Oct 30, 2009

Moong dal pancake (uttapa) with chutney, Pomegranate seeds

Moong Dal Pancake (spiced lentil pancakes) : Soak 1 cup of Moong dal overnight. make paste of 1 cm ginger piece, 1 green chili and corriander leaves(cilantro). In blender with some water blend everything so that dal is just crushed (not paste). In the batter I added grated carrots, grated acorn squash, grated turnip, some chopped spinach. On a nonstick pan with little oil make pancakes (uttapa).
With Chutney : Blend in blender mint leaves + roasted split gram dal + walnuts + yogurt + sugar+ salt.
Today is the most awaited day of the year - Halloween, so I cut it and decorated it as Smiley Pumpkin.
and some Pomegranate seeds : Roo likes to play fireworks in the mouth with seeds - hold the seed like pinch and press in the mouth closed. It splashes the pomegranate juice. Its a fun game.

Roo was dressed up as Sakagawea. The whole school celebrated dressing up as a historic character. She chose to be Sakagawea - Native american lady helped Lewis and Clark explorers.
Dressing up and halloween activities in the class or big pancake...Roo didn't eat much... she ate just half of pancake and thats it...even pomegranate seeds were untouched.

Oct 29, 2009

Pizza (whole wheat flour ) with vegetables, jicama carrots celery sticks, Grapes

Pizza : 3 cups of whole wheat flour (not atta), 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon yeast, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 cup warm water. Mix yeast in water and wait for few minutes. Make dough.

{To make it easy in the evening I roll the dough thick in the morning into smaller circles (size of personal pizza) rub lots of oil on it and wrap in the aluminium foil and then keep in the warm place - It will make spongy pizza}

Keep the dough for rising in warm place [Turn the oven light on and keep for 6-8 hours]. This is what I did - In the morning before going to work I used to make the dough and keep it in the oven, when you come back home dough is ready for dinner pizza. heat the oven to 350. Roll the dough on aluminium foil and put your favorite toppings [take your kids help] and bake pizzas. Put some veggie sauce: For the pizza sauce chop, cook and blend the vegetables in blender. I used tomatoes, beetroot, some carrots, squash, rutabaga, spinach, sugar, salt, one garlic clove, dry basil.

Roo's favorite toppings are pineaple, mushroom and broccoli. Or use the readymade pizza/pasta sauce.
This homemade smiley pizza is made by Roo. She had fun making it and the excitement of making pizza ...oooohs ...aaaahhhs and never ending "Is it done yet?".
Jicama, Celery, Carrots with buttermilk ranch dressing : Jicama is crispy and sweet tasting root...Kids like it. And some Grapes.

I use Whole wheat floor for baking from any supermarket [not atta]. Here I used organic fine whole wheat flour from PCC natural markets. Trader joes has a good flour to start with untill kids get used to the dark color whole wheat flour. It is whole wheat flour made of light colored wheat grains.

Roo finished everything from this lunchbox except few carrot pieces.

Oct 28, 2009

Vegetarian Sushi, hummus with breadsticks, toothpick fruit kabobs

Roo wanted to eat sushi. She is very picky with the strong smells - Raw fish...nope, seaweed...nope. We make it this way. She loved it. Its easy to make and eat in the lunchbox.
Vegetarian Sushi : I make rice (any rice for pressure cooker cooking) with rice vinegar, soy sauce and sugar added while cooking. By using parchment paper or cling wrap I mold it thick (it doesn't have nori/seaweed) so it will hold nicely. To this sushi I added grated carrots, strawberries, apple pieces, celery (all Roo's favorite things). wraped it...(phew...) refrigerate it for few hours. I cut it with sharp knife wiping it with damp cloth for every cut.
The rice made this way already has sweet-sour taste...It doesn't need any special sauce to dip. Just pick and eat.
Hummus with breadsticks .
with toothpick fruit kabobs : This is very exciting for kids. Roo wanted to make more during lunch by herself.

When I asked how was your lunch Roo told me - Fruit kabobs was the best part of lunch. Some hummus, 3 breadsticks and some crumbled rice came back in lunch :)

Oct 27, 2009

Spinach tortilla wrap (roll) with beans, veggies, cheese, Persimmon bites

Spinach Tortilla Wrap : wash, cut, cook spinach just a little bit with little water and blend it in blender. I added some Swiss chard, one chopped garlic clove and salt while cooking. In this blended mixture I add fine whole wheat flour (atta) and make dough. I make phulake (roti/tortilla) and put some olive oil dots on it and rub it (it keeps tortilla soft).
I added grated carrots, chopped lettuce, cooked garbanzo beans, little onion, any cheese (feta, Parmesan), any salad dressing (buttermilk ranch/ balsamic vinaigrette). I try to add the dressing in between layers of veggies to avoid tortilla getting soggy. Wrap it with cling wrap. For kids its easy to eat peeling wrap like banana.
Persimmon fruit bites - this is eaten like apple, has different sweet flavor. I take its skin off for Roo.
Roo ate 1 and 1/2 roll and few persimmon pieces. Thats thumbs up

Oct 26, 2009

Pad Thai with Walnuts Peanuts and Roasted Split Gram Dal sauce, fruits

Walnuts, Peanuts and Split Gram Dal Sauce : Blend 1/4 cup Walnuts, 1/4 cup peanuts, 1/2 cup roasted Split Gram Dal, 1 lime juice/ tamarind concentrate, 1 teaspoon soy sauce(optional), little more than 1 tablespoon sugar, salt, red chili powder in blender with little water.
***Roasted Split Gram Dal - available in any Indian grocery store - this is how it looks www.spicesofindia.co.uk/acatalog/Top-Op-Daria-Dal-Roasted-Split-Gram.html
Pad Thai Noodles - I used flat rice noodles [any noodles r great] mixed with above sauce and drizzle of olive oil. I added dry roasted tofu and blanched broccoli. You can add any of your kids favorite vegetables (For me I add sauteed bok choy, spinach, Swiss chard, cabbage, lettuce, carrots etc) I microwaved it for more than a minute and gave it in the hot lunch box.
with some grapes and strawberries.

This homemade pad thai is Roo's favorite with broccolli and tofu.

Roo ate everything from this lunch box. :)

Oct 23, 2009

Mexican rice with vegetables, fruits

Mexican brown rice with vegetables : I used 2 garlic cloves, 1 medium size chopped onion, 3 tomatoes (from my backyard garden) -cooked it in little oil with salt and covered with lid. I added chopped vegetable pieces of squash, Rutabaga, broccoli stem, chopped swiss chard and spinach, some pinto beans, lemon juice, salt, coriander leaves(cilantro), dry oregano (optional), red chili powder, Soy sauce is the secret ingredient. I make Mexican rice with short grain brown rice 1 cup (any rice is good). For short grain brown rice I add lots of water and cook (for about 75 min - white rice will take 10-15 min) it in thick base iron pot - stirring it and adding water occasionally. I like this rice moist...not dry. I mix Blanch crisp broccoli in the moist rice before serving.
Adding different grains : I add whole grains like barley, farro, kamut to it. as they have same cooking time as brown rice.
Adding mexican blend cheese on warm rice...yummm... To me this rice has taste like pasta sauce. This is Roo's favorite dish - usually dinner and leftover for lunchbox. In hot lunch box it will be warm for lunch.
with some grapes and strawberries.

Roo ate all the fruits and 3/4th rice.

Oct 22, 2009

Healthy Dhokla diamonds with Veggies, Pomegranate seeds

Healthy Dhokla : Soak 1 cup rice, 1/2 cup chana dal, 1/3 moong dal, 1/3 cup urad dal - overnight. Blend in a blender with some water and 1/3 cup yogurt. Keep in a warm place to ferment [Turn the oven light on and Keep it in the oven overnight]. I added some salt and finely grated - pumpkin, acorn squash, carrots, Rutabaga and green peas, edamame [Its a wonder veggie]. The secret Kid apealing ingredient in - is sugar. I poured the batter (1cm thick) in lightly oiled pot and steamed in the pressure cooker[took off the whistle]. [It can be done in a big pot with 1 inch of boiling water and batter poured in another small pot/cake pan and covered with lid.]
Cut into diamonds. with Pomegranate seeds.
usually Dhokla is made from Besan (garbanzo/chickpea flour). This Dhokla has urad dal and yogurt for fermentation.

Roo finished everything from this lunchbox :)

Oct 21, 2009

Stuffed Paratha with veggies, banana, grapes

Stuffing : Finely chopped Swiss chard [It is one of the super foods], finely chopped Methi (Fenugreek leaves), cooked and mashed whole moong, salt, red chili powder, masala(spices optional). Mix and cook all the ingredients for 5 minutes.
Methi and Moong Stuffed Paratha : I made Whole wheat flour dough. If you know how to make stuffed paratha great! OR Roll the dough into thin tortilla. Half of the circle spread the stuffing and then fold the half over it. Roll it a little bit with rolling pin. Cook from both sides. OR you can buy uncooked/precooked whole wheat tortilla and make stuffed paratha.
I cut it into long triangles - easy to dip and eat with ketchup.
Banana, Grapes and Raspberries.

Oct 20, 2009

Nutritious Thalipeeth with mango chutney, Orange bites

Nutritious Thalipeeth : It is a very popular Food from West part of India (Maharashtra). It is made from a special flour - Bhajani - which is a blend of roasted grains and variety of beans with some spices.
In my recipe I mix -
Flours : Jawar flour, bajri flour, ragi flour [variety of millets], buckwheat flour, besan (garbano beans/chickpea flour).
Beans : I switched the roasted beans in flour (bhajani) to soaked sprouted and blended version. Blend in blender soaked and sprouted whole moog, masoor (beans) [I like some beans taste in it so I didn't make it like paste]. You can roast beans and cook them before adding OR leftover beans/dal r great addition too.
Vegetables : Finely chopped onion, spinach, Methi [fenugreek leaves], grated cauliflower, grated carrots, grated bellpepper, corriander (cilantro).
Salt, red chili powder and any spice blend (masala)
all of the above to make a dough. If needed I add little water. I pat the dough to 3mm thickness (pancake) on the nonstick pan with little oil. Let it cook both sides by covering the lid.
Mango chutney : Blend in a blender mango pieces, grated onion, salt , sugar, red chili powder and lemon juice.
with some Orange bite size pieces.
I cut Thalipeet in to fun shaped bites. I also added the remaining thalipeet pieces - which make fantastic imaginary shapes for kids to figure out.

Roo ate untill the mango chutney finished...all imaginary shapes, fishes, birds were gone...that would be more than 1/2 and 4-5 orange bites.

Oct 19, 2009

Steamed veggie dumplings, Raspberries, brazil nuts

Vegetable stuffing : I used following vegetables - thick grated carrots and cabbage, little chopped spinach, some chopped green string beans, finely chopped Chauli string beans[ long thin black eyed string beans available in Indian stores], chopped lima beans with Rice vinegar+ sesame oil + soy sauce + sugar + salt and some chili oil. I cooked it for few minutes keeping the vegetables crisp so that it will taste like vegetables in Chinese spring rolls.
Steamed veggie dumplings : Chinese potsticker dumplings are usually made from rice flour /all purpose flour (maida) dough. I used 1 as to 1 ratio of whole wheat flour + nachani flour (ragi/millet). Also added some soy flour and milk to make the dough. I made small thin flat tortillas (roti) then stuffed the stuffing and closed the edges. I cooked these potsticker dumplings by Steaming for 8-10 minutes.
with Dipping Sauce, some Raspberries and 3 raw Brazil nuts. These nuts have high amounts of antioxidents and high calories. Eating variety of nuts in moderation can give you array of heart healthy compounds.

Roo helped me make the dipping sauce by mixing Ketchup and soy sauce. She ate one dumpling in the morning and as soon as she finished it - she said "NI HAO" thats Hi in chinese :)

One dumpling and 2 brazil nuts came back in the lunch box...everything else was all eaten :)

Oct 16, 2009

Beetroot tortilla with pineapple jam, sprouted moth beans, jackfruit

Beetroot tortilla with pineapple jam : Beetroot gives a magnificent color. I cooked beetroot for few minutes with little water and made paste in the blender. Added whole wheat flour to the paste and made Phulake (Tortilla/Roti). Put some olive oil to keep it soft and cut the circular edges (can be hard to chew). I made Roll first by spreading some almond butter (just a layer so tortilla will not be soggy) and then layer of thick Pineapple jam.
pineapple jam : This homemade jam is easy to make - I grated big whole pieces of pineapple from food processor, added some sugar and let it boil and thickened. Refrigerate and use for few weeks...It is so tasty it won't last for long.
sprouted Moth beans (Matki) : These are tasty beans. Roo loves to snack on them. [may be because She sees me eating the plain sprouted ones...Children learn what they live.]
and Jackfruit (Phanas) : Its a very flavorful fruit real yummy treat to your senses. It tastes like fruit cocktail - flavors of Pineapple+strawberry+peach fused together.

I like berry jams on bread and Pineapple/mango jams on tortilla. To my taste berry jams don't go well with poli/roti/paratha.

Roo ate 1 roll, all sprouted beans(matki) and strawberry. She didn't eat Jackfruit...she said now she doesn't like it.

Oct 15, 2009

Indian style Pasta with spinach, Tofu with sambar masala

Today photo didn't come out so well. I turned off the flash and trusted way too much on our bright/cloudy Seattle weather. Morning time is such a rush time.
I took Chakolya for lunch to work. My american co-worker loved the smell of it coming out of the microwave...so I offered it...When I was explaining the recipe she said its pasta ...Indian style pasta!
Indian style pasta : Chakolya (Dal Dhokli/Varan phal)with spinach : It is made from Tur dal (lentils curry sauce) with fresh pasta made from whole wheat dough. To its regular recipe I added little chopped spinach to the Varan (Lentils curry sauce). For the dough I mixed whole wheat flour + Nachani flour (Ragi/millet flour) + besan (garbanzo beans flour) + salt + turmeric with some milk and water. Roll the dough and cut into small thin square shaped fresh pasta. Let it cook for 15 minutes.
Sambar masala Tofu : dry roast the tofu and sprinkle with some salt + sambar powder + lemon juice...this is my personal favorite. Roo likes it too.

I gave it in hot lunch box (inside is stainless steel) so it will be warm for lunch. Roo loves it very much.

She ate all the tofu and 3/4 of Chakolya.

Oct 14, 2009

Upma bites with vegetables, grapes

Upma with vegetables : Dry roast Rava (Cream of wheat). I used very little oil for mustard seeds,curry leaves and onions to cook. I added additional vegetables and nuts to the original upma recipe. thinly grated - carrots, navalkol (kohlrabi), squash (bhopala). For the crunch I added walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, cashews. I also added soaked Urad dal and Moong dal (lentils).
Upma Bites : Pat hot upma in a plate to the desired bite thickness and cut checks pattern with knife. Let it cool and bite size pieces are ready for the lunchbox. Make fun shapes that your kid loves...I made butterflies, flowers and hearts for this lunchbox :)
and grapes, strawberries on the side.
This upma is very healthy and wholesome with addition of Dals, Nuts and Vegetables. Bite size makes it easy for kids to eat. Fun shapes creates the excitement for lunch.

Roo ate 1/2 of Upma and all the fruits. Roo liked the different nuts and sunflower seeds taste in upma.

Oct 13, 2009

M&C Pizza with veggies, Fruits

What would you like on your pizza? Every kid has their own personal favorites about what can go on pizza. Mac and cheese pizza! ...well we tried it...you can try too.

Mac and cheese pizza on the honey whole wheat bread : Make M&C as per package instructions. On the pan warm the bread with M&C and vegetables with cover. I used broccoli florets and mushroom slices. You can add fruits to it too.
with some grapes and strawberry.
Roo has been excited the whole morning to eat and show off her lunchbox in the class today.

Oct 12, 2009

Spaghetti with veggie sauce, roasted whole Chana

2 yrs back, when I was making spaghetti with tomato sauce (store bought)...Roo [my 6 yr old] was in preschool that time. She told me -Tomato is not a vegetable...its a fruit. Something that she learned in her school. This is her very favorite dish so I had to modify this fruit sauce... That's how I came up with recipe of veggie sauce.

Spaghetti (whole wheat) pasta with veggie+tomato sauce : cook the pasta and mix it with veggie sauce. I added broccoli florets and sliced mushrooms. Sprinkle some cheese. You can add store bought pasta sauce + veggie sauce to it.

Visible vegetables : you can see these and are your kids favorite. here I added mushrooms and broccoli (my kids fav ones). I have seen kids love cauliflower, peas etc.
Invisible vegetables in veggie sauce: You can't see them. They are in the sauce. Cut, cook and blend in a blender all the vegetables - tomatoes (more qty), beetroot, spinach, pumpkin (lal bhopala), basil (tulsi leaves) [Don't be a greedy mommy...try little vegetables and more tomatoes for the first time].

Kala chana (belongs to the Garbanzo beans family) : Soak beans overnight. Let them sprout for few hours. On a nonstick pan add little oil and roast the beans. Add Salt + Pepper + Spices (any masala) as per your taste.
This is a yummy snack... Make it for the family movie night than the packaged popcorn.

Roo ate 3/4 of spagetti and all the beans from this lunch box. Her classmates loved its color and one said It must be from the restaurant...[why facination of outside food???]

Oct 8, 2009

Idly sandwich, green tur beans and squash with oregano, strawberries

Idly Sandwich : Cut idly vertically making 2 circles. If you want good circles -take 2 idlies cut the sherical portion of each idly (will be inside of the sandwich). Fill the chutney (lots of) in between idly/idlies.
Chutney -I make this chutney thick and sweeter. In a blender mix mint leaves, Daal (raosted split gram), sugar, lemon juice, salt. (you can mix little yogurt).

Idly batter is made ahead of time. You can buy ready batter from any Indian store. Soak 3 cups of rice and 1 cup of Urad dal (Black lentils) plus any lentils can be mixed for few hours. Grind all in a blender (like pancake batter) and keep it in warm place for fermentation [Turn the light on of your conventional oven and keep it overnight. Thats how much warm it needs to ferment]. Refrigerate it and enjoy for a week.

Green tur(pigeon pea) beans and butternut squash with herbs : In little olive oil put some oregano(any herbs or little spices). Put small cut squash, beans, salt and cook them for 4-5 mins by covering it with lid.
I got tur(pigeon pea) beans from frozen section. Frozen beans are very easy to cook in the morning.
Butternut squash has this kid apealing mild and sweet taste. It cooks in few mins.
with some strawberries.
Variations : I tried jam in between idlies (idlies r slippery for jam) but didn't work in the lunchbox. Thick hummus(with flaxmeal) worked really good.
Roo ate 3 sandwiches, some beans and few squash bites and all strawberries. Thats good enough lunch for a first grader. It depends on the kid and day activities. kids also eat more during their growth-spike and less otherwise.

Oct 7, 2009

buckwheat noodles with vegetables, grapes

Buckwheat noodles : These Japanese soba noodles are made with wheat + buckwheat flour. I go for the more buckwheat content in soba noodles. trader joes/uwajimaya have good collection.

In a pan with some sesame oil + olive oil cook some garlic, onions with little salt and lid (makes it cook in little oil rather than frying). I added grated carrots (thick, long), spinach, cabbage, celery(thinly cut), 1tbs rice vinegar, 1tbs soy souce,1tbs sugar, salt. cook for 2 minutes (crispy vegetables taste good in noodles). Add more vinegar, soy souce, sugar, red chili powder/chili sauce according to your taste. Mix it with cooked noodles (cook as per package instructions). Warm or Cold - they taste yummy to me either way.

Ruta decorated her lunch with magic sprinkles (sesame seeds). She tasted it in the morning and gave me one thumbs up.

with some grapes.

Ruta ate 1/2 of the noodles and all grapes. She didn't like "some orange things" cabbage in it.

Oct 6, 2009

Shabudana (tapioca) cutlet with sweet potato, broccolli, fruits

Shabudana cutlet : Soak the shabudana overnight [Rinse the shabudana and keep little water in it]. Shabudana - tapioca pearls come from root starch so they are high in carbohydrates. Boil sweet potatoes. Mix it with some Rajgira (Amaranth) flour. Amaranth grains are high in protein. They have very light and nutty flavor. I added some chopped walnuts, salt, red chili powder, cumin powder, coriander (cilantro) leaves and little water to make patties. I cooked the cutlets from both sides in a non stick pan and lid and used very little oil.
This is a kids favorite cutlet and made on religious fasting days in India.
broccolli with ranch (white dressing didn't come very well in the picture) and some strawberries.

Ruta ate everything from this lunchbox.

Oct 5, 2009

Quesadilla with vegetables, cucumber sticks and fruits

Quesadilla : 1 cup whole wheat flour + 2/4 cup Nachani flour [Ragi/Millet has a very high protein content for a grain] + pinch of salt. I used milk to make dough. Make Rotis [tortillas] and cook them less from one side which will be the outer side of quesadilla. I used spinach, sliced mushrooms, grated carrots, grated red and orange bell peppers and little cheese as a binder. I cut the edges and snack on them. This is my personal favorite dish.
cucumber sticks, strawberries and grapes on the side.

Ruta is learning to trick us by saying opposite things...maybe its a 6 yr old thing. I asked her how was your lunch today and she said "I didn't like it (with a pause and naughty look)...I Loved it ... I finished it all except the cucumbers". She doesn't like certain vegetables...I guess everybody is a picky eater in their own way.

Oct 2, 2009

Pita bread pizza with vegetables, cantaloupe

Pita bread pizza with vegetables : On the whole wheat pita bread put layers of grated vegetables [I used carrots, cauliflower, red and yellow bell pepper], cheese, dots of pasta sauce and sliced mushrooms. cut into triangles.
and some cantaloupe bites.
I always try the recipe at home with Ruta before giving it in the lunchbox. For this recipe Ruta suggested strawberries on top...and it tastes delicious.

Oct 1, 2009

Pohay with vegetables, marinated and roasted tofu

Pohay : [pohay is flattened/beaten white/brown rice]. Peas, boiled sweet potato(potato), Onions, green coriander leaves and spices makes it fragrant and mild flavored kids all time favorite.
Tofu : Roasted on pan with soy ginger flavored marinade. Ruta loves this tofu and gives it 10 thumbs up (that means best). She learned it after reading two thumbs up on movie DVD cover.