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.

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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.

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!

Cooked Spinach and Salmon Salad

Some of the recipes I post on this blog are created with the blog in mind. I’ll know from the get-go that I’m going to write a post about the meal, so I’ll take pictures along the way and generally try to keep my cooking space neat and clean and my ingredients well measured.

This recipe is not one of those! This “salad” happened totally on accident while I was making some curried spinach and salmon for dinner tonight. Instead of putting the spinach and salmon on a plate, I put them in a large bowl, and the idea of a cooked spinach salad took hold. I threw in half an avocado and a big handful of sunflower seeds and all of a sudden I had an awesome new dish.

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This salad reminds me of my Curried Shrimp and Avocado Salad, but the cooked spinach and curry powder throughout gives it a much heartier feel. Even though it’s light, this is the kind of dish that could satisfy me even when I’m having a major urge to stuff my face!

Cooked Spinach and Salmon Salad

Serves 1

1 salmon fillet
2 cups spinach
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tbsp curry powder, divided
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
half an avocado, cubed
handful raw sunflower seeds
Salt and pepper to taste

Season skinless side of salmon fillet with salt, pepper, garlic powder and 1/2 tbsp curry powder. Sauté over medium-high heat in 1 tbsp olive oil, skin side down, until mostly cooked through. Flip toward the end to cook the seasoned side.

While the salmon cooks, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat and add garlic. Wash and drain the spinach, but leave some water clinging to the leaves. When the garlic becomes fragrant, add the spinach, 1/2 tbsp curry powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir frequently, cooking for 3-5 minutes until spinach is considerably wilted.

Put spinach in a bowl, and top with the salmon fillet, chopped into several large chunks. Add avocado and sunflower seeds.

Mesquite Cinnamon Smoothie

One of my favorite parts of blogging about my “fulfilled” lifestyle is discovering new ingredients on the blogs of like-minded eaters. On my last trip to the health food store, I came across mesquite powder. I’d read about this superfood, which has a nutty, caramel-like flavor, on a few blogs, and decided to give it a try.

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Since I’ve never had it before, I wasn’t exactly sure what type of recipes I wanted to create with it. I decided to start with a smoothie this morning.

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I used coconut milk, banana, yogurt, ice, mesquite powder, and ground cinnamon in my smoothie. If you want to make a vegan or dairy-free version, you could do it easily by leaving out the yogurt and adding a little extra banana. If you want a thicker smoothie, start with cold coconut milk so you don’t need the ice!

The end result was creamy and satisfying, although I wasn’t able to completely pick out the flavor of the mesquite. I may just have to try a small taste of this stuff straight-up so I can figure out what else I want to use it in!

Mesquite Cinnamon Smoothie

1 cup coconut milk
1 large banana
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tbsp mesquite powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more to top
4-6 ice cubes

Combine ingredients in blender. Serve topped with additional cinnamon.

Southern Style Grits with Bacon

My siblings and I have been enjoying some great restaurants, but one of my favorite parts of their visit has been cooking breakfast for them! On their first morning I made scrambled eggs and smoothies and yesterday I made oatmeal with banana, blueberries, and toasted nuts. This morning I decided to pay homage to Country Boy, a breakfast spot in our home town, by making Southern Style Grits with Bacon.

If you’re used to making grits from a little paper packet, here’s a great secret: quick cooking grits are just as fast and easy to make as the ones in the envelope! The toppings might take a little longer to prepare, but that’s a small price to pay to have your bacon or cheese grits sans preservatives.

To put together the grits, I started by putting 1 and 1/2 cups milk and 1 and 1/2 cups water in a pot and bringing it to a boil. While that heated up, I sliced three strips of bacon into small pieces and put them in a skillet over medium-high heat.

Once the liquid came to a boil, I poured in a cup of quick cooking grits, covered the pot, and turned down the heat.

The grits only take a couple minutes to cook, so very shortly I had this:

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I mixed two tablespoons of butter and the bacon (with some, but not all of it’s grease :)) into the grits.

I decided to make fried eggs to serve with the grits, so I wasn’t able to serve them immediately. Grits can become somewhat gummy if they’re left to sit around, so I stirred in a little extra milk before I plated them.

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It was a fantastically rich breakfast, and so easy to put together! If I had a stove top with four burners, I reckon the entire meal would be ready to eat in less than 10 minutes.

Southern Style Grits with Bacon

serves 4

1 cup quick cooking grits
1 and 1/2 cups milk, plus more to taste
1 and 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp butter
3 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
salt and pepper to taste

Bring milk and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. While the liquid is heating up, sauté bacon pieces in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once boiling, add grits to the liquid, cover, and turn heat to low. After three minutes, add butter and bacon with some of its grease, to taste. Salt and pepper to taste and stir well. Serve immediately. If grits are too gummy, add more milk before serving.

Sibling Visit!

My brother and sister are in Hong Kong! They had a busy day of sightseeing at Ngong Ping while I was at work and we reunited in the afternoon for a trip to the Ladies’ Market in Mong Kok, a foot massage, and a delicious Vietnamese dinner at Nha Trang.

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This Banh Xeo, an omelet filled with a delicious mixture of pork, prawns, onion, bean sprouts and more, is one of my favorite dishes. Before you eat you wrap it all up in a lettuce leaf with cucumber and mint. Amazing! Definitely a dish I want to make at home soon.

We don’t have any pictures together yet because being a tourist in the HK summer weather doesn’t allow for staying very composed. 😉 I’ll be sure to snap some tomorrow before we’re too drenched with sweat!

I’m gonna go enjoy my siblings’ company! See you tomorrow!

Steak Salad with Beetroot

Nick and I have been working as a team when it comes to dinner lately. The warm summer weather has made grilling a fantastic option, so oftentimes Nick heads to the roof to grill some meat while I prepare the rest of our meal inside.

Aside from the fun of grilling, an added benefit is that this method cuts the prep time for our meals in half! We put together this delicious steak salad in 10 minutes!

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Steak Salad with Beetroot

Serves 2

1/2 lb. lean steak
5 oz arugula
1 medium roasted beet, cut into small cubes
2 slices bacon, cut into small squares
1/4 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 and 1/2 oz crumbled blue cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil and vinegar to taste

Cook bacon in skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is coated with fat from the bacon, add the onion slices and salt and sauté. While the bacon and onions are cooking, combine the arugula, blue cheese, and beet in a serving bowl. Add onions, bacon, salt and pepper and mix again.

Cook your steak as desired on the grill or in a skillet. Slice into strips and serve warm on top of the salad. Serve with olive oil and vinegar of your choice.