Easy Lemon Pickle

21-meyer-lemon-pickle-in-jars2-optm

This pickle can be made with just lemon and salt, however, adding spices makes them more interesting! You can use any kind of lemons, my favorite is Meyer lemon. I usually get them fresh from the farmers market.

The following recipe is very forgiving as long as you have lemon and salt ratio right, which is 5 to 1 by weight. For example, if you have 500 grams of lemons, use 100 grams of salt. You can use any spices of choice, most common spices for lemon pickle are red chili (or cayenne) pepper and turmeric. Adding ginger and green chilies makes them not only tasty but also great for digestion.

Wash and pat dry lemons with a paper towel and cut them into small pieces like this…

07-meyer-lemons-prepped-optm

It’s worth repeating that salt should be 1/5 of the amount of lemons. This is the most important step. The lemon pickle will keep for years if the lemon and salt ratio is correct.

Mix lemon pieces with salt and leave them covered for at least a day.

These are the spices we will add to the salted lemons.

11-meyer-lemons-spices-optm

Heat up a pan and dry roast mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds separately. Mustard seeds will take 2-3 minutes and fenugreek seeds 1-2 minutes.

12-dry-roasting-mustard-optm

Crush roasted mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds in a mortar and pestle. Cut green chilies in rounds and chop or grate ginger.

14-meyer-lemons-spices-prep2-optm

In a pan add 1-2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, sugar, 2-3 tablespoon water to dissolve sugar. Stir and reduce flame to simmer once the sugar starts melting, it will take less than a minute. Add rest of the spices and ginger. Turn off heat once sugar dissolves completely. It will take another minute or so.

Add the cooled spice mixture into salted lemons.

And the last step is to jar them and cover the lids properly. Now wait for at least a week to enjoy them. Pickle will taste better after 3 weeks and will stay good for years.

20-meyer-lemon-pickle-in-jars-optm

Easy Meyer Lemon Pickle

Ingredients

  • 1815 grams (4 Pounds) lemons
  • 365 grams salt (coarse grey Celtic sea salt preferred. Salt should be 1/5 of the amount of lemons in weight)
  • 1 cup sugar (organic is preferable)
  • 6 Tbsp red chili or cayenne pepper
  • 4 – 5 star anise
  • 4 Tbsp mustard seeds
  • 4 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 4 – 6 inches of ginger, cut into small pieces
  • 10 – 12 green Thai chilies or jalapeño, cut into small rounds

Method

  1. Wash and cut lemons in small pieces. Add salt, stir to coat lemons with salt, cover the bowl and leave at least for 1 day.
  2. Heat a pan and dry roast mustard for 2-3 minutes and fenugreek seeds for 1-2 minutes. Crush them coarsely in a mortar and pestle.
  3. In a pan add 1-2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, sugar, 2-3 tablespoon water to dissolve sugar. Stir and reduce flame to simmer once the sugar starts melting, it will take less than a minute.
  4. Add red chilie pepper, ginger and star anise. Turn off heat once sugar dissolves completely. It will take only about a minute or two.
  5. Add roasted and crushed mustard and fenugreek to the pan. Stir to mix.
  6. Let the spice mixture cool down.
  7. Add the cooled spice mixture into salted lemons and jar them.
  8. Pickle will be ready in 2-3 weeks. Enjoy with rice, bread, khichadi, chapati or paratha.

New and Old… So much Fun!

So much fun learning new things, adapting and adjusting in the new environment as I am visiting Gurgaon, India!

First see beauties that I found in the concrete jungle…

frangipani-optm  lillies-optm

I lived in New Delhi 21 years ago before moving to North America. As with any place lots of new constructions… even lifestyle changed drastically with advent of the Internet.

I used to walk to a nearby vegetable vendor to get fresh, seasonal vegetables and now I order online and get it delivered to our doorsteps. The vegetable lady often used to give my kids crunchy cucumber or carrot to munch on while I picked the veggies. I wonder if the cucumber is now replaced by a juice carton or candy in that little market.

September is the tail end of rainy season and we usually don’t eat leafy greens during rainy season in India. I wanted to continue my morning green smoothie routine so I brought Pure Synergy green powder that I can blend with some fruits.

And a friend of mine gave us bunch of fresh sweet Neem leaves, also called curry leaves, from her tree that I am adding to my yummy smoothies here. I might be able to manage some fresh moringa leaves for my smoothies as well.

pure-synergy-optm   sweet-neem-leaves-optm

smoothie1-prep-optm   smoothie2-optm

Also I learned a new thing to sprout – fenugreek seeds! We ate for breakfast with some mung sprouts along with yummy green smoothie 🙂

sprouted-fenugreek-seeds-optm   mung-fenugreek-seeds-sprouts-optm

Meditation: Relaxation to Enlightenment

lotus-1

As life brings challenges it also brings opportunities. I was at such a spot when “opportunity” showed up in the form of a challenge in early 1980s. And as you know, when you start searching for answers, they come from places you don’t expect.

I read about Gautama Buddha’s life in a newspaper article while sorting my stack of old newspapers to recycle. What really struck me in his life history was when he left his wife and son in search of “truth” and answers to the questions “What is the cause of suffering?” and “What is the path of everlasting joy?” After 6 years of searching he came back with peace in his heart.

buddha-2

That article put me on the quest for “knowledge of truth” because I was asking similar questions and wanted relief from the grief and sadness I was going through. I kept thinking and wondering where to look.

 

mandala-1063248__340

One afternoon, I sat down and thought, ‘if God is everywhere, God’s within me too.’ I decided that I would not move or get up until I found God. After a few minutes, I had a profound experience. I felt I was weightless, and I found myself slightly elevated (while I could sense my physical body was still sitting on the mat). My heart was filled with joy and peace! I had never experienced that kind of emotion before, feeling happy and joyous for no reason, as if I were joy itself. At the same time, I started seeing lights with my eyes closed. It puzzled me. I opened my eyes to make sure, but the visions were still there. So I closed my eyes again. There were different patterns of light, as if seeing through a kaleidoscope. What really stood out for me was this vortex of light, which was spinning rapidly, and the word “Om” was written in Sanskrit on top of that vortex.

That beautiful experience put me on the path of meditation. I know now that I had that experience as a result of complete surrender and trust.

 

sunset-1

 

I learned different kinds of meditation for many years. The meditations I learned in my energy work helped me increase my energy and improve my awareness of energy fields. I came up with various kinds of self-healing meditations and offer them in groups or in my coaching-healing sessions.

I think it really depends on what our purpose is for meditating, because meditation can be used for relaxation, stress reduction, and spiritual awakening. I suggest finding the one that works for you and not getting caught up in the “techniques” themselves.

I love this One Minute Meditation for relaxation. Give it a try!

Dr. John Douillard’s One Minute Meditation: one of the best ways to reduce anxiety and help with insomnia is to meditate. My favorite meditation technique is this One Minute Meditation. It pumps oxygen into your brain so your brain begins to feel from the heart rather than think from the mind. Let your heart be in the driver’s seat for a minute versus the controlling interests and needs of your mind.

 

I also liked this podcast by James Wedmore and I think you will like it too, especially if you are new to meditation or have tried meditation before but didn’t work for you.

Zero to Zen: How to Meditate the Easy Way

What exactly is meditation, and what are its benefits? In this episode, James and Phoebe are joined by Chris von der Mehden to discuss how meditation can not only improve a person’s health, but also have a significant impact on one’s business.
http://mindyourbusinesspodcast.com/podcast/23/?embed=true

Flourless Guilt-free Fudge Brownies

Brownies Optm

Valentines Day! Everyone is talking about chocolate!!! How about treating yourself and your sweetheart with some flourless guilt-free fudge brownies loaded with super foods?

I got the inspiration from a recipe on onegreenplanet.org so it’s not my own original recipe. This is a good website for vegan recipes, check it out.

The recipe is quick and easy, just mix all ingredients and either pour into an 8×8 pan or a brownie pan like this.

Brownies ready to go into oven Optm

Fresh from the oven…

Brownies fresh from oven Optm

Flourless Guilt-free Fudge Brownies

SERVES: 4-6     PREP TIME: 10 minutes     BAKE TIME: 18-20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 15-oz can or 1-½ cups cooked adzuki beans, drained
  • 2 Tbsp raw cacao powder (you can add a little more if you like)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup (+ some extra to grease the pan) coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (+ some extra for topping) dark chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbsp goji berries, soaked in filtered water for 10 minutes and drained

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Soak goji berries in filtered water and set aside.
  3. Grease an 8×8-inch pan with coconut oil.
  4. Put rolled oats in a food processor and pulse to make into a fine powder.
  5. Add rest of the ingredients except chocolate chips and goji berries and blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick add water 1 Tbsp at a time and blend to get a smooth texture. You won’t need too much water, so be careful not to add too much.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips in the mixture.
  7. Pour mixture into the prepared pan, use a spatula to spread it even.
  8. Sprinkle with some extra chocolate chips and soaked, drained goji berries.
  9. Bake for 18 – 20 minutes.
  10. Let it cool before cutting into pieces. Enjoy!

 

Brownies2 Optm

Note:

  1. If you are using home cooked adzuki beans then soak a cup of beans in 4 cups of water overnight. Drain and replace with 4 cups of fresh water. Bring it to a boil, and then simmer for about an hour. You can also cook them in a pressure cooker or a crock-pot. 1 cup of dry adzuki beans will yield 3 cups of cooked beans.
  2. You can replace adzuki beans with black beans.

 

Super Easy Recipes for Your Party

Whether you are throwing a Super bowl party or going to a potluck, these super easy recipes will help you make quick and healthy dishes that you and your guests will enjoy.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

8 Sweet Potato Fries Optm

While we love to eat French fries we all know they are not really healthy for us. Not only they have carbs but also artery clogging trans fats. Does that mean we can’t enjoy them once in a while? Sure we can.

How about having a healthy alternative?

PREP TIME: 15 minutes     BAKE TIME: 30 – 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sized firm and smooth sweet potatoes
  • 2 tsp organic corn starch
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Spices: 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or paprika and 1/4 tsp ground cumin (optional)

 

1-sweet-potatoes-optm   2 Sweet Potatoes peeled Optm   3 Sweet Potatoes cut into fries Optm 4-sweet-potatoes-coated-w-corn-flour-optm   6 Sweet Potatoes w coconut oil spices Optm   7 Sweet Potato fries on baking sheet Optm

Direction

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash and peel sweet potatoes.
  3. Cut them into fry shaped pieces. Try to cut them in equal size for even baking.
  4. Sprinkle with corn starch and toss them to coat evenly.
  5. Add olive or coconut oil and toss again.
  6. Season with salt and spices if using. Mix them well.
  7. Pour the prepared sweet potatoes into a non-stick baking sheet and arrange them in a single layer. Don’t over-crowd them.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes and flip them, and bake another 15-20 minutes or until they are done and turn crispy.

 

Raw Chocolate Truffles

Raw Chocolate trouffles Optm

 

PREP TIME: 20 minutes    MAKES 15 – 25 truffles

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1 cup cashews or macadamia nuts
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • Water (to mix)

Roll-in ingredients: shredded coconut, chopped nuts, chocolate nibs, raw sugar, cacao powder, ginger, or something else you love

Direction

  1. Mix cashews in a food processor until a powder, adding enough water to create a thick paste.
  2. Add maple syrup to cashews and pulse to process.
  3. Add cacao powder. Pulse to process.
  4. Refrigerate for four hours or overnight for best results.
  5. Form teaspoon or tablespoon-sized balls of dough. Coat balls in your chosen roll-in ingredients!

 

Cabbage Pomegranate Slaw

Cabbage Pomegranate slaw Optm

A quick dish for the beginning of spring! Winter is almost gone and now is the time to reduce fats and proteins, and start going for more raw vegetables and salads.

SERVES: 4     PREP TIME: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1/2 pomegranate, peeled and seeds separated
  • 1 navel orange, peeled and sectioned
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste

 

Cabbage pomegranate Optm    Cabbage Pomegranate slaw1 Optm

Directions

  1. Mix cabbage, pomegranate, orange, carrot and cilantro in a large bowl.
  2. Add lime juice, salt and pepper. Stir to mix well.
  3. Refrigerate for an hour.
  4. This dish can be made a day ahead of time.

Variations: This is a versatile recipe. You can use any combination of vegetables like purple cabbage, cucumbers, onion, beets and jicama. If you like to make the dressing a little spicier try using olive oil and minced garlic or ginger along with some fresh lime juice.

 

Rainbow Salad

Rainbow salad Optm

SERVES: 4     PREP TIME: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients

For Salad

  • 1/2 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 cup carrots, grated
  • 1/4 cup beets, grated
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pit removed and sliced
  • 1/4 cup red radish, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fennel, sliced
  • 1 cup sprouts (mung or alfalfa)

 

For Yummy Ranch Dressing with a Twist

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (add a little extra water if using greek yogurt). Click here for Homemade yogurt recipe(you can leave out yogurt for the vegan version)
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro (or flat parsley) – roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp honey or maple syrup (optional)

 

Directions

  1. Mix all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Blend ingredients of dressing and store in a small jam jar. Will stay fresh in fridge 4-5 days.
  3. You can use any dressing of your choice with this fresh and beautiful rainbow salad.

 

Rainbow Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad1 Optm

Before cooking, quinoa must be rinsed to remove the toxic (but naturally occurring) bitter coating, called saponin. Saponin, when removed from quinoa, produces a soapy solution in water. Quinoa is rinsed before it is packaged and sold, but it is best to rinse again at home before use. Place quinoa in a grain strainer and rinse thoroughly with water.

To cook quinoa, place 1 cup rinsed quinoa in 2 cups of water and bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Let it cool down to room temperature before making the salad.

SERVES: 6     PREP TIME: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients

For Salad

  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • ½ cup red cabbage, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • ½ bell pepper (red, yellow, orange or green whatever you have on hand), chopped
  • 1 carrot, sliced into rounds
  • 2 scallions, sliced into rounds
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes cut into halves
  • ½ cup chopped parsley or cilantro

 

For Dressing:

  • ¼ cup organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar and/or lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • A pinch of black pepper or cayenne (optional)
  • 1 tsp. Maple syrup (optional)

 

1 Quinoa w prepared veggies Optm   Quinoa Salad Optm

Direction

  1. Mix all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a smaller bowl.
  3. Pour dressing over salad and toss well. Adjust the seasoning.
  4. Leftovers will last in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  5. Experiment with different combination of vegetables and dressings of your choice.

 

I know there will be more items in a party and you might feel boated next day.
I have put together a free guide for you to Ditch the Bloat in Three Days!

Click Here to Download!

3 Day to Ditching the Bloat

Love,

Renu Agrawal
Certified Holistic health Coach
www.RenuYourLifeLLC.com

 

Can we Eat Healthy on a Budget?

Can we eat healthy on a budget? Is eating healthy too expensive?

I am asked these questions often. People want to eat healthy but they think it’s expensive. It’s a big myth that you have to spend a fortune to put good healthy food on the table.

The biggest concern I have with this kind of thinking is people end up buying inexpensive but unhealthy packaged-foods that actually turns out to be more expensive down the road. In other words – they end up eating on the expense of their own health!

 

Do you know what are the most expensive habits?

 

  1. Eating out!

    When you eat out often you end up paying more. Have you ever experience that you feel kind of hungry after some time even if you ate enough at a restaurant? You don’t get the real nourishment out of restaurant food. Your body “starves” because they cut down on “quality” to make their business profitable unless the restaurant is based on health foods but that will be an expensive restaurant. Fortunately there are more and more restaurants are coming up with healthy food options but they are not very common and still on a little more expensive side.

 

Eating-Out

 

  1. Buying packaged foods.

    Not only you pay more for “convenience”, but also packaged foods are full of chemicals, sugar, MSG and highly processed ingredients to increase shelf life. And if you compare the price with actual ingredients you will know.

 

Shopping cart

 

  1. Buying prepared food at grocery stores.

    Not only the quality of the ingredients is poor but also full of taste enhancers and additives to make inferior quality ingredients taste better. Again if you purchase prepared food at health food stores you end up paying way more.

 

Prepared-foods

I know what you are thinking. Who has time to cook?

You don’t need a lot of time in kitchen to prepare a healthy meal.
It’s about knowing what’s good for our body and a little planning.

Start cooking!

Veggies-for-cooking   Leeks-on-pot-Optm2

Here are some time-saving tips:

  1. Cook once, eat twice.

  2. Cook extra

    food during weekend and freeze in small batches for weekdays.

  3. Start soaking ahead

    soak beans, brown rice, nuts and seeds. Soaking beans will make them cook much faster and also will get rid of phytic acid that affects the digestion. Blend nuts and seeds for making nut milk at home. Here is link for making nuts and seeds milk.

  4. Wash veggies

    before refrigerating to save time during food preparation.

  5. Use slow cooker

    take out your crock pot and start making one pot meals so dinner will be waiting when you come home in the evening. You can also use slow cooker to make overnight oats or quinoa for breakfast.

  6. Quick smoothies for the weekdays

    wash & cut fruits, veggies and greens and put in mason jars to blend in the morning, pour it back in the jar to bring to work. This will save time looking for a container when you are time crunched in the morning.

 

Smoothie

smoothie-729922__340       smoothie-729923__340 smoothie-856896__340        smoothie-857641__340

 

Also check out my blog 7 Tips for Eating Clean on a Budget