Rainbow Farro Salad

A healthy vegetarian rainbow salad filled with red cabbage, roasted veggies, herbs, feta cheese, chickpeas, and farro.
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Instant Pot Kali Dal

**Original blog posted March 2020.  Updated March 2022**
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 every 2 weeks.

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.

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!

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.

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.

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Dragon Fruit Smoothie Bowl

This Dragon fruit Smoothie Bowl is a beautiful, quick, and easy tropical breakfast recipe!  Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, is nutrient dense food packed with antioxidants, low calories making it a great option for vegan and paleo diets.  Made with just 3 ingredients, dragon fruit, mango, and coconut water, add your favorite toppings and enjoy!
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Haldi Doodh (Golden Milk)

Growing up in an Indian household meant turning to natural and food remedies for minor ailments.  If you had a tummy ache, Mom made us eat carom seeds or even cumin seeds.  If we had a cold sore in the mouth, she would make us keep a clove on the sore for a few hours.  There are so many more remedies that my mom and grandmother used but the one I remember and is most popular these days is turmeric.

As soon the cold weather set in or the first cough or sneeze of the season was heard, my mother would add turmeric to everything we ate.  She would also make us drink Haldi Doodh or turmeric milk before bed each night.  As a child, I hated this.  As an adult and a mom, it is now my go to.  Over the years, I’ve changed it from the basic turmeric and milk to adding a few new ingredients.  Take a look!

  • Turmeric – the most important ingredient as it has natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  The powder form is most commonly used though sometimes, I do use the actual root.
  • Black Pepper – has anti-inflammatory properties and improves brain function.  It is most important in this recipe because it activates the curcumin properties in turmeric therefore making the turmeric much more effective.
  • Honey – is full of antioxidants, antibacterial, and antifungul properties.  It’s also an age old remedy used to help sore throats.
  • Cardamom pods – have antioxidant and diuretic properties, and is rich in compounds that help fight against inflammation.
  • Ginger – also has anti-inflammatory properties, helps lower blood sugars, and improve heart disease risk factors.  Ginger also helps fight against bacteria and viruses which can help reduce the risk for infections.
  • Cinnamon – is also loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.  In addition, it helps lower blood sugar levels, and helps fight bacterial and fungal infections.

Basically, every spice added to this recipe has anti-inflammatory or antioxidant properties or both.  I normally use cow’s milk when I make this for the kids but I have made it with almond milk and it has turned out just as good.  I do recommend not to use sweetened milk if you are using a plant based milk as it changes the taste of the final product.

Here’s to wishing a healthy winter and a Happy New Year with my first recipe this year!

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

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!
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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.
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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?
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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.
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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!

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”

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: