Curried Coconut Chicken

This recipe is so delicious!  It might just be my favorite meal ever.  I have a very old, simple, stackable rice steamer that makes the best rice.  You fill the individual metal cups half full of rice, then fill to the brim with water. Steam for about 20 minutes (you really can’t overcook it, so I usually just steam until the entree part is finished) and you have beautiful, fluffy rice. The other nice thing about using the steamer for the rice is that you can throw some veggies in the steamer also to cook alongside the rice.  For Indian dishes I prefer to use Jasmine or Basmati rice.  I always rinse my rice until the water runs clear before putting it in the steamer. This recipe is from Allrecipes.

Curried Coconut Chicken

yields not enough.  Once you try it you will wish you had made more!

pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 teaspoon salt and pepper, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed, diced tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
1 head bok choy, chopped and steamed (optional)
carrots, chopped and steamed (optional)
cauliflower, chopped and steamed (optional)
peas, added very close to the end of cooking so they don’t get mushy
Jasmine or Basmati rice, steamed

Season chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat oil, curry powder, and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat for five minutes. Stir in onions, and cook 1 minute more. Add chicken, tossing lightly to coat with curry oil. Reduce heat to medium, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in center and juices run clear.

Pour coconut milk, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and sugar into the pan, and stir to combine. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, approximately 30 to 40 minutes.

Steam the rice and optional veggies while the curry is simmering.

Salted Caramel Rice Crispy Treats

This recipe is copied from the Hungry Curious blog, which is a great place to visit for more recipe ideas.  I’m recopying it here because you have to click around a bit on their site to put the recipe together so I’d like to have it in one place.  I made a batch last week and it turned out amazingly good!  I actually think it’s easier to make than regular rice crispy treats because without the marshmallow it’s not as sticky/messy.  And I think it tastes even better than regular rice crispy treats too!

Salted Caramel Rice Crispy Treats (Dairy/Soy Free)

8-12 bars or cups

1/3 cup unsalted almond butter
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Slightly rounded 1/4 tsp sea salt
2 cups rice crispy cereal

Whisk together all ingredients except rice crispies in a pan over medium heat until everything is fully combined and the edges start to bubble. Continue to whisk over heat for an additional 2-4 minutes, then stir in rice crispies until cereal is evenly coated. Press mixture into a square pan and cut into bars, or form into cups using a cupcake tin.


Dairy and Soy Free Diet

The first couple days after the birth of each of my kids was filled with lots of sleepy, contented, new baby snuggles.  But fairly quickly we progressed to hours upon hours of inconsolable screaming, projectile vomitting, bloody stool, and constipation.  The pediatrician I was seeing after I had my oldest told me that she had colic and that it would eventually pass.  And not to worry about the vomiting, it was just a “laundry issue.”  Thankfully I followed my parental intuition and realized that we were dealing with something a lot more serious than having to do several loads of laundry a day (she was constantly puking all over herself and us).  I did some research and discovered that dairy and soy intolerance is quite common in newborn babies.  The dairy and soy proteins that I was consuming were being passed to my baby in my breast milk.  And so, as difficult as it was, I eliminated dairy and soy from my diet.  It took about a week for the proteins that she was having trouble digesting to clear out of my system, but once they did the result was astounding!  My once colicky baby turned into an angel baby.  She was so calm and happy, the puking completely stopped (she didn’t even spit up anymore), and her diapers looked normal again – no more blood!  Now this would be a pretty difficult diet to adhere to, say, to lose weight (which was a really nice byproduct of the diet.  The baby weight melted right off of me!) But the realization that if I cheated on the diet then my baby was going to be screaming in pain for several days was a fantastic motivator!

The diet mostly consisted of eating fresh, unprocessed fruits, vegetables, and meats.  If you start looking at labels you will quickly realize that there’s soy in just about all processed foods these days. Many processed foods contain milk too, often referred to as casein, whey, butter, or cheese on a label. There are several products that I heavily depended on while on this diet.

  • Earth Balance dairy/soy free butter substitute
  • natural peanut butter (still double check the label, but most don’t have soy)
  • Better Than Bouillon (you can also make your own, which I will discuss in a later post)
  • almond milk
  • coconut milk and coconut milk based treats like yogurt and ice cream
  • some of the bread from Panera (and other local bakeries, or made my own)
    • my favorite dairy/soy free loaf from Panera is the sun dried tomato basil
    • not all of it is safe, you need to check the allergen listing
  • extra crispy chicken and coleslaw from KFC (sometimes when you’re on a super healthy diet you just feel like a little fast food)
  • nutritional yeast (common vegan trick that tastes a bit like cheese)
  • avocados (really good alternative on sandwiches to replace the creaminess of cheese)
  • Enjoy Life allergy friendly chocolate chips/chocolate chunks

Some items I like to keep on hand for snacks:

  • hummus and carrots
  • hard boiled eggs
  • potato chips (check the label)
  • dill pickles
  • granola
  • trail mix with mixed nuts and dried fruit
  • pretzels
  • baked oatmeal

The other secret to being successful on this diet is to really plan ahead with meals.  I would usually make a big pot of chili or soup on Sunday and could eat leftovers of that throughout the week if I was in a pinch.  The last thing you want is to find yourself hungry and have no safe, easy options to eat.

If you find yourself with a colicky baby (especially if the crying is accompanied by crazy amounts of spit up and worrisome diapers) I’d really encourage you to try eliminating dairy and soy from your diet.  And as hard as I know it is, you need to eliminate for at least 2 weeks to start with to give it enough time for the proteins to clear out of your system and your baby’s before you can really tell if the diet is helping.  It is so rewarding being able to nourish your baby without having to resort to the expensive and gross tasting/smelling specialty allergen formulas.  You can do it!