Main Dish

SPICY SHRIMP TACOS AKA THE PERFECT TACO

Hi guess what? I love tacos. And I bet you do too because seriously how could you not? First, tortilla's are the perfect vehicle for food. Second, you can put any type of combination of food inside of said tortillas. And third, they're gluten free so that's pretty great because that means less inflammation in our bods!

I made myself tacos last night and tonight. No shame. Last night, I stuffed my tortillas with pan-fried zucchini, red pepper, portabello mushroom, and roasted butternut squash, topped it with tomatillo salsa, fauxmaggio cheese and then proceeded to house them. And I came to a realization.... tacos NEED to have some sort of protein in them. Without shrimp, fish, meat, or tofu something just feels incomplete. The ratio is all off. The texture is underwhelming. My belly is unsatisfied. Therefore, I created proper taco-Tuesday-style Spicy Shrimp Tacos. Read on for the recipe.

I typically buy my seafood fresh from my local Whole Foods but since I found out the shrimp at the fishmonger counter is previously frozen anyway, I bought myself a huge 5 lb bag of frozen shrimp. Might as well control the process myself. When buying frozen shrimp look for the label IQF which stands for "Individually Quick Frozen" which means the shrimp weren't frozen in one huge block and are most likely going to have a better texture and flavor. Make sure the only ingredient is shrimp; no preservatives, no additives. 

So now with this new epiphany, I set out to make the perfect taco.

The Perfect Taco = protein + crema or guacamole + slaw or onions + cilantro + lime + optional cotija cheese.

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Also, tell me what your favorite kind of taco is!

Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw and Avocado Crema

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

For the Garlic Cilantro Lime Sauce:
¼ cup avocado oil
¼ cup water
½ shallot
½ cup cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon salt (himalayan is my fave, full of minerals)
juice of 2 limes (or 1 lemon if you don't have limes)
½ cup organic greek yogurt
¼ avocado

For the Shrimp Tacos:

1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
1 tsp each chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
2-3 cups shredded green cabbage
6-8 soft corn tortillas (I used Siete Foods Cassava & Coconut tortillas since I'm trying not to eat corn right now)
1-2 avocados
Toppings: Cotija cheese (optional), cilantro, lime wedges

Instructions

  1. Blend all the sauce ingredients except the yogurt and avocado in a food processor. When mostly smooth, add the yogurt and pulse until combined. Taste and adjust as needed. Set aside.
  2. Heat a drizzle of oil a large skillet over medium high heat. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels and sprinkle with the spices. Add the shrimp to the hot pan and saute for 5-8 minutes, flipping occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked through.
  3. Toss some of the sauce (not all) with the cabbage until it the cabbage is coated to your liking. It should resemble a coleslaw - you want it to be enough sauce so the cabbage is weighed down a little bit.
  4. Add avocado to sauce and blend. This makes your sauce nice and thick and perfect for drizzling on top of the tacos.
  5. To serve tacos, pile slices of avocado, 4-5 pieces of shrimp, coleslaw, and finish with Cotjia cheese (optional), cilantro, and lime wedges.

 

**Recipe inspired by Pinch of Yums Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Garlic Cilantro Lime Slaw recipe**

NATASHA'S SIMPLE KITCHARI

What is Kitchari? Kitchari is here to help you grow spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Kitchari has been consumed for over 10,000 years in India. It's fed to babies, seniors, the sickly; and eaten by those who have no appetite, have returned from a long trip or are simply on a budget.

Kitchari is also used as a cleansing method where you actually get to EAT. Now that's my kinda cleanse. To do this cleanse you eat kitchari for each meal, 3 or 4 times a day, until you are full. Remember, full doesn't mean stuffed. Full means 1/3 food, 1/3 water and 1/3 space. Yes, veggies partially count as water. No deprivation, no starvation, just pure grounded goodness. If you can't stomach kitchari in the morning feel free to eat a simple bowl of oatmeal (with no toppings!) instead and resume eating kitchari for your other meals. I'll do a kitchari cleanse mono-diet a couple times a year; spring and fall or whenever I feel like I need a reset which most of the time means after the holidays, too! I promise if you do this cleanse you will feel grounded, balanced and deeply nourished.

Did you know that it is statistically proven that juice cleanses actually HARM our bodies. Why is this fad still around! I don't get it. Intense food deprivation cleanses okay for you but are not sustainable unless you are following all of the proper rules (enema's, relaxation, reflection, etc.). I personally don't go there, so kitchari is the perfect cleanse food cleanse for me and it's a great place to start for anybody. The mix of rice and dahl in kitchari contain 20 essential amino acids which create a perfect protein to sustain your body. You can also eat this as a main or side dish, even if you're not cleansing... it's that tasty.

If you're curious to find out more about kitchari sign up for a free call and we can chat. I'd be happy to guide you through my experience with cleansing and Ayurveda by providing you with helpful steps, tips, and insight. 

Image credit : The Chalkboard Mag

Natasha's Simple Kitchari Recipe

Prep time: 6-12 hours (includes soaking time)
Cook time: 30 mins
Serves: 4-6 servings

INGREDIENTS
½ cup split mung beans (link at bottom of post)
¼ cup organic basmati rice (or quinoa if you have a kapha imbalance)
1 3x2 inch strip of kombu seaweed, cut into small pieces, or a few pieces of dried wakame
6-8 cups of filtered water
3-4 cups fresh, organic and seasonal veggies (use at least one green veggie such as spinach or kale and one orange or root vegetable such as carrot, sweet potato or squash)
1-2 Tbsp of CCF blend (made by grinding equal parts of cumin, coriander and fennel seed or by mixing the pre-ground spices)
⅛ tsp asafoetida/hing (not gluten-free, add extra ginger if you are gluten sensitive)
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger root
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 cup loosely packed chopped, fresh organic cilantro
2-3 Tbsp ghee (Vegans can use coconut oil in the warmer months or sesame oil in the cooler months use less ghee if you have kapha imbalance, lots of accumulation, or excess weight).
½ - 1 tsp rock salt

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Soak the grain and split mung beans (I don’t really measure I just do a 2:1 ratio of beans to rice) overnight or between 6-12 hours.

2. Rinse the grain and mung beans until the water runs clear then put them in a big pot with the seaweed and water enough to cover by at least an inch or 2 (about 3 cups of water depending on your pot).

3. Boil until soft, about 15-20 minutes. Chop veggies and cilantro and grind spices (if using whole spices. You can also roast them before grinding to enhance the flavors) as the rice and beans cook.

4. Add the veggies (keep kale or quick-cooking veggies out for now), add 2 more cups of water and cover. Cook 3-5 minutes or so until the water boils veggies are starting to soften. Add more water and adjust temperature as needed.

5. Once veggies start to soften, add the minced ginger, and spices (cumin, coriander, fennel, asafoetida and turmeric).  When making a warming kitchari in the fall or winter I’ll add a little black pepper and a dash of cinnamon too, maybe some raisins.

6. Add the kale, spinach or other quick-cooking veggies and the fresh cilantro. Stir.

7. Add ghee or oil (or neither) and rock salt.

8. Turn off heat, and serve with microgreens/fresh cilantro and a wedge of lime or chutney.

Try this out and if you don't like these spices then go ahead and use your favorites. You can use italian spices, Mediterranean spices, whatever! Let your creativity flow. Share this recipe with a friend! It's always best to cleanse with an accountability partner.

If the list of ingredients stresses you out you can purchase a hand-dandy Kitchari kit here!

 

ITALIAN SPAGHETTI SQUASH BOATS

Italian Veggie Spaghetti Squash Bowls

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Ingredients
1 Spaghetti Squash
1 14oz can of tomato sauce
1 package mushrooms, cut into quarters (portobella, baby bella, shitake, white button)
1 package grape tomatoes, halved
a few handfuls of Spinach
3 cloves garlic
1/2 onion
2 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 tsp herbs: any ratio you liked of basil, oregano, parsley
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp allspice (optional)
grated parmesan cheese, freshly grated is best! (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat over to 450 degrees. While the oven is heating up, cut off ends of spaghetti squash, then cut in half lengthwise. Coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour water onto cookie sheet and place squash face down on sheet. Set timer for 45 minutes.

2. While squash is cooking, sautee onions and garlic in coconut oil with a little salt and pepper. Add in mushrooms, cooking for 5 minutes. Add in tomatoes, s&p and cook for 2 minutes or so. Add in spinach and tomato sauce. Let it come to a boil then cover and simmer while squash cooks.

3. After 40 minutes flip squash over and spoon sauce veggie mixture in the bowls of the squash. Set oven to broil. Grate parmesean cheese on top and put back into over for 5 minutes.

4. Carefully remove squash from over and place on a plate. Add more parm if you want.

VEGETABLE BROTH FROM LEFTOVERS

I recently saw a recipe online that takes veggie scraps and turns them into veggie broth. And I'm over here buying boxed veggie stock from Trader Joe's? No way, I thought to myself, this is too easy. The recipe calls for saved and frozen veggie scraps from a week or months past (depending on how often you cook) which is great to know for the future but didn't help my grumbling belly at that moment. 

Simple Vegetable Stock Recipe by www.natashawellness.com

I had a lot of leftovers from our NYE party grocery haul and thought, what better way to use up all those baby carrots than with a soup? I love dipping these babies in hummus in the summer months but raw vegetables don't digest well for me in the winter, nor do I crave them. I also had some ready-to-be-eaten celery, onions, cilantro, mushrooms, sage and rosemary. 

Here is my version of a "clean out the fridge"/"everything but the kitchen sink" stock I made a few days ago. Sooo sustainable. 

Simple Vegetable Stock