Cilantro Chutney

Vibrant, fresh, mildly spicy, and packed with flavor, this Cilantro Chutney is a necessity in Indian cuisine.   This particular chutney is made using fresh cilantro, mint, curry leaves, green chilies, cashews and spices.
Continue reading “Cilantro Chutney”

Thandai Infused Rainbow Crème Brûlée (Vegan)

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

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

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

WHAT DO I NEED FOR A VEGAN CREME BRULEE?

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

THREE IMPORTANT STEPS TO A PERFECT THANDAI INFUSED CREME BRULEE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the tools that I used for this recipe:

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

Simple Homemade Crunchy Granola

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Roasted Rainbow Veggies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Springtime Lentil Salad

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the tools I used to make this recipe:

 

Sprouted Moong Beans Sabzi Gujarati Style

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the tools I used to make this recipe:

 

Popeye Muffins Yum

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

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

Continue reading “Popeye Muffins Yum

Mexican Rice with Black Beans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Avocado Wedges with Sriracha Crema

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Avocado Banana Smoothie

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

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:

 

Middle Eastern Vegan Protein Bowl

Looking for a healthy way to get protein without compromising flavor?  Well, you’ve come to the right place.  This Vegan Protein Bowl has hints of spicy, tangy, herby, and definitely brings a Middle Eastern vibe in each bite!

Simple to make and ready in just 30 minutes, you have got to try this delicious bowl.  So let me tell you a little bit about the ingredients I chose.  For my grain, I used quinoa because it packs more of a protein punch but you can definitely use any other grain.  Bulgur or Farro would be excellent substitutes to keep in line with the Middle Eastern food theme.

For added protein and crunch, I used garbanzo beans.  I love snacking on these so I actually made double the amount and the girls ended up eating most of them!

As to the veggies, I used a few different ones as I wanted to get the colors in.  To give it some warmth, I roasted the cauliflower with the garbanzos and to keep a cool factor, I made a salad of tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers, and fresh herbs.

So it’s not just what ingredients I use but how much nutrition this delicious bowl provides.  In addition to almost 20 gm of protein, you are also getting:

  • Half of your daily recommended intake (DRI) of Fiber
  • 40% of DRI Iron
  • More than the recommended intake of Folic Acid
  • Meeting at least 20-50% of most of your Vitamins and Minerals DRI

The best part of making this recipe is that even though there are several different steps and techniques, you can multitask and get them all done at once without chaos in the kitchen!   Roast your veggies, while your quinoa cooks and you are making the Avocado Salsa!  So simple and easy!

Last but not least, I added a hummus dressing to pull it altogether.  I love making my own dressings and there is no way I would leave one out of a bowl this delicious.  And to be honest, I really think the hummus dressing really marries all the flavors together so perfectly.  So what are you waiting for?!  Try this recipe out and let me know what you think.  Leave a comment below, give it a star rating, or tag me on Facebook or Instagram!

From my kitchen to yours, I really hope you enjoy this delicious Middle Eastern Vegan Protein Bowl!

Here are the tools I used:

21 Healthy Recipes to Kick Start the New Year

The holidays this year have been as non-traditional as possible but that hasn’t kept many of us from cooking and baking our favorite foods.  I have definitely been doing my share of baking, cooking and eating massive amounts of desserts, drinks, and carbs.  As always, this leads me to making New Year’s resolutions which have standards that are set too high.  Instead of setting impossible standards and going on an extreme diet, one of my resolutions is to eat healthy, nutrient dense foods.  Less processed, more home made where I can control the ingredients, especially the salt and sugar.

To help “reboot” our bodies and cleanse it of the all the heavy (and mostly unhealthy) foods eaten over the holidays, I’ve compiled a list of 21 Healthy Recipes to Kick Start the New Year.  It is my sincere hope that this list will help you eat healthier without having to sacrifice great taste.  Welcome to 2021 everyone!

Breakfast Oat Muffins

An easy make ahead, these delicious oat muffins are versatile and fun to make with kids.  Grab one on your way to work, school, or your home office!

Almond Coconut Porridge

A delicious porridge that you can make ahead the night before and add so many healthy toppings to, this Almond Coconut Porridge is the perfect healthy start to your day!

Apple Pie Oatmeal

Steel cut oats cooked with apples and cinnamon to give you a creamy apple pie taste are one of our favorite types of oats.  Try them out and you will want a bowl of this Apple Pie Oatmeal over and over again!

Breakfast Soufflé Bites

These easy egg bites filled with fresh and healthy veggies.  Perfect to make ahead, freeze and reheat for busy mornings.

Sweet Potato and Beet Hash with Fried Eggs

A superfood dish that can be used for breakfast or brunch, this delicious meal is the perfect start to any day.  Packed with fiber, non-dairy calcium, beets help fight inflammation, detox the body, and boost energy!

Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad

The perfect winter salad that keeps you full, nourished and packs a punch with a variety of flavors and textures, this Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad is a great lunch or dinner option!

Rainbow Fajita Bowl

Filled with colorful and fresh veggies, this healthy bowl is low on carbs and calories but provides a good source of nutrition.

Paneer Cabbage Cups

A fun healthy option with a bit of Indian fusion, these Paneer Cabbage Cups are light and filling.

Adai Waffles / Lentil Waffles

Who says waffles have to be for breakfast only?  Or that they have to be sweet?  These savory lentil waffles are filled with 4 different types of lentils and lots of veggies.  Have a couple with a side of Masala Salsa or Chutney, you can’t go wrong!

15 minute Masala Pasta

Make a batch of this pasta sauce filled with veggies and delicious spices to freeze and use for any meal.  Combine it with your gluten free or fresh pasta and you will have a veggie loaded pasta that even fussy kids will eat in less than 15 minutes!

Fresco Carpaccio

A light and healthy salad, this Carpaccio is very simple to make and disappears just as quickly!  A great afternoon snack or side salad, you must try this!

Tomato Avocado Cucumber Salad

Packed with protein, healthy fats, and fresh fruit, this delicious salad is perfect to take to work or have on the side with a meal!

Microgreens Salad

A nutrient-dense salad that is light to eat and will make you wanting more, it’s very simple and quick to put together.

Roasted Masala Chickpeas

A healthy snack that will keep you going when you have munchies in the afternoon.  Store these in an air tight container and enjoy whenever your tummy desires!

Roasted Chili Almonds

Another great snack to have or one to add to a cheese board, these Roasted Chili Almonds take only 5 minutes to make.  Store in an airtight container and enjoy for up to 2 weeks.

Rainbow Lentil Stew

This stew is filled with fresh, colorful veggies that are packed with nutrition and flavor.  You can make it in a dutch oven or slow cooker and enjoy it for one of the many rainy days ahead this winter and spring.

Sweet & Spicy Harvest Bowl

Just as it’s name implies, there are plenty of sweet and spicy notes in this bowl.  Beets, brussels sprouts, acorn squash, and pears over a bed of quinoa is just the beginning of the deliciousness here.  The veggies are roasted with chipotle powder to give it hints of spicy and smoky that bring together the perfect amount of pepper.

Spinach Dal

On a consistent rotation in our home, this Spinach Dal has becoming popular.  Taking only 10 minutes to make, you can’t go wrong with this delicious Indian lentil dish.

Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash

This Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash is filled with fruits and veggies and topped with a delicious Apple Cider Vinaigrette, every bite will burst with a multitude of flavors.

Easy Chicken Ramen with GF Noodles

For those rainy nights, this Ramen is the perfect way to cuddle up and enjoy a warm broth filled with veggies and gluten free fresh pasta noodles.  The best part, it takes less than 30 minutes to make!

Tandoori Gobi (Cauliflower) Zucchini Boats 

A fun fusion dish that is filled with the traditional Tandoori flavor.  Roasted in the oven then broiled, the cauliflower give hints of the charred smoky flavor combined with the Tandoori marinade.  Serve it with a side of cooling Mint-y Pomegranate Raita and be prepared to have your taste buds take a trip to India!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this list of healthy recipes to kick start your New Year!  I’m going to be adding more to continue our journey of healthy eating.  In the meantime, tag me when you make a recipe of mine on Facebook or Instagram or feel free to leave a comment below.  Let me know what recipes you would like to see also.

I wish all of you a Happy New Year filled with lots of healthy eating (and a little not so healthy eating).

~Sapna

Tinseltown Tostadas

I think hands down, these are one of my favorite holiday foods.  I’ve had so many and I don’t think I can tire of them.  Snacking is one of my favorite activities.  These delicious tostadas make it so much easier as they are low in calorie, healthy, and guilt-free.

High in fiber, antioxidants, a good source of protein, and rich in vitamins and minerals, these delicious Tinseltown Tostadas definitely pack a punch!

Between the Serrano peppers and the watermelon radish, there were some strong flavors.  I knew I wanted to use the pomegranate arils to give it a sweet note (and make it look pretty).

But it needed depth so I played around with a few options before settling on the hummus and avocado.  And yet the radish was still giving off a bit of a pungent taste and therein comes the smear of pesto.

There are so many random flavors that they work despite wanting to prove the opposite.

Make these delicious Tinseltown Tostadas this holiday season and you won’t be able to stop eating them.  From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy them!

The tools I used for this recipe are:

Fire Roasted Poblano Tacos

We are a taco loving family.  I started the kids out simple with the basic filling of either ground meat or refried beans and some veggies and lots of cheese.  Though we love the basics, which often times provide a sense of comfort and nostalgia, I wanted to try something new.

Definitely no beans or meat.

I know, but trust me!  This is amazing!  You want to know why I say this?  I had to make it 5 times before I was able to get a single photo of it taken.  The first time I made it, these tacos flew so fast, I didn’t even realize what happened.  This also happened the second, third, and fourth time.  The fifth time, I made it well in advance so no one could get into them and I could actually take a photo to share with you my enthusiasm around these tacos.

So, I fire roasted the poblanos to give it a more earthy, smoky flavor.  If you don’t have a gas stove, you can totally do this on your BBQ grill or even in the oven.  You will still get that amazing smoky flavor, I promise!

Instead of beans or meat, I chose to use acorn squash to roast with ancho chili and chipotle powder.  These peppers give it a kick without making it too spicy and also enhance that smoky flavor, especially from the chipotle pepper powder.

I’m not done though!  Making this go one step further, I made a Habanero Crema with avocados, roasted garlic and a little yogurt to balance out the habaneros.

Serve it with microgreens instead of lettuce or cabbage, and top it off with a little salsa verde, and you have what I think is one of the most amazing tacos of the year!

Seriously, I’m just going to stop now and give you the recipe.  You really have to try it.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy these delicious Fire Roasted Poblano Tacos.

Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad

Warm foods during the cold winter days just makes so much sense.  And I don’t just mean temperature but the actual foods and their properties.

When you eat warm foods, they take longer to digest because they are higher in healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates which in turn results in increased body temperature (thermogenesis).  Root veggies, fruits such as coconut and apples, and herbs and spices are a few examples of these types of foods.

This Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad is a great combination of many of those warm foods and the fact that it’s filled with flavor, texture, sweet, and spicy makes this that much more of a delicious dish.

This is perfect to make as an entree or a side dish, or serve it up in mini bowls/plates as an appetizer.  A small amount will take you a long way as the salad is very filling.

I honestly think this is one of the most nutrient dense recipes I have.  Here are a few healthy benefits from this one:

  • Rich in Fiber and Protein
  • Packed with antioxidants
  • Boosts Immune System
  • Good source of Vit. C, E, and B6
  • Good source of Calcium, Iron, and Folate
  • Good source of omega 3 and carotenoids which have anti-inflammatory effects beneficial to all types of arthritis (Butternut Squash)
  • Boost in energy level (Lentils)

The list can literally go on about how healthy this salad is, which only adds to the deliciousness of it.

From my kitchen to yours, I really hope you enjoy this Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad.

Herbed Potato Wedges

I love potatoes.  In any form.  I don’t discriminate.  They are just so uber delicious.  But so unhealthy!  Ugh!  I wish I could eat them all the time.  However…… the few times that I do have them, I make sure they count!

I started making these potato wedges years back (in the oven as I didn’t have an air fryer then) and to this day, they are still a no fail recipe that I can always count on!  I do love the fact that they are crispier on the outside while retaining a soft, creamy inside.  If you don’t have an air fryer, don’t fret!  The oven still does a great job cooking these babies!

It’s an extremely simple recipe that doesn’t require much.  This is all you need:

  • Russet potatoes
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Paprika
  • Red Chili Pepper Flakes
  • Dried Oregano
  • Dried Basil
  • Dried Parsley

These potato wedges are a favorite among everyone in the house from the kiddos to the adults, you just can’t go wrong.  Eat them for a snack, a side dish for meats, have part of your next BBQ, an app at a party, pretty much for any occasion, big or small.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy these Herbed Potato Wedges!

The tools that I used to create this dish are:

Ratatouille

The year was 2013, I had been married only a couple of months and was hosting this grand Thanksgiving for my in-laws.  My mother-in-law is vegetarian as am I and so I wanted something special for a veggie dish at the table instead of roasted veggies.

No offense to roasted veggies, I love them.  In fact I eat them all the time and therein lies the problem.  I wanted something “fancy”, something different that I don’t have on any given night.

So I scoured the internet and landed upon this gorgeous picture of Ratatouille and thought, I can make this!   And I did.  It didn’t look so pretty but hey, that’s ok, I hoped it would taste delicious though.  It was bland.  There literally was no flavor profile to it and safe to say, both my mother-in-law and I were disappointed.

She was nice enough to pretend it was good but I couldn’t even do that!

So ever since, I’ve been on a mission to create a Ratatouille that has layers and dimensions of flavor.  Safe to say, I think I found it!

Here’s the secret!

  1. Make a sauce that keeps everyone wanting to lick it off the plate
  2. Season the top of the veggies and not just with salt and pepper!  With actual herbs!
  3. Make enough sauce so that veggies are half drenched in it and the rest will cook in the steam of the boiling sauce in the oven.

I have been playing with the recipe for a while now and when I made the final version, I was satisfied aesthetically.  The question was, would my girls eat the eggplant in it?

Recently, they’ve become very finicky eaters and it can be a real struggle to feed them even their favorite foods sometimes.  But they both ate all the veggies and I couldn’t have been a prouder Mama!

Try this out for your next Holiday dinner, weeknight surprise, or Sunday dinner.  It’s easy to make ahead, stores in the fridge and freezer well and is fairly simple to make!

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

The tools that I used to make this recipe are:

Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash

Squash season is in full swing and I’m loving experimenting with all the different varieties out there.  One of my favorites is butternut squash.  It’s vibrant orange color, the sweet taste, and the versatility of the flesh is just great to work with.  You can mash it up or cube it and add it into most dishes.  For this recipe, I decided to throw a twist and stuff it instead.

This dish is perfect to add for the vegetarians (and non-vegetarians) at the Thanksgiving or Holiday table.  It’s rich and bold colors match the flavors that draw together the different fruits and veggies I’ve used.

Aside from being so flavorful, it is also extremely healthy.  Here are a few benefits you will get from this dish:

  • High in protein
  • Good source of Fiber
  • Good source of Iron
  • Gluten Free
  • Low in Fat
  • Good source of Potassium and Magnesium
  • Good source of Folate
  • Good source of Vit. C and Vit. K
  • High in Antioxidants

I know butternut squash is one of the harder squashes to chop but I have a trick!  Heat the squash in the microwave for 3 minutes and it will soften up enough that you can chop the ends easily and scoop out the flesh also.  I know putting a whole squash in the microwave might seem daunting, but trust me it works!

When I initially made this recipe, both the hubby and I found it a bit dry and realized right away that it needs a sauce or dressing to help it out.  After going through a few options, I settled on a simple Apple Cider Vinaigrette.  It has all the elements for the fall, doesn’t overpower the stuffing and gives you just enough of a pop in flavor.  Most importantly, the stuffing doesn’t feel dry anymore!

So….. what are you waiting for?  Try this out and make it a part of your holiday table or Sunday dinner! From my kitchen to yours, I hope you love this Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash!

The equipment I used for this dish are:

Rangoli Ladoos

Diwali has always been a special festival growing up in my family… in fact for most Indian families.  It’s the Festival of Lights, where we celebrate faith and hope and wish that everyone has a bright future, happiness and prosperity in their lives.

Everywhere you look, Diwali takes over with lights and colors.  Rangoli designs are a prominent component of Diwali, with the idea that it brings strength, good luck and genorosity.  Keeping in mind that very foundation of colors and brightness, I decided to bring the spirit of rangoli to my mithai (sweets) for Diwali this year.


Coconut ladoos are very popular in Indian and the best part is, they are very easy to make.  The basis of each ladoo was kept the same with the main ingredients being coconut, almond flour/ground almonds, and condensed milk.  The ratios vary based on the flavor and additions of the ladoo.

Here are the flavors I decided to go with:

  • Mango (seriously, how could I not include this flavor?!)
  • Lavender (because it’s a new obsession and the flavor and colors are so amazing!)
  • Rose (the colors, the fragrance, and the taste are so pretty, it makes me feel like a princess when I’m eating this!)
  • Mojito (…..yep.  No alcohol, but that hint of lime and mint….YUM!)
  • Coconut Almond (the original cannot be overlooked!)


Some tips to make it easier for you when you make this:

  • Use a non-stick skillet to make these.  It prevents the mixture from sticking and makes the process that much easier.
  • Make them vegan!  Use vegan condensed milk and coconut oil instead of ghee to roll the balls.
  • You can use frozen grated coconut.  Just leave it out for a little bit to thaw and bring to room temperature.
  • If you don’t want to use or don’t have almond flour available, substitute with the same amount of almonds and grind them up into a flour.  It’s an extra step but easy and a perfect swap.
  • When buying almond flour, make sure you buy the almond flour and NOT the blend.  I almost did that.  The blend has a mixture of rice and other ingredients that would change the taste of this dessert.


If you end up making any of these delicious ladoos, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram at @bitofspice146.  I would love to see your creations!

Garlic Herb Pizza Dough

Dough just before it’s smoothed and oiled to set aside so it can rise

Pizza is one food my girls are very picky about.  I know… I was surprised too!  Usually, kids love pizza but my oldest decided she didn’t like pizza after having it at 7 different birthday parties in a span of 1 month.  I get it, I totally do.  I would be tired of it too!

For me, pizza is the ultimate go to with unlimited toppings and variations.  I didn’t want Sanaya to feel an aversion for one of the most loved foods on this planet so I stepped in.  After trying so many different pizzerias, I finally decided to make it at home.

Obviously could not wait to eat this….!

This Garlic Herb Pizza Dough is so delicious and light.  When the dough is rolled out, it’s not too thick and makes for a nice flatbread.  Some days, I will roll it out into 1 large pizza and others, I’ll get the girls involved and have them decorate their own personal pizzas.  Either way, you can’t go wrong with this delicious garlic-y, herb-y pizza dough!

Try it out!  It is so delicious!
From my kitchen to yours, enjoy your pizza party!

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: