Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Thinking outside the box

My father shared with me yesterday an insightful presentation on the "10 Rules to Success" - of course how each one of us defines success differs dramatically. If you are interested in getting plugged into the "How To" go here . Couple things that resonated are -
  • Be Decisive
  • Be Focused
  • Plan Thoroughly
  • Take Purposeful Action
  • Welcome Failure ( Failure teaches you how to be prepared for success)
Today was a day for "thinking out of the box" in the kitchen. With the economic downturn, a lot of people are having to tighten their purse strings, the first thing to get impacted is grocery budgets and eating food budget hasn't increased (might have actually decreased) in the past 4-5 years, however we have shifted 80% of our produce shopping to Farmer's Markets (Local, Pesticide Free or Organic),Organic Wheat and Whole grains, Organic Milk and Yogurt...I  buy seasonal produce, I shop sales and it is interesting how much the economic situation is making grocery stores like Whole Foods offer excellent values (For eg. Organic Multigrain Bread at Whole Foods is $1.99, Organic Milk 1 Gallon is $5.99). You just need to watch out for the deals vs. the rip-offs and of course be savvy with the Whole Deal Coupons.

This week I picked up a couple of cartons of Almond Milk and two pounds of Organic Carrots and with that simple duo I recreated a delectable Carrot Halwa which is traditionally made like this -

My recipe however was as simple as these 4 ingredients -
  1. Coconut Oil - 1 tsp
  2. 2 pounds of Organic Carrots - grated
  3. 1 carton of Almond Milk (vanilla, sweetened)
  4. 4-5 Strands of Saffron, Toasted Almonds (optional)

Take a saute pan and heat the oil, add the grated carrots and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the Almond Milk (and then it is a labor of love)...cook on slow flame for about an hour till the mixture solidifies. Add the saffron strands soaked in warm almond milk and stir for a minute or two. Add toasted almonds if you so wish ( I roasted a few raw almonds in the microwave and rough chopped and added it to the halwa)...enjoy slightly warmed with a cup of cardamom chai.
I won't rave over the health benefits of this vegan carrot halwa (1/3 fat, 1/2 sugar of regular halwa) but more importantly this recipe had me stretching into territories unknown....success was not guaranteed, failure very much a plausible outcome...yet the desire to stretch myself in the kitchen the driving factor...Have you been thinking out of the box lately?
This recipe goes to Anu's Healthy Kitchen where she is hosting the event : Cook.Eat.Desserts : Almonds. This event is the brainchild of Raven, a native of the Food Lover's Dream San Francisco whose blog you can read here.

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