Zucchini Fritters with Lemon Ricotta (with Gluten Free Option)

 

Fritters. It’s fun to say. And fritters are fun to eat. Fritters are pretty much anything mixed with an egg, herbs and flour, shaped into a patty and cooked in butter till crispy and golden. Zucchini is ideal for making fritters. I top these with a mixture of lemon zest and ricotta cheese, but of course the topping is totally optional.

Zucchini Fritters with Lemon Ricotta (with Gluten Free Option)




Zucchini Fritters are an excellent side dish because they go with just about any main course. As always, I recommend making extra and reheating for breakfast the next day…or two…or three!

The process of making a fritter is really simple. Just grate zucchini in a food processor. If you don’t have one, a box grater will do (affiliate links).

Zucchini Fritters with Lemon Ricotta (with Gluten Free Option)

Place zucchini in a colander and mix with sea salt, allow to sit for ten minutes. Then either press between paper towels or wring in a clean cloth till excess moisture is gone. Looking at this photo I realize I need a prettier colander…like this one. (affiliate link)

Zucchini Fritters with Lemon Ricotta (with Gluten Free Option)

 

Mix with eggs, herbs and flour, form into patties and fry in butter. I like a cast iron pan for this job. (affiliate link)

Zucchini Fritters with Lemon Ricotta (with Gluten Free Option)

You can serve as is, or top with a mixture of ricotta and lemon zest. I use a microplane (affiliate link) for this job. Always scrape just until the white is exposed and move to a new area. I love this job because the zest smells heavenly.

Zucchini Fritters with Lemon Ricotta (with Gluten Free Option)

When fritters are crispy and brown, top with ricotta and serve!

Zucchini Fritters with Lemon Ricotta (with Gluten Free Option)

 

The Recipe: Zucchini Fritters with Lemon  Ricotta

You will need: A food processor or box grater. A microplane and cast iron pan. I used this sea salt, arrowroot powder (if you prefer not to use corn starch) and this gluten free flour if you want to avoid gluten. (affiliate links)

5.0 from 3 reviews
Zucchini Fritters with Lemon Ricotta (Gluten Free Option)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
An easy and healthy side dish. Always save extra for the next days breakfast. Just reheat in pan and serve with eggs!
Author:
Recipe type: Side dish for dinner or breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 3 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour or gluten free flour
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder or cornstarch ( I prefer arrowroot for thickening but both work fine)
  • ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons chives, chopped and divided
  • zest of one small lemon
  • 3 tablespoon butter
  • Lemon Ricotta Topping (optional):
  • ½ cup whole fat ricotta
  • zest of one small lemon
Instructions
  1. Grate zucchini place in colander. Sprinkle with sea salt and stir well. Place colander in sink and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Well zucchini sits, prepare other ingredients.
  3. Use a fork to combine cheese and lemon zest.
  4. After zucchini rests, place between paper towels and squeeze out excess moisture (or wring out in a clean dish towel)
  5. Place zucchini in a large bowl.
  6. Add egg, your choice of flour, arrowroot or cornstarch, pepper, lemon zest and 3T chives (reserving one 1 T for garnish). Mix well.
  7. Take a third of a cup at a time and form into patties.
  8. Heat a pan on high heat. Add butter. When butter is very hot add zucchini patties.
  9. Cook till golden brown (about 3-4 minutes) gently turn.
  10. Cook second side till golden brown. (turn down heat if pan get too hot by now)
  11. Remove from pan and top with lemon ricotta. Garnish with remaining chives. Serve

 

We have been chowing down on this recipe all week! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. Please subscribe if you haven’t already and have a great day!




Zucchini Fritters with Lemon Ricotta (with Gluten Free Option)

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STANDARD FTC DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please note that I only endorse products that are in alignment with The Organic Kitchen’s ideals and that I believe would be of value to my readers. The Organic Kitchen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Quality Sleep: So Important, So Elusive

 

Shortly after John McCain lost his presidential bid he was on a talk show. The host asked him “How are you?” He said “Fine. Sleeping like a baby…and by that I mean I wake up every two hours crying”. Funny joke, but quality sleep is no joke. I should know, I have suffered from insomnia for 22 years. And the ten years before that I suffered from sleep deprivation due to having six babies. I know there are few things in the world more frustrating than chronic sleep issues! 

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What Happens While We Sleep

While we sleep there is some big repair work going on. For adults sleep is the time our muscles, tissues, and cells grow and repair themselves. For children it’s all that plus a time for hormone production and brain development. For all of us it’s a time to eliminate toxins thereby reducing inflammation. Reducing inflammation reduces our risk for ALL disease. 

So What Happens When We Don’t Get Enough Sleep?

Beside feeling crappy, according to Dr. Mercola lack of sleep causes you to:

  • Dramatically weaken your immune system
  • Accelerate tumor growth—tumors grow two to three times faster in laboratory animals with severe sleep dysfunctions
  • Cause a pre-diabetic state, making you feel hungry even if you’ve already eaten, which can wreak havoc on your weight
  • Seriously impair your memory; even a single night of poor sleep—meaning sleeping only 4 to 6 hours—can impact your ability to think clearly the next day
  • Impair your performance on physical or mental tasks, and decrease your problem solving ability

     

    Impaired sleep can also increase stress-related disorders, including:

    • Heart disease
    • Stomach ulcers
    • Constipation
    • Mood disorders like depression.
    • And if that weren’t enough it can also cause premature aging…ah now that got your attention! 

After years of only getting 3-4 hours of sleep a night I have learned a few things about getting a good nights sleep and I would love to share them with you. Good sleep and good health go hand in hand.

First and Foremost Lack of Sleep is Rarely Caused or Fixed by One Thing

For years and years I tried natural ways to get better sleep. A friend would say “try lemon balm tea” or “melatonin” or “meditation”. I would try it for a while, it wouldn’t work and I would move on the the next thing. Over the years I became more and more discouraged. At one point I thought I would literally die from lack of sleep. I lived in a fog, had no energy and enjoyed nothing. I was in a sad state and I finally went to my doctor in desperation. He offered me a pamphlet and a prescription for Ambien. I took the pamphlet. There were actually a few really good tips in it. Below I have combined some of my own tips with a few of the most helpful my doctor suggested and all of it together made a big difference! I have found insomnia, like any health condition usually has several contributing factors and finding the right combination is crucial for improvement. So be patient, experiment and try many if not all of these suggestions, they are in no particular order.

1. Make sure your bedroom is dark…really dark.

Having a dark bedroom is a very important component to good sleep. Back in the day before artificial light was invented, when the sun went down our brains began producing a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin makes us sleepy. When the sun rose our brains stopped producing melatonin and we would wake up. The invention of artificial light (while wonderful) messed up that rather fantastic natural system.  So, turn down the lights an hour before bed, buy black out shades for your windows, or if that isn’t in the budget wear a sleep mask. Unplug or cover glowing appliances; clocks, toothbrushes, electronic equipment etc… and make sure your phone is facedown. Make your room as dark as possible. Even a tiny bit of light disrupts melatonin production!

2. De-stress and Power Down

This one is a toughie but so worth the rewards. At least an hour before bed put the ipad, computer and cell phone down. As stated above that glowing light coming from your device disrupts melatonin production, but there are other reasons for staying away from technology: answering emails, confronting work problems, even having a stressful conversation with a spouse can cause the stress hormone cortisol to rise, making sleep almost impossible. Anything stressful before bedtime should be avoided…believe me, it will all still be there in the morning!

3. Get A White Noise Machine

I swear my white noise machine is worth it’s weight in gold. I never realized how much noise had been a cause of my wakefulness until I got one. A white noise machine is a small device that makes a whirring sound, blocking out other sounds. It’s truly a miracle. You can purchase one at baby stores or find them here (affiliate link)

4. Keep Your Bedroom Cool

Studies show optimum room temperature for the best sleep is about 70 degrees. 

5. Figure Out What’s Bothering Your Belly

The pamphlet I got from my doctor said ‘don’t eat foods that cause you stomach upset before bed’. Not to be rude but, duh. AND I do not think that advice is good enough. Sometimes things you eat in the morning can bother you at night and truth be told most people haven’t even begun to figure out what foods bother them! Gas, bloating and constipation are the cause of many people’s insomnia. To find out what may be bothering you I recommend Whole 30 or The Virgin Diet (affiliate links). Both books teach you how to systematically eliminate the foods most likely to be the cause of belly distress. Then they teach you how to add the foods back in methodically so you can figure out what might be causing a problem and keeping you awake! 

6. Ditch The Sugar and The Caffeine

I am sure you’ve all seen that video of the MRI that shows that a brain on sugar and a brain on cocaine light up the same way. You wouldn’t expect to get a good nights sleep after snorting coke, you can’t expect to get one after eating sugar all day either. And of course, caffeine, especially later in the day keeps you awake…ditch it, enough said. Oh…and don’t use cocaine:)

7. Establish a Bedtime Ritual and Be Consistent

You know how pediatricians recommend kids have a bedtime ritual? Perhaps a high protein snack, a warm bath, a bedtime story etc….all at the same time every night? Well it works for grown ups too. Establish a bedtime ritual and stick to it. Establishing rituals prepares the mind and body for sleep. So choose whatever relaxing, soothing rituals float your boat, meditation, deep breathing, a good book, a relaxing bath and try to be as consistent as possible.

8. The Most Important Sleep is Between 10pm and 2am

The sleep you get from the hours of 10pm and 2am may indeed be the most beneficial! That is when we get the most restorative and deepest sleep. According to Dr. Mercola “Your body (particularly your adrenal system) does a majority of its recharging between the hours of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. In addition, your gallbladder dumps toxins during this same period. If you are awake, the toxins back up into your liver, which can further disrupt your health.” I know if I miss that crucial 10pm-2am window, I don’t sleep well at all. So set your bedtime for 10 at the latest. 

9. Go to Bed Earlier

Seems kind of obvious doesn’t it? But people fight this one the strongest I think. Most of us have an internal clock that wakes us up at a certain time every morning. I wake up at about 4 am regardless of what time I go to sleep. I usually go to bed at ten, so I usually get six hours of sleep (a huge improvement from the 3-4 hours I was getting ten years ago!) But I discovered a while back when I accidentally fell asleep at nine that I still slept till four. I got seven hours! Unheard of. This is true for most people. If you have an internal clock that wakes you up early, getting more sleep could be as simple as going to bed earlier! Thank goodness for DVR’s.

10. Hide The Clock

We’ve all been there. We wake up, look at the clock and this internal monologue transpires “Oh no! 2 am! I have to be up in four hours. I am going to be sooo tired. I have to sleep!” Then a half hour later we look at the clock again and repeat the entire scenario. The more we worry about getting to sleep, the more agitated we become and the less sleep we get. It’s a problem. The best thing I ever did was get rid of the clock. When I didn’t know what time it was I had no idea if I should worry. The pressure was off. And when I didn’t lay there bemoaning my fate sometimes I actually fell back asleep. Losing the clock is liberating.

11. Magnesium, Magnesium, Magnesium

When I had my kidney stones I learned those horrible things are linked to magnesium deficiency. Taking magnesium (affiliate link) everyday helps to prevent them! The interesting thing was as soon as I added the supplement daily I started sleeping better. Not longer unfortunately, but more deeply. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant and sleep aid. Magnesium also helps with restless leg syndrome and leg cramps. I take a supplement, use magnesium salts in baths before bed (part of my ritual) and use a magnesium oil a few days a week. I like to cover my bases. (affiliate links)

A few more tips: don’t drink within 2 hours of bedtime. Use the bathroom right before retiring. If you have a spouse that keeps you awake, consider separate bedrooms (boo I know) Avoid grains before bed (I am talking to you late night cereal eaters). Read something uplifting and spiritual before bed. Make sure you exercise moderately at least 30 minutes a day and if all else fails a little melatonin under the tongue can be a life saver! Make sure to take only the suggested dose though.

Pulling out the big guns:

If all the suggestions above do not work for you, don’t give up, sleep is far too important. You may need to consider pulling out the big guns and visit a doctor to see if you need your hormones balanced or are experiencing adrenal fatigue. I see a doctor of internal medicine that specializes in hormone balancing. It has helped a lot.

There truly is nothing more glorious than a good nights sleep. I wish more of us experienced it more often. 

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STANDARD FTC DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please note that I only endorse products that are in alignment with The Organic Kitchen’s ideals and that I believe would be of value to my readers. The Organic Kitchen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 

Jicama Taco Party!

 

Cinco de Mayo is fast approaching! I have lots of Cinco de Mayo recipes for those of us watching our carbs but I have never posted a grain free tortilla…until now. One ingredient, no cooking required and this shell stays crispy without falling apart. And that’s because the taco shell is made entirely from thinly sliced jicama!

Jicama Taco Party! Carb free, grain free mini taco shells!


All you need for this taco party is Jimaca, a crispy water filled vegetable from Mexico…

Jicama Taco Party! Carb free, grain free mini taco shells!

 

Jicama Taco Party! Carb free, grain free mini taco shells!

…and a mandolin. I use this one but there are plenty of choices (affiliate links)

Jicama Taco Party! Carb free, grain free mini taco shells!

 

Once jicama is sliced simply top with left over roasted chicken, rotisserie chicken, my grilled chicken, or my crock pot roast and then top with my homemade salsas or guacamole, tomatoes, cilantro and a squeeze of lime! So easy!

Jicama Taco Party! Carb free, grain free mini taco shells!

The ‘tortillas’ are crispy, stay together, hold all the ingredients you stuff them with and are completely grain and carb free. 

Jicama Taco Party! Carb free, grain free mini taco shells!

 And so pretty!

Jicama Taco Party! Carb free, grain free mini taco shells!

 

Jicama Taco Party! Carb free, grain free mini taco shells!

 

The Recipe: How to Make Jicama Taco Shells

You will need: A “y” peeler and a mandolin (affiliate links)

5.0 from 3 reviews
Jicama Taco Party
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Carb free, no cook, one ingredient taco shells
Author:
Serves: 18
Ingredients
  • Jicama, peeled and sliced with a mandolin.
Instructions
  1. Peel jicama using a 'y' peeler
  2. Trim the edges off the jicama till it will fit into a mandolin. Usually 4".
  3. Place mandolin on the thinnest setting and carefully slice jicama. (Different mandolins have different settings. If yours is too thin use the second thinnest setting)
  4. Top with fillings (links above) and eat!
  5. One jicama makes approximately 18 tortillas

 

Happy Cinco de Mayo! ~ Linda Spiker

Jicama Taco Party! Carb free, grain free mini taco shells!

 

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STANDARD FTC DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please note that I only endorse products that are in alignment with The Organic Kitchen’s ideals and that I believe would be of value to my readers. The Organic Kitchen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

 

 

Grilled Chicken Salad with Berries and Honey Lemon Dressing

 

Well, it has begun. The spring cleaning that is. I am slowly going through rooms, pantries, closets and drawers, paring down and cleaning up. The same goes for my diet. Ridding myself of excess and keeping things clean and simple. Like this Grilled Chicken Salad with Berries and Honey Lemon Dressing.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Berries and Honey Lemon Dressing




Baby greens, fresh berries and gorgonzola topped with and my tender grilled chicken breast and drizzled with a simple honey lemon dressing, a perfect spring or summer meal.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Berries and Honey Lemon Dressing

The Recipe: Grilled Chicken Salad with Berries and Honey Lemon Dressing:

You will need: my recipe for grilled chicken breasts.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Grilled Chicken Salad with Berries and Honey Lemon Dressing
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • The Salad:
  • 4 chicken breasts prepared like this
  • 5oz baby greens
  • 2 cups assorted berries
  • ½ cup gorgonzola, or if you prefer a milder cheese, feta
  • ½ cup pecans or walnuts
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • Honey Lemon Dressing:
  • ½ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 T raw honey
  • pinch sea salt
  • few turns fresh black pepper
Instructions
  1. For salad:
  2. Brine chicken as directed here.
  3. Place all salad items on a platter.
  4. Prepare dressing:
  5. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, honey, sea salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  6. Cook chicken breasts as directed above.
  7. Dress salad, plate and set one sliced chicken breast atop salad on each plate. If you have extra dressing (you should) drizzle over chicken.

 

Grilled Chicken Salad with Berries and Honey Lemon Dressing

 

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STANDARD FTC DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please note that I only endorse products that are in alignment with The Organic Kitchen’s ideals and that I believe would be of value to my readers. The Organic Kitchen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

 

 

 

How to Grill Perfectly Tender Chicken Breasts Every Time!

 

An actual conversation between me and my husband years ago:

Him: Shall we BBQ tonight?
Me: Sure, what shall we make?
Him: How about chicken breasts?
Me: Ew. No. Why?

But that was before I learned how to grill perfectly tender and juicy chicken breasts!

How to Grill Perfectly Tender Chicken Breast Every Time!




Grilled chicken breasts are notoriously dry and flavorless, but when prepared the correct way they can be delicious, flavorful and tender. And I promise it’s not a lot of work.

One (of several) problems with grilling chicken breasts is that to cook that thick center you have to overcook the ends, leaving the meat dry and ‘cardboardy’. Luckily this problem is easily solved. Simply place the chicken breast on a large piece of unbleached parchment paper, fold the parchment over the chicken and seal the edges by folding a couple of times. Then pound it with a meat pounder or rolling pin until the breast is more even. (affiliate link)

How to Grill Perfectly Tender Chicken Breast Every Time!

 

Another problem with boneless skinless chicken breast is they have very little fat, and fat is what gives meat flavor and tenderness. Solving that problem is very easy!  Simply place chicken breasts in a brine of water and salt (that’s it!) and let them soak for a half hour. This makes them moist, tender and juicy. There is a scientific explanation, like the salt water changes the molecular make up of proteins…blah, blah, blah, let’s eat! (I use pink Himalayan Salt: Affiliate link)

How to Grill Perfectly Tender Chicken Breast Every Time!

After brining, simply brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper….

How to Grill Perfectly Tender Chicken Breast Every Time!

 

Then throw them on a hot grill. The heat needs to be high to brown and then lowered to finish cooking. Total grilling time is 10-12 minutes. Quick and easy!  If you don’t have room for a big gas grill may I make a recommendation? Cuisinart makes the handiest table top grill (affiliate link) that is budget friendly and perfect for for those without a big yard. And you can easily take it to the park or beach!

How to Grill Perfectly Tender Chicken Breast Every Time!

 

Once grilled to perfection place on a cutting board and slice on a diagonal. Does this chicken breast look dry to you? 

How to Grill Perfectly Tender Chicken Breast Every Time!

 

You can serve as is, or top with my basil pesto, tomatoes in olive oil, or with my mango salsa!

How to Grill Perfectly Tender Chicken Breast Every Time!

 

Or you can serve it atop this salad and drizzle with my honey lemon vinaigrette.

How to Grill Perfectly Tender Chicken Breast Every Time!

How to Grill Perfectly Tender Chicken Breasts Every Time!
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Perfectly moist grilled chicken breasts, every time!
Author:
Recipe type: main course
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 6 cups water
  • ⅓ cup salt, I use Himalayan sea salt, but you can use Kosher too
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded and brined
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. Place water and salt in a large bowl and stir.
  2. Place chicken breast between folded parchment paper and pound with a rolling pin until uniformly thick.
  3. Place breasts in salt water for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove breasts, pat dry with paper towels.
  5. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Heat grill on high (about 425 degrees)
  7. Place breasts on grill, close lid and cook till nice golden grill marks are established (3-4 minutes)
  8. Turn over and grill till golden on the second side (3-4 minutes)
  9. Turn heat to med/low (about 350 degrees) close lid and cook for five more minutes until just cooked through. Don't over cook!
  10. Remove from grill, cut on the diagonal and serve.

 

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We small bloggers need all the help we can get. Subscribing and sharing on social media is very appreciated! 

STANDARD FTC DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please note that I only endorse products that are in alignment with The Organic Kitchen’s ideals and that I believe would be of value to my readers. The Organic Kitchen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.