Easy Butter Chicken

Easy Butter Chicken

Easy Butter Chicken

So I have kind of had this romance going on with curry and indian spices lately.  The rich aroma just does something for me…. turmeric, garam masala…. So. Good.

Easy Butter Chicken2

I have actually seen the garam masala container in my cupboard and opened it just so that I could smell it.  Yes I inhaled.

Easy Butter Chicken3

So, I was all ready the other night to fix up this butter chicken and realized I had no tomato paste.  Party. Foul. Or in this case of chicken, fowl.  I’m weird, I know.

Anyways, so I had to improvise and realized that this is much easier.  I just didn’t use cream and tomato paste and used some leftover tomato soup that I had in my fridge.  Perfect.  I love reinventing my leftovers.  I can’t stand wasting.

Enjoy!

Easy Butter Chicken4

Easy Butter Chicken
 
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbls Butter
  • 1 Tbls Garlic, minced
  • ½ Onion, Diced
  • 1 lb Chicken, Cubed
  • 2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Sea salt
  • 1 tsp Ginger Paste (or fresh ginger)
  • 1 Cup of Peas
  • ¾ Cup Tomato Soup
  • ⅓ Cup Butter
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • For Serving:
  • Rice or Sweet Potato Mash
Instructions
  1. Heat a pan over medium and add 1 Tbls butter.
  2. Once melted, add the garlic and saute.
  3. Add the onion and saute until translucent.
  4. Meanwhile, Take your cubed chicken and place into a ziplock bag. Add to this the chili powder, turmeric, salt and ginger paste. Mix it all together good.
  5. Once the onions are cooked, add the chicken to the pan and cook through.
  6. Once the chicken is cooked through, add the peas.
  7. Add the remaining butter and let this melt, then add the tomato soup and stir.
  8. At the last sprinkle the garam masala in.
  9. Serve over Sweet potato mash or rice.

Easy Butter Chicken5 Easy Butter Chicken6

Lemongrass and Chili Soup

Lemongrass and Chili Soup

Lemongrass and Chili Soup2

Occasionally, I am known to indulge in one of those Thai Kitchen Lemongrass and Chili packages of soup.  They look kind of like Top Ramen only with rice noodles.  Probably not the best thing for me.  I craved this when I was pregnant.  Broth and salt and little effort.  Not my smartest moment to combine swelling ankles with more salt.

Lemongrass and Chili Soup

But the basic flavors could be made into something a bit healthier. So I experimented and it turned out to be one of my favorite creations yet.

Lemongrass and Chili Soup6

The freshness of lemongrass paired with the heat of spicy chili powder, meaty mushrooms, protein rich shrimp all soaking in broth and coconut milk.   This is not heavy but it has such great flavor and satisfaction. I have always loved seafood, and coconut and citrus get me everytime so this meal is so my style.  The only thing I would change is maybe adding a bit more shrimp to make it have a heavier protein load.  Other than that it is a bit of food heaven for my tastebuds.

Lemongrass and Chili Soup5

Lemongrass and Chili Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbls Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tbls Garlic, minced
  • 1 8-ounce package Mushrooms, sliced
  • ⅓ Cup Lemongrass Paste
  • 2 Tbls Gingeroot Paste
  • 1 Tbls Chili Powder
  • 32-ounces Broth
  • 8 ounce Thin Rice Noodles (I used Thai Kitchen Brand)
  • 1 Lb Shrimp meat (I used small baby shrimp)
  • 1 13-ounce can Coconut Milk
  • Sea salt to preference
  • For toppings:
  • Green Onions, sliced
  • Cilantro, chopped
Instructions
  1. In a large pan heat the coconut oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the minced garlic and saute.
  3. Add the sliced mushrooms and saute further.
  4. Add the lemongrass, ginger, and chili and saute.
  5. Add the broth and bring to a light boil, then reduce the heat.
  6. Add the rice noodles (they do not need much heat to cook). Stir these frequently and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
  7. Stir in the coconut milk and shrimp. You may need to turn the heat back up to medium low. Once this is all heated through it is ready to serve.
  8. Top with the onion and cilantro.

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Hawaiian BBQ Chicken

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken

Sweet, salty, sticky, buttery chicken.  Perfect! I spent some years living on Oahu and oh the bbq, mac salad and rice calls me from time to time.  I’ve tried a few different takes but this has been my favorite.  I hope you are enjoying your summer with some great get togethers and time with friends and family.  This would be a perfect gem to serve them.  Keep on keepin’ on and enjoy your time outside this summer!

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken2

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
  • For 1 lb of Chicken (Drumbsticks in this case):
  • For Marinade:
  • ½ Cup Tamari Sauce (Gluten free soysauce)
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tblsp Ginger (I have used both ground and fresh, both seemed to taste great)
  • 2 Tblsp Garlic, Minced
  • After cooking:
  • 4 Tbls Butter melted
  • 4 Green Onions sliced
Instructions
  1. Marinade the chicken for at least 4 hours. I place the chicken and all of the marinade ingredients in either a ziplock bag or a glass dish.
  2. Cook on the BBQ until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from cooking and place chicken into melted butter with the sliced green onions. Let this rest for about 5 minutes and serve.

* Modified from Best Recipes Evar.

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken3

Apricot Cashew Bites

Apricot Cashew Bites

Apricot Cashew Bites4

You know when you just need a little something to take the edge off of your hunger? Not too heavy, not too sweet…. this may be the ticket.

Apricot Cashew Bites2

I’ve made similar little bite sized treats before.  Like these cocoa, cranberry, orange, morsals that are centered around dates.  But that is what is so cool about treats.  You can customize them to the season and your mood.  Mix up the dried fruit and spice to your preference at the time, throw in some complimentary nuts and you are good.

Apricot Cashew Bites

Apricot Cashew Bites
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • 12 oz Dried Apricots
  • 1 Cup Cashews
  • 1 Cup Pecans
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 Tbls Maple Syrup (or honey)
  • ¾ Cup Dried Coconut flakes
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor.
  2. Blend until a dough like consistancy is formed with some small chunks of nuts remaining.
  3. Take the dough and roll small balls that are about ½-1 inch in diameter.
  4. Press them tightly together.
  5. May store in a seal tight container. I also froze half of my batch for later consumption.

 

Apricot Cashew Bites3

Lemongrass Asparagus Pasta Toss

Lemongrass Asparagus Pasta Toss

Lemongrass Asparagus Pasta Toss4

This is such a yummy and fresh flavor combination for summer.  Light and citrusy lemongrass and earthy asparagus all tossed with some gluten free pasta and a punch of protein with the chicken.  A little zing with some parmesean to top it off and you are good to go!

Lemongrass Asparagus Pasta Toss3

I love the flavor of lemongrass and have just never taken the time to buy it and grind of up.  I decided to try the paste though and am so happy I did.  I used about half of the bottle for this and the other half is waiting patiently in the refrigerator for my next adventure with it.

Lemongrass Asparagus Pasta Toss2

Lemongrass Asparagus Pasta Toss
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbls Butter
  • 1 Tbls Minced Garlic
  • 2 Cups Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 lb Chicken, diced into bite size chunks
  • 1 Bunch of Asparagus, cut into small peices on the diagonal)
  • 2 Tbls Olive Oil
  • 2 oz Lemongrass Paste
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 16 oz Pasta (I used gluten free luinguini), cooked per package instructions
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • A handful of fresh Basil, sliced into ribbons
  • Parmesean Cheese, shredded
Instructions
  1. Prep all of your ingredients.
  2. Heat a pan over medium heat and melt the butter.
  3. Add the minced garlic and saute for about 1 minute.
  4. Add the mushrooms and continue to saute until mushrooms are desired texture (I like to cook a lot of the water out of them)
  5. Add the diced chicken and cook through.
  6. Once the chicken is cooked turn the heat to the pan off.
  7. Add the Asparagus and continue to saute with the remaining heat.
  8. Add the pasta to the pan along with the lemongrass paste, olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  9. Toss this all together alowing the heat to cook the asparagus a bit.
  10. Top with basil ribbons and parmesean cheese.

 

Lemongrass Asparagus Pasta Toss

 

Coconut Curry Lentils

Coconut Curry Lentils

Sprouted Lentil Curry2

This is SO GOOD!  The rich warm spices are magical. It hits your taste buds and whisks you away to somewhere exotic.  Plus its vegetarian.  As I have mentioned before I was vegetarian for a long time and even though I eat meat now I still have a day here and there when I just don’t feel like it.  One more bonus… cheap frugal protein. (That other word would have hurt their feelings).  A half a cup has 9 grams of protein.  I  treat lentils and beans as complimentary  components to a diet with variety  and  animal proteinn as well though.

Sprouted Lentil Curry

There is a lot of information out there right now about how  beans and legumes have  antinutrients in them.   Its just their natural defense really.   I can’t blame them for trying to survive.  But that natural defense can be difficult on the digestive tract.  Hence, songs like  “beans,  beans the magical fruit….”  I’ll let you finish that in your head.  Traditional  preparation however was wise  to soak and sprout their beans and legumes which breaks down these natural defense mechanisms. So if you are able to buy sprouted  beans and lentils that is great.  And if not, soaking  them  helps. A great detailed article can be found here.

Sprouted Lentil Curry4

Coconut Curry Lentils
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • 1½ Cups Dried Lentils
  • ½ Onion, Diced
  • 2 Tblsp Butter
  • 2 Tbls Red Curry Paste
  • 2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp Yellow Curry Powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Ginger Powder
  • ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 15 ounce Can Tomato Sauce
  • ½ Cup Coconut Milk
  • For Serving:
  • Rice or Cauliflower Rice or Sweet Potatoes
  • Cilantro
  • Coconut Cream or Feta Cheese
Instructions
  1. Cook the Lentils per instructions on the package. Typically it will be to bring them to a boil with 3 cups of water and simmer until tender.
  2. Prepare your preferred serving base of the rice or sweet potato suggestions above.
  3. In another pan sauté the diced onion with the butter until translucent. Add the Red Curry Paste, Garam Masala, Yellow Curry Powder, Turmeric, Garlic Ginger, and Cayenne. Saute this for about a minute. Add your lentils. Add yourTomato sauce and Coconut Milk. and stir together.
  4. Dish the Curried Lentils to your rice or sweet potatoes and garnish with cilantro and if you like some cheese or coconut cream.

 

*Adapted  from here at Pinch of Yum.

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Memoirs of a Nurse

 Memoirs of a Nurse

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Image Source.

*This post contains graphic descriptions

As I sink myself into the warm water that fills the bath tub I feel some of the tension roll off.  The sweet smell of soap fills the steaming air and I close my eyes to try and make peace with the day I just had. It replays in my mind….

I’m standing in my patients room charting and chatting when I hear something gurgling.  I look up and there is blood overflowing from his mouth.  All down the front of him, like lava errupting from a volcano.  His eyes are huge and desperate.  He is aspirating on it.  I grab the suction, yell for help.  His blood pressure is dropping.  We all begin to move quickly.  Medications are being hung.  A rapid transfusion of fluid to be followed by blood is started.  Get him down.  Get him  intubated.  Get a large central line IV in.  He is bleeding arterialy.  The doctor and team to scope and stop the bleeding are on their way.  Blood is going everywhere.  He is now on mechanical ventilation and blood is flowing out around the breathing tube, streaming down his cheeks into a pool behind his body.  His blood pressure is dropping rapidly.  There’s no pulse.  The red CPR button to flatten the bed gets smashed under my foot, someone pushes the blue button on the wall. I’m kneeling on a bed, hunched over my hands that are folded over each other.  The base of my palm rythmically pounding on his chest.  I am in this position without even thinking about it anymore.  The red cart roles into the room along with many people huffing from their run here.  There is discussion of what happened. Pause compressions, role the patient, get the board under him and the defribrilator pads on.  Get back on the chest. Someone is sobbing hysterically.  His wife, I forgot about her.  We had just been discussing their grandkids. Thank God there is a chaplain that just got here.  Syringes get pushed, discussion is made, round after round of rythm checks and electrical shocks are given.  His body jumps each time and returns to its flaccid state.  The teamwork in the room is palpable.  Time is ticking.  Ribs begin to rub and crunch as they crack from the pressure.  Finger tips and toes begin to turn dusky.  You can start to feel something creeping into the room.  A fog settling in as we know it is time to stop.  Its getting thick as something heroic begins to feel disgusting.  As saving life starts to feel disrespectful of the fragility that makes it beautiful.  As dignity begins slipping away, things start getting quieter.  We keep going through the motions.  Try a few more things.  We wait for the doctor to tell us to stop.  And he does.  People begin to wander out and we are left alone with this body.  We have to make him presentable to his family.  His arms are laying limply off the sides of the bed.  Items are strung everywhere from the whirlwind that just insued, some blood splattered here and there.  There is a breathing tube still reaching out from the mouth making this human look alien.  I lift his arms back on the bed, remove some equipment, wipe up the blood. I pull out a crisp white sheet and lay it over him, like somehow this will make this less messy.

New people come into the room.  The people that love him.  Did we do right by them? They look lost and dazed.  Like they are looking through murkey water trying to understand.  I give them kleenex and offer a chair, because what else am I to do? Shouldn’t I do more?  They stand.  His wife grabs his hand and lays herself over him and sobs that deep gut wrenching sob that is heartbreak.  I feel myself going to crack.  I step out quickly before I do.  Block it out, block it out, block it out.  Sometimes, I cross my arms so that I can hide that I am pinching myself so that I don’t cry.  Because if we aren’t strong who will be?

I sit at the computer and chart.  Someone comes up and says “Let me know when the funeral home comes so that we can stat clean the room.  We have a patient in the ED that needs to come up.”

  An hour later a gurney roles into a nice clean room, sunshine beaming in from the big windows.  I smile and greet them “Hi, I’m going to be your nurse today.”

My eyes open and I am there in the privacy of my home.  That warm water hugs me and sometimes I let the tears flow.  I have to get it out of me.  The heartache of humanity is sometimes more than I can stand.  I’m not sure at moments like these how I can feel so heavy and empty at the same time.  Isn’t that a contradiction?

I do not mean to spoil myself with hot baths, warm cups of coffee or making what seems like a frivilous meal.  These simple things are just ways that I lick my wounds.  Sometimes, I just have to be still and look at something beautiful.  Sometimes I need to let loose, or scream or run until I feel empty of the suffering I witness.

This is a lot of why I cook.  Sure there is all of the health stuff that everyone who knows me knows that I care about, but cooking is my escape into beauty and creativity.  All of the colors, flavors, textures and aromas soothe and nourish the ache and evoke emotion. It is my therapy.  To keep going I have to cultivate life back into me somehow and creating the experience of a  meal helps with that.  A meal represents memories, gatherings and connections with my loved ones.  It is an art that serves those I love.  Oh and how I want to serve them after my days in those walls at work!

I don’t know exactly why I am sharing this.  I guess just so that others who are nurses know that they are not alone in these feelings. And for those that are not nurses, may you get a glimpse into what goes on in our minds.  We carry countless stories like these around with us.

Please forgive me if I linger too long over something beautiful or simply seem far away in my mind somewhere.  This is sometimes how I wrestle with these things I’ve shared here.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes2

I have made many different versions of protein pancakes.  Using everything from greek yogurt to protein power and gelatin.  None of them have been perfect in regards to having it all. Health of ingredients, flavor AND texture.  This is my favorite so far though.  No funky protein powders, no artificial sugars, not only gluten free but grain free, and still have good flavor.  Because of all the egg protein there is a slight crepe-like texture.  Make a large batch and freeze them for grab and go morning meals or snack time.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 6 Eggs
  • 2 Bananas
  • 2 Tbls Stevia (or honey if you don't like stevia)
  • 3 Tbls Coconut Flour
  • 2 Tbls Cacao Powder
  • ⅓ Cup PB2 Powdered PB (found in the health section of most grocers or on amazon)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Put all of the ingredients into a blender and mix.
  2. Heat a pan or skillet over medium heat, melt a little butter (I cook with clarified because it has a higher heat tolerance).
  3. Pour about ¼ Cup per pancake and flip half way through cooking and lightly browned.
  4. Make extra for the freezer!

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes

One Pan Spicy Italian Pasta

One Pan Spicy Italian Pasta

One Pan Spicy Italian Pasta5

Pastas and breads are not something that we eat a lot of in this house.  Reason being…. sigh…. when I eat a lot of pasta it alters the scale a bit.  Now, I don’t consider myself to follow a low carb diet by any means, but I do moderate it quite a bit.  I often replace the pasta with low carb veggies like in my cauliflower pizza crust or zucchini noodles pastas. But….. sometimes a girl needs a bit of the real thing.

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And a little spice.

One Pan Spicy Italian Pasta4

Now heres the deal…. I pack this with veggies.  That way I get my pasta but it is heavily filled out with vegetables, so that I don’t fill out myself.

One Pan Spicy Italian Pasta3

One Pan Spicy Italian Pasta
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Easy, gluten free, one pan, packed with veggies and spice, this pasta is perfect!
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • ½ lb straight cut Rice Noodles (I used Taste of Thai brand)
  • ½ lb Ground Sausage
  • ½ Red Bell Pepper, diced small
  • ¼ Cup Sundried Tomatoes
  • 4 Cups of Spinach
  • 1 small Zucchini, diced small
  • Salt and Peper to preference
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder (more if you love garlic)
  • ½-1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Tbls Sriracha Chili Sauce (more or less depending on your heat preference)
  • 1 Handfull of Fresh Basil, cut into ribbons
  • ¼ Cup of Freshly grated Parmesean
Instructions
  1. Begin by following the instructions on the Rice Pasta. Typically, you will place it in a dish and cover with very warm water. Let it sit while you begin the rest of the dish. Usually it takes 10-20 minutes to become al dente (and they will continue to cook once you place them in the pan later).
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook your sausage until cooked through.
  3. Add the Red Bell Pepper.
  4. Stir fry for about a minute and then.
  5. Begin adding the prepared Rice Pasta, Spinach, Zucchini, Salt, Pepper, Garlic and Sriracha Chili Sauce. I find it best to use a pair of tongs and turn the mixture in the pan as you go. The spinach will begin wilting. Once you feel you have the right amount of seasoning and spice. Turn off the heat.
  6. Top it off with the fresh parmesean and Basil.

 

One Pan Spicy Italian Pasta

So yummy :-)

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Loaded Quinoa Salad

Loaded Quinoa Salad

Loaded Quinoa Salad

I love salads with all sorts of flavors and different textures.  This is crammed with meaty artichoke hearts, sweet sundried tomatoes, crunchy zucchini, and creamy feta cheese all speckled with quinoa.  This is a great option for vegetarians with the plant protein from the garbanzo beans and quinoa.  Or for anyone really because it is just simply good.  We had it with beef skewers marinated in balsamic and garlic.  The best part is its easy.  Once your quinoa is cooked you just toss it all together!

Loaded Quinoa Salad2

Loaded Quinoa Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 10-12
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup Quinoa, well rinsed
  • 2 Cups Broth
  • 1 Jar Marinated Artichoke Hearts, drained
  • 3 Small Zucchini
  • 1 Can Garbanzo Beans, very well rinsed (or sprouted, soaked beans are best)
  • ¼ Cup Sundried Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
  • 3 Tbls Olive Oil
  • ¼ Cup Rice Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 handful of fresh basil, cut into ribbons
Instructions
  1. Combine the quinoa and Broth in a saucepan and cook according to instructions on the quinoa. Usually, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered about 10 minutes until fluffy.
  2. Once the quinoa is cooked, transfer it to a large bowl. Add all of the ingredients and stir.
  3. Top with a bit of Basil ribbons and serve warm.

 

Loaded Quinoa Salad3