Rustic Crepes with fresh strawberry sauce

A few years back, we somehow managed to go strawberry picking, between our frequent transcontinental travel. It was a little late in the season but we were happy picking the fruits that were left behind by the crowds who managed to get the bulk in time!! Our first fruit- picking experience was quite enjoyable, and successful because the strawberries tasted so good! We wanted to go cheery picking this year, oops sorry, cherry picking, but missed our chance. However, my bro & sis-in-law brought us a ton of cherries that we devoured in no time.

There are a ton of dishes that you can make with strawberries, but here’s a healthy sauce to go with your crêpes! The delicious Nutella is sort of irreplaceable in terms of taste, but its packed with calories and is high in fat especially saturated fat (10 g saturated fat per serving of 2 tbsp). So, try this fresh strawberry sauce for your breakfast this weekend. Imagine yourself, not in a farmer’s market serving delicious crêpes, but in a little crêperie in French countryside…. Bon Appétit! 😉

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Know your nutrients: A home-made crepe is healthier that what you would order in a restaurant for brunch, as you have more control over your ingredients. Try to enjoy brunches at home rather than in a restaurant. Get your friends or family together and get everyone to help out and have fun 🙂 Serve with a side salad or grilled chicken or chicken sausage.

Whole wheat flour and the fruits provide fiber; milk and eggs provide complete protein, while strawberries add vitamin C. Since strawberries are cooked for a few minutes, some vitamin C is lost, and so I have reported 50% of the actual value for raw strawberries. As such, be careful not to overcook them. This dish is a high fiber dish with good amount of protein and some vitamin C.

Per serving of :

Crepe : 110 cals | 6 g protein | 4 g total fat | 2 g fiber

Strawberry sauce: 50 cals | 1 g fiber | 20 mg vitamin C

Filling (banana & almonds): 100 cals | 2 g protein | 2 g total fat | 3 g fiber     vs       Nutella (2 tbsp) 200 cals | 2 g protein | 11 g total fat | 2 g fiber

Total time: 10-15 mins

Ingredients (4 servings/ 4 crepes)

1 cup milk

1 egg

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp sugar

2 pinches of salt

1 tsp butter (more if you exercise regularly 😉

Strawberry sauce

2 cup fresh strawberries, chopped

2 tbsp sugar, * depending on the sweetness of your strawberries

1 cup water

* My strawberries were very sour, so that is probably the max amount of sugar you would need. Another time I got a very sweet batch of strawberries and I didn’t need to add any sugar. So, it will vary from batch-batch and your preference.

Filling

3 bananas, diced

16 almonds (0.5 oz) , slivers or halved

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Procedure:

  1. In a small steel pot, add the diced strawberries and water. Heat them on medium till they soften, and the sauce thickens (~2-3 mins). Add sugar 1 tsp at a time and stir well; taste and then add more. If your strawberries are sweet, you will need very little sugar. Your sauce is ready.
  2. Prepare the crepe batter by beating the egg lightly and adding milk. Mix well.
  3. Then add the flour, salt and sugar and whisk well to avoid any lumps.
  4. Heat a 7″ non-stick pan. Add 1/4 tsp of butter and let it melt. Swirl the pan or spread it with your spatula.
  5. When it is warm, pour about 1-2 ladles of batter off-center and tilt/swirl the pan to make a nice round shape. Let it cook slowly on low-medium heat. With your spatula, check to see if the first side is cooked and then turn it over. Lightly cook the second side and serve.
  6. Transfer the crepe to a plate. Place the diced banana in the center, pour some sauce and sprinkle the almonds. Fold the crepe & indulge!

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Mango Lassi/ Mango Smoothie (mmm mangolicious~)

This 2 ingredient beverage will keep you going for hours, unless you are crazy about mango, like me! Lassi, if made the right way, can be a good way to keep your hunger at bay, especially when you are fasting (Hindu Fasts). Enjoy it solo or with a snack but not with lunch or dinner, as it will really fill you up and you will probably doze off! Even half a glass (1 full small glass) will suffice! When you drink a lot of it, that’s when you need to start keeping track of your calories from this nourishing, summer drink, or just go outside & get those calories burning! 😀

mango lassi

Know your nutrients: Mango lassi in restaurants can be super rich (high calorie beverage that comes in generous serving size), but if you make it at home, you get the benefits without the disadvantage! 😉 It has the goodness that comes with low fat, plain, unsweetened, yogurt- good quality protein, calcium, vit A and the bacteria (probiotics) ! Mango…besides the deliciousness, is rich in beta carotene (which converts to vit A in our body), which you might already know.

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I love Alphonso mango (the King of Mangoes), and haven’t quite learned to appreciate the taste of other mangoes. I am sometimes okay with Kesar variety, but would rather reserve my loyalty for the Alphonso. Since, fresh Alphonso is not easily available here at affordable rates, I am happy to use the canned pulp (94% pulp). However, you can try this recipe with any variety. Instead of pulp, just chop up the flesh of the mango variety you like.

Here’s how to enjoy a guilt-free mango lassi, with the real taste of Alphonso.

Per serving: 107 cals | 2 g fiber | 4 g protein | 1 g total fat | Calcium & vitamin A

Nutrient-dense, lower calorie beverage 

Ingredients: (4 servings)

1 cup Alphonso mango pulp, fresh pulp from ripe mango or canned (94% pulp) or chopped pieces of ripe mango of your choice

1 cup low fat, plain, unsweetened yogurt

Water for your desired consistency

Procedure:

  1. Blenderize pulp/ chopped mango and yogurt together till smooth.
  2. Then add water to get your desired consistency. Run the blender once more or just stir well.
  3. Serve chilled &/or with topping of ice cubes or a pinch of nutmeg in small glasses.
  4. Say yumm and lick your lips!

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Mango lassi

Yummy Lauki/doodhi Dhokla (steamed calabash savory cake)

After spending about 2 years (on and off) in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, it was hard to not fall in love with the Gujarati delicacies- khaman dhokla, dhokli, theplas, handva, muthiyas, undhiya etc. However, the generous use of oil/ghee made it a little hard for me to enjoy those dishes without critical evaluation. So, with some determination and courage to try out a hybrid of two of my favorites – lauki muthiya and handva, I conjured up this “formula with halves” 🙂 This makes it easier to remember the recipe too!

I will let you try this recipe, as I reminisce the days we spent in Ahmedabad. The aroma of methi theplas being roasted early in the morning by my neighbor, while I prepared tea with lemon grass, is a fond memory.

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View from our kitchen window

How to serve: Enjoy this dish with a cup of masala chai.

Know your nutrients: This dish serves as a good low calorie, nutritious snack with moderate amount of protein. Most of the snacks can be high in calories & sugar, and/or low in protein. I have used coarse semolina which contains more fiber than fine semolina or semolina flour. However, there was no source to quote its nutrient content. As such, I have used values for semolina flour.

Per serving: 103 cals | 4 g protein | 1 g fiber | 3 g total fat 

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Palak with Panfried Tofu Pakora (Panfried Tofu fritters in Spinach Curry)

To all the palak paneer lovers, this dish might be a pleasant surprise! I love paneer and a lip smacking palak paneer for sure. Every bite of this home-made dish sort of has a calming effect on you!! This palak curry is inspired by mom’s palak paneer, which I attempted several times with disappointment. One time there was too much onion, another time too much tomato and other times God knows what. Seriously, for a while, I did not even bother to make it. Yesterday, for some reason, I just got the courage to try it one more time. I went by my instincts to get the proportions in order and followed her steps without slacking. And yes!! I was super happy with the outcome, which is good- it means I will be happier taking photos even in low light with whatever gear I have. I wanted to try it with tofu. But tofu by itself is quite bland and so I thought of turning it into a pakora, the Indian fritterSometimes, I feel pakora might be an easy solution to making anything you don’t like into something you will enjoy~ :)) Of course, you guessed it – I wasn’t going to deep fry – use of too much oil and smoke in the house….and then you are left with oil that you shouldn’t really use again…. na-a. So yeah, pan-frying it is! The pakoras turned out quite good and I ended up eating quite a bit while photographing. And it wasn’t even lunch time…:O

Now, a few seconds for learning…

Know your nutrients: Tofu not only adds variety to the usual palak paneer dish, but it also incorporates some more Iron. Spinach is rich in iron and the tomatoes in the dish provide some vitamin C that can promote its absorption. Ideally, serve this dish with a fresh tomato side salad as well or serve a citrus fruit for dessert. These tips are especially useful for vegetarians, who may have difficulty consuming sufficient amounts of iron. Paneer is quite rich in Calcium and may inhibit the absorption of iron in the spinach, which also contains some calcium, folate and beta carotene. So, try alternating between your favorite palak paneer and palak with tofu pakoras 🙂 to get your calcium as well as iron.

Per serving

Palak curry: 68 cals | 3 g protein | 2 g fiber | 5 g total fat | Good source of Iron, Vitamin A, C, Folate

Tofu Pakoras: 95 cals | 6 g protein | 1 g fiber | 6 g total fat | Good source of Iron

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Mango Sheera/ Halwa – Akshaya Tritiya Special!

Wishing you all a very happy Akshaya Trititya – an auspicious day for the Hindus and Jains. It is considered a great day to do charitable work, continue your good deeds with extra zest, make investments that are not just monetary, begin new ventures and everything positive you can think of. Do all that makes you happy, express your love, spread the joy and it will grow manifold!! 🙂

Since it is the birth day of Lord Parshurama, I would like to offer a dish made using a fruit I love the most – MANGO and that comes from His Land (Konkan region, the western districts of coastal Maharashtra & Goa in India)! For those who know me, know that I love mango in any form, and that I am loyal to the Alphonso variety. I may try another variety here and there, but nothing compares to the taste of Alphonso. Here is a recipe you can enjoy using the pulp of Alphonso or my second choice Kesar Mango. No other variety please in order to honor my favorite fruit …Hahaha… 😉 I am not particularly a fan of sheera or halwa, a sweet preparation made with semolina flour or coarse semolina, very popular in India. But you put mango in it and I will love it. Main ingredient of halwa or sheera is lots of ghee!! I figured out a way to make sheera more comforting and without the excessive ghee which coats your palate & does not let you truly enjoy the taste of other ingredients. So, if you like sheera and want to enjoy the taste of the ingredients while feeling content at the end, here is your recipe to fall back on. 😉

Know your nutrients: Mango, the tropical summer fruit, has a good amount of Beta carotene that converts to vitamin A in our body, although not very efficiently. But the other ingredients, low fat milk and ghee, can enhance the absorption of beta carotene.. Vitamin A is important for normal vision, the immune system, and reproduction. Vitamin A, as an anti-oxidant helps protect your body from oxidative stress.  Milk brings in the protein and calcium and some vitamin A, that’s easily absorbed. If you had to choose between a brownie, or cheesecake or any cake with frosting, or even the Indian sweets for that matter (halwa, burfis etc.) this dish can serve as a healthier alternative.

Per serving: 170 cals | 6 g protein | 3 g total fat | 1.5 g fiber | 129 mg Calcium | 120 ug RAE vitamin A

 

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