Blog Feature | Continuing with the GOQii lifestyle … a step at a time #BeSummerReady #BeTheForce

“Follow your dreams, work hard, practice and persevere. Make sure you eat a variety of foods, get plenty of exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
Sasha Cohen

GOQii LifestyleIt’s been a few weeks since I joined the GOQii lifestyle campaign, and I have to admit I am enjoying it. It’s worth every step I take, with self motivation in every breath. YES, I still reach out for the GOQii band every morning, quite religiously, even before I grab my cell. Small changes go a long way, and I have to thank the sweet online coach for that. For her patience too.

Smoothies The days have been BUSY, not a moment to rest. The headless chicken dance has taken over, where most of the day whizzes by in a blur. What keeps me going are the small, simple things that make a huge difference. It’s the advice from Elena, that she touches base everyday, that she gently cajoles, that she offers choices.

GOQii LifestyleGOQii Lifestyle She gently reminds me to start each day with lime in water, to make sure I reach for walnuts. Drink more water. Are you staying well hydrated? She walks the talk. Summer’s here, so she’s promised to send me a new summer cooler recipe everyday. Here’s one, and it uses basil seeds.

GOQii Lifestyle GOQii Lifestyle They are fascinating little magical seeds. They swell up beautifully after 10 minutes of soaking. But she doesn’t just leave you with instructions to use the seeds. She explains why they are good, what their properties are etc. And these are the small things that matter. Madhuli sent me a bag of basil seeds recently. I was so thrilled to finally use them! Again, and again ….GOQii Lifestyle  SproutsToo exhausted to skip or exercise, then eat more fibre says the coach. So here I am … sprouts, lentils, salads, smoothies. Summer is perfect to sprout whole lentils. 1 cup of dal sprouts into a lot. Someone asked me the other day on FB how my sprouts go so long. Seriously, they just happen. If it helps, here’s what I do

Summary: A protein and fibre rich salad that is great for summer. It’s filling, and quite nice stirred into a bowl of yogurt too. Plan 2 days in advance for the lentils to sprout. Serves 3-4

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes {plus soaking and time to sprout}
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole moong dal {whole green lentils}
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • Fresh herbs {coriander, mint}, finely chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, finely chopped
  •  1-2 green chilies, finely chopped {optional}
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Himalayan pink salt to taste

Method:

  1. Soak the beans overnight in plenty of water.
  2. Drain the next morning, then leave them for a day in a sieve lined with muslin, kept over a glass bowl in a cool dark corner. By now they should be sprouting.
  3. < Rinse and repeat for another 24 hours…that’s it. Then refrigerate. They just grown and grow. Maybe it’s the temperature. We are quite warm at 30C these days.
  4. Toss everything together in a large bowl. Serve immediately, or chill until required.

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Baking | ‘Upcycled’ Butterscotch Blondie Pudding … when things go wrong as they sometimes will!

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”
Miguel de Cervantes

Upcycled Blondie Pudding‘Upcycled’ Butterscotch Blondie Puddingand whatta strange name might this be? It’s natural to wonder but you know, things happen. So I was baking YET ANOTHER BATCH {I can bake these in my sleep now} of the kids favourite blondies, and then there was an emergency. Not an emergency emergency, but one that required me to hurriedly nip out of the house to get some work done. I seldom leave while I am baking. The blondies were about done, like 5 minutes to go. I peeped in, and then thought, nah, not done. Should give them an extra 10 minutes!

Upcycled Blondie Pudding Well that’s the difference between Wholegrain Butterscotch Blondies and the‘Upcycled’ Butterscotch Blondie Pudding! Just ten minutes. TEN! Got back, they were done, cooled… and I thought, oh dear, slightly over done. The boy readied to sink his teeth into gooey, moist blondies, and was disappointed. “Ummm, NO. What did you do? You messed them up. Same taste, not gooey Mama.” It was a ‘shove the blondies down his throat now‘ sort of a moment, but I desisted.

Upcycled Blondie Pudding They sat there in the box for a few days. ‘He‘ didn’t even look at them. The dog did. Often. I was tempted to, but I couldn’t give sweet to the poor pooch. I debated what to do, then eventually ran out of patience, and thought, that’s it. Trash ‘em! As luck would have it, just that day Ruchira swung by. We were in the kitchen and the box caught her eye. ‘What’s that?’ ‘Ruined batch of blondies.’ ‘Whatchya gonna do with them?’ ‘Chuck them. Overbaked.  Too dry!’

Upcycled Blondie Pudding She took a little nibble, eyes shining said, ‘Upcycle them!’ We both dissolved into puddles of giggles as we had spent all morning discussing up-cycling furniture.  Oooh whatta good great idea that was. And that is just what I did the next morning. Such fun. Just the very name ‘Upcycled’ Butterscotch Blondie Pudding gave me the energy and soon I had sweet little glasses of up-cycled dessert!

Upcycled Blondie PuddingThey were a HIT! A simple vanilla pastry cream brought together in the Thermomix in under 10 minutes. Crumbled blondies and butterscotch chips. The pastry cream smothered the dry blondies in it’s love, and the end result was love at every bite!addictive good. The spoon scraping the bottom of the glasses was the sweetest sound ever! Can’t wait for another over baked batch!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Food Diaries | DALS THE WAY TO GO … 3 Quick Dal Recipes Made With Less Water

“If you take more of your protein from vegetable or plant-based foods, good studies have shown that you will live longer.”
Professor Jeya Henry

Dals, 3 Quick Dal Recipes Made With Less WaterThe pure comfort of that bowl of dal, the nostalgia engulfs me each time I smell the aroma of onions being fried in clarified butter. Such is the power of food, and in my opinion, these protein rich dals / lentils offer deep deep comfort in every bowl. The humble khichadi is the meal on the go at our place, with dollops of home made yogurt and kumquat green chilli pickle. Did I forget a liberal drizzle of ghee? Yes please!

DalsLiving in India, dal was synonymous with meals when we grew up. From the bowl that I loved, to many that I didn’t, the dal journey has come a long way. There was dal served on the many long train journeys from Delhi to Bangalore as we were growing up, to diluted iquidy dals served in the Officers Mess where we dined often. There was the piquant luxurious ambi wali dal in UP during the summer. Working at the airport in the late 1980’s saw many a midnight meal after flight departures at dhabas that dotted the vicinity. Nothing could beat the comfort of that dhaba dal with the fresh tandoori roti. Pure magic. As always, dhabas in India never disappoint.

Dals From the dhaba to Bukhara, as small bowl of Dal Bukhara and there is born another memory. This one is a truly indulgent dal, one which is a  tradition in itself, a dal simmered over slow coal fires all night long, a world renowned dal. My memories of this dal go back to the late 80’s and early 90’s … the taste lingers on.

DalsThat’s the power of food, and the power of dal. Yet another dal milestone came by way of home science in school. We mastered the Moong Dal with Spinach, and post marriage this was the only dal I cooked, day in and day out. It’s the only one I was confident about. I am sure the house was FED UP with my lack of creativity but no one said a word. The only other alternative I offered was Moong Masoor Dal, a quick 5 minute dal that my mother often made. I still make that a lot. I love the flavours. A tadka of zeera, garlic and hari mirch complete it.

DalsNow my dal repertoire has grown with many years of food blogging and traveling across India. I love the pure comfort of dals from Uttar Pradesh to the genius use of dals down south. Every part of India celebrates this macro nutrient or power house of protein in their own special way. From a finger licking good haleem, to a Parsi dhansak, to moong dal dhoklas and cheelas, the more you indulge in this cheapest form of protein the better. Dress it up, sizzle it, grind it to perfection, simmer it to luxury, or soak it into a salad, DALS THE WAY TO GO!

DalsTo mark World Water Day, I’m here with Tata I-Shakti dals to serve you three easy dal recipes that require minimum water to wash since they are unpolished. They cook faster too. The recipes use very little water in ingredients. One simple salad inspired by a typical Koshambri a dear friend made a few months ago, though his was with carrots, radish and peanuts. DAL 3 ways with Tata I-ShaktiThe bhune masale wali masoor dal is an old UP favourite which has been stepped up using seasonal greens, rocket in this case, as I have it growing in abundance. The peppery leaves add interesting flavour to it, and reduces the requirement for extra water. The third is a really quick coconut based dal chutney that I learnt when I was in Bangalore recently.

DalsAll these recipes are dal based, so naturally protein and fibre rich. With their high fibre content, pulses lower cholesterol levels and protect the heart. They are also an important source of iron and vitamin B in a vegetarian diet.  Pulses are typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. They also contain beneficial fats and soluble and insoluble fibre. According to the World Health Organisation, dals are a healthy substitute for meat, which has more fat and cholesterol.

DalsDo you have a favourite way of doing dal? I’d love to know.

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India