Pecan Crusted Fish

We have had visitors from Spain over the weekend. We have an exchange student who lives in Spain and her parents have come to visit and see where their daughter has spent her last year.

After eating an awesome lunch prepared by yours truly, along with some dishes from relatives who came, we spent the better part of the day down at the pond on our farm fishing. This was a treat for our new friends, as the waters in the Mediterranean have been so overfished by commercial fisheries that there are almost no fish left.  We also have several native types of fish in our pond that my husband’s great-grandparents, grandparents, and uncle have brought in to stock the pond, including bass, crappie, and bream. Our friends had never seen these particular fish before.

In was a beautiful day to fish. The thunderstorms and rain of the morning and early afternoon gave way to blue skies and a nice breeze. My husband’s very first casting lesson for our friend resulted in a fish. It was too small to keep, but boded well for the afternoon to come. We caught several small fish and 2 bass and 1 crappie that were big enough for my husband to filet for me to cook for our friends to try their catch.  Here is the recipe for the dish that I cooked up with our day’s haul.

Pecan Crusted Fish

Serves 4

6 to 8 nice sized filets of fish (Ours were as long as my hand)

1 lemon

1 cup finely chopped pecan ( I buzz mine in the small bowl of my food processor)

1/4 cup gluten-free baking mix (I used Pamela’s, you could substitute All Purpose Flour here or any other flour you like)

2 eggs

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp olive oil

Lay filets out on a plate and squeeze the lemon juice over the filets, set aside.

Mix the pecans, baking mix, and all-purpose seasoning together in a pie pan or plate. In a separate pan, beat the eggs well.

Melt the butter and olive oil in a saute pan.

Dip the filets in the eggs, then in the pecan mixture. Place in the saute pan and cook on first side 3-4 minutes or until lightly browned. Carefully flip to other side and cook another 3-4 minutes until lightly browned. Carefully transfer to a plate.

Serve with sliced lemons.

May 31, 2010. cooking. Leave a comment.

Ratatouille Casserole

My littlest one and I were watching that famous Disney movie this afternoon and she asked if we could make Remi’s dish. How could I say no. I looked up recipes, but most were for the more traditional version of this dish. So I took the ingredients that are traditional and ran with it. It turned out so good. I have been feeling a lot under the weather since this weekend and this was the first thing I have eaten other than chicken soup since Saturday. The flavors are bright and it comes together perfectly.

Ratatouille Casserole
1 medium eggplant
2 small yellow squash
2 small zucchini squash
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 cup red wine
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 large or 2 small bay leaves
1 tsp thyme
salt and pepper

Slice the eggplant, squash, and zucchini thinly with a mandolin or knife. Place in bowl and salt and pepper each side. Set aside.
Halve and slice the onions thinly. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add the onion and garlic. Saute until soft. Add the wine and reduce by half. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, and thyme. Salt and pepper to taste. Turn to low and simmer 10 to 15 minutes.
In a greased casserole dish add half the tomato sauce. Layer the eggplant, squash, and zucchini on top. Top with remaining tomato sauce. Cover and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Remove cover and cook 15 minutes more.
Enjoy.

May 25, 2010. cooking. Leave a comment.

Making new friends

Why is it that kids can make new friends in under a minute? No matter where they are, if they see a new little person about their age they will, with absolutely no hesitation, walk up to that person and proceed to say, “you want to play?”.
Of course, the general responds is a yes. The kids don’t look each other up and down. They don’t take a moment to think it over, or ask what their religious affiliation ism or even to look at the color of the other child’s skin. They just say yes and proceed to run off together and play.
Why can’t we all play together like children?

May 21, 2010. Notebook. Leave a comment.

Gluten-Free Pineapple Cheese Bread

If you have ever been to a potluck dinner in the south, you have probably had Pineapple Cheese Casserole. It has that wonderful sweet-salty-cheesy-ooey-gooey-something that just makes you crave it. Fruit, cheese, and buttery crackers all hot from the oven is just the perfect side-dish-almost-desert to take to a potluck dinner.

This bread is reminiscent of that wonderful casserole and not nearly as fattening and much more portable.

Here’s the recipe, an adaptation from Paula Deen’s original recipe:

Pineapple Cheese Bread

2 cups gluten-free baking mix (or gluten-free flour mix plus 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp xantham gum)      

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 tbsp canola oil

1 cup crushed pineapple with juice

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

 Preheat oven to 350. Grease sides and bottom of 9 x 5 loaf pan (I spray with canola oil spray).

In a large bowl mix together baking mix (or flour mix plus baking powder, salt, and xantham gum).

In a separate bowl mix together pineapple, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Pour pineapple mixture over flour and sugar. Mix until just combined. Fold in grated cheese.

Scrape mixture into loaf pan and bake for 1 hour or until knife inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes then transfer loaf to a wire rack to continue cooling.  Slice, serve, and enjoy.

May 21, 2010. cooking. Leave a comment.

Homeschoolers in Sweden need your help

If you are a homeschooler here in the US you may take for granted that it is legal. Most of here don’t even give a second thought to this privilege. We choose what is best for us and our children without a thought that someone may show up at our door one day and arrest us for this choice.

Right now about 3% of US school-aged children are homeschooled. Each of these families took the time to research what was best for their children and none of them had to think about the legality of their choice. It is estimated that 1.5 million children in the US are homeschooled today.

Some of you may remember the days, not too long ago, when homeschooling was seen as a weirdo thing that no one really understood. Now it is seen as an option right along with public or private schooling. Just a few years ago when people found out we homeschooled I would get strange looks and lots of comments or questions about why we would want to do that when we could just put our kids on the bus in the morning and send them to school like everyone else. Now when people hear we homeschool they just accept it and move on.

Right now in Sweden about 200 families have made the choice to homeschool their children. They do this for the same reasons that many of us do. They made their choice based on what is best for their children and their families. But this choice may soon be taken away from them. For no other reason than the government really doesn’t understand homeschooling or why someone would choose this method of educating their children instead of sending them to traditional government-run schools.

As a homeschooler I am asking for your help. There is a letter to the Swedish government that was written by the editor of one of my favorite homeschooling magazines. I am asking for you to “sign” this letter as a way of educating the Swedish government to the reasons why we homeschool.

Let’s support our Swedish friends and hopefully make a difference.

To read more and sign the letter just follow this link:

http://www.madeditor.com/2010/05/sign-your-name-and-help-swedens.html

Thank you in advance for your help.

Chrystal

May 18, 2010. Homeschooling. Leave a comment.

Coming of Age

Tomorrow my littlest girl will turn 7.

This is the very last time that I will have a child turn 7.

I sit next to her now as she reads to me from one of her favorite books. I take great pride in the fact that I taught her how to read, as I have taught all my children how to read. She stumbles over only a few of the harder words in her book. She is finally starting to sound out the words she sees instead of guessing at the word based on the beginning letter and her vocabulary.

I have enjoyed giving her this gift.

I am also a little sad that this part of her learning is going past so fast. I know in my heart that she is growing older each day and that each time she does something for the first time, for me it is the very last first time I will get to experience it.

She is the baby of the family, very much wanted and loved and longed for. Gotten through extremes of medical science and at the end of a very long struggle.

We love her for who she is and for who I hope for her to become.

She is my youngest daughter and in her I see myself, my husband, his mother and father, my mother and father, and all of the generations of mothers and fathers that came before them. In her is the culmination of love and life come to fruition.

Oh yes, she is loved. By many. By me.

Happy Birthday, BoogaLou.

Mommy loves you.

May 17, 2010. Notebook. Leave a comment.