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Kanwal’s Healthy Corner – Mmmm…. Chai!

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

With the weather getting a little chilly, sometimes it’s nice to cozy up to a hot mug of chai. For me, hot chai has fall and winter written all over it! The aromatics and creaminess of the chai will automatically warm you up! I add a little ginger in my chai for a clean ‘kick’ and the cardamom adds a unique sweetness. The saffron is that one ingredient that makes you wonder why the chai tastes a bit unique, yet so delicious! I hope you enjoy the recipe below for my chai!


1 cup of cold water
1/2 inch of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
2 cardamom pods, opened or a teaspoon of cardamom powder
A couple of strands of saffron
1/2 cup of 2% milk
1 teaspoon of loose leaf black tea
Sugar, as desired


Place the water, ginger, cardamom and saffron in a small vessel on medium heat. Allow this to boil until about half cup of water is left. This is when the water will be infused with the ginger, cardamom and saffron flavors. Turn the heat to low and add the tea leaves. Stir for about thirty seconds. Add the milk and bring to a boil. Add sugar if desired. Turn the heat off and strain the tea into a big mug.

Servings: 1

Top image courtesy of

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Kanwal’s Healthy Corner – My Go-To Trail Mix

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

I think everyone should always keep a couple of go-to snacks in their bag. I know I always have go-to snacks ready because with the busy lives we live today, you never know just how late you will eat, and it’s important to have something to tie you over. Something healthy and nutritious and of course… Easy to make! My number 1 go-to snack is trail mix. I love trail mix because I can decide what I want in it and there are a million plus ways to make your own trail mix. Also, why pay so much for portion controlled snacks when you can buy snack baggies and make all this on your own! Below you will find my recipe for my own standard go-to trail mix. You can use my recipe as a base and add dried fruit, chocolate chips, pistachios etc. You can also add whatever seasonings you like. The possibilities are endless!


  • 1/4c. of currants
  • 1/4c. of roasted almonds
  • 1/4c. of unsweetened carob chips
  • 1/4c. of raw cashews
  • 1/4c. of raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4c. of raw sunflower seeds


Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. With a ¼ measuring cup, measure it out into 6 snack baggies.

Makes 6 quarter-cup servings

For more on Kanwal Ullah and her lifestyle philosophy, check out The Ajnabee’s ABOUT page.

As a personal aside, this is such a protein-packed recipe, truly the best way to replenish your energy when you feel it getting zapped. Between the carob chips, cashews and sunflower/pumpkin seeds, you are getting about 10 grams of protein in each baggie!!

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Kanwal’s Healthy Corner – Taco Turkey and Veggies

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

There are many times after a long day of work where I need a little help with dinner. When time is tight and you need to get a delicious, nutritious meal out in minutes, I go for premade seasonings. Why not… the seasonings enhance my food and I’m not hovering over my spice box to see what I should add. Also, the seasonings help me out with a theme for the meal. For example, if I’m using an Indian seasoning packet, I may want to make a quick raita on the side!

I have to admit that my most favorite seasoning packet is taco seasoning!! Oh yes, I can easily make a quick batch of tacos, or add this to rice for a Spanish rice or I can sauté veggies with the mix. Taco seasoning is so versatile and can help you make a meal in minutes! Enjoy my recipe below, for Taco Turkey and Veggies. Eat this on its own, on top of rice, create a taco salad or make tacos with this. Enjoy!!


  • 1lb. lean ground turkey
  • 1TB. canola oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4c. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2c. of chopped, frozen spinach
  • 2TB. of garlic powder
  • 1 pouch of taco seasoning
  • 4c. shredded cabbage
  • 1/2c. chopped cilantro
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Preparation:

    Place a pan on medium heat. Once hot, add the oil and onions. Sauté until the onions have softened. Add the celery and sauté for another minute. Add the tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce, stir to break up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the turkey, garlic powder and seasoning mix. Continue stirring, breaking up the turkey. Once the turkey is cooked, add the frozen spinach, cilantro and cabbage. Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper if necessary.

    Enjoy this dish as is or on top of brown rice!

    Servings: 4

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    Kanwal’s Healthy Corner – I ♥ Hazelnut Truffles!

    Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

    By Kanwal Ullah

    Last year on Valentine’s Day, my mom called in the evening. She said ‘You didn’t call to say Happy Valentine’s Day to me’. It suddenly occurred to me, for every year that I can think of, I’ve always called my mom and have said ‘Happy Valentine’s Day!’ to her on February 14th. I don’t know why I missed the one year to say it to my mom, but I realized that Valentine’s Day is not just for partners, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife. No, to me Valentine’s Day is just another day to express your love to ANYONE you love! I personally believe that you do not need to pay special attention to one day out of the year to display your love for others. However, this day does allow those who do not express their love too often, to display their affection. So, ladies and gentlemen, remember, Valentine’s Day is not just for you and your significant other; let your family and friends know just how much you appreciate them in your life!

    OK, so why not show your loved ones how much you care about them by making them a box of hazelnut truffles for Valentine’s Day?!


  • 8.5 oz of semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 TB of hazelnut extract
  • Shredded coconut for coating truffles
  • Dark chocolate powder for coating truffles
  • Carob powder for coating truffles
  • Preparation:

    Pour the heavy cream into a large bowl and add the chocolate chips and hazelnut extract. Carefully microwave this for 30 seconds, and then stir. Microwave again for 15 seconds, and then stir again to incorporate the chips and cream. If needed, continue to microwave on 10 second intervals and stir until the chocolate and cream become one. Once done, place bowl in the refrigerator for 2 hours to harden. Remove bowl from the refrigerator and allow to slightly thaw on the counter for 10 minutes. In the meantime, place your truffle coatings onto separate plates, to easily roll the truffles in. 

    With a tablespoon, scoop out a small ball of chocolate and quickly form into a small ball. These do not have to be perfect. In fact, chocolate truffles get their name to resemble the truffles that grow in the ground! Once the ball is formed, roll in one of the coatings. Repeat this process and continue to coat in different coatings.


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    Kanwal’s Healthy Corner – Vegetarian Tacos

    Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

    We have officially completed one whole month of 2010! I hope you all have been having a great 2010 so far. Have you all been living up to your New Years resolution to eat right and exercise? I know we all have a hectic schedule, but with a little planning (making your meals in advance) this can be done. People, its only been a month, do you really think it would be fair to yourself to give up already? I didn’t think so! Your health is at your own mercy, only you can control how you treat it and yourself.

    One thing to remember, eat a healthy breakfast like a king, a humble lunch like a prince, and a light dinner like a pauper. I especially make sure I eat a light dinner if I’m eating really late. In fact, just last night, I came home late and still had a filling and yet light meal of vegetarian tacos. I hope you enjoy this recipe!


  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 c of part skim shredded mozzarella, divided in fourths 
  • 1/2 c of shredded coleslaw, divided in fourths
  • 1 c of black beans, divided in fourths
  • 1/2 c of salsa, divided in fourths
  • 1 c chopped cilantro, divided in fourths
  • 1 TB of smoked cumin, divided in fourths
  • Salt/pepper to taste 
  • Preparation:

    Toast the corn tortilla’s on an open flame, on your stove. Once toasted add each ingredient to build your tacos.


    BTW – Make this a prince like meal by adding chopped chicken or fish!

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    Kanwal’s Healthy Corner – My Power Omelette

    Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

    Who says you can’t have breakfast for dinner? Better yet, I hope you are eating your breakfast for breakfast every morning. Yes, we all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, literally breaking your fast from not eating all night and aiding in boosting your metabolism to conquer any of the challenges that your day has to offer. Of course, there is no harm in having your breakfast for dinner either. In fact, one of my most favorite dinners is ‘breakfast’! My most favorite type of breakfast is anything that has eggs. I love eggs anyway I can get them, poached, boiled or whipped up in an omelet; eggs are not only delicious but extremely nutritious. Also, do not be afraid of the yolk, even if you have high cholesterol one egg a day should not harm you. The yolk is filled with nutritious vitamins and minerals (see table below). I hope you’ll enjoy this delicious omelet recipe, which I call My Power Omelet. This omelet is awesome whether you’re eating your breakfast for breakfast or your breakfast for dinner. Enjoy!


    • 2 eggs
    • 4 thin tomato slices
    • 1/8th c. of diced red onions
    • 1/8th c. of sliced mushrooms
    • 2 TB. of finely chopped jalapeno
    • 1 TB. of cumin
    • 1 TB. of garam masala
    • 1 TB. of fresh cilantro, chopped
    • salt/pepper to taste


    Crack the eggs in a bowl. Add the onions, mushrooms, jalapenos, garam masala, cumin and salt/pepper, whisk lightly until all is combined.

    Heat up your pan and spray with non stick spray. Add the egg mixture and let this cook, on medium heat, for a couple of minutes. Add the cilantro, then flip the omelet.

    Let the omelet cook for another couple of minutes, then take off of heat.

    In the same pan, add the tomatoes, in as single layer. Sear the tomatoes on one side only.

    Once seared, add on top of omelet, and enjoy with whole wheat toast!!!

    Nutrient White Yolk % Total in White % Total in Yolk
    Protein  3.6 g 2.7g 57% 43%
    Fat  0.05g 4.5g 1% 99%
    Calcium  2.3 mg 21.9 mg 9.5% 90.5%
    Magnesium  3.6 mg 0.85 mg 80.8% 19.2%
    Iron  0.03 mg 0.4 mg 6.2% 93.8%
    Phosphorus  5 mg 66.3 mg 7% 93%
    Potassium  53.8 mg 18.5 mg 74.4% 25.6%
    Sodium  54.8 mg 8.2 mg 87% 13%
    Zinc  0.01 mg 0.4 mg 0.2% 99.8%
    Copper  0.008 mg 0.013 mg 38%  62%
    Manganese  0.004 mg 0.009 mg 30.8% 69.2%
    Selenium  6.6 mcg 9.5 mcg 41% 59%
    Thiamin  0.01 mg 0.03 mg 3.2% 96.8%
    Riboflavin  0.145 mg 0.09 mg 61.7% 48.3%
    Niacin  0.035 mg 0.004 mg 89.7% 9.3%
    Pantothenic acid. 0.63 mg 0.51 mg 11% 89%
    B6  0.002 mg 0.059 mg 3.3% 96.7%
    Folate  1.3 mcg 24.8 mcg 5% 95%
    B12  0.03 mcg 0.331 mcg 8.3% 91.7%
    Vitamin A  0 IU 245 IU 0% 100%
    Vitamin E  0 mg 0.684 mg 0% 100%
    Vitamin D  0 IU 18.3 IU 0% 100%
    Vitamin K  0 IU 0.119 IU 0% 100%
    DHA and AA 0  94 mg 0% 100%
    Carotenoids 0 mcg 21 mcg 0% 100%

    ** table from

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    Kanwal’s Healthy Corner – Zucchini Pasta with Basil Sauce

    Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

    Last week I decided to eat only raw foods all week. That’s right, my breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks all had to be raw food. I’m very appreciative of this experience for many reasons. First, eating raw foods forced me to delve into fruits and veggies that I would never have thought of cooking with. Secondly, this definitely helped me appreciate the flavors and textures of different types of foods. Thirdly, with all the clean eating, my digestive tract felt great! Lastly, I knew I was giving myself optimal nutrition.  

    Now eating raw foods does not mean eating a bunch of bland fruits and veggies. I was amazed at the flavors that are created when you mix certain foods together, such as raisins and pine nuts, a sweet and nutty flavor. Also, the way the food feels in your mouth is an experience all in itself. You pay more attention to the texture of food and realize how certain foods are crunchy, chewy or soft. Today, I’d like to share with you my most favorite, and easy raw food recipe: Zucchini Pasta with Basil Sauce. I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe and realize how delicious simple food can be.


    For the sauce:

    • 4 plum tomatoes
    • 1c. fresh basil
    • 3 sprigs of thyme
    • 1TB. of lemon or lime juice
    • 3 cloves of garlic
    • Salt/pepper to taste
    • For the zucchini pasta:

    • 4 zucchinis, julienned
    • Note: an easy way to julienne zucchini is to take your peeler, and peel thin strips of the zucchini, lengthwise. Stack these strips on top of each other and cut into julienne strips.


      Blend all of the sauce ingredients in a blender to make sauce. Toss zucchini with pasta.


      If you would like to have a recipe revamped into something lighter or have any questions, please email Kanwal at Or you can post comments here and she’ll check in from time to time… Or you can always check out her website at You never know, your next question could be featured on next week’s column for The Ajnabee!

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    Kanwal’s Healthy Corner – Brown Rice Bowl

    Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

    Alright, I think we’ve all realized that the cold is here! We are also in full swing of the second week of the new year. Are you keeping up with your resolution to eat more healthy? Well, I have a geat recipe that will not only keep you warm, but will also help whittle your middle. My Brown Rice Bowl is loaded with protein from the chicken and fiber from the beans. This dish is full of flavor and will keep you warm and happy.


  • 4c of cooked brown rice
  • 1TB. of canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2TB of cumin seeds
  • 1c. of black beans
  • 4 cloves of garlic, grated
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1/2c. of chopped cilantro
  • 4c. of vegetable stock
  • 2 rotisserie chicken breasts, shredded
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • Preparation:

    Heat the oil in a small pot. Add the onions, cumin and salt. Sautee until the onions become translucent. Add the beans, garlic, vegetable stock, lime juice and cilantro. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.

    Add the chicken and pepper. Add the rice and combine well. Enjoy!!!

    Servings: 4

    PS:  Make this dish completely vegetarian by omitting the chicken. The beans will still provide you with fiber as well as protein!

    If you would like to have a recipe revamped into something lighter or have any questions, please email Kanwal at Or you can post comments here and she’ll check in from time to time… You never know, your next question could be featured on next week’s column for The Ajnabee!

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    Kanwal’s Healthy Corner – Lemon Ginger Scallops

    Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

    Alright everyone, we are 6 days into the new year. Are you keeping up with your New Year’s resolution to eat right and get in shape? I know everyone is strapped for time these days, but now is the time that you can make a positive change in your life. Start to make small changes in your lifestyle, such as switch from simple carbs to complex carbs (ie: from white bread to 100% whole wheat bread). Also it is very important that you try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Even a brisk walk during your lunch helps. There are 24 hours in a day, try to take 30 minutes out of them to make a positive life change. OK, enough with the lecture, how about making my heart friendly, figure friendly Lemon Ginger Scallops!


  • 1lb. sea scallops
  • 1TB. of canola oil
  • 2 c. of fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp. of honey
  • Salt/pepper

    In a large bowl combine one cup of the lemon juice and all ingredients except for oil and scallops. Once thoroughly combined, add the scallops and toss to coat. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

    Add the canola oil to a sauté pan and turn stove on to medium heat. Once the oil is hot place the scallops and allow to cook and sizzle, browning each side approximately one minute on each side. Once you place the scallops in the pan, do not move them, to properly brown. When scallops have browned on both sides take out of pan, and use the remainder one cup of lemon juice to deglaze the pan and make a thick pan sauce. Drizzle this sauce on top of the scallops.

    Enjoy this wonderful light dish with steamed asparagus or a side salad!

    Servings:  4

    ** An interesting fact about sea scallops: Four large scallops have 53 calories (seriously) and less than 1 gram of fat! **

    If you would like to have a recipe revamped into something lighter or have any questions, please email Kanwal at Or you can post comments here and she’ll check in from time to time… You never know, your next question could be featured on next week’s column for The Ajnabee!

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    Kanwal’s Healthy Corner – This is not the end, only the beginning…

    Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

    With 2009 coming to a close and 2010 starting up, I thought this might be a good opportunity to reflect on the wonderful healthy dishes of 2009. The majority of New Year’s resolutions usually deal with losing weight or achieving a healthy lifestyle. The main factor for both is to cook and eat healthy, wholesome food with great nutritional value.

    I’ve been fortunate enough to help portray this through The Ajnabee and teach readers delicious, nutritionally sound recipes. I always tell people, do not wait for a specific date to start a healthy lifestyle, rather start this very moment. Just because you had two donuts for breakfast does not mean you need to blow off your whole day. Having a balanced lunch is much better than eating a chicken parm for lunch!

    People do not realize how much power they have to control their eating habits. It’s time to take charge of your life and start eating healthy NOW. Yes, put down that donut and have a bowl of whole grain cereal or oatmeal. Plan your breakfasts, lunches and dinners out for the week! Restock your pantry with healthy snacks and make sure to buy lots of fruits and veggies to nosh on.

    Make this the year that you experiment with new flavors in marinades, such as my Balsamic Masala Chicken. Allow your palate to explore more exotic flavors and go ahead and make my Tamarind Tilapia. Work on getting adequate fiber in your diet and remember that men should aim for 35 grams per day and women 30 grams. My Channa Masala recipe can help you with this or you can try my Smokey Small White Bean Stew. Satisfy a sweet tooth in a healthy way by making my healthy Apple Pie or my delicious Carrot Pudding. Create a healthy side dish for you and your family by making my healthy Butternut Squash Gratin. You will realize that you do not need to eat bland food to eat healthy! With this said, ring in the New Year and make a promise to yourself to eat the best you can every day! 2010 will bring new recipes to The Ajnabee that will help you achieve your healthy lifestyle goals. Happy New Year!!!

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