Changing for the better, one bite and (deep) breath at a time.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

New Website!

I'm excited to debut my new website,! Take a look and let me know what you think! Make sure to follow us on Facebook as well.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Slow Cooker Vegan Vegetable and Chickpea Curry

I love using my slow cooker. I can prep the ingredients the night before, set the bowl it in the fridge, and put it on the slow cooker base in the morning. When I get home, the house smells delicious, and the only cleanup is the big bowl! I also like this crock pot curry recipe because it's easy and is chock-full of vegetables. It does utilize some canned goods, which I don't like to use too often, but they're nice in a pinch. As always, make sure to buy organic ingredients, especially for produce with soft skin that you will eat. For my vegan followers, here's another recipe to add to your repertoire!

Vegetable and Chickpea Crockpot Curry
Serves 6

1 T olive oil (I used raw coconut oil)
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 cup (1/4 inch thick) carrot slices
1 T curry powder
1 tsp. brown sugar (I used a few dashes of stevia)
1 tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
3 cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 1/2 cups cubed peeled baking potato (I used sweet potato)
1 cup diced green bell pepper
1 cup (1-inch) cut green beans
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper
1 (14.5 oz) canned diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (14 oz) can vegetable broth
3 cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup light coconut milk
6 lemon wedges (I omitted these)


Assemble ingredients.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and carrot; cover and cook for 5 minutes until tender.

Add curry powder, sugar (stevia), ginger, garlic, and chile; cook one minute, stirring constantly.

Note: the hottest part of the pepper is the seeds. You can remove the seeds for less spice, or keep them in if you want it zesty!

Place onion mixture in 5-quart electric slow cooker. Stir in chickpeas and next 8 ingredients (through broth).

Cover and cook on high 6 hours or until vegetables are tender. Add spinach and coconut milk. Stir until spinach wilts. (Note: until I looked at this recipe again to put it on the blog, I completely forgot about the spinach. I bought it and had it ready, I just didn't add it. Whoops.)

Serve with lemon wedges. I'm not a big lemon-and-curry fan, so I just served it sprinkled with peanuts. Yum.

I had plenty leftover, which I froze and will add chicken to for a future dinner. This meal was incredibly flavorful, simple, and full of some really colorful, health-enhancing vegetables!



Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fun with Food - Grapefruitoons

My coworker's friend, a graphic designer, has started a really interesting
blog where she uses REAL grapefruit skin and other things around her house to create grapefruit characters. She adds graphic backgrounds using her computer, but the actual characters are real, 3D "creatures" made by hand. It's truly remarkable what she can do with the rind of a grapefruit! (And, she's not wasting any food, since she also eats the grapefruit flesh.)

I like this website because it's a reminder that healthy eating can still be delicious, interesting, and fun. For those of you who have children, maybe you want to try something like this! Grapefruit is a great source of vitamin C and many phytochemicals, and it is grown locally here in Arizona.

Check out the Grapefruitoons website here.

Caveat: if you take certain medications, such as Lipitor (and other statins), Zoloft, or Allegra, do not eat grapefruit because it adversely interacts with these drugs. For more grapefruit-drug interactions, see this list.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Minnesota-Inspired Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Many of you may not know that I essentially grew up in Minnesota, from age 8 until age 15. A California native, I quickly learned that wild rice, lutefisk, "hot dishes," and "bars" were dinner staples. This really yummy EatingWell recipe combines wild rice, chicken, and green beans with a homemade (not condensed soup-based) mushroom sauce that is tasty and great for a crowd. I try to avoid condensed soups, as they contain a lot of added, artificial ingredients, so I was thrilled when I found this recipe. The prep takes some time, but you can do it in advance (as I did) and either refrigerate or freeze it until you're ready for baking.

I was blessed with a new "fancy" camera for Christmas, so hopefully you'll enjoy the evolution of the foodtography this year.

Chicken, Mushroom and Wild Rice Casserole

8 Servings


2 cups water (I used 4 cups based on the recommendations in the comments)
1/2 cup wild rice (I used 1 cup based on the recommendations in the comments)
2 lb organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
2 leeks, chopped and rinsed
1 1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup all purpose flour (I used whole spelt flour)
2 cups low-fat organic milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream (I used organic real sour cream)
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp. dirty sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 cups frozen French-cut green beans
1/2 cup sliced almonds


Assemble ingredients:

Combine water and rice in a small heavy saucepan; bring to boil.

Cover, reduce heat to maintain simmer, and cook until tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, place chicken in a large skillet or saucepan.

Add lightly salted water to cover and bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat and simmer gently until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a clean cutting board and let cool.

Heat oil in Dutch oven or large high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until just starting to brown, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until their liquid has been released and has evaporated, 12 to 14 minutes.

Add sherry, increase heat to high and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes.

Sprinkle the vegetables with flour and stir to coat.

Add milk; bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute, stirring.

Stir in Parmesan, sour cream, parsley, salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 by 13 inch (or similar 3 quart) baking dish with cooking spray.

Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces.

Spread the rice in an even layer in the prepared baking dish.

Top with the chicken, then green beans.

Pour the sauce over the top and spread evenly. Sprinkle with almonds.

Bake the casserole until it is bubbling and the almonds are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. This goes very well with a nice green salad.

It was delicious, and even better left over!