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Monday, 17 February 2020

Muesli Breakfast Bowl


This healthy and delicious Muesli breakfast bowl is a perfect way to kick start your day. Made using homemade Muesli with healthy goodness of oats, seeds and nuts, it takes just 5 minutes to make this filling and nutritious breakfast bowl. You can make this muesli breakfast bowl by the overnight-oats method and just top it with fresh fruits and some chia seeds before serving or enjoy the muesli with frozen berries pulsed with yogurt and then topped with fruits, the way i have served here. Either way it is no less than a wholesome flavorful treat ! The recipe is gluten-free, refined sugar-free and can be made vegan by using plant based milk.


What is Muesli? 

Muesli is a mixture of cereals like wheat flakes, oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruits. This mix may be combined with one or more liquids like milk, yogurt, or fruit juice and left to soften the oats before being consumed. The soaked muesli may further be topped with fresh fruits and bits of chocolate for a feeling and nutritious meal. Muesli was not originally intended as a breakfast food, but as an appetizer similar to bread and butter. It was introduced around 1900 by Bircher-Benner (a Swiss doctor) for patients in his hospital, where a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables was an essential part of therapy. source

What is the difference between Muesli and Granola ?
The main difference between muesli and granola is that while both are made up of grains, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits, muesli is unbaked while granola is baked along with a sweetener and oil to bind the ingredients together.
The other difference is that Muesli can be served cold (soaked in a liquid) or hot(cooked in simmering liquid) while Granola is always served cold either with a splash of milk or over yogurt. Granola can also be had as a delicious snack by itself.
                              
What goes into my Homemade Muesli?
Making a batch of Muesli at home is very easy and it does not have a particular recipe either. You just have to mix the rolled oats, dried fruits, nuts and seeds together and store in a jar. Since i do not like the raw taste of oats, i have lightly dry toasted the rolled oats and nuts before adding the dried fruits and raisin to it. I have also flavored my muesli with cinnamon powder and little salt. the preparation of homemade muesli varies according to one's personal tastes and preference, the basic proportions are around 80% grain, 10% nuts and seeds and 10% dried fruits. You may use any nut, seed and dried fruit in making your muesli just chop them to the same size as that of rolled oats. If you add tiny seeds like sesame seeds or chia seeds, they tend to settle to the bottom of the jar. You may however sprinkle such tiny seeds on your muesli breakfast bowl before serving it.
Oats are among the healthiest grains on earth. They are a gluten-free whole grain and a great source of important vitamins, minerals, plant-based protein, fiber and antioxidants. This makes it a powerful meal for gut, heart, and brain health. Studies show that oats and oatmeal have many health benefits which include weight loss, lower blood sugar levels and a reduced risk of heart disease.
                                              
  • Grains : Rolled oats form the base of this muesli. You may use other whole grain flakes like wheat flakes or rye flakes also along with rolled oats. I have used gluten-free rolled oats.
  • Dried Fruits: I have used chopped dried apricots and figs along with golden raisin and currants. You may use any dried fruit like goji berry, cranberries, blueberries etc or use chopped dates instead of figs.
  • Nuts: I have used cashew nuts, almonds, walnuts and unsweetened coconut flakes.You may add any nuts of your choice. 
  • Seeds: I have used pumpkin seeds here in my muesli and sprinkle chia seeds on my breakfast bowl just just before serving. You may use sunflower seeds also in your muesli.
  • Cinnamon Powder: I have flavored my muesli with cinnamon powder. You may skip it if you wish.
  • Salt: I have also added a dash of salt to my muesli. This is also purely optional.
                                

Traditionally all the muesli ingredients are just tossed together and filled in a jar. As i do not like the raw taste of oats, i have simply toasted the ingredients in a pan for few minutes and mixed together after cooling . You may roast the rolled oats , pumpkin seeds and nuts in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 5-7 minutes instead. I have then seasoned my muesli with freshly ground cinnamon powder and dash of salt. Fill the muesli in a clean and dry glass jar with a air-tight lid. Muesli made in such way stays good for 1-2 months at room temperature. I always make smaller batches which last for a month or so.

Ways of serving Muesli:
  • Overnight Muesli: You can serve muesli just like the overnight oats. Add muesli to a mason jar. Add milk to it, cover and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours or overnight. Top it with fresh fruits just before serving. You may add little honey or other sweetener if desired.
  • With yogurt and berries : Soak the muesli in little milk just for 30 minutes. Pulse frozen berries with yogurt. Add this flavored yogurt to the soaked muesli. Top it with some fresh fruits and berries and serve. You may sprinkle chia seeds as well.
Health benefits of including Muesli in regular diet source
Muesli has been widely promoted as a healthy food. You can eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner or in between your meals. Let's have a look at the health benefits of eating Muesli.
  • Rich in Fibre: Oats are a rich source of fibre. The fibre content helps in improving bowel movements and prevents constipation. The rich fibre content also make muesli a heart healthy food as it helps in lowering cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart diseases.
  • Store house of Minerals and Vitamins: As muesli is a mixture of nuts and dried fruits, it is rich in minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and selenuim which are essential for well being of the body and for stronger bones and teeth. Muesli is also rich in vitamin A, C, E and K which help in maintaining the overall health.
  • Keeps you energetic: Muesli is rich in carbohydrates so keeps one energetic
  • Full of Antioxidants: Muesli contains different types of antioxidants which help in protecting the body against free radical damage. Antioxidants also helps in keeping you stress free and prevents ageing.
  • Boosts Immunity: The antioxidants in muesli boosts immunity and protect you from common infections and keeps you strong and healthy.
  • Controls Blood Pressure and good for Diabetes: Diabetes is known as a diabetic-friendly food and keeps hypertension under check.
Super Nuts and Seeds @Foodie Monday Bloghop

Nuts and seeds are considered to be among the healthiest foods on earth and referred to as super foods. Relatively smaller in size nuts and seeds are heart healthy energy dense food packed in proteins, fatty acids, minerals, fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. Including them in our daily diet boosts immunity and maintains good health. With this though in mind, our hostess for the 234th week on our Facebook Gourmet group, FoodieMondayBlogHop, Swaty Malik who blogs at foodtrails suggested that we cook any dish with nuts and seeds as our star ingredient. I already have many winter special ladoo and energy bars with seeds and nuts on the blog. So, i thought of making a homemade muesli which makes for an easy yet nutritious meal in a jiffy. Meanwhile, do check out Swaty's blog for healthy and delicious recipes from around the globe. I have bookmarked her Flaxseeds chutney powder and chutneywale aloo to try out soon.
                                                           
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Roasting Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients for Homemade Muesli:
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup raw sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins and currants
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricot and dried figs
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2-3 tablespoon unsalted cashew nuts
  • 2-3 tablespoon walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Method:
  1. Dry roast the rolled oats in a heated pan for 4-5 minutes on low to medium flame for 4-5 minutes while stirring intermittently. Remove the oats in a plate and allow to cool down.

2. To the same pan, add pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds and coconut flakes and roast for 2-3 minutes. Remove and keep aside to cool down. Next, add halved cashews and roughly chopped walnuts and toast for 1-2 minutes. Allow them to cool down as well.



3. Alternatively, you can oven roast the rolled oats, pumpkin seeds and nuts. For that, spread rolled oats and nuts in a single layer on a baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degree Celsius for 7-10 minutes. Once cool, add roasted oats and nuts to a mixing bowl. add raisins, currants and chopped apricots and figs to it. Toss well. Now sprinkle cinnamon powder and salt over it and mix everything well. Fill the homemade muesli mix to a dry and clean glass jar with a close fitting lid and keep it at room temperature until use.



4. Make overnight muesli by adding warm milk to muesli in a jar. Cover and refrigerate for 4-5 hours or overnight. Top with fresh fruits just before serving. Alternatively, you may soak the muesli in little milk for just 30 minutes. Add flavored or plain yogurt and top with fresh or frozen berries and fruits and serve as a healthy nutritious breakfast bowl. You may sprinkle chia seeds or hemp seeds on your muesli before serving. You may choose to keep the muesli plain or sweeten it with yogurt or other sweetener of your choice. I have pulse yogurt with frozen strawberries and added it to my milk soaked muesli. Sprinkled chia seeds and topped my muesli breakfast bowl with sliced bananas, chopped strawberries and kiwi fruit.

                           

Recipe Notes:
  • Traditionally all the muesli ingredients are just tossed together and filled in a jar. As i do not like the raw taste of oats, i have simply toasted the ingredients in a pan for few minutes and mixed together after cooling . You may roast the rolled oats , pumpkin seeds and nuts in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 5-7 minutes instead. 
  • You may use any nut, seed and dried fruit in making your muesli just chop them to the same size as that of rolled oats. If you add tiny seeds like sesame seeds or chia seeds, they tend to settle to the bottom of the jar. You may however sprinkle such tiny seeds on your muesli breakfast bowl before serving it.
  • To make a vegan muesli breakfast bowl, use a plant based milk like soymilk or alomnd milk to soak the muesli. You may also use coconut water or any fresh fruit juice instead of dairy milk or yogurt.
  • You may also top your muesli breakfast bowl with chopped chocolate for variation along with fresh fruits.
I hope a few of you would love to try out this recipe. If you do so, feel free to share your feedback with us in the form of likes and comments in the comment section below this post. All your suggestions are also more than welcome. If you like my work and feel it is worth following, do hit the follow button at the top right corner of this blog. Your appreciation means a lot to me. For more recipes and new updates follow us on social media.

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Friday, 14 February 2020

Eggless Lemon Crinkle Cookies


These Lemon Crinkle Cookies are soft butter biscuits bursting with refreshing lemon flavor in every bite. These citrusy cookies are egg-less, made with whole wheat flour and have no artificial flavor or color. Added fresh lemon zest and lemon juice impart a citrusy flavor to the cookies. The cookie dough balls are coated in powdered sugar before they are baked for the crinkle effect. These lemon crinkle cookies are slightly crisp from outside and soft and fluffy from within. You can make these delightful cookies at home from scratch with a simple and easy to follow recipe. Serve them as an after-dinner dessert or to satisfy some sweet cravings, either way, these cookies are sure to lift your mood.


What are Crinkle Cookies?

Crinkle cookies are the soft pillowy cookies topped with powdered sugar that cracks or crinkles while they bake. Chocolate crinkle cookies are typically made for Christmas, which gives a wintery snow-capped appearance to the cookies. Typical crinkle cookies are made using all-purpose flour, shortening, eggs, and sugar. The cookie dough is sticky and kept in the refrigerator for easy handling. The cookie dough balls are then rolled in powdered sugar before baking to get the typical crinkle effect.


What goes into these Lemon Crinkle Cookies?

These lemon crinkle cookies are made using whole wheat flour. If you are looking for the typical texture of crinkle cookies you may use only all-purpose flour or use whole wheat flour and APF in a 1:1 ratio as the whole wheat cookies are a little dense. These cookies are egg-less but do have butter in them. I made crinkle cookies for the first time, so was not sure if oil could give me the soft pillowy texture and the crinkle effect, so used butter instead. For the citrus flavors, use freshly grated lemon zest and fresh lemon juice. You can go for lemon yellow food color, i have used a pinch of turmeric powder instead. These lemon crinkle cookies are deliciously sweet and refined sugar is the choice of sweetener. Apart from the above-mentioned ingredients milk and baking powder is also used to make these lemon crinkle cookies.  I do agree that these cookies are not very healthy owing to the amount of butter and sugar in them, but occasionally you can indulge in such delightful treats!


It's Celebration Time!

I made this Lemon Crinkle Cookies to celebrate a milestone in my blogging journey. This is my 500th post today and it is Valentine's Day today, so it certainly calls for a celebration, isn't it? I literally did not think, that I would go so further when I started blogging in 2015. I would like to take this as an opportunity to thank all my readers for the constant motivation and inspiration i get from you all. I hope to get the same support as i move ahead and continue my blogging journey.


 Related Event: 

I am submitting these refreshing and delightful Lemon Crinkle Cookies to the A to Z recipe challenge group, a gourmet group on Facebook where i post every alternate month. Members of this group post different food recipes with a key ingredient having a particular alphabet. As per the alphabetical order, this month we had to cook a dish starting with alphabet L. I chose Lemon as my key ingredient and made this citrusy Lemon Crinkle Cookies. This post is my 11th contribution to this group. The other recipes i have shared here, so far are
                                                      

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 13-15 minutes
Serves: 8 cookies

Ingredients: Measurements used 1 cup = 240 ml
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 50 grams of butter ( i have used salted butter)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar + 3 tablespoons for coating
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Zest of 1 lemon, around a teaspoon
  • Juice of 1 lemon, around a tablespoon
  • Pinch of turmeric powder (optional)
Method:
  1. To begin with, making the lemon crinkle cookies, first, take butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and lemon zest in a mixing bowl. Beat the mixture with a wire whisk or electric beater until light and fluffy. Next, add lemon juice and beat again. Lastly, add the milk and blend again. Keep aside.


2. Sift whole wheat flour, baking powder, and turmeric powder twice. Add a pinch of salt if using unsalted butter. I have used salted butter, so did not add salt.


3. Add the flour in batches to the sugar and butter mixture and blend using a spatula. Do not overbeat. Gather the mixture to get a sticky dough. Cover and keep the cookie dough in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes, so that it becomes firm and easy to handle.



4. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes. Line the baking tray with a parchment paper. Take the remaining 3 tablespoons powdered sugar in a bowl. Divide the cookie dough into equal portions and roll it into a round shape. Roll each cookie dough ball in the bowl of powdered sugar to coat it well from all sides.


5. Arrange the cookie dough balls on the lined baking sheet spacing them apart. Transfer the baking tray to a preheated oven and bake the cookies at 180 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes. Keep a watch after 12 minutes. Mine took exactly 13 minutes to bake.


6. The cookies are very soft while hot and harden slightly on cooling. Allow the cookies to cool down completely on a wire rack before transferring them to an airtight container. Serve the delightful lemon crinkle cookies at tea time or as an after-dinner dessert and enjoy with your loved ones!



Recipe Notes:
  • I have roughly adapted the recipe from here
  • If you are looking for the typical texture of crinkle cookies you may use only all-purpose flour or use whole wheat flour and APF in a 1:1 ratio as the whole wheat cookies are a little dense.
  • If using unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon salt to the flour.
  • Use fresh lemon juice and zest for the best results.
  • The cookies stay good for about 3-4 days at room temperature in an air-tight container. 
I hope a few of you would love to try out this recipe. If you do so, feel free to share your feedback with us in the form of likes and comments in the comment section below this post. All your suggestions are also more than welcome. If you like my work and feel it is worth following, do hit the follow button at the top right corner of this blog. Your appreciation means a lot to me. For more recipes and new updates follow us on social media.
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Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Leftover Rajma Kebab


Rajma kebab is a protein-rich delectable snack made from kidney beans. It is a vegetarian version of the popular Galouti kebab from the Awadhi Cuisine in which kidney beans replace the meat. I have made this Rajma kebab from the leftover Rajma Masala. The recipe is vegan and gluten-free and you can shape the kebab before hand and refrigerate them until use. I have shallow fried the leftover rajma kebab in little oil until golden brown from both sides. These kebabs are crisp from outside and moist and succulent from within. They are melt-in-mouth types with not a very firm texture. Rajma kebab can be served as flavorful appetizer with green chutney and some salad . They make for a perfect tea-time snack and you can also roll them in wraps with salad and dip as a wholesome meal.


What is Rajma Masala?

Rajma masala is a healthy and delicious red kidney beans curry from the Punjabi Cuisine. Basically, it is a mildly spiced, creamy thick gravy with onion tomato base in which soaked and cooked rajma (kidney beans) are simmered with basic Indian spices. Rajma masala is a regular affair at my place on weekends. It makes for a soulful lunch or dinner with jeera rice and phulka. But what do you do with the leftovers ? Either you can reheat and eat it again with rice or give it a flavorful makeover, like this rajma kebab.

                               

What goes into my Rajma Kebab?

Since, i have made this Rajma kebab using the leftover Rajma Masala, the obvious star ingredient is a cup full of this curry. The rajma curry has to be strained first to remove the gravy. Strained rajma are mashed with boiled potatoes which make the base of our kebab. As the rajma has flavors from the spicy curry,  we need to just add little red chili powder and salt. Finely chopped onions and fresh coriander leaves give the kebab a refreshing feel and believe me , no one can make out that the kebab are made from leftover curry. a dough is made with all these ingredients. If you feel the kebab dough is sticky or difficult to work with, you may add a bit of roasted gram flour or roasted oats powder for binding the kebab or to give it a firm texture. I have not added either of them. Finally the formed kebab are shallow fried in little oil until crisp and golden brown from both sides.

In case, you do not have a leftover rajma curry and you wish to make the rajma kebab fresh, You have to soak the kidney beans for 6-8 hours and pressure cook them until done. Now, since the rajma in this case, is not flavored. You will have to add garam masala, amchur powder or lime juice, ginger garlic green chili paste to the mashed rajma and potatoes . Follow rest of the recipe as mentioned below and make the kebab.


Before moving ahead, let's look at the health benefits of eating Kidney Beans a.k.a. Rajma.

Kidney bean is a variety of the common bean (Phaseolus Vulgaris). It is named for its visual resemblance in shape and color to a kidney. Kidney beans are a rich source of folic acid, calcium, carbohydrates, fiber, and proteins.


                                    


 Health Benefits of Kidney BeansSource
  • Lowers Cholesterol - The high content of complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber in kidney beans lowers cholesterol levels in the blood.
  • Good for Diabetes - The low glycemic index of rajma balances the sugar content of the body.
  • A powerhouse of protein - Kidney beans have high protein content and can serve as a great substitute for meat in vegetarians.
  • Helps in weight loss - Kidney beans keep one full for a longer time due to a large amount of dietary fiber. Also, the low-fat content makes it a wholesome low-calorie meal.
  • Strengthens the bones - The manganese and calcium present in the kidney beans make the bones stronger and help in preventing osteoporosis.

For more recipes using Kidney beans, check out the following from this blog.
Rajma Masala,  Rajma Pulao,  Rajma Sundal,  Minestrone Soup with Kidney Beans

Leftover Makeover @Healthy Wealthy Cuisines

I am a part of a Facebook gourmet group, Healthy Wealthy Cuisine where in participating bloggers share recipes every fortnight on a pre-decided themes. Leftover Makeover is the current theme suggested by Narmadha who is a wonderful person and a versatile food blogger. Her blog is a home to many recipes from both regional Indian and international cuisines. Also, do check out her space if you are looking for different non-vegetarian dishes. For this theme, she wanted us to share food recipes made from leftover food. Rajma masala is a regular affair at my place on weekends and there is really no taker for the reheated leftover curry in my house. So either i make rajma pulao or rajma kebab with the leftover rajma masala and believe me the whole batch is vanished in no time. Checkout the following contributions by my fellow bloggers on this theme.
                             

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 7

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup Rajma Masala
  • 2 small boiled potatoes 
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoon fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 2-3 tablespoon oil
  • Salt to taste

Method:
  1. Strain the rajma masala curry using a soup strainer to separate the rajma from gravy. Mash the strainer rajma in a mixing bowl.


2.  Add the boiled potatoes, finely chopped onion , coriander leaves, salt and red chili powder to mashed rajma. Mix everything very well and do a taste test at this point. Add more salt, red chili powder or lemon juice if required.



3. Roughly divide the kebab mix into 6-7 equal portions. Roll out each portion in the palm and flatten slightly to make tikki shaped kebabs. Make all the kebabs similarly and arrange on a plate. Keep the kebab plate in refrigerator for 10 minutes so that the kebabs become firm and hold shape. This step is optional.


4. Heat a greased skillet on medium flame. Arrange the kebabs on it and drizzle oil around the kebabs. Shallow fry the kebabs for 5-7 minutes on low to medium flame. Now, delicately flip it and cook until it turns crisp and golden brown in colour.



5. Serve the healthy and delicious Rajma Kebab with green chutney, onion rings and lemon wedges at tea time and enjoy a flavorful treat with your loved ones !


Recipe Notes:
  • If you feel the kebab dough is sticky or difficult to work with, you may add a bit of roasted gram flour or roasted oats powder for binding the kebab or to give it a firm texture. 
  • In case, you do not have a leftover rajma curry and you wish to make the rajma kebab fresh, soak kidney beans overnight and pressure cook until soft. Now, since the rajma in this case, is not flavored, add garam masala, amchur powder or lime juice, ginger garlic green chili paste to the mashed rajma and potatoes . Follow rest of the recipe as mentioned above and make the kebab.
  • You can make the rajma kebab ahead of time and refrigerate it until serving time. Just shallow fry the shaped kebabs until crisp and golden brown from both sides.
  • You can roll the rajma kebabs in whole wheat wraps with some salad and creamy dip and enjoy it as a wholesome meal.
I hope some of you would love to try out this recipe. If you do so, feel free to share your feedback with us in the form of likes and comments in the comment section below this post. All your suggestions are also more than welcome. If you like my work and feel it is worth following, do hit the follow button at the top right corner of this blog. Your appreciation means a lot to me. For more recipes and new updates follow us on social media.
                                  
                                  
                                  
                                 
                                
                            



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