Rainbow Farro Salad

A healthy vegetarian rainbow salad filled with red cabbage, roasted veggies, herbs, feta cheese, chickpeas, and farro.
Continue reading “Rainbow Farro Salad”

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:

 

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Brown Rice Skillet

This easy, one pan meal is a hearty and healthy vegetarian meal the whole family can enjoy.  Ready in just 30 minutes, it’s nutrient dense, packed with protein and fiber.  Made with simple ingredients, this Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Brown Rice Skillet is colorful, tasty, and satisfying.
Continue reading “Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Brown Rice Skillet”

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!
Continue reading “Dragon Fruit Smoothie Bowl”

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:

 

Autumn Squash Soup

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

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:

 

Secret Ingredient Brownie Bites

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

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

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

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

Here are the tools I used to make this recipe:

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

 

Back to School Dinners Made Easy

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

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


Sausage & Zucchini Linguini


Easy Chicken Ramen with GF Noodles


Skinny Skillet Veggie Enchiladas 


Chickpea and Tomato Soup


Ratatouille


Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad


Middle Eastern Vegan Protein Bowl


Sprouted Moong Beans Sabzi Gujarati Style


Brussels Sprouts Grain Bowl


Springtime Lentil Salad


One Pan Baked Salmon and Rainbow Veggies


Italian Stuffed Artichoke with a Garlic Cayenne Dip


Citrus Herb Salmon with a Mango Pico and Cilantro Lime Rice


Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas Curry


Pineapple Fried Rice


Spinach Dal

Back to School Breakfast on the Go!

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

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

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


Almond Coconut Porridge  


Breakfast Soufflé Bites


Breakfast Oat Muffins


Apple Pie Oatmeal


How to make a Nutty Granola


Almond Butter Breakfast Bars


Pomegranate Pistachio Chia Pudding


Fig and Chia Pudding Parfait


Avocado Banana Smoothie


Date Smoothie

Back to School Lunch Ideas

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

How to Cook Brown Rice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Citrus Herb Salmon with a Mango Pico and Cilantro Lime Rice

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

Mini Upside Down Spiced Peach Cakes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Zucchini Moong Dal

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

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

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

  • 156 kcal
  • 8.7 gm protein
  • 7 gm fiber


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

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

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

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

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”