As you may have noticed, I haven’t been able to keep up with blogging about my cooking experiences. But I am still trying to conquer the kitchen, and going forward, you can keep an eye on my progress on Instagram at @whatsaprilcooking. Thank you, loyal readers!
I just spent a bit of time in Asia with my in-laws. Not only did I eat some truly fabulous food, but being around my mother-in-law always inspires me to cook since she makes it look so easy. If you remember, this blog was built based on her recipes (Mattar Paneer, Chicken Curry, Gobi Mattar, Koftas, Dal Masur and Baigan Bharta). My husband still makes them frequently but I haven’t tried anything new in a while. Watching her sauté pretty much any old thing in ginger, garlic, tomatoes, onions and Indian spices made me realize that this cooking thing doesn’t have to be so complicated.
I’ve also got a couple of new cookbooks: Wild About Greens by my favorite veg chef, Nava Atlas (a big thank you to Virtually Vegan Mama for sending it to me!), and The Hungry Girl Cookbook by Lisa Lillien. I’ve already started experimenting with both, will fill you in soon ;)
I’ve been around and, believe it or not, I’ve been cooking some, but I haven’t had time to sit down and blog. I have been taking pictures and thinking of you guys, though!
1) I made a huge Italian dinner for 9 people – my mother’s sauce recipe from scratch. Blog post on that coming :)
2) My husband bought groceries before leaving town and after he left, I discovered a box of veggies titled “Mix Soup” (as in Soup Mix). I wasn’t sure why he bought it since we don’t make or eat soup much – perhaps just to give me veggies to cook. But I took it as a challenge and made healthy veggie soup from scratch.
“Soup Mix” – zucchini, carrots, cilantro, dill
Sodium-free bouillon (Broth has such high sodium! Salt it yourself, dudes.)
1 tbsp wheat flour
1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper to taste
Dice garlic. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil and add garlic, onion powder and cumin. When garlic softens, add vegetables and saute until brown. Boil 2 cups of water and add 2 packets of sodium-free bouillon (or heat 2 cups of broth). When it boils, add veggies and lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook 10-12 minutes, adding flour or cornstarch halfway through to thicken.
3) I also made Tofu and Potato Hash Browns tonight – delicious! I am a big fan of Nava Atlas, as you should be if you enjoy really good vegetarian and vegan food that’s easy to make. I added the fresh spinach that she suggests, and you could also add vegan or lowfat cheese if you like. Or pesto!
Well, I’d love to stick around, but I’ve got some eating to do! ;) More to come soon. Leave a comment and let me know what you’re cooking.
It’s been a while. I haven’t been cooking. I’ve been content to let the Husband do it while I handle dishes. Today, however, I’m going to make my Saag Paneer hack (with tofu instead of cheese), since I have been craving it.
On another note, Pinterest is the most awesome thing ever except for the fact that it makes me hungry. Here’s a roundup of the latest pins I found:
- The Garden Grazer: Crazy for Quinoa (how to cook it + recipes)
- Wondering About a Vegan Diet?
- Donal Skehan: Garlic Mushroom Bruschetta
- Veg Kitchen: Tofu and Potato Hashbrowns
- Recipe by Photo: Guilt-Free Ice Cream
- Babble: Two-Ingredient Creamy Garlic Broccoli
Note: I only pin recipes that look simple and have few ingredients. I can’t deal with a recipe that’s going to require me to go out and buy 10 things.
My friend Jess and I have started this tradition where she comes over to my place and we try new recipes. A couple of months ago, she started chatting me up about a site called Simple Green Smoothies. When she found a Ninja blender/food and drink maker on sale for almost half-price, she alerted me, for which I will forever be grateful!
My husband and I, proudly, have actually persevered with all New Year’s resolutions on fitness. We go to the gym 3-5 times a week and we are eating so clean, you would barely believe it. And now – juices and green smoothies. Yum.
My Favorite Green Smoothie (variation on Jessica’s recipe and this one)
- 1 cup of unsweetened soymilk (or 1/2 cup soymilk, 1/2 cup water, if I don’t want it too filling)
- 1 banana
- 2 handfuls of spinach (a lot! like 3 or 4 cups – it shrinks)
- 1 spoon of unsalted peanut butter
It is super good. You don’t taste spinach at all, only banana and peanut butter. Tonight I made it minus peanut butter plus Greek honey yogurt.
I also made my husband juice: beet + ginger + blueberry + apple.
You have to try it – so good.
Happy New Year! It strikes me as sad that I have had this blog for 2 years and am only on Dish #30. New Year’s resolution: Step it up!
I got several thoughtful Christmas gifts to help me do this. I give you the apron collection:
Thank you to Mom for the Etsy retro polka dot sweetheart apron, and to Hasitha for the fabulous Anthropologie apron with rolling pin and pie dish!
And now, my newest recipe. I follow @onegreenplanet on Twitter and happened to find this recipe in my feed one day:
It looked and sounded fabulous, so today I tried it. As usual, I made some substitutions – no paprika and peas instead of kale. I don’t have a food processor (or a juicer, for that matter), but my new Ninja gets me by (gift to myself).
I also made some quinoa and sliced up a little avocado. As you can see from the photo, I started with each ingredient separate, but I soon mixed them all together to make a quinoa bowl. De-li-cious!! The avocado gives it so much flavor that you don’t need salty, fatty additions.
A friend recently told me that she wants to try a vegan challenge. Her husband is skeptical that it can be done. Indeed, I was too before my husband and I tried it and loved it. This is great timing because I had planned to try and eat vegan again in the new year to be a bit healthier and “cleaner.” I told her I would help her out by checking through my old recipes, favorite blogs, etc.
Here are the recipes and posts in the vegan category for an easy refresher: Vegan
I would like to highlight the ones that I found particularly delicious:
- Palak Tofu (vegan or not, if you like Palak or Saag Paneer from Indian restaurants, you HAVE to try this low-fat version)
- Indian-Style Tofu Scramble
- Aloo Tikki (for potato-lovers)
- Grilled Tofu (for salads, sandwiches, sauces and more)
Her inquiry has inspired a whole host of blog posts, coming your way soon ;)
WordPress.com made me this lovely 2012 annual report. Pretty cool, huh?
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 9,300 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 16 years to get that many views.
It’s better to make things from scratch. I wholeheartedly agree with this. However, sometimes you just gotta take the easy way out. And I am being easier on myself in this regard.
I just made a batch of 16 pumpkin muffins. I used a mix from Trader Joe’s containing good ingredients that I can pronounce. I added good ingredients to the mix. And now I have breakfast for God knows how long.
I truly believe in eating real food and getting away from packaged, processed stuff. But cooking at home is hard. With a job, or kids, or whatever particular life you have… it’s HARD. And while cooking and baking from scratch is ideal, sometimes cutting corners is necessary. I’d rather eat a muffin I made at home with a mix than one from a chain bakery or supermarket, because you never really know what’s in those.
So go easy on yourself, and eat up!
We have been traveling on and off for 2 weeks, which means we’ve spent very little time at home and virtually no time eating home-cooked food. One restaurant after another can get you down for a while. This weekend, I’ve come down with a bit of something (no doubt the exhaustion) and the husband is not feeling well either, which means we are staying IN! Which means some homemade goodness.
Here are some things I’ve got in the queue to consider:
- Pumpkin Muffins
- Dal with veggies and brown rice
- Homemade jam – Husband and I had some heavenly homemade jam at Tea Room Cafe on our travels (life-changing bakery – GO).
- Chili corn muffins – We had amazing “johnny cakes” there too.
Lots of hearty winter food, it seems :) I need to do a better job of cooking from scratch but since I haven’t been cooking at all for so long, I want to ease back into it. I really want to make my kitchen my own. It’s hard to do with a small kitchenette in a Manhattan apartment, but that’s my goal.
I also need an apron. Tell Santa Claus.