Sunday, May 14, 2017

Crookpot Thai Curry Soup

Anyone who knows me knows that it is no secret that I love Asian flavors. Particularly Vietnamese, Thai and Japanese (in that order). The flavors are fresh, bright and are feeling without causing too much chaos in our diet. I especially like that the flavors are easy to achieve with a few simple staple ingredients.

Because today was Mothers' Day, I wanted to enjoy those flavors without spending all day in the kitchen or having to spend a bunch of money going out (not to mention the crowds!). So, the obvious choice was to make it in the crock pot, which is especially ideal because you will get the slow development of flavors with little to no supervision.

What you will need (keep in mind that these are items I always have on hand and anyone who loves this flavor profile should invest in stocking the pantry with the same -- It will be money well spent!)
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 TB red curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp five spice powder
  • 2 TB of Better Than Bouillon chicken stock base
  • 1 TB fish sauce
  • 1/2 TB soy sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic chili paste 
  • 1" piece of fresh ginger grated
  • 1-2 grated carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 half gallon carton of coconut milk (I used Blue Diamond)
  • 1 bag of frozen peas
  • 4oz of vermicelli noodles
  • cilantro, scallion and peanuts for garnish
  1. Turn your crock pot to high then halve your onion lengthwise (so slices look like arches) and thinly slice. Add to crock pot along with all your spices and still until well combined.
  2. Add ginger, carrots and celery and stir again. 
  3. Add all your coconut milk (you can use two cans of traditional coconut milk with two cups of water, but I find this easier and results in the same flavor and consistency). NOTE: I used the one that is only coconut milk, not the one that is half almond. I don't see why you couldn't but almond usually adds a sweeter and nuttier taste. 
  4. Leave on high for 4 hours and stir occasionally. 
  5. Reduce to low and add peas and cook for another hours
  6. Add noodles (I use half an 8.8ox pack or two of the smaller 2oz bundles) and leave for 30 minutes. I then use kitchen scissors to cut into manageable strands. 
  7. Ladle into bowls and garnish with cilantro, scallions and/or unsalted peanuts. 
This dish is so easy and is the perfect combination of salt, sweet and heat as well as creamy. Hope you enjoyed as much as we did!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Grand Granola... Your new favorite snack!

I LOVE granola but am very picky when it comes to its composition... I want it crunchy without feeling dry and chalky; flavorful but not sticky sweet; and, most of all, I like to have variety. A few years back, I started making my own and can't believe that I hadn't started sooner. It is quick, easy and absolutely delicious while satisfying my criteria. The best part is that you can make it with whatever you have on hand or whatever you are in the mood for.

This recipe is perfect for breakfast, as part of a trail mix, topping for cereal... the options are endless! I also like this recipe because the egg whites help to bind it together to create crunchy clusters, which makes it easier to snack on. Feel free to adjust any of the ingredients to suit your fancy. Just remember that adjusting the sugar content effects the cooking time (more sugar = less cooking time) and may need to be stirred sooner to avoid scorching. However, it is perfectly normal to have variations on color for a batch.

Seriously... Doesn't this look delicious!

Preheat oven to 300ºF
Mix together in a large bowl:
3c old fashioned rolled oats
1.5c nuts (I did a combination of almonds, pistachios, hemp, Chia seeds - all not salted)
1.5c of coconut (I only had sweetened but I would use toasted next time)
1/2c dried fruit (You will want to choose with more moisture or it will become too chewy)
Mix together.

In a small bowl:
1 egg white
1/4c olive/coconut oil
2TB of brown sugar
1/4c maple syrup
1.5tsp of vanilla
Beat very well.

Fold the wet and dry ingredients until well coated then let sit for 10 minutes. Then spread out on a jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper in an even layer. Sprinkle lightly with coarser sea salt (I actually used lava salt).
Start by baking 45 minutes, turn in oven and add another 5-10. You want it to be toasted. Let cool completely (it will get crunchy as it cools). You can also sprinkle with chocolate chips that will incorporate while it cools. If you bake them with the granola, you risk burning the morsels (Yuck!). Last time I made some, I added a little cinnamon and used pumpkin spice chips and it was pure heaven!

Stuff your face and enjoy! Makes a little more than 2 one quart Mason jars. Keep in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks (if it lasts that long!) 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Blogging for Books: The Acid Watcher Diet

The Acid Watcher Diet by Jonathan Aviv is a user friendly guide about the effects and treatment of acid reflux through diet modifications. The book starts by outlining what acid reflux is and the signs/symptoms to recognize that you have it as well as what the physical ramifications are of leaving it untreated. Aviv also discusses the different procedures that are available to confirm and diagnose it.

He then moves into the role of food in causing acid reflux and the different role of macronutrients in a balanced diet. He includes a handy chart for determining the different pHs of common foods and how they can be utilized to reduce inflammation in combination to the decisions that we make from day to day. This includes reducing particular behaviors that induce acid production, such as stress.

All of this information is followed by an easy to follow guide for a 28 day routine that is phased out into Healing and Maintenance as well as an exercise routine to support reaching a healthy weight as well as not aggravating the condition. The recipes included are easy to follow and most of the ingredients can be gathered at your average grocery store. This book is a good beginners guide or worth looking into for anyone battling acid reflux.