Monday, August 22, 2016

Cilantro Lime Rice; Meatless Monday





Have you ever eaten at the Chipotle  Mexican Grill?? Do enjoy the burrito or the burrito bowl? If yes, then have you ever wondered why their rice tastes so good??? Well, because it is cilantro-lime rice! I have tried to recreate it at home and I must say, that I have been successfull! Well, before going into the details of that recipe, let me tell you that Chipotle is one of the few fast food chains that I eat at.. May be once a year?? I cannot remember when I last ate there. You see, my husband and I we don't eat out much. We like everything fresh and cooked at home. But sometimes, when you are away or busy running errands, you have to kind of eat out. I don't eat pizza and sandwiches as I avoid gluten. Chipotle has gluten free options and is relatively fresh?? That's why it is one of the few place that I eat.



Coming back to the Cilantro Lime rice, it is pretty easy to make at home and requires very few ingredients: rice, cilantro, lime, salt, black pepper and olive oil. They might have put Adobo seasoning, but I have kept it to the basics! This recipe works well with both freshly cooked rice and leftover rice, which makes it perfect for weeknight dinners or for those times, when you want to put together a meal in a jiffy! I have shared the recipe for rice that is already cooked and ready. Please follow your method of choice for cooking the rice. If the rice that you are using is leftover rice, please warm it up before following this recipe.



Servings: 2


Prep time: 2 mins 

Cook time: none 

Total time: 3mins


Ingredients:


Cooked rice: 4 cups
Olive oil: 1 tbsp
Lime juice: from one small lime
Salt: to taste
Black pepper: 1/8 tsp
Garlic powder: 1/8 tsp ( optional)

Method:


Add 4 cups of warm/ hot rice to a bowl.

Now add all the other ingredients and toss until the rice is thoroughly mixed with the other ingredients. Be gentle while mixing so that the rice does not become mushy!



Serve hot with a side of your choice.



Enjoy!

Cooking made easy:


While cooking Basmati rice, to ensure long grains, soak the rice for 30 mins after thoroughly washing it. Then drain it and keep it aside for 30 mins. The soaking lengthens the grains and the draining and drying helps it prevent from breaking upon cooking.

Follow the instructions on the package while cooking rice as every crop of rice  is different.

Tip for healthy living:


While choosing rice, choose those with a higher glycemic index and those that have not been processed too much. Parboiled rice is better than raw rice. Matta rice & brown rice are less processed than their other counterparts and therefore have a higher fiber content, lower glycemic index and less calories.



Food for thought:

Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth. Arthur Conan Doyle



Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!


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Friday, August 19, 2016

Strawberry Falooda; made healthy



Yesterday was the auspicious festival of Rakshabandhan. Rakshabandhan is an Indian festival where every sister ties a decorative thread bracelet on her brother's wrist and asks for his protection. You can read more about Rakshabandhan here.


It is extremely hot here and to combat that and celebrate the special occasion, I made Falooda!




Both my kids love strawberries, so I made strawberry Falooda. It is a classic Indian Icecream drink , which almost everyone loves! It is quite filling due to the numerous ingredients present in it and quite versatile due to the fact that you can add whatever you have on hand. I have made it healthier by adding lots of fruits, chia and basil seeds. Check out the recipe below:




Servings: 6 tall ( 10 oz) glasses



Prep time: 20 minsCooling time: 3-4 hoursTotal time: 3.5-4 hours



Ingredients:


Milk: 1 liter ( 1000ml)
Vermicelli: 1/4 cup
Sugar: 1/4 cup
Corn starch: 1/2 tsp
Sabja/basil seeds: 1 tbsp
Chia seeds: 1 tbsp
Hershey's Strawberry syrup: 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp for garnishing
Cashew halves: 1 tbsp
Walnut pieces: 1 tbsp
Banana, peeled and chopped: 4-6 ( one per glass)
Strawberries: 12, washed and chopped ( 2 per glass)
Cherries: 6 ( one per glass for topping)
Strawberry Icecream: 6 scoops ( one scoop per glass).

Method:


Warm the milk on the stove. 


Once warm, take one glass milk aside. Mix in strawberry syrup to half of that milk . Add it to the pot.

In a separate cup, dissolve the corn starch in the other half of the milk. 

Add this to the pot with vermicelli,  sugar & cashew pieces and boil it for 10-15 mins until the milk thickens slightly and the vermicelli is cooked.

Once slightly thick, turn off the flame. 


Add in the chia seeds. Stir well and keep it aside to cool down.

Once cooled, place it in the refrigerator atleast 3-4 hours to get cold. Then use as needed. It stays fresh for 3-4 days, so can be made ahead in case you are having a party.

To serve:

Take a tall glass. Add 1 chopped banana & 2 chopped strawberries.
Now pour the milk mixture until 3/4 full. 

Now add in a scoop of Icecream. 
Top it with walnut pieces, drizzle strawberry syrup and place a cherry on top.




Serve immediately!

Enjoy!!


I am sharing this delicious dessert with my friends at Throwback Thursday #51, Fiesta Friday #133 and Saucy Saturday#57


Cooking made easy:


The fruits in this can be varied to your choice. You can also use orange segments, pineapple and grape pieces. You can use any flavor to make the milk base. You can top it with nuts of your choice or skip it totally!  You can top it with whipped cream too!! The permutations and combinations are endless!!

Tip for healthy living:


The treat above is mainly for children. Adults can eat too.. You can make it low calorie by using low fat milk or make it more protein-rich by using almond or soy milk. You can use a skinny tall glass and fill it with fruits and nuts and very little of the liquid base and a small scoop of ice cream! It is totally upto you!

Food for thought:


The difficulty in life is the choice. George A. Moore



Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!



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Monday, August 15, 2016

Zucchini Bread; gluten free; Meatless Monday



When my dear blogger friend Sarika called for a collective on breads, I didn't think I could participate! Firstly, I avoid breads, secondly, the only "bread" bread that I have baked is the gluten-free sandwich bread. Thirdly, even if I were to think of making one for my family, I don't have a stand mixer, which means I will have to knead using my hands. This would result in pain in my hands! You guys must have noticed already that I don't make anything that requires lot of kneading, stirring, so on and so forth!  Well, you guys get the idea..



Sarika then told me that any kind of bread would do! That perked my ears! I am all for cake-like breads that could be had for breakfast and the kids could enjoy. I make banana-nut bread, cranberry-pecan bread all the time! I have been meaning to try zucchini bread for a while now and even had this recipe saved from one of the posts at Angie's Fiesta Friday! Finally, I decided to try my hand at it . I decided to make a gluten-free version. I had brought this gluten-free flour mix from Costco a while ago and it has been sitting there. I worry that it will go bad. So, I decided to use it. The zucchini bread came out moist and delicious! It is very easy to make. I have modified the original recipe, which you can find here.



Servings: makes one loaf


Prep time: 20- 30 minsCook time: 50-60 minsTotal time: 80-90 mins



Ingredients:


Gluten free  flour mix : 2 cups, I used Namaste Foods Gluten Free Perfect flour blend. ( you can use wheat/ all purpose flour, if you don't want it gluten free)
Baking soda: 1 tsp
Salt:1/4 tsp
Ground cinnamon: ½ tsp
Ground nutmeg: ¼ tsp
Vanilla extract:1 tsp
Butter:1/2 cup
Brown sugar:  1 cup
Eggs: 2
Zucchini : 1 large, grated , around 4 cups
Walnuts:½ cup,chopped(optional)


Method:


Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and keep aside.

In a bowl, beat together the butter, sugar until creamy. 


Add the eggs, beating until smooth.

Now add baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg  and vanilla essence.

Squeeze the grated zucchini to get rid of as much water as possible. Add this to the bowl.

Add the flour and nuts ( optional) mixing gently. Do not overmix.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan .



Place it in the middle rack of the oven.

Bake the bread for 45-50 minutes at 350 deg F.  Lay a piece of foil gently across the top and bake until a cake tester (like a toothpick) inserted into the center comes out clean, 5 mins at a time. I needed additional 15 mins.


Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes before turning it out of the pan onto a rack to cool completely.



Slice as desired.



Serve warm with butter ( optional).


To store: keep the slices in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

May be warmed slightly before serving.

Enjoy!

I am sharing this delicious breakfast with my friends at Throwback Thursday #51, Fiesta Friday #133 and Saucy Saturday#57

Cooking made easy:


You can use a combination of zucchini and overripe mashed bananas or zucchini and apple sauce.
To make it vegetarian substitute one egg each with 1 tbsp Flaxmeal mixed in 3 tbsp water.

Tip for healthy living:

Breakfast is the most vital meal of the day. Do not skip breakfast. Try to eat something that you like, even if it is a small quantity.

Food for thought:


There is a kind of beauty in imperfection. Conrad Hall





Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!

Banana Split, dairy free; Independance Day Special




It is rightly said that you can take an Indian out of India but you can never take India out of an Indian! Today marks 70th Anniversary of the  Indian Independence Day!  To mark this occasion, I decided to make something tricolor: orange, white and green ; the colors of the Indian Flag. 




Happy Independence Day to all Indians!





The past week has been super-hot here in New York. I wanted to make something to help cool down. I have been meaning to make this sorbet for the longest.. I decided to make it but in tricolor! I used cantaloupe for  orange, banana for white ( which well, turned brownish!) and honeydew for green. These fruit sorbets are super-simple & easy to make! Simply cut the fruits, freeze them, blend them, freeze them again and then serve!! It is dairy free, therefore those who are lactose intolerant can also enjoy it!





Let us know check out the recipe in detail:

Prep time: 30 minsCook time/freeze time: 7 hours


Servings: 4-6


Ingredients:


Cantaloupe :1/4 medium sized
Honeydew: 1/4 medium sized
Bananas: 4 ripe
Lemon juice:  2 tbsp
Honey: 4 tbsp ( can be adjusted as per individual taste.) If you have no honey, you can use regular sugar.
Water: 1 cup
Almond milk: 1/2 cup ( can use regular milk if not allergic and don't have almond milk).
Vanilla essence: 1/2 tsp
Banana: ripe, but firm 1 per person.
Chocolate syrup: to drizzle
Walnut pieces: 1 tbsp, for garnish ( optional)

Method:


Wash, peel and cut the fruits into bite size pieces. Lay them on a baking tray and freeze them for 4-5 hours.

Take the cantaloupe out. Add it to a blender with  2 tbsp honey , 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1/2 cup water. Blend it. Put it in a container. Cover it with  cling-wrap  and freeze it for 1-2 hours.

Repeat the same with the honeydew.

Next, take the frozen bananas, add them to the blender with 1/2 cup almond milk and 1/2 tsp vanilla essence and blend. Pour it into a loaf pan or plastic tub-like container. Cover with cling-wrap and freeze it for 1-2 hours.

To assemble the banana split:

Slit one single banana lengthwise. Arrange it on a serving plate/ bowl.
Using a ice cream scoop, scoop one scoop each of cantaloupe, banana and honeydew sorbet, in that order. Arrange it on the serving plate/bowl as shown in the picture.


Drizzle the bananas with chocolate syrup. Sprinkle with chopped nuts.

Serve immediately!

Enjoy!

I am sharing the skinny, healthy, dairy-free Banana Split with my friends at Throwback Thursday #50, Fiesta Friday #132 and Saucy Saturday#57! Angie's co-hosts this week are Sandhya @ Indfused and Nancy @ Feasting With Friends

Cooking made easy:


While freezing ice cream, the use of cling-wrap, helps prevents the formation of ice crystals.

To scoop ice cream cleanly and in a perfect circle, dip your ice cream scoop in warm water before use and in between scoops.


Tip for healthy living:


To help reduce the use of sugar in your diet, you can substitute it with natural sweeteners like honey or natural sugars like palm sugar, coconut sugar or jaggery.

Food for thought:


Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become words, your words become actions, your actions become habits, your habits become values, your values become your destiny. Mahatma Gandhi


Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Sandwiches for your kid's lunchbox



When Sonal announced her lunchbox collective, I could only think of what I go through with my kids. I have a 7-year old and a 4-year old who are picky eaters and therefore lunch is a big issue. While there are several things that could be sent to kids, when it comes to my children these are the issues I face:
1. They are picky
2. They don't eat messy food by themselves.
3. They don't want food that has sauce/ gravy as it may spill.
4. The food has to be in good condition by lunchtime.

I am might have forgotten a few more issues..😉

Anyways, the solution for most of these problems is SANDWICH!! Yes, sandwiches .. The possibilities are endless.. Most people / kids like sandwiches unless you are someone like me, who actually doesn't like them!😌 Don't get me wrong, I will eat them in a pinch, but for be most part I avoid them. Enough about me, coming back to lunch.. Sandwiches work for my kids and my husband too for his lunch!






Like I said earlier, there are endless possibilities for sandwiches! I am going to share with you some of them and ways to make sandwiches appealing to kids. Children don't like CRUST!! That is a big turn-off to them. If you are someone like me who thinks that throwing the crust is wasting food, then you better reconcile with it. Save the crust to make bread crumbs/ croutons or feed it to the birds/ducks.




So once you have taken off the crust, try to make it appealing by cutting the sandwich into different shapes. I use shape cutters to do them. They are inexpensive and easily available. If you don't have them, just use a regular knife to shape the sandwiches. Much as kids like hearts and trains, they also like little triangles and squares and circles. For little kids, keep the sandwiches simple. I like to make my kids' meals as balanced as possible, so I use whole grain or wheat bread, some protein in the sandwich and fruit on the side. The protein could be nut butter like Nutella, almond butter, peanut butter  or cheese. You could pair the nut butter with sliced apple or banana. You could pair the cream cheese with sliced cucumbers tomatoes or just plain. You could also make an olive oil and tomato sandwich .  For the slightly older kids you could use a layer of coriander-mint chutney with tahini or hummus.





Now let us look at some of the very basic options!

Servings : makes one sandwich of each kind



Ingredients:


Whole grain wheat/ white bread slices: 2 slices -per sandwich

For butter and jelly sandwich:

Butter/ nut butter: 1 tablespoon per sandwich. ( can adjust as per individual preferance)
Fruit preserve/jam: 1 tbsp

For the cucumber/ tomato sandwich:

Cream cheese: 1 tablespoon per sandwich. ( can adjust as per individual preferance)
Butter: 1 tsp
Cucumber slices: 3-4, depending on the size of the cucumber.
Tomato slices: 2-4, depending on the size of the tomato.
Coriander/mint chutney: 1 tbsp

Method:


For butter and jelly sandwich:

Apply butter/nut butter on one bread slice. 


Apply fruit preserve on the other slice.


Place it on top of each other. 


Place the desired shape sandwich cutter on the bread and cut into desired shape. I used a train-shaped cutter and a heart-shaped cutter. 





Pack it in your child's favorite lunch-box.






For the cucumber/tomato sandwich:

Using a serrated knife cut off the crust from the bread slices.


Apply butter on one bread slice. 


Apply coriander-mint chutney on top of the butter. 


Place the cucumber and tomato slice on each other in layers . 


Drizzle with some more coriander-mint chutney.


Apply cream cheese to the other slice. Place on top.

Slice it into two rectangles in the middle and then each rectangle into tow triangles.




You can use toothpicks to secure the sandwich.

Pack in lunch boxes with a side of desired fruit, cut into bite size pieces!


I am  bringing these lunchbox ideas to Throwback Thursday #50, Fiesta Friday #132 and Saucy Saturday#57! Angie's co-hosts this week are Sandhya @ Indfused and Nancy @ Feasting With Friends

Cooking made easy:


The above sandwiches can be altered in many different ways depending on what you have on hand.
You could make only cheese sandwich, or stack with more veggies like sweet bell peppers, grilled tofu or paneer. You could also add ketchup or serve it on the side. Use your imagination!

Tip for healthy living:


It is recommended that every meal be a balanced meal to meet the daily requirements of nutrients. The best way to attain this is by making your meals colorful.  You can read more in the references below.

References:

https://www.choosemyplate.gov/MyPlate
https://www.choosemyplate.gov/fruit

http://www.dartmouth.edu/wellness/docs/fruitvegservingsizes.pdf


Food for thought:


It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. Frederick Douglass



Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Ambe Upkari ( Ripe mangoes in a hot & sweet sauce)



While mango season is over in India, here in the United States, we still get fresh mangoes. I love mangoes! When I was little, we used to pluck mangoes from the trees in our yard and eat them. We had atleast 7 varieties. We still have mango trees. I miss them..





Ambe upkari is a traditional konkani dish. It is usually made using ripe mangoes that are sour and cannot be eaten as is! Hence, it is cooked in a hot and sweet sauce. The net result is an explosion of sweet, sour and hot flavors in your mouth, causing it to be an unique and satisfying experience.






This is a very easy dish to make and is usually made for a festive occasion.  The month of Shraavan, hails the beginning of festivals in India. Shraavan is considered the holy month in India and many people observe fasting of varying degrees throughout the month. Today is Varamahalkashmi Vrata, where in prayers are held in the honor of Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, seeking prosperity.


Let us now check out the recipe.

Servings: 6



Prep time: 10 minsCook time: 20 minsTotal time: 30 mins



Ingredients:


Ripe, sour mangoes: 6, medium-sized
Water: 6 cups + 1 cup
Jaggery: 1 cup ( can use brown sugar/palm sugar/date sugar)
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Green chillies: 4, slit ( number of green chillies can be adjusted as per individual desired spice level)
Flour: 1 tbsp

For tempering:
Coconut oil: 1 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Dried Red chillies: 2 nos, broken into 2 pieces

Method:

Wash the mangoes thoroughly. Peel each mango using your hands and not the peeler. Put the mango seed with pulp intact into a pot.

Put the peels in another pot. Add 6 cups water to the pot with the peel. Using your fingers, remove any remaining pulp from the peel. Now strain the peel and the water to the pot with the seed and pulp. Discard the peel now.

Add salt, jaggery, slit green chillies and boil it on medium high flame for 10-15 mins.




While the mixture is boiling, mix 1 tbsp flour in 1 cup water until homogeneous. Add this to the boiling mixture. Reduce the flame to low and cook it for another 5-7 minutes, stirring intermittently, until the sauce has thickened. Be careful not to let it burn.

If the sauce is too less, you can add a  little more water. It thickens upon cooling.

Turn off the flame.

In a small frying pan or tadka pan, heat coconut oil and mustard seeds on medium flame. Once all the mustard seeds splutter, add curry leaves and broken red chillies. Immediately turn off the flame.

Add this tempering to the pot.



Serve hot!



Enjoy! 
I am  bringing this to Throwback Thursday #50, Fiesta Friday #132 and Saucy Saturday#57! Angie's co-hosts this week are 
Sandhya @ Indfused and Nancy @ Feasting With Friends

Cooking made easy:


If taking the pulp off the peels is too much of a chore for you, here is an easy way to do it: just add it to the blender with water and pulse it . Now strain the mixture, adding the water to the pot and discarding the peels!

Tip for healthy living:


It is essential to find ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into our children's and our own diet. Fruits and vegetables not only provide us with the essential minerals and vitamins, it also provides the necessary dietary fiber to cultivate healthy bathroom habits.

References:

https://www.choosemyplate.gov/fruit
http://www.thekitchn.com/10-photos-that-show-you-your-daily-recommended-servings-of-fruits-vegetables-207261
https://www.choosemyplate.gov/vegetables

Food for thought:


Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul. Henry Ward Beecher




Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!