Showing posts from October, 2015

Sweet & Savory Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!

My daughter finally picked a pumpkin - the largest she could find and one that we could actually carry home. So our weekend was spent carving it. Its like a big ritual in our house where she plans the look on the pumpkin, sketches it and then has fun scooping up its gooey insides. This year, her 7th Halloween is on a darker shade. She is moving on from cutey stuff to scary stuff. My little baby is growing too fast. Sniff! Sniff! And that translated to her costume and jack-o-lantern look too. She wanted a scary look and this is how far we could go.The final result is below.

This pumpkin was blessed with a lot of seeds. Usually i just wash and dry them and let her have fun with them. She uses them for arts and craft and as play material. But i read so many awesome blogs about roasting your own pumpkin seeds that i had to try them to find out. So we tried making them 2 ways - sweet and savory. Both turned out very crunchy and tasted great. My daughter prefers to mix them and eat as she sa…

Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins!

Pumpkins and Cranberries are two fall favorites. I found this amazing recipe and converted it to a gluten free version. The sweetness from the pumpkin with the mild kick of spices and the tartness from the burst open cranberries made a very interesting flavor profile.The complex flavors blended so well to create a muffin, healthy and tasty enough to be had at any time of the day. And we all couldn't stop at just one. The pictures may look very rustic but the muffins tasted great!

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup Gluten Free Flour*
1 tsp baking pdr
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ginger pdr
1/4 tsp cinnamon pdr
a pinch of nutmeg pdr

*I make my own Gluten Free Flour:
2 cups brown rice flour
1 cup jowar /sorghum flour
1 cup potato starch
1/2 cup tapioca starch
2 1/2 tsp of xantham gum
Mix them all together and store in the refrigerator and use as per the recipe needs.

Wet Ingredients:
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 mashed banana
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup fresh whole cra…

Celebrating Dasara/Dussehra with Pumpkin Kheer!

Firstly wishing everybody a very Happy Dasara/Dussehra/Shubh Biyoya!

Nine days of Navratri festivities culminate on the 10th day of Dasara. Nine days of fun, frolic, dressing up in your best, feasting, dancing ends on a spiritual, more quieter note of Dasara. Today is more about prayers and making something sweet to celebrate the occasion. Back home we also have an interesting tradition of distributing Apte Tree leaves or aptyache paan as we call it. This are also called sone or gold. Each leave symbolizes a gold coin and everyone distributes these leaves to their family and friends as a token of spreading prosperity. I don't know the story behind this ritual but i was made to believe as a kid that ancient India used to be so rich that people would actually gift their friends real gold. Wish i was born then! Now we can just afford to distribute Apte leaves as a symbolic gesture and loads of good wishes.

We don't get Apte Leaves here in North America so i just made them with some…

Enjoying Fall bounties: Roasted Butternut Squash and Baby Potatoes!

Last weekend mercury dipped below seasonal giving us our first flurries and freezing temperatures. What better way to warm up than to crank up the oven on high and roast some of the Fall Bounties! I made some rosemary and garlic roasted baby potatoes and Indian spiced roasted butternut squash.

Butternut Squash is a cute looking vegetable which i got introduced to when i first arrived in North America. Its a cross between a squash and a pumpkin.Taste more like a pumpkin. Its tough skin can be a pain to cut through but once you get the technique, you 're done with it faster. Cut through the squash at the neck of the bulb dividing the two shapes. With the peeler, remove the skin. Scoop out the seeds. I always separate the seeds, wash and dry them. They are edible too. You can roast them with desired flavorings for a quick healthy snack. Chop the squash now into desired sizes. For roasting, i usually maintain 1 inch pieces. That way they don't fall part and retain their shape well.

Navratri Prasad - GF Besan Puri - Kala Chana - GF Halwa

Wish you all a very Happy Navratri! Stay Blessed!

Navratri roughly translates to nine nights. Nine days of worshiping Goddess Durga. Nine days of remembering her virtues - the power of women to love, to sacrifice, to forgive, to defend one's self respect, to stand up for whats right, to fight against evil.

Navratri is celebrated in different ways all across India. I have been introduced to these different ways of celebrations as i progressed through life. I was born into a Goan family whose kuldaivat/family goddess is Goddess Shri NavDurga. During Navratri, our temple in Goa takes on a festive yet spiritual mood. There is a big utsav organized and the goddess is taken around the periphery of the temple in a palki/palaquin. Apart from various pujas, there are also plays enacted on religious scriptures for entertainment.

While growing up in Mumbai, i was introduced to Garba by a Gujarati family, the Patels. They organized navratri celebrations on our campus. Every night for those nine…

Cranberry Chutney

Cranberries are in season now. They are too tart to be consumed as is but can be cooked in amazing ways. I usually love making chutneys out of them which i can always use as a side with my regular food. They pair well with any vegetarian or meat dish. I have used the recipe as is from here. Though the smell of vinegar was overpowering at first, it mellows down well enough to make this dish very palatable. I refrigerated the Chutney a day before its first use as recommended. It really helped to bring out the flavor of the spices and reduce the tartness.

Cranberry Chutney may be a thanksgiving favorite but you can enjoy it all through the season.

1 cup water
3/4 cup white sugar
1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries
1 cup apples - peeled, cored and diced
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground garam masala
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

In a medium saucepan combine the water and sugar. Bring mixtur…

Gajar Halwa/ Carrot Cashew Dessert

My daughter like most kids doesn't enjoy her vegetables. But the good part is, with all my experimenting she has finally figured out preferred ways of eating them. Like she will eat spinach only when made into Palak Paneer ( Cottage cheese cubes in spinach sauce) or eats vegetables like pumpkin and cabbage only when made into fritters. Similarly she prefers her carrots only in the grated form - in salads or stir fries. Her most favorite way of eating carrot is by way of an Indian dessert called Gajar halwa. Shredded carrots are cooked in milk and sugar and garnished with cardamom pdr and lots of cashew nuts. With the goodness of carrots, nuts and milk, this is a healthy dessert even with the sugar present.

Last week during our weekly grocery trips, she noticed nice red carrots in our Indian grocery store and requested to make gajar halwa at home. I agreed on the condition that she would help me grate it. So yesterday after school, she promptly took over her task and helped me scrap…