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DAAL MAKHANI (BLACK LENTIL CURRY)

Both of my children start pre-school today. I have been with them for 3.5 years straight with a couple hours away here and there. I’ll be honest and say I’m a mix of emotions today. I’m excited for them because they are so ready for this and I am too. But I’m also a tiny bit sad because it means my babies are growing up. I haven’t cried yet though :)…there’s still the rest of the day though *LOL*

Today’s milestone calls for some comfort food, a staple dish in every Kashmiri home, especially in the colder months- daal makhani (black lentil curry), which reminds me of my mom. I used to love eating this (with boiled eggs!) after coming home from a long day at school & work. Passing along the tradition to my kids, and now you all through this recipe! Note: I don’t show the boiled eggs here because of my daughter is allergic.

A single pat of butter is placed on top of the daal as a finishing touch, which was a trick passed down to my mom from her mom. The word “Makhan” literally translates butter. I LOVE BUTTER. Little known fact about me 🙂

DAAL MAKHANI (BLACK LENTIL CURRY) RECIPE:

Ingredients:

2 cups Black lentils
4 cups water
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1/2 tsp Coriander, ground
1/2 tsp Red chilli powder
1/2 tsp Salt
Thadka (oil seasoning)
3 tsp Unsalted Butter, cold
1 tbsp Black seeds (Kolonji/nigella)
2 Garlic Cloves, sliced thin

Preparation:

  1. Add the water, lentils, garam masala, coriander powder, red chilli powder and salt to a pot, stir and boil on medium heat on stove. Leave uncovered and stir occasionally.
  2. Cook lentils until soft, approximately 40 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the thadka (which is the flavourful oil seasoning for daals)
  4. In a large pan on medium heat on stove, add in the cold butter. Allow to melt.
  5. Add in the thinly sliced garlic cloves and watch closely-once they are light golden add in the black seeds and sauté for 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. Once the daal is done, take the thadka (oil seasoning) and carefully pour on top of the daal.
  8. Top with cilantro and one pat of butter and serve with warm naan!

Want to make this daal in the instant pot? HERE’S HOW:

Instant Pot: Add the water, lentils, garam masala, coriander powder, red chilli powder and salt to a pot, stir and close lid of instant pot. Seal the sent. Select the ‘Multigrain’ button which automates to 40 minutes or so. Continue on with the recipe.

TIP: if there is too much water, just boil it off (sautee button on instant pot). If daal is too dry, add more water. ENJOY!

 

I hope you’ll try this recipe out and let me know how it turns out! It As always, let me know if you try out this recipe by tagging me @kashmirifoodie #kashmirifoodie, I would love to see your beautifully delicious creations!

xoxo

Tabassum 

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BLUEBERRY CRUMBLE

Hey guys, long time no chat. To be honest, I’ve been completely overwhelmed with life. I’ve been transitioning my kids to preschool and it’s been a lot of running around getting everything they need to succeed. I think I’m finally ready. Kudos to all the moms who successfully got their kids back to school a few weeks back, it’s no easy feat!

One thing that always calms my nerves is baking. And there is nothing like a crumble on a cool crisp day. In fact, crumble is the perfect breakfast, snack or dessert in the cooler months, perfect for the upcoming season. True story…stated by me 🙂

 

So why did I choose blueberries? To be honest, I had a pint in my fridge and if I didn’t use it, it would’ve spoiled. But no food wastage here folks, take your leftover fruit and make a crumble dessert out of it! Yay!

This blueberry crisp was incredibly easy to put together:

Ingredients:

2-3 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup tbsp Brown sugar
1 cup Large flake oats
1/3 cup Flour
1/4 cup Walnuts chopped
1/3 cup Unsalted butter cubed, cold
1/2 tsp Cinnamon

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Place blueberries in baking pan.
In a separate bowl, combine the oats, flour, cold cubed butter and brown sugar. Mix together with hands, forming crumb topping.
Place this crumb mixture overtop of the blueberries.
Bake for 35 minutes (until golden brown)
Serve warm and top with vanilla ice cream or as is!
Enjoy!

I hope you’ll try this recipe out and let me know how it turns out! My kids absolutely loved this crumble for breakfast which was a total mom win for me! As always, let me know if you try out this recipe by tagging me @kashmirifoodie #kashmirifoodie, I would love to see your beautifully delicious creations!

xoxo

Tabassum 

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Ste.Anne’s Spa Getaway Trip

Hey guys! I was given the opportunity to check out the day spa at Ste.Anne’s Spa in Grafton, Ontario. And it was INCREDIBLE! The stunning grounds, the castle like facility, the yoga studio, the relaxing nooks all over the place to just lounge and hang out or read a novel ….I haven’t relaxed like that in a LONG time! So I made it a girls day and took my sister along with me! And what a great time we had! I felt like I was in Europe but the great thing was that I was only 2 hours from home.

Check in/Tour

We arrived at Ste.Anne’s spa at 10 am after an almost two hour car ride (we took the 407 from Milton..if we didn’t it would’ve taken longer) but I’m not complaining because it gave my sister and I a chance to catch up…it’s incredible how little adult conversation one can have once there are kids in the picture-and between the both of us we have 5 kids, alhumdullilah. Anyways, we proceeded to check in where we filled out some forms and received our spa robes to use for the day. We were given a tour and I was thoroughly impressed by the facilities and the beautiful grounds. There were areas to relax strategically placed all over the spa, like the complimentary massage chair room, the quiet room and the hammocks and lounging chairs outdoors. One thing that caught me off guard though, was that we were told that the owner’s two dogs roamed around freely outdoors, but not to worry because they are friendly. I’m not really a dog person, so I was a bit anxious hearing this news. Here are some photos from the tour.

 

 

Wellness Class: Yoga

We decided to start off the day with some yoga. We thought it would be a great way to stretch out after being in the car for so long. So glad we did! The hour long session was incredibly relaxing and I felt at ease. The yoga studio itself was beautiful and inviting and the instructor knowledgeable.

Ste.Anne’s Spa offers a variety of wellness classes. You can take a look at their schedule here.

R&R

 

 

We had some time before lunch, so we explored the grounds and we ended up relaxing on the hammocks and read our books.  But then the scariest thing happened. We were reading our novels and all of my sister said “Tabassum don’t make any sudden movements”. I immediately knew a dog was nearby. I peeked over my hammock and lo and behold a VERY big black dog was hanging around. I quickly ready Surah Fatiha and made duaa (prayer) of protection LOL. The dog ran off and we remained in our hammocks for two minutes. Then I was like “you wanna go inside now?” to which my sister thankfully answered “yes lets go.”

I would’ve liked to enjoy being outdoors more in my very honest opinion but I felt I couldn’t do that with the dogs roaming free. I also don’t think it’s fair to say that the dogs are ‘friendly’ and expect ALL guests of the spa to be okay with it. That is one thing I would request if I were to book at Ste.Anne’s Spa again. This aspect really took away from achieving total relaxation at the spa for myself.

Dining: Lunch

We then headed off to lunch and it was a tasty and pleasant experience. Here are some photos and captions of each. My favourite part was dessert-creme brûlée with a side of coconut ice cream…yum!!!!!! The portion sizes were perfect and the meal was healthy and wholesome from start to finish.

Iced Coffee

 

SMOKED ALMON QUICHE pickled red onion, blistered tomato arugula with a citrus aioli

 

CUCUMBER WRAPPED GREENS (Ve) (GF) mixed greens, frisée, candied pecans, heirloom tomatoes, edible flowers, and purple grapes wrapped in a cucumber with an orange blossom vinaigrette

 

CHIPOTLE MUSHROOM BURGER (V) sweet toasted pecans, savoury mushrooms, with a base of lentils, chickpeas, and chipotle — topped with lettuce, tomato, and onions, with a spicy chipotle cashew ranch on a brioche bun

 

STRAWBERRY BRUSCHETTA SALAD (V) (GF) spinach, berries and radicchio with citrus dressing, served with a grilled focaccia, baco noir jam, ontario fior di latte, candied almonds and fresh chives

 

STE. ANNE’S TRATTORIA featured pasta dishes showcasing best of season vegetables, sauces and fresh herbs

 

Creme Brûlée with a side of vegan coconut ice cream

 

More R&R

This is the novel I took along with me. I am still not done it, it’s a heavy read.

After lunch we headed back outside to lounge and read. I just couldn’t relax though, knowing that two dogs could bolt over to me at anytime. Within 5 minutes of being outside my sister was already sleeping. SO I had two options, I could leave her asleep there and head inside OR I could tell her I’m heading in to the quiet lounge. I chose the latter  and she came inside with me saying that the point of the day was to relax and if I couldn’t do that outside we would both go in. We read and relaxed in the quiet room indoors for a while before our massage chair appointment.

 

 

 

Complimentary Massage Chairs

We booked our massage chair appointment a bit after lunch. They have quite a few so they rarely book up completely, we were told. The massage chairs were a bit intense to begin with but once I got the settings to my liking, it was fabulous! This was a nice option to have as my spa service was a body wrap and not a massage.

Spa Service: Rose Petal and Honey Body Wrap

Shortly after this, we headed of to the wait for our spa service. We both chose the Rose Petal and Honey Body Wrap .  

The esthetician explained that the honey and the rose petals that were used in this treatment were harvested from the Ste.Anne’s Spa grounds! I absolutely loved this touch. It made the whole experience unique. It was a rejuvenating experience and I came out of this treatment selling delicious and my skin was thoroughly quenched. I highly recommend this service if you go!

Afternoon Tea

Once we were done the treatments, we headed off to afternoon tea. We enjoyed the gluten free sampler and they accommodated our vegetarian dietary needs. Below are some photos. I had the delectable dark chocolate matcha drink and my sister had a green tea as accompaniment to our menu selection. My favourite item was the raspberry macaron but I enjoyed the entire selection. I do prefer a more traditional afternoon tea and I think because we chose the gluten free option, the scones for example were a bit dense for my liking. I would love to try out the other afternoon tea options next time 🙂 Overall, a great way to end the day!

SANDWICH PLATE (GF) • mushroom duxelle with savoury jam • carrot and sesame filled mushroom • cucumber and dill cream cheese sandwich

 

CHEESE & CRACKERS (V) (GF) • duo of cheeses • five seed crostini • fresh fruit • best of season crudité

 

SWEETS (Ve) (GF) • seasonal almond macaron • sesame butter cookie • walnut cocoa truffle • freshly baked blueberry scone

 

Conclusion

We headed back to the Women’s only locker room, changed out of our robes and deposited them back at reception. We then headed out to the front and took some photos and the view was stunning. Here are some photos. We then headed home from our very relaxing day.

 

Thank you Ste.Anne’s Spa for having us, it was a much needed relaxing and rejuvenating experience. This was actually the first time I have been away from my kids for almost an entire day in over 3.5 years, so it was much needed!! I am so glad to have been given this opportunity to explore this beautiful spa and venue and I highly recommend it as a mini getaway for yourself, you and your significant other or for a girls getaway. The staff was friendly and lovely and the best part is that it’s like being in another part of the world, except it was just north of Toronto! This hidden gem in the heart of Ontario has now been checked off of my bucket list!

 

Here are some Q&A’s that I was asked about Ste. Anne’s Spa:

 

Is Ste. Anne’s Spa Ladies only?

No. There are some male staff working there so we were in our hijabs the entire time. Also, men are welcome to attend the spa as well. I made sure to specifically request female staff for our body therapy sessions, which they accommodated.

Does Ste.Anne’s have halal options?

No. But they do have a lot of vegetarian and seafood options which are delicious.  The food is noticeably fresh and simple, which is nice because after lunch we had sessions booked so you don’t want to overstuff yourself!

Was there a women’s only section?

The women’s locker room is the only female only area. There was a hot tub in here which we dipped into for a bit. That was enjoyable and allowed us to go hijab free.

Is this a good place for a couples getaway OR a a girls trip?

Yes to both! It’s also a great getaway for moms to be.

What is the cost of going to Ste. Anne’s Spa?

It depends on which package you select. The website lists rates for each package. Click here to find out more.

 

xoxo,

Tabassum

*Sponsored by Ste. Anne’s Spa. All views and opinions are my own however.*

 

 

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Spicy Baked Salmon

If you’re crunched for time, this spicy baked salmon is the perfect dinner for you. It comes together in just 1o minutes (with a little pre-planning!) and is a family favourite around here.  It’s simple, wholesome and pairs great with a variety of sides! and hey, my toddlers love this salmon so this recipe is a total mom win 🙂

Remove the frozen salmon from the freezer in the morning before you leave for work OR thaw your salmon, marinate and bake right away!  Either way, it’s a pretty low maintenance kind of dish!

Ingredients:

2 Wild Pacific Salmon Fillets

3 tsp soy sauce

2 tsp raw organic honey

1/4 tsp red hot chilli powder (laal mirch)

1 tsp vegetable oil

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

Coat the baking dish with the vegetable oil

Pat dry the salmon with paper towel. This will remove excess liquid.

Place salmon into the baking dish

Combine the soy sauce, honey and chilli powder together

Pour the mixture over the salmon

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes

Once done, there may be excess glaze on the baking sheet, spoon this over the salmon a couple of times for extra flavour

Serve with salad or any side of your choice

Dinner’s ready!

 

 

Happy to help!

Let me know if you try out this recipe and which milk you chose to use! I usually reply to emails within 24 hours 🙂

xoxo

Tabassum

@kashmirifoodie

 

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Eggplant Pizza

 

I love pizza! But I don’t love the crazy amount of calories in it (approx 300 calories per slice) and I don’t find it super filling either. Solution: Eggplant pizza to the rescue!😍

INGREDIENTS:
1 eggplant, cut into 1 inch rounds
Pizza Sauce
Any toppings of your choice

METHOD:
Assemble pizza using the eggplants as the “crust”
Top with your favourite toppings
Bake at 350 for 25 mins (or until soft but not super mushy 😅)

And there you have it! Approximately 60 calories per slice…not bad! This is a nutrient rich alternative to pizza that will leave you feeling full and satisfied. Plus you can have multiple slices and not worry about it taking up half of your daily total calorie intake…woohoo!

Enjoy!

 

Happy to help!

Let me know if you try out this recipe and which milk you chose to use! I usually reply to emails within 24 hours 🙂

xoxo

Tabassum

@kashmirifoodie