Thursday, December 31, 2015

Eggless Mango Mousse with fruits; Fiesta Friday Anniversary Special!!



I wanted to be here bright and early for the anniversary gala at Fiesta Friday, week 2!!  JudiMollieSteffiand Suzanne, have been working hard all weekIt is also the NEW YEAR!! Happy New Year to all of you my dear blogger friends!This time I have brought you all a light and fluffy, melt-in-the-mouth, loaded with fruits dessert! I cannot make cream-art but tried to write a message for this event.


This dessert is the result of modification of my good friend Sarika's recipe. I loaded her recipe with tons of fresh fruits to make it relatively healthy and renamed it! You can find the original recipe here.


This is a dessert that would appeal to all age-groups, vegetarians and those who observe gluten-free diet or are allergic to nuts. Kids would love it! It is a great way to get kids to eat fresh fruits ! This is a very simple recipe that can be made the previous night of the party. It only has 4 main ingredients.Basically, I took equal quantities of whipping cream, mango pulp and fruits and half the quantity of powdered sugar.You whip the cream and the powdered sugar and then add the mango pulp and whip it. Lastly fold in the fruits of your choice! Voila!! A beautiful dessert is ready!!



Servings: 8-10 ( 1 cup per person)


Ingredients:


Mango pulp: 1 cup ( room temperature).
Whipping/heavy cream: 1 cup
Powdered sugar: 1/2 cup
Canned fruits in juice: one 8 oz can
Plum: 1, peeled and diced
Peach: 1, peeled and diced
Strawberries: 8-10, washed and sliced into 2.
Raspberries: 8-10
Blackberry: 1
Clementines/mandarins: 4-5, peeled and sections separated.


Method:


Chill the bowl and beaters into which you are going to whip the cream in the freezer for 15 mins .

Drain the canned fruits and keep aside.

Using a hand-blender, whip the cream until soft peaks start to appear, around 4-5 minutes.Do not over whip.



Now add the powdered sugar and mix on low.




Fold in the mango pulp.


Add in the drained fruits and fresh cut fruits.




Decorate using berries as you wish.

Serve chilled!



Enjoy! Happy New Year Everyone!! I am not only bringing this to Fiesta Friday but also to Throwback Thursdays.


Cooking made easy:


You can make this dish using all fresh fruits making it even more healthier!
You can use your choice of fruits based on availability and individual preference.

Tip for healthy living:


It is recommended to eat 4-5 servings of fruits per day. This provides with the much needed essential vitamins,  minerals and dietary fiber!!

Food for thought:


The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals. Melody Beattie

Friday, December 25, 2015

Gluten-free Apple, Pear & Cranberry Crisp/Crumble; 100th Fiesta Friday Special!!



Today's post is dedicated to Angie Christina from The Novice Gardener who is also the host of this amazing blog party " Fiesta Friday"!! Today we are celebrating the 100th Fiesta Friday party! Fiesta Friday started small but has grown in leaps and bounds with the care and nurturing from Angie and all her wonderful co-hosts who help her week  after week. This post is dedicated to all the co-hosts as well who toil behind the scenes visiting each and every blog and bringing us wonderful features. Running a blog party so efficiently is no joke! Kudos to Angie, who I know works full-time and is a mother like me.When I joined Fiesta Friday, I was a novice, who knew nothing about blogging, who was trying her footing in the blogging world and learning. Fiesta Friday has been a great platform for me to meet some wonderful fellow bloggers and learn from them. Angie and her crew have constantly encouraged and supported me in my journey , even though at times I would be late at her party or wouldn't be able to stay and mingle for long.She has always corrected me in a humorous manner when I have made blunders and always come to my rescue. She is a very gracious hostess indeed! The co-hosts that she picks have all been like-minded people. A special mention of our dear friend Selma who is not here to celebrate this milestone with us in person but will always be amidst us in spirit! She was a staunch supporter of Fiesta Friday! I congratulate Angie on reaching this milestone today! Angie, you have every reason to be proud!! Yay!! 







I have brought you one of my favorite desserts ( newly found love!;)). I am sure you guys have noticed that in the title of this post, I have named this dish Apple-pear-cranberry crisp/crumble. This is because I am not sure which one it is. To begin with, I am confused as to the difference between crisp and crumble. I looked up online and found that the crumble has oats in the topping while the crisp does not. So what if you were to make the topping in the crumble using oats and oat flour? Does that now become a " crisp"?? Well, if any of you out there is knowledgeable regarding crisp/crumble, please feel free to shed some light on this matter.





Now, let us get back to the dish on hand. I am a "huge" dessert person, but gone are those when I could eat desserts without another thought! Now I pick and choose my desserts: they should be gluten-free, low in sugar and calories. Basically, healthy desserts. Are you thinking that then it is no longer a "dessert"?? Well, everything is relative isn't it? Each one to their own. I like fruit-based desserts. This particular one is especially good as it has a variety of fruits and very little butter in it. I call it a guilt-free dessert. It is also very easy to make! Totally my kind! I made it by combining Martha Stewart's recipe and the Fabulous Sisters' recipe. Do give it a try and let me know your thoughts. By the way, If you haven't been to the Fiesta, this is a great time to check it out! JudiMollieSteffi, and Suzanne, can hardly wait to welcome you!




Servings:4- 6 ( one 2 inch x 2 inch slice per person)


Ingredients:


Apples: 2 medium-sized, peeled, cored and diced.
Pears: 2 medium-sized, peeled, cored and diced.
Fresh cranberries: 1/2 cup
Lemon juice: 1 tbsp
Orange juice: 1 tbsp
Brown sugar: 2 tbsp
Cinnamon powder: 1/2 tsp
Nutmeg:  a pinch ( optional)
Salt: a pinch

For the topping:

Oat flour: 1/2 cup
Whole oats: 1/2  cup ( I used Quaker old fashioned oats)
Cinnamon powder: 1/2 tsp
Nutmeg: 1/8 tsp ( optional)
Brown sugar: 1/4 cup
Butter: 2 tbsp ( at room temperature)

Method:


Preheat the oven to 350 deg F.


Take the chopped apples, pears and washed cranberries in a bowl.


Add orange juice, lemon juice, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder, salt, sugar and mix well.


Take a baking dish and spread this evenly in the dish. Keep aside.





In a separate bowl, take the oats, oat flour, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder, brown sugar and butter. Mix it well using a fork.


Sprinkle this flour-oat mixture on top of the fruits.

Cover with a parchment paper and then foil sheet.

Place it on the center tray of the pre-heated oven.

Bake for 30 mins. After that, remove the parchment lined foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes.

Can be served hot or cold.




May be served with ice-cream if you are not calorie-conscious or for kids.




Enjoy!

Cooking made easy:


The above dish can made without cranberries. Choose apples that hold themselves upon cooking like Gala, Empire or Braeburn and pears that are firm.

Tip for healthy living:


Being mindful of the quality and quantity of desserts eaten can help control the total calorie intake per meal and therefore per day. Eat healthier desserts that are rich in nutrients than just sugar. Also eat desserts in very small portions. Be determined not to take second helpings.

Food for thought:

It is a good thing until you discover a better thing. Martha Stewart

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Quinoa-Sweet Potato Mini-Cutlets with Cranberry Chutney/Dip; DFT



It's that time of the year when there are holiday parties galore!! Tons of food everywhere: work, home, you name it! No, I am not being a Grinch. I am all for parties. With a little planning and thinking, we can make these festive gatherings healthy. One just has to be smart about it. There are different ways to achieve this: 1. Sneak healthy ingredients to all your menu items.
2. Make 50% of your menu items healthy.
3. Reduce the portion size of all your hors-d'oeuvres.
4.Serve desserts that are not that sugary and are more natural, fruit-based.
5. Provide smaller plates for eating.

Here are some healthy appetizer ideas for your holiday party.Go ahead and celebrate this Holiday Season with Team DFT with some figure fitting, weight watchers and Diabetes Friendly Recipes!



                       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!

My contribution to this are these very delicious protein-packed mini-cutlets made with the goodness of quinoa and sweet potatoes.They are crunchy when you bite into them and soft on the inside.  They are totally guilt-free. Are you surprised that I am recommending sweet-potatoes for diabetics?? Believe it or not, according to the American Diabetes Association, sweet potatoes are considered a superfood for diabetics! You can read more in the "footnotes" ( tip for healthy living).




Coming back to the quinoa-sweet potato mini-cutlets, they are simple and easy to make. You don't need too many ingredients either. You can make it gluten-free too. I made half the batch gluten-free and the other half not because I ran out of white cornmeal. This dish uses very little oil. You could bake them or pan-fry them. I baked half the batch and pan-fried the other half. Frankly, I prefer the pan-fried version as it crisps and browns better than the baked version.



So, go ahead and give it a try and share your thoughts and opinions. I look forward to them.

Recipe for Cranberry chutney: click here.


Recipe for the Quinoa-Sweet potato Mini-Cutlets




Servings: makes 24 mini-cutletsServing size: 2 per person with 1 tsp chutney

Ingredients:


Quinoa: 1/2 cup, uncooked
Water: 1 cup
Salt: 1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp ( adjust as per individual taste)
Sweet potato: 1, medium-sized
Water: 4 cups
Onion: 1, small
Ginger-garlic paste: 1 tsp
Green chillies: 1-2 ( adjust as per individual spice level), chopped fine.
Cumin powder ( jeera powder): 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder ( dhania powder): 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder: 1/8 tsp ( optional).
Cilantro ( coriander leaves): 2 tbsp, chopped
Cornflour: 1 tbsp
White cornmeal ( makke ka atta) / Cream of wheat ( sooji): 1/2 cup, for dipping; may not need all.
Cooking oil : 1-2 tbsp for greasing the skillet/pan.

Method:


Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Add 1/4 tsp salt and 1/2 cup washed quinoa. Reduce the flame to low, cover the saucepan and let it cook for 15mins. When done all the water should be gone and you should see small curly strands on the quinoa. Fluff it with a fork/ spoon and keep aside to cool.




Bring 4 cups water with the washed unpeeled sweet potato  in it to a boil. Reduce the flame and cook for 15 mins or until the sweet potato is tender enough to be mashed. Alternatively, you could steam the sweet potato.




Let the sweet potato cool down completely. Peel it and mash it in a bowl. Add cooked quinoa, cumin powder, coriander powder,garam masala powder,  chopped onion, ginger garlic paste, chopped green chillies , chopped cilantro ,cornflour and mix well. Your dough is ready.




Take the white cornmeal/cream of wheat/ sooji in a plate.




Using wet hands, pinch a lemon-sized dough in your hand and make a ball. Gently press it down to make it into a pattie/cutlet. Do this with all the available dough.




Heat a skillet/frying pan on medium heat. Grease it with 1 tbsp oil.






Roll each cutlet in  cornmeal/cream of wheat/ sooji and place it on the hot skillet.



Reduce flame to low and cook for 7-8 minutes. Flip and cook the other side for 5-7 minutes or until lightly golden. It should be crispy from the outside and soft on the inside.



Alternatively, if you choose to bake, place the cornmeal/ sooji rolled cutlets on a parchment paper-lined baking tray. Bake it at 350 deg F in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until it turns slightly golden.


Flip it once halfway through the baking.




Serve hot with cranberry chutney.





I am bringing these beauties to Throwback Thursday, Fiesta Friday #99 and Saucy Saturday! Caroline @ Caroline’s Cooking and Linda @ La Petite Paniere are co-hosting Angie's Fiesta Friday this week.


Cooking made easy:


You could make the batter and shape the cutlet ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. An hour before the party just roll it and pan-fry or bake it.

Alternatively, you could make it completely the previous day. Just warm it in the oven an hour before the party.

Footnotes ( tip for healthy living):


Again, according to the American Diabetes Association, sweet potatoes are considered a superfood for diabetics! Sweet potatoes have shown stabilization of blood-sugar levels by lowering insulin resistance. The high fiber content in sweet potatoes also helps reduce the " bad" LDL cholesterol in the body. The glycemic index of sweet potatoes is much lower than potatoes. A cup of mashed sweet potato has 58 grams of carbohydrate of which 8.2 gms is fiber. ADA recommends that a diabetic consumes no more than 45-60 grams of carbohydrate per meal. This means that sweet potatoes can be part of the meal, provided the rest of the meal is food free of carbohydrate.

Quinoa is a nutrient- rich superfood that is not only protein-rich, but is so rich in dietary fiber. It has a low glycemic index and helps stabilize the blood-sugar level.

References:
http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/sweet-potatoes-good-diabetics-1614.html
http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/nutrition/nutrition+tips/sweet+potatoes+a+diabetic+superfood,12627
http://www.prevention.com/health/diabetes/dr-weil-why-sweet-potato-king
http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/quinoa-good-grain-diabetics-eat-1759.html
http://www.livestrong.com/article/345256-how-to-count-quinoa-into-a-diabetes-meal-plan/

Disclaimer

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


Other DFT contributors  and their links!

http://simplyvegetarian777.com/2015/12/16/spicy-rajma-chaat-in-tomato-baskets-diabetes-friendly-thursdays/

https://shailjatomar.wordpress.com/2015/12/16/black-bean-meatless-meatballs/

http://eatingwelldiary.com/2015/12/16/easy-savory-or-masala-granola-for-diabetes-friendly-thursdays/

http://www.sarikasethgunjal.com/murgh-malai-tikka-dft/

Food for thought:


It's what you learn after you know it all that counts. John



Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Holiday Sugar Cookies





It is the holiday season! There is Christmas music and decorations everywhere. Everybody is in the Holiday spirit. It doesn't matter whether you celebrate Christmas or not, it is hard to be oblivious to the festive cheer around you, especially if you have little children at home. I do not celebrate Christmas, but I do celebrate the Holiday spirit! My three-year old  told me the other day in his little voice: "mummy, it is soon going to be kissmass! It is going to shnow & Shanta Claus is going to come on the sled with presents for us! Did you know that??" How can I disillusion him?? One of the key elements for the holiday celebration are the holiday cookies: the classic sugar cookies with decoration. My kids love to potter around me in the kitchen. I therefore figured that making and decorating Holiday cookies would be a fun activity for them. I therefore set-out looking for an easy, fool-proof sugar-cookie recipe. Funnily, nothing caught my fancy! Finally, I found a very nice and easy recipe in a place we would least expect! I took it from the back of the Domino sugar package!! I was apprehensive about trying out a recipe that none of my friends/ blogger friends could vouch for! Then, I remembered that I had once made these lovely bars from a recipe from the back of a package and they came out great. With this in mind, I bravely tried out the recipe. I must say: the recipe kept it's promise: it was super-easy and super-simple with no need to freeze the dough before using. Also, the cookies didn't fall flat on baking. If held it's shape!! They looked beautiful when they came out of the oven and the kids had a great time decorating it. Even the neighbor's kids joined in the fun! The end result is far from perfect but the pride my kids demonstrated in the cookies they made is unexplainable! Do give this recipe a try: you will never go looking for another one!






Servings: makes around 23-25 cookies.


Ingredients:


Butter: 6 tbsp ( at room temperature)
Sugar: 3/4 cup
Egg: 1
Vanilla essence: 1 tsp
Flour: 2 cups, sifted
Baking powder: 1 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp

For Royal icing:

Confectioner's sugar ( powdered sugar): 3 & 3/4 cups
Egg whites from 2 eggs
Vinegar: 1 tbsp

Method:


Preheat the oven to 350 deg F.

In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy.



Add one egg and vanilla essence am beat well.


Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and keep aside.




Mix  the flour mixture to the egg mixture, little at a time until all the flour is used and a nice dough is formed. Do not over mix.



Using a waxed paper, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness.



Using the cookie cutters, cut out the desired shapes. 



Line them on a cookies sheet. Do this until all the dough has been used up.



Place the cookie sheet on the center rack of the oven and bake at 350 deg for 8-10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cookie.Note: these cookies don't brown ( may be slightly at the bottom), they stay nicely white.



Cool it completely on the cooling rack before decorating it.



Royal icing:

Beat the egg whites for few seconds until frothy. Add the vinegar and beat for 10 more seconds. Now add the powdered sugar one cup at a time beating in between to mix well. Once all the sugar powder has been added, beat on medium for 7-10 minutes or until stiff peaks are seen.

Divide the royal icing in 3 bowls. Add red food coloring to one bowl and green to the other. The third one stays white. Ideally gel colors are preferred as they give deeper colors. I was out of it so I used regular food colors hence they are lighter and more pastel.

Add the frosting to the piping bags. I used Wilton tip# 3 & 5. Decorate the cookies as you wish. You can use edible decoration, candies, pretty much anything you want!!



Let it dry completely, preferably overnight before storing in airtight container.



These cookies may not be the prettiest or professional looking but they were decorated by my kids and when we were having a fun time as a family. To me, these cookies are the most precious ones in this world! Enjoy making these adorable cookies with your kids and sharing them with your loved ones! After all Holidays is about families and this is what makes for wonderful memories!




Happy Holidays Everyone!! 


I am bringing this to Throwback Thursday, Fiesta Friday #99 and Saucy Saturday! Caroline @ Caroline’s Cooking and Linda @ La Petite Paniere are co-hosting Angie's Fiesta Friday this week.


Cooking made easy:


If you don't have icing bags, just add it to a ziplock bag and cut a small edge and pipe away!

One trick to keep cookies soft is to store them with a slice of bread.

Tip for healthy living:


Whenever possible while making cookies and cakes, use butter instead of margarine or shortening as butter is much healthier than the others.

Food for thought:


The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be. Socrates