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Showing posts from September, 2013

My 100th Post - My Quest to the Quick'n'Healthy diet

It feels nice to reach a milestone by penning my 100th post. So I wanted to do something different this time around and it is not a recipe. Rather, it is a reflection of the past 3 years with my new blog and on our new lifestyle, along with our own experiences on how it has had a positive effect on me and my family. What better day than today, being the Family Health and Fitness Day 2013. I feel wonderful with my new lifestyle as I eat the food I love to my heart’s content, with no compromises on health, and you feel good about contributing to local communities and the environment. Hard to beat that feeling :-)

A background:
So here is a small background on the genesis of this blog. I have always had an interest in cooking and always look at trying new things. I came from a vegetarian family that was very concerned about health as well, so I did had a little background of healthy cooking. In fact, my dad has written a book on natural living back in India. I come from Kerala where the ba…

Cherry Banana Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Admit it, we all love ice creams, but do we know what all goes into a store bought pint of ice cream? Do we care? I do, and I try to read the labels, but most of the time I have to say that I am disappointed with the ingredient list. Loads of sugar is my main concern with these store bought ice creams. Of course, the ingredient list does not tell you how much of sugar is loaded into it, and most of the time you just have to guess what kind of sugar it is. There are some health conscious and responsible brands too which use very minimal and basic ingredients. They use all-organic, gmo-free, and soy-free ingredients. I have problems here as well, I guess it is not easy to satisfy me :-).

There are some brands that one might associate with as healthy and socially responsible, and Ben&Jerry is one of them (or used to be one until it became part of the food giant Unilever). On a recent visit to lock Island, we checked out their store and on looking at the ingredient list we found somet…

Nutella Reinvented

I am sure most of you have tried the Nutella spread and it might even be your favorite breakfast spread.  I grew up in a middle class family in India and Nutella was something you have seen at houses of more affluent friends and relatives. After we came to US, we saw that it was everywhere and places like Costco has big jars for very affordable prices. So there was a time when we always had it as stock and used it daily on anything we could get our hands to. Then as we started changing our diet to a healthier, natural and responsible approach to food, the ingredients inside the Nutella jar was no longer acceptable on our table. We loved its taste and so figured that I should try it with the basic whole ingredients because with raw cacao, raw hazelnuts and unrefined sugar you cannot go wrong by much. It worked out really well and we are back enjoying the ‘New’tella. Raw hazelnuts - 1 1/2 cupsRaw cacao powder - 1/4 cupRaw coconut palm sugar - 2 Tbs Milk (dairy or non-dairy) - few tablesp…

Carrot Pulp Crackers - for zero waste juicing

Juicing has been a routine in our morning schedule for the past 8+ years. It has evolved from just squeezing fresh orange juice using a citrus juicer, to taking orange-carrot juice using a centrifugal juicer to finally upgrading to vegetable juice in a masticating juicer.

Masticating juicer is the newest addition to my kitchen and I am loving it so far. It is so easy to clean and also, I love the way it takes out all the juice from greens. I was surprised by the amount of juice we can get out of the greens, though the carrots (and similar veggies) work a little different on this juicer. In the centrifugal juicer, carrot juice would produce pulp, but the pulp was not really usable as in it did not seem to contain anything useful. On the other hand, the masticating juicer produces significant amount of pulp from carrots and because of its masticating action, the pulp seems to be still 'healthy' and it looks like finely powdered carrot. So I did not feel like just throwing them a…

Vegan Leek Potato Soup With An Asian Touch

Potatoes do not belong in my regular shopping list, but I used to buy potatoes just for an occasional stew or roasted potatoes. Guess what we found at Guy's Eco Farm at our local farmers market? Organic potatoes and organic leek.  I just did not want to miss the opportunity and got them to make leek potato soup.

My son loves soups, but most of the soups made in his school lunch have bacon, beef broth or other similar ingredients which do not belong in our acceptable food list. I sure wanted to give him an enjoyable soup, at the same time without any of the 'bad ingredients'. I also wanted to give it an Asian touch with the addition of coconut milk and turmeric powder (which can also safe guard against any small traces of toxicity if at all it exists in the potatoes)
White Potatoes - 6 smallLeek - 2 stalks -wholeGarlic - 2 clovesRed onion - 1 mediumDried rosemary - 1 tspTurmeric powder - 1/2 tspCoconut oil - 1 THomemade coconut milk - 11/2 cupsSea salt as per taste.
Mince garl…

Black Bean Raisin Soup

Black bean and raisin ?, really??, and that too in a soup??? This is exactly what I thought when I first heard of the Curried Red Lentil Apricot Soup from Ravisoups. I decided give it a try anyway as it was simple, interesting and had an honest feel to it..., and it turned out to be a really good try. Sweet'n'sour and pleasant'n'refreshing, and needless to say Quick'n'Healthy :-). Once we made the original one a few times, my son wanted me to try it with black bean (he is a big black bean lover). When I got around to make the black bean version, I was out of dried apricots, so I had to substitute with raisins. This is by far the best black bean soup I have made or tasted. I guess we all love this version more than the original lentil version now ;-)

Black beans - 1 cupRaisins - 1/2 cup (I used Newman's own organics)Tomatoes - 3 Red onion - 1 mediumGinger - 1 T (chopped)Garlic - 1 T (chopped)Coriander seeds - 1 TCumin Seeds - 1 tspTurmeric powder - 1/2 tsp Ho…

Chuvanna Cheera Avial - Red Amaranth Leaves Cooked In Coconut'n'Yogurt

Cheera avial might sound like an oxymoron because avial is synonymous with multiple vegetables where as in cheera avial, cheera is the only vegetable (raw mango is optional). Now, since this is my mother-in-law's recipe and is also my husband's favorite, it is still an avial ;-)

How do I get hold of a bunch of red amaranth leaves in this part of the world? You would be really lucky if you stay near a Malayali grocery store where you might find an occasional bunch of red amaranth. The other option is to get the seeds and grow it yourself (only in summer months). Another option would be to become friends with an organic farm and have them grow it for you, which is what we did this summer :-)

Now coming to nutrition; cooked amaranth leaves are supposed to be rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate; (makes sense when we think of how women are fed this when they are pregnant or nursing) plus multiple dietary minerals including calcium, iron and magnesium. Enough reasons to love thes…