Winter Quinoa Bowl with Crispy Garbanzos

Happy Wednesday!

It is pouring rain outside here today and I am thankful for it – California can always use an abundance of rain. I am working and drinking cup after cup of hot tea to keep the chill away.

I have definitely been in a rut with dinner for the last few weeks! So I got back to some of my favorite blogs for some ideas and walked away pretty inspired! Some of my faves are:  Naturally EllaSmitten KitchenMy Name is YehA Cozy Kitchen, Cookie and Kate and Pinch Of Yum.

From this exploration I was inspired to make some yummy things: kale salad with fried greek cheese, a couple new soups, and some old fashioned Indian veggies (bengan bhartha!). This quinoa came out of that experimentation – it was delicious. There are a lot of possible variations and I encourage you to use whatever veggies you have on hand. I ran out of tahini otherwise I would have throw that in as a dressing. It was good the way I have it – lots of different textures and very comforting. You could also throw a fried egg on top.

Winter Quinoa Bowl

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and soaked for at least 10 minutes

1 head cauliflower

1/2 red onion

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1 can garbanzo beans

salt/pepper

olive oil

dried oregano

garlic (2 cloves, optional)

lemon (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat over to 375 degrees F.
  2. Drain quinoa and cook. Put in a small pot, add 1 and 1/3 cups of water and salt to taste. Cover then bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, decrease the heat to minimum until the water is gone. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  3. Cut cauliflower into small florets, onions into small pieces,  and toss with salt, pepper and olive oil. Roast in the oven until the cauliflower is crispy. Toss once of twice during cooking. This will likely take 30-40 min.
  4. Use toaster oven to toast the pumpkin seeds. Set aside to cool.
  5. Heat a frying pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering, put in the garbanzos (drained and rinsed) and cook, tossing frequently, until they are darker brown and crispy.
  6. You can add thinly sliced garlic once the garbanzos are almost done. Be careful not to allow them to burn.
  7. Toss together the quinoa, 1 tsp dried oregano, cauliflower/onion mixture, crispy garbanzos and pumpkin seeds. Add additional salt/pepper to taste and a squeeze of lemon. Season with crushed red pepper for an extra kick.
  8. Enjoy!

Love,

Pooja

Cooking up a storm…

Good morning! I haven’t posted in a while because I have been too busy cooking! We are on a bit of a restricted diet as a family and as a result, I have been spending a lot of time being creative with what we are eating.

The good thing is, we have started to pay more attention to all of the extra junk that is in so much of the food we eat.  We have also tried a lot of cool recipes that we wouldn’t have tried before. Here are some of the more successful ones:

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Fresh paneer!
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Mascarpone-Oat Blondies
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Greek Yogurt Date Pistachio Bark
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Oat Milk

 

The best recipe that we made (I don’t have pictures because they are gobbled up THAT fast) is the one for Spelt Cookies. I made some adjustments: I decreased the sugar to 1/3 cup of coconut sugar and left out the chocolate chips. Sometimes I also brown the butter which makes them even yummier.

The mascarpone blondies are truly amazing. The recipe is awesome as it stands but I swapped out oat flour for the all-purpose to keep them gluten free. I also decreased the sugar to 1/3 of a cup of coconut sugar instead (but you may want to halve it instead) . They are barely sweet and perfect with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee.

I hope that the beginning of fall is going well for everyone.

 

xo

Pooja

Dal Poori

Happy Wednesday everyone!

As someone who cooks a lot, I spend a lot of time trying to use the leftovers – we do end up eating most of the leftovers for lunch but sometimes that doesn’t quite work out.  This is my mom’s way of using our leftover dal (Indian lentils). As kids, we used to look forward to this more than the original meal! Poori is a fried bread and generally very popular with kids – my kids certainly love eating this and it makes for a pretty nutritious dinner for them when they eat it with yogurt. I hope that you try it and let me know what you think!

Dal Poori

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Ingredients: 

Leftover dal (I usually make masoor dal – the small orange lentil – see above)

Chickpea flour and whole wheat flour (can easily make this gluten free by using chickpea flour only)

Salt to taste

Cumin

Oil for frying

Instructions: 

  1. I don’t have any specific measurements listed because the amount of dal I have depends on what is left over – sometimes less and sometimes more, so I will tell you the how and you may have to experiment a bit.
  2. Let the dal sit out to warm a bit, otherwise, your hands will freeze! Put it into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Start adding in the flour. You can start by adding a cup at a time of the chickpea flour. Once it starts to come together into a dough, switch to adding whole wheat flour. The dough has a lot of moisture in it so you will have to be careful when you start rolling it out.
  4. Add cumin and salt to the dough to taste – I usually sprinkle the salt over the dough and then incorporate by kneading so I don’t over-salt.
  5. Here is a good video tutorial for how to make poori. Start at 1:26 in the video as the starting process for these is different.
  6. Make little balls out of the dough and knead them well in your hands to make them smooth and elastic. I usually make them about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. You may need to dip them in flour to combat the stickiness.
  7. Generously flour your working surface and roll them out using a rolling pin. How thin you roll them will depend on 1. how sticky the dough is (these are delicate and sometimes require quite a bit of additional flour so they don’t stick to the rolling surface) and 2. how thin/crispy you like them. For the kids I make them a little bit thicker and for myself, I make them thin and crispy. (see heart shaped one for Esha below)
  8. Heat the oil in a wok – 3-4 inches deep of oil – until shimmering. Lower heat to medium.
  9. After it has fried for about 1 minute on the first side, press down on it with the skimmer (I have this one), if you have rolled it out well, it will puff (mine do about 70% of the time! I’m getting better with practice…..)
  10. Fry each poori, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Drain out on paper towels placed on a cookie sheet.
  11. Serve with a dollop of greek yogurt for dipping.

Some recent pics:

Diya took this amazing one of our sunset view: IMG_0017.jpg

Esha and Nisa – all dressed up and ready to go:

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My most recent favorite memes:

 

 

Love,

Pooja

NYC and a couple of recipes.

Today the food focus is on Deb Perlman from smitten kitchen. She is one of our favorite bloggers and has recipes that are dependable and delicious. This week, I made her melting potatoes which turned out amazing and were actually pretty easy in terms of time spent and effort. They are highly recommended. Recipe here:

Melting Potatoes

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Diya was craving cake and even though she didn’t feel like baking one, she did it anyway. Sometimes the craving wins over the laziness, you know? Diya made the chocolate peanut butter cake and although it was a little lopsided, it was her first layer cake and I was proud. And it was delicious!! Recipe here:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake


The end of the week we went to NYC for a big girls trip. And we learned a lot. We remembered how much fun we have together when we get to adventure without an agenda. We also learned that we all got stressed out leaving Nisa behind – and stress manifests differently for all of us: migraines, reflux and general crankiness. So we learned that we won’t plan to do that again anytime soon. And we learned that we must be grateful for all that we have in our lives – because what seems to be a big obstacle now (throwing up in the taxi) is really a very small thing in the big scheme of things.

We learned that drinking a big fishbowl drink from Dylan’s candy bar seems like a good idea but sometimes really isn’t.

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I also learned that having a friend who says the exact right thing to you at the exact right time is an absolute necessity (Tati). And that my mom always has a helpful suggestion when I am stuck.

And NYC is a lot of fun. Plus, we walked 7+miles every day we were there!

Here are some of the pictures:

Let me know if you try the potatoes!

Love,

Pooja

Kale Salad with Pears, Pistachios, Almonds, Dates and Feta

Happy Tuesday everyone,

So much going on here lately! Diya turned 12 and I can’t believe that my oldest is such a mature young lady (although using that phrase does make me feel old enough to have a mature young lady). We also had my nephew staying with us for a few days and watching him and Nisa together warmed my heart every moment (even the fighting – SO interesting to watch the negotiations).

In the midst of all this craziness, we made this kale salad with the stuff we had in the fridge and it turned out amazingly well. The nice thing is that you can improvise with whatever you have on hand (nut free? use pumpkin seeds, no pears? use whatever fruit you have on hand, I think that grapes would be amazing!)

Let me know if you make it and use different ingredients!

Kale Salad with Pears, Almonds, Dates and Feta

Ingredients:

One to bunches of kale (we used about 1.5 and the dino kale variety)

one pear (we used D’Anjou)

3-4 Medjool dates

1/2 cup nuts/seeds toasted (we used a combination of sliced almonds and pumpkin seeds)

crumbled feta

salt/pepper

olive oil

juice from one lemon

Instructions:

1. Clean the kale, dry well and rip the leaves off the ribs, toss the ribs. Cut into bite-size pieces.

2. Put a tablespoon of olive oil on the kale and sprinkle salt to taste. Massage the kale until it softens and becomes shiny (about 1 minute).

3. Add chopped pear, chopped dates, nuts/seeds.

4. Make the dressing: 3-4 tablespoons olive oil, salt/pepper, juice of one lemon. Whisk until the acid is incorporated with the oil . Drizzle over the salad.

5. Add the feta and toss until the dressing and the ingredients are distributed evenly.

6. Enjoy as a side salad or with protein as a main meal. Serves 8 as a side.

 

 

Roasted Broccoli + Squash with Kale + Tahini Dressing

Happy Thursday everyone! It has been cold and rainy and I was feeling like some roasted veggies. This is a pretty simple recipe although it does take some hands on time with the chopping of the squash. I do really love squash but it takes SO MUCH WORK. Luckily it comes in my Imperfect Produce box sometimes so I am forced to use it!

In terms of substitutions, you can easily substitute cauliflower or romanesco for the broccoli. Arugula would also be good in place of the kale. And sweet potatoes are a good sub for the squash. If you try it, let me know what you think! It is definitely going to be a do-over in our house.

Roasted Broccoli + Squash with Kale + Tahini Dressing

(Side dish for 4, main meal for 2)

Ingredients:

1 small butternut squash

1 lb broccoli

1/2 onion

1 pepper

Olive oil

Salt/pepper to taste

1/2 bunch kale, torn

Crumbled feta (optional)

Toasted pumpkin seeds (optional) – I toast them in the toaster oven

DRESSING:

3-4 tbs tahini

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tbs olive oil

2 tbs water

salt/pepper

chopped mint (optional)

Instructions: 

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Peel and cut the squash into cubes. Cut the broccoli into florets that are about twice the size of the squash cubes. Cut the pepper and onion into a similar size as the squash. Lay out on a baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and salt/pepper, toss using your hands to coat the veggies well.
  4. Roast for 25 min or so, stirring once or twice. The broccoli should have crispy edges and the squash should look caramelized at the edges
  5. Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients and whisking well.
  6. Meanwhile, tear or cut the kale and put in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Add the dressing on top.
  7. Top with the roasted vegetables while still hot out of the oven. Toss well to allow the kale to wilt a bit and the dressing to coat everything.
  8. Top with the pumpkin seeds and feta.
  9. Enjoy!

 

 

Lemony Ricotta Sweet Pea Dip

Happy New Year!

I hope that everyone had a restful holiday season and an inspiring start to your new year! We spent a lot of time hanging out with family/friends which was wonderful and we rang in the new year with a celebration involving good food and kids having a blast. We usually do new years’ resolutions together as a family and I am always amazed at what my kids come up with – and they both (Nisa is still too little for a resolution!) follow through on them! I got this in my inbox and I think it’s a great idea, so sharing with you:

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Link for the calendar: Happiness Calendar

To start the year off right, I am sharing some fun/inspiring links with all of you:

  1. Inspirational food + travel: Beauty and the Feast
  2. Something that I am always working on: How to be a better listener
  3. Where to travel in 2018 (Northern NA Wine Country is on this list!). Bhutan is a dream destination for me: Places to visit in 2018
  4. Oprah’s Speech!!! Oprah
  5. Skincare products that will change your life, I’m skeptical but worth a read: Products
  6. Clean out your (kids’) closets: Where to donate used toys. I know firsthand the amazing work that Homeless Prenatal Program does in SF and so our toys/baby things are going there but this list has many great options. We have also done Project Night Night – another great program.

Lemony Ricotta Sweet Pea Dip

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This something that we (Diya and I) invented when we were trying to come up with a dip for crackers using the stuff that we had. The combination of flavors works really well – although a bit of mint would have made it perfect. We hope that you enjoy!

Ingredients: 

2 cups peas (frozen)

Zest and juice of one lemon

1.5 cups whole milk ricotta

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt/pepper to taste

handful of chopped mint (optional)

Methods: 

  1. Blanch the peas (boil some water, cook them in the boiling water until they are bright green – just a few seconds – then drain and rinse with ice cold water to stop the cooking)
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a food processor and mix thoroughly until the dip is creamy
  3. Serve sprinkled with chopped mint. Enjoy!

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