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If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you that I have been dealing with anxiety + feeling overwhelmed a lot this week. It’s a little bit of personal + professional stuff but I hope it will pass soon but until gimme all the coffee and macaroons!If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you that Food, Pleasure, and Health will get a face-lift next week and I can’t wait. I really hope to transform the space into more engaging and meaningful community filled with wholesome recipes and inspiring wellness content. Here’s the new logo. 

If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you that I finished the e-book  –>  “10 Breakfast Ideas For Busy Bees”! I hope you will find some new and easy breakfast recipes to get your day started.

If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you that my yoga practice is going strong and consistent, which is rare for me. Since I joined the 30 day challenge, it has been so much easier to follow along.

Take a Peek at my Home Yoga Studio

If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you that I just finished reading book “Japanese Women Don’t Get Old or Fat” which was a quick, fun read about Japanese lifestyle and how to make it approachable everyday.  I just started reading “Silk and Song” by Dana Stabenow is about Wu Johanna,  granddaughter of the legendary trader Marco Polo and her travels through the Silk Road. 

If we were having coffee this morning, I’d share my current fav. – PB Mocha Smoothie,  jam- packed with caffeine, protein & naturally sweetened. If you are into smoothies or need some superfood add-ons, sign up to be on the exclusive newsletter because we are talking all about smoothie add-ons this month. 
If we were having coffee this morning, I’d ask if you have any good recommendation for house plants? I want to add more greenery to my space but for some reason, they don’t survive at all. I don’t know if I need to purchase them from a specific store or do something entirely different.

If we were having coffee this morning, what would you tell me if we were having coffee this morning?

The post Virtual Coffee Date appeared first on Food, Pleasure, and Health.

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Peanut Butter Mocha Smoothie spiked with caffeine, packed with protein, antioxidants & fiber is a great option or breakfast or snack. 

I want to officially wish you a Happy New Year with Peanut Butter Mocha Smoothie…I mean what is not to love about caffeine + chocolate + PB combo right? Ever since I got an espresso machine (which is recent btw), I have been exploring different possibilities with coffee. So far the most exciting creation is ice coffee cubes and I made regular and mocha ones. OMG guys, if you haven’t tried this already, just do it. It’s like having iced coffee at your disposal all the time, which you can drink straight up with cream or milk…or turn those cubes into substantial smoothie naturally sweetened and packed with protein, fiber, and other nutrients. I don’t make smoothies too often simply because my immersion blender limits what I can blend (and sometimes it leaves a weird texture) but I when I get on a smoothie train, it’s unstoppable. I am one of those people who needs a substantial, delicious smoothie otherwise, I get hungry immediately. This Peanut Butter Mocha Smoothie is packed with protein from milk (use non-based milk if you’d like)  and peanut butter (feel free to sub your fav nut or seed butter), fiber & sweetness from frozen bananas and dates, and a healthy dose of caffeine + antioxidants from espresso and cocoa powder to keep me going until lunch time rolls around.

Guide to Making a Smoothie if you are new to the world of smoothies!!

 

 

Dates are nutrient dense fruit providing nutrients such as potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, and fiber. The caramel-like taste from dates adds a nice sweetness naturally to smoothies, energy bites, or make a quick bite-size snack stuffed with cheese or nut butter. The trick to smooth & creamy smoothie is frozen fruit with  high content of soluble fiber and pectin (or banana in this case). I have seen frozen cauli and canned white beans being used but I have yet to explore other veggies except occasional greens like baby spinach and kale. I prefer my veggies in the form of a hearty salad. Adding ice to a smoothie also helps with the texture but instead of plain ice, I decided to make ice cubes infused with coffee and cocoa for Peanut Butter Mocha Smoothie. This way you can have your mocha and smoothie together, which totally counts as a wholesome breakfast. I used these pods, alternative nespresso capsules for my coffee. For this recipe, I used Honduras Pure Forte, a certified Fair trade International coffee that is low in acidity and has subtle note of chocolate & slightly aromatic!

To make coffee ice cubes – simply brew coffee according to the instruction and allow it to cool. Pour coffee into ice tray and freeze until solid. For the mocha version, I added 1 heaping tablespoon cooca powder to 1 cup coffee and mixed until well combined and pour into ice tray until frozen. From 1 pod, I was able to get about 8 ice cubes which is enough for 2 smoothies.

I hope you will give Peanut Butter Mocha Smoothie a try soon and share your creation using @foodpleasurehealth on instagram. You can also pin Peanut Butter Mocha Smoothie for later.

The recipe I am sharing below makes a generous portion for one but feel free to use more or less of the suggested ingredients per your taste.

Peanut Butter Mocha Smoothie
 
Author: Dixya @Food, Pleasure, and Health
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 4 mocha ice cubes
  • ½ sliced frozen banana (about 6 slices)
  • 4 pitted mejdool dates
  • 2 tablespoon natural, creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, optional and per taste
  • dash of cinnamon and sea salt, if desired
  • more ice for creamy texture
Instructions
  1. In a blender, add ice cubes, banana slices, peanut butter, dates, milk and blend well. Taste and add more cocoa powder and ice if desired.
  2. Optional to add cinnamon and sea salt as it enhances the flavor.
Notes
Dates and bananas add texture and sweetness to the smoothie. If using only bananas, you may want to add additional sweetener such as honey or maple syrup if you like sweeter smoothies. If you are skipping bananas, add more ice to get that thick creamy texture.
You can use caffeine free coffee if caffeine bothers you.
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If you are not into mocha, may I suggest you Wild Blueberry Ginger Kombucha Smoothie.

or, try Banana Dates Tahini Smoothie minus the caffeine. 

The post Peanut Butter Mocha Smoothie appeared first on Food, Pleasure, and Health.

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I have been loosely practicing yoga on & off for few years but as of late, it’s my favorite form of movement. I have tried local yoga studios and group classes in the past but I find practicing yoga at home in my own studio to be the most grounding experience of all. Yoga, which literally means union is an old practice which focuses on harmonizing the body with the mind via different breathing exercises, yoga poses (asanas) and meditation. If you are new to yoga or don’t want to commit to a studio yet (which can be pricey), or want to see how I practice yoga at my home studio + what tools I use to deepen my practice, this post is all about that.

Find a clutter-free, calming area : A home yoga studio begins with a clutter-free, calming space in your house, apartment, or an area in your room. You don’t need a dedicated room (great if you have one) but as long as you can comfortably fit a yoga mat and some room to spread your arms, you are all set.

Set the tone : I go through phases with dark vs. bright room to practice and it really depends on my mood. Usually, I prefer quiet dark-ish room with a candle or very dim light. Dark room helps me unwind & stretch while bright room makes me feel strong and help lengthen my practice. If you are into essential oils, you can diffuse oils based on your intention for the practice such as calming, soothing, nourishing, uplifting, grounding etc. I mostly do guided yoga via doyogawithme.com (it’s a free online resource with great instructors) and sometimes I just play relaxing music in the background an do sun salutations, vinyasa flow yoga, or work on different poses.

Pick some essential tools : A good yoga mat, couple of blocks, and yoga strap (optional) are good investments if you plan on practicing yoga on a regular basis. When it comes to a yoga mat, the thickness (helps with cushioning and comfort) & stickiness (keeps you from sliding all over the place and helps you maintain your alignment) are two things I mainly look for but few other things to consider are material, eco-friendly, and price. I regret not introducing yoga blocks sooner into my practice. It helps with  flexibility, especially on days you need it or, if you are quite not there yet in your practice. I have been able to work on different poses with more ease with the help of blocks.  You can also use large book or a family size canned goods to substitute blocks, just make sure it is the right height and study enough to support your alignment. Yoga strap is another tool I use consistently mostly for deep stretches esp for tight hamstrings & shoulders. It can also be used for proper alignment, lengthening and strengthening. Remove distraction(s) : By distraction, I am referring to keeping away your cellphone, and laptop, or other distractions like noise from kitchen, tv, washer dyer, kids, pets (Bailey loves to sit on the yoga mat, it’s cute but also very distracting) etc to a minimum so you can give your 100% to the practice. At a home studio, it is very easy to lose focus and get distracted so it’s very important to treat that dedicated time & space for yourself and just yourself. Just ask if would you take that phone call or scroll through instagram during a class? I hope the answer is NO.In case you are interested, here are (amazon affiliate) links to my mat, blocks, and strap. You can also get these items at great price from Target, Home Goods, TJ Maxx etc.

Print Yoga Mat, 5/6mm

Yoga Blocks: Cell Foam 9″ x 6″ x 4″ – 2pk

Align Yoga Mat Strap, 8 Feet:

Do you practice yoga? or, have you thought about creating a home yoga studio? 

What are some of your yoga essentials?

The post How To Make A Home Yoga Studio appeared first on Food, Pleasure, and Health.

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If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you that taking time off from my FT work & blogging has been marvelous. Also I made challah (both 4 braid & 3 braid) from the archives and we savored every bite. You can watch me make it on my instagram highlights. 

If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you that I finished the book “The Velveteen Daughter”, a  true story based on two remarkable women: Margery Williams Bianco, the author of The Velveteen Rabbit and her daughter Pamela, a world-renowned child prodigy artist. It’s a very captivating story & so many emotions…I really enjoyed it. 

If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you that I had my first sushi burrito from Poke Burri in Atlanta, and it was delish. Also, tangy crab & shrimp poke bowl was ah-maa-zing!

If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you that I am starting a 30 Day Yoga Challenge  (there are beginners and intermediate version, it’s FREE, and you can do it anytime, anywhere). Currently, yoga is my go to exercise, for my anxiety, and everything in between so I am looking forward to expanding, learning, and improving my practice. PS. Did you see I did a crow pose for the very first time?

If we were having coffee this morning, I’d share one of my fav. crowd pleasing recipe for your NYE party. It’s super easy // vegan and non-vegan friendly // stores well for 1-2 days!

More party friendly recipes  : Samosa Bites // Holiday Spiced Nuts // Chicken Puff Pastry // Avocado Spread 3 Ways // Cheese Board

If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you that I re-read my 5 intentions for 2017 and I felt good about my accomplishments. While a lot of these intentions will stay intact for 2018, I will probably make some changes. I will share my 5 Intentions in 2018 very soon. If we were having coffee this morning, I’d ask how was your Christmas? Do you have a family tradition?  Also, what are your plans for the New Years?

What would you tell me if we were having coffee this morning?

See you all in 2018. I am working behind the scenes on my exclusive newsletter, sign up if you want them delivered every month into your inbox + a free breakfast e-book will be included!

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SimplyAvocado #CollectiveBias

Enjoy Avocado Spread 3 Ways for parties, snacks, and utilizing leftover.

I don’t know about you guys but I am mentally checked out of 2017. I will be traveling all through next week but I will be active on instagram . I am a big advocate of enjoying holiday season to the fullest  – be it with your large family, solo staycation, get together with your friends, or whatever your idea of resting and rejuvenating is. It’s okay if your shopping isn’t done or you couldn’t get holiday cards on time, or completely forgot you RSVP’d to your neighbor’s holiday party. Be kind to yourself, practice self-care, and make life easy when possible. Today I am partnering with WHOLLY® SIMPLY AVOCADO to bring “Avocado Spread 3 Ways” so you have one less thing to worry about this holiday season for your snacking needs, for hosting, and utilizing leftover avocado spread. Making avocado spread or dip isn’t rocket science but I am all for convenience especially when you can find a great substitute for fresh avocado that makes a great spread with minimal flavor enhancing ingredients. Now you can utilize SIMPLY AVOCADO (sea salt & garlic herb flavors) – 3 ways for get togethers, snacking, and utilizing leftover avocado spread. Give avocado spread a Holiday Makeover : Transfer SIMPLY AVOCADO Sea Salt into a nice bowl, top it with pomegranate arils, and serve with chips! This is a good recipe for parties & for last minute office potluck you almost forgot about. You can also enjoy it with crackers for mid-day snacking!

Put an Egg On It :  Avocado toast is all the rage and I am 100% behind that. Make yourself a quick toast + egg and add a scoop (or three, who is really counting) of SIMPLY AVOCADO garlic herb for a wholesome breakfast or quick lunch. I see myself adding SIMPLY AVOCADO to my breakfast tacos.Utilize Leftover SIMPLY AVOCADO in Salad : I hardly ever have leftover avocado spread but when I do, I utilize it in salads such as chicken avocado salad // smashed chickpea & avocado // potato salad.  SIMPLY AVOCADO can be used as a replacement for mayo or you can swap 1/2 mayo for  SIMPLY AVOCADO.

I hope you will pick up few SIMPLY AVOCADO  at your local Walmart. It is conveniently located in the cooler by the deli area. I can’t wait to see what you guys will create with SIMPLY AVOCADO this holiday season. Make sure to share your creation using @foodpleasurehealth and don’t forget to pin Avocado Spread 3 Ways for later use.

Have you tried SIMPLY AVOCADO yet? What are some of your fav ways to enjoy avocado? Leave me your answer in the comment below.

The post Avocado Spread 3 Ways appeared first on Food, Pleasure, and Health.

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Instant Pot Khichdi is a one-pot soothing porridge with rice, lentils, and spices. Naturally gluten-free and vegan friendly. 

In between all the holiday inspired recipes and indulgent treats, I think you are going to appreciate Instant Pot Khichdi very much. It’s a very flavorful and nourishing porridge made with rice, lentils, spices, and vegetables, which is optional. Khichdi is an ancient dish that can be traced back to 1200 BC and is revered very much in the Ayurverdic world. There are so many variations of khichdi; every region in India has it’s own version and every family puts their own spin on khichdi but the whole idea is to have a comforting dish made with rice, lentils and other add-ons. The extra ingredients added is based on the region, seasonal availability of ingredients, and how luxurious or simple you want your khichdi to be. I am keeping this Instant Pot Khichdi very simple so it’s soothing & easy to digest. However, you can totally go for a luxurious khichdi called Shahjahani Khichdi if you wish. I am sharing an instant pot version today but you can use stove top or pressure cooker to make khichdi. You can choose whatever rice or lentils (split lentils better due to it’s short cook time) you choose to make khichdi but just be mindful that  cooking time, ratio of water, and the final consistency can vary.

Basics of Cooking Legumes

I have used basmati rice (long grained rice) and split yellow lentils (moong/mun dal) as they are a staple in my pantry.  All beans and lentils are great source of plant-based protein, fiber, and other nutrients but split moong dal in particular is easy on digestion (least gas forming) and known for it’s grounding/cooling properties according to the Ayurveda.

10 Healthy Pantry Essentials 

I love the fact that split moong dal takes very little time to cook, which is perfect for a weeknight. If you don’t want to take the khichi route, just try the daal (general term for lentil-based soup from subcontinent region) alone.  Another quick cooking lentil is red split lentil and here is my goto daal recipe but it can be used interchangeably for both split yellow or split red lentil.

While instant pot does most of the work, you can totally step up your khichdi game by tempering (known as tadka, bagar, jhaneko). It is a technique where spices and aromatics are fried in hot ghee (or oil if you want to keep things vegan) to release their essential oils and flavors making the dish even more flavorful. It is optional but I strongly suggest not skipping this step, esp for daal and khichdi because it really transforms the dish to a whole another level. Tempering can be done with whole spices (such as cumin, coriander, mustard), bay leaf or curry leaves, and other aromatics like onion, garlic, green chili, tomato, and powdered spices ( turmeric and asafetida). You can keep things simple or go all out….Instant Pot Khichdi is a wholesome, comforting dish by itself but you can round it up with  Nepali Style Cauli Aloo // papad (lentils crackers) // Indian-style pickles // yogurt etc.

I hope you will enjoy Instant Pot Khichdi as much as I do and if you make it, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Don’t forget to tag @foodpleasurehealth and share your creation.

Instant Pot Khichdi
 
Author: Dixya @Food, Pleasure, and Health
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ cup rice
  • ½ cup yellow split moong daal
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (may use coconut oil)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 2-3 cups water (see notes)
  • salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Rinse and soak rice and lentils for 30 minutes.
  2. Set instant pot to saute setting.
  3. Add ghee into the pot and once it starts to melt, add cumin seed.
  4. Allow cumin seed to toast a bit then add bay leaves.
  5. Add cumin powder and turmeric and let it fry for few minutes until fragrant.
  6. Add rice and lentil and mix everything together.
  7. Add water to the pot and salt. (see notes for mushy vs non-mushy option)
  8. Mix everything and close the lid.
  9. Change from saute setting to rice (for12 minutes). Make sure the vent is in sealing position.
  10. Allow it to naturally release the pressure (NPR) then open the lid.
  11. Give it a good stir before serving.
  12. Top khichdi with tadka. See notes for making tadka.
Notes
Adding Water : I like to double the amount of water to the ratio of lentil and rice (in this case 2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice and lentil mix) for not completely mushy khichdi. However, the type of rice and how long you soak can differ the cook time. For a really mushy khichdi, you can 1: 3 ratio but I suggest adding water later if you feel like it. If the khichdi is too watery for your liking, change the instant pot setting to sautee, allow the extra water to cook off.

For tadka, I heated small amount of ghee, butter, or coconut oil in a small pan. Then I added few sliced garlic cloves, coriander seeds, chopped green chili until it turned slightly brown.
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More one-pot, lentil based porridge dish inspiration for you : 

Steel Cut Oats & Mung Bean Porridge

Easy Chicken Haleem

Instant Pot Sambar

 

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If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you that it’s freezing in Fort Worth this morning. Please send warm vibes & strong coffee. If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you that it’s been a while since our last coffee date. I promise 2018 is going to be lot more organized, intentional & conversational but less new content. I shared my mantra for 2018 on instagram and I can’t wait to hear yours.

If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you that I will be in Atlanta & Birmingham next week so if you have any recommendations for eats or things to do, please send them my way. If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you that holiday cookie baking has officially begun. So far on my agenda, I have Holiday Shortbread Ghee Cookies  & Cranberry Almond Biscotti  &  I am open to other suggestions.

If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you that I have been doing “12 Days of Self-Care” on my insta-story and today is day 8. I can’t stress enough how “self-care is a MUST for everyone.  Esp this time of the year, holiday season // travel // finances // end of the year stuff can make life stressful so don’t forget to practice self-care, whatever that means to you. If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you that Food, Pleasure, and Health is getting  a little makeover in 2018. It’s exciting and slightly overwhelming….You can expect more wellness and lifestyle content but obviously food is not going anywhere.

If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you that gift-giving or things in general is not my love language but I absolutely adore this “Holiday Gift Guide For Minimalists”! I own 75% of these things myself and use it almost everyday.

If we were having coffee this morning, I’d share some of my fav post since our last coffee date.

Tomato Basil Soup

Tips to Hosting a Stressful Holiday

Homemade Mo:Mo Wrappers + Homemade Mo:Mo 

Nepali Chicken Mo:Mo

Flavorful & Juicy recipe for Nepali Chicken Mo:Mo (Nepali Dumplings). Step by step detailed recipe and few notes included.Full Chicken Mo:Mo Recipe –> https://goo.gl/vjNJQ9

Posted by Food, Pleasure & Health on Thursday, November 9, 2017

Peppermint Vanilla Latte 

Holiday Cheese BoardHoliday Shortbread Ghee Cookies 

Holiday Spiced Nuts

If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you that I have been using 100% pure almond oil for my skin as a moisturizer for almost 6 months…and my acne prone skin LOVES IT. Anyone interested in daily skin routine post? If we were having coffee this morning, I’d remind you that to stay up to date on my daily shenanigans, find me on instagram. In 2018, I have some major plans for newsletters (it won’t be a last-minute recap of recipes, it will be all intentional + seasonal stuff), make sure you sign up here if you don’t want to miss out on the newsletter party!

What would you tell me if we were having coffee this morning?

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This post is sponsored by Sprouts Farmers Market.

Entertain your friends and families with this Holiday Spiced Nuts. They will make a sweet holiday gift, great for snacking or for your cheese board. Stove top version made with seasonal spices with vegan option. 

I am officially in holiday mode compiling all my favorite cookie recipes and easy ideas for holiday entertaining. This year I plan on baking about 10 dozen cookies and if you are in Fort Worth and want holiday cookie box from yours truly, I will happily hand deliver them to you. I am just feeling extra generous this year! In other news, I cannot keep my hands off of “Holiday Spiced Nuts”….I mean how can you stay away from something that is salty, sweet, crunchy with warmth from cinnamon, cardamom, and rosemary, esp this time of the year. If you are into edible gift giving (which you totally should), or need nuts for the cheese board, or want a big bowl for snacking – these Holiday Spiced Nuts are IT.Holiday Spiced Nuts are very easy to make and it calls for just few ingredients which you probably already have in your pantry. We are talking combination of your fav nuts, fats of your choice such as ghee, coconut oil, or butter depending on your lifestyle or what you have, sweetener (such as honey, maple syrup or brown sugar) and lastly spices and herbs. Since it’s the holiday season, I went with warming spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and rosemary. I am not even kidding when I say it’s easy…you can watch me do it LIVE.

Holiday Spiced Nuts

Making “Holiday Spiced Nuts”! Great for snacking, on your cheese board, and as a gift.

Posted by Food, Pleasure & Health on Sunday, November 26, 2017

Nuts can be pricey & since they are packed with good fats (hello omega-3s, vitamin E, protein), they tend to go rancid or dry out if you don’t use it quickly enough.  The general recommendation is to store shelled nuts at room temperature for up to three months or in the refrigerator for up to six months, or in the freezer for a year or more. I highly encourage everyone to use the bulk-bin section at Sprouts for their wide selection of nuts and seeds. They carry so many different kinds of nuts, organic, roasted, shelled, whole, raw. You name it they probably carry it. Bulk purchasing can be cost-effective, you can decide whatever quantity you want, and overall there is less waste produced from packaging.Remember the trip I took to Arizona with Sprouts back in October? We got to spend sometime talking to Sprouts team members learning about their Zero Food Waste initiative. In 2016 alone, they donated more than 19 million pounds of fresh food (or more than 15 million meals), diverted more than 12 million pounds of food from landfills by providing it to local farms as animal feed or to composting facilities, and recycled more than 70 million pounds of cardboard!! Being more environment-friendly is something I have been trying to practice more of but seeing these numbers shook me a bit and I left wanting to make more deliberate choices on every consumption habits.

I wrote a post back in 2016 on “5 Simple Ways to Live Green” and I still embrace all of those fully. But come 2018,  I would like to be more intentional in terms of avoiding excessive packaging, starting to compost, and producing less waste overall.

Learn —-> “How to Build a Holiday Cheese Board”

I cannot wait for you guys to make Holiday Spiced Nuts for yourself, or your loved ones this holiday season! Please don’t forget to share your version of Holiday Spiced Nuts using @foodpleasurehealth.

The recipe I am sharing is rather a small batch but feel free to double or quadruple the recipe accordingly.

Holiday Spiced Nuts
 
Author: Dixya @Food, Pleasure, and Health
Serves: 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 1 cup mixed nuts (I used almonds, cashew nuts, and pecans)
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (can use coconut oil or butter)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (can use brown sugar or maple syrup)
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 springs rosemary, stems removed and chopped
Instructions
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Heat a pan over medium heat with ghee.
  3. Add nuts to the pan and stir it for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add honey to the mix and cook for additional 2-3 minutes stirring frequently.
  5. Lower the heat then add cinnamon powder, cardamom powder, and pinch of salt.
  6. Stir everything together and add rosemary to the pan.
  7. Transfer the nut mix to the baking sheet and let it cool.
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You can also pin the recipe for later use.

More holiday inspired recipes you might like :

Holiday Shortbread Ghee Cookies 

How to Build a Holiday Cheese Board  Samosa Bites Tips for Hosting A Stress Free Holiday

Thank you so much for the partnership Sprouts.

The post Holiday Spiced Nuts appeared first on Food, Pleasure, and Health.

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Melt-in your mouth Holiday Shortbread Ghee Cookies made with just few key ingredients! 

For the past couple of years, I have been participating in cookie exchange (see  2013201420152016) and I always look forward to it. This year, I am excited to join Sweetest Season Cookie Exchange (and help raise money for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer).  I am super excited to share Holiday Shortbread Ghee Cookies with everyone. You guys, I have made this melt-in-your mouth cookies more than I want to tell you so put this Holiday Shortbread Ghee Cookies on your list asap. It’s an egg-less recipe that calls for only 3 ingredients and so so good.Every holiday season, I try to incorporate something unique because I don’t bake very often and I find it therapeutic to do this every now and then. This year, we are graduating from brown butter based cookies (brown butter chocolate chip cookies // brown butter cardamom cookies) to Holiday Shortbread Ghee Cookies.

In case you are not familiar with ghee, it is a pure fat made by removing all the moisture from butter until the milk solids are caramelized then strained out. Ghee has a really nutty flavor and can be used in recipes that calls for butter or coconut oil. During ghee making process, milk solids and casein are removed so it is often tolerated well by individuals with lactose intolerance. However, If you have allergy/sensitivity to dairy and casein, avoid ghee.

Ghee can be found at most Indian grocery stores & health food stores but you can easily make ghee at home. Here is a quick video if you are interested in making ghee at home. Use good quality, unsalted butter preferably grass fed.

Now that we’ve talked about ghee, the most important ingredient in this recipe – everything else is breezy. We are going to mix ghee with powered sugar, flour, vanilla extract, and salt. I came across two different ratios used for classic shortbread cookies as 1:2:3 ratio of sugar: butter: flour and 1:1:1 ratio of sugar : butter : flour but I got better result with 1:2:3 ratio.

The key to melt-in-your mouth Holiday Shortbread Ghee Cookies is to work your dough quick! Preheat the oven, make sure your baking sheet is lined with parchment paper, and cookie cutters + sprinkles are on stand-by. See notes in the recipe below for more tips. I cannot wait for you guys to make Holiday Shortbread Ghee Cookies part of your baking agenda this holiday (and every holiday from now on)! If you are not into sprinkles, you can skip that (but why would you?)  and keep things simple….or go all out by dipping them into melted chocolate. I’d absolutely love for you to tag @foodpleasurehealth on instagram if you make Holiday Shortbread Ghee Cookies!

Happy Baking friends! 

Holiday Shortbread Ghee Cookies
 
Author: Dixya @Food, Pleasure, and Health
Serves: about 24
Ingredients
  • ½ cup ghee
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup - 1 cup flour
  • splash vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • sprinkles of your hoice
Instructions
  1. In a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, whip ghee and powdered sugar together for 8-10 minutes until it gets pale and fluffy.
  2. Gently add flour to the mixer and mix slowly. Scrapes sides and add vanilla extract, salt and mix until it forms a dough.
  3. The dough feels slightly sticky but should hold shape formed into a ball.
  4. Place the dough in a plastic wrap and flatten it into a rectangular shape about ¼" thick.
  5. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or so.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 F and set a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and work quickly.
  8. Use a cookie cutter to shape cookies and place it on a baking sheet.
  9. Decorate with sprinkles if desired.
  10. Bake for 6-8 minutes; they will be slightly soft when removed from the oven but will firm up.
Notes
The dough is very soft to begin with so start by adding ¾ cup flour and add more only if needed. The dough should form into a ball.
Make sure to flatten the dough into rectangular shape about ¼" thick. This way all you need to do is use a cookie cutter to shape your cookies.
If making a large batch, make 2-3 different disk and work once disc at a time.
Do not work the dough too much. Frozen, semi-frozen dough is the best.
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Don’t forget to pin Holiday Shortbread Ghee Cookies! 

Here are few of my holiday fav cookies you should check out :

Double Buckwheat Double Chocolate Cookies 

Cranberry Almond Biscotti  (here is a vegan biscotti)Brown Butter Cardamom Cookies 

The post Holiday Shortbread Ghee Cookies appeared first on Food, Pleasure, and Health.

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This post is sponsored by Sprouts.

6 Easy Steps on “How To Build A Holiday Cheese Board for your next get together! 

Building a holiday cheese board may look daunting but these 6 steps will make you an expert in no time. It is perhaps one of my favorite things to make for parties (and date night) because cheese board makes an eye-catching centerpiece, it’s a great conversation starter, and works an easy appetizer that you can put together with minimal effort and there is absolutely no cooking involved. Talking about parties, have you read my post on “Tips For Hosting A Stress-Free Holiday”?  I am calling this a “Holiday Cheese Board” because of the styling and seasonal ingredients I have picked but you can put together a gorgeous cheeseboard using same steps for any of your future gatherings. Step 1: Choose a board that speaks to you! It can be a large wooden chopping board (which I have used), a specialty cheese board, or even a platter that you have. Just make sure the surface is flat and smooth. I suggest setting up the cheeseboard right where you will assemble + serve for your party, especially if the board is heavy.

Step 2: Pick 3-4 different types of cheese. Think about different textures (soft, semi firm and hard/aged cheeses), types of milk (cow, sheep, goat, or dairy-free (soy or almond cheese) for your vegan guests), and mix up different shapes, sizes, and colors for visual interest. Roughly, allow for about 3 ounces of cheese per person. Cheese used in this board : Gouda, Brie, Sharp Cheddar, and Plain Goat all of which is found in the dairy case at Sprouts. If you already haven’t, I highly recommend you to spend sometime at Sprouts browsing the cheese section because they always best deals and  great selection of cheeses!

Step 3: Crackers & Breads. Pile up different crackers like sliced crostini, crisps, traditional flatbread crackers, or even cheese sticks in different corners or wherever there are large openings. Sprouts brand flat crackers (whole grains) are my favorite to use but if you have time, try these freshly baked homemade crackers :

Easy Homemade Crackers (vegan and semolina flour based)

 Vegan Oat Crackers (3 Variations)

If you have gluten-free guests, make sure to grab gluten-free crackers, which you can find at Sprouts too.

Step 4: Add a sweet and savory component to the board. Some good choices include chutney, jam, mustard, honey, and a seasonal favorite : fig spread, Also, pitted olives and gherkins are great for a salty kick. Step 5: Nuts & Dried Fruits. I love nuts and dried fruits because they bring in sweet and salty flavors, add a contrasting texture, and are perfect for filling empty spaces on the cheeseboard. You can randomly fill spaces with nuts and dried fruits such as smoked almonds, dried apricots, pine nuts, pistachios etc. You can also add fresh seasonal fruits like figs, grapes, sliced apples or nectarines like I did here  but just be careful that sliced fruits gets oxidized and no one wants that. If you are using sliced fruits, I suggest adding them to the board right before your guests arrive and make sure to dip fruit slices in orange juice. I highly suggest you to check out the bulk bin section at Sprouts for all your dried fruits and nuts needs because you can decide on the quantity of nuts and dried fruits and won’t be stuck with $10 bag of nuts you won’t ever use.

Step 6: Garnish. This may seem unnecessary but garnishes such as cranberries & fresh rosemary sprigs adds that WOW factor and little pop of color. Depending on the season + occasion, you can play around with different garnishes such as fresh basil, pomegranate seeds, micro greens, and sage. ….and lastly don’t forget cheese knives for slicing up cheese & spoons for the condiments. In case you are not familiar with different cheese knives, here is a quick guide:

  • Wide knife (looks like putty knife) is for cutting hard cheese such as Parmesan, Emmentaler, aged cheddars, Asiago, and manchego.
  • Thin knife is for cutting semi-hard cheese such as Comte, Edam, cheddar, provolone, Swiss, Gouda and Roquefort.
  • Pointed knife is for cutting a semi-hard or semi-soft cheese, and for spreading soft cheese on crackers and bread. You should place pointed knife near chevre, havarti, Muenster, Stilton, Brie, Camembert, feta and Gorgonzola.T
  • Fork looking knife is for picking up cheese that has already been cut. It can also be used to break up crumbly cheeses like Stilton or feta to put on salads.

If you don’t have cheese knife, don’t fret. It’s okay to use your regular knife but just have one dedicated knife per cheese so the flavors don’t get mixed up.

Pro Tip: Allow cheese to come to room temperature 30 minutes before serving as it will allow for the cheese to come to maximum flavor, which is a bonus! I cannot wait for you guys to make a holiday cheeseboard and if you do, please share your creation and tag @foodpleasurehealth

How To Build A Holiday Cheese Board
 
Author: Dixya @Food, Pleasure, and Health
Ingredients
  • 3-4 different types of cheese such as gouda, brie, goat, bleu, cheddar etc.
  • crackers, breadsticks
  • sweet and savory component such as chutney, jam, mustard, honey, pitted olives, gherkins
  • nuts & dried fruits like smoked almonds, pinenuts, pistachios, dried apricots
  • may use fresh seasonal fruits like figs, grapes, sliced apples
  • rosemary, cranberries for garnish
Instructions
  1. Pick a cheese board such as slate board, chopping board, or a platter with a flat surface
  2. Grab a mix of cheeses with different texture, strengths, colors, and shapes.
  3. Arrange crackers and breadsticks in large openings.
  4. Add condiments such as olives, jam, chutney around the cheese
  5. Fill spaces with dried fruits, nuts, grapes
  6. Garnish with rosemary and cranberries
  7. Set the cheeseboard 30-45 minutes at room temperature before serving
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And to my friends who are not hosting or want to have a solo holiday party or a date night-in, you can absolutely scale down the cheeseboard to meet your needs. You can use a smaller board and pick your favorite cheeses and add-ons.

Here are some more cheeseboard inspirations from the past:

I hope these 6 Easy Steps on “How To Build A Holiday Cheese Board” will give you inspiration and the confidence to build an awesome holiday cheeseboard for your next get together! Don’t forget to share your creation and tag @foodpleasurehealth  or pin the holiday cheeseboard for later. 

The post How To Build A Holiday Cheese Board appeared first on Food, Pleasure, and Health.

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