Archive for February, 2016

MEERA SODHA’S CHICKEN CURRY

Meera Sodha’s recipe is wonderful! This curry is so delicious, that I couldn’t believe I made it. Give it a try–you’ll be surprised too! 

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1 tablespoon unsalted butter or ghee

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 cinnamon sticks, approximately 2 inches long

2 large white or yellow onions, peeled and finely chopped

1 2 ½ -inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated or minced

6 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

2 green cayenne or jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into half-moons

Kosher salt, to taste

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons puréed tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1½ teaspoons ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

3 tablespoons low-fat Greek yogurt, plus 1 cup to serve with the meal

1 ¾ to 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks

3 tablespoons slivered almonds

1 teaspoon garam masala

Pinch ground cayenne pepper, or to taste.

directions

Melt the butter or ghee in the oil in a large Dutch oven set over medium heat, and when it is hot and shimmering, add the cumin seeds and cinnamon sticks. Cook for a minute or two, stirring often, to intensify their flavors, then add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are golden, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the ginger, garlic and peppers into a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt, and smash them together into a coarse paste. (You can also do this on a cutting board, with a knife.)

Add the paste to the onions, and cook for 2 minutes or so, then pour in the tomatoes, and stir. Allow to cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, then add the tomato paste, ground cumin, ground turmeric and another pinch of salt, and stir to combine.

Add the yogurt slowly to the mixture, using a wooden spoon to whisk it into the sauce. It may be quite thick. When it begins to bubble, add the chicken. Lower the heat, put the lid on the Dutch oven and allow the curry to cook gently for 30 minutes or so, or until the chicken is cooked through. Add the almonds and the garam masala, along with a pinch of cayenne, and cook for 5 minutes more or so. Serve with basmati rice and the additional yogurt.

 (Adapted from a recipe found on cooking.nytimes.com)

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ITALIAN MINESTRONE SOUP

This is the best Winter dish…… healthy and hearty. Make a big batch and whatever it left over, freeze it for another cold day!

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2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 large carrot, diced

1/3 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1, 28 -ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes

1, 14 -ounce can crushed tomatoes

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1, 15 -ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

½ cup elbow pasta

grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

directions

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add the celery and carrot and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the green beans, dried oregano and basil, ¾ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; cook 3 more minutes.

Add the diced and crushed tomatoes and the chicken broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in the kidney beans and pasta and cook until the pasta and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with the Parmesan and chopped basil.

 (Adapted from a recipe found on http://www.foodnetwork.com)

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THE REAL REASON TO WEIGHT TRAIN

Weight training is a miraculous thing. You build muscle, get stronger, become more metabolic, strengthen your bones and look and feel better. Any good trainer should incorporate both core and balance training into a program. Getting stronger and having better balance means that you are less likely to fall. And to me, this is the 20140101-portfolio-jpgreal reason to weight train. Falling is a big deal—especially if this happens to an older person. Breaking a hip or the pelvis can leave someone incapacitated. Not being able to move and losing independence can cause crippling depression.

Balance training is simple—practice doing things on one leg. Lift up a leg while brushing your teeth. Practice moving your leg out to the side without touching the floor. If you can do this, try it with your eyes closed—that will be even more challenging!

I recently got an incredible text from a client. Here’s what she said:

“I almost fell the other day. I went down in a squat & came back up- no hands!”

When I saw her, I got more details. She was walking to her house in the snow, holding a package when she slipped on some ice. She went down almost in a split squat, (squatting in a lunge position) still holding onto her package. To her utter surprise and to my delight, she stood right up. All of those squats, planks and exercises on one leg had paid off!

So if you’re thinking about starting a strength training program remember……the best reason to start is that your activities of daily life (i.e, walking on the snow or the ice) will be easier and safer for you, for you will be stronger from the inside out!

 

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COLLARD GREENS WITH TOMATOES, GINGER, AND TURMERIC

I’ve only eaten collard greens with some type of pork or bacon. This recipe is a great take on how to spice up this very healthy, leafy green! Collards are packed  vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, vitamin C, dietary fiber, and calcium.  In addition, they are a very good source of vitamin B1, vitamin 6, and iron.

ingredients Collard-GReens

2 bunches collard greens, stems removed, leaves cut into 2-inch pieces (about 6 cups)

1 tbs. ghee or coconut oil

1 tsp. black mustard seeds

1 tbs. minced gingerroot

1 jalapeño, minced

1 tsp. ground turmeric

1 large tomato, diced

¼ tsp. salt

directions

Soak the cut collard greens in water to wash; dry in a salad spinner to remove excess moisture. Heat the ghee or coconut oil in a large Dutch oven or sauté pan with a lid. Add the mustard seeds and allow them to pop in the covered pan. Add the minced gingerroot, jalapeño, and turmeric, and sauté for five minutes, until aromatic. Add the tomato and salt, and cook a few minutes longer to make a sauce. Add the collard greens and cover the pan for a minute or two to wilt the greens. Stir well to coat the greens, and then continue to simmer uncovered until the greens are tender, about five to seven minutes.

 (Adapted from a recipe found in, “Experience Life”, September, 2015)

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ARE YOU LIKE PAVLOV’S DOG?

Most of us have heard of Ivan Pavlov, the Russian physiologist,  who did extensive work on behaviorism. As a quick review, Pavlov changed behaviors in dogs using a stimulus. He presented a stimulus (bell) and gave a dog some food. After repeating this, Pavlov then rang the bell and the dog started to salivate just from the stimulus without the food being present. Clearly, the dog had learned an association between the bell and the food.

I recently had an experience where I behaved no differently than one of Pavlov’s dogs.

Unfortunately, I have been cursed with a sweet tooth. If sugar were healthy, I would be eating things like Tootsie Rolls, Mary Janes, Gummies, and Taffy, all day long. But since sugar is pretty evil stuff, and I want to be healthy and feel good, I keep my candy consumption down to a minimum.

During my trip to Australian, my friend, Georgy, introduced me to this AMAZING IMG_8570Australian black licorice and boy did I love it! When I got back, I was thrilled (and horrified) to discover that this licorice was available in stores like Stop and Shop and Bed Bath and Beyond! So of course I just HAD to buy some. Since candy is very tempting for me, I decided to keep this stashed away in my glove compartment in my car and would only have some when I was in the car. What happened? The car acted as the stimulus because the minute I was in the car, I wanted licorice. Who could eat black licorice at 8 AM? ME!!

So yes, I am no different than Pavlov’s dog. Clearly, I had learned an association between the being in the car and wanting/eating licorice.

Well, I finished my last bag of licorice and will not buy it anymore. Driving is no longer nearly is fun. But my teeth (and my dad, who is a a practicing dentist) are grateful! If you are in a similar situation and are eating food triggered by a stimulus that is not hunger, it’s time to break the habit.

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CHICKEN SALTIMBOCCA

LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe!! Best flavors and super easy!

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6 (3-ounce) chicken cutlets, pounded to evenly flatten

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 paper-thin slices prosciutto

1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

¼ cup grated Parmesan

1, (14-ounce) can low-salt chicken broth

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

directions

Place the chicken cutlets flat on the work surface. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Lay 1 slice of prosciutto atop each chicken cutlet.

Squeeze the frozen spinach to remove the excess water. Season the spinach with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, toss the spinach with 1 tablespoon of oil to coat.

Arrange an even, thin layer of spinach atop the prosciutto slices. Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over each. Beginning at the short tapered end, roll up each chicken cutlet as for a jellyroll. Secure with a toothpick.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and cook just until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Add the chicken broth and lemon juice, and scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium. Cover and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Simmer the cooking liquid over high heat until it is reduced to about 2/3 cup, about 5 minutes. Season the cooking liquid with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove toothpicks from the chicken. Drizzle the reduced cooking liquid over the chicken and serve immediately.

(Adapted Giada De Laurentiis’s recipe found on http://www.foodnetwork.com)

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