Rosemary Olive Artisan Bread

Rosemary Olive Artisan Bread has a beautiful crust with a chewy inside filled with olives and fresh rosemary.  It is easy to make because there is no kneading required.  The scent and taste of warm bread and the ease of this recipe will want you making this bread over and over again.
Continue reading “Rosemary Olive Artisan Bread”

Beet and Butternut Squash Salad

A perfect combination of fall flavors, this salad is perfect for lunch or as a side for dinner.  Roasted beets and butternut squash are served over peppery arugula, tangy feta cheese, earthy walnuts, sweet pomegranate arils.  Tossed in a maple dressing that is easy to make and shake, this beautiful salad is gluten free and nutrient dense!
Continue reading “Beet and Butternut Squash Salad”

Cranberry Apple Quinoa Salad

This Cranberry Apple Quinoa Salad is filled with bursts of sweetness, texture, and nutrients.  The quinoa soaks up a delicious Maple Dressing and the arugula gives just a hint of a peppery note.  What’s best is it’s great to eat for lunch, or have as a side dish.
Continue reading “Cranberry Apple Quinoa Salad”

Autumn Squash Soup

Creamy and nourishing, this delicious Autumn Squash Soup is just perfect for a cozy dinner at home during these cold days.  This soup is a spin off of Panera’s Autumn Squash Soup without the extra calories.  But don’t worry!  It still tastes amazing and just like Panera’s.  The best part is that whilst you make this delicious soup, your home is going to smell like fall.  Can it get any better?
Continue reading “Autumn Squash Soup”

Nankhatai Bars

Crispy exterior with a soft interior made with ghee, thandai masala, sugar, and a little bit of milk.  Nankhatai is a traditional Indian cookie similar in texture to shortbread.  There are many variations of flavors and flours used based on where in India you are eating this delicious cookie.
Continue reading “Nankhatai Bars”

Sarson da Saag, Makki di Roti

**Note: Original post created Jul 2017.  Updated October 2021**

The first time I was introduced to this traditional Punjabi meal was during my wedding planning. My husband and in-laws requested that this be on the menu somewhere. I didn’t understand what it was or the goodness of it until quite a bit later (much later than my wedding). Of course, during my wedding, I didn’t remember eating or tasting anything with so much going on. After I got married, I remember my mother-in-law making it a few times for my husband and seeing the pure joy on his face as he ate the Saag and Roti. I felt, wow, such a simple meal (for Indian food) and yet it brings him so much happiness. Of course I decided to try it out on my own.

I am always told, even to this day, how this is supposed to be a really hard recipe to master. I’m definitely not making it the way my mother-in-law does, but my shortcut recipe has managed to impress her, my husband and my daughter! As they say, a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I’m already in my hubby’s heart, but this is one recipe that guarantees a spot for any of you out there looking to impress your significant other.

Sarson da Saag is basically a vegetable dish made of Mustard Greens. It is very earthy in taste and rich not only in flavor but nutrients also. Mustard Greens provide an abundance of potassium and Vitamins K, A, C, and E. Traditionally, it is cooked in water and hand churned until you get the creamy, buttery consistency. If I had the time, I might try it. But since I don’t, I obviously created a shortcut (my handy dandy blender). Try it out and tell me what you think:

20170630_131629

The saag tastes great on its own, but man does it just go a whole other level with Makki di Roti. Makki di Roti is basically corn bread. It’s not your traditional Roti that is usually soft and pliable. This is a bit thicker and can hold all that saag without getting the roti soggy. One more thing – Makki di Roti is typically made by flattening the dough between the palms. I am using a different technique by placing the dough in between a ziploc bag and rolling it out with a rolling pin. This just works better for me.

20170704_185922

20170704_190032

20170704_190323

Looking for more Indian recipes?  Check out some of these:
Sprouted Moong Beans Sabzi Gujarati Style
Instant Pot Rajma (Kidney Beans)
Methi Thepla
Instant Pot Kali Dal
Avocado Roti

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Quinoa Fiesta Salad

Fresh and beautiful veggies from across the rainbow to make amazing salads are my favorite.  This Quinoa Fiesta Salad is one of my family’s favorites.  As a mom, it makes me happy that the girls are getting so much nutrition in one bowl.  The kids look at the colors and get excited to eat a rainbow and I love that they are enjoying fresh and healthy ingredients!

This salad does triple duty which I love.  A dish which becomes a meatless entree can also serve as a side dish or a salad depending on my mood.  The cherry on top of this recipe is that it takes less than 30 minutes to make and is very forgiving if you need to substitute or leave out ingredients.

HOW DO I MAKE A QUINOA FIESTA SALAD?

1.  Cook the quinoa.  While the quinoa is cooking, you can get the dressing and your other ingredients ready!
2.  Make the Cilantro Lime Dressing.  I love this dressing because it is so light.  If you choose to leave it out as I do for my girls, simply replace it with a drizzle of Olive Oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
3. Combine all of your ingredients in a large bowl and toss well to mix.
4.  Enjoy and get addicted to this salad as much as my family and I are!


Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Crispy Goat Cheese Salad with Arugula and Figs

Fresh, peppery arugula topped with golden, crispy goat’s cheese medallions and paired with sweet figs all pulled together with a drizzle of olive oil.  This salad seems like it is so simple but the layers of flavors combined with the comforting, warm goat cheese are the ideal salad either as an entree or a side to any dinner.
Continue reading “Crispy Goat Cheese Salad with Arugula and Figs”

Sweet Potato and Beet Hash with Fried Eggs

**Original post published Nov. 2020.  Updated Aug. 2021**

A couple of months ago, I won our local Farmer’s Market cooking competition and part of my prize was a big box of fresh goodies from the market.  I don’t know if I’ve ever been so excited to get fresh veggies and fruits!   I honestly felt like a contestant on Chopped from The Food Network in that I wanted to use all of my produce and come up with a delicious dish.

Well, considering there were so much produce, I’m not sure I would be able to eat more than 3 bites of any dish made from all of the veggies and fruits!  One of my favorites in that box was the beet greens with their beautiful red stems.  I’ve had quite a few people ask me what I use them for and what they can cook out of them.  A definite go to are to cook them down like collard greens but I wanted to do something more creative and decided to add the beet greens to a hash and topping it with an egg made it the perfect breakfast for a busy day or a big, healthy lunch bowl.

The vibrant orange and red colors of the root veggies as they are being cooked, the bold green of the beets…..eeek!  I’m salivating just thinking about this recipe.   The best part is all the nutrition you get in this sustainable hash:

  • high in dietary fiber
  • high in folate
  • good source of potassium
  • good source of non-dairy calcium (the beet greens are)
  • great source of B-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin (these flavonoids have strong anti-cancer and antioxidant properties)


Topping this hash with a fried or hard boiled egg adds a little extra protein though to keep it vegetarian/vegan, you can always replace the egg with a grilled tofu steak.

From my kitchen to yours, enjoy this delicious and healthy Sweet Potato and Beet Hash!

Grilled Eggplant Sandwich with a Basil Pistachio Pesto

This eggplant sandwich has it all.  Earthy spices rubbed onto grilled veggies that have just a hint of a smoky flavor, fresh mozzarella melted just enough from the heat of the veggies.  Oh, you can’t forget the rustic basil pistachio pesto that brightens up the whole sandwich in each bite.
Continue reading “Grilled Eggplant Sandwich with a Basil Pistachio Pesto”

Secret Ingredient Brownie Bites

Back to school is all I can think of at the moment.  We’ve made it through the first week successfully so this week, we are adding a challenge – soccer practice.  I’ve got two schools in opposite directions of each other, different timings for both kids, and now practice days.  I’m definitely going to need as many snacks with me as possible.  Easy to eat snacks and as healthy-ish as I can make them for my picky eaters are what I’m looking for.

These secret ingredient brownies are the perfect solution because the girls can’t taste or guess the secret ingredient!  But the girls did approve of them and that is all I need to keep making deceptively delicious foods.  Well, what is the secret ingredient you ask?  BLACK BEANS!  So when I first told the husband about my idea, he was very skeptical.  He loved the black beans idea just wasn’t sure about adding it to a dessert.

But it works!  You can’t taste the black beans at all, courtesy of my blender.  And the addition of the beans gives the brownies a truffle-like consistency.  They also remove the necessity of using flour so these become gluten free!  My favorite part is that I can make these brownie bites in less than 15 minutes!  Yep, ever heard of a baked dessert ready to eat within 15 minutes?  It’s right here and it tastes delicious.

I wouldn’t count this as a healthy food but it is a good option to straight sweets.  I won’t be making them all the time but often enough to get the girls moving.  Make sure to pack one of these delicious brownie bites in your child’s lunch bag!

Here are the tools I used to make this recipe:

For more snack ideas, check out these recipes:
Popeye Muffins
Almond Cacao Energy Bites
Simple Homemade Crunchy Granola
Lemon Blueberry Mini Loaves

 

Back to School Dinners Made Easy

My oldest is going off to 1st Grade on Tuesday.  I still can’t get over the fact that she is in grade school.  When did she grow up?  The school season starting also means sports, after school activities, homework, loads of laundry, and the list goes on.  As much as I love cooking, on many of these nights, I’ll be looking for a nutritious but quick meal.  And definitely meals that the kiddos are going to eat.  I’ve compiled below some of our favorite family approved recipes.  The best is that most of these take about 30 minutes to prepare so you can focus on homework, preparing lunch for the next day or spending time with your family.

Click on the recipe title below each image to get the recipes!


Sausage & Zucchini Linguini


Easy Chicken Ramen with GF Noodles


Skinny Skillet Veggie Enchiladas 


Chickpea and Tomato Soup


Ratatouille


Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad


Middle Eastern Vegan Protein Bowl


Sprouted Moong Beans Sabzi Gujarati Style


Brussels Sprouts Grain Bowl


Springtime Lentil Salad


One Pan Baked Salmon and Rainbow Veggies


Italian Stuffed Artichoke with a Garlic Cayenne Dip


Citrus Herb Salmon with a Mango Pico and Cilantro Lime Rice


Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas Curry


Pineapple Fried Rice


Spinach Dal

Back to School Breakfast on the Go!

Summer is practically over in less than a week for us.  I’m going to miss the lazy mornings, the relaxed schedules, and eating pancakes and french toast for breakfast.  I’m looking forward to having a regular schedule in the mornings but planning them out will take some effort.

If you are looking for easy and healthy breakfasts then you’re in the right place!  I’ve compiled some of our favorite breakfast recipes below.  There are several chia pudding recipes as that has become a family favorite lately.  Others, like the Apple Pie Oatmeal takes 3 minutes in the Instant Pot.  I also like to make Almond Butter Breakfast Bars and Breakfast Oat Muffins over the weekend for on the go days.

If you want to see certain recipes on the blog, leave a comment below.  I would love to create recipes for you!


Almond Coconut Porridge  


Breakfast Soufflé Bites


Breakfast Oat Muffins


Apple Pie Oatmeal


How to make a Nutty Granola


Almond Butter Breakfast Bars


Pomegranate Pistachio Chia Pudding


Fig and Chia Pudding Parfait


Avocado Banana Smoothie


Date Smoothie

Back to School Lunch Ideas

Last year, I had this beautiful plan of meal planning and prepping during the school week.  The goal – to provide as many nutritious and yummy meals as I possibly could for the family.  By May, I gave in to grilled cheese and mac and cheese being on the weekly rotation too often.  I did have a great run of healthy meals most of the year though which empowers me to write another Back to School blog post.  Continue reading “Back to School Lunch Ideas”

How to Cook Brown Rice

When I first started making brown rice, I was a bit intimidated.  I can cook Basmati rice with my eyes closed but when it comes to brown rice, the ratio to water is different, cook time is different, and sometimes, there is a chewy bite to brown rice.  I felt so out of my element.

I have tried multiple ways to cook brown rice and this recipe has become my fail-proof method.  Even better, I’ve nailed both stove top and Instant Pot methods so you can choose what works for you.

Having rice in the fridge has helped me on numerous occasions.  I can use it to make Pineapple Fried Rice, serve it on the side with a salmon, serve it up with lentils and so much more.

WHAT IS BROWN RICE?
Brown rice is actually rice with the hull still on it making it a whole grain.  The germ and bran are in there too which gives it a chewy texture and nutty flavor.  Because brown rice has the hull, germ, and bran, it takes longer to cook.

BE PATIENT
Trust me.  I feel like I’m constantly on the go, but this one recipe will make you stop and smell the roses.  And it’s worth it.  All you have to do is keep the cover on the saucepan and not mess with it.  Once it’s done cooking, let it rest.  Just like all meats, rice also wants a little rest after spending all that time cooking to perfection.  The additional 5 minutes of steam will make the rice fluffy and soft.

*Pro Tip: Start your rice first then work on dinner.  Your rice will cook in the background while you get everything else done and not have to wait much.

HOW DO I SERVE BROWN RICE?
So many options!  Try one of the following:
Citrus Herb Salmon with a Mango Pico and Cilantro Lime Rice
Pineapple Fried Rice
Zucchini Moong Dal
Mahi Mahi with Garlic Lemon Sauce
Instant Pot Rajma (Kidney Beans)
Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas Curry

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Citrus Herb Salmon with a Mango Pico and Cilantro Lime Rice

It doesn’t get any tastier (or easier) than this delicious Citrus Herb Salmon topped with a sweet and spicy Mango Pico on a bed of Cilantro Lime Brown Rice.  Ready in 30 minutes (yep, even the brown rice), this is the perfect healthy meal to serve your family.  Continue reading “Citrus Herb Salmon with a Mango Pico and Cilantro Lime Rice”

Mini Upside Down Spiced Peach Cakes

Sweet and juicy peaches combined with warm spices in this moist and tender cake is the perfect end to your summer dinner parties.  Peach Season is upon us and these delicious upside down peach cakes are the perfect bite sized desserts for your party!

Whenever it is peach season during the summer, I tend to over buy fruits that are limited and that I’m addicted to.  Mangoes, figs, peaches are just a few on that list.  I love my fruit; raw and in its many infinite forms that I give them.  Last year, I was campaigning Grilled Peach Salsa because grilled peaches are just a summertime necessity during a BBQ.  Upcycling grilled peaches into a salsa was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

This year, I decided to move away from grilling and try something different.  I took the original idea of upside down pineapple cake and changed it around (mostly because our pineapple ended up as fried rice!).  But I also changed up the traditional upside down cake just a little.  At the bottom of the cupcake tin, I placed butter cubes and some brown sugar to give it a caramelized flavor then I lined the peach slices on the sides to keep their integrity of a peach and still be part of this upside down cake.

Every single bite has a juicy peach flavor because there are chunks of peaches hidden in the cake!  And for the best peaches, head to your local farmer’s market.  I bet you will be able to find fresh, organic, and juicy peaches.  I’ll use the ones from the store if I miss the market but they tend to be underripe and I have to wait a few days to make sure they are perfectly ripe for me to eat or even use in recipes.

Many people are unsure of the skin – should you keep it on or peel it off?  I prefer to keep the skin on.  It doesn’t change the flavor or the integrity of the peaches but you do get to keep all of the fiber that the skin gives.

I hope you enjoy these delicious Mini Upside Down Spiced Peach Cakes as much as we did!

Looking for more delicious recipes?  Check out these:
Grilled Pineapple Peach Salsa
Grilled Avocado and Peach Salad
Fig and Pistachio Tartlets
Mango Coconut Panna Cotta Tart
Thandai Infused Rainbow Crème Brûlée (Vegan)

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Zucchini Moong Dal

As I raise my girls, it has become very important to me that they keep connected to their roots and one of the ways I do this is through food.  Lucky for me, they both love the typical comfort food fare of “Dal Chawal” or Lentils and Rice.  A twist on the traditional Moong Dal Fry, this recipe adds zucchini and is low in calorie but nutrient dense.

Ready in just 15 minutes, this has become my latest go to recipe when I’m tight on time.  Because moong dal cooks very quickly, I don’t soak them for more than 20 minutes.

Nutrition is also very important when I’m serving this dish as a main meal to the girls, and this dish doesn’t disappoint.
1 cup of zucchini moong dal gives you:

  • 156 kcal
  • 8.7 gm protein
  • 7 gm fiber


As to cooking it over the stove versus the instant pot, traditionally, the dal was boiled first then added to the spices.  I love just using one pot to make the whole dish so I usually add the uncooked dal into the spices/gravy mix then cook it in the instant pot.

I hope you get a chance to try out this delicious recipe and enjoy it as much as my family does.

Looking for more lentil/dal recipes?  I’ve got you covered.  Check out some of these amazing dishes:
Sprouted Moong Beans Sabzi Gujarati Style
Spinach Dal 
Instant Pot Kali Dal 
Adai Waffles / Lentil Waffles

Here are the tools I used for this recipe: