Mar 2, 2015

Healthy Homemade Larabar Bites

AKA, the remixed dry fruits laddoo!!

I've been trying to add a lot of iron into my diet. Recently, I decided to make the boring ritual of eating dates everyday into something fun by making this super healthy dry fruits laddoo. This tastes remarkably like my favorite chocolate chip Larabar, so if you love that, you'll love this recipe too!



Ingredients -

Dates - pitted - 15-20 (around 1 cup)
Roasted almonds - 3/4 cup (you can use cashews or any other nuts you like)
Chia seeds - 1/4 cup
Cocoa powder - 1/4 cup
Mini chocolate chips - 1/4 cup
Vanilla extract - 2 tsp
Cinnamon powder - a dash
Salt - a pinch
Oil - 1 tbsp (I used coconut oil and ghee)



Method - 

1. In a mixie or a food processor, pulse all the ingredients, except chocolate chips, till it forms a uniform, cohesive mixture.

2. Dump into a bowl and fold in the chocolate chips.

3. Use some melted coconut oil or ghee to form the balls and refrigerate for an hour. Serve!

Makes around 12-15 laddoos.

It took me five minutes to make the recipe. It's so easy. The laddoos are so tasty and chocolatey and nutritious! While this recipe makes an ideal energy booster, high in nutrients, watch how many you eat because it is also high in calories and sugar! Hope you enjoy the recipe!

Feb 25, 2015

Chocolate Chia Pudding

I've been meaning to make a chia pudding for months now! With my new-found obsession with chocolate, I decided that maybe I should steer a teeny bit away from the brownies and donuts and eat something a little healthier. Perfect time to make a chia pudding!



The basic ratio for the pudding is  1/4 cup of chia seeds to 1 cup of milk. The rest of the customization is up to you. For this recipe, I used the following -

Ingredients -

Chia Seeds - 1/4 cup
Almond milk - 1 cup
Cocoa powder - 1 tbsp
PB2 chocolate - 1 tbsp
Agave syrup - 1 tbsp (adjust to taste. I like the slight bitterness of chocolate)
Slices almonds - 1 tbsp
Salt - a pinch

To serve - bananas or fruit of your choice


Method -

1. Microwave the milk for about a minute.

2. Add the cocoa powder, PB2 and agave syrup and stir till fully dissolved.

3. Add the chia seeds, salt and almonds. Mix well.

4. Cover the bowl and allow to sit at room temperature for a couple of hours.

The chia seeds will absorb the warm milk and swell up. This forms a gelatinous, spongy pudding consistency. The almonds help to add some crunch to the pudding.

 The recipe is about 300 calories, so serve it with a cup of fruit and nuts to turn it into nutritious breakfast. I just eat spoonfuls of the pudding all day, lol.

This is my first foray into chia seeds and I really love the taste and the ease of preparation! I'm excited to try out new flavor combinations. Hope I've emboldened a few of you to try out this wonderful seed! Thanks for reading!

Feb 8, 2015

Pound Cake with Blood Oranges

Hello hello!! How is everyone doing? I've been a bad blogger and a bad cook. I've been super busy the last month and been dealing with the normal but annoying pregnancy aches and pains. I've been making the same easy recipes in rotation, so I didn't have anything fun to post here. Today though, I decided to take a break from school stuff and baby stuff and celebrate these amazing blood oranges.

Oranges have been my pregnancy constant. I had a strong aversion to limes but cuties, mandarins and blood oranges have sustained me these last six months. I've made orange scones and cupcakes before and loved them! So today, I decided to make a pound cake with blood oranges. The awesome thing about this recipe is that not only does it taste amazing, it uses yogurt instead of butter, so it's so much healthier!




Pound Cake with Blood Oranges
Adapted from here

Ingredients

Flour - 1 cup
Whole wheat flour - 1/2 cup
Baking powder - 2 tsp
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Sugar - 1 cup
Finely grated zest of 2-3 blood oranges

Vanilla greek yogurt - 3/4 cup
Olive oil - 1/2 cup
Eggs - 2
Vanilla extract - 3/4 tsp
Juice of blood orange  - 1 tbsp

Peeled and sliced blood oranges - 2-3


Method

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Sieve together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and zest.

3.  Whisk together the greek yogurt, olive oil, eggs, vanilla extract and the orange juice.

4. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Don't whisk or mix too hard.

5. Grease a loaf pan and pour in the batter.

6. Arrange the blood orange slices on top and press down gently.

7. Bake for 40-50 minutes depending on your oven . The cake is done when a toothpick comes out clean.

8. Cool on a rack for about 15 minutes, slice and serve with a dusting of powdered sugar!




There you go. So simple! The cake is really moist and so flavorful! You could add some walnuts if you like texture in your cake. I hope you try this recipe. You'll definitely enjoy it! 

Jan 2, 2015

Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Frosting (No eggs)

Wishing everyone a wonderful 2015! I try to make something fun and new for new year's every year. Last year I made my first home-made ice cream. I decided to celebrate the end of 2014 and morning sickness by baking a fabulous cake!! I got a kitchenaid stand mixer in a black friday deal and I've been itching to get it out. I decided to make a chocolate cake with buttercream frosting. I wanted to share some cake with my neighbors and they don't take eggs, so I decided to make the recipe egg-free!



I adpated Ina Garten's recipe for the cake to suit my needs and modified the frosting recipe that came with my stand mixer.


For the cake - 

Makes two 9" round cakes

Ingredients :

Butter or olive oil for greasing the cake tins

Flour - 1 3/4 cup
Brown sugar - 2 cups
Cocoa powder - 3/4 cup
Baking soda  2 tsp
Baking powder 1 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Milk - 1 cup (I used almond milk)
Olive oil - 1/2 cup
Eggs  - 2 (I used Ener-g egg replacer)
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Boiling water  - 1 cup (you can use freshly brewed coffee or instant coffee dissolved in the boiling water) I skipped them because I didn't want too much caffeine in the cake.

Method - 

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease the cake pans and flour them.

Sift together the dry ingredients into the mixer bowl. Use the paddle attachment and mix for a few seconds.

Whisk together the wet ingredients in another bowl. Set the mixer to a slow speed and add the wet ingredients slowly.

Once well mixed and smooth, divide the batter between the two cake pans.

Bake for 30-35 minutes till a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool in the pan first and then cool on a cooling rack. Now we are ready to frost!

Buttercream Frosting 

Ingredients -

Butter - 1 cup (room temperature)
Powdered sugar - 3 cups
Vanilla extract - 2 tsp
Half and half or cream - 3 tablespoons
A pinch of salt


Method - 

Place the butter in the stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, whip it for about 2-3 minutes till soft and fluffy.

Add the sugar a little at a time and keep mixing till fully incorporated.

Add the vanilla, salt and continue mixing.

Add the half and half till you reach the desired consistency. I wasn't sure how thick my frosting should be, so I added 3 tbsps of half and half and the frosting was soft but firm and not too sweet.






How to assemble - 

Place one cake on a cake stand. Add a big dollop of the icing and spread evenly. Place the other cake curved side down. Press gently. Now add another dollop of icing and spread evenly. Use a spatula to frost the sides. That's it. 

So simple in theory but so hard in practice!!

I don't have a cake stand, so frosting was a bit of a challenge. I used a plate and rotated it around to frost. It was a workout, lol. So get a good cake stand and a good offset spatula. I used a straight spatula here and it was really difficult to angle it right.

Place four strips of parchment paper on the plate/stand in a square shape. Then place the cakes on top and start frosting. At the end of frosting, you could just remove the paper and the excess frosting with it.

Wet your spatula for a smooth flat frosting surface. I made a swirly pattern which is not really showing up in the pictures but it gave it a nice, home-made look. 

Lastly I added Wilton gold star sprinkles on top for a festive touch!


It was so much fun making the cake!! I'm not a big dessert fan, so I won't be making this on the regular but for the next birthday in our home, I'm definitely going to try out other cake recipes!

Once again, I wish you all a very happy, peaceful and prosperous new year!!