Introducing…Hurricane Chicken

When faced with the prospect of the world ending (i.e. power being switched off) due to Hurricane Irene, it’s only natural to prepare yourself to the best of your ability. Right? Damn right.

It’s only natural then that I took to cooking up a, erm, storm (sorry, I couldn’t resist) just in case we were left without power, food supplies, or an open Wholefoods for days.

The result? Hurricane Chicken. A tasty blend of curry flavours like ginger, garlic, coriander and spring onion, perfectly blended with pieces of chicken and laid to rest on a bed of quinoa.

Here’s the visual of our windy little dish perched on the windowsill…

I am the first to admit that she is grotesquely unphotogenic. In fact, I wouldn’t write you off for calling her ugly, she is ugly. But when it comes to taste, this dish makes up for all her unfortunate looks with bags of flavour. You’ll just have to trust me on that one.

It’s a known fact that New Yorkers do not eat in. Their fridges are usually the size of shoe boxes and their ovens are far more useful as storage facilities than cooking aids. Which is why there was a line wrapped around the block for the local Trader Joe’s and the real reason panic struck this city – forget high winds, people were terrified of having to actually use their kitchens. Imagine that!

Clearly, I do not subscribe to this club. But then again, I’m not a ‘real’ New Yorker, I’m just visiting for a while and happen to have an apartment with the most fabulous, fully-stocked kitchen with a full-sized fridge, empty oven, and enough storage space to fit a small child. Funnily enough, we don’t have a teapot, or a toaster, but that’s another story altogether.

Which brings me back to Hurricane Chicken. My safety meal. My last supper. My lunch, dinner, lunch and dinner again, since I made enough to feed our entire apartment building just in case, and the power is still on. Thank goodness.

Here’s what you need to ‘blow’ your tastebuds away…

8 x chicken thigh fillets with the skin off
1 x head of broccoli
10 x button mushrooms – chopped
1 x eggplant – chopped
1 x thumb sized piece of fresh ginger – finely chopped
2 x garlic cloves – finely chopped
4 x shallots – finely chopped
1 x bunch of coriander leaves and stalks- finely chopped
1 x cinnamon quill
5 x tablespoons of good quality curry powder
2 x cups of quinoa
3 x tablespoons of spelt flour
1 x teaspoon of cumin
1 x containers of organic chicken stock

And here’s what you need to do…

1. Place the chicken pieces into a deep fry pan and cover with water. Leave on a medium heat until cooked. DO NOT THROUGH AWAY LIQUID GOLD STOCK!

2. While your chicken is cooking, chop all your ingredients and pop your quinoa on. To do this simply pour the quinoa into a saucepan and add 5 cups of stock and water. Use all the stock you have in that extra container, it might not be 5 cups so make up the difference with water. Bring to the boil, turn right down, and let simmer away just like you would rice. Play with your hair, paint your nails, check storm-warning updates (oh wait, that’s just me).

3. Once your chicken is cooked, remove from pan and set aside, and pour liquid stock into a small saucepan to make the curry sauce. Now, keeping the pan you cooked the chicken in (it should have some flavour stuck to the bottom, don’t clean that) add the garlic, shallots, coriander stalks (not leaves yet) and ginger and let brown on medium heat. Add eggplant and mushrooms. Then add broccoli.

4. While all this is browning and softening, start on your curry sauce. For this, add the curry powder, cinnamon, cumin and spelt flour to the small saucepan you used to set the liquid aside. Using a fork or whisk, mix the ingredients into the liquid until it is silky smooth and the thickness you like. You might need to add more flour if need be. Place over low heat as you whisk to help thicken. Set aside.

5. Once all your vegies are nicely brown, add the chicken and the curry sauce and gently stir. Add the coriander leaves and stir a little more.

6. To serve simply dish the quinoa onto the plate, then pour over your hurricane chicken. What can I say? It’s a ‘breeze’.

Tell me Happies…

How would you prepare for a hurricane? Or in Aussie speak, Cyclone?
What do you think of this dish?
Looks good? Oh wait, silly question. What about, sound good?

Stay Happy,

Yaz xx

Six Foodie Combinations That Were Born To Be Best Friends

There are some foods in life that were simply created to go hand-in-hand with another. You know, the soul mates of the non-human variety that merely interacting with makes you glow with warmth and happiness and goodness just by being in their presence. I’m sure they vary from person to person, but for me, it’s all about these three insanely loved-up combinations.

1. Alfalfa Sprouts and Peanut Butter

Call me crazy but only after you’ve tried this insanely delicious combination. It’s like the yin and yang of perfect kindergarten school treats and once you try it, you’ll never look back. Trust me.

I can thank my mum for this one, as she’s the fine lady who skillfully managed to get her nappy-wearing daughters to eat healthy greens by adding a little peanut butter to the mix. Served on grainy rolls, or bread of some sort, this combination is still a firm favourite of mine twenty plus years later.

If you’re after a healthy peanut butter, make sure you check out the back of the packaging and look for the brand with as high a percentage of peanuts and as low a percentage of sugar as possible. In the health food aisle you can find some (I know the Macro Organic ones at Woolies in particular) that have 100% crushed peanuts and that’s it. Yum!

2. Egg, Vegemite, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

There’s something about salt and eggs that goes so well together you’d be forgiven for thinking they were, in fact, the soul mates I speak of here. However, when you combine a perfectly cooked egg, with the salty delicious flavour of Vegemite, and skip the butter for a drizzle of really good quality Extra Virgin, you suddenly come to realise that there’s not much in life better than this.

Start on a base of really good quality bread. Of any sort. Toast it if you wish. Then spread your desired amount of Vegemite, followed by a drizzle of raw olive oil, and top it all off with a poached or pan fried (minus the cooking oil if you want to keep it as heart friendly as possible) egg done sunny side up. Oh man, I’m hungry…

3. Dark Chocolate and Raspberries

Traditionally, old mate strawberry has had the leading role in dark choccie’s life, but personally, I think he’s been playing with the wrong woman. The other day I had the pleasure of trying a flourless dark chocolate and raspberry torte and I can honestly tell you it took my dessert palette to new heights. Insane! Amazing! Overwhelmingly good!

Let’s face it, dark chocolate is good with anything but when it comes into contact with a raspberry, the sparks fly. Enjoy this one Happies, it’s going to be a tough one to beat.

Tell me…

What are your favourite food combinations?

Any of these take your fancy?

What weird combinations do you want to share with the Happysphere?

Honour your dreams and start smiling NOW!

“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” Jim Rohn

Thanks Jim, well said, and true in so many respects, but potentially inflammatory for those feeling lost, alone, unsure of what to do next, or simply down-in-the-dumps. We’ve all been there at one time or another, haven’t we? Where the concept of happiness seems so far away, it’s almost impossibly out of reach; having to crawl through far too many emotional hoops to find it.

Of course, once you do find it, it is truly the most amazing gift one could have, and you quickly come to realise that the journey you took to get here not only made you stronger, but more appreciative of life’s lessons, too.

Happiness is something, I believe, we have to work hard at finding and keeping. In many respects, it’s a relationship, one that you have with not only yourself, but with others too. And while I’m all for being happy right now, it has taken me a long time recognise that planning for your life of happiness is a task that takes hard work, commitment, and the ability to listen to your instincts.

When I first brought up the idea of leaving behind my wonderful job, friends, house, and family in Sydney, in an effort to follow my dreams and move to New York, I was greeted with a banquet of mixed responses. My worried mum was unsure that I’d ever be able to get a job as good as the one I had, while my dad was certain I’d run out of money. It took time for them to realise that following your dreams is all about sacrifice, but when you know in your heart that you’re doing the right thing, suddenly all those uncertainties fade into nothingness.

Now that I am here though, I have learned so much about myself. So much about my fears, my instincts, my self-belief, and most of all, my happiness. Because when you have the patience and foresight to read the signs that point you in the right direction, you’re only going to sail into happy-land. I’m so sure of it.

The first place to start is finding out where it is you want to go. It’s so easy to follow the path of least resistance, only to get to the end and realise you’re lost and that your true path is 10,000 kilometres to the southwest. But don’t worry; in my opinion you’re never so lost you can’t find your way back. NEVER!

Once you know where you’re heading, however, suddenly you will see doors open and opportunities presenting themselves that you may have missed in the past. It’s like reading the street signs that show you the way to go. I have found this to be so true for me, and many other people have repeated this same story time and time again.

I also think that while it’s one of life’s necessities to dream big and work towards your passions and goals, it’s also important to reward yourself daily and seek happiness from the small things, too. Candles, baths, nature, loved ones, laughing, writing, good food…all these things are on my list of ‘make me feel good’ and it’s essential to bring them into your everyday.

My advice? Take the plunge. Right now. Stop thinking, start doing, thank me later, and if all else fails, listen to Oprah…

“I believe that every single event in life happens in an opportunity to choose love over fear.” Oprah Winfrey

Moozlie That Moves You

Did you know that people who skip breakfast are 450% more likely to be overweight than those who don’t? True story. 450%. That’s a lot of percents.

So, in the interest of community health, I’d like to introduce you to the breakfast of champions. A breakfast so dense in goodness, rawness, health benefits, and most of all, tastiness, you’ll never skip breakfast again. EVER.

Here’s the visual…

By nature, muesli is quite high in calories. This is simply for that fact that it’s packed with seeds and nuts and these things generally keep the fat content high. But fats are good. Well, good fats are good, plus a little goes a long way and keeps you full for hours longer than Vegemite and butter on white bread will. Good one!

This bad boy here consists of:

Raw oats – SUPERFOOD!
Chia seeds – SUPERFOOD!
Sunflower seeds – Packed with Vit E and B1 and other vitamins and minerals.
Rye flakes – Great source of dietary fibre.
Sesame seeds – Perfect for increasing your manganese and copper intake, plus they’re a great source of calcium.
Sultanas or dried dates or dried figs – Dates and figs are better as they’re the only alkaline forming dried fruit (more on that later) but either way, they add a little natural sweetness.
Almond milk – Delicious flavour that doesn’t inhibit the absorption of minerals and vitamins from all that raw food.
Blueberries and raspberries – They’re in season here and not only taste delicious, but add even more antioxidant power to the breakfast. Hooray!

Each ingredient has its one little gold star in my books, ensuring that you’re not only eating breakfast, but an incredibly nutritious breakfast packed with all the essential ingredients you need to get you through the day. This isn’t iron man food, Happies, this is Superman food, and don’t you forget it.

Tell me…

Are you a breakfast skipper?

What’s your favourite breakfast?

Do you enjoy muesli?

A weekend in Vermont

I have to apologise for my lack of posts this week, there’s just so much to see and do and play with here in New York.

This weekend, it’s all about exploring another state though -Vermont – and my, my Happies, isn’t it stunning.

The best part? Grilling up a storm on our balcony, enjoying the local produce, and enjoying some romantic away time with my man.

Here’s the visual…

20110820-075147.jpg

It’s the small things I enjoy most, and this dreamy weekend away reminds me that good food, good surroundings, good friends and lots of love is sometimes all you need.

Stay happy,

Yaz xx