Two days prior to my India journey, I am down with a cough! Great! I took precautions- covered myself- head to toe- but the Denver cold got to me. Its the walk we took near the Cherry Creek Mall that’s the culprit. Well, it’s not that bad yet. That’s the key word- yet! The last time I got down with a bad cold- it started out as not being that bad- just a sore throat- nothing big. The starting symptoms are the same this time, but hopefully it won’t get any worse- there’s a slight fever but I’m hoping some rest will take care of it!

The first day in Denver, we had amazing bread at the hotel restaurant, The Lift, while waiting for our main course. It was a white bread with a hint of garlic and presumably, a lot of parmesan cheese. But one bite into it and you could taste the cheese and all its goodness. I love white bread and even though whole-wheat is supposedly more healthy, etc etc I still miss an all white bread at times.

But, the other day, back at home I made this really hearty and flavorful sundried tomato bread. I cooked up this recipe or would it be baked up (?!). Thought of adding herbs but decided against it, since I did not want too many flavors playing in the bread. I also restrained myself from adding cheese- though instead its better to grill it with cheese instead. I did add dill for some added flavor.

By the way, this bread is full of goodies for your body! The Wheat germ is rich in nutrients, Vitamin E (good for anti-aging and your reproductive organs) and fiber. Fiber helps in digestive cleansing, cleaning your system off toxins and bacteria. Another benefit of having fiber-enriched food is that you feel full sooner- that ways you don’t overeat. (and thus, helps you in keeping your waist slim!)

Flaxseeds too are rich in fiber, besides they are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids which are good for lowering cholesterol and heart related diseases. They are rich in antioxidants too.

Besides the seeds, the flours used also have their health benefits. Everyone knows the benefits of whole-wheat flour.  Soy Flour is a great source of high quality soy protein, dietary fiber and important bio-active components which provide a good source of iron, B vitamins and potassium.

I wanted to add 1/2 cup rolled oats, and make it even more healthy, but I had the quick one minutes ones (never buying them again after reading they have the hulls removed), and wasn’st sure how they will work and also did not know how healthy they would be after the hull is removed. (Any info would be appreciated for the uninitiated me!) If you do decide to add oats reduce the bread flour quantity by the same amount and you might need to add/reduce water.

I did add a tablespoon more of water even though it did not look dry, but I know that soy absorbs a lot of water so the dough might need that extra tbsp- when making bread, its always better to err on more water and have a sticky dough than to have a dry dough. But, I ended up adding more flour, so guess the earlier proportions might have been perfect. (Have mentioned the initial proportions in the ingredients list- but if more water is required, add a tablespoon at a time).

Hope you enjoy this bread and its benefits as much as we did!

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Happy Republic Day to all Indians!

Its Day Two of Denver and I got myself to go to the gym! Last night, we had Indian food at this place called India Tavern. V and I both enjoyed the food- it was really good and the host was a very sweet and friendly guy. We both ended up overeating, so gym today was definitely in line! I also tried eating healthier (as much as I could)- fruits and bagel with light cream cheese (yes, yes – “light” cream cheese- I really do need to lose weight!). (FYI dinner still awaits so I shouldn’t be jumping my gun.)

And, if you think I am bad with my weight issues, V is paranoid. He found a teeny weeny bit of paunch- and he has been freaking out since then- standing in front of the mirror, frowning at his almost negligible waist! And then, today on being asked what did he have for lunch, prompt came his response – a salad! Like, he could dream of eating anything else! (and here I am rejoicing for choosing “light” cream cheese instead of “regular”) Oh, the shame he brings to the Punjabi in me 😉 (Punjabi people in India are known for eating a lot- and eating food full of butter and cream!)

So to keep the spirit of being healthy (or well, trying to be), I decided to post the low-carb zucchini pasta recipe I tried a few days back. I remember hearing/reading (memory fails me here) about this pasta a long time back. The idea stuck on my mind for some time, and the other day when I passed the zucchinis at the supermarket I thought I’ll give it a try. Luckily, I found a similar recipe online too. (Click here for the link).

The recipe is quick and easy to make. It would have been quicker had I a mandolin, but since I did not, cutting the zucchini into long strands did take some time. Loved the flavors, and more so because it is so healthy!

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I have been real busy the past one week- packing, making kachoris and samosas for V, trying my hand at macarons (yeah, I know, me too!!), attending a friend’s graduation walk and flying to Denver. V has some training here in Denver and I tagged along. Now for the next few days I am as free as a bird! No cooking, no cleaning, no house to look after- so now, I have all the time to blog and post the backlog of the recipes I have- sundried tomato bread, zucchini pasta, chilli paneer, Indian chowmein, macarons and lavender truffles. Today, though I won’t be posting any, but will talk about the culinary experiments that happened while the above recipes were being tried in the background.

The other day, for dinner, I thought I’ll make Paneer Parantha. For afternoon lunch, I had made dal makhani (a signature Punjabi dish made from boiled lentils that are slow cooked with tomato puree and a good amount of butter/cream) and  since, there was some leftover dal makhani, I decided to pair it with some paranthas for dinner. Had paneer in the fridge- and paneer paranthas sounded like a good choice!

Paneer paranthas (flat wholewheat bread stuffed with Indian fresh cheese)- or any stuffed parantha takes me back to my MBA days and the dhaba outside our college. They served one of the best paranthas in Delhi, and they were the culprit of my weight gain during college. Well, ok, just a part of it.

All the time I was in college and the countless times I had their paranthas I never once even thought of asking how they make it so good. I was always under the impression that I’ll have access to these paranthas- didn’t think I’ll end up miles away! Now, I miss the chicken paranthas, the chilli paneer and dal makhani that had become a staple to my diet during college days.

Anyways, I decided to try making paneer paranthas at home. I have tried making other stuffed paranthasaloo (potatoes), mooli (daikon radish) , gobhi (cauliflower). But, this was my first attempt at paneer paranthas. I decided to grill the paneer in my Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler. I love the 5-in-1 griddler – it has made making a quick snack/meal so much more easy! Well, the paranthas didn’t come out as good as the college ones, so I am not posting the recipe. They were good, but not as good and thus, the search is still on. I still crave for my college paranthas and when I’m in Delhi next (just a few weeks from now 🙂 ), I am definitely going there to relive my gastronomical memories!

I also experimented with muffins. Now, the reason why I HAD to make muffins is because recently I made macarons. You ask, what does macaron have to do with muffins?! Well, macarons have filling in them and when you don’t plan too well and are experimenting with different possibilities, you are left with a lot of filling. Now, since I don’t have the option to keep the filling and using it on a different batch of macarons- I either had to throw the filling or concoct something to use it up. And, the latter is what I did. I added some cream cheese frosting with white chocolate ganache, added eggs yolks mixed with eggs (from the egg white separation for the macarons), mixed in cake flour, baking soda, baking, powder, salt– found the batter to be too thick, so added hazelnut creamer (in an attempt to finish that off!), and as a final touch some poppy seeds and popped them in the oven at 350 F for 18 minutes!

And well, they actually tasted good (they don’t look that good though, but everyone knows not to judge the book by its cover!). They were soft (thanks to the cake flour;) ) and pretty flavorful- worthy enough for Office Thursdays!:) 🙂 :). V’s office people loved them, so much so that everyone finished them and hardly any one ate the store bought donuts that were there too!

The reason for not posting the recipe for either paneer parantha or the muffins is because since they were so experimental in nature, I just did not pen down the ingredients. I could have for the paneer paranthas, (the muffins were a mix of a lot of leftovers so it was impossible for me to give exact amounts), but, like I mentioned before, I am still in search for the perfect paneer parantha recipe, so till then you and I both will have to wait!

Keep reading the blog for the recipes that did make the cut!