Monday, January 28, 2013

What will you be eating for the Superbowl?

Who's got it better than us? NOBODY!!
Go Niners!

Okay, now that I've gotten that out of the way, I hope I haven't insulted any readers who are Baltimore Ravens fans. If so, I hope you can look past our disagreement to the delicious recipes I've cooked up for game day. Some of these might look familiar as I posted last year around this time. But they're so good, and so perfect for a crowd of hungry football fans, I wanted to post them again. No matter which team you're rooting for on Sunday, take a look at the ideas below, and make it a healthier spread than last year. It goes without saying that all meats and produce are organic. Let's go Niners!

Superbowl Food ideas:
Chicken Teriyaki
"Everyone Loves It" Kale Salad

Mmm...kale chips! They don't last long.
Kale Chips (one bunch serves 2-4 people)

One bunch of Kale (Curly Kale is my favorite for chips, but any type will work)
Olive Oil
Lemon (optional)

- Heat oven to 325 degrees.
- Wash and dry kale, then rip leaves into pieces. Discard the center rib.
- Toss leaves with a splash of olive oil and salt to taste. Add lemon if desired.
- Bake for about ten minutes, and keep a close eye on the chips, as they burn fast!

Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dip
8 chicken wings, separated at joint
1/4C Olive Oil
1t Smoked Paprika
1t Cumin
1/2t Chili Powder
1/4t Cayenne
1/2t Salt
1/8t Black Pepper

- Mix all ingredients together. Marinate chicken in spices at least 1 hour, up to 24 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Bake for about 45 minutes, til done and crispy.

Blue Cheese Dip/Dressing:
1/3C Organic Blue Cheese, crumbled
1/4C Organic Buttermilk
1/4C Organic Sour Cream
1t White Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper
Dash of Paprika

- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, and serve chilled. Makes a good dip, or thick salad dressing.

Black Bean Chili Soup
Black Bean Chili Soup (Makes 6-8 servings)
1 Quart Vegetable Broth (I used Whole Foods' brand)
1 Can/14.5oz Diced Tomatoes (I used Pomi, as they use BPA-free packaging)
1T Olive Oil
1 Organic Yellow Onion, diced
1 Organic Bell Pepper, any color, diced
3T Chili Powder
1t Ground Cumin
1t Oregano
2 Cans, drained Black Beans (Click here to see the website for one of my favorite brands.)
2 Cans, drained Organic Corn or Hominy (organic = no GMO)
3 large Garlic Cloves, minced
1oz Bittersweet Chocolate
1/4C Fresh Cilantro, chopped
Shredded Cheddar Cheese, for garnish

- In a pot, combine tomatoes (including their liquid) with the broth, and heat until steaming, then keep warm.
- In large pot (or Dutch-oven), heat oil over med-high heat. Add onions and peppers, saute until golden brown, about five minutes.
- Add chili powder, cumin and oregano, stir to saute until combined and fragrant.
- Add beans and corn, also add broth mixture. Heat until simmering, then reduce heat to low.
- Partially cover, stirring occasionally, and simmer until vegetables are tender and flavors have all combined, probably 20-30 minutes.
- Stir in garlic, chocolate and cilantro. Simmer a few more minutes to blend the flavors.
- Turn off heat, let stand about five minutes, then serve topped with more cilantro and a pinch of cheese.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Teriyaki Chicken Skewers

Only three left by the time I got a picture!
A friend of mine had a sushi-making birthday party recently, and she'd asked for everyone to bring different items to contribute to our meal. One of the things she asked for was chicken teriyaki skewers to have as an appetizer. I enjoy this dish, but so many times it means really thick, syrupy-sweet and sugar-laden teriyaki sauce poured over conventionally raised flavorless chicken. So I volunteered to bring that dish, because I knew I could make a delicious, healthier version of it. While most people will immediately opt for chicken breast, with a dish like this thighs are a much better choice, especially if you're grilling.

I found organic skinless and boneless chicken thighs at Costco (great for parties!), but I didn't want to buy a bottle of pre-made teriyaki sauce. I wanted to make my own marinade, so I looked over many different recipes, and what I used ended up being a mix of a few different things I found. Next time I make this I'll try using even less sugar, and since I forgot the sesame seeds this time around, I definitely want to add those! Overall though the skewers turned out really well, and are a great party food! I meant to take a photo when I plated them, as I had a huge pile of skewers, but they disappeared into bellies so fast that by the time I got my camera out only three were left! I guess people liked them. Hmm...Superbowl party snack perhaps?

Teriyaki Chicken Skewers
~3lbs Organic Chicken Thighs, skinless and boneless
1C Organic Soy Sauce 
1C Water
3/4C Brown Sugar
1T Pressed Garlic
2T Grated Fresh Ginger

Skewers (bamboo works well, or metal if you have them)
Sesame Seeds for garnish

*Note: If using bamboo or wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water for about an hour, to prevent them from burning later.
- Mix marinade ingredients in a large glass bowl, big enough to hold all the chicken. Stir to combine, and be sure sugar is dissolved. Feel free to play with the amounts, nothing in this recipe is exact!
- Cut chicken thighs into roughly 1/2" to 1" strips, and submerge in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate, let marinate for at least 1 hour, up to 24 hours. The longer it sits, the stronger the flavor will be.
- When ready to cook, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Thread chicken meat onto the skewers, and line them up on a pan or baking dish.
- Cook til done, about 30 minutes. Baste chicken with the marinade around 15 minutes in. Discard what's left.
- Put on serving dish and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve warm.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Opening Up to Miracles

Some of you have probably already heard of Gabrielle Bernstein, the author of Spirit Junkie and Add More ~ing to Your Life. On January 1st of this year she released her third book, May Cause Miracles. She teaches that by subtly shifting your perspective, you can open up to the miracles that happen around us every day.

Got my copy!
Listening to Gabby speak at a book signing event in San Francisco last week was fabulous. Her positive energy is infectious, and she had the whole room riveted. One line she said really stood out: "Do your thoughts contribute or pollute?" I want my thoughts to contribute positively to my life, and the lives of those around me, not pollute our environment. As I work my way through the 40 days of exercises and meditations, I am looking forward to cleaning out the negative, fear-based thoughts and opening up to the miracles, to love.  And while I'm not writing a book review, I have chosen to commit to the 40 days and will be posting some updates on my process here on the blog.

Gabby spoke at the W Hotel in SF as part of her book launch tour.
AMAZING energy in the room!
Today is day 2, and the affirmation today is to be willing to see things differently, to see love. I'm just starting my day now, but I'm liking it already!

If you also have the book, I'd love to hear your comments on your journey in the box below. Expect miracles!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Tamari Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds, raw.
Pumpkin seeds, toasted and with tamari.

Looking for a new way to enjoy pumpkin seeds other than when it's Halloween? If I've been cooking winter squash (acorn, butternut, sugar pie pumpkin, etc.) I'll save those seeds to roast, and when it's not the season I'll buy the seeds raw in the bulk section of my local market. A great source of zinc, manganese, tryptophan and antioxidants, pumpkin seeds are a wonderful addition to your diet at any time of year!

They're great eaten as a snack or sprinkled them on top of salads, but I decided to try an asian twist on the pumpkin seeds using tamari. I know I like tamari almonds and I know I like pumpkin seeds, so this seemed like a no brainer. The part that seemed daunting was the fact that I would be toasting them myself. In a frying pan. Was I going to burn them? The thought of the smell and scrubbing cooked-on tamari off of my frying pan had me a bit apprehensive. But I gave it a go recently, and they turned out great. And a little soaking of the pan made it easy to clean. Now I have a delicious jar of snacks that travels well, even on airplanes!

Here's how to do it:

Tamari Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
- 1C raw Pumpkin Seeds, rinsed and dried
- 1T Tamari

- In a frying pan over medium heat, begin to toast the pumpkin seeds.
- Stir the seeds constantly, so that they cook evenly.
- When the seeds have turned golden in color, turn off the heat.
- Sprinkle the tamari over the toasted seeds, and stir to coat them all.
- When all the seeds are coated, leave them to cool in the pan.
- When cool, put seeds into a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Snack as needed!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ringing in 2013 in Maui!

Hau'oli Makahiki Hou!
(Hawaiian for Happy New Year!)

Organic Champange...Cheers!
Spending the holidays in Hawaii is one of my family's traditions that I love. Not that Northern California winters are that miserable, but when it's raining and 50ish degrees at home, it's nice to escape to where the temperature ranges from the low 70s to high 80s. As I'm on vacation this won't be a lengthy post, but here are some pictures so you can see what I've been up to. Whether you celebrated your holidays in the sun or snow, or somewhere in between, I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. Here's to health and happiness in the new year!

Local fresh fruit options at Yee's Mango Stand, Kihei.
A typical island breakfast, with some macadamia nuts.
Morning walk along the Pacific Ocean. Sweat Pink, Hawaiian-style!

As we enter the new year, I like to ask myself: "What habits am I willing to let go of?" I encourage you to ask yourself the same question, as the answers you come up with can be life changing.

My answer, as we move into 2013: I am ready to release self-criticism and self-doubt. Definitely don't need those anymore!