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Sreelus Tasty Travels

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Here's to a healthier and happier new year - Mango, Cucumber, Zucchini salad with zesty Desi dressing

Tue, 05 Jan 2016 22:12:23 PST

A very happy new year and hers is wishing all my readers a year of healthy eating.  It’s the time of year to evaluate our old habits and to nudge those bad habits aside and cultivate new and better ones. In theory this might last for a week, a month and if it truly becomes a life style change then for years. My goal this year is to eat healthy and organic, this has been my mantra since years and will be same this year. I am true believer in “ you are what you eat” and this year my goal is to incorporate more fresh ingredients, raw food and precisely more protein in my diet. Eating healthy is easier said than done. Anyone who has followed a healthy lifestyle know how important it is to be organized  in order to eat healthy. Stocking fridge with fresh ingredients, pantry with healthy snack alternatives, fresh fruits and most importantly cooking at home. And this by any means is no easy task when all it takes is a dial of phone to eat some delicious restaurant cooked food. As they say no pain no gain and so this year begins with renewed vows a healthier and happier me.It gets quite boring quite fast with eating vegetables and this needs to be changed up constantly in order to maintain the same level of enthusiasm. Recently added a Spiralizer to my collection of never ending kitchen gadgets. It costs about $30 and I truly feel this is worth the price. This thing can spiralize most vegetables and this makes it easy to get creative about eating raw vegetables.Spiralizer from AmazonToday's recipe was inspired the amazing spirals of fresh vegetablesMakes for about 6 servingsIngredients1 medium sized Zucchini1 medium sized Cucumberhalf an raw Mangoabout 1/3 cup shredded carrot1/3 cup sliced/sprialized red onions (optional)For dressing1 bunch corriander leaves washed1/3 bunch mint leaves2~3 green chilieshalf a clove of garlic (optional)1 tbsp of lemon zest1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice1/4 cup fresh orange juicetbsp of Chaat masala1/4 tbsp of roasted dhania( roasted corriander powder)pinch of paprika/red chili powder1/2 cup extra virgin olive oilInstructions for dressing1. In a food processor add corriander, mint, green chilies, garlic. Pulse till it forms into a fine paste2. Add lemon juice, orange juice, salt, paprika, chaat masala and roasted dhania powder and pulse3. Add olive oil and pulse till if forms into a nice emulsified liquidFor Salad1. In a huge bowl add cucumber, zucchini, onion, carrot, mango and toss2. Add the above dressing according to your liking and give it a good mix, check for salt and adjust accordingly3. Top with chopped pistachio and green onionsServe fresh, trust me this is a salad you will come back asking for more. I would suggest to make the salad fresh and not store since it gets soggy. Dressing stays fresh for two days when refrigerated This year I hope will be a year of good health and happiness and I wish all my readers the very same.                     [...]

Spicy Picante Pepper Dosa Waffle

Thu, 15 Oct 2015 21:49:59 PDT

Spicy Picante Pepper Dosa WaffleI am a foodie, I love food and everything related to it. I love to cook and entertain and I am sucker for farmers markets and unique spices & ingredients.  To me cooking is a perfect combination of arts and science and a perfect playground for creativity. I find it exciting to try new recipes and hardly can contain my excitement when I find a successfully tested recipe to share on my blog.I am always on the lookout for healthy, easy and nutritious recipes and find my self drawing inspiration from friends,magazines and  restaurants I visit and so here is today's recipe.I LOVE Picante peppers and these are the one of reason I go to the farmers market, Picante peppers are sweet yet have the pepper flavor making it perfect for chili cheese sandwiches, quesadilla's and my newest creation Dosa Waffle.I know Dosa Waffles seems strange but trust me these taste delicious and are absolutely easy and quick to make and guess what needs no oil making it healthy.Ingredients for making one waffle1 cup dosa batter1/2 cup of finely chopped picante peppers1/4 cup finely diced onion1/4 cup finely chopped corrianderpinch of Jeera/cuminnon stick spray to grease the waffle ironProcess1. Heat the waffle iron till its hot and ready2. Coat the bottom and top of the waffle iron with non-stick spray 3. Add generous portion of peppers and onions, allow them the cook on the waffle iron for about a minute 4. Now add a cup of dosa batter and top it again with a generous portion on chillies and coriander 5. Close the lid and allow to cook for about 4-5 minutes till ready 6. Remove from the waffle iron and serve hot with fresh pepper and onion relish and/or your choice of sambar & chutneysThe waffle iron cooks the dosa well and give it a nice texture crispy on the outside and soft inside. Cut into along ridges and serve the kids.Served it to kids and was skeptical since they are so used to eating waffles doused with syrup and was not sure of savory waffles, to my surprise it was approved by the kids and they did give it a nod.Hope you guys will give this a shot...would love to hear your feedback... [...]

Lettuce Wraps with Peppers spicy and everyones favorite at home

Wed, 16 Sep 2015 20:20:15 PDT

Lettuce Wraps with Peppers One you make a choice to eat healthy and make it a life style change it's hard to eat food that's mono colored. Healthy eating to me means having fresh, organic as much as possible, and multitude of colors on your plate and preferably in their original recognizable shape . I cringe when I have to make meals with just one ingredient. Prefer to include greens, some healthy portion of nuts, spices and tons of vegetables.Lettuce wraps are a favorite at home. Had it first time at P.F. Chang's and since then keep going back just for wraps. Inspired by P.F. Chang's  here is my version. P.S I am really particular about cutting vegetables to a specific and uniform size ALWAYS, I am obsessed that way :). Feel free to cut the veggies to suit your taste.Ingredients2 medium sized Yellow, Red, Orange peppers each chopped extremely fine1/2 cup of Chestnuts, skip if you cannot find it1/2 cup walnuts2 shallots substitute with medium sized red onion1 Jalapeño1/4 cup mixed greens corriander & mint fresh butter lettuce For Dressing1/4 cup white wine vinegar1/4 cup chili sauce3 tbsp of garlic olive oil/ use olive oil if you can't find flavored oil2 tbsp of spicy mustard1 tsp of brown sugar/sugarsalt according to tastefresh pepperchili pepper flakes according to taste Process1. Seperate lettuce leaves and wash and allow to dry2. Cut all the vegetables finely including chestnuts3. Heat a tbsp of olive oil in a pan and add the diced vegetables, including chestnuts, salt and pepper and sauté  for a minute or two till they get caramelized. Keep aside to cool4. Mix all the ingredients for the dressing5. Layer lettuce leaves and scoop a big portion of vegetables and pour over the dressing6. Sprinkle with lemon juice and chopped walnuts and serveIt's like a party in your mouth, such layers of flavors from spicy, sweet and sour. Nuts give an additional texture to wraps. Make it a weeknight dinner and allow for kids to serve the way the like. Makes for a fun dinner/ snack. [...]

Sweet Cherry Tomato, Watercress & Shallots Salad - Ode To Summer

Tue, 08 Sep 2015 20:05:02 PDT

Sweet Cherry Tomato, Watercress & Shallots Salad - Ode To SummerSummer is gone, I can feel the change of season. The chill in the air, falling of leaves, shorter days are all tell tell sign of the change. This Summer was relaxing, fun, and most importantly spent time with my parents. There is no better feeling in the world then being a child again.  Spent my Summer with kids in India, kids visited both maternal and paternal grandparents, spent time with their cousins, we did some travel, I did a whole lot shopping and we ate to heart contents. Loved every minute of vacation and now its back to the grind, As much as I crib about the "grind" there is something very good about the predictability of the day, the daily discipline and the oh so hectic weekends. Life in the grind is not so bad after all.Summer and Tomatoes are synonymous in my mind, as the season progresses the quality of the fruit gets better. Was given a bowl of these cherry tomatoes and sweet were they. It would be a crime to make anything of them except a simple salad, so simple salad it is ..Ingredients1 cup of ripe cherry tomatoes1 shallot diced finely1/4 cup of WatercressDressing2 tbsp rice vinegar2 tbsp of fine olive oil2 tbsp of vinegar - I used honey vinegar which is epicpinch of sea saltfresh pepper according to taste1.Mix all the ingredients for the dressing and keep aside2. Clean and cut tomatoes in half3. Toss shallots and vinegar and pour over tomatoes and mix well4. Now mix in the watercress and give it one gentle toss.Serve cold or at room temperatureA rustic bread with tomato salad seems like a company made in here's to a summer gone by, thankful for all the memories and happy times. Time to soak in  my favorite season Fall. [...]

Panna Cotta - Three Simple Ingredients & Unlimited Possibilities

Mon, 06 Jul 2015 22:46:09 PDT

Panna Cotta - Three Simple Ingredients & Unlimited PossibilitiesWe are half way through the year and it's hard to believe. Each passing month seem like a blur the rush, the activities, the rat race its hard to take a pause and breathe and live the moment. As my parents would always say there is a time and place for everything and assure me that this phase in my life is when I should run and sprint and there will time later to soak in the efforts and relish the fruits of all the hard work. Glad that it's summer, a break from the routine and a chance to catch up on my blog.During the last few months experimented with various cuisines , ingredients and cooking techniques have lots of posts in drafts. I find it hard to find words to blog, experiencing writers block I guess.Coming to today's recipe it's one of the easiest and delicious dessert to make. Have eaten Panna Cotta numerous time but never realized how easy it was to make until last week. Was flipping through Cooking channels and saw the recipe. I knew I had to make it instantly and the fact that we were expecting friends for dinner was a perfect excuse.Three ingredients suffice for the basic Panna Cotta recipe and you can customize your flavor with additional flavored sauces, toppings or flavoring. Below are my experiments with various flavors. Traditional Panna Cotta recipe uses heavy cream, I used whole milk instead and consistency was as good as heavy cream.Basic Panna Cotta RecipeMakes for about 6~8 serving2 cups whole milk/Heavy cream1 envelope of Gelatin ( You can use Agar Agar or other vegetarian options available)1 cup sugarOptionally for additional flavor you can use Vanilla, Lemon or other flavors. I used Vanilla in my recipe.Method1. In heavy sauce pan add two cups of milk and boil in the lowest possible flame, taking care not to over heat2. In a separate cup add one envelope of gelatin and cold water and allow for the gelatin to mix well3. Now add gelatin and sugar into the milk and allow to boil on low flame for about 4~5 minutes till you see small bubbles form along the rim.4. Remove from heat and pour into ramekins. You can also butter the ramekins in case if you would like to serve on plate.5. Refrigerate for at least  six hours and serve cold.This can be prepared a day or two in advance.Strawberry Compote Panna CottaCut Strawberries into about half an inch cubes add some honey/sugar and lemon juice. Add a pinch of fresh mint and mix well. This can be made ahead and allow to marinate and allow Strawberries to soak in the flavor or made fresh. Top Panna Cotta with a scoop or two spoonfuls of Strawberries and serve cold.Nectarine and Orange flavored Panna CottaCut ripe Nectarine into tiny pieces, add about two cups of freshly squeezed Orange juice to Nectarines, add sugar/honey if required. Add Freshly chopped mint or basil to the Nectarines, mix well  and serve on top of cold Panna Cotta. This is by far my favorite. With such beautiful fruit, ripe and juicy it's hard to go wrong with the topping. You can add Orange flower essence to milk while boiling to enhance and elevate the flavor even more.Caramel Panna CottaScoop couple of tablespoons of store brought Caramel on top of the Panna Cotta and allow to cool. Each spoon gives such contrasting and lovely texture of Panna Cotta.Mango Panna CottaFresh juicy and sweet Mangoes, technically you need nothing more but just to add an element of flavor add a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger juice and toss in fresh mint. Now add this delicious topping to you Panna Cotta and wait to see your guests reactions, guaranteed to get ooohs and aaah'sAs I said possibilities are endless and making with whole milk instead of whipping cream and addition of all these flavors enhances the taste without having to add a whole lot of sugar. And fact that this can be made ahead helps too. Make various topping and allow for your guests to choose their topping making it very engaging.So which one would be you[...]

Instant Yogurt Oats

Mon, 20 Apr 2015 17:04:11 PDT

Yogurt Oats - Healthy alternative to Yogurt riceLife is running at full throttle. Days, weeks & months seems to pass by in a blur. Looking forward to summer and some downtime. Have quite a few posts in drafts and its been crazy trying to find time to post. Made this today for lunch, simple, easy to make and delicious and not to mention healthy, I knew I had to post it. Traditional yogurt rice recipe is made with rice and every family has their own version. My version today has the same traditional seasoning but added some toppings and replaced rice with oats for a healthier version.Ingredients1 cup Oats (I used oven toasted organic Oats from Tj's)2 cups Yogurt1/2 cup milkSeasoning1 tbsp oil1 tspn mustard seeds1 tspn jeera/cumin1 tspn urad dal1 tspn Vamu/Ajwain pinch of hing10~15 curry leavesSalt according to tastefor toppingsfinely chopped onions, tomatoes, green chiles, coriander, cucumber & grated carrotProcess1. Add tbsp of oil in a pan and allow to heat and when hot add all the seasoning ingredients and fry till you see the mustard seeds pop2. Now add oats and toast for about 4~5 minutes constantly till you have a nice aroma3. Remove from heat and transfer into a bowl4.  Add yogurt to the oats and mix well, add milk and salt and toss till all the oats are covered, if the mixture seems too thick add a little water/yogurt.6. Mix well and wrap the container with foil and allow for oats to soak the  yogurt for about 15 minutes7. Serve Oats with all chopped vegetables as toppings.Delicious and satisfying Yogurt Oats healthy without being carb rich.Have a good week ahead .............. [...]

Coriander, Coconut Masala Quinoa - Oh No, Not Your Traditional Coconut Rice

Wed, 11 Mar 2015 22:47:13 PDT

Coriander, Coconut Masala Quinoa - Oh No, Not Your Traditional Coconut RiceFood fads come and fads go, one day there is research showing the benefits and the very next day there is research showing just the opposite. Off late with so much information available online it gets even confusing and harder to make the right choice, point in case is today's ingredient. Once upon a time eating coconut was deems extremely dangerous, cholesterol causing, fattening etc etc.. today suddenly there are so many studies suggesting its benefits. Go to any organic/ Whole food you would find tons of offerings of Coconut products from oils to butters to soap to paste. Well what ever the benefits might be for South Indian belle like me its just a staple, something that has bee used on a daily basis for generations.The uses of coconut in a typical south indian home are many, growing up my hair was drenched in coconut oil, babies were massaged with coconut oil, infact every part of the coconut tree was used up starting from the fruit to the bark. Today's recipe is a modern adaptation of traditional Coconut Rice recipe.IngredientsFresh ingredients1 fresh coconut grated2 cups of coriander washed and chopped1~2 green chilies1/2 cup green bell pepper/capsicum dices finely1/4 cup mint leaves1/4 cup grated carrot optional1 cup cooked and cooled quinoaDry ingredients2 bay leaves2 cloves1~2 elachi1 tbsp of garam masala2 big tbsp of channa dal1/4  cup cashew nuts/almond/walnuts (nut of your choice to your hearts content)1/2 tbsp of oilsalt according to tasteProcess1. In a shallow pan add oil and when oil gets hot add all the dry ingredients and sauté for a minute or two till you get a strong aroma2. Grind coriander, mint, green chiles in a food processor and keep a side3. Add the grated coriander, bell pepper and carrot and sauté till coriander is well fried and the raw smell is gone takes about 3 minutes4. Now add the freshly grated coconut and sauté for another couple of minutes5. Add boiled Quinoa, salt and fresh pepper and sauté till all the ingredients are mixed wellRemove from heat and adjust for salt and serve piping hot or at room temperature with some fresh coriander as garnish.Guilt free, delicious and protein filled cannot ask for a better alternative. Eat it for dinner or lunch.You can also squeeze some fresh lemon juice if you would prefer.On a different note, we at home have been feeling the gardening itch and started seedling indoors and one experiment with Hydroponics. Looking forward to a steady temperature to transplant them into the ground. Nothing excites me like seeing a sapling breaking the seed and out of the ground. Hoping all these plants would survive for the next couple of weeks.Have a beautiful rest of the week my dear readers, chow ..... [...]

Avocado Taco's

Tue, 17 Feb 2015 20:41:37 PST

Avocado Taco's When I first moved to US almost couple of decades ago, it truly was a cultural shock. Unlike today where every component of living can be mapped with the help of technology and social media, it was learning and adjusting every day. For the first couple of months every day was a something first, my first ride in train, my first library card, my first attempt at driving test( no guesses for how many times I had to take a test to get my license). Thinking back and reminiscing  “Everything First” days makes me so nostalgic, those days were filled with either/or excitement, triumph’s, experiments and learning. Cannot imagine how we survived without Google, Cellphones or Facebook and those expensive calls to India which were always rationed. Come one more year I would have spent my life exactly half in India and half in US. Time did fly by very quick and I have enjoyed every step of the journey so far and can’t wait to see what is in store ahead. A part of becoming Americanized and adjusting was adapting to various cuisines.  California and Bay Area in specific is a melting pot, Californian’s enjoy high quality and fresh food. The abundance of fresh produce and the ease of access make us very pampered and not to mention the Sunshine. Today’s recipe was inspired by the fresh Haas Avocado’s at the local store. Creamy, delicious and oh so nutritious. Spread the creamy Avocado on a whole wheat toast and sprinkle with fresh pepper and salt, boy my kind of snack any time.Very easy to prepare and makes for an healthy snack or an appetizer. Recipe was inspired by here Ingredients Makes for about 10 mini sized Taco'sWhole wheat Tortilla's  or I used whole wheat Lavash bread1 large ripe Haas Avocadocup of Humus, I used spinach & feta humus ( you can substitute your favorite flavor) 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheesesriracha sauceflavored oil such as garlic oilsea salt fresh peppercilantro for garnish Process1. Warm Tortilla/ Flat bread slightly over the  pan on both sides2. Cut Tortilla/ Flat into disks using a cookie cutter/pizza cutter3. Slather Humus and lay a slice of Avocado on the top4. Drizzle with garlic oil, generous Sriracha sauce, salt and pepper5. Garnish with shredded cheese7. Fold the disk to make a taco,sprinkle with fresh lemon juice and garnish with fresh cilantro and serve.8. Fresh made Salsa makes for a perfect accompaniment9. Perfect bite size makes it easy to eat and serve. Can't stop at one guaranteed This can make a perfect make your own Taco appetizer for your next party, serve multiple flavors of Humus, breads and various toppings, sauces and fresh slices of Avocado's for your guest to make their own creations.So much healthier and better than your fried and run-of-the-mill appetizers.Try it my dear readers and let me know what you think.... [...]

Flaky, Utterly Buttery, Delicious And Super Easy Cinnamon Rolls

Tue, 10 Feb 2015 21:32:05 PST

Flaky, Utterly Buttery, Delicious And Super Easy Cinnamon Rolls We like many other families in the valley are always on the go. There is always a deadline looming, always some  project due, some exam to prepare and always, always a never ending task list. If you have lived in the bay area and are raising kids I see you nodding in harmony. As crazy and quick the weekdays passes by our family over the years have developed a Sunday morning ritual.Usually or most Sunday mornings, all four of us head to our local bakery for breakfast. Its the usual for me and my husband, coffee and bagel and kids change it up every time. Over the last few visits both my boys started loving the huge cinnamon rolls slathered with frosting, gooey and delicious.And when I saw a recipe for Quick & Dirty Cinnamon roles at Joy the baker, I knew I had to give it a try.This is my adaptation of the original recipe. You can find step by step instructions of the original recipe here IngredientsFor Dough1/2 cup whole milk2 tablespoons unsalted butter2 tablespoons granulated sugar1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast1 1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour1/4 teaspoon salt1 large egg yolkFor Filling6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted3/4 cup store brought cinnamon sugar )if you would like to make it home mix 1/2 cup sugar with 3/4 tbsp ground cinnamon)3/4 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powderpinch of salt1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chipsFor Glaze1/2 cup of condensed milk thinned with a 1 tbsp of sugar ( As I said its the easy version)Process1.In a small saucepan combine milk, butter, and sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted completely. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool from hot to just warm.2.Place sweet milk and butter mixture in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle yeast over the liquid. Stir to incorporate. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes to allow to yeast to activate, foam, and froth.3. Add 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and the egg yolk to the milk and yeast mixture. Use a wooden spoon or hand beaters with the dough hook attachment and stir or beat until incorporated. Add more flour, a few tablespoons at a time if the dough feels to wet. Bring the dough together into a ball and knead a few turns with your hands.4.Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 10 minutes.7.Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a roughly 9 x 12-inch rectangle.Spread with about 4 tablespoons of butter.8.In a small bowl stir together cinnamon sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.9.Generously sprinkle over the melted butter. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Roll starting at the longer edge into a tight coil.Slice into 6 pieces.10.Use remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to lightly grease the bottom and sides of an 8x8-inch baking pan. Place rolls in the pan leaving about 1/2 inch of room between them. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30 minutes.11.While the rolls rise, place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.Remove plastic wrap and bake the rolls for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown, puffed, and bubbling12. Remove from oven and douse with condensed milk mixture and melted butter.Serve them hot or at room temperatureCinnamon rolls come out flaky, buttery and delicious. Serve with warm milk or hot coffee.Pamper your loved ones with breakfast in the bed this Valentines Day with these rolls some hot coffee and lots of LOVE !!Happy Valentines Day !!! [...]

Oats Dosa - Oats Adai - Oats & Lentils Crepe - Protein Rich & Guilt Free

Tue, 20 Jan 2015 20:01:16 PST

Oats Dosa - Oats Adai - Protein Rich & Guilt FreeHappy New Year dear readers, I know I am tad late but its the thought that counts, right !!.  Had a blessed vacation end of last year and I am all geared up for the year this is going to be. Last year was a year of change on multiple levels, loved every bit of it the challenges and the rewards. Like every year my resolutions stay the same, eat healthy, exercise often, stay positive and let go of negative energy and people that come with it and yes loose those last ten pounds haha. But on a serious note this year unlike others I want to be more disconnected from devices, practice mindful meditation and read more. This year will be a special milestone year and I can sense it.Today's recipe comes from co-sister(it helps having a co-sister who is a good cook and who lives stone throw away). Dosa's are an Indian favorite  especially South Indian, Go to any south Indian  home the chances are you would find dosa batter and in only about few minutes its whipped into a delicious savory crape with variety of fillings and served with delicious condiments and chutneys.Adai is a variation of Dosa made usually with rice and variety of lentils, rich in protein and extremely filling. Today's recipe calls for Oats instead of rice to make a healthier version and practically/almost carb free ( Oats & Lentils do have carbs). Easy to prepare and no fermenting time makes it good choice for either  breakfast or dinner.Ingredients - Makes for about 2 pints of Adai batter (serves 15 ~20 Dosa's)1 Cup steel cut oats1/2 cup Channa dal, Urad dal, Moong dal, Red Masoor dal(optional) , Toor dal each3~4 stems of fresh curry leaves4~5 red chillies (adjust according to your taste)ginger about a size of a quarter2 tbsp of Jeera/Cumin seedsSalt according to tastepinch of Asafoetida/Hing1 cup fresh coriander leaves (optional)For garnish1/2 cup finely chopped onions2~3 tbsp finely chopped green chilies2~3 tbsp finely chopped gingerProcess1. Soak oats, dals,curry leaves, ginger and red chilies in a bowl for a minimum of 4 hours2. Grind into a fine paste, add  fresh coriander, salt ,hing and water as needed3. Batter should be of consistency where it spreads well on the tava and not runny.4. Heat tava/griddle and pour a ladle of batter and spread into a circle using the ladle.5. Add little bit of oil to the edges to make it crispy6. Add chopped onion, green chilies and ginger. Optionally you can grated carrot, coriander and nuts like cashew.7. Let is roast for a minute or two and the turn over for a quick 30 secs and roll into a perfect crispy Dosa.8. Kids version can me made by adding some grated cheese and variety of nuts like almonds, cashew and even Walnuts.Relish with your choice of chutney such a Peanut Chutney and/or Sambar. Batter stays fresh for about 3~4 days when refrigerated. Hope you would love this version, please do leave feedback should it try it.Here is wishing everyone an healthy and a happy new year once again. [...]

Easiest pickled Radishes ever, makes for delicious and tangy side

Tue, 25 Nov 2014 21:43:58 PST

It is Thanksgiving already, truly grateful for my family and friends, and many countless blessings showered.  Radishes are in season during the cold weather. Growing up my grandmom would make pickled Radishes all through the winter season. It was relished along with hot rice or soft roties. She made them everyday when in season. Making them brought back so many memories of her and my childhood, the power of food.Today's version of mine is slightly enhanced from what I was used to growing up.Ingredients2~3 cups of cubed Radish2~3 Thai chilies sliced thinly1 tsp grated ginger (optionally)2 tbsp of fresh mint chopped finely2 tbsp of corriander chopped finely2 tspn of lemon jest2 tbsp of freshly ground pepper3/4 cup of fresh lemon juicesalt according to tasteProcess1. Mix lemon juice and all the ingredients except for radish and mix well.2. Add cubed radishes and toss well.3. Store in a air tight container, works best when marinated for atleast 2 days 4. With weather being so cold, I left radishes to be marinated at room temperature.5. If you live in warm weather marinate in an air tight container in a refrigerator6. You might have to adjust for salt once radishes are marinatedServe as side with Roti's or hot rice with ghee. Spicy, tangy, flavorful and of course delicious.Happy Thanksgiving All !! [...]

Spicy Mexican Dirty Rice - Loaded With Vegetables

Mon, 10 Nov 2014 20:26:23 PST

Spicy Mexican Dirty Rice -  Loaded With VegetablesEating healthy is life style and a choice. In fact eating healthy is hard and take quite an effort. From shopping for fresh vegetables to cooking fresh food is work. As tedious as it seems once you are committed to eating healthy there is no going back. It's worth the effort as they say..Last few weeks have been crazy and the next few weeks will not differ much. Tried this recipe few weeks and everyone at home loved it and this has become quite a staple at home. This recipe can customized to your taste, add as many vegetables you like to your hearts content. Recently started cooking brown rice at home more frequently and brown rice is perfect for it makes for excellent texture and taste.Ingredients1 carrot sliced into thin strips1 red bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper2-3 Picante peppers1 Onion sliced thin2 garlic cloves finely minced1 cup of green onion chopped1/2 cup of cooked beans ( I used pinto beans from the can)1/2 cup walnuts (optional, substitute with nuts of your choice almonds, peanuts pecans) finely choppedtbsp of Olive oil1 cup brown ricesalt according to tastepepper according to taste2 tbsp Mexican seasoning (I use Taco seasoning McCormick, recipe for the same can be found here)Process1. Cut all vegetables same size into thin strips3. Add 1/2 tbsp of oil and bring to heat, add crushed garlic and toss till garlic is cooked. Now add rice and mix well. Add water according to instructions and allow to cook.3. Stir fry all the vegetables and keep aside4. Head a pan, add all the stir fried vegetables and saute for a min5. Add cooked rice, green onions, taco seasoning, nuts and cilantro. Toss till rice and vegetables are well coated, check and adjust for salt.Remove from heat and serve hot, you can add as many vegetables such a Broccoli, Spinach, sprouts and nuts like almonds, walnuts and pinenuts to your heart content. You can also substitute rice with oaks soaked in water for about half hour.Makes for healthy, guilt free, delicous  and a complete meal. [...]

Good Bye Summer- Ode To The Fruit Of Summer - Tomatoes- Easy and Delicious Sandwiches

Wed, 17 Sep 2014 23:43:06 PDT

Good Bye Summer- Ode To The King Of Summer - Tomatoes- Easy and Delicious SandwichesHeirloom Tomatoes from the neighborhood farmers marketThe crisp air and cool winds in the evening, the change of colors on the trees, short days and longer nights sure are an indication on an end of summer and natures way of slowing down and prepping for winter. If I have to pick a favorite season I probably would choose fall, everything seems so balanced, so colorful and not to mention the weather.This year has been quite hectic, if I have  to give a theme for the year gone by I would call it "CHANGE". Experienced changed in multiple facets, I am not complaining, I love change especially the good ones but the emotions that I go through, the highs, the lows and all that in-between is what makes life interesting and a reason to wake up in the morning. I see no slowing down as the year winds down but I sure want to savor the last of summer and the bounty it has to offer and soak in the beautiful autumn sunsets and gorgeous change of landscape.We are blessed here in the sun soaked Silicon Valley, a walk to the farmers markets inspires so much creativity and a change to create something different. This week the regular store where I buy produce from indicated that heirloom tomatoes he had for sale were the last of the season, sad need to wait couple of quarters before I get my hands on them again. I love heirloom variety, once you get used to them there is no going back. The character, flavors and the colors are so unique and addictive.Picked up California Whole wheat Black bread from  Beckmanns Bakery at the farmers market.California style open sandwichIngredients ~ makes for 11 slice of Black bread toasted ( use textured bread instead of regular bread made from enriched flour)1 tbsp of goat cheese, I use TJ's herd and cheese1/4 cup of sprouts ( I use green gram, any sprouts would work)1/4 cup cucumber finely diced1/4 cup tomatoes diced into cubes1. Spread the goat cheese on the toast2. Layer the sandwich first with sprouts, then cucumber and later tomatoes3. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly grated pepper and garnish with mint leaves.Spicy Sandwich with Picante Peppers and Sriracha sauceIngredients ~ Serves 11 California black bread toasted3 Picante pepper - roasted2 tbsp choice of shredded cheese1 tbsp organic mayonnaisefresh tomatoes sliced about three of themcucumber sliced thinly about 3~4salt, pepper and about a tbsp of sriracha sauceProcess1. Roast picante pepper ( these pepper are absolutely delicious, sweet and not spicy at all, yet have a strong Jalepeno flavor and aroma). I place them directly on the stove top and let it roast for about 2 minutes on each side. You can shallow fry or broil in the oven2. Spread Mayo on the sandwich3. Layer tomatoes and cucumber4. sprinkle grated cheese of your choice5. Add sea salt, pepper and a generous dose of Sriracha sauceBite into this delicious sandwich and you can't stop at one, guaranteed.Sourdough Bruschetta with caramelized Onions, Tomatoes and Balsamic VinegarSourdough Bread From Beckmanns BakeryIngredients makes for 11 slice of Sourdough toasted1/2 Onion sliced thinly1/2 cup tomatoes diced2 tbsp of Goat cheesetbsp of balsamic vinegarsalt and pepper according to tasteProcess1. Butter the toasted sourdough2. Heat a pan, allow to get medium hot3. Add tbsp of oil, salt and 1/4 tspn of sugar4. Add sliced onions and allow then to saute without mixing/tossing  them for 2 ~ 3minutes, this allows for a beautiful caramelization. Now after 3 minutes turn around and toss till onions are coated on all sides.5. Spread the sourdough bread with goat cheese6. Layer with tomatoes7. Now add caramelized onions8. Sprinkle sea salt and pepper9. Drizzle bals[...]

Masala Oats Upma ~ Curried Oats ~ Protein Packed

Fri, 11 Jul 2014 13:41:07 PDT

Masala Oats Upma ~ Curried Oats ~ Protein Packed Oats is definitely an acquired taste, not something that I was used to growing up. During my routine visit to Doctor she did reinforce asking me to eat more Oats, especially steel cut. I have tried eating Oats with fruit, yogurt, just plain. I could not get used to the taste and the glutton after taste. So I had to Indianize Oats and was inspired by an Indian cooking show. Today's recipe is customized to be protein rich, you can create your own version with many of your pantry staples.Ingredients1 cup Steel cut Oats ~ Soaked for about  a minimu 30 min( I did soak them in the morning for use in the night)1/2 cup Blanced Almonds1/2 cup Sprouted Channa1/2 cup Sprouted whole Urad dal(You can add any sprouts of your choice)1/2 cup finely chopped onions1/2 cup Tomato diced1/2 mixed greens ( Cilantro, Spinach, Methi, Kale what ever greens you have at home)Couple of sprigs of Mint (optional)1/2 cup Roasted unsalted peanuts finely chopped for garnish1 Tbsp Jeera (Cumin)1 Tbsp Mustard seeds1 Tbsp Urad dal1/2 Tbsp finely chopped green chilies ( adjust according to your taste)1 Tbsp finely chopped Garlic1 Tbsp Garam Masala1 Tbsp Jeera Powder1 Tbsp Dhania Powder1 Tbsp Tumeric10 ~ 15 Curry leaves1/4 Tspn Sugarjuice of one medium sized lemonSalt according to taste1 Tbsp of Olive oilProcess1. Heat tbsp of oil in a pan, add cumin, mustard, urad dal2. When mustard seeds begin to pop add ginger, green chilies, curry leaves, mint and tumeric3.  Saute for a minute and then add sprouted beans and 1/4 cup of water a pinch of salt and allow to cook covered for about a minute or two4. Add onions, greens to sprouts and mix well, fry till onions turn translucent5. Drain Oats completely and add the above mixture6. Add Cumin, Garam masala and Dhania powder7. Add pinch of paprika or chili powder and adjust for salt8. Add chopped tomatoes and almonds9. Now add sugar and lemon juice mix well  and cook covered for about a minute or twoRemove from heat and garnish with crushed roasted peanuts and corriander and serve hotUpma can be relished with raita or ketchup. Best eaten when hotOats definitely keep you full for a long and curb your hunger pangs. The fact that its filled with protein, fiber and is less on calories, this recipe is a sure keeper. I guarantee even the worst of Oats critics will ask for extra serving once they taste the curried version. [...]

Grilled Nectarines - With Honey, Vanilla &Berries - Must Try On Your Next Camping Trip - Has Summer Written All Over It

Tue, 01 Jul 2014 22:32:59 PDT

Grilled Nectarines - With Honey, Vanilla & Berries It is a long weekend for me this week, have our company shutting down couple of days and I took few days off making it the perfect 4th of July week. It's really been a while since I took a day off and had a "staycation". Spending the day at home with no agenda seems like such a luxury. Kids and I have enjoyed our outings, lunches and a movie. Hoping this week goes a little slower and last a little longer.Stone fruit are abundant in the market, picked at their prime these stone fruit taste like sugar sweet, fleshy and delicious.Made grilled peaches for Mother's day barbecue few days back repeated the same with Nectarines today.Absolutely simple, can be prepped ahead making it a perfect and healthy choice for BBQ's or camping. No hassle of clean up and can be customized according to ones taste.  Makes for about 8 grilled Nectarines halves or 4 whole NectarinesIngredients4 Nectarines well ripen, not to soft not to hard1/2 cup unsalted butter1/2 cup brown sugartbsp of good Vanilla essence1/2 tbsp of grate ginger optionaltbsp of lemon zestfew sprigs of mintfew berries like blueberries, strawberries or blackberries1. In a microwaveable bowl add butter, sugar, Vanilla, ginger and lemon zest and mix well2. Microwave on high for about two minutes checking in between3. Remove from microwave and mix till sugar and butter are completely melted and mixed. Keep aside.4. Clean and cut Nectarines into half, remove seed and lather butter sugar mixture, place berries in the middle and glaze with sugar butter solution. Add spring of mint and fresh lemon zest.5. Wrap Nectarines in a aluminium foil and place in on the BBQ grill, fire pit or grill in an oven on medium heat for about 3~5 minutes6. Remove from heat and when you open the aluminum pouch, you will be treated for some delicious caramel and grilled Nectarine.7. Nectarines turns soft and creamy, a scoop of Vanilla ice cream would be a great compliment.8. Optionally you can add fresh berries instead of grilling if you wish you. Since the fruit is in season and is very sweet few drop of lemon juice will also enhance the flavor.9. You can ask your guests to create their own version by having various kind of toppings, also by making variations to the butter sugar mixture by adding various other flavorings.Throw them into the campfire, wait for few minutes under the stars and in the company of your loved ones and cherish these delicious goodness.This recipe can be made from Peaches, Nectarines, Apricots, Apples or even plums.Stay safe and happy Fourth of July !!!!! [...]

Spicy Hara Bhara Paneer Kababs - Spicy Paneer Kababs - Perfect for Summer Barbecues

Thu, 19 Jun 2014 18:36:12 PDT

Spicy Hara Bhara Paneer Kababs The wait is over and summer vacations are officially on. When I dreamt of summer vacations I envisioned  schedule free days, no mad rush in the morning, no carpools and picks up to worry about kind of summer,was I in for a surprise or what ? summer vacations are turning out to be more stressful than imagined for the lack of routine. My childhood summers were spent carefree, the day school ended was the last time we looked at our books, off we were to grandparents home for close to two months. What followed was sheer fun, playing with cousins, sleeping on the terrace  under the open sky counting stars and looking for constellations, listening to uncles and grandmom's stories, eating mangoes to hearts content and just living a life of child. I so wish my kids experienced the same. The reality of today's summer is very brutal especially for kids in US as they get to higher grades. Summers for kids here especially in Bayarea is about taking courses in Math, computer sciences, etc.. to get to advance placements. The rush and the rat race for kids is really sad, sometimes I wonder what are we teaching kids when they can't think and act independent and enjoy some downtime and may be do nothing for a change.Anyways planning to take sometime off work and spend time with kids and visit few places before the end of summer. Last weekend we celebrated Father's day barbecue at a dear friends home, and my soul sister made Paneer kakab's for BBQ and boy were they delicious. I brought home some leftovers and had to share the recipe with my dear readers so here goes the recipe for Hara Bhara Paneer Kabab'sIngredients this makes for  marinate for about 10~12 kabab'sMarinate1/2 cup Cilantro1/2 cup Mint1/2 cup Green chilies1 cup Yogurt1/4 cup Cream ( Optional, makes vegetable and meat tender)1 tbsp of Pepper1 tbsp of Red Chili powder1 tbsp of Garam Masala1 tbsp of fresh ginger & garlic paste1/4 cup of fresh lemon juiceand salt according to tastePaneer cubed about 2 inchesgrape tomatoesGreen, Yellow and Red peppersSweet green chilies1 onion cut into thick big chunksProcess1. Grind green chilies, corriander and mint into a fine paste2. Take yogurt in a bowl and add the above mixture and all the dry ingredients3. Mix well till all the ingredients are well mixed4. Now prick Paneer, pepper and chilies with a fork, this allows for the marinate to seep in and absorb the flavors5. Add tomatoes and toss till all the vegetables are well coated6. Transfer the contents into a ziploc bag and allow to marinate for atleast 2~3 hours, the longer the better.7. I used mini skewers for today recipe, remove contents from the ziploc and stack paneer, tomatoe, peppers, onions and chilies in your desired order.8. I use my trusted Cuisinart grill to sear, few minutes on all the sides and wallah delicious Kababs are ready to be savored.Since its the season of Asparagus, got few tender ones from the farmers market and grilled the same. Just sprinkle some sea salt ,pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice and you can't stop at one.Any one looking to buy an indoor grill/griddle I recommend Cuisinart  griddler, makes for one excellent grill without the hassle of clean up and did I mention its very portable.So here is hoping for a relaxing summer and wishing all of you the same. Hope you unwind and relax with friends and family grilling and just plain doing nothing :)  [...]

Protein Rich Super Healthy - Spinach, Mint, Cilantro, Avocado & Paneer Parata

Tue, 03 Jun 2014 22:59:53 PDT

Spinach, Mint, Cilantro, Avocado & Paneer Parata Tried out this new recipe today and I had to post it on the blog. It's been quite hectic at home and work, I cannot wait for summer vacations to start.Farmers market are abundant with fresh produce. Picked up Avocado's, baby spinach and fresh cilantro last week.Ingredients makes for about 10 parata's2 cups of washed spinach1 cup cilantro/coriander1 ripe Avocado cut into cubes1/2 cup fresh mint1 green chili2 cups grated paneer2~3 cups of whole wheat flour2 tbsp of garam masala2 tbsp of flax seed (optional)pinch of chaat masalatbsp of tumeric optionaltbsp of cumin seedssalt according to taste1. Wash all the greens and pat dry2. Chop all greens and chili finely in a food processor, remove from the food processor and grated paneer and  mashed Avocado and mix well.3. Now add all the dry ingredients 5. Add flour and mix well. Spinach and Avocado leaves a lot of water so there might be no need to add any more, but if the consistency of the dough is not soft add water and adjust accordingly.6. Take a small portion of the dough, roll into a ball and flatten using a rolling pin.7. Heads up, this can be messy if the consistency of the dough is not right. Add flour if you see the roti sticking to the rolling pin.8. Warm both side of the roti/parata on a tava/pan, add a little oil to crisp the edges.9. Remove from heat and serve hot with Raita/pickle and a dollop of butter Healthy dinner/lunch option. Parata's come out extremely soft and best when eaten piping hotHave a good rest of the week everyone. [...]

Celebrating 8th Blogversary With Vanilla Almond Biscotti

Mon, 19 May 2014 12:44:22 PDT

Celebrating 8th Blogversary With Vanilla Almond Biscotti Past month was my blog's 8th birthday, quite a milestone I say. Blogging truly changed my world. I remember when I decided to blog it was mostly to chronicle what I ate and this journaling opened up my world to eating better, being conscious about quality of food than quantity, exposed me to people and food around the world and presented me with options of eating healthier and becoming a better person inside out. There is no looking back since then. Blogging also allowed to develop my love for photography and provided an outlet for my creativity. The joy of cooking, composing a picture and posting a blog post is truly gratifying, brings a sense of accomplishment every time single time. There were many a times I was ridiculed for blogging and commented and made fun of, what I realized with my journey of blogging is, it does not matter what others say or the fact they make fun, what matters is are you having fun doing what you like and are you learning something new. Nothing gets me more excited than having a chance to learn something new and over years my worst critiques become my best ones. You just have to stay the course, a life lesson learnt from blogging. As they say when you love what you do it's never work and blogging for me is my space, my escape, my relaxation and my hobby.Wanted to make something special to celebrate blog milestone and here is today's recipe, a direct adaptation from America's Test Kitchen's Almond Biscotti, Recipe is a copy from the original site. You can check out the video here as well.Makes 30 cookiesThe almonds will continue to toast while the biscotti bake, so toast the nuts only until they are just fragrant.INGREDIENTS1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 ounces) whole almonds, lightly toasted1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour2 teaspoons baking powder1/4 teaspoon salt2 large eggs, plus 1 large white beaten with pinch salt1 cup (7 ounces) sugar4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract1/2 teaspoon vanilla extractVegetable oil sprayINSTRUCTIONS1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Using ruler and pencil, draw two 8 by 3-inch rectangles, spaced 4 inches apart, on piece of parchment paper. Grease baking sheet and place parchment on it, ink side down.2. Pulse 1 cup almonds in food processor until coarsely chopped, 8 to 10 pulses; transfer to bowl and set aside. Process remaining 1/4 cup almonds in food processor until finely ground, about 45 seconds. Add flour, baking powder, and salt; process to combine, about 15 seconds. Transfer flour mixture to second bowl. Process 2 eggs in now empty food processor until lightened in color and almost doubled in volume, about 3 minutes. With processor running, slowly add sugar until thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Add melted butter, almond extract, and vanilla and process until combined, about 10 seconds. Transfer egg mixture to medium bowl. Sprinkle half of flour mixture over egg mixture and, using spatula, gently fold until just combined. Add remaining flour mixture and chopped almonds and gently fold until just combined.3. Divide batter in half. Using floured hands, form each half into 8 by 3-inch rectangle, using lines on parchment as guide. Spray each loaf lightly with oil spray. Using rubber spatula lightly coated with oil spray, smooth tops and sides of rectangles. Gently brush tops of loaves with egg white wash. Bake until loaves are golden and just beginning to crack on top, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.4. Let loaves cool on baking s[...]

Of The Mature And Not So Mature - Banana's - Banana Chocolate Bread -Eggless

Wed, 05 Feb 2014 20:14:11 PST

Banana Chocolate BreadNow that football season is over America can take a breather, the emotions, the pent up energy and not to mention all the junk food too. I am a mother of two boys and married to a sports fanatic. Me being me I hate sports, always did. Grew up watching my brothers go crazy over cricket, nothing mattered when there was cricket on TV, the superstitions,  the emotions and the crazy bets. I was always happy reading a book or a magazine in front of the TV while the entire house was glued watching every second of the game with their heart in their hands. Of course I was not all that naive about Cricket, I knew all the good looking cricketers or cricketers dating models etc.. you get the point.Off late with kids growing up I often feel left out of their conversations, unlike before its hard to pick up a book while there is a game on TV and pretend or ignore the conversations. In the car, at the dining table, with friends, the gift they crave everything is about sports. Last few weeks back wanted to surprise both my sons with jerseys of their favorite team, found it so hard to figure out the names of the player whom they like.Just like me I am sure my boys feel the same way, they hate shopping and are never into movies or any of the activities I find interesting . Sometimes I fear this gap getting wider as they age. But just like every other trooper mom I can't give up on finding things to do in common or spend time together. Eventually we found few activities where three of us and some time their dad chimes in too, enjoy. All four of us love going out for hike Sunday morning and breakfast at the local bakery. We paint sometimes together. I have gotten my sons to learn photography and they do an Ok job, the picture above of the Banana's was taken by my younger son. But most importantly realized that kids love to bake. We bake cupcakes, brownies and pizza's. The time spent in the kitchen while baking is precious. Get to hear stories about school, how they fell about things, my assessment report, questions like  how do grades in English matter in life?, etc.. etc.. All in all reminds and restores the faith that the strings that binds us are stronger and goes beyond my liking of sports.Few weeks back a friend of ours introduced us to Banana bread, it has since become an instant favorite and we have been baking Banana bread on a weekly basis. So here goes the recipe.. recipe adapted from here.Ingredients1/2 cup shortening or canola oil, or butter etc. (substitute 1/3c applesauce)1 cup white sugar1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda1 teaspoon salt3 very ripe mashed bananas 1-2 teaspoons pure vanilla1/2  cup chocolate chipsProcess1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). 2. Lightly grease an 8x4 inch loaf pan. (This can be made in any size pan or muffin tins just adjust the baking time)3. In a large bowl, cream the shortening and sugar and add vanilla. 4. Sift in the flour, baking soda and salt. Blend in the mashed bananas. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan.5. Bake in preheated oven for 45~ 60 minutes depending on the size of the container and oven or until it tests done with a toothpick.Banana bread makes for an excellent snack for school or after school treat, goes very well with a hot cup of Chai.Here's to all the moms and to their crazy antiques !!!  [...]

Makara Sankranti Subhakanshalu

Mon, 13 Jan 2014 21:23:47 PST

Wishing all of my readers a very happy Sankranti/Lohri. May the New Year bring in lots of happiness and peace. Growing up Sankranti was one of my favorite, it was time spent at grandparents, time spent with cousins, time spent playing endless hours of cards. Pongal brought festivities lasting for four days, the dressing up, the food and not to mention all the loot in the form of presents. Those were good old times and times that I will cherish forever. Today, thanks to the community I live in, kids get to experience a flavor of the same. My previous blog post about Sankranti in pictures can be found here. Made Sweet Saffron Rice as an offering. There are many flavors of the recipe which include cloves and cinnamon but today my version is the minimalistic few ingredients and cooked slowly with love. This recipe works best with Basmathi rice.Ingredients1 cup Basmathi rice washed and soaked in water for about 10 min2 cups sugar1/2 cup golden raisins1 tbsp. Ghee/ Clarified butterpinch of elachi/Cardamon pods (optional)2 tbsp. of saffron soaked in warm milk or warm water2~3 drops of orange food color2 tbsp. of rose water (optional)1 cup waterProcess1. In a thick bottom pan add two cups of water and then soaked basmathi rice and cook for about 8~10 minutes, till rice is well cooked.2. While the rice is cooking, take a thick bottom pan add sugar and water and allow to boil3. While the sugar syrup is boiling take two table spoons of saffron and allow to dissolve in warm water. Once the color comes out which takes about 2 minutes, add the water to boiling sugar syrup.4. Add elachi and raisins which are sautéed in ghee.5. Add orange color and optionally rose water for additional flavoring.6. Allow sugar syrup to come to boil which is when you see small bubbles around the rim.7. Now add cooked rice to the sugar syrup and cook closed for about 20~25 minutes on slow/medium flame. The rice grain absorbs the sugar and turns yellow.Remove from heat and serve. Can be served both hot and cold.Check out other delicacies for Pongal on my blog here [...]

Aaaaa The New Years Resolutions - Eat Healthy - Stay Healthy

Sun, 05 Jan 2014 17:49:36 PST

"Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual."– Mark TwainIt's start of the year and like many I am on Resolutions high, resolve to exercise regularly, eat healthy and stay healthy. My weight scale is pretty evident of the all the parties, dinners and pigging out that happened for the last few weeks. Its time to cleanse, get organized and get back on track. Weather is the bay area is still very cold, when I say cold I mean by California standards. Cold weather call for warm and comfort food and hence my soup recipe today. Heart, healthy, warm, spicy and delicious.Ingredients1/2 cup broccoli florets1/2 cup cubed yellow carrot1/2 cup cubed red/violet carrots1/2 shredded brussel sprouts1/3 cup frozen red bell pepper ( since I did not have fresh one)1/2 cup shredded leeks1/2 green onion finely chopped1 cup canned white beam1 tbsp of minced garlic1/2 tsp red pepper flakes3 cups of vegetable broth optionally you can add water1/3 tsp of oregano 1/3 tsp paprika1/2 tbsp of pesto 1/3rd cup milk 1 tbsp of olive oil or butterThis soup can be made with your choice of vegetables and dressings, you could use diced potato, shredded cabbage, finely chopped kale/spinach or other green. Recipe is very versatile change it up according to your taste and add your choice of flavorings.Process1. Heat oil/butter in a pot big enough to hold about 5 cups of water, when hot add garlic and crushed pepper flakes and saute for few minutes.2. Now add leeks, carrots, brussel sprouts, bell pepper and all the vegetables along with white beans.3. Fill the pot with either broth or water.4. Add seasonings and salt5. Simmer for about half an hour, mixing in between.6. Check to see if carrots and other vegetables are done.7. Add a tbsp of pesto or any other dressing of your choice and milk as well.8. Allow to cook for about 6 to 8 minutes9. Remove from heat and garnish with Parsley and cilantro.Serve hot with sourdough bread or some croutons.As they say the greatest of the joy comes from the simplest of things. Healthy and simple foods equals healthy mind.Here is wishing everyone a happy and a healthy new year.  [...]

Ending The Year On A Sweet Note- Almond Chocolate Rocca

Tue, 31 Dec 2013 10:29:54 PST

Ending The Year On A Sweet Note- Almond Chocolate Rocca A year has gone by and it sure seemed like a blur. As I reflect on the year that passed by I feel  blessed and contented.This year has been great one, saw my fair share of lows and equal share of highs.If Summer trip to visit my parents and there by visiting Kashmir was a highlight then loosing my grandmother was definitely a big loss and a void that cannot be filled. This year spent time with quality folks both personally and professionally, stayed true to myself and stood up more. Cemented many friendships and let go of few. As the new year approaches I can feel the change in air, next year will be a year of change, a year of new beginnings and a year of promise. Call me OCD but I live by goals and have written up my set of resolutions for the year to come, one of them being staying healthy and exercising.It is only fair that I bid adieu to 2013 on a sweeter note and hence the last post of the year and Almond Rocca.  So here is Almond Chocolate Rocca step by step in pictures. Thanks to a dear friend for inviting me to a baking session and then sharing her recipe. This recipe has been adapted from here.Ingredients:4 oz (1 stick) butter3/4 cup packed brown sugar1 tsp light corn syrup1/4 tsp salt1/2 tsp of Vanilla extract (optional)1.5 cups toasted unsalted whole almonds, coarsely chopped8 oz semi-sweet chocolateStep 1. Prepare an 8x4 loaf pan by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking sprayStep 2. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter.Step 3. Measure 3/4 cups of sugar packed.Step 4. Add the brown sugar, the corn syrup, and the salt, and stir until the brown sugar dissolvesStep 5. Cook on medium till brown sugar dissolves, this is critical for a crunchy caramel toffee, run the spatula through the mixture and you should not find any grainy consistency, that ensures that brown sugar has melted completely. Step 6. Once the brown sugar melts, start your timer and cook the candy for exactly 6 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. If you want to use a candy thermometer, stir and boil the toffee until it reaches 290 degrees F (143 C).Step 7. After six minutes, pull the toffee pan from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of the chopped toasted almonds.Step 8. Scrape the toffee into the prepared loaf pan—it should be in a layer about 1/2-inch thick.Step 9.Let the toffee set for about 3 minutes, then use a pizza cutter or paring knife to cut the toffee into thin bars about 1/2-inch by 2.5-inches. These will look like small pieces, but once they are dipped in chocolate and rolled in nuts, they'll be substantially bigger. After another 2 minutes, go over your cuts again as the toffee continues to harden.Step 10. I wanted my Rocca chunky and homey so made them size of about an inch.Step 11. As you wait for your toffee to set, chop the remaining 1 cup of toasted almonds very finely, or put them in a food processor and pulse for several seconds until they are in very small pieces. Pour the finely chopped almonds into a shallow bowl. Once the toffee is completely cool and set, break it into pieces along the lines you made, and trim off any jagged edges with a knife.Step 12. Melt the chocolate or candy coating. Dip each piece of Almond rocca in the melted chocolate, then place it in the bowl of nuts. Roll it around until it is coated with nuts on all sides, then take it out of the nuts with a fork and place it o[...]

And This Festive Season

Thu, 17 Oct 2013 18:10:33 PDT

It feels really strange to mention Diwali is here, it feels like just yesterday we celebrated and then a year went by. Diwali brings such happiness, joy and lights up our lives. Personally I reflect on the year that passed by and be grateful for all the blessing we have been showered. There are days when I can't stop tears from flowing down my cheeks and then there are days where it's hard to put my feet on the ground. There are days where I long for solitude and then days when I would want to run to the comfort of my mom's lap. Like every year there are ups and there are down and its been a blessing to be on this journey with people whom I love and family and friends whom I can't live without. Past year has been a beautiful journey and a memory and hope the year to come would be the same.This festive season I would like to wish all my family, friends and my readers a season of love & peace.May your hearts be filled with love and tolerance. This also is the time of the year to open our hearts and wallets and be generous to those in need, I am staunch believer in Karma, sow shall you reap has always been my principal and I have experienced it first hand both good and bad. I do believe in the power of giving, giving does not have to be monetary, it could be time and other resources too. Below are few local organizations that have been doing an outstanding work, please click on the links below for additional information.Sankara's Mission:Our mission is to reach out to the rural poor and provide quality eye care free of cost to the needy by building operationally self-sufficient super specialty eye care hospitals across India. Click here for more details.Maitri FoundationHelping Women Help ThemselvesMaitri's Mission statement: Maitri’s mission is three-fold:To help integrate clients into the mainstream of American society, so that they feel comfortable and become full participants in it. Maitri recognizes that the very social and cultural separation or isolation that it’s clients experience contributes largely to their problems, and is a hindrance to their solutions.To focus efforts on supplementing and complementing existing services, not on duplicating them. To this end, Maitri has developed close working relationships with mainstream agencies and organizations, as well as organizations working with similar ethnic groups.To work towards fostering self-reliance and self-confidence in its clients. We believe that a large number of difficulties experienced by Maitri’s clients arise out of a real or perceived situation of dependency. This philosophy is encapsulated in Maitri’s motto of “Helping Women to Help Themselves” and Maitris mission statement:
Maitri believes that the best human relationships are characterized by mutual respect, open communication, and individual empowerment. To that end, Maitri’s activities are designed to help South Asian women make an informed choice of the lives they lead.Maitri currently has a quadruple donation match, best time to stretch those dollars.Asha for EducationAs they say there is no bigger giving than the giving of education.Asha's Mission:Asha for Education is a secular organization dedicated to change in India by focusing on basic education in the belief that education is a critical requisite for socio-economic change.Sanjose Homeless ShelterMay all of you feel generous, now get ready for the next few post on ideas to decorate your homes and [...]

Stir Fried Vegetable Fried Rice - October - Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Wed, 02 Oct 2013 20:27:38 PDT

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same.  For more information click here and information about how you can participate or contribute click hereLast few weeks have been very hectic, between kids activities, work and home hardly have time to breathe. Today's recipe is inspired by my visit to Trader Joe's last weekend. I love Trader Joes PERIOD. The amazing array of ingredients from around the world and reasonable prices make it my first choice for groceries. Every time I walk the aisle there is always something new, get the creative juices flowing and makes want to experiment. So made stir-fried vegetable fried rice, so delicious and healthy that kids asked for seconds and that's a rarity.Makes for about 4 cupsCooking time ~20 minIngredients1 cup of boiled rice-left over rice works even better2 cups frozen stir fry mix from TJ's (contains beans, mushrooms, baby corn, red bell pepper, broccoli,carrot and lotus stems)1/2 cup flavored tofu or firm tofu cut into cubes1/4 cup green onion choppedcouple tbsp fresh minttbsp fresh basil chopped fine1/3 cup coriander chopped fine2 tbsp ginger julienned finely1 garlic chopped fine3 tbsp of Ginger mango chutney from TJ's1/3 cup soy sauce adjust according to tastefresh ground peppersalt according to tasteand pinch of sugar Stir fried vegetable fried riceGinger Mango Chutney - Perfect blend of heat and sweetnessProcess 1. Heat wok and add tbsp of oil and when hot add ginger and garlic and saute for 20~30 seconds2. Now add soy sauce, sugar, salt and allow it cook for few seconds, Soy sauce thickens3. Add all frozen vegetable and tofu and toss till they are well coated with the sauce4. Allow for the vegetables and tofu to cook, takes about 6~7 minutes5. Check for salt and adjust accordingly6. Add rice and all the fresh herbs and saute till well mixed and allow to cook for about 2~3 minutes.7. Garnish with coriander and green onions and serve hot.Makes for comfort food, especially now since evenings are getting cold.Have a fabulous rest of the week, I am looking forward to the festive season and can't wait to celebrate the same with family and friends. [...]

Fall In Love

Fri, 27 Sep 2013 07:58:01 PDT

Fall In LoveMy favorite season of the year is here, can't believe we are on the last leg of this year.  Time to enjoy the spectacular show nature puts on, time for books, boots and some hot cocoa.Few of my favorite pics from Pintrest. So sit back, relax and enjoy... ttttt  Happy Friday and have a relaxed weekend.. [...]