Category Archives: Dairy

Seven Layer Mexican Dip


This seven layer dip is always a huge hit at parties. Your guests will love you after this one.

It can be made in advance and refrigerated, making it the perfect dish if you have to bring something to a family gathering or party.

Similarly, we have a Homemade Salsa Recipe that is another party hit: Fresh & Mild Salsa

Preparation Time: 20 Minutes
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

2 Can Jalapeño Bean Dip
1 Container Sour Cream
1 Container Avocado Dip
Small Bunch Scallions, washed & cut
3 Large Tomatoes, chopped
1 Can Black Olives
1 Bottle Salsa
1 Cup Cheese, grated
1 Packet Taco Seasoning
 

Directions:

  1. Spread out the beans in a flat pan.
  2. Add taco seasoning to the sour cream. Spread the mixture gently on top of the beans.
  3. Spread either a homemade or store-bought avocado dip on top of the sour cream.
  4. Spread salsa to taste.
  5. Sprinkle cheese on top of the salsa.
  6. Now garnish with black cut olives and green onions.
  • Health Benefits: Avocados are an excellent source of the healthy monounsaturated fat oleic acid, which helps lower cholesterol and can help protect against breast cancer. They also contain the highest amount of the carotenoid lutein among commonly eaten fruits, along with high amounts of other carotenoids and vitamin E, which together have been found to inhibit different types of cancer growth.
    Additionally, because healthy carotenoids are fat-soluble, consuming avocados, which are naturally rich in monounsaturated fat helps to enhance your body’s ability to absorb these healthy nutrients from other vegetables.
    Cilantro, sometimes referred to as Mexican or Chinese parsley, has a strong flavor that people usually either love or hate. In Mexican cuisine, it’s a popular herb used in guacamole, salsas, and sauces.
  • Health Benefits: Cilantro is rich in beneficial phytonutrients, flavonoids and active phenolic acid compounds, which may be responsible for many of its health benefits. Cilantro and its seeds have been found to help control blood sugar, lower cholesterol and fight inflammation and free radicals. Cilantro may also have antimicrobial properties.
    Fresh and dried chili peppers are what give Mexican dishes their characteristic spice, though specific peppers are used for flavor while others are used for heat. Some popular varieties include jalapeno, poblano, serrano, guajillo, chipotle, pasilla, habanero, ancho, Mulato, and cascabel.
  • Health Benefits: Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chili peppers, giving them not only their spice but also their health benefits. In fact, the hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin it contains. This spicy compound has been found to Fight cancer, prevent sinusitis and relieve congestion, fight inflammation also helping burn fat, provide pain relief and a major factor in protecting the heart by a reduction in cholesterol, triglycerides, and platelet protection
    Beans are yet another staple ingredient in Mexican cuisine, perhaps second only to corn. While a variety of beans, like pinto, lentils, kidney beans and fava beans, are used in Mexican cooking, the focus is on pinto and black beans because they’re far more common in Mexican cooking and they offer many nutritional benefits — loads of antioxidants. Normally Mexican beans are served boiled or fried.
  • Health Benefits: Pinto and black beans are rich in antioxidants, beans are high in dietary fiber, which is an excellent cholesterol fighter, and the complex carbohydrates they contain help keep your blood sugar levels balanced throughout the day — essential for staying alert and feeling energized.
Let me know what you think by leaving a comment! I love to hear from my readers!
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Refreshing Lychee Ice Cream

Recipe by Guest Chef Tushar
Summer is the season for ice cream. Last February, I toured New Zealand and I was surprised to find so many different flavors of ice cream. With so many choices available, I tried a new one every day. For those not familiar with lychees, they’re a fruit with fragrant perfume-like taste. Recently, my cousin treated me to this homemade ice cream. I cannot deny that it was delicious.
Fresh lychees

Fresh lychees

Lychee Ice Cream

Cooking Difficulty Level: Easy

Cooking Time: 10 Minutes 

Ingredients:

2 cans Drained Lychees
8 oz Cool Whip
1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream
8 oz Condensed Milk
8 oz Evaporated Milk
Flavor/Essence of your choice:
• Optional & Available in most grocery stores
• Pineapple & Pineapple Essence is Recommended
• Pistachio, Almond Powder, and Saffron can also be added

 

How to Prepare:
  1. Mix all ingredients and add to ice cream maker.
  2. Add ice and salt to run ice cream maker.
  3. Let the maker run for 30 minutes.
  4. When finished, if the consistency is soft, store the mixture in the freezer until firm.
  5. Enjoy!

Easy Eggless cheesecake

www.thevegfusion.com

 

My family and I love cheesecake, but it is impossible to find one without eggs in the supermarket. So I created a eggless cheesecake for me and my family to enjoy!

Prep time : 20 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 ready-made graham crust (10″ inch)
  • 24  oz softened cream cheese
  • 3 Tbsp sour creamwww.thevegfusion.com
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch + 3 Tbsp water blended
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla essence
  • Fresh lemon zest

For Layering:

  • 5 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp sugar

For Strawberry Topping:

  • 1 Tsp corn starch
  • 1 Tbsp orange Juice
  • 1 Tsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp of water
  • 1 Pint Fresh strawberries washed and cut lengthwise (or you choice of berries)

PREPARATION:

1. Heat the oven to 350 Degrees.
2. Mix the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla essence and lemon zest with mixer till it is well blended.

CheesecakeMixing

Before mixing…

www.thevegfusion.com

…After mixing

3. Pour mixture into crust.
4.  Bake the cheesecake in a water bath to keep the oven moisture high and the heat distributed evenly. Make sure you don’t overheat the cheesecake because it could burn.  (A water bath is when you put water in a large pan and then set a smaller baking pan inside it. See Picture.) 

Water bath

Creating the water bath

5. Cover the crust with foil.
6. Bake for 45 minutes. Let it cool for 4 hours or overnight.

 

For Toppings:         

1. Mix sour cream with sugar.
2. Apply an even layer of sour cream on cool cheesecake with flat spatula.

ready from Oven without cracks

Ready from oven without cracks

 

www.thevegfusion.com

Apply Layer of Sour cream and Sugar

 

For Strawberry Topping:www.thevegfusion.com

1. On low heat, add cornstarch, orange juice, sugar, and water in a small pan.
2. Whisk until mixture is translucent. Let it cool.
3. Fold in the fresh strawberries.
4. Spread across cheesecake.

www.thevegfusion.com

Liquid pre-Strawberries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.thevegfusion.com

Putting on the Finishing Touches

Tips: 

For healthier eating, you can substitute Ricotta for the cream cheese. Sometimes I add lingo berry preserves for variety.

I’ve heard that you are a good cook if your cheesecake does not crack. Let me know how yours turned out in the comments!

Making Cheesecake eggless

Making  Eggless Cheesecake

Misti Dahi – Yogurt Cheesecake With Nutmeg

Misti Dahi – Yogurt cheesecake

Delicacy Sweets From West Bengal, India 

West Bengal is very famous for its delicacy sweets.  One of my favorite sweet growing up was Misti Dahi.  No need to say that was one of my love affair with yogurt, that explains it is very hard for me to be vegan completely.  Looking back this was a healthy dessert.

Healthy Alternative To Cheesecake

Misti Dahi is creamy and velvety smooth. It is very similar to a cheesecake.  I love to make MISTI DAHI as well as cheese cake without the eggs.

Usually Misti Dahi is made by boiling and reducing milk so it becomes little thick and creamy adding molasses made by dates or plain brown sugar to make it sweet. Earthenware or bakeware can be used to set the yogurt. The reason to use earthenware is because of its porous nature, which allows the water in the yogurt to be absorbed.  Earthenware in picture is courtesy of my Bengali friend Rita Ghosh.

How To Make Misti Dahi

Prep time 10 minutes
Bake time 3 hours
chill in refrigerator over night    

Ingredients:

1 Cup sweetened condense milk 
2 Cup Greek plain yogurt
1 Tsp Rose water optional

Garnish:

Freshly grated nutmeg
Fresh seasonal fruit cut into small bite size pieces
Pistachio and/or saffron
5 heatproof bowls 


How to prepare:

  1. Mix the condense milk, yogurt and rose water in a bowl.
  2. Whisk till mixture becomes smooth.
  3. Divide the mixture equally into the earthen bowls.
  4. Cover the bowls with aluminum foils.
  5. Place the oven rack in middle of the oven.
  6. Heat the oven on low setting of 75 degrees.
  7. keep the bowls in the oven for 3 hours.
  8. Remove from oven and refrigerate overnight.
  9. Garnish with grated nutmeg, pistachio, or choice of your fruit. Enjoy!

Dahi with Pomegranate, yumm!

What do you think of this healthy alternative to cheesecake? Let me know in the comments below!

How to make yogurt at Home

Preparation Time:  1/2 hour
Setting time: Variable 6-8 hr
Ingredients:
1 quart 2% reduced fat-free milk or Whole milk
2 tbsp culture means fresh plain yogurt (no sugar or flavor)
Tip: you may borrow culture from your neighbor who has home-made yogurt or buy yogurt with live active cultures.
How to make yogurt:
1. Boil the milk in a heavy pan so milk does not stick to bottom or  it can be microwave in glass container for 16-17 minutes  to bring to a boil.

2. Let it cool for 20-30 minutes until it is lukewarm to touch. If you hold your finger and count 20 it is ready to add culture. Warm to touch.

3. Mix culture in a lukewarm milk and use hand blender to blend it well. I use old-fashioned one but whisk can be used. I prefer not to use electric mixer.

4. Cover the container with air tight seal and leave it in oven for four to five hours. If temperature is below  75 degrees  leave oven lights on.  Optimum temperature is a must for good results with yogurt. Do not disturb the milk for 5-6 hours to allow it for setting.

5. After 5-6 hours, check it if it is like jello. If it is not, let it sit for 1-2 hour until it is done.

If refrigerated stays good for four to five days.

Tips: Yogurt can be made from skim or whole milk. Save the clean starter for next batch. if you can scoop yogurt as shown in the picture above it is the best of its kind.

 

 

Cool Cucumber Raita

Cucumber Raitha

       Raita is a healthy compliment to any meal.  A typical meal is not complete without raita.  Raita is made of yogurt combined with different vegetables and/or fruits. The combination of Yogurts’ probiotics and  fresh cucumber with vitamins has a soothing affect on the digestive system against the highly seasoned foods. Variations can be made by substituting fruits and other vegetables.

Cooking  Time: 15 Minutes
Cooking Level: Very Easy
Servings: 4

AO = Anti-Oxidant

GF = Gluten Free, 

HF = High Fiber, 

HP = High Protein

J = Jain, LS = Low Sugar

Ingredients:

1. Three cups of plain yogurt (home made or bought in stores)

2. Garden Cucumbers
3. Green Chili Chopped
4. 1/4 teaspoon salt to taste
5. 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
6. Garnish: chopped cilantro, Crushed mustard seeds, roasted crushed cumin seeds

Preparation:

1. In a bowl, whip yogurt with a whisk
2. Grate Cucumbers. Drain excess water
3. Roast cumin seeds and crush them with a mortar and pestle
4. Crush mustard seeds with mortar and pestle
5. Mix all the ingredients
6. Garnish with cilantro
7. Keep in refrigerator. Serve with your favorite food
Enjoy with any meal. Can be used as  salad dressing. Check our recipes for tomato and onion raitha

Nutrition Facts are for Entire Recipe.
Divide by 4 for Single Serving.

Health benefits of Cucumber

  • It is one of the very low calories vegetable; provides just 15 calories per 100 g. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. Cucumber peel is a good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation, and offers some protection against colon cancers by eliminating toxic compounds from the gut.
  • It is a very good source of potassium, an important intracellular electrolyte. Potassium is a heart friendly electrolyte; helps reduce blood pressure and heart rates by countering effects of sodium.
  • It contains unique anti-oxidants in good ratios such as ß-carotene and α-carotene, vitamin-C, vitamin-A, zea-xanthin and lutein. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.
  • Cucumbers have mild diuretic property probably due to their high water and potassium content, which helps in checking weight gain and high blood pressure.
  • They are surprisingly have high amount of vitamin K, provides about 17 µg of this vitamin per 100 g. Vitamin-K has been found to have potential role in bone strength by promoting osteotrophic (bone mass building) activity. It also has established role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.

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Making Ghee @ Home Old Fashion Way

 

Ready to use Ghee

According to AYURVEDA, milk is nectar for the human system.   Milk is the most natural food for human being. Anywhere in the world; one would find the status of milk peerless in human diet. Right from the birth a human being takes milk as his natural diet. And milk has very many other forms, which we use in our diet. Ghee or clarified butter  one such form.  The Aryans’  believed that one should have an   uninterrupted supply of milk and Ghee at home in ancient times.

In Ayurveda, Ghee is believed to be the best for human consumption. It is full of nutrients  and ideal diet for these heart patients who suffer due to excessive cholesterol in their blood. In moderate quantities It enhances physical and mental strength.  It also helps in purifying the body and flexibility in muscles, smooth skin an detoxification but moderation is the key.
  • Ghee (11.66gm) is used in sacrificial rite (yagna, religious ceremony), lighting lamps  because  it has the ability to remove  atomic Radiation from atmosphere and produces one ton of fresh oxygen in the atmosphere.
  • Cow’s ghee increases  the good cholesterol in the body.
  • In Ayurveda, applying ghee via Nasya. It will balance Tridosha (Vata (the Air), Pitta (the fire) & Kapha (the water).
 Ghee is not the hydrogenated clarified butter but pure Ghee or Shudh Ghee. This is a form of naturally saturated fat, which has a very conductive effect on the human system consumed in moderation.  Ghee is believed to be used to cure the ailments such as Acidity, Anemia, Anti-dote of poison, Asthma, Bilious Irruption, Boils on the tongue and palate, Blood Impurity, Bleeding Dysentery, Burning sensation of eyes, Constipation, Chronic cough, Chronic fever, Chilblains of sole, Dark complexion, Dark freckles on the face, Diarrhea, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Gonorrhea, Gout, General Debility, Jaundice, Nose Bleeding, Natural sleep inducing tonic, Piles, Rashes due to Biliousness. Modi, R. (2002, November). Ghee- Ayurveda’s milk of life. World Ayurveda congress 2002, Cochin, Kerala, India. Retrieved from http://www.ayurvedtoronto.com/ghee.htm

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Cooking level:  easy

Prepa       Ingredients:
Two    Two pounds of whipped butter(preferable) or sweet cream unsalted butter

 

step 1

Preparation :

1. In a stainless steel heavy pot add  the whipped butter or butter sticks
 2. Once the Ghee begins to boil, turn it down to the lowest flame at which it will continue to boil. As it boils, moisture evaporates off it and it will begin to “clarify”- the butter will
turn from cloudy yellowish liquid to a more golden color.
step 2

Whitish cloudy milk solids will rise to the top and
sink to the bottom.

3. After 10-15 minutes it clarifies and you will see

 debris on the bottom of the pot. After the Ghee is done,
you skim off the top light crust of whitish milk solids.
These and the heavier ones at the bottom of the pot
are traditionally used to make sweets.
Then, you pour the golden, sweet-smelling liquid
through layered cheesecloth- or fine mesh sieve to
step 3

catch any last impurities into a bottle,
leaving the slightly burned milk solids (caramelized lactose)
on the bottom of the pot you cooked it in (Ghee has no lactose or milk sugars in it).

4. Let it cool down for 15-20 minutes.
5. Store it in a cool dry place. Be sure to not close the glass jar into which you pour the hot Ghee until it comes to room temperature.The reason for this is that there should not be
step 4
any moisture from condensation that may form on the
 inside of the jar. It is moisture that spoils Ghee, allowing a mold to grow and causing it to go bad.
This is the reason that you always use a clean and dry spoon to take your Ghee out of its container. It is also a reason not to refrigerate your Ghee. One, because it is not necessary and two, it causes condensation to form inside the jar as you take it in and out of the refrigerator
step  5
step 6

 

CAUTION- Do not stir it. After an hour and half to several hours, depending on the amount and the size of the pot and the amount of Ghee compared to the flame, your Ghee will be ready. The moment Ghee is “ready” is very critical. If you cook the Ghee too little, you will be left with moisture in the Ghee and it will lack the exquisite taste and qualities that it can develop, also, it will tend to spoil or sour. If you cook it too much, it will burn and impart a certain nutty flavor to the Ghee. This does not ruin the Ghee at all, but it is to be noticed, so that over time you  can capture the “perfect”Ghee to be experienced between  these two “extremes”. Caramelized lactose is unhealthy for consumption.

Almond Lassi

Almond Lassi from ifood.tv

This is one of the favorite drinks of Punjab, Northern India.  It is healthy and refreshing for the summer.  The yogurt provides prebiotics to aid in digestion.

Cooking Difficulty Level:  Easy
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

2    Cups Fresh Plain Yogurt
2    Tsp Kevra Water or Rose Water
2    Cups Water
2    Tbsp Sugar
2    Tbsp Crushed Almonds
Ice as desired

How to Prepare: 

  1. Mix all the ingredients very well using a hand mixer.
  2. Add ice in a glass and pour to serve.
  3. You can add strands of saffron if you like.  Heat for about 5 seconds.
Nutrition Facts for Entire Recipe (2 Servings)
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This Week’s Healthy Tip


The Health Benefits of Yogurt 

1. Yogurt is easier to digest than milk. The live active cultures create lactase, the enzyme lactose-intolerant people lack, and another enzyme contained in some yogurts (beta-galactosidase) also helps improve lactose absorption in lactase-deficient persons. Bacterial enzymes created by the culturing process, partially digest the milk protein casein, making it easier to absorb and less allergenic. 
2. Yogurt contributes to colon health. Yogurt contains lactobacteria, intestines-friendly bacterial cultures that foster a healthy colon, and even lower the risk of colon cancer. Lactobacteria, especially acidophilus, promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the colon and reduces the conversion of bile into carcinogenic bile acids.
Secondly, yogurt is a rich source of calcium – a mineral that contributes to colon health and decreases the risk of colon cancer. Calcium discourages excess growth of the cells lining the colon, which can place a person at high risk for colon cancer. Calcium also binds cancer-producing bile acids and keeps them from irritating the colon wall. 
3. Yogurt improves the bioavailability of other nutrients. Culturing of yogurt increases the absorption of calcium and B-vitamins. The lactic acid in the yogurt aids in the digestion of the milk calcium, making it easier to absorb.
4. Yogurt can boost immunity. Researchers who studied 68 people who ate two cups of live-culture yogurt daily for three months found that these persons produced higher levels of immunity boosting interferon. The bacterial cultures in yogurt have also been shown to stimulate infection-fighting white cells in the bloodstream.
5. Yogurt aids healing after intestinal infections. Some viral and allergic gastrointestinal disorders injure the lining of the intestines, especially the cells that produce lactase. This results in temporary lactose malabsorption problems. It’s good to eat yogurt while taking antibiotics. The yogurt will minimize the effects of the antibiotic on the friendly bacteria in the intestines.
6. Yogurt can decrease yeast infections. Research has shown that eating eight ounces of yogurt that contains live and active cultures daily reduces the amount of yeast colonies and decreases the incidence of yeast infections.
7. Yogurt is a rich source of calcium. An 8-ounce serving of most yogurts provides 450 mg. of calcium, one-half of a child’s RDA and 30 to 40 percent of the adult RDA for calcium. Because the live-active cultures in yogurt increase the absorption of calcium, an 8-ounce serving of yogurt gets more calcium into the body than the same volume of milk can.
8. Yogurt is an excellent source of protein. Plain yogurt contains around ten to fourteen grams of protein per eight ounces, which amounts to twenty percent of the daily protein requirement for most persons. In fact, eight ounces of yogurt that contains live and active cultures, contains 20 percent more protein than the same volume of milk (10 grams versus 8 grams). Besides being a rich source of proteins, the culturing of the milk proteins during fermentation makes these proteins easier to digest. For this reason, the proteins in yogurt are often called “predigested.”
9. Yogurt can lower cholesterol. There are a few studies that have shown that yogurt can reduce the blood cholesterol. This may be because the live cultures in yogurt can assimilate the cholesterol or because yogurt binds bile acids, (which has also been shown to lower cholesterol), or both.
10. Yogurt is a “grow food.” Two nutritional properties of yogurt may help children with intestinal absorption problems grow: the easier digestibility of the proteins and the fact that the lactic acid in yogurt increases the absorption of minerals. And even most picky-eaters will eat yogurt in dips and smoothies and as a topping.

Mango Milkshake

Mango is the king  of the fruits.  In the heat of the summer, mangoes are good for the body.  Mangoes have strong anti-oxidants, high iron content and they neutralize free radicals.  A one cup serving of mangoes is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, fiber, carotene and beta-carotene.  In India we eat raw mangoes to ward off heat stroke. There are many different varieties.  Here is a quick recipe for Mango Milkshakes.

Cooking Difficulty Level: Easy
Preparation Time: 10 Minutes
Recipe Type: For Vegan use Soy Milk
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1    Cup Mango pulp (you can use slices or found
in cans in Indian stores)
1    Cup Milk of your choice
2    Tsp Sugar according to taste
4-5 Drops Mango essence (optional)

How to Prepare:

  1. Blend all ingredients thoroughly with a hand blender.
  2. Chill and serve.

This is always available in Indian restaurant.

This recipe can be used for Mango Lassi by substituting milk with yogurt.  Lassi is very popular all over India.

Serving Size: Entire Recipe (2 Servings)

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Milkshake with Cashews & Figs

Dried & Fresh Figs

This is a healthy and nutritious milkshake for growing kids and adults, too! It can also be a healthy breakfast item in winter.  

Figs are easily available in all ethnic stores. When they are fresh, they are soft in nature and not easily transportable, so the dried version may be more practical to use. 
Figs are one of the highest plant sources of calcium and fiber.  Dried figs are richest in fiber, copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and vitamin K, relative to human needs. Figs have a laxative effect and contain many antioxidants. They are also a good source of flavonoids.  

The edible fig is one of the first plants cultivated by humans in history. I am most impressed by the fact that “Buddha achieved enlightenment under the bodhi tree, a large and old sacred fig tree (Ficus religiosa).” I believe strongly in Buddhism.

Preparation Time: 10 Minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

Few Figs, washed (soaked if dried)
1/2  Cup Cashews
2    Cups Milk or soy milk of your choice
2    TBsp Sugar or Sugar Substitute
4-5 Drops Rose Essence
1    Scoop Vanilla Ice Cream

                                     Crushed Ice as desired

How to Prepare:

  1. For fresh figs, wash them, cut the edges and blend them.
  2. For dried figs, chop them into pieces and soak them atleast 4-5 hours until they are soft to blend. Sometimes if they are not soft, you can boil them for a couple of minutes or microwave for a couple of minutes either with milk or water (your choice).
  3. In a blender, blend figs and cashews very thoroughly so it liquifies.
  4. To serve cold, add sugar and a little ice with milk.
  5. If desired, add one scoop of vanilla ice cream and serve.

To serve hot for dried figs only:

2    Cups Low Fat Milk
4-8 Dried Figs, chopped small
2    TBsp Molasses or Agave Nectar
OR
Sugar to your taste
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and microwave for 3-4 minutes until figs are tender.
  2. Mix well and serve hot.
Tips: 
  • If dried figs are used, wash with warm water and soak in milk for at least 3 hours before blending.
  • Cashews can be soaked in the same way in warm milk for easy blending and creamy texture.
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Nutrition Facts reflect Entire Recipe.