Italian Summer Pasta Salad

 Italian Summer Pasta Salad1

 

After radio silence for 3 weeks, I’m back. Again. Can’t say for how long but I am here. So how are things guys? Here, monsoon has almost arrived and summer is officially over (for good!). But here I am, with a huge backlog of summer recipes. What am I to do when all these days I have been cooking all things “summery” regularly but not getting time to post them. Let’s just say that it is still summer somewhere in the world, right?! 😉

I love anything and everything Italian so when I came across this pretty looking salad on Sommer’s amazing blog I knew I had to get to it pronto. It is so good and SO refreshing! Zests of orange and lemon, al dente pasta, orange chunks, tiny tomatoes and torn basil all tied together with olive oil and Parmesan cheese. What’s not to love? Must try, whatever time of year it is for you.

I hope you’re having an awesome weekend.
Stay cozy, it’s gonna be a rainy one! xx

 

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Italian Summer Pasta Salad

Recipe scaled down & adapted from A Spicy Perspective

Yield: 2-3 servings | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes | Total: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat Farfalle pasta
  • 1 naval orange, zest and orange segments
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup scallions, cut into 1 inch segments
  • 1/4 cup torn basil leaves
  • 3 Tbsp shaved Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain the pasta and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, zest the orange and lemon. Place the zest and the juice of lemon in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and whisk. Peel the orange, gently break the segments apart and seed them. Place them in the bowl.
  3. Slice the tomatoes in half and add to the bowl. Then pour the drained pasta over the tomatoes and gently toss to coat. Add the scallions and basil leaves to the bowl and toss. Salt and pepper generously, about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Note: I didn’t have scallions at hand so I had to skip them but they are highly recommended as it’d add some crunch & make the dish all the more flavorsome. 🙂

 

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L.O.V.E. Wraps

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I know you think that my blog has sort of turned into a baking blog with a savory recipe seldom thrown here and there which again involves some sort of baking! (Humph.. Do I make sense?) So after throwing so many sugar-laden desserts week after week, I thought a savory recipe for brunch or breakfast (which does not involve baking) would be a great way to redeem my past actions. And when the recipe is so healthy, no-carb and wholesome, I’m sure many of you’ll be ecstatic.

With this recipe, turn your regular scrambled egg breakfast into a fancy brunch dish. With summer upon us, we require as many quick-fixes as possible. I mean, who wants to turn on the oven or spend time in the kitchen slogging over the heat! Low-fat and clean eating becomes a necessity when days are so hot and humid. This recipe absolutely fits the bill as an all-rounder meal suitable for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.

This dish is so colorful because of zucchini, carrots and broccoli. As for the recipe, these are the measurements I followed but this dish does not require following a recipe to the T so feel free to make any adjustments. Use whatever vegetables you have at hand. Go vegetable crazy! Bell peppers and beans would be quite awesome too.

So eat light & have a happy happy weekend!
xo

 

L.O.V.E. Wraps

 

L.O.V.E. Wraps

Serves: 2 | Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes | Total: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 small carrot, cut into julienne
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into julienne
  • 1/8 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning (or any seasoning of your choice)
  • 1/2 Tbsp butter
  • 2-3 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4-6 lettuce leaves, washed and dried (any lettuce of your choice is fine)

Directions:

  1. In a skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion to the skillet and saute till golden brown for about 2-3 minutes.
    Add broccoli and carrots and saute for another minute.
    Add zucchini and cook until just warm. We want the vegetables to have crunch and not be mushy. Mix in red chili flakes, Italian seasoning (or seasoning of your choice) and season with salt and pepper. Place this mixture in a small bowl.
  2. Wipe the skillet (used to saute vegetables) with paper towel and heat 1 Tbsp butter in it over medium heat. In a mixing bowl, crack 2-3 eggs and whisk them together with milk until well-beaten. Add pinch of salt and plenty of pepper.
    Tilt the skillet to ensure the entire pan is coated in the melted butter and pour in the eggs. Keep the heat on medium low. When the eggs just start to set, use a flat spatula to slowly scrape sections of eggs, creating folds. Scrape occasionally until the eggs form soft folds; turn off the heat just before they are fully hardened.
  3. To serve, place the scrambled eggs on a lettuce and top with onion and vegetable mixture.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies ~ Eggfree & Vegan

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A classic chocolate chip cookies with a glass of milk! Match indeed made in heaven!

Imagine to be able to have a healthier version of the buttery classic. After receiving rave reviews about Inside Out Chocolate Chip M&M Cookies(Thank you all!), I decided to recreate them into a classic chocolate chip version. I used olive oil instead of butter this time around and skipped milk completely. The result was amazing. I am not claiming these cookies to be skinny or low-fat. They are still 120 calorie each(assuming you get exactly 30 cookies) but you won’t miss the evil fat here, trust me! (Come on, olive oil is a good fat!)

 

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies3

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies4

 

 

If you’re crispy cookie person then flatten the cookie dough thin as per your liking and let them bake for an extra minute or so. When baked thick and puffy, these cookies are soft and equally chocolicious. You won’t be able to stop at just one, I know you guys too well! 😉

Enjoy & have a gorgeous weekend!
Eeeep… I am off to a road trip and shall share more once I am back! 🙂

Whole wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies ~ Eggfree & Vegan

Yields: Around 30 cookies | Prep time: 15 minutes | Chill time: 30-60 minutes | Bake time: 14-15 minutes
Ingredients:
  • 3 Tbsp flaxseed powder + 9 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (unsalted butter can be substituted)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup date syrup
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 + 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 + 1/4 cup mix of dark & milk chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together flax seed powder and water. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together whole wheat flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk olive oil and sugar together til completely incorporated. Whisk in date syrup, vanilla extract and flax seed mixture.
  4. Stir in dry ingredients to the wet ingredients to form a dough. Fold in chocolate chips. Chill the dough in refrigerator for about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Take about 2 Tbsp of dough, form it into a ball between your palms and flatten them with fingers or a fork. The cookies won’t spread much while baking so flatten how much ever thickness you like. Bake them for 14-15 minutes. Let them cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them on cooling rack to cool completely. The cookies will stay fresh for 1 week at room temperature stored in an airtight container.

Figs & Orange Honey Mini Loaf-Cakes ~ Of course, Healthy!

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I am totally in a holiday season mode.

Brace yourselves for the news I am about to break to you guys.. I brought out the planner in me(!!!) and prepared the fruit soak for my very first Christmas fruit cake 2 days back! I am definitely on top of the game. If you follow me on Instagram you already know. I can’t seem to contain my excitement. I’m counting down the days to bake and to be able to eat the final product.

I am going to let this fruit mix soak for about 3 weeks before baking into a delicious cake. This way cake will get a chance to age for about 3+ weeks before it’s Christmas! My kitchen air turned heavenly with all those fruits and citrus peels. No scented candles required.. Happy days I tell ya! 🙂

Another thing is I am baking a WHOLE lot more. I know I am not posting enough on the blog but I am baking A LOT! The weather is cold and rainy and all I want to eat at any time of the day is a piece of warm, cinnamony baked goodies. So with this awesome weather and so much baked goodies around me, all I am doing is relaxing, eating and lurking around other blogs! Can you blame me?! I mean so much holiday baking is happening everywhere!

 

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On one fine morning, I made these gorgeous mini cakes and trust me when I tell you, they are the most moist, soft and fragrant cakes ever! One-bowl deliciousness ready in 30 minutes!

Oh, did I mention these are healthy too?!! Oh ya! This recipe is a keeper for those days when you’re eating around lots of unhealthy food on the name of celebration.

Make this quick recipe as a special breakfast treat on festival mornings or while entertaining guests and you’re sure to impress everyone!

Happy Baking! xo

 

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Baking tray before going in the oven

 

Figs & Orange Honey Mini Loaf-Cakes

Yields: 6 mini loaf-cakes or 12 cupcakes | Prep time: 15 minutes | Bake time: 20 minutes approx

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 8-9 fresh figs, washed, stemmed

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Grease a 6 count mini-loaf silicone mold with baking spray. Set aside. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine sugar and orange zest, mixing with spoon to release oils from the zest. Add one egg at a time and beat until creamy, about 3-4 minutes. Add oil, honey, yogurt, vanilla, orange juice and stir to combine.
  3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not over-mix.
  4. Cut 3 figs into quarters and cut the remaining figs into 4 slices. Fill the molds equally about 2/3rd full and submerge 2 fig quarters in each mold. Arrange 2-3 slices on top of the batter. Bake for about 16 to 18 minutes or until the cake is just firm. Do not over-bake. Allow to cool on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes. Remove from the mold and serve.

*Tastes best when served warm with the topping of Mascarpone or whipped cream, with tea/coffee.

Skinny Zesty Salad

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After hogging lots and lots of sweets and fried stuff during 5 days of festivities in the past week, believe it or not, but my digestive system needed a break. So I am doing a cleanse/detox for few days.

I made this skinny salad for lunch one day and have fallen in love with it since then. It is so versatile, protein-packed and healthy even for people with diet restrictions. Yes! It is suitable for all the vegetarians and vegans out there! A complete meal in itself.

Add any or all of the ingredients mentioned below or whatever you have in your refrigerator. Don’t like uncooked Paneer/tofu? Don’t worry! You can grill it with a bit of olive oil and some seasoning before adding it to your salad or skip it. I once made this with just apple, pear, pomegranate and it was still lip-smacking!

So do your body a favor, give yourself a break from cooking and make this hearty salad! 🙂

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Skinny Zesty Salad

Serves: 2 as a side and 1 as a main-course

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 200 gm Paneer/extra-firm tofu, cut into 2 inch-long thin strips
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped into thin strips
  • 1 small yellow zucchini, cut into semicircles
  • 1 small apple, thin slices
  • 4 Tbsp black olives
  • Bunch of lettuce
  • few sprigs of parsley, finely chopped

For dressing:

  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Juice from 1 lemon, or more to taste
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat a small pan on stove and add 1/2 Tbsp oil to it. Add garlic and broccoli florets. Stir fry till cooked, approximately for 4-5 minutes. Be careful not to burn garlic. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients for dressing.
  3. In a medium bowl, add stir-fried garlic and broccoli florets. To this, add prepared paneer/tofu, bell pepper, zucchini, apple and black olives. Pour dressing over it and toss nicely.
  4. In a salad serving bowl, arrange lettuce at the bottom. Add salad on top. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately*.

*If serving later, refrigerate the salad and add apple just before serving.

Healthy Avocado Chocolate Cake

Healthy Avocado Chocolate Cake1

 

Let’s take a little flashback. If I talk about my childhood, back then, Diwali meant school holidays, new clothes, bags full of firecrackers, family gatherings, chants from morning & evening Pujas, Rangolis and stuffing our mouths with cardamom, saffron, coconut, mawa, besan and ghee kissed sugary sweets.

I moved out of the house and city once I started going to college. As  being in a medical profession, we were hardly entitled to any leaves let alone a Diwali break. So most of my Diwalis were spent in hostel with friends, missing my family. It had its moments but I missed my family.. A lot…

After college, I immediately got married to the love of my life and from then on, I have been spending Diwali with him and my new family. After so many years, so many things have changed but many things remain just the same like Pujas, Rangolis and family gatherings. My eating habits have changed for good and I prefer making my sweets healthier and low-cal. The recipe I am posting today is one such healthy cake and perfect for the festive season as it is egg-less!

 

Healthy Avocado Chocolate Cake2

 

Healthy Avocado Chocolate Cake3

 

The cake overall has just 2 Tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil. Don’t be surprised! Our secret ingredient here is avocado which compensates for the butter fat. You can’t taste the avocado in the cake as the richness from chocolate masks it completely. Not even pickiest of eater will be able to tell! So make this ultimate soft, moist and super-chocolaty cake for the mother of all the festivals… Diwali!

Light Food means Light(er) You! After all it is a Festival of Lights!

It has been 10 years since I moved out and I still miss my family on each and every festival that I’m not able to spend with them. Enjoy all the time you get to spend with your family and loved ones. Make precious memories to be cherished forever.

 

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Rangoli I made today! Not a masterpiece but still!

 

 

Happy and sparkling Diwali to all my readers 🙂

Healthy Avocado Chocolate Pan

Yields: 1 9-inch cake | Prep time: 10 minutes | Bake time: 35 minutes | Total: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and pureed
  • 2/3 cup honey (I used 1/2 cup honey + 1/4 cup brown sugar)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven 180°C/350°F. Grease a 9-inch quiche pan.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder and salt.
  3. In another medium bowl, whisk together avocado puree, honey (or combination of honey and sugar if using), milk, olive oil and vanilla extract.
  4. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and add wet ingredients in 2 additions. Mix slowly until just combined. Do not over-mix.
  5. Pour the batter to the prepared quiche pan and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake in the oven for 33-35 minutes till the toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before slicing. Serve as is or with vanilla ice-cream.

Guest Post on The Vanilla Bean: Pineapple~Coconut Breakfast Loaf

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When Roshni from The Vanilla Bean asked me to do a guest-post on her blog, I wanted to bake something simple and quick for her readers. Yet something which look and taste like you’ve spent the whole morning working on it but in fact was just left in the oven to work its own magic.

Roshni has a special soft corner for cakes hence I decided to rustle up this breakfast loaf which is moist and crunchy at the same time. Each bite is filled with pineapple and coconut bits. It’s a tropical heaven! Perfect for the rushed up mornings. Just plonk it in the oven right before you had for the bath and it would be ready when you’re back!

The loaf is actually quite healthy with whole wheat flour, olive oil and brown sugar. Feel free to substitute the sugar in the recipe with date syrup, honey or liquid jaggery.

Drop by here to get my recipe of pineapple-coconut breakfast loaf and don’t forget to check out The Vanilla Bean blog for some delicious recipes. Thank you again, Roshni, for having me over!