Baked Cauliflower Tandoori Bites

Baked Cauliflower Tandoori Bites

New year and new beginnings?  Nah , more like everyday is a clean slate to make something out of yourself. It’s what I keep telling myself . There is joy in small things. It’s the small things that build it up for the grand finale – life . Calvin and Hobbes sum it up the best in a beautiful snippet on watching the stars and losing yourself in it its infinity.. Sometimes it’s good to be lost.

Baked Cauliflower Tandoori Bites

So all the while, NC gets about a few inches of snow and ice and we get snowed in at home – School is far far away in another land. Tee hee.. The joy of skipping school – even my high schooler fell prey to its charm and exhibited an uncharacteristic elation.

So while mom and kids lazed around and spent quality time and lost themselves in snowmen and hot cocoa, DH was stranded trying to make his way back amongst the sea of travelers and some 8500 canceled flights.  Over night layover and a really bizarre circumnavigation apart, a welcome face pops in after nearly couple of days of journey. Home sweet home !

 Welcome home –  with a hot cup of tea and wonderful tandoori bites…

Baked Cauliflower Tandoori Bites

When fresh veggies were not exactly ruling the roost in this part of the country, I usually have a stock of fresh frozen (if I can manage the non GMO kind, then definitely ) of vegetables in my freezer. Cauliflower florets – a favorite here. I used this to make the tandoori bites. It was a full head of fairly medium  – big sized cauliflower that I had cut in florets and frozen. I would say about a pound of it.

Baked Cauliflower Tandoori Bites

Baked Cauliflower Tandoori Bites:

Prep time : 5-10 min   Marination time : 5 hours to over night

Baking time : 15 -20 min

Vegetable:

  • Cauliflower florets – A head of cauliflower cut into bite sized florets or frozen 16 oz. bag

For the Marinade:

  • Thick plain yogurt : 1/4 cup
  • Plain chili powder / Kashmiri powder : 1 tbsp. ( use your judgment for the heat)
  • Chaat masala : 1 Tbsp..
  • Salt : 1 tsp.
  • Tandoori Masala : 1 Tbsp.
  • Garam Masala : 1 Tbsp.
  • Mint -Coriander Green chutney : 2 Tbsp.

Optional :

  • Ginger- garlic paste : 1 tsp.

Method:

  • Defrost the cauliflower florets or if using fresh ones, either nuke it in the microwave for a couple of minutes or quick blanch it.  Let it come to room temperature.
  • Whisk all the ingredients listed under marinade. Taste test if desired so.
  • Pour the marinade on the cauliflower pieces and mix it to ensure all of it is coated thoroughly.  Keep it covered in the refrigerator for minimum of 4-5 hours , but can be left overnight for best results as well.

Baking :

  • Pre heat oven to 400 F.
  • Layer a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray oil if desired so on them so the pieces do not stick.
  • Spread the cauliflower florets so they are in single layer on the sheet.
  • Bake for 15-20 min or so. Keep an eye after about 12 minutes of baking. A lot depends on the tenderness of the cauliflower and your oven. 

HUGE TIPIn the 8- 10 min interval, flip the cauliflower florets and rotate the pans to ensure even baking. If not you run the risk of burning the smaller sized ones.

  • You should get crisp but tender cauliflower florets bursting with flavor.
  • Serve with a wedge of lime and some mint – coriander green chutney as dip. You can also use a cool yogurt dip.

Bite sized, perfectly spiced and zero oil… Isn’t this just awesome?

 

 

 

 

Green Power Morning Smoothie

Good Morning ! Summer seems to be racing by and our days are alternating between packed crazy days and lazy ones.. In all the rigmarole and recent vacations and indulgences not withstanding , a few pounds seems to have crept in and settled rather unpleasantly. And I realized bouncing back to lustrous skin seem to be taking awhile after the milestone birthday. In more ways than one, I guess the body is sending me signals. Well I have received it loud and clear. Need more greens and raw in the system. And I suppose a routine does not hurt.

Green Power Morning Smoothie

The first in this would be this awesome super delish morning green power smoothie.

If you abhor the taste of greens, I promise you will not realize this has so much of it. This is light and refreshing and is full of vitamins and immunity boosting powers. I mean what exactly are you waiting for? I did know  what I was waiting for . This is going to be huge part of my routine from now on.

A refreshing and light green smoothie that sends you a burst of energy and is very energizing on the palate as well. The freshness of lime and zing from the ginger is a definite welcome.

Green Power Morning Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • Fresh spinach or kale : 1/2 cup
  • Ginger : 1 inch, skinned and sliced
  • Celery stalk : 1 or 2 cut
  • Green apple : 1/4 -1/2 sliced
  • Banana : 1/2 sliced
  • Turmeric powder : 1/2 tsp.
  • Cucumber : 1/4 -1/3 cut in slices
  • Wild honey : 1 tsp. ( optional)
  • Lime : 1/2 to be juiced
  • Ice cubes : 2-4
  • Water : 1/4 cup

Green Power Morning Smoothie

Method:

  • Pulverize it all in your Nutribullet or blender of your choice to get smooth refreshing drink.
  • Enjoyed cold and best served fresh.

Green Power Morning Smoothie

Notes:

  • While going raw, please try to use as much organic resources as possible.
  • Wash thoroughly. I repeat wash thoroughly.
  • You can always substitute a few, add more, add some protein etc to this . Personalize it I say!

Enjoy!

Green Power Morning Smoothie

Strawberry, Orange & Banana Popsicle : 4 ingredients. No sugar added, super healthy

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. 

Strawberry, Orange & Banana Popsicle : 4 ingredients. No sugar added, super healthy
Pretty colors of the strawberry and vivid oranges and creamy bananas..

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 !

Strawberry, Orange & Banana Popsicle : 4 ingredients. No sugar added, super healthy
I spy with my little eye the robot molds in the background

 

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 !

Strawberry, Orange & Banana Popsicle : 4 ingredients. No sugar added, super healthy
A dash of no sugar added natural orange juice to aid in the blending
Strawberry, Orange & Banana Popsicle : 4 ingredients. No sugar added, super healthy
We are a techie family.. need robots in popsicle too..

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

Ingredients

  • 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)

Method:

Initial prep:

  • 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.
  • Enjoy guilt free Popsicle!
Strawberry, Orange & Banana Popsicle : 4 ingredients. No sugar added, super healthy
Smooth and easy on you
Strawberry, Orange & Banana Popsicle : 4 ingredients. No sugar added, super healthy
Could not resist a bite !

Kothamalli Thogayal/ Coriander leaves Chutney

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.

Kothamalli Thogayal/ Coriander leaves Chutney

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 🙂

 

Kothamalli Thogayal/ Coriander leaves Chutney

A quick and easy prep and takes about 15 – 20 minutes;

Prep time : 5-8 minutes  Cook  time : 5-7 minutes   Serves – 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

  1. Warm a non stick or cast iron skillet or kadhai and add the oil in it.
  2. 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.
  3. Drain and set aside to cool.
  4. 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.
  5. Remove and set aside to cool.
  6. 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.
  7. Note : if you are using tamarind paste, you will add it along with the leaves to be ground.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

Enjoy!!!

Orange Banana Smoothie

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 !

Orange Banana Smoothie

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

Ingredients :

  • 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

Method:

  • 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 !

Orange Banana Smoothie

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.

Part of a healthy breakfast !

Orange Banana Smoothie

Sprouts of Joy : Green Sprouts Salad

Day 3: Sprouts of Joy : Green Sprouts Salad

#30days30salads

What a wonderful Saturday morning it turned out to be. We had a refreshing family time in the water yesterday. And on the kids request, all of us pigged out on their favorite foods. Laden with joy and calories, and marching on today I fall back on the family favorite of all time. This salad is so refreshing and so versatile that it can be eaten as a side, main course or dressed up to yield a satisfying result.

Cook time : 10 min        Prep time : 15 min   Serves : 4

The family favorite Salad

  • Sprouted Whole Green Moong Dal: 2 Cups
  • Peeled Green Cucumber: 1/2 cup (Finely diced)
  • Green apple : 1/2 cup (Finely diced)
  • Red Apple : 1/2 cup (Finely diced)
  • Baby Carrots : 1/2 cup (Finely diced)
  • Pomegranate seeds : 1/2 cup
  • Mint : 1/4 cup Fresh, Finely chopped
  • Cilantro : 1/4  Fresh, Finely chopped
  • Lime/ lemon : 2 . Juiced
  • Thai green chili: 2 Finely chopped ( optional)
  • Red Onion : 1/4 cup Finely chopped ( Optional)
  • Black pepper : 1/4 tsp. Fresh ground
  • Chaat Masala : 1 tsp (Optional)
  • Salt : 1 tsp + as required

 Prep Work, Assembly, Serving:

 Sprouts Prep:

  • Add 2 -3 quarts of water in a big saucepan and bring it to boil with a tsp of salt. Once it is boiling , dunk in the sprouts for say 3 -4 minutes.
  • The idea is it is not completely cooked but more like to give a blanched effect, al dente, with a crunch in the bite. Rinse it in cold water and let it cool completely. 

Salad Prep:

  • Now add in the diced vegetables , chopped mint and toss it in gently.
  • Cool this in the refrigerator for atleast an hour.

Serving:

  • Just before serving, add in the lemon juice, salt , chaat masala and garnish with cilantro and serve.
  • Best eaten Cold. 

Notes:

  • Adding in the mint in the initial part of prep, imparts a nice flavor when it sits in the refrigerator for an hour or so.
  • Also remember to just salt before you serve. Adding it initially will result in a watery mess!

 

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The 30 days – 30 salads.. journey begins.. May Madness !!!

#30days30salads

After a slew of back to back family gathering and a couple more planned in May.. what can you say , 2 birthdays and a special event coming up,  the need for a taking it more of the healthy green stuff sort of dawned on all.

With advent of spring / summer the hunt for more of the fresh, crunchy, delicious salad varieties begin..!

And so will begin my attempt in May to bring to you one new recipe every day.. quick and easy, refreshing , side, entree and more..

Here’s to us all !

Salad here we come!
Salad here we come!