Main Dishes

Light Chicken Lettuce Wraps — PF Chang Style

It’s been a good 3 months since I’ve last posted, I had to leave the goodness in Andrea’s capable hands for a time. But I’m back, I’m alive, I’m here! Three months… hmmm…. why would I avoid food-blogging for that specific amount of time? Oui, Oui, the obvious, I’m “with child” yet again! A majority of the women that exist in the world who’ve done it I’m sure can agree on one thing: food is the enemy for a minimum of 3 months. The kitchen is the enemy. Anything with flavor or smell within a 10 mile radius is the enemy.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps, PF Chang Style, Gluten Free

The food you see above I refused to touch with a ten foot pole. Had I posted something before now it might be titled “Look How Much I Love Grazing on these Cardboard Crackers.” Unfortunately my family insists on eating every single day, THREE times a day no less, so I was forced into the kitchen to make food stuffs. I doubt it tasted any good because I wasn’t testing it along the way myself…

This was my survival method. Not a joke. Ninja style. It’s very uncomfortable and difficult to breath as a grossed-out ninja. It goes without saying there were many buttered toast and sliced fruit dinners for the fam-damly.

Then about a week ago I got interesting in doing the whole chef thing again. Finally! I’d been resurrected. Pregnancy is so weird and irritating. Any-hoo, I started off cautiously by following a few saved recipes from some of my favorite fellow food-bloggers just to make sure I still knew how to chop, fry, and mix ingredients together. First was a veggie filled white bean casserole  from my number one blog crush, An Edible Mosaic. If humans could marry blogs, I might go for this one. (This was easy to make GF, simple replacement)

The second attempt at dinner was also a success, and the idea came from a new found blog I’ve been very much enjoying called Urban Baker. These Mini Gluten Free Corn Dogs were FUN to make and a huge hit with the family–particularly with Phil. They were surprisingly easy &  satisfying. As she recommended,  I froze the left-overs and used them in Teya’s school lunch later that week. I really like smart people….. Thank you smart people, you make us all very happy. (I was also able to make this sans gluten and without eggs, using EnerG Egg replacement)

Now back to that intro pic. Comfortably back in the saddle, Phil and I worked in tandem tonight to come up with a chicken wrap that mimics one of our favorite places, PF Changs. We’ve made these several times before, but they’ve always tasted a tad too Ammrrrcn. With the use of some new ingredients true to traditional Japanese cuisine and flavors, and cutting out items they’d never use like peanut butter, this time we hit it on the money. They’re very light and healthy when made true to form. Using just one chicken breast instead of two and then throwing in a heaping pile of  sugar snap peas in place also improved upon the weight of this meal.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps, PF Chang Style, Gluten Free

You know those white crispy rice noodles called Maifun rice sticks? Don’t skip on those! Not only do they add the necessary dry crisp, they’re a total blast to fry. It’s like a magic trick in your kitchen; a surprising confusing magical trick to make the burliest of manly men giggle. I witness it. Really, they’re in the Asian section of any store (bottom shelf usually) and only a couple bucks. Invest in the fun. When you fry them, make sure the oil is blazing hot (400 degrees) or no magic happens. Test one little noodle at a time: if it sinks its not ready, if it explodes in the blink of an eye it’s ready.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps, PF Chang Style, Gluten Free

Chicken Lettuce Wraps, PF Chang Style, Gluten Free

This meal is extremely simple to prepare. It looks like a long list of ingredients, but that’s mostly sauces and spices which mix up in a jiffy. Yes, jiffy is still a cool word to use. The 90′s are making a comeback, don’t ya know. When it comes down to it this meal took no more than 30 mins from beginning to end. Bon appétit…  or in true Japanese fashion, douzo meshiagare!


Chicken Lettuce Wraps, PF Chang Style, Gluten Free

Chicken Lettuce Wraps, PF Chang Style, Gluten Free

Light Chicken Lettuce Wraps — PF Chang Style
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Japanese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • For the Stir-Fry:
  • 3 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce*
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons mirin**
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • about 3 tablespoons coconut oil- used in separate intervals
  • 1 chicken breast
  • one 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and minced
  • sugar snap peas
  • 1 cup mushrooms, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste (or freshly grated, ½tsp if using powder)
  • 3 tablespoons green onion, chopped
  • ½ bag of maifun rice sticks, fried**
  • large leaf lettuce for the cups, either iceberg, butter, etc.
  • For the Dipping Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons agave (regular sugar can be used)
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons Braggs Liquid Amino or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons green onions, chopped
  • a smidgen of spicy mustard
  • a small splash of mirin sauce
  • 1 – 3 teaspoons siracha chili sauce, depending on your level of heat pref.
  1. Begin with the chicken breast. In your saute pan/wok, fry it up on med-high in a couple tablespoons of coconut oil, 4 to 5 minutes each side until it’s nearly finished. When it’s done, set on a plate to rest and cool as you work on frying the veggies.
  2. While the chicken is cooling, prep the stir-fry sauce by whisking all the ingredients together in a bowl (this doesn’t include the coconut oil).
  3. Dice the water chestnuts, snap peas, and mushrooms. When the chicken is cool enough to touch, dice it as well (very small bits). Now add another tablespoon of coconut oil to the saute pan/wok over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken, water chestnuts, peas, mushrooms, and garlic to the pan. Cook the mixture for 2 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add the stir-fry sauce to the pan and saute for a couple more minutes, then stir in the green onions at the very end before removing from the heat.
  5. Fry the maifun sticks according to instructions on bag — usually in just a couple inches of oil (we use coconut here) on super high, 400 degrees, for a few seconds. Flip once so the other side of the noodles can explode. Let cool on a paper-towel or rag. TIP- the sticks are crazy stiff before fried, use kitchen scissors to cut them in half before frying. You’ll only need to use half the bag, save the other half for next time.
  6. Whisk together the ingredients for the dipping sauce in a serving bowl.
  7. Serve the chicken with a side of lettuce cups and the sauce drizzled on top with loads of crunchy maifun sticks.
  8. *If you’re unfamiliar with Braggs Liquid Aminos, it’s a gluten free soy sauce replacement, tastes practically the same.
  9. **Mirin is also easy to find in the Asian isle and only a couple $ per bottle. It’s sweet, and slightly alcoholic, so use lightly in dishes, but it’s quite necessary when going for a balanced authentic Japanese flavor. It’s also always used in teriyaki sauce, so there’s another good use for it once you’ve bought it.


Posted on by Tawny in Dairy Free, Gluten-Free Meals, Main Dishes, Travel Inspired We truly love to hear from you, Please Leave Us a Comment.

Fois Gras My Burger Please!

What is Fois Gras? Well, how can I best describe it… it is a smooth, rich, buttery indulgent delicacy that everyone must try in their life time-and that is about all you need to know.  A thin dollop will turn a dish from good to mind blowing in an instant. It isn’t a pretty thing, and it actually comes in a simple can, but don’t let that fool you, and don’t worry, the price will remind you of its novelty.

I will never forget the first time I tried it. I looked at it and thought, hmmm, no thanks, but gave it a try anyways and basically fell off my chair. All you need is a tiny spread and it will turn anything from good to ‘oh my gosh, what in the world is this’ incredible.

The Mr. Fois Gras Burger…

fois gras best hamburger ever, France, Bordeaux

The Mrs. Fois Gras Burger…

Fois Gras Hamburger, France, bordeaux burgers

So the reason I bring up Fois Gras is because Shem and I have been slightly obsessing over finding a good burger these days. I guess being away from home can bring out certain cravings, and for my husband, this one was just not budging. Basically we gave ourselves the project of discovering a ‘Great Hamburger’ in Bordeaux. Hamburger joints are starting to pop up as of recently and so we were curious of the French’s interpretation of an American Burger. Let’s just say… the fries are always good…. Click here to Read More

Posted on by Andrea in Living in France, Main Dishes, Meats, Sandwiches, Travel Inspired We truly love to hear from you, Please Leave Us a Comment.

The Secret to Perfect Sushi

I’ve been on a bit of a French kick lately, and rightly so. We need to indulge and vicariously live through our food while Andrea is living there. However, after the big Thanksgiving bash shared with my side of the family, all foods consumed were heavy American classics, I’ve been feeling like a light cleanse is in order while my body prepares for the next barrage of feats…. to happen during Christmas vacation with the man’s side of the family.

In preparation for the next calorie dense party week, two things can be found on my menu: alternate between warm veggie laden soups and Eastern meals with fish as the star. Namely, Sushi!  It’s neither difficult or scary to make yourself at home. In truth there’s only one trick…. Click here to Read More

Posted on by Tawny in Back to Basics, Gluten-Free Meals, Main Dishes, Seafood We truly love to hear from you, Please Leave Us a Comment.

The Great Croque Madame et Monsieur

I’d start by telling you a cool story about my life here in Salem, but I haven’t gathered any. I guess Thanksgiving was last week, that happened… with family in Utah. Hm, I’ll let Andrea to the story telling for the next little bit as she’s got the goods right now. So on to to this weeks drool fest:

Mr. Crunchy. That’s what it is, a “Croque Monsieur” literally means Mr. Crunchy… and although the name must extend from the bread used, the sandwich has enough sauce and cheese and goo to make any melted sandwich look weak in comparison.  The only difference between the Monsieur and the Madame is the soft fried egg on top — all these years, in my own mind, I distinguished the two by viewing the egg as a ladies hat (the massive rimmed sort worn to the Kentucky derby.) Come to find out, the resemblance of a large hat is exactly why it was dubbed the lady-wich.

Croque Madame Monsieur traditional french sandwich authentic recipe` Click here to Read More

Posted on by Tawny in Main Dishes, Sandwiches We truly love to hear from you, Please Leave Us a Comment.

OFF to Frrrrrance! Pear Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad

Well, we are at the airport getting ready to board! Our new life is about to begin! Tama is so excited he could hardly sleep last night and waking up this morning it was the first thing on his mind! He has been such a sport and he the best traveler I could possible wish for! I guess we have talked up going to France, and going to school, and how there is soccer there and trains and really good ice cream and what not for the past 5 months that he is beyond excited! Hopefully it meets his expectations because I can hardly imagine what he has pictured in his little head :).  He does know that his birthday is there and Halloween will happen too so I guess that along with some ice cream is enough to please a kid!

Anyway, we can hardly believe that everything has finally worked out! Nothing…. and I mean pretty much nothing has worked out how we imagined but it has all worked out and probably in the end better than we could have planned. What lays ahead is a mystery but we have traded in our shorts, and t’s for boots and jackets so we are at least that prepared, ha! Click here to Read More

Posted on by Andrea in Gluten-Free Meals, Main Dishes, Salads, Uncategorized, Vegetables We truly love to hear from you, Please Leave Us a Comment.

Tomato Basil Feta Salad

Well, we are now in Utah, spending a week here with my family for my little brothers wedding!  We are way up in the mountains and there is hardly anyone up here and it feels amazing! Such a contrast from being in San Francisco for the past couple of days- which was constantly crazy.

Long story short, I went to San Francisco, by myself, for mine and Tamas French Visa three days ago and ended up getting stuck there for two days! I was suppose to fly in and out on the same day (back to Canada where Tama and Shem are) but when I went to the airport they would not let me board without my passport (the French Consulate takes your passport and then mails it back with the visa stamped in). So I get to the airport and they said there is no way I can fly home, even though I had all sort of other ID. Being a little pregnant emotional girl, I started crying and everything…and they still wouldn’t let me! Uhgg, so gut wrenching and stressful! Click here to Read More

Posted on by Andrea in Gluten-Free Meals, Main Dishes, Salads, Sides, Snacks and Healthy Treats, Uncategorized, Vegetables We truly love to hear from you, Please Leave Us a Comment.

sweet pork tacos with slaw and avocado

Okay, all I am going to say is that these are the easiest most delicious crock pot taco’s on the market! They are awesome. I have shared this recipe with all my friends and its one that gets used time and time again! I found it on the net a few years back and I thank the dear person who posted it… If only I could remember where that was!

This can feed a crowd for pennies, makes great left overs and is an all around winner on flavor, budget and time! I am in a whirl wind of things going on so throwing this meal together by plopping the ingredients in in the morn., and let the crock pot do its thing, made for a special, yet extremely easy dinner that night!

I can’t believe I am moving off this rock-permanently-ahhhh- in a couple of days!! I’m off to Canada for a couple weeks for a family visit before we are off to our new life in France! Life is full right now of a million little things that come along with any kind of move, and pregnancy and all that life has to offer!  I wonder if life will ever slow down. Does it? I have a feeling it wont for the next 20 years… Click here to Read More

Posted on by Andrea in Gluten-Free Meals, Main Dishes, Meats We truly love to hear from you, Please Leave Us a Comment.

Summer Vegetable Gratin

We’ve been away celebrating the 4th of July with the whole family. For unknown reasons, this is the first time in many many years I’ve enjoyed this holiday and felt a bit patriotic. Usually the 4th comes and goes without much fan-fair or break from the usual schedule for me. The last time I sat outside to watch fireworks in the sky was 4 years ago, and I was alone in a park on the mountain side contemplating the meaning of life when the fireworks just started going off. “Oh ya, it must be the 4th of July then…”  Those were my exact thoughts.

Uncle Cody hooking the fish, aka prizes, and Teya patiently waiting for one to bite.

But this year was different. First of all we’re spending the summer with family, and with the outrageous heat this country has been experiencing we decided it was necessary to spend the entire day playing in the water.  We set up all sorts of water games for the kids, they got to “Go Fishing” for a prize after each game, the family played old school backyard games together like “Mother May I?”, then we had a monumental feast of classic American cuisine and BBQ, sat around the firepit all night, did the firework thing, had a psychedelic moment with approximately 1 thousand glow sticks, and then finally camped out in the backyard.

Confession… the kids camped out and most of us adults just ended up migrating to our warm comfortable beds inside. We’ve gone soft! Follow all of that with a big breakfast shindig, more nights of games like “Ticket to Ride” and endless leftovers and it was the funnest and busiest 4th I’ve had… ever.

I dunno, not so much more American, but certainly more French!

I think part of it was to prove to Phil that I’m not fully nomadic in nature, that I do have some sense of connection to my roots. I had to show this Canadian husband what it means to be “Amrrrrcan!” And in full support, he attempted to embrace the Amrrrrrcan spirit by shaving his beard down to a mustache (he’s spent two years in Texas, at the heart of it all, and assumed a good ‘ol cowboy mustache would legitimize him.) Click here to Read More

Posted on by Tawny in Gluten-Free Meals, Main Dishes, Travel Inspired, Vegetables We truly love to hear from you, Please Leave Us a Comment.

Chicken Bryan Inspired: Goat Cheese, Basil, Sun Dried Tomatoes, and White Wine Sauce

“Hey Hun, What’s for dinner?”

“Oh, I dunno, some kind of chicken I guess…”

“Mmmm, sounds great.”

Is this exchange familiar to anyone else out there?! Chicken being the go-to dinner solution leaves us with another problem: how to change it up and keep it flavorful. However, chicken dinner can’t be complicated, because chanced are you’re like me and you prepare dinner most of the time with a crying toddler trying to push you away from the counter and a 5 year old incessantly asking you a million questions about anything that pops into her quickly moving mind.

“Mom, did Jesus make Santa Clause? Does Santa have kids, are the elves his kids? Mom, why do bee stings hurt so bad? Mom, can I have some date squares first? Mom! Mom! MOM!….. why do you look frustrated?”  This was the exact dialogue endured while I made this last meal. I could only think of an answer to the last question.

Chicken Bryan from Carrabba's basil lemon sun dried tomato white wine butter sauce easy chicken dinner recipe

One of my favorite restaurants is Carrabba’s Italian Grill, and one of the best dishes there is the Chicken Bryan. Click here to Read More

Posted on by Tawny in Dairy Free, Gluten-Free Meals, Main Dishes, Poultry We truly love to hear from you, Please Leave Us a Comment.

Salmon with Browned Butter Lemon Sauce, gluten dairy free

My sister Jessica called yesterday and announced her pool was open and she went swimming with her son. Well, it’s official! The chilly weather is gone and Summer is tapping us on our shoulders. Jessica’s been faithfully going to the gym every morning for a year lifting weights and kickboxing, so slipping into her swimsuit probably wasn’t a scary moment. She’s got a smokin’ bod! Even though it’s basically swimsuit season year-round in Hawaii, there’s still motivation to slim up when the blazing hot sun arrives and you just have to go the beach every day for survival. I know it’s rough.  Air conditioning is a rare find on the North Shore; that’s saved for the beach-side million dollar homes (in case you haven’t deduced, we don’t live in those homes.)

Unlike my sister, I haven’t even seen a gym in many moons and my corps is crying out for some extra T.L.C. Inspired by Andrea’s mouth watering lemon-pepper salmon post, I banned heavy meats and potatoes from our family menu for a while and replaced them with fish and rice. Unfortunately, my husband is not a lover of fish and as much as he’s tried he can’t fall in love with salmon. But I LOVE salmon. So when I want to cook up this fish I need to give it a boost… mask it’s fishy qualities, so to say.

Click here to Read More

Posted on by Tawny in Dairy Free, Gluten-Free Meals, Main Dishes, Seafood We truly love to hear from you, Please Leave Us a Comment.