Non-alcoholic Apple-Fennel (Saunf) Spritzer

Apple-Fennel (Saunf) Spritzer

 

I made this to accompany a Saturday lunch party with spicy Indian food because I was tired of serving the same sodas/lemonades/mango lassi to guests who preferred non-alcoholic drinks,  As with most of my recipes, this can be made ahead of time, and mixed quickly when your guests request the drink.

Fennel seeds/saunf has a licorice flavor, and is generally know as the sugar-candy-coated seeds that are placed at the entrance of almost every Indian restaurant. While one of its roles is as a mouth freshener, saunf is also known to help relieve many stomach ailments – colic, constipation, indigestion, flatulence, heartburn. etc.

Original recipe credit to SAVEUR magazine. My version is a little sweeter and has a slightly more pronounced fennel taste.

 

Apple-Fennel (Saunf) Spritzer

(Makes about 1-cup syrup; enough for 6-8 drinks)

FOR THE SYRUP:

  • 2 tbsp. fennel (saunf) seeds – [coarsely ground]
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

1) Add the crushed fennel seeds, water & sugar to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.

2) Cook on medium-low flame for about 5 minutes till slightly thick, about 5 minutes.

3) Remove from heat and let the mixture rest till it reaches room temperature.

4) Strain into an airtight container or a pretty glass bottle. If not using right away, this mixture can be stored in the refrigerator (tightly sealed) for up to  1 month.

TO SERVE THE DRINK: (per person)-

  • 2-3 Tbsp fennel syrup
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup club soda
  • Thin apple slices for garnish
  • Ice

1) Mix all ingredients above in a tall glass and add ice. Garnish with apple slices and serve.

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A New Beginning… Another Chance To Do It Right

Happy 2014 to all of you. I hope everybody had a fantastic time over the 2013 holidays – good food, laughter, time with family & friends, shopping, cleaning, cooking, drama ;)) – all the things that make the season feel like you can’t take it anymore, yet you look  forward for it to roll around again a year later.

On my end, over the last month, I met family in snowy Deep Creek, MD for Thanksgiving, hosted my son’s 10th birthday party for 20+ people, had a few friends over for a South Indian dinner, hosted 20+ family members for Christmas dinner, and then headed to Atlantic City to meet my husband’s elementary school friend and his wife who were visiting from Jamaica. It was a ton of shopping, gift-wrapping, decorating, cooking, cleaning, nagging, complaining, but also laughing, eating, hugging, gossiping and catching up with friends and family. The cherry on top was my $635 win at the casinos in Atlantic City. For someone playing 3-card poker for the first time, I guess I got really lucky. Santa must have thought I was a very NICE girl :))

Of course, all this made me neglect this blog. I have a ton of new entertaining recipes that I tried and loved, but it’s a little too late to put up considering that most of you would have started your “get skinny / healthy” resolutions. I will definitely post them in the coming weeks. But below are some links that should help you get started on the track to eating better and taking care of your body.

Pomegranate-Banana-Smoothie

Banana Pomegranate Smoothie

Double Green Smoothie

 Double Green Smoothie

Ginger-carrot-pineapple Smoothie

 Ginger-Carrot-Pineapple Smoothie

Oatmeal with Dates and Walnuts

Oatmeal with Dates  and Walnuts

IMG_3826

Spicy Quinoa Muffins

IMG_3818

Spicy Tofu Scramble

Tri-Colored Antioxidant Rich Salad

Tri-colored Antioxidant Rich Salad

winter-tabbouleh-salad-1

Easy Winter Salad

Rainbow Cabbage Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

Rainbow Cabbage Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

Black Bean Soup

Vegetarian Black Bean Soup

Spiced Carrot Ginger Soup

Spiced Carrot Ginger Soup

Savory Quinoa Pongal

Savory Quinoa Pongal

Quinoa "Fried Rice"

Quinoa “Fried Rice”

I hope these links will help you get started on eating better this year. I appreciate feedback from you readers, and hope to hear about your tips and tricks for enjoying good food without guilt.

Natural Flu Season Tonic

Flu Season Tonic

We are at the start of flu season and holiday binge eating. Bugs & calories are everywhere, and most of us will succumb to at least one of the two. I have to be honest – I’m not a big follower of natural remedies, but I’ve had this tea a few times in the last few days, and the sniffles I had  seem to have vanished. I also like the fact that it is refreshing, low calorie, and comes with a ton of health benefits.

Lemon juice is high in Vitamin C, which protects the immune system. Lemon juice is also known to help in fighting ulcer causing bacteria, and in aiding with elimination. WebMD also states that Vitamin C helps with cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling.

Honey is a natural cough suppressant that soothes itchy throats. Plus, it tastes great!

Ginger is known as the powerhouse of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Used to treat gastro-intestinal problems, it is touted as a safe cure for stomach issues such as indigestion and nausea. Asian natural remedies consider ginger as a “heat” food, and this might alleviate cough, cold and flu symptoms.

Finally, Turmeric is famous for its anti-inflamatory, anti-septic qualities. I remember getting small cuts and scrapes as a kid, and running to the kitchen to pour some turmeric on the wound. Not sure if it helped, but it never hurt. (We kids loved that it stained everything yellow.)

The ‘tea’ recipe below is just a guide; you may add more or less of each ingredient, and steep as long as you like to suit your taste.

Natural Flu Season Tonic

(Makes 1 serving)

  • 1 tbsp grated ginger (or 1 inch ginger sliced into thin slices)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (preferably fresh squeezed)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 12 oz (1.5 cups) boiling water

1) Bring water to a boil in a non-reactive pan.

2) Add ginger and cover tightly to steep about 4-5 minutes.

3) Strain into a cup and add lemon juice, honey & turmeric. Mix well and sip, stirring as needed.

NOTE: I heard of and tried adding a pinch of cayenne powder to this tea to drink on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. It is supposed to provide all of the above benefits AND increase metabolism, enhance liver function, and assist elimination . It tastes pretty good, but I have stuck to my sweet, creamy chai for mornings. 

Flu Season Tonic

I’ve been reading  I Never Promised You  A Rose Garden by Joanne Greenberg – a classic from the 1960s. It is the story of a 16-year old who voluntarily gets committed to a mental hospital to treat her schizophrenia. The child Deborah creates an imaginary kingdom whose characters she imagines dictate her every move, so that she can escape from the realities and harshness of her real life. It was difficult reading, but I was struck by the way the author was able to see perspectives of the patient(s), parents, sibling, and psychotherapist, given that it was a time that had so little insight into mental health, and the stigma was especially high for the mentally ill. Very insightful book, and I highly recommend reading it. I think I finally have some understanding – however little – of what it means when we hear on the news about people who heard voices telling them to do unspeakable things.