Good Morning Muffins – Wholesome, healthy and just perfect!

I apologize for the delay in the post. A1 had some work done for the braces and a forgotten appointment we had to rush to. Stoic as he normally would be with everything, the pressure and pain of the lower wire in the brace is not a pleasant experience for anyone  and can quickly get on one’s nerves. In the case of A1, it usually leads to  monosyllables . In good days it would be a sentence.

And then M ( my slightly nutty and neurotic lab), decides to chase the squirrel up the tree – not happening . Sore and bruised leg and ego later, she wanted to sleep on mum’s lap. Oh well ! They never grow up. You would not be very far off thinking there is three ring circus at home. Well most of the days the juggler is awesome and peace reigns..

Good Morning Muffins - Wholesome, healthy and just perfect!

A2 on the other hand has grown a sweet tooth ( a few gazillion teeth more likely )and seems to hover around the kitchen a bit more interested in the goodies of the day. A3 has devoted his life to building Legos , Legos and more Legos. And when we take a break, we build a city out of Legos .. Again.

My faithful blender of 10 years goes kaput and  the newly ordered and delivered Vitamix stares back at me from the counter giving me  the come hither look . More carrot smoothies I say ! Or Morning glory muffins! I will take both. So how has your day been so far?

Good Morning Muffins - Wholesome, healthy and just perfect!

In this recipe we have a slightly adapted version of the Morning glory muffins from King Arthurs domain and  Earthbound farms original recipe.

Plump raisins , crunch of almonds and walnuts, hint of cinnamon and ginger, grated carrot and apple and added dash of flax meal. I mean what’s not to love about this. And btw who says it just has to be for breakfast . It’s a great after school snack as well. And in the car. And after soccer. You get the picture.

Good Morning Muffins - Wholesome, healthy and just perfect!

Hand one to your growing and bouncing of the walls active kid with a glass of  milk and they are good on the hunger front !

Prep time : 15 min  Bake time : 22- 25 min  Makes : 16 muffins

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat flour : 1 cup
  • All purpose flour : 1 cup
  • Brown sugar : 3/4 cup
  • Melted butter + lite olive oil : 2/3 cup ( in total)
  • Large eggs : 3
  • Baking powder : 1 tsp.
  • Baking soda : 2 tsp.
  • Flax seed meal : 3 Tbsp.
  • Vanilla extract : 2 tsp.
  • Dry ground ginger : 1/2 tsp.
  • Cinnamon powder : 2 tsp.
  • Salt: 1/2 tsp
  • Peeled ,fine grated carrots : 2 cups
  • 1 Large apple grated ( tart or sweet ) : 1/2 cup approx.
  • Slivered almonds or chopped walnuts : 1/2 cup

Method:

  • Pre heat oven to 375 F
  • Line the muffins trays with paper cups.
  • Pour 1/2 a cup of very hot water over the raisins to plump it up before use.
  • In a large mixing bowl add both the flours, flaxseed meal ,baking soda and baking powder and whisk very well. Set aside.
  • In a stand mixer, add the butter and oil combination and sugar and whisk well.
  • Add the cinnamon and dry ginger spice mix , vanilla extract and then add the eggs one by one and whisk well.
  • Add the flour and gently fold it.
  • Add the grated carrots and apples next and fold gently once again. Do not whisk vigorously.
  • Drain the water from the raisins . Then gently stir it in the along with chopped nuts.
  • The batter would be very thick .
  • Drop in heapfuls to fill up about 3/4 the muffin well.
  • Bake till a tooth pick inserted comes out clean and the muffins springs back slightly when touched.
  • Cool in the pan for a couple of minutes and then remove and cool on a wire rack very well.
  • They stay fresh at room temperature very well.
  • Serve warm with a a dab of cream cheese if preferred and with a tall glass of milk.

Good Morning Muffins - Wholesome, healthy and just perfect!

Strawberry, Orange & Banana Popsicle : 4 ingredients. No sugar added, super healthy

Totally easy peasy vegan smoothie bar into a popsicle.. No added sugar of any kind but so smooth without any ice crystals either .. Magic ?? Nah…

Scorcher of a day : check
You need a popsicle : check
Don’t want extra sugar in it : check
Don’t want to spend extra time on it : check
Smoothie in a popsicle:: How did you do that??

Would you like a techie geek’s popsicle or the simple plain kind?

Aaaah…. the glorious days of summer vacation has begun! Kids love it naturally. Where else can you just chill out in hot blazing sun. And also because they know  they would be loaded with treats and so many of them. While we do occasionally enjoy and indulge in fancier preps, a fresh juicy fruit in a smoothie or popsicle is always welcome as  this kind is the super healthy and super quick to make .Just 4 ingredients. No added sugar and just perfect for a hot summer day. 

Strawberry, Orange & Banana Popsicle : 4 ingredients. No sugar added, super healthy
Pretty colors of the strawberry and vivid oranges and creamy bananas..

I had spied a neat set of  Robot popsicle mold or casing  in Home goods.. And had to have it. My youngest one is currently on that phase and would totally enjoys decimating robots. Go figure !

Strawberry, Orange & Banana Popsicle : 4 ingredients. No sugar added, super healthy
I spy with my little eye the robot molds in the background

 

So while we chug along in the prep for Father’s day this weekend.. We made this quick and easy one, loaded with the fresh fruits of summer and gorgeous !

Strawberry, Orange & Banana Popsicle : 4 ingredients. No sugar added, super healthy
A dash of no sugar added natural orange juice to aid in the blending
Strawberry, Orange & Banana Popsicle : 4 ingredients. No sugar added, super healthy
We are a techie family.. need robots in popsicle too..

Without much ado here is the recipe. I sure hope you enjoy it as well..

  • Prep time :  5-8 minutes chopping + 15 minutes initial freezing + 5 minutes of blending time
  • Freezing time : 6 hrs. – overnight
  • No. of  Popsicles : 6-12 depending on the size

Ingredients

  • Banana : 1 ( sliced)
  • Strawberries : 8-10 ( sliced)
  • Orange : 1 ( quartered)
  • Orange juice / Water : 1/4 cup
  • If using orange juice, please do consider the no added sugar kind
  • Honey : 1 Tbsp. ( optional)

Method:

Initial prep:

  • Prep the fruits and freeze them  for about 15 minutes. This will aid in smooth blending.

Blending, popsicle molds and freezing:

  • Add the prepped fruits and a 1/4 cup of water or sugar-free orange juice to help in the blending process.
  • Blend super smooth. In my Nutri Bullet it took about a couple of minutes or so.
  • Taste the mix before freezing please . If you end up with super tart strawberries or oranges,  a Tbsp. of honey or so will definitely help to balance it out.
  • Pour out into the casings or molds of choice and freeze .
  • To unmold, run it under hot water and you should  get it put fairly easy.
  • Enjoy guilt free Popsicle!
Strawberry, Orange & Banana Popsicle : 4 ingredients. No sugar added, super healthy
Smooth and easy on you
Strawberry, Orange & Banana Popsicle : 4 ingredients. No sugar added, super healthy
Could not resist a bite !

Orange Banana Smoothie

Sometimes you just reach for the simple ! Minimal ingredients lend this smoothie a wonderful flavor and also a very refreshing touch .

 Just a hint of lime and ginger and fresh Navel oranges and a half a banana to lend body  to it and no  dairy or added sugar please !

Orange Banana Smoothie

A hot and blazing spring / summer is gleefully grinning here in NC , Cary.  But it is the season for gorgeous fruits and I am always seduced by the wide variety available. A huge bag of oranges found their way home and I had to put it to use ..and how 🙂

The Nutribullet –  I  personally love the no fuss and economical apparatus. Simply add everything  in the bigger jar provided, screw on the blade, invert and blend away … Make it simple !

  • Quick : check
  • Kid friendly : check
  • Chock full of Vitamins and Minerals : check
  • Tastes awesome : check

Prep time : 5 min    Blending time : 1 min or 90 seconds   Serves : 2

Ingredients :

  • Banana : 1/2
  • Naval oranges : 2 ( skinned and quartered)
  • Ginger : skinned, 1/2 inch
  • Crushed Ice : 1 cup
  • Orange juice ( no added sugar kind please) or water :   1/4 cup
  • Key lime juice : fresh , about 1/4 of the lime juiced

Method:

  • Add everything in sequential order of listing or as per your blender’s requirements.
  • Blend till you get an absolutely smooth mix.
  • Pour and serve immediately.

Variation: Add a couple of sprigs of mint leaves next time for a more refreshing taste as well !

Orange Banana Smoothie

Verdict : Very light,  smooth  and a great pick me up  smoothie. The ice and liquid add to the thinning of the drink. Since we added only half a banana it contributed to just add enough body without making it very robust.

If would like to thicken it , you can add an apple or an additional half banana. This is such a  versatile base that you can mix and match with any number of fruits and perhaps a handful of greens as well.

Part of a healthy breakfast !

Orange Banana Smoothie

Vazhakkai Podimas – Steamed & Shredded Raw Banana Stir Fry

Disclaimer : This post had been sitting in the drafts for quite sometime . Why ? No clue but it surely deserves its place in the sun. I hope you too would enjoy  making it.

Back to Basics:

Some days you just want to reach deep down and go all the traditional style.. More like listening to call from your soul and indulge int the food you grew up on.. At least partially for me. While I was certainly exposed to a wide range, but a few just stick by you. Take this  dish made out of raw banana for example. I have just about made anything from kabab to koftas  from it, but this simple steamed version with just a hint of tanginess is so easy to make. Huge plus, it uses just  a couple of tbsp. of oil for about 5-6 of those plantains and uses lime/ lemon for the tart effect. Fresh taste that simply lingers in your mouth ! So when I do talk about the raw banana it is not the banana which u peel and eat. This is the tropical version or plantains which gets cooked.

Vazhakkai Podimas - Steamed & Shredded Raw Banana Stir Fry

If you are familiar with the southern part of India, two particular states enjoy these – Kerala and Tamill Nadu. They each have their variations and I suppose each family would have their own spin of it. Well this  is mine 🙂

 Cook time : 25-30 min            Serves : 4-6

Ingredients:

  • Vazhakkai/Raw Banana –  5-6 medium numbers
  • Ginger – skinned, 1 inch, grated
  • Turmeric Powder/ Haldi : 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida/ Hing : A pinch
  • Salt  : 1 tsp. + to taste
  • Dry Red chillies ( medium  spice ) : 4 , split in half
  • Mustard Seeds – 1.5 tsp.
  • Split, de husked Urad Dal : 1.5 Tbsp.
  • Curry Leaves : 8-10
  • Oil – 1.5 – 2 Tbsp.
  • Juice of lime / lemon – 1 -2 Tbsp. depending on the sourness level

 Method:

  • Take a huge stock pot and fill it nearly 2/3 with water. The idea being to immerse all the cut pieces of the raw banana in it. Therefore give enough room for it.
  • Trim the ends of the raw banana and cut it into 2-3 pieces depending on the length of it. You are looking for about 3-4 inches of it in length.
  • Add a pinch of salt and bring it boil for a about 5 minutes or so. DO NOT OVERCOOK IT. You just want it a tad tender. A prick in the center of the banana will tell you if you cooked al dente.
  • Strain the water, cool & peel the thick outer layer. If done properly, these would just peel off .  Cool well and grate.
  • Heat a wok, stir fry pan or kadai with oil.
  • Add  the Hing, turmeric powder then mustard seeds  and once it splutters  add grated ginger, and the add the split red chilies and then urad dal and fry till golden brown . Stir it for another 30 seconds.
  • Add curry leaves, and  the grated plantains stir once.
  • Add salt to taste and toss gently. You want to retain the individual grate texture and not mushy it .
  • Cook this on low heat for about 5 minutes or so. Stir it a couple of times gently to ensure the spices are coated well.
  • Turn off the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
  • Add the juice of limes and toss it once and serve with hot rice and any stew of your choice.

Vazhakkai Podimas - Steamed & Shredded Raw Banana Stir Fry

 Notes:

  • Substitute the red chilies for 3-4 green chillies and 1/4 cup of fresh grated coconut.
  • Do not add the red chilies and ginger  during the tadka stage , but add the dry grind mix of green chilies, ginger and coconut at the penultimate step.
  • Cook, cool and then add the juice of lime. Tastes really good !

Veggies and Cheese stuffed Pinwheels – Spiced,Eggless,Whole wheat and Irresistible!

 This should have been one of those soul inspiring or a post with a deep message or something thereof. Truth be told, I was one heck of a distracted soul yesterday and goofed up on a couple of things including the prep on what I needed to do . But hey all is well that ends well right?? Plus it’s the weekend and we can all afford to go a wee bit crazy after a week of 5.30 AM alarming alarms..  Keeping it short and simple.. Just so you know while this was happening, I think Mrs. Doubtfire would have been awfully proud of me. Disaster not withstanding and leaky taps not holding me back , no sir I do not know what you are talking about the orange cup. I think Mr. Bean was channeled and changed genders in my kitchen today 🙂  So did feel like some sort of metaphysical channeling happened right there and I survived and saved the day ! Excuse me while I try and pat my back 🙂

 

So here it goes.. This one is awesome and the recipe is a sure shot keeper. Pinwheels of somewhat flaky and slightly crispy, tender, baked bread encasing spicy veg filling tempered with cheese. Absolutely sinful ( on a diet, well not really ) and so worth it ! An absolute crowd pleaser and kid certified recipe ! Perfect for starter and evening snack. Make it a winner with a cup of hot steaming ginger chai – Cure all for all times !

Truth behind...
Truth behind…

Prep time : 30 minutes    Dough rising time : 110 minutes   Baking time : 20 min  Serves 4-6

 Ingredients (Makes 12-14 pinwheels)

 For the Dough:-

  • 1.5 cup white whole wheat flour (I used KA)
  • 1/2  cup of APF  + 1/2  more cup  as needed
  • 1/2 tsp Jeera or cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Ajwain  or carom seeds
  • 1 tsp Kasuri methi or dry fenugreek leaves fine crushed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. of granulated sugar
  • 2.25 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1/4 cup + 2-3 Tbsp. cup of warm water- as needed for the dough
  • Flour for dusting if required

For the filling :- (Makes about 2 cups)

  1. 1/2 cup of grated cauliflower
  2. 1/4 cup colored bell peppers of choice, finely chopped
  3. 1/4 cup of Broccoli slaw
  4. 1/4 cup of carrots and green peas
  5. 1/2 cup of onion finely chopped
  6. 1 tsp. of ginger garlic paste
  7. 1 tsp of Pav Bhaji masala 
  8. 1/2 Tsp of Red Chili powder
  9. 1 tsp. of salt and more if required adjusted to taste
  10. 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  11. 1/2 cup shredded cheese blend

Topping

  • 1/4 cup of shredded cheese blend

Method :

First Rise and Dough:

  • Proofing the yeast : Dissolve sugar in warm milk, add yeast and set aside till frothy. This shows the yeast is active and proofing is especially necessary because we are using active dry yeast. If you do not see the frothing in about 5 minute, re do this step. No happy yeast, no bread rise!
  • Mixing the flours: In a  mixing bowl of your stand mixer (if using) or simply any large mixing bowl, add 1.5 cups of white whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup of APF and whisk it to ensure that they thoroughly mixed . Reserve  the second 1/2 cup of all purpose flour to add as needed. This is especially useful when we do not weigh out the flours and use volumetric measurement.
  • Add Ajwain, Jeera and  crushed Kasuri methi ( fine crushed between the palms of your hands) to the sifted flour . Whisk once again to aerate and thoroughly distribute the spices.
  • In the mixer/  large bowl now add the salt. Add in the oil and whisk it once

Kneading and first rise: 

  • Now add in the yeast mix and 1/4 cup of  warm water to the flour mix.
  • Mix it thoroughly and knead well till everything comes together. Note :- Start with 1/4 cup of water to begin with. Once a loose dough ball starts to come together continue kneading for 5-8 minutes till you get a soft, elastic dough. Adjust the water or flour level to ensure the dough is not dry or too sticky. With so much whole wheat in this mix, the pliability will not be comparable to the one using APF exclusively.
  • In a well oiled pan or the same mixing bowl rest the dough ( cover with a damp cloth and keep it in a warm, dry, dark place) for at least 90 minutes until it is doubled in size.

 For the filling : ( while the dough is rising )

  • In a pan, heat the oil and add in the onion and sauté them very well. Now add in the ginger garlic paste, bell pepper , grated cauliflower, peas and carrots and broccoli slaw in succession.
  • Salt it to ensure it cooks well , but retains its crunchiness.
  • Add in the masalas and chili powder and toss it well so it all comes together and let it cook for another 10 minutes or so,
  • Turn off the heat and stir it well .

For the Pinwheels / Second Rise:

  • Line a large rectangular baking pan or two if desired with parchment paper or baking liner.
  • Once the dough has risen, gently deflate it and knead it well for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Roll it out on a floured surface or a lightly greased surface  to make a rectangle .
  • Spread out the cooled filling on it .
  • Top it off with 1/2 cup of cheese that has been shredded. I used the 4 cheese Mexican cheese blend here.
  • Make a jelly roll by rolling from the short end first.
  • Pinch the end of the seams to seal it.
  • Using a very sharp knife , slice it into 1/4 -1/2 inch slices.
  • You should now see concentric rings of dough and filling.
  • Lift them carefully and place it on the baking pan about 3-4 inches part. Absolutely no touching each other !
  • Cover again with the damp cloth and let it rise for another 15-20 minutes.

Baking:

  • When the second rise is happening, preheat the oven to 375 deg F.
  • Once the second rise is done ( there is an obvious increase in size , but it will not double or so), top with some cheese.
  • Bake for about 18 -20 minutes , until golden brown. 

Once baked, carefully remove them from the tray and let cool on a rack.

Make a steaming hot cup of tea/ coffee/ anything else and Enjoy!

 

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