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!

Beetroot leaves Thogayal/Chutney/Relish

A trip to any grocery store invariably ends up in me looking for fresh beets. And if it is usually packed with leaves, then the fresher the better naturally. The gorgeous color  and crispness of the leaves is a natural draw for me. Actually I am a sucker when it comes to all kinds of fresh leafy greens (Make it most of the veggies ). Can never resist the siren’s call !!!

 Beetroot leaves Thogayal/Chutney/Relish

So there was this lushest pack of beets beckoning to me in the produce section of HT. Gorgeous bright green leaves with veins of deep red and big fat beets clustered to it. I just had to pick it up! Don’t judge me please, I can always rationalize it as  how one can never have too many veggies. So in any case, these gorgeous beauties came home and I was itching to make something out of it. Usually the leaves can be sautéed and made with a bit of soaked dal to yield a side accompaniment. But I want something else..  I wanted to make this relish that my mom and grandma could practically whip out of any vegetable. The basic recipe remains the same but the varieties it yields with it as the base is  amazing. This is great as a spread, a side dish or to simply use it up mixed with rice and veggies as well.

 

Gorgeous green leaves with thick red veins !
Gorgeous green leaves with thick red veins !

Beet leaves sautéed and fine ground with roasted urad dal, tamarind, red chilies, whole black pepper to yield a slightly spicy, a bit tangy and wonderful earthy relish/ spread/thogayal. Chockfull of nutrients in a bowl!

Prep time : 10 min  Cook time : 10 min  Yields :  8 -10 servings

Shelf life : 1 week refrigerated.

 Ingredients:

  • Beet leaves – trim stem, chop roughly to yield 2 cups
  • Skinned, split Urad Dal : 1/2 cup
  • Wet tamarind : 1 inch piece
  • Whole black pepper : 1/4  Tbsp.
  • Red chilies ( mix mild to high heat) – 4-6 or lower according to spice level
  • Oil : 2 tsp.
  • Salt : 1 tsp + to taste
  • Water : 1/3 cup – add as required to grind

 Optional : Seasoning ( but highly recommended)

  • Oil : 1 tsp.
  • Curry leaves : 4-6
  • Mustard seeds : 1 tsp.
  • Hing : a generous pinch

Method:

  • In a  skillet  add initially 1 tsp. of oil and on heating add chilies and whole black peppers,
  • Add washed,skinned, split urad dal and roast till it is a nice brown in color. Drain and set aside to cool.
  • In the same skillet , add another tsp. of oil and now add the thoroughly washed and cut beet leaves and sauté till it is tender. Say about 5 minutes. Add the piece of tamarind. Turn off the flame and scoop it side in another plate to cool.
  • On cooling , grind the dal and chili and pepper mix initially along with salt to a rough grind.
  • Add the leaves and tamarind and a couple of tablespoons of water and grind till you reach your desired consistency. Add more water if desired. A smoother relish will be easier to handle but will have lower shelf life if you add too much water. 

Optional Seasoning but highly recommended:

  • Heat oil in skillet, add hing and when it sizzles add mustard seeds which will splutter in the heat and then add curry leaves.
  • Turn off the flame and pour it over the relish and mix it well.
  • This is a great way to temper the spices as well enhance the taste if the relish along with increasing the shelf life a bit.
A thick spicy chutney/relish/thogayal chock full of nutrients !
A thick spicy chutney/relish/thogayal chock full of nutrients !

Enjoy with hot steamed rice, phulkas , dal and even a slice of toast!

Quinoa Vegetable Melange -Versatile Quinoa to the rescue! One pot meal :-)

I so seriously am not pregnant. There is no justification for this craving for quinoa, other than the fact that I am now ” flu -recovered”. And I am looking for a quick fix dinner  or lunch ensemble that has all the veggies and proteins channeled through nuts ( ok in this case restricted to the peanuts) in a one pot meal. Whew!

In all fairness, I suppose brown rice or broken wheat could provide this similarly. But hey, like i said ..its a craving ! Now until the few years ago, Quinoa blissfully did not exist in my world. I did indulge guilt free in the basmati rice version of this .. Aaah heavenly! What is it about the age and mid riff..I fear they are directly proportional. Wisdoms dawn on you with age and a good cup of tea :-)..

I am digressing , folks. Anyways back to Quinoa..which apparently is a pseudocereal and is related to beets and tumbleweeds ( see what I mean about family 🙂 ..) has taken a rather prominent  place of pride in our grocery errand run.

Anyways, back to the one pot meal that can be cooked in a jiffy and can be indulged guilt free and can satisfy the spicy tooth ( hey if you can have a sweet tooth and , I presume there is a spicy one as well ..) and yes actually taste good and not like the “health protein bar , that is mostly tasteless but is g(o)od for you” kind.

Assemble it up 🙂

  1. Cooked Quinoa : 2 cups or so. (Dry Quinoa : 1 cup  is to 1.5 cups of water. I just pressure cook it in and it is nice and  sprightly. Not mushy at all ) 
  2. Thai Chillies : Green : 4 : Minced  ( adjust the spice according to your plate)
  3. Frozen peas and carrots : 1 cup . Thawed or nuked in the microwave for about a min.
  4. Bell pepper : choose your kind. I used the red one. 1/2 to a 1 ,deseeded,  chopped finely
  5. French beans : 1/2 cup chopped finely
  6. Onion : 1  Chopped finely.( I did not have one one hand and had no intention for running to the store either ). Again Viewers/ cook’s discretion.
  7. Dry roasted salted peanuts : 1/2 cup chopped roughly
  8. Olive Oil : 2 -3 tsp
  9. Mustard Seeds : 1/4 tsp
  10. Urad Dal : 1/4 tsp ( the washed, dry, halved kind !)
  11. Turmeric powder : 1/4 tsp
  12. Asafoetida : a pinch
  13. A bunch of fresh cilantro : finely chopped
  14. Salt : to taste

The Process :

  1. In a  large wok or skillet, add the oil.
  2. Once the oil is heated, add the tempering of mustard seeds , Urad dal, green chillies and turmeric powder along with a pinch of Asafoetida. ( yep the mustard seeds are sputtering and the dal with turn a lovely shade of light brown.)
  3. Add the Onions if you decide to include it, and let it brown. Then add the peppers and the rest of the veggies. The idea is to keep the veggie cooked but crunchy. This should take about 5-7  minutes depending on a variety of factors including the freshness of the veggies and simmer of your flame on the gas  stove.
  4. Once this is done, toss in the cooked quinoa. And add the salt.
  5. Add the chopped peanuts as well. And mix well again.
  6. By now your kitchen will smell heavenly and the mix on in your skillet will resemble the picture below 🙂
  7. Add the cilantro and dig in!

Variations:

  • As always, the choice of your veggies are your personal preference. Cauliflower and broccoli are great variations to this fare.
  • Now most of the spices , I used here are very basic Indian spices. Again you can experiment with fennel seeds and sticks of cinnamon here or a bay leaf to the temper mix and completely have a different flavor to this dish.
  • This can be made totally nut free.. Just don’t add the peanuts. On the other hand, I have experimented with toasted almonds and it tasted just awesome as well !
  • A dash of lemon just before serving will refresh the dish as well.