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:

 

Crispy Goat Cheese Salad with Arugula and Figs

Fresh, peppery arugula topped with golden, crispy goat’s cheese medallions and paired with sweet figs all pulled together with a drizzle of olive oil.  This salad seems like it is so simple but the layers of flavors combined with the comforting, warm goat cheese are the ideal salad either as an entree or a side to any dinner.
Continue reading “Crispy Goat Cheese Salad with Arugula and Figs”

Sweet Potato and Beet Hash with Fried Eggs

**Original post published Nov. 2020.  Updated Aug. 2021**

A couple of months ago, I won our local Farmer’s Market cooking competition and part of my prize was a big box of fresh goodies from the market.  I don’t know if I’ve ever been so excited to get fresh veggies and fruits!   I honestly felt like a contestant on Chopped from The Food Network in that I wanted to use all of my produce and come up with a delicious dish.

Well, considering there were so much produce, I’m not sure I would be able to eat more than 3 bites of any dish made from all of the veggies and fruits!  One of my favorites in that box was the beet greens with their beautiful red stems.  I’ve had quite a few people ask me what I use them for and what they can cook out of them.  A definite go to are to cook them down like collard greens but I wanted to do something more creative and decided to add the beet greens to a hash and topping it with an egg made it the perfect breakfast for a busy day or a big, healthy lunch bowl.

The vibrant orange and red colors of the root veggies as they are being cooked, the bold green of the beets…..eeek!  I’m salivating just thinking about this recipe.   The best part is all the nutrition you get in this sustainable hash:

  • high in dietary fiber
  • high in folate
  • good source of potassium
  • good source of non-dairy calcium (the beet greens are)
  • great source of B-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin (these flavonoids have strong anti-cancer and antioxidant properties)


Topping this hash with a fried or hard boiled egg adds a little extra protein though to keep it vegetarian/vegan, you can always replace the egg with a grilled tofu steak.

From my kitchen to yours, enjoy this delicious and healthy Sweet Potato and Beet Hash!

Grilled Eggplant Sandwich with a Basil Pistachio Pesto

This eggplant sandwich has it all.  Earthy spices rubbed onto grilled veggies that have just a hint of a smoky flavor, fresh mozzarella melted just enough from the heat of the veggies.  Oh, you can’t forget the rustic basil pistachio pesto that brightens up the whole sandwich in each bite.
Continue reading “Grilled Eggplant Sandwich with a Basil Pistachio Pesto”

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:

 

Mini Upside Down Spiced Peach Cakes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Italian Stuffed Artichoke with a Garlic Cayenne Dip

Artichokes are abundant everywhere you go these days.  My favorite are the ones from our local Farmer’s Market.  You can taste the fresh quality and they are so much easier to cook than the store bought ones.

When I first starting eating these, my roommate in college introduced me to dipping them in butter.  While they tasted good dipped in butter, I can only imagine all of the calories and cholesterol my body was ingesting.  So I started using yogurt as a dipping base instead and I love it.  The yogurt dip is so easy to change the flavor profile and I can keep it as simple or complex as I am in the mood for.  This particular recipe, I kept it on the simple side with a little roasted garlic, cayenne, and salt mixed into the yogurt.

The traditional way of eating artichokes is by steaming them.  I could (and actually have) eaten many whole artichokes all by myself.  The husband used to eat them but eventually tired of steamed artichokes and stopped.  I really wanted to him to share my love for artichokes so I’ve been trying many other ways to cook them.  I’ve roasted (and burnt) them in the oven, stuffed them with various fillings that just didn’t hit the spot before I created this recipe.

All I can say is, you have got to try it!  Oh man am I excited to share this stuffed artichoke recipe.  Here are a couple of tips though when you are making these artichokes:

  • Get fresh artichokes from your local Farmer’s Market.  Trust me it makes a difference.  The time spent cooking, the quality in taste, and the ease of prepping the artichokes are worth it!
  • When you are prepping your artichoke, slice off the top quarter of the vegetable and make sure you trim off the ends of each leaf.  Using your hands, gently push apart the leaves to create a wider space in the center for the heart to hold more of the stuffing.
  • Put some muscle into removing the choke.  Having stretched the artichoke to be able to hold the filling, it will be easier to remove the choke and the hair-like filaments.


Well….. what is the stuffing?  Oh man, the most delicious and easiest to make.  I used:
red onion (the color comes out so pretty)
bread crumbs (a combination of Italian seasoned and panko)
garlic (of course!)
lemon juice
vegetable broth (though you could replace it with white wine – the taste would still be excellent)
Parmesan cheese
a hint of pepper

Because I am stuffing the artichoke, I also did a 2 step cook.  First, I par-steamed the artichoke while I made the stuffing, then I baked it all in the oven to finish cooking the artichoke and get that glorious color on the Parmesan cheese.

I really hope you get a chance to try this recipe out as it has become one of my favorites already!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this Italian Stuffed Artichoke with a Garlic Cayenne Dip.

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

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:

 

Brussels Sprouts Grain Bowl

If you have been following me then you know how much I love my bowls.  Experimenting with different flavor profiles, playing around with new dressings, and oftentimes using whatever vegetables are left in the fridge waiting to be saved from their last moments are the best part of creating my new bowl.

My brussels sprouts were facing a similar fate as mentioned above.  I had enough left that I could create a whole new dish with just them, but so few that I didn’t want to waste them either.  Grain bowls are perfect for these types of situations especially if you are using a variety of different ingredients.

This one turned out so delicious that I actually went out and bought more brussels sprouts even though I am trying to move on to spring veggies!  We’ve now had this bowl 4 times in the last 2 weeks and no one in my household minds – in fact, they love it !

I added in some sweet potato for a little starch, sweetness, and fiber, and avocado for protein.  As for the dressing, keeping it simple was the best route.  I made a honey dijon dressing that worked wonders.  The tang from the dijon and the sweet honey are a perfect balance to the bowl.

So…what are you waiting for?  Try this delicious Brussels Sprouts Grain Bowl and become a fan too!

Here are the tools I used for 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:

 

Apple Pie Bread

A little variation on banana bread, I added in some sweet apples, lots of cinnamon (as requested by my little ones), just a hint of nutmeg, and a streusel topping to finish it off is the perfect afternoon snack.  (Spoiler Alert:  It doesn’t last more than a day – maybe two – in our house.  It flies so quickly!)

I first made this loaf to take as a treat with me when I took the girls hiking last month.  We did almost 4 miles with quite an uphill so I was proud of my littles ones who not only trekked without a single complaint, they also put up with me while I took pics of them with cows in the background as they thought their Mom was crazy!

Let me get back on track though and tell you a little more about this delicious loaf!  The base recipe is similar to that of a banana bread but I wanted it a little more moist to balance the addition of spices so I added in a bit of yogurt.  The sweetness of ripe bananas and the warm spices to give a hint of apple pie is so amazing of a combination.  Who says you can only have apple pie in the fall?!

This recipe makes enough for two large loaves or 4 minis.  I’ve made both depending on what occasion I’m using these.  I love the minis for gifts or travel (the hike was a perfect example) and the large loaves I’ll use to pack in lunches, give as an afternoon snack, or even with breakfast on the weekends.

Here are a few other loaves to check out:
Spiced Pear Loaf
Pumpkin Bread
Zucchini Bread
Lemon Blueberry Mini Loaves

Can you tell we love fruity loaves in this house?!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy eating this Apple Pie Bread.

Rosemary Caprese Skewers with a Balsamic Glaze

These skewers are by far one of my favorite snacks!  Often times, if I am hosting a party, they usually make an appearance.  The best part, my girls love to eat them too (minus the basil and glaze)!  Super easy to assemble, healthy, and 5 simple ingredients.  You really can’t beat that!

For the skewers, I kept the Basil in the caprese, but the addition of rosemary gives it a little boost.  Rosemary can be strong which is why just the hint from the skewers is perfect here.  Bite sized, creamy mozzarella, tangy grape tomatoes, sharp basil, the sweet balsamic glaze finished off by fresh rosemary is definitely going to be one of the best foods I eat today!

Making the balsamic glaze is pretty simple too!  I used to be nervous about making the glaze because it seemed too daunting.  Then one day, I figured, I’ll try it and see what happens.  I can’t believe I was ever so nervous!  Literally I’m boiling balsamic vinegar with a little brown sugar and that’s pretty much it!   Oh.My.God. It tastes so good, I could drizzle this glaze on pretty much anything!

So what are you waiting for?  Try out these delicious skewers and impress your guests with a fancy-ish appetizer!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy these Rosemary Caprese Skewers with a Balsamic Glaze.

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: