I have not said it out loud (at least here) yet, but I am gonna say it now. I have pledged to work on a healthier and fitter me! I do not know when being a mom, a “working mom” (as if there ever is another kind!), taking care of the home and family came in the way of taking care of myself, but it did. I had stopped caring about what I am eating as long as the kids ate healthy and how fit I was as long as the kids got to have their after school activities and play time, but I did. Before I had my first born I was the kind of person who was in charge of herself. But I did not realize I took the back seat, until a conversation I had with a dear friend a couple months back. She was clearing her conscience and I realized the person she was talking about could very well be me! So we promised each other and ourselves that day, that we will take that control back in our hands. As much as we love our kids and family more than anything in the world, we cannot give them our 100% until we give ourselves a 100%.
So we made a few changes, bigger one being more aware. More aware of what goes in our body, more aware of what goes in the food that we eat, more aware of what our body likes both when it comes to eating and also when it comes to working out. A few minutes away from our crazy day, just to sit in a corner for a breather and THINK! Something we do not always get time to do. To my surprise and contrary to my previous beliefs, I did have time to do all that. Time to eat better, time for a workout, time to read or time to just think. As much as I’d love to say that this is all I need to sort my life out, but I cannot. Its still far from it but I feel better, fitter, happier and calmer and as a result so does my family.
To achieve this I did not have to give up much except for processed sugar that was not adding any value to my health and processed carbs. Added more greens to my meals and more whole grains instead of polished and processed grains and of course added exercise to my routine. That’s it! I’ve lost 15 lbs in the last two months and I am excited about it.
SO, as a shout out to a healthy and fit lifestyle I am sharing this recent family favorite of ours. A Healthy(er) Palak Paneer. Staying true to the traditional palak paneer I have just tried to add more variety and quantity of greens to this dish and got rid of the use of cream to make you feel lighter even after a belly full of this comforting dish, that should be perfect for the chilly weather we are going to have soon.
Ingredients: Serves 6-8
2 tablespoon oil
2 black cardamom
1/2 inch cinnamon
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
3/4 red onion (chopped)
3-4 garlic cloves (minced)
1 1/2 inch ginger (minced)
2 tablespoon coriander powder
1 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 cup tomato (chopped)
2 cup spinach (coarsely chopped)
2 cup kale (any variety is fine) (coarsely chopped)
2 cup baby chard (coarsely chopped)
Salt to taste
14 oz paneer (cut into cubes)
1 1/2 cups water (or more if you like the curry loose. Your choice.)
Heat oil in a medium sized, heavy bottom pan. Coarsely crush the whole masalas (cloves, fennel, cumin, cinnamon, black cardamom). Add to the heated oil.
As the masala sputters add onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook on medium heat for 8-10 minutes until onion softens.
Add coriander powder, garam masala, tomato and poppy seeds. Cook for 5-8 minutes or until the tomato is cooked and everything comes together to form a loose paste.
Add salt. Mix well and cook for another minute.
Add the greens. Stir well to mix all the masala well to the greens. Cover and cook on medium for 5 minutes. Uncover, continue cooking while stirring occasionally until the greens are reduced to quarter its size and there is no liquid separating from the greens.
Stir in garam masala. Turn off the heat and allow it to cool for 5 minutes.
Transfer the cooked greens to a blender or food processor. Blend into a paste. You can add up to 1 1/2 cups of water if you need help with running the blender blades smoothly.
Transfer the green paste back to the pan. Add rest of the water to the pan. Stir in paneer cubes. Let the curry simmer for 5-8 minutes. Turn off the heat. Serve hot with your choice of naan or roti and rice. Enjoy!