Sunday, June 30, 2013

Spaghetti w/ Beet leaves, Artichokes & Red Bell pepper

During my weekly shopping at the asian market, I wanted to pick some good beets, mainly for my daughter to try it out (especially after her Dr. told me about her low haemoglobin level). I don't normally buy beets in a bunch, but decided to do so this time. For a long time, I was debating about whether the beet leaves were edible or not. After googling a bit, I found out that they were perfectly edible and can be cooked like any other greens. Typically, I like adding greens to vegetable bake or mostly in pasta. So, I made spaghetti with beet leaves along with grilled artichokes (from a jar) and red bell pepper. The beet leaves didn't seem to have any sort of distinct flavor but was more like any other greens you would normally cook with. If you are not in the mood for pasta, pick your favorite greens and sauté them in olive oil with chopped/sliced onions, minced garlic, crushed red peppers (adds a little extra heat, optional), salt and black pepper. For an extra crunch, add some crushed roasted peanuts. Either way, more greens to add to your list of veggies :).


12 oz organic dry whole wheat spaghetti

1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
5-6 nos. grilled artichoke halves, roughly chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
2 cups of loosely packed beet leaves, chopped
1 - 1 1/2 tbsp tofutti cream cheese (optional)
Salt, to taste
2 tsp nutritional yeast
1 - 1 1/2 tsp italian seasoning


Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add enough salt to the water and cook spaghetti according to package instructions.  Drain and set aside. 

Typically, I like to start cooking the pasta as I am sauteeing the veggies, so I drain the pasta and directly add them to the veggies. The pasta gets coated well and also stays soft ...the last thing you want is the pasta drying out on you, do ya???

In a large sauté pan, heat evoo,  add crushed red pepper, garlic and onions. Sauté until the onions are translucent. 

Add beat leaves and cook until it slightly wilts. Now, add the red bell pepper and artichokes and cook for few minutes.

After the veggies get cooked well, add the spaghetti and toss them well with tongs or wooden spatulas. Add italian seasoning, cream cheese and salt and stir to coat the spaghetti and veggies.

Cook for few minutes and add nutritional yeast and toss again. Serve hot.

Makes 3-4 servings.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Quick & Easy Peas Curry

On second thoughts, I should probably rename it as "no fuss peas curry".  Every now and then, my lazy bones start acting up and I have moments when I want to eat something quick, healthy and tasty but don't really want to go through the trouble of chopping any veggies (well, maybe just for garnishing or sometimes, I wind up gently twisting them and pinch some off to use...yep, that's how lazy I get at times...I suppose it has more to do with your mood as well).  Anyway, its quick and easy, especially, if you have all the ingredients in your pantry, you can prepare a tasty dish that can be served with rice or any indian bread of your choice.


1/2 cup french fried onions, crushed
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 cup diced/crushed tomatoes (I prefer crushed)
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
Salt, to taste
1/2 cup water
1 1/4 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1/3 cup lukewarm unsweetened original almond milk (mixed with 1 1/4 tsp cornstarch)
1 tsp kasoori methi leaves, crushed
1/2 tbsp oil


In a deep pan, heat oil. Add fried onions and sauté for 1-2 mins.

Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté until the raw smell is gone. Add crushed tomatoes, chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder and fry until the flavors blend well together.

Add water and salt and cook for few minutes.  Allow it to boil until the raw smell fades away. Now, add the peas and cook until they are soft but slightly firm.

Add the almond milk and cornstarch mix (a trick I learnt from my aunt who originally uses evaporated milk and cornstarch, so altered it a bit) to get a creamy texture (you can use cashew paste or coconut milk creamer as a substitute) and stir well until it is mixed evenly. Add the crushed kasoori methi leaves and mix again. When it starts to boil, turn the stove off. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve hot.

Makes 4 servings.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Homemade Ginger-Garlic paste

Ginger-garlic paste is an essential ingredient in indian cooking. It is probably one ingredient that can be found in every indian household as a part of their pantry. For a long time now, I have been making homemade ginger-garlic paste as I don't like the store bought paste because it is way too vinegary, has a whole bunch of preservatives and wasn't doing much for the dishes when using them. By preparing ginger-garlic paste at home and using them in recipes, it packs on flavors and makes the dishes aromatic and tasty.

Ginger is known for its medicinal value. It aids in digestion and is used to treat nausea, upset stomach and gas. Ginger has effective anti-inflammatory properties that provides relief from arthritis or any sort of muscle soreness. Ginger adds great flavor to food. My consumption of ginger starts with a hot cup of my favorite masala/ginger chai everyday and trust me, it is a nice and refreshing way to begin you day!! I like to use ginger when cooking asian food and always keep in hand fresh and frozen ginger (works great especially, if you need grated ginger).

Despite its reputation for a strong flavor, garlic is used as a seasoning worldwide. Garlic can be cooked in several different ways and used in variety of dishes ranging from breads, pasta, garlic-flavored oils, soups, curries and what nots...the list is endless. Did you know that garlic is also referred to as "the stinking rose" due to its health benefits. It can considerably reduce cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease and cancer. It is also known to improve our iron metabolism. To increase health benefits, you should let the crushed or chopped garlic sit for a while before using them.

With a gist of some of the health benefits from ginger and garlic, I suppose it's kinda double duty when you use them in the form of ginger-garlic paste and why wouldn't you when you can enjoy a healthy as well as a flavorful dish!! Typically, ginger-garlic paste is prepared with equal portions of ginger and garlic (1:1 ratio) but I add a little more garlic than ginger but you can adjust it to suit your taste.


1 cup ginger, peeled and chopped
1 2/3 cup garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp canola (or any flavorless ) oil


In a blender or food processor, add the chopped ginger, garlic, salt and oil. Grind to a fine paste.

Store in an airtight glass container. If you don't use it that frequently, you can store it in an airtight container and freeze it. It stays good for months when frozen (normally, I keep mine frozen and use them till they last and they stay fresh and flavorful until the last bit).

Yields 1 1/2 cups.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Happy 1st B'day to my sweet little angel!!

How time flies!! It just felt like I delivered our bundle of joy not too long ago and she is already one!! This past year has been a memorable one filled with sweet memories and every single thing done by her will be treasured. Her first roll-over, first time she sat on her own, first tooth, first time she stood up, first time she walked with support, first walk on her own, her first words....the list doesn't end but looking forward for more such experience. Parenting is definitely not easy, every now and then, it has its challenges but then again, it wouldn't be interesting otherwise, would it? Officially, I have a toddler now and am getting my share of exercise by running behind her and watching her mischievous moves.

My 4-month long visit with parents, grandma and cousins was a memorable one because they had a chance to spend time with the little one and enjoy her every little action. After a long trip back home, the last thing I expected was to catch a bad cold. Just when I thought I was done, my little one caught it too and her's was much worse. So, between the jet lag, the cold and cough, it was quiet a while before we could settle down. Not too long after that, we had to plan for her 1st b'day celebration. Although, her actual b'day (June 11th) was a simple celebration with only our close friend's family and a simple vegan funfetti cake (recipe coming up soon) that my little one enjoyed, we had a much bigger party over the weekend. All the planning, prep work, and the celebration has my hubby and me tired out. Apparently, a hectic 2-week schedule after my return home, with not much of a chance to try out some recipes in my list!!

Hoping to make up for the time spent away from blogging. Oh how I missed it, can't wait to start blogging again without any more breaks!!