Delicious – Fruits,Veggies & nuts

It all started at a yoga class, a talk about spring cleansing of the body and eating healthy food. I normally cook healthy, I think!! But the winter here, being as cold as it is, can be a deterrent to eating healthy. I come back home and ask my husband of  almost 23 years, what he would like to eat on his birthday? ” I want something simple and healthy,”  he says. “What kind of a cake shall I make for you”, I ask, and the reply is  “I don’t really care for one!” I wistfully think of the time, when birthdays meant rich food and exotic cakes. Generally a Bagara baigun ( fried eggplant cooked in a rich peanut-poppy-ginger based sauce) or Paneer makhani ( homemade cheese cooked in a creamy tomato sauce)  followed by a Carrot cake, Chocolate torte or a Brazilian nut cake. It was also a time for experimenting with new recipes.. So, “Simple and Healthy” and yet exotic required a little bit of  Mr Google and my imagination and here is my first attempt at a raw food spread….And all I needed was a blender and a food processor

food spread.jpg
Healthy food spread for his 50th Birthday

I discovered the magic of nuts and raw veggies pureed together and the creaminess of avocado that added to the deliciousness of it all.. Simple flavoring of lime juice and crushed chilli peppers…

Then I couldn’t resist making a nice hot soup as the weather is still quite cool…

Smoothie ~ Raspberry, banana, apple

Lettuce wraps ~   Orange beets, carrot & avocado filling…

Canapes ~ Toasted Sourdough layered with cauliflower- cashew mush & cucumber

Miso soup Yellow Miso paste flavored with carrot, ginger, celery

Vegan Chocolate cake with coconut frosting 

Now for the recipes :::::::::

Smoothie….. makes 3 tall glasses

3/4 cup raspberries frozen
2 large or 3 small bananas
3 cups apple juice
2 Tbsp Hemp protein powder

Blend them together in a blender….

Lettuce wraps ~   Orange beets, carrot & avocado filling…

Romaine Lettuce 1 bunch… I made about 12 wraps …

2 large beets grated
4 carrots grated
1/4 cup pistachio
1 Avocado
2 teaspoon honey-mustard spread
2t Lime juice
1 t crushed Bird’s eye red chilli pepper
Salt to taste

I ground the pistachios in my coffee grinder and blended all the veggies and the rest of the ingredients together in my food processor….

A delicious filling for the lettuce wraps

Canapes ~ Toasted Sourdough layered with cauliflower- cashew mush & cucumber

1/2 head cauliflower
1/2 cup of crushed cashews
1t paprika or crushed Bird’s eye chilli pepper
1-2t cumin or garam masala
1-2t Olive oil
1/2 cucumber thinly sliced

6 slices of sourdough bread
Salt to taste

I ground the cashews in my coffee grinder and blend all cauliflower and the rest of the ingredients (except the cucumber & the bread)together in my food processor….

I spread about 2T of the cauliflower-cashew mush on 6 slices of toasted sourdough bread followed by a layer of sliced cucumber

This mush easily be spread on about 10 – 12 slices of bread

Miso soup ~  Yellow Miso paste flavored with carrot, ginger, celery

1 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup grated celery
2T ginger
4T yellow miso paste
5-6 cups of water

Roast all the veggies together in about a tsp of oil for about 2 – 3 minutes.. add about 1/2 cup of water and cover and cook until the veggies are soft about about 7 – 10 minutes… Add rest of the water and miso paste…

You could add some thin rice noodles to soup too, they would go well in the soup…

Vegan Chocolate cake with coconut frosting ~ small & store bought, after all whats a birthday without a cake??

Sweet Potato – Daal Soup

sweet potato soup
Here are all the ingredients!

I made this soup for the Indian dinner at the Creperie tonight, it was flavorful, sweet, salty, and creamy with just a touch of ginger and cayenne pepper. And happens to be Vegan too! No wonder it was a hit at the dinner. Continue reading “Sweet Potato – Daal Soup”

Beet ~ Flat Bread (Paronte)

I usually roast beets to make a salad or soup.  Roasted beets with roasted walnut and goat cheese, seasoned with honey, balsamic vinegar and pepper for salad. As for Borsht Soup, how can it be made without beets? I pressure cook Celery, onion, garlic, potato and tomatoes along with roasted beets. It is ready in about 15 minutes. Then, all that is needed to enjoy it is a dollop of sour cream and and some freshly ground pepper

But this fall, I have been making a lot of  beet ~ paronte (flat bread) ….

Continue reading “Beet ~ Flat Bread (Paronte)”

Instant “Kichdi” Soup

What does one do with a plethora of fresh green onion tops ?  Having no patience for blanching and freezing, I decided to chop them and dehydrate them in the lowest temperature in my oven for about 5 hours. Now that I have green powder, I wanted to make a delicious, wholesome soup  mix,  the Instant kind, that can be cooked by just pouring hot water… When it comes to wholesome food, nothing like a combination of rice and dal ( carbohydrates and protein).. So here goes!!! Continue reading “Instant “Kichdi” Soup”

What is Curry?

“Can you name some spices that are native to India?”, whenever I ask any class at school, Instantly a couple hands shoot up and I hear, “Curry.” I have heard it so many times  over the last seven years, that now….whenever I am  talking about food and spices from India, my opening line is, “Curry is not a spice!” Now lets talk about the real spices – Pepper, Tumeric, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cumin, Mace and so on……


Continue reading “What is Curry?”

Dinner for X Team @ Creperie, Musketeers, Robotics & a recipe

What has food got to do with Robots? Well!  Dinners fund the passion for building Robots. So all our dinners have been fundraisers for our Robotics team – X Team. About 16 of them. Our very first dinner was for the earthquake victims in Nepal and the second one was for a soccer coach’s baby that needed an operation . After that, all our fundraisers have been for X Team Robotics. This Jan 27th,  X Team  dressed as Musketeers,  won the Montana State Championship, at the FTC ( Robotics competition) in Bozeman. Thanks to my world famous designer niece, Karishma @, who designed these awesome costumes for our Musketeers. It was really an exciting moment for all of us to win the top award after four years of Robotics.

Our X Team  – Musketeers in action at the state tournament in Bozeman

XTeam Musketeers – intense moments
All for one One for all, United we stand divided we fall

Continue reading “Dinner for X Team @ Creperie, Musketeers, Robotics & a recipe”

Plum Walnut cake

This lovely tree in my backyard is my inspiration for making this cake. I have been enjoying the sweet, juicy plums along with the squirrels…. but then there are so many more, so I tweaked a recipe of Fig Almond cake ( from NY times) & made it my own……



Very Simple, 4 steps is all it takes ….. Here are the ingredients ~

 1 1/3 C Walnuts,   1/3 C + 1 T Sugar, 1/4 C Whole wheat pastry flour,
1/2 t Baking Powder, 1/2 t Cinnamon,  1/2 C Coconut butter, 3 Eggs,  2 T Honey & 12 – 14 plums

Step 1

Put all the dry ingredients together in a food processor a dry grinder and pulse until well blended together

Step 2

Whisk the eggs, butter & honey together until well mixed, then add in the dry ingredients & blend well.. All I used was a wire whisk…

Step 3

Put the batter on a greased pie plate, top it off with sliced plums on top with a drizzle of 1 -2 Tbsp sugar on top

Step 4

Bake at 350 degree F for 30 – 40 minutes until done in the middle & Voila!

And the flavor… a nice mix of sweet, tangy and juicy… my boys loved it!!!

Just half a spoon of Haldi (Turmeric)

“Half a spoon ( about 1 teaspoon) is enough!”, my mother would say. The first thing I learned about cooking veggies was “add some haldi ( turmeric)”  after about two – three minutes of sauteing, be it potatoes,  peppers, cabbage, cauliflower, they all needed that little bit of haldi, followed by a dash of salt. Cook on low heat for about 20 – 25 minutes until done, finish with a sprinkle of garam masala. Simple, easy & delicious!


Namak Daani ( Traditional spice box)

My mom’s spices were all freshly ground and stored in this Namak Daani ( spice box) a standard feature at many North Indian homes. She could whip up 5 – 6 dishes for a crowd coming over for dinner in a couple hours. Be it 15 people or 50 people, her estimate on how much to make was always perfect. And the food always delicious!!! She  kept it simple, by using Haldi and Garam masala as her primary spice agents. To get that touch of tanginess in Cholle ( garbanzo bean masala) she would add freshly crushed Anardana (dry Pomegranate seeds), or raw green chillies to spice up the saag( steamed greens) or raw chopped red onions on the side to add that crunch to the daal.

Quick Cabbage Stir Fry



4 C chopped Cabbage
1 Banana Pepper
1 t tumeric
1 t Garam Masala
2 T oil


  1. Put the chopped cabbage and banana pepper on a non stick skillet
  2. Saute for 2 minutes
  3. Add Tumeric and Salt and blend well for 2 more minutes till it is soft and slightly cooked
  4. Drizzle oil and blend for another 2 minutes on high heat
  5. Sprinkle Garam Masala
  6. Enjoy it with some Roti/Pita or flat bread…….

Dry turmeric  would always be spread out in the sun before being taken to the mill to be ground into a fine powder. After I moved away from home,  I always got to bring a jar back, each time I visited them, for the next 20 years. My father dutifully made packets for me to take along, even though I had plenty of stock. So, I could share fresh turmeric powder with my friends as well – the abundance of it all.


Now, I look at the few jars I have left  and wonder if I should leave them as keepsakes, as this tradition of drying and grinding turmeric at our home in India has come to an end….









Squash Blossom – Dolmas

I made Squash Blossom – Dolmas today! Thanks to my friend who plucked 50 blossoms from her garden and a suggestion by Ronit Penso of Tasty Eats. They were super delicious and easy to make. It reminded me of the time, we soccer moms stood around the  kitchen counter making samosas for a fundraiser!  Dolmas would be fun to make in a group, they would be healthier and quicker to make too… maybe next time.

All I did was, wash the blossoms, fill them with the rice filling, fold them, arrange them in a baking tray with a drizzle of oil and bake them at 400 F for about 20 minutes till the edges turned crisp.  As for the filling, I added chopped Parsely & Mint ( 4 – 6 tbsp), Lemon juice ( 3 – 4 Tbsp), Red pepper flakes ( 2 Tbsp) and Sesame oil ( 2 Tbsp) to about 2 cups of cooked Basmati rice.


I baked some of the Blossoms plain, and they were good too, nice and crisp. Either way, a good Appetizer….






Squash Blossoms: Dosa (Crepe) & Salad

My friend, Stephanie gave me Squash blossoms from her garden today. I have never cooked with them before.

What does one do with Squash blossoms?  Well I ask Google and find many recipes that urge me to “Fill them up with cheese and then deep fry.”  While other recipes call for putting them in Omelets, Frittata, Quesdillas or use them as a Pizza topping.

So now what am I going to do with them? I eat one raw, it is delicious!  Then I chop some of the Squash blossoms, put them in an existing Dosa ( crepe) batter. And I make some Dosas for lunch! Delicious!!!

I stir fry the remaining Squash blossoms  on a medium-hot sauce pan for about 4 – 5 minutes, then add them to shredded to Red Cabbage -Cucumber salad with a bit of lemon juice and a sprinkle of crushed pepper on the top.

Yummy! Next time, I will stir fry the Squash blossoms with some rice, peas ….and cumin………….