Simple Quinoa Salad

  It is the month end and time for the Shh Cooking Secretly Challenge! This challenge was initiated by Priyaakka and then moved on to be managed by Mayuriji. I must say that she is doing a good job keeping everyone motivated to participate in the challenges, even though the group is small.   This month, the theme is “cool salads” since it is summer in almost everywhere in the world. I am teamed with Priya Satheesh (there are too many Priyas in the bloggy world! 😀 ). I admire her for all the innovative combinations that she comes up with, for almost all her recipes. This is the second time I am teamed with her, the last time being when I made the potato frittata.     The two ingredients she gave me was avocado and tomato. I was fine with the tomato but avocado always gives me nervous… 

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Vegan Strawberry Mango Smoothie

  It is the end of the month and it is time for the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge of the month. With the summers looming in this part of the world and back home already under a heat spell, it wasn’t difficult finalizing the theme for the month. The theme for the month is “Summer Coolers” and my partner for this month is Shailaja, whom I am dealing for the first time and am glad to be partnered with. 🙂   She gave me mango and ice cream as my secret ingredients. Mango is coming into season and who doesn’t get excited about this delicious fruit! I am not very fond of ice creams in my smoothies or drinks, so decided to only utilize mango for this challenge. What I did was pair it up with another seasonal fruit that are available now in the market, which is strawberries. This… 

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Beetroot Pooris ~ Beetroot Deep-fried Flatbread

  In December, the Sshhh Cooking Club decided to take a break, and now we are back with our new challenge for this month. The theme of the month was anything “red or pink” considering the upcoming “month of love”. I always feel that love is something to be cherished and nourished all through out the year. I don’t believe in the policy of going out and gifting a loved one on one specific day. It is more of a business trick that anything else. I am a person who likes to gift off my whim – when I feel like, I get something for HD, the kids, my parents or my friends, not being specific on dates. The Prophet (PBUH) asked us to “exchange gifts, as that will lead to increasing your love for one another.” (Sahih Bukhari) Therefore I rest my case… 😉 I know people feel gifting… 

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Daal Paratha ~ Lentil Flatbread (with leftover daal!)

  It’s been sometime since I participated in the Shh Cooking Secretly Challenge, I guess. When was the last time? My last post was this delicious dessert way back in July. Then vacation and hangover came into play and finally I gave myself in to make it up for this month’s challenge. The theme for the month was “Breakfast” and I was paired with Mayuriji for the secret ingredients.   As we all know, breakfast IS most important meal of the day. If you don’t eat well then, you may have a haphazard day to follow. I am not somebody who has a heavy breakfast but I ensure to eat something good enough to keep my energy levels on for the whole day. I have already shared a few breakfast ideas that I resort to on the blog. So when Mayuriji gave me my ingredients as wholewheat flour and methi… 

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Aish el Saraya ~ Lebanese Bread Pudding

  Time for the Shh Cooking Secret Challenge for this month! I am paired with Priyaakka, who runs two blogs, her ever-popular one and another evolving one – I don’t need to say how excited I am to have her as my partner. Despite being such a seasoned blogger, she is a down-to-earth humble soul, who is always willing to help. In fact, she was one of my inspirations to start blogging. Of late, since she is looking out for her career, her blogging is a little slow, still she blogs at least four times a week. Prior to this, I would suggest to just take a look at the amount of recipes, especially her breads, she has on her blog – simply mind-blowing! I wish I would have the same zest to continue cooking and blogging just like her, InShaAllah… 🙂 The theme for this month was “Monsoon Treats”… 

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Mango Coconut Milk Pistachio Ice-Cream

  It is time for this month’s Shhh Cooking Challenge. After taking over the reins from Priyaakka, Mayuriji has been doing a fantastic job at ensuring that the challenge moves forward.   This month, the theme was “Mangoes”, as it is the fruit of the season and our partner was supposed to give us two more ingredients to go with the theme. I am paired with Anu this month, and after a brief discussion, she asked me to make something with condensed milk and nuts of my choice. Since I am on a vegan diet and wanted to make something that I could eat too, I requested her if she could change the condensed milk to coconut milk, and I got an instant nod. Wasn’t I a happy soul? 🙂 I was eyeing this ice-cream that Rekha had posted on her blog recently, and what a good time to whip… 

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Mango Avocado Smoothie Bowl ~ Vegan!

  Ever since becoming vegan, I am looking at ways to clean up my eating habits. Albeit a little difficult, it has not been as difficult as I have been imagining. I have not been missing my non-veg much as well. The only thing I seem to be missing is my big mug of strong chai. I crave for it, but then I tell myself that it is only for some time and I will be back to it soon, InShaAllah. 😀   For this month’s Shhh Cooking Challenge, I am paired with Veena, who blogs at Veg Nation – do hop onto her blog for very traditional vegetarian recipes! The theme for this month was smoothies and the combination I received was Mango and Avocado – two of my favorite fruits! 🙂 Smoothie bowl has been in my bucket list since long and what better way to do it! It… 

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Roasted Vegetable Barley Soup

  Never in my life I have panicked so much before completing a challenge. 🙂 Thanks to my lazybones at its best, I was finding it difficult to cook though my head was fantasizing that I would be making this and that. Happens?   Finally, this Saturday, after the trip to the doctor, I got all ready to make the soup. Peeled the vegetables, chopped them, cleaned them and sprinkled them on the tray with all the seasoning, and then pushed them off into the oven to bake. By the time, they were done, it was time for me to go to the school with the kids to take care of their stuff for the new academic year. So I switched the oven off and went out to finish my tasks for the day. By the time we came back, I was so dead tired that I just slumped onto… 

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Chocolate Strawberry Cake

  Starting off this week with a challenge post! I have been going a bit low on cooking, thanks to tight schedules, so thought I need to buck up a bit, so you will see a couple of challenge posts this week apart from my normal posting, InShaAllah… 🙂   After long, I am participating in the Shhh Cooking Challenge this month and my partner is Ramya, who I have already been clubbed along with previously. It was a good experience then, so we decided to repeat the experience this time too! There is a slight change in the format of the challenge – previously, it was just providing ingredients to the partners, however this month onwards, to make it more interesting, a theme would be provided and the participants are supposed to cook up something with the secret ingredients which will be around the theme. Sounds interesting, right? February,… 

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Saffron Olive Oil Cookies

  Life can give you a lot of unexpected turns. Last night, we were shocked by the news of a cousin, who met with a horrific accident and is now battling for his life in the ICU at the hospital. All we can do at the moment is continuously make Du’a for him and hope that Allah has something better destined for him and his family, InShaAllah… As I am battling my inner thoughts and emotions, I see the below verse in the morning: “No calamity befalls, but with the Leave of Allah, and whosoever believes in Allah, He guides his heart. And Allah is the All-Knower of everything.” (Surah At-Taghabun:11) It keeps telling us that we are so powerless in front of the Superpower… May Allah give him shifa soon, his family strength and give us the aafiyah to serve Him in the way He likes, so that we die… 

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Persian Payasam

  Intrigued by the title? Me too! When my hands landed up on the book called ‘Malabar Cuisine‘ that I had ordered through Amazon a couple of months ago, this is the first recipe that caught my attention.You may wonder why do I keep buying books that are related to Malabar cooking, when I am from the Malabar side. It is mainly because there are so many forgotten recipes, that I had eaten during my childhood, but have not had it since then for many many years. Some of these books have really helped me discover some of those forgotten tastes, that I have recorded here and would continue to record. But this payasam was something of the first kind for me….   Just before moving on, the Shhh Cooking Challenge that was started by Priya akka sometime back was on hold for the past few months due to her… 

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Easy Pear Crisp

Some challenges give the flexibility of wanting to participate and that maybe the reason why I like to participate in the Shh… Cooking Secretly Challenge, another initiative of Priyaakka. Whenever I am in a mood, I participate and I have loved the interactions that comes with it with the other bloggers. To see the previous challenges I have participated, you can check out here!   This month, I was teamed with Lakshmi. This is the second time I am being teamed with her. The first one was when I made the masala paal. This time, she gave me a very interesting combination of pear and brown sugar. First of all, pear is not a fruit that I like. My mattamma loves those yellow hard pears. She would faithfully sit in the backyard corner, peeling of the skin and as she would keep them on the plate, we would keep sneaking… 

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Kadala Parippu Pradhaman ~ Kerala Chana Dal Kheer

I guess I have been working on all the challenges this month. I can’t believe it myself! All the other posts, apart from the challenges are pulled from my drafts. When the dip in cooking happens, challenges do boost up your mood. What I do is I print out the recipe challenge and post it on my fridge door based on what to post first. So each time I go up and down the kitchen, my eyes go on it and the date of posting. That helps me to keep a mental calculation of the last date by which I should finish making it. Another thing I do is that most of the time, or almost every time I halve the recipe. You will always see that my posts serve not more than 4. This helps me to control our intake – most of the challenges are unfortunately sweet posts… 

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Turmeric Milk/ Haldi Doodh ~ Masala Paal

My first food related post after transferring the blog to its new domain! On Saturday, once I got it done, I kept staring at the name several times… still not able to believe that I will not be seeing the old “http://sweettoothraf.blogspot.com” anymore and it is more or less like a website now! But whatever said and done, sometimes we need to take decisions to move our hobbies to our next level, but that doesn’t mean that I stop being what I was. InShaAllah, hope to keep on with the same spirit…   I have been mentioning how I have been taking part in challenges to bring back my zest for cooking. So this time, I decided to be a part of the Shhh… Cooking Secretly Challenge, a brain child of Priya akka. You can find my previous challenges done over here! We are paired with a fellow blogger, who… 

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Potato Cheese Frittata

What do you do when you cook something for a challenge, click the pictures, think that they look good and then finish off the whole plate, only to find that the pictures did not turn out the way you wanted them to be? That’s what exactly happened with this picture – I thought they looked perfect on the camera screen but they just weren’t when they popped up on the laptop screen. With the shifting work that I am neck deep in, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to cook and re-shoot again. So here I am in this post, with a blurred image, which InShaAllah will be replaced when I cook it again. For this month Sshhh…. Cooking Secretly Challenge, I was paired with Priya from Priya’s Menu and she gave me potato and cheese as my ingredients. In fact, I must say that she was such a… 

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