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Cabbage with Mustard Seeds + Oreo Truffles

Hi everyone! It’s been a busy few weeks, right? The holiday season is upon us and it feels like running on a treadmill. I do love this time of year because we eat a lot of good food and we also hang out with so many people we love. This year, I am grateful for all of the wonderful people in my life, having new opportunities for learning and growth and appreciating holiday lights through the eyes of a 2 year old.

I went to this amazing talk last week by a woman who discussed “How to Remain Optimistic in the Setting of Big Challenges.” She offered tons of great tips and also shared a website that she references that I really think is worth mentioning. It is: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu. This is a website that provides tons of info about leading a meaningful life – Diya has been exploring it too!

Today I am sharing one of my comfort recipes, cabbage with garam masala. It is super simple but satisfying as a side dish. I am also including a link for oreo truffles which were delicious and easy – definitely a do-over.

IMG_2264Cabbage with Mustard Seeds

Ingredients: 

1/2 head cabbage, sliced thin or shredded

frozen peas

salt to taste

2-3 Tablespoons of ghee/butter ok too

garam masala, cumin, ginger, mustard seeds, turmeric

Instructions: 

Heat the ghee in a cast iron skillet or nonstick pan. When it is hot, add 1 tablespoon mustard seeds and cook for 30 seconds until they start to pop. Add the spices (1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/4-1/2 tsp ginger powder and cook for a few seconds until toasted and fragrant. Add in the cabbage and quickly stir to coat with the ghee mixture. Add salt to taste and 1 cup of frozen peas. Cook uncovered and as the cabbage wilts and reduces down, add 1 tsp garam masala and toss to coat. Cook until it looks perfect for you – I like a little char around the edges. Serve as a side dish – this recipe serves 4-5.

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Oreo Truffles

My pictures disappeared off my phone – so here is the link: Oreo Truffles. We didn’t dip them in chocolate to save time, we tossed them in powdered sugar and they were a hit! We mixed them with candy-coated mint chocolate and called them a Holiday Trail Mix. The best part was that Diya and Esha made it all – start to finish – by themselves! Nisa helped with the quality control by taste-testing. Here are the leftovers:

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Love to you all!

 

Pooja

 

Winter Soup

Hello,

It is starting to feel like winter! Whenever it is gray and cold outside, I feel like making (and eating!) soup. I wanted to make a coconut curry soup this week but ran out of coconut milk and didn’t feel like running out to get some. I put this together with the stuff I had in my fridge/pantry and I think that it is versatile enough that you can use whatever you have on hand. We ate the soup with crunchy garbanzo croutons and pesto grilled cheese sandwiches (recipe for the garbanzos below as well!). I hope that it hits the spot for you like it did for us!

Winter Soup

Ingredients:

1 small head of cauliflower

2 large or 4 small carrots (about 2 cups chopped)

1 small onion

vegetable bullion (2 cubes)

water

1 clove of garlic, 1 knob of ginger

Assorted spices: cumin, turmeric, salt, pepper, curry powder or curry paste, thyme, etc..

ghee or butter

splash of milk (almond milk or non-dairy milk will work, as will coconut, or cream if you want to use that)

garbanzo croutons (see below)

Instructions:

  1. Salute the chopped onion, garlic and ginger in 2 tablespoons of the butter or ghee.
  2. Add in spices: salt and pepper, cumin, curry paste etc. Stir and cook for about a minute until the spices are fragrant.
  3. Add in the chopped vegetables and cook for 2-3 minutes until they start to soften.
  4. Add in 3 cups of water and stir, scraping the bits of the bottom. Put in the bullion cubes. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
  5. Using a hand blender (or a regular blender in batches), puree until smooth.
  6. Stir in 1 cup of “cream” (milk or coconut milk work well)
  7. Top with toasted pepitas, chopped herbs and garbanzo croutons.

Garbanzo Croutons

Ingredients:

One can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

salt,  cumin

olive oil

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Toss the garbanzo beans with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp cumin
  3. spread out on a baking sheet and toast for 30 minutes until crispy, stirring once 15 minutes into the cooking time.
  4. Serve!

Determination

I am writing this post in reflection on all that I have learned from my middle daughter, Esha.

Esha has had a lot of health challenges over her lifetime. When she was 3, we found out that she wasn’t breathing well when she slept. She had her tonsils taken out and she started growing again – 3 inches in a summer! However, she continued to have issues with her growth and we ended up finding out that she has severe reflux (heartburn).  This effects her ability to get enough calories to grow. It has been very hard to watch her struggle and I have struggled along with her. As a parent, there is nothing harder than watching your child suffer. As a mother and a physician, I have been angry/disappointed in myself that I have not been able to “fix” what is wrong. For a long time, I couldn’t move past these feelings.

Then, one day, I was telling this story to a good friend of mine. I expressed my heartache. When I got to the end of the story, she reflected that what stood out to her was not the pain, but the resilience in Esha. In spite of going through so much, Esha remained a positive force for everyone around her. That started the re-framing of my daughter’s experience for me.

Then, Esha had an incredible kindergarten teacher, Jess, who taught her a word that she could use to describe herself: determined. Five-year-old Esha would come home and tell me that she was determined. When I asked her what that meant, she would say “it means I can do anything I want to do, and if I can’t do it the first time, I just have to keep trying”. And she was determined. She decided that she would learn to ________________ (fill in the blank: snap her fingers, read chapter books, learn about her reflux, write an adventure story), and she persisted until she could do it. And Esha is a force to be reckoned with, she has a fierce positivity and sees beauty in everything around her. She pauses to appreciate the sunrise in the morning and revels in learning history. She loves freely. And she is determined.

Today is Esha’s ninth birthday and I celebrate her not only for who she is, but also for all that she has taught me. Happy birthday, my warrior goddess.

 

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Pumpkin Lentil Falafel

Happy Wednesday everyone!

It’s been a whirlwind the last week! We just celebrated Diwali (a Hindu festival which celebrates the triumph of good over evil or light over dark). It’s one of my favorite holidays of the year and we were so happy this year to celebrate with my nephew as well. I am always the happiest when the kids are together.IMG_2082

 

This year, after celebrating with so many who are dear to me, I reflected on how we have been blessed to develop a diverse community/village. #lifegoals

I am going to tell you about these delicious and relatively quick fall falafel patties I made. But first some link love!

A couple of books that I am reading:

  1. A recommendation from the girls’ head of school called “Wait, What?”  It’s a quick read and super interesting.

 

2. I know I am late to the game, but my sister just gave me her copy of Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey and it’s pretty incredible. One of my favorite poems here:

Image result for rupi kaur if you were born with the weakness

 

Other fun stuff:

1. Ten of the best photos from the 2017 National Geographic Travel Photos contest. Cheers me up every time:

https://www.boredpanda.com/national-geographic-travel-nature-photographer-of-the-year-contest-2017/

2. My friend Nadya sent out this awesome video for the International Day of the Girl:

 

 

3. On my list to make:

https://cookieandkate.com/2017/mini-peanut-butter-cups-recipe/

and

http://www.acozykitchen.com/burnt-butter-pear-apple-crumble/

Now, on to the recipe. I saw this a couple of weeks ago on Ashley’s blog Blissful Basil and bookmarked it to make. I love the idea of incorporating pumpkin into these to make them good for the fall! And since it uses such little pumpkin, there is pumpkin puree left over to make a fall dessert. These patties are also gluten-free and vegan. I ate mine with tahini sauce (i’ll give you the quick recipe below) and some greek yogurt on the side. They would also be good like more traditional falafels – wrapped in pita. I did make a few tweaks to the recipe, so if you want the original, you can go to Ashley’s site.

Pumpkin Lentil Falafel

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried split red lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup mix of raw sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin purée
  • 3/4 cup oat flour (make your own by blending oats in a food processor)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, stemmed
  • 1/2 medium red onion, roughly diced (about 1 cup)
  • clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and generously oil 2 baking sheets.

  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the lentils and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but not yet mushy. Strain off excess water and set aside.

  3. Add the seeds to a food processor and process for one minute, or until ground into a coarse flour.

  4. Then, add the cooked lentils, pumpkin purée, and all remaining ingredients to the food processor. Pulse 10 to 15 times to coarsely chop and mix. Be careful not to over-process.

  5. Using a large tablespoon, drop spoonfuls of the batter on to the baking sheets, flatten slightly using the back of the spoon.

  6. Bake for 10 minutes on each side, longer if you like them crispier (but be aware, that if you overtake them, they will dry out)

  7. Let the patties cool on the pan slightly before moving or serving.

    8. Serve with tahini sauce!

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    Quick Tahini Sauce

    In a small blender (or can be mixed by hand) combine a few scoops of sesame tahini, a splash of olive oil, a splash of water, juice of one lemon, and salt/pepper to taste. Blend until it becomes a smooth paste. Serve with the falafel!

     

    Love,

Pooja

 

Cilantro Pesto Pasta, S’mores Brownies and a new home

The last few weeks have been a rollercoaster, but we finally settled into our new (to us) place last week. There have been some nice surprises (beautiful sunsets, tons of girls in the neighborhood who are so wonderful at including our girls) and also some challenges (cooking on a camping stove until we get a proper one and fixing a little bit of almost everything). Overall, the transition has been a smooth one and we are settling in nicely.

The last day of cooking on the camping stove, I was feeling tired and uninspired. I opened up the fridge and found a bunch of cilantro and from there came this meal. It turned out to be pretty delicious and we will be making it again.

Cilantro Pesto Pasta with Roasted Zucchini

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Ingredients:

1 pound of rotini pasta (I usually use Barilla Plus – healthier than the average pasta and tastes great)

1 bunch of cilantro

Big handful of pumpkin seeds (toasted in a toaster oven or on the stove)

1 clove (or more to taste) or garlic

1 lemon

Olive oil

1/2 – 1 cup parmesan grated

Salt and pepper to taste

1 can chickpeas, drained

4-5 zucchini or any summer squash

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the pasta according to the directions.
  2. Slice the zucchini lengthwise or in coins to 1/4 inch thick. Coat a baking sheet liberally with olive oil and lay out the zucchini in a single layer. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10-15 min until cooked through, flip them over and cook until brown and crisp at the edges. Repeat until all of the zucchini are cooked.
  3. In a large food processor, combine cilantro, garlic, 2-3 glugs of olive oil, parmesan cheese, pumpkin seeds, salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Process and add some of the pasta water to thin it out as needed.

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3. Once the pasta is ready, combine with the pesto and drained chickpeas. Mix in some of the roasted zucchini. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper if you like a little kick. Enjoy!

S’mores Brownies

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When we moved in, I wanted to bake something to “break in” the new house. We chose these s’mores brownies from Joy the Baker, they were easy and didn’t require too many different types of prep. We ended up omitting the graham crackers because we didn’t have any and they still turned out amazing. We also didn’t have unsweetened chocolate so we used semisweet and decreased the sugar by half – they were a little less sweet than regular brownies but the marshmallows balanced it out and made them perfect.

Here is the link to the recipe: http://joythebaker.com/2009/04/smores-brownies/

Have a happy Wednesday everyone and to those who celebrate, Happy Diwali!

Love,

Pooja

The Little Things

Sometimes it’s the little things. We have so many big things going on right now: school, moving to temporary digs until our house is ready for us to move into (2 weeks!), saying goodbye to our beautiful old house. But, you know, I was ready for all of this. I prepared. I have my super-strong husband by my side and we are having an adventure doing all of this. The kids are rolling with it. Even the baby is not too worried about any of it – just perplexed that “everything” is gone from the house and is living in a truck somewhere.

I was even getting confident: all of this is going fine, we are all doing fine, it’s only a couple of weeks. Then, we got to karate last night and Diya’s glasses got lost. Now, we are usually somewhat prepared for these unforeseen disasters, but this time, we were woefully unprepared. She needs them to see. We don’t have a backup pair. Her contacts are packed (in the truck remember?). She and I panicked. Turns out somehow another boy ended up with them in his bag – the whole thing was pretty strange. She had a hunch he had them, but he would not look in his bag or let her look. As we were about to give up (20 minutes after searching everywhere in the studio), his father pulled up and the boy got out and gave me the glasses. Now, I can say that although I was relieved, I was also upset. We ended up exchanging some words, with his father thinking me ungrateful and me thinking them inconsiderate to have put us through that in the first place. I am not proud of that interaction. Today, I will reach out and apologize for my part in that.

But, the thing is, I didn’t have anything left. I couldn’t take ONE MORE THING. So, what did I learn? That I should let go of my guilt over this incident and just apologize. That being prepared also means taking care of myself (which clearly I was not doing). That we all make mistakes – and I need to forgive that dad and forgive myself.

So, after all this craziness, I re-centered. I listened to Nisa singing “work work Angelica, work work Eliza” (I mean, what is cuter than a baby singing Hamilton?). I shared in Diya’s monumental relief that her glasses were found. I listened to Esha tell me about the math game that they played at school. I appreciated my husband saying, “I understand, I am sorry to you had to go through that.” Time to start anew.

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The last thing I baked in our house was a gluten-free, orange ginger dark chocolate bread. It was  delicious, and a good transition into early fall flavors – the ginger offset the orange and chocolate flavors beautifully.

The picture is from the Emma, the author of the recipe. The recipe is here: http://www.mydarlinglemonthyme.com/2017/08/flourless-dark-chocolate-orange-ginger-muffins.html

The original recipe made muffins – but to be simpler, I made it into a loaf. I do think that this required a longer baking time. Please let me know if you make it. I am sorry no pictures, but to be honest, it’s not very pretty! But is is delicious.

Love,

Pooja

Weekend Breakfast: Chilaquiles

Hello everyone!

Once in a while on the weekend, we feel like having a fancier breakfast. My kids don’t generally like eggs so I always end up making pancakes for them and eggs for us. This recipe is great because it’s not very egg-y tasting, so that even Diya (who has never ever eaten an omelette) will eat this.

It comes together relatively quickly for something that looks like much more work. This is my version of it that I came up with while experimenting one morning. We use the Casa Sanchez thick chips to give a bit more bite. You can use any toppings that you like, but our favorites are cilantro, avocado, and a sprinkling of cheese.

Chilaquiles

(this serves 2 people as a main or 4-5 people as a side)

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Ingredients:

one pint cherry tomatoes

1/2 bag (or more) of tortilla chips

salt/pepper to taste

olive oil

taco seasoning (or cumin and paprika)

4 eggs

toppings: queso fresco (I used feta), cilantro chopped, sour cream, avocado (chopped or sliced), anything else that sounds good!

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Methods:

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a cast iron skillet until shimmering. Add the cherry tomatoes (sliced in half lengthwise)
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add taco seasoning and salt/pepper to taste.
  3. Beat the eggs with 1/4-1/2 tsp salt. I used one egg and three egg whites (I am not a huge fan of the taste of the yolk).
  4. Place a large handful or two of the tortilla chips into the tomato mixture, digging them into the mixture a bit.
  5. Pour the eggs over the chip/tomato mixture and cook for a minute, then turn the chips over in sections and continue to cook. Continue this process until the eggs are set and coating most of the chips.
  6. Take off the stove and add desired toppings. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

 

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Love,

Pooja