Thursday, December 29, 2011

The party is not over yet

It's something that rarely happens to me at this time of the year -- weight gain. It has happened NOW! I have added a solid 4 pounds to my weight over the last 2 weeks. Until now I thought I was one of the lucky ones who'd really never have to worry about weight gain.

What do I do? Not eat desserts, not go to parties, skip meals, exercise rigorously? Anybody out there give me a way out of this without having to starve or go on any rigid diets.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What types of food should hospital cafeterias serve?

People who get admitted into hospitals are there for specific health issues; to get themselves treated, to stay healthy at least during the time they are there, learn better health related habits...

Recently I had an ailing parent in the hospital and was there literally everyday. What did they serve at meals? Croissants, donuts, ice-cream and of course potatoes, fried foods... All these for patients!

The cafeteria is a whole different story. It had tons of desserts, baked, fatty, oily foods. Almost everything they served was either loaded with additives, preservatives, msg, sugar, excess salt etc.

What do you say to the hospital food management people? Is their goal to get patients more sick than they probably are before they come in? It would be an anomaly to find a hospital with healthy foods in their cafeteria or their vending machines.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Vege burgers can be tasty too!

Well, I have found a lot depends not only on the stuff in between the bread but also on the bread itself.

There are several options for vege burgers.

1. Huge portabella mushrooms marinated, spiced and grilled, topped with all the frills a burger should have. Red onions are a must by the way.
2. Spinach added to a ball of well cooked and mashed mushrooms, also well spiced helps.
3. Firm tomatoes with Mozarella cheese witha dollop of mayo makes a great burger.
4. Soaked and ground lentils, spiced, cooked and fried like a falafel.
5. Grilled asian eggplants with sauteed onions.
6. Cooked, mashed and spiced up potatoes made the south Indian way make excellent burgers.

With a bit of creative thinking, there are more possibilities. Try these first.

As I started off, a good burger bun is important. Soft sumptuous ones with sesame seeds are tastiest I've found. You may also warm the bun just a bit after the fillings go in.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What's in your refrigerator?

It varies household to household. The standard ones are probably eggs, milk, bread and juice. Maybe some cheese, tomatoes?

On an average very few refrigerators have fresh vegetables and fruits, yogurt or hummus. In spite of all the buzz about organic foods, eating healthy, more fruits, nuts and veges, few have changed over.

The best way I've found to balance a vegetarian diet is to have everyday at the dinner table, at least the recommended servings of vegetables, fruits, bread, nuts and grains. Dividing and alternating them every other day if you are not able to accommodate all in a day's meal may be a good way to balance the week's nutrition. Desserts, alcohol and any other fatty food items may be restricted to one weekend day of the week. This way you are able to enjoy everything in balance.

What's for dinner today?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Love your Quesadillas

One of the easiest, quickest, most nutritious meal is lunch or dinner that has Quesadillas as the main entree. Add some beans and Guacamole to it and make it more wholesome. It is better than a Mexican restaurant's meal. At home, you can make it without any of the extra fat such as lard in your beans or unnecessary salt.

Here's a recipe I use for Quesadillas-

Corn tortillas
Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Firm tomatoes, diced
Red onions, diced
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Fresh Jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped

May use veges such as chopped broccoli, spiced up tofu, or cooked and spiced up beans of any kind for filling.

Spread a spoon of oil on a hot pan. Lay corn Tortillas. Spread on top cheese, tomatoes, onions, jalapenos and filling. Let it brown and the cheese melt. Fold over, flip and brown on both sides.

Serve with shredded lettuce, and salsa. Again, there is nothing to beat home-made salsa. Look for it in my next blog.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The best gift for Christmas

Kids love Christmas tree in their home with presents under it, color, lighting, music and all the fun things that come along with the holiday season.

Adults like all of the above and a clean home to start the next year. I am not that much into Christmas but I do like a serene, clean home. The best Christmas gift to me would be a box of excellent Swiss chocolates and a cleaning person to tidy and clean my home top to bottom. That'll give me piece of mind, the picky one that I am. The gift that I can give that person is a good meal from Vidya Swamy's Kitchen!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's back to soups


Feels like we had just experienced winter and now it's back, almost. Cold weather means more soups. This is also the time to use our stored and frozen summer vegetables.

Here's a recipe from Vidya's kitchen. Try this simple Lentil Soup.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cauliflower Manchurian

An appetizing hors d'oeuvre for your party. This week's recipe is Cauliflower Manchurian.

InChin Restaurant in Aurora, IL

It's been a while since I wrote about a good restaurant. A couple weeks ago around Thanksgiving, our family visited this well known Indian Chinese restaurant in Aurora, IL called InChin. A non-descript place as they don't believe in good ambience and decor I guess. The food however was incredible. Coming from the suburbs of St. Louis, we were starved of good, decently-priced food. This place was a great treat.

We started off with a manchurian appetizer, a couple meat eaters ordered chicken manchurian. The food was spicy with fresh ingredients and exactlly how an Indo-Chinese restaurant's food should taste. This was followed by three other dishes, one tofu based vegetarian and a couple other meat dishes. Excellent again. We were thrilled and walked out truly satisfied. It was a late lunch and the place was quiet. Service was okay but the food was right on.

It is not easy to please foodies like me. I say it as it is. I would give InChin a 4.75 out of 5 rating. Can't wait to go back there the next time I'm in Chicago.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Shopping for kitchen items

Now is the best time to get the greatest deals on some of the expensive but attractive, durable and functional kitchen items.

I have found good designs at stores such as Williams & Sonoma, Home Goods, Pottery Barn and even Macy's or Target. The most effective way to shop is to first browse online, find the item and then purchase it in a store or purchase it online whichever is the least expensive. Do not skip overstock.com or for that matter Marshalls either. These stores always have good deals and left over items from the manufacturers. So you can bet they are less expensive than a regular or boutique store.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Forget science. What about common sense?

When it comes to diet and health I believe in spite of all the theories out there, common sense would serve us best.

Theories such as coffee is good, then bad, then good and a new report a day on coffee drinking doesn't give us anything. Eight glasses of water a day, first yes then no and then new theories that have come up on that can confuse the heck out of people.

So, why not just do everything in balance. Drink water to flush out toxins which means after every meal and a few times a day in between. Drink one to two cups coffee not any more. Add just a tsp. of salt a day to the food on your plate nothing while cooking. That could limit salt intake. Have an inch square piece of dark chocolate everyday. That's not overdoing! Adjust everything to a balanced intake and don't look for measurements, studies or theories.