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Healing approaches mentioned in this blog are for educational purposes only. Suggested supplements, etc. should not be used as replacements for conventional medical treatment without guidance from a licensed and trained medical professional.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Japanese Chicken Curry

Japanese Curry

The first time I experienced Japanese Chicken Curry was as a freshman at Cornell College in 1984. A bunch of international students I hung out with would cook up various dishes in the International Center kitchen or in one of the dorms. In 1986, as an exchange student to Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, I lived off the chicken curry with copious amounts of pickled ginger available from the student cafeteria for 90 yen (about a dollar). It was pretty much all I could afford, and luckily I liked it!
The spices in curry are generally anti-inflammatory and may help regulate blood sugars as well.

Over the years I have tried various recipes, but the following is the one everybody in my family likes and asks for over and over. I make a large amount in my crock pot, to have plenty for leftovers and freezing, so you could cut the amount in half if you wanted.


S&B Golden Curry Sauce Mix (I like medium hot, but you can get hot, medium and mild.) 2 packages

Chicken 3 pounds cut into 2 inch-ish squares. (I use organic boneless thighs, but you could use breast meat as well.)

1 large yellow or sweet onion, sliced into about 1-2 cups large pieces.

4-6 potatoes, diced. (I prefer golden or waxy potatoes.)

Carrots 12-16 ounces (I prefer baby carrots, but you can cut whole carrots into 1 inch rounds.)

Mushrooms 1-2 cups sliced (I like a lot of mushrooms, but not really necessary to the recipe.)

5 cups of water

Plug in a large crock pot or alternatively have a large casserole dish or pot available.

When chopping the veggies, I always start with the onion, then the potato, carrots and chicken. As you cut up everything, just throw it in your cooking container.

  You could put the mushrooms in now, but I like to add them midway through cooking, along with the Curry Sauce Mix, because it helps them not be so mushy. Mix the whole thing up and add the 5 cups of water.  Put the lid on.

If you are using a crock pot, set it for 10 hours. If you are using an oven, preheat at 350 degrees and stick your covered dish in for 2-3 hours.  It may take longer, depending on how big you sliced your ingredients.

I put the mushrooms in about hour 5 or 6 of the cooking time, along with the Curry Sauce Mix. You do have the option of adding the Curry Sauce Mix the last hour of cooking, and that's what I would do if I'm baking it in the oven. I make sure that the veggies are tender and the meat is completely cooked before adding the Curry Sauce Mix.

Then I stir it every hour or so until it's done. If it's in the oven, stir every 30 minutes or so.

You can eat it like a stew or serve it over steamed rice or quinoa. It's even better the next day.

My Mom never made this for my brothers, sister and I, but somehow, this curry is like home for me. 

Itadakimasu!  (Let's eat!)




Monday, November 4, 2013

Baked Poppers

This is a basket from Rwanda filled with produce that was given to me at my open house last weekend.  I knew I could make salsa with some of the stuff, but wasn't sure what to do with the peppers.  Then I remembered how much I like jalapeno poppers.  I've only ever had them from the deli case at the supermarket, but I was willing to try a more healthy homemade version. 

10-12 fresh jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise, with stems, seeds and membranes removed

(You may want to wear gloves while doing this.)

8 ounces cream cheese

1 ½ cups shredded cheese (I used Mexican blend.)

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon milk

½ teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 cup breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.

Cream together the cheeses, chili powder, onion powder, salt and smoked paprika. You may need to add a tablespoon of milk to make it creamier. I started in my food processor, but the mixture was too stiff so ended up mixing in a bowl by hand.

Put a tablespoon (or more) of the cheese mixture in the center of each jalapeno half. It was easier to do by hand than with a spoon.

  Beat the eggs in a shallow dish, put the breadcrumbs into another shallow dish. One at a time, dip the jalapeno half in the egg and then the breadcrumbs, pressing to coat. Place the coated peppers cut side up on the baking sheet.

Bake about 30 minutes, until the filling is runny and the crust is golden.

They were so delicious!  Much better than the deli case version.  Mr. Inappropriate liked them too, although he did get a bout of heartburn later on from it.  I think I will make these again.

Would you have done this a different way?  Let me know!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Open House and Spiced Apple Cider Punch

Happy Anniversary to Me!

My office held a 15 year anniversary open house last weekend and we had so much fun!  People that I hadn't seen in years showed up.  There was a lot of conversation and laughter, great food and my apple cider punch.  Many people asked for the apple cider punch recipe. I have made this before for other parties with sugar.  This time I used liquid stevia as the sweetener and I think it turned out very well!


 A few days before the party I got my ingredients together:

1 gallon apple cider

1 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 cinnamon sticks

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon ground cloves

2 ½ teaspoons liquid stevia OR 1 cup of sugar

Mix all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then let simmer gently for 7-10 minutes. Let cool a bit and then strain. You can serve it warm or once cool enough can be refrigerated.

I made a stevia ginger ale ice ring by freezing the  homemade ginger ale syrup recipe in a bundt cake pan and putting orange slices in it.

To make the punch for the party, I gently warmed the bottom of the ginger ale ice ring in its pan and then slid it into the punch bowl, poured in the apple cider punch and then added 1-2 liters sparkling water and garnished with orange slices.


I was so busy having fun at the party, I never did get a picture of the punch bowl of goodness!

I'll be posting my Japanese chicken curry recipe sometime in the near future.

For no particular reason, here's a picture of Stretch looking at pictures on the computer. (:

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Crust-less Stevia Cheesecake!

In the fall of 1987, I was in my last year at Cornell College in Mount Vernon and my brother Harvey was starting law school at the University of Iowa. I would visit him, Kris and baby Lindsey in Iowa City about once a month and Kris and I would make cheesecake. Sometimes I would babysit so they could go out, but mostly we spent time together. Ever since then I always think of cheesecake when it's fall.

I've never really cared for the graham cracker crust on cheesecake. The delicious filling is what I want! Lately I've been trying to have a more low carb diet and decided to experiment with cheesecake. The following is the recipe I've come up with so far, but it probably needs a few more tweaks until I'm satisfied.

Crust-less Stevia Baked Cheesecake

Coconut oil or something to grease the pan (I use a pie plate.)

2 8 ounce packages cream cheese

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

12 packets stevia powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

dash of salt

½ cup of half and half

2 eggs

A couple hours before you intend to make this, it is best to take your cream cheese and eggs out of the fridge.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat the pan with shortening of your choice and set aside.

Unwrap the cream cheese and put it in the mixing bowl. Beat it until fluffy.
Slowly mix in the lemon juice, stevia, vanilla, salt and half and half.
I break the eggs one at a time into the measuring cup and break it up with a fork, then add to the mixture, beating well after each one.
 Once it is all well mixed and fluffy, pour it into your prepared pan. Bake it in the oven for 55 minutes.

Nutritional information

8 servings
Total calories:  1,116     Per serving:  140
Total carbs:      21                                  3
Total fat:          96                                 12
Total protein:   33                                  4
Total sodium:  1,116                           140
Total sugar:     15                                   2

I put some melted unsweetened baking chocolate sweetened with a dropper of liquid stevia along with a spray of whipped cream to enhance my serving of cheesecake.  Next time I won't add the dash of salt, it was a touch too salty for me.
Do you have some good low carb recipes or stevia recipes to share? 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Caretaking and Bereavement

Dad and me in much younger years.
My father passed away 3 months ago. Because I live over 1700 miles away from where my parents live, I was not involved in the day to day care of my father once he became ill. My Mom, sister and youngest brother were the day to day care takers and they did an amazing job under a stressful situation.
I always knew my father would die young due to his heavy cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol intake in his younger years and dietary choices but he managed to almost make it to the age of 73. He had been in the hospital several times over the last few years with serious cases of pneumonia. I was pretty sure that he would die from complications of emphysema.
However, in May my father became jaundiced and a stent was put in his bile duct. The doctors were not sure what was going on, possibly pancreatic cancer. Because of his weak lungs, they could not do exploratory surgery without risking his life. My father decide to “go home and live the rest of his life”.
After a fall.
Due to abdominal pain, he was unable to eat very much. Hospice came and helped set up for his needs at my parent’s home. He began to sleep more and got weaker, but he was still moving around by himself four days before his death. He had a couple of falls trying to get to the bathroom and he was kept in bed after that. I was lucky enough to be there, arriving about 16 hours before he passed. I helped care for him, gave him some gentle massages and the last words he said to me was “I love you”. In the early morning hours his breathing became shallow and stopped, then I heard his last heartbeats with my sister’s stethoscope.
For someone who is a physician, with a very large extended family, I haven’t been exposed to death all that often. I have been so lucky. My Dad is the first person so close to me that has died. I know as I get older that this experience will become more and more frequent.
Anyone that has known me the last 15 years or so also knows my cat Stretch. (His picture is part of the header of the blog.)  He is a very personable kitty and is the first pet I’ve had that got under my skin and feels like a being with a person. Stretch is at least 18 years old and perhaps older. This last year or so he has been getting thinner and his hip pain seems increased. He acts just a bit senile and just isn’t the same being as when he was younger. I really miss the younger him but try to enjoy him now too, despite the decreased camaraderie and extra work taking care of him entails these days. My husband and I are already grieving our loss of him, even though he isn’t gone yet. 
Stretch thinks he's a person!
I would never confuse my cat with my Dad, but I feel like there are some similarities in these situations. Being able to care for someone you love as they experience decline in their health and then their eventual passing is quite tiring and frustrating. But there is also something good there. I’ve looked all over the Internet to try to help explain what I feel about this, but can’t find it. I guess even though taking care of someone that is nearing death is often tiring and frustrating, being able to care for them and hopefully make the experience less traumatic for them is such a caring, human thing that it can bring spiritual growth.

 "I love you this much!" or "I once caught a fish this big!

It is 3 months since my Dad passed away and I’m still going through some of the stages of grief. I miss my Dad. I miss the thought of him going fishing, discussing biblical theories, even chain-smoking the damn cigarettes. If you have the chance to take care of someone close to you nearing the end of life, don’t be afraid. Do it! One should always listen to the person, help them feel comfortable and keep their dignity. Help them maintain independence in their daily life as long as possible. You’ll be sad at the end, but glad you did it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Breakfast Spaghetti!

Bacon, eggs, maple syrup and spaghetti!

I love pasta, but don’t eat it as much as I want due to Mr. Inappropriate’s gluten sensitivity. But he can have spelt noodles and he loves bacon and eggs, and can't shut up about bacon on maple bars, so I came up with this recipe.

12 ounces turkey bacon ("real" bacon is also good)
3 quarts boiling water
spaghetti or pasta (enough for 4, I used spelt but I bet angel hair would be awesome!)
4 eggs
¼ cup half and half or cream
½ large onion, diced
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed garlic or 2-3 cloves minced
¼ cup butter, melted
½ cup maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste
¼ - ½ cup cheese, Parmesan is best, but I used cheddar this time

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put aluminum foil on a cookie sheet, then cut turkey bacon into 1 inch pieces. Spread over the cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until crisp. Remove and let cool.

Put 3 quarts of water on to boil, then dice the onion.

Brown onion in 1 tablespoon of butter or olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and brown for an additional 2 minutes. Remove browned onion and garlic from pan. 
Crack the eggs into a bowl and add ¼ cup of cream, salt, and pepper. Whip air into the egg mixture and set aside.

Your water should be boiling by now, so cook the pasta according to package directions.
Melt the ¼ cup of butter in the pan you used to brown the onions and garlic. Mix in maple syrup and increase heat to medium.

Once the pasta is cooked and drained, dump it into the melted butter and maple syrup large skillet and mix. Pour the egg mixture over the pasta. Do not stir. Turn off the heat.

Add the onion/garlic mixture and the bacon to the top of the pasta. Look for the egg mixture to set up a bit, like scrambled eggs. Then you can stir it all together. You can let it sit, covered for the flavors to meld or just dish it up right away. Then sprinkle on as much cheese as you dare. It serves 4-6 people.  I think this makes a great Sunday night meal or possibly brunch.

As a naturopath, I recommend adding a green vegetable to this meal, but don’t if that will spoil it for you.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Radio Interview on 7/24/12

I just remembered that I could post a link to the radio interview I did on KMUN with Ann Goldeen on July 24th.  I came prepared to discuss "Obesity, it's not what you think",  but we did wander around the topic somewhat.  I really hate hearing my recorded voice, so I haven't listened to this myself, except when I was there recording it.

The points I wanted to get across the most are: 

Poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle DO cause health problems, in people of ALL sizes.
Everyone should be trying to eat well and move as well as they can, regardless of size.

Diets do not work for 95% of the population.

BMI is not a very accurate measurement of obesity.

Human beings deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of how they look or what you think is going on with them.

Weight by itself is not a problem except in extreme cases where it impacts mobility or you are starving. Fat people live longer than thin people and are more likely to survive cardiac events. If fat people actually do cost the medical system more, it would be around .12% more, if that.

Just for the fun of it, here's a link to Kate Harding's BMI Project.