Friday, April 26, 2013

Ginger Lemonade/Limeade

Ginger Lemonade Concentrate

When warm weather approaches, I stock the fridge with good tasting and healthy quenchers.  Ginger Lemonade makes it very easy to include the amazingly healthful ginger in the diet. Kept in the fridge, the ginger lemonade concentrate provides a lovely and refreshing beverage ready to go!

Use any variety of lemons or limes in any combination - we especially love the juicy and flavorful Meyer lemons for this.

Researchers from around the world are studying the effect of ginger in treating many ailments. Ginger has so many wonderful health benefits, I will list the first 10 that come to mind: 

1.  it stops/slows growth of ovarian and colo-rectal cancer cells 
2.  effective for treating morning sickness
3.  effective remedy for nausea and motion sickness
4.  reduces pain and inflammation
5.  relieves heartburn and other digestive tract distress
6.  it is a natural treatment for cold, cough, and flu (ginger tea)
7.  provides migraine relief
8.  used for menstrual cramps relief
9.  prevention of kidney damage 
10. it is antibiotic and anti-fungal

Note:  I save the strained ginger for cooking as it is still good and delicious.

3 cups of concentrate


1/2 cup Evaporated Cane Juice (Sugar)
1 pinch Sea Salt
4 - 6 Tbsp Fresh Ginger, finely grated or ground
2 cups fresh Water
1 cup freshly squeezed Lemon/Lime Juice


Place the sugar, salt, ginger and water in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil stirring occasionally.

Turn heat to low and simmer for about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for about 10 minutes.

Strain into a clean container and stir in the lemon/lime juice (save the ginger for cooking, it is still good).

Mix well, pour into sterile glass jars and cool completely.

Store the lemonade concentrate in the fridge to use as needed.

Fill glasses with ice and add the lemonade concentrate.  Stir in a little plain or sparkling water to taste.

Bottoms up :) - Enjoy!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mango Cupcakes (The Best Mango Cupcakes Ever)

Tara made these amazingly delicious Mango Cupcakes for my birthday - what a friend! The secret to these wonderful cupcakes is Indian Alphonso Mango puree!  Alphonso mangoes are considered the best of the King of fruits :) - even the canned puree is flavorful. If Alphonso mango puree is not available, use Kesar mango puree.  Most regular mangoes that I have found are alright fresh but lose what little flavor they have when cooked.

Mango cupcakes are so good that you cannot stop at one! The kitchen, the entire house too for that matter, smells heavenly with the aroma of the mangoes!! Tara was generous to give me the recipe - I modified it slightly and here it is.

Notes:  For best flavor, use whole cardamoms and peel and grind them just before using; collect the dark seeds and grind using a mortar and pestle with a teaspoon full of sugar - the sugar helps to grind it  better into a fine powder.  Grind the cardamoms for both the cakes and the frosting together for ease of preparation.  Also, use vanilla beans if you have them for their unbeatable flavor.  Vanilla beans are available in most markets; Cardamoms and  Mango puree are available in Indian markets.

I had a little of the frosting leftover which I saved for later. When I was looking for something to put on my toast, I found the frosting; it was divinely delicious on warm toast/biscuits too!!

Note:  Make the frosting ahead of time and chill in a covered container to allow the frosting to firm up; this helps the flavors to develop nicely also.

12 Regular-sized cupcakes



2 Tbsp Cold Butter Substitute (I used Earth Balance)
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil, at room temp
2 Tbsp cold Mango Puree
1/2 cup Confectioner's (Powdered) Sugar
1/2 tsp finely ground Cardamom seeds
1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla

Cream the butter substitute and the coconut oil together in a small bowl. Add the rest of the frosting ingredients and beat using an electric beater until fluffy.  A food processor may be used to make the frosting as well.  Spoon the frosting into a container with a tight fitting cover and chill.

Now the cake:

Sift together into a large bowl:

1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 1/2 tsp Cardamom seeds, finely ground

Combine the following in a bowl and stir to mix:
1 1/2 cups Alphonso Mango Puree
1/3 cup Coconut Oil, melted
2/3 cup Sugar
1 tsp Pure Vanilla 


Prepare a muffin pan with liners.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add the mango mix to the dry ingredients in the bowl and mix well using a wire whisk until well combined.

Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25 minutes or the cupcakes test done - insert a small toothpick or wooden skewer near the center of one of the cupcakes and it should come out clean.

Cool completely before frosting.

Frost the cakes and allow them to let rest for a couple of hours before serving.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Scrumptious Scrambled Tofu

Scrumptious it is - scrambled tofu was created for a very quick breakfast treat. At 6 am on a Friday I was asked if I could make a speedy breakfast ready to go in less than half an hour!  Yes, at 6 am! Bleary-eyed and barely awake, I quickly started chopping some onions (can't go wrong with onions) as my mind was trying to figure out what I could make. While the onions were cooking, I scanned the fridge to spy a package of tofu along with a wrinkly red bell pepper past its prime, one scraggly little zucchini, and a lone tomato piece which promptly took their places on the cutting board.  A few minutes later, we had a repast ready to go, which not only filled the bill and belly but had requests for encores :-)!

Scrambled Tofu 

This is great as a filling for chapatis/tortillas to make a lovely tote-able roll-up - the leftovers  after breakfast was rolled up to eat later as tofu tacos/burritos.  Scrambled tofu may be prepared without the veggies or besan.  Besan (garbanzo flour), available in Indian markets, is a wonderful and tasty staple in the kitchen - it is great for binding, batters, curries, and much more.

4 - 6 Servings


1 Tbsp Oil
1/2 medium Onion, yellow, whilte, purple, or brown, finely chopped
1 Jalapeño or Serrano Chile, minced (or 1 pinch Red Pepper flakes)
1 pinch Sea Salt
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1 small Bell Pepper, red, yellow, orange, or green, finely diced
1 small Zucchini, finely chopped/grated
1 small Tomato, coarsely chopped
1 block (14 - 16 oz) Firm Tofu, coarsely mashed
Sea Salt and Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp Besan (Garbanzo flour), optional
2 to 3 Tbsp Fresh Cilantro, chopped
Toast or warm chapatis/tortillas to serve
1 recipe Salsa I or Salsa II or Avocado Salsa


Heat the oil in a skillet or suitable pan and add the onions and chiles with a pinch of salt and the turmeric.  Cook stirring over low to medium heat until onions are translucent.

Add the rest of the veggies and cook until softened, about 3 - 4 minutes.

Stir in the tofu with salt and pepper to taste;  sprinkle the basan on top, cover, and cook until hot about 5 - 7 minutes.

Mix well and cook for a couple of more minutes uncovered.

Remove from heat and sprinkle the cilantro on top.

Serve hot with/over toast or tortillas with a salsa or two of your choice.  Enjoy!!