Friday, December 30, 2011

favorites of 2011

Since all of my favorite blogs are doing a round-up on their favorite posts, I thought I would join the fun! 

In 2011, A, and I bought our first home, I started a new job, we celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary, we went to NYC twice to see my bff, I finally got to see my girl live in concert, we visited Chicago to see a dear friend marry his love, A, was accepted into graduate school to earn his MBA, our great friends visited from Seattle and we rounded off the year vacationing in Jamaica for a week (post to follow this weekend!).

My top three food posts are here, here and here :)

Wishing you and your family and very safe and Happy New Year!  Looking forward to some great things in the new year.  xo, s&a&shorty

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

stuffed mushroom kale phyllo roll

stuffed mushroom kale phyllo roll
adapted from Oh She Glows

After seeing this recipe on Angela's blog I instantly bookmarked it.  I love when I have all the ingredients to make a recipe!  The only changes I made were to use real butter, added chickpeas (for protein), didn't use the thyme or Herbamare and completely forgot to add cheese!  How could I do that, you ask? I don't really know... :(    I was definitely a fan of this dish, I think A would be happy if I didn't make it again. Ha! 

On the side I served roasted beets with pomegranate seeds and said cheese sprinkled on top.

Serves 4

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

new york city

Over the weekend, A and I jetted off to NYC to enjoy some great food and great company.  This city is truly magical and we were happy to enjoy the city during the holiday time.  We landed late Thursday night, so Friday we ended up walking around Herald Square and Times Square area armed with a Dunkin Donuts coffee + munchkins.  We did some of our Christmas shopping for family (and myself!).

Later than evening, we met up with some of A's classmates at a holiday party which continued at Yama Sushi.  Our group of 10 indulged in 2 sushi boats plus 2 platters of sashimi!

On Saturday, I met up with my bff Megz and her bf Sumeet at Petite Albeile in Union Square for brunch.  Afterwards we walked around the Greenmarket and enjoyed some fresh hot apple cider.  We walked towards Soho for some boutique shopping and then ended the afternoon at Harney & Sons for some hot chai tea.

Our friends K&K mentioned trying out Tamarind for excellent indian food, so our friends Megz and Sumeet joined us for a late dinner.  To start, we had a tomato onion biscuit with cilantro chutney and the Raj-Kachori.  For entrees, we ordered a variety of dishes including: Daal Makhani, Vegetable Jalfrezi.  For the carnivores, we ordered the Sea Bass Curry and Murgh Kohlapuri.  On the side we were served basmati rice, cucumber raita and garlic naan.  This meal was fantastic!  I would definitely recommend it and hope to visit again!

After dinner we headed to the Standard Hotel -Biergarten to meet some college friends as well as A's current classmates.  This place felt like we were in a large tent in Germany during Oktoberfest!

On Sunday morning we headed to Brooklyn to meet A's cousins for brunch at Melt.  I had a great black bean breakfast burrito.  It tasted similar to my favorite burritos in Texas too!  After full tummys we headed back to the city to walk around Bryant Park and Rockerfellar Plaza.  Our last stop was Crumb's to indulge in a Red Velvet Cupcake and Pecan Pie Cupcake.  So.Freaking.Delicious.

checking fball scores!

Very fun weekend in NYC during Christmas time.  I already of a list of things I want to see or do during our next trip!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

megz mac & cheese

A, was craving some macaroni and cheese one day so I tried Megz mac and cheese which I had bookmarked a few weeks earlier.  This is definitely not the healthiest recipe but very comforting when you're having one of those days...

tuscan kale and chickpea pasta

A lot of people ask me how I get enough protein being a vegetarian.  I respond by saying vegetarians have several food options when incorporating tofu, legumes and nuts.  Enter this recipe.  Equally appreciated by my meat-eater hubby, A!

I made no substantial changes to Veggie Belly's recipe besides decreasing olive oil to 1 tbsp instead of 4 tbsp.  Hope you'll try it out!

thanksgiving weekend

This past weekend our great friends, K&K were in town from Seattle.  We had a great mix of food, fun and football!  Check out K's blog in a few days for more pictures! 

On Sunday, we had brunch at our home with K&K and other close friends and family.  We prepared scrambled eggs, bagels, croissants, pancakes and fresh baked pear crisp with a healthy dose of bottomless mimosas :)  I forgot to take a picture of the pear crisp but it turned out great!  My only substitution was using asian pears instead of D'anjou pears.

The fabulous weekend ended with A and I decking our halls for our 1st Christmas in our home!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

kicchadi, gujarati comfort food

We used to eat this every Sunday evening when we were growing up.  It's the perfect comfort food for really anytime you're feeling under the weather and need something hot and soothing.  I prefer to eat kicchadi with a bowl of steamy kadhi but A, prefers just yogurt.

learned from my mom 

3/4 cup of plain white rice, rinse/soak for 30 minutes
1/4 cup split green lentils, rinse/soak for 30 minutes
1/2 onion, diced
1 inch piece of ginger
1 eggplant, chopped
handful spinach
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp jeeru (cumin seed)
1/2 tsp rai (mustard seed)
pinch hing (asofetida)
3 tsp dhanajeeru (cumin powder)
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp marchu (red chili powder)
1/4 tsp hardar (tumeric)
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 cups water

Rinse rice and green lentils thoroughly and soak for 30 minutes.  On medium heat in a pressure cooker, add oil and once sizzling add rai.  Wait 15 seconds and then add jeeru and hing.  Once fragrant, add onion and ginger to spice mixture.  Once the onion is translucent add the eggplant and saute for 1-2 minutes.  Add remainder of spices and pour in the rice/lentil mixture.  Add 2 cups of water and handful of spinach.  Taste the liquid to check for spices.  If you like it spicier add more garam masala or marchu.  Set pressure cooker top with whistle and let it cook for 10 minutes on medium high heat.  Turn the heat off and let sit idle for 10 minutes to release all of the pressure in the cooker.  Serve with plain yogurt and gunda pickle.

Serves 2

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

coconut red curry with tofu and veggies

I always prefer healthier, low calorie foods but somehow the healthier version of coconut curry isn't quite the same.  This recipe is a great way to finish up all the veggies in your fridge.   Please bear with my awful winter time pictures!

coconut red curry with tofu and veggies

1 block of extra firm tofu (drained/pressed and cut into bite size pieces)
1 head of broccoli, chopped
1/2 green and yellow zucchini, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 carrots, chopped at an angle
1 can coconut milk
3-4 tbsp red curry paste
2 tbsp oil

In a small bowl, whisk together the red curry paste and coconut milk until well combined.  Set aside.  In a large nonstick pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil and add pieces of tofu, cook until well browned on all sides.  In another large heavy bottom pot, over medium heat, add 1 tbsp of oil and onions/garlic.  Cook until translucent.  Add in the zucchini and carrots.  Wait a few minutes then add the coconut curry mixture to the veggie pot.  Cook for an additional 2 minutes.  Add tofu and cook with cover over low heat for 25-30 minutes until sauce has thickened.  After 25 minutes, add the remaining broccoli and let simmer for 2 minutes, then serve!  I add the broccoli last to maintain the crunch and color. 

Served with quinoa for me, plain white rice for A!  Don't forget the Sriracha either :)

lentil & sweet potato soup

lentil & sweet potato soup
adapted from Carrots'N'Cake

I was originally planning to make sweet potato gnocchi but since A and I are feeling a bit under the weather (after a crazy weekend!) I opted to make this hearty soup instead.  My only changes to the recipe were using 4 fresh roma tomatoes instead of canned, increasing to 3/4 cup lentils, added 2 cups more water for a soupier consistency and 2 tsp of indian red chili powder (for extra heat!).  I paired this with a grilled cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread. 

Serves 2-3

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

garlicky tofu and green bean stir fry


garlicky tofu and green bean stir fry
adapted from Whole Living 

This recipe turned out really well!  The only changes I made were to use a whole yellow onion, used Bragg's liquid aminos instead of soy sauce, added 3-4 garlic cloves, minced and reduced the amount of sesame oil to 2 tbsp.  On the side I served red quinoa instead of rice.  And we have enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Serves 4 people

polenta lasagna

polenta lasagna
inspired by random things in my pantry and fridge

1 tube quinoa polenta, cut into 1/4" slices
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup ricotta, thinned with a splash of milk and add italian seasoning
1 cup refried beans (random, yes but soo good)
1/2 jar marinara sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese

Pour sauce to cover the bottom of a 8x8 baking dish.  Then add 1 layer of polenta slices (9 total).  Next layer with ricotta cheese, spinach, refried beans, marinara sauce and cheese.  Add another layer of the polenta slices, top with marinara sauce and cheese.  Bake at 350 degree for 20 minutes.

Serves 3-4 people

ps - horrible phone picture taken at work :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011



2 small haas avocados, diced
1/2 small onion, finely diced
1 tbsp shredded ginger
1 jalapeno, shredded
1 tomato, diced
1 lemon, juiced
3 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

In a small bowl, add all ingredients and blend together with a fork.  Add s&p to taste and serve.  Spicy Doritos for A, baked pita chips for me.  Perfect harmony.

Monday, October 31, 2011

broccoli cheddar soup

OK, last soup recipe until it actually is cold in Houston!  I lightened up the traditional broccoli cheddar soup recipe by removing the heavy cream and excessive amounts of cheese.  I think you'll find this to be equally delicious and heart-healthy :) 

broccoli cheddar soup

1 broccoli head, cut into florets
1/2 red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup greek yogurt
4 cups water
1 vegetable bouillon (can use veggie broth instead)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
3/4 cup cheddar cheese

Over medium high heat, saute onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent.  Add broccoli florets and saute for a few minutes.  Add water and vegetable bouillon, simmer for 5 minutes and add nutritional yeast.  Season with s&p and simmer covered for 10 minutes.  Then, blend with an immersion blender until just a few pieces of whole broccoli remain intact.  Stir in greek yogurt and sprinkle cheese and serve.

Serves 3 people

ps- not the greatest picture but tastes great!

tomato soup

Because A, had his procedure a few days ago this allowed me to dive into my soup recipes again.  Before me, my lovely husband only knew canned tomato soup with a can of green beans and a can of corn mixed together and served.  I must admit he has made this for me a few times after we got married, but never again after I learned from my mom how easy it is to make fresh tomato soup.

tomato soup

8-10 tomatoes (i had frozen tomatoes from my mom)
2 carrots, peeled and cut into a few pieces
ginger, 1 tbsp shredded
1 cup, greek yogurt (for extra protein!)
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp jeeru (cumin seeds)
1 tsp red chili powder or garam masala
2 tsp dhanajeeru (cumin powder)

With a pressure cooker, cook the tomatoes and carrot with a 1 cup of water for approximately 8-10 minutes.  Turn off heat and let the cooker release pressure for about 10 minutes.  In another large pot, over medium high heat, place the butter and jeeru until fragrant.  Add ginger.  Then add the tomato/carrot mixture into the pot.  Add 4 cups of water and blend with an immersion blender.  You can choose to drain the soup through a sieve to remove the seeds and fibers, but I opted not to.  Add s&p and rest of the spices, let simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add greek yogurt, mix well and enjoy.  I made grilled cheese sandwiches on the side to dunk into the soup.

Serves 4 people  

mashed "potatoes"

A, had a dental procedure last week and has been on softer foods for a few days.  He had a craving for mashed potatoes but I usually don't have potatoes in my pantry.  After a quick google search, I found a great low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes.  Substitute fresh cauliflower for potatoes!  He actually loved it and had a second serving.  Everything tastes good with some garlic and cheese :)  Try this side dish during Thanksgiving and your family will not notice the difference.

 mashed "potatoes"

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup cheddar cheese

Boil or steam cauliflower for 8-10 minutes.  Drain and reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water.  Place cauliflower into food processor with garlic, s&p and olive oil.  Pulse until smooth.  Sprinkle cheddar cheese and serve.

Serves 3-4 people. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

tortilla soup

My mom used to make this soup during chilly evenings in Austin.  There's something about the blend of indian spices with the mexican tortilla soup that just warms your heart. Although it's called tortilla soup I prefer to just add cheese and eat.  Plain and simple, but delicious.

Tortilla Soup
learned from my mom

1 poblano pepper
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp jeeru (cumin seeds)

shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream
cilantro, finely chopped
crushed tortilla chips
avocado, diced

In a large pot over medium heat, add olive oil, jeeru, garlic and green onions.  Saute for 2-3 minutes.  Then add diced peppers After a few minutes add the peppers and saute for an additional minute.  Add diced tomatoes can and vegetable bouillon to vegetable mixture.  Pour 2-3 cups of filtered water and corn.  Bring to a soft boil for 5-10 minutes.  salt and pepper to taste.  Ladle into individual bowls and top with your favorite toppings!

Serves 4-5 people.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

roasted beet and arugula salad with pomegranate seeds and feta cheese

I have had this salad in restaurants before so decided to recreate it at home for a fraction of the price.  You can use any type of salad green but I prefer arugula because of the peppery bite.  A, drizzled on italian dressing but I don't think it needs anything because of the natural juicyness from the oranges and beets.

Arugula Beet Salad

1/2 bag arugula, rinsed and spinned
1 beet, can use red or yellow
1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup mandarin oranges, fresh or bottled
2 tbsp feta cheese or goat cheese
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash and scrub the beets.  Pour olive oil on beets and double wrap in aluminum foil.  Place in oven for an hour.  Check after 40-45 minutes to assure even roasting.

Meanwhile, wash the arugula and place in salad spinner (love this thing!). 

Remove beets from oven, allow them to cool for 10 minutes. 

Plate the arugula on plate and top with mandarin oranges, sliced beets, pomegranate seeds, feta cheese and salt/pepper.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

spicy chana masala with naan

spicy chana masala (chole) with naan
learned from my mom

2 cans of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 tomatoes, finely diced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
dash asofeotida (hing)
1 tsp red chili powder (marchu)
3 tbsp cumin powder (dhanajeeru)
1 tsp tumeric (hardar)
1 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp chhole powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp salt
cilantro, finely chopped

In a large sauce pan, add oil and saute mustard seeds until fragrant.  Add onions, ginger and garlic until translucent then add tomatoes. Saute for 1-2 minutes.  Then add spices and salt, and saute for a few minutes until you see tiny bubbles forming on the pan.  Add garbanzo beans, 2 cups of water, tomato paste and 1 tsp paprika to sauce pan. Place on medium high heat and simmer, uncovered for 10-15 minutes until the water has evaporated and sauce has thickened.  Taste for seasoning, add lemon juice if necessary.

Sprinkle the top with cilantro.  Serve with naan and homemade yogurt.

Serves 3-4 people.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

spinach and mushroom stuffed shells

Spinach & Mushroom Stuffed Shells

1 box - large pasta shells
1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 cremini mushrooms, finely diced
1 bag fresh spinach
1 medium onion, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried italian seasoning
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 (15 oz.) container ricotta (I use low-fat)
2 tbsp milk
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 bottle marinara sauce (I use Prego - Healthy Heart)
finely shredded parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top after baking

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook the pasta shells in boiling water to al dente.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium.  Add the onions and garlic until translucent.  Add mushrooms, s&p and cook until browned.  Add spinach and cook until wilted.  Remove from heat.  In a large bowl, add ricotta cheese, milk, italian seasoning, red chili flakes, egg and mozzarella cheese and mix well.  Once spinach/mushroom mixture has cooled, combine with cheese mixture in large bowl.

Pour pasta sauce to cover the bottom of a large baking dish.  Stuff each shell with 2 tbsp of mixture and place in the baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the shells and sprinkle the mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes until the sauce begins to bubble.  Top with parmesan cheese and enjoy.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

veggie chili & cheddar corn bread

Ok, so it's not quite autumn here in Houston (more like a Seattle summer) but I saw this recipe on The Chew a few days ago and had to try it!  On the side we baked up a Jiffy cornbread, definitely not my favorite but was great for a quick weeknight meal.  I added some cheddar cheese and chopped chilies to the cornbread mix.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Housewarming Party!

Last week, A and I had our family over to celebrate our new home!  We moved in February but we took some time to decorate and travel over the summer before we had a chance to have a party.  Special thanks to both of our mom's for preparing most of the food.  Menu and recipes to follow pictures. 

the food spread

both mom's!

party punch!


Bhel puri
Dahi puri

Greek 7 layer dip with Pita Chips

Party Punch

Oatmeal White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
Chocolate Chip & Walnut Cupcakes
Gajar Halwo (Carrot Pudding) - mom's secret recipe