Do What You Pin: Lamb Curry (And a special announcement!)

Before I get started with today’s Pinterest recipe, I have some exciting news to share! Ready???

I’m the proud owner of fulfilledblog.com! I’ll be upgrading Fulfilled from WordPress.com to WordPress.org over the next few weeks and plan to make everything much easier to access. Recipe widgets and custom designs? Yes, please! I’m so excited to embark on this new phase of my journey as a blogger and recipe creator.

Even though I’m working overtime on these technical upgrades, I’m still setting aside some time to do what I pin! I continued my weekend of fabulous, flavorful cooking for two with this recipe for Lamb Curry from Easy Natural Food. Debbie’s recipes have been getting a ton of love from me recently – her adaptation of Carrot and Cilantro Salad inspired my recent Cilantro Carrot Slaw. I’d been sitting on her Lamb Curry recipe for months and couldn’t wait any longer to give it a try!

The recipe is quite simple, but packs a huge punch. It isn’t quick to prepare, but the active cooking time is quite short compared with the time the dish sits on the stove doing it’s own thing. It’s a perfect dish for a lazy day at home.

I started by sauteing the onion, garlic, and ginger.

20130721-234929.jpgAfter about five minutes, I added the lamb. The original recipe calls for lamb shoulder blade or arm chops on the bone, but the only appropriate variety I could find was this organic boneless lamb shoulder. I only used a pound of lamb because I was cooking for two and it’s a little pricey!

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After browning the lamb, I added the carrots and stock (I used vegetable stock), brought it to a simmer, covered the pot, and left the curry to do its thing for an hour and a half! I checked on it every 15 minutes or so, giving it a quick stir.

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After an hour and a half, I added the raisins and covered the curry again, letting it cook for an additional thirty minutes. Dinner is served!

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My impression going into this meal was that the curry would be very Westernized, and that ended up being exactly the case. If you’re dead-set on a traditional curry, this is probably not the recipe you want to go with. If you want to get some use out of your curry powder and try a delicious, comforting preparation for lamb, heat up your stove and make this ASAP!

Since I’m on a Whole30, I served the curry with some microwaved pumpkin quarters. If you’re able to, I would definitely recommend serving it with rice, as the pumpkin didn’t provide much of a contrast to the strong savory-sweet flavor of the curry. I’ll definitely be making some white rice when I revisit the recipe!

The only change I will make for next time is reducing the proportion of raisins to lamb. I used less lamb than the recipe called for, but was closer to the top of the recommended 1/3 – 1/2 cup raisin range. The result was undeniably delicious, but VERY sweet. As crazy as it sounds, if I were to be served this curry as a desert, I wouldn’t be totally confused.

For the original recipe, click here. And, as always, you can check out what I’ve pinned here.

A Paleo Feast: Almond Crusted Pork Chops, Homemade Applesauce, and Fig and Arugula Salad

I wanted to make an extra-special dinner for Nick last night. I’ve had a bit of a chip on my shoulder during my Whole30, feeling that I need to prove to everyone that Paleo food can be delicious and, in fact, better than the food everyone else is eating. Nick hasn’t given me any reason to think I need to prove this to him, but it’s important to me nonetheless. To prove my point, I put together a Paleo feast for two! Anytime there are more dishes on the table than diners, I figure it can be considered a feast. 🙂

Our meal consisted of three dishes: Fig and Arugula Salad, Almond Crusted Pork Chops, and Homemade Applesauce. It’s fairly easy to put together, requires minimal ingredients for a meal of its caliber, and can be ready in about 30 minutes!

The applesauce has the longest cook time, so that’s where I started. I chopped four medium apples (Royal Gala is a great choice for this) into chunks, about 8-10 pieces per apple. I put the apple chunks in a saucepan with about 3/4 cup of water and a generous amount of cinnamon. You can customize your applesauce to be a cinnamon-y as you want! I brought it to a boil, reduced the heat to medium, and covered the pot.

While that cooked, I started to heat some coconut oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. I scrambled an egg in a small bowl and poured a large heap of almond meal seasoned with a little garlic powder on a plate. I salted and peppered my pork chops, dipped them in the egg, coated them in almond meal, and put them in the skillet!

20130719-110638.jpg The key to this dish is buying high quality pork. It doesn’t need to be expensive, but it should have the dewy pink color and plumpness that makes pork look super fresh. If your pork chop manages to look appetizing while it’s still raw, you’re probably in good shape.

I let the pork cook for about six minutes on the first side before I flipped it.

20130719-111351.jpg While the pork was cooking, I put together the salad. I skillet-toasted some pine nuts in coconut oil and combined them with quartered figs and an arugula blend. Olive oil and balsamic work great as a dressing, but for those not on a Whole30 you can add a little extra pizazz with a honey balsamic vinaigrette.

20130719-111746.jpgOnce the pork has cooked for about six minutes on both sides, everything is done! Just use a fork to mash up the apples and you’re good to go.

20130719-111837.jpgThe pork was the juiciest I’ve ever had. It was so good that even an iPhone picture was able to capture it’s perfection!

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Fig and Arugula Salad

4 cups arugula or arugula blend
4 fresh figs, quartered
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste

Heat coconut oil in skillet and toast pine nuts in oil. In serving bowl, combine arugula, figs, and toasted pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with olive oil and vinegar.

Almond Crusted Pork Chops

2 pork chops, about 1/3 lb. each and 1 and 1/4 inches thick
1 egg
3/4 cup almond meal
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp coconut oil

Heat coconut oil in large skillet. Crack egg into small bowl and scramble, and mix almond meal and garlic on a small plate. Salt and pepper the lamb chops and dip them in the raw egg. Coat them in almond mixture. Cook in the skillet for about six minutes on each side.

Homemade Whole30 Applesauce

4 sweet apples (Royal Gala is a great choice)
3/4 cup water, plus 1/4 cup
cinnamon to taste

Core apples and cut into large chunks, approximately 10 pieces per apple. Combine with 3/4 cup water and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer. When water is fully absorbed, add additional 1/4 cup. After a total of 20-25 minutes, remove apples from stove and mash using a potato masher or fork.

Chicken Avocado Stuffed Pepper

Chicken Avocado is quite possibly the world’s best sandwich filler. Part chicken salad, part guacamole? Yes, please! When I’m staying away from bread, I love stuffing the mixture into a red pepper. It’s the perfect thing to pack for lunch the day after you roast chicken for dinner!

I love this recipe because the veggies are raw. It feels so good to know that I’m getting maximum nutrition out of my food by eating it in its natural state. Depending on what I have in my fridge, I like to experiment with different ingredients. Sometimes I’ll add spinach or corn, or swap out the basil for cilantro. This recipe is the basis for endless variations!

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Chicken Avocado Stuffed Red Pepper

1 large cooked chicken wing, cooled
1 red pepper
1 ripe avocado
1/2 tsp garlic powder, plus more to taste
1 tbsp fresh basil (1 tsp dried)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Pull chicken from bone and chop into small pieces. Mash avocado with chicken, spices, and lemon juice. Stuff mixture into pepper, halved lengthwise.

Tuna and Grape Salad

I want to create Paleo mayonnaise, but the blender I have is unfortunately not up to the task. I need to get a proper food processor before I can begin that challenge.

In the meantime, I have been creating mayo-free tuna salads. One of my favorites involves chickpeas, but since I’m in the middle of a Whole30, that recipe is off limits! I had a bit of a sweet tooth this morning, so I whipped up this version for lunch. The grapes give a nice, light juiciness, the celery adds crunch, and the dates give it the touch of sweetness I was craving. Dried cranberries would work well in this recipe too, possibly better than the dates, but I can’t eat them these days. Give them a try and let me know how it is!

20130715-200512.jpgTuna and Grape Salad

5-6 romaine leaves, or other lettuce leaves for wrapping

6 oz can of tuna, drained

approximately 12 grapes, halved

1 stalk celery, chopped into small pieces

2 Medjool dates, pitted and minced OR small handful dried cranberries

juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 and 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp dried dill

salt and pepper to taste

Separate and wash romaine leaves and set aside. Combine remaining ingredients and mix well. Scoop onto lettuce leaves, fold, and enjoy!

Cilantro Carrot Slaw

As a food blogger and creator of recipes I often struggle with how original a recipe needs to be to truly call it my own. When is an altered recipe merely adapted, and when does it become an entirely new creation?

I found this recipe for Carrot and Cilantro Salad shared by Debbie from Easy Natural Food. She got the recipe from Cuisine Magazine and altered the proportions slightly.

When I made my version, I did a little more than alter. I consider it to be an entirely new recipe, albeit strongly inspired by Debbie’s post.

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Since I’m in the middle of a Whole30, I swapped out the honey for 1/2 a shredded pear. I used a variety that is still rather firm upon ripening in order to avoid it turning to mush when I grated it. I’m a major lover of combining cilantro and lime, so I went with lime juice instead of lemon juice. I also drastically decreased the amount of onion in the recipe. I did this mainly because I have a hard time tolerating large amounts of raw onion, but the tangy flavor from the cilantro and onion was just enough. I wouldn’t add more even if I could!
20130710-213725.jpgThis slaw was unexpectedly delicious. It’s always nice to include an entirely raw dish in your menu plan! Whether you want to follow my recipe, Debbie’s recipe, or make up your own, I highly recommend it! And if you have the option, splurge for some organic carrots. In my experience, the organic variety taste infinitely better – a difference I don’t notice between the organic and regular versions of most produce.

Cilantro Carrot Slaw

Serves 2-3

2 carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 pear, grated (firmer varieties work best)
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
2 tbsp onion, minced
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and toss to coat with lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Red Pepper Ragu

Comfort food is not the first thing that comes to mind for most people when they think of alternative diets, but this Whole30 compliant meal is the ultimate in comfort. It might just be that I haven’t eaten pasta in five months, but the creamy texture of the butternut squash was more satisfying than I remember pasta to be – and I felt healthy and energetic after eating it. None of that post-pasta sluggishness here!

20130710-175123.jpgTo make the sauce, I combined my favorite tried-and-true roasted red pepper sauce recipe with sautéed ground beef. When I make the red pepper sauce, I like to make a huge batch and save it in divided portions in the freezer. When I know I’ll need it, I move a portion to the fridge to defrost while I’m at work.

This is a great grain-free meal for anyone, whether you normally eat grains or not. And if you are grain-free, Paleo, or in the middle of a Whole30, this is the perfect meal for entertaining non-Paleo friends or getting your kids to enjoy a seriously healthy dish.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Red Pepper Ragu

Serves 4

1 large butternut squash halved and seeded
3 cups roasted red pepper sauce or Paleo spaghetti sauce of choice
1 lb. ground beef

If using homemade sauce, make your sauce before preparing the rest of the meal.

Place butternut squash halves face up on baking sheet and roast in the oven at 400F for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.

While squash cools, brown ground beef in a skillet, adding the red pepper sauce when the meat is just cooked through. Stir until hot and bubbly and take saucepan off heat.

Remove skin from the squash and cut into small cubes, or use a small melon-baller to scoop out bite-sized pieces of squash. Serve covered with red pepper ragu.

Minted Avocado Smoothie

Nick and I used to frequent a salad chain in Hong Kong called Dressed. I’ve stopped going because I found some much better salad spots, but Dressed carries one menu item that can’t be beat: the Minted Avocado Smoothie.

Dressed’s version is made with avocado, yogurt, simple syrup, and mint. I would say it’s inexplicably delicious, but it’s unfortunately quite easy to explain: simple syrup makes everything delicious. Needless to say, I don’t order the smoothie anymore, and especially not during my Whole30!

This homemade version is sugar-free and still refreshing and tasty. It’s extremely different from the original, but still delicious and great for a filling breakfast on-the-go.

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Minted Avocado Smoothie

1 ripe avocado
1 ripe pear
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp fresh mint leaves
large handful ice

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Depending on the consistency of your coconut milk, your smoothie may be quite thick. Add more ice or water until it reaches the desired consistency.

This recipe is shared on Slightly Indulgent Tuesday. Check it out for great, healthy recipes from my fellow bloggers!

Do What You Pin: Roasted Artichokes

I remember the first time I encountered whole artichokes. I was at dinner at a close friend’s parent’s house, and I mistakenly tried to eat the entire leaf. I felt quite embarrassed at the time, but it’s been over five years since that experience, and I’ve never been served another whole artichoke, so I suppose the rarity of the dish could account for some of my confusion.

When I came across this tutorial for roasted artichokes at Pinch My Salt, knew it was something I wanted to try. I’m always looking for new side dish options, and vegetable sides are especially important during my Whole30, when I can’t fill a third of my plate with a grain.

Here’s what I started with:

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I cut off the top third of the artichokes…

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…and the stems…

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…and stuffed them with garlic cloves. I then drizzled lemon juice, olive oil, and salt over the artichokes and wrapped them in tin foil smeared with more olive oil.

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Into the oven they go!

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I cooked them for an hour and they came out PERFECTLY.

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I’ve only had whole artichokes twice in my life, but these were the best ones I’ve ever had. The hearts were indescribably delicious. And eating the roasted cloves of garlic cooked in the center wasn’t a chore either. 🙂

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I’ll definitely be serving these the next time I cook for my family or friends. Such a great food for a dinner party! Check out Pinch My Salt for a great tutorial to make your own!

Pumpkin and Beetroot Salad

One thing that is very important to me during my Whole30 is the inclusion of vegetarian meals. One of the main complaints of those trying out the Paleo diet is that their cholesterol levels go up considerably. While Paleo’s biggest supporters claim this is nothing to worry about, I tend to disagree. Am I okay with my cholesterol going up a little on this diet? Yes. Am I going to actively encourage it to go up? Of course not! I still want to include a fair number of low-cholesterol, vegetarian meals in my Paleo diet, just like I do when I’m on my standard gluten-free, sugar-free diet.

That being said, getting enough calories from a Paleo, vegetarian meal is far from a guarantee. I need to ensure that I’m still getting sufficient energy without beans, grains, and dairy, which I typically use to fill out vegetarian meals and make them more hearty.

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This Pumpkin and Beet Salad is a Paleo version of one of my favorites, and it’s quite filling. I got the original recipe from two friends when they both showed up at a BBQ with similar versions of the dish. I’m not sure which one of them came up with it first, but they had shared it with each other enough times to know it would be a crowd pleaser.

Typically when I make this dish I sauté the pumpkin in butter and sprinkle a liberal amount of crumbled goat cheese over the finished product. I do plan to go back to that version someday, but this one is a wonderful Whole30 compromise! The recipe was already vegetarian, gluten-free, soy-free, and sugar-free, but the changes also make it dairy-free and vegan, which certainly never hurts when cooking for a large crowd. You never know when you’ll be the hero of the potluck for the guest who arrived thinking he would only be able to eat his own dish.

Pumpkin and Beetroot Salad

serves 1

1 and 1/2 cups pumpkin, in 1-2″ cubes
1 large roasted beet
2 cups spinach, washed and drained
large handful raw sunflower seeds
1 tbsp coconut oil
1tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
balsamic vinegar to taste (optional)

Coat pumpkin in coconut oil and roast for 15 minutes at 400F. For last 3-4 minutes, sprinkle sunflower seeds over pumpkin.

While pumpkin cooks, chop beet into 1″ cubes. Combine in serving bowl with spinach, and mix in warm pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Serve with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Add vinegar if desired.

This recipe is shared on this week’s Wellness Weekend.

Asian Roast Chicken with Carrots and Red Pepper

I’ve always enjoyed pan-Asian cuisine, but even more so since moving to Asia. Since I wasn’t raised in an Asian kitchen, most of the Asian-inspired dishes I come up with don’t subscribe to just one of the food traditions. I know what flavors I enjoy, and I often throw them together in ways heavily influenced by Western cooking.

20130706-223027.jpgThis dish is the perfect example. It’s a fairly simple meal of chicken baked in the oven, but instead of the typical Western herbs and spices, I’ve prepared it with coconut aminos, coconut oil, garlic and ginger. And in place of the usual potatoes, this chicken sits on a bed of carrots and red pepper, cooked right alongside the meat. The result is a healthy, refreshing, Paleo meal bursting with Eastern flavor. I’m definitely making it a staple in my kitchen!

I didn’t plan ahead to marinate the chicken, but I definitely will next time. It was plenty flavorful, but some extra time to soak everything in will give it even more zing!

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One note: Although the cilantro might seem like just a garnish, it contributes tremendously to the flavor of this meal. I highly recommend including it in your version of this dish, unless you’re one of those crazy people who think it tastes like soap. 😉

Asian Roast Chicken with Carrots and Red Pepper

Serves 2

4 meaty chicken wings
2 large carrots
2 medium red bell peppers
4 tbsp coconut aminos, tamari, or soy sauce
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp olive oil
1 inch piece freshly ground ginger
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp fresh cilantro
salt to taste (optional depending on saltiness of your chosen aminos/soy product)

Combine coconut aminos, coconut oil, olive oil, ginger, garlic powder, and salt in a large zip lock bag. Cut 2-3 small slits in each chicken wing to expose more meat to the marinade. Place chicken in bag and marinate, refrigerated, for at least one hour.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400F. Add chopped carrots and red peppers to the bag, covering well with marinade. Pour contents of bag into a baking dish and cook for 20-25 minutes.

Sprinkle with cilantro leaves before serving.

This recipe has been shared on this week’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Allergy Free Wednesday. Check them out for more creative, healthy recipes!