Friday, 30 September 2016

Benefits of Black rice

Black rice is an ancient grain with wonderful health benefits. It is packed with great levels of fiber, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits. It keeps the weight in control and is high in minerals and vitamins.  Black rice is known for its abilities to fight diseases. It is called black rice because of its interesting purplish, black color. Food that is darker in color usually contains more nutrients, black rice is no different. It contains minerals, vitamins, iron, zinc and 18 amino acids. 

healthy black rice

Let’s go through few interesting health benefits of black rice – 

1) Prevents diabetes 
The risk of type-2 diabetes is found to be reduced considerably with the consumption of black rice. Whole grains like this boosts energy levels, helps to maintain body weight and controls diabetes. 

2) Controls obesity 
Black rice is one of the greatest sources of fiber. It helps combat cravings, overeating and hunger. It is also known to help reduce insulin, which is often related to a higher risk of obesity.         

3) Helps in digestion 
The fiber content in the rice improves digestion to a great extent. It helps prevent constipation, bloating and many digestive issues. It also ensures smooth functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. 

4) Natural detox 
Black rice helps in natural detoxification processes and helps prevent toxic build up. It also helps in cleansing of liver- due to its antioxidants which help reduce inflammation.     

5) Healthy heart         
Black rice reduces the risk of plaque formation in the arteries. Having clear arteries is essential and it also lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke. The phytochemicals found in black rice helps to control and maintain the cholesterol levels.           

Taste of black rice 
Black rice is not very tasty but it has its own unique, nutty taste. It is denser than refined rice. 
You can eat it like your regular rice with curry, dal, soup or any sauces. You could also add it to your everyday salad. It’s best to soak the grain for two hours prior to cooking. You can also mix it with other grains if you don’t like the taste of black rice. 

Black rice pudding
Ingredients: 
•1 cup Healthy Alternatives black rice
•1/2 cup Healty Alternatives sugar
•1 400-500ml of  unsweetened coconut milk, stirred well

Instructions:
To prepare rice, take 3 cups of water, ¼ teaspoon salt and put it to boil. Make sure you cover it with lid and prepare it for 45 minutes. The rice will be cooked but still wet. Add some sugar, 1’4 teaspoon salt and 1½ cups of coconut milk and heat it at high temperature. After some time, recuse the heat and stir continuously for about 30 minutes until the mixture becomes thick. 
Remove the mixture and let it cool at room temperature, keep an eye on the mixture stir it in between if needed. Now before serving divide it into 8–9 bowls and make sure to stir the remaining coconut milk in the mixture. 
A tasty black rice pudding is ready for you!

Checkout our wide range of #HealthyAlternatives rice varieties at www.naturesbasket.co.in 
Also, you can shop from a wide range of Indian grocery online.

Gluten free pasta recipes

For those who love pasta but are watchful of their health, and for the ones who are intolerant towards gluten, the gluten free pasta that is high in fiber and keeps you energized, is nothing less of a boon. Here’s an amazing recipe using gluten free pasta.

gluten free pastas

Ingredients:
Homemade Tomato Sauce
1 to 2 Tbsp Healthy Alternatives extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup diced white onion 
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup red wine (Menage a Trois works wonders with this recipe)
2 jars organic low-sodium tomato paste
1/2 to 1 red bell pepper, diced
2 medium zucchini, peeled
1 portobello mushroom, chopped
1/3 cup basil, chopped
Paprika, cayenne, and oregano, to taste
Artisanal cheese or nutritional yeast, to taste (optional)

Gluten free pasta 
1 packet of pasta of your choice

Directions: 
Step 1 
In a pan, heat oil. Pour little water and add onion, garlic and spices. Now make a saute out of it.

Step 2 
Chop few tomatoes and add it to the pan, now pour some red wine. Cover it and let it cook for 10-12 minutes, until the tomatoes start reducing.

Step 3 
Now add tomato paste and stir continuously 

Step 4
Time to add some veggies such as bell pepper, zucchini and basil. 

Step 5 
Boil water to prepare the pasta, simply toss it up in the sauce and add veggies to it. 
A healthy gluten free pasta is ready! 

gluten free healthier pasta

Benefits of gluten free pasta 
Gluten is basically a protein content of wheat and certain cereals. The word ‘gluten’ has become a bit of buzz now and is gaining more and more recognition. However, we will study the benefits of gluten free foods- 

1) Maintains body weight 
Glutens tend to increase the body weight. So eliminating them from the diet can help you maintain or lose some weight. However, you need to be very careful that you consume gluten free food in moderation otherwise it might harm you. 

2) Improves mood 
Studies say that people you consume gluten free diet are able to think clearly and focus better, are also much more aware of their surroundings. 

3) Improved digestion 
Did you know having gluten free food helps you in digestion? Individual’s suffering from Celiac disease often change their diet to a gluten free one. When you remove gluten from your diet, you often reduce a number of intestinal problems including gas, upset stomach, cramps and constipation. 

4) Cholesterol improvement 
Since gluten free diet eliminates most of the unhealthy food, individuals who follow a gluten free diet will report a lowered cholesterol levels. Doctors usually recommend gluten free diet for cholesterol patients, thus reducing the medicine intake. 

5) Getting rid of acne 
Gluten free diet is known to produce an overall clearer complexion and help get rid of acne. 

6) Increased energy 
Who does not want more energy? Having a gluten free diet eliminates high calorie carbohydrates, which makes us feel bloated sometimes. Sweet potatoes are considered to be the best source for increased energy from gluten free food. 

If you are gluten intolerant, view our exciting #HealthyAlternatives range of gluten free pasta at www.naturesbasket.co.inAlso, you can shop from a wide range of grocery products online.


Why should Quinoa seeds become a part of your daily diet?

Quinoa is a high in protein and gluten free food, considered as one of the world’s most popular health foods. It is one of the very few plant foods that contain all nine important amino acids. It is also high in fiber, iron, potassium, calcium, vitamin E and various essential antioxidants. 

quinoa seeds

Let’s glance through the benefits of using quinoa seeds- 

1) Perfect for people with gluten intolerance 
You can stay gluten free by using Quinoa because it’s a seed and not a grain, thus, it does not contain any gluten or wheat in it. You are now open to a wide variety of quinoa recipes without worrying if it’s going to upset your body system. 

2) Helps to maintain your body weight 
The fiber quotient in the Quinoa helps the body to get rid of the excess fat and also helps you feel fuller throughout the day. This in return helps your digestive processes and helps you eat less. In short, quinoa helps you avoid overeating and maintains your diet.

3) Reduces cholesterol 
Again fiber plays an important role in reducing your cholesterol. Many people rely on medicines to reduce cholesterol but with doctor’s advice and certain dietary changes you can reduce or avoid the medication to keep your cholesterol under control. Quinoa can be used in a variety of recipes and makes it easy. 

4) Controls blood pressure 
Yes, the fiber levels in quinoa have a direct effect on your blood pressure. Quinoa has a very delicate flavor and hence can be used in about any food recipe without harming the original taste of the food. Thus, it’s one of the easiest ways to keep your blood pressure levels in check 

5) Balances blood sugar levels 
Adding quinoa to your meal will help you maintain or reduce your blood sugar levels. If there is a specific dish or a recipe that you can’t have normally, see if adding quinoa seeds helps brining it down to a point where you can enjoy your favorite dish without worrying. Once you feel that the quinoa seeds are helping you, try out in most of your meals you eat during the day. 

Here’s a simple recipe using Quinoa seeds- 

Ingredients
•3 cups cooked quinoa
•1 cup shredded red cabbage or finely chopped kale
•1 cup frozen edamame, thawed
•1 cup thinly sliced carrots
•½ cup thinly sliced green onions
•⅓ cup cilantro
•1 batch dressing of your choice

Directions
Mix the salad ingredients in a large bowl and pour the dressing over the salad. Toss it up and serve instantly. 

Checkout our #HealthyAlternatives range of organic quinoa products at www.naturesbasket.co.in

Honey and its benefits

Honey has always been valued as a natural sweetener even before sugar was made available. There are over 50-100 varieties of honey, each originating from a different floral source. Apart from its great taste, honey has several other benefits. It’s known for its effectiveness in instantly boosting performance and endurance. The natural sugar in it prevents fatigue during workout. It is considered as one of the complete foods and the oldest sweetener on earth. It is recommended to have lime and honey in Luke warm water daily before breakfast for a refreshing and healthy life.

Different types of honey

Let us read through few facts and benefits of honey in our daily life-

1) Instant energy booster 
Every time you go out for a workout, take a spoon or two of honey that will enable you to go the extra mile. 
If you feel lethargic or low in the morning, try spreading honey on a hot toast and replace it with sugar in your milk for an instant boost of energy. 

2) Regulates blood sugar
Blood sugar levels are very important for self-sustainability. In comparison to the refined sugar, honey breaks down slowly and enters your bloodstream, avoiding high blood sugar levels.

3) Cancer prevention 
Studies suggest, honey contains antioxidants that have been known to prevent cancer and heart disease and improve self-sustainability. 

4) Resolves scalp problems and dandruff 
Research says- Diluting honey with a bit of warm water and applying it in your hair for about four weeks helps improving scalp conditions like seborrheic dermatitis. 

5) Serves as a “Cough medicine”
Research says honey, especially buckwheat honey, is very effective for cough problems and helps to ease the pain of a sore throat. It is also recognized by the WHO.

6) Helps insomnia 
It has been reported that having couple of teaspoons of honey before going to bed helps them get better sleep at night, hence, it is widely used by patients suffering from insomnia.

7) Brain booster 
Honey contains natural antioxidants and therapeutic properties that enhance the brains cholinergic system and circulation. Doctors usually recommend honey to be had in the morning.

8) Improves immune system 
Out of all the benefits of honey, what is most impressive is that honey can be a powerful immunity booster. Its antioxidants play a vital role in improving the digestive system and helps us to stay fit and fight diseases. 

Checkout our new wholesome #HealthyAlternatives blends of honey at www.naturesbasket.co.in.



Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Pizzicotti Amaretti

Cookies are perhaps the only simple sweet treats that are perfect for any occasion. Now imagine having an Italian twist to these crumbly delights? Chef Antonello Cancedda baked just those in the form of Pizzocotti Amaretti at the Viva Italia event hosted at Godrej Nature’s Basket. These absurdly good, bite-sized treats are great for gifting or even for snacking once in a way. Ready to try it yourself? Here’s Chef Cancedda’s second of the three much-sought after recipes.

Ingredients:

Almond Flour 
250 gms
Almond Essence 1 teaspoons
Castor sugar 200 gms
Egg whites 4 nos
Icing Sugar 20 gms

Method: 

Beat egg whites until it turns foamy. In a mixing bowl add almond flour, castor sugar, almond essence and egg whites. Quickly form balls of 20 gms and roll it into the icing sugar. Arrange the little balls in a silk pad and press the upper part with three fingers. Bake the pizzicotti in a conventional oven at 145 C for 20 minutes. Serve pizzicotti with espresso coffee or with dessert wine.

Pizzicotti-Amaretti.jpg

Image only for representational purpose. 

Quick cheese recipes with just two ingredients


Cheese is considered as one of those foods that constitutes a meal in itself and it’s a treat to those low on time and money. If you are craving for a snack or dessert, an appetizer or a side dish to bring to a party, you will never go wrong with cheese.
However, we will take you through some of the coolest cheese recipes with just two ingredients – 

Fruit dip in 60 seconds 

Fruit dip in 60 seconds

This dish can literally be ready in 60 seconds, it can’t get better than this.

Ingredients

200gms strawberry cream cheese, at room temperature
200gms marshmallow crème 

Directions

In a bowl, using fork, whisk together strawberry cream cheese and marshmallow cream. Serve with a variety a fruits you like (my favourite are strawberries and pineapple). You can store up to 3-4 days in refrigerator and always stir before serving. 

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Rounds

 Baked Parmesan Zucchini Rounds

Ingredients

2 medium-sized zucchini
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Garlic salt & freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

1. Place a baking sheet with a foil in an oven in the centre position. 
2. Cut zucchini into thick slices appropriately. Arrange zucchini on the prepared pan, with little to no space between them. Sprinkle little salt and pepper over it according to your taste. Use a small spoon to spread the parmesan cheese over the zucchini. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until it turns golden brown.  
3. Serve immediately! 

Onion and pepper cream cheese dip

Onion and pepper cream cheese dip

Ingredients:

400gms cream cheese, at room temperature
1 250gms jar pepper and onion relish

Directions:

Beat the cream cheese in bowl until light and fluffy for about 3 minutes. Stir in the relish until thoroughly combined. 
Serve with tortilla or pretzel chips. Left over can be stored up to 3 days in an air tight container. 

If you have any quick cheese recipes, do share it with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Don’t forget to visit a Nature’s Basket store near you or log on to www.naturesbasket.co.in and try our wide range of artisanal cheese!

Last minute party Appetizers

It’s always good to hear when an impromptu party plan is made at your place. But it’s very scary if you have nothing made at home to serve your guests. These last minute party recipes listed below will make everyone coming home, happy and make you feel like the perfect host.

GREEK SALAD SKEWERS

Greek salad skewers

Ingredients

1/4 English cucumber, cut into four 1/2 inch thick diagonal slices
8 pitted olives, cut in half
8 grape tomatoes, halved
2tablespoons Healthy Alternatives extra virgin olive oil
100gms feta cheese, cut into 16 cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
16 toothpicks

Instructions

Make sure the cucumber is sliced evenly.
Thread each toothpick with an olive, feta cheese, tomato and the cucumber piece
Keep the skewers on the serving dish and drizzle them with some extra-virgin olive oil
Sprinkle some pepper over the dish and serve it fresh.

BRIE ON BREAD

Brie on Bread

Ingredients

·         BOBs (aka Brie On Bread)
·         Baguette, sliced
·         Brie, sliced
·         Garlic Salt
·         Fresh pepper
Instructions

1.      Place the brie on bread pieces and sprinkle it with salt, pepper and garlic.
2.      Broil on a baking sheet until the cheese starts bubbling and turns brown.
3.      To make this even better you can use a bit of fresh garlic flavored olive oil and then sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper. Your brie on bread is ready to be served hot and cheesy.


FAST & FABULOUS FETA SPREAD

Fast and fabulous Feta spread

Ingredients
Preparation
  1. Make sure feta and cream cheese are at room temperature.
  2. Now stir them together until smooth and combined
  3. Serve with crackers, chips, tortillas, pretzels or jalapeno/olives
  4. Make sure you serve the leftovers properly in an airtight container and use it before it gets expired.
Hummus Guacamole Dip

Hummus Guacamole Dip


Ingredients

·         Two 350gms of Guacamole
·         1 Pint of Hummus w/roasted garlic
·         1 15.5oz can black beans
·         Chunky mild/medium salsa
Instructions

Make sure you mix with your hands and chill. Serve with nacho, tortilla or whatever chips you prefer.

Visit a Nature’s Basket store near you or log on to www.naturesbasket.co.in so that you can stay prepared with all your ingredients in place.



How to make cheese balls


Have you ever wondered why we use the phrase “say cheese” just before a photograph is clicked? Simple because ‘cheese’ makes everyone smile! It’s not only the word but cheese as a food makes a lot of palates happy. We too have our very own Indian way of making it from soy milk which is better and healthy. Basically, in every form, cheese is loved by everyone.
home made cheese balls
Here’s a quick recipe to make cheese balls –

Prep Time : 11-15 minutes
Cook time : 11-15 minutes
Serve : 4
Ingredients for Cheese Balls Recipe
home made cheese balls
Method
Step 1
Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Saute onion and green chillies till golden brown.
Step 2
Mix potatoes, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, citric acid, onion and green chilli mixture in a bowl.
Step 3
Roll it into equal small balls, stuff each with cheese and repeat it again.
Step 4
Heat oil and deep fry until crisp and golden brown.
Step 5
Keep it on an absorbent paper and serve hot.

Try making these cheese balls at home with a personal touch and share your recipes with us! Visit a store near you or log on to www.naturesbasket.co.in for the right ingredients.

Homemade Nacho Cheese Sauce


Yes, you heard it right! Homemade nacho cheese is one of the most popular and easy to make recipes. The recipe is so easy to make, you just have to melt the cheese and pour it over chips and some veggies. If you have a last minute party plan then this is the most convenient dish to look for. Let’s read more about the recipe below –

 Homemade nacho cheese
Ingredients
·         2 cups freshly shredded cheddar (we use a mild, white cheddar)
·         1 tablespoon cornstarch
·         1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika powder (optional)
·         1/2 cup milk
·         2-3 teaspoons cumin
·         1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
·         1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Instructions
1.      Use a tablespoon of corn starch and toss it with shredded cheese for coating.
2.      Take a saucepan and overheat it and start melting the cheese. Make sure you stir continuously, and slowly keep adding 1/4th cup of milk until everything is melted properly.
3.      Now add, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin and some garlic powder.
4.      Stir continuously until you smell the fragrance and serve immediately. 


While nacho cheese sauce is generally made from one type of cheese, you can mix and match to suit your palate. Visit a store near you or log on to www.naturesbasket.co.in and pick your favourite varieties of cheese.

Grilled Cheese Toast Three Ways

Cheese on toast is an all-time favourite for all cheese lovers. Method of making cheese grill has evolved over time. From using a processed cheese slice that retains its square shape till the end, to making fancy exotic toasts with garnished cheese, all of us have our own way of making grilled cheese sandwiches. Some add mayo or eggs, some add bacon, and for the spice lovers bell peppers are also used a lot. No matter how you make your grilled cheese, in the end what everyone wants is a crispy toast with melting cheese. Grilled cheese is enjoyed best when it’s toasted to perfect golden brown and doesn’t get burnt.

grill cheese sandwich

A good grill cheese sandwich can be the comfiest comfort food of all time. Let’s see some of them

Bacon Guacamole Grilled Cheese Sandwich

 Bacon Guacamole Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Ingredients:
·2 slices bacon
·2 slices sour dough bread
·1/2 cup jack and cheddar cheese, shredded
·2 tablespoons guacamole, room temperature
·1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
·1 tablespoon tortilla chips, crumbled

Instructions:

1.Cook the bacon until crispy and keep it separately on a tissue paper to drain it.
2.Place grated cheese onto the bread followed by guacamole, tortilla chips and bacon. Again top it over with some cheese and close the sandwich. Make sure you have buttered the remaining open sides of the bread.
3.Grill it properly until its golden brown for about 2-3 minutes per side.
4.Cook the bacon until crispy and set aside on paper towels to drain.

Beet, Arugula & Goat Cheese Grilled Cheese

Ingredients:

·1-2 Beets
·Goat Cheese
·Butter
·Bread Slices
·Olive Oil
·Arugula
·Salt


Beet, Arugula & Goat Cheese Grilled Cheese

Instructions:

1.Roast the beet according to your preference or slice it into equal parts and toss it up with salt and olive oil and bake it in the oven.
2.Once they are baked quickly take a pan and start frying them until all the moisture is evaporated.
3.Now butter the bread and add arugula, beet root and some goat cheese and close the bread. You can also put two layers of goat cheese, if you love cheese.
4.Put the sandwich onto the pan and fry it until golden brown and serve it crispy and hot.

Creamy Grill Sandwich

Ingredients:

·Cream cheese
·8 slices bread
·1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
·1 cup cheddar cheese
·1 tablespoon mayonnaise
·1 teaspoon mustard
·2 tablespoons unsalted butter

 Creamy cheese Grill Sandwich

Instructions:

1.Mix cream cheese, mayo and mustard together in a bowl until smooth. Now, spread them equally onto the 8 slices of bread and top it up with the leftover.

2.Sprinkle some grated cheese and close the sandwich. Quickly heat the pan with some butter and toast the sandwich until golden brown for about 2-3 minutes per side. The creamy grill cheese is ready to eat!

Get all your ingredients to make these delicious cheese toasts at www.naturesbasket.co.in