Gluten Free Vegan: Curried Coconut Rice with Dried Cherries

Gluten Free Curried Coconut Rice

Rice is nice, but curried rice is nicer. After realizing how boring the white stuff can be, and having a forehead smacking epiphany that I CAN DO SO MUCH BETTER THAN THIS, spiced up rice was born. No idea why it took me so long to realize that yes, you can add things to the rice to make it taste better, and no those things don’t have to come from San Fransisco or Uncle Ben, literally the dumbest thing I’ve never thought of, spices in rice. PSH!

So this rice is better. It’s from scratch, gluten-free, vegan if you’d like and so full of kicked-up flavor your little head might burst. Sure you might think the cherries a bit odd, but I didn’t have any raisins and in lieu of the pineapple, I also didn’t have, I think everything turned out pretty darn good. The next day, for lunch, I threw in some broccoli, edamame, and chopped scallions, finished with a drizzle of soy sauce and called it a day.

A delicious day. And even more delicious because I’ve switched my lunch boxes to glass! Yep, I did. So what — they’re a little bit heavier, but they look nice and make the food taste better. At least in my mind. So there you go. Doctor that rice and see where it take you, it might be the road into flavor town. BAM.

You’ll need:

2 cups basmati rice – rinsed and drained

1 cup water

1 cup coconut water

1/4 cup or splash of coconut milk – really, whatever ration you want as long as you have 2 1/4 cups liquid overall

1/4 cup chopped dried cherries

1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes

1/4 onion minced

2 TB curry powder

2 minced garlic cloves

splash soy sauce

pinch red chili flakes

1/4 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

salt and pepper

splash of oil

++ As an extra – like I did above: I tossed my rice with some steamed and drained edamame beans and broccoli, but this rice is just as nice for a side of chicken, bit of toasty tofu, or a bbq tandoori delight. Take your pick

To start, rinse and drain your rice. Set aside. Heat up oil in your sauce pan, caramelizing the onion and garlic. Add a splash more oil and throw in your spices. Once toasty add in the rice, coconut flakes, cherries. soy and liquid, scraping up an bits that may have formed on the bottom. Bring to a simmer, then cover.

Ok, here’s the funky part about making rice not in a cooker. You can stir the rice gently as long as there is a good amount of water left in the pan. Once the almost puffed up rice begins to break the surface, make sure the temp is slow and leave it alone! You can peek occasionally, but seriously, just leave it. Once the water is all absorbed, I check by sticking a fork down the side of the pot, pulling the rice away from the edge and actually looking — no visible water at the bottom? — then you’re done. Remove from the heat and let sit covered for 5 more minutes. Fluff with a fork, re-cover and give it another 5 minutes to sit and settle.

There you go. Perfect rice.


Mindful Monday

Mindful Monday: Learning to Listen to the Needs of Your Body

Mindful Monday

Good morning lovers, it’s that time again. The start of a new week and the chance to make things turn in the right direction. Even in light of the less productive weekend that I had hoped to have, it’s important to keep things in perspective. On that note, I thought I’d throw this segment at you. A blog post I wrote and published for the Wanderlust Journal Aspen that just seemed right for this morning. Check it here, if your looking for further musings, or read below.

The Journey of 1000 Steps: Learning to Listen to the Needs of Your Body

As a practitioner of yoga, listening to the needs of your body should be prioritized above all else. Yet more often than not, we let this simple rule fall away in exchange for personal achievement. In the quest for perfection, we gamble our safety and trade it for a false imitation of progress. In anticipation of moving upward as quickly as humanly possible, we forget that yoga is not a race. Yoga is a slow steady climb to the top, where even the highest practitioners have yet to reach the summit.

This journey, powered by mindfulness and dedication is rooted in the idea that listening to your body should determine your pace – not the person next to you. There is nowhere simultaneously more powerful and vulnerable than inside your own head.

Learning to read your body is a science in itself. In the world of Ayurveda, where elements guide the basic principles of life, people are categorized into three distinct categories; Pitta, Vata and Kapha. As someone who falls into the Pitta category, with a fiery temper and thirst for perfection, I often let ego dictate the measure of my achievements. Much to the detriment of my self-esteem, and joints for that matter, this unfortunate trait has led me often to disregard the needs of my body.

After over-scheduling myself nearly half to death on Wanderlust day one and struggling through a hard night of acclimatization, my body demanded something easier. This time, I listened. The morning of day two, instead of pushing through the pain and forcing myself through a difficult lineup of classes, I told me ego to take a hike – literally, and I did.

I took the Art of Walking, a guided hike which leads up through the aspen trees of Snowmass Village and along the Tom Blake Trail. This gave me time to check-in with my body and explore the feelings arising from immersion within this new environment. Travel, stress, emotional baggage and lack of rest can all sap your strength. These factors when combined with the ego’s need for perfection can lay false trails and misguide you on the quest for growth. Looking internally, feeling your heart, your breath, and your prana energy can help amplify the inner voice that speaks the truth. When your body cries out, listen. The greatest gift you can receive is the ability to hear what your spirit guides tell you. Whether they are signs from the outside, or messages from within, open your heart and listen.

Walking the trails that afternoon filled my personal need, but the intention here is to identify your own needs. Progress for the sake of progress should be avoided. It derails our forward momentum and impedes the growth of our practice. We forget, that in the quest for perfection there can be no advancement where there is pain, no joy where there is stress, and no reward where there is suffering. It is only by listening to our body’s needs and realizing the breadth of our own limitations that we can authentically and legitimately grow.



Oven-Fried Chicken Biscuit with Scallions, Cheddar and Spicy Sweet Mustard

Honey Chicken on Scallion Biscuit

From chicken to tempe, lentils to lardon, I’m not too picky and yet very picky about what I eat. Everything in moderation, everything in balance and everything the best of the best of the best of what it can be, aside from a late night JBX taco or two. I mean if you’re going to do deep fried, sauced-sweet, pulled, or smoked, go the whole hog or not at all, ya dig? None of that fat-free, fake sugar, ‘ish here.

But sometimes, even the most ‘balanced’ girl just needs to indulge. And while that often means I go into overdrive, heating up the oven, kicking on the fryer and making myself everything from cream cheese puffs to ahi poke, sometimes it means I cheat with the box mix.

So the other Saturday, I got the hankering for a biscuit — and as time was of the essence bisquick mix it was! Probably the most underrated of ready-prep food, it’s literally the best for everything. Add some cheddar, throw in some scallions, odds and ends and everything else, it made for quite the lunch. Even though it wasn’t from scratch, I mean really, not everything can be — I was still impressed. Self, you done good.

This chicken wasn’t half bad either. Confession time — I’ve never actually fried, fried chicken. I know, blasphemy, but as I was growing up frying was considered a work of the devil, something that would make the house smell, the kitchen sticky, and everything in a five-mile radius dirty, never mind the delicious crunchy bits you’d be left with afterward. So I improvised. And after years of dry, bready, oven baked chicken, that more often than not left it’s tacky crust stuck to the pan rather than the protein, I found an answer.

So please, read, enjoy and prepare, because this is as close to the real crunchy, chicken fingery poultry you’re ever gonna find, outside of the fryer. And that spicy, tangy mustard sawyce — you got me. It’s divine. And please, don’t freak out if you think it’s a lot of steps, you can freeze, fridge or eat these little chicks straight away, a quick pop under the broiler or a run in the toaster over, will bring them straight back to  their golden, crunchy glory. FYI – oven ‘frying’ is healthier, so you’re not completely off the wagon. ;)

For the biscuit:

2 cups Original Bisquick

2/3 cup milk

1/4 cup yogurt

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

2 chopped scallions

2 tablespoons melted butter

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Mix all until moist, adding more mix if necessary — dough should be sticky. Drop onto greased baking sheet and cook for 8-10 min until golden brown.

For the chicken:

3 chicken breasts – cleaned, butterflied, pounded thin (1/2 inch thickness) and cut into palm sized pieces

3 beaten eggs – with a dash of water, whatever spices you have on hand and squirt of hot sauce, plus a pinch of salt and pepper

extra Bisquick for dusting

2-3 cups panko with some gran garlic, and oregano thrown in for good measure

3 Tbs melted butter

Take your pounded chicken pieces and dry them. Add some salt and pepper. Dust with your extra Bisquick and dip in egg then panko. Push that mix on. Repeat with all pieces, cover with plastic and let rest in the fridge for 30 min. Heat oven to 350. Place chicken on wire rack, on cookie sheet, and drizzle with melted butter. Bake 10 min then flip, and bake until chix registers at 165 degrees about 10 more minutes.

For mustard sauce:

2 Tb coarse mustard

2 Tb mayo

1 Tb agave/honey

1 squirt sriracha

1 splash vinegar

Mix and serve with the chicken. Stick some greens on there if you’re feeling guilty. Assemble, photograph and impress your already hungry friends.