Feb 20, 2014

Onion Spinach Lavash Rolls

There are some occasions where the food served and the talk about the food being served overshadows the actual occasion. One such occasion is the Superbowl game. If there are 10 people who meet for a Superbowl party, only 3 of them actually care about the game. The rest are there for the fun, food and the Budweiser ads of course. And I only totally fit into the latter category. Having grown up in Cricket land, a game of Superbowl football to me cannot beat the excitement of Sachin on his 95th run with 4 balls remaining in the game. 

This year, our friend invited us over for a game party at her house. But the best part was that her invite said - 'Please bring a healthy dish'. I was so glad coz I'm in the middle of my weight loss challenge and the last thing I wanted was a table full of- fried snacks and sweet munchies. Because once its there, I can't stop myself or no one else can stop me. And so I got thinking on options and this was an appetizer that came to mind immediately. I've made this a couple of times before and it has always received rave reviews from everyone. This time I thought I should just take pictures and blog about it as well. Understand this blog post is coming way after Superbowl Sunday. But hey, at least it made it this year. 

It really would take less than 5 mins to do this. No kidding. Just watch. 

Have you used these yet? If not, please add it to your grocery list and try it out. There are just amazing things you can do with this bread. Wraps, crispy thin pizza, rolls, panini sandwiches and so many more options. Best part, this is pretty healthy as you see - no fat, no sugar, no cholestrol, no preservaties and also low calorie.
There are many varieties, but I like the Flax Seed one below - one of my favorites.

Dice up an onion into small pieces. In a wide pan, add 1 tsp of oil and heat. Add the chopped onions to the oil and saute for a couple of mins.

To this add a bag of frozen spinach or fresh chopped spinach. Cook for about 2-3 mins Add salt and some black pepper for seasoning. You could also add some cumin powder or paprika if you'd like the flavor.

Open up the lavash bread and spread a small tub of Hummus generously. I used the Roasted Red pepper and Sun dried tomato hummus.

Remove the spinach mixture and spread on top of the hummus. Since the spinach mixture is hot, this will soften the bread a little. That is perfect for eating immediately. if you want to prepare this in advance, let the spinach mixture cool down before you spread. You can also chill them and serve as cold rolls. Do it your favorite way.

Spread out the spinach mix evenly all over the bread.

Starting from one side, roll the bread up tightly until you get to the other end.

Take a serrated sharp knife and cut into little pieces.

And there you have it. Perfect little bites filled with goody goodness.

So easy to pack and take for a party. I took this along with a Quinoa Salad to the Superbowl party.

And so the rest of the story on my party. We all get there and guess what was on the menu for the party? We had three quinoa dishes, some salsas as dips for veggies, these lavash rolls and some fresh amazing salads. That's it. No fried food. No sugar filled junk. It was an awesome party and yes, even this time around we were all talking about the food. Just this time, it was all healthier.

So next time you want to make a quick healthy snack, go buy that Lavash bread and some spinach and get started!

Enjoy. Peace Out!

Jan 12, 2014

Spicy Paneer Sandwich with Homemade Anaheim Pepper Peanut Spread

Many times a simple sandwich makes the perfect lunch. My sandwiches range from a simple cucumber, tomato, a jam sandwich, a burger patty sandwich, a mushroom tofu sandwich, a leftover filled sandwich and so on. But sometime, I like to fancy them up. 

We had the last lot of Anaheim peppers grown in our backyard. I kind of left them on the plant for a while not knowing how exactly to use them. One of my other favorite recipes with this type of chillies is the roasted tomato and peanut chilli salsa. That being the inspiration, I decided on a spread for a sandwich instead of salsa. 

Fresh peppers from the garden washed and ready to go.

Cut a couple of tomatoes and let them sit on cut side down on a foiled pan - these need to be oven baked or toaster baked until cooked.

Dry roast the chillies until they are a little charred.

Move the charred chillies into water and let sit for about 5 mins.

Meanwhile, slice paneer into big long slices. In a pan, add just 1/2 tsp or use an oil spray and add the paneer. Then add seasonings like turmeric, salt, red chilli powder, coriander powder. Toss and turn this until both sides are cooked. Just to clarify, what you see in the picture is the water leaving the paneer and not excess oil. I actually just sprayed oil on the paneer for cooking and did not add any to the pan.

The tomatoes are now cooked and shrunk. Cool them down just a few mins before making the spread.

Peel the skin off the chillies and discard all the seeds inside.

Add the peeled chilli and the tomatoes to a mixer.

Add about 1/2 cup of peanuts to the mixer and give it all a blend together. You can also add a couple of roasted garlic pieces if you'd like.

Make this a fine paste initially. And then add just a few more peanuts and pulse once or twice.

And voila, there you have a spicy flavorful and crunchy spread. Actually, I have to admit I was hoping it would be really spicy. This was kind of only around 4-5 spicy level on a 10 point scale. But the aroma of the chillies was at the top of the scale. Loved how the flavors came together. 

Spread some on the bread of your choice.

On both sides of the sandwich, add some lettuce, tomato and onion. . One one side, keep a slice of the flavored paneer. The shut the sandwich tight and lunch's done!

Cut it up the way you like. You could also make these for parties and then make smaller squares or triangles of the sandwich as finger foods.

Double up for the big eater in the house. No, no one eats this big in my house - this is just for the pictures. 

This spread is pretty versatile. I would even think this can be used like a thogayal version - just mix up with some warm rice and ghee and what is not good with that? Also, you could make this a little watery and use it as a dip. Come up with your own creative idea to use this. Let me know if you do make it and I would love to see how you used it.

Time for my lunch now. Adios.

Enjoy. Peace Out!

Jan 5, 2014

Healthy Oat Carrot Bars

Wishing all of you a Happy New 2014!

Have you made those lists yet? You know the ones, called resolutions. Yeah. I've been there a few times too. And sometimes I've been successful to cross January with it. But of late. I've come to realize until I make something a habit, they don't last. Fitness, healthy eating, good rest, etc are all best done if they are converted from resolutions to long lasting habits. Good luck to you with your plans for the new year. Make them habits and then it won't be too difficult to maintain them.

Starting off this year with a healthy breakfast bar recipe. Even though I call this a breakfast bar, this can really be had at any time of the day when you need a good boost of energy. With all healthy ingredients and no unnecessary fat or fillers, this is just what our bodies need for a good pick me up.

I tweaked the recipe a little bit from this Whole Foods recipe mainly because of the ingredients I had on hand. The end product is delicious. Each bite feels whole and hearty. The sweetness is just right. Not dessert sweet, but just sweet enough. A lot of sweetness comes from the carrots and raisins themselves. Not to mention this is an eggless recipe. So rejoice, all you eggless loving people.

Start off with pulsing some oats and nuts in a food processor. I used 1 cup of cook quicking oats and 1 cup of almonds and walnuts mixed. Don't fine grind it as little bites of almonds only increase the deliciousness of the bars.

Move the dry oat and nut mix to a bowl. Add 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour. Then add 2 tsps of baking powder and 1 tsp of baking soda. Add 1/2 tsp of salt.

Also add about 1 tsp each of ground cinnamon and ground ginger. You can also add fresh grated ginger for better taste. Mix everything together and set aside.

In another small bowl, add 2 cups of grated carrot. You can make this 1 cup of carrot and 1 cup of grated apples too. Add 1/2 cup of raisins or dried currants to this. Cranberries would also be a good substitute here.

Add 1 cup of maple syrup to the carrots. I reduced the maple a little bit and added agave nectar along it, both together equaling 1 cup. Add about 1/2 cup fresh grated or frozen coconut. (not the dried sweetened coconut). Finally add 1 tsp of vanilla essence. Mix everything well.

Add this moist carrot mixture to the oat and flour mix. Mix everything well until well incorporated.

Move to a greased pan and spread it flat. I topped off with some pecans before sending it off to the oven.

Bake at 350F for about 45 mins or so. If you do a toothpick test at about 25 or 30 mins, it will still come out clean but the batter would still be light. Let it go on for about 45 mins until you see the bars turn golden brown. That would be a good time to take them out.

Let them cool down a bit. Cut into squares and then, all you have left to do is eat.

Or you can just stare at your creation like I'm doing right now.

Who says healthy is boring. Live it up, you health nuts!

Ingredient List:

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup Quick cooking or Steel Cut Oats
1 cup whole nuts- almonds, walnuts, or any other nuts. Total quantity of nuts is 1 cup.
1 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ginger powder

Moist Ingredients:
2 cups grated carrots (or a mix of carrots or apples)
1/2 cup of raisins, or dried cranberries or currants.
1/4 cup fresh grated coconut
1 cup maple syrup (you can even do 1/2 maple +1/2 agave nectar)
1 tsp vanilla essence

Prepare as explained above.

Enjoy. Peace Out.