Date Smoothie

A DECADENT Date Smoothie that is creamy, healthy, naturally sweetened and vegan!
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One Pan Baked Salmon and Rainbow Veggies

This one pan salmon is perfect for a busy weeknight meal.  Ready in 15 minutes, it’s a nutritious meal the whole family will enjoy!

I love the idea of using just one pot or a pan.  Not only is cleanup easy but you don’t spend forever in the kitchen cooking after a long hard day of work.  Don’t get me wrong, the kitchen is my happy place.  But weeknights are crazy when the kids are hungry and don’t have the patience to wait for me to cook an elaborate dinner.

My favorite part is that the girls eat the rainbow veggies I add on the side.  The colors look so pretty and the girls love their rainbows as much as I do.  Chopping the veggies and seasoning them doesn’t take very long and adding that glaze on the salmon with a little honey and mustard mix is perfect to brighten up the salmon.

I kept the seasoning for the veggies pretty simple – salt, pepper, and a little dried oregano.  Why?  Because I want the salmon to shine too.  The veggies have their color that attracts you to them so the salmon should have something too, right?  The glaze is very easy to make.  Just mix a little dijon mustard, honey, garlic, and of course fresh squeezed lemon juice.  Brush it on to the salmon and voila!  All that is left to do is bake!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this easy and delicious One Pan Salmon with Rainbow Veggies!

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Thandai Infused Rainbow Crème Brûlée (Vegan)

A creamy, rich, aromatic custard with a beautiful caramelized crust that is unbelievably easy to make.  This Thandai Infused Crème Brûlée is a twist on the classic French dessert by using coconut cream and coconut milk making it vegan and gluten-free.

Holi has always been one of my favorite Indian festivals.  The colors, the food, the fun.  What makes it even more special is that 8 years ago, my husband bent down on one knee in the middle of a very public festival (the organizers were in on it as were our siblings and friends) and everyone (about at least 100 people) stopped playing to watch him ask me to marry him.  I will always treasure that moment.

So for this Holi, I decided to do a fun fusion in honor of my very special husband.  His favorite dessert is crème brûlée.  What better way than to infuse a Holi special drink of Thandai and combine my two favorite events together?  Honestly, it tastes SO YUM that I had to stop myself from “tasting” the custard before it set.

WHAT DO I NEED FOR A VEGAN CREME BRULEE?

Full-fat Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream – this is important to give the custard it’s rich creamy texture.
Arrowroot Powder – this acts as a thickening agent.
Agave – for that hint of sweet
Thandai Masala – this is going to lend that brilliant aromatic and floral flavor to the custard
Saffron – for a beautiful golden color
Vanilla Extract
Almond Milk
Sugar
Rainbow Sprinkles – optional but I love how the colors brighten up the dessert
Salt

THREE IMPORTANT STEPS TO A PERFECT THANDAI INFUSED CREME BRULEE

1. Infusing the thandai masala.  This is important to get that flavor in there.  The longer you infuse, the better the end result will be.

2. Blending all of the ingredients.  This is extremely important because the arrowroot powder can clump and that would ruin the whole dessert.  When you blend it into a smooth liquid, you end up with a rich, silky dessert.

3. Once it’s blended, whisk the mixture on the stove constantly to prevent it clumping and/or burning until you get your custard consistency.

THE CHERRY SUGAR ON TOP
How can I possibly leave this part out?  This is my favorite part.  I used cane sugar to layer on top of the custard but for my Holi special, I used colored sugar and dusted the caramelized sugar to symbolize the fun of Holi.  Take a blowtorch and carefully caramelize the sugar.  If you don’t have a blowtorch – don’t worry!  I’ve included directions in the recipe card to caramelize the sugar using a broiler.  Reminder – the top won’t be as crunchy using the broiler setting but it will do the trick to caramelize your sugar.

This recipe is perfect for Holi, Diwali, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, or pretty much any occasion you want to celebrate.  I might even make this again for our next date night.  Feel free to add berries.  I chose not to this time because I wanted the colors to shine.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!  Feel free to follow and share comments on my Instagram and Facebook pages!  I would love to hear your thoughts!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this decadent THANDAI INFUSED RAINBOW CREME BRULEE!

Here are the tools that I used for this recipe:

**Note: The ramekins I used are passed on to me from a family member but the ones I’ve featured in the tools list are the closest in size and shape to the ones that I used.

Simple Homemade Crunchy Granola

Sweet, crunchy, nutty, and deliciously addicting!  This Crunchy Granola has it all and it is so quick and easy to make!  Add it to your yogurt, cereal or eat it for a snack.  It also makes a great gift!

I’ve got this friend Michelle.  She is one the most amazing moms I know.  She and I are workout buddies, lunch wine partners, we turn to each other when our children worry or frustrate us, and she’s who I bounce my recipes off of all the time.  Between our busy schedules, toddler/kid tantrums, and crazy lives whilst dealing with Covid, somehow we always find time to talk about food.

Whether we discuss what’s for dinner, ordering out, trying to find ways to get our kids to eat breakfast in a decent amount of time that is faster than a snail’s pace, food always makes its way into our daily conversations.

Several years ago, I had hosted an Easter Egg hunt and brunch potluck.  Michelle was kind enough to volunteer to make some granola.  Before this, I never thought to make granola at home, we always bought it.  Man it was good.

At that time, my oldest was not really fond of eating granola.  At another time, we were invited over to their place for brunch and sure enough there was granola.  Michelle’s daughter Eleanor called it crunch-crunch and of course, in toddler language, that was good enough for Sanaya to start eating granola.

This crunchy granola recipe is in honor of Michelle and Eleanor who introduced homemade granola to my family after which we have never turned back to store bought.  It is especially a nod of thank you and love to Eleanor’s love of crunch-crunch.

WHAT MAKES THIS GRANOLA SO CRUNCHY?
I’ve recently learned a secret during my experiments in the kitchen.  If I melt the maple syrup and olive oil together for a couple of minutes.  Once I’ve added this to the granola mix and it starts to cool down, the maple syrup starts to coagulate.  As this heats and cools during the baking process, it will help the granola harden into one large chunk which you can then break into pieces.

WHAT MAKES THIS SO SPECIAL?
The simplicity of this granola I think is what I love best.  It literally takes me 3 minutes to combine all the dry ingredients, another 3 minutes to heat up the syrup and oil and add it to the granola mix.  After that, basically a waiting game for the granola to cook and cool down enough so we all can eat it without burning our mouths.

I always use coconut in my granola – it’s a staple I don’t think I can live without in my granola.  As for the nuts, I chose to use almond slivers and pistachios.  I kept the pistachios whole for an added crunch and they taste SO good roasted.  You can easily give them a rough chop if you have little ones who are not able to have whole nuts just yet.

Well… what are you waiting for?  Go ahead.  Try this recipe and get hooked like we have!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this deliciously Simple Homemade Crunchy Granola.

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Roasted Rainbow Veggies

Roasting vegetables is one of my favorite ways to eat any vegetable.  Having several different colors and cooking them together is the best in my book!  You get plenty of vitamins and minerals and the different colors are just so pretty to look at!  These Roasted Rainbow Veggies are the perfect way to serve your veggies for adults and kids, making them fun, easy, and healthy.

Rainbows have always been popular in our home,  with me always telling my girls to eat their colors and the girls loving anything to do with rainbows, unicorns, and princesses.  Roasting the veggies in a rainbow on a sheet pan is about the easiest recipe I have ever made.  The vast array of vitamins and minerals that we get to eat with our dinner makes this one of my healthiest recipes.

For my colors, I chose beets, carrots, yellow squash, asparagus, and purple potato.  You don’t have to stick to those same colors.  Honestly, go for what you find in your fridge.  Here are a few ideas to get you started for your own Roasted Rainbow Veggies:

RED: beets, tomatoes, red bell pepper
ORANGE: carrots, butternut squash, acorn squash, pumpkin
YELLOW: yellow squash, yellow bell pepper, golden beets, yellow onions
GREEN: zucchini, broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts
BLUE/PURPLE: purple sweet potatoes, purple carrots, eggplant, purple onions

So now that you have options, how do you make your own Roasted Rainbow Veggies?  All you need is a good chopping board, a sharp knife, and a sheet pan.  As to the flavors, my standard is to add a little dried oregano for taste with salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes (times do vary based on the type of veggies you choose), and serve it up with any dinner.

I can’t wait to see what veggies you chose to make your rainbow.  Be sure to let me know in the comments or tag me on Instagram or Facebook!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy these quick, delicious, and healthy Roasted Rainbow Veggies!

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Pistachio Pudding Bundt Cake

Soft, moist, light, creamy, and a little crunchy, this pistachio cake has it all!  Fresh ground pistachios in the cake with some more drizzled over the top gives it a perfect crunch.

I’ve made this delicious cake several times but every time, we dig in right away and never get a chance to photograph it.  With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, I knew I wanted to make it again…. I just needed to make it at 6:30am so that I would actually be able to take photos to share with all of you.

The pudding mix makes this cake really moist which I love.  Add to that the fresh pistachios and the almond extract which enhances the nutty flavor, you just may become addicted to this cake like we have.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Pistachio Pudding Bundt Cake!

Here are the tools I used to make this recipe:

 

Thandai Masala

When I was about 13, I had gone to India to visit family and it happened to be around the time of MahaShivratri.  Thandai is a popular beverage to have during Shivratri and Holi and I remember having many glasses of this delectable drink during my visit.  Not only does Thandai taste delicious, it also has many health benefits.  One of the main ones being it’s a cooling agent for your body and therefore, mostly drunk during the summer months.

WHAT IS THANDAI MASALA MADE OF?
The masala or powder itself is made of cashews, almonds, pistachios, cardamom, black peppercorn, melon seeds, fennel seeds, poppy seeds, saffron, and dried rose petals.  To save time, I grind all of the ingredients into a powder and save it in an airtight container to use when I’m in the mood to drink some Thandai.

WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS?
Yep.  There are so many health benefits to drinking this wonderful Thandai.  Did you know that it is more often made and drunk during the summer months because the ingredients help cool the body temp down?  There’s more!  Take a look:

  • Poppy seeds which are rich in protein, fiber, calcium, and mineral that help boost the immune system, also help GI irritation, and prevent constipation.
  • Melon or Pumpkin seeds which are added help keep the body temp cool, and these seeds are natural energizers.
  • Peppercorns help boost immunity
  • Cardamom helps fight off infection, detoxifies the body, and is a great source to fight against nausea and vomiting

Now that you have your powder made, it’s just as easy to make the Thandai drink.  Take a glass of milk, add 1 Tbsp of the masala to it and some sweetener if you choose.  Heat it in a pan and make sure everything is combined.  Strain into a mug and drink it warm or cold.  Both ways taste delicious.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Thandai Masala.

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Springtime Lentil Salad

Spring is almost here.  I can feel it in the air and I’m so excited!  It’s one of my favorite seasons when all the flowers bloom, the grass is luscious green, and the weather is perfect!  This amazing lentil salad is a nod to that feeling and to welcome spring in my life because I cannot wait a moment longer.

Perfectly cooked, tender lentils, crisp and juicy bell peppers, fresh mint, sweet pomegranates, sharp onions, the crunchy cucumbers all drizzled with a fresh basil vinaigrette.  How can you say no to that?  While the lentils are cooking, you can chop the veggies and make the vinaigrette so all you have to do is toss the salad together when the lentils are done.  Make this on the weekend as part of your meal prep, have it for lunch, or even serve it for dinner as a side.  It’s so versatile, quick, easy, and delicious.

Not only does this wonderful lentil salad taste good and is quick to make, it is packed with protein and nutrients.  Check it out:

  • Great source of protein – 13 gm per serving
  • 23% DRI of Fiber
  • 30% DRI of Iron
  • 24% DRI of Phosphorous
  • 77% DRI of Vit. C
  • 127% DRI of Folic Acid
  • 60% DRI of Vit. K

In addition to how nutrient dense this salad is and delicious it is to gobble up, I love how versatile it is.  Add in some goat cheese for a little decadence, change out the mint to parsley if the mint is too strong for you, add in a few more veggies for more crunch or even toss in some nuts if you please.

So… try out this delicious Springtime Lentil Salad and welcome the new season with me!

Here are the tools I used to make this recipe:

 

Brussels Sprouts Grain Bowl

If you have been following me then you know how much I love my bowls.  Experimenting with different flavor profiles, playing around with new dressings, and oftentimes using whatever vegetables are left in the fridge waiting to be saved from their last moments are the best part of creating my new bowl.

My brussels sprouts were facing a similar fate as mentioned above.  I had enough left that I could create a whole new dish with just them, but so few that I didn’t want to waste them either.  Grain bowls are perfect for these types of situations especially if you are using a variety of different ingredients.

This one turned out so delicious that I actually went out and bought more brussels sprouts even though I am trying to move on to spring veggies!  We’ve now had this bowl 4 times in the last 2 weeks and no one in my household minds – in fact, they love it !

I added in some sweet potato for a little starch, sweetness, and fiber, and avocado for protein.  As for the dressing, keeping it simple was the best route.  I made a honey dijon dressing that worked wonders.  The tang from the dijon and the sweet honey are a perfect balance to the bowl.

So…what are you waiting for?  Try this delicious Brussels Sprouts Grain Bowl and become a fan too!

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Sprouted Moong Beans Sabzi Gujarati Style

Growing up, my Mom would make these sprouted moong beans for dinner often.  I remember my brother and I were not big fans and would hate eating them.  Now that I’m an adult, maybe a switch has flipped?  I don’t know but I definitely love this recipe and could easily eat this dish 2-3 times a week.  Thanks Mom!

WHAT ARE SPROUTED MOONG BEANS?
Sprouted moong beans are basically moong beans that have been soaked in water then left in a warm place to germinate.  They are very popular in Indian and Pakistani cooking though many people across the globe are starting to embrace this food more and more.
Some of the more popular ways to eat sprouted moong beans is to add them in to salads and sandwiches, however, some of the more traditional ways to make them is to make a curry, a sabzi, and even dosas out of these delicious babies.

WHY SHOULD I EAT SPROUTED MOONG BEANS?
Because they are a powerhouse of nutrients.  These legumes are one of the best sources of plant based protein providing ~14gm in 1 cup cooked.  Take a look at some of these other benefits:

  • Fiber: 15.4 grams
  • Folate (B9): 80% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Manganese: 30% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 24% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B1: 22% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 20% of the RDI
  • Iron: 16% of the RDI
  • Copper: 16% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 15% of the RDI
  • Zinc: 11% of the RDI

WHERE CAN I GET SPROUTED MOONG BEANS?
Moong Beans are easy to sprout at home (I love this method provided by Piping Pot Curry) or you can find them at your local Indian or Asian grocery store.

So now that you know what I know about these delicious and nutritious legumes, let me tell you how to make them.  This particular recipe is my mom’s (I’ve not made a single change to it because it’s so perfect the way it is!) and I love the simplicity of it as it carries a depth of flavor too.

There are two methods of making this dish.  One is in the instant pot and the other over the stove.  I’ve given both versions in the recipe card below so feel free to try both to see which you prefer!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy these Sprouted Moong Beans as much as we do!

Here are the tools I used to make this recipe:

 

Apple Pie Bread

A little variation on banana bread, I added in some sweet apples, lots of cinnamon (as requested by my little ones), just a hint of nutmeg, and a streusel topping to finish it off is the perfect afternoon snack.  (Spoiler Alert:  It doesn’t last more than a day – maybe two – in our house.  It flies so quickly!)

I first made this loaf to take as a treat with me when I took the girls hiking last month.  We did almost 4 miles with quite an uphill so I was proud of my littles ones who not only trekked without a single complaint, they also put up with me while I took pics of them with cows in the background as they thought their Mom was crazy!

Let me get back on track though and tell you a little more about this delicious loaf!  The base recipe is similar to that of a banana bread but I wanted it a little more moist to balance the addition of spices so I added in a bit of yogurt.  The sweetness of ripe bananas and the warm spices to give a hint of apple pie is so amazing of a combination.  Who says you can only have apple pie in the fall?!

This recipe makes enough for two large loaves or 4 minis.  I’ve made both depending on what occasion I’m using these.  I love the minis for gifts or travel (the hike was a perfect example) and the large loaves I’ll use to pack in lunches, give as an afternoon snack, or even with breakfast on the weekends.

Here are a few other loaves to check out:
Spiced Pear Loaf
Pumpkin Bread
Zucchini Bread
Lemon Blueberry Mini Loaves

Can you tell we love fruity loaves in this house?!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy eating this Apple Pie Bread.

Mahi Mahi with Garlic Lemon Sauce

If I gave my youngest Fish and Couscous everyday for the rest of her life, I wouldn’t hear a single complaint.  She loves it that much and we usually have it on the menu biweekly.  The Garlic Lemon Sauce is absolutely finger licking delicious!  Paired with a flaky and tender Mahi Mahi, well, you will also be adding this fish to your rotation.

Everyone says eating fish is healthy and to incorporate it more in your diet.  But why?  Here are few good reasons why:

  • Fish are high in Omega-3 fatty acids which help lower cholesterol and heart disease
  • Rich in Iron
  • Rich in Vit. B which promotes healthy brain function
  • Rich in Potassium which promotes a healthy heart


Fish can be tricky to cook sometimes because it is very easy to overcook leading to a tough meat (trust me, I’ve done this on many occasions).  A few tricks I rely on to serve the best flaky fish are:

  • Be sure your filtes are about 6-7oz each, with at least 1-inch thickness. If your portions are thin or too small, they’ll tend to overcook.
  • Always pat dry excess moisture from the fish; this step is super important, as it affects how well your fish will brown. A paper towel works wonders
  • Buy fresh or quick-frozen, high quality fish… wild is best, and will provide best flavor.

Don’t know what to serve your delicious Mahi Mahi with?  Check out some of these dishes:
Quinoa, Brown Rice and Black Beans
Fresco Carpaccio

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Mahi Mahi with Lemon Garlic Sauce!

Here are the tools I used:

Popeye Muffins Yum

**Updated Feb 2021.  Originally published May 2020**

Popeye muffins are one of the girls’ favorites.  I started making these when the girls were too young to eat leafy greens but old enough to eat more than pureed meals.  They were an instant hit then, and luckily they still are now.  Vibrant green, sweet and soft…. you can’t go wrong with these!

Continue reading “Popeye Muffins Yum

Carrot turmeric ginger soup

I love this soup so much for it’s taste and nutrients! For me, soups and stews are the most perfect rainy day, winter foods. They are comforting, easy to make, and give you the perfect warmth on a cold day.

This particular soup is a favorite of mine because it has hints of spice from the ginger and black pepper, hints of sweetness from the carrots and plenty of nutrition from all three main ingredients! Very rarely have I had fresh turmeric root, usually I use the turmeric powder in all of my foods so this was a fun way to use fresh root and get a stronger flavor in. The depth it adds with the combination of carrot and ginger is just amazing!

Check out these amazing health benefits you get from eating the Carrot Turmeric Ginger soup! I love when I can eat a food that is delicious and nutritious for you!

Health Benefits of Ginger

The benefits of ginger are amazing! Many people know that ginger is a great aid in digestion and helps nausea, but did you know:

  • Drinking ginger water can aid in weight loss
  • Has powerful anti-diabetic properties
  • Can help lower cholesterol levels
  • Helps improve brain function
  • Helps fight against infections


Turmeric Health Benefits

  • Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric that triggers the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects. Curcumin is not easily absorbed in the body and requires black pepper or cocoa powder to help the body absorb the curcumin to utilize the full effects of turmeric
  • Curcumin is linked to improved brain function and lower risk of brain disease
  • Curcumin also helps lower heart disease


How can I leave behind my Carrots?

  • They’re good for your eyes (I think everyone knows this one!)
  • High in antioxidants that help lower risk against cancer
  • The potassium in carrots can help keep your blood pressure in check in turn helping your heart stay healthy
  • High in fiber which aids in digestion
  • High in Vit. C which helps boost your immune system


Ok, I know I’ve been going on and on about how healthy this soup is, but really, it is! And so flavorful with the combination of carrots, ginger, turmeric, and even some onions in there. The hint of cinnamon adds the ultimate warmth this soup can provide on a cold and bitter winter day!

So what are you waiting for?! Try it out and tell me what you think!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Carrot Turmeric Ginger Soup!


Here are the tools that I used to make this recipe:

 

Rose Pistachio Ice Cream

Who doesn’t love ice cream?  And this delicious and timeless combination is perfect to surprise your significant other or loved ones for a great Valentine’s day (or any special day) dessert.

It’s luscious, creamy, tasty, and has this gorgeous pink hue from the rose syrup that is so pretty! The best part, I didn’t have to cook it and I spent less than 10 minutes making it!  The hardest part was waiting for the ice cream to set!

Pistachios are an evergreen favorite of mine.  I add it to anything I can and pistachio ice cream is a favorite of mine.  For Valentine’s Day, I wanted to add a little symbol of love to this recipe and what beats roses for love day?  As I experimented, the addition of rose syrup was a given but I played around with rose water also because while the syrups lends a sweetness and a beautiful pink color, the rose water is where the aroma comes in.  That beautiful, sweet rose flavor makes me think of flowers in the house!

Go ahead, give this a try for your loved ones this Valentine’s Day and I promise you will not be disappointed!  The earthy and floral combination is sure to be a hit!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Rose Pistachio Ice Cream!


Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

If you love pistachios as much as I do, try out some of these other recipes:
Pistachio and Goat Cheese Crusted Spicy Lamb Chops
Pomegranate Pistachio Chia Pudding
Herb Roasted Acorn Squash with Pomegranates and Pistachios
Pear Halwa Cake
Fresco Carpaccio

Pistachio and Goat Cheese Crusted Spicy Lamb Chops

If I know my husband, then I’m definitely going to be making him happy with my Valentine’s Day surf and turf meal.  Yesterday, I featured the Lobster Risotto as part of my love week series for the surf part.  Today, I’m going to share with you lamb chops, one of my husband’s favorites!

I think this is one of the easiest recipes but one that also looks pretty fancy.  Before I give you the recipe, I’m going to share with you a few tips to ensure your lamb chops turn out just as amazing!

BUYING THE LAMB CHOPS
Lamb chops are typically bone-in meat chops, typically taken from the rib of the animal. They are loaded with flavor, tender, and cook very quickly, typically within 10-12 minutes depending on thickness and your preference of cook on the meat.  Some recipes call for chops to be frenched, which is simply removing the fat from the bone for a cleaner look.  If that’s the case, you can either clean away the fat at home or being lazy like me, you can as your meat butcher to french the chops for you.

WHY MARINATE?
Marinating any meat, especially dark meat, helps to tenderize it.  This in turn will lead you to have a softer, richer tasting lamb.  You can marinate the lamb chops as little as 30 minutes up to overnight.  For this recipe, I marinated the lamb for 2 hours as it was mostly dry spices and oil.  When I make my Lamb Tagine, I usually marinate the lamb overnight as it will be part of a stew so I want it ultra tender.

COOKING
Lamb chops typically don’t need very much time to cook which is one of the best part about cooking them.  I like to do 8-10 minutes for medium rare and 10-12 minutes for medium.  Don’t forget to let them rest for an additional 10 minutes because they tend to continue cooking even when pulled out of the oven or off the stove. The outside food is always hotter than the inside, and heat slowly transfers inward, continuing to cook the food even after it has been removed from the heat source, hence carryover cooking.  Always check the temp with a food/meat thermometer to make sure it is cooked: 125°F (51°C) for medium-rare, or 135°F (57°C) for medium.

So now that you armed with all of my information to make the best lamb chops, I’m going to share this amazing recipe.  I paired my chops with Jeff Mauro’s 4 Cheese Polenta and roasted rainbow carrots.  Other grains that would be delicious with these lamb chops would be Couscous or Farro.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Lamb Chop and have a very special Valentine’s Day!

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Lobster Risotto

Creamy risotto filled with chunks of freshly steamed lobster, oh it’s so luscious!  This is the perfect dish for a romantic night in or Valentine’s Day dinner!  It’s pretty easy, and simple to make and perfect for date night!

When my husband found out I was making Lobster and Lamb for Valentine’s, I can safely say he was beyond excited.  Surf and Turf can never go wrong!

For the risotto, as long as you have a little patience, it’s actually very easy.  The creamy texture with added asparagus spears, peas, and garnished with some fresh chives is absolutely divine!

Stay tuned for the lamb recipe for the turf portion of this delicious V-Day meal! In the meantime, I really hope you enjoy this luscious Lobster Risotto!

Rosemary Caprese Skewers with a Balsamic Glaze

These skewers are by far one of my favorite snacks!  Often times, if I am hosting a party, they usually make an appearance.  The best part, my girls love to eat them too (minus the basil and glaze)!  Super easy to assemble, healthy, and 5 simple ingredients.  You really can’t beat that!

For the skewers, I kept the Basil in the caprese, but the addition of rosemary gives it a little boost.  Rosemary can be strong which is why just the hint from the skewers is perfect here.  Bite sized, creamy mozzarella, tangy grape tomatoes, sharp basil, the sweet balsamic glaze finished off by fresh rosemary is definitely going to be one of the best foods I eat today!

Making the balsamic glaze is pretty simple too!  I used to be nervous about making the glaze because it seemed too daunting.  Then one day, I figured, I’ll try it and see what happens.  I can’t believe I was ever so nervous!  Literally I’m boiling balsamic vinegar with a little brown sugar and that’s pretty much it!   Oh.My.God. It tastes so good, I could drizzle this glaze on pretty much anything!

So what are you waiting for?  Try out these delicious skewers and impress your guests with a fancy-ish appetizer!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy these Rosemary Caprese Skewers with a Balsamic Glaze.

Couscous Arancini

I first learned what arancini is when I was watching Giada on Food Network.  Man they looked delicious.  Rice and cheese mixed together, battered, and fried.  I don’t think you can go wrong.  I love the salty and creamy and cheesy combination.  Oh I can go on and on!

Well, seeing it on tv and actually trying them are two different things.  The first time I tried it was on a date with the husband.  Oh.My.God!  All I wanted was to eat these delicious arancini for every course!  Seeing them on tv, then actually eating them are two different things, and I’ll tell you what.  Eating is absolutely much better for this case!

I’ve made quite a few attempts over the years to make these.  Initially, they melted as I was trying to fry them.  Then the seasoning was off, and each try I missed something until finally, I was able to make a delicious batch!  I’m so glad this was one project I didn’t abandon!

About a month ago, we had leftover pearl couscous (it seems we always do).  I wanted to upcycle it and have the girls eat it in a different way and instantly I thought of arancini.  It was a long shot but in my mind, I thought, hey, a leftover grain that could potentially bind with cheese.  All I had to do was season it correctly.   Results?  The kids want me to make this for them everyday!  Let’s not get carried away though.  I did make quite a few and had to really work on distracting the girls with other foods because they are just as in love with arancini as I am!

Try these out for appetizers, make them a little larger and have them for a main course, make them bite sized and serve them for parties.  I served them with warm marinara sauce and a sprinkle of chopped basil and for me, that was the perfect pairing.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy these decadent Couscous Arancini!

Here are the tools I used to make this recipe:

Kashmiri Pink (Noon) Chai

If you know me, you know I love my chai.  I love exploring different types of chai flavor combinations.  When I had this Kashmiri Pink Chai the first time many years ago at a friend’s house, I became obsessed.  I had tried intermittently over the years to recreate this delicious chai but was unsuccessful.

A few months ago, I was talking to my friend, R, and she and I relived memories of us drinking this Kashmiri Chai at her place.  She gave me a few tips to make this chai successfully, which I will be passing on to you.  Check out the recipe card below, as I’ll include the tips in the notes section.

As I practiced and made this chai, I adapted the chai recipe a little.  For starters, I cut down the amount that is traditionally made.  Since it takes up to an hour and sometimes more to boil the tea leaves and each ingredient added at a different stage, many people tend to make a large quantity of the Kahwa (the boiled tea before the addition of milk which many people also drink), I cut down the amount.  Being the only tea drinker in my house, I didn’t see the need to make so much.
Also, I put my own little touch on this delicious chai by adding rose petals to the chai at the end after serving it into teacups.  Usually you will find the chai garnished with nuts, almonds or pistachios.

WHERE DOES THE PINK COLOR COME FROM?
Believe it or not, from the reaction of baking soda added to the green tea leaves.  What I found is that the color became deeper when I added the sugar to it.  This was absolutely the highlight.  So much fun to see the chemical reactions (science lover in me).

The first sip that I took reminded me how decadent it is, that I instantly knew this had to be one of my Valentine’s specials.  This is a very creamy chai but a little savory too.  As I’ve been taught, a bit of salt is added to the chai towards the end.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Kashmiri Pink Chai!

Here are the tools that I used to make this recipe:

Poblano Pav Bhaji Burger Yum

**Originally published Jun 2017, edited and updated Feb 2021.

Poblano What?!  A burger with Pav Bhaji?! Yep you heard it right.  A Pav Bhaji Burger….. with Poblano Peppers.  Pav Bhaji is a very popular dish in India and among Indians everywhere in the world.  Back in the 1800’s, workers would take leftover veggies and turn it into a curry.  These workers usually could not afford much so they became creative.  I piggy backed on that creativity and put my own spin to a classic Indian dish. Continue reading “Poblano Pav Bhaji Burger Yum

Pomegranate Pistachio Chia Pudding

I was a little late to the wagon on this one.  Everyone was talking about Chia Pudding but I kept putting it off unsure if I would like it or not.  This is where my kids remind me how I preach that they should always try everything once.

Yeah, well.  I should have tried this a long time ago!

A while ago, we went to my sister-in-law Sarika’s place for brunch and one of the things she had made was Chia pudding with fruit and granola.  It was pretty darn good!  So I stopped dragging my feet and decided to make my own at home.

I played around with flavors and the best part is you can pretty much add any fruit and nut to this.  Our favorite so far is the pistachio pomegranate combination.  The sweet, the salty, the creamy and crunchy just have this perfect balance with each other that I cannot get enough of.  It keeps the pudding light enough yet still so healthy!  YUM!

Not only is it delicious, but healthy too!  They are:

  • Rich in omega 3 fatty acids
  • Fiber
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorous
  • Zinc

Try it out and let me know what you think!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Pomegranate Pistachio Chia Pudding!

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Best Ever Oatmeal Lactation Cookies

Yup.  There’s such a thing!  And boy was I ever so happy to eat this one!  With my first child, I really struggled to nurse her after the first few months.  I didn’t know about these delicious cookies at that point but I wish I had.

When I was pregnant with my second child, I did plenty of research because I wanted to nurse her as well but I didn’t want to struggle.  But the better benefit of these cookies…. you’re always hungry when you are nursing and this was one of the few excuses left for me to eat cookies every day!

I’m not sure who’s recipe I used the first time around as I found it when I was at the hospital and honestly, I don’t remember much from those first few days.  I gave the recipe to my sister-in-law Shivani and she was sweet enough to whip up batches for me until I was able to do so myself.  Well, now it’s my turn to do the same for her!

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that she just had the most adorable baby boy and I’m over the moon about being his aunt!

Anyways, over time, I changed the recipe a little to suit my tastes and needs but these delicious lactation cookies still provide the nutrients you need to help feed your little one!

Not sure how it works?  Take a look:

  • BREWER’S YEAST – this is considered to be a galactagogue but there are still studies going on to understand the full effects.
  • OATS – this is considered one of the best foods to eat for breastfeeding mothers.  They are also a great source of fiber, iron, magnesium, and zinc so you can’t really go wrong with this ingredient.
  • FLAXSEEDS  – these have phytoestrogens that help influence breastmilk production.  Added benefits include a boost of energy, positive effect on your mood, and help in getting rid of the baby blues.

If you are nursing or know someone who is nursing, these are one the of the most helpful foods the new mom can have.

If you bake them, store them at room temperature for up to 7 days in an airtight container.  You can also freeze the dough for up to 2 months.

If you’re making these as a gift for a new Momma, I usually like to bake a dozen to start her off and give her the dough so she can make the cookies as she wants them.  I personally would freeze or refrigerate the dough and make a few each day in my little toaster oven so I could have fresh cookies out of the oven!   So divine I tell you!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope these Lactation Cookies help you as much as they helped me!

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Mexican Rice with Black Beans

When I was in college, I used to buy the boxes of Spanish/Mexican Rice with the seasoning packets in them so all you had to do was follow the instructions.  As a carb lover (and with a better metabolism than I do now), there were days that I could polish off a whole box of rice for a meal.  I know it says serves 2 or 4 or however many.  It didn’t matter.  I love my rice and carbs.  No judgement please.

Anyways, over the years, I started experimenting on my own as I became more familiar in the kitchen besides using boxed “instant” foods.  As I did, I learned what I liked, what I didn’t, and how to change that.  One of my “ah-ha” moments was when I didn’t have any tomato sauce to add and the closest thing to a tomato based product I had in my tiny apartment was a jar of salsa.  My rice was already cooking so I decided, why not.  It was the.best.decision.ever!

The flavor that jar of salsa added was unbelievable!  I’ve changed around a few ingredients since then but that jar of salsa has been an unwavering element in this recipe.

The changes I made?  I substituted brown rice in place of white.  Sure it takes longer to cook but you can put together this dish in the instant pot in half the time, or just let it simmer over the stove top with a timer.  When it’s this good, it’s worth the wait!  Additionally, you get more fiber, magnesium, and quite a few other vitamins and minerals compared to white rice.  If I’m going to eat rice, I’m going to make it count!

The other major change I did was to add black beans to this dish.  Check out these amazing benefits of black beans:

  • Combined with rice, black beans help make this dish a complete protein which is important for those who are on a vegetarian or vegan diet
  • 1 cup of black beans provides approximately:
    • 15 gm protein
    • 15 gm fiber
    • 64% DRI Folate
    • 20% DRI Iron

Have leftovers?  No worries.  I used them to make bean and rice burritos for the kiddos and they loved it!  I love upcycling my foods!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious plate of Mexican Rice and Beans!

Here are the tools I used (I’ve made this both in the Instant Pot and over the stove so I’m including both types of vessels below):

 

Avocado Wedges with Sriracha Crema

⁄Crunchy on the outside, creamy and buttery on the inside, these avocado wedges are the perfect snack.  They are remarkably tasty, easy to make, and impressed my 5 and 4 year olds.  Honestly though, anything that is breaded and fried is an automatic win in my book.  I’ve had these in tacos too and seriously, they are delicious.

HOW DO I CHOOSE THE RIGHT AVOCADO FOR THIS RECIPE?
Personally, I like to use avocados that have just turned ripe.  They’re still a little firm but ripe enough to be creamy when eaten.  A good scale to use is if they are good enough to use for Guacamole then they are too soft to use for these wedges.  You don’t want the wedges to melt and loose structure because they are too ripe.

AIR FRYER vs BAKING
I used an air fryer for this recipe because it gives the crispy exterior that you would see when deep frying.  If you don’t have an air fryer, baking is just as good but beware that it will take a little longer to cook them.  I have given instructions for both in the recipe card.

ARE THESE HEALTHY IF THEY’RE FRIED?
Yes they are because they’re air fried!  And avocados are definitely healthier than traditional potato wedges.  Don’t get me wrong, I love potatoes in all its many glorious forms but I do love a healthy alternative any day.  Here are some of the many nutritional benefits to these Avocado Fries:

  • Provides about 5 gm protein per serving
  • Almost ¼ of your DRI Fiber
  • About a third of your Folic Acid DRI
  • Almost ¼ Vit. K requirements
  • Great source of potassium, phosphorous, Vit. A, and Vit. B6

So what are you waiting for?!  Try these incredibly delicious Avocado Fries and fall in love with a new way of eating fries!

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Avocado Banana Smoothie

**This recipe was originally posted Oct. 2015 and updated Jan. 202**

I first had this smoothie when I was single in San Francisco living with one of my favorite roommates, Mamta.  It actually originated from her when she made it post workout.  I had it and fell in love instantly (though I did think she was a bit crazy for putting an avocado in a smoothie, now I think I was crazy for thinking that!).

This smoothie is a perfect post workout, morning breakfast, or afternoon snack option.  It’s filled with energy and protein (a little over 13 gm!), and plenty of macro and micronutrients.  And what a healthier alternative to a glass of juice that is probably more heavy on the sugar.

Since first having Mamta’s smoothie, I’ve made it countless times, adjusting the ratios and slightly changing the original recipe to suit my taste.  I don’t use any sweeteners in this smoothie.  Instead, I save my extremely ripe bananas and use them to naturally sweeten this drink.  If you don’t have a ripe banana, feel free to add 1-2 tsp of maple syrup or honey.

I really hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this Avocado Banana Smoothie!

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

8 Herb & Fruit Infused Water

The one thing I have trouble with is drinking plain water.  I normally drink carbonated and flavored water to meet my daily requirement (which is suggested to be about half your body weight in ounces), but what happens when you run out of your favorite carbonated water and don’t have a chance to run to the store for it?

Yep, that was my dilemma last week so I created my own infused waters in 8 different flavors and used those to meet my daily water intake.  The added benefit is that you can get some delicious fruit in too though it may not taste as juicy or sweet.  Also, when I make a few jars ahead of time as I did here, I know exactly how many ounces I have had and how many more I need.

WHAT CAN I USE TO MAKE INFUSED WATER?
Honestly