Monday, November 17, 2014

Multigrain Pancake

Now-a-days non-bread breakfast has become common in our house.   I don't buy pre-made pancake mixes.   I keep exploring and log my experiments here if it was successful!  Ofcourse, it flops many times.

What you need?


Barley flour - 1/2 cup
Oats flour-1/4 cup
Spelt flour-1/4 cup
Almond meal-1/4 cup
Rice flour-2 Tbsp
Flax meal-2 Tbsp
Chia gel-1/4 cup
Salt-1/4 tsp
Sugar-1 tsp
Baking soda-1/4 tsp
Butter milk-1/2 cup
Water-1/2 cup
Toppings - Raisins, shredded walnuts, sunflower/pumpkin seeds


How to make?


1. Mix all the ingredients except baking soda and let it rest for atleast 30 mins.

2. Adjust water to make the batter thick.   When you are ready to make,  add baking soda and mix well.

3. Mix the toppings into the batter.  I like to top the raisins once I pour the batter over the tava.

4. Heat the griddle and check if it is hot enough.  Pour batter and expand it to desired size.  Top with raisins/choco chips if you want to.   Leave it for a min.  It would puff it.   Turn it to the other side and let it cook.   I used coconut  since I was using iron griddle.  You can use oil as per your gadget.

Serve with Maple syrup or honey.

My kids enjoyed the whole grain pancake.  We had some leftover for lunch and it was quite moist

Tips:

* From my experience:  Pancakes should cook down completely before serving for better taste

* You can play around with the ingredients based on what is available in your pantry.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Fig and Nuts Sweet

Fig is a nature's treat!   Fig and nuts cake has become one of the deepavali sweets for 3 years in row now.   Beauty is this sweet can take as little as 2 Tbsp ghee and still tastes palatable.   One batch was distributed so quickly that my kids and hubby were like what happened to the Fig halwa/cake that you made.   Then I set out to make the second batch.  Most of my friends whom I shared this sweet asked for the recipe!  I already have a fig sweet recipe in the blog.  This is another variation to it.    I did not add lot of sugar to keep the nature's sweet intact.  But feel free to add if you have sweet tooth. We prefer it this way!

What you need?

Figs-15 dried ones
Dates-10 dried ones (optional)
Almonds-1 cup
Nuts of your choice ( 1 cup)
Ghee-2 Tbsp
Honey-2 Tbsp(optional)
Turbinado Sugar-2 Tbsp

How to make?

1. Soak Figs/dates and almond seperately in hot water overnight or for 6 hrs.     Remove the stem of Fig and pits from dates.

2. First grind Fig and dates smoothly then add almonds and give a good crush.  It is ok if almonds are not ground thoroughly.  You can use the soaked water to run the blender.  Use as little water as possible to grind in order to reduce the cooking time.

3. Cut the nuts of your choice(cashews, walnuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios) into bite sized pieces.  


4.  Heat a pan on medium heat and pour the ground mixture.  Let it cook for about 15 mins.   Add the nuts, sugar and ghee.   Mix well.   Keep stirring till the mixture leaves the sides of the pan.

5.  Switch off the stove.  Add honey if you wanted it to be bit more sweeter and mix thoroughly.  Honey should not be cooked so be sure to add it only at the end .  

6. Prepare a pan by lining little bit ghee spread all over.  Pour the mixture and pack it well.  Level with the laddle and keep it aside or better refrigerate it.

7. This sweet can be cut into cubes once it is cooled completely!

Enjoy the nature's treat without any guilt! Itz all healthy.

Tips

1.  Add 2 tbsp more ghee to get a glossy texture

2. Grind with milk to get more richer taste

3. Sugar can be replaced with jaggery.

Note:

Buy unsulphured dried figs.   I used white figs in this recipe.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Buckwheat (Kasha)/Note about Wheat

We switched to cracked wheat instead of rice couple of years back.    It takes time to know few facts.  I am sharing this information here to create awareness.   Wheat that we get on the stores are genetically modified ones.  Original wheat is not sold anymore on local stores.    My mom suffered with severe constipation when she started eating this wheat regularly here.  She is fine to a greater extent with the samba wheat that she gets in India.  

I have been exploring Buckwheat now and then for the last few years.   I used to cook it in rice cooker and it spreads an earthly flavor which was not so appetizing for me.    Recently, I tried cooking it in pressure cooker with 1:4 water and found to be a great alternate.     How much ever you cook, it does'nt become sticky.  That makes it perfect for pulaos and mixed rice dishes.    

Buckwheat is not even a grain.   It is a fruit seed which makes it even more healthier.    It is typically used on upvas days when they forbid grains.  It has so many health benefits including lowering cholesterol and Blood pressure.    I also read that it is great for diabetic patients.  

Explore this seed and see if it gets a spot on your pantry!

Barley Dosa/Crepes- Itz cool!

This is not my recipe!  I am just re-posting since lot of my friends/family have been asking.  It is my fellow blogger - Raji's Recipe (Vegeterian tastebuds).  She has got many healthy recipes in her blog.  I just used whole hull-less barley instead of pearl barley.    Pearl barley nutrition is quite comparable to rice.  The outer skin of the barley has the most nutrition .

I like this recipe since it uses lots of barley and we do not see any significant change in the taste of dosa.

What you need?

Hull-less whole barley-2 cups
Brown rice - 1/4 cup
Black gram - 1/2 cup
Methi seeds-2 Tbsp

How to make?

1. Soak barley, rice-methi seeds and black gram seperately for about 6-8 hrs.
2. Grind black gram first till fluffy.  Transfer to the container.
3. Grind barley, rice and methi together.  Add salt and mix well with the black gram batter.

You can adjust the  consistency of the dosa batter by adding water.

One important tip is not to ferment this batter for longer.  I just refrigerate as soon as I grind.  I keep the batter out for few hrs before I make dosa.   The batter would quickly turn sour if kept outside longer.

I called the recipe cool since it is actually very cooling to your system.   Healthy eating!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Peas Corn Sundal (Snack)

Navrathiri time is a great event for us.   Dolls sitting on the steps with the Rangoli and Diya in front of them sets the ambience for the festival.  Every evening, we make different beans for prasadam.   I always add some dressing. Typically, grated coconut is used.  Other dressings that I use are Carrot, Capsicum, Cucumber, Green Mango,  Green Sour apple, Coriander, sliced avocadoes and fresh pomegranate seeds.    They not only add color but also makes it easy to eat.  Otherwise beans are generally hard to eat, they feel dry.  

Peas  is one of the healthy snack choice.   They are quite filling too.    

Letz go to the recipe!

What you need?

Dried peas - 1 cup
Frozen Corn - 1/2 cup
Masala powder- 4 tbsp. (optional)
Green Mango - 1/2 cup (finely cut)
Lemon juice - 1Tbsp (optional)
Salt - choice
Jaggery - 1 tsp
Tadka items

Prep work:

Soak peas in water for 6-8 hrs

How to cook?

1. Cook Peas carefully either on stove top or on pressure cooker (1 whistle).  See tips

2.  Pour cooked peas over colander and let it air dry for 30 mins

3.  If using frozen corn, cook in just sufficient water to soak the corn over stove top.   Check corn for readiness and swtich off the stove.

4. Take a kadai, do tadka with Mustard seeds, red chilli powder, asofoedita and curry leaves.  Add the cooled peas.

5.   Add 1 tsp of jiggery and masala powder.  Give a gentle mix

6.  Top it with any dressing of your choice.   I used Mango (finely cut).  see tips.

7. Optionally add a tbsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Enjoy the healthy snack!


How to make Masala powder?

Chana dal- 4 Tbsp
Coriander seeds - 2 Tbsp
Red chillies- few (as per your spice leve).

Dry Roast above ingredients one by one.  Let it cool for sometime.  Grind all together not too soft.  It should be slightly coarse.

Tips

1.  Peas take very long to cook over stove top.  If you are cooking on pressure cooker, watch for the whistle.  It turns mushy very quickly.

2.  Cut or shredded dressing would work. 





 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Walnut Salad dressing

Salads has become part of weekend menu.  We get so many varieties of salad.  We eat healthy but never tried salads before since they always needed some kind of dressing.   I do not trust any store made foodies since I believe that no else is as concerned about our health as ourselves.    My older one loves salad and I thought of giving it a try.  I made few dressings and some of them were well received.

What you need?

Walnuts-1 cup
Italian seasoning - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Pepper-1 tsp 
salt - 1 tsp
Lemon juice-1 Tbsp

How to make?

1. Soak walnuts in hot water for about an hour.  You would use the water too, so dont add too much water.

2. If you are using italian seasoning, crush them with your palm and add it to walnuts

3.Add salt and pepper and blend all together.  Add water little by little if required to make it in running consistency.

4. Whisk lemon juice and it is ready.  

Make salad of your choice and drizzle this over it.   

Variations:

1.  Walnuts can be replaced with Almonds

Melon popsicle

No guilt of having popsicles! since they are made at home.  Even kids can make it.  It is that simple.  There is abundance supply of Melons in summer (Water melon, honey due melon, cantaloupe).  I read in one of Vasant Lad's Ayurveda books that Melon should be eaten by themselves.  We should not eat it with any other fruits/food.     I read the same in another western diet plan as well.  It looks like there is something about it.   On a hot summer afternoon, we make wedges of melons and sit in my patio and enjoy them.   Popsicles are the most wanted item, if we make it with real fruit then there is no guilt of serving them.

I made these popsicles with Cantaloupe melon.

What you need?

   Cantaloupe melon cut into cubes-3 cups
   Maple syrup/any sweetener-2 Tbsp

How to make?

    Blend all together and fill it in your popsicle mould.

Let it freeze for 4 hrs and it is ready to Go!

Happy Summer afternoons!


Monday, May 19, 2014

Purple Noodles!

Noodles are easy to make lunch dishes.  I never buy sauce for my pasta/pizza.   We will have so much of control on the quantity and quality of ingredients when we make it at home.  They are not so hard to make as well.

I love colors, yes on veggies too.  Purple cabbage is one such fantasy.   Thy are not like their green counterparts, it never shrinks when you cook.  If you overcook, it turns greyish and does'nt look good.  So, there is a small trick in cooking them.  More to that, if you add lemon juice at the end, it turns pinkish purple which adds more beauty to it.

Coming to the recipe!

What you need?

Noodles of your choice
italian seasoning-1/2 tsp
purple cabbage finely shredded-2 cups
carrot finely shredded-1/2 cup (optional)
Ginger/gr chillies shredded-2 tsp
pepper powder-1/2 tsp
Oil-1 Tbsp
Lemon juice-1 Tbsp


How to make?

1. Boil sufficient water with water, once it bubbles, add the noodles, cook till they are soft.

2. Drain in a colander and cover with a lid so that they do not over dry.  Save the water.

3.  Heat Oil in the pan, add italian seasoning, pepper powder, once they sizzle, add purple cabbage, fry on high heat for 3-4 mins, mix in the noodles, give a thorough mix.  Add 1/2 cup of the water that you saved.

4. Add shredded carrot and lemon juice. Mix well and switch off the heat.


Tip:

Purple cabbage has to be finely shredded, I use my cuisinart veggie stand.  




Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Strawberry Avocado popsicle

What does hot weather remind?  Popsicles and icecreams are top selling items.   I had never known about popsicles before coming to US.   First, I saw my neighbour giving their kids colorful bars!  Wondering what they are,  I did a google search and found an healthy alternate.  I bought moulds first and have made a variety of popsicles.  Infact, I have never attempted to buy popsicle from store.  Most of the store bought popsicles has low quality sugar either from high fructose corn syrup or other sources with vibrant artificial colors.  

Avocado has a silky texture and it tastes pretty good on Smoothies and Popsicle.   I make Popsicle with smoothies or home made juices.

I do not mix milk or yogurt with strawberries since body does'nt absorb the nutrients of berries with protein rich milk products.  Also, berries are rich in Vit-C and hence do not go well with milk.

What you need?

Strawberries- 1 box (15-20 berries)
Avocado- 1 medium
soaked dates-15

How to make?

1. Soak dates in just enough hot water.  Once cooled, check for seeds and remove.
2. Blend everything into puree
3. Pour into BPA free moulds and let it freeze for 5 hrs or more

To use:

Rest the popsicle in warm water for few mins to loosen them lil bit from the mould.  Enjoy!








Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Small Grains - Conscious Replacement of Rice

Rice was not part of everyday meal till 2 generations back.   People used a variety of grains out of necessity or just by usage.   I am very surprised with the way Rice dominates our day to day lives.   In today's world, it is up to you to choose what you want to eat.  It is a conscious decision though.  Remind yourself that they are also palatable if you are hesitant about the taste.  

Last week I made pongal with a millet (pani-varagu in tamil) and it tasted awesome.  No one could make a difference if it was made with rice or pongal.  Some millets needs to be roasted before you cook them.   Those tactics has to be learnt.

We dont need to run behind expensive grains like Quinoa.   I was shocked with the price raise of this grain. Compare the nutrition and taste of Quinoa vs other millets.  It is quite comparable.   Price is one tenth.

Welcome small grains into your pantry for a healthier cooking!  I m just being a motivator here.  I cook small grains quite often and make rice quite occasionally.  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Millet Greens Pulao

Millets belong to small grain family.  Traditionally, people were eating different types of grains.  Rice was cooked only on big festivals occasionally.    I was unaware of all these facts till couple of years back.    It is quite stunning with the amount of Rice and Wheat that are produced globally to meet the demands.  When the demand goes high, the quality goes down.    We should consciously see what other small grains we could cook in our day to day practice for the betterment of our health and also for our future generation.    I used to cook these grains only for us and make rice for kids.  Slowly, I introduced it to my kids and they eat all the different grains now without any comments.  It does taste good.  



What you need?

Fox tail Millet - 1 cup

Mixed Greens (Spinach or kale or swiss chard)-2 cups
Tofu-10 to 15 cubes
Onion - 1 
Ginger/Gr chilli paste- 1 tsp
Garam masala powder-1/2 tsp
crushed peanuts-1/4 cup
Coconut Oil-2 Tsp

Tadka

Mustard, chanal dal-2 tsp

How to cook?

Cook millet in 2 cups of water with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp oilive oil in rice cooker.  Let it cool  and  fluff it with fork in a big dish.  It is important to keep the grains seperate.  It should not become mushy.

Heat oil in a Kadai, tadka with mustard, chana dal, ginger gr chilli paste, fry onion with little salt till transulent. 

Add all the greens and fry them.  Add required salt, turmeric (1/4 tsp) and garam masala once they shrink.   Let all the moisture evaporate.  Add Tofu and mix gently.

Reduce heat and fold in the separated millet.  Let it stay for about 5-7 mins with occasional stir.

Add crushed peanuts and it is ready to be served.  Serve hot for best taste.

I served it with boiled peanuts curry.

Note:

You could just use one variety of greens on this recipe.  I just used since I had to use them up.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Dark chocolate Truffles

Dark chocolates are one of the super foods.   We got used to this couple of years back.  Truffles is very simple to make and tastes very good.  The super chef who makes it all the time is my hubby!  I am just posting the recipe!

What you need?

Dark chocolates chunks-1/2 lb
Shredded nuts(Almonds/Walnuts)-1 cup
Raisins-1/2 cup
Butter-1 Tbsp (optional)
cinnamon-1/2 tsp(optional)

How to make?

1. Boil water in a pan.  Mix dark chocolate in another cup with little water and keep this on the boiling water. Chocolate should melt thoroughly. Once melted add butter and cinnamon if you are using them.

2. In another bowl, mix in the nuts, raisins and pour the chocolate over it.  Mix well.

3. Line parchment paper in a big tray.  Scoop a teaspoon of chocolate mix in equal distances.

4. Freeze it for 2 hrs.  Check if they are solid if not keep it for longer depending upon your refrigerator.

It is ready to eat!  You can save the rest in the refrigerator for later use.

Snack on Nuts!

We eat our main meal around 12-1 pm.  Kids do not want to eat rice or main dish after they come back from school.  I also dont give them forcefully.  If I sent them sandwich at times, then I ask but they deny.   As per Ayurveda,  the heavy meal should be eaten around noon when the body is at the peak to take anything.  Our challenge is the snacks.  They come home and look for choices.  First choice is fruits.  Ofcourse, Milk is something they dont miss.  Whatever be there or not, we always have the trial mix which all of us love. Infact, I have been snacking on nuts every day for last five years.   I should thank the nutritionist who gave this idea to me.  She was like " It is of no use eating just 4-5 almonds everyday,we should consume atleast an ounce per day to keep healthy" but see the note below.  Nuts are very good source of proteins and good fats.  Almond is called as a brain food.

I dont buy the pre-mixed one.  I buy all the nuts and mix it at home as per our choice.   Nuts is one thing we keep constantly buying from the wholesaler Costco.  

What you need?

Raisins - 2 cups
Almonds- 2 cups
Walnuts - 1 cup
Pecans - 1 cup
Roasted Peanuts - 1 cup (optional)
Dates/Fig/Dark chocolates (optional)

How to make?

Just mix everything in a big bowl and store in an Air tight container.

How to Serve?

Adults everyday portion is

One fist which could have around 22-24 almonds, 5 walnuts and 5 Pecans.

For kids, I give around 10 almonds 3 walnuts 3 pecans and raisins

Occasionally, we mix in some dark chocalates or dates stuffed with almonds or with Figs.

This was recommended to me by my nutritionist.  You should consult your Dr./Nutritionist for your required quantity.

Snack Healthy and Go Nuts!

Note:

1.  Almond slices is also an available option in case you find it hard to chew almonds.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Simple Restaurant Style Tomato Soup

My kids love the restaurant tomato soup.   It inspired me to make it at home.  I have tried many times, with onion/garlic and without onion garlic and it has been endorsed by my family that it tastes like restaurant.  The fun part is that i make the cream with almonds.  The reason behind not using the milk based cream is the simple reasoning that Tomato is rich in Vit-c and it curdles with milk.

The secret to get the restaurant style taste is cook the soup veggies with the spice sack.  I use the mini tea strainer for this purpose.  It is important to just get the flavour out.  We should not grind the spices.  You can alternately use a clean soft musleen cloth to wrap your spices.




What you need?

Tomatoes-4 to 6 medium
Carrots-1 medium
Beetroot-1/4 medium for color
Beans about 10
Onion - 1 (optional)
garlic-3 pods (optional)
Ginger-1 inch
Gr chillies-3 (adjust for your spice level).
Oil- 1 Tbsp

For Spice sack:

2 cardomom pods
3 cloves
1 big cardomom
1 star anise
1 tsp of  fennel seeds


For cream:

Soak almonds in hot water for 30 mins

How to make?

Heat 1 Tbsp of Oil, saute garlic and onion for few mins

Pressure cook all the veggies including onion/garlic in sufficient water with the spice sack

Once the cooker is ready to open, sieve the veggies saving the water.  Remove the tomato peel.

Allow to cool, puree them using hand blender, transfer to a kadai, add salt and adjust spice level.

Let it all mix together in low heat for about 10-15 mins.  Keep it warm.

Now, letz make the cream

Drain water from almonds
Grind with enough water to get almost thin consistency.

Serve soup in the bowl and just swirl the almond milk over it.

Tip:

1. Coconut milk can be substituted for almond paste here.  I have'nt tried but it should taste better.





Saturday, January 25, 2014

Healthy Breakfast - Kamut puff cereal with fruits

Breakfast is a very important meal of a day.  It should not be skipped.  We dont miss it unless we have a religious reason to do so.   What to eat in a breakfast is also equally important.  Buckwheat sounds like a sister to wheat but it does not belong to wheat family.  It is a fruit seed with a distinct flavour.  It is super healthy.  I have tried it in pulaos and kichidi too.  When I roaming in the aisles of whole foods, some puffs got my attention, they were barley, millet and kamut puffs.  I got all of them in my trolley.    Then, I started thinking for ways to use it.   My husband makes very yummy cereals, I should post those pictures along with the recipe.  You got to have a passion and patience to make such cereal.  Few things, I just say that dad will make :-) Cutting everything on the same size is something I can never attempt to!  My patience is definitely lesser than his.

This is a super great breakfast with fruits,nuts and kamut puffs.

What you need?

Kamut puffs - 1/3 cup
Apple-diced-1/4 cup
Banana diced-1/4 cup
Grapes-sliced-1/4 cup (optional)
Raisins-2 Tbsp
Flax meal-1 Tbsp (optional)
Chia gel-1 tsp (optional)
Almonds-5 sliced
Walnuts-3 shredded
Dried Dates-3 cut fine

How to make?

Once all the cutting is done, just mix them well.  Add kamut puff just before serving.  

Add 3 Tbsp of Mango pulp if your taste bud demands (optional)

Note:  Kamut puff has a distinct taste.   You could use alternately kamut cereal which some health stores sell.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Rainbow Raita with Avocado

Avocado is a bland fruit but very healthy.  Many people wonder how to use it on day to day basis.  I buy them regularly and use it mainly on chutneys,smoothies and Raita.   We also like guacamole.    I tried recently in boiled peanut salad and it was very good.   I called this one as Rainbow since it is very colorful.

What you need?

Avocado medium - 1
Carrot shredded-1/2 cup
Broccoli cut finely or shredded-1/3 cup
Green capsicum cut fine - 1/4 cup
Red capsicum cut fine- 1/4 cup
cucumber - 1
coriander greens - 2 Tbsp
Gr chillies
Ginger-1 inch
Yogurt - 1.5-2 cups

How to make?

1. Mash avocado with a beater (you can choose to keep it chunky or smooth)

2. Grate or cut ginger and gr chillies

3.  Mix all the veggies, avocado, ginger and gr chillies in a bowl along with Yogurt

4. Do tadka - Heat 1 tsp oil in a small kadai, add mustard, let it splutter), add 1/4 tsp of cumin seeds and 1/8 tsp of asofoedita.

6.Add coriander greens and mix well.

This goes very well with any spicy main dish like pulao or even chappathis.

Variations:

Add crunchy roasted peanuts/pumpkin/sunflower seeds

Badam ka sheera (Almond pudding)

Happy New Year!

A healthy and quick dessert for any occasion.

We happened to taste this dish in a restaurant during our recent india visit.  We forgot to ask the chef for the recipe.    Both of us were kind of asking each other why we did not ask him. We googled  but could not find anything which would lead to that dish.    I kind of reverse engineered and came out with this recipe and it matched the original dish to a great extent.  

Jaggery is a healthier replacement to white sugar.

Here you go!

What you need?

Almond meal - 1 cup  (see notes)
Powdered Jaggery - 1/2 cup
Ghee - 1 Tbsp
Milk-1/4 cup (optional)

How to make?

1.  Pour 1/4 cup water in a sauce pan and add jaggery to it, boil in medium to low flame.  Place a laddle and watch for it to not overflow.  Once the jaggery melted completely, sieve it with a wire mesh (preferably steel since you don't to use plastic for hot liquids)

2.  In a wider sauce pan, add the jaggery liquid, stir in the powdered almond meal and let it cook in  low flame for 5 minutes, keep stirring once a minute

3.   Add ghee and mix well and stir for 2-3 minutes more.    It should come to a thick consistency more like halwa.   It will be sticky when it is hot.  Let it cool completely for the best taste.

I could not wait that longer to try!

Notes:

* You can cook the almond meal in milk and add more ghee for a richer version
* Almond meal can be easily made at home.  Pulse almonds in the food processor till they are powdered.  You will run with almond butter if you run it longer.
* Jaggery can be shredded at home