Farmer’s Market Crudites Platter with Hummus Two Ways

One of my favorite times of the year is the spring when the Farmer’s Market starts to get bigger with more and more farmers who start to bring a larger variety of produce and goodies.  I’ve mentioned in the past that I like to make a menu for the week (more so my kids don’t complain they want something else than what is served), but what I haven’t mentioned is how I love going to the Farmer’s Market to do my weekly produce shopping.  Sometimes, I will even tailor some of my dishes to include produce I find at the Market.

Recently, I partnered with our local Farmer’s Market (Danville Farmer’s Market) and I will be creating recipes for them a few times a month in the hopes that I can bring awareness to locally farmed produce at all of our farmer’s market.  Having fresh, organic produce and supporting the local farms is a win-win.

This Spring Crudites Platter is so beautiful, we all had a bit of hard time digging in.  No one wanted to mess it up.  Ah well, our stomachs won that round.  The beauty of this platter is that you are not restricted to the same produce I picked up.  Pick up what your farmer’s market has, just make it colorful.

Here is what I used:

  • Purple Cauliflower (chop these into big chunks)
  • Rainbow Baby Carrots (trim the stems off and save to make pesto – be sustainable!)
  • Radishes
  • Watermelon Radishes (slice these a little thick into rounds to give a beautiful effect)
  • Snap Peas
  • Cucumbers (I sliced these on the diagonal for aesthetics.  Feel free to slice into rounds or sticks to make them easier to serve)
  • Cherry Tomatoes

As for the hummus, I chose purple sweet potato and red beets to be the base of each hummus.  For the Red Beets, I roasted it with garlic, then pulsed it with a little tahini and a few other ingredients.  This is by far one of my favorite variations on hummus.  Paired with all that beautiful produce, it’s perfect!

For the Purple Sweet Potato, I baked it in the oven then pulsed it with tahini as well.  Though the idea behind both hummus’ are the same, the flavor profile differ vastly.  Yet both are addicting.

I hope you have a chance to make a beautiful Spring Crudites Platter like this for your next gathering.  I promise you will love it.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

If you are looking for more delicious recipes, check these out:
Roasted Masala Chickpeas
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Spicy Garlic Hummus
Crispy Chickpeas and Sweet Potato Tacos

Fig and Chia Pudding Parfait

If I had to choose any other fruit besides mango, figs would definitely take second place.  The soft exterior, the honey sweet flesh, and the crunch of the seeds as you eat each one is just heaven.  Pair it with chia pudding topped with fresh baked granola and garnished with a sprig of mint, well, you just won’t want anything else for breakfast!

Continue reading “Fig and Chia Pudding Parfait”

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:

 

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:

 

Almond Cacao Energy Bites

Since making my New Year’s Resolution to eat healthier this year, I have significantly cut down on snacking, especially on fried foods or foods that are calorie dense but not necessarily nutrient dense.  But I do love snacking and therein lies the problem of how will I curb my cravings for the sweets and carbs that I so love.  In this quest to eat healthier, I decided I could not forgo my beloved snacks and therefore started a mission to create my own healthier ones.

Recently I posted the Almond Butter Breakfast Bars recipe to help me get a good start to my day and I’ve realized that I love incorporating almond flour into my recipes.  These Almond Cacao Energy Bites are a perfect balance of cacao powder, almond flour, and dates.  The cacao powder provides the perfect balance of chocolate and nutrition as it’s filled with antioxidants and magnesium!

The almond flour of course provides protein and a nutty flavor that balances out the sweetness in these bites.  The dates also add quite a bit of sweetness to these bites and are known to have a high sugar content but are fairly low on the glycemic index and have a high fiber content.  These energy bites are the perfect way to satisfy my sweet tooth and stay healthy.  Try them out for yourself and you will love them just as much as I do.

From my kitchen to yours, enjoy these delicious Almond Cacao Energy Bites!

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Sweet Potato and Beet Hash with Fried Eggs

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!

Watermelon Radish and Fennel Salad with a Ginger Lime Dressing

Ok so I know that the name alone makes this salad sound like an explosion of so many different flavors and it is!  But….. that’s what makes this salad work so well!

Between my obsession for salads and my inclination towards making my own dressings, my salad game is going strong right now.  I’ve been wanting to use watermelon radish for a while now because of it’s flavor and just how pretty it looks!

Here are a few fun facts about watermelon radishes:

  • They are nutrient dense with Vitamins K, A, E, C, and B6.
  • High in antioxidants
  • High in fiber, calcium, potassium, and iron among many other minerals
  • One serving of watermelon radishes has over 1/3 of your daily Vit. C requirements!
  • They’re just so darned pretty


The fennel was added in to balance out the peppery flavor of the radish (though, to be honest, I wasn’t sure how the hubby was going to like it as he is not a big licorice flavored guy.  The best part about eating fennels to me is the licorice!).  Luckily, the fennel taste was mild when combined with the flavors of the salad.

As to the Ginger Lime dressing, adding the hint of ginger balanced with a little honey in the dressing and the lime to brighten up the salad, it was the perfect choice to use this for the salad.

When I think about this salad, it really has a great balance of sweet, spicy and tangy!  So perfect for a lunch meal, side dish, or a Covid free Thanksgiving dinner!

From my kitchen to yours, enjoy this salad!

Here are the tools that I used:

Fall Nourish Bowl

I love the Autumn season.  The colors, the change in flavors, the hint of crisp air and everything else about Fall is just perfect!

Making this nourish bowl with a hint of Fall flavors was fun.  I decided to roast the veggies with oregano and smoked paprika for some warmth in the taste.

For a pop of spice, I added charred Shishito peppers which made this dish so perfect!

Instead of dressing, I used hummus which becomes smooth and creamy as a dressing when combined with the hot roasted veggies.

This nourish bowl is so filling, try it out for your next lunch or dinner.  You’ll be so satisfied and comforted.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this bowl!


Here are the cooking tools I used for this dish:

Spinach Chickpea Stew with Garlic Couscous

I’ve recently learned that my girls like chickpeas in any form.  I used to think it was just Roasted Masala Chickpeas that they gobbled down, but I’ve been paying attention and I’m glad I have!  Watching both of them gobble down this stew was amazing.  They are one of the few girls who also love to eat spinach in any form, cooked or uncooked (I feel blessed) so I knew I was going to use it to give some green to this dish!

I’m totally adding this to my weeknight meal list as it took me only 20 minutes to pull together!  I got the couscous started on the side and takes only 15 minutes to make!

Can you tell I’m ready for the autumn season to begin?  I’ve had a fun summer enjoying the hot weather but between the smoke from all the fires and a broken AC during the multiple heat waves, I am looking forward to the end of the year.  Hot stews are just the thing to warm you up during the cold months and this recipe is a great one where you get to spend more time enjoying the food than making it!

Try it out and let me know what you think.  Tag me on Instagram @bitofspice146 and use the #bitofspice146 hashtag.   I would love to see your versions of my recipes!

From my kitchen to yours, enjoy this delicious stew!

Rainbow Crunch Salad

Bright, crunchy, colorful and easy to assemble with a creamy coconut jalapeño dressing, this salad is a perfect addition to your meal.

Easy to make, this salad has plenty of texture, meets my rainbow requirements, and is quick to pull together for any meal.  A twist on the traditional slaw, the Rainbow Crunch Salad is a healthier version with a low cal coconut jalapeño dressing to finish off a delicious salad.

With school started, life still crazy between Covid, fires, and whatever else you want to throw in there, I want to keep it easy and quick for this salad.  Chopping the veggies doesn’t take very long and the Coconut Jalapeño dressing is blended in less than a minute.

Here’s what you need for the salad:

  • Red Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Colored Bell Peppers
  • Cucumber
  • Edamame
  • Nuts

I’ve used this as a lunch meal, a side salad for fish and chicken dishes, or even a quick afternoon snack if I had some leftovers.

Try it out!  From my kitchen to yours, enjoy!

Adai Waffles / Lentil Waffles

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of my friend Janani. I’ve mentioned her in a few recipes, especially the Greek Inspired Crepes and Instant Pot Kali Dal. She and I met when we were both about 7 months pregnant with our first child at an Indian store where the owner introduced us. We have been pretty close friends since and shared many recipes during our play dates and this one is inspired by her.wp-1592520709205.jpg
Yum
When Aishani was a few months old, I remember Janani came over for a play date with her eldest. She brought over this batter and asked if I had veggies she could use. I was extremely curious as Sanaya was in a picky phase (honestly, I feel both my kids have always been in a picky phase!).wp-1592520709227.jpg

She explained what Adai is and I was instantly fascinated. Basically, it is a batter made out of 4 different lentils and a little bit of rice, soaked, ground, and cooked over the stove with veggies similar to a dosa or crepe fashion. So with one meal, I’m getting protein, fiber, non-dairy calcium, folic acid, and plenty of vitamins and minerals from the veggies. Seriously, major mom win! My kids love it and eat it with yogurt and it’s a family hit.wp-1592520709178.jpg

The basic batter recipe is Janani’s. I’ve never tried to change it because it’s perfect and it works. I did play around with it and turned the Adai crepes into waffles. It’s something fun for the kids; they get a kick out of eating waffles for lunch or dinner and I know it’s one of the healthiest waffles around! The texture keeps well and tastes so soft and fluffy. It’s really delicious.wp-1592520709677.jpg

For the girls, I served this with yogurt as that’s their favorite way of eating Adai. For the hubby and I, we had a topping of masala salsa on top which tasted amazing and completed this dish for us!

From our kitchen to yours, we hope you love these Adai Waffles!


Adai Waffles

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A savory lentil waffle filled with veggies that is healthy and delicious.

Notes:

1. The ratio of all the lentils and rice is always 1:1. Whether you want to make a lesser amount or more, the ratio before soaking will remain the same.

2. It is important to soak these lentils at least 4 hours. Soaking lentils helps remove the phytic acid which impairs the absorption of nutrients such iron, zinc and calcium.

3. If you make extra, and want to keep it for future use, you can store in the freezer. Just be sure to keep the batter plain without adding any of the ingredients as it will ruin when you thaw it out. Stores well up to 3 months in the freezer. Stores well up to 3 days in the fridge.

4. Parboiled or Idli rice works great for this recipe. If you don’t have it, regular jasmine rice works, but just be aware that when it is ground, you will get a bit of a grainy texture.

5. It is important to shred the veggies to help them and the lentils cook through properly. If the veggies are chopped and chunky, the lentils may not cook through completely (I speak from experience).

6. Use any veggies you have in your fridge. I’ve listed our favorites below.

Ingredients:

For the batter:

½ c toor / toovar dal

½ c urad dal

½ c chana dal

½ c red masoor dal

½ c idli rice / parboiled rice

1-2 dried red chilies

For the Waffles:

1 zucchini, shredded

1 large carrot, shredded

½ c broccoli, shredded

1″ ginger knob, shredded

1 tsp hing (asafoetida)

1 tsp salt

For the Masala Salsa:

½ c onions, chopped finely

1 tomato, chopped finely

1 serrano pepper, chopped finely (for a less spicy option, take out the seeds and ribs)

¼ c cilantro, chopped finely

1 lemon, juiced

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp chaat masala

Directions:

For the Masala Salsa:

1. Mix all of the ingredients tog⁸ether in a bowl and set aside to use for topping.

For the Adai Batter:

1. Soak each of the lentils and rice separately in water at least for 4 hours, preferably overnight.

2. Once they are soaked, add rice (drained of water) and red chilies to a blender with 3 Tbsp water. Blend to a thick batter.

3. Transfer to a bowl and repeat process with the lentils. If you want to combine them and blend them, that works also. Add water a little at a time so the batter is not too thin.

4. Mix this batter with the rice batter.

This batter is your base. You can make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge or freezer and use as needed.

For the Waffles:

1. In a bowl, add 1½ c Adai batter, hing and salt. Mix well.

2. Fold in the shredded veggies. If the batter is too thick, add in water, 1 Tbsp at a time, but don’t make the batter too thin and runny.

3. Heat the waffle maker on high and spray both sides with cooking spray.

4. Using a ladle, pour the batter into the waffle maker and spread across. Close the waffle maker and seal or flip and let it cook as a regular waffle.

5. Remove the waffle and repeat the process for the remaining batter.

6. To serve, spoon some of the masala salsa on top of the waffles and serve hot!

Serve with masala salsa, yogurt, mango pickle or all 3!

Enjoy!

Rainbow Lentil Stew Yum

Rainy days always inspire a bowl of soup from my kitchen.  This particular stew is inspired from my love of including rainbows in my food.  Even better, it’s a one pot meal that’s easy to make with staple ingredients already in your pantry/fridge. Continue reading “Rainbow Lentil Stew Yum

Rainy days always inspire a bowl of soup from my kitchen.  This particular stew is inspired from my love of including rainbows in my food.  Even better, it’s a one pot meal that’s easy to make with staple ingredients already in your pantry/fridge. Continue reading “Rainbow Lentil Stew Yum

Apple Pie Oatmeal Yum

I really had to find a way to sell eating oatmeal to my kids.  We went through a phase where they loved oatmeal then, for the past 6 months, just the name would send them running in fear as if I was punishing them.

So, what does any desperate mother do?  Change the name, feed the same food, and take the win.  Seriously, I love this game where they think they won, and I know I definitely did!
wp-1586872927704.jpg

When I first started making steel cut oats, it was a dump and turn on the machine type deal.  You can absolutely still do that with this recipe instead of roasting the oats.  I just love to do that because it gives it a little more of a nutty flavor and aroma.  We are all busy these days and need more time so if you don’t have enough to roast the oats, don’t worry – the oatmeal will still taste just as great.  (Side note, I do not roast the oats in the slow cooker as it takes forever to heat up – at least for me – and I don’t have the patience for that).

wp-1586872927678.jpg

I love this recipe because it is so easy to make and you can batch cook it so it lasts you for a few days.  Let’s face it, life is crazy for a lot of us, between working from home, homeschooling children and just trying to keep sane.  My favorite method of cooking this recipe is either in a slow cooker or an instant pot as you don’t have to spend so much time watching over it.  It is therapeutic to just stand over the stove and stir it until it cooks (as I practice to zone out the kids bickering who will get a certain spoon or sit in a specific spot).
wp-1586872927634.jpg

I’ve made it all three ways so I know it turns out delicious regardless of your method of cooking.  The ratios below are for 4-6 servings.  You can double or triple the amount without any change in flavor and store it in the fridge for 2-3 days.  Just add a little milk or water when you are reheating it to loosen it up a bit.
wp-1585422235298.jpg

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you and your family enjoy this apple pie oatmeal!

Ingredients:
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced (reserve ½ apple, chopped for topping)
2 c almond milk
1 c water
1 c steel cut oats
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2 tsp cinnamon powder
2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1 Tbsp EVOO or Avo Oil
¼ tsp salt
¼ c chopped walnuts

Directions:
For Instant Pot:
Set to sauté mode and heat up oil.  Add the oats and roast for 3-5 minutes.  Add in the apples and mix for 1 minute.  Add in the remaining ingredients and cover instant pot with vent in sealing position.  Change setting to pressure cook or manual and set time for 5 minutes.  When the instant pot beeps, do a 20 minute NPR (natural pressure release).  Release the steam left in the vent and open up the instant pot.  Add remaining apples and walnuts for topping and enjoy hot!

For Slow Cooker:
Spray the inside of your slow cooker with a little cooking spray to prevent burning and sticking.
Mix all ingredients and cover overnight.  Set a delay start for 4 hours with a cooking time for 4 hours on high heat.  Remove cover and stir to combine evenly.  Serve hot with toppings and enjoy!

For Stovetop:
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add in the oil.  Add the oats and roast for 3-5 minutes.  Add in the apples and mix for 1 minute.Add in the remaining ingredients and stir continuously for the first 3-5 minutes until the oats start thickening.  Cook for 35 minutes, stirring frequently.  As they start to become creamy and thick, you may want to lower the heat.  Once they are cooked, remove from heat and let them rest for about 5 minutes.  Serve hot with toppings and enjoy!

Instant Pot Kali Dal Yum

Kali dal is a very popular Punjabi dish and one of those comfort food meals that my husband has grown up with.  It has also become one of Sanaya’s favorite comfort foods too so of course I had to find a way to perfect this recipe for both of them.  I would say this recipe rotates in our house at least ever 2 weeks.
wp-1585433253656.jpg
I love it for its nutritional content, loaded with protein, fiber and low in carbs and calories.  With all the rainy days we’ve had recently, this is one recipe I can’t pass up.  An easy, one-pot meal, this goes great with naan or rice.
wp-1585433253612.jpg
Yep, I put a ton of jalapeños as a garnish.  Traditionally, it’s cilantro. But, it actually tasted good with the extra jalapeños on top!
A while back, we had a potluck and playdate with my friend Janani and her family.  I don’t remember what I made, but I do remember that both my husband and I fought for the last bite of her dal.  It was A-MA-ZING!  It had a burst of flavor to it that we were both impressed and he actually said it was one of the best dals he has had in his life…. that’s huge coming from a Punjabi!
wp-1585433253761.jpg
Most recipes of this specific dal have a basic of three spices, and I’ve found pretty simple in flavor.  Works great for many but Janani’s recipe just had this burst of flavor, you didn’t want to stop eating it.
I begged her for her recipe, tried making it and failed.  I tried a few more times to the point my hubby was actually sick of seeing dal…….oops.  So I went to Janani’s house, had her tell me exactly what to do while I made it with her watching over me.  I’ve been using her recipe ever since, however, I did make a few changes to it.  I know, I know, why?  I changed a little of the technique on which ingredients she cooks in what order, and changed the ratio on some of the basic spices but they are all there.  The changed version is what I have listed below but if you’re interested in her original version, message me and I will send it to you.
wp-1585433253656.jpg
When I talked to Janani about her recipe, that’s when I figured out it’s the spices and the amount of tomatoes that she uses which give the dal its integrity in flavor.  You really need to try out this recipe.  It’s so delicious!
If you don’t have an instant pot, follow the same instructions for a slow cooker and set slow cooker time for 8 hours.

From my kitchen to yours, I really hope you enjoy this one!

Ingredients:
1 c black gram lentils (sabut urad dal)
¼ c dry kidney beans
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 med onion, finely chopped
1 ½ Tbsp grated ginger or ginger paste
1 ½ Tbsp garlic, minced
½ tsp asafoetida (hing)
1 tsp coriander powder
1-2 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you want it)
½ tsp dry mango powder (aamchur)
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Avocado Oil or EVOO
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp ghee (use oil to make this vegan)
cilantro to garnish

Directions:
Mix the lentils and kidney beans together, wash them 2-3 times then leave water in to soak while you prepare the gravy.
Set instant pot to sauté mode.  Add oil and let heat up.  Add hing and let it bloom for 30 seconds.  Add in the onions and sauté 5-7 minutes until translucent.  Add in 1 Tbsp each of ginger and garlic.  Mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add in the tomatoes, coriander powder, dry mango powder, cayenne pepper and ½ tsp of salt.  Mix well and cook for 8-10 minutes until the tomatoes have mostly melted and the spices have cooked through.
Drain the water from the lentils/beans.  Add them to the gravy along with remaining ½ Tbsp of ginger and garlic, and ½ tsp of salt.  Mix well, and cook for another 3-5 minutes.  Add 3 cups water and cover the instant pot lid with vent in sealing position.  Turn off the instant pot and change setting to pressure cook or manual setting.  Set time for 40 minutes.  When the time is done, release the pressure, open the lid and mix the dal.
On med heat, in a small pan, heat ghee.  When it’s melted and heated, add in cumin seeds and garam masala.  Let them splutter and bloom for 30 seconds then add to the dal.  Mix everything and change setting on instant pot to sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Serve hot with rice or naan.  Enjoy!

Berry Bake Yum

Times are trying right now as we adjust to working from home, homeschooling and entertaining children at home and just keeping a normal routine for a minimum of the next month as we battle COVID-19.  The first couple of days at home, my children thought we were on vacation…… well, it kind of is I suppose.  In our household, that also means waking up earlier, knowing the children don’t have to pretend they’re sleeping to avoid going to school (they’re starting early!), and also, wanting to eat whatever they want whenever they want.
20190827_071837.jpg
I decided I needed to get an upper hand in this mess and started a frenzy of organizing my pantry and creating my menu.
20190904_080221.jpg
Over the years, I’ve learned that my munchkins are creatures of habit and though they would prefer to eschew breakfast in lieu of playing and running around or snacking all day, their bodies tell me different when we go through a tantrum.  This berry bake is loaded with fiber, protein, vitamins, and great flavor, it’s a win-win.
20190904_080205.jpg
I put this recipe of a bake together because it can loosely be termed as a breakfast bar and it’s a dump and bake deal.  It’s also really easy because you make a generous amount and refrigerate the rest up to a week and pull them out throughout the week without putting in much effort.  The best part is most of these items may already be in your pantry.
20190904_062945.jpg
Completely vegetarian and easily modified to be a vegan recipe if you replace the butter with vegan butter.  You can also substitute frozen berries instead of fresh or any other fruit you have on hand without compromising the integrity of the bars.  Try it out and tell me how you like it.
20190904_063422.jpg

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy!  Be safe, Be healthy!

Ingredients:
1 c almond milk
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 ½ Tbsp butter, melted
1 ½ c Old Fashioned Oats
½ tsp cinnamon powder
1 Tbsp Flaxseed
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
1 c mixed berries

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
2. Spray a 10×7 cake pan with nonstick cooking spray
3. Mix all the ingredients and transfer to the pan
4. Bake for 25 minutes, a few minutes longer if you prefer a crunchier bar
5. Cool for 5 minutes and cut into 1″x2″ bars
6. Wrap leftover bars individually in saran wrap and refrigerate up to 1 week.

Enjoy!

Barley Bowl

We’ve recently started eating more barley during meal times and use it as a go to for most of the week.  When I’m cooking the barley, the aroma that wafts out just makes your mouth water.  Then you bite into the nutty flavor and it’s a home run for me.   Plus, it’s really healthy so I don’t feel guilty about eating a little extra (as I tend to do).  It’s high in dietary fiber, a good source of protein, it’s low in sodium, and is a really good grain to eat if you’re trying to lose weight.
20190408_154956.jpg
This recipe was born of out sheer laziness.  Nope.  Not kidding.  I had been running errands all day, doing what seems like an indefinite load of laundry for the girls, and just wasn’t in the mood to cook (a rare moment).
20190408_155218.jpgSo, I started to putter around the kitchen feeling guilty about what to serve the family for dinner, feeling guilty that I wanted to pull something from the freezer, then unsatisfied with everything that I had because maybe, deep down, I knew I would figure something out.
20190408_155252.jpg
I’ve also been obsessed with sweet potatoes lately.  I’m not sure why… maybe it’s a slow developing discovery that I love them whether steamed, roasted or bbq’d?  Anyways, of course then I decided I wanted to put the sweet potatoes and the barley together.
20190408_184942.jpg
I figured on adding avocado because, who doesn’t add avocado to everything?  But I was still missing one more thing.  As I was getting started prepping, it hit me.  Caramelized Onions!  I discovered the joy of eating these a couple of Thanksgivings ago, and I keep wondering, what was I doing with my life?! Of course, since I was trying to keep this to a healthy dish, I used EVOO but it does taste so heavenly with butter.  If you want to use butter, just swap out the EVOO for equal measurement of butter.
20190408_184844.jpg
Little by little, I started putting this bowl together without having a real sense of direction and now, my husband wants it in the rotation weekly!  Score for me!
I added a chimichurri dressing to this to give it a little pizzazz and some chia seeds at the end (originially for presentation but, hey! the added Omega 3, fiber, and protein helps).
Check out the recipe below, try it out and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

1 med red onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 sprigs Rosemary
1 c pearl barley
4 c veggie broth (optional, 2 c broth & 2 c white wine)
1 large sweet potato, 1″ cubes
1 lg yellow onion, ½” slices
1 lg avocado, cubed
1 Tbsp Chia seeds
2 tsp paprika
salt to taste
pepper to taste
3 Tbsp EVOO

For the Chimichurri:
1 bunch cilantro
2 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp lime juice
3 Tbsp EVOO
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried red chili flakes
Salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 serrano pepper (optional for more heat)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425ºF .  Place sweet potato on baking sheet, add 1 Tbsp EVOO, salt, pepper and paprika.  Mix well and bake for 25 minutes.
In a shallow pot, heat 1 Tbsp EVOO.  Add onions and cook until they are browned.  Add in the barley and cook until it’s golden red in color.  Add in the garlic, rosemary, broth, salt and pepper.  Mix well and bring to a boil.  Once it reaches a boil, cover and cook on medium heat for 20-25 minutes.  Turn off the heat and pick out the rosemary stems.
While the barley is cooking, in another pan, heat 1 Tbsp EVOO and add the yellow onions.  add some salt to taste and mix well.  Cover and cook for 20 minutes, while mixing the onions around every 5 minutes.
For the chimichurri, put all the ingredients in a small food processor or blender and blen everything until it becomes a smooth dressing.

For assembly:
Line a wide bowl with a cup of the cooked barley.  Add in the sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, avocado, and chimichurri.  Sprinkle some chia seeds on top and enjoy!

Almond Coconut Porridge

Breakfast is my favorite meal. There are so many fun foods to eat and start your day. Sweet or savory, light or hearty, healthy or greasy!

A couple of months ago, a friend recommended a local restaurant, Homegrown. The moment I walked in and saw their menu, I fell in love. They’re a casual place that serves food which is organic and from local farmers. Talk about tasting the freshness in my food!

I ordered their Coconut Chia Porridge. Was I blown away! The creamy porridge paired with the crunchy toasted coconut and almonds, topped with sweet banana slices. I was in breakfast heaven!

Since then, I’ve been obsessed. Especially over the last week. I just can’t get it out of my mind so I decided to try my hand at it and make my own version.

20180315_142907.jpg

In addition to chia seeds, I added flax seeds. A double dose of fiber and omega 3’s (which is a win-win when you’re feeding two toddlers)!

20180315_082228.jpg

If you don’t have time in the morning because you need to rush out of the house, then this is a very easy prepare the night before recipe. Just mix all the ingredients for the oats, cover and keep in the refrigerator. Heat it up the next morning and add your toppings.

20180315_083655.jpg

Here is what I added to mine: toasted coconut, walnuts, craisins, sesame seeds and fresh blueberries. Not the same as Homegrown obviously but still delicious!

20180315_083632.jpg

Try it out!

Ingredients:
1c Steel Cut Oats
2c Unsweeteened Coconut Almond Milk (or any milk of your choice)
1c Water
1tsp Salt
1Tbsp Ground Flax Seed
1Tbsp Chia Seeds

For Toppings:
1Tbsp shredded coconut, toasted
Handful of toasted walnuts
2tsp Craisins
Handful of fresh blueberries
½tsp sesame seeds
1Tbsp Almond milk (or more for your desired consistency)

In a medium saucepan, combine the almond milk and water and boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat and add in the oatmeal and salt. Stir occasionally as the oats cook, approximately 20 minutes. As the oats start to thicken, about 10 minutes into cooking them, add in the chia and flax seeds. Mix well and continue to cook until the oats are done.

Spoon into a bowl and add the toppings.

I hope you and your family enjoy this bowl of porridge as much as me and mine did!

Palak Paneer

Palak paneer is one of my husband’s favorite dishes, and recently becoming one of my daughter’s favorite dishes too.  This is a win-win recipe for me because it’s full of iron. calcium, protein, and fiber.  The fact that my toddler will gobble it up…. score for Mom!
Here’s my quick and easy version.  Hope you enjoy it!

20180214_132107.jpg
Blanching spinach is pretty easy (though I have to admit, I was intimidated the first time I heard of the process).  Simply dunk the spinach leaves in boiling water for about 3 minutes and using a slotted spoon (so there’s not much excess hot water tagging along with the spinach), pull out the spinach and again dunk them in a bowl of ice water.  This blanching process cooks the spinach without wilting it and keeping intact it’s beautiful, vibrant green color.  Pretty cool, huh!

20180214_133957.jpg
Tomatoes and onions are part of most Indian dishes. I love using this duo to test out various spice combinations for new or upgraded recipes!

20180214_134402.jpg

Ingredients:
For the Spinach Puree:
9 oz fresh spinach
1-2 green chilies (depending on your spice level)
3 garlic cloves
½” ginger knob
3c boiling water

For the Gravy:
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small tomato, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
½tsp cumin seeds
¼tsp turmeric powder
½tsp cayenne pepper
½tsp garam masala
pinch of hing
1 bay leaf
7oz paneer, cubed
1Tbsp EVOO
Salt to taste

Directions:
For the Spinach Pureé:
Blanch the spinach and make sure to drain it of any excess water.  Add it to the blender with garlic cloves, ginger, and green chilies.  Blend to a smooth puree and set aside.

For the gravy:
In a nonstick pot, heat oil and add cumin seeds.  Once they start to splutter, add the hing (asafoetida) and bay leaf, and sauté for 30 seconds.  Add the onions and sauté until they are lightly golden.  Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Make sure you don’t brown the garlic as the aroma and the taste will cook off.  Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until the water starts to separate.  At this point, add in cayenne pepper, garam masala and turmeric and mix well.  Add in the spinach puree and mix well.  Add in the salt and mix well.  Cook for about 8-10 minutes to make sure the spinach is cooked, and the gravy thickens.  Add in the paneer and mix well.  Cook for 2 minutes so the paneer cubes can become softer.

Serve hot with Naan or Rice.  Enjoy!

A “Date” with Granola

This recipe has a couple of stories behind it.  The most simplest, my toddler was having issues and I need to find a way for fiber to be in her diet and her to like it! The second story is a bit cuter.
We had been invited for breakfast and a playdate with one of her dearest friends, E.  Her parents had laid out a delicious breakfast for us and part of it was Granola.  I know you’re thinking, this is nice, but cute?  Mmmmmm…… well let me tell you.  E calls granola Crunch Crunch.  My toddler, (like most toddlers), is a monkey see monkey do.  She ate quite a bit that day and a couple weeks later, when I ran into a dilemma of how to incorporate more fiber, I had just the perfect solution.  Yep, her new favorite word – crunch crunch!
Dates is my new fave thing.  I like to snack on that and nuts throughout the day so I don’t eat enough chocolate to get a tummy ache.  Plus, it is loaded with fiber so I knew I needed to include this in my recipe.  The rest, well, was trial and error.  This is a very simple recipe.  Try it!
No seriously, try it! Our house eats it alone, with milk, yogurt, in any form basically because it is that good!
20180210_092658.jpg
Chop up some dates

Add in the oats, walnuts, and coconut.  (if you eat a bit of your ingredients along the way – don’t worry! I won’t tell because I’m doing the same!)

20180210_095046.jpg
Add the salt, vanilla extract, and olive oil and mix well.  Finally, add in the honey and mix really well.  You want the honey to mix evenly so all the ingredients combine.
Be careful! I got greedy the first time and added too much honey.  I definitely regretted that decision!

20180210_095740.jpg
Line a 2inch baking sheet with a silicone mat and spread the granola evenly.  Bake for 15 minutes at 350F.

20180210_104949.jpg
Look at how beautifully golden that looks!
Let it cool for about 5 minutes then gently scoop it into an airtight container.  Or, if you are impatient like me, just eat it as soon as it cools and make excuses about tasting it!

I’m hoping my “Crunch Crunch” recipe will join you for breakfast soon!

Here’s the full recipe:

Date Granola

Ingredients:
2c chopped dates
3c Old Fashioned Oats
1c shredded coconut
1c chopped walnuts
2Tbsp honey
3tsp vanilla extract
3/4tsp salt
3/4c EVOO

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Line a 2inch baking sheet with a silicone mat.

In a bowl, combine dates, oats, coconut, and walnuts.  Add in vanilla extract, salt and EVOO.  Mix well.  Add in honey and mix until honey combines with granola.

Spread evenly into baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

When it’s golden brown, pull out of the oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving.  Store in an airtight container for future use.

Enjoy!