Just Checking In…

Howdy! Any of you having an exciting weekend? My weekend has been filled with lots and lots of packing! The movers will be here on Monday so I have a lot to do! I am definitely getting more excited about it – Chicago is such an exciting city. 🙂 However, it has been hard to say goodbye to all the great friends we’ve made in Memphis over the last 2 years. I have to keep reminding myself of this quote by Helen Keller…

Source: society6.com via Deb on Pinterest

This big move is definitely a great adventure! Speaking of heading out for an adventure, you need to pack fuel! I was excited to come across this recipe for Raisin Nut Bites by InspiredRD. Instead of dates, which is what most homemade granola bars/bites recipes call for, this one uses raisins as a base! I had a box lingering in the cabinet, so this was the perfect way to use them rather than pack them! Yum.

Hope you are all having a fabulous weekend!

Homemade Curry Made Easy

Happy Thursday Friends!
  We’re almost to the the end of the week! Woohoo! Today, I wanted to share with you a step-by-step tutorial on how to make curry! Before I dated Will, I never realized how easy it can be to make it at home. Not only is it easy, its just as delicious as any you buy in a restaurant!
   The one thing we love about curry is that you can basically throw any vegetables and protein you have on hand and make a delicious curry! We have experimented with a lot of vegetables: mushrooms, broccoli, eggplant, summer squash, pepper, carrots, and more. Since I’m a vegetarian, we usually choose tofu or seitan for the meat – but feel free to use chicken, beef, fish…. whatever strikes your fancy!
   There are two crucial curry ingredients that are a little harder to find: fish sauce and curry paste. Luckily, we have a small Asian market in Memphis (who knew?!) so we could buy them there. However, I know that you can also find the curry paste in the International foods aisle at Whole Foods (and others I’m sure!). The fish sauce can easily be substituted with soy sauce if you can’t find it anywhere near you. If subbing soy sauce, you can be a little more liberal with how much you add; it’s nowhere near as strong as fish sauce!
   Also, make sure you do not shake the can of coconut milk you use. In order to get the fat layer on top you need for sauteing the protein, you have to let it rest on the shelf for a day or two (or more if you plan ahead).

Let’s make curry, shall we?

Here are all the ingredients we chose for this curry.The small can is the curry paste – that will give you an idea what you are looking for in the store!

I bought extra firm tofu for this curry since it will hold up a little better. I’ve heard that pressing it a bit also helps the tofu hold its shape when cooking. To press it, I cut the block in half and lay both pieces on a paper towel. I topped these slices with another towel and a cookie sheet. On top of that I added a book. (Any heavy object will work!)

All the extra water is getting squeezed out of the tofu under there! I just set this aside and let it press until I was ready to add it to the sauce, maybe 15 minutes or so. It doesn’t take long.  
Chop all your veggies into evenly sized pieces. Love all the color in there!
Bring a stock pot to heat on the stove. Skim off the thick cream layer from the can of coconut milk, add to the pan and heat.  
Add about a tablespoon of the curry paste. You can add more or less to taste; it all depends on the type and brand of curry paste whether it is super spicy or not! We’ve made a couple in the past that were too spicy even for us! Whew!
Continue to heat and stir the curry paste/coconut cream until melted together. Once it starts to simmer, add a teaspoon of fish sauce.  

Here’s what you are looking for if you decide to buy fish sauce! A little bit goes a long way! If you can’t find it, no worries. Soy sauce works just as well.

Time to add the protein to the pot! Stir until covered with the curry sauce and cook on medium heat until meat (if using) is cooked through. 
Now, add your vegetables and the rest of the can of coconut milk (ie. the clear liquid layer underneath the solid stuff you removed in the first step.) Cover and simmer on medium heat until vegetables are cooked through. (We like ours to have just a little crunch still.)
Easy Homemade Curry
Ingredients:
– 1 8 oz. block firm tofu (or 8 oz. protein of choice)
– 1 small head broccoli
– 1 red pepper
– 2-3 medium carrots
– 1 pint of mushrooms
– 1 can coconut milk (Do not shake the can before opening! Try to use a can that has been sitting on a shelf for a while – the layers will be better separated.) 
– 1 tablespoon curry paste
– 1 teaspoon fish sauce
– Rice or shredded cauliflower for a base on which to serve curry
Directions: 
1. Chop the vegetables and protein into even pieces. 
2. Heat a large stock pot on medium heat. Skim cream layer from the can of coconut milk and add to pan. Add the curry paste. Heat and stir the two together until well mixed and beginning to simmer. Stir in the fish sauce. Add the protein.
3. Cook protein in curry/coconut mixture until cooked through. 
4. Add vegetables and the rest of the contents of the can of coconut cream. Stir and then cover the pot and simmer until the vegetables are cooked. 
5. Serve over rice or shredded cauliflower. Enjoy!

Ten Things Tuesday


1. I made Kath’s Moroccan Quinoa Salad last week. Oh. my. goodness! It was so delicious! I didn’t have my camera with me when I made it, but let me tell you – red quinoa makes this salad as pretty as it tastes. 🙂
2. I am still loving the HealthysELF movement! I am looking forward to Thursday’s green smoothie challenge. Yum! I loved Saturday’s “color your plate” challenge!

Coloring my plate, one salad at a time!

3. Will and I made this delicious curry over the weekend! I’ll be doing a step-by-step instructional post on it soon!

Curry time!

4. Can’t believe I’ll be moving to Chicago next week!!!
5. I am really excited to make these Roasted Red Pepper Chickpea Burgers from Today’s Dietitian soon! Chickpeas will be in my shopping basket on my next trip to the store for sure.
6. I did this Love Your Bod WOD by Hillary from Nutrition Nut on the Run. It took me less than 20 minutes to do, but 2 days to recover! Now that’s a good workout. 😉
7. A new study came out that indicates those who consume a Southern diet (ie. loaded with fried chicken, processed meats, and BBQ!) have a 41% higher stroke risk. Yikes! Perhaps I’ll start sharing that statistic with some of my patients…
8. This post about blogging by Joy the Baker really spoke to me. I’ve been trying to take some of her advice to heart!
9. These almonds might be a weekly snack at my house now!

10. I found this quinoa breakfast bowl recipe via Pinterest. Looks amazing!!!! I have yet to try quinoa for breakfast – sounds like an interesting experiment. 🙂

Honey Roasted Cinnamon Almonds

Cinnamon Almonds

I never knew how easy it could be to roast your own almonds at home until I needed to make a few for a salad last weekend. Who knew?! I also had almonds on the brain after reading Kath’s delicious looking recipe for Maple Sesame Almonds! So, I made sure to pick up a few raw almonds on my weekend shopping trip. It was perfect timing because Saturday was National Almond Day! Here is a little recipe I thought I would share with you!

Honey Roasted Cinnamon Almonds
Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup of almonds
  • 4 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Sprinkle of salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spread almonds in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. (They should brown slightly and your kitchen will begin to smell like roasted almonds. Mmm…)
  3. Once baked for 10 minutes, remove the almonds from the oven. Combine almonds, water, honey, cinnamon together in a bowl. Stir to coat.
  4. Pour almonds back onto cookie sheet and spread into a single layer.  Bake for an additional 5 – 10 minutes.
  5. Transfer to wax paper, spread into a single layer, and let cool. Sprinkle with salt. Enjoy!

PS: Did you know?

  • A single serving (1 ounce) of almonds is 23 nuts.
  • Almonds are high in protein! They provide 6 grams of protein per serving.
  • They are high in heart healthy poly- and monounsaturated fats.
  • Almonds are chock-full of essential nutrients like vitamin E, magnesium, and calcium.

Low Carb Taco Pizza!

Here’s how the inspiration for this pizza occurred…
Me: Any ideas for dinner? I was thinking seitan taco salad or another cauliflower crust pizza…
Will: Both sound awesome!
Will: Seitan taco pizza?
Me: Oooh! That could be interesting!

Bam! This fun and delicious pizza combo was born. It reminded me of those mini Mexican pizzas everyone used to get so excited about in elementary school… only so much better! I had posted about this cauliflower pizza crust a few weeks ago when we made Scratch-Made Cauliflower Crust Pizza and I was eager to try it out again. It’s so much easier to make the crust this way, rather than pizza dough. Plus, Will can really enjoy it and not feel guilty about the carbs! This version is also gluten free for anyone who may have a gluten intolerance. We also made if vegetarian friendly (for me!) by using seitan in place of ground beef – however, I think it would also work well with beef.

Taco Pizza with Cauliflower Crust
(Recipe Adapted from Eating Bird Food)
Ingredients:
For the Crust:
– 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
– 1/2 head of cauliflower, shredded
– 1 egg
For the pizza;
– 1 cup pizza sauce
– 1 teaspoon chipotle paste
– 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
– 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
– 1 box ground seitan
– 1/2 packet of taco seasoning
– Toppings of choice: we did sauteed onion and green pepper and pickled jalapenos 
Directions: 
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Heat cauliflower uncovered in the microwave for eight minutes. Combine with shredded cheese and egg. Spread onto greased baking sheet until ~1/4 inch thick. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown.
3. Heat sauce and chipotle together on the stove until warmed. Mix the seitan and taco seasoning and cook in a skillet until excess moisture in seitan is cooked off. 
4. Top cooked crust with sauce, cheese, seitan, and desired toppings. Broil for 5-7 minutes or until the cheese has melted. 
5. Serve with salad. Yum!!!!

Heart Healthy Foods to Add to Your Shopping List!

Source
After sharing the facts about heart health and diet with you yesterday, I wanted to give you some practical tips. It’s all about starting small and incorporating more healthy foods in your diet.  For example, you don’t have to go vegetarian to reap some of the heart healthy benefits of a meat-free diet. A popular movement is Meatless Mondays. By going meatless at least one day a week, you are increasing your vegetable intake and lessening your carbon footprint. Check out the Meatless Mondays website for lots of great recipes!
The following are a few heart healthy foods to add to your shopping list:
  • Nuts or nut butters:  Nuts are high in poly- and monounsaturated fats which are part of the reason the Mediterranean diet is so heart healthy. Walnuts especially are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower stroke risk. In addition to fat, nuts and nut butters are high in protein. Add some nut butter to your cereal or smoothie or snack on nuts at work. Try: walnuts, almonds, peanuts, cashews, sunflower seed butter, peanut butter
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables:  You can never eat too many vegetables! Every week, I usually include a bag of salad in my cart – make sure the greens are darkly colored; iceberg lettuce doesn’t have nearly as many nutrients as the darker greens! Fresh is best, but frozen and canned can be alternatives too. If buying frozen, pass up the ones that come with sauce packets to mix in. Give canned vegetables a good rinse before cooking to remove some of the salt.Don’t be afraid to try something new every week or two! The variety of different fruits and vegetables is endless! Next time you go to the store or market, pick up a fruit or vegetable you are unfamiliar with and Google a recipe when you get home! That’s how I discovered delicata squash.
  • Olive oil, full fat salad dressing, coconut oil, and butter:  There is no need to be afraid of some fat! Olive oil is great for sautéing vegetables for a stir fry. You aren’t doing yourself a favor by choosing low-fat dressing- it is often full of sugar. Plus, a recent study indicated that you absorb more healthy antioxidants from your salad if you top it with a full fat salad dressing or oil (source).  Saturated fat is no longer the enemy – so feel free to use butter or coconut oil to add some flavor to your vegetables; remember a little goes a long way!
  • Quinoa, wheat berries, whole grain products: Step out of the whole grain bread/pasta box and try something new! Quinoa is high in protein and cooks up quick! It is a great addition or base for salads and can be used in place of rice. Wheat berries are chewy and have a subtly nutty flavor. They go great is soups or can also be used for rice!
  • Fish (fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines): In order to better meet your Omega 3 requirements, it’s best to eat fatty fish at least 2 times per week. I admit, this one is tough for me too! I try to buy tuna frequently and toss it on salad for a quick and easy dinner.
  • Beans, lentils: Beans and lentils are high fiber, high protein, and low calorie foods! Incorporate more of these nutrient powerhouses into your day! I often cook up a big pot of lentils over the weekend to eat throughout the week.
  • Dark chocolate: Choose bars labeled as 70% cocoa or higher as they are higher in antioxidants which have a slew of healthy benefits not only for your heart but also cancer prevention.

Foods to leave at the store:
  • Sodas and fruit juices: Cutting back on caloric beverages is an easy way to limit excess calories in your diet. Both soda and fruit juice contain a lot of sugar and calories with little additional nutrients. (Ok, you get a few vitamins from fruit juice, but none of the healthy fiber!)
  • Sweets (ie. candy, ice cream): These are best left at the store. Instead of bringing temptation home with you, plan to go out for a sweet treat once a week and really savor it. If you do need a little bit of something sweet, reach for a piece of fruit or some dark chocolate (see above).
  • Processed snack foods (crackers, chips):  You’ll benefit much more from choosing snacks with a little bit of protein (ie. nuts, trail mix, yogurt, veggies and hummus, or string cheese) rather than just salt and carbohydrates. The extra protein in smart snack choices makes you feel much more satisfied for longer. Things like chips offer a lot of calories with little satisfaction. Plus, with a slogan like, “You can’t eat just one!” means you are bound to overeat!