A perfect combination of fall flavors, this salad is perfect for lunch or as a side for dinner. Roasted beets and butternut squash are served over peppery arugula, tangy feta cheese, earthy walnuts, sweet pomegranate arils. Tossed in a maple dressing that is easy to make and shake, this beautiful salad is gluten free and nutrient dense! Continue reading “Beet and Butternut Squash Salad”→
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.
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.
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!
**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!
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
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!
8 oz Almond Coconut Milk (or any milk of your preference)
4 Tbsp Chia Seeds
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c pomegranate arils
2-3 Tbsp pistachios, roughly chopped
In an airtight glass jar, add the milk, chia seeds, salt, and vanilla extract. Mix really well either with a spoon or by tightening the lid and shaking the jar. The seeds do tend to clump up so make sure you mix until there is no clumping.
Store in the refrigerator overnight or at least 2 hours to let it gelatinize.
Divide the pudding between two bowls. Top with pomegranate arils and chopped pistachios. Enjoy cold!
**I prefer to keep mine refrigerated overnight but this pudding is edible after it has been in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
**You can absolutely double or triple this batch with the same results. If I'm doing a big batch, I'll store it in a larger container and take out my preferred amount each day. Chia pudding will last up to 4 days in the fridge once made.
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!
Heat a larger, wide saute pan on medium-high heat. Add olive oil and let it warm up.
Add the onions and bell peppers and sauté for approximately 3-4 minutes. Add in the garlic and jalapeño and cook for 30 seconds to let the flavors bloom.
Add rice, broth, salsa, cumin and paprika. Stir, then bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for about 40 minutes until the rice is cooked.
Once the rice is cooked, stir in the drained/rinsed beans. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes covered.
Garnish with cilantro and serve hot as a main or side dish
**For the Instant Pot:
Follow the above instructions to step 3, then cover the instant pot, set on Pressure Cook mode for 24 minutes. Once the timer goes off, NPR (natural pressure release) for 5 minutes, then change the valve to vent and let out any remaining steam before opening the instant pot.
Stir in the black beans and cover lid loosely for another 5 minutes.
Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.
It’s going on week 2 of my New Year’s Resolution of trying to eat healthier and so far, the first half of the first week did not go well. Part of the problem is a new school schedule with the girls but the other part is me not taking accountability of the changing timetable and doing something right away. A couple of days passed before I realized I needed to up my game quick and couldn’t wait for the weekend so came along the decision to make these delicious Almond Butter Breakfast Bars.
I love these bars because they are filling, healthy, and quick to make. You can absolutely substitute peanut butter for the almond butter or even sun butter if you have a family member allergic to nuts. I did use almond flour in this recipe which you can substitute for any flour of your choice. And to make them vegan – simple, substitute the honey for agave. That’s the best part of this recipe – it’s versatility.
Here are some great nutrition benefits of these delicious bars:
Great source of protein at 7.25gm in each serving
Provides 20% of your DRI Iron
Great source of Fiber and Vit. E
Healthy option for a grab and go breakfast that is nutrient dense rather than carb dense
So, what are you waiting for? You have got to try these delicious bars. Let me know what you think! From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy these delicious Almond Butter Breakfast Bars!
This fall and winter season I have been obsessed with acorn squash and pomegranates. It only made sense that I find a way to combine the two together. The girls love the rainbow shape this takes on when cut so I wanted to create something fun for them too.
The great thing about acorn squash is that it is a little sweet naturally but it will still take on any flavor you give it. If you haven’t tried them yet, I made some Fire Roasted Poblano Tacos recently with acorn squash part of the filling. It took on the spices really well so I wanted to go on the opposite spectrum this time and season it with something a little more mild.
I chose mostly fresh herbs that would bring out the more earthy flavors. To help give it a little crust, I also added a little Parmesan.
Anyways, here are a few fun nutrition facts about acorn squash:
A nutrient dense food, acorn squash is loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber yet is comparatively low in saturated fat, sugar and salt.
Great source of phytonutrients, particularly carotenoids which have antioxidant properties.
Acorn squash is a starchy fruit, however, because it is so nutrient dense, there’s a good balance to eating this squash. The high fiber content slows down digestion which helps you stay full longer and slows down the release of glucose in your blood. This process helps in maintaining weight and stabilizing your blood sugar.
So now that you know about my favorite squash this season, let’s move on to my favorite fruit of the season.
Pomegranates are known as one of the healthiest fruits on Earth!
High in fiber (7gms in 1 cup of arils), they also contain an impressive amount of protein (3gm in 1 cup of arils), and 16% of DRI of Folate (also in 1 cup of arils)
A great source of antioxidants which help with anti-inflammatory properties.
they improve exercise performance by delaying fatigue and increasing blood flow.
Basically, this is one healthy dish that you can have this winter season and enjoy every bite of it! Try it out and tag me on Instagram @bitofspice146.
From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Herb Roasted Acorn Squash with Pomegranates and Pistachios.
Herb Roasted Acorn Squash with Pomegranates and Pistachios
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!
Watermelon Radish and Fennel Salad with a Ginger Lime Dressing