This is the perfect warm and comforting dairy-free vegetarian/vegan dish for a cold NY night!  

I don’t eat rice very often because I have a very slow metabolism and well rice just doesn’t do well when you have a slow metabolism!  Lots of my clients have either a love or a hate relationship with curry but I encourage you to try it.  I didn’t love them years ago but I do now!  They are very comforting and grounding especially in the winter months they are perfect because we need to incorporate more warming foods! Both the inflammatory spices of ginger and turmeric in this dish help with inflammation and are good for your gut as well!

Let me know in the comments if you try the recipe what you think!!  I would love to hear your results!  The recipe is super easy and comes together so quickly – my kind of recipe!  It’s easily a mid-week meal!

Chick Pea Curry with Kale

Dairy-free Chick Pea Curry with Kale & Basmati Rice

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author Stacey DiVerde

Ingredients

  • 3 cans organic chick peas drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cans coconut milk organic native forest brand
  • 2 cups vegetable stock I like natures promise (1/2 box)
  • 2 tbsp madras curry
  • 1 1/2 tsp grated ginger heaping
  • 1 dash garam masala optional (it's not completely necessary)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 3 ea plum tomatoes seeded and diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste heaping
  • 1 bunch kale large bunch - stemmed and chopped
  • 4-5 ea carrots sliced
  • 1 med onion small dice
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 1 tsp Himalayan pink salt or to taste
  • evoo for cooking
  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice (dry to cook)
  • crushed hot pepper upon serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare basmati rice according to package directions and cook for approximately 18 minutes on low.  Set aside when done.  

  2. Meanwhile, saute onion in extra virgin olive oil in a wide braising type pan or dutch oven.  Add carrots, ginger and garlic and continue heating for just a few minutes more.

  3. Add coconut milk and vegetable stock, diced tomatoes, stir in tomato paste.  Add curry and rest of spices.

  4. Add rinsed chick peas. Add the chopped kale and bring to simmer. Reduce and adjust spices according to taste.  Sprinkle with crushed hot pepper for extra spice when serving.

While we sometimes do need a prescription for certain ailments or life threatening situations true health arises when we balance our mind, body and spirit.  We need to look to ourselves for the answers.

What Does a Balanced Healthy Life Really Look Like?

Getting there doesn’t happen overnight and it’s not really a destination!  Good health nourishes you from inside out.  Starting with the how we talk to ourselves – self love. Our bodies are meant to work like a well-oiled machine and in perfect harmony.  It’s truly miraculous!  When given the right ingredients your body can heal itself but you need to be aware of what’s going on and do not ignore the symptoms it gives you.  A healthy balanced life doesn’t have debilitating side effects like some prescriptions do especially if taken long term for a chronic issue.  Especially most of them weren’t even designed to be taken that long (ie. acid reflux medicine!!).  

It probably doesn’t look like the super-model on the cover of Vogue either!  Get comfortable in your own skin!  

Balance isn’t Perfect Everyday!

Balance isn’t perfect everyday but a practice over time to what feels good for you. Listen to your body and look to your higher self for the answers, it knows intuitively what it needs as well as has all the answers it needs. Symptoms pop up to tell us “hey, something is off, come look a bit deeper to finding the root cause”.  Try to get out of the habit for looking for the quick fix or pop a pill to put a band-aid approach to a bigger issue.  Question your health care professional, seek a second opinion, don’t believe everything you read, what is good for one might be poison to another.  

Stress can Wreak Havoc on Our Bodies

Stress is also a huge factor in our lives today especially with all the technology that is literally coming at us every minute of the day.  

Stress comes in many levels. For example, your body can be stressed internally from a simple sugar overload which is difficult for you organs and blood to process.  Or you may be eating a food that you don’t even realize you are sensitive too which is causing digestive distress.  Top that with stress from business or job, financial pressures, family, relationships, etc.  You could be eating all the super-foods in the world and if you have a lot of stress in your life you can kiss your health good-bye.  On the flip-side, some small level of stress, helps keep us motivated and strive for something better so that’s where balance is key.  Do what feels good and practice what keeps you peaceful!

12 Steps to balance your life for better health:

  1. Take 6-8 deep belly breaths, breathe in through your nose while your belly expands (not your chest) and hold for 5 then out through your mouth slowly for 6-8 when you first wake up or anytime you want to recenter yourself.  This helps trigger your parasympathetic nervous system and awaken more happiness, peace as well as productiveness in your life!
  2. Get a morning daily ritual that includes some self-care.  Meditation, reading, journaling are all great to include.  Time to reflect and appreciate the day that is coming.  Also a gratitude journal is also a great way to start your day.  Gratitude truly can be a game changer!  
  3. Just eat whole foods (forget food with labels and boxes, fast food and it would be a good idea to try to eat home as much as you can).  Restaurants are known for using bad oils and unhealthy ingredients.  However if the restaurant you frequent is using healthy ingredients and preparation  than go for it!  And, please share in the comments who they are!  Even Whole Foods is using canola oil in preparation of their already prepared food station — canola oil is not a healthy oil!
  4. Drink more water!  When you urinate your urine should be light not yellow and dark (although if you are taking supplements they do cause yellow urine).
  5. Exercise!  Find what works for you but get moving to create oxygen and move stagnant energy that might be stuck in your body!! It doesn’t have to be hard core as a matter of fact over exercising is not good either!  Walking or stretching is great way to start!
  6. Body Tapping! Your body is energy! If you’ve been sitting for a long time or when you first wake up you want to wake up your organs and get the blood and energy moving and release stagnant energy in your body.  This helps to release toxins as well.  First rub your hands together in quick motion creating energy or even clapping is great.  Start with your ankles and move all the way up the back of your legs, arms (each one), neck/sternum, chest, back and kidney area.  The whole idea is to move the energy in your meridian lines in your body and helps balance your chakras (your energetic/emotional body).
  7. Eat more vegetables! I don’t subscribe to one style of eating but everyone, everyone could benefit from eating more vegetables!  They are nutrient dense and help with so many ailments.  Please note eating cold salads everyday doesn’t necessarily mean that they are good for you if they cause bloat and gas.  This typically means that you may not be digesting them and cooking them would be ideal for you.
  8. Sleep! You should shoot for 7-9 hours of sleep a night.  For some that might seem like a dream but if you are not sleeping, your health will deteriorate in some form or another.  You need to restore and rejuvenate, to grow muscle, repair tissue, and synthesize hormones.  It all happens when we sleep.
  9. Dump the chemicals you are using in your home, on your skin and in your food!  Nowadays it is easy to find natural products in regular stores as well as online.  Chemicals disrupt hormones, cause cancer, breathing/lung issues, asthma, brain fog, ADD, ADHD, contributing to you not losing the weight you want to lose, inflammation, organs not working optimally…just to name a few!
  10. Prepare and plan!  Food, schedules, life needs to organized not wake up and figure it out in a scattered mindless way. You set your day up for failure that way.  Focus and allow yourself enough time to plan your week and day.  Everyone has a different system but find one that works for you.  If you are running late all the time for appointments, going through the drive through or just plain exhausted you need a better plan!  We all get 24 hours in a day – it is a choice on how we choose to use it ~ no excuses!
  11. Eat mindfully.  Sit down and really enjoy your food and praise it.  Take time to really appreciate it.  You might think this is something you can skip but digestion starts the minute you look at your food.  Digestive enzymes are start to churn in your mouth the minute you look at your plate!  Take time to chew your food that is half the battle of helping it to digest!
  12. Feed your mind with good thoughts!  Your beliefs DO rule your life.  It’s good practice to continue to feed your mind with positive thoughts several times a day if you tend to have negative self talk.  Just be aware of the thought and then send it on it’s way then replace it with something positive even if it’s not really true.  Believe first, then see!!! Not see and believe!

Coconut bacon seems to be very popular these days and my next post may be just that but I think more with a breakfast type food.  I actually bought the coconut I needed because that was my intention when I went to the store.  I’m so intrigued that you can turn coconut into bacon and I needed to taste it!  Now that I think of it I don’t know why I would think “why wouldn’t that be the norm” you can turn coconut into almost anything these days without it truly tasting like a coconut ~ aka coconut aminos, coconut vinegar (my favorite and actually has more benefits than apple cider vinegar).  Neither of these taste like coconut and are good for you!!

So lets get to the yummy shiitake bacon – that’s what I’ve created here.  It truly does taste like bacon and has a similar texture as well.  It was the perfect topping to my spaghetti squash with spinach & tomato – it made the recipe so much more flavorful.  The best part is it took no time to make.   You can make it in like 5-10 minutes which is less than what real bacon takes.

Here’s the recipe for this delicious meal!

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Sautéed Spinach & Shiitake Bacon

Delicious vegetarian dish adding the extra flavor of shiitake bacon!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 1 person
Author Stacey DiVerde

Ingredients

  • 1 ea spaghetti squash
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes cherubs
  • 1/4 ea large viladia onion sliced
  • 1-2 ea garlic cloves grated
  • extra virgin olive oil for drizzling or as needed
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt

Shitake Mushroom Bacon

  • 1 5oz sliced shiitake mushroom package
  • 4 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika heaping
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt fine grated
  • 1/2 tsp Hickory liquid smoke (found in spice section)

Instructions

Roasting the Squash

  1. Preheat oven to 385. Slice you squash in half lengthwise. Scoop of the seeds/middle with an ice cream scooper for easy removal. Drizzle Extra Virgin Oil over the flesh. Roast squash flesh side down for approximately 30 minutes or until the skin is soft when pressed.  

Shitake Bacon

  1. While the spaghetti squash is roasting, Mix the avocado oil, smoked paprika, liquid smoke and salt together in a bowl. Large enough to toss the mushrooms in (I used a 1/2 aluminum tray).

    Spread out on a large rimmed baking sheet that is lined with parchment or a non-stick foil. Roast on 385 degree preheated oven (convection if you have or bake is fine) - top rack. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until starting to crisp being careful not to burn. Cool on the baking sheet. 

Putting it all together:

  1. While the spaghetti squash and mushrooms are roasting. Sauté the onion and tomatoes in a little extra virgin olive oil on the stovetop in a non-stick pan over med-high heat. Add the garlic last and saute for just a little longer. 

  2. When the squash is cooled to touch, take a fork and scrape one half of the squash into the pan. Add spinach and stir until wilted. Add Himilayan pink salt to taste.

  3. Transfer the squash mixture to a bowl and top with the shiitake mushrooms and serve.