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

Salty Rye Brownies + Books

Happy Monday everyone! It’s almost holiday time and I am super looking forward to some quality times with friends and family. I hope that you are finding a semblance of balance in this very packed time of year!

I wanted to throw out some book recommendations in case you need something to read during the holidays! These are books that I have read and enjoyed over the last few months – let me know if you have an recommendations for me!

  1. Little Fires Everywhere
  2. A difficult but necessary read: Homegoing
  3. Some interesting life advice books: Grit and this one that I liked less but was still interesting: Overwhelmed – this book had a quote from one of our really good friends which was really cool and it also called out the overuse of the word BUSY – so I am trying hard to stop using it!
  4. An interesting story: How to Stop Time
  5. Loved this: The Hate You Give – still have to see the movie
  6. Intense and SO interesting! One of President Obama’s fave books from last year – literally blew my mind! The Power

The ones on my list to read next are:

  1. Becoming – no intro necessary!
  2. Always looking for an inspiring read and came across this: Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You – it’s by Lin Manuel-Miranda
  3. A Place for Us

Also, I recommend this article for those of you who are interested in what it is like being a doctor mom, it was written by a friend of mine: Working in Medicine: Experiences of Pregnant Physicians.

Now, onto the brownies! These brownies are GF as they are made with rye flour. They are intensely chocolatey and these turned out a bit salty since I cut back on the added sugar – however, I think that this made them even more addictive! These are adapted from the Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak. The recipe comes in grams but I converted on google.

img_2665Salty Rye Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 150g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for greasing the tin (about 10 tablespoons)
  • 300g dark chocolate (at least 60-70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces (about 8 ounces, I used about half of a Trader Joe’s 72% dark giant bar)
  • 50g cocoa powder (1/4 cup)
  • 200g wholemeal rye flour (1 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 200g unrefined caster sugar (I cut this down to a half cup instead of the full one cup)
  • 200g light brown sugar (I also cut this down to a half cup)
  • 200g eggs (this is closer to 3-4 eggs but I used 2 and they came out fine)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt (e.g.Maldon), for sprinkling on top

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a square 8×8 or 9×9 pan and line with parchment paper.

In a heatproof bowl, melt together the butter and the chocolate over a pan of water that has been brought to the boil and then taken off the heat. I actually did this by melting the butter in the microwave then adding the chocolate and stirring until it was melted. This allowed me to avoid the double boiler technique.Allow the mixture to rest, stirring occasionally as it melts.

In another bowl, whisk together the cocoa, rye flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the sugars, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Slowly add the melted chocolate, followed by the dry ingredients. Mix just enough to combine, then pour into the prepared baking tin. Smooth the top with a spatula and sprinkle with a teaspoon or so of flaky sea salt.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the brownies are set but with a slight wobble. Leave to cool completely in the tin before cutting into 12 squares. These are best warm with vanilla ice cream but also take amazing the next day as they firm up!

Love,

Pooja

Breakfast Cookies!

Happy Wednesday everyone! We are well into October with Halloween coming up right around the corner! Hard to believe it, right? My girls have their costumes all picked out and they are going to be super cute. I am probably going to dress up again this year, even though I got a bunch of funny look as the ONLY adult wearing a costume last year at Whole Foods:

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I was flipping through recipes and found this lovely post by Robyn at sweetish.co. I love the idea of living your best life and it really inspired me to think about what that looks like for me/us. The breakfast cookies looked amazing too and we made them a couple of days ago with some minor tweaks. They are barely sweet and delicious as a morning meal with milk or coffee. These would be great to take along on a plane for a healthy pick-me-up.

We are not eating apples right now so I swapped out the applesauce for homemade pear sauce (I put in the recipe below, in case you want to make some for yourself since pears are in season). We also left out the maple syrup (didn’t miss it), walnuts, and chocolate chips. I would highly recommend using the chocolate chips – it would take these over the top! We are just avoiding it right now.

Breakfast Cookies

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup oat flour (we only needed a half cup)
  • 2 cups gluten-free (or regular) oats
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • ½ teaspoon fine grain salt
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened pear sauce (recipe to follow)
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup  (optional)
  • ½ cup / 150g peanut butter or almond butter (salted or unsalted, we used salted PB)
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • cup walnuts, chopped – we omitted
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chocolate chips (optional)

 

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Instructions:

  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or use a silpat.
  2. Measure all of your dry ingredients (oat flour, oats, salt, soda + flax) and put them in a bowl and mix.
  3. Beat the butter, sugar and peanut butter until well mixed with an electric mixer.
  4. Mix in pear sauce and vanilla.
  5. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry mixture. Mix well until moistened throughout. Add in the add-ins that you are using (we used only the dried cherries). If you find that the mixture is too dry, add a couple of tablespoons of the milk of your choice to wet it.
  6. Form balls and press down to flatten on cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 12-15 min – these are best a little underdone so they retain their moistness.
  8. Dunk and enjoy! Yum!

Pear Sauce

Ingredients:

2-4 pears

1-2 tsp of ghee

water

Instructions:

  1. Dice pears finely, discarding cores. It is fine to leave the skin on.
  2. Place in a medium saucepan and add water until just covered. Cook on medium-high for a few minutes until pears are soft (this will vary based on the type of pear you are using, bosc pears are firmer and so take more like 5-7 min to cook, softer varieties will only take 3-4 min to cook through).
  3. Drain off the excess water.
  4. Blend the pears using a bullet blender or a food processor with the ghee until smooth. The ghee really enhances the flavor and I find that my kids love to eat this sauce with a spoon!
  5. Eat and enjoy or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

 

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

Image result for masoor dal

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

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.

 

 

Chocolate Truffle Torte

This post is coming a bit late since this is what I made for Valentine’s day. Before we had kids, we didn’t really celebrate Valentine’s day. Now, it feels like a good reason to do something special (even on a weekday) that is focused on love. So we have a “family romantic dinner” with candles and a fancy dessert. This year, Vivek was away, but the girls and I had a greek-inspired dinner and I made fresh pretzels (who doesn’t love fresh bread!). The celebration was complete with this chocolate torte – it was pretty simple to make and came out amazing – the girls and Vivek  all said that is tasted “professional”. Now, you should be warned that it is incredibly rich and it lasted more than a week in our house because you can only eat just a sliver. But, it is SO good in the afternoon with a cup of coffee (how I prefer it) or in the morning for breakfast with a glass of milk (yes, i did let the girls do that once or twice!). The other nice thing is that it is flourless and so naturally gluten free. I did cut the sugar down by a bit so if you like things sweeter, you may want to use a half cup. If you try it, please let me know what you think! And, love to you all for a belated Valentine’s day!

Dinner pics:

 

 

Chocolate Truffle Torte

Ingredients:

15 ounces chocolate chopped (I used trader joe’s dark chocolate and some semisweet chocolate chips)

7 ounces butter, chopped

5 eggs

2 tablespoons water

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.

2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler or microwave (in short intervals), stirring occasionally. Pour the chocolate-butter mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer (or just a large bowl if you’re using a hand mixer).

3. Add the eggs and mix at low speed, scraping the bowl as needed, until the mixture is completely smooth, 2 to 5 minutes.

4. Pour the water into a small saucepan, then add the sugar and salt. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar and salt dissolve (a minute or 2), swirling the pan to aid in even cooking.

5. With the mixer at low speed, stream the melted sugar mixture into the chocolate mixture. When all the sugar is incorporated, turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and mix until the batter is smooth and shiny, about 3 minutes.

6. Scrape the batter into the springform pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the edges look set but the center still looks shiny. Let cool before serving.

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My Valentines:

 

 

Love,

Pooja