Sunday, July 22, 2012

Back in Business for Healthy eating in 2012! Quinoa Surprise!

I know it has been AGES since i've posted!!! Almost a year and I apologize. But I have a really good excuse :) My little baby boy Neil was born on New Years Day 2012, and has been keeping me super busy! He is almost 7 months old, and about to start eating solids. I got to thinking, we're so careful about preparing our baby's first foods organically, no preservatives, etc why shouldn't we start eating healthier ourselves? So I've been inspired by reading many baby food books/blogs to try to incorporate cooking for him as well as ourselves. Since I have started steaming veggies for his purees, I am keeping some aside for us to prep in various other dishes. Here is a pic of my hungry little monster above =)

So to kick off my healthy eating in 2012, one of Neil's first foods is going to be carrots. Since I was preparing carrots to steam for his puree, I decided to throw together whatever I had in my fridge to make this deliciously healthy and yummy meal which is extremely filling!! Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


1 cup tricolore quinoa (available at trader joes) cooked (2 cups of water works, just like rice) according to package
1 avocado to add for garnish after dish is prepared, chopped in cubes
2 medium carrots, peeled, chopped in circles, steamed
1  organic green pepper, chopped
1 medium organic vine ripened tomato
1 small box organic spinach
1/2 can spicy vegetarian black beans (no liquid)
1/2 box Athenos feta cheese
1 clove garlic
Olive oil
Italian seasoning herb blend
salt/pepper to taste


1.) Prepare Quinoa in separate pot.
2) Chop all veggies, set aside.
3) Place circular carrots and green peppers in vegetable steamer, steam until tender
4) Saute garlic in olive oil. Add spinach, cook till wilted. Add tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are warmed. Add italian seasoning, sea salt/pepper to taste.
5) Combine with steamed carrots/green peppers.
6) Add cooked quinoa to veggie mix, stir.
7) Add black beans to mixture. Toss lightly.
8) Add feta cheese to mixture. Toss lightly.
9) Serve warm, topped with avocado. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Quick 'n easy breakfasts- Cheese Biscuits!

Sorry I haven't been able to post for a long time! Life has been a bit crazy, and I haven't been cooking as much of late. Somehow I've been inspired within the past few days of being stuck in the house with a cold, to not feel sorry for myself and bake some goodies! Here is a quick and easy recipe that I learned from my 7th grade junior high teacher in home economics class that I have never forgotten! This recipe is awesome because it can be used as a basic biscuit recipe, as well as to make pizza & cinnamon rolls (and pigs in blankets if you wish). Enjoy!


1 Cup Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter (cold stick)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese


1) Combine dry ingredients in bowl.
2) Cut in the 1/4 cup butter (cold stick) with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal.
3) Add 1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese. Mix well.
4) Make a well in middle of dry ingredients.
5) Add 1/2 cup of milk all at once. NOTE: Use same type of measuring cup for milk/flour to ensure proper proportions, you may have to adjust amount of flour so dough isn't too sticky or too dry if you use different cups.
6) Stir with a fork to make a soft dough ball.
7) Knead mixture 8-10 times gently
8) Roll dough 1/2 " thick on a floured board. ( may have to add little extra flour to make sure dough isn't too sticky and rolls out nicely)
9) Cut with small cutter (I use a small juice glass, recipe makes about 12 biscuits)
10) Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes on an ungreased sheet.

Serve as a side dish, or enjoy alone first thing in the morning, fresh out of the oven :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Power of the Vitamix!

So I have been going to Costco for a number of years, and one of the highlights of my visits is the Vitamix demonstrations going on occasionally. I've been very tempted to purchase one of these machines, and finally decided to do so this weekend. I suppose after watching the hot tortilla soup and fruit sorbets being created in minutes multiple times, I was pretty convinced that this would be a good asset to our kitchen! So after taking the plunge, this is our first very simple Vitamix inauguration....the Mango Lassi! You can probably make this with any old blender, but for some reason it tasted creamier and frothier coming out of the Vitamix than any blender I have ever used! I will be posting more of my vitamix creations in the near future:) This version is much healthier than traditional mango lassi that one can find in an indian restaurant, often made with heavier cream/coconut milk. Mango has lots of iron too!


Pulp of one ripe mango
3/4-1 cup 2% Milk
1 tbsp creamed honey
3-4 almonds or cashews
1/2 cup ice

Order of operations:
1) Add pulp
2) Add honey
3) Add milk
4) Add nuts
5) Add ice

Start with lowest setting and work your way up to highest setting (10) on variable with the machine. Continue blending until lassi is of desired consistency.

Results: Wow!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hearty Winter Eats When It's Supposed To Be Spring!

Hello! Wow, what a crazy California winter we have been having- non-stop rain for most of march! I have been very chilly lately, so thought you would enjoy this amazingly warm meal as much as I did! Caution: this recipe will make you enough soup to feed a hungry couple for 3 days :) Feel free to be more liberal with certain veggies and spices. This recipe is very flexible! And delicious! I was inspired by a recent NY Times article by Mark Bittman and plan to try many of the others very soon! Enjoy!

2 cartons (64 oz total) vegetable broth (low sodium)- can purchase from whole foods or trader joes or any health food store
1/2-1 cup celery chopped (tjoes has pre-chopped)
1/2-1 cup carrots chopped (tjoes has pre-chopped)
1 small yellow onion finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic finely minced
~8-10 mini fingerling potatoes steamed & chopped
1 cup chopped tomatoes (small vine ones sliced in half taste great)
1/2-1 cup chopped green beans
1/2 cup elbow macaroni cooked and drained. Does not have to be fully cooked as you will simmer it longer in the soup later on.
2-3 tablespoons marinara or pizza sauce
2-3 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt (to taste)
Pepper( to taste)
1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
1-2 tsp ground oregano
1-2 tsp ground basil


1) Saute onion, garlic, carrot, & celery in olive oil for about 5 mins.
2) Add veggie broth, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, basil, and oregano. Allow mixture to come to a simmer. For thinner soup, you can add a little water if desired.
3) Add potatoes and chopped tomatoes. Allow simmer to continue for 15 minutes
4) Add green beans, and cooked macaroni elbows and simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes
5) Add marinara sauce to give soup a more tomato/saucy texture (optional)
6) Add more salt/pepper until soup tastes to your liking
7) Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese and croutons!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Get your green on!

It is a warm, sunny February day here in California, (supposed to hit 70s today!), and I just came back from a trip to our local Farmers Market with a plethora of fresh veggies that we get year round. Since I'm so determined to cook healthy this year, and incorporate new veggies, my choice veggie of the week is brussel sprouts. Again, another high-scoring ANDI veggie. This simple recipe is delicious and very quick to prepare, and very healthy! Makes a great side dish to any (un) healthy meal:) Enjoy!

Stovetop Steamer (as shown in previous post)
10-12 brussel sprouts
1-2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
2-3 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbsp lime or lemon juice
Finely ground pepper to taste
Sea Salt to taste

1) Set up steamer to have 2 inches of water. Get it going on the stove while you prep other ingredients.

2) Chop sprouts in quarters

3) In separate bowl, mix together Oil, Lime/Lemon Juice, Salt/Pepper & Garlic. Mix well

4) Once water is boiling, place sprouts in steamer and cover. Steam 5-7 minutes. Test for tenderness.

5) Toss sprouts with lemon/olive oil marinade you prepared in step 2- make sure each sprout is evenly coated.

6) Alternately, if you would like less of a strong garlic flavor, add garlic to sprouts during last 2 minutes of steaming.

Happy Saturday everyone!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Year, New Eats

Hi All, Happy new year! One of my "resolutions" this year is to learn how to experiment with veggies that I do not normally eat. My mom came to visit and left me a butternut squash she had purchased at our local farmer's market. It looked rather lonely, and I did not know what to do with it, so decided to try to cook it indian style. I don't have an exact recipe either, but I will outline my method. One of the best things about indian cooking is that spices can be always adjusted to taste, so there is no right or wrong. Here are my results:) Enjoy!

Ingredients: One large butternut squash peeled and chopped into cubes (remove seeds)
2 cloves garlic minced
1-2 tsp clarified butter or "ghee"
Garam Masala
Mango Powder (amchoor)
Coriander Powder (dhaniya)
Cumin Powder (jeera)
Method: Obtain a handy stainless steel steamer like the one pictured above. You will not be disappointed! This steams the toughest of veggies in a jiffy! Fill a saucepan with water half way, place the collapsible steamer in saucepan. Make sure liquid does not rise above level of steamer. Place chopped squash pieces in steamer, cover and steam at medium high heat for about 15 minutes. Pieces should be tender but not mushy.

After squash is cooked, spread pieces out on a dinner plate. Lightly sprinkle each of the spices listed above in the ingredients such that it coats the squash, but is not powdery or chunky. A good rule of thumb is roughly 1-2 tsp of each spice distributed evenly across all pieces.

In a nonstick pan, heat clarified butter. Once heated, add the minced garlic, and sautee for a few minutes. Add spice-coated squash pieces and sautee for 5 minutes. Don't allow the squash to become too mushy. Serve as a side dish with any indian meal.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's that time of year!

I have lots of recipes to share, and they unfortunately have not made it to this blog just yet. I also mostly post "healthy" vegetarian recipes. However, I was just at a close friend's house, and she taught me how to make this delicious and simple treat just in time for the holidays! Wanted to share. Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season and a new year!

Peppermint Bark:

Things you need (shown in photo)
1 bag of dark chocolate chips of your selection (i used ghirardelli 60% cacao)
1 bag of white chocolate chips of your selection (ghirardelli)
Bunch of peppermint flavoured candy canes for sprinkling
Meat Tenderizer (for smashing candy canes/bark)
Rubber/plastic spatula
Parchment Paper
Pan of any type (lasagna pan, or any square pan will do)

Method (for my microwave, yours might be slightly different):

1) Place Dark Chocolate in microwaveable ceramic bowl. Microwave on high power (100%) for ~1 minute. Take out, stir carefully. Make sure chocolate sauce is smooth, and chips have all melted. You can heat for longer (my microwave took another 45 seconds at 50% power), but make sure chocolate does not burn. It should be a smooth, saucy texture.

2) Drizzle Dark Chocolate over parchment paper, making a chocolate rectangle. Place in Fridge to chill.

3) Place candy canes in plastic bag, on top of paper towel on counter. Smash to bits with the tenderizer or hammer tool.

4) Follow step one in a separate bowl with white chocolate. The white chocolate may take longer to heat, so be patient. You might have to experiment. Mine took 70 seconds at 100% power. Mix well until saucy.

5) Drizzle white chocolate over slightly hardened dark chocolate that has been chilling in fridge. Coat it evenly over the dark chocolate layer. It is okay if a little bit of swirl occurs. Once layer has been achieved, sprinkle generously with candy cane bits. Chill in refrigerator for ~1 hour.

6) Break the bark- you can "Drop" the pan several times, or be more civilized and try to cut it with a knife. Does not have to look perfect :) There is an art to this, which i'm still figuring out.

7) Enjoy with friends!