Thursday, October 29, 2015

Coconut Aminos

I love soy sauce. I’ll just go ahead and put that out there. I could practically drink the stuff. I love Chinese food, in large part because they give you so many little soy sauce packets with it. I used to be the person drowning the bowl of white rice in soy sauce. I love that! I also enjoy making stir-fry at home. And of course using soy sauce. Lots of soy sauce.

However, after being diagnosed with hepatic adenomas two years ago, I decided to drastically reduce the amount of soy in my diet. (Soy can mimic estrogen, and they’re estrogen fed.) It hasn’t been easy to reduce soy. For one thing it’s in practically everything, and I love it.

I resigned myself to only very occasionally having soy sauce; usually at a dinner out for a special occasion or treat. And I completely stopped making stir-fry at home.

Then I heard about coconut aminos as a soy sauce substitute. I hadn’t found anything else that seemed like it would even come close to working as a substitute for soy sauce, so I decided to give the coconut aminos a try, and ordered a bottle from Amazon.

I tried a little plain before cooking with any. There’s no point in cooking with a sauce you can’t stand, right? I liked the flavor, so I decided to try it in place of soy sauce in a stir-fry. The stir- fry came out well, and I’ve since become a huge fan of coconut aminos.

In all honesty, the flavor isn’t just like soy sauce. It has a little more spice, and a little less salt to it. There’s also a suggestion of sweetness, but no coconut flavor. I think the spice is probably the biggest difference. You also have to refrigerate the coconut aminos once the bottle has been opened.

A bottle of coconut aminos is a bit more expensive than a bottle of soy sauce, but I consider it worth it to open so many food possibilities back up, and to avoid soy. I checked my local grocery store to see if they carried the coconut aminos, but only found soy aminos (so do be careful to read the label on any "aminos" if you’re trying to avoid soy), so I’ve been ordering it from Amazon.

So what about you? Do you like soy sauce? Have you tried coconut aminos? Have you found any other good soy sauce substitutes?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Happy Hump Day - The Jack ‘O Lantern Edition

Since Halloween is just a few days away I thought today’s Hump Day pictures should feature Jack ‘O Lanterns and other carved pumpkins. I wish I could take credit for the more interesting ones, but they’re all my friend Crystal’s handy work. She takes her pumpkin carving very seriously!

Have you carved your pumpkin yet? Do you do a traditional Jack ‘O Lantern or something else?

Points if you recognized this as being the design on the South Carolina flag!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Happy Hump Day - The Cats In Boxes Edition

There’s just something about boxes that cats can’t seem to resist. I’m not sure what it is about boxes that they love so much, but I do know they look adorable when they’re in a box.

Howard & Milo

Milo (top) & Howard (bottom) - the orange guys stick together.




Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Happy Hump Day - The Dessert Edition

It’s National Dessert Day, so I’m sharing dessert pictures today. I love the idea of a day reminding us to eat dessert.

So what about you? Will you be enjoying a dessert today? What is your favorite dessert?

Friday, October 9, 2015

Zucchini Frittata

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a while now, and since today is World Egg Day it seems like a good day to finally share it.

I came up with this during the summer when we were being inundated with zucchini. My friend Beth and I had talked about the fact that quiche is a great way to make use of extra vegetables, but were lamenting the fact that while quiche isn’t a complicated dinner to make, it’s also not a quick dinner to make.

I wanted a quiche type meal that allowed for more advance preparation. I decided fear of the crust getting soggy was the biggest problem with prepping a quiche ahead of time, so I went with bread instead of a crust. Not only can it be prepped ahead of time, but it’s also delicious!

Zucchini Frittata:

1 medium zucchini, sliced into thin rounds

1 small onion, thinly sliced

2 slices of bread, crusts removed

9 eggs

1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese

2 Tbsp olive oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

Butter, for greasing a pie pan

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Saute zucchini and onion with salt and pepper until they’re soft. Remove from heat, and allow to cool.

Generously grease a pie pan with butter. Tear bread slices into small pieces and place in the bottom of pie pan. Layer zucchini and onion over bread.

Beat eggs in a large bowl with salt and pepper. Add cheese and milk. Mix well. Pour mixture into pie pan over bread, zucchini, and onion.

At this point, you can cover and refrigerate it for up to a day, or bake it if you’re ready to enjoy it now.

If you’re baking it now, heat oven to 350, then bake for 45 minutes, or until eggs are set, and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

If you’re planning to bake it later, cover it tightly and store it in the refrigerator for up to a day. When you’re ready to bake it, remove the cover and place the pie dish in a cold oven for ten minutes. Set oven to 350, and bake for one hour, or until eggs are set, and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.


So what about you? Are you planning to eat eggs today? What is your favorite egg dish?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Happy Hump Day - The Riverbanks Zoo Edition

I love Riverbanks Zoo & Garden in Columbia, SC. We’ve been going there since I was a little kid, and Nick and I go every year around my birthday. It’s a great zoo. The animals are well cared for, and the zoo does a lot of conservation work. It’s one of my favorite places.

I’ve been worried about the zoo and the animals with all of the flooding that’s going on there right now, so I was delighted to read on their Facebook page that the animals are safe. The zoo is set to re-open today, though the garden and bridge leading to it will remain closed.

In celebration of the animals’ safety and the re-opening of the zoo, I decided to share zoo pictures for today’s hump day pictures.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Soggy Weekend

Are you getting drenched by Joaquin? We certainly are. It has been raining for over a week now, but it really started to pick up yesterday. I don’t think it has stopped at all today. We certainly don’t have it as bad as the folks on the coast, but there has been some flooding and road closures.

We’ve opted to mostly spend the weekend at home working on indoor projects and watching movies.

I did venture out into the backyard to get some pictures of the mushroom crop that seems to have popped up overnight, and the puddle right off the back porch.

So what about you? Is it an indoor kind of weekend for you?

Just off the back porch.  More and more of the yard is looking like this.

The mushrooms.
Not quite what we usually grow in the raised beds.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

It’s World Vegetarian Day

Today is World Vegetarian Day, a day meant to encourage us to eat our fruits and vegetables, as well as to encourage people to become vegetarians.

I’m not a vegetarian, and neither is Nick, but we have embraced the idea behind Meatless Monday, and incorporate one or two meatless days into each week. Neither one of us are very keen on the idea of totally giving up meat, but we do like the idea of reducing the amount of meat we eat. You can read about some of the benefits of going meatless here from Meatless Monday.

One of our favorite meatless meals is veggie tacos. They’re quick, easy, and delicious. I don’t really
have an exact recipe for them. I just use whatever combination of vegetables we happen to have on hand, which is usually squash and zucchini (especially during the summer). I always add chopped onion and bell pepper (usually two different colors) and a handful of fresh cilantro. Saute the vegetables in olive oil, just until they start to soften, then add a package of taco seasoning, and cook according to the instructions on the package. I also add a can of beans, usually kidney beans or pinto beans, whatever we happen to have on hand. We also like to have rice in the tacos. In addition to being delicious, the rice helps absorb some of the sauce and keeps the tacos from falling apart quite so easily. Top it with a little shredded cheese, and you have a delicious meal.

So what about you, are you going meatless today? Are you a vegetarian? Do you participate in Meatless Monday? What is your favorite meatless meal?