Archive for March 2017

Paella recipe: How do you say “paella”? I say it paeyum!

Paella recipeWhile I prepared to share this paella recipe, I thought, “How do you pronounce paella?” Yes, it has “l”s in it, but no, you don’t pronounce them. In Spain, it would be pronounced pa-ey-ya. But last week my good friend, Chef Luisa Rios, came over to my place to teach my husband and me how to make it (and learn some knife skills). Chef Luisa is from Columbia, and in some areas of South America, the “l” is said like a “j,” making it pa-ey-ja.

As we sat down to eat the dish, however, my thoughts were that it should be called paeyum!

The wonderful thing about making this dish is that you can modify it to suit your tastes, like a pizza! In fact, the way that it’s served it often looks somewhat like a pizza, in a round shallow pan with colourful pieces of food nicely placed in/on it.

The original paella recipe was from Jamie Oliver and included fennel, green pepper, chorizo, pancetta, and bacon, but to fit everyone’s preferences, this is what we made.

Paella Recipe

Paeyum Paella
I'm not kidding, it really is "paeyum"!
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Ingredients
  1. • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  2. • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  3. • 1 bunch asparagus, quartered
  4. • 1 jar artichokes, sliced
  5. • 2 chicken thighs (or 1 chicken breast) boneless, skinless
  6. • 1 onion, finely chopped
  7. • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  8. • 2 cups chicken stock, more if needed (we ended up adding in about another 2/3 cups)
  9. • 1 pinch saffron, about 1/4 teaspoon
  10. • 1 teaspoon paprika (smoked is best for this)
  11. • 1 cup paella rice, arborio rice, or carnaroli rice
  12. • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  13. • 1 cup frozen peas
  14. • 12 prawns
  15. • salt and pepper, to taste
  16. • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving
Instructions
  1. Bring stock to a boil. Turn off heat and add saffron to infuse. Keep warm.
  2. Pull peas from the freezer and let thaw.
  3. Dice chicken into 3/4" cubes.
  4. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add oil.
  5. Add chicken to the pan and sauté until cooked through and golden brown on all sides. Remove from skillet and set aside. (It will still be raw on the inside, but will be cooked later with the rice and veggies.)
  6. Add onions and sauté until translucent (at least 5 minutes).
  7. Add peppers and asparagus to skillet and start to sauté about 3 minutes.
  8. Add garlic and saute for 20 seconds.
  9. Return seared chicken to the skillet.
  10. Add paprika, a pinch of salt, and rice, stirring to coat.
  11. Add 1.5 cups of stock to the skillet and stir.
  12. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until rice is almost cooked through. Stir periodically.
  13. Taste rice to see if it's sufficiently cooked. Add more stock to cook longer, if needed. Rice should be moist, but not too wet.
  14. Add raw prawns and allow to cook another few minutes (only takes 2-3 minutes, otherwise the prawns will get rubbery).
  15. Add thawed peas.
  16. Add parsley and artichokes.
  17. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.
Notes
  1. Serve with lemon wedges
Adapted from from Jamie Oliver
Adapted from from Jamie Oliver
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC http://www.activetcm.com/
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Top Reasons You Need Acupuncture This Spring

need acupuncture vancouver springtimeYou wouldn’t know it to look outside (the picture to the right is from last year), but spring is finally here—well, technically at least. And after Vancouver’s unusually long cold snap, many are anxious to shake off the dark dreariness of winter. If you’re feeling a little funky trying to gear up for the warmer months ahead, now is the perfect time to consider getting some springtime acupuncture.

Here are some reasons why you need acupuncture this spring.

Boost Immunity

With the start of a new season, we also run the risk of getting sick. As the weather changes, it can take a while for our bodies to adjust. But for so many Vancouverites, the first sign of the springtime sun is like a long lost friend, tempting us to prematurely shed our scarves and gloves. If your body hasn’t had the chance to properly acclimatize, you could wind up getting sick. Getting some preemptive acupuncture will help boost your immunity and prepare you for the seasonal change. 

Treat Allergies

Ahhhh…spring! Blossoming flowers, budding trees, sprouting grass—what a wonderful time of year. That is, of course, if you aren’t one of the many that suffer from seasonal allergies. For allergy sufferers, springtime means itchy watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, congestion, and headaches. Don’t let allergies keep you indoors this year. Acupuncture has been shown to treat allergic reactions. Just make sure to get treatment early, before springtime pollen has a chance to send your immune system into overdrive. You might also ask me about biopuncture allergy treatment.

Manage Stress

Spring is all about change. And while many of us welcome it, the change in season does come with its own set of stress-inducing challenges. Final exams, adjusting to the time change, and taking on more work to prepare for summer vacation are all things that can send our stress levels through the roof, thus opening the door to a wide range of symptoms, including muscle pain, digestive issues, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and hormonal swings. Treating yourself to some calming acupuncture will help you control your stress before it controls you. 

Deal with Sports Injuries

Cycling, running, softball, and hiking— spring is a great time to get active again and enjoy the great outdoors. Unfortunately, after a long winter of inactivity, it’s also the time of year when sports-related injuries start popping up. If you are looking to prevent injuries (or treat them when they do), acupuncture will help keep you active all season long.

Yes, you need acupuncture this spring

Now that spring has finally sprung, there’s no time like the present to get some acupuncture. You’ll be better equipped to meet the challenges of seasonal change head on and enjoy everything this marvellous time of year has to offer.   

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American College of Physicians New Guidelines Suggests Acupuncture to Treat Low Back Pain

Have back pain? You are not alone. Most of us have experienced back pain at one time or another. Not surprisingly, it’s one of the most common issues that send scores of people to see the doctor every year. But if you’re primed for walking out of the clinic with a prescription, you might be in for a little surprise. 

The Dope on Drugs  

Think you need over-the-counter or prescription drugs to treat low back pain? Not so, says the American College of Physicians (ACP). On February 14, the largest physician group in the U.S. released updated guidelines recommending people should treat low back pain with non-drug therapies instead.

Why, you asked? Well, as it turns out, that “trusty” bottle of acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol®) you’ve been reaching for all these years simply doesn’t work for low back pain. The ACP also takes a stance against doctors prescribing opioid painkillers due to the serious addiction and overdose risks associated with them. Steroid injections, corticosteroid pills, and antidepressants also get a thumb down when it comes to treating low back pain.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including non-prescription meds like ibuprofen (e.g. Advil®, Motrin®), may be helpful as a secondary approach (after non-drug methods) for acute and subacute back pain (up to 12 weeks), but they are not recommended as the starting point. For chronic back pain, the guidelines also advocate only selecting NSAIDs if the non-drug approaches are insufficient, “and only if the potential benefits outweigh the risks for individual patients and after a discussion of known risks and realistic benefits with patients.”

Reframing Low Back Pain Treatment

There is definite shift in how doctors and patients view treating low back pain. Steven Atlas, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School who practices at Massachusetts General Hospital, applauds the new guidelines, and states, “We are moving away from simple fixes like a pill to a more complex view that involves a lot of lifestyle changes.”

Fortunately, there is a gambit of healthy ways to treat your low back pain. The ACP lists several non-drug options, including heat wraps, massage, yoga, exercise, multi-disciplinary rehabilitation, guided relaxation techniques, and yes, you guessed it, acupuncture. These great alternative therapies will not only provide pain relief, but also help you live a more active lifestyle.

But We Knew This, Right? Acupuncture to Treat Low Back Pain

I know it’s easy to reach for a pill. But all pills have some risks associated with use, especially when used in higher dosages or when used regularly. Acetaminophen puts your liver at risk. And NSAIDs can cause stomach or intestinal bleeding or heart attack or stroke. Plus, you are only masking the symptom, not fixing the problem. Why turn off the fire alarm if you aren’t going to also try to put out the fire?

It’s great to see that changes in policy guidelines are being offered to conventional medicine practitioners, based on evidence. Though this is the U.S. guidelines, it’s this kind of shift in understanding that can lead to changes in how we deliver healthcare, financially support treatment options, and eventually also improve the health of more and more people. We still have a way to go, but for this one update, I say “Hooray!”

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