My Signature Quick Curry Recipe

There is nothing more satisfying, to me, than a piping hot bowl of curry on a winter (or, let’s face it, summer) night. This recipe has been perfected over the last few years, is easily adaptable, and kicks that sluggish winter digestive system into gear with lots of spices and fiber. Very easily doubles and triples for company, and can even be made in the slow-cooker.

br />
20121204-171343.jpg

By the way, I didn’t leave out the curry powder. Traditionally, curry is a blend of regional spices- whatever a certain town had a lot of or favored, that’s what went in. This is my favorite blend. I have been known to add in some sweet cinnamon a time or two, but beware- it definitely changes the flavor to a more fall/winteresque stew. Still delicious, though. Come up with your own signature curry spice blend!

2 cans organic garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained

1 medium-sized white onion, diced small

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 medium-sized tomatoes, diced (or 1 can organic stewed tomatoes)

2 T olive oil

1 T crushed red pepper

2 T cumin

1 T turmeric

1 T ginger

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon ground red pepper

Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in the bottom of a large sauce pot. Once the oil begins to shimmer, sauté the onions until barely translucent, then top with crushed red pepper to toast and make fragrant. Once the onions are nice and soft, add the garlic until just browned- be careful not to burn it. NOTE: It is important to cook the onions before the garlic; not at the same time, so as not to burn the garlic. This will ruin your curry, and nobody likes that!

As soon as the garlic is cooked and fragrant, stir in the tomatoes. You’ll be ready to do this because you’ll be scared that everything is burning and that there isn’t enough liquid- the tomatoes solve that problem! Stir them in and scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any stuck bits off the bottom. Now, pour in the rest of the spices and thoroughly combine. Let this tomato-onion-garlic-spice mixture simmer for a bit, maybe 5 or ten minutes.

<

20121204-171617.jpg

When you are ready, stir in the garbanzo beans. Let this simmer and soak up flavor for as long as you like, then serve it up nice and hot. At our house, we make homemade whole wheat na’an bread (or get storebought na’an or pita in a pinch) and eat the curry with our hands- way more fun and less dishes to clean up!

Quick and Easy Lunch: Grape and Couscous Salad

Can you believe its Monday already?  I can’t.  I just want to rebel.  Sometimes I get in a real funk on Mondays- but a great way to brighten the day is to fix yourself a yummy, nutritious lunch that you can look forward to all morning!  This is one of my staples.

One of the first easy and healthy lunch recipes that ever caught my eye was this beauty from Real Simple Magazine.  Every month they feature a brown bag lunch recipe, and I’ve been using this one for over two years now!  I just love the clash of the sweet and juice grapes with the salty feta- and the couscous holds everything together just enough to keep you full until dinnertime. The Mediterranean flavors really balance each other well, so try the entire recipe before altering it or leaving something out 🙂

1 cup cooked whole-wheat couscous

¼ cup feta cheese

¼ cup red grapes, sliced in half

¼ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1 T olive oil

1 T lemon juice

Salt, Pepper, and Parsley to taste

Stir together the couscous, oil, and lemon juice.  Fold in the cheese, grapes, and walnuts.  Season to your liking and enjoy!

This recipe is great freshly made, and equally satisfying kept in the fridge overnight to eat for lunch the next day (or more!).

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Recipe

This smoothie is absolutely delicious, and really, really good for you.  Raw, canned pumpkin is hard to come by for the socially responsible shopper (the most commonly carried brand is Libby’s, which is owned by Kraft Foods, one of the biggest companies to avoid) but many stores now carry a beautiful brand of organic pumpkin sure to delight both your taste buds and your morals!  Just be sure to look in the Natural Foods section of the grocery store- it should be there.

Pumpkin is high in fiber and beta carotene, and the spices add a nice digestive and circulatory kick.  Coconut milk gives you a dose of important healthy fats, and yogurt adds protein and probiotics.

 1 can organic pumpkin

1 6-oz container organic vanilla yogurt (regular, or Greek for double protein)

¼ cup coconut milk (adjust this according to thicken the smoothie to your liking- and             according to what type of yogurt you use)

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice or a blend of cinnamon and nutmeg, or to taste

OPTIONAL: amber agave syrup or brown sugar, to sweeten to taste

Blend everything up in a blender and serve!  You can add ice if you like, but it will water down the flavors.  I drink mine from a chilled glass and it’s the perfect way to start a holiday morning!

Chilly Day Surprise Fudgies

Happy first day of November! Where has 2012 gone? I’m in the tour catering lounge in Wisconsin as we wind down the Music With A Mission tour, and it’s quite chilly here. This is one of my new favorite recipes, one that will warm you from the inside with healthy secret ingredients- black beans, quinoa, and cayenne!

Now, I can tell that you’re already apprehensive of this recipe. I know, it sounds like Mexican food. Don’t write it off yet! This was the first thing I made when I got home from tour in October and I’ve gotta say, I was very pleased. Creamy, dense, and rich, your guests will have no idea what they’re eating- and you won’t feel bad about having seconds. Or thirds 🙂

I’ve altered it a bit to suit my style, but the original recipe is from a lovely blog called The Road Not Processed, which is full of all types of fun recipes if you’re looking to get into whole foods or just for something unique. The author was correct- it isn’t good to call these “cookies”- that isn’t quite true to the dessert. She calls them “oblongs” but I think I’ve nailed it- so, in our house, we call them “Fudgies”. They’ve got a nice Mexican hot chocolate feel, so get bold with those spices!

Ingredients

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed in a strainer
1/2 cup raw honey (or maple syrup for y’all vegans)
1/2 cup all natural nut butter- peanut, almond, cashew, etc
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tbsp instant coffee powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional but recommend)
2 “flax eggs” or just use 2 eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional but recommended)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Drain and RINSE the black beans in a strainer. Not only is this imperative for the cookie to taste like chocolate and not like bean, but you don’t want to be eating all of that BPA and nasty chemical juice from the can! Yuck.

Place black beans in food processor blender and blend until no whole pieces are left- the smoother, the better the consistency of the cookie. If using a food processor, transfer to blender or stand mixer. Add in the rest of the ingredients except the chocolate chips and flax egg/ eggs and blend well.

Line a baking sheet or two with foil and non-stick cooking spray.

Drop batter into balls onto the cookie sheet, spread them evenly! They hold their shape pretty well so pack them together if necessary.

Start getting excited.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes. A bit longer if they’re super thick, but take note: they solidify once cooled.

Take out of oven, cool for a few minutes if transferring to a cookie rack. While cooling, dust with a bit of cinnamon, and if you chose to include it, cayenne!

Be brave and enjoy,
Karli

A Quick and Nutritious Dinner!

Matt loved this meal- so much so that he is making me post it right now, even though we only finished it 15 minutes ago.  I guess that’s a compliment, right?

Forgive me for not having a picture-  the only one I took is on Instagram, so you can see it there if you’d like.

 

Here’s the ingredients:

1 bag three-cheese tortellini

An assortment of vegetables, cut bite size (like for a kebab)- I used zucchini, red onions, yellow squash, carrots, red peppers, and sliced garlic.

1/4 cup feta cheese

Olive oil

balsamic vinegar

white wine vinegar

Freshly ground pepper

Coarse sea salt (we love gray salt from napa style)

 

The method is very simple:  Cook the tortellini.  While it is cooking, sautee the vegetables in the oil and vinegar.  I used more balsamic than white wine, but the beauty of this recipe is that you can tailor it to your taste preferences.

When the veggies are mostly cooked and the tortellini is done, put the drained pasta in with the vegetables and oil, adding more of the liquids until you reach your desired taste and amount of ‘sauce’.  Toss in the feta cheese and mix.  Cover and let the flavors mix for a few minutes, and plate!  Top with pepper and finishing salt, and you’re done!

 

Foods You Never Knew You Liked: Spaghetti Squash

Huh?

Ok, so…is it a vegetable, or a pasta?  The answer is both, my friends.  Not really, but you’d never know the difference!  Spaghetti squash is one of those little miracles of nature that can only be explained as God’s little gift for creative cooks.  The flesh literally separates into strands, like angel hair spaghetti!  The great news is that it’s pretty cheap, easy to find (almost all grocery stores carry it now), it keeps forever, and because you don’t eat the skins, it’s not completely necessary to buy organic (but if you can, you should).

You can cook spaghetti squash in the microwave or in the oven.  I prefer the microwave- it’s much faster, and let’s be honest, that’s a big factor for me- but I know that there are countless studies about how microwaving food kills off the nutrients, so the oven is a perfectly good option as well.

Take a fork and basically ‘perforate’ a line around the squash lengthwise, as if you were going to cut it in half.  Throw it in the microwave for about 4 minutes or so.  The squash is very tough, so doing this allows you to cut the squash in half much more easily and without fear of impaling yourself on your best chef’s knife.

Once you cut the squash in half (microwave longer if necessary) remove as many seeds as possible and place the squash cut-sides down in a glass baking dish (like pyrex) along with ½ cup of water.  Microwave for about ten minutes.

Once cooked throughout (the flesh can be easily penetrated from the middle to the rind) turn the squash over and, using the tines of a fork, begin separating the strands.  Work from the middle out to the edges.  As you get chunks, separate them, too- and put your ready-to-eat ‘pasta’ into a serving bowl.  Do this until you have scraped out the entire squash!

You can now dress the ‘pasta’ however you like- butter and herbs, any type of marinara sauce, or my personal favorite- basil pesto and olive oil with some halved cherry tomatoes and shaved raw garlic.  Experiment with this, just like you would pasta!  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised…it’s delicious!