Tag Archives | curry

Six Ways to Spice Up Your Health

I don’t know about you, but November totally snuck up on me!

It seems like Mister Wes and I were JUST getting started grilling and having dinners on the deck. 

But, I’m not really that upset about it. There is something refreshing and comforting about bundling up in sweaters and scarves, inhaling the cool air and sipping on warming soups.

(I know, I know….I might feel differently about it when we’re knee-high in snow drifts! For now, just let me remain positive.)

Fall is the perfect time to bring out warming spices for cool weather drinks and dishes. From homemade hot chocolate to pumpkin spice muffins, there are certain spices that pair perfectly with the crisp leaves and shorter days of autumn.

Is there anything better than oatmeal with cinnamon or a little cayenne in your hot cocoa?

However, spices can do so much more than just enhance the flavor of your food – they can also enhance your health. Head on over to the blog to check out my six favorite fall spices to enjoy amazing flavors and incredible health benefits!

CINNAMON is a powerful antioxidant that can improve insulin response and help keep blood sugar under control. Research shows that eating half a teaspoon of cinnamon daily reduces risk factors for diabetes and heart disease within six weeks.

How to use it: Cinnamon is commonly used in oatmeal and other breakfast foods. But, it pairs well with savory dishes as well like fall squashes, lamb and chicken. Search for Moroccan recipes, which frequently use cinnamon.
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NUTMEG contains antibacterial compounds that can help fight germs in your mouth. The primary substance is macelignan, which reduces plaque formation by 50 percent and eradicates cavity-producing microbes, according to Italian researchers.

How to use it: Nutmeg pairs well with winter squashes, leafy greens as well as yogurt. Try it in coffee or homemade hot chocolate.
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GINGER is known for it’s ability to calm upset stomach and relieve nausea, but it has also been shown to help decrease pain. Gingerol, a chemical in ginger, is thought to reduce inflammation and block nerve pathways that process pain.

How to use it: Ginger is a great addition to stir-fries, cabbage slaws and in pureed pumpkin soup.
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TURMERIC, also found in curry powders, is given its bright yellow color by curcumin. This powerful substance is getting a lot of attention in the scientific community for it’s potential anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.

How to use it: Curry and turmeric are essential for Indian curry dishes. You can also add turmeric to sautéed leafy greens, or blend it with honey and add it to hot water for a refreshing hot drink.
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CAYENNE helps crank up your body’s thermostat by giving your metabolism a nice boost, thanks to the substance capsaicin. On a side note, use a sprinkle of cayenne on a cut to staunch bleeding. Surprisingly, this does not sting as you might expect!

How to use it: A small amount of cayenne doesn’t add spice as much as it adds just a touch of heat to dishes. If you are a fast eater, adding just a small pinch of cayenne can help slow you down. Cayenne is perfect for chili or on roasted winter squash.
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CUMIN can provide up to 22 percent of your daily iron intake in just one tablespoon. Preliminary research has also shown that this spice can boost your brainpower: in an animal study, consuming cumin extract was shown to improve performance on memory tests.

How to use it: Cumin is used in Indian, Mexican and Spanish dishes. You can use it already ground, or toast the seeds for a stronger flavor. From black beans and rice to Indian curry, cumin is an all around spice that can be used in a variety of ways.

Comments { 2 } · Posted on November 10, 2015 in General

[Video] How to open a can of coconut milk

Coconut Milk Image

“What is that thick stuff at the top of the can???”

I get this question all the time from clients and students when they open their first can of coconut milk.

My response, “that’s the good stuff!”

Coconut milk is essential when stocking a whole foods pantry.

Coconuts are rich in fiber, vitamin C, E and most of your B vitamins as well as minerals such as iron, selenium and magnesium.

In certain parts of India, especially coastal areas, the coconut tree is referred to as kalpavrisksha which is Sanskrit for, “tree which gives all that is necessary for living” because all parts can be used – the water, milk, sugar and oil.

Check out the video to find out how I open and store my coconut milk.

I recommend buying full fat canned coconut milk rather than the kind found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.

The canned version has very few ingredients – coconut, milk and guar gum (a safe stabilizer) whereas the refrigerated version has a laundry list of ingredients, additives and sugar. Ick!

Coconut milk is a great substitute if you’re dairy free or are wanting to experiment going without dairy for a while.

I use coconut milk in curries, veggies soups, smoothies, chia pudding, chocolate milk, and as a substitute in baking recipes.

Recently, I learned you can make whipping cream with it.

I see a fruit crumble in my future…..

Do you have a delicious coconut milk recipe? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Comments { 2 } · Posted on May 18, 2015 in General

Chickpea and Red Lentil Dal

“You are what you eat.” You’ve hear that before, right? Haven’t we all!  Unfortunately, this phrase is often used when referring to junk food – all those things we “shouldn’t eat.” When I hear this phrase in my head it always sounds like a nagging Grandmother with a smokers cough and New Jersey accent. This is certainly not my grandmother! But, I digress.

What if we turn “know it all Nanny” into “positive Paula” who’s cheering us on in our endeavor to eat better? Ok, just bear with me here.

Instead of using the phrase to punish ourselves into feeling guilt and regret when we dive into the bag of chocolate chip cookies (I swear I’m not speaking from experience here! 🙂 we use it as a way to encourage ourselves to displace our midday snack of Chex Mix with a handful of cashews and a banana. When you make the extra effort to order the salad instead of the fries with your lunch you say to yourself “that’s right! I am what I eat! Nutrient dense greens, lycopene loaded tomatoes, mineral rich nuts and some lemon with vitamin C.”

In all seriousness, we really ARE what we eat. Think about it for a minute. Our skin, hair, blood, organs and tissues are all made up of protein sources. Our immune system needs vitamins A, C, E, selenium and zinc from fresh fruits and veggies to nourish the soldiers that fight 24/7 to keep us healthy. Our brains need lots of fats from omega rich sources like fish, grass fed meats and butter, nuts and seeds in order to send messages to the rest of our bodies. Unfortunately, much of what we eat is missing these important nutrients and our bodies are starving for vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, healthy fats and quality protein.

What building blocks do you want your body to build you from?

Once we saturate our bodies with nutrient dense foods it’s incredible how much more energy and focus we have, lightness we feel and easy it is to continue to feed ourselves the best food possible.

Starting January 17th I’ll be running the Get Clean in 2014 Cleanse at Yoga at SimplyWell. If you are ready to shed some winter weight, feel vibrant and learn simple strategies for incorporating more whole foods you’ve GOT to join us! You can learn more about the cleanse HERE and reserve your spot. It’s 14-days of fantastic food, great support and loads of fun. I promise!

Want a taste of what kind of food you’ll be eating on the cleanse?

I’m sharing one of my FAVORITE cold weather dishes with you today. Not only is this dish incredibly warming and comforting – it comes together quickly, freezes beautifully and re-heats like a charm.

This is a vegetarian, protein powered dish that will leave you satisfied. The lentils and chickpeas are rich in fiber and iron (think happy arteries and healthy blood!) and the coconut oil is loaded in lauric acid. Lauric acid is found in abundance in human breast milk (the most nutrient-dense food) and converts to monolaurin in the body. Monolaurin has been shown useful in supporting our immune systems and fighting viruses and diseases. Now that’s what I want to build my body from!

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Chickpea and Red Lentil Dal 

Ingredients

2 small onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped (let sit 5-10 minutes before cooking)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
pinch of cayenne
1 cup dried red lentils
4 cups of water
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 can of chickpeas
½ cup full fat coconut milk
Handful of cilantro or parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion with a pinch of salt and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion becomes translucent. Add the garlic, curry powder and cayenne and cook for about one minute more, stirring so everything is well combined.
  2. Add the lentils to the pot followed by the water. Stir and raise the temperature to medium-high, bring the soup to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes. Add the cooked rice, chickpeas and coconut milk and continue to cook for another 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the parsley shortly before serving. Enjoy!
Comments { 0 } · Posted on December 19, 2013 in Healthy Recipes

Thai Coconut Curry – Boost your health and your taste buds

 Oh curry, how I love thee! Let me count the ways!

You are flexible. You’ll accommodate everything from green beans to butternut squash and everyone from meat eaters to vegetarians.
You are reliable. Whether summer or winter, you’re a dependable dish that is delicious any time of year.
You are forgiving. With just a few pantry staples you’re a sure thing. It’s virtually impossible to mess you up.
You are simple and straightforward. You might seem hard and tough on the outside, but you’re actually a cinch to make. Busted!
You are exciting and adventurous! Your flavor is complex, exotic and it lights up my taste buds!

Ok, ok. I’ll stop there. You get the idea. Curry is amazing! When I’m waxing poetic about my craziness for curry I often encounter people who tell me how much they dislike it. Here’s the thing. There are so many different kinds of curry, from different regions around the world, all with different flavors. If you’ve had a crippling curry experience, don’t give up! There is a curry dish out there that I know you will love. Perhaps it’s today’s recipe?!

So what is curry exactly?

I like to compare it to chili. There are an infinite number of chili recipes out there. You can have hot chili and mild chili. Chili with beef, turkey or only beans. Some people use ketchup, while others use tomato sauce. And, the type and amount of herbs and spices can be wildly different from recipe to recipe. The same goes for curry.

The two biggest distinctions are Indian versus Thai curry. Indian curry uses curry powder, a powder mix of coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, red pepper and other spices. Most Thai curry dishes use either a green or red curry paste in which the base is made up of red or green chili’s, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, ginger and other fragrant herbs and spices. Thai curry typically uses coconut milk where Indian curry does not. These are just the basics. As with chili, each region and family has their own unique spin on this adaptable dish.

Today’s Thai curry recipe packs a nutritional punch while being a very satisfying and fulfilling meal. Coconut oil and coconut milk are some of the few plant sources of lauric acid, also found in human breast milk, that enhance brain function and the immune system. They are also an excellent source of medium chain fatty acids, the kind that the body metabolizes into energy rather than storing as fat. Gotta love that! Don’t fall for the “reduce fat coconut milk.” It’s just thinned with water. Instead, buy the full fat kind and cut it with water yourself.

You can even take your curry up a notch on the nutritional scale by loading it up with a variety of veggies. Substituting a can of chickpeas for the meat is an easy way to turn this dish into the perfect vegetarian meal. Plus, this recipe is food allergy! It’s free of dairy, gluten, corn and nuts some of the more common food allergens. But, be warned! If you are eating curry in a restaurant chances are it’s not gluten free. Many places use soy sauce, which contains wheat. Ask your server before ordering!

So, have I convinced you that you must give curry a chance?

Great! Come see me at the farmers market today from 3-5 pm. I’ll be demonstrating this recipe and you can get a delicious bite. I promise you’ll be filling your bags with zucchini and running home to make this. I’ll see you there!

Thai Green Curry with Chicken and Zucchini

Ingredients

½ tablespoon coconut oil or butter
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 medium zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 can full fat coconut milk
3 tablespoons green curry paste
1 pound boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon tamari
handful fresh Asian or Italian basil leaves, sliced
salt to taste
1 cup water, optional 

Instructions

  1. Pour the coconut milk into a large glass measuring pitcher or bowl. Add a can of water and whisk until well combined. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot add the onion and a pinch of salt. Stir until well combined and let the onion soften, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the zucchini and stir until it is coated in the oil and onion. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until the zucchini begins to soften a bit. Add the curry paste and stir until the zucchini is well coated. Continue to cook for about a minute until the curry paste becomes fragrant.
  4. Add the chicken, coconut milk, fish sauce and tamari. Raise the heat to medium high and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to a lively simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the zucchini is tender but still firm, about 8-10 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the basil leaves. Give it a taste! You can add more curry paste, tamari or a pinch of salt if it needs more flavor. If adding more curry paste, be sure to squish it on the side of the pot with a spoon so it dissolves into the broth. Otherwise, someone will get a curry paste surprise! Serve over brown basmati rice and a side of cooled cucumber salad. Enjoy!

Cooking tip: If you prefer a thinner, more soup-like curry feel free to add some more water with the coconut milk. You can use eggplant in place of the zucchini or add shredded cabbage towards the end for an added crunch. If you want to reduce the cook-time even more pick up a whole roasted chicken instead of the raw chicken. Shred the meat and toss it in during step 4.

Comments { 1 } · Posted on August 15, 2013 in Healthy Recipes