This Kimchi Stew (called Kimchee-jjigae) may have been inspired by our recent travels to Maui but this is a classic Korean dish that can easily be adapted to what’s in season near you and to your personal preferences. It’s hearty and warm, comforting and one of the most-loved dishes of Korean cuisine.
As we continue on Maui week, this next recipe may make it seem more like it’s Korean week around here, but this particular dish Kimchi stew aka Kimchee-jjigae was a standout for me from our time on Maui – I have made it countless times since our stay at the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui. Being at the resort was truly one of the most magical parts of our stay on Maui, for so many reasons.
Because this trip to Maui was our anniversary trip after a very busy year, we both obviously really wanted to explore Maui and see all the sights, and truly experience what we could, but we also really wanted to relax and kick back without feeling holed up in a vibeless hotel. We also didn’t want have to go out and stock a kitchen at an Air BnB to cook our own meals. We wanted to stay somewhere that had all the amenities for us to fully settle in, while still getting the full vibes of Maui.
Staying at the Fairmont Kea Lani we were able to fully submerge ourselves in all things Maui, eat inspired cuisines, experience so many special moments and just truly enjoy our time on Maui. Eating at the Fairmont Kea Lani, probably my most favorite culinary experience was at Kō. This is their award winning signature restaurant, which offers plantation-inspired cuisine featuring Hawaiian, Chinese, Filipino, Portuguese, Korean, and Japanese menu items.
By utilizing the island’s fresh produce, meat and seafood, Executive Chef Tyler Pang gives these authentic recipes a farm-fresh, contemporary twist. Beyond an incredible meal to celebrate our anniversary, I also had the opportunity to spend time in the kitchen with Chef Pang and it was such an honor. I loved hearing about all the stories of plantation workers who came from around the world to work the sugarcane fields, back in the plantain days, bringing their families’ recipes over to the Islands, their cooking techniques and recipes . I enjoyed learning how many of these traditional foods and recipes shifted over time given the limited resources and having access most often only to the foods native to Hawaii, dependent also on the seasons. Recipes begin to morph and meld together from different cultures and become their own thing – a culinary evolution. These are the food stories that truly fill me up.
This comforting Hot and Sour Soup is a perfect, soothing and healing winter meal. Whether you are fighting off a bug or just looking to have a cozy and quick bowl. Ready in barely about 15-minutes, this soup is paleo, gluten-free, whole30 and keto / low-carb compliant with options for vegetarian and low FODMAP.
Despite my efforts to fight off illness this winter, (dang there is just SO much going around) and despite taking on all of my holistic and natural approaches to protect and boost my immune function – earlier this month I got a cold! Booo.
The good news is that all of my constant hard work caring for my immune system was not for nothing, it was a very quick and fairly benign little cold, thankfully. Shortest cold I have ever had, to be exact. A day and a half, really. After two days in the hot desert in Joshua Tree and Palm Springs and coming home immediately to teach a sunrise yoga class to 60 people, outside in 45ºF weather, barefoot in wet grass, in a tank top, I kinda put my body through the ringer and it finally hit it’s limit. A little sniffly nose, a few sneezes and more than anything, a very fatigued body – that I could tell was fighting hard and I finally had to succumb to it. So, I allowed myself the time and space to just rest and relax and to fight off whatever it was working hard to keep at bay, 2 days of chillin’. I continued on my protocol of protecting my body, I took my elderberry syrup several times a day, zinc, vitamin C, oregano oil and all my other witchy remedies, and I was back to myself in no time. What a win. Truly.
This Chilled Zucchini Basil Soup with Lemon Garlic Cream is a summertime dream dish. Great as a starter or add your favorite protein for a perfect, super quick one-bowl meal.
Well, it’s that time again. Zucchini season. The abundance of my favorite veggie at the grocery, farmers markets and home gardens everywhere, means a new year to get creative and find new ways to cook up this tasty little green squash.
I personally find zucchini to be incredibly versatile, stepping in as noodles like spaghetti or fettucini or even rice noodles in Pad Thai. It works well in desserts like cookies or muffins, it makes amazing savory fritters, shoot it’s even amazing in smoothies.
I really enjoy pureeing raw or slightly cooked zucchini, as it brings a really hearty creaminess without the need for dairy, dairy alternatives or nuts.
This Super Quick Coconut Red Curry Soup is ready in just about 15 minutes and it’s highly adaptable. Add chicken or shrimp, drop in whatever veggies are in season and you have on hand, add noodles, or don’t. It’s creamy, rich and a breeze to make.
In continuing with the simple weeknight meal ideas, I bring you one of my go-to, super quick meals. I make and share this often on my Instagram stories and I am constantly receiving messages for the recipe. It hardly seems like a recipe to me, given what a breeze it is and how I rarely even measure, but here we go.
This Creamy Tomato Tikka Masala Soup is the ultimate in flavor. With aromatic spices in a creamy, rich tomato broth it’s the perfect comfort food.
I refuse to subscribe to the notion that there is a “Soup Season”. Sure, winter and fall are much more conducive to warming, comforting bowls of the steamy stuff, but there is something so cozy about soup and it can often make for a nice, one pot, fuss free meal, no matter the season.
As a lover of all things Indian-spiced I am constantly experimenting with dishes that are inspired by those very distinct spice blends. Since my husband is the exact opposite and prefers to avoid many of those spices, like the plague (he had a bad Indian restaurant food poisoning incident that forever ruined him) I dont get to play nearly as often as I would like.
On a rare night at home alone, recently, I was experimenting with a creamy garam masala spiced dish, somewhere between chicken makhani (butter chicken) and tikka masala, I was making the sauce creamy with coconut milk instead of heavy cream and as I was adding the tomatoes and broth, I found I had gone a little too far with the liquids, my sauce turned more to a soup and I simultaneously fell in love with this accidental dish. Creamy Tomato Tikka Masala Soup. Read the rest of this entry »
Having a for-real winter here in Southern California has been especially exciting for many reasons. For the first time since we moved out here from the East Coast 4 years ago, I have been able to really get down with cozy, comforting winter food. Soups, stews, roasts and all the best wintery, soul-warming foods.
Soups have been especially exciting to me this year. This one in particular, this Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Vegetable Soup, has become one of my personal favorites. Reminiscent of a pot-pie filling, with a bit more broth, it’s creamy and rich, without dairy or grains. Best part, it can be made in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker and it’s ready in about 30 minutes, start to finish, but it tastes like it’s simmered away all day. If you want to use already cooked, shredded rotisserie chicken, this soup is ready even quicker. It pressure cooks for just 6 minutes!!
Cue the Boys II Men song, End of the Road. The big event is here and after all the recipe testing, menu planning and grocery shopping it all comes to fruition in the big feast and soon all we’ll have remaining are full bellies, happy memories and hopefully lots of leftovers.
This week has been ALL about getting you prepped for the days after. With minimal cooking and making great use of the leftovers, I want you to just keep the holiday comfort food party going and of course, I never ever want you to throw away any food! This Turkey Pot Pie Soup with Grain-free Drop Biscuits is about as good as it gets when we are talking about comfort food and leftovers. This is the ultimate and without any grains or dairy, you can feel good after indulging!
Here we go, it’s about that time to answer the very important question of ‘What to do with ALL the Thanksgiving leftovers?’ While I know the big holiday hasn’t hit just yet, I want to help you guys get prepared for the aftermath. This week is all about Thanksgiving leftover ideas for the days following the big event! Since we are always left with loads of goodies, why not get creative and continue the eating party?
Soups are almost always my go-to after the holidays, for a variety of reasons. 1) they are so simple to make and they yield a large amount of food 2) soup is my ultimate comfort food. It’s always what I crave after I’ve maybe eaten more or differently than I usually do and 3) it’s the perfect cozy, cool-weather food. Soup will forever feel like a hug in food form!
What is Bone Broth:
Bone broth truly is one of the greatest superfoods. A soul-warming, healing, mineral-rich infusion found in many traditional households across many diverse cultures, bone broth is rich in amino acids and minerals and it’s healing properties run the gamut. This nutrient-dense, inexpensive magic elixir provides minerals in a highly bio-available form, meaning that the body can absorb easily them. Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. As the cartilage and tendons breaks down, you’ll also receive chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, both sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain. The long cook time of bone broth allows the maximum release of nutrients. Bone broth contains collagen and gelatin, providing great healing value to cartilage and bones but also to the skin, digestive tract, immune system, heart and muscles.
Bone broth is a liquid made by simmering bones for an extended period of time, between 4 and 24 hours. Any bones can be used: chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, pork, bison and even fish. Vegetables, herbs and spices are often added to enhance the flavor and the bones and vegetables are strained and discarded before serving. Typically, the bones will have some connective tissue, like joints and tendons, and some meat attached.
Additionally bone broth and stocks is a wonderful way of letting nothing go to waste. The nose-to-tail concept of sustainability.
You’ve probably heard the terms Bone Broth, Broth and Stock all used fairly interchangeably, but there are actually some differences between them. Each is made using meat and/or bones, cold water, vegetables and spices / seasonings. Cooking remains similar but the time of simmering varies between them. Bone broth is different from traditional stocks and broths in that it typically is made just from the bones and whatever small amounts of meat are adhering to those bones. Bone broth is simmered for a very long period of time, upwards of 48 hours. Stock is made generally with bones and a small amount of meat and is simmered for much less time, just several hours, 3-4. Meat broth is generally made mostly with meat and sometimes a small amount of bones, simmering for usually under 2 hours. Meat broth and stock still have great health benefits, however it’s a lower nutrient content then long simmering bone broth. For some, bone broth vs stock also means the presence of meat and veggies vs. just bones. Bone broth usually does not contain these and stock usually does. That said, those clear definitions have definitely blurred as bone broth has become more prevalent and people find their own ways of making it, so don’t get too hung up on the words.
With the start of fall just mere days away, I am reveling at the thought of my favorite season of eating! Fall food is pure comfort, to me. Squash, potatoes, apples, pears, pumpkins, cranberries and all the other goodness. I just can’t get enough.
Thinking about this season soup comes to mind quite often. Soup is one of my favorite things and while I know gazpachos and chilled soups are a thing, they aren’t the same. I love a good, steamy, cozy bowl or mug of comforting soup and by the time summer is wrapping up, it’s about all I can think about.
This Chilled Roasted Heirloom Tomato Soup is so much more than your average gazpacho. It celebrates the tastes of summer by bringing out their very best flavors and honoring the preparation that makes them truly shine. It’s strange, despite the insane heat waves, I still have the days where I find myself craving comfort foods like soup and stews, yet I still want to soak up much of abundant fresh summer produce that I can. But, a girl can’t live on salads, smoothies and popsicles, alone.
I have a newfound appreciation for Spring this year. California has decided to play coy and it hasn’t jumped straight into the heat, for once! Such a wonderful and welcome surprise. We’ve certainly had some very hot and sunny days, but we’ve also been blessed with some cooler, windy, spring-like days as of late and it’s been magical. So much is in bloom and there is so much beautiful green stuff at the markets, I am crushing extra hard on this incredible season. The lingering coolish weather has brought on cravings for soups and stews and comfort food featuring all of the beautiful new, delicate spring produce.
Something strange has happened in Southern California over the last couple of days…we had weather!! Yes, more than just sunshine and blue skies. We had violent and incredible thunderstorms lighting up the skies, pouring rain with the biggest rain drops you ever did see and heavy winds, bending those strong and sturdy palms, to and fro. It was incredible, chilly and so cozy. I miss days like this. When the skies open up and bathe us in this sweet and necessary rain, I am beyond grateful not only for the obvious, but also for the reminder and the excuse to slow down. I also find myself reminded of the importance of soul-warming, comfort food.
I have been making this comforting mushroom soup on and off throughout this winter. It’s so hearty, rich and earthy without being too heavy or indulgent. I also find that like most of my recipes, it’s also quite versatile. You can make it vegan by utilizing just the flavor of a beautiful mushroom broth and the meatiness of the varying mushrooms as the base, or you can, as we opted to here, add in some beautiful chicken stock and a little shredded dark meat chicken, for additional flavor and a source of protein for a complete meal.
While I am very aware that the holidays, for most of us, usually means a bit more sweets than usual, maybe a tad more alcohol and probably a few other less-than-healthy choices, I also kinda resent the idea that we should all relegate ourselves to spending the entire month of January detoxing, cleansing or Whole-whatevering.
Obviously you guys know me and my mission well enough to know that people making healthier choices and mindful lifestyle changes is always something I can get behind no matter the circumstances and in fact, I constantly encourage this. But, I don’t love this idea of post-holiday shame or guilt, that many feel we should suffer, especially after one of the best and most special times of the year. It just isn’t healthy. I also don’t love the idea often promoted every January, that 30 days of “cleansing” is going to change our lives or fix our wrongdoings and come February we can just jump back into the “old ways of eating”. Done and done.
Once again, it’s that balance I so often talk about. It’s the sustainable lifestyle choices and habit-forming, everyday changes that will endure long term and elicit real shifts in our health and overall well-being and vitality, for the long haul. Sure, more veggies and less junk is what we are all doing right now and I am certainly not condemning that, but I will feel no regret for my holiday choices. I make no apologies for the amazing, “nutritionally imperfect” homemade food I enjoyed with my family or those extra few pieces of the dark chocolate candy that my father and I made together (using my great-grandmother’s recipe) – which may have snuck into my suitcase. So what, I had a few cocktails? I also don’t feel even the slightest bit bad about the extra (of course, gluten-free) refined-carbs that seemed to follow me everywhere these past two weeks. None of these choices were really all that bad. I know, simply put, that it cannot and will not undo all the hard work I have done the rest of the year and consuming those things (or more) under the premise that I will “undo” it in the New Year, feels just plain silly to me.
Looking at the foundations of optimal health and overall well-being, it is safe to say most of us, whether having endured chronic illness or not, understand that it’s more than just the food we eat and the exercise we choose. Our physical body and the structural state of our person, the environment we reside in, our emotions – they all play a role in the delicate balance within our body. Just as important and often underrated, the subtle body, or our energetics, also contribute to our health and vitality. In a perfect world, these factors all come together in harmony, to allow us to be the healthiest version of ourselves. Balanced, happy, well and at peace.
When our health is out of balance, we can’t expect to simply change our diet, take some supplements and hit a yoga class or the gym and BAM we’re back to 100%! Sadly, it is never that simple. We are complicated beings, with many layers and levels of complexity that come together to create a unique and very special bio-individual. Ultimately, we seek to maintain balance within our body, but if we are holding onto anything, energetically, it can create blockages which keep the free-flowing nature of our truest self, challenged.
As part of my current healing plan, I have been approaching my health from all avenues, honoring every modality presented to me and every opportunity to heal. Beyond my yoga and meditation practices, recently I have added reiki to the energetic side of my healing protocol and I am so very fortunate to have an incredible friend and reiki master, Brook Albrigo living very nearby. I have been spending time celebrating the moon cycles each month, at Brook’s sound healing ceremonies here in Long Beach and now seeing her for one-on-one reiki sessions.
What is Reiki?
Have you ever noticed that your first reaction to an injury or pain is to put your hands on that area? Or that when a loved one is suffering, you automatically hold their hand, touch their shoulder or embrace them? We all have this instinct to use our hands to comfort, heal and console.
I know for those of you just barely feeling spring trying to force it’s way in, you won’t want to hear about the extreme heat we’ve had in southern California recently. With temperatures in the 90′s, it seems we have skipped right over the spring and jumped right into summer. I have switched from comforting winter soups and stews and roasted veggies to salads and cooler meals.
Soup that isn’t served hot may seem strange, but there are times when it just works and this is definitely one of them. It’s super fast to throw together — no slaving over a stove! — you don’t have to wait around for hours to let it simmer and there is very little prep.
This week’s Tutorial Tuesday post is a simple one, it’s hard to even call it a recipe. It requires very little work and it’s really hard to mess it up. You can make easily create your own signature vegetable stock with whatever your favorite ingredients are.
I find most store bought vegetable stocks to be lacking. They always taste flat and they all have this strange aftertaste, to me. I have never found one that I love. Most leave me wanting for more. I started making my own homemade vegetable stock a long time ago and it’s one of the easiest things you can make yourself at home. You can control the ingredients, the level of salt, the spices and it’s also a great way to use of vegetable scraps.
In the event you didn’t know, (I didn’t learn this until quite recently) there is a difference between a stock and a broth and that difference is usually just salt. Broth has salt added, stock does not. See, you learn something new every day. Actually, I think it is more than just the salt that makes them different, I believe that it’s seasoning in general, spices, salt, wine, etc. Essentially you are looking for a stock to be somewhat neutral in flavor, almost to where when you taste it, it’s missing a little something. Instead it’s about letting the dish the stock ultimately goes into dictate the spices and the levels of salt. Either way, I prefer to make a vegetable stock over a broth, so I can control the saltiness with each recipe I use it in. I do, however, still add simple, yet somewhat neutral spices, that will work with virtually any recipe my stock would go into.
With this being only our second winter in California I am pleasantly surprised this year by the cooler weather and the rain. It really feels wintery to me (in comparison to our usual warm and sunny days). As much as I know we needed the rain and I of course wanted it, I really just was starting to believe it didn’t actually happen here.
Last year was pretty much just hot and sunny the entire winter season, very little rain, it basically just felt like a continuation of the rest of the year. I assumed that was the norm and was really only bummed about it because I was missing comforting winter foods like soups and stews and other winter weather favorites.
This year we have had some wonderfully welcomed grey and chilly days, complete with rain and the need for cozy-time. I’m talking a hot fire, lots of blankets and comforting hot foods and drinks. I have made lot of soups and my love of hot drinks has been taken to a new level. In fact, while I write this, I am sipping away on a steamy mug of dairy-free hot cocoa, while under a cozy blanket, in front of the roaring fire place. I know, I know, those of you dealing with single digit temperatures and loads of snow, probably think this Southern California girl who hails from Buffalo, NY, should shut up about rainy 50º weather, but it’s all relative, friends. Promise.
Hey guys! Happy New Year! I hope your holidays were perfect and amazing. After a busy final few months of the year, I decided to take the holiday time away from all the work and projects and simply enjoy my husband and our life. Really relish in the magic of the holidays, one of my favorite times of the year. We went to Palm Springs for a few days, went on hikes, to the beach, lots of walks and bike rides in the neighborhood and all that good stuff. It was a break I needed very much and I was happy to get grounded in what really matters this time of year.
I came back to it all yesterday feeling refreshed and excited for this new year ahead. I had time to get organized and focus on what my goals are for this new year. It always feels good to step away and bring an awareness and clarity to the important things in life.
I made lots of comforting and healthy food during the break, with just a little indulging here and there. We worked our way through all of our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) goodies from our box from Beachgreens. With these beautiful organic Russian banana fingerlings potatoes and the unique organic white carrots, I was simply going to roast them, one of my favorite ways to enjoy veggies this time of year, but with the cooler weather a bowl of comforting soup was calling my name. I had some chicken bone broth in the freezer from one of the chickens we got from our farmer a while back, so it was perfect.
Despite the 80 degree whether we have had this past week, with the onset of November and the clock’s changing back, I start to crave comfort food something crazy this time of year. Soups, stews, crock pot meals, all of it! This homemade Chicken Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup) is something I find myself craving very often, this time of year. Even with several authentic vietnamese restaurants in the area, I find my homemade pho has been perfected to where it is the best I can find! (Horn tooted)
I make a mean Beef pho, which tends to be a bit more traditional, but I also really love making it with chicken, especially when we get one of the beautiful whole pasture-raised chickens from our farmer. Besides being hot and comforting, like any bowl of chicken noodle soup should be, the incredible warming spices in traditional pho not only warms the body, but I truly believe they have some sort of magical powers to warm the soul. To me, this is as close as you’ll ever be to getting a hug from your food.
Though it seems like there are many steps to homemade pho, it really is quite easy and once you’ve done the prep work, you can let the soup simmer all day and by the time dinner rolls around, it is done, ready and waiting for you to enjoy it!
The best thing about a traditional dish like pho are the subtle nuances to the recipe, that bring the most incredible unique flavors. Charring the onions and ginger is just one of them. A simple and quick step that provides a depth of flavor so vital to this dish! Plus, it leaves the kitchen has the most beautifully pungent aroma, too!
I am super excited to share with you guys this amazing summery, chilled soup recipe, aka one of my most favorite ways, currently, to enjoy the flavors of the season. The whole idea for this Grilled Summer Veggie Gazpacho was inspired by one of my new favorite kitchen staples, vegan stocks and broths from Massel.
Earlier this year while at the Expo West Natural Products Convention, I had the pleasure of not only meeting the amazing Blender Girl, Tess Masters, who has quickly become one of my favorite people, but in meeting her I was also introduced to Massel, an amazing brand, new to America, hailing from her home country of Australia. Massel makes high-quality easy-to-use bouillons, stock cubes, seasoning granules and Concentrated Liquid Stock. All of their incredible all-natural products are gluten-free and vegan, so they can essentially be enjoyed by all, regardless of dietary restrictions. Massel never adds MSG and all of their ingredients are non-GMO. Besides all of that, the best part about their bouillons are how they taste just like homemade stocks.
Though I am not strictly vegan or vegetarian myself, I do try to limit the amount of meat I consume. If I cannot get high-quality meat from our local farmer or at the farmers market, I much prefer to eat vegetarian. When it comes to homemade stocks and soups, I generally tend to use leftover bones from our grass-fed meat and/or whatever veggies I have on hand, to make a stock every other week or so. But this just isn’t always a possibility, sometimes I need quick and easy, but I still want healthy and real.