Baked Tilapia with Pineapple, Orange, Kiwi and Coconut Milk

In the past, I used to cook for my beloved taste buds alone. But since my tummy—and pretty much my entire digestive system—went on strike, I began to cook for my health… and taste, of course; life would be a rather horrid thing, if I had to spend it eating foods I disliked.

Here is a recipe my Piano Man, the Little Princess and I have really enjoyed:

Baked Tilapia with Pineapple, Orange, Kiwi and Coconut Milk

Ingredients
– 3 pieces of tilapia fillet
– ½ cup fresh pineapple chunks
– 1 cup fresh kiwi chunks
– ½ cup orange juice (freshly squeezed)
– 3 tbs. coconut milk (I love using fresh, but canned will do just fine)
* salt to taste (I use a bit less than ¼ a tsp.)
* olive oil to grease a 9 x 9 pan (I use ¼ of a tsp. and spread it around with my fingers)

Instructions
• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Sprinkle salt over the fish, and place in greased pan.
• Combine pineapple, kiwi, orange juice and coconut milk in a blender, and pulse until somewhat smooth. Pour the mixture over the fish. Cover the pan, and bake for 28 minutes, or until the fish becomes opaque and flakes when pulled apart with a fork.

This super moist tilapia goes well with rice. I was on a veggies sort of mood, so I served it with steamed potatoes, carrots and chayote. I added ginger to the steaming water (for yumminess), then sprinkled the steamed veggies with dill (to help my tummy), and turmeric (to dull the arthritis *fingers crossed* and for a bunch of other things).

Little Princess Quote: “If this dish was on MasterChef, the judges would say, ‘It looks disgusting!’ Then they would taste it, and say, ‘But it tastes delicious!’ no offense.”

I can’t say anything about turmeric yet, since I haven’t been adding it to my food for all that long. Dill, on the other hand, is a miracle for my tummy. I started drinking ginger and citrus leaves tea and adding dill to my diet, to battle bloating… and I’m currently winning. 😉

Back to Eating Like When I Was Thirteen… Mostly

When I get so lost that I forget where I was going… I stop, take a few deep breaths, and then continue paddling forward. My gut and I have been approaching eating in this way since last October… But fresh focus and deep breathing has not resulted in the revelation of a dietary plan we can follow for good. The most recent attempt, which never materialized (thank goodness!), consisted of a designed diet that was to take into account all my health needs.

I spent a week or so reading about how this food molecule reacted with that other one; and how a different food was great for my stomach, but if I ate it too close in time to this other one, then the combination would turn the bacteria squatting in my intestines into The Hulk.

In a moment of pure frustration… right after my nutritionist and I realized that regardless of how we approached the situation, I would end up eating the same things over and over and over… I said, “You know, I had no stomach problems when I was a kid. Maybe I should just stuff my face with what I used to eat then, and see what happens.” To my relief—and if exhales are any indicators, to the relief of my nutritionist, too—he agreed with the spirit of my outburst (I might’ve been yelling when I made the proposal *cough*).

While growing up, the bulk of my diet was fruits and vegetables. Egg, fish, poultry and meat were used almost as condiments. I drank tea in the same way other children drank milk; I hated milk. And I would not touch rice or beans without the encouragement of bribery.

My days started with wormwood tea, chased with a cup of sweet ginger tea. The first was intended to treat intestinal parasites; the latter to keep me from going into dramatic shock, due to the disgustingly bitter taste of wormwood tea. Breakfast was a boiled green banana or plantain with a boiled egg. Sometimes we would go wild and have some cassava or white-fleshed sweet potato instead of banana or plantain… the egg was rarely substituted.

Lunch was rice, beans and some kind of meat or fish or vegetable in sauce. Whenever I got my way, I would eat a fried or charcoal-baked green banana. Dinner and breakfast looked very similar, but the egg was fried or substituted by something like salami. I didn’t like the smell of salami, so I just ate my banana. On cool days, we had hot chocolate and bread, or something like it. No milk in my hot chocolate… unless someone wanted to see me gag.

So… I can’t really replicate what I ate when I was younger and wilder… and with a less ridiculous digestive system—I mean, we grew or raised most of what we ate—but I can eliminate processed foods (and things like dairy and too much meat) almost completely.

And if this doesn’t work either, then I shall crack my fingers, bare my teeth, rub my tummy, and come up with something else… How do you get over life’s hurdles, my Wicked Luvs?

Baked Shrimp and Veggies with Ginger, Dill and Orange Juice
(last night’s dinner)
Baked Shrimp and Veggies with Ginger, Dill and Orange Juice

Ingredients
– 13 shelled shrimps (defrost and pat dry)
– ½ cup baby red potatoes (sliced)
– ½ cup carrots (sliced and then cut into half inch chunks)
– 1 medium orange (juiced without pulp… about 2 oz.)
– 2 oz. ginger (cut in strips)
– 1 tsp. dried dill
– ¼ tsp. of olive oil
– Salt to taste (I use less than ¼ of a tsp.)

Instructions
• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
• In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil
• Add shrimp, ginger and dill, and sauté over high heat (stirring frequently) until there is no visible moisture left in the pan
• Add potatoes, carrots and salt; stir for a few seconds;
• Add orange juice and remove from heat
• Pour the contents of the sauté pan in a small baking pan, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 21 minutes
• Remove foil, and bake uncovered for 13 more minutes

* makes about two cups

I Ate the Sun with Some Nuts

She wants Sunshine. It’s rather simple, she says. Feed me poetry or prose that dances wildly with the sun. Be literal… or metaphor your words away until sunshine is orange juice. I’m open, she says… just give me sunshine. All right, maybe Sanaa didn’t use those exact words… but that’s how my eyeballs read it to my heart. So here is my contribution to Prompt Nights – Sunshine (I decided to devour the sun and make myself shinier… and probably yummier 😉 4/15/16):

“I Ate the Sun with Some Nuts”

I slow cooked the sun,
stirred some nuts into the pot—
hot buttery yum
.

If a spring breeze kisses my skin
with susurrations of chill,
one pound of butternut squash
(boiled in three cups of salty broth
for twenty-one minutes)
will fill my middle with sunlight.

Cheddar and milk
might thicken the warmth,
but my gut growls at the thought.

I just blend the softened sun,
and pour the liquid gold into a pot,
to keep hot while I roast nuts…

pestle and mortar crush pecans.

***
for NaPoWriMo with Magaly Guerrero 2015, Day 20 – Finger Licking Good: Cook up a poem with a recipe in it.

Who would have thought that Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Pecans could be so poetic? I’m telling you, my Wicked Luvs, write a poem a day in April and eat poetry…

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Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Pecans (2)
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Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Pecans (4)
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