Sarson da Saag, Makki di Roti

**Note: Original post created Jul 2017.  Updated October 2021**

The first time I was introduced to this traditional Punjabi meal was during my wedding planning. My husband and in-laws requested that this be on the menu somewhere. I didn’t understand what it was or the goodness of it until quite a bit later (much later than my wedding). Of course, during my wedding, I didn’t remember eating or tasting anything with so much going on. After I got married, I remember my mother-in-law making it a few times for my husband and seeing the pure joy on his face as he ate the Saag and Roti. I felt, wow, such a simple meal (for Indian food) and yet it brings him so much happiness. Of course I decided to try it out on my own.

I am always told, even to this day, how this is supposed to be a really hard recipe to master. I’m definitely not making it the way my mother-in-law does, but my shortcut recipe has managed to impress her, my husband and my daughter! As they say, a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I’m already in my hubby’s heart, but this is one recipe that guarantees a spot for any of you out there looking to impress your significant other.

Sarson da Saag is basically a vegetable dish made of Mustard Greens. It is very earthy in taste and rich not only in flavor but nutrients also. Mustard Greens provide an abundance of potassium and Vitamins K, A, C, and E. Traditionally, it is cooked in water and hand churned until you get the creamy, buttery consistency. If I had the time, I might try it. But since I don’t, I obviously created a shortcut (my handy dandy blender). Try it out and tell me what you think:

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The saag tastes great on its own, but man does it just go a whole other level with Makki di Roti. Makki di Roti is basically corn bread. It’s not your traditional Roti that is usually soft and pliable. This is a bit thicker and can hold all that saag without getting the roti soggy. One more thing – Makki di Roti is typically made by flattening the dough between the palms. I am using a different technique by placing the dough in between a ziploc bag and rolling it out with a rolling pin. This just works better for me.

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Looking for more Indian recipes?  Check out some of these:
Sprouted Moong Beans Sabzi Gujarati Style
Instant Pot Rajma (Kidney Beans)
Methi Thepla
Instant Pot Kali Dal
Avocado Roti

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

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:

 

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:

 

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”

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.