chicken and broccoli curry stew
Happy New Year! After traveling to be with family over the holidays and taking a couple weeks off from cooking and being in my kitchen, I am more than ready to get back in the groove! My brother gave me the most beautiful Le Creuset stock pot for Christmas, my first Le Creuset anything. It’s so pretty that I’ve decided to leave it out on my stove all the time.
Although slow to arrive, winter is definitely here in Texas, so it’s the perfect time to break in my new kitchen “toy”. Winter means flu season, and nothing feels better to a sore throat than warm soup.
This soup is not only hearty and comforting, but it is also seasoned with curry. Turmeric is one of the spices in Indian curry and one of the top medicinal spices for flues, viruses, and other chronic inflammatory conditions. Turmeric is responsible for giving Indian dishes and ballpark mustard their bright yellow color.
Hit with the flu this season? Systemic inflammation is an uncomfortable symptom of the flu, and turmeric’s active component curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Curcumin can be taken as a supplement if you’re not a fan of the taste of turmeric or curry.
Two teaspoons of turmeric contain almost 20 percent of your daily requirement for manganese, iron, vitamin B6, and potassium. Because of turmeric’s high antioxidant value and its antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, it benefits those with all kinds of chronic conditions:
- Heartburn and ulcers
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Eczema and skin conditions
Turmeric also helps promote:
- Weight loss
- Healthy liver
- Healthy cholesterol levels and arteries
- Healthy digestion
Some curry brands can contain gluten, so double check to make sure your curry is gluten free. Besides adding curry to soups and stews, incorporate turmeric into your diet by adding it to:
- Deviled eggs
- Sautéed green vegetables
- Chicken dishes and barbeque
- Turkey meatloaf and meatballs
- Butternut squash dishes
- Homemade salad dressings
Or drink homemade turmeric tea. To make the tea, add 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric to four cups of boiling water and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the tea through a fine sieve into a cup and add honey and lemon to taste. Enjoy!
- 1 pound chicken breasts
- 4 cups organic chicken broth
- 3 sweet potatoes, cubed
- 1 onion, cut into wedges
- 1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
- 2 – 3 teaspoons curry
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 20 – 25 minutes.
- Cut chicken into cubes and add it to a large stock pot with chicken broth, sweet potatoes, onion, and curry.
- Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low.
- Season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add broccoli, cook 5 more minutes, and then serve.
Does anyone else start craving creamy comfort foods this time of year? Why is it that when the temperature starts to drop and the days get shorter, I am in the mood for warm, hearty, creamy, and comforting foods? Historically, the next 2 months are when my body chooses to pack on a few extra pounds. I always chalked it up to the fact that my body actually needs these extra pounds to handle the cold weather. And, in reality, that is exactly what our bodies are trying to do. According to John Douillard, author of The 3-Season Diet, we have a natural desire to insulate, storing fats and proteins to rebuild in the winter.
But that’s not all. As the weather turns colder and the days become shorter, we experience actual chemical changes in our brain. Ever heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD? Well, those chemical changes in our brain that are responsible for seasonal depression are also to blame for the changes in our food cravings, causing us to want to eat more and to eat those warm and creamy comfort foods. Comfort foods are generally sweet, fatty and calorie-dense, which may help temporarily improve mood and alleviate anxiety or stress says Dr. Melina Jampolis in a recent CNN health article. Our bodies are always striving for balance and this includes our mental state, so we look for ways to boost our mood on those dark and chilly days, giving rise to those cravings this time of year.
To avoid too much winter weight gain, choose healthy versions of your favorite comfort foods. Try this pumpkin and pear soup to satisfy your need for a warm, sweet, and creamy meal. Both pumpkin and pear lend a sweet flavor and healthy carbohydrates among other nutrients, and an avocado gives a creamy texture and healthy fat. I hope you enjoy!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 pears, cut into slices
- ½ onion, cut into slices
- 2 inches of fresh ginger, diced
- 2 cups organic chicken broth
- 2 cups cooked or canned pumpkin
- 1 avocado
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Saute pears, onion, and ginger in olive oil until tender.
- Place chicken broth, pumpkin, avocado, cinnamon, and sea salt in a Vitamix or other blender.
- Add the sauteed pear, onion, and ginger.
- Blend until smooth.
- Transfer to a medium saucepan, and warm over medium heat for 5-10 minutes.
I was craving something refreshing the other night, and the seedless watermelon I picked up at the store looked delicious and no doubt juicy, a perfect food to eat in this Texas heat. Watermelon is not only great on a hot summer day, but this delectable thirst-quencher may also help quench inflammation in our bodies due to it’s high concentration of vitamin C, vitamin A, beta-carotene, and lycopene. In addition to being a kid favorite, watermelon is rich in the B vitamins necessary for energy production and is a good source of magnesium and potassium. It’s 92% water, which makes it an excellent hydrator and very low in calories (always a plus!) – only 48 calories per cup!
- 1 bunch carrots, peeled and tops removed
- ½ small to medium seedless watermelon, cut into chunks
- 3 cups organic chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons thyme
- ¼ – ½ teaspoons Himalayan sea salt, to taste
- Steam the carrots for 30 minutes and then let cool.
- In a Vitamix or other blender, combine steamed carrots, watermelon, chicken broth, olive oil, thyme, and sea salt, and blend until smooth.
- Serve at room temperature, or refrigerate to chill before serving.
Well, one of our ACs has been out for several days now, so I opted for this refreshing chilled soup for dinner last night featuring the detox superstars parsley, cilantro, garlic, and onion as well as other nutrient packed greens. It was delicious and flavorful and loved by all in my family. Hope you like it!
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- handful of chopped cilantro
- handful of chopped parsley
- 3-4 leaves romaine lettuce, torn
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup yellow teardrop tomatoes
- 1 cucumber, cut into chunks
- 1 jalapeno
- 1 green bell pepper, cut into chunks
- 1 small purple onion, cut into chunks
- ½ teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
- 1 cup cold water
- Combine all ingredients in a Vitamix or other blender, and blend on high until smooth.
I love this little raw food bistro down in the Preston Hollow area called Bliss. As you know, I am crazy about eating raw – the enzymes, the micronutrients, the fresh, creative flavors! One of my favorite dishes at Bliss is their Thai coconut soup. Since experimenting in the kitchen is one of my passions, I knew I had to figure out a way to make this delicious soup at home. Well, I think I’ve done it – this one is yummy (although I did bake my butternut squash)! And, this soup is packed with spices to fire up your metabolism. Let me know how you like it!
Coconut Curry Soup
- 1 butternut squash, cooked
- 3 cups coconut milk
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- ½ cucumber, diced
- ½ red bell pepper, diced
- 1 medium heirloom tomato, diced
- juice of 1 lime
- 6 tablespoons coconut oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons yellow curry powder
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
- Combine butternut squash, coconut, cucumber, red bell pepper, tomato, lime juice, coconut oil, garlic, ginger, curry, cayenne, and salt in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Refrigerate and serve cold.
- Optional: add chopped fresh veggies: red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and cilantro.
creamy cauliflower soup
Taylor and I did a cleanse last week. This soup was the highlight of the meals I made. The creamy texture was so comforting and filling to me, and the garlic and onions gave a rich and delicious flavor to the soup. Even though cauliflower is very low in calories, this soup was surprisingly satisfying. Here’s a little cauliflower trivia for you: Did you know that cauliflower means “cabbage flower”? And Mark Twain once called it “cabbage with a college education”. This smart little cabbage flower deserves a place in our diet, and I hope you enjoy this delicious way of including it.
Creamy Cauliflower Soup
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- zest of one lemon
- juice of a lemon
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- fresh or dried herbs to taste (I used 1 tablespoon of Bragg Organic Sprinkle)
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 purple onion, peeled
- bulb of garlic
- In a Vitamix or other blender, soak the cashews in the filtered water for several hours.
- Steam the cauliflower, purple onion, and garlic.
- Add the olive oil, zest of lemon, juice of lemon, sea salt, pepper, herbs, and steamed cauliflower, onion, and garlic (the steamed garlic should be easy to squeeze out of the peel).
- Put the lid on the Vitamix, and place a towel over the lid.
- Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Serve hot.