August 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Best Onion Dip

This onion dip is a huge hit at every party!  There is never any left in the bowl.  It's great to bring to picnics and barbecues.  The guests will ask you how you made it!

2    Large "Sweet" Onions
4    TBsp Butter
4    TBsp Olive Oil
1/4 Tsp Cayenne
1    Tsp Salt
4    Ounces Cream Cheese, room temp
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1/8 Cup Silken Tofu (substitute: mayonnaise)

How To Prepare: 
  1. Cut the onions into quarters.
  2. Melt the butter and oil in a pan.
  3. Add the onions and cayenne, salt and even some pepper.  
  4. Saute over low heat for as long as you can.  The smell as they cook is AMAZING!  
  5. Take them off the stove to cool a bit.  
  6. In the meantime, put the cream cheese, sour cream and mayo in the mixer.  Feel free to add more mayo if you like.  
  7. Process til smooth.  
  8. Add onion mixture.  
  9. Blend.  
  10. Best if refrigerated for at least an hour.  Serve it with kettle cooked chips. 
  11. Easy to double or triple. 
  12. The best onion dip!  Enjoy!!!
Nutrition Facts are for Entire Recipe.

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This Week's Healthy Tip

The Health Benefits of Onions

Anemia:  The high content of iron in onion makes it beneficial for the treatment of anemia.
Anti-coagulant:  Just by eating half a medium raw onion daily can significantly lower cholesterol and help prevent heart attacks.
Anti-inflammatory:  The anti-inflammatory agents in onion are useful in reducing the symptoms of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and gout.
Anti-septic:  Fights infection bacteria, including E.coli and salmonella, and is effective against tuberculosis and infections of the urinary tract, such as cystitis.
Blood pressure:  Whether you eat it raw or cooked, onions help to lower blood pressure naturally.  It also thins the blood, dissolve blood clots and clear the blood of unhealthy fats.
Cholesterol:  Eating half a medium raw onion daily significantly helps to correct thrombosis, lower the LDL cholesterol and prevents heart attacks.
Colon cancer, prevention:  Fructo-oligosaccharides in onions stimulate the growth of good bacteria in the colon and help reduce the risk of tumors developing in the colon.
Constipation and flatulence:  Add plenty onion in your cooking to help relieve chronic constipation and flatulence.
Diabetes:  Chromium in onion helps diabetics' cells respond appropriately to bringing down the insulin level and improve glucose tolerance.
Diuretic and blood cleansing:  Help counter fluid retention, urinary gravel, arthritis and gout.
Ear disorder:  In some culture, cotton wool is dipped into onion juice and put into the ear to stop ringing in the ear.
Hair loss:  A study has shown that applying onion juice on scalp twice a week for 2 months will cause hair regrowth. Definitely cost much less that those hair tonic.
Immune booster:  The pungency increases blood circulation and causes sweating.  Useful in cold weather to ward off infection, reduce fever and sweat out colds and flu.
Osteoporosis:  A compound has recently been identified in onions that prevents the activities of breaking down bone. Especially beneficial for women who are at risk for osteoporosis as they go through menopause.
Respiratory:  Mix equal amounts of onion juice and honey and take 3-4 teaspoons of this mixture daily.  It helps liquefy mucus and prevents its further formation.  It is also one of the best preventive potion against common cold.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert and is a favorite all over Europe.  It instantly brings a smile to everyone's face. Two of my favorite places to go for this dessert is California Pizza Kitchen and Olive Garden where I first developed a taste for it after I moved to the states. So then I had to make one for myself. Everyone loved it. There are probably thousands of different recipes out there, but here is one that is quick, simple and delicious.


1    Package Italian Ladyfingers (approximately 17 oz.)
1    Package Vanilla Instant Pudding
3    Cups Milk
2    Cups Coffee
(2 cup water, 3 tsp instant coffee & 2 tsp sugar)
1    Package Mascarpone (approximately 8 oz.)
(available in whip cream section in grocery store)
5    TBsp Sugar
5    Eggs
(Substitute: Large Vanilla instant pudding packet)
2    TBsp Whip cream / Original Cool Whip
Hershey Cocoa, natural unsweetened

Second Layer Garnish Ingredients: 

1    Package Vanilla Instant Pudding
2    TBsp Sugar
2    TBsp Whip Cream
1    Stick Butter
3    Tsp Cool Whip
2 1/2 Cups Milk
Hershey Cocoa, natural unsweetened

How to Prepare:

  1. In a bowl, mix 3 cups of milk and vanilla instant pudding mix. Set aside.
  2. To make Coffee, heat 2 cups of water with coffee and sugar. Set aside.
  3. Mix Mascaropone with vanilla pudding mixture.
  4. Dip just the half of the lady fingers in coffee and keep in a dish upside down (coffee dip side up).
  5. Lay all of the lady fingers over a tray.
  6. Now cover the lady fingers with pudding and mascarpone mixture.
  7. Now we are ready for second layer on top of it.

Second Layer Garnish: 
  1. Mix butter, whip cream, sugar and vanilla instant pudding.
  2. Mix 3 teaspoons of cool whip into pudding mixture.
  3. Add 2 1/2 cups milk to pudding mixture. 
  4. Cover lady fingers with pudding mixture.
  5. Sprinkle cocoa powder on top and cool.
  6. Refrigerate it over night at least 5-6 hours.
  7. Enjoy!

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment! I love to hear from my readers!

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This Week's Healthy Tip

The Health Benefits of Cocoa

Enhances mood: The regular consumption of pure cocoa uplifts mood and also keeps an individual more active. It improves ones life by giving energy to their muscles and by improving glucose metabolism. The mood elevating effect of cocoa is due to the presence of phenylethylamine.
Depression and Stress relief: Cocoa is a powerful anti depressant and hence gives relief from stress and depression. Cocoa has no significant side effects. Many medications are used for treating depression but they have side effects. So now you would have understood which one is better. The Polyphenolic extract obtained from non-roasted cocoa contains plenty of flavonoids that makes cocoa, a great anti-depressant.
Reduces disease risk: Those who consume cocoa regularly have less than 10% chances of having strokes, heart failure, cancer and diabetes. Diabetic patients can take sugar free dark chocolate so that they can prevent any adverse effect on insulin levels.
Improves blood flow: Cocoa consumption is highly recommended by many physicians because it has high levels of epicatechin which improves blood flow.
Lowers high blood pressure: Have you ever wondered why the people who live near San Blas Island off the coast of Panama have never complained about high blood pressure or other cardiovascular diseases? Well, this is because of the amazing health benefits of cocoa (their daily cocoa consumption is around 3 – 4 cups). The flavonoids in cocoa brings down the systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Fights Aging and Skin Problems: Who wants to get old? Definitely, nobody; thus you should immediately start taking cocoa since it helps fight aging with its high-flavanol content. In the recent times cocoa has become so popular in skin and beauty industry due its effective benefits. Cocoa contains flavanols that helps vascular tissues to relax which improves blood vessel function and also give a glow to the skin. Cocoa is effective in treating skin damages, dark spots, acne and other skin problems. It even has anti-cancer properties that can help to prevent skin cancer.
Improves digestion – Prevents Constipation: Cocoa is quite helpful in improving digestion and relieving constipation. The rich amount of magnesium present in cocoa keeps the bowel movements normal and also promotes digestion. You can take magnesium supplements but why to go for that when tasty dark chocolates are available.
Other Benefits: Cocoa is very helpful for feeding mothers since it helps increase breast milk. It helps to regulate the inflammatory / immune responses in blood vessel walls.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fabulous and Easy Apple Pie

This recipe is from an apple farm in the San Luis Obispo, CA area. I like to use Golden Delicious, but you can choose your favorite pie apples.  The best part is that the top is a crumble and not a dough.  It's easy and all from scratch.  

Filling (Mix together and set aside):
Peel and slice about 2 1/2 lbs. of your favorite pie apples.
About 1/4 Cup Sugar (adjust to taste and tartness of the apples)
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Tablespoon Flour

Bottom Crust (Mix together and PAT into pie pan (no rolling required):
1 1/2 Cup Flour
1 Teaspoon Sugar
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Tablespoons Milk

Top Crust (Mix together.  Put Apples on bottom crust and crumble this Top Crust over the top.):
3/4 Cups Flour
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Butter (melted is easier)

Bake at 350º for about 1 hour or until the apple test tender to your liking when you poke the middle with a knife. 

Nutrition Facts are for 100 grams which is approximately 1/2 slice if pie has 8 slices.

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment! I love to hear from my readers!

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This Week's Healthy Tip

The Health Benefits of Apples

Everyone knows "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." This is true for many reasons. Apples contain flavonoids called floridzin as well as boron that both promote bone health. Apples have also been found to help with asthma, lower cholesterol, and lower the risk of Alzheimer's and several cancers. Pectin found in apples can also help manage diabetes. Apples have no fat, cholesterol or sodium, and contain small amounts of potassium, which may promote heart health and help maintain healthy blood pressure.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mint Julep Grape Juice

Cool off this summer with fresh refreshing, healthy drinks full of antioxidants and vitamins. Everyone loved this drink at my first cooking class at Clabber Girl Cooking School in Terre Haute, IN.

What a surprise it was to me when the Organizer of the following cooking class had it ready for me. It was her favorite recipe.

Grapes are a good source of vitamins A, C and B6 and have essential minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and selenium.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4


1 Lb. Green Seedless Grapes
1 Piece Ginger
1/4 Tsp Chaat Masala
Fresh Mint Leaves, washed
Sugar to taste if grapes are sour

How To Prepare:
  1. Wash grapes thoroughly. Remove from stem.
  2. In a blender, mix grapes, peeled ginger, and few leaves of mint. Add chaat masala and blend it well. A Vita-mix blender can also be used.
  3. This drink can be served with ice cubes and/or can be served with sparkling water.
  4. Garnish with mint leaves, chill, and enjoy!

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment! I love to hear from my readers!

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This Week's Healthy Tip

The Health Benefits of Grapes

  • Grape's phytochemical compound resveratrol, a polyphenol anti-oxidant, protects against cancers of the colon and prostate, coronary heart disease, degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer's disease and viral/fungal infections.
  • Resveratrol reduces stroke risk by altering the molecular mechanisms in the blood vessels.
  • Anthocyanins, another class of polyphenolic anti-oxidants, found abundantly in red grapes, have been shown to have anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-cancer activities.
  • Catechins, a type of flavonoids anti-oxidants found in white/green varieties have also shown that they  have these health promoting effects.
  • They are very low in calories. 100 g fresh grapes provides 69 calories and zero cholesterol.
  • Grapes are a rich source of micro-nutrient minerals like copper, iron and manganese. Copper and manganese are an essential co-factor of antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. 100 g of fresh grapes contain about 191 mg of the health benefiting electrolyte, potassium.
  • They are also good source of vitamin-C, vitamin A, vitamin K, carotenes, B-complex vitamins such as pyridoxine, riboflavin and thiamin.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fresh Fruit Juice Cocktail

Fresh juice is always healthy and refreshing.  The goodness of grapes, pineapple, oranges and pomegranate in a cocktail is one I always cherish. It goes very well with our Chaat, savories and snacks.  Usually when I have a lot of fruit left over, I want to use it up by making juice. The best way to get the most out of each fruit is to eat the whole fruit which gives you both fiber and vitamins. Recently, I have been using a Vitamix blender which helps me to make my juices very professionally. Here, I'd like to share my Fresh Fruit Cocktail recipe with you.

Cooking Difficulty Level: Very Easy
Preparation Time: 10 Minutes


1    Medium Bunch    Grapes, washed & seedless
2    Medium Oranges, peeled and seeded
(1 cup of Orange Juice may be substituted)
1    Medium Pomegranate, seeded
2    Cups Pineapple Chunks
1/4 Tsp Chaat Masala
Crushed Ice

How to Prepare:
  1. Blend everything in a blender until it liquefies. 
  2. Serve chilled. 
  3. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts are for Entire Recipe.

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment! I love to hear from my readers!

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