Krista’s Kitchen: Coconut Curry Chicken

I took a survey on my Instagram last week, and found a lot of people were interested in having me write about what I cook. Let me begin with this: I am not a chef, and before Robert and I got married we joked about how he would be doing all the cooking since I couldn’t even make simple grilled chicken without completely burning it. Like, I would char it completely to make sure it was cooked thoroughly. Now, though, I am all about creating recipes that are super easy, healthy, and tasty. I think cooking is fun, and I am surprisingly capable after learning more about different ingredients. I want to make recipes that literally anyone can do, and without all the work of measuring out ingredients and being hassled with following something exactly.

Today, I want to share my newest creation that I can actually take 100% credit for! I made it last night with some ingredients I picked out from the store, and I was actually anticipating to get a major fail blog post out of it. My coconut curry chicken is now Robert’s favorite dish I’ve ever made, though, and he said he gives it a 9.8 out of 10, which is the closest to perfect he’ll ever get. He said this was comparing it to restaurants and every kind of food he’s ever had. I asked if he’s ever had a dish that’s a 10 before, and he said no. Not to toot my own horn, but I am pretty proud that this was ranked as one of the best foods in his book!

Okay so it’s really easy to make, but before getting started I want to preface this post with something. I cook by eyeballing everything. I compare this to playing music by ear; you don’t need to have measuring cups or any sort of help reading exact numbers for my recipes. I’ll explain how I make everything based on ratios or describing how much flavor you want in a recipe. This, in my opinion, makes things a lot easier and more customizable from person to person. I typically make enough food for 2, so just add more however much you think you need when cooking for a bigger party. Here goes nothing!

Coconut Curry Chicken

Krista’s Coconut Curry Chicken

Ingredients: 
Chicken Breast
Ground Turmeric
Curry Powder
Chili Powder
Chopped Garlic Cloves
Lime Juice
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper
Jasmine Rice
Coconut Milk
Carrots
Butter
Ground Cinnamon

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400°F.

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No, I don’t believe in measuring cups, but this was a good one to display the rice in.

Step 2: make the coconut rice.

Coconut rice is one of my favorite things and is so easy to make! Literally all you do is dump the coconut milk (I love the organic coco milk from Trader Joe’s) into a pot on the stove, cover, and heat until it begins to boil.

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Just a heads-up, if you get the milk with a normal amount of fat in it, it might be partially solid. The first time I made this I threw out the milk because I thought it went bad since it was solid, but it’s supposed to be like this! It will melt into a liquid once it begins to boil.

Once the coconut milk is boiling, add a pinch of salt, and dump in about 3/4 the amount of rice as there was liquid. An easy way to do this is just measure it in the empty coconut milk can.

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Once you pour the rice in the pot, re-cover it, turn the heat to “medium low,” and cook without stirring until the rice is fluffy and has absorbed all the liquid.

Now, let’s move on to the main dish while the rice cooks!

Step 3: Put the seasoning together.

Seasoning chicken is surprisingly easy. The only things I used were turmeric, curry, garlic, lime juice (sorry I put a photo with a lemon, but I changed my mind at the last minute and am not professional enough to retake the photo. Plus, using a lemon instead will not kill you, and is a fine substitute I’m sure), salt, and pepper.

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Start by putting three shakes of chili powder into a mixing bowl. Then, put in a very generous amount of curry powder. After all, the dish is called “chicken curry,” so we need this flavor to really stand out! Add about half the amount of ground turmeric as there is curry in the bowl. I just eyeballed all of this to be more than enough to season the chicken breast with, that way I didn’t have to make up a mixture again or have a naked chicken.

Add a few pinches of salt and pepper, then stir in enough EVOO to turn the mixture into a little bit of a liquid, but still smell primarily like curry. If it smells too much like EVOO, add more curry and turmeric until the marinade smells like seasoning again. Squirt in as much lime (or lemon) juice as you think seems good. I used one of those premade lime juices that you keep in the fridge, and put in about 6 drops. Chop up a few garlic cloves and toss them in there, too. I really roughly chopped it, which is why you can clearly see chunks of garlic on my finished product. I bet you thought those were peanuts or some sort of fancy topping. Nope, just good ol’ garlic!

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Step 4: Prepare the chicken.

I always start off by patting the chicken breast dry with paper towels, and placing it on a cutting board. As I mentioned before, I don’t know a lot about cooking, so I probably hack off a little too much of the chicken. Are those white things veins that need to be gone, or fat that is chewy and gross? Or is it just part of the chicken breast? Regardless, the shape of my chicken sometimes isn’t very pretty because of my lack of knowledge.

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The chicken before I did a lot of unnecessary chopping
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Chicken after I got rid of the suspicious white stuff

Then, cover both sides with salt and pepper. This is a step I only take because I have watched enough of The Food Network to know that it’s an incredibly professional move.

After that, throw the chicken into the sauce and cover it completely. I mixed all the chicken around a ton so it would be evenly coated. Put it on a baking sheet and cook until the chicken is white throughout. You can Google “How long do you bake chicken?” to find more answers on food safety and such. I don’t want to be responsible for any food poisoning, and honestly I just cook it until it seems ready, then cut into it to be sure that it is no longer pink.

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Step 5: While the chicken is cooking, you can take care of the carrots. These are literally the easiest thing to make of all time.

Start by chopping up as many carrots as you’d like. I did four for two people, but they were enormous since they weren’t organic and were likely genetically modified. I don’t typically go this route, but the organic bag was way too big and heavy for me to carry, so here we are with these four foot long vegetables.

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Then, let some butter melt in a saucepan. Once again, put in as much as you’d like depending on how fattening you’d like this meal to be. You could also use EVOO or some other ingredient to sauté. I don’t think it really matters.

Toss a bunch of cinnamon and a pinch of salt on the carrots. I love cinnamon, so I don’t think you can really have too much of it.

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Cook until soft, stirring on occasion. It takes maybe like, 5-7 minutes?

Step 6: Cook everything until it’s all done, then put it all together on a plate. I don’t really know how else to end this, but I think you are capable enough to finish dinner on your own. I certainly have no idea what I’m doing and was able to execute it alright.

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I’d give this recipe an 8/10. I really liked it and am craving it again now that I’m writing about it and looking at all the photos. Minus the ones of the raw chicken — raw meat really grosses me out, which made me almost decide to not include those photos. I think they were necessary to break up the steps and make this an easy read, though.

Please let me know what you think of this if you decide to make it, and if you’d like to see more of this! Since I love to cook now I might be doing a few recipes each month, rather than a million Instagram stories that will disappear.

It’s A Nightmare On M Street

I’ve never been to Nightmare on M Streetbut every year I tell myself that next Halloween I’ll give it a go. At 26, though, I’ve decided I’m done with bar crawls.

Since I got POTS I haven’t been a huge fan of going out into big crowds as I often feel dizzy and worry about fainting in a crowded area, but even if I didn’t have a chronic illness I don’t think it would be my jam anymore. It’s hilarious talking to friends who feel the same way. I definitely still have a mix of people who enjoy big parties and loud music, but for the most part everyone is starting to settle down and enjoy a more low-key weekend with family or a friend or two.

Yesterday I handed out a few handfuls of candy with my mom, then went over to give out candy with Robert. Guys. I don’t think Halloween has ever been this much fun before. Giving out candy and seeing all the trick-or-treaters made my heart so happy! I definitely started off a bit too jazzed, though, as I told the kids, “Take as much as you want,” and then quickly realized there were going to be too many people stopping by to make that a sustainable practice. It was just so great seeing their eyes light up as they chose their favorite chocolate bars from the mix!

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I also loved how polite most of the kids were. I remember when I used to go door to door every Halloween how I would only take a piece of candy unless offered otherwise. Most kids this year were really sweet and thankful, but it cracked me up when one of the girls dug her hand deep into the bottom of the bowl and scooped out as many pieces of candy as her hand could hold. She was the reason I had to start rationing the candy better, and when she came back for a second treat a half hour later, I had to tell Robert that he’d need to turn her down if she had the guts to come back for a third scoop (thankfully she didn’t) because we still had a good hour left for other kids to come to the house.

Sitting by the door with a bowl of candy in my lap was one of the most fun evenings I’ve had in awhile. I loved seeing all the creative costumes, complimented the ones that weren’t the coolest to other kids, but that I thought were neat — like a Groot and a “sweatpants mannequin,” which was made from a black bodysuit that covered even his eyes — and I smiled about all the little middle schoolers who probably wouldn’t get to go out again next year. I love seeing any age of children trick-or-treating; even the older kids who don’t really dress up are great because I think it’s sweet that they are still doing something as innocent as getting free candy with their time instead of getting into trouble.

By the end of the night the kids had cleaned out almost 3 big bags of candy, but Robert and I noticed that that we were left with primarily Almond Joy candy bars and Whoppers. We’ve been having a big debate on my Facebook page about which is better, and somehow far more people seem to like Almond Joys than Whoppers. What the heck?! I always liked getting Whoppers in my pillowcase, but I never met a kid who liked an Almond Joy. I suppose next year we’ll need to try to find big bags of Reeses mixed only with Hershey’s bars, Twix, and M&Ms, rather than trying to pawn off the two untouchable candy bars. You live and learn, right?

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This was the “before and after” of our candy bowl. Note all the Whoppers and Almond Joys that were left! >_<

I’m already really excited for Halloween next year, as I want to give out more candy and keep seeing cute costumes throughout the evening. I think we will need to go all out in the decorating to try to really attract a crowd next year. What’s your favorite part about Halloween? And are you as excited about Christmas as I am now? Sadly I hate most Christmas music, but I can’t wait to start seeing all the decorations and enjoying all the Hallmark Christmas specials and movies on ABC Family (now known as Freeform) as I want!

Friday Favorites: Summer Edition

It’s been awhile since I’ve written little product reviews, so I figured it was about time I did a post about some of my favorite things for summertime. Since I have POTS and really need to focus on health and hydration, this is going to be all about healthy living this summer. Let me know in the comments if you have a great recommendation of things for me to try while it’s still hot out!


1. nuun Tablets

nuun tablets are my favorite thing to keep me hydrated when it’s hot out — and really throughout the year. I have a terribly off electrolyte and sodium balance in my body, so these little tablets are perfect to put in my Smart Water to keep me feeling good. My favorite flavor is watermelon, but I also like the lemon lime or strawberry lemonade nuuns!

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2. Mission Towel

My mission towel has kept me from fainting a good handful of times. My body overheats really easily, which causes my heart to race and blood pressure to drop way too dramatically. This is a huge nuisance, so anytime I go someplace outdoors I take my towel in my purse and just add water to activate the cooling cloth. I put it on my neck to lower my body temperature, and it really does work wonders. I think even just normal people who hate the heat or athletes would really benefit from having one of these!

3. Cotton Candy Grapes

CC grapes are literally my favorite summer snack. I could eat an entire box of these in one sitting if they weren’t so filling! (Note: I’ve never known grapes to be a filling food, which just shows how much I must eat at snacktime.) Please, if you’ve never tried these, go to the store and get them before they’re out of season. They aren’t genetically modified; I don’t know how they get the grapes to taste like this, but it’s wild!

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4. Rodan + Fields Foaming Sunless Tan

The products that initially drew me to Rodan + Fields were the Unblemish regimen and the Lash Boost, but I quickly discovered that their sunless tanner is incredible. I’ve never been someone who likes to sit out in the sun, but I love the way my skin looks with a nice brown glow. I had trouble finding a self tanner that wouldn’t streak or make my skin look orange (I’m looking at you, Tan Towel!), but somehow the foam makes it a lot easier to get full coverage and make the bottle last well into the summer. It was funny the first time I tried it because it was right after my beach trip, and Robert told me my tan looked really nice. I proceeded to lecture him about how I don’t get a really dark real tan, since I am careful to keep my skin protected from UV rays.

tan

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5.Greek Yogurt

But not just any Greek yogurt — Maple Hill Creamery Greek yogurt! The cows are 100% grass-fed, and appear to live a pretty good life in their family-owned farms in New York. I am all about treating animals well, plus this yogurt is easily the best I’ve ever had. I got on the Greek yogurt bandwagon pretty early on, back when I was in high school and it was just becoming a popular thing. I’ve tried a lot of different types, and this is by far my favorite.

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BONUS: Root Beer Floats

This was the float that started it all. I went to a Bachelorette party last month and one of the bars we ended up at had root beer floats. While everyone else got a nice glass of wine, I decided to go ahead and treat myself to an ice cold float. I’m not much of a soda drinker (And I know I promised this post would be healthy — which is why this is a bonus item!), but this is easily my new favorite splurge.

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Table For One

One mission for my time being single is to be really comfortable being alone. Even when I had a long-term boyfriend I was able to work on this and enjoy my own company because we were long distance for several years of our relationship. I’ve always felt pretty secure going places by myself but since I am an extrovert I love spending my time with people — I just also realize it’s not realistic or healthy filling all of my time being surrounded by loved ones.

Anyway, I’ve been planning fun dates by myself lately and am excited to share stories from several of them.

I’ll start with my date in New York.

When I went to the city with my mom she had some business to take care of, so I was on my own for a day. It was nice being back in the city; one of my favorite things about living there was just exploring new places all by myself. New York is a fantastic place to be single. There is so much to do and are so many fun people you meet along the way through all of your solo adventures.

I decided to begin my day by going to a fancy restaurant alone. This has been one of the goofier things on my bucket list, but why not cross it off while I’m in the greatest city on earth? I found a restaurant right next to The Plaza that was overlooking Central Park.

One of the waiters immediately greeted me and asked, “How many for brunch?”

I replied, “Just one, thank you.”

Maybe I was imagining things, but he gave me a kind of funny look as he walked me to a table. He sat me at a 4-top and asked again — just to be sure– “Will someone be meeting you here?” To which I replied, “No.”

I kid you not this happened five times. I didn’t keep my phone out, as I wanted to truly enjoy a dinner date by myself, but I kept a mental tally of how many people seemed shocked I was dining alone. It reminded me of this clip from Impractical Jokers:

Other than being bullied about not having any friends to go out to eat with, my solo date was really nice! I splurged and treated myself to a bunch of my favorite breakfast foods, and enjoyed people-watching by myself. I had such a nice time, in fact, that I am going to continue taking myself on little dates every once in awhile. I would highly recommend a date with yourself to kind of recharge at the end of a busy work week.

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Or if you don’t think of yourself as good company, I would also highly recommend myself as a date. Feel free to buy me brunch anytime and exchange for feeding me I will give good company and embarrassing stories to tell for years!

Today’s lesson: The biggest perk of being your own date is being able to eat as much as you want and not have to worry about someone else getting “food envy” when you order what is clearly the best thing on the menu. Like, seriously, people need to back off. #hangry

A Very Happy Valentine’s Day

I had the absolute best Valentine’s weekend I could ever dream of.

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s always been my favorite holiday whether or not I am in a relationship. I’m excited to share a few stories from the weekend in the next few days, as I had a pretty packed schedule. I kicked off the holiday by writing over 45 letters and going shopping to get presents for some of my closest friends.

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Friday I had a great Valentine’s lunch with my forever Valentine, my mom, at Seasons 52. We enjoyed some of the best Filet Mignon I’ve ever had — you could literally cut it with a butter knife — and mahimahi tacos.

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I always get a lot of crap from my dates for ordering my steak “medium well.”

Saturday afternoon I got a package in the mail, which turned out to be a Valentine from a guy I’ve been seeing for a few months. He sent me chocolate-covered strawberries, which was the one thing I felt I would miss this Valentine’s Day.

It was actually kind of adorable because I told him ahead of time that we shouldn’t get each other presents or anything, and he said that he wouldn’t give me anything “On Valentine’s Day.” Little did I know this meant he was planning on sending me a gift the day before. He told me later that he ended up calling Shari’s Berries to switch his order from Valentine’s Day to February 13th in order to keep his promise. This just made the gesture even cuter.

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Later that day I went to a Galentine’s Day wine tasting. I’m not supposed to drink with POTS, but I tried tiny sips of each wine and actually found a few that I enjoyed. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to have a glass here and there again! Apparently February 13 is the official “Galentine’s Day,” so it was really nice spending it with a lot of other twentysomething girls.

My date picked me up from my party at 9 to go on a crazy fancy double date with one of our friends. He took me to L’auberge Chez Francois, which was easily the nicest restaurant I’ve ever been to. I have so many stories from that experience that I’ll be posting about later this week!

The next day, February 14, was excellent, as it was a little more chill than the previous days. My Valentine this year will be serving overseas soon, so we decided to have a day of dining, N64, and just visiting with one another.

I honestly couldn’t have imagined a better weekend. It was so filled with love and friends, which is what Valentine’s Day is all about. I’m excited for the Galentine’s parties to continue throughout the month (I still have a few to go to!) and hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. ❤

Hello From The Other Side

Dear Torchy’s,

I live outside of Washington DC, so we are over 1,000 miles apart. I used to date someone from Texas, so I got to visit you regularly, but he and I broke up awhile ago and I haven’t been back since.

I miss you, Torchy’s. What I really miss most is your queso. I never even liked dip until I tried yours, but I quickly became addicted. Every time I’d go to Texas I would make sure to visit you several times a week.

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Photo courtesy of @torchystacos on Twitter

So I have a crazy request.

Could you please send me the recipe so I can make my own here in DC? It doesn’t appear that you are moving here anytime soon and I’m not sure that I’ll ever find anyone who makes queso quite like you.

Love Always,
Your Biggest Fan