Category Archives: Recipe

“Almond Joy” Date Balls (Recipe)

I’ve had “make date balls” on my to-do list for the last few weeks. Why the last few weeks? Well, I was missing the key ingredient and kept forgetting to buy it. So, step one – buy dates! I finally remembered to do just that over the weekend. Step two – make date balls! On Monday evening, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work in the kitchen.

Date balls 010

As simple of a recipe as this is, you have to buy the right kind of dates. I’ve made something similar in the past using pre-pitted dates, and the texture was completely different. If you want balls with a Larabar like consistency, you have to buy the dates with pits and then take them out at home. You can find them in the bulk bins section of Whole Foods (where I went this weekend) or even at Costco. Wherever you buy your dates from, just make sure they aren’t already pitted.

One other note – you can easily make this recipe vegan by using dairy-free chocolate chips (I love the Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips). I promise you won’t be able to tell the difference at all!

Date balls 007

Soooo, I call these “Almond Joy” date balls. The quotes obviously mean that they’re supposed to taste kinda sorta like the candy but are a healthier alternative. When I told Vishnu this, using air quotes, he said, “Yeah, saying these taste like an Almond Joy is misleading. They’re really good though.” Air quotes, Vishnu, air quotes!!!

Anyway, I really love these, and so does Vishnu (as evident by a few missing date balls!). Personally, I find these to be the perfect post-dinner treat. And I especially love the taste and texture – sweet but not overly sweet, chewy, nutty, and just plain delicious!


“Almond Joy” Date Balls
Yields approximately 12 small date balls

¼ cup raw whole almonds
1 cup dates, pitted and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips (use dairy-free chocolate to make a vegan alternative)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes

  1. Using a food processor, process the almonds until crumbly.
  2. Add the dates and process until a uniform batter starts to form.
  3. Add chocolate chips and vanilla extract and process until incorporated into batter.
  4. Scoop the date mixture into a large bowl.
  5. Add coconut flakes and sea salt and work the mixture with your hands to make sure the flakes are thoroughly incorporated.
  6. Pinch off about a tablespoon or so worth of dough at a time and roll between your hands to form balls.
  7. Store the balls in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or so.

Have you ever made date balls? What’s your favorite flavor combo?

What I Eat for Lunch 99% of the Time and Other Random Habits

When I talked about being a creature of habit and not disrupting my default all that often, I wasn’t kidding! It actually takes a lot of effort for me to change my ways. And while there are some habits I definitely want to disrupt, some will remain as is. Take lunch as an example.

It may come as a surprise, but breakfast and lunch are on repeat 99% of time, while what we eat for dinner changes on an almost daily basis. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

With that being said, I thought I would share my lunch “recipe” because it’s simple, quick, and obviously delicious since I eat it every day!

The first thing to take note of is that for this to be as good as possible you have to use your favorite kind of bread. We love the Publix seeded whole wheat bread. If you have a Publix nearby, try to find it – made with a few simple ingredients and so good!

Favorite Lunch

Ok, the first thing you do is crack an egg into a small frying pan sprayed with a little cooking spray. Then flatten out the yolk with a fork, sprinkle on a little salt and pepper, and let it cook for 2-3 minutes on medium high heat. While the egg is cooking, spread one slice of bread with your favorite hummus and top with slices of avocado. Flip the egg over, cook for an additional minute, cut in half, and place on top of avocado.

Favorite Lunch 2

If you’re feeling a little crazy, top the egg with sriracha for an extra kick.

Most days, I’ll eat one of my open faced sandwiches, fruit, and some nuts. I mean, when something is this good, how can I quit it!

Other random habits/quirks!

  • I call my mom every morning on my way to work. And I call my parents every night after dinner.
  • As soon as I get to the office in the morning, I turn my laptop on and make a cup of coffee. Every single day. Without fail (unless I have an 8 am meeting).
  • When cleaning the apartment, the order is always – kitchen, dusting, vacuum, bathroom.
  • Not sure why this is, but whenever I’m talking to people, I ball my hands up into fists without even realizing it.
  • When I say “knock on wood,” I actually knock on my head…even if there’s something made of wood nearby.
  • The first thing I do when I get home from work is change into my PJs.  And on the weekends I try to stay in my PJs for as long as possible.
  • I have a very specific way of arranging the dishes in the dishwasher.  If Vishnu gets to it first, I rearrange everything (my way) and then and only then do I start it.

And the list could go on and on…

Have a wonderful weekend!

Please tell me I’m not the only weirdo by sharing some of your random/quirky habits!

Sunshine Juice (Recipe)

When I was in Chicago a couple of weeks ago, I spent some time with Roshni and Samir. I went over to their place upon arriving in the city and didn’t leave until almost 11pm! We talked, we watched Wheel of Fortune (their latest guilty pleasure!), we ate delicious lasagna, and we drank what I can only call Roshni’s smoothie concoction.

To be quite honest, when she told me what all was in the smoothie, I was skeptical. I didn’t understand how all of those things together in one drink could possibly be edible…never mind taste good. Well, she proved me wrong! Her random mix of strawberries, blueberries, banana, OJ, ground flax, apple, avocado, spinach, kale, almond butter, and ginger was…refreshing! I even asked her to make it again when I went back to their place later in the week.

With Roshni’s smoothie as my inspiration, I set out to create my own drink. The one criterion I had was that it should get Vishnu’s seal of approval. In order to do that, I knew I had to keep things simple.

When we went grocery shopping this past Monday, I bought some kale, OJ, and fresh ginger knowing that I wanted to include all three in whatever I decided to make.

After a little internal deliberation, I went with this combo –> orange juice, a Granny Smith apple, frozen strawberries, kale, ground flax, and freshly grated ginger (a must in Roshni’s book!). And…It. Was. Delicious. Even Vishnu agreed!

Sunshine Juice 2

I named it Sunshine Juice because it’s more liquidy than a smoothie and just a bit lighter in taste. And the ginger and OJ combo takes the whole thing to another tart, refreshing, slightly spicy level.

Even if there’s no sunshine where you are right now, make this anyway. You’ll feel like you’re sipping on a yummy tropical drink while basking in the rays. I promise!

Sunshine Juice

Sunshine Juice
Serves 2

12 ounces of orange juice
1 tablespoon ground flax
½ of a Granny Smith apple
1 tablespoon freshly ground ginger
3-4 kale large kale leaves
¾ – 1 cup frozen strawberries

Add ingredients to a blender (in this order) and blend until smooth and juice-like.

Note: While any blender should do the job, a high powered blender (such as the Blendtec –> what we own and use) will provide the best results.

Have a great weekend!

Good Eats + Vegan Bean Dip (recipe)

Knowing these may be our last few months in Miami, Vishnu and I are making every effort to try new restaurants and visit new places.  I’m also trying to soak in every moment I can with him because residency’s going to be a b****. 

Here’s a snapshot of our weekend!


When Vishnu asked what I wanted to eat for dinner on Friday night, I mentioned the idea of making omelets and hash browns.  That was quickly vetoed.  My husband wasn’t into the idea of breakfast for dinner.  When he suggested eating out, I was game (no dishes to wash!).  After looking at a countless number of online menus, we decided on Momi Gyoza.  MG is a new restaurant in our neighborhood, and the menu is made up of different kinds of ramen and a variety of dumplings (steamed, pan fried, etc.). 

This was my second time eating here…this week!  I went with my friend Shannon on Wednesday after a yoga class.  I loved it so much that I had to take Vishnu there sooner rather than later.

Momi Gyoza
Vishnu went with the pork belly ramen, and I ordered the pan fried vegetable gyozas.  The ramen, according to Vishnu, was really good but not as delicious as the ramen he had in Chicago.  It sure smelled delicious!  My gyozas were scrumptious!  I loved the slight crispiness and crunch on the outside.  And the combination of the hot dumplings and the wasabi dipping sauce…well, let’s just say it was a party in my mouth!  We will definitely be back here soon.


When our friend Rohit learned about a Farmer’s Market in Hollywood that’s not only full of fresh produce but also a ton of food stalls, he asked us if we wanted to go there this weekend.  We made plans to drive up on Saturday, and I can confidently say that we will be back VERY SOON!

Hollywood Farmers Market
Yellow Green Farmer’s Market is home to over 300 stalls all located under a 100,000 square foot warehouse.  Basically, my idea of heaven!

After walking around for a while, trying a bunch of samples, and munching on an empanada, we finally found ourselves in front of an Indonesian food stall.  We chatted with the owner for a bit to learn more about the different menu items.  I was sold after his description of the vegetable fritters!

Farmer's Market Indonesian Lunch 
The dipping sauces took these fritters to another level (a slightly salty hoisin like sauce and a sweet and spicy red sauce).  Both were equally delicious, and I definitely emptied both containers!

We continued to explore after lunch.  We tried a whole host of random things – cookies, olives, arepas, cakes, juices, coconut water, etc.  So much deliciousness under one roof!  We will definitely be back, and next time I’m going to stock up on fruits, vegetables, and herbs.


  • We met up with a few of my coworkers for dinner on Saturday night at a gastro pub.  The food was not up to par (to say the least).  The conversation, on the other hand, was great!  It was so good to see our London team!
  • After dinner on Saturday, we went to a friend’s place to play Cards Against Humanity.  So. Much. Fun.  It’s the ultimate ice breaker!  We left my friend’s place at 2:30 am!  Who are we?!


Now that I’m about to type up this recipe, I wish I would’ve shared it earlier.  Oops!  Better late than never, right?  This crowd pleasing dip is super easy to make, vegan, healthy, and quite delicious. 

I made it for the first time for a holiday get together back in December.  Not knowing how it would go over, I basically crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.  Well, my friends LOVED it, especially the creamy middle layer!

Vegan Bean Dip 
So when I was thinking about what dip to make for the Super Bowl, this one came to mind.  I knew it’d be the perfect game day accompaniment.  And you’re going to laugh when you see how simple it is to make!

Vegan Bean Dip

Layer 1:

1 can refried beans (I love Trader Joe’s refried black beans)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons water 

Mix together all of the ingredients above.  Spread the bean mixture on the bottom of a 9×9 glass dish.

Layer 2 – adapted from this Oh She Glows recipe:

2 large garlic cloves
1 cup cashews (soaked in water for 3-4 hours or overnight)
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Blend all of the together in a blender (high powered works best) until smooth and creamy.  Carefully spread the “cream” mixture on top of the beans.

Layer 3:

1 cup of your favorite salsa

Carefully spread the salsa on top of the “cream” layer.  Take a butter knife and cut through the layers to create swirly designs (optional!).

Vegan Bean Dip (2)
Have a great, Monday!

Do you frequent the local farmer’s markets in your city?  
Did you watch the Super Bowl?  What’d you eat!?

Vegan Pumpkin Sauce (Recipe)

I’m pretty sure every time I say the words vegetarian, vegan, or dairy-free, Vishnu’s heart skips a beat.  And not in a good way.

That’s why I sometimes don’t tell him what I’m making until after he eats a few bites.  Depending on what he has going on, this tactic can work in my favor or not.

When it works in my favor, I get a, “This is good, Par.  What’s in it?”  And when it doesn’t…well, take this past Sunday when I was making a Vegan Pumpkin Sauce recipe my coworker shared with me…

Dairy-free pasta sauce

I start the cooking process by chopping up an onion.  Vishnu asks if he can help me in any way.  I smile, say no, and tell him to go watch TV and relax.  He gives me a weird look and goes away.  I continue cooking.  About three minutes later he comes back, pokes around a bit, and asks if he can help.  This time I tell him to open up a can of pumpkin.  He gives me a strange look.  And then the questions start.

“What are you making?”
”Why are you being so secretive?”
”Should I make some meat to go with this pasta?”
”Why are you putting pumpkin in the sauce?  It tastes gross.”

I do my best to ignore him.  After adding the finishing touches to the sauce, I plate our food and we sit down to eat.

After taking a few bites, Vishnu says, “This is good, but you know what would have made it even better?  Some meat!”

GAH!  At least I got a “this is good!”

Anyway, I LOVED this sauce and found it to be unique and quite delicious all on it’s own.  It’s one of the simplest things I’ve ever made and took less than 30 minutes to throw together.  And the best part is that you can put whatever creative spin you want on it – different spices, different/additional veggies, etc.  And you can’t even tell it’s vegan.  I promise!

And don’t listen to Vishnu.  It’s great even without any meat!

Dairy-free pasta sauce 2

Vegan Pumpkin Sauce

1 teaspoon coconut oil
1/2 of a medium onion, finely diced
1 pint of grape tomatoes, pureed in a food processor
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 sage leaves, cut using the chiffonade technique
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

Heat the oil in a large pan.  Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until the onion is translucent.  Add the tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes.  Add the garlic, salt, and pepper.  Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes.  Add the sage, oregano, red pepper flakes, almond milk, and pumpkin puree.  Whisk everything together until pumpkin is well incorporated into the sauce.  Cover and allow to simmer for 7-10 minutes.

While I think of this as a pasta sauce (because that’s how we ate it), it would pair well with rice, quinoa, and even meat as Vishnu pointed out!

Happy Friday, everyone!