Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Yoplait Trix for kids and a Giveaway !

                               This giveaway is now closed ..Congrats to katychicks for winning the prize pack

My family loves yogurt, especially homemade. My 5 year old relishes it and even my one year old likes it. Thankfully, neither of them is lactose intolerant. I usually prefer to make yogurt at home and very rarely buy the flavored ones from stores, because they have so much added sugar and other unwanted ingredients.
Sometimes, though, my son likes to have them and then I look for the ones that have the least number of ingredients and those with low sugar contents.
When I got the opportunity to review the Yoplait Trix for Kids yogurt, I was in two minds. The brand had undergone a change and had reformulated their yogurts to remove artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and HFCS. That was encouraging news !
They are available in 4-cup packs, with two bright and natural colors that can be swirled or eaten at once in every cup. There are 5 interesting flavors to choose from, to suit every kid's taste.
My son certainly liked these and enjoyed them at snack time and in his lunch bag.


I liked that the ingredients are natural and free from artificial flavors and colors. The added sugar content is also not too high. Although the total sugar content in each serving is 14 grams, some unsweetened yogurts have 11 grams of natural sugars in them..The one factor that would prevent me from buying these is that these yogurts have gelatin added as a thickener...Since I am trying to move my family away from products containing these animal products, that would be a deterrent for me.

One reader of this blog will win a prize pack containing all the things pictured above.
Just leave a comment telling me how your kids would enjoy their Yoplait Trix yogurts!
Please leave your email addresses so that I can contact you if you win !
The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S only and will end on Mar 31st 2012.

Please visit the following links for more information about Yoplait Trix Yogurt

Disclosure:  The Yoplait Trix Yogurt prize pack, information and coupon have been provided by Yoplait through MyBlogSpark.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spicy Tomato Jam

I had been on the lookout for a tomato jam recipe for some time.Although I had made jam a couple of times before, I am no expert when it comes to preserving fruit ! That's when I came across this recipe and it looked intriguing and delicious.. When my local Sprouts Farmers market had a 3lb/1$ tomato sale, I knew it was time to get busy in the kitchen...with jam, that is !
I made a few changes to the recipe. It turned out really well. I think this recipe is a keeper !


2 lb tomatoes (I used roma tomatoes) - chopped
1 C brown sugar
2 Tbsp lime or lemon juice
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp ground roasted cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp - 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1. Mix all the ingredients in a heavy bottomed pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
2. Reduce the heat and then simmer for about 1.5 hours until the mixture reaches a jam consistency.
3. Stir often to prevent the jam from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

This recipe yielded about 2 cups of jam...I poured it into a previously cleaned jam bottle with a tight lid.
Since we were going to use it daily, I didn't refrigerate it, but you could do that to extend its life !

1. I used brown sugar instead of white, because the brown sugar gives a depth of flavor to the jam. Next time, I will try with a little less sugar..I might have to simmer for longer to get the desired consistency.
2. I roasted the cumin before grinding it. The roasted cumin has a bolder, smokier taste.
3. Since my Indian palette can accommodate more heat, I used about 1/ 2 tsp of cayenne pepper...feel free to adjust to your taste and preference.

The jam goes well in PBJ sandwiches and also pairs up well with chapatis (Indian flat bread) and dosas (Indian crepes).
Do give this recipe a will not be disappointed !

Have you ever tried any home made jam recipes ? Any observations or tips ??

Monday, March 05, 2012

Green Veggie Bhath / Spiced Rice with Green Veggies

Having browsed a significant number of blogs specializing in South Indian cuisine, I have come to the realization that rice dishes are very popular among us..Its probably got to do something with the fact that the southern states of India are the rice basins of the country as opposed to the northern states where wheat is primarily grown and hence consumed. Using up the previous day's extra rice before cooking up a fresh batch for the day's meals must have given rise to the idea of mixing up the rice with vegetables and various spices, thus creating a substantial lunch box item or a hearty brunch. (It should however be noted that in a lot of traditional households in India , in villages, especially, day old rice was not was probably fed to the cattle of the house - the Ayurvedic premise being that freshly cooked food is always the best !)
I would love to be able to serve freshly cooked dishes for every meal without having any leftovers, but in this day and age, when time is at a premium and help is not always available, its not always practical ! 
Anyway, this creation is a godsend to the cooks who need to come up with a lunch or dinner idea on the fly with minimal ingredients and minimal expenditure of time and energy. With a few frozen vegetables from the freezer and a few spices from the pantry, you can whip up a delicious and filling lunch or dinner. Pair it up with a yogurt based raita or even plain yogurt , Indian pickles and a papad or two (in my house, it means roasted papads , not fried :D ) and you have a nice spread for yourself and your family.
My kindergartener loves this dish and doesnt mind it for his lunch box. My hubby likes to take this for his lunch as well. It travels well, can be easily reheated and keeps its flavor well.


Green Veggie Bhath / Spiced Rice with Green Veggies
Serves 2 -3 

1.5 C mixed veggies (green beans , green bell pepper, zucchini, etc) diced
2 C rice , cooked and cooled - white or brown
1/2 onion chopped or thinly sliced
2 tsp oil
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 Tbsp raw peanuts / cashew nuts
1 tsp  red chile / paprika powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp dhania - jeera powder ( coriander - cumin powder)
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
lemon juice
3 Tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped

Method : 
1. Heat the oil in a thick bottomed pan. Add the fennel, cumin and mustard seeds and the peanuts.
2. When the seeds start spluttering, add the onion and saute till the onions are soft.
3. Add all the spice powders and mix thoroughly with the onion.
4. Add the diced veggies, mix in the salt, sprinkle a little water and cook until the veggies are tender, yet not mushy. You can cover the pan to hasten the cooking process.
5. Add the cooled rice to the veggie mixture and mix well with a gentle hand. You dont want a lumpy rice and vegetable mixture !
6. Mix in the lemon juice, sprinkle the cilantro leaves and serve hot !

1. If serving to my kindergartner, I make sure that the vegetables are not too large. My son seems to have an aversion to big vegetable pieces, but he doesnt mind if they are diced small.
2. I generally use the red chile powder, but you could try green chiles for an interesting variation.
3. You can use a variety of vegetables instead of the ones used here. Use seasonal vegetables for a healthier option !

4. We are certainly not a fat free family, although I do strive to keep our fat intake optimal. I believe that we do need a certain amount of healthy fats to keep our system functioning smoothly. I have used 2 tsp of canola oil in this recipe. Feel free to substitute olive oil or coconut oil. Reduce it for a lower fat option, or saute the veggies and spices in water for an even lower fat option !