Coleslaw with Coconut Milk Mayonnaise

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Eat Real Food. This is the best advice I have received in my 15 year journey towards a healthier me. It has taken me years to know what real food is, and I admit it, I am still learning and discovering new things every day. The industrialization of food, along with the media sending a new fad diet our way every couple of months has made it so complicated to know what "real food" is! Let me give you an example, I was at the store buying eggs and instead of a quick in and out, I felt as if someone had asked me to solve a complex puzzle - Brown or white? Medium, large, extra large or may be jumbo? With omega-3? Pasteurized, all-natural vegetarian or Organic? Cage-free, free-range? Do you … [Read more...]

Quinoa and Lentil Bowl

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Anup and I always end every year in style! We celebrate our marriage anniversary on Christmas Eve (13th this time!) followed by the Christmas Day celebrations with friends and family. My sister's birthday is on December 26th, and then there is the New Year's Eve! Because I preach natural foods on my blog, I stick with 100% natural Tequila shots that night! So after this last hurrah, the first week of January makes me feel like the vacation is over and it is time to go back to school. January brings with it the plethora of pressure to create the "New You". The television ads reminding you of the need to detox, eating healthy and shedding those extra pounds you might have gained over the … [Read more...]

Crispy Chickpea Polenta

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India is a land of storytellers! From the religious stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata to the ancient Indian collection of animal fables Panchatantra, we grew up listening to various stories as kids. My grandma used to tell me stories about India's independence movement; how people would come out and throw their gold ornaments on the streets as a donation for the freedom fighters. She would tell me about her early years with her husband, and how her life changed when she became a widow in her twenties in a society which had no place for widows. She had a way to explain things to my young mind, and with her words she could take me to a different world as if I was traveling back in … [Read more...]

Buckwheat Salad with Chanterelle & Blueberries

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It is my last week in India and I am so grateful I got to celebrate Diwali and the Hindu New Year with my family. India has changed so much in the past 20 years, sometimes it's hard to believe this is the same country I grew up in! From cell phones to luxury cars, from McDonald's to Subway sandwiches, the western brands are part of the daily lives. The way India has evolved is even more visible during the festival season - long gone are the simple fire crackers my mom used to give us bundled up in her handkerchief. Exotic fireworks are now imported from China. The homemade sweets are replaced by Hershey's and Godiva chocolates. Change is the only constant in life, and there is nothing … [Read more...]

Red Cabbage Salad – Soaking in the Colors of India!

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In one of my posts earlier, I wrote about how in India it always smells like something. Now that I am actually here, I am realizing that it's not just your nose that has to work overtime - India puts all your senses in overdrive! Your ears are bombarded with sounds every minute of the day, your mind with fears and joys that you hadn't experienced in a long time and most of all, your eyes are soaking in colors from every direction. True to my promise, I have been spending a lot of time out in villages. I am not talking about cowboys with GPS systems and iPods here, I am talking about villages where electricity is available a couple of hours a day, and people who don't know what the … [Read more...]

Fenugreek and Yellow Moong Salad

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Ever since I called the western world my home about 14 years ago, my visits back to India start out with me being paraded around like a show pony in front of all my extended family. I am not talking 4-5 homes here, the first 7-10 days are assigned to this ritual. This is to show all my uncles and aunties and 40-some cousins that I am in good health and doing well for myself. Each one of these visits starts out with my parents asking me to put on my nice jewelry and getting all dolled up. The visits generally involve me eating samosas, ice cream, and rich home-made specialities - in no particular order. During one of these visits, I got to visit our ancestral house where four generations of … [Read more...]

Buckwheat Salad

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The word salad invokes a lot of old memories - most of them unpleasant. For a country which boasts the lowest meat consumption rate in the world, India surprisingly lacks salads in their meals. In fact, I don't remember ever eating a salad as a meal in India. I think this has something to do with Indian families trying to stretch the meal budgets; making a curry out of the vegetables allowed us to eat other cheaper carbs with that curry. So we would have smaller portions of the vegetable dish, what we called Subzi, and pair it with roti bread or rice. My mom would occasionally slice up an onion or carrots if they were about to go bad, but I wouldn't call that a salad by a long shot. Salads … [Read more...]

Cabbage and Summer Squash Salad

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You can tell a lot about a family by observing what their daily meals look like. If you saw my family's meals in India for example, you would know that our family valued health and ease of cooking over taste. You would also know that we were creatures of habit - my mom would make certain things on specific days of the week, and there was logic to the whole schedule. She would make khichari, a simple rice and daal porridge cooked together in a pressure cooker, on Friday night. She will knowingly make more so she could use the leftover khichari as breakfast on Saturday, the day she had to leave for work early in the morning. If a dish could be prepared in less than 15 minutes, it was on the … [Read more...]

Summer Peach and Tomato Salad

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"Some people live a lifetime in a minute. What are you doing NOW?" - Col. Frank Slade, Scent of a Woman. Anup is an old soul in a young body. His choice in movies, music and food make me think that he is in his fifties. One of his all time favorite movies is "Scent of a Woman", starring Al Pacino. He plays a blind, retired army colonel. I love this movie as well, but Anup has probably seen it about hundred times, and he still can not not watch it if it's on TV. If you haven't seen this movie, please do - you are in for a treat! If you have seen the movie, you know that it takes an old soul to watch it so many times and still enjoy it! There is a scene in the movie where the blind … [Read more...]

Sprouted Chickpea and Beet Salad

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Westerners who haven't traveled to countries like India don't realize how organized and systematic the western world is. When was the last time one of us turned on a switch and the fan or the light didn't turn on? That happens a few times a week in India. You will not find more hand fans and industrial size candles in any other households. We used to get water for about an hour every day and the whole family was on a mission to save up as much as water as we could. And on some days, you won't get water for even that hour. You even knew an alternate route to get to your home in case the stray street dogs were being too aggressive for no apparent reason. All that uncertainty in the everyday … [Read more...]