Indian Chicken Curry

Are you craving curry? Indian cuisine can be addictive. The good news is that it is easy to make at home. A key technique in Indian cooking is to fry the spices to release their essence before adding the food ingredients. This demo shows step by step how to make a delicious chicken curry.

You will find more fantastic Indian recipes in my book  “Inspirational Indian Recipes” available on Amazon.

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Supercharge Your Oatmeal Breakfast!

We all know that Oatmeal is a quick easy Breakfast food. Just look on the shelf in the grocery store to see how popular it is. Also notice that all of the flavors are of the sweet variety, a flavor all too common in American’s diets.

bowl of oatmeal

Curried oatmeal with coconut and extra fiber

Today you will learn about a way to Supercharge plain oatmeal into a real Breakfast hero! Start with plain rolled oats and prepare according to package directions (typically 1/2 cup of oats to 3/4 cup of water).

Now for the supercharge part. Stir in 1/2 tsp of curry powder. Giving the oats a savory flavor profile will not only help cut down your sugar cravings, but turmeric, the main spice in curry powder, also has anti-inflamatory properties. Next stir in some unsweetened shredded coconut. This healthy medium chain fat will help slow down the absorption rate of the oats. Also add extra fiber by opening up 2-3 Psyllium husk capsules and sprinkling them into the cooking oats.

At serving time, Stir in some honey (a sweetener that will not spike blood sugar) for it’s numerous health benefits, a bit more shredded coconut, and for crunch and a super extra fiber boost, some Uncle Sam bran flakes (pictured below).

There you have it. Fast, easy, supercharged oatmeal. Enjoy!

Uncle Sam Cereal

High Fiber Bran Ceral

Strained Yogurt – a healthy alternative

Greek yogurt has grown in popularity. You can make your own right at home with great results. Not only is it more affordable, you can control the consistancy, and also use your favorite brand of yogurt or even organic if you choose.

Photo of yogurt strainer

A Cuisinart gold toned coffee filter (center) works great

While some recipes call for layers of cheese cloth in a colander, I have found a Cuisinart coffee filter to work quite well and be easy to clean up. And bowl or container that will suspend the filter is fine. The goal is to allow space for the whey to drain out.

The yogurt will thicken considerably the longer it stands. In the first stage it will be like sour cream. At this point it is great in dips, on sandwiches instead of mayonaise or in salads. Think curried potato salad…

Scoop yogurt into strainer

Scoop yogurt into strainer

… When the yogurt reaches the consistency you like, transfer it to a clean container and store it in the fridge.

If it gets too thick, stir a bit of the whey back into it.

As it get thicker the flavor will change until it tastes like a mild cheese.

Creamed dishes such as spinach that call for dairy will be tasty with strained yogurt.

The remaining whey can be discarded.

remaining whey after straining

The liquid whey can be discarded

Roasted Chili Paste heats up Valentine’s Day

Photo of finished dish

Thai cuisine never ceases to amaze me. The variety of textures, shapes, and colors is a feast for the all the senses. With Valentine’s Day approaching, I can’t think of a better style of cooking to share with someone you care about. One of the fastest ways to a person’s heart is definitely through their stomach.

This dish originally called for tofu, which my wife, Kathy is not fond of at all. Tofu is one texture she cannot, shall we say, appreciate. I set out to find a substitute. Something that mirrored the color and appearance of the original ingredient was needed. The final selection surprised even me. Of all things, humble cauliflower rose to the occasion.

The main Thai ingredient in this dish is roasted chili paste. It is spicy of course, and also has a deep and complex flavor.

jar of chili paste

Use in stirfrys and soups

Cauliflower, with its mild flavor is a perfect compliment. In this case, opposites definitely attract! The bumpy surface gives the overall dish a great visual appeal. A splash of fish sauce, known as nam pla, gives the dish a distinctively Thai flavor.

The original recipe calls for onion and zucchini. I also added some red bell pepper to highlight the color of the chili paste. Together, these three vegetable lend a sweet influence to counter the fiery chili paste. Of course you can tone down the heat by adjusting the amount of chili paste to suit your preference.

This dish works nicely as a vegetable side dish. To make it more of entrée and move it to the center of the plate, add in a handful of shrimp. For a vegetarian version, simply stick with tofu in place of the cauliflower. To go fully vegetarian, substitute 2 oz. vegetable stock, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, and a pinch of salt for the fish sauce. Serve with steamed jasmine rice. If you are feeling ambitious, add coconut ginger soup to the menu along with a cashew nut salad. A cup of Thai tea from Yogi Teas will top things off nicely.

box of Yogi Thai Delight

A caffeine and sugar free Thai tea

Let a Thai meal bring you closer to your Valentine. I encourage you to prepare the meal together and share in the smells, colors, and textures of this delightful cuisine. Afterward, you can experiment on each other with Thai massage.

RECIPE:

Cauliflower in Roasted Chili Paste

Ingredients

1 Tbs Vegetable oil

3-4 Cloves Garlic, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup Onion, cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch wedges

1 /2 Cup Red Bell Pepper, cut 1″ long into strips

1 Cup Zucchini cut into semi circles

2 tsp Roasted Chili Paste

1 Tbs Fish Sauce

2 Cups Steamed Cauliflower florets

Heat a wok or large skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil and toss in the garlic, onion and red bell pepper.  Cook until translucent, about a minute.

Add the Zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally until shiny and tender, about 2 minutes.

Reduce heat and add the chili paste and fish sauce. Toss well. Add in the cauliflower and toss until coated and heated through.

Serve with steamed Jasmine rice.

Fail to Plan, or Plan to Fail? You decide!

March is National Nutrition Month. Can you guess the most important factor in eating right? More important than antioxidants, grams of sugar, or even calories?With so many diet plans and experts proclaiming “This is the way..”, how do you get to your own way of eating right? What one thing can you do to ensure you are eating right? The answer, practice your habits every single day!

Daily Inspiration Rainbow

Practice a rainbow of choices each day

Yup, daily practice of the way you choose to eat best for yourself is what will separate lifelong success from repeated cycles of feeling great and wishing things were different for you. The key here is that your eating habits are the way you choose to put good eating into practice. When you’re in charge, it becomes easy to stick with your healthy choices.

For me, planning to eat well is the difference between feeling great and ending up with food I am just not excited to eat. The saying goes, “if you fail to plan, you might as well just plan to fail”. I start with taking a look at each day of the week. What meals can I eat at home and which ones do I need to bring with me? Are there other good options available to me away from home? From there I look at the overall week. Are there any especially hectic days, business lunches, or even social engagements on the horizon? This can be as simple as looking at the calendar and observing how your week plays out.

With these insights, I can decide how to manage my time in the kitchen. When can I cook a meal with a little extra to take the next day or that will freeze well for later in the week? On a busy day what can I put together quickly to take me through the day? The final piece of the puzzle is begin sure to have all the groceries I will need for the week on hand. A quick look through the fridge and freezer tells me what I need to put on my shopping list. Whether you choose to shop once a week, every few days, or even on a daily basis, having a supply list will save you time.

When I make a list, I organize it in the way my favorite grocery store is laid out. Each of the categories are:

Produce  & Deli items (these two are beside each other in my store)

Grocery items (the dangerous middle section of the store)

Meats & Seafood (yeah, lean proteins!)

Dairy (look for hormone free or organic)

and finally, any Frozen items (keep these to a minimum).

This get me through the store quickly and minimizes the chance of forgetting anything. This is the way that works for me and Kathy, my wife.

Kathy has her own Acupuncture practice. She often sees patients into the evening. This generally means she needs to take two meals plus snacks for the day. Meals for her are typically extras from my dinner the night before. These might be a stuffed chicken breast, an Indian curry, or a piece of fish. We always include a green vegetable for her. It could be as simple as steamed broccoli or some sautéed kale. Once or twice a week her daily food basket will include a sandwich. These are usually turkey or tuna salad. We always make her sandwiches with lettuce, onion, and tomato.  Snacks for Kathy might be almond butter and apple slices or humus and carrots. From the store I get her Annie Chun’s Wasabi Seaweed snacks or some Kind Bars.

You can get an idea of the types of foods we choose by reading through the various entries on this blog. What you’ll notice is that all the recipes are based on whole, fresh foods. You might also notice there is a wide variety of foods. These two principles are what underlie our daily choices.

March is National Nutrition Month.  Really notice how the food you eat each day makes you feel. Take a look at your food choices. Do they meet your own personal goals? Do you have the energy to do the things you love? Is your immune system strong enough to avoid being sick and missing work, play, or other quality life time? Decide for yourself what works for you. Then be sure to practice those choices every day, all year long.

 

TAGS: Cleanse, Consciousness, healthy eating, whole foods, skin

GINGER, CHICKEN AND COCONUT SOUP

Known as Tom Gi Kaa, this classic Thai soup is rich with coconut milk and intensely flavored with ginger and lemongrass. You can prepare the stock in advance (it freezes well too) and then just finish up steps 2 & 3 at serving time.

Fast, easy, Thai Coconut Ginger Soup

Fast, easy, Thai Coconut Ginger Soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serves 4-6 people

Ingredients:

3 Cups Coconut Milk
2 Cups Chicken Stock
4 Lemon Grass stalks, bruised and chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, thinly sliced
10 Black peppercorns, crushed
10 Kaffir Lime leaves, torn
11 ozs. Boneless chicken, cut into thin strips
1 1/2 Cups button mushrooms
5 Tbs. Canned baby corn
4 Tbs. Lime Juice
3 Tbs. Fish Sauce
Garnish: Crushed Red Pepper, Chopped Cilantro, Chopped Scallions

1) Bring the coconut milk and chicken stock to a boil. Add the lemon grass, ginger, pepper corns, and half the lime leaves. Reduce heat and simmer gently for ten minutes.

2) Strain the stock and return to the heat. Add the chicken, button mushrooms, and baby corn. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.

3) Stir in Lime Juice and fish sauce to taste, and the rest of the lime leaves. Serve with one or all garnish of your choice.

NOTE: for an equally yummy vegatarian version, use vegeatable broth and tempeh.

 

MGH Tags: cleanse, skin

Thai Fish – Fast Easy and Delicious!

One of the simplest ways to cook fish is right on the stove top using a shallow pan with a lid. Start by cooking a some vegetables and a savory element in oil. Add a small amount of liquid and bring it to a boil. Lay the fish on top, cover it, and within 10 minutes, it’s meal time!

This technique is very well suited for white fleshed fish fillets such as tilapia or sole. You can even cook the fish directly from frozen. Now “I forgot to take something out of the freezer”, is no obstacle for you.

Colorful cooked fish fillet

Fast and Healthy Thai Fish Recipe

 

Here is what I did for the Thai style dish pictured here:

Heat some peanut oil in a shallow pan over medium high heat.

Cut up some vegetables such as carrot and red bell pepper and toss them into the pan..

Finely chop a savory element such as ginger, and add it to the vegetables. Add in an extra or two such as grated coconut and lemon grass.

Pour in enough liquid (chicken stock or even water) to cover the bottom of the pan by ¼ inch and let it come to a boil. Season with fish sauce or soy sauce.

Place the fish on top and cover the pan. Reduce the heat to an active simmer and cook until the fish is opaque and flakes easily (8-10 minutes).

Scoop the fish onto a plate and top with a squirt of lime juice, and some chopped cilantro or green onion.

 

That was about as easy as it gets, don’t you agree?. Use what you have on hand. If you start with ingredients you love and put your heart into it, the results will stir your soul. I promise.

There are many variations on this basic technique. Just by varying the vegetables and seasonings you can make Mexican, Indian, or Mediterranean style dishes. Search this blog for Seasonings Made Simple for guidelines on each of these cuisines.

First Steps To Positive Affirmation: Yoga and Meditation

I always wonder why birds choose to stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth, then I ask myself the same question.” – Harun Yahya

Ever feel like you yourself are stuck in the routine of day to day life? With life’s stressors causing us to stay in the same dazed mental state, it is easy to live life on cruise control. How does one get out of the nasty, uninspiring cycle to create positive changes for one’s self? The answer lies with yoga and meditation.

Yoga and meditation can be the first steps to achieving a positive affirmation and a healthier lifestyle. In performing these meditative practices, we can better understand ourselves and practice the Confidence Diet to lead an overall happier, fulfilled life.

yogameditation1

Positive affirmation is all about optimism and conscientiously thinking your way into a more prosperous lifestyle for yourself. The idea is that when you put forth positive thoughts into the universe they become truths.

Oftentimes, the root of self-deprecating thoughts lies with the way we view ourselves and our capabilities in relation to others. Whether it is with our skills set, our bodies, or our relationships, there are a number of arenas where people can and do create a negative self image for themselves. However, yoga and meditation can be the instigator towards positive transformation.

While life may sometimes feel stagnant, our minds are always ready to learn and grow – and although we may try to deny it or be reluctant to, the reality is that we can consciously change our mindset and the way we look at life. What this means, and what we inherently know, is that one can train one’s self to lead a positive lifestyle through meditation/yoga and affirmations.

yogameditation2

When we get in touch with ourselves through yoga and meditation, our mood becomes better, we can concentrate more, we have more energy, and we can become more optimistic. Having a healthier, happier mindset can transfer over to a healthier body and a healthier spirit. Moreover, yoga and meditation can make a person not only feel better, but look better externally too, which doesn’t hurt when creating a better self image for yourself.

Once you train your mind to positive affirmation through meditation and yoga, you can send positive thoughts to other areas of your life and world to create positive improvements. You can become better in tune with your needs, such as what your body needs in terms of your diet.

If you were not a fan of fruits and vegetables before, getting in touch with your body through meditation or yoga may help you feel otherwise about the foods. The proper nourishment of a vegetable can be equated with tastiness. You can become empowered about your lifestyle choices and be confident about what you eat, which is what the Confidence Diet is all about.

You can also become in tune with your need to recharge through yoga and meditation. For instance, it is perfectly acceptable to steal time and space for yourself in order to collect your thoughts and realign your energies. A private, personal room within your home specially designed for meditating would be ideal. You can create a soothing atmosphere with elements from nature, such as decorative plants, rocks, and water walls to make your meditative/yoga space into a comfortable, relaxing space.

With the proper space, desire, and mindset – and with the help of yoga and meditation – you are taking your first steps to positive affirmation. In the words of the Buddha, “What we think, we become.”

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer, yoga enthusiast, and mother of three in Southern California. She has practiced yoga regularly over the years and finds it is one of the best ways to stay in tune with her body and mind in the midst of the business of life. Follow her on Twitter today!

Jicama Cole Slaw and Julienne peeler demo

Jicama is a crunchy, sweet root vegetable. It makes a great addition to Coleslaw. Here in this video demonstration you will learn how to make a fast, easy, healthy version of a sweet and sour style coleslaw. Jicama, ginger and a secret lime dressing make this dish some together quickly. You will also see a handy little tool called a julienne peeler being used.

Bring this dish to your next backyard BBQ and watch it disappear. You will be a star of the buffet table 🙂