Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Arvinda's Fruity Christmas Chai Cookies

Arvinda’s Fruity Christmas Chai Cookies

One fun way to use Arvinda’s Christmas Chai Masala is in your holiday cookies.

Add some spice to your cookie plate!

Add some spice to your cookie plate!

Try these cute little fruity Christmas cookies that will add some spice and flair to your holiday table.



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Good morning everyone…Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Curried Cranberry & Almond Quinoa adds some subtle Indian flavours to the holiday table.

On Christmas day my family like everyone else’s celebrates with a big meal – but one that’s definitely free of curries! Some years we like to switch things up. One year I had an Italian themed Christmas celebration—everything from the wine to baked pasta stuffed with spinach and ricotta, to the panettone for dessert was eaten with some Italian flair. Buon Natale!


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Arvinda's Citrus Chai Spice Sugar Cookies.

Of all my holiday baking recipes that I make annually, this recipe is my favourite. The citrus notes pair amazing with Arvinda’s Chai Masala–which is the perfect holiday spice blend!


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Holiday Garam Masala Cake makes a great hostess gift.

It’s hard to believe it’s time to plan Christmas baking once again. I’ve scheduled my cookie bake-off this weekend just in time for sharing during the holiday festivities.

I’m all about hostess gifts from the kitchen. It’s a lovely gesture that comes from the heart and you can never go wrong with bringing food to a party!

Not only amazing in this cake, but try garam masala in your spiced holiday cookies, fruit cake and my favourite – hot chocolate!

The garam masala in a cake is warming and reminiscent of the holidays.

The savoury Indian spice blend really compliments any sweet with fruit, rum or dark chocolate—think of a salted caramel or dark chocolate with chili–it’s a similar combination.


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I stayed up for this week's lunar eclipse - it was spectacular! And this shot of the eclipse is amazing. Unfortunately, my photos did not turn out! Photo source: lawrence.com

The lunar eclipse this week was as fantastic as anticipated. Luckily the skies were clear, the stars were shining and the moon was a blazing deep red hue. My sleepy eyes stayed up to see the eclipse (yikes!) and in a dream-like state I gazed upon the red moon in amazement. It truly was spectacular.

That plus all the Christmas holiday festivities has left us with an exciting end to 2010!

My holiday dinner table is set. This is something I usually do way in advance of any dinner, as the day of entertaining should be all about the food.

The table is set...

Of course there is red and green on the table…

And there is a different shade of red and green...

And we can’t forget our beloved little elephant!

...we love elephants!

For our Christmas holiday feast traditions, we avoid curries of any sort. This is the time of year we embrace the traditional Christmas dinner along with the full array of trimmings, from oven roasted garlic potatoes to brussel sprout salad, gingered maple glazed green beans and carrots, cranberry chutney to homemade stuffing with toasted almonds. Dessert is a Sticky Date Toffee Pudding with a hint of garam masala.

The dinner table always gets set way in advance to avoid stress.

HOWEVER, there is usually at least one dish on our holiday table that has Indian flavours. Myself especially having a palette for spicy and bolder flavours needs one dish with intense Indian spices.

This year it will be Curried Mashed Sweet Potatoes.

Curried Mashed Sweet Potatoes is a side that can satisfy guests with a palette for intense flavours.

Curried Mashed Sweet Potatoes

1 lb. sweet potatoes (about 4 small), peeled and cubed
½ lb. potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled and cubed
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. ghee or butter
1 tbsp. Arvinda’s Curry Masala (I use 2 tbsp. but the flavour is intense)
1/8 cup heavy cream
sea salt, to taste
¼ tsp. Arvinda’s Garam Masala or chili powder, to garnish

Method: In a pressure cooker, add sweet potatoes, potatoes and salt. Cover with water and cook for 10 minutes until they are tender enough to mash. (If you don’t own a pressure cooker, boil on stovetop – this should take around 20 minutes).

Drain water. Using a potato masher (or fork) mash sweet potatoes and potatoes.

In a large skillet, melt ghee on medium heat. Add Arvinda’s Curry Masala and mix. Fold in mashed sweet potatoes and potatoes and coat with masala. Fold in heavy cream.

Serve in a bowl and garnish with Arvinda’s Garam Masala or chili powder. Serves 2-4.
There, that’s more like it, now we have some spice!

The lovely Danielle, a fellow blogger, Holistic Nutritionist-to-be of Body By Nature blog just posted an amazing Apple-Curried Quinoa with Toasted Almonds – I think I’m now making this tomorrow too!

Thank you to all for your wonderful support and for reading A Teaspoon Of Turmeric. I wish you and yours a Happy Christmas!

What is on your holiday dinner table this year – either food or décor?

A teaspoon of: The Reindeer Section. Listening to: You Are My Joy.

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Coconut Chai Hot Cocoa...

What are you drinking while waiting for this morning’s lunar eclipse?

Right now my mug is full of Coconut Chai Hot Cocoa. Paradoxically, the coconut is supposed to remind me of the tropics and warmer times, while the Chai spices remind me it’s the week of Christmas. And what a fitting combo for an auspicious night of the lunar eclipse followed by the winter solstice—both in one night (more like morning), a definite rarity. I feel so lucky!

...reminds me of the tropics and Christmas at the same time!

A total eclipse of the moon, which should be visible in northern skies December 21, 2010 (right now in this moment!), when the Earth blocks the sun’s rays from the face of the moon for 72 minutes, casts the Earth’s shadow on the moon. The result is an amber lit moon. According to NASA Science by 3:17 a.m. EST, “That’s when the Moon will be in deepest shadow, displaying the most fantastic shades of coppery red.”

I’ve lasted this long to see the red brilliance cast upon on the moon and my hot chocolate is keeping me warm and awake! The next time this rare occurrence is happening is on December 21, 2094, so this is so worth the wait.

Compared to my fave Garam Masala Hot Chocolate, this one has more sweet notes from the cardamom in the Chai Masala and coconut milk.

Did I mention I usually slip in about 1/8 tsp. of turmeric powder into my hot chocolate!? Sounds a bit odd I know, but this way I get my daily does of turmeric antioxidants! You won’t even notice it, as it’s masked by the taste of cocoa.
Coconut Chai Hot Cocoa
I used So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk, which is not like thick canned coconut milk. So Delicious is drinkable, light and not heavy! I found organic coconut extract at Whole Foods Market. Note: The extract I used was not concentrated, so if you’re using another brand, only use 1 drop of extract, otherwise the flavour will be overpowering.

I used lots of layers of coconut, even organic coconut sugar to sweeten!

1 cup coconut milk (I used So Delicious unsweetened)
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (use good quality cocoa)
½ tsp. Arvinda’s Chai Masala + 1/8 tsp. turmeric (for bonus antioxidants)
3-5 drops pure coconut extract
coconut sugar, to sweeten
dry coconut, toasted, to garnish (optional)

Method: In a small pot, heat coconut milk on medium high heat. Whisk in cocoa powder and stir until milk is frothy and cocoa powder is well dissolved.

Stir in Arvinda’s Chai Masala, turmeric (optional) and coconut sugar to sweeten. Whisk again. Strain into a mug and stir in coconut essence. Garnish with toasted dry coconut.

Enjoy on a bitter cold winter solstice-lunar eclipse night! Serves 1.
In India the winter solstice is observed as Lohri, the bonfire festival in northern India, in the state of Punjab on the eve of the winter solstice. However over time this festival has been paired with the Hindu winter solstice festival called Makar Sankranti, marking the sun’s change in positioning into Capricorn, where the sun God Agni is revered. For this reason, Lohri is typically celebrated in mid-January.

Punjab, being home to vast farmlands and India’s wheat-growing region, Lohri is celebrated before the harvest period, where huge bonfires are lit on the land and sweets, nuts, seeds and candies are eaten and thrown into the fire in hopes and promise for a prosperous growing season.

The winter solstice in North America to me has always been a special, sacred day, a time to light candles and feel the presence of lightness during the darkest, longest night sky.

Celebrations take place at Toronto’s Kensington Market’s Winter Solstice on December 21 at 6:30pm. The festivities dotted with decorated lit lanterns look amazing and I want to go!

Check out the fun from 2009!

Okay, I better catch this lunar eclipse!

Did you see the lunar eclipse? Was it amazing or what?! And what were you drinking to stay warm?

A teaspoon of: U2. Listening to: Ultraviolet (Light My Way).

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Since releasing Arvinda’s Artisanal Indian Spice Blends in 2005 I’ve always loved the dark chocolate and garam masala combo. There is something great about the pairing of sweet with savoury, similar to a caramel with sea salt. Since then I’m always sneaking a hit of Arvinda’s Garam Masala into my hot chocolate – I think I have this every day!

Being a sweet lover, a steamy cup of hot chocolate is as much comfort for me as a warm blanket. Therefore, my garam masala hot chocolate ritual gives me both a sweet fix and like I said, comfort from the warming Indian spices, especially needed for our snowy days like today.

After a few years, I’m still super-loving this recipe and haven’t found anything to displace my daily indulgence, so I’m excited to share this with you!

Here is a short video clip on Making Preena’s Signature Garam Masala Hot Chocolate with Arvinda’s and the recipe that goes along with it:

A few weeks ago, trend-spotter and food blogger Dana McCauley, asked her audience about culinary collections. Yes, that would be me, a collector of cocoas and hot chocolates amongst my other food collectibles. Here are some of my favourites…

A selection of my favourites

Although I have many different hot chocolates in my collection, I prefer making hot chocolate from scratch using pure cocoa, to avoid any additives or preservatives. My absolute favourite is Cadbury’s Bournville Cocoa (Fair Trade certified), and Guittard’s Cocoa Rouge is also delicious with its fudge-like bittersweet qualities. Green & Black’s Organic Cocoa is also a great choice, as is Canadian Cocoa Camino cooperative’s organic and Fair Trade cocoa.

My top pure cocoa pics

Each cocoa does indeed have a unique flavour and characteristic, lending differences in taste, texture and full-bodiness.

Hint: I switch up the recipe from time to time and swap out the garam masala for Arvinda’s Chai Masala to give that quintessential chai flavour. Hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

A teaspoon of: Snow Patrol. Listening to: Chocolate.

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