Thankful Thursday & Links I Love

Jan 31, 2013
I am very thankful for Thursday because it means I am almost there - weekend here I come :)  Normally, I post recipes or talk about food.. but today I wanted to just be thankful for few things this week. Just because...well, this week was all right besides some stress at work - let's not go in there right now. I am very my thankful for my job, I   it but not the current situation and let's leave that there! 

Oh My God - I can't believe its almost February which means we are only two weeks away from Valentine's Day. I am extremely thankful to have such an awesome Valentine in my life. Not really sure what the plan is yet but I want to do something simple yet special. Any ideas are appreciated :)

Last night, I made this healthier spinach linguine Alfredo from Honey Whats Cooking?  I substituted kale with spinach it was absolutely delicious and did not miss the real Alfredo..and its great for leftovers too which I am thankful esp. on busy weekdays. Did anyone else notice a lot of cauliflower crust pizza recipes floating around - maybe its time to get on that bandwagon. I just pinned this buffalo chicken cauliflower pizza recipe. Talking about pinning, I am kind of getting overwhelmed with so many social media.. Don't get me wrong - I am spend way too much time stalking people on facebook, I tweet and retweet random things and I am just starting to familiarize myself with pinterest. I opened an Google+, instagram too but its too much for me.. and I hear the latest thing is Vine. Woaaah I don't even want to know anything about it. I am really thankful for social media but at the same time - I am starting to get really annoyed. Is it just me getting overwhelmed ? or, how do you guys handle your social media?? 

This thankful Thursday - I am thankful that my brother is driving down to spend Super Bowl weekend with us. Not sure where we are watching the game, honestly, I  don't even care about the game but its the food that I am more concerned about. I am thinking how perfect would it be to have these easy meatballs via gimmesomeoven on a game day right? Also, I am going to branch out from traditional hummus and do something different like edamame white bean hummus by Not A Leaf or make an eggplant dip similar to this one - its just too irresistible. I can already tell there will be a lot of pita chip consumption but oh well, I am getting my veggies in for the day :) and these vanilla cupcakes with salted caramel again as per brothers request. 

A lot to be thankful for - and so much to look forward to. 

Happy Thursday Everyone! 

Tell me your plans for Super Bowl? What are thankful for this week?

Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce {Meatless Monday Anniversary}

Jan 28, 2013
Drum roll please...

Maybe little louder. Thank You! Thank you! 


Because guess what - its my Meatless Monday Anniversary!!!! It's been a wonderful journey trying to cut down on meat consumption and eat vegetarian meals at least once a week, if not more. I feel so much more open minded about vegetables. Who knew roasted brussels sprouts was my long lost love..I am starting to feel the same way about beets too. I've always thought beets were some earthy flavor vegetable that I would never ever eat but I absolutely love it in my juice and I have been thinking about roasting it and incorporating into a cake recipe soon. 

I feel lot more creative and confident when it comes to cooking vegetables and I have been learning to make dishes healthy & flavorful like creamy butternut squash soup, couscous stuffed bell peppers & black bean quinoa patties. Its been a great adventure although there are days when I am clueless and end up making my all time favorite chickpea curry or aloo tama bodi (bambooshoots with black eyed peas soup).

Not going to lie, I do (sometimes) have unusual meat cravings on Mondays - its probably all in my head but I get by with tofu or mushroom and it works out just fine. Overall, its been amazing and I am proud to continue this Meatless Monday for as long as I can. I hope to  incorporate more vegetables in my daily meals, explore new vegetables, and try unique recipes in the future. Talking about new and unique vegetables - I finally tried spaghetti squash (so late getting on spaghetti squash band wagon but I made it) and I am so glad I did - its absolutely delicious, filling, and makes a great low- carbohydrate meal option!


I was pretty amazed to see how the squash (after cooked) looked like spaghetti.. If you are new to spaghetti squash and unsure about how to cook it - refer to this article. It has lots of helpful cutting and cooking tips.  


Try it cooked/roasted with simple marinara sauce or make a simple roasted red pepper sauce (recipe below) and treat yourself to a fancy, delicious meal. Although the spaghetti squash did not taste like pasta, by itself it had pretty bland flavor. The texture was also different compared to spaghetti - it was more crisp and firm (note: this is coming from a pasta lover) but if you want low carbohydrate option - this is a great one to try. I was very satisfied with it, did  not feel heavy  like I normally do after eating pasta/spaghetti but I was pretty full. The sauce was pretty light too and it paired perfectly with the spaghetti squash! 




Ingredients
1 spaghetti squash (yields about 4-5 cups spaghetti)
2-3 red bell pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon butter/ oil or cooking spray
1/2 cup water
salt,pepper- to taste
fresh basil, chopped
shredded cheese (I used skim mozzarella)

Directions
-Rub bell peppers and garlic with olive oil and broil for 15-20 minutes or until the outer skin of red pepper looks slightly burnt. Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool 
-Turn the oven temperature to 375F 
-Cut spaghetti squash length-wise, scoop out the seeds/strands (step by step directions
-Fill a baking dish with about 1/2 water and place squash facing down and allow it to cook for 30-35 minutes or until the inside is soft 
-In the meanwhile, remove the skin of bell pepper and put it in blender along with garlic, salt and pepper and blend into a smooth sauce (yields about 2-3 cups)
- When the squash is cooked, use a fork to scoop the flesh(strands should come out like spaghetti)
-In a pan, heat butter/olive oil and sautee spaghetti squash for few minutes and pour red pepper sauce. Sprinkle some cheese and chopped basil.

Nutrition Facts: 1 cup of cooked spaghetti squash has only 42 calories, 10 grams carbohydrates and 2 grams of fiber. 

Vanilla Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Filling & Salted Caramel Frosting

Jan 23, 2013
...if you have dirty dishes piled up, laundry that needs to be done ASAP, unread mail that needs to be opened, vacuuming, scrubbing and all that business Or, if you are an overachiever and have done all that (please come help me), fine don't- I like cleaning too but just not right now. Not today. 

If you are little overwhelmed like me, go run to your kitchen & surround yourself with heavy cream, flour, butter, sugar, sea salt and make a huge batch of salted caramel frosting, salted caramel filling and extra vanilla-y cupcakes and in the process pile up more dishes - what the hell you will be doing heck of a cleaning later anyways. The whole process is extremely therapeutic - it only takes a spoonful or two (but who's counting right) salted caramel frosting to calm this clean freak. I don't like when things are scattered here, there and everywhere but when I am not in the mood to clear the space I make candied salted caramel.. lets not clean today but shall we be creative, please? And eat all the cupcakes I want! 



Vanilla Cupcakes
 

Makes about 6 cupcakes

Ingredients
 
3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
1/2 tsp baking powder
dash of salt
3 tablespoon unsalted butter (softened)
1/2 cups sugar (add less if you like less sweeter taste)
1 large egg
1 Mexican vanilla bean (scrape with pairing knife)

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoon milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract


Directions

-Leave butter and eggs in a room temperature for an 1/2 hr or so
-Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
-In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt together
-In KitchenAid Stand mixer (if using that) or a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then add egg to the mixture and continue beating it in medium speed then add vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste until everything is incorporated.
-Scrape the sides of a bowl

- Add flour and milk alternatively to the butter- sugar mixture and continue until everything is well combined.
-Divide batter and pour it in a lined cupcake pan filling about 2/3 full
-Bake for about 18 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean
-Remove from oven and allow it to cool completely




While the cupcakes are in the oven, go ahead and make the most legit frosting of all times - Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting. The recipe is from Taste of Home fairly easy & requires almost the same ingredients as the caramel filling (recipe below). The recipe calls for leaving it in refrigerator for 4 hours but I left for only 2.5 hours. The final result was extremely fluffy, too good to be true and had to stop myself from tasting licking the bowl.. Its for 10 cupcakes but go ahead and make the full recipe. You can thank me later. 



I hope we all feel same way about Salted caramel filling inside a cupcake right? It perfectly compliments the vanilla cupcakes and keeps the center super moist. I adapted the recipe from 52kitchenadventures & halved it. This is one of the easiest, no fail recipe & I added sea salt to finish it off.

Normally, I have no patience - we all know that. It gets worse when there are cupcakes on a cluttered counter top and caramel butter cream frosting heaven in the refrigerator- try resisting that..its almost painful but today I am trying to be patient and not obsess about messy house or dirty laundry. I want to bring out the hidden patient, creative side of me and decorate these babies with salted candied caramel. The recipe is from Cupcake Friday Project. These candied caramel thingy always intrigued me on TV - it was pretty cool (although I burned it a little bit) but that's my attempt to be creative.





Okay, seriously,this patience business is starting to annoy me and me want some cupcakes. Can we assemble them already?

First whip up the butter cream frosting as directed in the recipe. Stir the caramel filling and get ready for some serious cupcake! Use a pairing knife to cut the center of cupcake, add about 3/4-1 tablespoon filling in the center and frost it. Adorn them with caramel candies. Sprinkle some sea salt.

Although it was little lengthy of a process, each component of this cupcake was worth it..slightly sweet vanilla cupcakes was perfect with salted caramel filling and the frosting - it was spectacular. Candied caramel spirals added a slight crunch which I enjoyed a lot. Let's just say it was worth every minute, every calorie/fat/sugar consumed because guess what - I need all that energy, for I have massive cleaning to do!


I am sending this post over to Have The Cake because for the month of January we had to make cupcakes, muffins, or popover. Head over here to see more yummy recipes. 

Lemongrass & Mushroom Udon Noodle Soup {Recipe Redux}

Jan 21, 2013
RecipeRedux theme for this month is "A Trend in Every Pot" - predicting what will be hot this year on restaurant menus and in supermarkets, and incorporating that into a soup, stew, one-pot meal or Crock Pot recipe.

2013 is going to be an interesting year for foodies because
cauliflower, one of the most overlooked vegetable is expected to be the show stopper - so long kale! Then there is  popcorn, artisan bread and upscale Ramen. In college, my idea of Ramen was slurping sodium laden soup straight from a Styrofoam cup. Since it was pretty cheap and readily available, it was a staple in my diet for first couple years and I got sick of it. I am excited to see what will the The Rise of Ramen be like but for now I have found comfort in Udon noodles, type of thick wheat-flour noodle used in Japanese cuisine.


There is something healing and soothing about this bowl of flavorful broth accompanied by thick, chewy noodles with meaty textured mushrooms and mild flavor from lemongrass. 




Lemongrass, a stalky plant with lemon scent is the star in this broth. Lemongrass grows in many tropical climates, most notably in Southeast-Asia and frequently used ingredient in Thai & Vietnamese cooking. I have also seen them being used in a lot of curries, wok-dishes, soup, and even tea. 

I loved the fresh, very prominent lemony flavor it imparts to the dish, therefore I tried to use all of its edible part with the stock. The stalk has many layers, and it may look little intimidating and confusing in the beginning but check this youtube video, it was pretty helpful! 



I added few other ingredients : chopped scallions, dried whole Champignons mushroom , fish sauce, soy sauce, chicken bouillon cubes, and lots of lemongrass. However, I
only used few key ingredients so I could enjoy the flavor and texture of each component in this dish. The lemony flavor of lemongrass was subtly present throughout the bowl while whole mushrooms added lot of meaty texture to the soup. 

Lemongrass & Mushroom Udon Noodle Soup
Serves 2-3 big bowl  


Ingredients
1 chicken or vegetable bouillon cube (may use any other broth)
3-4 ounce udon noodles* (cook according to the instruction on the package)
3-4 green scallions, chopped
3 tablespoon fish sauce
3 tablespoon soy sauce
1 lemongrass, sliced/chopped edible parts (refer the video)
5 Champignons mushroom, dried (may use other kind)
about 6-8 cups water (if using broth, reduce the water)
salt to taste
bean sprouts, fresh mint, basil (optional for garnish)

Directions

-In a medium quart pot, heat up the water & chicken bouillon cube until the cube dissolves
-Add all the above ingredients except for noodles and garnishes
-Continue simmering for 20-25 minutes until the flavor and aroma from lemongrass infuses with the stock and dried mushroom softens
-Cook the noodles separately and keep it aside
-Strain the broth, free of any lemongrass stalks & green onions but save the mushrooms
-Pour broth on serving bowl, add noodles and mushroom
-Garnish with fresh mint or bean sprouts

* you may other noodle of your choice and feel free to add other vegetables/meat/tofu.

 

Also, remember to check out recicpes from other Recipereduxers below!

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Scones

Jan 16, 2013
...since most of us are trying to recuperate from a sugar coma over the holidays, get back on the healthy train, and working really hard to keep up with our goals to eat better and exercise more - I think this calls for a celebration, a sweet token for being good for the past two weeks. Although these scones are not as buttery & flaky as blueberry streusel scones, it's more of a banana breadish scones - perfect for both breakfast & tea time snack!


It's become one of my regular breakfast-to-go and since its made with 100% whole wheat flour, it keeps me full until lunch or so. These are perfect to dunk your morning coffee, or afternoon tea. Feel free to sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top before baking or go a little crazy by drizzling dark and white chocolate on top for extra treat..either way its a winner!

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Scones
yields 9 scones

Ingredients
2.5 cups whole wheat flour + more for dusting
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoon butter, softened
1 cup very ripe banana mashed (about 2 medium bananas)
1/2 cup low fat yogurt
1/2 cup milk ( I used whole milk but feel free to use milk of your choice)
handful chocolate chips ( I used about 1/2 cup)+ more if you want to drizzle on top
 
Directions
-Preheat oven to 425F and line baking sheet with parchment paper
-Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a bowl and whisk together
-Cut butter into dry mixture using either knife or pastry cutter
-Add bananas and gently stir. Then add in in milk and yogurt
-Finally fold in chocolate chips
-On a flat surface, dust some flour and roll the dough until it no longer sticks to your hand and form a log about an inch deep and cut into 9 wedges and bake for 17-20  minutes or until light brown.

I used my KitchenAid Stand mixer to combine everything but eventually used my hands to knead the last of the flour into the dough


Nutrition Facts (per scones only): 275 calories, 43 grams crabohydrates (3 CHO), 6 grams protein, 10 grams fats

I would not call these scones guilt-free because its still pretty high in fat however, since its such a keeper, I am definitely going to tweak the ingredients like butter, whole milk and substitute with something with less fat and hopefully it will give similar or even better results..but until then I am dunking these scones into my morning coffee! 



I am sending this over to WIAW and please check out other lovely bloggers!


Split Peas & Barley Soup {Meatless Monday}

Jan 14, 2013
I realize that as I grow older (hopefully wiser), I am gravitating more towards simple, uncomplicated things in life including what I cook and eat; something wholesome, hearty, fresh ingredients and quick of course, because after a long day - no one should have to run to the grocery store for some fancy ingredient, spend hours in the kitchen, or call it a Chinese takeout again right? Whooopsssss.

If you feel this way too, then this post is just for you :)

There are days (multiple) where I struggle too; I debate between microwave dinners or take outs and want to call it a dinner so I have time to catch up on tv shows, exercise or avoid dish washing or just take a breather...

My stomach immediately does a happy dance (coz I am usually starving after work) but my heart aches a little bit, shoulders feel slightly heavy by just thinking about the unnecessary preservatives and chemicals in all these foods but that does not mean I never order take outs, I do. I even have my fav Chinese place..sigh! However, lately I have been trying to stay away from these complicated, mystery ingredients so prevalent in our food system which is why I am motivated to make something simple. One of a kind. Flexible. Hearty. Healthy. One pot dish!   


This is everything you want to make for yourself, feed your family, and share with your friends. Feel free to add, remove substitute vegetables as you wish but no compromises on split peas and barley though. Its like barley and split peas are the main actors while rest of the ingredients are supporting (but very important) cast members.
 

The soup turned out finger licking good! the golden color was radiating so much warmth just like my creamy butternut squash soup; and minimal spices were needed because each ingredient spoke for itself. The recipe makes a huge batch and for later use, freeze them in individual tupperware so you can reheat it for later use. Enjoy this bowl of deliciousness with a piece of bread or chicken patties if you are in mood for something simple yet fancy. I prefer the latter ;)

Split Peas & Barley Soup
Makes about 7 (1.5 cup) servings

Ingredients
1/2 cup pearl barley, dry
1 cup split peas, dry
1 chicken bouillon cube (may substitute for other low-sodium broths)
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 small carrots, chopped
1 medium onions, chopped
2-3 garlic  cloves, minced
1 small knob of ginger, minced
1 heaping tablespoon garam masala
2 teaspoon red chili powder
2 tablespoon olive oil (may use any other neutral oil)
salt
pepper
water
cilantro or any other fresh herbs, chopped for garnish (optional

Directions
- Rinse and cook barley according to the instruction on back for water:barley ratio and time. It took me about 30 minutes
- In a medium pot, heat olive oil, sautee onion, garlic and ginger for few minutes
- Add carrots and tomatoes, stirring everything together
-Once carrots, tomatoes softens a little bit, add the split peas, garam masala, salt, black pepper and water. I started with 3-4 cups but added more during the cooking process
-Allow it to cook in medium heat for 25-30 minutes.
-Add water if necessary
-Once the peas are soft/cooked remove it from heat, let it sit for few mins and blend it together until everything becomes a smooth paste. I added a little bit more water (1 cups) during this process
-Transfer it back to the pot, let it simmer for few minutes, add the barley and adjust taste as necessary
-Garnish it with desired herbs of your choice ( i used cilantro)

Nutrition Facts (based on 7 (1.5 cups) servings): About 190 calories, 30 grams carbohydrates (2 CHO), 8.5 grams protein, 4 grams fat


Like One Pot Dishes? Try 
 

Only Fruit and Vegetable Diet {my experience}

Jan 8, 2013
This past weekend, I went on a diet (sort of) where I ate only fruits and vegetables out of sheer curiosity. There are so many crazy diets out there and its been on my bucket list for so long just to experience what it's like to put myself on a strict regimen and not be able to eat some of my favorite food for a certain period of time. I actually wanted to try for three days but it lasted only two. More on that story in a bit.

Things I ate: fresh, local fruits and vegetables (raw and cooked)
                   salt, spices, oil, and honey
                   water, green tea

Let me reiterate, I did it just out of curiosity and not for weight loss, boost my metabolism, cure acne, or whatever health claims they associate fad diets with.

For breakfast- I tried different blends of fresh fruits and vegetables commonly known as juicing.


I was bold enough to try beets which was a pleasant surprise. Earthy flavor of beets worked really well with grapefruits! 


Besides juicing, I enjoyed citrus salad as a part of my breakfast and felt pretty creative! 

grapefruit & orange slices with freshly chopped mint, sprinkled with salt & pepper

I did not get the feeling of full, so instead of three meals, I grazed on small snacks throughout the day. 

cherries & blueberries

oven roasted sweet potato fries with home made salsa 
                                      
Instead of regular ketchup or ranch dressing, I quickly whipped up home made salsa : boiled tomatoes until soft then blended with chopped cilantro, garlic, some salt and blended all together, then finished it off with squeezed fresh lemon.
                                          

Guacamole, even without tortilla chips was my absolute fav snack. Not gonna lie, I wished I had tortilla chips at that time though and maybe a piece of good dark chocolate.


My biggest craving was chocolate and maybe little bit of carbohydrate! Especially, when I ate dinner on Day 1 at this vegetarian restaurant called Cosmic Cafe!. It was hard to keep pita bread away and just eat eggplant stir fry & portabella mushrooms. Thank god for their vegan tomato soup, that was delicious! 

Another struggle was, it felt like I had nothing but food on my mind, or I was planning my next snack. I was in the kitchen all day just preparing food, cleaning and constantly planning which was just too much to handle and that is why I decided to end on Day 2 before I developed strong dislike for fruits, vegetables, and cooking altogether. Also, I was less energetic than usual. Damn those carbs!


Beet Tezza Soup, recipe adapted from here

I could have simply chopped up greens with few other veggies for a salad or made simple soups to avoid all the hassle but I wanted to enjoy the whole experience, get creative and make delicious food with all the fresh fruits and veggies.



I am pretty sure there are many people out there doing detox diets, juicing, cleanse and what not for several days but I realized that its just not for me, not for more than a day or two. It's very time consuming and nutritionally not adequate at all. Plus, I felt better when I ate a wholesome meal.

I ended Day 2 dinner with a delicious, easy baked eggplant dish, recipe adapted from Chinmayie @ Love, Food, Eat minus the yogurt in the marinade and Aloo Palak {Potato Spinach Curry}.


Overall, it was a fun little challenge where I felt pretty bold & creative with only fruits and vegetables. Although I have started enjoying juicing fresh fruits and vegetables in the morning for a refreshing start. There are lots of mixed reviews on juicing if it is really beneficial or not. One of the major concern I see with juicing fruits and vegetables is that it removes "fiber" which is very essential for our digestive health. But on the other hand, I came across some articles which stated that juicing fruits and vegetables will allow the micro nutrients to be absorbed better in our body. Its still a pretty debatable topic but this post from a dietitian Nour, explains very well about juicing vs. blending. My bottom line- if you decide to juice, make sure you are getting adequate calories, fiber and other nutrients from whole foods. 

Would I do fruits and vegetable only diet again? Maybe, maybe not but I will definitely allow myself to eat dried lentils/beans/nuts for protein. And maybe a piece of chocolate ;)


Have you done any diet? What are your thoughts on juicing/cleanse? Feel free to share. 
I am sending this post to What I Ate Wednesday, hosted by Peas & Crayons 
where other fellow bloggers are sharing what are eating too!




Memoir of Street Food- Pani Puri

Jan 6, 2013
One of the very few things I miss about Kathmandu is the street food scene..Regardless of the chaos, traffic, and blaring horns my friends and I often waited in line to enjoy our favorite street foods such as pani puri, chaats and bhel puri. The whole hygiene thing hardly ever crossed our minds and it was more of an experience to be part of the evening crowd in the city, wait by the tiny cart usually manned by one person and eat irresistible street food. 

a random google image showing how pani puris are generally served on the streets

I went straight for pani puri; its something about the crunchy puri, spicy potato fillings dipped in tangy water makes it worthwhile.


Pani Puri is a popular street food, mainly eaten as a snack in countries such as India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. 

Pani, in Nepali/Hindi language means water and puris are unleavened, deep fried bread, in this case it is crunchy so that we can add fillings and dip into the spicy pani (water). 


Its fairly simple to assemble it if you have store bought puris, and spices for the water which is found in Indian/Pakistani grocery stores. Or, you can make your own.



Pani Poori
Serves 2 pani poori lovers

Ingredients:
Pooris - one big store bought bag (30-35 pieces)

For the Filling:
2-3 medium potatoes, boiled & mashed
1/2 cup garbanzo beans (cooked or canned)
1-2 tsp garam masala
1-2 tsp chaat masala (can be found at Indian Grocery Store)
1 green chillies, chopped
1/4 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
lemon juice, depending upon how sour you want
salt and red pepper to taste
boodi (optional)

For the Water:
Pani Poori Masala (can be found at Indian Grocery Store) 
Water

Directions:
- In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients for the potato filling except boodi until everything combined well.Taste and adjust as necessary.

- Follow the Pani Poori Masala package directions. Usually, it requires only mixing it with water.  Add lemon juice, red chili powder, and cilantro if desired. 


boodi - little drops made of gram flour are added for extra crunch






Poke a hole in puri, then put potato fillings inside, add some boodi and dip it in water 


Enjoy to your hearts content.


Aloo Tama Bodi (bambooshoots with black eyed peas soup)

Jan 3, 2013
Aloo Tama Bodi is a very classic Nepali curry with somewhat pungent, sour flavor from tama (pickled bamboo shoots) cooked with potatoes (aloo) and black eyed peas (bodi). Its one of those dish you either like it or don't because tama has a very strong aroma, its so pungent that your whole house smells like tama for days, and don't be surprised if your next door neighbor asks you about your dinner the other day!



Nevertheless the smell and weird look from the neighbor, I absolutely love this dish ; the smell, texture of bamboo shoots, and every bite from black eyed peas is totally worth it. 

In the Southern United States, eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day is thought to bring prosperity in the new year.

...another reason I love this dish is my emotional connection to it. It reminds of times where I shared a big bowl of aloo tama bodi with my parents over dinner, or with large group of family members during festivals; its more of a comforting feeling & great times we all shared back home as its widely eaten both on regular days and on special occasions in almost all Nepali household.

Before you get to cooking - be sure to open your windows, turn on the kitchen vents, and close all the doors to your room and coat closets.


The recipe may vary among person to person but I am sharing the recipe I  learned from my mom and aunt using a pressure cooker.

Aloo Bodi Tama
2-3 servings

Ingredients 
1/2 bamboo shoots, sliced
1/2 cup black eyed peas (preferably soaked over night)
2 small potatoes, cubed
1/2 onions, sliced
1 tomato,chopped
1/2 green bell peppers, diced
1 tablespoon garlic/ginger paste
1-2 green chillies, finely chopped
2 tablespoon oil (canola/vegetable)
2-3 teaspoon cumin and coriander powder
1-2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoon red chili powder
salt to taste
water, varies depending upon how thick you want your final product
cilantro leaves, chopped (for garnish)

*pickled bamboo shoots are usually found at Asian supermarket or International food section at major grocery stores. It can be found canned or in plastic container and make sure to get the sliced ones.

Directions
-Over medium heat, in a pressure add 2 tablespoon oil and fry onions until soft then add garlic ginger paste
-Add potatoes, fry for few minutes, then add turmeric powder
-Add blackeyed peas, continue stirring then add bamboo shoots, bell peppers & tomatoes
-Lower the hit just a little bit and add all the spices listed above
-Stir everything until well combined then add water (about 3-4 cups) then allow it to pressure cook for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes and black eyed peas are soft/cooked thoroughly
-Add water if necessary and let it simmer until it reaches the desired consistency. Adjust taste as necessary
-Remove from heat and garnish with cilantro leaves before serving 

I normally like it with plain, white Basmati rice but don't mind a big bowl by itself. 






Roasted Cauliflower Hummus {Happy New Year}

Jan 1, 2013
Welcome 2013. Hope this year bring lots of joy, success, and good health for all of us :)

well, for the past few weeks or so, in the name of Christmas & holiday spirit, I have been indulging in a lot of sugar & fats in the form of cookies, truffles, scones, biscottis, chicken patties, short bread cookies - you name it. And used 'cold weather' as an excuse to drink too much hot cocoa and baileys together. 

Hard to believe but the holiday season is over and its time to get out of sugar-fix because I am starting to get little worried that my skinny jeans won't approve of this action; therefore, tonight I am going to kick off this new year by being a good girl and staying away from sugary/fatty goodness because I would like my skinny jeans to fit me like a glove for many years to come.


I roasted cauliflower, doused tahini paste, freshly pressed garlic cloves and squeezed lemon juice to make myself a big bowl of hummus.. and in case you don't have tahini,  peanut butter in hummus is equally amazing too! 


..if you are little wary about the cauliflower taste in hummus, don't worry, just sit back, grab yourself some pita chips, veggie stick or a big spoon because this bowl of deliciousness has everything your body needs after all that sugar and fat overloading. It's packed with lots of vitamins and minerals, heart healthy fats, and fiber. And no hint of cauliflower whatsoever!

Great taste, healthy and keeps you in those skinny jeans :) 
 
Roasted Cauliflower Hummus 
Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients
1/2 cauliflower head, cut into florets
3-4 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon black pepper
2-3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup tahini paste (may substitute smooth peanut butter)
juice from 1 fresh lemon
2-3 tablespoon water (only if necessary)

Directions
-Preheat oven to 400 F and roast cauliflower with 1-2 tablespoon olive oil and black pepper for about 30-35 minutes or until the cauliflower florets are soft
-Let it cool for few minutes and blend it with the remaining ingredients
-Add water only if needed
-Serve it in a bowl sprinkled with paprika and drizzle some olive oil 



Nutrition Facts (per 1/4 cup)
About 170 calories, 4 grams protein, 5 grams fiber