Kerala Chicken/potato curry

Core Plan

Serves 6

This is a dish that originates from the southern region of India and hinges on an amazing array of spices.  It is worth the work to toast the whole spices and grind them to increase the pop of the flavors.  Adjust the spice accordingly. (For me, the heat of the chilis only enhances the dish).

3-4 lbs organic bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

10 organic baby new potatoes

1 can full fat coconut milk

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Rub (ideally use the whole spices, toast them and grind them.  If you are unable to find them, use ground) 

2 tablespoons whole fennel seeds (1 1/2 tablespoons ground)

10 green cardamom pods (1/2 tsp ground)

6 whole cloves (3/4 teaspoon ground))

1 cinnamon stick, broken in half (1 teaspoon ground)

Marinade

1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

2 serrano chiles, stems removed and cut in half lengthwise

8 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

2 inch piece of ginger, minced or microplaned

2 tablespoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

2 tablespoons paprika

1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

12 fresh curry leaves OR zest of one lime OR 6 fresh bay leaves 

Finishing Ingredients

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 shallots, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons whole mustard seeds

2-4 dried red chilies (I used Thai bird eye chilies)

Instructions

Separate the chicken thigh from the bone and cut each piece in half.  Leave whatever meat is left on the bone and transfer the bones and the thighs into a large dutch oven.  

Prepare the rub by putting the fennel seeds, cardamom pods, whole cloves and cinnamon stick in a small skillet.  Cook over medium heat while stirring about a minute or until just fragrant. Remove from the heat and let cool.  Once cool, process in a spice grinder or coffee grinder until a course powder forms (this may take 30-40 seconds).  Add the rub to the chicken and massage it over all of the pieces.  

Prepare the marinade by adding the onion, Serrano chiles, garlic, ginger, coriander, paprika, turmeric and curry leaves or lime zest or bay leaves to the pot and combining well until the chicken is evenly coated. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes or 12 hours.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let stand at room temp for 30 minutes to an hour based on how long you kept it in the refrigerator.  

Cut the potatoes in half and place them around pot and between chicken pieces.  Pour in about 1/2 cup of water and place over low heat about 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.  As it starts to cook, the chicken will release moisture and juices should start to rise.  Once the chicken and potatoes are tender, add the coconut milk and vinegar.  Bring to a simmer and cook until chicken easily pulls away from the bone, about 10-20 minutes.  Remove from the heat.  Fish out the bones and scrape off the meat if you wish before serving or simply leave them in the pot.

Prepare the finishing ingredients by heating the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat until hot.  Add shallots and cook, stirring often until slightly browned (4-5 minutes), Stir in mustard seeds and curry leaves or lime zest and dried red chilies.  Stir constantly and cook until the mustard seeds start to pop.  Take about 1/4 cup of the liquid from the pot of chicken and pour it into the skillet to get all of the bits out of the skillet and pour it all back into the chicken pot.  Season with salt to taste.

Serve with brown rice or cauliflower rice.

Recipe inspired by Kerala Chicken Curry recipe in Southern Living April 2021

American Chop Suey

Advanced & Core Plan

Serves 4-6

Stovetop or InstantPot

This dish is sometimes called American goulash and is a go-to dish for American families for decades. I remember my mom making it often. It is a favorite because it is tasty and satisfying and uses ingredients that you can always have on hand. I have elevated the nutrition by using lentil elbow macaroni instead of regular semolina pasta.

We like ours with a little spice so we add hot sauce or spicy paprika.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons coconut oil

1 yellow onion, diced

1 organic green bell pepper, diced

2 stalks organic celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 lb grass fed beef

28 ounce can organic crushed tomatoes

3 cups grass fed beef broth or free range chicken broth

2 teaspoons sea salt

2 teaspoons italian seasoning

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 lb lentil elbow macaroni (I used tolerant brand)

Optional:

1-2 tablespoons of hot sauce

1 teaspoon spicy paprika

topping: Parmesan cheese

Stovetop:

Boil water and cook pasta per package directions.

Sautee onions, peppers, and celery in coconut oil until softened. Add garlic and sautee for another minute. Add ground beef and brown with the veggies then add the seasonings.

Add tomatoes and broth and continue to simmer on low/med.

After about 30 minutes, stir in the cooked pasta and serve.

InstantPot:

Put InstantPot on sautte and cook onions, peppers, and celery in coconut oil until softened. Add garlic and sautee for another minute. Add ground beef and brown with the veggies then add the seasonings.

Add tomatoes and broth and combine well.

Add macaroni but DO NOT STIR…just press the noodles down into the liquid so they are completely immersed.

Set InstantPot to pressure and pressure cook for 5 minutes.

Quick release and open the lid.

Stir the contents and serve.

greek style Lamb burgers

Core and Advanced Plan

Makes 8 burgers

These are very easy and full of flavor. You can swap out tons of different ingredients and side condiments to make it different every time.

Shown here with grilled cauliflower, baked feta/sundried tomato/kalamata olive and spicy harissa sauce
  • 2 lb ground lamb
  • 1 small red onion, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 10 mint leaves, chopped or 1/4 teaspoon dried mint
  • 2 ½ tsp dry oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Optional add ins:

  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper,
  • chopped black olives
  • pistachios, finely crushed
  • chopped spinach

Side: Baked Feta, Sundried Tomatoes, Chopped Calamata Olives

Put all ingredients in a ramekin or small baking dish and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Stir. Serve on top of burgers or as a dip

Serve with spicy harissa

chicken tender salad with spicy bbq dressing

Spring and summer are a great time to elevate your salad game. Salads are a great way to get in raw vegetables and add in some quality protein and mix it up with different dressings. This is a simple salad that is packed with flavor. It reminds me of a summer BBQ party. You can make the chicken tender recipe ahead, serve it for dinner one night and for lunch the next day on this salad. You could also make them ahead and freeze them.

Shown here with tomatoes, onions, grass fed cheese and Kombucha

Chicken:

Use this Chicken Tenders recipe which can be made ahead. Click Here

Dressing:

1/4 cup BBQ sauce (check for no sugar – I like Noble Made – see pic)

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup avocado mayonnaise

1-3 teaspoons sriracha (check ingredients – I like PaleoChef brand – see pic), you can add more to taste

Optional: add in some stevia or monkfruit sweetened maple flavored syrup to add a bit of sweetness

Salad:

Chopped romaine

1 cup organic cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup sliced red onions

Optional:

Toasted Sliced Almonds

Chopped Avocados

Grass Fed Cheese

Let’s talk coffee

Let’s talk coffee.


“You’re not going to take away my coffee are you?” is one of the most common nutrition questions I get because people LOVE their coffee. My answer is usually, “It’s not necessarily the coffee, but what we do to the coffee.”


”I never drank coffee until I was in my 40’s but now I love it too (acquired taste I guess) However, I have become a bit of a coffee snob because I use organic coffee beans, grind them fresh, French press them with filtered water and add a splash of coconut milk and a drop of stevia. When sourced and prepared this way, coffee can be a nutritious part of your diet (see note below). However, many people are drinking coffee in a way that it can be harmful instead of nutritious.

Let’s start with the bad news and finish off with the good.

❌ Coffee beans are often sprayed heavily with toxic pesticides.

❌ Coffee is often prepared with unfiltered water that can be full of contaminants.

❌ Coffee is often run through things like Keurig machines which use plastic containers that are loaded with toxic, endocrine disrupting BPA.

❌ Coffee is often brewed in or through plastic containers and machinery.

❌ Coffee is addictive and can cause unhealthy dependency.

And what about what we put in the coffee? 😳

🔍 Conventional dairy – this comes from cows that are raised in cramped quarters, sometimes not ever able to walk, constantly injected with hormones and antibiotics, and then put under high heat to pasteurize it. Dairy cows are often the sickest of the sick.

🔍 Creamers – these are typically full of sugar or artificial sweeteners, damaged fats and toxic chemicals. It is imperative to read your labels when it comes to creamers.

🔍 Sugar – to make coffee taste less bitter and sweet enough, many people add in additional sugar. A typical coffee shop drink will have more sugar than a soda. The custom, flavored coffee drinks often have even more.

🔍 Artificial sweeteners – these are even more dangerous than the sugar. They are man-made and chemically processed and your body has no idea what to do with them. They are completely unnatural!

Now some good news and solutions…What are the benefits of coffee?

✅ The caffeine content can indeed give you extra energy and increase your metabolic rate.

✅ Coffee contains very high levels of antioxidants.

✅ Coffee contains riboflavin, Vitamin B5, manganese, potassium, magnesium ad Vitamin B3.

✅ Coffee (when used in an enema has tremendous detoxification benefits by reducing the toxic load on the liver.

✅ Coffee tastes great

What to do…

☕️ Source sustainably grown, organic coffee

🌪 Grind it fresh to get the most flavor and most nutrition

💧Use filtered water for brewing

🚫 Avoid plastic containers and brewing machines

🥥 Use grass-fed whole milk or half and half or use milk alternatives like coconut milk or almond milk (be sure to check ingredients for added sugars and chemicals)

🌱 Use plant based sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit in moderation

👀 Keep your intake in check (see note below)

🛑 NOTE: Don’t become a slave to anything

“Everything is lawful for me,”* but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is lawful for me,” but I will not let myself be dominated by anything. Corinthians 6:12

If you find yourself saying things like, “I have to have my coffee.” “I can’t function without my coffee.” Or if you find yourself drinking more than a cup or two a day, you may need to keep yourself in check. Any time you become dependent on or addicted to something, it indicates a problem.

If you need coffee to “wake up”, it is likely your adrenals are burnt out. This type of dependency perpetuates a viscous cycle and you become a slave to that habit.

I will typically have a cup of coffee every morning but will periodically “check” myself by avoiding it. Last week, I ha 0 cups of coffee all week and I felt fine and not deprived. This week, I am doing every other day. The liberating this is the realization that I don’t NEED it but I can have it if I want. That is part of a health nutrition plan – having a reasonable relationship with food.

Be blessed and enjoy your next cup of coffee, the right way 🤗