Friday, June 23, 2017

Virgin Sweet + Spicy Sunrise Margarita

Sweet, Spicy and colorful; this Virgin Margarita has everything you need to get through summer! Plus a beautiful SUNRISE in a glass! 

Mangoes have been on my menu almost everyday now. Whether it is mango based chia pudding or mango kadhi or just chopped mango pieces for lunch, they HAVE been there! 

After all the mangoes I have been eating lately, I wanted some in my drink too. That is how I came up with this mango drink. But I did not want a typical smoothie or juice or the like. I remembered how my friend used a magic potion to convert orange juice to a sunset! The magic potion is called Grenadine, a simple flavored syrup that is available in most grocery stores and alcohol stores. 

I have used grenadine in a lot of orange drinks since I had the wonderful drink she made. Lately I started using it with mango juice too; given the similarity in color. However, mango and grenadine almost always overpowered the sweetness of the drink. So I added some Jalapeño, and boy it did work like magic!! The combination was perfect balanced and the pepper worked wonderfully to cut through the sweetness of mango. 

Since then, I have made this drink several times; sometimes for us, sometimes for a party and very often for just a quick drink to sustain in the summer heat! With just five simple ingredients, the drink comes together in under 5 minutes. It is just muddle, stir, mix and go! 

Wondering what makes the layers in the drink? It is all thanks to the difference in densities of orange/mango juice and grenadine syrup. The red colored magic potion is heavier and settles below the juice. That is how you get different colored layers at first. When you mix them all, you get a beautifully colored mango drink with hints of jalapeño and mint! 


This is a virgin version, but adding a hint of alcohol to make it a REAL Margarita works well too. I have had friends over who did that to this drink, and they say it was amazing! 

This recipe works really well with juices that are pulp free. The pulp and grenadine do not compete to settle at the bottom of the glass, thus making the layers more clear. Homemade and store bought juices can be used. I make this with fresh mango juice (mango pieces and water combined and churned) while they are in season. Then I use the packaged juices. 

Not a fan of mango? Use orange or pineapple. They give a beautiful 'sunrise' too! And if you like your food either sweet or spicy, leave out the jalapeño. Though I would say you should try it once, you can cut the sweetness of the juices by using a small amount of lemonade too. 


Mango Juice fresh or store bought 2 cups
Grenadine Syrup 2 tbsp
Mint leaves a few
Jalapeño 1/2 sliced
Sugar or honey (if desired)
Ice cubes


In a cocktail shaker or tall glass muddle 2-3 mint leaves and 3-4 slices of jalapeño. Add Mango Juice, sugar (if using) and ice cubes. Mix well. 

Pour into two glasses. Slowly pour a tbsp of grenadine syrup in each glass and watch how the sunset emerges! Top with extra mint leaves and jalapeño. Enjoy!  

Monday, June 19, 2017

Chocolate + Rice Krispies Chia Pudding

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TreatYourselfToSummer #CollectiveBias

How about a delicious breakfast FULL of Chocolatey Chia Pudding and Rice Krispies? And yes, it takes only TEN minutes to make!   

Summer is here and it is time for a break from school. Kids are home and moms are shuttling between work and them. Plus there are multiple plans for vacations and day trips. In between all of this, are you concerned about making breakfast each morning? 

Here is a quick yet delicious recipe that takes LESS THAN TEN MINUTES to put together. Plus, it has EVERYTHING that kids would eat without a fuss! Still thinking what I am talking about? Here is a small hint; it has a cereal, pudding and chocolate rolled into one bowl! 

Since I had this the first time, I have been in LOVE with the recipe. Pudding for breakfast always sounds good. And a lot of chocolate makes it even more interesting. I have had all kinds and colors of Chia pudding, but I must admit I like this the best. 

Okay without any further delay, let us look at what all you need to make this yummy dessert for breakfast recipe. It is pretty simple; milk of your choice (I used Coconut), Chia seeds, Kellogg's Original Rice Krispies Cereal, Chocolate products of your choice and Keebler Fudge Stripes Original Cookies.

The forever battle: Cereal or Pudding? 

For the longest time I would keep debating between chia pudding and my favorite cereal for breakfast. I decided to have them on alternate days. Then one day I wanted to have both and so I ended up combining them two. The result was a fabulous recipe. 

This one has the softness of chia pudding and the crunch from the cereal. When they come together, it is an awesome combination of flavors, textures and tastes. Since then I started mixing and matching the two and loved it. I decided to put this recipe on the blog so that EVERYBODY gets a chance to enjoy it. 

Coming to the recipe, here is the quickest and easiest way to make it. Soak the Chia seeds in any milk and refrigerate overnight. IN the morning it will form an amazing pudding that is thick. Plus the chia seeds will absorb the milk and become nice and plump. 

Remove from refrigerator and mix and match with Kellogg's Original Rice Krispies Cereal and everything chocolate including Keebler Fudge Stripes Original Cookies. Serve while it is still cold for best taste. The toppings can be customised as per preference. 

I got everything used in the recipe from Target. If you plan a visit to pick your favorite products, do not forget the amazing deals they have. Get $1 when you purchase Rice Krispies Cereal and Jet-Puffed Marshmallows using Checkout 51 (valid 5/18/17 - 7/12/17) and save 10% on Keebler Cookies using Target's Cartwheel between 5/21/17 - 7/8/17. 

Finally, before you jump to the recipe, make sure you check out this page. It has more great Kellogg inspirations for your family! 


Kellogg's Original Rice Krispies Cereal 1 cup
Chia Seeds 4 tbsp
Coconut Milk 1 1/2 cup (or your favorite milk) 1 cup
Sugar/ Honey 1 tsp
Keebler Fudge Stripes Original Cookies 4-5 
Chocolate Sauce 2 tbsp
Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips 2 tbsp
Sprinkles as desired
Maraschino/ Fresh Cherries 2


In a bowl add coconut milk and chia seeds. Mix well and refrigerate overnight or for atleast 4-5 hours. Once the milk thickens and the chia seeds bloom, it is ready to serve. Then add 1 tbsp chocolate sauce and sugar. Mix well. 

In two glasses or mason jars divide the Rice Krispies Cereal. Next pour in the Chia seed pudding. Then top with chocolate sauce, chocolate chips and sprinkles. Finally, add some Keebler Fudge Stripes Original Cookies, sprinkles and a cherry each. 

Serve immediately. Enjoy a delicious breakfast! 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Three Ingredient Chocolate Covered Dates

A THREE ingredient TEN minute snack made from dates. These Chocolate Covered Dates are super delicious and healthy!  

Ramadan Kareem! The Holy month for Muslims is here and a large number of people are following the fast. This month holds a lot of significance in their religion and it is fascinating to see how they are able to fast all month long. 

Through school and college I have had friends who keep the fast and that is where all my knowledge about Ramadan comes from. After a day long fast, they break their fast by dates and then consume other food items. 

Dates has been an ingredient I have worked with in several recipes. From a Date sweetened Banana Bread to Sugar-Free Dates Anjeer rolls, I have used dates in other recipes too. The large size dates we get here are super juicy and full of flesh. I love to gobble them as is too, in case of a sudden sweet craving! 

Last year we went to UAE and we visited a Dates market in Abu Dhabi. The market was super amazing, with a TON of varieties of Dates in every store and a lot of products made using them. From sweets made with dates to stuffed dates and best of all, stuffed dates covered with chocolate! 

We instantly fell in love with this delicacy and bought ourselves a couple of packets. Since then we buy these 'Chocodates' every time we are at Dubai airport, either visiting or for a layover. 

It has been a few months since we have had these dates. I was craving them and managed to find some super large Medjool dates at Costco. That is when I decided to make these at home. It needed just THREE ingredients, dates, almonds and chocolate. This one came together in under 10 minutes! The recipe was unbelievably easy and turned out super delicious. 

Not only as a Ramadan recipe, this one works really well throughout the year as a healthy snack or post work-out quick bite! Plus, you can make a bunch in no time and store them at room temperature. So  make a BIG lot and have a great time munching them all! 


For this recipe I used the large size Medjool dates I got. However any kind of large dates work really well. Mine had pits that I removed. If yours are pit free, you have one step less to follow! 

Besides, I stuffed them with just almonds. Choose your favorite nuts to stuff or even use coconut flakes or chocolate chips. They all taste delicious in the dates.

Lastly, if you like your chocolate butter, choose dark chocolate to make these. If you like a sweeter version, stick to semi-sweet. And yes, add white chocolate if you like your dates to be sweet and white. Decorate with sprinkles, almonds or coconut flakes! 


Large Medjool Dates 12-14
Almonds 1/2 cup
Semi-Sweet Chocolate 1/2 cup, chopped


Slit the dates on one side, making sure the halves do not get separated. Remove the pits. Put two almonds in each date, in place of the pit and close the date again, the sides will stick back. 

In a large bowl add the chopped chocolate and microwave for 30 seconds. Remove the chocolate, mix well and microwave again for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and check if the chocolate has melted. If not, heat in increments of 10 seconds, till it is all molten. 

Alternatively, use a double boiler to melt the chocolate. Remove from heat, mix with a spoon or spatula. Continue till the chocolate is smooth and shiny. 

Line a tray or plate with parchment paper. Using a spoon dip one date into the molten chocolate. Coat well and transfer to the parchment lined tray. Add a sliced almond on top if desired. Repeat for the remaining dates. 

Once it is all done, transfer the plate to the refrigerator and let them set for 30 minutes or so. Remove and enjoy! Place the remaining in an airtight container and store at room temperature for 3-4 days. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Rava Upma

Blogging Marathon #77 Week 2 Day 3
Theme: Weekday Lunch Recipes
Dish: Rava Upma

An easy to make, quick and super delicious recipe for Upma. This Semolina Pudding is awesome for breakfast or quick lunch! 

Upma, a combination of semolina, onions and spices is a really popular breakfast dish in many parts of India. There are many variations to it, each part of the country having it's own version. 

The simplest form has just the basic ingredients mentioned above. The other version has yogurt in it, and some have vegetables. I have had a yellow version of Upma too and it is equally delicious. 

Some like their upma in the morning with tea or coffee. Some for weekend brunch and some like me think of it as a quick packable lunch option. I generally pack roti and sabji for lunch. However, sometimes I am pressed for time or just bored of the regular lunch. That is when I turn to this dish for packing off to work. 

Another variation of this dish is to make moong dal dosa and stuff it with upma. This famous combination of Pesarattu Upma is something that I was introduced to at a local Indian restaurant, and I have loved it since! 

For the longest time I was never happy with the way my Upma turned out. That is the reason it took almost three years to make it's  way to the blog. I have grown up seeing my grandmother, mother and aunt whip up a plate of upma in a matter of minutes. However, the perfect proportions of ingredients always seemed to elude me. 

Sometimes my upma would be rock solid, sometimes flowy. I seemed to blame a ton of things that kept me from getting it right. Finally after multiple permutations and combinations, I concluded that this recipe works for me! Now, with this recipe, I can see why they say Upma and Poha are the easiest recipes for busy mornings! 

Last time I made this upma, I was sure it was the BEST I have made. So I took time and shot it. When Valli announced the theme as healthy lunch recipes for this week's Blogging Marathon, I decided to include this recipe. 

Breakfast or Lunch? 

Make Upma for breakfast or lunch, it works well for both. I even make it for weekend dinner sometimes. If we have had an elaborate lunch, we prefer to have just Upma and tea for dinner. It works perfectly and with the combination of tea, you cannot go wrong! 

Besides, it is easy to make the previous night and pack it right away. Then all you need to do the next day is pick up your lunch box and off to school or work! It does not change it's texture much when refrigerated in an airtight container. 


If you would prefer a yogurt less version of Upma, just skip the yogurt bit. Instead add just water. It works well too.

If you would like a vegetable version of this, boil carrots, peas, french beans and corn in the microwave for 3-4 minutes. Drain and add them after the onions. It not only makes the Upma healthy, it makes it tasty and filling as well. And of course, colorful! 

Hope you enjoy this recipe and come back for more! Don't forget to follow the blog on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest


Rava/ Semolina 1 cup
Onion 1 medium, diced
Ginger 1/2 inch, grated
Cashew nuts 2-3
Green/Red Chilli 1 minced
Mustard Seeds 1 tsp
Asafoetida a pinch
Cumin Seeds 1 tsp
Curry Leaves 2-3
Urad Dal 1 tsp
Yogurt 2 tbsp
Ghee/ Clarified Butter 2 tbsp
Salt 1 tsp
Sugar 1/2 tsp
Lemon Juice 1/2 tsp
Cilantro to top


Heat 1 tbsp ghee and add rava. Roast on medium flame till it gives out an aroma, but does not change color. Remove from heat and set aside. 

In the same pan heat the remaining ghee. Add mustard seeds and let them pop. Then add asafoetida and cumin seeds. Once they pop, add curry leaves,  urad dal, cashewnuts and chilli. 

In a few seconds add onion and ginger. Sauté till the onions are cooked and soft. Meanwhile beat the yogurt and add 1 1/2 cups water. Whip to a smooth texture. 

Add the roasted rava to the pan and mix well. Add in sugar, salt and mix well. Pour the yogurt water mixture slowly and keep stirring. Mix well and let the upma cook for a few minutes. 

If it dries up, add more water. In about 6-7 minutes the upma will come together and cook. Turn down the flame and add lemon juice. Serve topped with cilantro and with tea or coffee on the side. It tastes great with dry chutney and coconut chutney too. 


Sunday, June 11, 2017

One Pot Pineapple Fried Quinoa

Blogging Marathon #77 Week 2 Day 2
Theme: Weekday Lunch Recipes
Dish: One Pot Pineapple Fried Quinoa 

Quinoa, Pineapple and Vegetables in ONE! This recipe is a healthier version of Thai Pineapple Fried Rice.

Quinoa was once upon a time my favorite ingredient to work with. Then I started exploring other ingredients like little millet, different cereals, balsamic vinegar and what not! And poor quinoa was left out. Now I am back to quinoa thanks to Valli's theme of Healthy Weekday lunch this week. 

Coming to the topic of lunch, I thought every dish should have the right mix of everything healthy and yet be super easy to make. And what better than a one pot meal? I have posted a couple of recipes using quinoa that needed the grain to be cooked first and then mixed into the other ingredients. I understand it takes long to do so. 

So I came up with this one pot recipe. This is not exactly a dump and go recipe, but it is pretty easy to get everything together in the morning. Plus it is a recipe that one can customize as per their choice and availability of ingredients. Being a pineapple quinoa recipe, those are the only two ingredients that NEED to be there. Everything else can be modified. 

I love Thai food, especially Pineapple Fried Rice. I always make the rice from fresh pineapple. Not only does it taste better, it also gives me a pretty pineapple to serve the prepared rice. However, I did not have fresh pineapple this time around and had a can of pineapple slices I recently got to make a cake I never made, so decided to use it up. 

A word of caution

The rice or quinoa tastes really good when you add some pineapple juice to it along with the pieces of pineapple. My canned pineapple was slices in it's own juice and so I poured out the juice into the quinoa. If you are using fresh pineapple or canned ones in heavy syrup, just puree the pieces. The heavy syrup will make the quinoa SUPER sweet. 


The same recipe will work with white rice, jasmine rice, brown rice and little millet. I have seen millets taking over the quinoa space and intend to make that next! Being a one-pot recipe, adjust the time required to cook everything based on the grain you are using. 

Not a fan of Pineapple? Make a yummy Basil fried Quinoa using the same recipe, replacing pineapple with fresh basil. I would suggest you try this recipe once before making a decision on the pineapple though! 

Lastly, if you want a dish that has even more protein, add some diced tofu to the quinoa. It makes the dish filling and rich in protein. 

The quinoa is perfect to serve as is or with an accompaniment like this Quick Green Curry or Garlic Tofu.


Quinoa 1 cup
Pineapple (canned or fresh) 1/2 cup, chopped
Diced Vegetables ( Green Peas, Corn, Carrots, French Beans) 1 cup
Spring Onion 2-3 stalks, chopped
Peppers 1/2 cup, diced
Garlic 1-2 cloves, minced
Ginger 1/2 inch piece, grated
Soy Sauce 1 tsp
Vinegar 1/4 tsp
Chilli Sauce 1 tsp
Salt, Pepper to taste
Sesame/ Vegetable Oil 1 tbsp
Cashewnuts 3-4 


Wash and drain quinoa. Set aside. Also set aside 2 tbsp juice from the pineapple can or puree a couple of pieces of fresh pineapple to get the required juice. 

In a pan heat oil and add the cashewnut pieces. Sauté for a minute and remove them. In the same oil add garlic. Sauté till the raw flavor vanishes. Add ginger, onions and peppers. Mix and sauté for a minute. Then add the remaining vegetables, and season with 1/4 tsp salt. Mix and cook covered for 4-5 minutes.

Open the lid, add the quinoa, 1 1/2 cup water and 1/2 tsp salt. Also season with 1/2 tsp pepper powder. Cover and cook for 12-15 minutes, till all the water is absorbed and quinoa is cooked. For more tips on cooking quinoa, read this post.

Once the water is absorbed and quinoa is cooked, add pineapple juice, soy sauce, chilli sauce and vinegar. Also adjust the salt and pepper content. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and turn down the heat. 

Remove in a bowl, top with spring onions and cashewnuts. Serve! 


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Healthy Vegetable Pasta Casserole

Blogging Marathon #77 Week 2 Day 1
Theme: Weekday Lunch Recipes
Dish: Healthy Vegetable Pasta Casserole 

Can pasta be made 'healthy' and 'yummy' at once? If you do not believe me, you need this recipe. It has everything that is good for you! 

Pasta and vegetables in one dish is something I love. The yummy taste of pasta, colorful vegetables and oregano come together so well! I am really partial towards any kind of white sauce that is loaded with cheese. But given how heavy they are, I tend to avoid them.

For the longest time I have only made pasta sauce using all purpose flour and regretting soon after. Lately I almost switched to pesto pastas in restaurants. I have had red sauce pastas that are just canned tomatoes mixed with oregano! Since then I tend to avoid all things 'Marinara'!

A few days ago I was craving a bowl of pasta, especially the white one. But I did not want to pile on calories. So I made this SKINNY version of pasta. 

How is it 'Healthier'?

This dish has vegetables, wheat pasta, wheat flour based sauce and just a sprinkle of cheese. When Valli put up the theme of 'Healthy' Lunch recipes for this Blogging Marathon, I had to shoot the pasta I made! 

The taste of the sauce is not very different from the APF version. It does not have cheese and I used 2% milk. Yet it is super delicious. And yes, I have not been a fan of Wheat pasta ever. I always felt it had a weird taste. Now I get them and put a TON of vegetables to mask the taste of pasta! That way it becomes healthy and amazing. 

Perfect Lunch Recipe

This recipe is perfect for weekday lunch at home or to be packed. Better still, it can be made a day before and packed for lunch. Plus, the leftover freezes well. I sometimes make a big batch and we enjoy it for two meals. The best accompaniment with this bake is Garlic Breadsticks or Roasted Tomato soup

This recipe is also good for parties and as a side for BBQ evenings. I like it because it is light, easy to make and delicious. So if you also have a non lover of wheat pasta, you have to try this version. It can instantly change them to lovers of 'healthy pasta' and agree that pastas can be indeed made healthy! 


If you still want to have the traditional version, just change the following: Wheat pasta for regular pasta, olive oil for butter, wheat flour for all purpose flour and finally 2% milk for whole milk and a drizzle of cream. Plus, increase the amount of cheese to make it sinful! 

I added the vegetables I had in my refrigerator. Add the vegetables as per your taste. Plus, add some paneer or tofu if you like. It makes the paste even more tasty. Baking the pasta is optional. You can just mix it all on the stove and serve directly from there! 


Wheat Pasta 1 cup (I used Macaroni)
Mixed Vegetables (Baby Corn, Green Peas, Carrots, Broccoli, Onion, Peppers)
Garlic 1-2 cloves, minced
Wheat Flour 2 tbsp
Olive Oil 1 tbsp
Milk 3/4 cup
Oregano 1 tsp
Salt and Pepper
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese 2 tbsp


Heat 3 cups water in a pan with 1/2 tsp salt. Once it comes to a boil, add the pasta. Boil as per the package instruction. When they are just done, add chopped baby corn peas and broccoli florets. 

In a minute after adding the vegetables, turn down the flame and drain the pasta and vegetables. Set aside. 

In a saucepan heat oil and add garlic. Sauté till the raw flavor vanishes. Then add onions and peppers. Sauté till they cook.

Next add the flour, and cook till the flour begins to brown. Add the milk, 1/2 tsp salt, oregano, 1/2 tsp pepper and mix well. Cook till the sauce thickens. 

Add the pasta and vegetables, mix well and turn down the flame. Transfer to an oven-proof bowl. Sprinkle the cheese and bake for 10 minutes in a preheated oven at 350 F/ 180 C. 

Remove and serve with a side of toasted bread or soup.