We have been on the healthy eating bandwagon since earlier this year. It was our only New Year Resolution, if you will.
And although there have been occasional slips ( French-Creole food from Brenda’s, Fish curry from Gajalee and Vada-Pav from DOSA), largely we have stuck to the game plan. More veggies, moderate amount of protein, no sugar, no artificial processed foods and whole natural fat.
After nurturing years of sweet tooth, its hard to go without a sugar fix. Thankfully two deserts have come to our rescue. Ricotta stuffed strawberries and Oatmeal-applesauce cookies.
Made with all natural ingredients both these desserts are naturally sweet. Now I know, sweet is a very relative term. My parents can’t have their cuppa of tea without a teaspoon or two of sugar in it. That’s their baseline. For me, more than half a teaspoon sugar makes it too sweet.
Thanks to the south beach diet and the palate cleansing, we can actually taste the natural sweetness in vegetables – tomatoes, bell peppers and even squashes. Sadly that means we find traditional desserts at restaurants too sweet.
To indulge in our sweet tooth while still maintaining the diet, I made us some ricotta stuffed strawberries. I know strawberries are not in season but I got them on sale at Whole Foods so there they were. I am sure the ricotta would go well with grilled peaches, pineapples or whatever fruit is in season.
This is a recipe where ingredients shine – so don’t buy the prepackaged ricotta which is grainier but get some freshly made ricotta. Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and other natural food markets carry them next to fresh guacamole,salsa etc. Or make it yourself. There are tons of recipes online.
I used to always think that bloggers who ask to get premium ingredients are snooty – but really after having this I change my mind. The fresh ricotta melts in your mouth. I added a little bit of maple syrup and Meyer lemon juice to the ricotta to brighten this further but it was good even as is.
A take on strawberries and cream, this is one dessert that I think we can make over and over again especially once spring brings fresh seasonal berries.
Ricotta Stuffed Strawberries Recipe
- 10 – 12 strawberries, washed and core removed
- 1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon juice from Meyer lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon zest of Meyer lemon
1. With a light hand, core the strawberries and scoop out the flesh. Save it to make some strawberry jam.
Set them aside in a serving dish.
2. Whip the ricotta cheese with 1 tablespoon maple syrup, lemon zest and juice. Taste and add more syrup if necessary. Whip again.
3. Using a small spoon (or pastry bag if you really want to be fancy and make swirls), spoon the ricotta cheese in strawberries.
Refrigerate for couple of hours at least. Garnish with Meyer lemon zest. Serve chilled.
I am on a smoothie kick these days. Mostly because they are so easy to make.
Once I have fruits and veggies on hand, it’s just mix and match and then whirl in my Magic bullet. Single container. Easy cleanup. Tasty. And filling.
I learnt recently that home-made smoothies are healthier than juicing as we retain the fiber in the smoothie v/s discarding the pulp. The fiber makes them filling and low glycemic index.
I mean seriously whats not to love.
I saw pear and ginger combination on Pinterest recently. Had it on hand and this came about.
If a recipe can be so-called, then here it is.
P.S. If you are looking for more smoothie inspiration, just check out Pinterest Smoothies board. There are tips and tricks, combinations and beautiful photos.
Pear Ginger Smoothie Recipe
- 1/2 red pear , washed and roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup coconut milk, chilled
- 1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves, washed and chopped
- 1/2″ knob of fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
1. Swirl everything in the blender till well mixed.
Are you on a smoothie kick? Which flavors are your all time favorites???
I am craving spicy food these days.
Pohe (flaked rice), spicy fish curry, chicken wings with hot sauce, spicy soups, curries and dal. The list is endless. Thanks to mom being here and her cooking; its easier to indulge in the spicier palate.
Yesterday, we made these cornmeal pancakes for breakfast. After routine of eggs, toast and oatmeal; they were a refreshing change.
The pancakes themselves were not too spicy ( though you can kick up heat a notch if you will easily with more green chilli peppers) but with homemade pickle it sure did hit the right note. I suppose some garlic chutney would go well with it too.
I wanted to add grated zucchini or cucumber to them but we didn’t have any on hand so made them plain. This looks like a good vehicle to sneak in some veggies. I made a couple of small-sized ones for Varun. He ate the bits without cilantro so next time I will chop them super fine so he gets in his veggies for the day.
Savory Cornmeal Pancakes Recipe
- 1/2 cup corn meal
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup yogurt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 – 2 spring onions finely diced
- 1 green chilli pepper finely diced
- 1/2 cup cilantro finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon oil
1. In a large bowl, mix cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside
2. In another bowl, beat the egg with milk. Add yogurt and beat well so there are no lumps.
3. Add the milk-yogurt mixture to the flour mix. Add ginger, garlic, chilli pepper and cilantro. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside for 10 – 15 minutes.
4. Heat oil in a non stick girdle. Ladle 1/4 cup of the mixture on to the girdle when hot. Cook on each side for a couple of minutes till golden brown.
Serve warm with sour cream, pickle or yogurt.
If there is one thing I didn’t know about San Francisco before the move, it is about its extremely fickle weather.
It’s not like Seattle where it can rain anytime. Here it is extreme.The mornings that usually start with a roll of fog or cloud cover, make way for splendid sunny afternoons. Warm enough to be in shorts and sandals. And sunny days can give way to foggy afternoons. Yesterday it was 70 F and today its 48F.So locals tend to dress in layers.
The fog and clouds brings chilly weather and it is perfect for soups.
Pumpkin and sage, chicken noodle or even simple tomato and bell pepper. We had a lovely mussels in sofrito based soup over the weekend for lunch and ended the day with a hearty cauliflower soup.
Creamy, cheesy and healthy. Not something you will see in same sentence. Usually. But its the milk that adds to the natural creaminess of roasted cauliflower here. Sum total being greater than parts.
I have seen pinterest pictures of this being made with colorful cauliflower heads. I made with plain old white one.
Mom was a little skeptical. She is used to standard normal tomato and clear broth soups. For her,vegetables are had stir fried with a little spices. Not with cheese and blended into a soup. This was too much of a paradigm shift for her. But we all loved it.
Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup Recipe
- 1 small head cauliflower, chopped into florets ( about 2- 2 1/2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- 2 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup red onion coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoon chopped mint
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- Pre-heat oven to 375 F. Toss cauliflower with spices and olive oil. Lay it in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 – 40 minutes till golden spots begin to appear.
- In a saucepan, heat the teaspoon of olive oil. Saute onion in it till cooked for about couple of minutes over medium heat.
- Add cauliflower, mint, salt and 2 cups of water. Mix well. Cook for another couple of minutes.
- Using an immersion blender, blend the cauliflower soup. Else wait for it to cool a bit and blend in a regular blender. Hot liquids and blenders need to be handled carefully.
- Add milk and cheese. Mix well and cook for another minute.
Serve warm with garlic bread.
I am officially tired of being pregnant now.
Crib, carseat, baby clothes, diapers and wipes are in the house.
Grandparents have arrived. They are over jetlag. They know the bus route to the hospital, Varun’s preschool and even Whole Foods.
Baby is full term – we are at 38 weeks for crying out loud. Varun was already born by this time. And at home.
The wait and this extreme sleepiness is driving me crazy. I mean I sleep all day and night as if I have already been through labor and have a baby keeping me up.
In the meantime, we drove to Half Moon Bay and Muir Woods over the weekend.
Had a lovely time over meat and cheese platter and wine flights at Amelie. Hung out with friends.Even had a spicy shrimp curry from Gajalee.
Don’t have the energy to detail out the trip details yet, but will one day.
Just wanted to chime in and say, sorry about the lack of regular posting. Can only imagine blog being neglected for a while.
Will probably post once a week going forward – at least for the next couple of months while we wait for the baby and then bond with him. Hopefully he will be a better sleeper than Varun and let us get back to our routine quickly.
Thanks for understanding and hanging around. And for reading me!
A semi seasonal combination, Kale and Peach smoothie is truly my go to second breakfast combination these days.
As part of the move, we found our Magic Bullet. I love it for its one container usage – prep/make and drink from same container makes it prefect for on the go food recipes, not to mention one less container to wash. So we have begun making smoothies. They are great way to incorporate greens, veggies and fruits.
A Vitamix would make it even smoother and kid friendly (green leafy bits would be blended real fine) but this works for us for now.If we do find ourselves drinking a lot of smoothies consistently then we will consider an upgrade but so far I am a fan of the magic bullet.
Without ado, here is my ginger spiked green smoothie recipe.
Green Smoothie with Kale and Peaches Recipe
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup frozen peach slices coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup frozen raspberries
- 4-5 Kale leaves ( Washed and coarsely chopped)
- 1 teaspoon ginger minced
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1. Start layering the coconut milk, frozen fruits, kale and ginger in the magic bullet container. Screw on the blades and give it a whirl till its all blended and smooth.
Divide into 2 small glasses or one tall one.