Curried Mango Ginger Chutney

Yay!  I am so happy with this  delicious and healthy recipe I came up with on the fly last night.  I was craving Indian food and had been ignoring this  lonely little mango I  purchased last week that I knew was going to go bad if we didn’t eat it pretty soon.   I  have been seeing quite a few recipes with mango being used in chutneys or as an interesting accent to modern Indian cuisine.  A quick internet search for mango chutneys resulted in several recipes, but they all  had an ingredient list that called for more than just one little mango.  I took the best of the many recipes that I found (this one recipe by Alton Brown being my favorite) and reduced it down in ratio so my one little mango would work fine.

This chutney would go great with white fish,  whole roasted chicken, chicken breasts, and probably even pork.  If you reduced the “heat” (chile flakes) I bet kids would love this with healthy chicken tenders.    Could also go well with all types of vegetarian or vegan Caribbean, Indian or African dishes.  I would even serve with goat cheese on crostini or with crackers.  I will be trying many variations of with lots of dishes in the future and put the links as I do them in this post.  Last night I didn’t feel like running to the store to get fish, so  I marinaded organic chicken breast in an easy Indian spiced marinade for an hour.

Lastly this is GREAT for cancer patients going through chemo.  I loved bright and spicy Indian chutneys and spicy food with curries when I was undergoing chemo.  The bold flavors really cut through the yucky chemical taste chemo can leave.

 

Serves 4 as a side to a main dish,  Store in an airtight container for 7 days up in the freezer for up to 2 months

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1 teaspoon chile flakes
  • 1 mango
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • sea salt
  • white pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup grade B (or brown sugar)
  • 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of filtered water
  • Chopped 1/2 of a red bell pepper (optional)
  • a quick grate of lemon zest (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cut the mango away from the pit and roughly chop the flesh
  2. In a separate bowl combine water, cider vinegar, maple syrup, fresh lemon juice,  optional lemon zest and set aside
  3. In saute pan heat oil over medium heat and add the chile flakes and toast just to flavor oil
  4. Keep heat at medium, and add red onions until they begin to sweat and get soft
  5. Add ginger and if using, the optional red pepper and saute for 1 to 3 minutes.
  6. Add the mango and cook for 1 minute
  7. Add the mixture in bowl to pan and stir to combine
  8. Bring the mixture to a slight simmer, reduce to low and stir frequently
  9. Season with a fresh ground sea salt and white pepper (optional)
  10. Continue cooking over low heat, uncovered so the liquid can evaporate and reduces into a thick coating over the fruit. Aprox 30 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy!  Let me know how you use it and I’ll add it to the notes here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Herniated Discs Suck! An Honest Reflection, Part 1: Pain and Pills

Herniated discs SUCK! I know that is pretty much a “victim”  sounding,  “whiny”  type comment I profess to hate, but its the truth.  Herniated discs do suck! I was diagnosed with a herniated disc at L4/L5 and S1 last May 2011.  Initially I thought this would be only be a temporary problem, lasting 2 or 3 weeks at best.  I heard my doctor when he told me I was looking at 3 months minimum of not working out and having a “back issue”, but I didn’t take him seriously.  Being a sometimes overly self confident patient  for many years (an overconfidence not always in complete touch with reality), I  chose not to believe  my doctor and his  predictions. Even though I had to be driven to this doctors appointment by my boyfriend, due to my pain being so bad, with such major spasms, I could barely manage a hobble… I was still in denial. Further more, I convinced myself I would be back to working out in the gym in no less than 3 weeks. Boy was I wrong.

4 months later…. September 2011:

Having been on pain pills for the past 4 month I have been beginning to feel like  my brain had been temporarily hijacked. These pain pills are yucky   Since my 2nd round of cortisone injections 2 weeks ago, I was fine for about 10 days and then suddenly, I was once again in tremendous pain.  Pain so bad, that it was still there even with the pain pills.  I hate to sound flippant, but I was starting to feel like I  was having to pop pain pills like one would pop “Tick Tacs”, which is never a good thing. The pills were making me nauseated, vomiting, constipated, tired , and spaced out.  I couldn’t drive, and have  felt like I was in a trance.  I have NO idea how anyone develops an addiction to these pills which in my case every time I take them,  I feel  like I have dropped  40 IQ points and have turned into a vomiting  little zombie .  But I’ve seen Dr Drew’s “Celebrity Rehab” … and apparently this addiction is not uncommon.

My doctor had prescribed for me codeine and a nerve pain called Gabapentin  which I believe was a correct decision.  I was in tremendous pain presenting day 1 in May 2011.   The codeine and the Gabapentin have really helped pacify all the  horrendous nerve and back pan I was having through out this experience.  I had been on both of these pain pills during and following my whole cancer and subsequent stem cell transplant incident without any problems.  Now,  here in September 2011, 4 months later following my 2nd round of of spinal injections, my pain was back with a vengeance, and my emotions are wearing thin.  I do/did not want to be on pain medications any longer but I have in pain and becoming really depressed about feeling dependent on pills for relief.   Additionally my doctor had prescribed physical therapy twice a week, but due to my denial, I only just started that last week.

Yesterday I was so bummed.   I was at my favorite breakfast spot, eating my  “Super Veggie Egg White Scramble”, while looking over my “to do”  list.  There I had  20 backed up recipes with photos, ready to be uploaded.  All I had to do was  a little bit of writing  with each one of them,.  Yet I felt at a complete loss for words.  Sadly these pain pills rob you of your creativity, rendering you into a pretty sad state of having a totally boring “flat affect” with little to no creative writing  skills or personality whatsoever.  As I sat there, blankly staring at my lap top, wondering when my writing skills were ever going to come back,  I thought of my of  my nurse friend Jody who developed  a double level herniated disc at the same time as me.  She never sounded spaced out on the phone.  At least not “spaced out” on pain pills like I felt I had been sounding lately.   Jody told me she had only using only a little bit of pain medicine and lots of “ice”.

Initially when Jody told me about using ice for the pain, a couple months ago,  I thought  to myself ( sorry Jody) “Sure, right, that won’t do jack shit for me”.  My pain was major, deep down inside, and I thought no “ice” was ever going touch it.  But now here I was thinking about her advice and willing to try anything other than what I had been doing.  I called Jody for some advice, and she suggested I cut my pain pills in half and to try putting some really cold ice packs directly on the herniated disc area  for 15 minutes or more.  I went to the pharmacy and picked up a specialized ice pack for backs (see photo) and some bags of frozen peas.

I came home last night, popped my ice pack “belt” into the freezer, turned on the TV, laid down and placed the bag of frozen peas directly on my back.  It was about time for me to take another pain pill but I thought I would put it off a little bit so I  could check out how the ice was working.  About 10 minutes into the iced bag peas on my back,  I thought “Hey this ice thing works pretty good”.  Jody had told me I only needed to leave it on 15 minutes or so, but I left it on more like 25 minutes it was working so well.  I cut my pain pills dosage in half and was feeling GREAT.  An hour later I put another bag of frozen peas directly to my back for another 20 minutes,  then again 30 minutes later and then again one hour later.  I was humbled.  This ice thing was working really well.   I realized I should have tried using ice for my disc pain months ago when it was suggested.

I woke up this morning, 24 hours after halving my pain pill dosage, feeling GREAT.  My pain was “there” but manageable.  But even better, my brain felt clear.  I felt like someone had lifted the fog and I could see more clearly than I had in quite some time.  Finally I could put together words and thoughts!  I felt so happy I came to my computer and decided I would journal this to my blog while I knew my brain was clear.  Finally some hope.  I’ve been reading, surfing the net and writing, sitting at my desk  for the past 8 straight hours,  wearing my new “Cryo Max Cold Pack” (see photo above) with only 1 codeine and 2 Advil in my system.   I feel pain free right now.   It was not possible before for me to sit even a couple of straight hours comfortably with just the pain pills.

I go to my 2nd physical therapy appointment this afternoon for therapy and treatment.   I will ask my therapist for more information about what is a good “icing schedule” for my particular situation.  I’ll continue to write more about my herniated disc problem as that I know now its quite common.

Fingers crossed for my physical therapy session.  Fingers crossed I can keep this pain pill need down to a minimum so my brain feels clear.  We shall see, but I am finally hopeful.

 

 

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Coconut Curried Chickpeas

By all my recent Facebook posts and photos one might easily imagine I am some major chickpea fan.  It seems like lately I’ve been putting chickpeas in everything.  The truth is  I only recently made chickpeas from scratch for the very first time.  I, for the first time ever, did the whole “soaking overnight and then finishing  on the stove” thing.  After eating chickpeas made from scratch I have a whole new appreciation for this little ingredient, which by the way, I had never really liked at all (except for pureed in hummus) prior.

I have heard the argument that there is really no difference between soaking/cooking peas yourself or just buying them ready to eat in a can, but my taste buds and “brain” don’t believe that to be true At all.  I find chickpeas soaked overnight and cooked from scratch can have really amazing flavor and texture which I find totally lacking in canned chickpeas.  I love  cooking them to just barely  “el dente” after soaking them over night and then sauteing them in a variety of herbs, spices and sauces.

I came up this really healthy and tasty little curry dish on the fly the other day,  and it tasted amazing!  You can use canned chickpeas, but I highly recommend, if you have the time and don’t mind the planning, utilizing chickpeas made from scratch.  This is great to make ahead snack/dish and will keep well in the fridge for a couple of day.  This reheats well in the microwave.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh cooked chickpeas or 2 15 ounce cans of chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or oil or your choice)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots peeled and sliced
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of cayenne (to your desired “heat”, I used 2 tsp because I loved hot spicy food)
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon yellow curry
  • 4 coconut milk cubes or 1/3 cup lite or regular organic coconut milk

Directions:

  1. Heat oil over medium heat until hot
  2. Add garlic and ginger and saute for 2 to 3 minutes
  3. Add onions and carrots and begin to saute
  4.  About 2 minutes in, add the garam masala, cayenne and curry and mix in well, allowing the flavors to infuse in well with the carrots and onions.  About 3  minutes or until the onions soft and carrots with still a bit of crunch.
  5. Add chickpeas and saute  a couple minutes until heated through anl flavors well distributed to chickpeas
  6. Add tomatoes and stir a minute or too, again until ingredients heated through and flavors well distributed
  7. Finish by adding coconut milk “cubes” or or coconut milk and stir until heated through  brought to a slight simmer or slightly “steaming”
  8. Serve and enjoy!  Can be eaten alone, in a roti, or as a side dish

 

 

 

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” A Healthier” Spaghetti Carbonara

 

 

I know, I know, there is no such thing as a truly “Healthy Spaghetti Carbonara”. And I answer with a  “Yes” and “No”.  Hear me out with this little story I tell below about how I came up with this recipe a couple of weeks ago.

I woke up one morning a couple of weeks ago to a major “Spaghetti Carbonara” craving, which is really weird because this is a dish I think I have only had a couple of times in my whole life.    Now I am going to be honest, I had been drinking alcohol with some old friends the night before… and you know what that leads to: Waking up the next morning craving food that is full of bad fats and starchy carbohydrates!  Hence the only explanation for my very unusual  “Spaghetti Carbonara” craving.  So here I was stuck  with this insatiable craving and knowing I had  never even made this dish before.  So I did what any self respecting girl with a healthy food blog wanting to create a plate full of “bad”  would do:  Went online and did a google search for a recipe, hoping there would be something healthy amongst the bunch.  No such luck.  There it was, as I expected, a bunch of recipes that were not remotely healthy. Albeit there were LOTS of recipes filled with some very delicious sounding  starchy carbohydrates and fat creations with not an ounce of nutrition.  What I ended up making was  a “happy middle”…Something kind of in between the “delicious tasting yet starchy carbohydrate/ bad fat hell” recipe, and then the something “I will not be mortified to post on my blog” recipe.

 

In ending I will say : this is a MUCH  healthier version than the original, I got my “fix”, and it passed my boyfriend’s picky “I don’t care if its not healthy”  palate (he’s also  Italian).

Serves 2: Can be doubled or tripled

Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces organic uncured bacon (pork works best, but you can use turkey)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 to 12 ounces of Whole Wheat or Multi Grain Pasta cooked el dente (I would not at this time recommend any of the qunioa pasta with this because it would come out too mushy.)
  • 1 large organic free range egg, beaten and seasoned with salt
  • salt
  • 6 ounces shredded or grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or similar hard cheese
  • 6 to 8 ounces  fresh spinach
  • 1 tablespoon of organic butter or extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  • In large saute pan over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy, and drain on paper towels (or you can cook in microwave for quicker results)
  • In pan large enough to hold pasta, heat oil or melt butter, and add garlic and saute for 30 seconds
  • Add pasta and bacon, season with black pepper saute for 30 seconds
  • Remove from heat and add eggs, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken but do not scramble
  • Add the spinach and stir in until wilted
  • Add the cheese and re season with salt and pepper
  • Mound the pasta onto a plate and serve

I have only made this recipe twice now.  If you make this dish and have any suggestions on how to improve, or alternative ingredients one could use, please submit them,  and I will post in the comments section.  Thanks!

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Dr Laura Delizonna: Stanford University “Happiness” Instructor

June 2012 Update: Laura has a 2 hour workshop at Stanford, this upcoming Tuesday June 5th at 7pm  For more details and registration info click here

I’ve known Dr. Laura Delizonna  since high school, through my younger sister.  I hadn’t seen or heard of what Laura had been up to in years until I signed up for her “Choosing Happiness” class through Stanford University’s Adult Continuing Education class  6 years ago.  I was right out of treatment from my stem cell transplant nightmare and had what seemed to me like the world’s worst case of “chemo brain” ever.  In my efforts to counteract all my “chemo brain” issues, I began taking a lot of classes, trying to re engage my brain at the different university’s around here.  I didn’t even realize I “knew” the teacher when I signed up for the 6 week class, so imagine my surprise when I walked in day 1 and recognized her from high school.  I am so glad I enrolled, her classes and seminars are  awesome, and you learn a lot of applicable tools to use in your everyday life.

Dr Delizonna is a really inspirational teacher with a lot of enthusiasm for the subject matter she teaches and it shows.  She has quite the following now, with her classes through Stanford University’s Continuing Education program, being some of the most popular,  quickly filling  to capacity, having  wait lists.  The last class I attended had grown to the size of a small auditorium.

Laura Delizonna’s  Stanford program has now expanded to a  3 part quarterly series in “applied positive psychology”, covering “Emotional Intelligence”, “Social Intelligence” and “Happiness”.   In addition to her teaching and  busy clinical psychology practice, Laura travels the lecture circuit nationally and internationally,  speaking on a number of “Positive Psychology” subject matters.  In the San Francisco Bay area she has recently held seminars and programs at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco as well as the Stillheart Institute and Retreat Center in Woodside, California.

In the next upcoming months I would recommend you check out “Choosing Happiness”, Dr Delizonna’s class at Stanford University this Fall 2011.    Each week the students are given practical assignments, applying principles learned in class, to their personal and professional lives.  Many students, including me, have taken this class more than once, getting more out of each time. The new added bonus to this quarter’s class,  is that Dr Delizonna is co teaching  with Ted Anstedt , whom I have met.   Ted is just an amazing teacher with an incredible wealth of information and life experience to share.  Ted has spent the past twenty years creating and delivering workshops for major companies across the US, Canada and Europe related to positive psychology and emotional intelligence.  Laura’s background is equally impressive, having received her Ph’d from Boston University, and having been a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University’s School of Medicine.

To learn more about the Fall 2011 quarter class,  course text and what you can expect to get out of the class, check out the link here.

For more information about Dr Laura Delizonna, you can also check out her website at www.choosinghappiness.org or read a recent online interview with her here at Sevenpods blog.


 

 

 

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Healthy Chocolate Almond Butter “Milkshake”: Vegan or Organic Dairy

This shake is packed with protein and and healthy fats.  Super fast, easy to make, filling and great for recovery after working out.  I used almond butter because I like its flavor better than peanut butter, but you can substitute peanut butter if that’s what you prefer.  For me this is super “decadent” tasting, so I make a batch and split it into 2 servings of 8 ounces each.  Works out to about 210 calories each with over 25 grams of protein.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender (I use my vitamix) until well blended.
  • Sprinkle with a little cocoa powder on top
  • Serves 2.  Enjoy 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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Healthy Sante Fe Style Sweet Potato, Veggie and Chile Frittata

 

 


A frittata can be an incredibly healthy egg dish made mainly on the stove.  For starters I love eggs so much its kind of a joke with my friends and family.  I can come up with almost any excuse to eat eggs at almost any meal.  Cooking a frittata is much easier than an omelet, and can be used as a  vehicle for almost any kind of veggie, cheese, protein, herb or spice you happen to have around. Frittatas  are traditionally served in pie shaped wedges, kind of like a deep dish pizza, and are easily transportable – in Italy it’s common to take a wedge to work for lunch. I love their versatility, the endless number of ingredient combinations and the fact that a frittata  can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack.  Since its just my boyfriend and I here, I usually make one big deep dish style frittata, in an oven proof non stick pan. (usually a 12 inch  pan) I layer my favorite  ingredients of the day (usually with a lot of sauteed greens), aromatics/ herbs, and  spices and then pour the eggs on over them all and let it set. This size dish can provide several  meals and stores well covered in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days.

I almost always make my frittatas as flavorful and nutritious as possible, which is really easy to do by cranking up the veggie content, the aromatics, and by using less egg yolks and more whites if you choose.  This particular frittata’s flavor combination reflects my love of southwestern food.

The recipe, ingredients and directions below are exactly how I cooked my breakfast today.  I usually make all my frittatas with more  egg whites than whole egg .  I did include the directions for this recipe for the “regular” version of this dish, which is still extremely healthy on its own.  As a rule of thumb, I almost always add as many different veggies and ingredients as possible, for a more nutritionally dense and balanced meal.  I love potatoes for breakfast but but don’t eat them very often since they are a starchy carbohydrate with not much nutritional value, but sweet potatoes are a much more nutritionally complex version of their not so healthy cousin and play well off of the southwestern flavors in this dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb sweet potatoes, peeled  and cut into 1/2 to 1/4 inch cubes
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup white or yellow onion chopped
  • 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper (I prefer yellow) chopped
  • 2  fresh serrano or 1 Anaheim chile, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 2 fresh jalapenos, cored , seeded, and minced (Optional)
  • one small can (aprox 4 ounces) of diced roasted green chile peppers
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped or sliced white mushrooms (Optional)
  • 1 cups of yellow or green zucchini chopped (Optional)
  • 1 small any color tomato seeded and chopped ( Optional)
  • 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar,  pepper jack , Monterey jack  (optional: 1  cup of shredded cheese for much more flavor, yet more calories and fat)
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh or dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice or if desperate bottle lime juice
  • 5 whole eggs plus 5 additional  egg whites ( optional higher calorie version use 8 whole eggs)
  •  Optional adds:  8 to 12  ounces chopped organic spicy lean sausage
  • Optional serving suggestions: a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, healthy guacamole, or cilantro stems for garnish

Directions:

  • Adjust top oven rack – with a skillet (ovenproof!) on it, you want the top of the skillet to be 4-6 inches from the broiler. Turn on broiler
  • Cooked the diced sweet potato in salted boiling water for 3 minutes then drain them, or just nuke them in the microwave whole until tender and then dice them. (I’ll admit I totally did the fast “cheater” way in the the microwave.  Its much easier)
  • In a large, aprox 12 inch, non stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat, and saute over medium heat the chopped onion, chopped peppers, diced fresh and canned chiles, stirring frequently for about 20 minutes until soft and onions are light brown. Then add the fresh minced garlic and chopped fresh Jalapenos, stir and set aside onto plate.
  • While chiles and onions are cooking take eggs and whites (or just whole eggs), crack them in a big bowl and whisk together until well mixed.  Set aside and return attention to stove.
  • Return non stick skillet to heat and add 1 more tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil until hot.  Add optional  chopped mushrooms and zucchini until barely soft and set aside on plate with chiles and onion
  •  Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil  to skillet over medium heat and add the sweet potatoes, stirring frequently and cook until the edges begin to turn light brown (7 to 10 minutes).

  • Then add plate to the now slightly browned potatoes the set aside plate of  cooked chiles, onions, and veggies back to skillet along with fresh chopped tomato, and optional chopped sausage, cooking until all is warmed through.
  • Stir in cilantro, lime juice,  salt  and pepper to taste. (about 2 teaspoons each of salt and pepper)
  • Add 1/2 of the cheese mixture to the eggs before pouring  egg/cheese mixture over the cooked veggies in the skillet until its evenly distributed throughout.
  • Continuing at medium heat, cook eggs for about 2 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom with heat-resistant spatula. When eggs are mostly cooked but still very wet, stop stirring. You want to see cooked egg scattered throughout, but loose egg in between.
  • Continue cooking on stove for another minute so underside sets.
  • Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Put skillet under broiler. Watch carefully while top browns. This will take 2-4 minutes
  • Remove skillet from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes to finish cooking in center.
  • Cut in wedges and serve either directly from skillet
  •  Optional:  for a prettier family style service style, place a plate on top of the skillet about 15 minutes after egg has time to cool down, and flip the skillet and the plate over at the same time, so egg  holds it shape when you remove the skillet to serve at the dinner table.  Similar to how you would flip and serve an upside down cake.
  •  For serving suggestions,top each wedge sized serving with sliced avocado, guacamole, salsa, a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, and or cilantro sprigs.

Each large wedged size serving contains aprox 350 calories each,  is nutritionally dense and packed with about 12  grams of protein, lots of healthy carbohydrates and healthy fat.

 

 

 


 

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Slow Cooker Indian Curried Chickpeas (Super Healthy!)

 

This is a super healthy, slow cooker version of curried chickpeas made from scratch with the dry beans. Curried chickpeas is one of my favorite snack foods on the planet!   I call this recipe “Indian Comfort Food”.   Cook up a big batch of this and then store in your fridge for a fast quick snack or meal on the go.  Tastes awesome  topped with chopped cilantro and red onions, or cooled with an organic Greek yogurt or healthy cashew cream.  Some people love these served as the main protein in a Middle Eastern wrap dish.

I have been on quite the Indian food kick lately.  That’s a good thing because Indian food has a flavor profile filled with lots of yummy  spices and aromatics which are packed with nutrition, cancer and disease fighting properties.   With a slow cooker you just take the dried beans or peas,  throw in the additional ingredients, set the heat and timer, and your done.  Couldn’t be easier!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of dried chickpeas
  • 1 medium red or yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 tomato (optional) diced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic peeled and minced
  • 3 green chilies (serrano, habanero, or cayenne) stems removed chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds ground
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1/2 tablespoon red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 6 cups of water
  • Optional:
  • a couple tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • low fat or non fat plain organic Greek yogurt or cashew cream
  • lime wedges for garnish

Directions:

  • Put the chickpeas, onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, green chilies, spices and water into the slow cooker (I use a 3 1/2 quart cooker, but you can use are larger one if you like)
  •  You have two cooking options: Cook on “High” for the first 6 hours, stir, and then on “Low”  until the beans are cooked to your desired tenderness.  Or you can cook it on “Low” for 12  hours or until the beans are to your desired tenderness.
  • To serve, add the chopped cilantro and stir in a little Greek Yogurt or stir in some cashew cream to give the beans an added delicious little creaminess.

Serve and enjoy!   Keep a container for easy snacking in the fridge. These are so yummy, I know you will love this recipe.

 

 

 

 

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Roasted Butterflied Chicken with Ginger Soy Marinade

 

 

I’ll probably use this butterflied chicken cooking method  for roasting chicken in the oven from now on. Or until I become more proficient roasting chicken whole.  This oven roasted butterflied chicken method cooks so quickly, even and juicy, I think it kicks butt on the traditional “whole roast chicken” method. This butterflied chicken may not be as pretty presentation wise, but who really cares?

I have to be honest, I stumbled upon making this recipe, literally by accident.  I was planning on having one of those “cooking weekends” where I had all these fun recipe concepts I was excited to make.   Yet from the get go, things just kept going wrong.  As far as the chicken went, I was planning on making a “Balinese” marinade grilled chicken recipe I had been salivating over for a few weeks, but the marinade came out horrible.  I discovered this only after I was already several hours behind into my cooking for the weekend and I was having company over in a few hours.  So here I had this butterflied chicken ready to marinade, it was too late to fire up the grill, and I had never roasted a butterflied chicken in the oven. I was now paralyzed with “creative cooking  block”.  Looking back I have no idea why I was so flustered.  Roasting butterflied chicken in the oven should have seemed like an obvious “snap”.   I decided upon a  soy glaze so I knew I could at least get a nice looking “brown” on the skin.  I threw together a quick 1 hour marinade, preheated the oven to 415 degrees, threw the chicken in, and 45 minutes later it was done. I LOVED the way this chicken turned out.  The chicken skin was nicely browned  and crisp, and the chicken meat super juicy and cooked evenly throughout.

Normally I don’t make Asian marinades with soy sauce because of the high sodium content but I was a little pressed for time, and I’ll admit, it tasted great.

*** Note: I did not, nor will I likely ever butterfly a chicken on my own.  Just had the butcher at Whole Foods do it for free. To “Butterfly the Chicken Yourself”  Here is a link to an instructional video on YouTube.

Marinade for a 3 to 4 lb roasting Chicken Butterflied

  • 2 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
  • 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  •  1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • neutral cooking oil, I used grapeseed

Directions:

  • Pre heat the oven to 415 degrees
  • Line a broiling pan with foil, doubled, then oiled
  • Place marinaded chicken, butterflied, breast side up, laying on the pan as the photo above shows
  • oiled the chicken skin and put a nice sprinkling of salt and pepper on as well
  • Put an electric thermometer in the breast of the chicken
  • Place the dark part of the chicken into the oven facing the back of the oven.  The oven is hottest in the back and as that the darker meat needs to be around 10 degrees hotter than the breast meat
  • Set timer for around 35 minutes and check thermometer.  Check every 5 minutes after wards until Breast is 160 degrees and dark meat 170.
  • Optional: Baste the chicken with the left over marinade through cooking process
  • When breast meat is around 160 degrees and the dark meat around 170, turn the broiler up to high, and raise the pan so the skin can get browned and crispy.  Watch closely.  This only took a couple of minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let rest for about 10 to 15 minutes
  • Serve and enjoy

 

 

 

 

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“Test Kitchen”: Low fat Spicy Tomato Arugula Angel Hair Pasta

 

This is my first in what I will call my “Test Kitchen” Series.  I’ll be trying out recently published recipes from blogs or magazines and following them exactly as they are printed.  Then I’ll post my notes and give it a “will try again” or “will not try again”.

I found this recipe on the Facebook scroll of Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s blog last week.  A  link to the recipe here.   It sounded really good, healthy, loaded with veggies, and I had all the ingredients on hand.  And while the recipe was easy and it stored well, I really doubt I’ll make it again.  It tasted like any random pasta with tomato sauce made of canned tomatoes, and I never normally use canned tomatoes, and now I know why.  I don’t like the taste of canned tomatoes unless they are used in a  large pasta  sauce recipe and then simmered for several hours with a lot of other ingredients, herbs and spices.

I initially tried this dish with a new kind of quinoa angel hair pasta which after making it, I realized, it wasn’t very good.  I have another brand of quinoa pasta I use and like, but for whatever reason, this particular brand, or maybe just quinoa angel hair pasta, was not good this evening.  So I used my back up multi grain whole wheat pasta which I know to be good

Spicy Tomato-Arugula Angel Hair Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 yellow tomatoes, diced
  • 3 red tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 lb of dried angel hair pasta (I used multi grain pasta)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 3 shallots chopped
  • 1 14 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of chopped arugula
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chopped oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  •  Anaheim chiles, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • Place the yellow tomatoes and red tomatoes in a large bowl.  Sprinkle with the sea salt and let sit for 40 minutes
  • Bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 4 minutes.  Strain and rinse.  Set aside
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the garlic and shallots and saute until the shallots are softened.  3 to 4 minutes.  Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 5 minutes
  • Toss the sauce with the pasta, the salted tomatoes, the arugula,pepper, oregano, red pepper flakes and chiles and heat until warmed through.  Season with salt and sprinkle with the Parmesan.  Serve immediately.

My notes if making this again: Use a lot more arugula or spinach, omit canned tomatoes, used more fresh tomatoes, use some chopped up yellow and orange bell peppers sauteed with the garlic and the shallots, use more herbs and spices, angel hair pasta does not taste good made with quinoa.

My conclusions: I have so many other tomato pasta sauce recipes I like that I would probably not make this again.

 

 

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