Whole grain breakfast muffin

Who doesn’t like a healthy touch – a fiber rich breakfast – in the morning? A rich breakfast to keep you strong and healthy, keeping fatigue at bay..

Instead of filling the tummy with so much grease and calories as soon as you wake up, start with something light and healthy to break the fast, for a fresh and active morning.

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The idea of whole grain breakfast perfectly fits the bill. In every manner it’s a go to snack as well if you prefer snacking in between.

The concept of adding little bit of everything, mainly oat flour, wheat flour, hint of few types of seeds and honey for sweetness did work fantastic without any hint of stickiness or dryness.  

Just rearrange the recipe and follow the instincts 🙂 Little adjustment with the flours based on the volume and density would work. And there lies the secret of having a moist breakfast muffin. This muffin has everything in it, well balanced amount of grains and ingredients to satisfy the palate. More than that since I replaced sugar with honey this is absolutely a perfect deal.  Enjoy the sweet aroma and then eat! Make everyday a better day!

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You don’t have to exactly follow the crowd since the crowd often follow things with their eyes closed, eventually ends up in the ditch. Instead consider your body and health, the easiest yet wisest approach to stay healthy

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Sweetened coconut stuffed rolls

Happy Mother's Day!

These rolls are a great deal when you’re tight for time! The subtle sweetness from the coconut and the buttery flavor from the bread makes it quite a treat.  Even though it’s sweet just like any other sandwiches it fills the tummy and makes you feel happy and satisfied. It was one of my favorites and had eaten these rolls quite often during my stay in Bangalore, a lot of ‘it.

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Although it has been ages since I left that part of the world, the taste and the memory still stays afresh!  The simple coconut mixture gives you various other ideas with it. Inspired by the sandwich, my version has dry fruits and preserved cherries to enhance the texture and taste alike. It puffs up neatly leaving the mixture inside intact yet well blended.

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Sweetened coconut stuffed rolls

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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These rolls are a great deal when you’re tight for time! The subtle sweetness from the coconut and the buttery flavor from the bread makes it quite a treat!



Ingredients


For the filling
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
½ cup dry fruits of your choice
¼ cup raisins
Pinch of salt and cardamom
Blend everything well.

For the rolls
2 cups all purpose flour
2 eggs
2 tbsp honey
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
¼ cup milk
¼ cup warm water
1 ½ tsp yeast

Directions

Dissolve the yeast in warm water. Mix together egg with milk. In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture and the egg mixture to the flour. Knead well – really well for few minutes. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place. After 1 hour or so, punch down the dough and knead again. Divide the dough into small equal portions. Roll out the portions lengthwise. Spread the filling and close all the ends while maintaining the log shape roughly as of a hot dog bun size. Leave the filled rolls in a warm place for another 30 minutes. Bake at 350 oven for 20-25 minutes,


Sweet plantain fritters

First and foremost, pazhampori or ethakkappam is a quintessential snack from India, mainly southern part. The name, the aroma, the picture – everything about this is delicious!  Sweet plantain is the star ingredient for this particular snack. Plantain itself is a healthy hint. With less sugar and sodium and rich in vitamin A, potassium and fiber, plantains are incredibly rich food for everyone. Ripe plantains can be eaten raw or sometimes folks would steam cook it, especially for young children.

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It is one of my staple foods since childhood. Still I drool over the sight of these bananas. The sweet aroma – as it blackens – when ripe is irresistible. When you pair it with one hard-boiled egg and a glass of milk makes it a rich and healthy breakfast.

Banana fritters

During my childhood, I used to go to my dad’s work place to eat this delicious snack at a nearby restaurant. Their version of banana fritters were different in taste and size alike. It was so delicious and worth the journey! 

Sweet plantain fritters

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Pazhampori or ethakkappam is a quintessential snack from India.

Ingredients

Ingredients

-Ripe plantains – 2, sliced vertically

-Oil for deep frying

For the batter

-All purpose flour – 1 cup

-Sugar – 3tbsp

-Salt to taste

-Cardamom powder – ¼ tsp [optional]

Directions

Mix together all the ingredients for the batter by adding little amount of water at a time. The consistency of the batter should not be too thick or thin. Dip the bananas into the batter,fold them well. Deep fry them in the hot oil until light brown in color. Drain it on the paper towel. Enjoy!

Quinoa peach pudding

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Well, this is my first attempt to try something sweet with quinoa. As things started to flow along, the lack of contrast made me to add some fruits, especially peaches instead of any other fruits. Luckily, I had some extra slices available in the refrigerator and seems to be apt and sort of soft for a pudding, definitely a nice contrast to the texture and tasted delicious.


Quinoa is such a versatile and diverse ingredient. I’ve been using it for quite a while ever since I came to know its copious amount of goodness as powerful as spinach, Swiss chard and beets. I wouldn’t mind spending extra dough on anything rich in nutrients. It doesn’t matter if I use it or not on a day to day basis, the flow and the steady supply of few healthy ingredients attracts a healthy and positive vibe in the kitchen. When you have that positive energy around, it automatically pulls you in that direction.

The year 2013 as “The International Year of the Quinoa” also triggered the demand and spread the awareness across the world. Before that, ages ago, people in South America had been the only folks ever knew about the rich factors of quinoa and utilizing its health benefits. The key factor is that it’s gluten free and high in protein which is great for a vegetarian diet.IMG_4756-02

Apart from its benefits, the texture of cooked quinoa is quite alluring. As it cooks, a delicate spiral ring can be seen around it. It is said to be the core of quinoa that holds most of its nutrients. A cup of cooked quinoa goes a long way. Once cooked the texture of it appears sort of fluffy and nutty which makes it a promising super food. Sweet or savory, it adapts well to almost anything such as salads, rice, yogurt etc.

There is an inedible part, the sinner saponin. It is a bitter soapy resin – an inedible powdery substance -which could easily spoil the whole thing. So remember to rinse thoroughly and get rid of any hint of resin before cooking.

IMG_4743-31 cup quinoa
1 ½ cups water
1 ½ cups milk
4 tbsp sugar
Salt to taste
1 tbsp butter
¾ tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cups of sliced fresh peaches
Few raisins

Soak the quinoa in a bowl of water for few minutes. Rinse and drain it using a strainer.

Boil water in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa to it. I would add butter at this point to avoid any cohesion.  When it starts cooking half way through, add milk to it. Stir well. At this point keep stirring since the milk has been added. This prevents from sticking at the bottom of the pan and scorching. That could spoil the entire dish. Turn the heat from medium to low and frequently stir the mixture to avoid scorching.

As it progresses, add sugar, salt and vanilla. The texture of the mixture should be neither thick nor thin, rather a smooth creamy delicious consistency. You can tweak the liquid content according to your desired level of consistency. Turn off the heat when the mixture has cooked through and creamy. Add the fruits of your choice and close the lid to allow blending everything well. You can say it is cooked when the outer ring of the quinoa pops out and encircles the seed. In the end just throwing a bit of better butter wouldn’t hurt anyone 🙂 Serve hot or cold with extra addition of fruits or nut. Enjoy,

Apple pie

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Apples are nature’s own delicious treat straight from the garden and baking an apple pie is simply a pleasure if you love cooking own food and capturing it in digital format. I’ve another reason as well. My family loves my version of apple pie. When they say, my mama bakes the best pie. Honestly it scares me 🙂 That means there is no room for error and negligence! On a positive note, that’s indeed encouraging! Am so grateful for that. So I take it as a nudging force to ace it anyways 🙂  

So, my freezer has a good amount of apple pie mix ready to use. As I said, I have been baking pies all along! Although I’ve tried different recipes with the mix, apple pie stands out for some reason. I love the combined flavor of apple and cinnamon. The aroma is so delicious and divinely soothing to the senses. It gives a good vibe in the kitchen as well.

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So after the blueberry pie saga, the next in mind was apple pie. And I had a half portion of dough saved in the refrigerator and baked a fantastic looking -divinely delicious apple pie. Luckily the next morning was so darn pleasant and sunny and bright to click few pictures to save and savor the apple pie saga.

Blueberry pie

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I have a special connection with blueberries, the cute little purple berries. Its health benefits are the core reason I adore ‘em. In fact I think I’ve comparatively more posts – Blueberry chocolate chip diamondsOatmeal blueberry mini loavescaramel bread puddingMerry berry smoothie etc., – tagged with blueberries than any others. The more the merrier, pie came along as a surprise! Few weeks ago we had a sale event at the block. Someone sponsored blueberry pie – $6 per box. I thought it’s a great price and a great way to get to know the blue pie.  I never had one before which is a shame of course. I don’t know why on earth I admit it here?!

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When it comes to pie, the first priority goes to apple pie since it’s the prominent one. And I couldn’t imagine any others as well. May be that’s the reason 🙂

Few days later I received my order in a cute little box, comparatively medium size blueberry pie. It was a pleasant surprise! I never ever thought blueberry pie tastes divinely delicious. It was ridiculously delicate yet firm enough, without any hint of the mixture running out of the shell, and the texture was well balanced so amazingly tasty pie! Instantly I got a good grip of how to prepare one.

Next I knew exactly what items to blend in to bring the goodness out of it. Why not Welch’s wild frozen blueberries. I’m a big fan of Welch’s products! Their frozen fruits rocks!  Here’s my blueberry pie – well, let the photo talk the rest 🙂

No fuss carrot cookie – cake bars

It’s a delicious combination of three different layers. The middle layer is mashed carrots sandwiched between cookie and cake. Between the layers the orange color gives a nice contrast whilst hiding the true –carrot- identity. Prior to this, I had tried to prepare a pie version of it by adding Graham crumbs as the base. But it was not appealing for some reason (I haven’t given up on that yet…I will be trying one more time :). Here the cookie dough as the base did a fantastic job by absorbing liquid content and kept the mixture intact between the layers while maintaining the consistency and taste throughout.

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It’s a great treat and comforting as well since it has vegetable as a one of the main ingredient :).  If your family has that one little fella who hates vegetable addition – it would easily mask that initial impression of vegetable added to it. In fact, soothing orange color in the middle does the ruse to do the appealing job! In the end, decorate with little whipping cream and chocolate glaze on top turns it into a decadent treat! Actually, caramel glaze goes far better than chocolate glaze. Unfortunately, I tried the chocolate version first and was hasty to capture the images. The next day when I tried it with caramel glaze, it tasted amazingly great! So I would recommend the caramel sauce 🙂

To get the firm yet soft base I used the cookie dough, over the cookie dough spread a layer of plain mashed carrots with a hint of pureed apple, and the final top layer is simple cake – a basic cake recipe would elegantly cover the top layer. It’s a very versatile no fuss cake or bar. When you bake it in a loaf pan, it’s easy to cut as bars. These bars are so great with coffee or tea. Or after meal, anytime!!

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For the bottom layer cookie dough
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the below dry ingredients and mix well.
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
In a medium bowl, add the below ingredients and mix well until well blended.
3/4 cup softened butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp vanilla
Add 1 egg to it and beat well. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Combine everything well.
For the mashed carrots
Simply boil few carrots in a pressure cooker with less water; probably a 1/4 cup of water plus steam would be enough. Or simply drain any excess water off, if there is any. As you mash it, add a tablespoon of apple puree. Honey or sugar for the sweetness, if desired and ya, if you’re more of a sweet gal/guy 🙂 Blend it well and mash it to a roughly smooth paste. Now, spread the mashed carrot mixture over the cookie dough, may be 1 inch thickness. It reduces to half as it bakes as the cookie dough absorbs the water content.
For the top layer cake
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup warm milk
1 tbsp vanilla
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs along with vanilla.
Add the flour mixture to it. Gently mix everything together.
Grease a loaf pan with butter and remove excess grease from the pan and line a layer of parchment paper. Spread the first layer - cookie dough and level it evenly. Do not press hard! Then, over the cookie dough, layer the mashed carrot mixture about 1/2 inch thickness. Final layer would be the cake batter over the carrot mixture for about 1/2 to 1 inch thickness. You need to gently spread the mixtures without disturbing the layer beneath. Bake at 350° oven for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.