Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Homemade Poke Bowls Recipe and Technique- DIY Instruction with All Sorts of Varieties

Delicious poke bowl- but needed more sauce!

A friend of mine is a caterer in the US and a while back he mentioned making poke bowls for his clients, and it was something I'd never heard of before. Then more recently on some local foodies groups, people were asking where they can get poke bowls, which rekindled my interest in them. Poke bowls, pronounced either pokay or pokeh, are a derivative of a traditional Hawaiian marinated raw fish dish called poke. Poke bowls, though, are something more recent and a bit more international, with Asian influence due to Asian workers on pineapple plantations, and then with rice added to make it more filling.

So essentially, a poke bowl is generally rice covered in raw fish and vegetables, and maybe other toppings,  placed separately on the rice, with its origins in Hawaii. This is an interesting article on the history and evolution of poke bowls.

Once I heard this, I had a bunch of questions. I know all about bibimbap, a mixed rice dish from Korea. It basically sounded the same as a poke bowl. So what actually is the difference? Add in Buddha bowls and it's even more confusing.

The answer I picked up is more or less like this. Traditional bibimbap is made overall with hot and cooked vegetable toppings and traditionally has a sunny side up egg on it. Poke bowls are generally made with raw fish and raw cold toppings (but the rice can be hot) and sometimes have fruit in them. Then Budhha bowls are vegan and don't necessarily have rice on the bottom, but can be any other grains. But once you veer from the standard ingredients and ways of making it, they do sort of morph and become somewhat interchangeable. 

You can make less traditional poke bowls without fish, using meat instead of fish, or leaving it out entirely. You can put raw or cooked fruit or cooked vegetables in your poke bowls if you want. You can put in peanuts or almonds to add a crunch. There's no official rules with poke bowls, which makes them extra fun. Your options are only as limited as your imagination. And you can make it to suit a variety of different diets.

Once I introduced poke bowls to my family, they fell in love. They asked me to make them on a regular basis for dinner. And the best thing is- they're so easy and versatile and can be made with whatever you want and is in season or you have at home that there's not to make them. Because everyone can pick whichever toppings they want, it works perfectly for picky people and for people on various diets. Even if you're low carb, you can do this without rice and just use the toppings and make a traditional poke. Vegan people can stick to vegan proteins. People with allergies just choose the topings that work for them. And I find that other than making the rice and the marinated fish, if using, it's super simple and can be made within a few minutes, no advance prep work required.

The last and final ingredient for your poke bowl is the sauce. There are many different types of sauce you can put on, from soy sauce to teriyaki to spicy mayo to sweet chili sauce to sriracha, and even more. My favorite is a combination of spicy mayo and sweet chili sauce. Or you can leave it off if you're like one of my pickier kids.

I tend to use short grain rice, which I wash first and then bake. You can make the rice as you would sushi rice (but without the vinegar) but that is more work. Or you can just use any type of rice you like, prepared any way you like. 

I've included the recipe I use for my marinated salmon, which you can serve on its own as traditional poke, or you can use it as a topping for your traditional poke bowl.

I've included all the different toppings I've included in mine, but don't feel limited by what I included- use whatever you think will taste good together! Let's put it this way- if you can possibly imagine it in sushi, or if you've ever seen it included in a sushi menu, it fits!

Homemade Poke Bowls Recipe and Technique- DIY Instruction with All Sorts of Varieties

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

4 Reasons To Try New Recipes At Home

Some people make the same recipes over and over again. They like to stick with what is tried and true, and their menu plan doesn't change much if at all. I'm not like that at all- I'm constantly trying new recipes, and sometimes my family's biggest complaint is that I don't repeat enough of the dishes that they like. For those of you who are more into cooking the same recipes over and over again, here are some suggestions from a reader about why you might want to expand your repertoire and try some new recipes.

Healthy eating can seem repetitive and can get boring if you do not explore. However, you can avoid that by trying out creative new recipes. With new recipes, you can enjoy cooking as you will look forward to trying something new regularly. Finding new recipes is not so difficult; there are many cookbooks you can get and cooking shows that you can follow. You can also download recipes online onto your phone, and even if you change phones, you can easily set up new iPhone so you don’t lose anything. Here are four reasons to try out new recipes at home.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Beet Chutney Recipe -- Gluten Free, Vegan, Paleo, and Delicious

I love Indian food. It is so chock full of flavors and nutritious and delicious, but the best thing about it is it's generally very cheap to make. Not only that, it's quite versatile as well, and you can make it with nearly any ingredients you have on hand. 
I made up this recipe when I was trying to see how frugal of a meal I could make- I picked some mallow from my overgrown yard and made mallow chutney (yes, this recipe has been sitting in my drafts box for almost a year by now) and some red lentil dal and rice, but I wanted something else to go with it. And I had some beets sitting in my fridge, so why not that? That's why I love Indian food- whatever you want to make curry or chutney with, you can- I even made banana peel chutney once. 

Chutney is basically an Indian condiment. It can be sweet or sour or spicy, but usually, it is a mix of two or three of them. 

This chutney recipe is vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, and paleo, as well as mostly allergy friendly (though it does have nuts).

Beet Chutney Recipe -- Gluten Free, Vegan, Paleo, and Delicious

4 Easy Ways to Be More Frugal in the Kitchen

Want to save some money in the kitchen? These ideas sent to me by a reader might help.

A lot of money goes into maintaining your kitchen. From the appliances you buy to the food you stock your pantry and fridge with, there are a lot of expenses to account for.

With that being said, there’s also a lot of room to pinch some pennies. Check out these 4 ways to be more frugal in the kitchen.

5 Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids; 5 Cost-Efficient Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids

It's never too early to think of Christmas. If you think of Christmas only in December, your pocketbook might be hurting, but if you think about it in advance and budget for it all year long, you can get some great things without affecting your finances negatively. Here's some cost efficient Christmas gifts sent in from a reader- and most would make great birthday gifts as well.

Christmas is a great time to spend time with family and to appreciate the important things in life. It's easy to lose sight of the true value of holidays amid the glittering lights, Christmas carols, and beautiful decorations. And it's easier to lose track of your budget, and many try to justify this because 'tis the season, right?

Friday, February 26, 2021

Tteokgguk or Ddukguk Recipe -- Korean Rice Cake Soup -- Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly

I feel like such a slacker, because I shared my recipe for homemade garaetteok (pronounced karatok) that are Korean rice cakes, and two different recipes that use them already in May of last year, and I never got around to actually posting this recipe, which has been sitting in my draft folder, mostly written, since then. But today I wanted to share a recipe and I looked back to see which I still didn't do yet and saw this one!
This recipe is one of the most traditional Korean recipes using rice cakes. Tteokgguk is generally eaten on the Lunar new year, one of the most important Korean holidays. It is symbolic, as the white disks represent money, wishing people a prosperous year. This dish is so traditional that one of the ways of asking people how old they are, in Korea, is to ask them how many times they had this soup.

There are many different ways of making this soup, both in types of broths as well as additives, but I chose to make mine with beef which is the most traditional, and left out the additives. This recipe also generally has egg in it which makes the broth white-ish which is also symbolic for purity, I think, but I kept mine allergy friendly and mine is egg free. So it's not white but that's ok.

This recipe is gluten free and allergy friendly- the only common allergen in it is soy, but you can make it with coconut aminos as well.
Tteokgguk soup is both delicious and comforting and a fast favorite.
I based mine on a bunch of different recipes I saw online but Maangchi's is the one I was mostly inspired by.

Teokgguk or Ddukguk Recipe -- Korean Rice Cake Soup -- Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly

Tips For Running a Successful Blog

I'm on my eleventh year of running this blog, and I'll admit, it's not always so easy to do so. Often I'm exhausted, but I know I need to keep at it if I don't want it to die. Here are some tips from a reader on how to run a successful blog.

Blogging is becoming more and more popular and new people are starting blogs daily. Blogging is extremely fun and if you have a passion for it, it’s great to share your thoughts and watch your readers grow. Plus, a side benefit from running a blog is that you can potentially make a side income from it, with some people running one as a full-time job. That said, running a blog isn’t easy and shouldn’t be done for just money. Below I have put together a guide of several tips that will help with the running of your blog.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Korean Style Roasted Fennel and Sweet Potatoes Recipe

Not all my recipes are masterpiece show stoppers. Sometimes they're super easy, simple, and good. And that's all right. This recipe is more than just good, but it's a very easy recipe. What I'd call an I'm too exhausted to cook but need for anyhow recipe. Which makes this really suitable for now, because all I want to do now is take a nap, but I'm a grown up with responsibilities, so I'll just share here how exhausted I am... and then get back to work.

This recipe was created when I had no energy, but tastes wonderful. It is chock full of flavor, and takes maybe 5 minutes total, if even, to get it into the oven. (Probably would take me 2 minutes.)

I love fennel and roasted it has this creaminess to it. Sweet potatoes are also wonderful. And I love Korean food and Korean seasonings. So I just mixed them all up and got this wonderful result.

This is suitable for most diets- gluten free, vegan, paleo, and allergy friendly as well- only contains sesame and possibly soy from the top 8 allergens.

Korean Style Roasted Fennel and Sweet Potatoes Recipe

What Couples Can Expect from a Trial Separation?

As a person going through the divorce process, it took me a long time to realize that I needed to end my marriage, but once I did, I made my decision and there was no going back. For other people, it is not so cut and dry, and a trial separation might be in order to decide if divorce is the next step they want to take, or to try to work on the relationship. Here's more on the topic. from Veronica Baxter, a writer and legal assistant working for Philadelphia divorce attorney, Lee A. Schwartz. 

A marriage is a long-term commitment to another person that asks a lot of you. It is not surprising that you may face some issues along the way. Perhaps you are having problems, and you’ve both agreed that you need some space to process how you are feeling.

This article will go into what couples typically experience during a trial separation and how to make the most of it if the couple truly wants to work on the relationship, from the office of Philadelphia divorce attorney Lee A. Schwartz.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

My Response to an Article on Men Being Abused by Women

Warning- this post is probably very triggering for people who have been through abuse. It contains details about abuse and also talks about suicide and murder. Read at your own discretion.

I was at a friend’s house this past weekend and was looking through a magazine that is popular in my circles. It had a piece written by two men entitled “We’re Only Addressing Half the Problem” that talked about the abuse men go through, especially during and after divorce, and said that while society helps women who are abused, it ignores the other half of the problem, men that are abused. 
It cited a few studies but misrepresented them, and then they made an internet survey of 199 divorced people from a divorced group, and then asked them leading questions about whether or not they were abused and what the abuse was like. Of the respondents, only a quarter of them said they were abused, and of those that answered, more men than women responded that they were physically abused. Which made me realize, even more than I did at first, just how problematic this piece was. As I read it, I got more and more incensed.

This is an edited version of my response that I sent to the magazine. There’s very little chance that this will ever be published, because of its length, but it's too important a topic to not be shared, so I’m sharing it here with you to right a grievous wrong and to correct some, unfortunately too common, misperceptions about abuse.

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