Burmese chicken & rice with green bean salad

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Even without traveling, food can teach us about different parts of the world. That’s something I love most about reading about food, and of course, eating food. My parents went to Burma last year (see photo above) and loved the scenery, the history, and the food. I didn’t get to go to Burma, but I got this cookbook, and love reading through the recipes, history and seeing the pictures of the people there and their food.

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My mom always raves about the long-bean salad with roasted peanuts recipe. What makes this dish is the fried shallots, and shallot oil that remains from the frying. I made a big batch and have since topped practically every salad with fried shallots. Salads will never be the same!

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The book, and Burmese cooking in general, calls for peanut oil quite often. I read in the book that the middle part of Burma, Mandalay and Bagan, provide ideal climates for growing peanuts. If you’re allergic to peanuts, you can substitute sesame oil. I will say, the shallots fry beautifully in the peanut oil!

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Banana Walnut Muffins

 

You know from past posts that I love muffins.  Breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day, especially when muffins are involved.  This picture pretty much sums up my ideal breakfast: an egg, fried in coconut oil, topped with avocado and a muffin on the side.  Morning perfection, if I do say so myself!  How can you not win the day after a meal like this?  Oh, and coffee.

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How I prepare for the week ahead

A lot of my friends ask me what I do on weeknights when we are all too tired to cook a meal. There is also the issue of what to do with leftovers if you don’t want to eat the same thing day after day. While my method isn’t perfect, it works for me and I hope it gives you some ideas for what may work for you!

On Sundays I spend the morning reading the New York Times and browsing recipes, looking for something that strikes me as a good “base meal” for the week. I love quinoa, bean-based dishes, and vegetable dishes that last a while. I don’t eat a ton of meat so I usually look for a meat-free dish.

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This week, I picked this curried quinoa salad and reserved a portion of the quinoa to keep plain, in case I want to mix it up with different flavors one night this week. The curried quinoa is delicious! I added green peas instead of edamame and omitted the meat.

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I like to have fresh, steamed or roasted veggies that add a different element to some of my meals, or just something extra to serve on the side. This week, I picked organic sweet potatoes, roasted in a 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes. I drizzled the diced potatoes with olive oil and sea salt before roasting.

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Reese’s Redux

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Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are a sort of heaven for me.  The decadent candies have long been my favorite mix-in for ice cream; the Cheesecake Factory’s Reese’s Cheesecake always stole my heart. But, the truth is, Reese’s are highly processed and full of ingredients I’d rather not put in my body. The extremely good news is that we can make our own, even better!

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These are Almond Butter Balls. They are gluten free, dairy free and absolutely yummy, without the post-consumption guilt. The recipe is inspired by Oh She Glows’ “Peanut Better Balls.” I used almond butter, which is much healthier and just as satisfying.

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Teapot Butter Cookies with Perfect Icing

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Christmastime is my favorite time. I share mostly healthy recipes with you, but this is not one of them. These are a holiday staple in my house and my mom has been making Teapot Butter Cookies as long as I can remember.

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The recipe for these cookies is on an old 3×5 index card. It’s just flour, sugar, vanilla, butter and an egg. If you plan to double the recipe, make each batch separately.

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The dough for these cookies can be made in one bowl, which makes for easy clean up! Hallelujah!

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Green Pea and Ham Soup

I am home in California, visiting my parents for the holidays.  Today in the San Francisco Bay Area it is bitterly cold.  Unusual for this area, it was a mere 38 degrees when I woke up today.  But, it’s beautiful, and the most perfect day for soup.

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My mom and I went to the farmers’ market this morning and nearly froze our hands off selecting local carrots for this split pea soup.

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Split pea is extremely satisfying – a comfort soup without a lot of guilt.  It’s dairy free, gluten free, and except for the flavorful ham hock the soup cooks in, it could be vegetarian, too.  But, the ham is necessary for a full-bodied, flavorful soup.  Chop your medley of vegetables: carrots, a yellow onion, celery and garlic.  Cook it all together in a nice olive oil and fresh rosemary.

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