Apr 28, 2011

Eggless banana walnut muffin and a product review

Bananas and walnuts make a great combination. They taste great when baked together. I always look out for quick bread recipes to have along with our evening tea and this recipe from Raks definitely suited my needs. It tasted delicious and it is eggless! The muffins turned out soft and moist with a bite and crunch from the walnuts.

I received a pack of Xylitol for a product review and I substituted xylitol instead of sugar in the recipe and we loved the taste. We definitely did not miss the sugar. Dont get fooled by the name Xylitol. It is NOT a chemical based sweetener. It is a 100% natural sweetener. It is an all natural sugarless sweetener from birch trees. It has the same sweetness and consistency as sugar. However it has 40% fewer calories, 75% fewer carbs, and is safe for diabetics. It is a perfect alternative to artificial sweeteners while avoiding regular sugar as well.

Now on to the recipe..

Banana - 2 ripe ones
Maida/All purpose flour - 3/4 cup
Walnut - 1/4 cup chopped
Xyitol or Sugar - 1/2 cup
Oil - 1/4 cup
Baking soda - 1/2 teaspoon
Baking powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Vanilla essence - 1/2 teaspoon

  • Preheat oven to 375 degree F.
  • Peel and mash the bananas well into a smooth paste. Add all the oil, vanilla essence and the xylitol/sugar and mix well.
  • In another bowl, mix together the dry ingredients - flour, baking soda and baking powder.
  • Slowly add in the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix just until blended. Do not overmix, this might make the muffins hard and dense.
  • Add the walnuts and stir them in to the batter.
  • Line the muffin pan with muffin liners and grease them with non-stick spray if desired.
  • Pour the batter to 3/4th the level. The batter rises and yields a good muffin top. Top off with a few walnut pieces.
  • Bake at 350 degree F for about 28 to 30 minutes.
  • Serve warm with butter or just by itself! Also makes a quick breakfast!
Sending this to Show me Your Muffin hosted here at Dil Se..

Apr 18, 2011

Superfood Smoothie - A perfect quick breakfast!

No time for breakfast?

Even if you are rushed in the morning to get to work or school, you still got time to refuel yourselves and break your fast with this quick smoothie. Breakfast eaters think and perform better. if you are someone who does not have time for breakfast, or are just lazy to make a hearty breakfast, go for this smoothie. It has the heartiness of acai berry juice which is called a superfood, bananas, oatmeal, antioxidant rich berries and yogurt.

The recipe for this smoothie is very forgiving. I picked up the acai berry juice at Costco and found this recipe in the bottle. The juice can be replaced with any other fruit juices like orange juice, apple juice etc. Any type of berries - blueberries, strawberries, raspberries can be added. I just added low fat strawberry yogurt since that is what I had in hand. It can be substituted with any greek yogurt or just plain buttermilk.

It does not take more than two minutes to make this super healthy smoothie. Just add all ingredients in your blender. Give a few pulses, pour into a tall glass and enjoy!

Ingredients (Makes 2 servings)
Acai berry juice - 1 cup
Frozen berries - 1/2 cup
Banana - 1
Any yogurt variety - 1/2 cup
Flax seeds - 1 tablespoon
Quick cooking oats - 1 cup

Add all the above ingredients in the blender. If not using frozen berries, you could add a couple of ice cubes if you like your smoothie to be cold. Pulse for about 30 seconds. If you find the smoothie very thick, add a little water.

Pour into a glass and enjoy a hearty and filling breakfast!

Sending this chilled smoothie to Fun n Sun event

Apr 11, 2011

Almond Butter Oats Cookies for Maitri

Have you checked out Maitri yet? It is a friendship chain in which you get a box of mystery from a foodie friend! Exciting right? For more details check out Priya and Reshmi's sites.

I was matched with Savitha and I received a fun package from her last week. The mystery ingredient was quick cooking oats. She also sent me a little measuring cup. Thank you so much Savitha. I use the oats and the measuring cup today to make these delicious cookies!
I recently discovered the goodness and deliciousness of almond butter and picked up a huge jar at Costco. I used it to make these cookies and they tasted great with a glass of milk. They also make a great tea-time snack or even a dessert!

Moving on to the recipe..

Ingredients (Yields 1 dozen cookies) 
Dry ingredients

Whole wheat flour - 1 cup
Rolled oats/Quick cooking oats - 1 cup
Baking powder - 1 teaspoon
Brown/White Sugar - 3/4 cup
Salt - 1/4 teaspoon

Wet Ingredients
Vegetable oil - 1/4 cup
Almond butter - 1/4 cup
Milk - 1/4 cup
Vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon

Preheat oven to 350F.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease the baking sheet.

Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl.

Add dry to wet and mix until just combined. Form a lemon sized ball, and press onto baking sheet until 1/2 inch thick. you could use a fork to flatten out the cookies. It also gives a nice imprint on the cookies.

Bake until lightly browned, about 15-17 minutes. After about 5 minutes, transfer the cookies to a wire rack and allow them to cool. The cookies will not firm and crisp up until they are cooled.
Enjoy some warm cookies along with milk or tea!

Apr 7, 2011

Pesto Pizza

It is Sweet Punch time again! This time Divya selected Pizza as the bake. I loved baking the pizza. The base took no more than 10 minutes to put together. It tasted delicious too. For the toppings, I kept it simple by using a store bought pizza sauce and topped it with fresh pesto sauce, cherry tomatoes, black olives and cheese. The pizza toppings are inspired by a pizza we get at a local pizzeria. It is more of the mediterranean style toppings. Mozzarella would have been a great addition, but since I did not have it, I used a combination of shredded cheeses.  I halved the recipe for the pizza base and made one medium sized pizza.

A great way to make a quick and delicious meal.

For the base (Makes two crusts)
(Recipe Source: The Pioneer Woman)
Active Dry or Instant Yeast - 1 teaspoon
All-Purpose Flour - 4 cups
Kosher Salt - 1 teaspoon
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 1/3 cup

For the toppings
Pizza sauce - 3 tablespoons
Fresh Pesto - 2 teaspoons
Cherry tomatoes
Shredded cheese
Oregano - 1/2 teaspoon
Parmesan cheese - 1 tablespoon


Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water.

In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed (with paddle attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined.
Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you need it. 
Sprinkle the pizza stone or baking sheet with cornmeal/semolina.Roll out the pizza to your liking[thin/thick]. Spread the oil over the dough. Spread enough pizza sauce over the base. 

Then add all other toppings - pesto sauce, cherry tomatoes, olives and  oregano.

Then top with required amount of cheese.

Preheat oven to 500F.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes or till the cheese starts bubbling and the pizza is evenly cooked/browned.

Serve hot! Think before you order your pizza next time, when it can be made so easily at home!

Apr 4, 2011

My Weekly Menu Plan

What's for Breakfast?    What's for Lunch?    What's for Dinner?

These are the questions I face when I enter the kitchen everyday. Even though I have a pantry and fridge fully stocked, I find it difficult to quickly plan meals. This results in some grocery ingredients forgotten to be used up, going bad and finally they get tossed. Without any menu planned out for the week, I found that we were eating the same meals over and over. This results in a cooking and eventually a blogging block since I have no interesting stuff made in my kitchen.

I realized that I need to follow a proper planned out menu, in order to make interesting, healthy and balanced meals and also use up all ingredients in my pantry. Monthly menus did not work well, since I ran out of certain ingredients or forgot to restock some of them. I hope weekly menus would be more effective and would also serve as a guideline for my weekly grocery shopping. It helps save time and make my meals more balanced.

So, you will be seeing weekly menus here, probably for all three meals of the day, probably at the beginning of each week. I will also try to link to the recipes if I have them already in my blog.

So here is the menu for the week!
BF - Soaked Almonds - 5 each, Steel Cut Oats cooked with flaxseed meal and topped with walnuts and blueberries, Coffee
Lunch - Bean burger on sandwich thins, side salad with lettuce, olives, tomato, cucumbers and goat cheese, homemade buttermilk
Dinner - Aloo Paratha with ketchup and yogurt

BF - Soaked Almonds - 5 each, Dosa with tomato chutney, Orange juice
Lunch -Whole wheat pasta salad and lemon juice
Dinner - Bisibelabath and homemade vazhakkai/banana chips

BF - Moong dal sprouts, steel cut oats with bananas and walnuts, OJ
Lunch - Trader Joes Masala Burger on Sandwich thins, Banana
Evening Snack - Ginger Tea and Kuzhi Paniyaram
Dinner - Chapati/Roti with channa masala

BF - Moong Dal sprouts, Bread toast with homemade jam, OJ
Lunch - Left over channa masala, rotis
Dinner - Chapati with egg kurma

BF - Soaked Almonds - 5 each, cereals/steel cut oats with berries, OJ
Lunch - Rice, dhal and beetroot poriyal, curd rice
Evening snack - Kesari!!
Dinner - Eat out

Since I cook lunch only for myself, I tend to keep my lunches simple and make elaborate meals for dinner. Also, as of now I am planning menus only for weekdays. Will start posting weekend menus, once it I try sticking to the weekday menus.

If you have similar menus planned out, do leave a link in the comments section and I shall link them up in my posts.

Do you plan out your meals regularly? If so, how do you keep track of them?

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