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Tag: Glorious One-Pot Meals

Happy 2009!

2009 promises to be an exciting year! After 10 years of work, my newest cookbook arrives in stores nationwide in just a few days; I turn 40 in about a month; my husband and I will celebrate out 10th anniversary in July; and later this month will be the 10th anniversary of my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

It feels like an appropriate time for some reflection on how I got here. Please indulge me.

Me and my friend Jen playing in a waterfall in the Amazon rainforest near Manaus, Brazil.
Me (on the left) and my friend Jen playing in a waterfall in the Amazon rainforest near Manaus, Brazil, in 1992.

As a teenager, when I thought ahead about my life, I wanted my twenties to be for fun and travel while my 30s would be devoted to a career and family. It pretty much worked out that way, except for the surprise twist that MS threw into the mix. I’m so grateful that I played, dated, and traveled all over the world as a freelance writer and instructional designer in the 1990s when I wasn’t so concerned about or limited by health issues.

Then I met my husband when I was 29 on a chairlift while skiing in Steamboat Springs, CO, and it was love at first sight. We married a year later, in 1999. Looking back, things appeared to be moving ahead right on schedule.

The first decade of the millennium, kicked off by losing sight in one eye 2 weeks before my 30th birthday, started off as a struggle. I hit 2 deer, almost totalled my car, and stopped driving for months. The MS therapies left me bloated, covered in track marks from blown veins, and 30 lbs. heavier in less than a month. For the next three years my body was covered with painful hives that at times were so disfiguring that I couldn’t leave the house for fear of frightening small children.

9/11/2001 began that way for me, as I was homebound that day due to an enormous hive that had expanded my chin to Elmer Fudd proportions. The horror of watching the tragedy unfold was spiked by fear for my sister who was working only blocks away from the World Trade Center that day. It only got worse as I discovered that my childhood friend, Danny Lewin, was on the first plane to hit the towers (though he likely was already dead at that point, the brilliant CEO of Akamai who was raised in Israel and trained in their special forces knew Arabic fluently and was reported as the first one dead on that horrible day when he single-handedly tried to thwart the terrorists and was taken out by a box cutter). But I digress.

Pregnant with my first child in 2002.
Pregnant with my first child in 2002.

This past decade brought my attention to natural health. Between the multiple sclerosis, the hives, bouts with parasites, trying to conceive my first child and then dealing with his severe acid reflux, bowel problems, and resulting sleep issues (he didn’t sleep for years, so neither did I), and the unsatisfactory treatments and answers offered by allopathic medicine, I began to look outside of our Western tradition of medicine – a big leap for the daughter of doctors. I became a Certified Nutritional Consultant and Natural Health Professional.

My new husband, a competitive athlete (a sub-6-minute miler who was once ranked 6th in the world for snowshoeing, among other things), introduced me to organic foods and cooking with whole foods. Together we accidentally invented a way to eat healthily without spending all day in the kitchen. But no one would publish my cookbook about it.

Five frustrating and disappointing years of searching for an agent/publisher culminated in 2005 when I self-published the manuscript no big publisher would touch. Multiple awards and 12,000 copies sold validated my perseverance and brought me to the attention of Broadway Books, a Random House imprint. Fast forward to year and a half later, and here we are, on the eve of the national release of my efforts from the last 10 years.

Can I take a breath yet?

Looking back, I can honestly say that my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis was one of the best things to have happened to me. I am healthier and stronger now than at any other point in my life as a direct result of this diagnosis. I value my husband and my kids more because understand how fragile life and health can be. I have close friends who have been in my life for 20, 30, even 35 years and a tightly-knit extended family. My young children are beautiful, smart, and loving. My marriage is solid and fulfilling.

Because of the MS, I discovered my passions for natural health, food and eating, and helping others. I find it miraculous that I am able to combine my passions into a viable career that allows me to be the kind of mother I want to be while fulfilling my soul. Not much gives me more satisfaction than hearing from people who have changed their lives by cooking with my technique or have benefited from something I’ve written and find themselves healthier for it.

Looking ahead, my hopes for this fifth decade of my life are to further spread my message of better health through better eating through more cookbooks, appearances, classes, writings, etc.; to increase my expertise and knowledge about natural health and nutrition by becoming a naturopathic doctor; to raise healthy and well-balanced children who will become contributing members of our society; and to nurture the love and beauty and joy within my family and in the world.

I intend to continue my own journey toward health and away from the diagnosis of MS while connecting with the MS community and others facing chronic disease conditions through sharing what I have learned that can help them, too.

Of course, my 20-year old self couldn’t have predicted what lay ahead for me, and who knows what curve balls life will throw me next, but I am nothing if not tenacious and determined. I know that I can make my own reality with enough hard work, no matter what the obstacles or twists in the road.

Believe it or not, I have always looked forward to aging and gaining the wisdom that can only come from accumulated experiences. I aim to be the wizened crone with insight into everything from herbs to relationships to new technologies. Not to mention how long I’ve anticipated the day when I won’t get asked for ID when I buy a bottle of wine!

Speaking of wine, let me now raise a glass to you, my blog readers and fans of Glorious One-Pot Meals and natural health, and let’s have a toast to this next phase of our lives together! One of my favorite Irish toasts goes something like this:

May the road rise up to meet you,
and the wind be always at your back.

May 2009 usher in a period of health, joy, love, and prosperity for all of us. L’chaim – to Life!

Whole Chicken in a Glorious One-Pot Meal

Here’s a cooking question I’ve received several times:

“Can I put a whole fryer chicken in a Glorious One-Pot Meal?”

My response has always been that I had no idea, never having tried it.

Until now, that is.

The other day I decided to test it out for myself and see if it would work. I had a 3-lb fryer thawed in the fridge and knew it had to be used one way or the other. I may have had thoughts of roasting it when I pulled it out of the freezer several days before, but I didn’t feel like roasting that day. (This is why I have trouble remembering to thaw things: by the time the item is thawed, I’m over wanting it!)

Even though I received the patent in 2005 for inventing the Glorious One-Pot Meal infusion cooking technique, I am constantly experimenting and tweaking the method. This was a good day, I thought, to test out the GOPM method on a whole bird. Since I’ve never made a Glorious One-Pot Meal that was completely inedible, I didn’t have a back-up dinner plan in case it didn’t work. Luckily, I didn’t need one.

I preheated my oven to 450F and pulled out my 5.5-quart oval enamel-coated cast iron Dutch oven. The Organic Coconut Oil beckoned to me in the pantry. I’ve been playing around with this health-giving stuff and enjoying the subtle coconut-flavoring it imparts in GOPMs and when sauteeing. About 3 Tbsps. coated the interior and lid of the pot quite liberally.

Then, I rinsed the chicken, especially the cavity, and put it in the pot. I sprinkled it with sea salt and my favorite Lodo Red Adobo red chile spice mix. Then I tossed around it an onion cut in wedges, strips of acorn squash (seeded but still in the skin), halved mushrooms, handfulls of baby spinach leaves, and the contents of a bag of frozen corn kernels.

Finally, I sent my husband out to collect sage, rosemary, and oregano from the garden to set on top in kind of a pile, so they’d be easier to remove before serving. I covered the pot, put it in the oven, and waited for the aroma of a fully-cooked meal to seek me out.

About 1 hour and 20 minutes later, it smelled delicious. The meat thermometer read over 190F in the breast and thigh of the bird, indicating it was perfectly cooked and safe to eat.

And eat it we did. The chicken meat was unbelievably tender and moist. We discarded the skin, as it came out fairly rubbery. I had to use a slotted spoon to retrieve stray corn kernels from the bottom of the pot where they were luxuriating in a liquid bath of chicken fat. I considered hanging onto the fat to use for something in the future (chopped liver?), but my helpful hubby cleaned the pot before I could get to it.

The kids scarfed it down, too, which was gratifying, and tonight I’ll use the leftover chicken to make chicken enchiladas. I declare the experiment an unqualified success!

While you won’t find this recipe in my new cookbook, you will find other new techniques that have not been published before, loads of new recipes, and even new grains to add to your repetoire. It’s coming out January 6th, but pre-order it now on Amazon for more than 30% off!

Lasagna in 40 minutes

This week my mother hosted a large family dinner and outdid herself by serving a scrumptious lasagna. She had literally spent an entire day preparing it: making the sauce from scratch, pre-boiling the flat noodles, carefully layering the ingredients.

I just sent out a newsletter (my first one in months!) and included a quick description of how I’ve been using lasagna noodles in Glorious One-Pot Meals. Yep, they work great. A satisfying lasagna that doesn’t take me a day to make, or even an hour.

Lasagna in 40 minutes
Lasagna in 40 minutes

Here’s the basic recipe:

– Preheat oven to 450F.

– Spray a cast iron Dutch oven and lid with olive oil.

– Open a 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes and mix with 1 tablespoon each of basil and oregano. Season with sea salt and pepper and spread a thin layer along the base of the pot.

– Arrange the dry lasagna noodles on the sauce, breaking them into halves if it helps them to fit together better. It’s ok if they overlap.

– Spread a thick layer of chopped greens like Swiss chard, kale, or spinach over the noodles. Sprinkle with cheese (I used cheddar in this photo just because that was what I had. We didn’t get the stringiness of mozzarella, but it was different and delicious.) Top with veggies like sliced mushrooms, cauliflower, bell peppers, or eggplant, and half of the remaining tomato mixture.

– Set another layer of lasagna noodles down. Spread the rest of the tomato mixture and top with some more cheese. Cover and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until three minutes after the aroma of a full-bodied meal escapes the oven.

Those of you familiar with Glorious One-Pot Meals will recognize the layering concept as it’s tweaked here. Although this lasagna recipe is not in the new cookbook, there are other new tweaks to the GOPM concept in there that will make it new and exciting for even hard-core fans of the first book. The new book is coming out January 6th. Very soon!

Colorado Cookin’ 2008

This past weekend I took the stage for a cooking demonstration at the Colorado Christmas Show’s Colorado Cookin’ event in Denver. It was a great crowd and a lot of fun. They were most accepting when, during my entrance announcement, I walked onto the stage, caught my heel on some electrical cords and went down completely out of view. I popped back up and said, “I’m okay!”, and then launched my show with a collective deep inhale and exhale so that we could all “center” ourselves together. We all got a good laugh out of it!

My favorite part was hanging out with my good buddy Keith Jones, Host Chef extraordinaire and culinary ambassador to the world. Thanks for snapping these photos, Keith!

Elizabeth Yarnell cooks at Colorado Cookin'.
Elizabeth cooks at Colorado Cookin'.

This marks the official kick off of my return to touring for Glorious One-Pot Meals after taking most of the summer and fall off. While it was a gift to cut back on my public appearances for a while, I’m fired up and ready to go out and promote my newest cookbook, Glorious One-Pot Meals: A Revolutionary New Quick and Healthy Approach to Dutch Oven Cooking.

The book will be released January 6th, but pre-order yours now and get a HUGE discount. Really huge. About 1/3 off the cover price.

I’d love to come to your city and give you and your friends a private cooking demonstration party! Suggest to your company, favorite non-profit, or healthcare organization that they bring me in to speak. If they do, I’ll come to your house and offer a free private cooking class for you and your friends.

Be sure to keep up to date on my upcoming events through my newsletter (it hasn’t gone out in a while, but it will resume shortly).