Simply Being | Simple Being

Tag: snacks (page 1 of 2)

Bounty from T.J.Maxx

T.J.Maxx is one of my favorite shopping joints. I have walked out of the store multiple times, clutching an assortment of tops, kitchen implements, leggings, handbags… not all at the same time! There is always an element of surprise when it comes to T.J.Maxx – you never know what you might find. I found a lovely pair of nude pumps marked at $39.99 on my last visit. If I find the pair again, I will pick it up, for sure! Neat little blouses, belts, glass containers, dinnerware, cute dresses… the list goes on. Nevertheless, I never thought I’d ever pick up food/snacks/eatables from T.J.Maxx. Until this week.

Snacks from TJ Maxx

My loot this time?

Kind Cinnamon Oat Clusters with Flax Seeds – $3.99
Yummy Earth Organic Lemon Drops – $1.99
Go Naturally Organic Hard Candies (Ginger) – $1.99
Oskri Sesame Date Syrup Bars – $3.99
Oskri Cashew Cranberry Protein Bar – $5.99 (I checked the ingredient list. Unlike other protein bars, this one only contains rice syrup, cashews, rice syrup, cranberries, rice crisps.)

Oskri Bars

Haven’t sampled the Kind Cinnamon Oat Clusters yet. The organic lemon drops are delectable. Tangy and perky, they are the perfect little size for an after-dinner sweet treat. P has been tucking in the ginger candies and he loves them! I bit into a piece of the Oskri sesame date syrup bar this morning – yummy! Date syrup has a mild sweetness, a flavor I prefer to the blinding sweetness of sugar syrup. Waiting to sample the Cashew Cranberry version soon!

Needless to say, I was a happy camper this week, as I walked out of T.J.Maxx. Next time, I will keep an extra-attentive eye out for such inexpensive, healthy goodies in the store. Interestingly, all these are placed along the checkout aisles… so don’t be in a hurry to check out!

Chat Patti Indian Vegetarian Restaurant

Sure, the pictures can do the talking but they aren’t being truthful, sorry to say.

Chat Patti is a vegetarian restaurant nestled in a busy strip mall in North Druid Hills. It is a busy place, people streaming in and out, orders placed and delivered over the full counter, servers cleaning up promptly. The clientele is mixed, Indians and others, students and professionals, residents and visiting parents… 🙂

Chat Patti has an extensive menu covering snacks, appetizers, South Indian tiffin dishes, North Indian thali, chaat, dessert. I can’t recall the last time we visited. It must have been a couple of years ago. Anyway, we were in the neighborhood and decided to stop by.

What a Spread!

We ordered Puri-Shrikhand, Patra Plate, Masala Vada, Bhel Puri, Sabudana Khichdi, Alu Tikki and tea. I must admit, the tea was the best part of the meal. Steaming hot, spiced with masala and ginger… I am a sucker for good tea. I have a high standard, though. It has to be boiled to the perfect milk-water consistency, it should be well-brewed but not bitter, and it should leave a gentle heat coursing down the throat. Yeah, I have the recipe for my perfect cuppa down to a science, precise!

Daddy got the Puri-Shrikhand (top left). He said it was okay, but knowing Daddy’s accommodating taste buds, I really wonder. Have never seen such yellow puris before! The Bhel Puri (top right) was too spicy, the sev too thick. The Sabudana Khichdi (mid, right) was undercooked and underspiced. The sago pearls were too tough. The Patra Plate (mid, right, lower) was quite nice, although it tasted a little old. The Masala Vada (low, right) was high on garlic and little else. As for the Alu Tikki (low, left), the Tikki was nothing more than cooked potato, bright yellow with turmeric. The accompanying Chhole was fairly decent but the chutneys lacked freshness.

Daddy got a bowl of Rasmalai (he ALWAYS gets dessert). He polished it off within minutes but he has a huge sweet tooth, so I wonder how it actually tasted.

P told me that when he was a student at Georgia Tech, he used to frequent Chat Patti frequently. Maybe he didn’t have too many options for Indian food those days. Anyway, this time, he ended up wishing that we’d driven further north and eaten at our favorite chaat joint Mumbai Masala instead… 🙁

Chat Patti
1594-F, Woodcliff Dr NE,
Atlanta GA 30329

Of Hacker Attacks, Ancient Grains and Looking Forward

The site was hacked again (cue: a GIANT sigh!) and I was at my wits’ end, trying to figure out how to get it back up. Then I met Mickey, and he helped me clean up the site. Actually, I couldn’t even get in to the site but he figured out a way to log in and clean it up. So here I am, breathing a long, deep breath of relief… Hmmmm. Thanks, Mickey!

Got Maria Speck’s Ancient Grains for Modern Meals from Amazon – excited! P and I are working on reducing wheat from our diet and I am looking at this book to provide me with options that go beyond brown rice, quinoa and millet. This is not a vegetarian cookbook but it has a lot of potential for cooking gorgeous vegetarian meals. The recipes sound so lip-smackingly delicious! Leek Salad with Grilled Halloumi Cheese and Rye Berries, Aroma Bread with Coriander and Fennel, Zucchini-Dill Bites with Pine Nuts, Artichoke-Rosemary Tart with Polenta Crust… Super tempting, to say the least. The lovely photographs don’t hurt either.

Injera Bread

Found Injera Bread at Dekalb Farmers Market last week. Good news for folks who eat gluten-free! Unfortunately, P is not a fan of fermented foods, so I passed it up. Curious to know if anyone has purchased it, and if so, what do you think? There are a couple of Ethiopian food joints in Atlanta that some friends have been recommending since a while. Time to plan a visit, I think!

Visited Harry’s Farmers Market a few weeks ago, and chanced on some new snacks! Gluten-free, healthy, non-diary… no matter what diet you follow, you should be able to find something fun to snack on. Take a look at my stash!

Popped potato chips, BBQ-flavored rice crisps, tapioca ridges with salt and pepper, Pamela’s Ginger Cookies (wrote about them on an earlier post) are all great to stave off the savory snack or sweet cookie craving!

Snacks from Harry's

Falafel Sandwich

Got a Falafel Sandwich from Star Provisions for lunch one day. I think it was the lone vegetarian item on the menu. Or maybe I am mistaken but there were few options.

It was fairly okay. The falafel was crisp and well-spiced. It was not greasy and held its heft despite the yogurt sauce. That being said, the sandwich felt a tad too monochromatic in flavor. Some parsley and lemon would have done wonders in there.

Finally visited Big Chow Grill! Have been wanting to go since a while now… I liked the place. Didn’t get too many nice pictures – I suppose a dedicated post is in order!

Zucchini Tofu Almond Koftas

I obsessed about baking a host of goodies and sweet treats this holiday season. Christmas came, went. I planned everything well in advance, pored over the recipes a million times, checked the Internet for variations, blah blah blah… basically expended a whole lot of mental energy simply thinking about my holiday bake extravaganza.

Sigh. If I had spent even half that energy in the kitchen, I would have been less tired. Long story short, I learned some valuable (life) lessons this December. Stop obsessing, get cooking. You cannot ruminate endlessly on a plan; you have got to start moving eventually, take the first step. Profound stuff, huh!

This evening was a whole different story. We had a dinner invitation, so I had nothing to do, really. As far as cooking dinner was concerned, I mean. Started leafing through Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant. This is a gift from a dear friend, a long time ago. I haven’t cooked much from this book but I love reading it. It covers cuisines from China, Italy, Eastern Europe, India and other countries. Each section has a little bit of history, a personal story, anecdotes. I came across a recipe for Zucchini Tofu Koftas in the section on Indian cuisine. It is a simple recipe with a short list of ingredients. I realized that I had most of them at home. Hmmm, should make this one some time. Well, why not now? Talk about learning from last week’s endless obsessing!

I got permission from the nice folks at Moosewood to pass on the recipe here.

Zucchini Tofu Koftas

2 cups grated zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
6 large garlic cloves, pressed or minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon ground fennel seeds
4 teaspoons ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon dried mint (1 tablespoon fresh)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
2 blocks tofu, pressed
2 tablespoons unbleached white flour
1/2 cup chopped cashews, walnuts or pistachios

In a heavy skillet, saute the zucchini and garlic in the oil, stirring often, until most of the moisture has evaporated, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the spices and cook for one more minute. stirring constantly. Place in a bowl. Crumble in the tofu, add the flour and nuts, and mix well.

Form the mix into walnut-sized balls. Place on an oiled baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until firm, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Reprinted with permission by the Moosewood Collective from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant, Copyright, 1990, Moosewood, Inc.; Simon and Schuster, publishers.

Zucchini Tofu Almond Koftas

I must admit, I tweaked the recipe a little. I was not sure if I could handle six large cloves of garlic, so I used three. I should have tasted the dough for salt/spice before baking it. Well, it was low on salt and I could have upped the spice levels, added some additional spices too. Also, I had sliced almonds at hand, so I used them instead of cashews, walnuts or pistachios. I skipped the mint as well.

All that being said, this is one delicious kofta! Tofu is so light in texture and taste, so you can eat a whole bunch of these koftas without feeling weighed down. Flour (2 tablespoons) is required as a binder but I am guessing there should be a gluten-free way to bind the dough. This is a vegan recipe also, yay! Next time, I will probably give the garlic a miss, add shredded ginger, chopped cilantro, garam masala, maybe some raisins.

So glad that I acted fast when the thought of making these koftas came to me… Else this would have been another one in the list of ‘MUST MAKE’ recipes.