salad. Please note: If you’re going to have fruit, eat it while cooking your meal. You can check out this post about food combining, very interesting I might add!

What about other fish to fry?

Our second favorite fish to fry is salmon, again with the cast iron pan. The cast iron will give the salmon a nice crunch on the outside of the fish and a tender center. My Salmon in a Skillet recipe is one to check out.

Other tips for a winning walleye dinner

Who doesn’t like to save money? When getting ready to fish for your walleye dinner, be sure to have your fishing license before you drop a line in the water. No one wants an expensive ticket for not having a license; you can get your fishing license at sporting goods stores or Walmart.

If you’re not going to fish, watch your meat counter at the grocery store. Ask them when they’ll have walleye and what day they usually get their fish deliveries. If the fish smells SUPER fishy or the package is bubbled up with air…don’t eat it. You want clean fresh fish. Check out these posts on how to save money at the grocery store.

7 Surefire Ways to Save Money Grocery Shopping

Quick Healthy Meals On a Budget? 5 Criteria

On to the recipe!

Walleye
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Fried Walleye

Walleye fried in coconut oil.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword egg-free, fish, gluten-free, nut-free, panfry fish, soy-free, walleye
Prep Time 12 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Servings 1 person
Calories 229kcal
Cost $3.00

Equipment

  • Cast Iron Pan
  • Tongs
  • Filet Knife
  • Cuttingboard
  • Bowl
  • Papertowel

Ingredients

  • 3 oz. Freshly caught walleye Go by size, not weight, 1 large filet or so will work.
  • 2 tbsp Coconut Oil Enough to coat the botton of the pan with a bit to spare.
  • 1/3 cup Pancake Mix I use Trader Joe's Gluten-free Buttermilk Pancake Mix.
  • 1 tsp Salt Salt to taste. This is optional.

Instructions

  • Wash fish off in cold water, pat dry with a paper towel. Carefully remove any skin from walleye with a filet knife. Please be careful.
  • Turn the stove on to medium heat and heat cast iron pan.
  • Put solid coconut oil in the pan. After it melts, you may need to adjust how much. You want about 1/4 inch of melted oil. Do not let the oil smoke…this is too hot!
  • While the pan is slowly heating up. Place fish into the pancake mix and dust all sides.
  • Slowly insert dusted fish into the hot cast iron pan. The oil should sizzle.
  • When you see the outer edges of fish start to brown, about 2 minutes; flip the fish with the tongs gently and cook for another 90 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • Turn off the stove and transfer cooked walleye to a plate covered with a paper towel.
    walleye recipe
  • Salt the fish to your liking.
  • Eat within a few minutes.
    walleye

Notes

Calories are an estimate. Walleye is 79 calories per 3 ounzes. Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.
This recipe is also great without the pancake mix. Feel free to fry without breading. 

Before you go

Good eats don’t stop at fried walleye. Check out my other delicious and surprisingly gluten-free recipes! Simple ingredients, lots of flavor, and nutrition. You’ll learn about the ingredients and how to prepare an amazing treat.

Brat n Bacon Stew Recipe

Simple Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Leg Recipe

Mark’s Spicy Shrimp Recipe

Warm Kale Salad Recipe

Better Belly Steak Recipe

No-bake Cookies with Coconut!

Christy’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

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By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

When it comes to favorite cookies, the chocolate chip cookie is the best. The gentle crisp on the outside and soft center is the perfect texture to satisfy anyone…in my opinion of course. Oh, and then you get a chunk of chocolate that is slightly hard but surrounded by dough…oh, so good from a texture point of view.

However, when I was told I couldn’t eat gluten anymore due to an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) my heart sank, to say the least. So if any of you have Crohn’s or colitis, I know you understand what I’m talking about. My pleasure of baking and having a fresh cookie out of the oven was a thing of the past. How am I going to live? Is there even a gluten-free dairy-free chocolate chip cookie recipe?

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

After I let that devastating news sink in, I was more determined than ever to recreate my guilty pleasure of chocolate chip cookies but gluten-free style. To the store I went to find gluten-free flour. I must say I was not only confused about all the flours but I was a bit sticker-shocked at the prices, which will do my body good because I won’t make them as often, but when I need a fix I’m making the da*n cookies.

Take note, I wrote a post that includes this recipe. If you happened to missed it and want to catch up on How Cookie Dough Gave Me Super Powers you’ll want to check’r out. It talks about stress and what I did to treat it.

chocolate chip cookie fact

Gluten-free Flour

This can be overwhelming. And I did get overwhelmed. There is so much information on the internet I honestly am not going to reproduce it, but I will give you some sources to check out. If you want to learn more about different flours Healthline has a good article. If you want to make your own blend, I recommend Sarah Bakes Gluten-free. She’s got some great recipes I’ve had before too.

As I said, gluten-free flour is not a spitting image of ‘normal’ flour, but it does the trick to satisfy your fix.

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It’s important to note, that there are many gluten-free pre-made chocolate chip cookie mixes at the grocery store. I’ve tried a lot of these, and they’re okay. If you look at the ingredients in these mixes you’ll find that sugar is the first ingredient! And as with any ingredient list, the first ingredient is the most abundant ingredient, and so forth. For my taste, those mixes are too sweet and there are some unwanted ingredients in them too, like soy. Be aware of your digestive triggers that throw your system off. With that said, in the refrigerator section, there is a premade reduced-sugar chocolate chip cookie that is quite good when you don’t have time to bake your own. It’s Sweet Loren’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Chunk. Here is her website to check things out.

Products I use for this gluten-free dairy-free chocolate chip cookie recipe

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To keep this recipe low on inflammation and allergens at bay I use Enjoy Life Mini Chips. These are super good. We like them more than the normal kind. They’re great in brownies, pancakes, melted over rice crispy treats, or on a spoon full of peanut butter! Great. Now I need to go eat some.

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To make it easy on me with the gluten-free flour I use King Arthur’s Gluten-Free Baking Mix. Note the MIX. They do have the flour, but you’ll want the mix. Watch out for this.

On to the gluten-free dairy-free chocolate chip recipe!

gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe
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Christy’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free chocolate chip cookies
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chocolate, cookies, dairy-free, gluten-free, low-fat, nut-free, soy-free
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Servings 10 cookies
Calories 145kcal
Cost $3.00 for batch

Equipment

  • Glass mixing bowl
  • Handmixer
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Cookie sheet
  • Parchment Paper
  • Wooden spoon

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil do not melt
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar do not pack down
  • 1/4 cup Cane Sugar
  • 1 egg Prefer organic egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 cup King Arthur's Gluten-Free Baking Mix Baking mix. Use a heaping cup.
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips Mini These are allergy-free, read package.

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 370. Tear a sheet of parchment paper and put it over the cookie sheet.
  • Add the coconut oil, brown sugar, and cane sugar to glass mixing bowl and mix with hand mixer until mixed together
  • Add egg, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar. Mix until together
  • In a separate bowl, add a heaping cup of King Arthur's Gluten-Free Baking Mix, salt, and cinnamon. Hand mix with a fork.
  • Gradually combine both bowls while mixing with the hand mixer. Mix until all together.
  • Fold in Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips Mini with a wooden spoon.
  • Scoop dollops of dough about the size of the wooden spoon and place on the cookie sheet. Allow 1-2 inches between dollops.
  • Place the cookie sheet in the oven and set the timer for 11 minutes.
  • While cookies are baking, clean-up the dishes. Please don't eat raw cookie dough due to the egg. We don't need tummy aches.
  • When cookies are done, slowly transfer them to a cooling rack if you have one. Otherwise, remove the cookies from the cookie sheet in a minute.
    gluten-free chocolate chip cookies

Notes

Calorie count is a guesstimate for one cookie when baked. It depends on the size of the cookie. Also the cost of the batch of cookies is also an estimate.
Be sure to check out my other sweet treats!

All are gluten-free and dairy-free. Simple and delicious.

No-bake Cookies with Coconut!

Gluten-Free Molasses Cookies with Peanut Butter

The BEST Gluten-Free Granola Bars EVER!

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

Meal Planning Tips + My Secret Weapon

Meal Planning Tips + My Secret Weapon

When it comes to meal planning, we could all use a few meal planning tips. Cooking and I have a love/hate relationship. There are days when it is soothing to my soul, and other days it’s like a ton of bricks on my shoulders. Let’s face it, just figuring out what to eat has been a chore. Today I have a simple yet powerful solution for you when you have to answer the question “What’s for dinner?”. It’s my secret weapon to reduce stress for everyone under the roof!

Do you have a plan when your family asks What's for Dinner?

What’s for dinner?

During my morning coffee time with my husband, I noticed when we ask each other what we want for dinner I start sweating. How could three little words stress me out? What’s for dinner?  

Starting the day out with these words was not doing me any favors. The problem? I didn’t know how to answer the question. Foods would start swirling in my mind with questions like What does Mark like? What can Dave eat? What is easy? What is healthy? Should we go out? But where? When can we all eat together? Hence, the sweat.

There are times in life when it’s actually nice to have someone tell you what you’re having for dinner instead of giving you a choice. Have you ever looked at all the different kinds of jelly and jam at the grocery store? There are a TON of them. How did we get to this point of too many choices?

So when someone asks me “What’s for dinner?” and I can’t answer that, it usually results in me thinking about it ALL DAY LONG. This can be a major distraction and a nuisance. If only I put more thought into meal planning!

How to answer the question

My fix to this madness is to have a piece of paper tell me what’s for dinner. Yep, a simple piece of paper. Of my meal planning tips, this is my #1.

When I have a plan in place, my stress level drops tremendously and I can move forward with my day. There are a couple of ways we can go about this. We can either look up meal plans online or we can create our own. Either way works. But to make life simple, just use my monthly guide and fill in the blanks. You can find my guide in Freebies. Some meal planners online can be overly complicated and have ingredients or items that are unrealistic.

Meal planning tips made simple, we’re not going to die

For my family, simply writing out the source of protein and one side dish does the trick. With that said, every Sunday I grab my piece of paper and write out the week’s meal plan, and if it’s like last week, so be it. No one is going to die.

When I plan I only plan dinner; breakfast and lunch are ‘whatever meals’ in my head. As long as I have healthy choices for the kiddos, I’m good.

As I said earlier, for dinner, I only pick a protein and maybe a side dish, then I fill in the gaps with what I have laying around. For instance, tonight, we’re having brats and green beans. I’ll probably fill in the gaps with either noodles or plain potato chips. Tomorrow we’re having salmon and baked potatoes, and I’ll probably throw in blueberries. The next day it’s grilled chicken and roasted butternut squash, and I’ll probably add some strawberries. Simple, easy, and good for our bodies.

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Grocery shopping made super simple

To save time and cravings at the grocery store, don’t go to the store. That’s right, now a day, there are people who will grocery shop for you! This is an incredible service, especially if you hate grocery shopping or you just can’t get to the store for other reasons.

My #2 meal planning tip is to shop wisely. Look for deals, and buy things in season. I have much more money-saving tips at the grocery store here. You gotta check it out…good stuff that saves you money!

But I have food sensitivities

My family is a bit unique. Remember the jelly and jams in the grocery store? Well, our specific diets went from being able to have many choices, to just a handful. Actually preparing meals, where we could eat anything, was a heck of a lot more stressful than being able to eat just a few things… the bright side to food allergies and sensitivities.

My son and I have limited menus due to inflammation in our bodies. Sure, we could continue to eat everything we wanted, but we would pay a huge price for it. It’s been my choice to reduce the inflammation in our bodies as much as I can by making a few changes in my diet. And it has been very effective and I don’t feel deprived!

My son and I can’t eat dairy or gluten (wheat, rye, barley). He also can’t have nuts. But I can. I can’t do eggs or soy, but he can. It gets really confusing. We both have gone through tests and we also went through food elimination to help us determine what we could eat and what would backfire. We want our bodies to heal, and in order to do that we must eliminate the triggers. So when it comes to meal planning, it actually becomes a little easier after you figure out what is causing issues! Yes, I said easier. How? There are fewer choices.

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But what if you don’t have a special diet to follow?

If you want to be healthy, stop weight gain, and put an end to cravings, eat like you meant it. Food is meant to fuel our bodies. Having food taste good is a bonus. When we cut back on processed and sugary foods, our bodies will be given a chance to heal and be happy.

As our body adjusts to a cleaner menu, our cravings will change from wanting junk to wanting pure food. You might be like, “Shut up Christy! I’m not doing that!” Friend, that’s the junk food talking, not you. Bad mood foods? Yes, they exist. Trans fats disrupt the balance of our omega-3 fatty acids, and when our omegas are low, it can lead to a bad mood. Not only that, but blood sugar can play a role in mood swings as well. When our nutrition is off, so is our frame of mind. I didn’t even talk about hormones and foods.

Meal planning tips in a nutshell

Circling back to taking the stress out of meal planning; simply use a pencil and my meal planner to extinguish the “What’s for dinner?” question. It’s okay if you have the same menu plan for a couple of weeks. We just need to feed our family wholesome foods.   

Post your planner on the refrigerator or a kitchen cupboard so everyone can see what the main meal will be for the night. Heck, you can even use a paper talking puppet to tell your little ones what’s for dinner. Download the Meal Planner in Freebies. Bon appétit!

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.    

Kale Salad Recipe

Kale Salad Recipe

Oh my goodness, I am hooked on this kale salad recipe! Seriously, this is my new favorite lunch. I actually call this recipe Autumn Awesomeness, but I’ve been eating it all year round. There is something about all the flavors blending so well, crispy curly kale, roasted butternut squash cubes, dried cranberries, grilled chicken, olive oil…and salt. And my mouth is watering once again. This is a super easy recipe with quick clean-up and is packed with nutrition.

kale salad

More about kale

Curly kale is nutrient-dense. I don’t even know where to start, so I’ll just mention the big kale benefits. Per Healthline, curly kale is a huge source of antioxidants, antioxidants fight off free radicals in the body. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K. Vitamin K is important for blood clotting. Kale is a source of calcium, potassium, and magnesium! And get this, it even helps us lose weight.

I’m not a big fan of it raw, but I LOVE it crisped up in a pan, especially with a little…do I even say it?…bacon. Be sure to buy organic. The non-organic is has pesticides on it and is one of the Dirty Dozen foods. You can read more about it here. Spend the extra bucks on organic. I know it’s hard but here’s a post on how to save money at the grocery store, so everything balances out!

What’s up with Butternut Squash?

Butternut Squash is my favorite squash. It’s easy to digest and has great flavor. This squash is a good source of calcium, potassium, vitamins A, E, folate, and B-6. It helps lower blood pressure, cancer risk, and asthma. Butternut squash is also great for your hair, skin, and immune system.

Roasting it in the oven with a little olive oil and salt is my favorite way to cook it. I’ve also had it mashed, which is delightful, especially with a little butter or non-dairy butter. Yum!

This is a great recipe for us folks who have Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) like Crohn’s or colitis. With all the ingredients cooked, it makes it a lot easier for our systems to digest and absorb the nutrients.

IBD Triggers and what to do
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Tools needed for this dish

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The number one tool for this dish is the trusty cast-iron pan. It gives the food an extra layer of flavor. Believe me, I’ve done a lot of research on what pan is the healthiest to cook with. One that won’t leach chemicals, aluminum, or Teflon into my food and the cast iron wins every time! It may be heavy, but it’s extremely low maintenance. In fact, if you’re anemic (iron deficient) it helps put a little iron in your system.

One more thing about the cast iron pan, it’s SUPER easy to clean, and no soap is required. Seriously, with no soap, you’ll wreck the ‘seasoning’ of the pan. I highly recommend getting a cast iron pan, even if it’s the small one. You can find them on Amazon.

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Other ingredients and variations

As for other ingredients, I recommend grilled chicken breast. You can opt for already cooked or make it yourself. When I’m in a hurry I’ll buy the already-grilled chicken strips or a rotisserie chicken. Or if I’m in a BIG hurry I’ll just microwave gluten-free chicken nuggets.

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The piece that brings it all together for me is the olive oil. I use a little bit in the pan for the kale, and then at the end to finish the dish. I absolutely love the flavor it brings to each ingredient. My favorite, hands-down olive oil is California Ranch Olive Oil. It’s 100% olive oil. With that said, be sure you get an olive oil you trust is 100%. We don’t need no stinkin’ canola or vegetable oil fillers. For more on oils read my post about omegas.

Variations to the recipe. This is such a versatile recipe that any protein would work: brats, strips of steak, shrimp, or bacon. Adding a thinly sliced red onion also adds more depth. Enjoy!

On to the recipe!

kale squash recipe
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Autumn Awesomeness

This is an amazingly healthy yet tasty dish for lunch or dinner. The chard kale and roasted butternut squash complement each other, while the dried cranberries make it pop. This is gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, and nut-free!
Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, kale, low-fat, nut-free, soy-free, squash
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 598kcal
Author Christy
Cost 2.00

Equipment

  • small cast iron pan
  • baking sheet with parchment paper
  • knife and cutting board

Ingredients

  • 3 Organic Curly Kale Sprigs
  • 1 c Baked cubed Butternut Squash
  • 4 Strips of grilled chicken or 4 GF Chicken nuggets
  • 2 TBSP Dried Cranberries or Cherries
  • 3 TBSP Olive Oil 1TBSP for frying kale, 2 TBSP for topping at the end
  • 1 pinch Salt

Instructions

  • Heat cast iron pan on low.
  • Wash thoroughly, pat dry, remove stalks, and chop. Put chopped kale into the pan. Then add 1 TBSP olive oil. It might get messy and splatter if kale is not dried off. Be careful.
    kale
  • I pre-roast an entire cubed squash. 350 for 40 minutes. Just toss a little olive oil and salt in before baking. Tip: Costco usually has raw cubed squash. Do not use frozen squash! You can also peel and cube your own squash.
    butternut squash
  • After kale is charred and well cooked, wrap a dish towel around the cast iron panhandle and put kale on a plate.
  • Take leftover chicken, pre-cooked grilled chicken (Costco), or Gluten-free chicken nuggets. Microwave for the allotted time, or cook in your cast iron pan to warm. When done, put on top of kale.
  • Add squash to kale and chicken. Sprinkle dried cranberries on top. Drizzle olive oil and add a pinch of salt. Delish!
  • For added flavor, add thinly sliced red onion, roasted pecans, or crispy bacon!
    kale salad

Notes

Calories may vary on chicken type and the amount you use. 
Be sure to check out my other simple and delicious recipes!

All are gluten-free and dairy-free.

Simple Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Leg Recipe

Better Belly Steak Recipe

Simple Game Day Sloppy Joe Sandwiches

Fried Walleye Recipe

Salmon in a Skillet Recipe

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.
Mark’s Spicy Shrimp Recipe

Mark’s Spicy Shrimp Recipe

Spicy shrimp are two words that were made for each other. This is a dish that won’t disappoint your spicy palate. I’m not going to bore you with a long story about this recipe, because there isn’t a story. My husband was experimenting in the kitchen and concocted this amazingly delicious dish! He calls it: Mark’s Spicy Shrimp… super creative name, right? This recipe is packed with nutrition and flavor!

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More about shrimp and spicy things

Did you know that one BILLION pounds of shrimp are eaten every year? That’s crazy. Shrimp not only live in the ocean, but they are found in estuaries, rivers, and even lakes. Another fun fact about shrimp is their lifespan, it’s from one to seven years. Move over hamster, I’m getting a shrimp! In case you’re wondering hamsters only live for about three years.

As for nutrition, shrimp are very low in calories. About 15 grams of shrimp is 18 calories, that’s close to three shrimp depending on its size. Shrimp are high in protein and low in carbs. It’s loaded with selenium, which is an antioxidant that can boost your immune system, protect your brain, and reduce your risk of certain cancers. (1) These bottom feeders are also a great source of iodine, which is super beneficial for your thyroid to work properly. And yes, shrimp do have omega fatty acids in them too! If you want to learn more about omega’s read my post about them.

Spicy!

There is good reason to enjoy something spicy now and then. If your tummy can take it on, add some spice to your dishes. I guess if you didn’t like spicy things you wouldn’t be reading this post. Spicy foods have multiple benefits. For one it speeds up your metabolism and puts the brakes on your appetite. This stuff is good for weight loss.

Some other benefits of spicy food are that it helps fight inflammation in your body, it lowers your mortality rate…yep, helps you live longer, and it can fight off bad bugs in the body…bacteria that is. (2)

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Tools needed for this dish

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The number one tool for Mark’s Spicy Shrimp is the trusty cast-iron pan. You’re going to want a medium-sized one. It gives the food an extra layer of flavor. Believe me, I’ve done a lot of research on what pan is the healthiest to cook with. One that won’t leach chemicals, aluminum, or Teflon into my food and the cast iron wins every time! It may be heavy, but it’s extremely low maintenance. In fact, if you’re anemic (iron deficient) it helps put a little iron in your system.

One more thing about the cast iron pan, it’s SUPER easy to clean, and no soap is required. Seriously, with no soap, you’ll wreck the ‘seasoning’ of the pan. I highly recommend getting a cast iron pan, even if it’s the small one. You can find them on Amazon.

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Other ingredients and variations for spicy shrimp

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As for other ingredients, I recommend gluten-free Ramen noodles. Our family likes Lotus Foods noodles. Gluten is super inflammatory on the body, why eat it when there is a gluten-free version. It may be a few cents more, but it beats going to the doctor for issues.

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This recipe may only call for a little olive oil, but it’s worth getting the good stuff. My favorite, hands-down olive oil is California Ranch Olive Oil. It’s 100% olive oil. With that said, be sure you get an olive oil you trust is 100%. We don’t need no stinkin’ canola or vegetable oil fillers.

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The secret ingredient that really makes this dish is the Hatch Valley Flame Roasted Green Chile. My husband eats this stuff by the spoon! Make sure to get the chopped-up version, not the whole. It’s kind of like a relish. Amazon has a two-pack for sale. Simple ingredients, gluten-free, and non-GMO. This is good stuff people!

Variations to the recipe. This is such a versatile recipe that any protein would work: brats, strips of steak, grilled chicken, breakfast sausage, or vegetarian with tofu or almonds.

On to the recipe!

Mark's Spicy Shrimp
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Mark’s Spicy Shrimp

This is one of my husband's favorite dishes. If you like spicy along with noodles, you'll want to try this!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, low-fat, noodles, nut-free, seafood, spicy
Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 440kcal
Author Mark
Cost $3.50

Equipment

  • sauce pan
  • Cast Iron Pan

Ingredients

  • 5 shrimp Frozen Raw Shrimp, jumbo size
  • 1/2 cup Red Bell Pepper Slice half a red bell pepper, this is close to a half cup.
  • 1/2 cup Orange Bell Pepper Slice half a orange bell pepper, this too is close to a half cup.
  • 3/4 cup Red Onion Slice red onion, slice as much as you like. Your preference to how much.
  • 7 pepperoni Pepperoni Chop about 7 pepperonis into 4ths. Use your favorite pepperoni.
  • 1/2 cup Frozen green beans
  • 1 unit Ramen Noodles or Gluten Free Ramen
  • 1 tbsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos You can use soy sauce instead, your preference.
  • 1/4 cup Pickled ginger We prefer the pink color. Any pickled ginger will do. This is a garnish.
  • 3 tbsp Hatch Valley Green Chile Use to your liking. If you want a milder dish, use only 1 tbsp.
  • 2 tsp Sriracha Sauce Use to your liking. For a milder dish, use 1 tsp or less.
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Goat Cheese this is optional

Instructions

  • Using a saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
  • While water is warming up, chop the red onion, red bell pepper, orange bell pepper, and pepperoni. Count 5 shrimp out and have them ready.
  • Line up ingredients so you have the ready to use.
  • After water has boiled, gently place shrimp in the boiling water. Watch them closely as they cook.
    During this time, turn on the heat on for the cast iron pan.
    When shrimp turn pink, turn heat off and set aside.
  • Now that the cast iron pan is hot, put 1 tbsp of olive oil in the pan and place the red onion, red bell pepper, orange bell pepper, along with the hatch chilis and aminos into the pan. Stirfry until you get an aroma.
  • Remove shrimp from hot water, remove any shell and tail.
    Chop the shrimp up. Place shrimp into cast iron pan. Turn pan on low.
  • Boil another 4 cups of water and place Ramen into boiling water. Let cook for 4 minutes.
  • Drain 90% of the water from noodles and add noodles to the cast iron pan.
    Add green beans to the cast iron pan.
    Add ginger.
    Add pepperoni to the pan.
    Turn heat to medium heat.
  • Add sriracha and goat cheese. Turn off heat and serve!

Notes

Calories are estimated not including the goat cheese. To make the cooking time go faster, use two saucepans, and have the water boiling. If you’re not a fan of pepperoni try breakfast sausage. And again, adjust the spiciness to your liking. Enjoy!
Be sure to check out my other simple and delicious recipes! All are gluten-free and dairy-free recipes.

Simple Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Leg Recipe

Better Belly Steak Recipe

Simple Game Day Sloppy Joe Sandwiches

Fried Walleye Recipe

Salmon in a Skillet Recipe

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

Gluten-free Molasses Cookie Recipe with Peanut Butter

Gluten-free Molasses Cookie Recipe with Peanut Butter

There is something about molasses cookies that I crave. When I grew up, every Christmas my grandma would bake molasses cookies. Her cookies were about the size of a silver dollar and so addicting! My grandma would always have them neatly packed in a wax paper-lined cookie tin. The cookies would literally melt in your mouth. As I grew older and found out she’d use grease from the meal before, I thought about making a healthier kind of molasses cookie, a gluten-free molasses cookie recipe!

Gluten-free Dairy-free Egg-free Molasses Cookie Recipe with Peanut Butter

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How Molasses Peanut Butter Cookie came to be

There is nothing more fun, and sticky, than messing around in the kitchen with molasses. I wanted a cookie but was having trouble figuring out an egg substitute. Since eggs are a trigger for my body, it’s been a challenge coming up with an egg substitute that works for the particular recipe you’re working on. When you have a specialty diet, you have to be creative and experimental. So that’s what I did and discovered molasses and peanut butter marry well together. The gluten-free molasses cookie recipe was born! I can now say egg-free too.

Molasses Benefits

Molasses was first around in 1582, some say 1600. In other words, it’s been around. There are many health benefits to molasses. On some mornings I will actually drizzle molasses on my peanut butter toast just to get the added molasses advantage.

A little touch of molasses has a big nutrition punch! What exactly is in blackstrap molasses? You’ll find it is a source of iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, potassium, copper, and selenium (antioxidant). Needless to say, blackstrap molasses is good for your red blood cells due to its iron content; and because of its potassium volume, it also helps lowers blood pressure. Get this! In case you missed it, blackstrap molasses contains calcium which we all know is good for our bones. And because it contains B6, blackstrap molasses can fight off stress. Blackstrap molasses may even help us folks who have Crohn’s disease and colitis. These are just a few benefits that it has. More benefits can be found here.

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What kind of molasses to buy?

To get these great benefits from molasses, you must get blackstrap molasses. Light molasses and Dark are not the same as Black. Blackstrap is the darkest type of molasses and it is the most concentrated form, hence, it has the most health benefits. After all, molasses is sugar. From what I understand it’s the leftover juice from sugar cane after they crush it to get sugar crystals. They boil it, then boil it again, and then again.

*Warning, if you eat too much of this dark syrup, you’ll probably get diarrhea. Know your limits.

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Peanut Butter Benefits

Peanut butter has been around since only 1904. It was introduced at the St. Louis World’s Fair. It was used as a protein source for World War I and World War II.

Not only is peanut butter a good source of protein, but it also contains omega-3 fats. It is a good source of vitamin E, vitamin B6, manganese, and magnesium. Believe it or not, it also has copper in it!

Peanut butter is good for your heart; it can help reduce the risk of diabetes, and it even has some anticancer properties.

What kind to buy?

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The best kind of peanut butter to buy is organic. Organic peanut butter doesn’t have any added trans fats, sugars, or other hydrogenated oils. When those extra things are added to peanut butter, there are no health benefits; in fact, it’s the opposite. Hydrogenated oils increase omega-6s, and when you get too much of a good thing (omega-6) it makes it bad for your body and may cause weight gain along with inflammation which could trigger all sorts of digestive issues. Yikes!

Spend the extra money and buy organic! Organic peanut butter is simply organic peanuts and salt. Please read the labels on your peanut butter, it makes a huge difference. I personally like Costco brand, Kirkland Organic Peanut Butter. Plus, I store my peanut butter in the refrigerator.

The gluten-free molasses cookie recipe awaits!

What happens when you put molasses and peanut butter together? Talk about a B6 and magnesium powerhouse! The flavors work and complement each other. Your mind might be saying “Ew”, but your taste buds beg to differ.

Because my diet is limited, I made these cookies with gluten-free flour. They are also egg-free, soy-free, and dairy-free. They do contain peanuts. Baking egg-free can be tricky. One great substitute for eggs is…you guessed it…peanut butter!

molasses peanut butter cookie
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Gluten-free Molasses Peanut Butter Cookies

Add some depth to your molasses cookies with a little bit of peanut butter!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cookies, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, soy-free
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 12 cookies
Calories 115kcal
Author Christy
Cost $5 for recipe ingredients and measures

Equipment

  • Bowl
  • Mixer
  • Cookie sheet
  • Parchment Paper

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Coconut oil (solid form) You can use shortening as a substitute.
  • 1/2 cup Sugar White grandular or Organic Sugar Cane works
  • 3 tbsp Blackstrap Molasses
  • 3 tbsp Coconut Milk You can substitute any kind of milk alternative
  • 3 tbsp Organic Peanut Butter Heaping tablespoons, you can try it with Almond Butter or even Tahini.
  • 1 cup Gluten-free flour Heaping cup of Gluten-free flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Cloves
  • 1/4 tsp Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Salt (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 and prepare the cookie sheet with a sheet of parchment paper on top.
  • Mix coconut oil, sugar, peanut butter, and coconut milk.
  • Add blackstrap molasses and mix.
  • In a seperate bowl stir flour, baking soda, and spices.
  • Gradually combine dry ingredients to wet with mixer. The dough will be thick. If it looks dry add a splash of coconut milk, if it looks wet add a tbsp of gluten-free flour.
  • Chill dough for 1 hour.
  • In a small bowl, put in 1/2 cup of sugar.
  • Make small 1 -1 1/4 inch balls and roll them in the sugar. Place them on the cookie sheet an inch or so apart.
  • Gently push the bottom of a fork into the cookie so it makes small groves.
  • Put the cookie sheet into the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes.
  • Let cookies cool for 10 minutes.
  • For an added bonus mix 2 tbsp peanut butter with 1/2 tsp of coconut oil and 2 tbsp of powder sugar. Put in the microwave for 20 seconds then stir, put it back in the microwave for another 15 seconds and stir. Then put a dollup on top of the baked cookie…kind of like a frosting.

Notes

The calories and price of the cookies are an educated guess. 

I hope you enjoy this tasty nutrition-packed gluten-free molasses cookie recipe. Happy baking!

Be sure to check out my other sweet treats!

All are gluten-free and dairy-free. Simple and delicious.

No-bake Cookies with Coconut!

The BEST Gluten-Free Granola Bar Recipe EVER!

Christy’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

Salmon in a Skillet Recipe

Salmon in a Skillet Recipe

Salmon is one of those fish that can be prepared in various ways. It’s so versatile and delicious, not to mention, good for you! I’ve eaten salmon baked, broiled, grilled, poached, and pan-fried. What’s my favorite? For me, it depends on the time of year. And this time of year is a great time to use a skillet to cook your fish. Even though it’s in the dead of winter this fish will taste as if it came off the grill.

My salmon in a skillet recipe is super simple, clean, and easy to make. It only has three ingredients: olive oil, salmon, and salt (seasoning of your choice). That’s it! Unless you have a fish allergy, this fish is good for everyone.

salmon in a skillet recipe

What’s salmon got to do with it?

Before we get to cookin this salmon in a skillet, let’s look into this delicious fish. In the summer of 1995, my sister and I drove up to Alaska and spent the summer in a fish processing plant. Well, most of the summer. It was an amazing experience! We camped on the beach, worked in yellow slicker gear, and ate salmon cooked in foil, dressed with butter…baked over the campfire I must say. Besides eating halibut cheeks, this salmon was AMAZING!

Jump to Recipe

What I learned at the fish processing plant.

While at the fish processing plant, I learned a great deal of knowledge. For one, I learned that fish eyeballs can stick to you. The second lesson I learned was that you could make a box of macaroni and cheese in the microwave. Yes, it’s true! The third thing I learned was how to clean a fish! And probably the most important piece of knowledge I learned was the different types of salmon that I had to sort on the sorting table.

salmon processing
Me in my slicker gear

During this particular season, we had five types to sort: the King or Chinook, the Sockeye or Red, the Coho or Silver, the Chum or Dog Salmon, and the lovely Pink salmon. Each had its distinct features and, yes, we had to smell them. If the fish didn’t smell good, it got a bad grade and was probably sent to a pet food plant…I don’t really know.

Alaska salmon the best?

Good question. I have no idea. Salmon aren’t just in Alaska. They are in the Atlantic Ocean and even some freshwater lakes and rivers. For instance, every fall we go fishing in Michigan for Steelhead. They are not as tasty as Sockeyes, but they still have great benefits.

My son’s Steelhead. So HUGE! We did not eat this one…too old.

What about the health benefits?

The health benefits of salmon are amazing! They are filled with good fat. This kind of fat won’t make you fat. The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon help reduce inflammation in your body. And when inflammation is reduced, the less likely you’ll get sick, and I’m not talking colds, I’m talking about the big stuff. It’s also really good for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) like Crohn’s or Colitis. Here are some other great benefits:

It’s high in vitamin D!

Helps improves your bone health.

It’s good for your heart.

Great for brain function…hello memory!

Helps us focus better.

Good for your weight.

High in B vitamins.

Good source of potassium.

Gives us a boost in hair and skin health.

Sources: Dr. Axe and Healthline
does a body good
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Okay, that’s salmon in a nutshell. I didn’t cover everything about his amazing fish, just gave you a taste (no pun intended). Let’s get to the salmon recipe!

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Skillet Salmon

The is hands down one of the best ways to make salmon. Crusty outside, flaky inside, and served with easy mashed sweet potatoes. This recipe is super simple and amazingly delicious. One of my favorites!
Course dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword fish, panfry fish, salmon
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 400kcal
Cost 4.00

Equipment

  • Cast Iron Pan

Ingredients

  • 1 fillet Salmon Take the skin off if it isn't already, check for bones.
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil Put this in the pan while it's heaing up
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Pepper Seasoning or Salt You can use any seasoning of choice.

Instructions

  • Warm up the cast iron pan on medium heat and put the olive oil in the pan.
  • Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel. This will prevent splattering when salmon is placed in the pan.
  • Gently place salmon in the cast iron pan and shake your seasoning on top.
  • Set timer for 4 minutes. Look for HALF of the salmon to turn a light pink.
  • Flip salmon over after the 4 minutes and let cook for another 2 minutes.
    salmon
  • After 2 – 3 minutes, removed salmon from the pan. Turn off the stove.

Notes

The calories are based on the salmon and the olive oil. This goes great with mashed sweet potatoes. Simply bake the sweet potato at 350 degrees for about 50 – 60 minutes. When they are soft, take them out and peel the skin off. Place in the bowl and mix them with butter. Add a pinch of salt and dive in!
 

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Why Cast Iron?

A cast-iron pan really does make a difference, plus it’s SUPER easy to clean, no soap required. Seriously, no soap, you’ll wreck the ‘seasoning’ of the pan if you use soap. I highly recommend getting one, even if it’s the small one. I use cast iron for everything! You can find them on Amazon.

Wrapping salmon in a skillet up

The wild-caught salmon is preferred over farm-raised. It’s just best to eat “organic” fish versus ones that are raised in a fish tank. Would you rather eat a fish from a large body of water or one from a small fish tank? Think about that for a minute.

Whether you want a different protein, want to balance out the weekly menu, or if you’re looking to get healthier, salmon is here to serve you. You can also check out my pan-fried walleye recipe. Enjoy!

Be sure to check out my other simple and delicious recipes!

Simple Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Leg Recipe

Better Belly Steak Recipe

Simple Game Day Sloppy Joe Sandwiches

Brat n Bacon Stew Recipe

Mark’s Spicy Shrimp Recipe

Warm Kale Salad

By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

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