Totally easy peasy vegan smoothie bar into a popsicle.. No added sugar of any kind but so smooth without any ice crystals either .. Magic ?? Nah…
Scorcher of a day : check You need a popsicle : check Don’t want extra sugar in it : check
Don’t want to spend extra time on it : check
Smoothie in a popsicle:: How did you do that??
Would you like a techie geek’s popsicle or the simple plain kind?
Aaaah…. the glorious days of summer vacation has begun! Kids love it naturally. Where else can you just chill out in hot blazing sun. And also because they know they would be loaded with treats and so many of them. While we do occasionally enjoy and indulge in fancier preps, a fresh juicy fruit in a smoothie or popsicle is always welcome as this kind is the super healthy and super quick to make .Just 4 ingredients. No added sugar and just perfect for a hot summer day.
I had spied a neat set of Robot popsicle mold or casing in Home goods.. And had to have it. My youngest one is currently on that phase and would totally enjoys decimating robots. Go figure !
So while we chug along in the prep for Father’s day this weekend.. We made this quick and easy one, loaded with the fresh fruits of summer and gorgeous !
Without much ado here is the recipe. I sure hope you enjoy it as well..
Prep time : 5-8 minutes chopping + 15 minutes initial freezing + 5 minutes of blending time
Freezing time : 6 hrs. – overnight
No. of Popsicles : 6-12 depending on the size
Banana : 1 ( sliced)
Strawberries : 8-10 ( sliced)
Orange : 1 ( quartered)
Orange juice / Water : 1/4 cup
If using orange juice, please do consider the no added sugar kind
Honey : 1 Tbsp. ( optional)
Prep the fruits and freeze them for about 15 minutes. This will aid in smooth blending.
Blending, popsicle molds and freezing:
Add the prepped fruits and a 1/4 cup of water or sugar-free orange juice to help in the blending process.
Blend super smooth. In my Nutri Bullet it took about a couple of minutes or so.
Taste the mix before freezing please . If you end up with super tart strawberries or oranges, a Tbsp. of honey or so will definitely help to balance it out.
Pour out into the casings or molds of choice and freeze .
To unmold, run it under hot water and you should get it put fairly easy.
Don’t you just love greens??…We love it here too. Love green chutneys and sandwich spreads.. but this one is special.. It indulges your senses with the tanginess of tamarind and the freshness of the coriander leaves sautéed, oh but just for a minute.
Thickened by browned urad dal and black pepper it is a culinary sensation when you let your self indulge in it when mixed with hot steaming rice and ghee ( if you are really really brave) or with gingelly oil . Goes great as well with puffed up phulkas and Molagaootal. C’mon now the last one cannot surprise you.. for anyone with a remote connection to Palakkad will understand one’s love for it. In my household the love for Molagootal can sometimes rival familial bonds of affection 🙂
A quick and easy prep and takes about 15 – 20 minutes;
Prep time : 5-8 minutes Cook time : 5-7 minutes Serves – 6-8
Split , Skinned Urad Dal : 1/2 cup
Tamarind piece : 1 inch ( alternate : use 1 tsp. of tamarind paste)
Red chilies : 4 ( adjust to spice level)
Black peppercorns : 1 tsp.
Salt : 1 tsp.
Oil of choice : 1.5 – 2 tsp.
Water : 1 tbsp. to aid in grinding
Coriander leaves : 1.5 – 2 cups , chopped roughly
Warm a non stick or cast iron skillet or kadhai and add the oil in it.
Add the red chilies and urad dal and black pepper corns and roast it until the dal attains a golden brown color and the black pepper corns start to sputter. Add the tamarind piece if using and sauté for another min or so.
Drain and set aside to cool.
Turn of the flame and in the remnants of the oil with sustained heat, add the chopped fresh coriander leaves and sauté for a min or two. The idea is to take the raw edge of the coriander leaves but retain the natural color and freshness of it.
Remove and set aside to cool.
Once sufficiently cooled, in an efficient blender grind the sautéed dal and spices first. You will get a coarse powder . Add the salt and the slightly wilted coriander leaves next and grind it with the aid of a tablespoon or so of water.
Note : if you are using tamarind paste, you will add it along with the leaves to be ground.
The consistency of this chutney or relish is not very smooth or find ground. It is not meant to be. The coarseness of it will lend a very earthy and rustic flavor.
There is not need to add any extra seasoning to this. But if it becomes too spicy to handle then definitely season it with mustard seeds spluttered in a tsp. of hot oil . It will bring down the spice level a couple of notches.
This is going to be a super quick post from me. It’s been a long day and I sure hope to wind down soon. The last week’s trip to the grocery store made sure I got a good pound + or so of these fresh Ivy gourds. They were tender and heaped out in mounds in the produce aisle. Naturally they had to make their way home. We love these cute little veggies at home and my daughter calls these mini cucumbers Doppelganger, but of course you could not eat them raw. We do cook a lot of these at home and they make delicious stir fry as well a part of mixed veggie masala rice. I have another recipe up on the blog with cashewnuts and black channa. That was awesome as well. You should definitely try it . This time though I did want to try something a tad different with these. The best part about these veggies are they are pretty much a blank slate waiting to be gourmet-fied :-).. This is super good as an accompaniment with a light dal tadka and phulkas. Oh my !
The prep would definitely consume a bit more of your time , but since it uses dry spices , this is an awesome make ahead dish as well. And also the end justifies the tiny bit of labor you would have to do..
Delicious and absolutely tender cooked ivy gourd stuffed with dry spices and cooked in minimal oil in a covered skillet. Easy, vegan and absolutely lip smacking!!
Prep time : 30 – 40 min Cook time : 15 – 20 min Serves : 4
Tender Ivy gourd/ Tondli/ Kovakkai : 1 Lb. approximately
Cumin seeds : 1 tsp.
Dry spice powders:
Amchur powder / Dry mango powder : 1 tsp.
Red Chili powder : 1 tsp.
Dhania powder : 1 tsp.
Garam masala : 1.5 tsp.
Sambar powder : 1 tsp. ( optional )
Haldi / Turmeric powder : 1/2 tsp.
Salt : 1 tsp + more if required
2 Tbsp. required for cooking
Oil of your choice : 1.5 – 2 Tbsp.
Finely chopped cilantro
In a bowl add all the ingredients listed in the dry spice powders mix and mix it thoroughly so the salt and spices are evenly distributed.
Wash the vegetables very well, trim the ends and discard any ripe ones if you discover ( they are usually red on the inside).
Slit the gourd/ tondli/ kovakkai vertically into 4 ( like an open flower) without slitting it all the way through. The idea is to create a pocket to retain the spices.
Now stuff the dry spice mix in all of these. This does require you to employ a bit of patience.
Once done , heat a flat bottom cast iron or non stick skillet with a bit of depth on its side. Add the oil and the cumin seeds which will sputter on contact with the hot oil.
Slide the stuffed vegetables gently and arrange so they are in a single layer.
If you have left over of the dry spice masala filling you can either store it to be used later or sprinkle all over these .
Add a couple of tablespoons of water by sprinkling all over it and cover and cook for about 8-10 minutes.
Once they are nearly done, remove the cover and let it roast uncovered in the pan. Gently flip the vegetables over to ensure even cooking.
Remove when completely cooked and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.
Serve hot as an accompaniment with soft rotis, dal and steaming hot rice.
An impending trip to the farmer’s market usually has me emptying the fridge and scurrying around creating more space in the veggie and fruit racks. And rarely am I disappointed . This visit too I was treated to gleaming rows of veggies and fruits. Peaches and more peaches. Naturally I had to pick a basket. And then of course apricots. Bright yellow and of course beckoning to be taken home.
The peaches were so luscious and sweet . Just the right balance of tart in them. The gorgeous apricots though cut a zinger right through me. So tart that you can cut your teeth with it! They sure looked and felt ripe. So my options were limited to making a tart chutney with it or make an ice cream. The chutney was of course out of question as my fridge was loaded with greens and I would making a few chutneys out of it, so therefore Ice cream it was !
Sizzling hot summer? Tons of fresh fruit ? Peaches? Apricots? Would you like some creamy dreamy no fuss and egg free Peach Apricot Ice Cream? Made in a jiffy and with just a hint of cardamom? Exotic, Mon Cher.. and not overtly sweet and such an indulgence on a hot day!
Chilling time of fruits and mixing bowl : 4-6 hrs
Actual prep time : 20 minutes Freezing time : 4-6 hours.
Serves : 10-12 people
Heavy whipping cream : 1 pint / 16 oz
Sweetened Non fat Condensed milk : 14 oz can
Ripe peaches : 6-8, washed and sliced
Apricots : 10-12 , Washed and sliced
Cardamom powder : a generous pinch
Note : Pre Prep :
Before whipping the cream ensure the contents as well as the mixing bowl is well chilled . This will get you to whipped creamy stage faster and also hold it.
If using the KA stand mixer, ensure the wire whisk and the bowl is chilled well for a couple of hours.
In the bowl of your stand mixer if using ( or a regular hand mixer can be used ) attach the wire whisk and proceed to whip the heavy cream to nearly stiff creamy peaks. Start on slow speed and bring it to higher speed for about 4-7 minutes. By now you should have very creamy and stiff peaks formed. Take care not to harden it and create the sweet cream whipped butter from it . You do not want it.
Meanwhile slice the peaches and apricots and blend it smooth to a thick smoothie/ pulp like extract without adding any water.
Add in the condensed milk and apricot – peach pulp .
Change to flat beater and mix it again for about 3 minutes until they are mixed well. You will see a thick creamy mass.
Add in cardamom powder and mix it again.
Scrape the sides of the bowls and pour into a freezer safe bowl. Close tightly to prevent any crystallization.
Should set in about 4-6 hrs.
Thick , luscious creamy peach – apricot ice cream is ready to be indulged in !
You can use whipped cream in place of the heavy whipping cream if you are pressed for time.
Saffron is an optional exotic spice which will also lend a unique flavor
Verdict : Very creamy , smooth and light ice cream, with flecks of the fruit and cardamom.
Bitter gourd. The name usually sends shivers down the spine of many . Nope not the scary kind but the Yikes! So bitter kind that I do not want to attempt it at home kind !
Sources quote that ” Momordica charantia” known as bitter melon, bitter gourd, bitter squash or balsam-pear in English, has number of uses that are thought to be beneficial treatment of diabetes, fever and infections. Widely grown in the Indian sub continent, it is believed to have made it way to China from there. But we love it here at home here. I know 🙂 Cooked the right way it is delectable one, I say . Back in the golden days of my youth it was a staple part of the diet for us when we grew up. I make it a gazillion ways , but this particular one is popular as well as it could be simply rolled up in the flat bread of your choice.
There are a couple of ways to reduce the bitterness if one would like to do so. Scraping the skin helps as well as salting the cut slices and removing the water extruded . I have chosen to retain the natural flavor and the bitterness as I also believe it retains the maximum health benefits that way.
Near crispy slices of bitter gourd skillet cooked to retain its natural flavor with a mélange of dry spices and mix. The result is truly delectable. A perfect accompaniment for soft rotis and mild dal fry and steaming bowl of rice.
Prep time : 10 minutes Cooking time : 20 min Serves : 4-6
Bittergourd or Bitter melon : 5-6
Turmeric Powder / Haldi : 1 tsp.
Amchur or Dried Mango Powder : 1-1.5 tsp.
Jeera/ Cumin powder : 1/2 tsp.
Dhania/ Coriander seeds powder : 1/2 tsp.
Garam Masala : 1.5 tsp.
Red chili powder : 1- 1.5 tsp. – Depends n your spice level
Besan / Chickpea flour : 1 Tbsp.
Powdered Jaggery/ Brown sugar: 1 tsp. ( optional)
Mustard seeds : 1/2 tsp.
Split Urad Dal : 1 tsp.
Hing / Asafoetida: A generous pinch
Curry leaves : 5-6 . Washed well, patted dry and in pieces.
Oil of your choice : 1 Tbsp.
Salt : 1 tsp. + extra if needed.
Fresh Chopped Cilantro for garnish.
Preparing the Karela/ Pavakkai/Melon:
Wash the vegetable very well and pat dry to remove the moisture from the skin. Trim the ends.
Slice down the center and remove the spongy seed center mass.
Slice each half further into thin strips or you can choose to retain the crescent shape .
Thinly slice the strips to yield half-inch pieces.
Keep aside to be cooked next.
In a big flat skillet ( preferably well seasoned cast iron or non stick ) add the tablespoon of oil and let it heat up. You do not want this smoking so it should only take a couple of minutes.
Add the Asafoetida, it should sizzle and then add the mustard seeds. These will splutter. Add the Split Urad dal next and let it brown for a minute or so.
Add the haldi or turmeric powder next.
Now add the bitter gourd pieces and toss it so the oil is coated evenly. Let it cook for about 6-8 min. You should see them browning about .
Add in the salt now and cook for another 2-3 minutes. You will see hints of moisture and possibly some more because salt will cause to extrude water from the vegetable.
Add the amchur powder, garam masala, dhania powder, jeera powder and chili powder. Toss the vegetables so they coat it evenly and cook for another 5 minutes or so. At this stage if you check the vegetable, a piece would nearly split in half as it should be cooked to near doneness.
Add the sugar if using at this stage and toss it one more time.
Finally sprinkle the besan over the vegetable and cook for another 4 -5 minutes.
The final stage will ensure you do not taste the raw nature of chickpea flour.
Taste for spices and salt and then finally garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and serve hot with rice, rotis and dal.
If the bitterness of the melon makes it an unpalatable and unpopular choice in your household perhaps you can adopt one of the 2 methods cooking it so you can definitely introduce it in your weekly cuisine.
Scraping the skin and removing the seeds from the center definitely reduces bitterness quotient for sure.
The other method popularly used is to salt the raw cut pieces of karela and set aside for about 15 minutes or so. This will cause the water to extrude out and you can squeeze out the pieces party dry and use for cooking.
No Amchur powder? : Alternatively a tsp. of tamarind paste dissolved in a about a Tbsp.of water can be used.
No Garam Masala? : Try using Sambar powder instead.
Millet is not just a more affordable alternative to the more common grains like rice and wheat, it is also a good source of some very important nutrients, including copper, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium. The fact that this can grow in the arid climates is a boon in many of the developing nations of the world. Known as Kambu in tamil and Bajra in hindi, this grain has found a permanent place in our pantry.
A quick and easy flat Crepe/ Dosai that served a good portion of your nutritious needs in one shot. As part of the traditional south indian household, certain dishes hold a special place and Dosai is one such thing. This particular one uses certain dry flours readily available in the household and is a quick prep one. No added soda, eno or any leavening agent . Just mix of flours, yoghurt and seasonings.
Prep time : 10 min Resting time : 15 minutes Serves : 4-5
Bajri Flour ( Pearl millet flour ) – 1 cup
Red rice Flour – 1/2 cup ( if not available use plain rice flour)
Flaxmeal : 1/4 cup
Rava/ Sooji : 1/4 cup
Sour Curd : 3/4 cup
Whole Wheat Flour : 2-3 Tbsp.
Water : 1/4 cup + more required for consistency
Hing / Asafoeida : A generous pinch
Cumin seeds : 1 Tbsp.
Black pepper Crushed : 6-8
Cilantro : 1/4 cup, chopped finely
Ginger grated : 1 inch ( optional)
Green Chilies : 4 ( finely chopped ) – optional
Salt : 1 tsp + to taste
Gingelly oil / sesame oil / oil of your choice to make the dosas.
Mix the fry ingredients along with the dry spices initially and the salt and whisk it well.
Beat the yoghurt with water and add it to the mix. Add additional water if necessary to make it to the dosa batter consistency.
Add the chopped cilantro and grated ginger and chilies if using.
Whisk it well again and let it sit aside for 15 minutes.
Making the Dosa(i)
Heat a nonstick or a well seasoned flat crepe pan on medium heat.
Stir in the Dosa(i) batter and pour ladlefuls to make the crepes.
Dot the edges with sesame oil or oil of your choice.
Let it cook till reddish brown before you flip to the other side. (This is cooked on both sides)
Serve hot with chutneys or idli chutney/chill powder or molagaipodi.
Nutritious, quick and made in a jiffy!
Resting the batter for 15 minutes or so is essential for the dry flours added to soak up the liquid and for faster cooking as well.
Sour yoghurt/ curd will enhance the taste of the dosa (i).
Adding the ginger and chilies is optional but they do add to the flavors.
Sesame oil or Gingelly oil is traditionally used in South India for cooking of Dosai and definitely kicks it up another notch.
Cooking on medium high heat is highly recommended.
Sometimes you just reach for the simple ! Minimal ingredients lend this smoothie a wonderful flavor and also a very refreshing touch .
Just a hint of lime and ginger and fresh Navel oranges and a half a banana to lend body to it and no dairy or added sugar please !
A hot and blazing spring / summer is gleefully grinning here in NC , Cary. But it is the season for gorgeous fruits and I am always seduced by the wide variety available. A huge bag of oranges found their way home and I had to put it to use ..and how 🙂
The Nutribullet – I personally love the no fuss and economical apparatus. Simply add everything in the bigger jar provided, screw on the blade, invert and blend away … Make it simple !
Quick : check
Kid friendly : check
Chock full of Vitamins and Minerals : check
Tastes awesome : check
Prep time : 5 min Blending time : 1 min or 90 seconds Serves : 2
Banana : 1/2
Naval oranges : 2 ( skinned and quartered)
Ginger : skinned, 1/2 inch
Crushed Ice : 1 cup
Orange juice ( no added sugar kind please) or water : 1/4 cup
Key lime juice : fresh , about 1/4 of the lime juiced
Add everything in sequential order of listing or as per your blender’s requirements.
Blend till you get an absolutely smooth mix.
Pour and serve immediately.
Variation: Add a couple of sprigs of mint leaves next time for a more refreshing taste as well !
Verdict : Very light, smooth and a great pick me up smoothie. The ice and liquid add to the thinning of the drink. Since we added only half a banana it contributed to just add enough body without making it very robust.
If would like to thicken it , you can add an apple or an additional half banana. This is such a versatile base that you can mix and match with any number of fruits and perhaps a handful of greens as well.
Disclaimer:This is not a bake it from scratch post.This is a use up the stuff at home kind of thing. More of a transformation, if you would like it!
You go shopping, you see the cake mix. You know you bake at home.. Well you do bake at home. But somehow something struck you and you came home with 2 boxes pf pudding and white cake mix. Don’t ask why! I had been wanting to experiment a bit with pistachio pudding and the cake was meant so my kiddo could bake it all on her own. At least A2 has professed to doing something unlike 1 and 2 who declare the food yummy and proceed to gobble it up!
Been wanting to experiment to convert the cake mix into a pound cake as well.. Lemon being our favorite. Well let’s just say the weather was fine and Sunday being a lazy day, my brain did go off on to a hiatus and a bit of goof up later , pistachio pudding that was to be turned into kulfi and ice cream ended up here as I wanted to experiment and pound cake became light and fluffy Bundt cake as well…
So here we go. A semi homemade version that truly was exceptional in taste and texture and brought forth the flavor and color of pistachio. The drizzled icing just took it another whole level.. It was truly fabulous.. .. And looked like a million bucks when I spent a few pennies on it. I love the minimal effort and maximum mileage this one delivers. This is definitely a recipe to go to when you are short on time or you do not want to go the long route way..
A melt in your mouth pistachio Bundt cake that’s light and fluffy in texture taken to greater heights by the lemon drizzle! A sure winner !
Prep time : 15-20 minutes Baking time : 38-45 min
For the Bundt cake:
White cake mix box : I used DH, white cake mix – 16.5 oz.
Pistachio pudding : Jell-O Pistachio pudding mix pack : 1.5 packs ( each pack is 3.4 oz. / 4.5 servings)
Milk 2% : 11/2 cup +2 Tbsp.
Butter : 4 tbsp. At RT
Eggs : 4
White chocolate chips : 1/2 cup
Almond extract : 2 tsp.
Food Color green : 3 drops ( optional, but recommended)
For the Glaze/ Icing
Confectioner’s sugar : 1 cup
Heavy cream/ milk : 2 Tbsp. or just as required to thin
Fine chopped raw pistachios : 1/4 cup
Lemon Extract : 1 tsp.
Preheat the oven to 350 deg F.
Spray your Bundt pan with oil of your choice and dust it with flour as well. Tap to remove excess and set aside. Make sure the nooks and crannies are completed greased and floured.
In a mixing bowl, add the cake mix and pudding mix and whisk it well. Add in the melted butter or RT butter and 4 eggs. Add the eggs one by one, stirring in after each one.
Add the milk, almond extract and three drops of food color and whisk it in until the mix is a soft fluffy batter. About 5 minutes or so in your stand mixer.
Stir in the white chocolate chips / fold it in gently.
Distribute the batter evenly in the Bundt pan( I used my 10 cup Bundt pan for this).
Bake it for about 38 to 45 min until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Take it out and do let it cool down in the Bundt pan itself for about 15 minutes. Do not rush this please!
After 15 minutes, invert it and the cake should simply slide out without any sticking if the pan has been properly greased.
Let it cool well for a couple of hours at least before you glaze it.
Option one : you can just dust it with confectioners sugar and it will be awesome!
Option two: whip up heavy whipping cream with left over pudding mix and serve the cake topped with it.
Option three : Mix everything listed under the glaze / icing tab listed above . Make a smooth thick and slightly runny past. Too much runny and it will simply slide off . Pour it over the cake, top with pistachios, let it set for about 20 min. Cut and serve.