Crunchy, Asian Inspired Oven Baked Fish

 

fish picDisclosure: I was compensated by The General Mills Bell Institute of Health & Nutrition for my time to write this post. Recommendations and opinion are my own.

This fun, Asian-influenced play on fish sticks was inspired by my humble box of cereal. Little did I know that it would become the secret ingredient for creating my next kitchen masterpiece. As a mom of two little ones, finding healthy and clever ways to make food taste great is a challenge I love.

When it comes to the creatures of the the sea, fish is a source of omega-3’s, an essential fat thought to reduce the risk of heart disease. Its mild flavor makes it a versatile lean protein that pairs well with a wide range of flavors from savory to sweet.

If you’re working with picky palates a good place to start is with a familiar food, like cereal and pair it with something less familiar and ta-da, you instantly have a new household favorite like homemade fish sticks that you can feel great about serving to your family.fish pic2

With a few extra ingredients and a think-outside-the-bowl mentality, you’ll find your
go-to cereal has far more range than you thought. This baked homemade fish stick recipe is made with whole grain cereal, making it a tasty addition to dishes where you’d never expect it.

Crunchy Asian Oven Baked Fish with Dipping Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • For the fish
  • 5 cups Golden Grahams cereal
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1 1⁄2 lbs cod filets, cut into about ¾-inch strips (can use talapia or other firm white fish)
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley or 1 tablespoon fresh, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Seasoning salt and black pepper to taste
  • For the dipping sauce
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice or rice vinegar
  • ⅛ teaspoon chili powder or Sirracha sauce
Instructions
  1. Set oven to 475°F (set oven rack to second-lowest position, or the middle rack).
  2. Process the Golden Graham cereal with a pinch of seasoning salt and black pepper in the processor until coarse crumbs form (avoid grinding into a fine texture). Transfer the crumbs to a large bowl. Mix in lemon peel, parsley, and chili powder.
  3. In a smaller bowl mix together the melted butter with 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice. Stir until well combined.
  4. Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides, then brush the fish on all sides with the lemon butter to coat.
  5. Dip the fish into the cereal mixture, coating completely on all sides.
  6. Arrange the fish on a lightly greased baking sheet, about ½ inch apart to all fish to crisp up on all sides.
  7. Sprinkle any remaining cereal mixture and place on middle oven rack.
  8. Bake fish for 7-10 minutes. Fish sticks should be firm to touch when fully cooked.
  9. While the fish is baking prepare dipping sauce by combining all ingredients in a small bowl and mixing until combine.

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Disclosure: I was compensated by The General Mills Bell Institute of Health & Nutrition for my time to write this post. Recommendations and opinion are my own.

Eat the “Bugs” Do-It-Yourself Probiotic Pickles

Fermented-Pickles-5

You might wonder “Why would anyone want to eat bacteria?” If you have ever had yogurt, kefir, or kimchee you’ve had fermented foods. Fermentation is a process by which bacteria chemically break down parts of the food. Then, you eat it.

Fermented foods are great for your health because they are believed to help support a healthy gut microbiome. There are billions of “good” bacteria living in our digestive tract helping us create vitamins, digest food, and prevent infection from viruses and bad bacteria.

Doing your own food fermentation can be easy, fun, and delicious. Start with everyone’s favorite – the pickle. While grocery store pickles get their flavor from vinegar, these pickles get their flavor from the bacteria’s handiwork.

 

Do-It-Yourself “Probiotic” Pickles
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 quart sized jar
  • 3 pounds Cucumbers (Pickling or mini cucumbers work best because they have fewer seeds.)
  • Seasonings:
  • 3 sprigs of dill
  • 2 gloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons pickling spice (or combination of mustard seeds, coriander, bay leaf, and black peppercorn)
  • Optional: hot pepper or red chili flake for spicy pickles
  • Brine:
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • Onion bulb to keep pickles submerged.
Instructions
  1. Soak cucumbers in cold water. This helps keep them crunchy while they ferment.
  2. Clean cucumbers well and cut ends off.
  3. Cut cucumbers to desired size. Keep in mind that smaller slices will ferment faster.
  4. Pack cucumbers tightly into the jar.
  5. Add dill, garlic, and pickling spices.
  6. Prepare brine by combining salt and water and mixing to dissolve salt.
  7. Make sure to leave about an inch of room in the top of the jar. This is necessary for fermentation to take place.
  8. Cover jar and place on countertop for 3 days.
  9. Taste a pickle. If you like it, put the jar in the refrigerator to stop the fermenting process. If not, re-cover and taste each day until they are ready.
  10. Once in the refrigerator, don’t worry about keeping them submerged. Enjoy your “probiotic” pickles for up to 6 months.

Don’t just stop at cucumbers. Any vegetable can be “pickled” this way. Try green beans, peppers, zucchini, or asparagus for a new twist!

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Nutty Chocolate Cherry Trail Mix: A Whole Grain Treat for Any Valentine

Valentines Trail Mix pic_1Disclosure: I was compensated by The General Mills Bell Institute of Health & Nutrition for my time to write this post. Recommendations and opinion are my own.

I’m always happy when Valentine’s Day rolls around. It’s a wonderful opportunity for me to express gratitude for special people in my life and get some time in the kitchen doing what I love — preparing food with my kids. This year, I enlisted help from my 3-year-old to make these “Be Mine Valentine” snack packs filled with chocolate, cherries, nuts, and whole grain cereal.

Celebrate with the Goodness of Whole Grains

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines encourage us to make half our servings of grains whole. However, ninety-five percent of us fall short of the recommended 48 grams of whole grain per day. On average, adults consume 1 serving, while most kids consume less than a serving of whole grains each day.

The Benefit of Whole

Whole grains, like whole grain oats, corn, whole wheat, rice and quinoa can provide your body with good-for-you nutrients like folate, iron, and B vitamins to help it function. By focusing on eating a variety of whole grains, you’re getting fiber, a healthy plant-based vitamins, minerals, and a variety of phytochemicals that are beneficial to your health.

Celebrate the “Day of Love” All Year Long

There are easy ways to give whole grains some “love” all year long. Try one new whole grain each month. Ever wondered what millet or quinoa tasted like? Prepare whole-wheat pastas and pizza doughs. Add rolled oats when baking or stir in a handful to your favorite yogurt. Enjoy whole grain salads like tabbouleh or toss your favorite grains with greens for a custom grain bowl.

Fill Your Bowl With Love

A bowl of whole grain cereal can get your day off to a great start giving you a balanced blend of nutrients. When choosing ready to eat cereal, look for whole grain listed as the first ingredient.

What about a warm bowl of mixed grains, topped with berries and crunchy almonds? Or a quick omelet filled with last night’s quinoa? Transform your leftover rice into a breakfast burrito with eggs, beans and cheese. Whatever your morning routine looks like, there’s a whole grain breakfast option that can work for you.Trail Mix bowl pic

Made With Love

Edible gifts are a great way to show you care without spending a lot of money and have some fun making memories with the ones you love. This tasty little gesture of dark chocolate and peanut butter chips, dried cherries and raisins, almonds and walnuts combined with whole grain Cheerios™ or Chex™ makes a great-tasting gift you can feel great about giving.

Make any adjustments to the recipe for your food preferences or food allergies.

Be-Mine Valentine’s Trail Mix
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Cuisine: Snack Mix
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Chex™ or Cheerios® Cereal
  • ½ cup roasted salted almonds
  • ¼ cup dried cherries (can use any dried fruit)
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup peanut butter chips
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients
  2. Bundle this Be-Mine mix in decorative goodie bags or small canning jars with a homemade card and festive ribbon. Too cute!

Hear From You

What’s your favorite way to give sweets to the sweeties in your life? Share a link to your favorite Valentine’s recipe in the comments below.


 

Disclosure: I was compensated by The General Mills Bell Institute of Health & Nutrition for my time to write this post. Recommendations and opinion are my own.

This simple mindfulness exercise could help transform your eating habits.

Check in on your numbers to determine if your body thinks you should eat.

Check in on your numbers to determine when you should eat and when you should stop.

What If I Told You Healthful Eating Is Not About The Food?

OK, that’s not totally true. Nutrition matters. The simplest way to follow nutrition advice is to look at your plate and fill it up with nourishing foods you love. There’s a room for a little bit of this and a little bit of that and there’s no need to eliminate an ingredient (like butter or salt) or food group (like banishing carbs).

But… We Overthink “What” Is On the Plate and Underthink “Why” and “How Much”

Humans, for the most part, suck at mindfulness. We are a culture of distracted, dedicated multitaskers. When we do 2-5 things at once we aren’t paying attention to any of it. We might be there but we are not aware.

The Culture of Busyness: We’ve made busyness a competitive sport in our busyness as a badge of honor culture. We brag about how tired and exhausted we are, how much stuff we cram onto our calendars, how we’ve run around and been so productive and crossed so much stuff off our to-do lists, and yet have so much more to do. It’s become so ingrained, we don’t realize we’re doing it! – Brigid Schulte, author The Overwhelm

My social media feed is overflowing with “what” to eat or “what” to definitely avoid.  In busyness reality, if we stop to think about “what” goes on our plate at all, we are best served to view it as an opportunity to energize, feel better, and improve health, but it is not nearly as extreme as you would think. My 3 year old will devour kale, but she needs it to taste good. When I saute kale with butter and salt, it wins dinner. I’m OK with that.

How Often Do You Think About “Why” “How Much” to Eat?

This hunger scale can help you make choices about eating more easily using a basic mindfulness skill we all have access to – self awareness.

  • Why eat? – Hungry (for the most part… this is not a rule, but a guide based on your body’s needs)
  • How much? – Until you get comfortable full, no longer hungry.

All you need to start using self awareness is two things: 1. Stop 2. Pay attention That’s it.

Eating should feel good before during and after and you will feel your best physically and emotionally eating in the range of 3-7, on a scale out of 10.

Check in on your numbers to determine if your body thinks you should eat.

 

How Can Mindfulness Transform My Habits

The definition of a habit is a routine you do without having to think about it. It’s mindless. Now, that’s a good thing when it’s a habit you want to keep. But what if you’re trying to eat better?

All the focus on calories, nutrients, and morally good and bad foods is exhausting and unnecessary. It’s a big ole waste of time you don’t have. Using mindfulness as a guide you don’t have to worry about anything except eating when you feel hungry, making a balanced plate (when you want to prioritize health and nutrition), and savoring your meal as you notice getting more full.

Paying attention will help you make food choices and it’s so much easier than dieting and calorie counting.

“I Can’t Figure Out My Numbers”

Yes you can.

You get good at mindfulness by practicing mindfulness. You get good at connecting to your body by trying to connect to your body. You get good at choosing a hunger number by practicing choosing your hunger number.

You are a resourceful person. You can do great things. But you need to slow down. Sit down. And focus on eating. I know you’re busy, but you deserve that time.

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Ditch Your Diet and Make Small, Satisfying Changes Instead

On average, women will try – and quit – 9 diets in her life. And recent research shows the more diets people go on, the more weight they gain. Instead of hopping on that pointless diet roller coaster again, make little changes that are healthy and enjoyable.

Little Changes Big Taste

Blueberries are jam-packed with fiber, vitamin C, and manganese plus there are only 80 calories in 1 cup.  And you can add them to practically anything – these little blue dynamos pair perfectly with everything from oatmeal to savory dishes. Try them in this salmon and avocado flatbread for a quick and nourishing meal.

Snack Smart with Sargento

Sargento cheese snacks have 4-8 grams of protein/serving to keep you fueled and satisfied with a natural source of protein.  It’s a wholesome snacking option that doesn’t sacrifice on taste – there are 14 varieties like sharp cheddar, Colby jack, and pepper jack to help you stay fueled even when you’re on the go.

Make a Better Breakfast

When it comes to breakfast, you want a delicious and nutrition option, and it’s great if it’s also convenient since we’re always on the go, especially in the morning.  New KIND breakfast bars are soft baked with a crispy outside, and loaded with whole grains for sustained energy throughout the morning.  Each two-bar pack provides more than a full serving of whole grains and is a great source of fiber to fill you up. Try them on their own, dipped in Greek yogurt, or paired with fruit, milk, or your morning latte.

Don’t Deprive Yourself

Don’t cut out all the things you love. Studies show that the more you try to avoid something the more you want it and the greater chances you have of overeating eventually.  For my sweet cravings, I love enjoying these Heavenly Organics Chocolate Honey Patties – they are made with 4 ingredients or less and have have a dark chocolate shell made from 100% cocoa that’s filled with 100% raw organic honey blended with natural flavors like Mint, Pomegranate and Peanut.

Upgrade your Sports Drink

It’s not just food, but we need exercise to be healthy. When we work out, it’s crucial to stay well- hydrated.  If you’re an athlete or have a very active child, you might benefit from more than just plain water during activity, especially if it’s over 60 minutes. Parents will often ask me, what’s the best sports drink for my active child and I recommend BodyArmor because it has no artificial ingredients, is low in sodium, and has more potassium-packed electrolytes and vitamins that any other sports drink, and it’s made with coconut water.  Try 7 great tasting flavors like fruit punch, orange mango, and strawberry banana.

Hear it From You

Let us know! What are some of your favorite tips to “ditch the diet” and stay healthy?  Please share below or tweet to @ScritchfieldRD! I’d love to hear them!

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Disclosure: I was compensated by U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, Sargento, KIND snacks, Heavenly Organics, and Body Armor for my work on the TV segment, but was not compensated to write this blog. Recommendations and opinion are my own.