Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Crunchy Taco Bowls and the Aura of Summer 2012 Olympics

''Winning in Olympics is like celebrating Excellence by conquering over the quest to Excel and be Yourself. Sports teach us to compete with oneself before competing with others; and develop a belief in the magnificent aura of  team spirit. A time to salute every parent and mentor in the making of a champion..."                                                                                  

It was early 2006 when we visited an Olympics venue in Beijing that was getting ready for the big day. It was great feeling thinking about how one day these super talented athletes from all over the world are going to perform here for their country. The Olympics games are here & it is the time to celebrate the spirit of sportsmanship in each of us. Playing sports is a great exercise of mind, body and soul, a perfect stroke to live a balanced life.

The 2012 Summer Olympics being held in London are a very precious occasion for everyone. It is a matter of great joy to see the representation of all the countries on this international platform. Personally, I had never been a very sporty person in my life and just used to play badminton with my sister once in a while. It was a one fine day this March and that inspirational play date with the world cup champion soccer star Brandi Chastain changed me for good...yes, it made 'me' inclined more towards sports! This summer, while wearing the souvenir tees of Olympics and a mascot in hand for aspiration, we took up plenty of sport activities like swimming, tennis, basketball and a miniature golfing with our little monster and hope to master Ice skating someday. The energetic duo of father and son are just glued to the television watching different games and I am busy cooking for them.  Just yesterday, Indian shooter Gagan Narang's Olympic Medal  in Shooting brought a big cheer to every Indian, it also filled me with sense of pride. Four years back it was in Beijing that  Abhinav Bindra shot to fame with first individual Olympics Gold, and it was special as he is from Chandigarh, my home town. Lets all celebrate the sheer moments of 'pride & honor' during the crowning ceremony with unfurling of national flag and singing of national anthem and getting absorbed in the aura of Olympics :)))))

To enjoy the game and not missing even a single event, I planned to cook a super easy, light and festive recipe. It is 'Crunchy Taco bowls with Beans and Greens' ! Check out the recipe here -

Tortilla wraps: 2 (I used Tomato flavor)
Rice: 1 bowl, boiled (can also use brown rice)
Black beans: 1/ 2cup, boiled
White beans: 1/2 cup, boiled
Sweet corn: 1/2 cup, soaked in warm water
Baby spinach: 1/2 cup
Spring mix salad: a handful
coriander:  handful
Sour cream: 1 dollop
Seasoning to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne powder
Lime: 1
Tortilla baking bowls: 2
Guacamole and salsa for serving

Gently spray some cooking oil in the baking bowls.
Place the tortillas and bake at 375 C for 15 minutes till it turns light golden brown and crispy.

Let it cool for a while.

Put a handful of spring mix salad in the base, followed by rice, white and black beans, sweet corn, baby spinach.Season the taco bowl mix to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne powder and freshly chopped coriander.Add a dollop of sour cream on the top. Just squeeze some fresh lime before eating and can also add guacamole. Got avocados to make guacamole but found it to be little unripe, so might make it tomorrow.

The wait and garnishing is over and the taco bowls are ready to be savoured.

A wonderful combo of crunchy shells + savoury bean mix + Loads of greens. Ahhh...............!!!!

Thanks for being here ! 
Have a wonderful time watching summer Olympics & cheering for your fav. athletes !

Much Love, Sonia

Friday, July 6, 2012

Glow in the Dark Milk with Potlis of Butter & Cashew Cookies !!

Unfurl Yourself  and dance with joy as we all celebrate Independence Day... !!!!!
Because it is a perfect family holiday in summers. A warm day with bright sun up in the sky and plush white clouds. And a whole Good Day to catch up with friends on Twitter & Facebook !!! This is pure bliss !

Till last year, it used to be a year long wait for us in Hoboken for  Fourth of July Macy's Fireworks and for the terrific Macy's Thanksgiving parade. Though we are almost an hour away from Manhattan now, it is still a matter of neighbors envy and owners pride :) , because now we live just a block away from a grand Macy's Store. My evening walk steps take me automatically towards the store, this keeps me in motion and good mood as I check out the latest trends in fashion every now and then. I keep a check on on everything happening right from the launch of summer special Brasil collection to Glamorama coming up in August.  Ironically this year we missed the local live display of colors in the sky coz of the excessive heat warning. To keep up the pace with the times and to have a feel good factor while sitting at home, I opened my Picasa album from last year.

We were seeing the 'majestic fireworks' for three years in a row ! 
and that too from... from our balcony right across the silver lighted skyline of Manhattan...! 
Watching hundreds of boats lining up in the Hudson river;  bouquet of people flocking in little batches right from the morning to evening in the pier park; playing flying disk with the kids; fishing on the shore; and enjoying speciality cones from the ice cream truck !  And after a fully fun filled day looking at the array of 'colors and sparks in the sky'. The enthusiastic bunch singing the patriotic songs by side. It was AWESOME...... !!!!! And the best part is reflected in the blue waters of the Hudson...! It was the BEST fireworks of the year. The very wait and watch was worth it.... ! 
Away from Hoboken this year was different, obviously not so action packed.

Yesterday to celebrate the occasion I gave myself a project to bake a small batch of my favorite 'Britannia - Good Day Butter and cashew Cookies' ! In my quest to make those perfect countryside cookies loaded with goodness of butter and cashews, I tried the following recipe from the book I recently got from a book sale. Once the cookies came of the cooling rack, I bundled them in tiny bag to enjoy as midnight snack.

'I Made cute little potli's of cookies to share with friends 
I won't say the cookies were perfect, but good enuff for three of us! Baking these kept my evening busy and we later enjoyed'em over watching fireworks on TV. Cookies were nice and crunchy but in next attempt, I would do two tweaks - One, add brown sugar to get rich brown color and two, lessen the quantity of butter by 2- 3 tsp to make'em crisper. Here I go with the recipe !

Ingredients of Butter & Cashew Cookies:
(Makes 18)
Whole wheat flour: 1 cup
Semolina: 2 tsp
Rice flour: 2 tsp
Cornflour: 2 tsp
Baking powder: 1 tsp
Cardamom powder: a dash
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Sugar: 1/2 cup (brown sugar preferably)
Roasted Cashews : 1 cup (gently crushed and powdered)
Butter: 3/4 stick
Milk: 2 tsp

Lightly roast the cashews in a nonstick pan for 5-6 minutes till it gets a hue of brownish tinge. Can also spread on a lightly greased tray and roast in an oven for 7-8 minutes. Once it cools down, crush it with mortal and pestle, keeping some small chunks.
Let the butter soften at room temperature.
Whip it with a spatula and add sugar. I used white sugar, but to get a darker shade of the cookies, preferably use brown sugar.
Sift whole wheat flour, semolina, rice flour and cornflour together.
Add salt & baking powder and sift again.
Mix freshly crushed cardamom powder for aromatic flavor.
Add a cup of gently crushed roasted cashews  to the mix of flours.
Add butter and sugar mix in the flour mix.
While adding a little milk, knead to make a dough.
Put the dough in zip lock and let it rest for almost an hour in the refrigerator.
In the mean time, pre heat the oven to 375 F and line the cookie tray with parchment paper.
Take out the dough, give it a knead again.
Take a portion of the dough and roll to make small balls.
Spread the balls in the baking tray.
Gently press the balls and make impressions with a fork.
Bake it for 15-18 minutes till done.
Transfer the cookies with a spatula and let it cool completely on the wire rack.

Can't wait to take a sweet and crunchy !

These cookies are so rich and loved the little chunks of cashews  !!! 

... enjoyed with chilled milk from the glow in the dark mug with a little fireworks', at home :-)

Enjoy it with a chilled glass of milk :) :) :) :) :)

Thanks for being here and Have a wonderful weekend !

Much luv Sonia !

Check out my post on midnight snack- 'Little Hearts'.

Date & Walnut Birthday Cake!!!

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