Friday, January 5, 2018

Spiced Nuts

Sometimes healthy snacking can be a challenge, especially during the holidays when we’re surrounded by cookies, sweets, and other baked goods. Instead of reaching for the candy jar, a handful of nuts is filling enough to satisfy those mid-afternoon hunger pangs. This recipe combines zesty seasonings (which can easily be adjusted to taste) with delicious protein-rich nuts for a snack that’s fairly “neutral” on the health scale. But, as they say, everything in moderation! Stopping at just a handful might be a challenge :)

Ingredients: (~4 cups)
~4 cups mixed nuts (cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, etc.)
~2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce (for a vegetarian version, use vegetarian Worcestershire sauce - traditional Worcestershire contains anchovies!)
~1 TBSP olive oil
~1 TBSP garlic powder
~½ tsp paprika
Pinch of salt (optional)

Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and heat oven to 250°F. Place nuts in a large bowl. Add Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, garlic, paprika, and salt. Mix everything to the nuts are well-coated. Spread the nut mixture on the baking sheet.

Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Let cool thoroughly before removing from the pan. Serve up at your next get-together!


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Monday, November 13, 2017

Turmeric Tofu


Turmeric tofu is as simple a dish as it sounds! It’s tofu cooked with a very simple turmeric and paprika marinade. It tastes great on it’s own as a warm savory snack and can also be chopped up and added to salads. With the anti-inflammatory effects and strong antioxidant properties of turmeric and the protein benefits of tofu, this winning combination makes a flavorful yet guilt-free snack!


Ingredients: (2-3 servings)
7 oz extra firm tofu
1 tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp paprika or red chili powder (adjust to taste)
2-3 Tbsp water
Salt to taste
Ghee/oil for pan frying (optional)
Lemon juice (optional)
Cilantro for garnish (optional)

Prepare marinade by mixing turmeric, paprika and water.

Slice the tofu into ¼” thick slices. Using paper towels, gently squeeze out moisture from the tofu. Place the tofu slices in a microwave-safe container and spoon the marinade over them, spreading it to cover the slices completely. Flip the tofu slices over and add more marinade to cover the other side. Microwave on high for ~4 min, then flip the tofu over and microwave for another 3-4 min. This will help firm up the tofu.

Heat a couple drops of ghee/oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the tofu slices in a single layer and cook until browned on the bottom. Sprinkle a little bit of salt and flip the slices over. Cook until the other side is golden brown.

Remove from pan and serve hot with a sprinkling of chopped cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.


Other tofu recipes you might like:

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Cauliflower Jeera (Cumin) Rice


Cauliflower rice is a nice grain alternative to sop up delicious curries. This vegetable can be easily turned into fried rice with a bit of a crunch or a melt-in-your-mouth risotto. However, these preparations take some time and need several ingredients. On the other hand, plain cauliflower rice can be extremely bland. Jeera (cumin) fried cauliflower rice is a wonderful solution to these problems - it tastes good and can be whipped up in a few minutes without much prep! This flavorful “rice” is inspired by the traditional jeera fried rice recipe from India and goes very well with curries.

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Ingredients: (3-4 servings)
1 medium-large head of cauliflower
2 tsp ghee (ghee or clarified butter gives it a beautiful aroma, but can use oil if you don’t have any ghee)
1.5 tsp cumin seeds
Salt to taste
Cilantro to garnish (optional)
“Rice” the cauliflower by using a coarse grater or pulsing florets in a food processor for a few seconds.
Heat ghee in a pan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and fry them until they sizzle and turn slightly darker, releasing a lovely aroma. Add the riced cauliflower and sauté for 3-5 minutes until it’s cooked to your liking. I like to keep it somewhat raw.
Take off the heat and season with salt. It’s best not to add salt while cooking as the cauliflower would release water.
Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve warm with your favorite curry!



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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Curried Egg Skillet

Growing up, our typical meals at home included chapati, rice, dal and some vegetables in the form of dry or wet curries. Mom often interspersed it with interesting dishes such as an egg skillet which included a layer of sautéed onion and tomato masala, topped with eggs. Simple yet so delicious and fun to cook and eat! I still love making this dish and to make it a complete meal I often add vegetables to the onion-tomato masala. It’s a great way to incorporate leafy greens in your meals.


1 medium onion - finely chopped (~1 cup)
2 medium tomatoes - finely chopped (~1.5 cups)
1 cup packed chopped kale (or other greens of your choice - optional)
1 cup peas (or other veggies such as cauliflower, green beans etc. - optional)
5-6 large eggs
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder (not chili seasoning)
1 Tbsp coriander powder
~1 Tsp butter/oil (I used coconut oil)

This recipe has two steps - Step 1: cooking the onions, tomatoes and other vegetables and Step 2: spreading that mixture, in the pan, topping with eggs and cooking until eggs are done. I like to use as little oil as possible to cook the vegetables since the pan needs oil for greasing later for Step 2. Greasing the pan is not necessary if more oil is used while cooking the veggies, however you can cut that fat down a lot by using barely any oil for cooking the veggies, rinsing the skillet after this step and then using a thin layer of butter/oil for greasing the pan before adding the cooked mixture back into the pan to finish cooking with the eggs.

Step 1: Start by heating a few drops of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté until translucent. Add tomatoes and continue cooking until tomatoes are softened. Add turmeric, coriander and red chili powder. Season with salt and mix well. Add kale and peas (or any other vegetables you’re using). Cover and cook stirring occasionally until vegetables are cooked al dente.

Transfer the cooked vegetables to a bowl and rinse the pan to make sure there is no residue which can get burnt during Step 2 of cooking.

Step 2: Grease the pan with oil/butter. Add the vegetable mixture back to the pan and spread it evenly. Crack the eggs over the mixture, season lightly with salt and red chili powder.

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Cook on medium-low heat until the eggs are cooked to your liking. I like to leave the yolks a little soft. If you want the beautiful yellow yolks to be seen on top, do not cover the pan. If you’re okay with the egg white covering the yolks, cover and cook to save some cooking time. I started off cooking uncovered and then lost patience and covered the pan causing some of the yolks to be covered by egg whites.

Let the skillet cool for a few minutes, then slice and serve!



Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Spaghetti Bolognese with Mushrooms

In keeping with resolutions to live well, we bring you an easy-to-make dish to fuel your workout sessions. Pasta, in general, is a favorite of runners to “carb-load” in preparation for races, and this bolognese with mushroom sauce is a delicious way to get your fix. Bolognese is a meat-based sauce originally from Italy, and typically contains beef, but here I have substituted lean ground turkey for beef. For vegetarian version, you can use a plant-based protein substitute, such as MorningStar Farms Grillers Crumbles (though these aren’t necessarily “healthier”), paneer, or baked tofu. Also, because I love mushrooms and would eat them with almost any meal if I could, I always put sliced fresh mushrooms in this sauce. For noodles, I used a mix of angel-hair pasta and whole wheat thin spaghetti, but the great thing about a sauce like this is that you can serve it over pretty much any type of noodle you like - even use it for a lasagna!


Ingredients: (serves 6-8)
1-1.5 lbs ground turkey (or beef)
1 15oz can no-salt-added petite diced tomatoes
8oz can no-salt-added tomato sauce
4oz can tomato paste
8oz mushrooms, sliced
~¼ cup minced onions
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
~1tsp oregano (I used dried, but fresh would be even better)
~1tsp ground thyme
~1tsp ground sage
~1tsp ground marjoram
Salt, pepper to taste

Brown the meat in a pan over med-hi heat (no oil necessary - there will be enough fat from the meat). Add the mushrooms and onions and cook until they are soft and most of the released liquid has cooked off. Season with garlic, oregano, thyme, sage, marjoram, salt, pepper, adjusting quantities to taste. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Turn heat to med-lo and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Serve over noodles and top with grated or shredded Parmesan cheese. Pairs well with a glass of Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon - not recommended before a work-out :-)


~ Karla

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Healthy Gajar Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding)

Gajar halwa is one of my favorite Indian desserts. It’s a pudding made with grated carrots cooked in milk. While those two ingredients sound nutritious, it is important to note that a significant amount of processed sugar typically goes into this dish. However, there’s an easy way to make this dessert much healthier! The recipe below completely substitutes sugar with dates, which have a lower glycemic index than table sugar, thus avoiding blood glucose spikes. It also uses non-fat milk thickened with pureed cashews (in addition to pureed dates), which adds healthy fats and protein to the dish. The most awesome part is that the taste is almost unaltered with these healthy substitutions. If you’re feeling adventurous, you may even add some orange zest like I did to give this healthy dessert a delicious fruity flavor!


Ingredients: (Makes ~2.5 cups)
5-6 large carrots, finely grated
~10 dates, pitted
¼ cup raw cashews
½ tsp cardamom powder
2-3 cups milk (I used nonfat - use non-dairy milk for a vegan option)
Raisins, chopped cashews - optional
1 Tbsp orange zest - optional
1-2 tsp ghee (or coconut oil)
Soak the dates and cashews in about 1½ cups of milk for 3-4 hours. You can cut down the time considerably by heating the milk with the dates and cashews until it just starts boiling. Puree the dates and cashews with the milk. The dates are the only sweetener in this recipe (other than the natural sweetness of the cashews), so use more/less dates per your taste. The pureed cashews act as thickener, allowing the use of nonfat milk, while adding some protein to the dessert.
Heat ghee in a non-stick pan over medium heat. If using raisins, chopped cashews, use 2 tsp ghee, if not, 1 tsp is enough as long as you’re cooking in a non-stick pan. Once the ghee is warm, add the raisins and cashew, and stir until slightly toasted. Add the grated carrots and stir to mix well. Let it cook for ~5 min stirring occasionally. Add cardamom powder, orange zest and the date-cashew milk, stir, cover and let it cook for another 5 minutes. Keep stirring and adding more milk as needed until the carrots are soft. This halwa shouldn’t be too dry, but also not runny, so cook until most of the milk is absorbed. Let cool a bit and serve garnished with more raisins, cashews if desired.
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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Buckwheat and Black Bean Veggie Patty


Happy New Year, readers!We’d like to start the new year by renewing the resolution to live well - that means working out more, sleeping better, and of course eating healthier! So, it’s only apt to start 2017 with a delicious and healthy recipe - something that you can make ahead and freeze, so you always have a nutritious option on hand whenever hungry. A veggie patty with buckwheat and black beans as a base has excellent texture and can be paired with any vegetables and seasoned with your favorite spices. I added most veggies that I had on hand - carrots, beets and mushrooms. I also added some boiled potatoes for extra binding instead of breadcrumbs/oats.

I’m sure you are aware of the amazing nutritional benefits of most of these ingredients, but in case you’re not into buckwheat yet, I’d strongly recommend trying it. The roasted buckwheat groats work best as they don’t get sticky when cooked (boiled, just like rice). They are hardy and have somewhat of a nutty flavor, they’re rich in minerals and a good source of fiber. More information can be found here.


Ingredients: (Makes ~20 patties)
1½ cups cooked buckwheat groats
2 Tbsp chopped pecans/walnuts
1½ cups cooked black beans (or one 15 oz can), mashed
2 medium red potatoes, boiled and chopped
2 medium beets, boiled/roasted, peeled and finely chopped
4 oz mushrooms (any variety), finely chopped
1-2 medium carrots, finely chopped
1” ginger, grated
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp paprika
Salt to taste
½ tsp coconut oil + more for pan frying the patties

Heat ½ tsp of coconut oil over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and stir for a few seconds until fragrant. Add mushrooms and carrots, add turmeric powder and season with salt. Cover and cook stirring occasionally until all the liquid released by the mushrooms has evaporated.

In a large bowl mix the cooked buckwheat, black beans, potatoes, beets, pecans and the carrot & mushroom mixture. Season with salt and paprika. Mix well until everything comes together. I find it best to mix by hand, mashing the ingredients as you go.

Make small patties about ½” thick by rolling the mixture between your palms, or roll out the mixture on a parchment covered cookie sheet and cut circles using a cookie cutter or a glass. Keep re-rolling the mixture and making patties until all of it is used.


The patties are now ready to be pan fried or frozen to be used later. To freeze the patties, arrange them in a single layer on a plate/cookie sheet covered with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Freeze them covered for an hour, and then transfer to an airtight container. The patties don’t need to be defrosted before cooking.

To cook the patties, add a couple drops of coconut oil to a nonstick pan over medium heat. Gently transfer a couple patties to the pan, cover and cook until browned on the bottom. Flip the patties (adding more oil if needed), and cook covered until the other side is browned. Although I haven't done this yet, if you're cooking a big batch, you could bake them on a greased baking pan at 375 F until browned, flipping them as necessary.

While these make excellent burgers, you can add them to any vegetarian dish such as pasta or salads as a delicious source of protein.



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