piña colada smoothie

After seeing a tweet from Luna & Larry’s about putting coconut ice cream in a smoothie, I knew something similar had to be done in my kitchen. And soon.

Piña coladas instantly came to mind – anything to bring up memories of beaches, sand and cocktails in the morning in the midst of the winter sounds heavenly and I can almost smell the salt water. This is definitely a healthier version, without the sugar, calories and of course the rum (which makes for not such a fun and relaxing drink) but one I can feel good about drinking at 10 AM on a Sunday.

Piña Colada Smoothie:

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen pineapple
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup coconut ice cream
  • 2 drops Vanilla Cream stevia

lentils with curried tarka

A few years ago when I was in college and cooking for myself, I went on a semi-vegan kick after reading Skinny Bitch. I was a vegetarian at that time but my Wisconsin roots (aka cheese) and love for pork made the vegan, and vegetarian stints short ones.

Dal was a lunch-time staple for me and I made it on an almost weekly basis. I may have burnt myself out on it a few years ago, but after reading Mark Bittman’s article in the New York Times, Elevating Simple Legumes, Just Enough, I had added Dal to my weekly menu and couldn’t wait another week to make it. Out of the many dal recipes in the article – the Lentils with Curried Tarka caught my eyes. And my tastebuds. Lentils cooked in coconut milk? Curry, scallion and lemon zest -infused butter? Combined for one decedent bean dish. And while serving naan along side it seemed a little redundant on the starch side, what better way to enjoy the classic Indian dish. Vegetables can wait another day.

Lentils with Curried Tarka adapted from New York Times

  • 1/3 cup dried brown lentils
  • 1 1/2 cups mix of coconut milk  and vegetable stock (I ended up needing a lot more than this throughout the cooking process)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut butter (coconut oil would work better)
  • 1 bunch chopped scallions
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • chopped cilantro leaves

In a medium saucepan, combine lentils and liquid and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn heat down to medium-low so that the mixture bubbles gently, cover partly and cook, stirring occasionally, until lentils are just tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Add liquid as necessary to keep them a little soupy.

Put butter in a skillet over medium heat until it is melted (I realized that coconut butter doesn’t melt very well which is why I would recommend coconut oil) Add scallions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and cook and stir for another minute or so. Add a large pinch of salt and some pepper.

When lentils are cooked to desired tenderness, stir scallion mixture into the lentils. Dal should be moist but not soupy; if it is not, add more water and heat through. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, and serve.


chicken satay with coconut-peanut sauce

Chicken satay is a food that everyone likes – young, old, picky and adventurous. It also just so happens to be an incredible hors d’oevre that is lean, full of protein, fun to eat (food on a stick!) and bursting with flavor! I really do think that everyone appreciates a healthy option at parties. (But most of them may never even suspect this as “healthy”)

After marinating the cut chicken tenders – recipe from Ellie Kreiger here – I grilled the chicken on the indoor grill. 2nd time using the indoor grill in about 3 years – NOT a purchase I would recommended.

I then set out to make a dipping sauce. Originally I was just going to use the recipe that came along with the satay, but I didn’t want the open can of coconut milk to go to waste so I made a few changes to incorporate it.

Peanut-Coconut Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp agave
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Tbsp ginger
  • 2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp chili paste

Blend all ingredients.

easy weeknight curry

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I love curry. I love Thai curry, Indian curry and everything in between. Whenever we get Thai food (usually take-out from a few blocks away) I always get red curry vegetables and “add extra broccoli and cauliflower please!” Sometimes they listen to my request and sometimes….well, not so much :)

Curry has been an easy weeknight  stand-by dinner that doesn’t require any fresh ingredients and is a flash to put together. I have to be honest though, it doesn’t taste as good as the take-out…anyone have any ideas for me?

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Whisk together 1 can coconut milk (I use Lite) and 2 Tbsp red curry paste in a large pan. Add a splash of fish sauce and salt & pepper.

Throw in frozen veggies and shrimp if desired, I usually use a bag of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots and then another 1/2 bag of broccoli. This last time I used raw, peeled shrimp which I actually liked because I think that cooking it in the liquid added some flavor to the shrimp instead of just adding cooked shrimp at the last minute. Simmer until shrimp are thoroughly cooked and serve over brown rice.

And because that wasn’t enough curry the taster found some curried sweet potatoes at Whole Foods so we baked those and had them on the side. They were ok, but nothing too special.

Do you have a weeknight stand-by dinner?

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