Blog Archives

A healthy dessert – Ricotta Stuffed Strawberries

Strawberries Stuffed with Ricotta

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.

Strawberries Stuffed with Ricotta

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.

Advertisements

Savory Cornmeal Pancakes

Savory Cornmeal Pancakes

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.

Savory Cornmeal Pancakes

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

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.

Green Smoothie with Kale and Peaches

Kale and Peaches smoothie

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.

Kale and Peaches smoothie

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.

Serve immediately.

A Simple Homemade Dressing

Homemade Salad Dressing

Mom and Dad will be here tomorrow. I will hand over the kitchen to my mom once she is here.It’s the best thing about mom being here 🙂

But it creates a dilemma. My mom’s diet is primarily Indian. She will rarely venture into salad’s.

Vipul is still mainly eating salads. But he cannot will not make dressing.

Even if its a simple act of putting together olive oil and lemon/ balsamic vinegar to conjure up a dressing, it is filled with questions.

How much lemon juice? Is this much olive oil a lot? Should I add pepper? Or garlic? How about fresh herbs? It still doesn’t taste like what we had two nights ago!

I roll my eyes.

Call it a combination of late pregnancy hormones, exhaustion and general 10 years of marriage 😉

Here is a simple homemade dressing , bottled up and kept in the fridge.

No more every day Q & A session on how to make a dressing.

Take it out of the fridge, warm it up in microwave a bit, pour as much or as little, toss and serve.

We have sorted out one thing out.

Now the questions have changed.

Which cheese, which mix-ins, which bowl,… ( Le sigh! I exaggerate for effect ;))

Simple Homemade Dressing Recipe

  • 3/4 cup  Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 – 1 tablespoon Mustard sauce
  • 1 – 1 1/2  tablespoon Garlic finely minced
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)

1. Mix all the ingredients in a bottle. Shake it till mixed through. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Pour over salad immediately or refrigerate for later use.

Healthy Veggie Loaded Artichoke Dip

IMG_4543

Need I say more?

Dips are something I cannot eat in moderation. Salsa’s and Hummus are ok. They can be had without restraint. Possibly some seven layer dips. But what about the warm cheesy dips? They are inviting and very scrumptious.

In restaurants, I manage to finish the dip as I eat it as is.

So much cheese can’t really be good for anyone in a single serving. But sometimes heart (or rather taste buds) don’t listen to your brain and then next think we know is that the dip bowl is empty! Now satisfaction kicks in. Later regret kicks in.

I needed something that was amazing to taste with no regrets.

That’s where a healthified artichoke Spinach dip came into picture.

Its full of veggies and using less cheese compared to traditional recipes. Thick Yogurt is what gives it extra creaminess and protein without the excess fat.

We topped it with finely diced bell pepper and ate them with veggies ( as well as multi grain toast fingers) for a filling afternoon snack.

It makes about 3 cups of dip and can be made ahead, frozen and then thawed before serving. We have a stash in our freeze for days when the baby arrives and we are hungry for “something fun/interesting”. It tastes yummy even as is out of the fridge.

IMG_4547

Healthy Veggie Loaded Artichoke Dip Recipe

Makes ~ 3 cups of dip

  • 1 can Artichoke hearts drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and water removed
  • 1 cup milk , divided
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 goat cheese
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup finely diced bell pepper and red onion ( for Garnish)

1.  In a skillet, add artichoke hearts, spinach, 1/2 cup milk, garlic, cumin seeds and paprika. Mix well and let cook for a few minutes on medium-low heat.

2. Stir in the parmesan cheese and let cook for another 2-3 minutes till the cheese melts and is incorporated in the mixture.  Lower the heat if necessary. Once cooked, let cool for a couple of minutes.

3. In the meantime, in a bowl, whip greek yogurt with goat cheese. Set aside.

4. Once the artichoke-spinach mixture is cooled, blend it till desired consistency. I like the dip to be smooth with some chunks of artichoke. Skip this step if you like the dip to be chunky.

5. Add the yogurt – goat cheese mixture to the artichoke mixture. Add salt. Mix well.

6. Top with bell pepper and red onions.

Serve immediately or freeze for later use.

Smoked Salmon and Spinach Omelette

Smoked Salmon and Spinach Omelette

Yay, we have moved into our apartment. And its a big old mess here.

Boxes, books, clothes, toiletries, toys seem to be all mingled and on top of each other.

The only one place that is sorted out is the kitchen. Last night we made a trip to Whole Foods to replenish the food supplies. We were the grumpy and hungry parents with a whiny 3-year-old in tow. With supplies back in the kitchen, now we are back in business.

Smoked Salmon and Spinach Omelette

Today, Vipul had a smoked Salmon and Spinach Omelette. Still diet food but all gussied up with Smoked Alaskan Salmon.

A combination that we normally have when we eat out or when we visit Poonam.

Simple recipe that goes well with the Olive bread from Whole Foods smeared with fresh avocados. Give it a try with fresh eggs and home-grown spinach – if possible. The flavors party in your mouth. No kidding.

I could probably have it again for dinner. Yipee for cooking in your own kitchen and for breakfasts for dinners!

Smoked Salmon and Spinach Omelette

Smoked Salmon and Spinach Omlette Recipe

Serves 2

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves chopped into ribbons
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup Smoked Salmon peices
  • 1 teaspoon oil or bacon fat

1. Beat the eggs with salt and pepper and spinal till pale yellow and fluffy.

2. Heat oil in a skillet. Whip the eggs once while the oil heats up. When hot, pour half of the eggs mixture in the skillet. Once the eggs are set on the bottom, gentle loosen the sides and flip the omelette. Layer the smoked salmon pieces. Cook for another minute or so. Fold in half and slide on a plate.

Serve warm with  toasted bread. avocados, roasted tomatoes and coffee.

%d bloggers like this: