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Creamy Chai

My creamy chai is definitely a warm comforting drink. Filled with spices and tea as any chai is, this creamy chai is excellent as is or with espresso giving it that extra caffein kick. My chai is definitely not a traditional simple chai, nor does it have a super special blend of spices. But it is delicious and fairly tasty and quick to make.

Spice Blend for 1 Serving

  • 1 heaping tsp ground cinnamon*
  • 1/2 tsp allspice*
  • 1/4 tsp ground dried ginger (fresh will give more kick)*
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg*
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper*
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla powder*

Ingredients

Recipe

First, put your water in a small saucepan on the stove over high heat. To it add your tea and spice blend. Boil this mixture four around 3-5 minutes depending on how strong you like your tea.

At this point, you can add your milk straight to the pan to heat, or if you like that “latte feel” like me, you can warm your milk in the microwave for a couple minutes and froth it in a french press like the percolator “latte” recipe. After I warm and froth the milk, I strain the tea and spices into my cup (the water should have reduced a little now to make this more of a concentrate) also adding the agave and pour in the milk. Viola, you’re ready to enjoy!

*Even if you have almost none of these spices, you can make a chai; it will just be more traditional which is also good! A traditional easy chai is black tea, cardamom, ginger, and milk. Easy as that. Adding sweetener, what milk you use, and how you make your chai are all totally up to your taste buds. Have fun with this recipe!

Palak Tofu

Palak tofu is healthy, zingy, and full of fiber and protein; it is my version of palak paneer. Created out of a need for an economical paneer substitute, palak tofu is just as delicious. If you can find/make and afford paneer, you can use this recipe to make an amazing palak paneer, but palak tofu is fantastic and happens to be vegan!

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch or 9 oz bag of palak/spinach
  • handful of coriander/cilantro
  • 1 block tofu*
  • oil for cooking*
  • 1 tsp jeera/cumin seeds
  • 5-8 cloves garlic*
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 jalepeno*
  • 1/2 bell pepper*
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 1 c water
  • salt to taste (about 1 1/2 tsp for me)
  • 1 heaping tsp garam masala

Recipe

Wash your palak and boil some water to blanch it. When blanching your palak, you only need to let it sit in the water for about 15 seconds or until it turns bright green. Once it is blanched, drain it and rinse with cold water to stop it from continuing to cook. Now blend your spinach and cilantro together; it may require a little water to blend properly which is ok.

It should look smooth like this, and will be about a cup or so of puree.

Now, heat a pan over medium heat with the oil (I used butter, oops) and chop your garlic and tofu while it heats. Once the oil is hot, add the jeera and garlic and allow to turn light brown before adding the tofu. You’ll want to fry your tofu until it gets some color and add some salt as both add flavor.

I’m very much a “use as few pans as possible” girl. You can cook the tofu separately if you like though, so it doesn’t break or crowd the pan.

While the tofu is cooking, chop your onions and tomatoes. Once the tofu is cooked to your liking, add the onions and let them turn translucent. Once the onions are translucent, add the tomatoes and let them soften. After they become fairly soft, smoosh the tomatoes on the side of the pan so they will break down into a paste faster. At this point, you can add your garam masala as well to let it cook a minute before adding the coriander/palak puree.

When I add the tomatoes, I add them to the side of the pan, so I can pay special attention to them and smoosh them up later more easily.

Add your coriander/palak puree to the pan after the tomatoes cook another 2-3 minutes and combine everything well. If the consistency is too think at this point, begin adding the cup of water until it reaches a consistency with which you’re happy. After your palak tofu is all combined, taste for seasoning, adjust, and let cook about 2 minutes before taking off the heat. The longer you cook everything, the darker your palak will become. So if you want it to remain bright green, keep your cooking time low. Time to enjoy!

This can be a fairly fast recipe, I’ve got it down to 20-30 minutes now depending on how I prep it!

*I encourage substituting paneer for tofu if you can, and it’s your thing. Also, use what you like or can eat! There is a lot of garlic in this recipe, and I think it works well. But adjust the garlic and jalepeno to your liking!

Spicy Cacao Iced Latte

This spicy cacao latte was born from boredom and a love of coffee and spice. The spice and coffee will wake you up well, and the cacao will give you that delicious chocolatiness to enjoy.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • dash of cayenne
  • dash of turmeric
  • 1 tsp maple syrup or agave
  • 2 c non-dairy milk
  • coffee from moka pot
  • ice

Recipe

Brew your coffee in the percolator; mine is a 3 cup percolator so you get about 1/2 c actual concentrated coffee from it.

Blend the milk and spices to incorporate them and get a little froth.

Now add the coffee and ice to a cup with your spicy milk and enjoy!!

Sweet Potato Falafel Wraps

Sweet potato falafels may sound like an abomination to falafel (or at least it did to me when I first tried it), but it is incredible! The flavor combinations are delicious, balanced, and it’s easier for me to make than traditional falafels due to the sweet potatoes. When you combine the sweet potato falafel (which are packed with protein) with onions, peppers, and a special tahini sauce all wrapped up, you will wish you tried this sooner. This is my go to recipe for falafel right now, and it is to die for.

Ingredients for Falafel

  • 2/3 c dried chickpeas
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • half lime
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce*
  • 2 tbsp coriander powder*
  • 1 tbsp paprika*
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne*
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp jeera/cumin seeds*
  • 1/4 onion*
  • 1 handful coriander/cilantro

Ingredients for Toppings

  • 3/4 onion (use leftovers from above)
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 1/2 jalepeno*
  • bunch of spinach
  • tortilla, pita, rice, roti, greens

Ingredients for Tahini Sauce

  • 5 heaping tbsp tahini
  • half lime
  • 8 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp agave
  • handful of fresh mint

Recipe for Sweet Potato Falafels

Rinse and soak your chickpeas overnight, and when the chickpeas are swollen, boil your sweet potato until soft. In a blender or food processor, grind the chickpeas until they’re the consistency of bread crumbs. You don’t want a paste, but you don’t want whole or half chickpeas in your falafels. Dump the chickpeas in a large bowl. Mash the sweet potato into the chickpeas until combined.

Finely chop the garlic and onion before adding to the mix. Go ahead and add the dark soy sauce, lime juice, and spices to the falafel mixture as well. Once all of this is mixed thoroughly, incorporate the fresh coriander (we wait to add it until the end as it tends to be fragile).

Heat a nonstick pan with a little oil to medium-high heat. Use your hands or a pair of spoons to make the mixture into little balls or patties. Now, you’re ready to fry or bake them. I opt to cook them with a little oil to make them healthier, but still seem slightly fried. Each falafel will need to cook on each side around 3-5 minutes or until browned and crispy.

Recipe for Toppings

For the toppings, all you need to do is saute the onions, bell pepper, and jalepeno until the onions are browned. Wash and set aside a handful of spinach or greens of your choosing.

Recipe for Tahini Sauce

Combine your tahini, lime juice, agave, and water in a small bowl or cup. Whisk everything together until it forms a velvety smooth sauce or paste. Once it has reached a smooth consistency, add finely chopped mint leaves and let sit as that allows the flavors to develop together.

Assembly!!!

Throw the toppings and sweet potato falafels on your preferred carb or greens, and top with the tahini sauce. It blew my mind; I hope it does the same to yours.

**Inspired by the Happy Pear brothers recipe for Sweet potato falafel nuggets**

*As always friends, use what you have. If you happen to not have an ingredient that’s not a main part, it’s ok. I encourage you to substitute it! This makes an excellent recipe to meal prep, as you can reheat the little falafels throughout the week!

Banana Oat Choco Bread

Banana bread is one of my most favorite recipes. This banana bread is moist and delicious, and with the chocolate chips, it’s to die for. Like most of my other recipes as well, it took me a lot of experimenting to get this recipe right. My banana oat choco bread is easy, delicious, and heavenly; your coworkers, family, or friends will love it so much they will be begging for your more!

Wet Ingredients

  • 3 large ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 8 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter soft*
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 1/2-3/4 c brown sugar
  • 2 eggs*
  • 1/2 c evaporated milk*
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 c all purpose flour (AP)
  • 1 c bread flour (if unavailable, use AP)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon*
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg*

Add Ins

  • 1 c rolled oats*
  • 3/4 c chocolate chips*
  • 3/4 c walnuts*

Recipe

Preheat your oven to 325 F and butter 2 small bread pans with the wrapper from your butter, non-stick cooking spray, or oil.

Cream your butter and sugars together in a large bowl; mash your bananas separately. Now add together along with the rest of the wet ingredients. Combine well.

Place a sifter over the bowl containing your wet ingredients. Begin measuring out your dry ingredients into the sifter and sift into the wet ingredients. If you don’t have a sifter, just combine the dry ingredients in another bowl and then dump them into the wet ingredients. (I just find a sifter easier to clean and, hey, your dry ingredients are sifted now!) Go ahead and throw in your add ins as well.

Now take a spatula, fork, wooden spoon, your hands, whatever you have and mix everything together. DO NOT OVER MIX. If you over mix, your banana bread will not be moist; pretty much just don’t work too hard.

Now, pour your batter into the pans as evenly as possible and place in the oven to bake for approximately 45 minutes. Or you can dump the batter into 1 large pan and bake around 1 1/2 hours.

Depending on your oven, you may want to pull out the banana bread sooner or later, so begin checking your banana bread at the 30 minute mark. You can insert a tooth pick into the bread to see if it is cooked in the center. If it comes out clean you’re good; if dirty, you need to bake your banana bread some more. I do this with a fork or knife as I don’t keep toothpicks around, and it seems to work just fine.

Alright, once your delicious Banana Oat Choco Bread is done, it’s ready to eat. It is recommended to let any bread cool before you eat it, but I can never wait that long. I don’t think it hurts the integrity of the bread at all to eat it sooner either, so enjoy!!

Get in my tummy! (Took it to work the next day, and all of it disappeared!)

P.S. This bread is delicious with some extra butter, peanut butter, or tahini on it!!

*Substitute these ingredients for whatever you enjoy or can eat. I made this recipe with flax eggs instead of real ones, and it turned out fantastic as always! Also, as you can tell, there are no chocolate chips in mine because I was out, which is incredibly sad.

Strawberry Gin Blendy

My strawberry gin blendy was born from the heat of summer, love of fruit (and gin), and the necessity of cleaning out my freezer. You can make this with whatever frozen berries you have. It is light and refreshing, alive with flavor, easy, and a lot healthier than buying pre-made sugary mixes.

Ingredients

  • 1 heaping c frozen strawberries
  • 1 oz gin
  • 1/2-1 tsp agave*
  • 1/2 lime*
  • 1/2-3/4 c ginger beer*
  • 1 sprig mint for garnish*

Recipe

Ok folks, this is almost as easy as it gets. Throw everything into a blender, and blend away! Pour in a vessel or drink straight from the blender with your sprig of mint on top. Enjoy!

*The only ingredients necessary for this recipe are your frozen strawberries and gin. Feel empowered to use whatever alcohol you have on hand, and experiment with different liquids like lemonade, limeade, juice, sparkling water, or whatever you have on hand.

As you can see, my strawberries aren’t the prettiest, but they sure taste good!

Percolator “Latte”

Hi all! One of the first types of homemade coffee I ever experimented with and got hooked on was using a Percolator like a Bialetti. It doesn’t require precise measurements, buying a 2 cup one is fairly cheap, they last forever, they’re easy to use, and you can make multiple types of coffee with them.

Some people will tell you that a percolator makes espresso; this isn’t technically true because of the pressure required to make espresso. That being said, a percolator is the easiest way (I have found) to make a coffee that is as close to espresso as I can make at home. As for the milk for the “latte” (which I put in quotation marks because a latte uses espresso, and technically this doesn’t use espresso), you will need a french press to create the foam.

Ingredients

  • 2 heaping tbsp light roast coffee beans
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • about 2/3 c water
  • 1 1/4 c almond milk or preferred milk

Recipe

First things first, you need to grind your coffee and cardamom together. I use a little electric spice grinder given to me years ago by my grandparents. It isn’t very precise and won’t uniformly grind your beans, but it works for me. In the spice grinder, it takes about 1 minute of long pulses to grind my beans to the right size.

After grinding your beans, put water in your percolator. You’ll want to add the water so the level is just below the safety valve on the inside. If you cover the valve, the valve won’t do it’s job in the case of the percolator becoming too pressurized.

Now, add your grounds into the filter. Some people put grounds into the filter and leave the grounds unpacked, so the water can go through them more easily. In my opinion, this method is good for more diluted or weaker coffee, which is what you want when you like to drink the coffee as is. For this coffee, we want it to be strong – as close to espresso as possible. To make the coffee strong, we need to pack in the grounds.

To pack in the grounds, I like to add a couple spoonfuls at a time, and pack them in the filter with the palm of my had. Continue to pack in grounds until the filter is full, but ensure there is a little room at the top in order to screw on the top easily. Make sure you keep the edge of the filter clean, or when you screw on the top it will not seal properly.

Now screw on the top; ensure it seals tightly by cleaning the top of the filter and well before placing the top on. Now it is time to put your percolator on the heat.

Heat a burner to medium/high, and place your percolator on it. Make sure not to place the handle over the heat, as it may melt. Open the lid to the percolator and keep an eye on it as it heats. Watch for the coffee to begin dripping out of the top.

While you are waiting and continuing to watch, throw your almond milk in the microwave for around 1.5-2 minutes. Not to hot, or it won’t foam properly.

Once the reservoir becomes half full, turn your heat down to low/medium so the process slows. Wait for the coffee to almost reach the top (3/4 full) before turning off the heat. Your goal is to turn off the heat a little before your coffee spews out the top. This will ensure your coffee does not have a bitter taste and will not make a mess on your stove!

Almost there! Now you take your milk out of the microwave and add it to the clean french press. Place the plunger and lid on the top and begin plunging the milk to sort-of froth the milk. Do this around 30 seconds to 1 minute until you see that the milk doubled in volume.

Now take the lid off and begin tamping (banging it on the counter to release bubbles) and swirling it (to make the milk silky smooth after the bubbles have been tamped out). Do this until the texture of your milk is silky and smooth. It should look like similar to the picture below.

I put the foamy milk in an old coffee cup as the special coating on the inside helps the foam become smoother. Also, I create a little pointed pour spout by bending the cup.

Now pour about half the coffee into a small mug, sprinkle some cinnamon in, and add your milk to it. You can try to do some latte art, as it can be a lot of fun, but it will taste the same in the end: delicious and creamy. Enjoy!

To buy or research buying a Bialetti moka pot or percolator, click here!

*This recipe has a lot of technique and years of personal experience and research involved. Thus, it is why this post tends to be wordier and more specific than most. Below is the same coffee made with rice milk, which I enjoy more except the fact that rice milk doesn’t foam well.

Sorry for the horrible picture quality!!

Omelette and Oatmeal

Good morning everyone! Today I don’t have to work, so I’m going to take my time making a breakfast I enjoy. Omelettes are a favorite of mine, as is oatmeal. Plus, both are incredibly easy and cost effective to make. I’m sure everyone has their own recipes for omelettes and oatmeal, but here’s mine. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients for Omelette

  • 1/4 onion*
  • 1/4 bell pepper*
  • 1/2 jalepeno
  • 2 handfuls spinach*
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper*

Ingredients for Oatmeal

  • 1/4 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 water
  • pinch salt*
  • handful frozen blueberries*
  • chia seeds*
  • flax seeds*
  • agave or preferred sweetener*
  • almond milk*
  • cinnamon*
  • walnuts or any other nuts*
  • tahini or nut butter*

Recipe for Omelette

Heat a pan over medium heat with a little oil. Slice your onion, bell pepper, and jalepeno before adding your onion and jalepeno to the pan. Wait around 3-5 minutes before adding your bell pepper. (I used some leftover sauted onion/bell pepper/garlic/jalepeno and was able to skip this cooking process.)

Once your veggies are cooked, add the spinach and cook for about a minute, allowing it to wilt. Whisk your eggs together and add to the pan after the spinach has wilted. Cook the omelette for about 3 minutes on the first side and 1 minute on the other side as most of the egg will have cooked through from cooking the first side longer. Your omelette is ready! Definitely add some cheese and/or hot sauce to this if you like.

Omelette with hot sauce!

Recipe for Oatmeal

Take a small pot and put it over medium/high heat. Place your oats, water, and the just a little bit of salt in the pot. Let it cook for around 5 minutes, and then it will be done.

Everything else is a topping; so add everything to a bowl and mix together. If you choose to add the tahini or a nut butter, this will help your oatmeal to be extremely creamy and rich.

Yummy!

*So much of this is optional. You can make this “bare bones” with just the eggs, oats, and water if that’s what you have, or you can use even more vegetables in the omelette and more toppings in the oatmeal. It is all up to you and your preferences. Cherry tomatoes, arugula, fresh herbs, and goat cheese would be beautiful additions to the omelette. Dried fruit, hemp seeds, or fresh seasonal fruit would be lovely additions to the oatmeal. Choose what you enjoy!

Check out my next post to see the coffee recipe for that cup o’ jo!

Veggie Burger Forever

I love veggie burgers. When I was younger, I would make my own veggie patties to fry and use on my burger, but these days I just grab some at the store. Fake meat burgers are great for this recipe; but use whatever you have. If it’s just a burger and bread, that works. If you have some greens that are about to go bad, and some leftover vegetables from the other night, use them! It’s hard to f*ck this one up.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 onion*
  • 1 bell pepper*
  • 1 clove garlic*
  • 1 veggie burger
  • 1 egg*
  • 1/4 c hummus*
  • handful spinach*
  • zaatar*
  • 2 slices of bread, or a bun*

Recipe

This is a quick recipe! Fifteen minutes, and you’re ready to eat. Slice up your onion, bell pepper, and garlic while you have a pan warming on medium heat with oil. Throw your onions in the pan when it’s hot. Wait about 5 minutes for them to cook, before adding the garlic and bell pepper (we add them later so they don’t overcook or burn).

While you’re cooking your veggies, either microwave your veggie burger or put it on another skillet on medium heat to warm. As the burger is warming and if there is room, put some oil or butter down and fry an egg. The burger and the egg should cook within 5 minutes or so.

After the burger is done cooking, I throw a couple scoops of hummus on top and place a lid on the pan after turning off the heat; this way, the hummus warms without having to microwave it in a separate dish or anything. Toast your bread and prepare to plate.

Take your bread of choice and spread some more hummus on it (helps it not to be dry). Throw down your egg, burger, cooked veggies, and greens after which I like to shake a little zaatar on top. Zaatar helps give everything a bit more flavor! Now you’re ready to eat.

*Everything except the burger is optional here. Swap the veggies for ones you enjoy like squash, chilis, and mushrooms. Use whatever condiments you prefer. You can definitely take the bread out of this recipe and make your burger on just greens, tortillas, or anything you have. This recipe can absolutely be made vegan!

Hummus

Great hummus is amazing, and it can be life altering. It has been an obsession for me, for the entirety of my adult life. However, most people haven’t had great hummus; they’ve had store bought versions or their own homemade types that aren’t necessarily true to traditional flavors. You can choose to eat it from the store, or you can make this incredible recipe that you will much prefer as I have poured years of time, passion, and love into this hummus.

Ingredients

  • 32 oz canned chickpeas (best if you start fresh, soak, and cook, but canned are more convenient for me at the moment)
  • 1+ c tahini
  • 1 lemon (or lime in a pinch)
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • salt to taste (1/4-1/2 tsp)
  • chickpea water from cooking
  • olive oil for garnish*
  • paprika, zaatar, cumin, harissa for garnish*

Recipe

It’s not so much the ingredients that make a good hummus, but the method and ratios. To begin, drain and rinse your chickpeas until there are no more bubbles. Plop them in a pot on medium heat with the garlic. Fill the empty can with water 1 1/2 times and add to the pot. Make sure to boil the chickpeas until they smoosh between your fingers VERY easily, but not until they disintegrate. (Approximately 30 minutes.)

Chickpeas once cooked and looking about to burst.

Once the chickpeas are cooked, take a utensil with slots and fish them out of the water, so you can keep the water for later use.

Into the blender or food processor goes your lemon, tahini, and some (about 1/3 c) of the hot chickpea water. Blend until you get a smooth, light, and fluffy consistency. It may take a little extra water or tahini here or there until you get to that point, which is ok. One cannot have too much tahini.

Shown above is the evolution of the sauce (enlarged so you can see it clearly), from the ingredients and first blend to the second blend after adding more chickpea water. The picture to the far right is the end consistency you want (this sauce doubles as a salad dressing :0 ).

Once you have achieved this, dump in your salt and chickpeas (they must hot out of the pot), except a couple spoonfuls chickpeas to serve on top of the finished yumminess. Blend everything together until you reach a fluffy light consistency again; it may take more tahini (1-2 tbsp) and hot chickpea water (1/4 c) to reach this point. Do not despair; it took me YEARS to get to this recipe. All you need to do is tweak your ratios a bit.

This is the consistency you want: velvet.

After reaching that light, fluffy, and creamy heavenly goodness, plate it while hot and fresh, top with the leftover hot chickpeas, olive oil, and your choice of spices. Serve with naan, pita, roti, flatbread of some sort, potatoes, roasted vegetables, pulaos, biryani, chorizo potatoes, huevos rancheros, fresh greens, rice, etc; seriously, whatever you have! You can even use hummus as a pasta sauce if you cook the pasta and add it to the hummus with some pasta water to thin it out. I’ve done it with pasta and broccoli; it was delicious. Whatever you do, I highly, highly recommend that you eat this fresh instead of popping it in the fridge. It may be good cold, but it will be amazing fresh.

*None of these ingredients are optional except the garnishes if you want quality hummus, otherwise it will be mediocre.

The tahini I buy at a middle eastern market. The seeds aren’t toasted as much for this tahini (making it lighter and less bitter) than the seeds in the tahini you find at American chain grocery stores.