March Madness and Last Ice Fishing (this year)
+ Bluegills and Abundance in Good Things
From ideas for tournament food to our recipe for fresh-caught bluegills (only here in PWF), there’s plenty to help you wrap up March in this issue of Playing with Food…
Open to unlock something to Cook, Eat, and Discover, plus a few things to Make Life Easier all while nourishing gluten-free life deliciously!
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Hi, and welcome to Playing with Food – In the Kitchen, Garden, & Studio, an artful gluten-free home, health, and cooking eNewsletter by me, Kymberley – for all food lovers gathered at the same table… If you enjoy today’s recipes and healthy gluten-free tips, please help spread the word by forwarding this email to others who may like them too. Got this from a friend? That’s awesome. Now let’s get you your own – subscribe here.
Something to Cook…
Tournament Watching Food
Honestly, I don’t understand sports in general, and I couldn’t tell you what a bracket is, let alone what to do with a March Madness tournament sheet. But I am into easy-to-make ideas for delicious, always gluten-free foods that will eliminate the question of “What to Serve” for any occasion. So, to save you some time searching for game-watching foods, if you’re into watching March Madness or even if you’re looking for something easy to serve during your favorite show, here are a few yummy picks that are sure to be a slam dunk for everyone to enjoy while glued to the tv at your house.
Oh, so delicious Gluten-Free Decadent Dark Chocolate Avocado Brownies… The better-for-you dark chocolate brownie with super nutritious avocado. A decadent gluten-free brownie that puts all other brownie recipes to shame.
Taco Dip the delicious appetizer or snack with a South of the border kick! No party, movie night, tailgate, or get-together is complete without this Classic Easy Taco Dip recipe.
Spicy Southwestern Grilled Wings with Avocado Jalapeno Dressing – Just the right combo for when you get a hankering for eating something a little spicy, zesty, and smokey tasting all…
Elevate turkey to a whole new level with these super tasty, quick, and easy Sage Turkey Sliders. Topped with crunchy Apple Slaw and Cranberry Mayo, they’re the perfect healthy small…
A fake-out for Take-out! Baked Orange Chicken Meatballs, loaded with fresh garlic, ginger, and scallions, then baked for a quick 15-minutes to seal in all that moisture and flavor. This…
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Last ice fishing and NOT getting skunked…
Last ice fishing on the pond can be tricky. The day we do it usually comes shortly after daylight savings (DST) in Wisconsin begins, and the weather has started warming up. Dear hubby is the pro on knowing whether the ice is safe enough to navigate for the final fishing of the season. But I must tell you; he’s crazy when venturing onto the spring ice. I think it’s a deep-rooted thirst for extreme adventure, and I can’t say that I drink from that well.
The craziness started when he was a kid. As boys, he and his brothers would purposely go across the thin ice for its thrill, jumping and trying to make the ice crack so that they could fall through. Again, not my idea of fun. But for them, surviving an icy dunk in springtime (I’m told) was one of the highlights of a young boy’s life back in the day before tablets and video games.
Fast forward to this year…
This year (at least), we didn’t have to leap over wide-open water to find where we left our perfect ice fishing hole. So, we slid ourselves and our gear out late last Monday afternoon for our final ice fishing trip before the ice went out on Thursday.
After the calamity of setting everything up, think slapstick comedy like this goofy parody from Charlie Berens of Manitowoc, we got situated in our tent. Our stools were set, the underwater camera in place, poles out, and the hooks were baited with the last two wax worms left in the container.
To have ice-fishing success, I’ve always thought that the time of day that you fish is the key. At this time of year, it can be confusing. So, after a somewhat lengthy conversation about whether the fish will begin biting at 3 p.m., that is now 4 p.m. since springing forward in time. Or if they (the fish) might hold off until 5 and 6 p.m. (DST) because of longer daylight hours, Dear Hubby got his first bite, then another. That’s it. Another ice fishing season was in the bag, and it was done!
How to Clean Bluegills
Dear hubby always scales the bluegills, but I’ve done my fair share over the years too. We were taught to do it this way with a spoon, and it works quite well, particularly when you’re scaling them indoors, so you don’t throw scales everywhere. Next comes the cleaning, so they’re ready to cook. We’ve always left the skin on to give the fish more flavor when pan-fried.
If you’re not fileting the bluegills, the thing that the cleaning video left out that we always do is to use a toothbrush (we have a dedicated cheap one we keep in the kitchen drawer for this purpose) to scrub out the shiny spot at the top where the bones come together inside the fish cavity. I’m not sure what the shiny area is called, but all bluegills have it, and the fish tastes better if it’s scrubbed out if you’re not going to filet them. Please let me know if you know what the shiny spot is called.
Recipe for Fresh-Caught Bluegills
We don’t coat the bluegills with any seasoned breading or deep-fry them in oil to cook them. The beauty of our recipe is that there is no recipe. Simple seasonings of salt, pepper, onion powder, and a little butter are all it takes to pan-fry them up full of flavor. This is how the fisher-people before us taught us and how we’ve done it since we were kids.
2 tablespoons Butter
Onion powder, sprinkled
Melt the butter in a skillet. While the butter is melting, sprinkle each bluegill on all sides with salt, pepper, and onion powder. Be sure to season the cavity of the fish if you didn’t make fillets.
Cook the fish for 2-4 minutes on each side until the flesh turns opaque and the skin turns crispy and golden brown. Serve hot from the pan.
Two fish for dinner isn’t much, but it gave us enough for a good taste. Lucky for us, there was leftover Lake-Harvested Wild Rice, Cranberry & Kale Pilaf from the night before to go with our fresh-caught dinner.
Something to Eat…
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Something to Discover…
I want to share this beautiful story about an extraordinary family and their son. They are members of my church in Wisconsin, where through the church, Nathan participates in “Worship at the Cross,” a ministry of Jesus Cares Ministries (JCM). Watching allows everyone to see that there is nothing quite like the joy expressed when individuals with special needs are included and come together to praise God and hear the Gospel in a fun and meaningful way. “Worship at the Cross” services are available through JCM programs around the United States, but they are also available no matter where you’re located on-demand.
Because I’m a “One-Woman Show” and I need to sleep and occasionally take a day off for holidays, vacation, and because we all need time to daydream, attack dust bunnies that gather throughout the house and get into the out-of-doors – on Friday’s or Monday’s or, sometimes, over the weekends; (we’re trying to figure out the best day for Dear Hubby and me). I’ve decided to round up some external gluten-free content for these eNewsletters that I’ve found interesting. Reading that is for you if you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity and avoid eating gluten to maintain your health – or if you have any gluten-related gut issue and know how awful it feels when you get “glutened” – by accidentally eating gluten.
Without further ado, here are this week’s gluten-related web-content picks for your reading pleasure:
NIH Issued Notice of Special Interest in Celiac Disease Research for First Time in 22 Years
Something to Nourish…
Thoughts from my Bible journaling journey.
How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you. – Psalm 31:19 NIV
Abundance – The World is Watching
I’m not sure about everyone else, but I have this habit. You may do this too. I think humans generally tend to focus on what we don’t have – lamenting about not having enough money or time. It’s easy to stew and fret about things not turning out the way we want them to or becoming frustrated with our physical limitations. I’ve been thinking a lot about these things lately and how we project what we feel to others. Especially in social media and instant virality, I believe it is essential to remember the world is watching. As Christians, we may not think much about whining here and there, but others are constantly watching to see how we respond to this God we say is so loving and good.
While the worldly things we experience are not always loving or good, one of the ways God demonstrates His love to a hurting world is to lavish His love upon His children. When we whine and complain about what we don’t have, we detract from God’s blessings on us before a watching world. We need to be thankful for God’s blessings and smile (albeit difficult sometimes) despite our heartache and tears to show others how deeply our Father in heaven loves us in the face of adversity. Some do it well. Just look to the world to find many examples around us every day.
A prayer: Dear Father in heaven, you have blessed me abundantly. I confess that sometimes I overlook those blessings and spend more time focusing on what is lacking in my life than what You have provided. Please help me to be more grateful before a watching world. Amen.
Something to Make Life Easier…
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This week, despite all the global concerns and worries of the world, I’d love to hear about the abundance in your life and how God demonstrates His love to you.
Reply to this email with your tips, and I’ll share them next week!
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