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 Mixed Berry Overnight Smoothie

  You will still keep saying a lot of vegan stuff on this blog. Even though I am off from the diet, I still go for it when I don’t want to feel bloated or just want to go light. Very recently, a colleague of mine started Ayurveda for his skin treatment and now whatever I bring for them to eat, I have to make it vegan. 😀 So I still continue to explore it as much as I can. In fact, the thought that you can make desserts and dishes without eggs, milk and butter is definitely an encouragement. There was a time when baking without eggs and butter would have been considered “sacrilege” but not any more! 😀   But we ain’t baking anything today, but sharing with you an “overnight smoothie”. You must have read of overnight oats, but smoothie? Yes, the only difference is that instead… 

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Kettle Popcorn

  I am trying to remember when did I get the idea of “kettle popcorn”. I just don’t remember… seriously! Kettle popcorn is nothing but popcorn with a slight sweetness. It isn’t caramel popcorn, yet not just the normal popcorn. This popcorn seems to have originated from the US, you can read a little bit on Wikipedia but more than that, I don’t know. 😀 I am still wondering about its name. It isn’t made in a kettle, yet, why is it called so? Hehe…   The process is just like normal popcorn, just that you add some sugar, which melts and covers over the popcorn giving it a slight sweetness. The sugar actually becomes one reason why you have to be extra careful while popping it, since there are high chances of the sugar getting burned. So do trust your ears and nose while making this popcorn! 😉 Just… 

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Aash-mal-Zaffran ~ Emirati Saffron Rice

  I have been wanting to post more Emirati recipes but that doesn’t seem to be happening. I had initially planned at doing one recipe per month, but things are not going as per plan. I try to keep a healthy mix of all kinds of recipes on the blog, and Alhamdulillah, I feel I am doing a fair enough job. 🙂 I am actually happy with it, since I don’t want to feel any pressure regarding concentrating on one cuisine, especially when you have to be extra careful as to how your folks would react to different flavors. 🙂  But, yes, this year, I have been trying to keep a tap on cooking more local recipes and I am sure I will be able to keep recording them at a good enough pace rather than keep them waiting. 😉   Today, I am sharing a very simple recipe but… 

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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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Cheera Upperi ~ Amaranth Stir Fry

  Moving to the final recipe for the Blogging Marathon #74 under the theme “Quick and Easy Stir fries”, I chose to post this super simple yet goodness loaded amaranth leaves stir fry aka “Cheera Upperi”.   I have always said that I feel blessed to stay in a country like UAE where you get abundant supply of produce any time of the year. Umma would wait to come here to have her share of amaranth leaves. Amaranth is said to be power house of iron and is have a lot of vitamins and minerals in it. Back home, she says that the leaves are so heavily sprayed with pesticides that you can’t eat them at all. Attempts to grow them in our backyard have been futile too. D is trying his best to turn the barren land around our house into a little patio. So far, he has had… 

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Vendakka Upperi ~ Ladyfinger Stir Fry

    In yesterday’s post, I explained the difference between an “upperi” and a “thoran”. While yesterday’s was a thoran, today’s is an upperi – a quick, simple stir fry of ladyfinger without any coconut. This is the second of the three back to back recipes, as a part of the Blogging Marathon #74, under the theme “Quick and Easy Stir Fries”.   The slimy ladyfinger is always a pain to cook. If there is a little water in it, it spoils up the entire appearance of the dish. What I normally do is wash the ladyfinger in warm water and then spread it out on a kitchen towel or handtowel. Once most of the water is drained, I wipe off each one of them individually. Yes, it is a lot of work, but you will thank yourself for doing it. 😀 Then I get to cutting it. This vegetable… 

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Achinga Payar Thoran ~ String Beans Stir Fry

  We are a family who loves stir fries. And I would say, Alhamdulillah for that. All the folks needs with rice is some simple curry to go with it and loads of “upperi”, as we call it.  When umma was here, she used to make lunch and she would ask D to cut the vegetables for making the stir fry, since a minimum of a kg would be required to be made and still it wouldn’t be enough. 😀 The girls don’t even need fish but they would eat their rice well if they have a vegetable stir fry by the side. Usually it is beetroot, carrot or cabbage and for me, it’s always got to be french beans!   In Malayalam terminology, “upperi” or “mezhukupuratti”, simply means stir fried vegetables in some oil, with minimal seasoning. It may or may not include coconut. But when you say “thoran”,… 

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Mango Coconut Milk Pudding

  Many bloggers would be aware of this awesome group of bloggers, coordinated by Srivalli, that runs the Blogging Marathon month after month. I have always been wanting to join them, but was not sure how much I could keep up with them, since I cook more on my whims rather than by following a theme. Ever since the beginning of the year, I have been looking to get back my blogging mojo and nothing better than doing a trial to see how I fare in this lovely event!   The Blogging Marathon is now in its edition #74 this month. That’s quite a long time, isn’t it? 🙂 From the themes for the month, I decided to choose “Are you Pudding me?” for these three days. Pudding – something that I love, isn’t it? 🙂 And I didn’t have much difficulty finalizing what I should be sharing over the… 

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Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich

  After the Secret Recipe Club came to an end, Sarah started an event called “Fantastical Food Fighting“. Every month she gives a theme and a date to publish the post. The best part about this event is that you can join in if you want and there is no pressure to be doing posts. Most of the challenges require you to do continuous posts to remain a part of the group, which is not the case with this event. Hence I took a plunge and submitted my name. However, till date I haven’t been able to participate despite some interesting themes. But this month, I got the opportunity to be a part of it and here I am!   The theme for this month is PB&J, which is the short form for “peanut butter and jelly”. The recipe needed to have peanuts and a fruit in it. All I… 

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One Pot Turmeric Vegetable Rice

  Off late, there is too much floating on the net regarding working mothers vs stay-at-home mothers. When I read some articles, it literally makes my blood boil. Since when have we started questioning mothers at home as to why they are not working? Since when have we started to judge working mothers as to how less they care for their children? With the world changing, our thought process seems to be getting narrower than expanding, without us even realizing it. We judge homemakers (a much better phrase than being called a housewife!) as “lazy”, “not ambitious”, “free all the time”, etc. We judge working mothers as “over-ambitious”, “career oriented”, “not bothered about the kids”, etc. Ever since Rasha was born, I moved from a working woman to a working mother. The past ten years has not been easy, whether it is mentally, emotionally or physically. There are times when I… 

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Palak Pakodas ~ Spinach Fritters

  At times, the feeling of numbness is intense. It tightens you, it makes you feel so helpless and hopeless. Alhamdulillah, life is good but at times, when you think about certain things, you feel a void in front of you. I am talking about death… not an interesting topic to talk about or hear about, isn’t it? “Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.” (Surah Aal-Imraan:185) This is a verse we all know, we stick to, and we tell ourselves. During a weekend, when we were on our drive towards Umm-ul-Quwain, we stopped by the mosque to pray Asr. We were surprised that there were many women… 

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Tropical Smoothie Bowl

  As humans, we tend to sulk a lot, don’t we? Just like how I am feeling today… My parents left after a three month stay last night. I don’t want to sound cliched by saying that I am already missing them. We all need our parents around us all the time, even though sometimes they may run over your head and make you go out of control. But parents are parents, and nobody will love us more than them in this world. I am thankful that I have had my fair share of having them around whenever I have needed them, or whenever they have needed a break from their routine back home. The kids were terrible last night. Rasha kept weeping herself to sleep while Azza kept muttering, “Enikku ummaane kaananm” (I want to see umma) just a couple of hours after she had left. I know they… 

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Thenga Urulakizhangu ~ Potatoes with Fresh Coconut

  I guess there are hardly anybody who hates potatoes. I love potatoes… In fact, this is one vegetable I can have in any form at any time of the day. It is also a vegetable I look at when I am really not in a mood to cook anything and want something quick fix. Here are some of my favorite potato curries on the blog…   Naadan Beef Potato Curry Varutharacha Urulakizhangu Curry Aaloo Kheema Aaloo Methi Kashmiri Dum Aaloo Urulakizhangu Ozhichukoottaan (my favorite!!!) Urulakizhangu Musakhan Aaloo Gobhi Puriwala Aloo     I don’t know if you noticed but there was a potato dish peeking from behind the Beetroot Pooris and it was this delicious “Thenga Urulakizhangu”. The name of the dish literally translates as “Coconut Potatoes”. Or let’s rephrase it as “Potatoes with Coconut” for grammar sake. 😉 I adapted this dish from a humongous book called “660… 

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Vegan Papaya Blueberry Smoothie

  Even though I am very well away from my vegan diet, at times, I do go back to them when I feel really bloated. 😀 I am of the belief that our body needs a little of everything to survive and pull on, so you will never see advocating one type of eating habit. Yet, when we go a bit overboard with eating, a raw vegan diet for a few days does really calm your system down. It is only based on my experience and not necessarily it works for everybody. We have to see how each of our bodies react and eat accordingly. I may brag about it but always end up being the last person to do it, though off late I am trying to really watch out what I am eating.   Sharing with you today, a delicious vegan smoothie, that is one of my favorites… 

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