Monday, December 31, 2012

Temporary Farewell from Hint of Thyme

Greetings Readers!

This is not goodbye, but merely a "see you later".  I have not been able to dedicate the necessary time to Hint of Thyme and, therefore, have decided to take a break.  During this time away I am continuing to work on separate writing projects and hope to share these with you in the near future.  My hope is to return with a fresh outlook and many more tasty recipes.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

Best Regards,

Mara D (...and Jon)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Budget Friendly, Gluten Free Lentil Soup with Rice

If you're in a relationship and anything like me... then you probably find it incredibly hard to cook a meal just for yourself.  Right?  

My husband was not present for dinner tonight.  I was alone in the kitchen with the blessing of a full refrigerator and no idea what to cook.  Then I decided it was the perfect time to test drive a new recipe using gluten free soup.

Progresso offers a gluten free Lentil soup and it's found in the regular soup aisle at the grocery store.  Thank goodness for inexpensive, wheat free soup options.  I've had a difficult time finding any regular soup without wheat flour.

Tonight, I decided to cook some rice and see where the creativity took me.

Lentil Soup with Rice
- 19 oz. can of Progresso Lentil Soup
- 1 cup of jasmine rice
- 1/2 medium sweet onion, minced or finely chopped
- 1/2 green pepper, minced or finely chopped
- 1 TBSP of Penzey's Pasta Sprinkle or Basil & Thyme
- Optional:  3-6 shakes of crushed red pepper or a few pinches of chili powder
- Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the soup in a microwaveable bowl with the veggies and seasoning.  Bring rice to a boil in a sauce pan over high heat, reduce the heat to low and stir occasionally until tender.  Pour the soup over a portion of rice.  Serve and enjoy.

Personalize this recipe with your favorite vegetables:  tomato, mushroom, jalapeno, fresh basil and more.  The choice is yours!  There is no limit.

It's the simplest recipe with a ton of perks.  

► 1 can of Progresso Lentil Soup = 160 calories per 1 cup

► Divide the can of Lentil Soup into thirds - 1 for dinner that night, 1 for your lunch the next day and 1 for your significant others lunch.

► Depending on your part of the country, 1 can of soup costs approximately $1.50 to $2.  1 cup of rice will cost you about $0.50.  Add a few veggies and the meal is still under $5.

► Lentils are packed with nutrients that your body will appreciate.  According to Wikipedia, lentils are a legume with high protein, fiber, vitamin B and iron.

Time Saver Alert!!  The best perk is that I was able to make 3 meals or portions in under 10 minutes.

Copyright 2012 Hint of Thyme.  All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Challenge of Gluten Free Pizza Crust

There are certain times that you actually want to follow a recipe - especially if it involves any kind of baking.  I have not made any homemade pizza since I went gluten free in January.  This month, I decided that it was time to venture into the complicated world of gluten free flour.

My Mom is also eating wheat-free and has already taught herself to make GF sandwich bread.  She mentioned that the ingredient "xanthum gum" was important to hold the dough together.  In my typical nature... I ignored Mom's baking lesson and thought that I could somehow make it work without the all-important binding ingredient.  According to, xanthum gum is a corn-based fermented product that is used to thicken and emulsify the dough.

The search began for gluten free pizza crusts that could be made without xanthum.  I came across the Ginger Lemon Girl website and found a Gluten Free and Vegan Pizza Crust that did not include xanthum.  My worries were over.  Wrong.

I didn't really follow the recipe and used it more as a guideline.  Eagerly I began pouring ingredients into the bowl.  Buckwheat Flour... Yeast... Egg (yep, not Vegan)... Rice Flour... Water... Oil... Salt.  As instructed in the recipe, I covered the bowl with a towel to let the dough rise.

Much to my surprise... I returned 45 minutes later to find FLAT dough.  Hmm, perhaps it will stretch across the pizza pan any way.  Wrong again.  The dough mostly stuck to my fingers.  Something needed to be done to save our dinner!

Honestly, I can't remember what I did to make the dough less tacky.  Not that it matters, because no one should ever follow my poor attempt at creating a pizza crust.  Somehow I was able to get the dough to spread across the pan.  I baked it at 425 for 10 minutes and then added our sauce and toppings.  Then I baked it for another 10 minutes.

It shouldn't be a surprise that the crust tasted like FLOUR.  Regardless, I was happy to save the $20 by not ordering a gluten free pizza from Domino's (which isn't guaranteed to be 100% gluten free).  After having a reaction to one of their pizza's... I knew it was time to start making my own.  If you would like more information about the GF crust at Domino's, see the links below for your reference.

Sharing is Caring:

Copyright 2012 Hint of Thyme. All rights reserved.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Gluten Free Treats in Eastern Wisconsin

Greetings fellow foodies!

I have officially been eating gluten free for 9 months and doing great.  People often ask me if I miss eating things like cake, regular pizza or bread.  To be honest, I can't say that a miss it.  The gluten free market has become popular in recent years.  The options for those of us with Celiac or Wheat Intolerance is quite outstanding.  Besides, I never enjoyed cake any way - no harm there!

This post is dedicated toward my readers in the east part of Wisconsin.  Although there are some good tips for readers outside of the state.

My husband has become very proactive in searching grocery stores for gluten free options.  We often shop at Festival Foods.  They have a fantastic selection in their gluten free aisle; and quite frankly, I prefer it over Woodman's.  If you are interested in exploring their deli foods, the company has several resources on their website.  Learn more about their gluten free options at Festival.

Here are more resources:

Gluten Intolerance of North America - includes articles, medical referrals, recipes, restaurants and more.

Wisconsin Support Groups - listed below the resources on Festival Food's website.

A few months ago, Jon and I were looking for wheat-free flours to store in our kitchen pantry.  During a trip to a local bulk food store, we discovered an outstanding and reasonably priced supply of teas and chai mix.  Yum!  I was quick to grab a couple containers.

Chai Tea Tip:  I had some left over Chai mix, but it wasn't enough for a full mug.  If you run into the same problem, try sprinkling the chai over yams or sweet potatoes and bake for 25 minutes.  It really brings out the sweetness of the yams without overpowering.

Every year on Jon's birthday I will create a special dinner or desert.  This year Jon asked for chocolate chip cookies.  To be more specific, he actually asked for gluten free cookies so that I could eat them too.  How sweet is that?

I found these gluten free vegan cookies at the Health Hut in Milwaukee.  This store is a bit off the typical path for me, but they did have an excellent selection of gluten free items.  If you live in the Milwaukee area, I'd recommend checking it out.  They sell all natural products and food items that appeal to almost any diet.  I was happy to find these cookies!

Vegan Cookie Note:  The cookie directions specify to add water and oil instead of an egg.  If you are not vegan and prefer to add an egg then swap out the oil.  I could be wrong though... baking is not one of my finer skills.

Have a great weekend!

Copyright 2012 Hint of Thyme.  All rights reserved.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Benefits of Tea

I am ready shamelessly admit my new found love for ... tea!  The older I get, the more I like to branch out and try new things.  There are so many benefits to being a tea drinker.

One of the best benefits of drinking green tea is the incredible antioxidant effect.  It's great for flushing out all the toxins in your body and keeps you feeling healthy and happy.

For the naturalists out there, there are other benefits for drinking tea.  I wondered if tea was ever used to relieve pain.  Searching through blogs, I found this post about ginger and green tea on Everyday Simplicity.  Suffering from chronic pain leaves me turning to a cup of tea for relief and happiness.

I write this as I sip on a hot cup of Lemon Frost tea. Yum!

 Our good friend, Danielle, purchased a tea care package for my birthday.  She included 2 bags of loose tea, rock sugar, and a fancy teacup from Teavana.  The flavors of the loose tea were much more powerful and aromatic than bagged tea from a grocery store (although I do still love it).  When I am feeling down, a hot cup of green tea is the most perfect mood booster.

Tea provides numerous health benefits.  Whether you are looking to lose weight, lower cholesterol or clear up skin... this article will provide you with the knowledge to select the right tea for you.  Learn more about Types of Tea with Teavana.

Teavana's website provides helpful information, but also has great gift ideas for the upcoming holidays.  Get ready, early birds!  The season of greetings and eatings is almost upon us.  

Take care, readers.  Happy and healthy wishes to you all.

Copyright 2012 Hint of Thyme.  All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

I Can Eat Pasta Too - Shrimp & Wine

There are a few things that I try to keep in stock.  If the grocery store has a good deal, I am guaranteed to fill my chest freezer with shrimp, chicken, ground meat and fish.  It definitely saves me another trip to the grocery store.

What else saves me a trip to the store?  Having a garden in my back yard with an endless supply of free produce.  What can I say... I was feeling "lazy" on this particular day.

This dish is a proven time saver!  I hope that you enjoy it as much as we did.

Wine Garlic Shrimp Pasta (Gluten-Free)

Prep time = 15 minutes
Cook time = 10 minutes

- 1 package of thawed pre-cooked shrimp (it was cheaper to buy the shrimp with tails and quick to remove)
- 1 small sweet onion, chopped
- 1 medium green pepper, chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 clove of minced garlic (or 1/2 TBSP of the jar stuff)
- 7 to 8 basil leaves, cut into ribbons (roll the basil into a tube and cut all the way down to resemble ribbons)
- 2 TBSP of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup of white wine (the alcohol will cook out)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 package of gluten-free pasta (or regular if you prefer the wheat)
- 1/2 cups of shredded Italian cheeses (Wal-Mart has a combo of Part-skim Mozzarella, Provolone, Parmesan, Romano, Fontina and Asiago)

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, onions, a little salt and pepper.  When the onions begin to soften, add the peppers and garlic. Continue cooking 2 or 3 minutes and add the cooked shrimp (add this step before the peppers if the shrimp is uncooked).  Let the contents cook together a couple minutes, then add tomatoes, basil and wine.  Let the mixture reduce and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes before adding the pasta.  Add salt and pepper, taste and adjust accordingly.  Simmer 1 to 2 minutes.  Add cheese, cover and take off the heat.  Serve and enjoy once the cheese has melted.

Side note:  This dish would also be great over rice.

Random Fact About the Writer:  I add crushed red pepper or hot sauce to just about anything.  Dishes like this one are perfect with a little extra heat in the background.  Add it directly to the dish at the beginning or to your personal serving at the end.  My husband does not like spicy food, so most of my recipes are lacking heat for that reason.

Copyright 2012 Hint of Thyme.  All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

End Your Summer with Fresh Garden Salsa

My most favorite garden vegetable is the typical tomato.  Jon and I had a recent surplus in our garden tomatoes.  With 4 tomato plants in our raised garden, I am guaranteed not to run short on the veggie.  I have yet to learn how to can the tomatoes and would love for you to share your recipes with us.

I preserved the tomatoes by blending them into tasty goodness with my food processor.  Yes, there is nothing like fresh garden salsa.  Even if you are not prepared for a day of salsa making... there are still ways that you can manipulate the recipe.

Last week, I realized that it was time to make salsa but lacked a major ingredient.  Cilantro!  I was also low on lemon juice and typically prefer to use lime juice.  Well... the show must go on, right?

Below are 2 recipes for fresh salsa.  If you do not have a garden of your own, visit a local farmers market and ask the farmer when the tomatoes were picked.  The fresher, the better!

Here is a list of farmers markets in Wisconsin - for my local readers.

Highly recommended - Gluten free tortilla chips by Donkey 

Mara's Fresh Garden Salsa

Serving Size = 12 oz. jar
Prep time = 20 minutes

- 10 to 12 small or medium sized tomatoes (mine are from the Early Girl Tomato plant, most were a little bigger than a golf ball)
- 1/4 cup of sweet onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/4 cup green pepper
- 2 TBSP of lemon or lime juice (fresh is better, but it whatever you have on hand is fine)
- 1/4 TBSP of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 TBSP fresh cilantro (add an extra if you have dried cilantro)
- 1/2 TBSP of smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
Optional:  2 jalapenos (remove seeds for less spicy, keep the seeds for more heat)

I recommend using a food processor to get the best consistency for the salsa.  Depending on the size of your processor, chop each vegetable into the best size for blending.  If you do not have a food processor... I am sorry to hear that.  Put it on your Christmas list!  But in all seriousness... dice all vegetables to smallest size possible.

My instructions for salsa making are simple.  Chop veggies, add the juices/oil, season with salt and pepper, blend or pulse in the processor (or combine thoroughly in a bowl), and serve.  Don't forget to taste as you blend... add more seasoning if needed.  Easy enough, right?

Rojo Black Bean Salsa

Prep time = 15 to 20 minutes
Serving size = 20 or 22 ounces

Same recipe as above.  Add a 12 oz. can of drained and rinsed black beans.  I recommend not using a food processor and leaving it in a "pico de gallo" style.  Do not add green pepper to this recipe.


If you are looking for a fruit salsa, check out my recipe for Mango Salsa that was served with chicken and rice.

If you have any questions about these recipes, please feel free to contact me.  The email address is listed on the right navigation.

Happy salsa making!  I hope you all had a fantastic summer.

Copyright 2012 Hint of Thyme.  All Rights Reserved.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Omelettes... in a Bag?

Last weekend my friend, Danielle, and I went to visit my parents in Milwaukee.  My Mom is the typical kitchenista that comes up with new, exciting dishes every day.  She suggested a fun breakfast option that is gluten free and delicious.

Omelette's in a bag!!

I will admit that the idea of cooking an omelette in a plastic bag was almost unsettling.  What would it taste like?  What would it look like?  Would it even be fully cooked?

Mom assured me that 12 minutes in boiling water would make the perfect omelette.  Of course I trust Mom to deliver a well executed breakfast dish.

She called us into the kitchen where the main components were spread across the counter in an organized fashion.  It included a pot of boiling water, plastic zip bags, diced veggies, cheese and eggs.  Danielle exclaimed, "It's like a science experiment!"

We loaded the bags with the pre-assembled goodies.  I filled my omelette bag with green peppers, onions, tomatoes, and cheese.  All were instructed to mix the omelette by slowly squeezing the bag on all sides.

This breakfast dish is simple and quick.  It would be great for children and teaching how to be involved with cooking in the kitchen.  Pair with fresh fruit or toast.  See the instructions below.

Omelette's in a Bag

Prep time = 10 to 15 minutes
Cook time = 12 minutes

Bring water to a boil in large pot.  Account enough room to add multiple bags to the water.  Dice your favorite omelette veggies and set aside.  Once the water comes to a boil, begin assembling the bags.  Crack 2 eggs into the bag.  Add salt and pepper to your liking.  Begin adding other ingredients to the bag.  Squeeze the bag to distribute ingredients evenly.  Then squeeze the air out of each bag before sealing it completely.  You will need plastic bags that zips - do NOT use a twist tie to seal it.  Add the bags to the boiling water and set the timer for 12 minutes.  I would recommend labeling each bag with a permanent marker to ensure that everyone receives the appropriate omelette.  Remove from the water after 12 minutes and serve!

Copyright 2012 Hint of Thyme.  All rights reserved.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Celebrating 2 Years on Hint of Thyme

Picture taken at Solea Mexican Restaurant - June 2012

Greeting readers! 

This month we are celebrating 2 years on Hint of Thyme.  I have learned so much about blogging and new cooking techniques in a short amount of time.  When I started Hint of Thyme in 2010, I really only planned to share it with friends and family.  It still amazes me that I have readers as far away as Australia and Hong Kong. 

It has been an awesome journey that I will gladly continue.  I had much to learn after moving away from my home town in Milwaukee and getting acquainted with my new home kitchen.  Jon has thoroughly enjoyed his position as the "unofficial taste tester" for Hint of Thyme.  It has been a joy for us to bring you restaurant and brewery reviews.

Let's look back at the first ever blog post.  This post is from my former life as a wheat eater.  Tomato and Basil Pizza Pasta was once my most favorite meal to make on a Friday night.  I recommend this dish to any young ladies that might be trying to impress a date or if you are looking for something more flavorful than "Hamburger Helper".  This dish can also be made with Gluten-Free pasta and sauce.

Here are a few popular posts and favorites on Hint of Thyme.
  • A Man Needs Meat and Potatoes:  I certainly did not expect this post to gain this level of popularity.  It has become a "pot-luck" favorite and often requested at gatherings.  It's amazing what you can create without a plan or recipe book.

  • Gardening and Cooking - It's a Learning Process:  This post about a bad gardening experience received the most views EVER in only 1 week.  If you're looking for a good laugh at my total girly behavior and amateur gardening experience... this post is for you!

I hope that you will continue to visit and cook with me.  In the next coming months, I am hoping to dedicate more time to posting new Gluten-Free recipes and reviews.

Cheers to finding little moments of happiness through food, faith and friendship!

Thank you for making my first 2 years memorable.  Stay tuned for more recipes to follow.

Copyright 2012 Hint of Thyme.  All Rights Reserved.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sweet Summer Salad with Blackberries & Raspberries

One of my favorite things about summer is the fresh fruit and veggies.  I love making fruit salads to pair with a grilled entree.  Here is a fruit salad recipe that you must try.

Summer Berry Fruit Salad
- 1 package of raspberries
- 1 package of blackberries
- 1 package of strawberries, sliced
- 1/2 TBSP cider vinegar
- 1/2 TBSP honey
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Salt and pepper, lightly flavored

Rinse and drain all the berries.  Slice the strawberries.  Combine all into a medium size bowl.  Drizzle with cider vinegar.  Season with the spices.  Gently fold all ingredients together.  Some of the raspberries will fall apart and add extra juice to the salad.  Serve and enjoy.

There are other ways to enjoy fruit that doesn't involve co-mingling other fruits.  I'm a big fan of smashing food groups together in a salad.  Lettuce, tomato and cucumber are too predictable.  Sometimes you have to liven it up a bit with peppered bacon, sun-dried tomatoes, or edamame.

Last week, I wanted to do something with our raspberries and blackberries.  Since I am not a baker... the only logical solution was to throw it on a regular salad.

Give this salad a try, you might be surprised...

Summer Salad with Blue Cheese
- 1/2 cup raspberries
- 1/2 blackberries
- Chopped lettuce of your choosing
- 1 stick of smoked string cheese
- Blue cheese dressing
- Salt and pepper

Drain the fruits and veggies.  Cut the string cheese into bite size pieces.  Combine and enjoy.

You can incorporate your own favorite ingredients.  This salad would also be great with sliced almonds or walnuts to add some crunch.

After eating the salad, I noticed that the blue cheese dressing had a "wheat" warning under the nutritional information.  Although "traces of wheat" won't harm me, I probably won't be using this dressing again.  If you are looking for a dressing that isn't store bought, try my Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe (found at the bottom of the post - written before my gluten free days).  It will pair very nicely with the berries and smoked cheese.

Hope you all are having a great summer!  Take care, readers.

Copyright 2012 Hint of Thyme.  All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

You Ate What?! - Fried Ricotta Squash Blossoms

Finally!  The wait is over.  I have eaten a squash blossom... and it was... well... ordinary.

Perhaps it was the breading or the seasoning that made my taste buds flop.  I am a bit disappointed by my overall experience in making the fried squash blossoms.  Allow me to explain the lack of enthusiasm for this particular food experiment.

I began this process by searching recipes for techniques in cooking squash blossoms.  I've seen the flower used in recipes on Food Network and figured it would be a delightful dish to try.  My new garden provided the blossoms and my mind built up the anticipation.

If you've ever touched or seen a Squash plant, then you know that it has a pokey protective layer on the stems and blossoms.  I was concerned that it wouldn't be edible if I didn't try to remove some of the hair-like stubs from the outside of the blossom.  As I comically attempted to "shave" the flower with my sharp knife, 3 perished in the process.  I realized that my efforts might be wasted and gave up on the ridiculous idea of plant shaving.

When it came to cleaning the blossoms and removing the center, it was quite tedious.  The flowers are extremely delicate and tore very easily.  I was close to quitting the whole process, but Jon convinced me that no one would care if the blossoms didn't "look pretty".

After stuffing the Squash Blossoms with Ricotta Cheese.

I proceeded to clean, cut, and bread the blossoms.  The first step consisted of stuffing them with ricotta cheese.  The second step was an egg wash.  And the last step was breading the blossoms in a blend of gluten-free corn meal, salt and pepper.  We heated up the deep fryer to 375 degrees and carefully slid them into the bubbling pool.

Breaded with corn meal and ready to fry.

The blossoms emerged golden brown and beautiful.  I was nervously excited to try this unusual meal.  We said our pre-dinner prayer and eagerly dove into the dish.

Squash blossom after the fryer.

I'm not sure if I was expecting an explosion of floral taste or just a hint of floral.  There was none of that.  In fact, the blossom simply provided nothing more than a gluten-free skin to the melty ricotta cheese.

With that said, I am going to try this again!  Are you ready for round 2 of the squash blossom experiment?  This time I will incorporate more herbs, spices, and veggies.  If all else fails, we will have a large supply of acorn squash to contend with.

I apologize if you were expecting a recipe in this post.  As a fellow foodie, I am morally obligated not to pass along sub-par recipes.  It's the truth.  If you have any ideas, please feel free to send us your squash blossom recipe to try at  All credit goes to you.

If you missed my random post about harvesting the blossoms, read it here - Gardening and Cooking - It's a Learning Process.

Have a great week, readers!  Thanks for stopping by Hint of Thyme.

Copyright 2012 Hint of Thyme.  All rights reserved.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Gardening and Cooking - It's a Learning Process

This morning, I ventured out to water my garden.  I was delighted to see new blossoms that had appeared overnight.  Amazing.  It was the perfect opportunity to harvest at least 10 blossoms for a trial run.

As I was picking, I was careful not to disturb the blossoms in which bees were pollinating.  I checked each blossom as I cut and harvested.  Upon bringing them inside, I took pictures and bagged.  While bagging the blossoms, a giant honey bee started flying around inside the bag.  Where the heck did it come from??

Lesson learned:  Wash and bag the blossoms outside.

There were 2 more little black and yellow squash bugs that crawled out while in the bag.  I graciously set one free... the other was not so lucky.

Jon and I were talking about future plans for our raised garden and things we would change to improve the process.  Since it's our first year gardening, there is much to learn!  If you missed the garden post, read it here - Glimpses into the Garden.

Next year, we will purchase some wooden barrels to place next to the garden.  In the barrels we plant the ever-growing squash and at least 2 tomato plants.  I have definitely over extended myself with 4 tomato plants this year.

In fact, if you have any good tomato canning tips or recipes... please feel free to send them to me.  Who knows, it could end up on Hint of Thyme.  Email contact:

Thanks so much for reading!  I look forward to sharing more about my squash blossom experience.

Take care readers.

Copyright 2012 Hint of Thyme.  All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Glimpses into the Garden

During the month of March and April, we had a very unexpected early spring in the state of Wisconsin.  It's typical to get snow until the end of April or even into May.  But, not this year.

This year, Jon and I decided to build a raised garden.  As mentioned in several posts, I have a back condition that causes me to be in chronic pain.  My husband was sweet to think of building me a raised garden; which means... NO bending!  I am able to garden with the rest of them and love it.

Putting this raised garden together posed a few challenges, but it was definitely worth the effort.  We picked out the vegetable plants and seeds; green beans, green pepper, red pepper, jalapeno, Thai basil, squash, 5 tomato plants, lettuce, and peas.  It's pretty ambitious for 2 people that haven't gardened before.

Raised garden after planting in May
The plants have done very well; especially with unusual heat waves in our part of the country.  I am already creating fun and easy recipes for the vegetables that are harvested.

Over the last 2 weeks, our squash plants have flourished in this hot weather climate.  It has gone from slightly hanging over the edge to weaving it's vines into the grass below.  I probably could have researched what to expect when planting squash, but it has been fun to watch.  Check it out...

Squash plant - 6 weeks after planting
Jon and I are out in the garden every day to water it and check the progress of our plants.  It has been so much fun and can be surprisingly relaxing.

Since we have an abundance of squash buds beginning to grow, I've been looking for tips on how to cook Squash blossoms (otherwise we will end up with 74 squash to eat).  If you're looking for unique recipes to try... keep an eye on Hint of Thyme.  I will be posting the experience of eating and a recipe for Squash Blossoms.  And yes, it involves stuffing them with some sort of cheese.  Mmm!

Have a very Happy 4th of July.

Copyright 2012 Hint of Thyme.  All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Gluten-Free Roasted Pepper Tuna Melt

I have been eating wheat free for 6 months now and feeling great.  There is still a lot to learn.  We recently received a bread maker and plan to take it for a spin soon.

If you eat gluten free, then you can understand the pain that comes with the price.  At almost $6.00 for a loaf of bread I definitely avoid eating it every day.  I've been exploring options that do not include bread, gluten-free pasta or rice.

One night I was looking for a simple dinner solution and came up with stuffing tuna salad into green pepper boats.  If you aren't a fan of canned tuna or tuna in general, I understand.  Try canned chicken or salmon instead.  The green pepper was an excellent substitute for bread and also caters to any low-carb dieters out there.

Prep time:  5 - 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 - 20 minutes

Tuna Salad Mix
- 2 cans of tuna in water
- 1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
- 1/2 TBSP fresh or dried cilantro
- 1/2 TBSP fresh or dried dill
- 2 TBSP of mayo (substitute with cream cheese if you prefer it)
- 1 tsp of garlic powder
- 1/2 TBSP of yellow or Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper

Other Items Needed:
- 2 green peppers, halved
- 1 or 2 cups of mozzarella cheese
- Optional: Hot sauce

Combine in a bowl and set aside.  Cut green peppers in half and remove all contents.  Each half should appear like a bowl or boat shape.  Fill each half with the tuna salad mix.  Do not cover with cheese yet.  Place the peppers into a shallow baking dish and in the oven at 425 for 15 minutes, uncovered.  After 15 minutes, add the cheese to each half and bake for an additional 4 to 5 minutes.  The cheese should be melted and bubbly.

Serve and enjoy.

This meal is great for lunch or dinner.  It's budget friendly, quick and wheat free!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mango Orange Salsa with Grilled Chicken

Salsa lovers rejoice!  It is MANGO season.  Stock up and process away!

My husband, Jon, is a big fan of the mango.  I purchased a few mango's at the grocery store with the intent of letting him enjoy it as a snack.  A week went by and I decided to turn it salsa instead.

If you're looking for a creative way to serve chicken... this is the perfect recipe for you.  Serve the salsa over chicken or enjoy as an appetizer with corn tortilla chips.  I hope that you enjoy this as much as we did.

Marinade time = 15 minutes
Prep time = 10 minutes
Cook time = 15 minutes

Gluten-Free Garlic Tamari Marinade
- 2 TBSP of gluten-free Tamari soy sauce
- 1/4 TBSP Garlic powder
- 1/2 TBSP dried basil
- Salt and pepper

Mara's Mango Orange Salsa
- 2 Mango's, diced or chopped
- Juice of 1 orange
- 1/2 TBSP dried cilantro (or increase if using fresh)
- One half green pepper, diced
- One half sweet onion, diced
- 1/4 TBSP sugar
- Cayenne pepper to taste (Optional)
- Salt and pepper

Add 4 chicken breasts to a plastic bag or shallow pan.  Mix the marinade in a separate bowl and then apply to the bag or pan.  Set in your refrigerator to soak in the flavors for 15 minutes.

While the chicken is marinading, prepare the mango salsa.  You have the option to use a food processor or finely chop the ingredients.  If you are using a processor, roughly chop the mango, pepper and onion.  Add to the food processor with other ingredients and blend to your preferred consistency.  Add cayenne pepper to your preferred spiciness.  Continue to taste the salsa until it's just right.  It's also optional to add a light drizzle of oil to smooth out the consistency of the salsa if you prefer.

After 15 minutes, cook the marinaded chicken breasts over medium-high heat on the grill.  Once the chicken is juicy and tender... serve over a bed of jasmine rice and top with mango salsa.

Your taste buds will be craving more of this dish!  Enjoy.

We could all use a hint of time!
Copyright 2012 Hint of Thyme.  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Gluten-Free Brunch - Champagne Style

I was out one night out with my good friend, Danielle.  We had discussed finding a local restaurant with a champagne brunch for the following day.  The next morning, we decided to save ourselves the money and pop the cork at my house instead.  What do you think is the best food to accompany Mimosa's?

Frittata's come in so many variations.  You can put almost anything in this egg dish.  Unlike a quiche, this special morning treat does not have a crust and can be made gluten-free.

This dish is perfect to serve to a group of girl friends over the weekend.  It could also be great for a romantic dinner (yes... I said dinner) option for you and your sweetie.

Muenster Spinach Frittata
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup spinach (frozen, drained and dried)
- 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
- 2 slices of chopped Muenster cheese
- 1/2 cup diced tomato
- 1/2 cup chopped pepperoni
- 1/4 TBSP seasoning salt
- Cayenne pepper (Optional)
- Ground black pepper

Spray a ceramic pie dish with non-stick cooking spray.  In a separate dish, whisk the eggs together with all ingredients.  Pour into the ceramic pie dish and bake at 425 for 18 to 23 minutes.  The cayenne pepper is optional; add the amount suitable to your taste.

Tip for drying spinach:  Put the frozen spinach in a microwavable bowl and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add the thawed spinach to a clean kitchen towel.  Squeeze over a bowl or sink to drain all the liquid.

Cut the frittata like a pie and serve.  I enjoy adding a little hot sauce to my slice of frittata.  A great side dish would be fresh fruit or toast (for those not eating gluten free).

Read my recent post about making the choice to eat gluten free.

I hope that you enjoy this dish as much as we did.  Have a fantastic weekend!  Thank you for returning to Hint of Thyme.

We could all use a hint of time!
Copyright 2012 Hint of Thyme.  All rights reserved.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ultimate Hot Chocolate Heats up Winter

Winter blues getting you down?  Usually around mid-February, many of us in the frozen land of the Midwest begin to suffer from a little something called "cabin fever".  Thankfully this winter has actually been extremely mild.

One of my favorite drinks to make on a winter night is hot chocolate.  But this version of hot chocolate will require you to be 21 years of age in the U.S.  It's simple yet relaxing.

Ultimate Hot Chocolate
- 2 TBSP of hot chocolate powder or syrup (your preference or find a gluten free mix)
- 10 oz. of milk or water (again depending on your preference)
- 1 shot of Creme de Cacao (optional)
- 1/2 shot of Vodka (6 times distilled is gluten free)
- Whip cream

Pair with a wafer or cookie and it's the perfect evening treat!

Be safe... don't drink and drive.  That's all.

Copyright 2012 Hint of Thyme.  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Out With the Gluten, In With the Free

I have been have been creating pasta concoctions since I was a young teenager.  My favorite side for a warm bowl of soup is toasted wheat bread.  I am infatuated with assembling unique American pizza's in my kitchen.  And recently I have decided to say farewell to some of my most favorite foods....

This is not to join the latest diet craze or for an attempt to lose weight.  I never thought of myself as a "health nut" and definitely didn't think I would ever be considering a wheat-free diet.  In fact, up until the last couple of months, I have been rather closed-minded about it.  However, after a lot of research and consideration, it is apparent that I would benefit from cutting wheat from my diet.  Although I do not suffer from a full blown wheat allergy... it is proven that some of my medical conditions may improve by simply not eating wheat.

To begin my research process, I knew the person that I needed to call.  My good friend, Amy, has been eating gluten-free since last July.  She suffers from a wheat-allergy known as Celiac (among other food allergies).  Her overall health has benefited from the change in diet.  She told me that it is a huge adjustment, especially considering how many food products have wheat.  She suggested that I experiment with certain foods and learn to read nutrition labels in a new way.  And so... I began a food experiment...

One night, I made grilled cheese sandwiches on wheat bread for myself and Jon.  The next day, I cooked a wheat-free dinner with grilled lean beef, kidney beans, jasmine rice and salad.  The day after that I cooked another wheat-free dinner with grilled asparagus and chicken.  To put it simply... the difference was amazing! 

Celiac and wheat-intolerance has become extremely prevalent in our current society.  Thankfully, most food companies are catering to this type of food allergy and intolerance.  Gluten-free products have their own aisle at grocery stores and many well-known brands will clearly label a product "gluten free".

Unfortunately, not all products will have an allergy label.  The following food products should be avoided:  barley, bran, bulgur, couscous, emmer, einkorn, faro, graham flour, kamut, matzo flour, panko, rye, spelt, udon.  The obvious wheat products should also be avoided:  pasta, beer, croutons, breading, luncheon meat, soy sauce and more.

With my hypothesis proven true... I set out on a grocery store adventure.  I would go to the aisle that I have not gone before.  I would discover food that I have not known before.

I have to admit that I was overwhelmed by the choices in the gluten-free aisle at Festival Foods.  There is a surprising amount of options for individuals that have eliminated wheat.  How fantastic!  The only set back would be to my wallet.  Eating gluten free is fairly expensive.

Going completely gluten-free may not beneficial to all and can sometimes do more harm than good.  I would suggest doing a lot of research before embarking on this lifestyle. 

As I begin this new adventure of eating gluten-free, I plan to take you all along with me on this journey.  The new recipes, the trials, the success and the change.  It's going to be a big difference.  To this day, I have been eating gluten free for 18 days and absolutely loving it.

It's not easy for me to put myself out there and reveal this change.  But I appreciate all the support so far from my friends and family.  I certainly hope that it might inspire others.  If you have enjoyed reading Hint of Thyme, I hope that you will continue to return and cook with me!

Take care, readers!  Thank you for allowing me to share this with you.

Shout out to my friend, Amy!  Thank you for being such a good friend to me over the years.  You have inspired me more than you even know.

"The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful
form of medicine OR the slowest form of poison."
- Ann Wigmore

We could all use a hint of more time.
Copyright 2012 A Hint of Thyme.  All rights reserved.

*Image taken from -

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Pork - An Irresistible Marinade

Tired of eating tasteless pork chops?  This marinade can be used on chicken or any cut of pork.  There is also a small amount of oil in the recipe, which makes this a figure-friendly meal.

Sweet Balsamic Marinade
- 2 TBSP orange marmalade
- 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 TBSP soy sauce
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp Cajun spice (Optional... but definitely recommended)
- Salt and pepper

Mix the ingredients into a small bowl.  Whisk thoroughly.  If you prefer the marinade to be thicker... it is optional to add more oil or marmalade.  In a shallow baking pan, add the pork or chicken.  Cover the meat with the marinade and then cover with saran wrap.  Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.  Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes or until pork is cooked through.

This recipe will pair very well with Red Beans and Rice.  You can also add veggies or salad as an additional side dish.  Cabernet wine will compliment the spiciness very well.

Enjoy!  Have a fantastic weekend readers.

Coming Soon:  Healthy Turkey Burger Wrap

We could all use a hint of more time!
Copyright 2012 A Hint of Thyme.  All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mango Chicken and Fresh Spring Rolls

Asian cooking is extremely versatile and generally healthy.  In this post you will find a mix between Caribbean, Vietnamese, and Southeast Asian cooking.  

Last weekend, I spent some much needed time with my mom and aunt.  It's typical for our visits to include something with food or cooking.  We decided to spend the afternoon in an attempt to make fresh Vietnamese spring rolls that would be later served for dinner.  Lady time with a little champagne and cooking definitely makes for a great afternoon.  Laughter with family in the kitchen makes for great memories.

Servings:  5 - 6
Time:  4 hours in slow cooker 

Chicken and Mango with Ginger-Curry Topping
Recipe from Healthy Crockery Cookery by, Mable Hoffman (1998)

Mango Chicken:
- 1 or 2 large ripe mango's
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/8 tsp paprika
- 2.5 to 3 lbs chicken pieces (your choice on the cut)
- Salt and Pepper

Ginger-Curry Topping:
- 1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
- 1/2 tsp curry powder 
- 1/4 tsp ginger root
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp orange zest (or grated orange peel)
- Salt and pepper to taste

Peel mango's and dice into small pieces.  Put the mango in a bowl.  Stir in lemon juice, honey, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper.  Rinse chicken and pat dry.  Place in the slow cooker.  Add the mango mixture.  Cover and cook on LOW for about 4 hours or until chicken is done and tender.

While the chicken is cooking make the topping (I suggest making this right around the 4 hour mark). Combine yogurt, curry, ginger root, brown sugar, and orange peel.  Stir and taste.  Add salt and pepper and continue to taste to your liking.   Refrigerate. 

To serve, place chicken on a serving plate and spoon the mango drippings over the top.  Serve the topping on the side or over the top of chicken depending on your preference. 

The chicken is slowly roasted and should easily pull apart into shredded pieces.  As a leftover or main course, the chicken can be shredded and the served over the top of jasmine rice.  For a little heat, add a couple pinches of Cayenne pepper to the topping.

Servings:  6 - 8
Prep time:  20 -25 minutes

Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls
Based on a similar recipe from

Spring Rolls:
- 2 oz of rice vermicelli (about half the package)
- 8 to 10 rice wrappers (7 or 8.5 inch diameter)
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup fresh Thai basil
- 1/2 cup shredded carrot
- 1/2 cup shredded daikon
- 2 or 3 leaves of shredded lettuce

Dipping Sauce:
- 2 TBSP hoisin sauce
- 1 TBSP sesame oil
- 1 TBSP salted peanuts, chopped
- Salt and pepper

Boil the rice vermicelli in a shallow pan for 3 to 5 minutes.  While the water is boiling, rinse and dry the cilantro and basil (do not cut).  Rinse and shred the lettuce, carrot and daikon.  Drain the vermicelli, rinse and let it sit.  

Use a large bowl or the shallow pan to wet the rice paper.  Dip the rice paper into warm water.  Flip and carefully remove from the water after it softens.  Lay flat on a cutting board.  Place rice vermicelli on the wet rice paper - you want to place it close to one side and the vermicelli should be about the width of 2 fingers.  Layer on the carrots, lettuce, daikon, cilantro and basil.  Tuck in the 2 ends and roll carefully toward the open end.  Repeat until vegetables are gone. (See image above)

To make the dipping sauce, simply combine the hoisin sauce, sesame oil and peanuts into a small bowl.  Peanuts should be finally chopped.  If you are allergic to peanuts or don't like them... try sesame seeds or cashews instead.

These are not your typical spring rolls and you won't find anything like this in the frozen food aisle at your grocery store.  This was our first time making spring rolls and definitely something that we plan to do again.

A meal like this would be perfect for a Saturday or Sunday evening at home.  Serve with chilled glass of plum or Moscato wine.


We could all use a hint of more time!
Copyright 2012 Hint of Thyme.  All rights reserved!