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south beach diet phase 1

Vegetable patties / vadais with chickpea flour

I wouldn’t say that I totally ignored the principles of SBD for the last few weeks but I did jump on and off the bandwagon. I didn’t gain any pounds but I felt the carb cravings getting back to my lifestyle. Hence, I started with South beach diet phase 1 from Monday and thankfully I have been sticking through the rule.
Here is the list for the remaining 4 days (Day 2-5)
Breakfast with 1- 8oz fat free or 1% fat milk
1. Smoked salmon with eggs
2. Vegetable patties with roasted chickpeas (pottu kadalai) – Recipe below ( I ate 4 small pieces)
Mid-morning snack
1. 1/4 cup roasted soy nuts
2.  1/4 cup Roasted chickpeas

Lunch
Day 2: 
1. Savoury / red cabbage slaw with roasted sunflower seeds and Asian dressing
2. Pecan crusted cod
3. 1/2 cup plain yogurt sprinkled with rock salt and cumin powder

Day 3:
1. Tindora / Kovakkai stir fry
2. 1 cup – Chow-Chow kootu

Day 4:
1. Butternut squash masala
3. 1/2 cup plain yogurt sprinkled with rock salt and cumin powder
Day 5:
1. Red kidney beans stew with chicken sausage and oregano
3. Savoury / red cabbage slaw with roasted sunflower seeds and Asian dressing
Evening snacks with 1- 8oz glass fat free or 1% fat milk
1. 1 part-skin mozarella cheese stick
2.  Boiled edamame
3.  Baby-bel cheese
4. 12 roasted almonds

Dinner:
It was leftover from the day plus rasam or dhaal made for my husband and son. 
This was my diet for the last 5 days and this weekend I am going to enjoy authentic South Indian meals guilt free. I lost 2 pounds ( 1 hour spinning for 2 days and Tony Horton workout for another 2 days) and my target weight to lose by the end of this year will be 10 pounds or a dress size down. Wish me luck!

Today I am sharing one of the quickest recipe ever for vegetarian who are interested to start phase 1 of SBD. Generally when we make vegetable cutlets or patties, we use eggs, potatoes or breadcrumbs to get the dough-like consistency. Ofcourse these ingredients help to hold the cutlets in shape and will not crumble into pieces when cooked and served. So what I did was. I replaced potatoes or breadcrumbs with roasted chickpeas. Yes, they are allowed in phase 1 as they come under beans/lentils. I gently dry roasted them on low heat and made a smooth powder out of it. That will be our binding agent. For South beach diet phase 1 patties, I used cauliflower, brocolli, butternut squash and beans for the vegetable base. I cooked them al-dente and pulsed it in a food processor to get a gritty texture. Tons of cilantro, kasuri-methi and spice powders were added to enhance flavor and taste.  Gently mix the chick pea powder, vegetables and spices together. Heat little oil and cook them until they roll into a ball. Cool and make patties out of it.  Non-dieters, you can replace brocolli with purple or sweet potatoes. Throw in some carrots and peas too. This recipe will be a change from your usual cutlets.
 



SOUTH BEACH DIET PHASE 1 – VEGETABLE PATTIES WITH ROASTED CHICKPEAS


Source: Self
Makes : 20 small patties

Ingredients
  • 1 cup  cauliflower -cut into florets
  • 1/2 cup broccoli – cut into florets
  • 20 french beans – finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup butternut squash – cubed
  • 3 cups roasted chickpeas (pottu kadalai) – Can be found in Indian grocery stores
  • 1 small onion – finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro – finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon kasuri meethi / dried fenugreek leaves  
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 5 cups water to cook the vegetables in a pan or use minimum water to steam cook them
Plus 1/4 cup oil to cook the patties.
Directions
  1. Dry roast the chickpeas in a saucepan for 2-3 minutes on medium low flame. You just want to heat through the chickpeas. Cool and grind to a smooth powder.  
  2. Bring the water to a rolling boil and dump the chopped vegetables (except the onions) and cook covered 15 minutes. Drain through a colander and set aside.
  3. Using a masher or in a food processor, pulse them together. You just want them to mix together and be lump free.
  4. Add the cooked vegetables to a fresh bowl, add the onions, ginger-garlic paste, cilantro, spice powders, kasuri methi and salt. Mix with hand or spatula.
  5. Heat oil on a deep kadai. Once hot, add the vegetable mixture and slowly add roasted chickpeas powder little by little until they form a soft ball, about 15 minutes. Store the remaining the powder (if any) for future use.
  6. Remove and let it come down to room temperature.
  7. Roll into balls of desired size and make a patty out of it.
  8. Heat a non-stick saucepan or tawa . Cook 3-5 minutes on each side adding little oil. Serve hot with pickled onions and yogurt dip.

Additional notes
  1. Since it has no carbs, they are ideal snack or side in phase 1 of South beach diet.
  2. It is also a healthy snack for women with gestational diabetes. I have eaten it during pregnancy and my sugar levels have been normal after eating this delicious snack.
  3. Excellent source of protein for those who like something Indian for their post workout snack.
  4. Can be eaten by those who are diabetic and pre-diabetic.

South Beach Diet Phase 1: Seared Salmon with Spinach and Mushrooms

We have all heard the words “Clean Eating” but many of us may not know what it exactly means. Before you jump into this eating concept, you should start by cleaning up your pantry and fridge. Clean eating is a great way to refresh your eating habits. It’s all about making the right choices. The choice that makes sense to us. It is about eating fresh and healthy food and eating less not-so healthy foods. You can eat lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats and proteins. Clean eating is also about cutting down refined and processed grains, extra salt, unhealthy fat and sugars. South beach diet is also all about that. You don’t have to count calories. Just eat the right stuff and eat until you feel full. Ofcourse be rationale about how much goes into that tiny stomach of yours.

Today, I am sharing the recipe of one of the beautiful salmon dish. It has salmon, mushroom and spinach in it. This was inspired by a meal I ate at my company’s cafeteria. They were served it with basil-chimichurri-cilantro pesto. I made my version without the pesto. I used minimal seasoning in the pan. I just let the natural flavor cook and caramelize to perfection.

Salmon_Mushroom_Spinach_1

SEARED SALMON SERVED OVER A BED OF SAUTEED MUSHROOM AND SPINACH

Source: Inspired from my company’s cafeteria

Cooking Level: Easy

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 palm sized chunk of wild caught salmon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups button mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme

Directions

  1. Clean and pat dry the salmon with kitchen tissue. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Heat oil in a cast iron pan on high. When the oil smokes, place the salmon skin side down and let it cook for 4-5 minutes. Gently slide the spatula and flip the salmon. Let it cook the other side for 3-4 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, add little more oil and add mushroom, spinach and sriracha. Let it cook for 5 minutes until the mushrooms sweat and spinach wilt. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle thyme.
  3. In a clean plate, place the sautéed vegetables and top it with seared salmon. You top it with homemade or store bought pesto for added taste. You can find my spinach pesto recipe here.

South beach diet phase 2 meal plans

I have been reached out by few readers asking to summarize the meal plans for phase 2. I have been procrastinating the job for quite sometime.Today I am sitting down to compile a list of Indian inspired dishes for Phase 2 of SBD. I will provide a sample menu for 14 days.

Day 1:
Breakfast: Oats with channa masala
Cook 1/2 cup raw old fashioned oats with salt in 1 cup water. You can add 2-4 oz 1% milk and stir to combine. Serve hot with channa masala . Garnish with chopped cilantro and onions.
Mid morning snack: 1/4 cup soy nuts or 12-15 roasted/raw almonds
Lunch: Methi murgh with chicken breast with whole wheat chapati/roti/tortilla (2 medium sized – about 45-50 calories each). Each as much chicken curry as you can to restrict your carb intake to 2 quantities of chapati/roti. Wrap the lunch with 1/4 cup non-fat yogurt with 1 small cucumber.
Afternoon snack: Masala chai .
Tea with 1% milk and natural sweetener like agave nectar or coconut palm sugar and 7-10 Somersault pacific salt snacks
Late evening snack: 1 stick non-fat mozzarella cheese
Dinner: Salmon cooked with tomato chutney (1 thick slab – about 10cm long) served over cooked quinoa (1/4 cup raw) and 8oz peppery rasam (soup)
Lat night snack: Drink warm milk (5oz) with a teaspoon of turmeric powder and crushed pepper corns for better digestion and metabolism.

Day 2:
Breakfast: Oats with mushroom stir fry
Cook the oats and serve with mushroom curry
Morning snack: 1 apple
Lunch: 1/4 cup cooked white rice, carrot stir fry ( carrot sauteed with Indian spices and onions), lentil stew and non-fat yogurt.
Afternoon snack: Masala chai .
Tea with 1% milk and natural sweetener like agave nectar or coconut palm sugar and 7-10 Somersault pacific salt snacks
Late evening snack: 1/2 of a large banana
Dinner: Spinach chicken made with chicken breast. Serve with whole wheat chapati/roti/tortilla (2 medium sized – about 45-50 calories each). Each as much chicken curry as you can to restrict your carb intake to 2 quantities of chapati/roti. Wrap the lunch with 1/4 cup non-fat yogurt with 1 small cucumber.

Hummus – South beach diet phase 1 dip


I tasted hummus for the first time in UK and I am an addict to it since then. I used to buy it from Tesco (Supermarket) in bulk and store it for weeks together until I learnt its recipe from my Arabian friend “A”. Thats when I realised that it is such a simple, straight forward and nutritious dish. Apart from chickpeas, it requires another special ingredient called Tahini (sesame paste)
When I planned to make this for the first time in India, I had my doubts about the Tahini sold here. So I immediately rang to my lovely Chech in Dubai to get that for me when she is coming down in august. She very obediently got me a bottle of Tahini and I express my thanks to her through this post and also “love u loads Chech”!!!! (hugs n smiles).

Boiled chickpeas are the main ingredient used in it. They are rich in fibre and have been proven to lower the body cholesterol. You can get them in different colors (black, brown n red) but I chose the beige one today. You can make it from any colored chick pea but my personal choice would be the beige one.It is the chickpea paste which gives the dish a creamy and silky texture. The dash of garlic adds a lovely flavor to it and the olive oil gives it a glossy look. Bit n pieces of finely chopped mint leaves provides a refreshing taste to your tongue.I am sure you guys will love it to bits!
I made this dip as an evening snack. I didnt have pitta bread/baquette at home, so I used toasted bread slices (golden brown colour) instead. It did taste really great.
The best tasty things in life are so simple to make!!! n yeeeaaah this Middle eastern dip is one such dish. Here is the recipe for it.


Ingredients

  • 250gm Chickpeas – boiled
  • 1-2 tsp pepper powder
  • 3 tablespoons tahini paste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves – crushed
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tsp finely chopped mint /parsley
  • salt

Method

  • Soak the raw chickpea in water overnight.Transfer them to the pan and add about 3 cups of water.
  • Pressure cook them for 4 whistles. Check whether the chickpeas are soft. Cool them.
  • Drain the water completely.
  • Grind them along with garlic pods, olive oil and little water into a fine thick paste. Use its boiled water itself for grinding them.
  • Add the lemon juice and tahini. Add the salt and pepper.
  • Whisk it until its all well combined.
  • Drizzle few drops of olive oil and fold in the mint/parsley. Store it in fridge.
  • Serve cold with baquette/ toasted pitta bread / crisply toasted local bread.

 

Shrimp with Grits + Week 3 Menu Plan

What you will find in this post?

  1. 40 Indian inspired South Beach diet recipes
  2. Recipe for Shrimp with South Indian Grits
  3. Week 3 Menu Chart – download pdf here

Hello all,

I am cooking elaborate meals for the last 3 months or may be since Navratri season. Not sure. My kids were sick the entire week. We are down with cold and flu. My husband and I were at the doctor’s office to get tested for flu. Gladly we came out negative but every time I go to doctor’s office to weigh myself I get stressful. I try to eat right all (that’s a lie lol), most of the time but when I attend umpteen number of Indian parties during weekend, I skip carbs but eat the dessert. So after doctor’s check up yesterday, my husband and I have promised ourselves to eat more veggies, lots of proteins and all the good stuff in the world. Those of you who are regular to my blog have read my posts on gestational diabetes menu idea (54 recipes) and South beach diet (snacks listed here). I lost more than 30 pounds after my first pregnancy and I lose about 15 pounds during summer and gladly I didn’t gain any weight for all the holiday eating I did but my plan is to be shed 30 more pounds to reach my idea weight for my 5.7′ height. I have shared 40 Indian Inspired South Beach Diet Phase 1 Recipes in my blog. That is good enough to start the weightloss journey and same menu plan can be used for those who are diabetic or pre-diabetic. PLEASE NOTE THAT EVEN IN PHASE 1 OF THE SBD MEAL THERE ARE LOW CARB RECIPES WITH LEGUMES, BEANS AND LENTILS. Click here for my post on list of healthy snacks to buy and store.

If you wish, you can buy these two books.

The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook: 200 Delicious Recipes Ready in 30 Minutes or Less The South Beach Diet Supercharged: Faster Weight Loss and Better Health for Life

We spent our Saturday at home fighting the cold and watching our favorite movies. When my daughter dozed off for her nap, I raced to the kitchen to make a delicious curry with shrimp but this time I wanted to test a recipe for my Feastly meals. I gave it a thought and came up with truly Southern Indian version of the famous Shrimp with Grits. Grits is a popular dish in Southern American Cooking. So I brought my own touch and twist to the original recipe. I replaced polenta with semolina and corn meal in equal portion and cooked them in coconut milk diluted with water and ghee. Click here to find one of the easiest recipe to make ghee in a pressure cooker. Yes you heard it right. I make ghee in a pressure cooker. I served it with Chettinad (South Indian City) style shrimp masala using aromatic fennel seeds, flavorful coriander seeds and spicy red chillies. Again, I made the base curry in a pressure cooker. How many times will I say pressure cooker right? I know! I am in love with it as my life has began so easy by cooking my meals in it. For those of my readers, who asked me about the brand I use. Here you go. Click on the link to buy one for yourself. You can thank me later! 🙂

Prestige Deluxe Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker, 3.5 Liters

Shrimp_Grits_1

SOUTHERN INDIAN SHRIMP WITH GRITS RECIPE

CHETINAAD STYLE SHRIMP MASALA

Ingredients

For the Base Gravy:

I followed Mr. Rama Krishnanan of Ramki Cook’s Blog’s easy pressure cooker recipe.

  • 1 red onions, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 10 dry red chillies
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 small lime sized tamarind fruits or use 1 tablespoon thick store bought tamarind pulp
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 15 curry leaves (optional)
  • 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 inch long ginger, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh or dry coconut powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek powder
  • 2 teaspoon salt

For the masala

  • 2 cups water to dilute the gravy (use less water while using fresh shrimp as it will leave water while cooking)
  • 2 cups tiny pre-cooked frozen shrimp (I bought mine from Costco), thaw to room temperature or use fresh ones
  • Cilantro for garnish

Equipment Needed

  • Pressure cooker and a whistle

Cooking Directions

  1. Dump all the ingredients mentioned under “for base gravy” except coconut and fenugreek seeds and pressure cook for 15 minutes on medium low flame until the whistle hisses and you don’t want the whistle to go up. Switch off and let the pressure come down. Cool to room temperature. Open the cooker and blend the mixture to a smooth paste.
  2. Transfer to a saucepan. Turn on the heat, pour little water, fresh shrimp and cook them for 10 minutes until they are cooked through.
  3. If using frozen tiny shrimp from store, add 2 cups water and bring it to a rolling boil. Add shrimp and let it cook for 5 minutes in low flame. Cover and let it rest.

GRITS

I make the grits right before I serve as they tend to solidify when cooled. You can make them 15 minutes prior to serving time. This recipe takes hardly 10-15 minutes to cook.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup semolina (rawa / sooji)
  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 2 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Hot water to smooth the grits while serving

Cooking Directions

  1. Bring the water and coconut milk to a rolling boil. Add semolina and corn meal and keep stirring until they are cooked completely. It will take 10 minutes to get the desired texture. Add ghee and salt. Mix well. Add more hot water only if needed. Grits will look creamy and smooth so try to achieve that consistency.Transfer to the serving bowl and top with the shrimp masala and you and drizzle some rosemary and red chili infused olive oil.Recipe here.

South+beach+phase+1

Coming to todays special : Week 3 Menu Chart

First let me explain about how I created this menu. The menu chart will give you an idea of what to eat for first 7 days and I will send the menu chart for next 7 days as Week 4 menu chart. You can serve the same dishes list in the chart with carbs like bread or oats for breakfast, white or brown rice or roti for lunch and dinner for your kids and husband. I came up with this menu so  everyone at home is happy and the tummy is full. Importantly with this menu, there is more chances to stay full and stay committed as we will not be hungry and grumpy. It is just that we are eating low carb / no-carb. Vegetarians please replace meat/seafood/eggs with mushrooms, tofu, tempeh or soy chunks. I am sorry for adding eggs for breakfast but as I said play with vegetarian alternatives. I plan to walk for 30 minutes during my lunch break so those of you who have the time can do elaborate exercise. Notes:

  1. Drink lot of water, diluted buttermilk, rasam and green tea to keep full
  2. The meals can be used as a template and stop over feeding. Eat what is needed.
  3. This diet is not calorie based so I have not counted the calories
  4. The meal is planned to cover lots of veggies stir fry / subzis, proteins like mushroom, tofu, chicken, mutton, eggs & seasfood and dahls/ dal based curry.

Please grab the following menu plans from here:

  1. WEEK 3 MENU PLAN + SHOPPING LIST (No Carb/ Low Carb Meal Ideas to Lose Weight, Also those with Gestational Diabetes can follow this but please add healthy carb to every meal of the day)
Spices and Aroma Week 3 Menu Chart Plan

Click on the image to download the week 3 menu plan + shopping list

 

  1. WEEK 2 MENU PLAN + SHOPPING LIST
  2. WEEK 1 MENU PLAN + SHOPPING LIST (grab it from the 2 PDFs in the post)

Thengai Sadam (Coconut rice) -South Indian gluten free rice dish

Gluten free diet is getting popular these days.  I have many friends and bloggers who are making a switch to gluten free eating habits. Some might wonder what’s this diet about. For those of you who are unsure about gluten free cooking, this post is dedicated to you.

What is a gluten free diet?
As the name suggests, it’s a diet without gluten. A diet that excludes food containing gluten. In grains like wheat, barley or rye, there is a protein component called gluten.  It is a specific type of protein found in certain grains. Gladly, they are absent in meat or eggs. This diet was popular among individuals who suffered from gluten allergies or those who were diagnosed with celiac disease, a condition which damages the intestine when gluten is eaten. When a person has celiac disease, his intestine doesn’t absorb the nutrients from the food. When a food with gluten was consumed by a celiac patient, the immune system responds by damaging the villi, tiny fingerlike protrusions found inside the small intestine gets damaged. It is the villi that helps to absorb the nutrients from food and flushes the good stuffs in to the bloodstream. If the villi is damaged or malfunctioning, the person becomes malnourished. Hence it is recommended by doctors to avoid gluten in their diet. They are denied from eating breads, cakes and cookies made with regular flours. Some beers and cosmetic products like lip balm may contain gluten. So it is key for them to watch the ingredient list in the label to see what works for their body and eat/use accordingly.  
Good news is that there are lot of South Indian ingredients that are gluten free. I hail from Southern part of India and most dishes that are cooked in my kitchen fall under the gluten free category. Our staple dishes are rice and coconut based. We have been cooking these dishes for generations together and we are glad to know that they are good and safe for the body. It is a wonderful diet even if you not a celiac person. Like China or Italy, India cuisine evolved and developed with the local ingredients and each region has specific cuisine based on the weather and agricultural pattern. Northern India is where wheat based diet is popular as they are the largest producer of wheat, while Southern India is famous for rice based dishes as that was predominantly cultivated here. My blog carries a good number of gluten free recipes. Feel free to browse through them. Along with rice, wine, potatoes, eggs, fish, meat, fruits, vegetables and milk products are allowed on a gluten free diet. 

Coconut is yet another popular ingredient used predominantly in Kerala cuisine and Tamil Nadu cuisine.  South Indians love the flavor of coconuts. Coconut oil is predominantly used as a base oil to build this dish upon. Infact it is the only oil that contains lauric acid and its derivative monolaurin which is next found in breast milk. My mother makes a lot of dish with coconut, its milk and rice. For instance there is appam-thengai paal, idly, idiyappam, dosa, kozhukattai with white rice and brown rice flour. Even the desserts are made with rice flour, gram flour (besan) and milk. There are zillions of everyday recipes for rice dishes in South India. I highly recommend gluten free dieters to explore South Indian cuisine for various choice in their meals. Another excellent grain to work with is finger millet, also known as ragi in tamil. Click here to read about the dishes I made with it.

Coming to today’s recipe, its Tamil Nadu cuisine’s specialty dish called Thengai Sadam (Coconut rice). When I was teaching this recipe to my Caucasian friend I explained the recipe in an easy to understand manner. I told her we make a simple warm vinaigrette and mix that with rice just like we mix it with greens or any salad vegetables. That seemed to work well as she makes dishes like lemon rice, sesame rice, coconut rice pretty regularly like a fellow Tamilian. I taught her how to cook the base sauces and now she makes them hassle free and adds it to cooked quinoa, brown rice or cooked oats.

For the coconut rice, I made a simple tempering with mustard seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves and dry red chillies. A little shredded coconut is added towards the end of cooking and then mix the rice and garnish with some roasted peanuts or cashews for added crunch. Your thengai sadam is ready is less than 10 minutes. This is one of the rice dish offered to Lord Venkateshwara during “purattasi” month Saturday prayers (thaliyal menu) in Hindu household. Serve warm with any curry or plain potato chips will do.



RECIPE
THENGAI SADAM / TAMIL NADU STYLE COCONUT RICE

Source: My mother
Serves : 4

Ingredients
2 cups cooked rice (I used basmati rice, you can use Ponni rice or any variety you have at home)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
1 tablespoon urad dhal / Bengal gram
10 curry leaves
3 dry red chillies
2 teaspoon asafoetida
1/4 cup unsweetened dessicated coconut ( found in Indian grocery stores)
Salt  to taste

Garnish
1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts or cashews

Directions
Heat oil in a kadai/ pan. Once they get heated up, throw in the mustard seeds and let it pop. Then add the urad dhal,asafoetida, curry leaves, dry red chillies and saute for couple of minutes. Switch off the flame and add the coconuts and salt. Give it a complete mix.  Add the rice and mix well. Garnish with peanuts on top. Serve right away.Additional notes
1. Coconut rice makes an awesome entree for parties. Just cook the rice in bulk and add your coconut base. I have served mine Indian potato curry or fish or shrimp or chicken curry.
2.  They are an excellent picnic food. I like packing them in air tight containers but make sure be keep it warm dry weather. Too much heat will spoil the coconut and make the rice taste bad.

2012 – A Recap of my favourite posts

Today is the last post for this year.

Woot! 2012 was such a beautiful year with loads of busy and exciting days. Where do I begin? The year started with me registering for some online courses on clinical operations followed by a job and a change to a new job, my son started his Montessori school, I received new opportunities through my blog, made new blogger and personal friends along the way, lost close to 30 pounds in the last 12 months, tried my hands with couponing (which I sucked big time and ended up shopping more than what was needed), traveled to new destinations in little breaks we got, tried my hands on Cajun cooking, tried to become a better baker AND importantly I moved to my own website. Overall,  it was a fantastic 2012 with lots of learning, healthy eating and cooking.

I am wrapping the post with a list of recipes that my family, friend and I enjoyed eating. I will meet you all in January, 2013 with a dessert post and my plans for the new year. Happy New Year to all!

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

1.  South beach diet phase 1 meal ideas

I lost close to 30 pounds by following South beach diet, Tony Horton P90 Workout, regular Spinning & Yoga at work. I have received a lot of kind response from readers that this post was useful as they were following South Beach Diet Indian Menu

2.  Chocolate Mousse with avocados ( Vegetarian)

I had cut down on desserts due to my weightlos journey. Sometime I do crave for something chocolat-y. This recipe is a keeper for those who love chocolate, for those who are vegetarians as there is no eggs in it and also for those who are on a weightloss regime as it uses all natural sugar and avocados.

3. Salmon Quinoa Patties

I shared my story on gestational diabetes in this post and many to-be-moms who are suffering from gestational diabetes have found series of my menu list useful. I have tons of moms from my OB/GYN’s office contacting me with their sweet feedbacks.

4. Butter Chicken without butter and heavy cream

Another killer recipe for the famous Indian dish – Butter Chicken. This version is made with silfen tofu and there is no butter or heavy cream in it. I make Indian Burritos with whole wheat tortilla, little basmati rice and this butter chicken topped with tons of cilantro and salsa.

5. Indian Tarts with Peas and Paneer

An quick and easy appetizer to please your guests. You can even make pockets with it and turn it into Indian puffs.

6. Adzuki Beans Masala

A bean that I got introduced to in 2012 and I am thankful for that. I have made soups, rice dish and curries with it. A must have in the pantry if you want to store some low glycemic index foods.

7. Roasted Cauliflower Popcorns

Thanks to Dr. Oz for introducing this idea in his show. I followed their exact recipe but tweaked it to my Indian taste bud. Cauliflowers were seasoned with cumin, chili and coriander powder.

8. Mother-in-law’s Chicken & Lamb Biryani

Kick ass recipe for any true Tamilian who is looking to create an awesome biryani at home.

9. Salmon with Indian spices

An array of healthy Salmon recipes.

10. Homemade Ice Creams

Who wouldn’t like a vegetarian ice cream? That too homemade and no need for an ice cream maker. This was one of the most popular recipe in my blog so far.

12. Deep Fried Zucchini Blossoms

I had tried my hands on Zucchini Blossoms for the first time and I am sure you will love this recipe.

13. Creme Brulee with Mango Puree

An Indian twist to all time famous French dessert – Creme Brulee. Mango puree and cardamom were added to the original recipe.

14.  Courtrallam Chicken Pepper Fry

A post about my childhood trip to Courtrallam Water Falls in Tamil Nadu and the recipe for the dish that was eaten by every tourist who visits Courtallam.

15. Healthy Whole Wheat Banana Bread without added sugar or eggs

One of the most healthiest and tastiest recipe for making banana bread. I have used honey, ripen banana and apple sauce to sweeten it.

16. Mooti Choor Ladoo

No Indian festival is complete without eating mooti choor ladoo. This is considered to be the hardest recipe to crack. I couldn’t find a good recipe that would work. So I got the recipe from my wedding caterer and he shared with me some of the tricks to get it close to store bought ones.

17. Rasamalai

This is one of the most famous dessert in India. I posted a semi-homemade recipe with store bought rasagullas. A must try Indian sweet to impress a huge party.

18. Rasam

One of the common comfort food for any South India. Rasam has been my go to recipe while on Phase 1 of South beach diet as it fits all the requirements for phase 1.

19. How to posts?

A list of posts that gives ideas on how to plan a party, how to organize the kitchen and how to make homemade dishes like ghee from scratch in the kitchen.

20. Pineapple Pudding and Mango Mousse

The two famous dish at my work as I have been requested to make either one of them for every party that was organized. They are so quick to fix and involves mixing all the store bought ingredients and letting it set in the refrigerator overnight. A true blessing to prepare on a working day.

Quiche with spinach, mushrooms and bell peppers

When I started with the South Beach diet for the second time, I had my doubts whether I will stick through diet this time. And today when I look back at the last 4 weeks (with 8 days of not-so-South beach friendly dishes during my vacation), I am proud to say that I have so far lost 12 pounds and I am almost reaching my pre-pregnancy weight. Yaaay!!! I just wanted to update my readers about my progress.
Every time while starting a diet, I ask to myself:  When is the right time to exercise? Some say early morning in the empty stomach, some prefer to do it in the afternoons and some in the  evenings. But I read in some magazine that exercising early in the morning after a long fast (8 hours of sleep) will help burn more fat. So I have started to workout in the morning. I wake up around 6 am and start the morning with Tony Horton’s power 90 and on alternate days I do dance work outs (Bollywood music from my laptop too!!!). Tony does a decent job of stretching, power yoga, weights, abs and cool down sessions. He is motivating and I like the fact that he gives permission to listen to the body, take a break when needed and this DVD is a really helpful for beginners. All you need is the self-determination and commitment to do it for 6 days each week. I started with this program 6 days ago and this seems to give some results. Will keep you all posted on the weight lost after few weeks 🙂

For those of you who have read the South Beach diet book will know that regular exercise will help in better weight loss and there is a huge possibility that we can avoid weight-loss plateau by swapping different kinds of workout each day like running, elliptical,cycling, floor exercises and workout DVDs.  

Need ideas and tips for a healthy lifestyle and healthy food choices? Click here to find an answer.

The post for today is yet another South beach friendly breakfast dish – Quiche. It is a French dish, baked with eggs and milk in a pastry crust. Below is the picture of my breakfast with the Zurich cow bell :-), recollecting that I tasted quiche for the first time in Zurich, Switzerland. The one I had was in a small bakery in the downtown. It was baked with potatoes, ham and spinach. I really liked them – it was so filling, easy on my pocket and so delicious.
The quiche I made is without any crust. Yes, you heard them right. No crust. Since I am still sticking around phase 1, I just baked eggs, veggies, cheese and little milk. I got inspired to try this recipe after seeing Sigma’s Breakfast casserole. The best part about this quiche is that they freeze really well. During weekends, I make them in large batches, cut them into my desired serving sizes and freeze them in freezer bags.Everyday morning, I take one, defrost it in the microwave and pour some hot sauce and enjoy this cheesy hot breakfast and to wash them down, I either drink a glass of 1% milk (8 oz) or freshly made tomato juice (8 oz).
Serve 8-10 squares
Ingredients
12 large eggs
1/4 cup fat free or 1% milk
1 cup low fat cottage cheese ( I used the fat free one)
2 cups grated low fat parmigiano rijano and cheddar cheese or any low fat cheese blend
1 garlic – minced
2 cups frozen spinach
3 cups mushroom, any choice – diced
1 large red bell pepper – diced
1 cup red onions- diced
1 large onion – diced
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Method
Preheat the oven to 375F.

Place the cottage cheese in a strainer and run cold water through it. Drain well and just the curd like cheese would be left behind. Beat the eggs along with the milk till frothy. Mix in the cottage cheese.

In a large pan, heat the oil and add the garlic, cook for 30 seconds. Add the onions and cook till soft. Add the chili powder and garam masala and stir fry till the raw smell disappears. Add the bell peppers, mushroom and saute for 5 minutes. Finally add the spinach and saute till wilted. Set them aside.

Spray a large baking dish or casserole with oil. In the bottom of the dish layer cooked veggies and cheese. Pour the egg mixture over and stir gently with a fork to make sure the liquid is evenly distributed over the other ingredients. Bake for 45 minutes in the pre-heated oven till the eggs are set. Once cooled, slice them into small squares or serving size of your choice and freeze them.

Before you serve, defrost them in the microwave and serve with hot sauce.
Tips: 
1. This can be enjoyed as a breakfast during all the three phases of South beach diet.
2. You can add ham, turkey or any meat of your choice. Just make sure they are lean, low fat and also pre-cook them before baking.

Guacamole – South beach way

Things have been bit busy at my end. The day begins at 6 in the morning and runs fast forward to evening 6 in no time. Then cooking, cleaning, gym, swimming takes my priority list. I have been whipping up quick fix meals with parts of the dish bought outside. So I have got this new name at home – Semi-homemades by V and my husband teases that I should host a show like Sandra Lee.
Hence here I am with less gabbling and running directly to my dish of the day. Here is a quick post on my favorite South Beach friendly dips. I love avocados and I love guacamole. This dip has fat free cottage cheese in it and I am loving this twist to the original guacamole recipe. I just followed the recipe from the SBD book and they were so creamy, spicy and refreshing. The addition of lemon zest and juice are my own contribution to the original recipe. Avocado cilantro guacamole can be eaten with vegetable dippers as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack.
Ingredients
1/3 avocado
1/3 cup fat free or reduced fat cottage cheese
1 small onions- chopped
1 garlic – minced
1/4 cup cilantro – chopped
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1/2 lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
Salt to taste
Method
Mash the avocado with a masher or hand. Mix in all the ingredients and check for salt and store in the fridge until ready to serve.
They can be served with pita chips, corn chips, cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers and celery.
Tips:
1. Once I used the entire avocado, thinking of making them in large batches and store it for couple of days like my spicy hummus and plain hummus. But it didn’t work as planned. When you store them even for more than a day, the dip turns black and didn’t taste as good as it was on the first day. So my best advise would be to make them fresh and finish it right away.
2. For phase 1 dieters, stick with celery, bell peppers and cucumbers.
3. For phase 2 dieters, you can include carrots too and also any whole wheat bread.
4. For phase 3 people, you can indulge in pita chips or corn tortilla or scoops as a once in while treat.

Recipes

Breakfast

  1. Khaman Dokhla 
  2. South Indian Idli
  3. Beetroot Parathas ( A detailed post on how to make parathas)
  4. Bread Sandwich with paneer and potato filling
  5. Fennel Pollen Apple Tart
  6. Nutty chocolate granola ( Gluten free)
  7. Tortilla cooked with vegetables and eggs
  8. Cracked Wheat | Daliya Khichdi
  9. Pesarattu (Green gram and brown rice dosa)
  10. Adai with brown rice and lentils
  11. Ragi Idiyappam (Finger Millet Noddles) with thengai paal (sweetened coconut milk)
  12. Bread Sandwich with Spinach Pesto and Mushrooms

Beans

  1. Adzuku| Azuki Beans masala

Chicken | Turkey

  1. Sandwich thins with chicken, mayonnaise and yogurt (use paneer instead of chicken)
  2. Chinese Cooking: Chicken and Vegetable Stir fry
  3. Brown rice – Chicken cakes / patties with chilli mayo
  4. Vietnamese Cooking: Chicken Satay with lettuce, herbs, peanut sauce and brown rice
  5. Courtallam / Kutralam Border Kadai Pepper Chicken Varuval
  6. Mother-in-law’s Chicken briyani / biryani – Tamil Nadu style recipe
  7. Butter Chicken Without Butter and Heavy Cream – A healthy version
  8. Kofta Curry with baked Chicken Meat Balls
  9. Chicken Liver Masala
  10. Chicken Curry with Rasam Podi
  11. Methi Murgh – Chicken cooked with fenugreek leaves
  12. Palak Murgh – Chicken cooked with spinach (Easy Pressure Cooker Method)
  13. Paradise Style Hyderabadi Chicken Dum Biryani

Desserts

  1. Sakkarai Pongal
  2. Pineapple Pudding
  3. Confetti Cake in a jar
  4. Mooti Chor Ladoo
  5. Halloween Treat – Spider Web Cookies
  6. Rasamalai
  7. Healthy whole wheat banana bread with no added sugar and eggs
  8. Quick fix party dessert : Mango mousse
  9. How to make homemade vanilla ice cream?
  10. Creme brulee with mango puree
  11. How to make ice cream without a machine? – Easy homemade strawberry ice cream recipe
  12. Sweet peaches in almond minto pesto – Healthy dessert
  13. Kid’s Snacks: Eggless Strawberry-Banana Whole Wheat Flour Muffins
  14. Gulab Jamun Cheese Cake
  15. South Indian Banana Hoppers / Appam 
  16. 3 Ingredients Mango Ambrosia

Dips

  1. Sweet and spicy apricot chutney – My Indian way
  2. Everyday Raita – Kadi Pakoda
  3. Lauki  Raita| Bottle Gourd in Yogurt Dip

DIYs / Party Ideas

  1. How to plan for Mexican Themed Birthday Party?
  2. How to plan menu for Baby Shower?
  3. How to plan Navratri / Gollu (9 nights Indian festival) Party?
  4. How to host South Indian themed Christmas party?
  5. How to make DIY holiday gifts?
  6. How to make DIY Photoglobe?

Drinks

  1. Orange Punch – Quick and Easy Drink
  2. Ayurvedic drink with ginger, lemon and honey
  3. Masala Chai and It’s Spice Blend Recipe
  4. Ruby Pink (Green) Smoothie

Grains

  1. Peppercorn and Cumin Rice (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)
  2. Vegetable Brinji / Birinji Rice  (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)
  3. Ven Pongal – South Indian Risotto with Lentils and Rice (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)
  4. Thengai Sadam | Coconut rice (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)
  5. Savory Quinoa Muffins (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)
  6. Quinoa salad with yogurt-mint dressing (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)
  7. Bisibelebath | Pressure Cooker Method (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)
  8. Roasted Butternut Squash with Saffron Rice
  9. Warm Quinoa Salad with warm lemon juice dressing
  10. Steamed Quinoa Cakes
  11. Pulao with Brussels Sprouts, Mushroom and Green Peas cooked in an electric cooker
  12. Cold Quinoa Salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing
  13. Brussels sprouts, mushroom and peas pulao made by my 3 year old boy

 

Mutton | Lamb

  1. Chettinad lamb/mutton biryani (Gluten free, Dairy free)
  2. Ghost Shorba (Mutton Curry)
  3. Lamb cooked with Beets | Beetroot

Pasta

  1. Pasta cooked with vegetables and soy chunks

Seafood

  1. Baked Salmon with Mustard-Dill Sauce
  2. Shrimp Cocktail with South Indian Spices
  3. Meen puttu – South Indian Salmon Scramble
  4. Flat beans-shrimp curry : Eral avarakai masala
  5. Salmon Baked with Malabar Fish Curry Sauce
  6. Grilled Shrimp – Tandoori Style
  7. Meen Kozhambhu – Tamil Nadu Style Fish Curry with Salmon
  8. Salmon baked with mint-cilantro sauce
  9. Tamil Nadu Style Crab Masala
  10. Salmon Quinoa Patties
  11. South Beach Diet Phase 1: Seared Salmon with Spinach and Mushrooms

Snacks

  1. Chocolate Dipped Pineapples
  2. Vegetable patties / vadais with chickpea flour
  3. Kozhukatai with brown rice flour and kondakadalai sundal for Vinagayar Chathurthi
  4. Kara Kozhukatai – South Indian Savoury Dumplings (Gluten free, Dairy Free)
  5. Mung bean salad with veggies (Gluten free, Dairy Free)
  6. Haldiram Style Microwaved Moong Dhal
  7. Roasted Cauliflower Popcorns
  8. Deep Fried Zucchini Blossoms
  9. Black Mung Bean Salad – Indian Style
  10. Masala Puffed Rice|Pohri
  11. Boiled Edamame
  12. Indian Tart (Puff Pastry) topped with peas and paneer
  13. Famous Thengai Mangai Sundal from Chennai Marina Beach
  14. Cauliflower and Broccoli Roast topped with quinoa spice powder
  15. Corn Tortilla Bites Served With Homemade Guacamole

  16. Quick Fig-Mozzarella Cheese Puffs For Kids
  17. Paneer-Vegetable Khati Roll

Soups

  1. Mint Rasam
  2. Jeeraga Rasam
  3. Paruppu Rasam | Pappu Charu
  4. Puli Rasam | Tamarind Rasam
  5. Plums Rasam Shot for Dinner Party

Vegetables

  1. Beetroot Stir Fry – South Indian Warm Salad
  2. South Indian Okra| Venakai | Bhindi Curry
  3. Chow-Chow Thogayal – South Indian Pesto with Chayote Squash Skin
  4. Cluster beans stir fry / Kothavarangai poriyal
  5. Keerai Kootu (Spinach and Split Moong Bean stew)
  6. Mexican cooking – Baked sweet potatoes
  7. Thakkali Vengayam Thokku | Tomato Onion Dry Curry
  8. Palak Paneer – Indian Cottage Cheese cooked with Spinach (Easy Pressure Cooker Method)
  9. Peas Masala with Soy Chunks
  10. Cauliflower-Soy Chunks Subzi
  11. 4 Ingredients Sweet Plantain Appetizer