Author Archives: grcreativebox

Mel’s Buddha Bowls {With Super Tasty Peanut Sauce}

This easy Buddha bowl recipe with creamy peanut sauce is, whoa, SO good! Plus it’s one of those fabulous recipes that is super customizable to your taste buds and/or what you have on hand!

Top down view of Buddha bowl recipe with peanut sauce.

Have you gotten on the Buddha bowl train yet? They are certainly nothing new (began trending years ago), and the name origin is a little muddy with lots of strong opinions about what a Buddha bowl is and isn’t. 

But to me, it’s simple: fill up a bowl with flavorful, good-for-you ingredients, smother with a tasty sauce (or two), and dig in. We have variations of Buddha bowls quite frequently for dinner because it’s a fantastic way for my kids to customize their own dinner adventure. 

Spoiler alert: to avoid the anti-vegetablers in my crowd just spooning peanut sauce over chicken and calling it good, our rule is you have to choose at least four of the available options and that seems to make everyone *mostly* happy. With enough of that delectable creamy peanut sauce poured on, they’ve learned even spinach is palatable.

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Jackfruit Tinga Tacos

I’m not going to lie, it took me yearrrrrs to finally get up the courage to try jackfruit. I have no idea why because it’s the least offensive out of all the vegan meat substitutes. I’d like to declare that it actually tastes good! If you’ve never had jackfruit, here’s some info: Jackfruit comes from jack trees—they’re related to the fig and mulberry trees—which are commonly found in southeast Asia. And while it’s related to figs and mulberries, jack fruit’s texture is similar to artichoke hearts. The best part about jackfruit is that it’s easily attainable (I bought it in the can) and shreds kinda similarly to meat (think carnitas or chicken!). It’s wild. It sort of blew my mind. This recipe for Jackfruit Tinga Tacos are super easy. You start with the tinga sauce, which is full of all good things, including lots of spices and tomatoes. After everything is toasted and cooked, it goes in the blender so it’s silky smooth. And then the jackfruit is drained from the can, rinsed and shredded. If you have no idea how to shred jackfruit, do not worry! I’ll be posting a tutorial on my IG stories (and I’ll save it […]

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What a difference 18 months makes!

Hello there! Hope your week is going well! I’m back with an 18 month before and after recap of our home. I really can’t believe it’s been that long — because it feels like we’ve lived here WAY longer. Feels like many years, not months. Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. ? I’ll go with good. 
You all know looking back and seeing what I’ve accomplished so far is just about my favorite thing ever. A lot of people wondered what I would do with myself in a new house. I always laugh because it has given me a whole new canvas for projects. (I knew it would!) I’ve had an absolute blast adding my stamp to it!
Some have asked why I didn’t have the builder do many of the transformations, and the main reason is…I just know I need more time to make decisions. When it comes to paint colors and built ins and stuff like that…I need to live in the space to figure it all out. That, and I know I can do things cheaper on my own. 🙂
So I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite makeovers so far — be sure to check out this post to see how the house looked one year in! I grabbed some of these photos from my Instagram account just because they are the most up-to-date. 
The dining area/morning room got a lot of attention last fall! This is how the room looked at my first reveal: 
Morning room/dining area open layout
It was lovely! I just wanted to add some contrast and character in here. 
About six months after moving in we found furniture for this space that we loved. Later I added a moody paint color, a window seat and built ins: 
Dark blue accent wall in dining
I hadn’t put the rug back in here when I took this photo, but the room now has the rug that was in our family room. 
If you can’t tell, I have a thing with blue. I LOVE IT. I later added the pretty blue and white floral wallpaper in the hallway nearby: 
Kamala blue and white wallpaper
I’m thrilled to have a dedicated foyer in this home! It’s one of the things that I loved about the layout. Here’s the foyer after unpacking and getting things settled: 
Dark blue dresser in foyer
I realized something the longer we lived here — just because I had a piece of furniture in a room in the old house, I could switch things up a bit! I stuck to what I had before, and it was silly, but an epiphany of sorts that I could change it up. 
So this year I moved some furniture around (I added the $15 wall treatment last year and then painted the ceiling too) and now it feels SO much more like this house: 
Everett foyer table white board and batten
Take a look at the foyer projects here!
I have many more projects on my list for our master, but we are loving the dramatic changes we’ve made so far! Here’s the master soon after moving in: 
Master with bamboo shades
We added some new items in here (new light and bed), but the biggest change was the dark tray ceiling and wood beams
Wood beams and dark tray ceiling
You get a little holiday spirit in this post — this is the latest photo I have of the changes. 😉 We have newer bedding that I shared here
I looooove the dark ceiling in here! It’s so incredibly cozy: 
How to decorate around TV
The powder room makeover was my first in this house — I started on the smallest room and it still took me forever! This was the room soon after moving in: 
Powder room with wood floors gray vanity
I fell in love with a peel and stick wallpaper that kicked off this makeover and I’m still SO happy with how it all came together. This bathroom transformation really made this feel like home: 
Navy peel and stick wallpaper in bathroom

Our basement family room always been one of our favorite spots in the house! This is how it looked the first time I shared it: 
Basement family room with sectional
I added a dark accent wall that runs the length of the basement:
Light gray sectional with chaise
I also ended up buying the console table that I shared here and I LOVE it! It’s perfect down here!: 
Perfect wood console table
The nearby wall got the dark gray color as well. It started like this: 
Adding game storage with cubbies
And now looks like this after the recent updates I made: 
Game storage wall for kid space or basement
It is the perfect storage for our games!! This was such a fun project. You can see all of the basement transformations here
Our kitchen didn’t get many updates till recently — I just finished up a bunch of smaller projects. Here’s a shot I took right before moving in: 
White wavy subway tile with gray grout
And here it is with the small updates — you have to look closely for them! You can go here to see all of the details I’ve added over the past couple of months: 
White and gray kitchen design
Our family room was the room I focused on most for the first six months or so. Here’s a shot of the stair wall a few days after moving in: 
White and stained wood on stairs
And here it is a couple weeks ago (ignore the dog toys):
Decorating stair walls
Those simple picture ledges are one of my favorite DIYs ever —  you can see larger versions of them in the basement above as well!
I love the symmetry of our family room, but I was craving some contrast. It was very vanilla before: 
Tall fireplace with lights and sofas on either side
And now the dark wall color on the fireplace wall and built ins (I added those last year) adds a bit of drama but still keeps things calm and cozy:
Symmetrical family room with tall fireplace
Whew! I’ve tackled some minor projects in the mud/laundry room, my office, the basement stairs and our master bath as well. I started on our son’s room soon after moving in and haven’t touched it since, so that’s on the list for this year. 
My mind literally swims with ideas! I’m so thankful for our beautiful home and all of the potential for projects that keep me busy and give me an outlet for my do-it-myself and decor passions. 
It has been so much fun and I’m so thankful to have you all join in with this process! Do you have a favorite transformation so far? Have you tried any of these projects in your home? 




See more of our home here. To shop items in our home, click here! Never miss a post by signing up to get posts via email

Product Of The Week: A Modern Tea Kettle With Filter And Thermometer

A beautiful, modern tea kettle that also includes a color guide thermometer.


$70BUY IT


$70BUY IT


$70BUY IT

Get it on Amazon.

Recommended Reading:  50 Cool And Unique Mugs You Can Buy Right Now

Related Posts:

Seitan & Waffles With Pomegranate Syrup

Makes 6 servings
Time (not including making homemade seitan): 1 hour

Seitan And Waffles

Up until yesterday, I didn’t really get chicken waffles. But for Valentine’s Day, I decided to cave to societal pressure, and enjoy a juicy, savory, fried hunk of something over a carby, crispy something, covered in sticky sweetness. Even if it makes no sense! I mean, where is the kale? Where are the lentils? Sigh. OK.

Those thoughts plagued me as I stirred the batter and simmered the seitan, although each component was nice on its own. The waffles were perfectly crisp, and I knew they’d be able to handle the syrup without sogging up. The chicken-style seitan came out really flavorful, with a firm but tender texture. The breading on the seitan was totally delish and I couldn’t help but eat a piece straight out of the cast iron skillet. OK, maybe two pieces.

For the syrup, I wanted a bit of V-tine love, and so pomegranate saves the day! Pomegranate molasses is an easy way to infuse flavor into the maple syrup. Plus, the seeds from whole pomegranates are just as romantic as you can get and they look like they’re from another planet (a very romantic planet, to be sure.) So yeah, everything looked great, but all together? I don’t know. My inner chicken and waffle skeptic still had her arms folded.

I took a triangle of waffle (surely, that’s all I would need to know for sure), tucked a little slice of breaded seitan in there, and dredged it in some of the syrup. Well, needless to say, the angels sang. A marching band appeared out of nowhere. Glitter confetti flew from the ceiling. I think I caught a glimpse of Ryan Seacrest. OMG this was good.

So now I totally get it. A sweet and savory combo that maybe isn’t for everyday, but for a special brunch or a Valentine’s dinner, this is where it’s at.


Recipe Notes
~If you don’t feel like dealing with all the pomegranate stuff, just use straight-up maple syrup. Maybe add a few raspberries for garnishing prettiness.

~To make the recipe less cumbersome, simmer the seitan a day ahead, and remember you have loads of downtime as it simmers.

~You can also totally make the waffles up to a week ahead. Freeze them in a plastic storage bag and simply toast when ready to eat.

~If you’re especially lazy, you can use storebought seitan. But I really really love this seitan recipe so I hope you’ll try it. Especially because then you really have control of the shape of the seitan, plus, it will just taste better!

~The homemade seitan makes double what you’ll need for this recipe, but I figure if you’re making it, why not make some extra for the week? It’s really great grilled for salads or sandwiches.


Ingredients
For the pomegranate syrup:
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses

For garnish:
Fresh pomegranate seeds

For the waffles:
2 cups almond milk (vanilla or plain), or your fave non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon organic cornstarch
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the chicken:
1/2 batch (1 pound) Chicken Stylee Seitan, or equivalent storebought

Batter:
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup water

Breading:
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
Several dashes fresh black pepper

Vegetable oil for frying


Make the syrup:
Just mix the syrup and pomegranate molasses together in a measuring cup, yay!

Make the waffles:
In a 2 cup measuring cup, use a fork to vigorously mix about half the milk with the cornstarch, until fully dissolved. Add the remaining milk and the vinegar and set aside.

In the meantime, combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center.

Add the milk mixture to the flour along with water, oil, and vanilla. Mix until the batter is relatively smooth. A few lumps are a-OK.

Preheat waffle iron and let the batter rest. Cook according to waffle iron directions, spraying the waffle iron liberally with oil or cooking spray between each waffle is made.

Make the chicken:
Have ready a few layers of paper towels (or brown paper shopping bags) for absorbing the oil after frying.

We will bread the seitan before starting the oil. This way you don’t have to worry about overheating the oil while you bread. You’ll need to fry in two batches.

Slice each piece of seitan into 4 slices, on a bias, so that you have long wing looking pieces.

You’ll need a big plate for breading and a wide bowl for batter. In the bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch and water. Mix vigorously until thick and smooth. Set aside.

On the plate, mix together the bread crumbs, thyme, salt and pepper.

Now let’s assemble!
Dip each seitan slice into the the wet batter, letting the excess drip off. Transfer to the breadcrumbs bowl and use the other hand to sprinkle a handful of breadcrumbs over the seitan, to coat completely. Make sure you use one hand for the wet batter and the other for the dry batter, or you’ll end up with club hand. Set each piece aside on a big plate, then start your frying oil.

Now let’s fry!
Preheat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, pour in about 1/2 an inch of oil. Wait about a minute. Now test the oil by throwing in a pinch of breadcrumbs. It should sizzle and bubble without smoking, then you know it’s ready. If it burns or smokes quickly, lower the heat. If it just sits there doing not much of anything, raise the heat.

Without overcrowding the pan, fry each piece of seitan for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain the oil, and then do the next batch.

To serve:
Place a few pieces of seitan over the waffle. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve with plenty of syrup. ::SWOON::

Indian-ish Fried Rice with Peanuts, Chilies, & Cilantro

A bowl of Indian fried rice with peanuts and chilies.

Why I have never thought to dress leftover rice with something other than soy sauce, sesame oil, and a showering of scallions escapes me.

Indian. Fried. Rice. Where have you been my whole life?

To be clear: this isn’t exactly fried rice — there’s no frying of the leftover rice. And how nice, too? There’s nothing to stress over: Is the rice old/dry enough? Will it fry well enough? Will I have the patience to let it brown before I push it around?

Here, leftover rice is simply dressed with spices, herbs, acid, and fat. (Also: peanuts, caramelized onions and chilies). The balance of flavors, the textures, and, of course, the use of day-old rice evokes fried rice, but the process is different; easier, too.

Four Steps to Make Indian-Fried Rice

  1. Dress leftover rice with fresh lime juice and salt.
  2. Heat ghee (or olive oil) with mustard seed, curry leaf, and peanuts.
  3. Heat more ghee (or olive oil), with onions and chilies, till the onions begin to caramelize.
  4. Toss everything together with fresh cilantro.

The whole combination is completely irresistible. I find adjusting the flavor at the end with more lime and salt to taste to be essential — I like lots of each.

This dish is strikingly pretty and makes me want to invite people over for an Indian-ish meal, maybe starring these curried chickpeas with cauliflower and coconut milk or this cumin- and coriander-spiced sheet pan chicken.

Indian-ish:

This recipe comes from Priya Krishna’s Indian-ish, a book that has already taught me more about Indian cooking than any other. To be fair to other Indian cookbooks I own, I haven’t given them a great go; but to Indian-ish’s credit, no other has been as welcoming.

Indian-ish, which is part tribute to Priya’s mother, a software programmer and excellent home cook, and part primer in Indian (or Indian-ish) cooking, is cheerful and light. As you read it, you smile. As you cook from it, you feel OK leaving out a spice or substituting something else. It will be, “fiiiiine,” as Priya says in the FAQs on this matter.

Throughout the book there are helpful guides that demystify the many and often-used spices and lentils as well as charts simplifying cooking techniques like dal and chhonk — also known as tadka or tempering or, in Priya’s words, “the greatest Indian cooking technique ever.” (Chhonk is ghee or oil infused with spices, then poured over a finished dish. This fried rice recipe gets double chhonked: first with curry leaves and mustard seed; then with onions and chilies.)

I have only cooked a few dishes from Indian-ish, but I feel I already have a better grasp on how to cook a cuisine I have always loved and always found a little too daunting to tackle at home. I will be sure to keep you posted on all of my Indian-ish experiments, those chhonk-ified and otherwise.

Here’s the play-by-play: Gather your ingredients.
The ingredients for Indian fried rice with peanuts and chilies.

Dress day-old basmati rice with fresh lime juice and salt.
A bowl of day-old basmati rice with lime and salt.

Heat ghee (or olive oil) with mustard seeds.
A braiser pan with ghee and mustard seed.

Add curry leaves.
A braiser pan with ghee, mustard seed and curry leaves.

Add peanuts.
A braiser pan with ghee, mustard seed, curry leaves, and peanuts.

Pour this mixture over the rice.
A bowl of rice, lime, peanuts and curry leaves.

Return the pan to the stovetop and sauté a sliced onion with a few halved hot chilies.
A braiser pan with ghee, onions, and chilies.

A braiser pan with sautéed onions and chilies.

Add the onions and chilies to the bowl of rice along with some chopped cilantro.
A bowl of Indian Fried rice, ready to be tossed.

Toss. Taste. Add more lime and salt to taste.
A bowl of Indian fried rice with peanuts and chilies.

Serve.
A bowl of Indian fried rice with peanuts and chilies.

A bowl of Indian fried rice with peanuts and chilies.

Such a fun book: Priya Krishna’s Indian-ish
A cookbook: Indian-ish by Priya Krishna

A bowl of Indian fried rice with peanuts and chilies.

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A bowl of Indian fried rice with peanuts and chilies.

Indian Fried Rice with Peanuts, Chilies, & Cilantro



  • Author:
    alexandra

  • Prep Time:
    15 minutes

  • Cook Time:
    15 minutes

  • Total Time:
    30 minutes

  • Yield:
    serves 4

Description

From Priya Krishna’s Indian-ish

Notes:

  • The original recipe calls for 8 tablespoons of ghee total, but I think it’s equally delicious with 4 tablespoons. If you’re not afraid, use 8!
  • Ghee: Inspired by the book, I made a batch of ghee. Unsalted butter or olive oil are fine substitutes.
  • Curry leaves may require some hunting to track down. I bought mine at the Karam Asian Grocery & Halal Meat in Schenectady. If you don’t feel like searching for them, simply omit.
  • Peanuts: I’ve been using Planters roasted and salted … it hasn’t been making the dish too salty.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked basmati rice or 1 cup dried basmati rice, rinsed
  • kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice plus more to taste
  • 4 to 8 tablespoons ghee or olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
  • 10 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 2 small hot chilies, halved lengthwise
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or more to taste

Instructions

  1. If you need to cook the rice, here how: Instant Pot Method: Place the rice, 1 cup water, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt into the Instant Pot. Set the IP to: manual, high heat, 6 minutes, natural release 10 minutes (or more). Fluff with fork. Stovetop Method: Place the rice, 1.5 cups water, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt into a medium pot. Bring to a simmer. Cover. Reduce heat to low. Cook 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Let stand 10 minutes (or longer) before fluffing with a fork.
  2. If you have leftover basmati rice on hand, bravo—start here: In a large bowl combine the cooked rice, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and lime juice. Set aside.
  3. In a medium skillet over medium heat, warm 2 to 4 tablespoons of ghee or oil (depending on your preferences, see notes above). Once the ghee or oil begins to shimmer, add the mustard seed. As soon as they begin to pop and dance around in the oil, which will happen very quickly, remove the pan from the heat. Add the curry leaves, making sure they get fully coated in the oil. The leaves will immediately begin to crisp up.
  4. Return the pan to medium-low heat and add the peanuts. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the peanuts turn a medium shade of brown and become fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour the peanut-spice-oil mixture over the rice and toss gently to incorporate.
  5. In the same pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 to 4 tablespoons ghee or oil. Once it begins to shimmer, add the chilies and onions. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion begins to caramelize, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir this mixture into the rice. Add the cilantro and toss to combine. Taste. Add more salt and lime to taste — go big with both; you won’t be disappointed.
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Indian

Keywords: Indian, fried rice, curry, mustard seed, cilantro, peanuts, chili

The post Indian-ish Fried Rice with Peanuts, Chilies, & Cilantro appeared first on Alexandra's Kitchen.