A New Experience, Thai Chicken Curry, + Saturday Shares

Never in my life did I imagine that at 44 years old I would:

1. wear a singlet in public
2. lift weights in front of judges and a crowd of people

But last weekend I did just that when I competed in my first powerlifting meet.

squat

And I had a awesome day, you guys! I lifted well and I had a really great time. I very much look forward to doing it again. I’ll try to write more about the experience when I’ve had a little more time to process “all the feels”.

Now let’s talk about this Thai Chicken Curry recipe. It comes from The Real Food Cookbook: Traditional Dishes for Modern Cooks by Nina Planck. I received an advanced reading copy of this cookbook from the publisher a few months back, and I have tried a bunch of the recipes since then. In addition to this Thai Chicken Curry, my favorite recipes so far have been the Caesar Salad, the Ricotta Pesto, and the Fermented Ginger Ale. The Downy Vanilla Cheesecake is also terrific!

thai chicken curry | healthy green kitchen

I really like Nina’s writing. I enjoyed her book Real Food: What to Eat and Why(2008) very much, and was excited when I heard she was writing a cookbook. The great thing is this cookbook is not preachy or pretentious, and it’s filled with exactly the type of food that I like and want to eat: food that’s nourishing and immensely satisfying, without being fussy. You don’t have to go to the ends of the earth to find the ingredients needed to make the food in this book :)

My son proclaimed this his favorite Thai dish that I have cooked, and since I use Thai flavors a fair amount, I think that says a lot. FYI cold leftovers are quite wonderful!

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Grilled Chicken Salad with Feta, Pecans, and Raspberries

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Kraft. I am being compensated to share my experiences with their product; all opinions are 100% my own. I adore salads and while I eat them just about every day, I rarely make the same salad twice. There are so many options when it comes to nutritious salads! In … Read more

Roasted Fresh Ham with Bourbon Citrus Maple Glaze

“When daily life is directly tied to the ebbs and flows of nature, as they are in agriculture, one cannot help but observe that life and death are forever in service to one another. We nurture the newborn livestock, and we process the ones that are ready for market. We harvest one crop, we plant seeds for another.”
– Shannon Hayes (from Long Way on a Little: An Earth Lover’s Companion for Enjoying Meat, Pinching Pennies and Living Deliciously)

Meat consumption can be a confusing- and polarizing- topic in the health community: many people seem to avoid meat because they believe it to be “bad” for them/”bad” for the environment/”bad” for animal welfare. I personally do not believe meat is “bad” (nor do I believe it needs to be avoided if you enjoy it) and I talk extensively about why in my book. To sum up, meat has a very rich nutritional profile (animal foods are a wonderful source of protein, but also contain additional nutrients that simply cannot be found elsewhere), especially when it comes from animals raised on ample pasture. In addition, I believe traditional animal husbandry is a humane and sustainable practice; I want to support farmers outside of the industrial factory farming system…farmers who truly care for/don’t confine their animals and who allow them to graze as nature intended.

I feel very fortunate that here in NY’s Hudson Valley where I live, I am surrounded by a number of farms where the animals and land are managed in a holistic way. These farms don’t confine the animals, nor feed them a grain-based diet, nor give them antibiotics or hormones. They allow the animals to roam freely in the sunshine and fresh air, grazing on nutrient-dense pasture.

One such farm is Full Moon Farm, and when the folks from the farm asked me if I’d be willing to develop some recipes with their products, I was really excited. Though I don’t post recipes for meat here on the blog all that often, meat is definitely a part of my diet, a diet that I consider to be quite health-promoting and balanced. So of course I said “yes”. This means that in the future, you can expect to see a few more meaty recipes!

Today, I want to share one of them with you: a roasted fresh ham that’s a really nice option for family dinner such as Easter.

About pastured pork/ham:

Unlike cows, pigs are omnivores. Pigs raised on pasture farms do graze, but they eat many other things, too (their diet is often supplemented with grain). Pastured pork is generally much more flavorful-and healthier-than commercial pork because they pigs have access to the outdoors and eat a much more diverse diet.

“Ham” refers to the hind leg of the pork. A roasted pastured fresh ham is very different from the cured/salty/overly sweet hams many of us are accustomed to, but it’s quite delicious in its own right. Keep in mind that a fresh uncured ham will have been frozen by the farmer, a step that is necessary to prevent food-borne pathogens in pork. A well-sealed/air-tight package of fresh ham should keep for 6 months before cooking.

A fresh ham may come in various sizes and may be cured, smoked, or roasted. This recipe calls for a boneless fresh ham that is approximately 4 pounds.

ham top view_

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Storing Potatoes Properly + Shepherd’s Pie Recipe #SaveItSunday

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Glad in conjunction with their #SAVEITSUNDAY program. With #SAVEITSUNDAY, Glad hopes to educate the public about the consequences of food waste, and I am proud they’ve asked me to be a part of the program. I am being compensated to share my #SAVEITSUNDAY experiences; all opinions are 100% my own.

Potatoes!

scone

My family loves them and I buy them a lot. The best way to store them has always been a bit of a mystery to me, though…I’ve never been sure whether or not you are supposed to keep them in the refrigerator.

I’m really learning a lot since I started doing these monthly posts in conjunction with Glad. According to the food storage experts over there, potatoes should not be kept in the refrigerator. And once they’ve been peeled and/or cut, they should be placed into a large bowl and fully submerged in water, then covered with plastic wrap, like Glad ClingWrap, or perhaps a tea towel. (To learn more about the best ways to prep and store your foods, see Glad’s Protection Pointers.)

Prepping and protecting potatoes means they’ll stay fresher longer. This is good news, because it means less chance of food waste! And now that your potatoes are going to last longer, you can enjoy them in many different ways: bake them, dice and pan-fry them, roast them, mash them. You get the picture…you can do so much with potatoes.

One of my favorite things to do with potatoes lately is to use them in this easy and delicious Shepherd’s Pie Recipe.

mashed potatoes for shepherd's pie recipe | healthy green kitchen
peas and carrots for shepherd's pie recipe | healthy green kitchen
beef and veggies for shepherd's pie recipe | healthy green kitchen
shepherd's pie before baking

Shepherd’s Pie may be one of those classic, basic recipes that everyone already knows how to make…but maybe not? You see, somehow I got to be 43 years old I had never made Shepherd’s Pie before a few months ago, when I happened on this recipe from Simply Recipes. Just FYI: true Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb (or mutton), while Cottage Pie is made with beef. So technically this recipe is for a Cottage Pie when made with beef…but, use ground lamb and it’s a Shepherd’s Pie.

shepherd's pie recipe | healthy green kitchen

Got it? Ok, here’s the recipe.

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Pumpkin Stuffed With Pasta, Fontina and Sausage

Macaroni and cheese is comfort food at its best…who doesn’t love it? It’s not something I make very often (translation: I never make it) so I was excited when Stephanie asked me if I’d like to review the brand new book she co-wrote with Garrett. It’s called Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese.

book photo 2

From the first moment I opened the book, I knew it was a winner. Melt is a beautifully photographed celebration of artisanal cheeses, and it’s filled with numerous unique ideas for how to pair these cheeses with pasta (but not just pasta: some of the recipes in the book don’t involve pasta at all). The writing is fun and engaging.

It did not take me long to decide which recipe from the book I wanted to share on my blog. The Pumpkin Stuffed with Pasta, Fontina and Italian Sausage Macaroni on page 128 was too much of a stunner to pass up! I’ve now made it three times since I received the book.

book photo 1_

Sugar pumpkins are incredibly nutritious and make a lovely receptacle for this delectable dish. I actually doubled the recipe for the mac and cheese (and only baked 1/2 in the pumpkin) because I wanted to have plenty of leftovers to send with my kids to school for lunch. I love Fontina and was excited to use it, but I had a little trouble finding Gruyère: I substituted Provolone and it worked out great.

pumpkin mac_text

Stephanie and Garrett say this is a flexible creation and suggest different ways you can tailor it to work with what you have on hand (see the recipe below for more details). I opted not to use macaroni: I made this with organic Conchiglie produced from a company called Montebello (a brand imported from Italy that I buy it at my local natural food store). The other changes I made are noted below in parentheses.

If you decide to buy the book (come on…do it!), be sure to enter the Melt Le Crueset Giveaway! Stephanie has the info about it over on her blog.

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