Monday, June 29, 2015

Very Chocolatey Banana Muffins; Meatless Monday.



The holy month of Ramadan is going on for all Muslims worldwide. During "Iftar", when it is time for them to break their fast, they usually have some family or friends around and it is a small celebration of kinds each day. This recipe comes in handy for Iftar as there is not much to be done in the actual process of prepping and cooking.


Everyone in my home and at work love my banana bread.I make the eggless oatmeal flaxmeal banana raisin bread and the gluten free banana walnut cranberry bread, both of which are much liked by everyone.But there is one little problem. My kids do not like it with nuts!!! So I make them as muffins for them. My daughter will gladly eat them for lunch and it makes for a perfect "grab and go" breakfast for me. However, neither me nor my kids eat big portions. I therefore do not like humongous muffins. I like my muffins the size of a regular cupcake. My kids like them even smaller. So, I make mini-muffins for them and they are happy little campers!! I like to add the chocolate chips into these muggins as they look pretty and enticing . Then again who doesn't like chocolate?? Recently a friend of mine had an informal birthday party for one of her daughters. I had made these mini-muffins then. They were gone before we knew it. So here is an easy recipe that can be had for breakfast, snack or as dessert!



Servings: makes around 2 dozen mini-muffins and one dozen muffins.


Ingredients :



 Whole wheat flour: 2 cups + 1 tbsp ( for Gluten-free,use oat flour)
 Baking soda: 1 tsp
 Salt:1/4 tsp
 Ground cinnamon: ½ tsp
 Ground nutmeg: ¼ tsp
 Vanilla extract:1 tsp
 Butter:1/2 cup
 Brown sugar:3/4 cup
 Eggs: 3 beaten ( For eggless version, use 3 tbsp flaxmeal mixed in 9 tbsp water).
 Overripe bananas: 2 cups(3-4 bananas),mashed
 Dark Chocolate chips  :1/2 cup +1/2 cup,chopped.

Method:


Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line the muffin and mini-muffin pans with cupcake liners and keep ready.

Mix 1/2 cup chocolate chips with 1 tbsp flour and keep aside.

Beat together the butter, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg  in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the banana, and eggs, beating until smooth.
 Add the flour stirring until smooth. Mix in 1/2 cup chocolate chips.Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan until each liner is 3/4 full. Drop 3-4 chocolate chip on top of each muffin 2-3 on each mini-muffin.

Place the pan on the middle rack of the  oven and bake for 15 mins for the muffin pan and 6-8 mins for the mini-muffin pan. Do check if done by inserting a toothpick into the center of the muffin. It should come out clean.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes before removing the muffins out of the pan onto a rack to cool completely.

Serve warm or at room temperature.



Enjoy with a nice cup of coffee or tea.

Cooking made easy:


Cupcake  liners are easy to use in muffin pans as it makes cleaning the pans a breeze. Also packing, serving and eating the muffin when a liner is used is easier and more hygienic. Iy looks pretty too..However, if you run out of liners, you can grease the muffin pan and make pour the batter directly into the pan .

Tip for healthy living:


Using whole wheat flour in cakes and muffins makes desserts a tiny bit more healthier as whole wheat flour has more nutrients and is less processed than all purpose flour or maida.


Food for thought:


To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting. Edmund Burke


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Strawberry-Watermelon-Kiwi Cooler ; Diabetes Friendly Thursday

Summer is here!Let us beat the heat and indulge ourselves with Diabetic Friendly Mocktails and Coolers with Team DFT.



Creating Recipes with a Cause!
I am a proud DFT blogger. 
To learn about DFT, read this link
To view more DFT recipes, Click here!

Summers are hot,making us hot and thirsty most of the time. Most people tend to indulge in soda which we all know is not good for anyone. If coke can clean toilets, imagine what it might be doing to your gut?? People often indulge in ready made,processed juice drinks that have several unhealthy ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and very little to no fruit juice in it!!  Some people make healthier choice by drinking fresh fruit juice or 100 % juice. But did you know that   drinking too much fruit juice is not good either!! Even in it is 100% juice!! The daily recommended amount of fruit juice is only 150 ml per day?? All other recommended servings of fruit should come from pieces of fruit and not in the juice or liquid form. Store-bought smoothies which are marketed as "healthy" were often found to be loaded with sugar and high in calories as much as 300 calories in a 12 oz serving! You can read more in the "footnotes".






It is of course without any doubt, best to drink water during summer to quench your thirst. However, if you insist on drinking juice, drink healthy, freshly made fruit coolers without any added sugars and a small amount of fruit in it.This can be easily made at home in a blender with just 2-3 fruits. Try this easy-peasy recipe below:





Servings: makes two 8 oz glasses


Ingredients:


Watermelon cubes: 1 cup
Strawberries, chopped: 1/2cup
Kiwi, chopped: 1/4 cup
Sparkling water: 3/4 cup
Ice cubes: 1/2 cup


Method:


Add all the above ingredients to a blender and blend for 1 minute or until slushy.

Pour into chilled glasses.




Serve immediately.

Enjoy!! I am bringing this to my dear friend Angie's Fiesta Friday where Loretta@Safari of the mind and Caroline@ Caroline's Cooking are co-hosting.

Cooking made easy:

This recipe can be made with any fruits ( that can be directly added to a blender) that you have available on hand. You can try different permutations and combinations.

Footnotes( Tip for healthy living):


It is recommended that one eats a total of 10 servings of fruits and vegetables everyday. Out of the 10 servings, only one daily serving should come in the liquid form. The recommended daily amount of sugar is  6 teaspoons and most store-purchased juices have half of this amount in each cup. A Dunkin Donut Coolatta has 25 teaspoons of sugar in one large cup!! One has to be very mindful while selecting a fruit/cool drink.

Strawberry is a nutrient-dense food that is rich in vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. They are among the top 20 fruits in antioxidant capacity and are rich in manganese and potassium.Just one serving of strawberries provides more vitamin C than one orange.

Kiwi is a super-fruit that is purported to promote healthy skin tone and texture. Amongst fruits it has the highest vitamin C levels per ounce than most other fruits.It also helps reduce blood pressure and prevent diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

We know that watermelon is healthy, low calorie and  cooling to the body. It has a high glycemic index of 72 but a low glycemic load of 4. This is because of the large amount of water that constitutes the watermelon. It is also loaded in antioxidants with high levels of vitamins A and C. It also contains lycopene, which is heart healthy.

References:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/10746588/Fruit-juices-and-smoothies-contain-horrifying-sugar-levels.html
http://blog.foodfacts.com/2015/05/25/thinking-of-cooling-off-with-a-coolatta/
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/fruit-cooler/
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/271232.php
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glycemic_load
http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/foods-high-on-the-glycemic-index-but-low-on-glycem.html
http://www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm
http://www.webmd.com/diet/nutritional-benefits-of-the-strawberry
http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/arthritis-and-pain/10-health-benefits-of-strawberries#2drEBBfFPbFRXbAo.97

Disclaimer:

I am not a nutritionist or dietitian. My knowledge and information is based on my research and reading from different resources. Please consult your doctor or dietitian before making any changes to your diet.


Go ahead and enjoy this summer sipping on some diabetic mocktails and coolers with team DFT. Check out the other recipes below:





Food for thought:


Excellence means when a man or woman asks of himself more than others do. Jose Ortega y Gasset


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Fruit Bouquet ; Father's Day Special Diabetes Friendly Thursday!



Dessert is something everyone craves for and enjoys. There is nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is to indulge too much in desserts. Then again the indulgence is okay too if the desserts are healthy. Therefore, this week the DFT team is bringing to you Diabetes Friendly desserts for Father's Day.


Creating Recipes with a Cause!
I am a proud DFT blogger. 
To learn about DFT, read this link
To view more DFT recipes, Click here!

I love love desserts. I have to eat something sweet after every meal. I have changed my eating habits by making fruits my dessert. I eat one or two fruits after every meal. This has dual benefits. It satisfies my sweet tooth and it also keeps me feeling more fuller without the additional calories.

My father is not diabetic but he likes to eat healthy. He enjoys fruits of all kinds at all times. People with diabetes are entitled to satisfy their sweet tooth too.. What better way than with fruits. Did you know that fruits have a lower GI than other carbohydrates like rice, pasta etc. So technically, for diabetes it is better to eat fruits than rice!! Then again, you have to choose fruits that are not too sweet, not too ripe as these have a higher sugar content. Look for fruits that are on the sour side and have a greater water content. You can find more detailed information regarding fruits, their glycemic index and glycemic load in the footnotes ( tip for healthy living).



Coming back to what I am bringing for DFT this week, by now I am sure all of you have figured out that I am bringing a Fruit Bouquet. This fruit bouquet was inspired by  Edible Arrangements fruit arrangements which I have received and sent as gifts on numerous occasions.  I love flowers but flowers wilt and die after a day or two and that makes me very sad. Fruit arrangements serve dual purpose: they are pretty to look at, makes for a great centerpiece and don't go to waste! They can be eaten!! Edible arrangements are exorbitantly priced. I figured that there has to be a way to make this at home especially since the fruits used to make the arrangement are not that expensive, particularly when in season. I have to say, I tried making it and after the first time, there was no stopping me. I do not order from Edible Arrangements any more! It can be made at a fraction of a price that they charge!! I am sharing with you two kinds of arrangements: one made using cookie cutter and one without any kind of special equipment. Believe me , it is super easy to make it!! You can even have your kids help out as my daughter did ( you can see her partially in one of the pictures.) Pardon me for the poor quality of pictures . I promise I will update it with better ones at a later date.




Servings: 5-6 ( 2-3 sticks of fruit per person)


Ingredients:


Strawberries: 12-15 nos
Red seedless grapes: 8 oz or 250 gms.
Green seedless grapes: 8 oz or 250 gms.
Cantaloupe : 1 small or 1/2 medium-sized one.
Honey dew: 1 small or 1/2 medium-sized one.
Curly parsley / cilantro ( coriander leaves)or kale: one small bunch.
Wooden skewers: one packet ( you will need around 20-25 skewers).
Foam/Thermacol: a small piece

Method:


Wash the strawberries and dry them on paper towels or dish towels and keep aside.

Wash the grapes thoroughly and keep aside.

Prepare a earthen pot/ vase as the base of your fruit arrangement.
If the vase is light, place some heavy pebbles( stones) at the bottom of the vase.

Place the foam piece inside the pot. Cover it lightly with some sprigs of the parsley/kale/ cilantro. Keep it aside.

Using the skewers, pierce one skewer into one strawberry such that the tip of the strawberry faces up. Don't let the tip of the skewer come out of the strawberry.
Arrange these skewers in the center of the pot.

Thread around 8-10 grapes in each skewer. Make around 8-10 such skewers of green and red grapes separately. This is the part that I delegate to my daughter. She just loves it!  You can make them all with the same colored grapes in one skewer or mix them up.  Arrange the skewers in the vase around the strawberries.

Now coming to the cantaloupe and honeydew. People often have issues cutting them up. Below you can find step by step instruction of how to easily cut them. You will never again complain about cutting a melon again!




After washing the cantaloupe/honeydew, horizontally cut it into two equal halves.
Now place each half face down and cut it again into halve ( that makes 4 pieces).




Cut each hemisphere into two pieces again: now you have 8 pieces.


Depending on how big the cantaloupe or honey dew is , you can cut it again into two equal pieces.



Now peel each piece using the knife as shown. Take off the seeds by cutting the top seedy, fibrous portion.



Insert a skewer into each such piece. Ensure that you do not pierce through the piece. Insert all the skewers holding the cantaloupe and honeydew along the rim of the vase, alternating between the two fruits.




Now, if you are using the cookie cutter then you will need the pineapple. Cut the leafy part of the pineapple and discard it. Cut a 1 inch thick slice of the pineapple peel and all.Place the cookie cutter of any desired shape on the center of this slice and press down. You will have to then wiggle the cookie cutter a little back and forth to get a clean cut. Remove the peel and extra pieces from the outside of the cookie cutter before lifting up the cutter.
Place the heart/ star anywhere in the center of the vase.

Fill in any gaps in the arrangements that shows the skewers with the parsley/cilantro/kale filler.

Your fruit bouquet is ready!!

That was easy right???
Now place it in the center of your dining table and surprise daddy or wrap it nicely with clear wrap, tie a bow and stick a nice card to it and hand-deliver it to him!!

Have fun making this! I am bringing this to Angie's Fiesta Friday! I am sure the co-hosts Michelle@Giraffes can bake and Juju @ Cooking with Aunt Juju and all my friends will like the fruit bouquet.


Cooking made easy:


The arrangement is even easier and prettier if you cut the skewers into different lengths so that all fruits are equally visible.

Cut a few skewers ( around 8-10)2 inches shorter than the whole ones. Cut another few ( around 8-10) 4 inches shorter than the whole ones.

The long skewers go in the center and the shortest go in the outermost layer.

Footnotes( tip for healthy living):


As I was mentioning earlier, when it comes to food and diabetes, one of the most important factors to be considers is the glycemic load and glycemic index of the food item.

All done and said, it might surprise you that fruits have lower GI than any other carbohydrates like rice, pasta, wheat etc. You can read more about glycemic index and glycemic load of each individual fruit in the references provided below.

References:



Disclaimer:

I am not a nutritionist or dietitian. My knowledge and information is based on my research and reading from different resources. Please consult your doctor or dietitian before making any changes to your diet.


Go ahead and celebrate Father's Day with the DFT team with healthier and diabetes friendly desserts.

1. Anu's apricot and cashew coconut bites.


2.Swati's oats cinnamon berry baskets.


3. Shailja's fresh fruit popsicles


4 . Paro's vegan gluten free brownie bites


5. Chahat's watermelon kiwi pops


6. Prachi's cinnamon scented oats tart with dark chocolate ganache.



7. Aprasa's pineapple kesari


8. Sonal's badam anjeer kheer



9. Vidhya's sugar-free apple rabadi




Food for thought:


One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters. George Herbert

Monday, June 15, 2015

Kandha Poha ( Beaten Rice Pilaf); Meatless Monday



Kandha poha is a popular breakfast dish from the konkan region of India. This is especially typical of Maharashtra State. "Kandha" is "onion"  and " poha" is beaten rice in  Marathi/konkani language. So the literal translation of "kandha poha" would be " onion beaten rice". Basically it is beaten rice that is sauteed with a seasoning that has sauteed onions, green chilli, turmeric powder and  cumin seeds. It is then garnished with fresh cilantro and lemon juice.


Variations of this dish include batat-phovu which  is more popular in South Canara region of Karnataka State. It is basically Kandha-poha with potato cubes added in addition to the onions while sautéing. While my husband loves potatoes, I stay away from it. I therefore make more of Kandha-poha than batat-Phovu. I add fresh green peas instead which makes my Kandha poha colorful and I would have eaten some vegetables too in the process. It is very flavorful with lime/ lemon juice squeezed on top and garnished with fresh cilantro. Do try it. I bet you will like it!



Servings: 2


Ingredients:


Thick poha( beaten rice): 3 cups
Water: 3 cups
Coconut oil: 1 tbsp 
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Curry leaf:1 sprig
Cumin seeds ( jeera): 1 tsp
Onion: 1 medium, chopped fine
Green chillies: 2 medium sized, slit lengthwise.
Haldi ( turmeric powder): 1 tsp
Fresh Green peas: 1/4 cup ( cooked if using dry )
Salt: to taste
Sugar: a pinch
Lemon juice: from 1/2 small lemon
Cilantro: 1 tbsp, chopped

Method:

Soak the thick poha in water for 5 mins. Squeeze it thoroughly and keep it aside in a bowl. Ensure that you don't soak the poha for too long as it will get mushy and the whole dish becomes one big mess. The poha has to al- dente. Each grain should be separate from the next.

In a sauté pan/ kadai, heat oil.Add mustard seeds.

Once the mustard seeds crackle, add the curry leaves, jeera, chopped onions and green chillies. Sauté until the onion starts to sweat. Don't let it brown. It changes the appearance of the dish.


Add the turmeric powder, sauté for a few seconds.

Add the green peas, salt, sugar and let it cook until the green peas are tender. 

Now add the soaked poha and toss it all together.



Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro.



Serve hot with a cup of tea or coffee.

Enjoy.

Cooking made easy:


There are several types of poha. Nylon poha, thin poha and thick poha.Nylon poha is really thin and usually fried and used to prepare mixture ( a dry snack) . Thin poha is used to make dishes such as Godu Phovu( sweet poha), Phova chutney etc. These two varieties are not meant to be soaked in water. It softens upon massaging with the hand.Thick poha is what is used in recipes that calls for poha to be soaked. Any other type of poha if soaked will immediately turn into mush!! On the other hand, thick poha cannot be used without soaking or frying.

Tip for healthy living:


Try to add turmeric to most of your dishes either while sautéing vegetables or seasoning fish, meat and poultry.
Turmeric has several health benefits apart from having antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
There is established evidence that the use of turmeric can help reduce arthritis pain. All the health benefits of turmeric is due to the presence of compounds called curcuminoids, the most important being curcumin. Curcumin is purported to help lower the risk of heart disease ,diabetes and even cancer due to it's potent antioxidant properties.


Food for thought:


In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are consequences. Robert Green Ingersoll




Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Methi ( Fenugreek)Sprouts Salad; Diabetes Friendly Thursday



I now eagerly look forward to Thursdays! Why?? Because of Diabetes Friendly Thursday. I love the fact that we all post recipes that would specifically help diabetics eat healthy wholesome meals. This week's theme is Salads. So cleanse your body with wholesome salads presented by the DFT team this week.


Creating Recipes with a Cause!
I am a proud DFT blogger. 
To learn about DFT, read this link
To view more DFT recipes, Click here!

While there are many different salads that I could have written about today, I wanted to share something special and unique. A salad that is extremely healthy and nutritious. That is why I brought with me the methi sprouts salad with cucumber.


When we think of methi or fenugreek seeds, what immediately comes to mind is the bitterness of methi/fenugreek. It is interesting that once the methi seeds are sprouted, the sprouts have no bitterness in them. Believe me when I say that they are not bitter. All the more reason to try making this salad. We all know that any sprout is healthy. It is also a known fact that methi seeds have several potent  health benefits. It is especially helpful for diabetics in the regulation of blood sugar levels. Studies have shown  significantly reduced sugar levels in the urine after regular consumption of fenugreek. I could go on and on about the benefits of methi seeds and may forget about the salad!;) You can read more about the health benefits of methi  in the footnotes. Cucumber is cooling and refreshing to the body. You can read more about that too in the footnotes.


Now let's get back to the salad. This is such a simple and easy salad that it will be ready in no time. The only time that it takes is for methi seeds to sprout, but if you already have the sprouts ready, the salad can be ready in 5 mins!! It really is that simple!



Servings: 2


Ingredients:


Methi seeds: 2 tablespoons, heaped
Cucumber: one medium sized
Lemon zest: 1/2 tsp ( optional)
Lemon/lime juice: from one lemon/lime ( I used 50:50)
Green chillies: 1 medium-sized, chopped finely.( any kind of green chillies can be used)
Cilantro/ coriander leaves: 1 tbsp, chopped
Freshly grated coconut: 1/2 tbsp ( optional) for garnishing.
Salt to taste

For tempering:( optional)


Coconut oil: 1 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Hing : a pinch
Curry leaves: 1 sprig

Method:


To sprout the methi seeds:



Soak the method seeds in water for 4-5 hours. Drain the water completely. Cover the container with a wet cloth or paper towel.  Keep it like that for a day atleast. You will see it sprout the next day. I kept it for 2 days as I wanted longer sprouts.

To make the salad:

Wash the cucumber and chop it finely. Take it in a bowl. Add the methi sprouts to the bowl. Add lemon zest, lemon /lime juice, salt, chopped cilantro and mix well.  Garnish with freshly grated coconut.

For tempering: ( optional)


Heat coconut oil in a frying pan. Add mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter, turn off the flame. Add hing and curry leaves.

Add this to the salad and mix well.



Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Serve with rice/roti or enjoy a bowl or by itself! Once again, I am bringing this to Fiesta Friday hosted by our dear friend Angie@The Novice Gardner. Quinn@Dad Whats4dinner is co-hosting for the first time with the seasoned host Naina@Spice in the City.

Cooking made easy:


Other ingredients like grated carrots, corn, cherry tomatoes, pomegranate seeds can be added to this dish. It is very versatile.

Footnotes ( Tip for healthy living):

Fenugreek or methi seeds are strongly pungent and aromatic seeds. They are used in cooking commonly in the Indian cuisine.It has been traditionally used to cure digestive issues and to increase milk production in lactating mothers. The medicinal benefits of the methi seeds are beneficial not only in the diabetics, but for the anemic, lactating mothers, perimenopausal  women and even during menstruation to ease cramps. 

It is also supposed to maintain testosterone levels in men.You can read more in the references provided below.

Studies suggest that the amino-acid 4-hydroxy isoleucine present in the fenugreek seeds facilitates insulin secretion in the human body. In addition, fiber in the seeds helps lower rate of glucose absorption in the intestines thus controls blood sugar levels. Fenugreek seeds are therefore strongly recommended in the diabetic diet. 

Methi seeds help reduce cholesterol in the body, especially LDL. This is due to the fact that fenugreek seeds are rich in fiber and the presence of saponins. It also apparently has 25% galactomannan which is a natural soluble fiber which is specifically related to reduced risk of cardiovascular issues.It also has a gumming substance called mucilage which when mixed with water expands and becomes gelatinous. This is helpful for adding bulk to the meals , causing early satiety and therefore acts as an appetite suppressant.. It is also helpful in preventing digestive issues and constipation as this mucilage acts as a laxative.

The mucilage in fenugreek is also purported to help relieve sore throat and cough.

Fenugreek seeds have compounds that have estrogen like properties that helps in Women's health issues. Diosgenin in fenugreek increases the amount of breast milk produced in lactating women.Emmenagogue is supposed to help menstruating women by opening up obstructed menses and making the porcess of menstruation work smoothly and comfortably.Disogenin and estrogenic isoflavones present in fenugreek helos reduce menopausal symptoms like mood swings, depression, cramps and abnormal hunger pangs.

Fenugreek is also supposed to help prevent colon cancer due to strong anti-carcinogenic potential due to the various saponins and other compounds present.

Methi seeds are rich in B-complex vitamins, vitamin A, C & K and rich in minerals such as copper, potassium, iron, calcium, selenium, zinc, magnesium and manganese.

References:
http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-733-FENUGREEK.aspx?activeIngredientId=733&activeIngredientName=FENUGREEK
http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/fenugreek-seeds.html
http://www.medindia.net/patients/lifestyleandwellness/fenugreek.htm




Disclaimer:
I am not a nutritionist or dietitian. My knowledge and information is based on my research and reading from different resources. Please consult your doctor or dietitian before making any changes to your diet.


Try these other delicious healthy salads from the DFT team!

1. Chahat's Moroccan Carrot Orange Salad

2. Apsara's Red Quinoa Salad

3. Anu's Lettuce Salad Wrap

4. Prachi's Mediterranean Barley Salad

5. Shailja's Garbanzo Bean Salad

6. Sonal's Asian Mung Sprout Salad

7. Swati 's Bulgur Wheat Salad Tabbouleh

8.Parvathy's Kale and Eggplant Salad 


Food for thought:

When a thing is done, it's done. Don't look back. Look forward to your next objective. George C. Marshall