Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Lunch-Box Ideas: Colorful Dosas ( vegan pancakes & crepes); Blog Anniversary Special!



Today marks two years of blogging for me via Su's Healthy Living. I am not going to go on about how far I have come or how much I have learnt in the process. Yes, all that is true. The only thing I would like to do on this occasion is  acknowledge Team DFT, especially Sonal and Shailja for their support and constant encouragement, for being there for me day or night, just a "ping" away, for sharing my ups and downs both from the "real" and " virtual" worlds no matter what time of the day or night!!  I also want to acknowledge all my followers, here, on Facebook, on Twitter and  on Pinterest. Thank you for your support, guys! Without you, Su's Healthy Living wouldn't be what it is today. If I have touched one person's life, then the purpose of Su's Healthy Living has been served.



I am not bringing you any cakes or desserts to celebrate this occasion. Instead, I am bringing you " Lunchbox Ideas" so that you can feed your children ( and may be even yourselves) a little better! Several of my readers have requested for lunchbox ideas. So, this year onward, you shall see more of those! Stay tuned.



As mothers we always worry if our kids eat enough. We worry if they are eating the right food. We worry if we are feeding them the right food. We especially worry about what they do or do not eat for lunch while in school. It hurts when our kids don't eat what we pack in their lunch boxes , and bring it back home untouched! It  hurts when our kids don't eat the meals that we serve them and would rather eat cookies and chips. As mothers we strive to be creative and put together meals that are appealing to our kids while at the same time is healthy too.



India celebrated  it's Republic Day on January 26th, 2016. To celebrate this occasion, I decided to make Tricolor Dosas ( pancakes & crepes). Interestingly, my kids helped me make them and also relished them for breakfast and in their lunch-box for school. I was so thrilled that my picky daughter emptied her lunch box and that my son who hates spinach, asked for seconds of the spinach crepes and ate 4 of the them!!



A small clarification here: where I come from in India, all pancakes and crepes are known as "Dosas". The thin ones are like crepes and the thick ones are like pancakes. In India, these are automatically vegan, unless ghee ( clarified butter) has been used to grease the skillet or if the batter has yogurt in it ( in which case, it is specifically mentioned).

Coming back to the dosas, basically I took small amounts of the regular dosa batter ( for which you can find the recipe here), and mixed them with puréed carrots and puréed spinach to get the orange and green dosas, respectively. The batter and purée was used in the ratio of 2:1 but this could be altered as per individual preference. You can use any kind of coconut chutney or cilantro dip to go with it. I used peanut chutney, to increase the protein value of the meal. My kids ate it with honey. You could serve it with jaggery syrup or any pancake syrup too. I am bringing this to Throwback Thursday # 23, Fiesta Friday # 104 and Saucy Saturdays. Angie's co-hosts this week are Mila @ milkandbun and Hilda @ Along The Grapevine.

Servings : makes around 6 dosas.


For recipe for dosa batter click here and here.


Orange (Carrot) dosa:


Ingredients:


Dosa batter: 2 cups
Carrots :2 medium: peeled and chopped.
Water: 1/4 cup
Salt: a pinch
Oil: for greasing the skillet.

Method:


Boil the chopped carrots  in 1/4 cup water until tender. Cool it completely. 

Purée it by using a hand blender or a regular blender.

Now mix it with 2 cups dosa batter.

Add salt if needed.

Heat the griddle/skillet on medium heat. 

Grease the skillet with 1/2 tsp oil. 

Add one ladleful of batter and add it to the skillet. Move the  batter in a clockwise motion to spread the batter. Do not make it thin. 

Cover and cook on low flame for 3-4 mins.

Serve hot with a chutney of your choice.

If packing for lunch, let it cool down completely and then pack .

Green ( spinach) dosa:


Ingredients:


Dosa batter: 2 cups
Chopped spinach: 1 cup ( I used frozen chopped spinach)
Water: 1/4 cup
Salt: a pinch
Oil: for greasing the skillet.

Method:


Boil the chopped spinach  in 1/4 cup water for 5-6 minutes. Cool it completely. 

Purée it by using a hand blender or a regular blender.

Now mix it with 2 cups dosa batter.

Add salt if needed.

Heat the griddle/skillet on medium heat. Grease the skillet with 1/2 tsp oil. 

Add one ladleful of batter and add it to the skillet. Move the  batter in a clockwise motion to spread the batter. Do not make it too thin. 

Cook on low flame for 3-4 mins. Flip and cook for a minute on the other side.

Serve hot with a chutney of your choice.



If packing for lunch, let it cool down completely and then pack .

I hope your children enjoy this recipe as much as mine did!!

For more lunchbox ideas, just type the keyword "lunch box ideas" in the search box of the site and they will all populate!

Cooking made easy:


You can get creative and use beetroot purée and make red dosas.
You can also make colorful idlis, colorful rice pulao using different colored vegetable purée.

Tip for healthy living:


Try to incorporate as many fruits and vegetables into your children's diet.Inculcate healthy habits .It is recommended to follow the 5210 rule Everyday:
5 or more fruits and vegetables
2 hours or less recreational screen time
1 hour or more of physical activity.
0 sugary drinks, more water and low fat milk.

It is also suggested to keep the television out of the bedroom and NO screen time to children under 2 years of age.
  
They may not like it now, but they will thank you later, just the way we did to our parents.

References: 

http://www.letsgo.org/
http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/dietaryguidelines/
http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

Food for thoughts:


What we sow, we shall reap. Unknown


Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Vegetarian Buffalo "Wings" ( can be vegan); Meatless Monday.



Super Bowl is in two weeks with the Denver Broncos facing the Carolina Panthers. This also means that there will be lot of Super Bowl parties! Usually at these parties there is tons of junk food laid out, the most popular being chicken wings!!! All kinds of chicken wings! But not everyone eats chicken wings. Many people are vegetarian for various reasons. Some for religious reasons while others  in pursuit of better health. Regardless, being vegetarian does not mean that they do not enjoy food. Therefore, it is important that there are vegetarian options at all gatherings, parties. Today, I am sharing with you the recipe for the vegetarian version of Buffalo Wings. Yes, you heard right, Buffalo Wings. I guarantee you that once you try this, you will make it again and again. The original recipe is from PETA! Even I didn't know that they had recipes too. I improvised on the recipe that I saw here.  Cauliflower is used to make these "wings".





The improvisations I made were with the goal of reducing calories. Did you know that a lot of butter is used in chicken wings?? The milder the buffalo wings, the higher it is in calories! This is primarily because they use butter to lessen the impact of the hot sauce. The recipe I followed, instructed to toss the wings in the sauce. Instead, I chose to brush them with sauce. This significantly lowered the calories. I also reduced the calories in the blue-cheese dressing by mixing it with Greek yogurt. It was delicious!



I also didn't have garlic powder alone, so mixed adobo seasoning in the mix.
This is a very easy recipe to make and does not take long, 30-40 minutes at the most!



I brought the vegetarian wings to my neighbor and to my colleagues at work. Everyone loved it! I was thrilled.



Servings: 6-8


Ingredients:


Cauliflower: 1 small head
Flour: 3/4 cup
Garlic powder: 1 tsp ( I used Adobo seasoning instead).
Buttermilk: 1 cup
( for vegans, use same amount of soy/almond milk ).

For the sauce:

Hot sauce: 1/2 cup
Butter: 1/2 cup ( alternatives like margarine, Country Crock or olive oil may be used for vegan options)
Salt: 1/8 tsp ( skip if you used Adobo seasoning with the flour)
White Vinegar: 1/2 tsp

To serve:

Blue-Cheese dressing: 1/2 cup ( use vegan cheese if vegan).
Greek yogurt: 1/2 cup ( use vegan yogurt like SILK,  for vegan option)
Celery sticks : 4-5 celery stalks, cut into 5 inch pieces.

Method:


Preheat the oven to 450 deg F.

Cut the  cauliflower head into bite-size pieces. Wash, drain completely and keep aside.



Mix together the flour, buttermilk, garlic powder and keep aside.



Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and keep ready.

Dip each cauliflower piece in the flour-buttermilk mixture and place it up on the baking sheet. Do this with all the available cauliflower.


Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and bake at 450 deg F for 20 mins.



While the cauliflower is baking,  prepare the sauce and dip.

To prepare the sauce:

Mix together the hot sauce, butter( or margarine or oil), vinegar and salt and bring it to a gentle boil.



For the dip:

Mix equal proportions of Greek yogurt and blue cheese. Keep aside.

Putting the wings together:

Once the cauliflower pieces are baked, take them out, brush them thoroughly with the "Buffalo sauce". Place the wings in the oven for 8-10 minutes.

Brush them again with Buffalo sauce of needed.



Serve them hot with blue cheese dip and celery.

I am bringing this to Throwback Thursday # 23, Fiesta Friday # 104 and Saucy Saturdays. Angie's co-hosts this week are Mila @ milkandbun and Hilda @ Along The Grapevine.

Cooking made easy:


Use warm water with a pinch of salt to soak the cauliflower pieces for a few minutes. Drain it completely and pat the pieces dry with a paper towel before dipping it in the flour.

Tip for healthy living:


Cruciferous vegetables are known or their health benefits. Cauliflower is one of them that contains a plethora of nutrients that includes vitamins, minerals, antioxidants  and phytochemicals. Some of the major health benefits of cauliflower include it's anti-inflammatory properties, detoxification of the body, boosting brain health due to the presence of choline, boosting of heart health due to the presence of sulforaphane and most importantly, cancer-fighting properties.  So, eat more of the cauliflower! 

References:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/22/cauliflower-health-benefits.aspx
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=13
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/282844.php
http://www.webmd.com/diet/cauliflower-health-boost



Food for thought:


Men stumble over pebbles, never over mountains. Marilyn French


Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Coconut-Ginger Chutney/Dip





As food bloggers, we are always taking pictures of our food. There are many posts that we want to post, many that are drafts and then there are pictures that were taken but never got written about! This would have been one of them!! I have been meaning to write this post for a while now but never got around to it!



Until now!! A friend of mine contacted me on Whatsapp asking for the recipe of coconut-ginger chutney. Her asking me reminded me of the pictures I had. I decided to complete this post. It is also just in time for the Super Bowl! Why not make a switch from the calorie-laded dips to a much healthier, low-calorie dip?? It goes perfect with croquettes, sandwiches, fritters to name a few dishes.


Most South-Indian breakfasts are incomplete without the chutney/dip.The most common chutney is the coconut-ginger chutney. This is served  with most dosas and idlis. It is also served with vadas, samosas, bhajias, fritter,dhoklas, upma, so on and so forth. It is very easy to make. I am bringing this to Throwback Thursday#22, Fiesta Friday # 103 and Saucy Saturdays. Angie's Fiesta Friday is being co-hosted by two of the very talented blogger friends, Sonal @ simplyvegetarian777 and Petra @ Food Eat Love.

Servings: 3-4


Ingredients :


Freshly grated coconut: 1 cup
Green chillies: 1-2 medium-sized
Ginger: 1/2 inch piece
Dried tamarind: dime-sized piece
Salt: to taste
Water: 1/2 cup

For tempering:
Coconut oil: 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 small sprig

Method:


Grind together all the ingredients listed above except the one under "for tempering", in a food processor or blender, until smooth as a paste.

Take it in a bowl.



Tempering:

Heat 1/2 tsp coconut oil on medium heat. Add mustard seeds. 

Once the mustard seeds splutter, add the curry leaves. Turn off the flame . 

Add the tempering to the chutney. 

Serve with your choice of idli/dosa/ chapati, or even rice.



Cooking made easy:


Coconut-ginger chutney can be made in bulk and frozen for up-to 2 weeks. It stays fresh in the refrigerator up-to 4 days, after which the coconut turns rancid.

Frozen grated coconut can be used instead of freshly grated coconut. Just use warm water while grinding instead of cold water.

Tip for healthy living:


Coconut that was once believed to be the cause of increasing cholesterol, now has been believed to have several health benefits due to the presence of good fats in it.

Food for thought:


Faces that have charmed us the most escape us the soonest. Walter Scott


Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!



Monday, January 18, 2016

Muga Saaru Upkari ( Mung Bean Soup) ; Meatless Monday



Today is Dr. Martin Luther King's Birthday. He believed in looking beyond himself. He worked for the betterment of black people . I decided to do something altruistic today too and bring to you a warm, hearty, protien-rich gluten-free, vegan soup and some information to face the flu season.




Did you know that January is Soup Month?? Well, I didn't know either, until recently! It does make sense though: not only is it winter and cold, it also happens to be flu season! Kids go back to school after the Christmas holidays and come home sick!! Is it any surprise that we seek comfort foods like soup??



Where I come from, soup is also used as a side with rice. So you could mix the soup with the rice and eat. Well, it would then be rice-bean soup! ;) Just kidding!  The soup-like sides that we make are called Saaru- Upkari in konkani. If I were to literally translate it then the word " saaru" means gravy and " upkari" means " sauté". So it could technically translate into a sauté with gravy. In reality is a soup. We make saaru-upkari of almost all kinds of beans. The bean of choice is cooked with 4-5 times water until tender. It is then tempered with either garlic and red chillies or red chilli powder or mustard, curry leaves, asofoetida and red chillies or chilli powder. Believe me when I say that it is delicious and a true comfort food. It can be eaten with rice as a side or as is like a soup with some bread. This makes for a filling weeknight dinner; both to cook and to eat!




Servings: 2-3


Ingredients:


Dry Mung beans: 1 cup
Water: 4 cups to soak and 3 cuks to cook.
Salt: to taste

For tempering:

Coconut oil: 1/2 tsp ( any cooking oil may be used).
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Asofoetida powder: a pinch ( if using solution: 3-4 drops)
Red chilli powder: 1/4 tsp ( can be adjusted as per individual spice level).

Method:


Soak the dry mung beans in water for 4-5 hours or overnight. Drain the water, add fresh water ( 3 cups) and cook in the pressure cooker on medium flame until you hear 2-3 whistles. If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can cook it on the stove top on medium flame until the beans reaches the desired tenderness. The mung beans should be well-cooked but not over cooked. Open the pressure cooker only after all the pressure has been released. Add salt and mix well.

Tempering:

Heat coconut oil in a frying pan/skillet on medium heat.Add mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add curry leaves and asofoetida powder. Turn off the flame and add chilli powder.

Add this mixture to the pot with the cooked mung beans. Mix well.

Serve hot as a side with rice of your choice or serve in a bowl as a soup with some crackers!



Enjoy !

I am bringing this to Throwback Thursday#22, Fiesta Friday # 103 and Saucy Saturdays. Angie's Fiesta Friday is being co-hosted by two of the very talented blogger friends, Sonal @ simplyvegetarian777 and Petra @ Food Eat Love.


Cooking made easy:


I usually plan my meals the previous day and put the desired amount of dry beans in water either at night before I go to bed or early morning before I leave for work. But in case you forget or suddenly have an urge to make mung bean soup for dinner, just soak the mung beans in hot water for an hour , keeping the pot closed and cook it in the pressure cooker.

This soup can also be made in a slow cooker.

Tip for healthy living:


Taking a leaf from Dr. Martin Luther King's book, I am going to do something altruistic and share with you some myths regarding the flu that is prevalent during the winter.These are not my views.This was shared by Christian Pickard from Bankers Healthcare Group.

I would however emphasize that the best way to keep cold and flu at bay is by observing good hand hygiene! Wash your hands every time you touch something that you think is unclean. When you are outside do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Imagine that you are wearing a face-mask!



Food for thought:


Life's most persistent and urgent question is " What are you doing for others??" Dr. Martin Luther King


Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Apple Kheer ( Apple Pudding)



Happy Sankranti to all my readers.Today is Makarsankranti.This marks the beginging of spring in India. This is one of the few Hindu festivals that is celebrated on 14th January every year.Usually sweets made with till ( sesame seeds) like till laddoo ( balls) and till chikki ( brittle) are made and distributed to mark this occasion. I didn't have time to make this. But I wanted to make a quick dessert for my kids.



I decided to make apple kheer ( pudding).The reason I made this was because I wanted to make a very easy and relatively healthy dessert. I love kheer and can eat a bowlful. But I avoid gluten , therefore didn't want to use the regular flour Sheviyan ( vermicelli). It is also the season of apples, so we have apples in plentiful at home. I decided to grate some of the apples and use that instead of the vermicelli. I used a little condensed milk instead of sugar which also reduced my cooking time ( not that apples require much cooking, but thickening the milk gives the pudding a better taste). The end result was a delicious kheer that my kids & I loved. I don't think I would go back to making kheer using vermicelli ever again! I have also made this kheer without the usual cashew nuts and slivered almonds as my son is allergic to nuts. I have used pistachio powder to be garnished on top after serving ( not for my son).



Servings: 6-8 ( 1/2 cup per person)


Ingredients :


Apples: 2 medium sized( sweet variety)
Water: 1/2 cup
Milk: 7 oz ( room temperature).
Condensed milk: 7 oz ( 1/2 of 14 oz can)
Cardamom powder: from 2 pods of cardamom
Saffron threads: 2-3 ( optional)
Raisins:  1 tbsp
Ghee ( clarified butter): 1/4 tsp
Cashew halves: 1 tbsp ( for garnish, optional).
Pistachio powder: 1 tsp ( for garnish, optional).

Method:


Wash, peel and grate apples. 




Add it to a small pot with 1/2 cup water. Cook it for 10-15 minutes until tender. 




Add the condensed milk, saffron thread and mix well. 




Turn off the flame, keep aside.

In a skillet/pan, heat a little ghee on low heat. Add cashew halves and raisins. Sauté them for a few seconds until they start turning golden in color. Turn off the flame.

Add this to the pot with the apple and milk mixture.

Garnish with pistachio powder.




Can be served hot/warm or cold.

Enjoy! I am bringing this to some of my favorite blog parties: Throwback Thursday , Angie's Fiesta Friday and Saucy Saturdays! Two of my favorite blogger friends who post some of the best stuff on earth are co-hosting the Fiesta: Elaine @ foodbod and Julie @ Hostess at Heart!
A big shout out to both of them!

Cooking made easy:  

If you don't have condensed milk, use regular whole milk. You will however have to cook it for a longer period of time until the milk reduces to half the amount. Add sugar as per individual taste.

Tip for healthy living:


Substituting shredded apples for vermicelli not only makes the dessert gluten free, it also reduces the calories. Any fruit is counted as negative calories and therefore more of it can be eaten. Apples have several health benefits including essential vitamins and minerals and much needed dietary fiber.

Food for thought:


Everything that is done in the world is done with hope. Martin Luther


Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Bhajje Amshe ( Red Swiss Chard/Red Amarnath in a spicy coconut sauce); Diabetes Friendly Thursday



With the Holidays behind us, so is the indulgence in calorie-rich foods . The New Year is here and with that is a newer us with renewed resolutions. Well, I don't know if anyone will stick to their resolution, but we should definitely make even greater effort to eat healthy! With this thought in mind our team of dedicated DFT bloggers have teamed up to bring you some delicious recipes overloaded with greens! 

So go ahead and enjoy the winters with Team DFT with Greens Overload! Bringing some hearty dishes with seasonal greens. 




                      Creating Recipes with a Cause! I am a proud DFT blogger. 
                                        To learn about DFT, Read this Link
                                        To view more DFT recipes, Click here!

My contribution to this is our very own " Bhajje Amshe". This is nothing but Red Amarnath leaves cooked in spicy coconut sauce.The reason I say " our very own" is because this is not a recipe that I invented. This has been in our culture, in our homes for generations. My mom made it, her mother made it, so on and so forth.



This is a very traditional recipe that is so easy that it is cooked without even much thought and effort going into it! The point of me telling you all this is that, someone who is a diabetic, doesn't necessarily have to go about finding new recipes to eat!! There is plenty in our everyday cuisine that diabetics CAN eat! It is all about being mindful of WHAT you eat and HOW MUCH you eat! This dish is traditionally served with rice but can be eaten with roti or chapati.



When it comes to rice, it makes a big difference whether you are eating white rice, parboiled rice,matta rice or brown rice as white rice has the highest glycemic index while brown rice has the lowest. Lower the glycemic index, better the food.It also matters whether you are eating rice or kanji. Kanji is rice with the water. We people from South Kanara, traditionally eat kanji for dinner. Kanji makes you feel fuller faster due to the water content in it.

Bhajje Amshe served with kanji made out of matta rice.


Bhajje Amshe is usually made with Red Amarnath leaves which is available only during the summer months here. Therefore, I have made this dish using Red Swiss Chard which is easily available in any supermarket. The dish looks pretty much the same whether you use Red Amarnath or Red Swiss chard. If you are not a coconut fan or are apprehensive about making a sauce using coconut, you could alternatively make a simple sauté using the same greens.The recipe for the sauteed version is here.




Servings: 4-6 ( 1-1.5 cups per person)


Ingredients:


Red Amarnath/ Red Swiss chard: 1 medium-sized bunch
Water: 1/2 cup+1 cup( may not need all).
Freshly grated coconut: 2/3rd cup
Dried Red chillies: 2-3 ( can be adjusted based on individual spice level)
Dried tamarind: marble sized portion
Salt: to taste
Garlic: 6-8 cloves
Coconut oil: 1 tsp

Method:


Wash the red Amarnath or red swisschard thoroughly. Chop it finely and add to a pot containing 1/2 cup water. Add 1/2 tsp salt and bring it to a boil.



Reduce the flame and cook for another 6-8 minutes. Turn off the flame and keep aside.




Grind together freshly grated coconut, red chillies and tamarind to a fine paste, adding water as needed little at a time.  Your masala is ready.



Add the ground masala to the cooked red Amarnath/ red Swiss chard and bring it to a boil. Turn off the flame.



Tempering:



Heat coconut oil in a skillet/pan on low heat.
Peel and chop the garlic cloves into medium-sized pieces. Add this to the hot coconut oil. Sauté the garlic until it turns golden brown.


Now add this to the prepared swisschard and coconut sauce mixture.

Served with brown rice & salad


Serve hot with rice/roti.
I am bringing this to some of my favorite blog parties: Throwback Thursday ,Angie's Fiesta Friday and Saucy Saturdays! Two of my favorite blogger friends who post some of the best stuff on earth are co-hosting the Fiesta: Elaine @ foodbod and Julie @ Hostess at Heart!



Cooking made easy:


Quite often people shy away from greens as they do not know how to clean them and are therefore unable to get rid of the sand/dirt in the greens! There is nothing more repulsive than sand in your mouth while eating! There is an easy, foolproof way to clean the greens. Rinse the greens and then soak them in cold water with a few drops of vinegar for a few minutes. The vinegar takes care of any bugs, pesticides while the water will have the sand/dirt settle at the bottom. Although not advised, to be foolproof, you can chop the greens and soak it again in water for the second time. You will not be disappointed.

Footnotes (Tip for healthy living):


We are all aware of the multitude of health benefits of including green leafy vegetables in our diets. From providing essential vitamins like vitamin A, K, E, calcium, iron and folic acid to dietary fiber, the benefits are quite a few.Regular intake of greens in the diet may help prevent diabetes, heart disease and may be even cancer.
Swiss Chard is a powerhouse of antioxidants and an excellent source of vitamins A,C,K, magnesium, potassium, iron and dietary fiber.

Red Amarnath is also an excellent source of Vitamin A and beta carotene and is used to heal several skin conditions.It is an excellent source of dietary fiber and is used to treat constipation. 

Garlic is known for its anti-hypertensive and anti-diabetic properties.

Fresh coconut has been used in the South-Indian diet for time immemorial! Studies have shown that coconut is also high in dietary fiber and may contribute to maintaining a healthy body weight.


References:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/143962-raw-coconut-benefits/


Disclaimer

I am not a nutritionist or dietician. My knowledge and information is based on my research and reading from different resources. Please consult your doctor or dietician before making any changes to your diet.


Do Check out the other DFT contributors  and their links!



Food for thought:


Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. William James




Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!