Archive for September 2016

Squash and Chickpea Curry Slow Cooker Vegetarian Recipe

slow cooker vegetarian recipe healthy squash chickpea curryI made this slow cooker vegetarian recipe, and my husband and I both liked it so much that we actually had it 4 nights in a row! Part of the reason for that was being busy and perhaps lazy, but another part of it was definitely the taste. Yum!

Plus, as the weather cools downs and so many are fighting colds, this recipe is like a panacea–boosting the immune system, decreasing inflammation, stabilizing blood sugar, and so much more.

Slow Cooker Squash and Chickpea Curry
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash
  2. 2 cups cubed peeled potatoes
  3. 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  4. 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  5. 1 onion, diced
  6. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 1 Tbsp minced ginger
  8. 3 Tbsp mild curry paste
  9. 1 can light coconut milk
  10. 1 cup vegetable stock
  11. 1/4 cup natural cashew butter or peanut butter
  12. 1/4 tsp salt
  13. 2 cups packed shredded Swiss chard or kale
  14. 1 cup frozen green peas
Instructions
  1. In slow cooker, combine squash, potato and chickpeas.
  2. In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
  3. Stirfry onion, garlic and ginger, stirring occasionally, until onion is light golden, about 7 minutes.
  4. Add curry paste; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Add to slow cooker.
  6. Add coconut milk and stock to slow cooker.
  7. Stir in cashew butter and salt.
  8. Cover and cook on low for about 4 hours or until vegetables are tender.
  9. Stir in Swiss chard and peas.
  10. Cover and cook on high for about 15 minutes or until Swiss chard wilts.
Notes
  1. I've also done this stovetop when I have less time. It freezes great and makes for even tastier leftovers.
Adapted from Canadian Living, December 2006
Adapted from Canadian Living, December 2006
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC http://www.activetcm.com/
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How to store food oil: Fridge, Cupboard, or Stovetop?

food oil how to store food oilOk, so I promised a blog about how to store food oil more than a month ago, but you know how summers go…

I do (eventually) keep my promises though. Like so many things in life, I’ve found some sources that have said to do other than what I’ve listed below, but most of them made the recommendations I’m making. This is a small part of my nutrition book I’m still working on.

Unfortunately, I’ve fallen behind on my book writing time, as I’ve been busier working more time in clinic (not a bad thing for me!). It’s always a matter of adapting and modifying while trying to stay on target (am I the only one who thought of Star Wars with those last 3 words?). Oh, and in cutting and pasting my book piece below, I notice I made another Star Wars reference in the very first paragraph. 

How to store food oil

As with almost all food products (honey is an odd exception), oils can go rancid. Depending on the type of oil, some will spoil faster than others, so it’s important to know how to store food oil properly, and how to identify oils that have gone bad (not to the dark side—as you’ll see, oils generally stay “good” longer in the dark).

Oils that are rancid smell different—sharp, bitter, or unpleasant. I think it tastes like Playdough, but others might say it tastes like crayons or putty. Keep in mind that the best before date may not tell the whole story. If you have an open half-used bottle of olive oil that has been sitting for a while, smell it to see if it’s still okay. The air in the bottle is called “headspace,” and oxidation from that air causes free radicals (usually “free” is a positive word, but not in this context) that can cause us health damage if consumed regularly. You won’t likely get sick from it from just a few doses, but the taste will also be altered, potentially ruining the flavour of your food.

Heat, oxygen, and light are all enemies of oil. The more saturated the oil, the most stable it is. This is why coconut oil makes a good cooking oil and is often jarred in clear containers, while olive oil makes a better salad oil and comes in dark glass bottles. The most sensitive oils are the essential oils and polyunsaturated fats. They often have to be stored in the fridge.

I know it’s convenient to have your cooking oils stored on or around your stove, but if they are exposed to heat, they will deteriorate more quickly.

Check your oil containers to find out how they should be stored, but here are some general rules:

Keep in fridge

Polyunsaturated oils are best kept in the fridge once opened. Some of these oils may become more solid and cloudy while being stored in the fridge. If it does, remove it from your fridge and have it at room temperature for an hour or two before use.

  • Flax seed oil
  • Grapeseed oil (can be stored at room temperature—assuming your room is less than 21°C/70°F—for up to 3 months or in fridge for up to 6 months)
  • Hazelnut oil (same as grapeseed oil)
  • Hemp oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Truffle oil
  • Walnut oil (same as grapeseed oil)

Keep in cool, dark place

Some of these oils can also be kept in the fridge to keep them lasting longer, though because of their higher quantity of saturated bonds, they are more likely to become solid.

  • Avocado oil
  • Coconut oil (very stable, this oil is often solid or semi-solid at room temperature)
  • Macadamia nut oil (though high in polyunsaturated fats, it is also naturally high in antioxidants that help keep it stable)
  • Olive oil
  • Peanut oil

Do you have any tips on ways you’ve learned how to store food oil? Share in comments below.

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Black Bean Mushroom Vegetarian Chili in a Slow Cooker Recipe

Black bean chili vegetarian slow cooker recipeIt’s that time of year again. I know I can use my slow cooker year-round, but I find I put it away when summer arrives, and take it out again when the temperatures drop. This vegetarian slow cooker recipe is just screaming to be made on a crisp fall day, and you can make it time and again over the fall and winter months.

Healthy Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipe

Black Bean Mushroom Chili in a Slow Cooker
When I look at this recipe I think cozy, comforting, warming, and nourishing.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 cups dried black beans, rinsed
  2. 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 1/4 cup mustard seeds
  4. 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds, or ground cumin
  6. 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds, or ground cardamom
  7. 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  8. 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  9. 8 ounces tomatillos, husked, rinsed and coarsely chopped *
  10. 1/4 cup water
  11. 5 1/2 cups mushroom broth, or vegetable broth
  12. 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  13. 1-2 tablespoons minced canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (I don't like spicy, so I skip this)
  14. 1 1/4 cups grated Monterey Jack, or pepper Jack cheese (optional--I skip the cheese, but you could also use a dairy-free cheese substitute like Daiya)
  15. 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream (optional--I skip this too)
  16. 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional--I love cilantro, but not everyone does; it's a love it or hate it herb)
  17. 2 limes, cut into wedges
Instructions
  1. Soak beans overnight in 2 litres of water.
  2. Drain the beans, discarding soaking liquid (unless you want your chili to be very gassy!)
  3. Combine oil, mustard seeds, chili powder, cumin and cardamom in a pot.
  4. Place over high heat and stir until the spices sizzle, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add onions, mushrooms, tomatillos and water.
  6. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are juicy, 5 to 7 minutes.
  7. Uncover and stir often until the juices evaporate and the vegetables are lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes.
  8. Add broth, tomato paste and chipotles; mix well.
  9. Place the beans in a 4.7 L or larger slow cooker.
  10. Pour the hot vegetable mixture over the beans.
  11. Turn heat to high.
  12. Put the lid on and cook until the beans are creamy, 5 to 8 hours.
If you want
  1. Garnish each serving with cheese, a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of cilantro.
  2. Serve with lime wedges.
Notes
  1. * Apparently, if you can't find fresh tomatillos, you can either look for canned ones or use under-ripe tomatoes and add lime juice
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC http://www.activetcm.com/
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