Tag Archives | stew

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

A fall favorite – basic beef stew

Beef stew screams fall. Just the THOUGHT of beef stew has me thinking cozy fires, comfy blankets and fuzzy slippers. I used to think making beef stew was something only my mom could make. Why? Because it seemed very complicated and labor intensive. Plus, I was afraid it would never taste as good as hers. That can be a big stumbling block! Even though my mom doesn’t live far away I recently realized that if I want beef stew, it’s up to me to make it.

After a brief call to mom I dove in and made a very simple but amazingly delicious beef stew. That was about 6 weeks ago and Mr. Wes has requested beef stew two more times. I would offer him pizza and he would ask “do you have any more of that beef stew?” Yeah, it’s that good!

As the title suggests, this is a very basic recipe. Don’t be afraid to add different veggies, herbs and seasonings. You could throw in turnips or even cubed butternut squash for a nice sweet/savory dish. I like to double the recipe and then freeze it in small jars for great single serving lunches and dinners.

Enjoy!

 

Basic Beef Stew

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

Olive oil
1 ¼-1 ½ lbs organic beef roast, cubed (you can also by already cubed beef if you like)
1 pound of leeks, washed and roughly chopped. Whites and some of the pale green parts (if you don’t have leeks use one large white onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 medium carrots, cut into bite sized pieces
4-5 medium potatoes (yellow or redskin will work), cut into bite sized pieces
4-5 cups of water or homemade stock
1 bay leaf
sea salt and pepper to taste
dried herbs of your choice. I like savory and thyme.

Instructions

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven heat a generous glug of olive oil over medium heat. Add the beef cubes and a pinch of salt. Brown the meat about 8-10 minutes until it becomes nice a caramelized and juices start releasing. Give it a stir every few minutes so it cooks pretty evenly.
  2. Place the partially cooked meat in a bowl along with the juices. Set aside. Put your pot back on the stove over medium heat and add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add your chopped leeks and a pinch of salt. Cook the leeks, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften a bit, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, carrots and potatoes to the pot and continue cooking the vegetables another 5-6 minutes, giving them the occasional stir so they cook evenly. If they start getting stuck to the bottom of the pot add a splash of water. This will help prevent sticking and release delicious browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
  4. Once your veggies have cooked a bit and become slightly softened add your meat and juice back to the pot along with the water bay leaf, a generous pinch of salt and herbs of choice. You want your ingredients to be covered by about an inch of water. Cover the pot, raise the heat to medium high and bring the stew to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook the stew for about 30 minutes, checking occasionally and giving it a stir. Your veggies should be soft but not mushy and your meat cooked through.
  5. Before serving, taste the broth and add salt and pepper and needed. Enjoy!
Comments { 0 } · Posted on October 22, 2013 in General, Healthy Recipes

Kick Out Cancer with Cabbage

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and this weeks fall soup recipe is packed with a food that can help us kick cancer in the kitchen. By cooking and eating whole, unprocessed foods you are taking a huge step towards preventing and recovering from cancer and many other diseases. True health really begins in your kitchen!

The American Cancer Society’s key recommendation to reduce the risk of cancer is to eat cruciferous vegetables on a regular basis. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage. This group of vegetables contains more phytochemicals (mostly in the form of glucocsinolates) with demonstrable anticancer properties than any other vegetable family. Popular studies have shown that the higher the intake of these vegetables the lower the rates of cancer, particularly colon, prostate, lung and breast cancer.

Cabbage is “king” of the cruciferous vegetable family because of its extra-special health powers. The glucocsinolates in cabbage work primarily by increasing antioxidant mechanisms and improving the body’s ability to detoxify and eliminate harmful chemicals and hormones. That means keeping cancer out and inviting health in!

If that wasn’t enough, cabbage also has more vitamin C than oranges. A weakened immune system doesn’t just open you up for the common cold but also creates a more hospitable environment for cancer.

Fall is a great time to fill up on cabbage and all its amazing nutritional benefits. The market has beautiful tender cabbage that is sweet, crisp and perfect for a warming soup. Stop by the demonstration tent between 3-5 pm this afternoon to see how this delicious soup is made and get the first taste. You’ll never look at cabbage the same way again!

Curried Cabbage and Potato Soup

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

½ head green cabbage (about 16-20 ounces)
1 tablespoon coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
4-5 medium potatoes, unpeeled, cut into smaller than bite sized cubes
2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste (you can also use Indian powdered curry)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
5 cups of water or vegetable broth
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Remove any ragged leaves from the cabbage. Halve the cabbage (so you have two quarters) and remove the core. Slice the cabbage into thin strips about as thick as a pencil. You can do this with a knife or on a mandolin. Cut the long strips in half once.
  2. Warm the coconut oil over medium heat in a large heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven. Add the potatoes and a pinch of salt. Cook the potatoes, stirring occasionally for about 5-7 minutes until they start to become tender and brown a bit. They may stick a bit but don’t worry. The water will help get those stuck bits off the bottom. Stir in the curry paste (or powder), garlic and onion. Cook for another minute or so.
  3. Add the water and chickpeas. Raise the heat and bring the soup to a simmer. Add the cabbage and cook for another 3-4 minutes until it begins to soften. Don’t worry if it looks like there’s a lot of cabbage. It will collapse quite a bit.
  4. Taste your broth and add salt and pepper as needed. If you want a stronger flavor you can add more curry paste or a few shots of tamari. Enjoy!

Serving Suggestion: This soup is delicious on it’s own but I really love it with a splash of coconut milk which gives it a very distinct Thai flavor. Or, you can add less water and put in a whole can of coconut milk – also delicious! You can also add a cup of cooked brown rice or millet to make it even heartier and filling.

Comments { 0 } · Posted on October 15, 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