Monday, June 4, 2018

Simple Spring Salad



As it is getting warmer outside, the desire to eat food that is light, refreshing encourages. One does not wish to slave in front of a stove when it is hot outside ( well, I never slave in front of the stove anyways!) Quite often you are not even hungry! I tend to make and eat more salads during summer. This is also excellent for BBQs and picnics. It’s makes for a perfect lunch. The kids also like it. You can use any kind of dressing with this one. I like to use a basic vinaigrette. Sometimes I will use a raspberry vinaigrette. My husband likes to pair it with creamy dressing such as Ranch or poppy seed dressing. Either ways this is a salad that is simple and quick to make and something everyone can enjoy! I have made it 2 different ways: with fresh mozzarella cheese and watermelon and without! 

Servings: 5-6


Prep time: 15 minsCook time: 0Total time: 15-20 mins 


Ingredients: 


Romaine lettuce: 1/2 head 
Sweet peppers: 3-4 
Persian cucumbers: 2-3, sliced thin
Cherry/grape tomatoes: 8-10 sliced into halves

Dressing of your choice on the side.

Method: 


Wash, clean and chop the lettuce into bite sized pieces. Add this to a bowl. 

Slice the peppers thinly. Add to the bowl. 

Add the tomato halves and the cucumber slices. 

Serve the dressing on side. 

Once served into individual plates/bowls, just  before eating, add the desired amount of dressing. 

Mix and eat. 

Enjoy! 

Cooking made easy:


You can add sliced red or white onion, craisins, walnuts and or sunflower seeds if you wish. 

Tip for healthy living:

Use as less dressing as possible with your salad. Using a low fat dressing like a vinaigrette is much healthier than a high fat dressing like ranch or cesar.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Pineapple Chick’n with Sriracha





This recipe has been made using Gardein’s Teriyaki Chick’n Strips. They are vegan yet taste like meat. They are made from plant based ingredients that are kosher with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. The primary ingredient in the Chick’n strips is soy and ancient grain flour. I hope you had a chance to look at my post regarding vegan burgers from Gardein. You can check it out here. Yesterday I had the chance to try their Teriyaki Chick’n strips. I made Pineapple chicken with it. I spiced it with Sriracha of course! 



As you can see, my family likes spicy food so we always add a touch of Sriracha which gives it a nice kick.  Cooking the Chick’n strips hardly takes any time. The recipe for he pineapple Chick’n  is  on the back of the pack. But I will write it below for you. 



Serves: 4


Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 10 mins 


Ingredients: 

Gardein Teriyaki Chick'n Strips: 1 package 
Pineapple cubes: 1 cup
Sriracha sauce: 2 tsp 
Scallions, finely chopped: 1 tbsp
Cashewnut halves: 1 tbsp 

Method: 


Cook teriyaki chick'n strips as per package instructions until addition of the sauce. Don't add the sauce. Add the pineapple pieces and cook for 2 mins. 

Now add the sauce and cook for another minute. 

Add the Sriracha sauce. Mix well. 

Garnish with scallions and cashewnut pieces.

Serve with rice. 




Enjoy! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. This is a perfect meal for a weeknight dinner or a relaxed summer evening.

You can check out all the other Gardein products here

I am looking forward to trying the remainder of their products in the near future.


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Monday, May 14, 2018

Spicy Vegan Burgers with Sriracha; Meatless Monday

At the outset I would like to inform you that this post is sponsored by Gardein and is a review of their vegan products. 

I try to be equivocal about most things in life.. however, there are some things that I am passionate about. One of them is healthy eating. Therefore, I am a staunch proponent of the Meatless Monday Movement. If people make a start by going vegetarian atleast once a week, it will go a long way towards a healthy body and a healthy lifestyle. The issue for most people is that they have difficulty finding or preparing vegetarian food that is palatable to them to the same extent that meat is. Most vegan products that are used for substituting meat/chicken available in the market are dry, chalky, cardboard-like and tasteless, therefore not appealing to the masses. When I was approached by Gardein Brand via Meatless Monday to try their vegan products, I was curious and interested. I signed up for it and soon a nice cooler package arrived with the following items in it: 
  • Ultimate Beefless Burger
  • Black Bean Burger
  • Veggie Burger
  • Meatless Meatballs
  • Crispy Chick'n Patty
  • Barbecue Chick'n Wings
  • Mandarin Orange Chick'n
  • Seven Grain Crispy Tenders
  • Teriyaki Chick'n Strips
Gardein is committed to provide high quality vegan, plant based products that are kosher and do not contain any artificial flavor, color or preservatives in them. So far I have tried the Seven Grain Crispy Tenders, the Veggie burger, the Ultimate Beefless Burger and the Crispy Chick’n Patty. All of them are quick and easy to prepare items, making them perfect for a weeknight dinner. 



The first item I tried was the Seven Grain Crispy Tenders. It was so good that my kids ate it without realizing that it was not chicken. This is high praise indeed coming from my 6 and 9 year olds as both of them are very picky eaters who don’t really like to try anything they are not familiar with. They polished their plates off in no time! The crispy tenders are made with primarily from grains such as Kamut, khorasan wheat, amarnath, millet and quinoa. This takes these Tenders to a higher nutritional level and more bang for the buck. Check the other ingredients here.

Barbecue Chick'n wings were easy to make. I transformed them into hot wings by mixing a little bit of Sriracha into the sauce and basting the wings just before serving. It would make for a great appetizer or as a side for a BBQ. The taste was quite close to the boneless chicken wings. The primary ingredient used in these wings is the ancient grain flour, potato starch and other ingredients which you can check here

I have made these spicy burgers on three different occasions, all of them for weeknight dinner when I was rushing. I have used the Veggie Burger, The Beefless Burger and the Chick’n Patty. Each one of them had it’s own unique taste and was delicious in it’s own way. We were not disappointed by any of them. 



The first burger I tried was the Veggie Burger. I made it with Sriracha Vegan Mayo and it was truly delicious! The burger was light and tasty. This is one of the 4 gluten free products from Gardein. The burger patty is made from brown rice, roasted vegetables, rolled oats and some spices. 


The next one was the crispy chick'n patty which came out nice and crisp. I served it with ketchup for the kids and made a burger for us. It was really good with the Chick’n patty crispy with the texture similar to that of a chicken patty. The patty is made from ancient grain flour similar to the one used in Tenders. Check out all the ingredients here.


The third one was the Ultimate Beefless Burger which when cooked and made into a burger, had the appearance of a regular Burger. The patty was moist with a meat-like texture. I layered this one with spicy vegan mayo, onion, tomato, pickle and lettuce and served it with grilled asparagus. The end result was one of satisfaction. This is made from soy and ancient grain flour among other ingredients which you can find here


You can use any of these burger patties or any other made by Gardein and transform it into this delicious spicy vegan burger for your Memorial Day barbecue or any summer barbecue. If nothing you can make this for your weeknight dinner, sit on your porch/terrace and savor the summer evening. 



Servings: for one burger. Each packet of burger has 4 patties in them which can be used to make 4 burgers.

Ingredients:


Burger patty of your choice from Gardein: 1 
Burger bun of your choice: 1
Sliced onion ring: 1 slice of onion cut in a circle.
Tomato slice: 1
Lettuce: 1-2 slices the size of the burger bun. 
Pickle: 1, sliced 
Sriracha spiced Vegan mayo: 1 tbsp 

To make the spiced Vegan Mayo, mix together 1 tbsp Sriracha with 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise. 

Method:


Toast the burger bun lightly on a skillet. 

Spread 1 tsp spicy vegan mayo, place the lettuce, one slice of tomato, burger patty of your choice, onion ring, pickle if you wish. 

Top it with some more spicy vegan mayo.

You can always serve ketchup on the side or on top of the burger if you wish. 

Serve this to your guests. I will bet that most won’t notice the difference. 
Gardein products and definitely that good!! 



Enjoy! 



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Friday, May 11, 2018

Three Bean Salad.. and a Mother’s Day Giveaway!


What better occasion than Mother’s Day to share this very informative post with you all. As mothers we do everything for everyone else but us. We forget about our health, our well-being and “me” as an individual. In this day Cancer is ubiquitous. Every family has atleast one person who has been diagnosed with some form of cancer or the other. For us as women, breast cancer is most concerning. Breast cancer has become quite commonplace today. We can however fight it with good, healthy food and lifestyle. These are also the topics that Dr Kristi Funk addresses in her latest book “Breasts, an owner’s manual" which was released onto the bookshelves on May 1st , 2018. 

For those of you who are not familiar with Dr. Kristi Funk, she is a leading board-certified breast cancer surgeon and specialist in comprehensive wellness, including nutrition, fitness, and stress management. Best known as the breast surgeon for Angelina Jolie and Sheryl Crow, Dr. Funk has compiled her accessible and powerful strategies for reducing cancer risk and achieving optimal overall health into this much-anticipated book, Breasts: The Owner’s Manual

To get your own free copy by participating in the giveaway, all you have to do is enter your email Address. 



Dr. Funk embraces meat reduction for healthy living. She personally provided a selection of delicious Meatless Monday recipes exclusively for us bloggers to try. Today I am sharing with you another of her very healthy, quick and easy recipe which is right up my alley: a three-bean Salad! This is a salad that can be rustled up within minutes. It would make for a delicious weekday meal, perfect for potlucks, parties, picnics and barbecues!! Do try it. 




I have tried not to alter anything and I am presenting Dr. Funk’s recipe verbatim.

Three beans walk into a Salad..

Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 can black beans (rinsed well)
1 can kidney beans (rinsed well)
1 can chickpeas (rinsed well, save chickpea liquid)
1 avocado cut into half inch cubes
2 Persian cucumbers chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup tomatoes (chopped)
1 tsp fresh oregano (preferred) or 1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 to 3 T of red wine vinegar
1-2 T chickpea liquid
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine beans, veggies and avocado and toss gently. Add oregano, then toss, add chickpea liquid, then red wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

Tip: Chill the beans before making this if you are planning to eat it right away. Or you can make it (minus the avocado), chill for an hour, then add the avocado right before serving.

I am bringing this salad to all my friends at Angie's Fiesta Friday #223. Her cohost this week is the amazing Mollie @ The Frugal Hausfrau.



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Monday, May 7, 2018

South of the Border Burrito; Meatless Monday vegan recipe and a giveaway!!




My family is a connoisseur of vegetarian food. Fish and chicken is cooked only occasionally. I love fish and cannot resist grilled chicken. However, my husband and kids prefer vegetarian food over non-vegetarian. Needless to say, I therefore end up cooking more vegetarian dishes than non-vegetarian. Truth be told, personally for me, cooking a vegetarian dish is much easier and quicker than non-vegetarian.



I am a huge supporter of the Meatless Monday Movement. I often feel that people in the West have this misconception that a meal is incomplete without some form of animal protein and that animal protein is essential for normal growth and development.  Indian cuisine proves that this is a myth. Many Indians are vegetarian and lead a healthy, whole and successful life. 

Coming back to the recipe on hand.. when Taylor from Meatless Monday told me about an opportunity to work with Kristi Funk by trying one of her healthy recipes that support her  latest book filled with tons of information regarding breast cancer, how to prevent it with a healthy lifestyle, I was all for it! I am always on the quest for cooking in a healthier manner. I grew up in a family where 1 liter of oil would last the entire month. This recipe of Kristi’s uses no oil at all! I had to try that. I have to tell you, it came out delicious!! 




For those of you who are not familiar with Dr. Kristi Funk, she is a leading board-certified breast cancer surgeon and specialist in comprehensive wellness, including nutrition, fitness, and stress management. Best known as the breast surgeon for Angelina Jolie and Sheryl Crow, Dr. Funk has compiled her accessible and powerful strategies for reducing cancer risk and achieving optimal overall health into a much-anticipated book, Breasts: The Owner’s Manual, which came on shelves May 1, 2018.



Dr. Funk embraces meat reduction for healthy living. She personally provided a selection of delicious Meatless Monday recipes exclusively for us to try. One of them was the South of the Border Burrito. I tried it and everyone at home loved it! It was quick and easy. I would have never imagined that cooking without oil would taste so good! I made some minor changes to it due to lack of some ingredients. I didn’t have cilantro or avocado and therefore skipped it. I used chopped lettuce instead. Instead of Braggs amino acids I used tamari sauce. I have described the recipe verbatim as provided by her.

If you would like a copy of Dr Funk’s book, sign up with your email to participate in the give away! 




Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

1 package (8 oz.) organic firm or extra firm, well drained tofu (prep technique below)
1 onion
1 large green pepper
1 large red pepper
2 handfuls chopped spinach
2 tomatoes
1 tsp turmeric
2 T Bragg Amino acids (or tamari)
Veggie broth to broth sauté
Salsa
1 Avocado
Cilantro to taste
Whole grain tortillas

Directions:

Heat pan with a tiny bit of broth just covering the bottom of the pan. Once the broth is simmering, add the chopped onions, tomatoes and peppers. Sauté until they start to get soft (about 6-8 minutes). Keep adding broth by the tablespoon when pan is gets too dry.

Crumble tofu (I use my hands), add turmeric and Bragg Amino acids and sauté until everything is starting to brown just a bit.

Add spinach, turn OFF heat, and toss for a minute or so.

Taste and decide if you want to add a little more Bragg’s.

Heat tortilla until soft and fill with mixture. Add salsa, cilantro and avocado and wrap into a burrito.

Tip: Draining tofu completely is important. Cut the tofu block in half and press in clean kitchen towels, then wrap in a dry towel and place under a heavy pan (or a stack of books!). Leave for at least 20 minutes and change out towels if they get too saturated. Better yet, buy a tofu press... such a great gadget to have!

I am bringing this salad to all my friends at Angie's Fiesta Friday #223. Her cohost this week is the amazing Mollie @ The Frugal Hausfrau.


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Monday, January 1, 2018

Carrot Halwa/ Gaajar ka Halwa; quick and healthy version



Happy New Year to all of you. To start off the year on a sweet note, I rustled up together some carrot Halwa or gaajar ka Halwa as it is popularly known. This is akin to a pudding where in shredded carrot is cooked with milk or milk solids, sugar and clarified butter. This is a winter delicacy. I remember the last time which was basically my first time making carrot halwa. It was almost 25 years ago on New Year’s eve, where I spent half the night cooking the carrots, waiting for it to reduce. You guys know that I am not a person for long drawn process. I never ventured to make it again until now. This time I used a quick technique which was basically a trial and error which worked out well. I bought shredded carrots which I pressure cooked with condensed milk which I then cooked on stovetop for a few minutes and reduced the liquid. Add in some raisins , nuts and clarified butter and Viola! Gaajar ka Halwa is ready!



You must try this technique to see the ease of making it. You will never use any other methods.


Servings: 3-4


Prep time: 5 minutesCook time: 45 minutesTotal time: 50-60 minutes


Ingredients:


Shredded carrots: 4 cups
Condensed milk: 1 can
Clarified butter/ghee: 2 tbsp 
Cardamom powder: 1/8 tsp
Raisins: 2 tbsp
Nuts: 2 tbsp, chopped. ( I used slivered almonds)

Method:


In a pot take the shredded carrots and condensed milk. Cook this in a pressure cooker. It takes about 15-20 minutes. Turn off the pressure cooker. Open only after the steam is completely released.

Now cook on medium high on stove top, stirring intermittently until the liquid is almost gone. Reduce flame to low. 

When the carrots are cooking, lightly toast the raisins and nuts in 1 tsp clarified butter. Add this to the above pot with the remaining clarified butter. Mix well. Add the cardamom powder. Stir. Turn off the flame. 

Garnish with pieces of nuts. 

Stays fresh for upto 1 week in the refrigerator.

Serve warm as is or with ice cream!

Enjoy!

Cooking made easy:


Regular milk/evaporated milk or heavy cream can also be used. You can also pressure cook using water and then add milk solids such as mava.

Tip for healthy living:


Desserts are best eaten in small quantities just enough to satisfy your sweet tooth and prevent you from craving it.

Food for thought:


We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, to have the life that is waiting for us. E.M. Foster



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