First of all, happy ugadi wishes to everyone.

I know, I haven’t been around for a while. I have thought of you, and written blog posts in my mind… just never got around to writing them out here. What’s been going on here? A lot, and a lot of nothing. I was enjoying the beginnings of spring like anything. I think I may have seasonal affective disorder, because I just cannot handle winter (and our winter is very mild comparatively!). When the weather warmed up, I realized it had been a long time since I felt alive! The trees were blossoming everywhere. Crabapple, dogwoods, pear trees, cherry blossoms. One cute one with lilac coloured blooms (have to find out what kind it is). I even have some fav trees around the neighborhood that I wanted to photograph and share. There is this one perfectly shaped pear tree that is HUGE. I wonder how old it is. I went for a walk with the crab apple blossoms falling around me…  The air smelled so sweet that day. Then the wisteria started coming out. OOOOh I love wisteria. I only discovered its existence 2 years ago. I could go on and on.

But then it got cold again. Most of the blossoms have been blown away by wind and rain and time. And I have no pictures to share.

I’ve also been trying to make some changes. After having some health issues, gaining about 10 lbs over the winter, and doing lots of  reading, I’m dabbling with gluten free/grain free eating and reducing sugar intake, among other things. Ive been walking every day the weather was nice, and want to restart yoga. Oh and getting enough sleep. That is a huge one in my life.

Here is one of the new things I have tried. It is not classic fudge, contains no dairy at all, but you must like the taste of coconut(oil). :)

This recipe makes 6 pieces, but you can increase the amounts to 1/2c and 1/4c to make more.

  • 2Tbs coconut oil – use a good quality one with a nice aroma and taste
  • 2Tbs peanut butter (or almond/cashew butter)
  • 1Tbs white chocolate chips (made with cocoa butter)
  • 1Tbs honey

Melt the top three ingredients in a double boiler. Stir in the honey. Mix well and pour into small bowl/plate. Chill in the freezer and then transfer to fridge once it is firm. Cut into pieces and eat cold.

*I may still post recipes that I made in the recent past and photographed which do contain gluten*

Looks good, but not done yet!

Now, its done!

 

Calling all nutella and chocolate lovers!!!! You won’t want to miss this!

I can’t take credit for the idea… I saw this recipe over at savory sweet life and just had to make it! It totally fulfilled, or maybe surpassed, my expectations. Its very chocolatey and I love that it creates its own hot chocolate sauce! Have it with ice cream, or, with sliced bananas. Yes, it sounds weird but that was delicious! You can also have it as is, of course!

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 6 TBS cocoa powder, divided
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup milk- I used chocolate almond milk
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1+1/2 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350

In an 8×8 baking dish (I did this right in the dish I was going to bake in, one less thing to wash!) mix together flour, baking powder, salt 3 TBS cocoa powder and 1/2c sugar. In a 2 or 4 cup glass measuring cup, melt the butter in the microwave. Then add the milk to it, and heat it for 30 seconds or so. Mix together the melted butter and milk, then stir in the nutella and vanilla. This method makes it easier to blend the nutella with the dry ingredients. Pour it into the dry ingredients and stir until well incorporated. Spread it evenly. In a separate bowl mix 1/2c sugar, 1/2c brown sugar, 3 Tbs cocoa powder and spread it over the batter in the baking dish. Then pour the hot water over everything and DO NOT stir! Carefully move it to the oven, and bake for 40-45 minutes.

*Note: it will puff up and look cake like, and seem to be done, but it isn’t yet. Only once it sort of falls and starts to form more of a crust on the top, and when you shake the dish it jiggles only slightly… then its ready.

Might be ugly, but it sure tastes gooood!

Linking with Torvie’s Food palette series: Brown and Aipi and Priya’s Bookmarked Recipes

American Sandwich Bread

This is my first (and only) bread post of the month, and that too, barely making it in time! I’m planning to have more time for blogging in March, so hope there are some of you dear friends still with me :)

A simple white bread recipe, but I may have let it rise a tiny bit too much. It was good, but I’m still looking for that ‘perfect’ one. I think the reason mine is not as white is because I used unbleached flour and a dark honey. Found this at Annie’s Eats. I subbed half bread flour, and next time I will try it with only all purpose. Someday I will learn to follow a recipe properly, haha.

  • 3 1/2+ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup warm whole milk (about 110°)
  • 1/3 cup warm water (about 110°)
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 1 envelope (about 2 ¼ tsp.) instant yeast

You can check the link for using a stand mixer with a dough hook. I did it by hand and with the “traditional” method (I guess!) of proofing the yeast.

So proof the yeast for 5 minutes along with the water and 1 tsp honey. Add the warm milk and the rest of the honey to it,  and stir in the flour 1 cup at a time. Once it comes together knead for several minutes, adding more flour as necessary until it is no longer sticky.

Place dough ball in lightly oiled bowl and swirl it around to coat the dough ball. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside in a warm place to rise for 40-60 minutes or until doubled.

Press dough into a rectangle and roll it tightly pressing the ends in to form a cylinder about the size of your loaf pan. Place in a well greased 9×5 loaf pan and press slightly so that it touches the sides. Cover with plastic and keep in a warm place around 30 minutes or until it peaks above the rim of the pan. Preheat oven to 350.

This is another step I didn’t follow. I will try this next time too:  Keep one oven rack at the lowest position and place the other at the middle position and heat the oven to 350°.  Place an empty baking pan on the bottom rack.  Bring two cups of water to boil in a small saucepan.  Pour the boiling water into the empty pan on the bottom rack and set the loaf onto the middle rack.

Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted at an angle from the short end just above the pan rim into the center of the loaf reads 195°, 40-50 minutes.  Remove the bread from the pan, transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Original recipe from Baking Illustrated

BYOB

I remember when I used to get excited to see a crepe cafe. There’s something that feel special about eating them, especially along with a big cup of good cappuccino! However the cost is too much for something so simple. So, I had to try to make them at home. They came out great and are super simple!

Crepe Batter:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1c milk (I used vanilla soy milk)
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 2/3c flour
  • 2 Tbs melted butter

Yogurt sauce:

  • 1c yogurt
  • 1/4c honey or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom powder

Slice the strawberries and make the yogurt sauce before getting started on the crepes. It will be fast moving from then.

Put all ingredients into blender or mixie and blend till there are no lumps. It will be very thin.

Heat a small nonstick pan over medium heat. Pour a quarter to third cup of batter into one edge of the pan. Quickly tilt the pan in a circular motion so the crepe coats the pan in a very thin layer. Cook for a minute or two until just starting to turn light brown. Flip and cook on the other side for 30 seconds. Flip again and transfer to a place. Spread a small amount of nutella, top with slices strawberries and then fold the crepe over in thirds or fourths for triangle shapes. Top with a little yogurt sauce (or some whipped cream).

Sending to Priya and  Pari’s Veggig/fruit a month- Strawberry and Chaya’s Lets do lunch

Jalapeno Popper Dip

You all know my love for fried foods and the mildly spicy, cheesey jalapeno poppers are no exception! Honestly, I don’t deep fry often though, because of health reasons and because my whole house smells like a vat of oil afterwards. Well, leave it to Kevin to bring the taste of poppers into a cheesy gooey dip without frying (not that its probably any less calorific!)! If you haven’t been yet, hop over to Kevin’s blog Closet Cooking. I have followed him for years, way before I had a blog, and in my mind he is “The King Of Dips”. :D I’m definitely on board with that.

I do not usually put mayonaise in my dips because I never buy it, and don’t use it for anything else either. Here’s another cheapskate frugal tip – Next time you go to subway or other sandwich places where they give you packets of mayo, don’t throw them away… You can use them in things where you just need a little, like this one. FYI, mayo does not contain cream or milk ingredients but it does usually contain eggs.

I also love the taste of buffalo sauce. Basically, hot chili sauce! I wanted to incorporate it into my dip without it taking over.

Here is what I did:

  • 5-7 large fresh jalapenos, seeded and diced very small
  • 3 spring onions sliced thinly
  • salt to taste
  • 6 oz cream cheese at room temperature(soft)
  • 1/4c strained or greek yogurt
  • 1/4c mayonnaise (3 packets hehe)
  • 1/2c +1T cheese, grated – I used kerrygold ivernia which is like a cross between cheddar, gruyere and parmesan- any of those would work and so would blue cheese!
  • 1T grated parmesan
  • Some splashes of hot sauce/chili paste
  • 1 handful of panko breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350

In a small amount of olive oil, saute the green onions and jalapeno to soften and bring out the flavors. Add a pinch of salt. Let cool a bit while you grate the cheeses and prepare the other ingredients.

Mix the 2 Tablespoons of cheese with panko breadcrumbs and keep aside. Mix the cream cheese, yogurt, and mayo together till incorporated. Stir in the jalapeno mixture. Then stir in the 1/2 grated cheese. Spread in your baking dish and then sprinkle with the chili paste. Use a fork to smooth it over the top layer of the tip. Top with the bread crumb mixture. Spray with an oil spray (optional) to crisp the bread crumbs. Bake for 20-30 minutes until hot and bubbly!! Serve with tortilla chips. The ones we used are made from blue corn… they are not artificially colored. :)

Sending to Hearth and Soul Blog Hop

**I know I’ve been a little inactive lately, but I plan to get back into things soon!! **

Malai Kofta

This rich, creamy dish is one of our favorites, with the fried (of course) koftas. The sauce is usually thickened with ground cashews and finished with a drizzle of heavy cream. Vegetarian koftas are deliciously spiced and made with a mashed mixture of potatoes, peas and raw onion, made into small balls or ovals and deep fried. What’s not to love??? But someone had a smart idea….. instead of deep frying the kofta, she used her paniyaram pan. Brilliant! This is probably the best recipe for malai kofta I have tried.  Please see the recipe at red chillies blog. The main thing I changed was I do not grind the masala with milk, I use water. And then added cream at the end.

I was planning to make this for valentines day, even though I do not celebrate much, especially the commercial aspect of it! But I did want to make some treats (typical foodie isnt it?!). However, due to unforseen circumstances this was made today. The malai, though, had a mind of its own….

Do you see what I see?

A Heart!

The drizzled cream formed a heart shape. It was totally unintentional. Ahhhh. Want to know what is even more romantic? I had help! Doesn’t it feel nice to gather with loved ones in the kitchen and  put together a meal?

The yummy koftas!

 

So even though I’m a party pooper, kill-joy, scrooge mcduck…. I gotta say it (belated)

Happy Valentines Day!

Sending this to Aipi’s Bookmarked Recipes and Hearth and Soul, and Maggie’s DHHD,  with love.

I was inspired when I saw this lovely post over at the very well loved Tartlette. I like the idea of using lavender, which I have in my cupboard, but really don’t know where to use it. I followed her recipe, except leaving out the eggs and adding ground flax seeds instead.

  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4c rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/3c chopped almonds
  • 1/4c chopped dried apricots
  • 1 tsp dried lavender buds
  • 1 Tbs ground flax seeds
  • pinch of baking soda
  • 1/4c yogurt
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4c honey (I think it could use a little more honey, so I would up this to maybe 1/3c)

Preheat oven to 350

Mix everything together into a dough. Press the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, into a rectangle or square shape. cut into bar shapes. Bake 10-12 minutes and cool on a wire rack.

I am sending this to Priya’s and Kiran’s Cooking with whole grains- Oats

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