Chocolate Fudge Cup Cakes for Kids and Skinny Cup Cakes for Adults:)

Chocolate Fudge Cup Cakes for Kids and Skinny Cup Cakes for Adults:)

We hadnt celebrated (my second daughter who turned 2)Akshara’s birthday since we were away in May and celebrated with family. Last week, when I went to my neighbur’s daughter’s birthday party, my daughter Akshara asked me – When do I get to celebrate mine?

I decided to hold a small party for her yesterday at home and just invited our immediate neighbours in the community we live. There are 6 girls altogether- so you can imagine!!! I made some Chocolate Fudge Cup Cakes for the girls. Then the idea struck me ——I had to make” Skinny Cup Cakes” for all the adults because I never see the adults eat the cake and we all have the same excuse-its too much in calories and blah blah…….(including this health freak!!!!)

The Skinny CupCakes are made low fat and with minimal sugar!

MY SKINNY CUP CAKES AND CHOCOLATE FUDGE CUP CAKES:Enjoy!!!!!!

“ACTIFRY”- the latest favorite gadget in my kitchen

“ACTIFRY”- the latest favorite gadget in my kitchen

ACTIFRY by TFAL was introduced to me by one of my friends Michele. When she said to me that ACTIFRY uses 1 teaspoon of oil to fry anything starting from potatoes to any veggies like beans, carrots, zucchini you name it and these veggies get crispy in 20 minutes or less with ONE teaspoon of oil!

My blog screams out healthy and I was skeptical but knowing me, I knew I was going to try and test it out. My first trial with ACTIFRY was with BITTERGOURD also known as BITTERMELON! I am not sure how many of you have heard about this vegetable or eaten it but from the name it is a bitter vegetable that has to be seasoned well to cut out its bitterness.

Why Bittergourd? 

Bittergourd is a popularly used and scientifically proven vegetable that has the ability to lower blood glucose in diabetics. 

Very low in calories.  The pods are rich in phytonutrients like dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants.

 Bitter melon notably contains phyto-nutrient, polypeptide-P; a plant insulin known to lower blood sugar level

Fresh pods are an excellent source of folates, vitamin-C and flavonoids such as beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthins. It also contains good amount of vitamin A.  

Also a good source of Niacin (vitamin B-3), Pantothenic acid (vit.B-5), Pyridoxine (vit.B-6) and minerals such as iron, zinc, potassium, manganese and magnesium.

Generally, people try to avoid this vegetable for its bitterness but if you weigh the health benefits and if you can find a way to cook it well by cutting off the bitterness then

its a gifted vegetable that should be included in all our diets!

My recipe also includes the use of 1 red potato just because I have tried the combination of bitter gourd with potatoes and it is truly delicious!

I used 2 Bittergourds and to cut the bitterness initially, I chop off the spikes that it has on the surface a little bit because that has the most bitterness.

Then I chop the ends of the vegetable and start cutting it out in round circles or rings. I did not use the pods and took them out but you may throw that in as well if you like! I also chop 1 red potato into wedges and 1/2 an onion lengthwise:)

The ACTIFRY comes with a green teaspoon that can be used to measure oil. I open the ACTIFRY lid,  throw in the cut bittergourd as well as the wedged potatoes and the onions.

I sprinkle some salt, lemon pepper(i love tangy!!!) cayenne and a pinch of curry powder. I then add the oil that I have taken in the green teaspoon and pour it so that it covers most of the veggies!

I close the lid, set the timer(there’s a timer button where you can set for 20 minutes and if you want more crispy increase the timer to another 10 minutes or so).

and then PRESS THE BUTTON “ON”! I sit on my couch, watching MASTERCHEF on Fox and wait for the timer to beep! People, I am thinking how crisp can it get(saracasm)

and I am completely mistaken and the “ACTIFRY” truly proves me wrong:(

In 20 minutes I get crispy bitter gourd and potatoes and I ATE A WHOLE BOWL!!!!!TRUST ME guys- its worth the money- IF U LIKED FRIED AND ARE A HEALTH FREAK like me -get the “ACTIFRY”!

Its fantastic to have in everyone’s kitchen.

Hope you enjoyed and promise to try BITTERGOURD- ITS A MIRACLE VEGETABLE!

With much love as always…….

Caramelized Mini Banana slices with Basil & Sweetened Coconut flakes!

Caramelized Mini Banana slices with Basil & Sweetened Coconut flakes!

Have you heard of heaven on earth?????? This dish of mine exactly feels like  “heaven on earth”. Growing up as a child, my “PAATI” (nana/grandma) struggled to make me and my brother to get to eat fruits!!!!!! So she used to make this dish and it would be gone in one second:) Just like that…..

Fortunately or unfortunately:) History repeats itself. So I make this yummylicious dish for my kids as a snack (and guess who shares their snack????)and they wipe the plate clean and I mean CLEAN!!! Please try this with your kids and let me know if it worked???and I PROMISE IT WILL:) You can also serve this as a dessert if you are entertaining. Add a scoop of COCONUT ICE CREAM on top and its out of the world!!!!!! Also, if you have not-so-ripe bananas this recipe will sweeten them up and is a great way to use them.

This is how I make it:

I chop up my bananas into thin mini slices and throw in a pan not too hot with a tad bit of clarified butter in it! Trust me guys, these are small cravings and my blog always screams out Moderation so a little doesnt hurt. You can also add olive oil and I add some brown sugar and let it caramelize on a low flame for about 10 minutes. You dont want to burn the sugar so keep the fame low.

And you have Heaven on a plate! I plate mine with some basil leaves and sweetened coconut flakes- Delish!!!! Enjoy!!!!

With much love ………

Guilt free TEMPEH Burgers!

Guilt free TEMPEH Burgers!

Last weekend, I was at this brunch place in Montclair, New Jersey- Absolutely fabulous and I was thrilled to see their Vegan and Vegetarian selections on the menu.

After pondering over an extensive menu:) and the indecisive person that I am esp when it comes to food- I decided to try their Vegetarian Chickpea burger with baked Sweet Potato Fries. I must tell you this that during my stay at Double Tree in L A prior to filming Master Chef, I happened to order their Vegetarian burger made of chickpeas and it was falling apart/ crumbling to say the least and dry!!!!

This one that I tried at Montclair was phenomenal!!!! Moist, crisp, dense and came with onion, tomato, sprouts:) and pickle!

OK now, I was also thinking of coming up with a bunch of dishes with Tempeh and have been experimenting in my kitchen. Suddenly, after we finish brunch, I run across the street to WHOLE FOODS and my husband thinks I have lost it as always 🙂 I grab an organic slab of 5 GRAIN TEMPEH. Now many of you may wonder what TEMPEH is?

TEMPEH is made of natural culturing process with organic grains like soybeans, brown rice, millet, barley, rye, apple cider vinegar and tempeh culture (typically Rhisopus oligosporus)LOL (thats my inner Microbiologist speaking out). It is low in calories and a great substitute to meat due to its HIGH PROTEIN content. Tempeh originated in Indonesia and has a distinctive nutty taste and nougat-like textured.

The thing about TEMPEH I have learnt over the past few months is that it easily absorbs the flavors of the other foods with which it is cooked making it adaptable to many types of dishes.  I tried substituting TEMPEH with the Indian Cottage Cheese that I use in my traditional Curry and it turned out delicious!!!

According to my research- the soy protein in tempeh tends to lower cholesterol levels, while consuming protein from animal sources tends to raise them, since they also include saturated fat and cholesterol.

I can go on and on about health benefits and effect of TEMPEH on cholesterol ………After 3 days of trips to the park with kids, I decided to take a break today and cook up something with the Tempeh that I had picked at Whole Foods. I decide to make an awesome burger with TEMPEH. I love beets and so decided to use a beet sauce and bake some squash chips to go with my burger. The key is to season my tempeh with a bunch of my toasted spices and to use a binding agent !! The binding agent that I used in this case was CHICK PEAS and it turned out beautiful. I could use potatoes but chose to give Chick peas a shot! I use olive oil and use fresh GRAY SQUASH from my Farmers Market to bake some chips to go with my TEMPEH burger:)