Category Archives: The Balanced Diet

Thai Pumpkin Curry with Shrimp and Bok Choy

One of the fun things about teaching is that it often reintroduces me to my own long-forgotten creations. And if it hadn’t been for my class at the Institute of Culinary Education last year, the inspiration for this Thai pumpkin curry recipe would have never meandered into my stomach.

A few years ago I had the OMG honor of meeting Gretchen Rubin, one of my personal wellness heroes and the original gangster of happiness who inspired my project. I recently paged back through her book about finding better ways to arm wrestle our habits into submission.

One of the dichotomies that caught my eye was that some of us are naturally creatures of familiarity, and others are slaves to novelty. If you’re a familiarity lover, you might be prone to re-reading the same book or, say, re-making the same recipe over and over again. Novelty lovers on the other hand are driven by an inner compulsion to never do the same thing in the same, boring way. (You can read more in this blog post).

Though my takeout orders may be the only thing that doesn’t reflect this (thanks to my old friend, Mr. chicken pad Thai), I am a tried and true novelty gal. On the surface, my career as a blogger is fueled by this impulse; I get to constantly be coming up with new, creative ideas to feed you wonderful folks on this site. But on the flip side of that food coin, is all the development that sometimes goes into certain recipes, which can mean testing the same dish over and over, and then subsequently eating that same damn dish for weeks.

When these recipe relay periods are over and done with, I often go into a novelty overdrive that can last months. …

Ginger-Almond Baked Salmon Packets with Green Beans

A few years ago, one of my clients asked me to make an easy baked salmon recipe with ground almonds, Dijon mustard, and nearly a pound of butter.

Though it wasn’t one of her recipes, as I folded the ingredients together I couldn’t quiet the resounding chorus of Ina Garten in my ear. How bad could that be?

The answer: not bad at all.

Though I didn’t get to eat the end result myself, I could tell that the slow-roasted salmon that had basted in its own buttery topping was beyond delicious. Everyone else seemed to be on board with the concept as well. I posted a picture on instagram before the fish went in the oven and by the time it came out I had a sea of kitty heart eye emojis in the comment field.

I never shy away from a pat of butter, but at the same time, I try to avoid weeknight seafood recipes where the butter measurements are labeled by the pound instead of the tablespoon. So I started thinking about ways I could take this low and slow baked salmon concept a bit healthier.

I love using coconut oil as a butter substitute (I like this brand). Since it’s solid at room temperature, you can whip it and get a similar texture to butter, which is great for smooshing under chicken skin among other things. So I decided this would be the body of my salmon topping and I wouldn’t have to feel bad about using a truck load to keep the fish super moist as it basted in the melted fat.

Coconut oil, salmon and almonds are great healthy fat sources—an essential nutrient in skin care, and therefore one of utmost importance this month as we start our new session of 4