Simple ways to lead a healthy and nutritious life!

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All Things Ming! (And my favorite fried foods-BAKED!)

A few years back, my son and I were lucky enough to win an all expenses paid trip from Parent’s Magazine to our nation’s capitol to meet and judge a meal prepared by famous chefs Ming Tsai, Tom Colicchio, and two other James Beard Award Winning chefs.  This was also hosted by White House chef Sam Kass. It was an experience of a lifetime and it inspired my son’s love for cooking and food.  He was also quite the critic that night!! You can read more about our amazing trip here:  http://dc.eater.com/archives/2011/11/30/sam-kass-tom-colicchio-and-sam-kass-on-xxx-at-the-great-american-family-dinner-challenge.php#more   and here:  http://mariahinesrestaurants.com/the-great-american-family-dinner-challenge/ and here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/all-we-can-eat/post/tom-colicchio-snaped-to-reality-by-a-kindergartner/2011/11/30/gIQAsYCiDO_blog.html?wprss=all-we-can-eat




I was inspired to do a blog on my favorite fried foods -only baked- by my son’s favorite recipe in Ming’s cookbook “Simply Ming One-Pot Meals”.  It is a spicy fried chicken with crispy onion rings.  I, myself, am a lover of fried foods.  And although I ditched my cherished fryer years ago, I find myself craving a mozzarella stick or big ol onion ring every now and then.  So bring on the BAKED VERSION of these pub favorites!!

**Note** These recipes use breadcrumbs, flour, or panko as the breading but they can be made GLUTEN FREE by substituting the following in place of the bread or flour:  Ground polenta, rice flour, crushed potato chips, crushed brown rice cereal, homemade breadcrumbs made from GF bread, coconut flour, or almond meal**


The first is a family favorite, tried and true, loved by all.  This recipe is a baked mozzarella stick from the website Skinny Taste.

  • 12 sticks part-skim, reduced sodium mozzarella string cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 5 tbsp Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 5 tbsp panko crumbs
  • 2 tsp parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • olive oil cooking spray

Cut cheese in half to give you 24 pieces. Place cheese in the
freezer until cheese is frozen. In small bowl, whisk the egg. Place the flour on another small dish.
In separate bowl, combine bread crumbs, panko, parmesan cheese and dried
parsley. Dip the frozen sticks in flour, shaking off excess, then into the egg,
then coat with the crumbs. Repeat this process with the remaining cheese placing them on a tray with
wax paper. Place cheese back into the freezer until ready to bake (this is a
must or they will melt before the crumbs get golden). When ready to bake preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet
with aluminum foil and lightly spray with oil. Place frozen cheese sticks on baking sheet. Spray the tops of the
mozzarella sticks with a little more oil and bake in the bottom third of
your oven until crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and bake an
additional 4 – 5 minutes watching them closely so they don’t melt.


My personal favorite: BAKED Zucchini Sticks from the King Arthur Flour website

Cut each zucchini into 3″ sticks about the diameter of your finger. Cutting each zuke into 9 sticks lengthwise, then cutting into 3″ lengths, works well. Place the zucchini sticks in a colander over a bowl, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of salt. Let them drain for 1 hour or longer. Rinse them thoroughly; you want to get rid of any excess salt. Then pat them dry.

Next up: the bread and cheese coating. But first, preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment, and spray the parchment with olive oil.

Combine the following:

1 cup Panko bread crumbs scant 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 1 tablespoon Pizza Seasoning or mixed Italian herbs. Mix until thoroughly combined. Beat 2 large eggs; or pour 1/2 cup egg substitute into a dish. You’re going to dip each zucchini stick in the egg then roll it in the crumbs. Place the sticks on the prepared baking sheet. Bake the sticks for about 12 minutes, until they’re starting to brown. Remove from the oven, and turn them over; you may actually need to do this one by one, or you may be able to turn several at a time using a spatula. Bake for an additional 12 to 16 minutes or so, until golden brown and crisp. Serve with your favorite dip! I like the bloomin onion sauce on the website- it’s delicious!


Baked Onion Rings adapted from Laa Loosh

  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced and rings separated
  • 1 ½ cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Preheat oven to 425. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and lightly mist with non-fat cooking spray.
  • Place panko onto baking sheet, and lightly mist bread crumbs with an olive oil mister. Then sprinkle with some salt and pepper.  Place in oven and bake, tossing around a few times to ensure even toasting, until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes.
  •  Pour panko into a shallow bowl.
  • Place the flour and egg  in separate bowls as well.
  • Working one at a time, dip each onion ring in to the egg, shake off excess, then dip into flour and coat evenly. Now dip again into egg, gently shake off excess, and then coat with the panko breadcrumbs. Place onion ring onto prepared baking sheet. Continue with remaining onion rings.
  • Place in oven and bake, flipping once, until golden brown, about 12-14 minutes.


Happy and Healthy eating!!!



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Beginner’s Guide to Making Your Own Medicine – Part 2


Cold and Flu Tonic

When feeling a little under the weather, reach for this soothing concoction to boost your immune system and fight that cold/flu with natural ingredients.  Your body will thank you!

2-3 organic lemons, sliced

6 green tea bags, use good quality tea

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/4 cup Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar

1 “thumb” ginger, peeled and sliced (about 1-2 inches)

5-6 cups filtered water

Raw, local honey, to taste


Pour water into large pot and bring to a boil (or you can also make this in the crockpot)

Add all ingredients except the apple cider vinegar and raw, local honey

Cover the pot (or put a lid on the crockpot) and let the mixture steep for 20-30 minutes

Wash and sterilize a large, wide mouth mason jar and pour the apple cider vinegar in

Add the lemon, tea, and ginger mixture into the mason jar with the ACV

At this point the mixture is ready to cool and store in the fridge (or let cool and drink a mug full right away)

The raw local honey can then be added after the mixture has cooled, as the hot liquid would destroy the beneficial enzymes present in the honey

When needed, take out of the fridge, gently warm, and add the honey

This mixture will last in the fridge for about a week.  Drink up and enjoy the relief!





A recipe I have yet to make but am very interested in comes from this site: http://www.instructables.com/id/Cough-Drops/?ALLSTEPS

I have the exact tea sampler as the post suggests so today I will give it a go! Making your own herbal cough drops is a great way to know what you’re putting in your body, not to mention it looks fun!! Just a couple things I noticed from the steps:
-Don’t use regular white sugar or agave nectar. These are both processed to heck and I would not use them at all. I suggest using honey or unrefined, organic sugar cane.
– I also would not add any artificial flavors or colors at the end of the process. Not needed. I would stick to the tea and sugar only.

Have you had success making your own cough drops? This should be quite the experiment for me and I do not own a candy mold so I am off to the store to get one! Let me know how yours turn out! Happy and Healthy medicine making everyone! 🙂

**UPDATE 1/17/2014**
I made the above mentioned cough drops and was very impressed! I used Traditional Medicinals Echinacea Plus Tea and some fresh ginger for the tea. Let that steep for 15 minutes and added the sugar. I didn’t have a candy thermometer so I decided to try it anyway, which was extremely bold I don’t recommend it, and let it boil until I thought that it was done. I used the cold water method and put a little in some cold water to see if it would harden right away and it seemed to hold together well so I took it off the heat and poured into my powdered sugar molds (never did get to the store to buy a candy mold so the sugar had to do for my first attempt). I let them cool and put into a jar. I immediately tried one, along with my 8 year old son, and we were pleasantly surprised! Not bad for my first attempt at candy making and cough drop making. I am looking forward to using different ingredients and also using a candy thermometer, which I know would have made the end result more lozenge-like. All in all, SUCCESS!