Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Thai-Spiced Tofu & Veggie Burrito Bowl

Thai-Spiced Tofu & Veggie Burrito Bowl

I wanted to make something tasty for dinner so I quickly put together this meal after a long day of work. It was full of protein and it was delicious, so I thought I'd share this recipe!

2 cups extra firm tofu
2 scrambled eggs
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup broccoli florets
2 green onions, diced
1 onion, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
cilantro for garnish
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp peanut sauce
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
1 tbsp peanuts, crushed


1. Stir-fry the tofu in a pan with 1 tbsp. olive oil and cook for 2 minutes.

2. Add the sliced onion, green pepper, broccoli, bean sprouts, carrots to the pan & cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Add the sauces (soy sauce, peanut sauce, chili garlic sauce, and lime) & stir.

4. Make scrambled eggs in a separate pan.

5.  First put the tofu on the bottom and then the veggies.

6. Add the scrambled eggs on top.

7. Garnish with cilantro, green onions, & crushed peanuts.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mushroom, Onion, Red Pepper Stuffed Zucchini Ravioli

Mushroom, Onion, Red Pepper & Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Ravioli

Low-Carb Ravioli

I love italian food. Whenever I go out to eat at an italian restaurant, I always look for ravioli. I love trying new things! Last weekend, I tried Ravioli Di Portobello. It was delicious! I can't believe I had never had it before! I had a day off today and I wanted to make something new. I loved the ravioli so much, that I went out to buy portabella mushrooms. It's funny because growing up my mom never incorporated mushrooms in her cooking. So I was always hesitant to try anything with mushrooms...and now I absolutely love them.

In addition to mushrooms, I added some red pepper, onions, and garlic. I was on pinterest one night and stumbled upon this recipe by CupcakesOMG! For a vegan recipe, you can exclude any cheese. I decided to add some shredded mozzarella in mine, but you can substitute with any of your favorite veggie, meat, and cheese fillings! If I were to make this again, I would add spinach in the filling as well. Maybe incorporate the veggies in spinach pesto. 

Anyway, so what I did was just sauteed the veggies & garlic in 2 tsp. olive oil. 

I added a couple basil leaves, 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper, 1/8 tsp oregano,  salt to taste, and some parmesan flakes.

I cut 4 strips of zucchini for each ravioli. In terms of assembling the ravioli, overlap two strips in one direction. 

Add shredded mozzarella cheese. Then the veggies on top. 

Fold the zucchini strips and use a toothpick to hold all the strips together.

I added some pasta sauce on top and cilantro to garnish.

Try this with your favorite toppings & let me know how it turns out!

Serve as an appetizer or an entree :)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Spicy Black Eyed Peas Soup

Spicy Black Eyed Peas Soup

Last night, I made a black eyed peas soup. I was so happy to come home and finally have this soup after a long day at work. Quick and easy delicious recipe! The black eyed peas can be found at any grocery store and its great for a cold wintery night. It also is a good source of protein and fiber. 
For details on nutrition facts, visit link

1 cup dry black eyed peas

1 red onion chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp poppy seeds
1/2 tbsp ginger minced

2 green chilis
2-3 cups water
2 tsp olive oil
1 tomato chopped
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1-2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tbsp chickpea/gram/besan flour 
salt to taste
Serves: 3-4

1. Soak the black eyed peas or beans *overnight* in a slow cooker.

2. Heat a pan with olive oil. Add cumin seeds, poppy seeds, and dry red chili pepper (optional). Cook until the cumin seeds appear darker brown in color.

3. Add garlic, ginger, and green chili to the pan. Cook until garlic appears golden-brown.

4. Add onions and tomatoes if you would like them in your soup. Cook for 2 minutes.
I usually just add them at the end, but if you want it incorporated in your soup, add it before you add the spices.

5. Add the turmeric powder and red chili powder.

6. First add the beans, followed by water.

7. Add salt to taste and lemon juice.

8. For a thicker consistency, follow these steps:
    In a separate bowl, add some flour in 1/4 cup *cold* water. Stir the mixture.
    Add the mixture to the pan with beans

Garnish with cilantro or parsley!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Indian-Spiced Whole Green Moong Lentil Soup Garnished with Cashews & Cilantro

Indian-Spiced Whole Green Moong Lentil Soup Garnished with Cashews & Cilantro

Alright, so I realize after my first day of working a real full-time job that things are going to get really busy. I know myself well and I know after a long day especially if I'm working an evening shift until 9 or 10 pm I'm not going to want to make any fancy meals. I also know that its going to become hard to go to the gym. One thing I can do though is maintain a healthy diet.

I remember when my brother and I were younger, we used to hate these dals and barely ate them. Now, I have learned that this was actually a really healthy recipe and I have it all the time! It's delicious & easy to cook. I have it for lunch or dinner. Sometimes for both!

This recipe is perfect because it so simple. I leave the moong dal in a slow cooker overnight so it is cooked by the morning. All I have to do is add some cumin, garlic, onions, tomatoes, and spices to make this lentil soup. Easy right?

Green Moong is a great source of protein & dietary fiber! Here are additional nutritional facts about this wonderful whole green moong bean/lentil.

Here's the recipe...

1 cup Moong daal
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 cups water
2 cloves garlic, minced or sliced
1 tbsp. grated ginger
2 green chilis, crushed
1/8 tsp turmeric
2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 of a lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste

some cilantro & cashews

1. *Overnight* place 2 1/2 cups of water and 1 cup of moong dal to cook

2. In the morning or when ready to cook, heat a skillet with olive oil.

3. Add cumin seeds first. Then garlic, ginger, and green chili.

4. Once the garlic has turned golden brown, add the turmeric, salt, and red chili powder. Stir.

5. Add onions & tomatoes. Cook 2 minutes.

6. Add the moong dal to the skillet along with 2 cups of water. Add more water if you want to liquify
 the soup. Cook for 5-6 minutes.

7. Squeeze half of a lemon over the dal. Stir for a minute so the spices and lemon blend well.

8. Garnish with cashews & cilantro or anything else you prefer!

I like the chunky moong dal in my soup but you can also use a blender to liquify the soup so the moong dal is not visible.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Fluffy Coconut Flour Pancakes

Fluffy Coconut flour pancakes

When I started my diet, I tried to look for breakfast recipes I could make other than eggs. I found out there are a lot of substitutions available for all-purpose flour. When I went to trader joe's the other day, I found coconut flour. So I came home and wanted to try making some pancakes. I wasn't sure how well they would turn out and how the texture and consistency would be. Since I didn't have much experience, I searched for recipes and I read many reviews before attempting to make these! I followed FoodieFiasco's recipe and I was pretty happy with the results!

2 tbsp. coconut flour
1/8 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. sugar
2 eggs 
1/4 cup  milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. In a bowl, add coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and sugar. Whisk the mixture.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract.

3. Add the egg, milk, vanilla extract mixture to the bowl of the dry ingredients. Stir until the mixture is uniform and no chunks of flour are visible in the batter.

4. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Grease the skillet with butter. Add about 1/4 cup of the batter onto the skillet and spread. The pancake will rise. 

5. With a spatula, lift up lightly and check whether it has darkened on the bottom.

6. When ready to flip the pancake, do it very carefully! I felt like my first pancake was going to break so I was extra cautious and used two spatulas to lift it up and flip it. 

I made 3 pancakes and they turned out nice & fluffy!
They turned out pretty well and I had 2 pancakes with Grilled Apple Slices topped with Oatmeal, Goat cheese, & Chia Seeds!

Grilled Apple Slices with Cinnamon-Spiced Oatmeal, Goat Cheese, & Chia Seeds

Grilled Apple Slices with Cinnamon-Spiced Oatmeal, Goat Cheese, & Chia Seeds

I have never liked oatmeal alone, even if its flavored with spices such as cinnamon. I usually pair oatmeal with fruits. My favorites are apples & blueberries! I decided to make these for breakfast because we had a lot of apples at home and I didn't know what to do with them... So I cut up some apple slices and added some toppings I had at home. You can always add different things, but here's what I made:

1 Red Apple
1/2 cup Oats
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup Goat Cheese
1/8 cup Sliced Almonds
1/8 cup Dried Raisins
2 tbsp chia seeds
Servings: 1-2

1. I would microwave some oatmeal:
In a bowl, add oats, milk, salt, cinnamon together. Stir.
Microwave for 2 minutes. Set aside.

2. Cut Apple Slices (not extremely thin because it should be able to hold the weight of oatmeal on top)

3. Grill the apple slices.

4. Spread oatmeal.

5. Sprinkle with your favorite toppings! I added goat cheese, chia seeds, sliced almonds, dried raisins, and arugula. I also found this chia seeds mix in my kitchen cabinet which contained the chia seeds, sliced almonds, dried raisons, and dried apples so I didn't have to add everything separately.

I got this at ShopRite in the gluten-free section, in case you want to get Chia seeds or a mix like this.
I also like to incorporate chia seeds into smoothies and sprinkle them in salads or fruit dishes, because
I found that chia seeds have the many health benefits and is great for weight loss, for example:

  • Have Antioxidants
  • Almost All The Carbs in Them Are Fiber
  • High in Protein
  • High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • Improve blood markers, which should lower the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes
  • Contain important bone nutrients, for example: calcium
  • Improve exercise performance 
Sources: 1, 2

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Pav Bhaji

Pav Bhaji, a blend of vegetables cooked in tomato gravy

Today, I want to share a traditional family recipe that I have absolutely loved since I was a child. I grew up in a city called Ahmedabad which is located in Gujarat, India. Dining, whether it is street food or restaurants, is very popular. In fact, restaurants have something called a midnight buffet and people are out and about even during week days! This is one of my favorites because it combines a lot of different vegetables, its flavorful, and its very filling.  

Pav bhaji is actually known to be a fast food dish. "Pav" or Pau or Pao was the portugese word for bread and "Bhaji" means a vegetable dish. It's basically a spicy blend of vegetables cooked in tomato gravy. In restaurants, this dish is made in lots & lots of butter! The advantage of cooking this recipe at home is to tweak it a little so it can be more healthy! Instead of butter, using olive oil and whole wheat bread or rolls works out just fine!

This recipe also makes a great party dish if you have having a lot of friends & family over! All you have to do is make the veggie dish and serve with bread on the side.

Sidhpuria.Retailing Franchising. Tata McGraw-Hill Education. p. 137.


Street Style Pav Bhaji

Now, lets get started. Here are pictures of the main vegetables that I used for this recipe, but feel free to add any of your favorite veggies to the mix! The prepping time is tedious having to grate all veggies, but its so worth it! 

4 potatoes, boiled
1/2 of a Cauliflower, boiled
1 1/2 cups Sweet Peas
3 Onions, grated
3 Green Peppers, grated
4 Tomatoes, grated
1/2 Cabbage, grated
1 tbsp Garam Masala
2 tbsp Pav Bhaji Masala
2 green chilis, crushed
2-3 tsp red chili powder
2 tsp turmeric powder
3 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
Servings: 6-8

1. Add onions, green peppers, cabbage, and tomatoes to a food processor and pulse.
2. In a separate mixing bowl, mash cooked potatoes and cauliflower. Set aside.

Once you have prepped the above, the rest is easy!

Put 3 tbsp olive oil in a pot.
Add onions, cabbage, green pepper, and sweet peas. Cook for 5-8 minutes.
Add the boiled potatoes and cauliflower to the veggies above.
Mash the veggies in the pot.
Mash the potatoes & cauliflower in a mixing bowl before adding it to the pot. Either method works.

Cook for another 3-5 minutes.

 Add crushed green chili, red chili powder, turmeric, salt, & garam masala.
Add *Pav Bhaji Masala (see below)
Cook for 5 minutes, stirring the mixture so the spices are well blended.

Squeeze half a lemon and add it to the mixture.

* If you have an indian grocery store nearby, I recommend getting Pav Bhaji Masala. 
Also, I found that you can buy this product on amazon. Here's a link: Pav Bhaji Masala (amazon)

Here's what it should look like once all the spices are blended with the veggies!
Serve with bread, such as hamburger buns from the grocery store.
Diced onions & lemon on the side :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Butternutsquash Pizza Crust & Spinach, Garlic, Cilantro Pesto

Butternutsquash Pizza Crust & Spinach, Garlic, Cilantro Pesto

When I was on a keto diet, I had made a cauliflower crust pizza because it has very low calories from carbs. I looked up healthy pizza crusts in google and came across this title "74 Smart Ways to Make a Healthier Pizza." Check out http://greatist.com/health/make-healthier-pizza for some great ideas!

I wanted to try something new so I decided to make a veggie-based crust from scratch. On the website above, they had listed zucchini crust or summer squash. The first thing I thought of was how much I love butternut squash, so I couldn't wait to try it. Let me tell you, it turned out delicious!!! I'd definitely recommend you try this sometime! I added some seasonings to the cooked butternut squash and used a spicy spinach, garlic, and cilantro pesto with some of favorite toppings! 

4 cups butternut squash, baked & mashed
2 1/2 cups flour
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp crushed red peppers

3 cups spinach
1/2 cup cilantro
1 green chili (optional- if you want to make it spicy!)
1 tsp salt
3 garlic cloves 
1/8 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Place upside down on a baking sheet.
Bake in the oven for 35 minutes until tender.

Check by putting a knife through the squash and it should easily touch the bottom of the sheet (as shown on the right).

2. While baking, you can make the pesto (optional)

3. Place the spinach, garlic, cilantro, chili, and salt into a food processor. Place half of the water in the 1/8 cup and pulse the mixture until finely ground.

Add more water if necessary so the mixture is easily spreadable on the pizza crust.

 4. Once the butternut squash has cooled down and the skin removed. Add about 4 cups of the squash in a mixing bowl and mash.
5. *Most important step* Squeeze out the excess water using a clean napkin/towel!
6. Add flour and seasonings (paprika, crushed red peppers, salt) and eggs and mix. Once mixed together, you used to be able to easily roll it into a ball. Add more flour if necessary if the dough is still too loose.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

7. Spread the mixture onto a pizza pan and place in the oven for 35-40 minutes. If it turns darker on the side, do not take it out and let it cook for at least 35 minutes. The most important part of this recipe is that you want the middle to cook well!

Using a spatula, try to lift up the bottom of the crust to make sure its not soggy. If it is, cook a little bit longer. Add another 10 minutes to the cooking time.

8. Add the pesto if you decided to make it or whatever else you'd like!

9. Add toppings and cheese of choice and enjoy!
I decided to add caramelized onions, red & orange peppers, mushrooms and fresh mozzarella balls :)

                                              And here's the final look, yummmm....

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Mango-Chipotle Spiced Veggie Quesadillas

Mango-Chipotle Spiced Veggie Quesadillas

I was really craving some mexican food today. I had all these colorful veggies and mini tortillas at home.  The most important ingredients in this recipe are the chipotle peppers and the mango! The chipotle peppers add a spicy taste to this recipe and the mango adds some sour and tangy flavor. This is a perfect combination and adds so much flavor to the veggies! 

2 cups arugula 
1 can chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1/2 cup green mango cubed
2-3 chipotle peppers
1 tbsp of adobo sauce from the can
1 onion sliced
2-3 baby bella mushrooms sliced
1-2 different colored bell peppers sliced (I used half of each)
1-2 green onions
1 cup sargento 4 cheese mexican blend
1 lime
some cilantro

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in pan and add the sliced veggies (onions, peppers, mushrooms) and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the chipotle peppers and adobo sauce to the veggies.

Once the sauce is mixed well with the veggies, add the mango cubes to the mix. Sautee for another 1-2 minutes.

First, place arugula on the tortillas.

Add the cooked veggies and green onions.

Sprinkle some cheese.

Squeeze some lime juice on top.

Heat the pan and fold the tortilla in half. Cook for 1-2 minutes on medium heat then flip the tortilla to the other side and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Remove from pan & the quesadillas are ready to be served!

Serve with guacamole, sour cream, salsa, queso, or alone!