Peanut butter smoothie

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BM # 72; Week 4, Day 1
Theme : So many smoothies, so little time
Dish: Mango smoothie bowl

While me and my son like smoothies in a bowl, my husband likes it direct from a glass.The man likes it fuss free, but I love to fuss over it and ‘dress it up’. Anytime I am serving him smoothies, I pour it straight out of a blender to a cup or glass. Its easier for him to keep sipping while working or taking a call.

One of our most repeated smoothies is the basic peanut butter banana smoothie. I almost always add some source of chocolate as well, some cocoa powder, hot cocoa packet or nutella. But today I didn’t…today I took it back to the basics.

Smoothies are filling by themselves but after about an hour or so, my stomach starts crying for food again. That hunger pang stopped when I started adding some peanut butter  also to it. A tablespoon or two can go a long way to keeping the hunger in check till lunch. The calories maybe higher, but hey..it stops you from reaching out for that packet of cookies.

So here is a simple smoothie which can be modified in so many ways to fit your mood and your pantry contents.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • honey as needed
  • 1 banana, peeled and chopped
  • 2/3 cup milk

Method:

  1. Blend everything together. Pour into a glass or bowl. Use toppings of your choice. I added some granola, banana slices and strawberry.

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Kiwi Strawberry Smoothie Bowl

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BM # 72; Week 4, Day 2
Theme : So many smoothies, so little time
Dish: Kiwi Strawberry smoothie bowl
There is a farmer’s market nearby our place where you get really good fruits and vegetables at really reasonable prices. I don’t go there often, but whenever I go, I always pick up kiwis from there. And pears. And oranges. And apples. Grapes too. Strawberries are a given. Oh well…you get the picture.

My fridge would be overflowing for many days after my trip. My son, who is fine with fruits in general, is not a fan of kiwi or pears. Now, kiwis are sold a dollar for 5 pieces at that place. How can I resist buying it?! So I buy a big bunch of it and then make smoothies to erase the evidence of the forbidden fruits. I have always felt that pear lends a wonderful flavor to smoothies. I am a fan of fruits, so I might be biased.

So here is what went into the smoothie today, kiwis, pears, strawberries and bananas. I spared the apples and oranges and grapes this time. Read on for the recipe, which is more of a guide than a fixed recipe.

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Ingredients:
  • 1 kiwi, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pear, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 8-10 strawberries, hulled and chopped
  • 1 banana, peeled and chopped
  • honey to taste
  • 1/2 cup yogurt or milk to blend
  • Toppings of your choice
Method:
  1. Wash and clean all the fruits. Peel and cut them into smaller pieces. Reserve 2 strawberries and a small portion each from kiwi and banana. Blend the rest with milk or yogurt, adding honey per your taste.
  2. Pour into a bowl and decorate from the pieces set aside before blending.
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Mango smoothie bowl

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BM # 72; Week 4, Day 1
Theme : So many smoothies, so little time
Dish: Mango smoothie bowl

If smoothies were the rage a while back, smoothie bowls are the rage now. The minute I saw smoothie bowls, I stopped pouring smoothies into glasses. Why? Because smoothies are thick and I don’t like having to suck them in through a straw. Its almost like my mouth and cheeks are getting a work out to get that smoothie from the glass to my throat!

I hate it even more drinking directly from the glass. The same reason again, smoothies are thick. You drink it one small sip at a time and an entire morning passes by the time the you work your way through a big glass. So when I saw this brilliant pictures of serving smoothies in a bowl with some beautiful toppings, I was smitten. Smitten bad.

It also makes it easy with my kid. He has a heavy traditional Indian meal when he comes home from school. In other words, I feed him a heavy dinner at 4:30 PM. So a couple of hours later, when he is hungry, but not too hungry, I give him a salad or a smoothie bowl. Like this one here. Since its made of ready made mango puree served with a good dose of chocolate chips, I can’t tell you that its exactly healthy. But I can tell you this…it sure was tasty. Oh, yeah!

Read on for this simple recipe.

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Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup ready made mango puree
  • 1 cup ready made flavored yogurt
  • milk/ water to bring it to the right consistency
  • Toppings of your choice.

Method:

  1. Blend the puree with yogurt. If you prefer a runnier consistency, add some milk or water as needed and blend again.
  2. Pour into a bowl and decorate with toppings of your choice. Here it is clementines, chocolate chips, chia seeds, canned cherries, cashews.

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Zucchini carrot soup

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I chanced upon this book The Perfect recipe for losing weight and eating right at the library and I decided to buy the book pretty soon after. The main reason for the purchase was the options which the book gives for making your own salad and soup. There is a section, ‘Create your own soup(or salad) combos’ in the book which had me hooked.

The author has divided the soup as a combination of herbs, meat, vegetables, starch and other flavorings. She lists out 10-12 items under each of these. So you can pick 1 or 2 herbs from the list, pick couple of veggies so that it adds up to 1 pound (1/2 kg), 1 or 2 starches  like black beans, rice or pasta and then flavor it the way you want. Its very similar to the ‘build your own’ salad my friend Swapna taught me to make, so that’s another reason I like the book :-).

True, I haven’t tried a lot of dishes from this book, but I have repeated the couple of recipes many times. So read for this version of Mexican Chicken and Black Bean soup,made in Instant Pot.

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Recipe adapted from: The Perfect recipe for losing weight and eating right

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 2 teaspoons chilli powder, or per taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into circles
  • 2 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup cooked black beans or rajma
  • 1/2 cup elbow macaroni
  • 1 quart/liter vegetable broth (I used water)
  • 1 14.5 can diced tomatoes (or 5-6 tomatoes, pulsed in the mixer)
  • 2 handfuls of coriander leaves
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pan. I used the electric pressure cooker here (Instant pot). Saute the onions and once it changes color, add the chillli powder, salt and oregano. Saute for a few moments, then add carrots and zucchini.
  2. Saute that for a couple of minutes and add everything else except the lemon juice.
  3. Cook in soup mode for 10 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally and add the lemon juice, if preferred and serve hot.

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This recipe goes to this week’s Cooking from Cook Book Challenge. Please follow the link to know more about the event.

Ulli-Mulagu Chammanthi

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BM # 72; Week 1, Day 3

Theme : Dips, spreads and chutneys

Dish: onions crushed coarsely with chillieso

It’s funny when you look at your blog at times. I mean, there are so many recipes here that I am proud of, but a lot of them are not everyday dishes. The more I dig into it, the less I find everyday stuff. 

Take this onion chammanthi for example,this was one of the regular dishes back at home. My mom would take some onions and some chilies, pulse it a couple of times in the mixer with salt, add a bit of coconut oil to it and serve with Dosa for my younger brother. It was, and is still, his favorite. I add a tomato too while pulsing and eat as a salad with rice. It’s heavenly for me. 

Food is always an acquired taste and the dish might be a turn off for many people out there (raw onions with chilies, really!?), but I like it…a lot. It was simple food at its best. Traditionally, this chutney is served with boiled tapioca (kappa puzhingiyathu). The onions are a little more crushed in my mom’s version, but i stopped mine here way before that. 

Anyway, I have to make an extra effort to get the everyday dishes in here. Until then, read on for the recipe for ulli chathachathu(crushed onions). 

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Ingredients:

  • 10-12 pearl onions or 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3-4 green chillies, or per taste
  • salt
  • 2-3 teaspoons coconut oil

Method:

  1. Pulse the chillies and onion with salt as needed in the mixer jar a couple of times. You shouldn’t grind it. The aim is to crush the onions and chillies together a bit, not to puree it. I used a mortar and pestle for this step instead of the mixie. 
  2. Remove the chammanthi to a small bowl, add in 2 teaspoons of coconut oil and mixing it in. Taste test and if you feel like it, add one more teaspoon of oil.
  3. Serve with kappa puzhingiathu(boiled tapioca), dosa or even with rice.

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Apple Pear Cucumber Salad

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BM # 70

Week 2, Day 2

Theme : Fruit based Recipes 

Whenever there is an excess of fruits, especially apples, it gets added to almost anything at home. I make chili with apples, I know a friend who make sambar with apples and though it sounds really weird, they do taste pretty decent. An unexpected bit of sweetness in the middle of a savory dish.

I add them on a regular basis to all my salads. My oft repeated salad has apples and tomatoes as the main components. Add one more veggie or a fruit, top with any salad dressing and you’re done! But this recipe is a little different from my usual take as I didn’t go for my standard mayo-mustard dressing. This one is the olive oil- lemon juice kind. The flavors all complemented each other well and the salad friendly kid was indeed happy!

This post goes to Blogging Marathon# 70. Check out this page to see posts from other participating bloggers.

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Recipe Source: Food.com

Serves : 1

Ingredients :

  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 medium pear
  • 1/2 of a medium cucumber
  • 1/2 of a medium sweet onion

Dressing:

  • 2 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey (adjust according to taste)
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dill leaves (I didn’t have any)

Method:

  1. Prepare the dressing by mixing everything together.
  2. Slice the apples, pears and onions into thin slices. Cut the cucumber into circles.
  3. Toss with the dressing in a big bowl and serve. Done!
  4. I added about 1/2 teaspoon Kale chips for garnish, but it definitely wasn’t a good idea.

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Watermelon salad

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The kid has always been a fan of watermelon. During summer season, vacation, mangoes and watermelons are the things he looks forward to the most! So for this theme of checkerboard, I decided to present him with a rubix cube fashion watermelon salad. The idea, of course, is from the net. There are far too many sources to name any one in particular.

Though it looked an easy task, it was extremely difficult to cut all pieces into same size. Finally I decided to keep a ‘good side’ and let the other sides take a hit. I couldn’t get even a smooth top, but I was impressed with 3 sides. The backside and the top was what took the major hit. It didn’t matter as the cubes came tumbling down as we started attacking the salad with a fork. And to be honest that was the most fun part :-)

This post goes to Blogging Marathon #66 under checkerboard theme. Check out this page to see post from the other participating bloggers. It is also a part of Valli’s Kid’s Delight event, hosted this month  by Archana.

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Ingredients:

  • watermelon cubes
  • honeydew melon cubes

Method:

  1. Dice the water melon into small cubes. Peel and seed the honeydew melon. Dice the pieces similar to the size of watermelon cubes.
  2. Arrange carefully in a rubix cube pattern.
  3. Refrigerate until time of serving.

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Beet salad with basil mayo

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When I picked up checkerboard pattern for this week’s BM theme, I knew I wanted to try really simple recipes and not complicated ones. This salad was my first trial with the theme. Since it was the first time I was making it, I didn’t realize the importance of cutting the vegetables with precision. The salad was good and I still have some beet to finish off, so I might give this recipe another try to close off the gaps and give it a better look. Lets see!

My favorite salad dressing is mayo + yogurt with salt and pepper for seasoning. Its my close friend’s favorite recipe, so ended up being my favorite too :-). This time I decided to flavor it with some basil (been ‘gardening’ a bit, so lots of basil at home) and up the spice level a bit with paprika. That paired well as the mild sweetness from the veggies complimented the sour and slice spice of the dressing. Like I said, I might be trying this recipe again soon.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page to see what other bloggers have cooked up for BM #66.

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Ingredients:

For the salad (serves 2 as a side)

  • 1 small beetroot
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1/2 sweet potato
  • few florets of roasted broccoli, optional
  • salt

For the dressing

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • a handful of basil, chopped finely
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika/chili powder
  • pepper and salt as needed

Method:

  • Prepare the dressing by mixing everything together well. Refrigerate till time to serve.
  • Peel and cook the root vegetables with salt separately until firm. Don’t overcook them as they wont hold their shape when cutting. I pressure cooked for one whistle using separators inside the cooker. The color from beets will bleed into the other two if its all together in the same pan.
  • Once the veggies are cooked and cooled completely, cut them into squares of equal size and refrigerate.
  • At the time of serving, arrange half the prepared dressing on a plate. Arrange the veggies alternatively to form a checkerboard pattern. Enjoy!

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This post goes to Kid’s Delight event, Valli’s brain child and hosted this month by Archana.

Celery juice

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I live in a decent sized apartment. Its not as big as our home in India, but its not a teeny tiny one either.There is enough space to move around without bumping into each other. But one single trip to the wholesale store Costco and it changes that feeling completely. I feel as if there is hardly any space in the house! I come back with giant packs of everything right from cereals to kitchen napkins and that’s when the house starts looking small and poses me this huge question : Where do I store all these things?!

I have found nooks and corners of the house to store my Costco supplies, but the refrigerator takes a major hit. The big boxes of yogurt, milk cans and eggs easily take up almost all the room in there. The good thing about Costco is that its not a weekly shopping trip, its almost monthly or at times even a bimonthly trip. Well, the quantities are wholesale and it lasts for a really long time. Though I usually don’t buy vegetables from there, last time I ended up buying a pack of celery from there. And true to Costco size, it was a big pack.

I have heard about juicing celery, so when it showed up in the detox recipe searches, I decided to give it a try. There are many health benefits, but the best part was that the juice tasted good. Added advantage is that this is good recipe to take care of the celery overload in the fridge :D. Read for the recipe.

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Recipe for two glasses of juice:

  1. Wash, clean and dice the ribs and leaves from one whole head of celery.
  2. In a mixer or blender, add enough water to cover the vegetables and blend it.You can substitute a portion of water with juices if you like.
  3. Pass the mix through a sieve kept over a bowl to collect the juice. Press the pulp onto the sieve with a spoon to squeeze out most of the juice. Discard the pulp. Transfer the juice to glasses and its ready to drink!

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Yogurt smoothie

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This post is a part of  the mega Blogging Marathon and A-Z challenge. I have chosen ‘popular American dishes’ as my theme.

We are at the last leg of the alphabetical journey through popular American dishes and the last week has been more difficult than the rest of the month put together. The alphabets get tougher and the time frame gets tighter. My talk about scheduling flew off the window the minute I said it. That was fine, because I had this recipe ready a long time back. All I had to do was upload the photos and publish it. But nah, it didn’t happen. Not because I was out with my family the whole day, but the laptop went on strike.

Right now my laptop is going through a multi organ failure. The touch pad is gone and is replaced by an external mouse. The machine is extremely slow which makes my man crazy, but I am fine with it. Its sole purpose is for editing pictures and browsing. Now that’s where the second hit came. It’s not connecting to the net. That does make things difficult. To get a post up, now I have to edit using the old laptop. Use a thumb drive to copy. Then connect to our chromebook and upload the pictures and post from there.  Chromebook is wonderful, but hardly useful for my purpose. I am sure that day is around the corner when I have to shed some tears for my laptop. I am getting the handkerchief ready and waiting patiently for it to happen.

Coming to the recipe here, I went for yogurt based recipe for Y.

  • Why? Y wasn’t easy.
  • Why? There were hardly any choices. I had yam, yellow cake and yogurt to choose from. I chose yogurt.
  • Why? Its healthy, easy to make and quite popular.
  • Why? It has probiotic which makes it more nutritional than milk.

So have I answered all the question for my choice? Smoothies are popular all over the world as a healthy breakfast choice. Smoothie bowls are more of a recent trend, but its really filling and nutritious.  Smoothies started appearing in US as early as 1930. That information was new for me, I didn’t expect it to date so back. In the 70s, “Smoothie King” opened and soon had branches all over the country. So in short, smoothies are popular here and there are dedicated stores just for that!

Read on for this highly versatile recipe. You can adjust it according to what you have in your fridge.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • fruits of your choice (I used a handful of strawberries & blueberries, one banana and one kiwi)
  • 2 teaspoonful of peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar/ honey
  • Banana slices, strawberry slices, chocolate chips,pistachios

Method:

  1. Blend everything together. Taste test and add sugar to adjust the taste or yogurt to get the right consistency.
  2. Pour into a bowl, decorate with fruit pieces, nuts and chocolate chips. Enjoy!

smoothiebowl

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 63

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