Malibu Pineapple Muffins

Apr 25, 2012

This past Saturday was my first & most likely last trip to Six Flags! Heres what really happened:
Total time spent: ~ 10 hours
We rode : total 9 rides
We spent : barely 1 minute on each ride
Yes, and the rest 9 hours 50 minutes was spent wasted in the line with 50 million people or something..now I learned my lesson- not-to-go..

That energy-draining experience ruined my bbq plan on Sunday-which I had been looking forward to mainly for grilled pineapples and since I don't have backyard or grill machine, I was bummed to miss this opportunity...So the pineapple, which could have been awesomely grilled was chilling on my counter top and I had too many (supposedly) great recipe ideas none of which worked because my brother & I finished 3/4th of the pineapple (try pineapples with a dash of salt).

It was again that time of the week- time to replenish bread supply so heres what happened to the remaining pineapples.


Ingredients
½ cup oil
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons rum
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 tablespoon flax seed + 6 tablespoon water
2 cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup pineapple, chopped


Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  2.  In a large bowl, beat together the oil, brown sugar, vanilla, and rum. 
  3. Combine the mashed bananas and flax seed mixture in a separate bowl and add to the sugar mixture. Beat until thoroughly combined. 
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon. Stir it into the banana mixture. Add the pineapple to the mixture.
  5. Spoon the batter into the greased muffin tin. 
  6. Bake the muffins for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean
  7. Remove from the oven, and let cool in the tins before removing to cool completely.

I am sending this recipe over to Cooking With Wholefoods where the chosen ingredient is whole wheat flour. For other delicious recipes from fellow bloggers, click here:
and Kirans blog for further information on this event.

Book affairs & Roasted Curried Chickpeas

Apr 19, 2012
Reading books for leisure has become non existent for me, back in December I read Steve Jobs  half way through and that was it. Yesterday, finally I was able to get  "The-Best-of-Me" by Nicholas Sparks and really looking forward to it. You know reading book is therapeutic; for once I can drop down all my stress and be in somebody else's world for a while!

...But I hate how quickly this therapeutic action turns into craziness, once I start to read or watch tv series, I cannot stop until the end and in the meantime I endlessly snack..and that happened this afternoon so I had to talk myself into taking a break and making one of my favorite snack-roasted curried chickpeas..snack does not get any easier, cheaper & of course healthier than that!!
Roasted Curried Chickpeas

Ingredients
1 can of garbanzo/chickpeas, drained, rinsed
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tsp garlic powder
olive olive to drizzle & coat
salt to taste

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour the mixture, bake for 45-50 minutes turning once. Keep an eye out to check until it comes crunchy and it does not burn
You can flavor the chickpeas with any spice blend, sweet, savory, its your call



And guess what? right after the snack was ready, I was back to reading and now it feels like my eye balls are ready to pop out of my head any second. Book reading is a pleasure and I do not want to ruin this experience, I need help!! 

Uberly hopeful and one decadent bread

Apr 17, 2012
This Sunday was pretty relaxing and surprisingly it did not involve any bread baking.  Why? because I saved some cake pops for my breakfast..Just Kidding! Honestly, I would love them for breakfast, lunch, & dinner too but trust me it wont be too long before I myself seek some serious nutritional counseling..

Sunday at the grocery store: Not the first time I came home with random produce, I am too hopeful (pretending to know what to do with it, like this time I bought zucchini).  I blame it on food bloggers and their awesome photography, look at this crunchy zucchini fries or irresistible zucchini bread..As much as I wanted these fries, I had to prioritize and bake bread for obvious reasons (i.e. being stubborn about store bought bread) and also being not too sure about resisting Hostess muffins tomorrow morning..



I adapted sliceoffeist's recipe with few changes and I have to say this is by far the best tasting vegetable (only if I could count bread as a vegetable) EVER (can't stress enough here).

Ingredients
(Almost) 2 cups Shredded Zucchini
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
Dash of salt ( I forgot to add the salt)
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 cup Canola Oil
1/4 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup packed Brown Sugar (add more if you want sweeter bread)
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Directions
  1. In a medium bowl combine oil, sugar and vanilla. Mix in your eggs, yogurt  and shredded zucchini until well combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa  salt, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder. Slowly add this dry mixture into your wet mixture. Beat until combined.
  3. Scrape your batter into a greased loaf pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 50-65 minutes, or until done. 

The bread turned out very moist, not too sweet which I enjoyed & you can't taste zucchini at all (in case you were wandering). It was more like a cake than a bread-which I dont mind at all. I am always critical about my baked goods and always make changes here and there but this one- I would not change a thing! Ah-Ma-Zing!



Almost 1/4 loaf is already gone and my brother is not even home yet so chances are I may have to go after those Hostess Muffins

Oh did I mention I picked up some sweet potatoes too? Talk about being hopeful.

Do you guys randomly buy produce/food? or is it just me? 

One Rough Week Deserves Nothing but Icecream

Apr 13, 2012


I definitely started off on a wrong foot on a Monday morning and the mayhem continued for the rest of my week..Here are the highlights. 
Monday: Had a terrible dream about being in a wreck and was nearly in one. Phewwwww..
Tuesday/Wednesday: PMS, cramps, more cramps followed by back to back meetings.
Thursday: Locked out of my own bathroom and  maintenance guy did not think it was an emergency. I mean how is that not an emergency!!
Friday: Everything went smooth (nearly) other than when my mind went blank and I left grocery bags  at the check-out stand which thankfully I realized right after leaving the parking lot...

Suffice to say, I survived without any major damage (only few breakdowns) and today I am celebrating my victory against daily dramas of my life with ice cream. I am the kind of person who always plan out things and if it goes otherwise, I start to freak out ( I know it does not help) no matter how small or big the issue it..Over the years, trust me I have tried very hard to let small things go but in the end 
we are who we are...


I had been drooling over this ice cream (healthy & super easy to make) on chocolateandcarrots for real long time and finally made (needed it) it today... It was all very worth it, although I should have tried after freezing it for little bit. All in all, great flavor and I would roughly chopped Oreos next time (coz I know I will be making more), rather than crushing it into fine crumbs, I was bummed because I could not enjoy the crunchy Oreo bits :(

Hope you all better week than this and even it if was not the best..don't be so hard on yourself (look who's talking) and do whatever it takes to relax yourselves.. All I needed was a peaceful evening, Jack Johnson, & ice-cream to get this weeks load off my mind.


Have a great weekend :)

Roasted Edamame with Peanut-Chilli Dressing

Apr 11, 2012
..I thought this was spring or I am expecting too much because apparently, here in Dallas there are only 2.5 kinds of seasons- Summer, more summer & glimpses of winter+spring..  Life will soon come to standstill, or at least felt like one last year. Imagine 100F plus heat for 100 some days...all right, allright I will stop complaining about the weather and wait for the heat stroke. 

While I am waiting for a heat stroke or two, I am hoarding (bookmarking) ingredients/recipes that are super easy to make and that requires very little cooking/ assembling so that I could spare some sweats (if possible). Today I am featuring edamame as it is my to-go food anytime of the day; I love the low maintenance factor of it.



Talk about low maintenance, they are great with just a dash of salt or a tsp of wasabi or by spoonful (if you want some real discomfort on your nostrils). I usually keep a frozen bag or two for crisis (i.e hunger) because you can just steam it and its ready! In case you are not familiar with edamame, I highly highly suggest that you give it a try and you sure will thank me..

They are small, green soybeans still in their pods or you can find them shelled but I enjoy eating them from pods. You can easily find them at local grocery stores at frozen vegetable section or at Asian supermarkets. They are also often served at Japanese restaurants and can be eaten as an snack/appetizer/dinner (in my case). 

Nutrition Tidbits:
Edamame (Shelled) Per 1/2 cup: 110-130 calories, 4 grams of fiber & 8-11 grams of protein and sodium free :)

I was bored out of mind and all I wanted to do was keep snacking like I had been on a hunger strike for several days..Good thing my refrigerator & pantry was half-vacant because otherwise I would have happily settled in for bag of potato chips or something. That is when edamame came to rescue. I made a bowl of roasted edamame with peanut-chili dressing and served with vermicelli noodles (totally optional)  in just under 30 minutes.



Ingredients:
Steamed soybeans (shelled)
Ground cumin
Red chili pepper
olive oil
salt

For dressing: In a small bowl, put spoonful of peanut butter (smooth), olive oil,  chili sauce and fresh squeezed lemon juice and mix together very well until it becomes smooth. Set aside.

Sorry for not having any measurement for ingredients as I made only 1 serving and I basically eyeballed everything! Trust me, you can't go wrong here. 

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients and place them in sheet pan for about 15 minutes or until roasted.
  3. Let it cool for few minutes and transfer them into another bowl, stir the dressing and mix them together.
  4. Cover the bowl and chill in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes.
  5. Serve with noodles or could be eaten alone.
 All the flavors and texture work really well together here. Roasted edamame had slight crunch so it complimented the soft vermicelli noodles. If eating with noodles, I would mix the noodles along with edamame and put it in the refrigerator so it says chilled too...just perfect for the summer!


Raisin Bran Bread

Apr 8, 2012

Before I get any more crabbier, Dallas needs to really make up its mind. Somedays it is blazing and today it decided to pour (we do not need this, right after the tornado). Seriously, bad weather gets me more than bad coffee (may be thats an overstatement but still)..For past 2-3 Sundays, I have been baking (or attempting to bake) breads and such for the whole week but today I had no motivation other than spending (time which could have been utilized doing laundry) my whole day with Michael Scofield

So you are probably thinking, whats the deal with Raisin Bran Bread right. Blame it thank the Dallas weather for clearing up, I eventually got some motivation to get back to my Sunday drill-i.e. stocking up bread for the week.

I dig any cereal (in general) any time of the day for any meal but raisin bran! its the raisin that ruins it for me. I had mistakenly bought a box not too long ago, I swear I had tried to separate raisins from bran but boy, that needed some patience (one of many areas I lack). That got me thinking a little (i.e. searching on the internet) and I could not find a better way to use who knows how old raisin bran that had been sitting there into a fresh loaf..




Adapted from Kraftrecipes 
Ingredients:
2 cups raisin bran cereal
1-1/4 cups milk 
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine, melted, divided
1 tbsp milled flax seed + 3 tbsp water  or use 1 egg
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp brown sugar (may use regular sugar)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  2. Mix mixed flax seed and water in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Mix 1-1/2 cups of the cereal, the milk and 2 Tbsp. of the margarine in medium bowl. Let stand 1 minute. 
  4. Add flax seed mixture and mix well. Stir in flour, baking powder and cinnamon until well blended. Spread into 9x5-inch loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray.
  5. Mix remaining 1/2 cup cereal, remaining 2 Tbsp. margarine and 2 tsp. brown sugar until well blended; sprinkle over batter. Gently press cereal mixture into batter.
  6. Bake 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on wire rack; remove bread from pan. Cool completely. Cut into slices to serve.
1 cup of raisin bran has about 6 grams of dietary fiber! A Great Breakfast Cereal Bread    

Probably the first time I liked bran + raisin together, they go pretty well but only in bread ( I still have my issues with cereal). The bread was very moist and I am glad I used very little sugar because the raisin itself made it sweet. Sprinkling cereal and sugar on top added crunch to the bread. So if any of you have dislike for raisin bran cereal or have old or new box of raisin bran, give this bread a try and see it will change your mind! 

Is there any food that you like/dislike one way or other?

Falling for "Free" Trap

Apr 5, 2012
We are bombarded by new food trends every other day and it becomes overwhelming trying to make we sure doing the right thing. Like this afternoon, I came across a really good article about how people fall for "free-from" food products without really understanding or sometimes in spite of understanding it. sigh..

 Because I clearly fall for those, I start my day with Stevia and right now I have a big bowl of salad with "low-fat" dressing. The "free-from" food products are the latest trend, and I see "sugar-free, fat-free, gluten-free, dairy free" versions on many popular food products available to us today. But you should never assume they are healthy because they have other filler ingredients/chemicals added to compensate.

I have noticed that alot with "fat free" products. Although they may not have fats but they add tons of sugar and other chemicals to make up for the lost fat-I guess and it tastes disgusting-fat free ranch is one I cant stand! Low-fat options are so much better.

With artificial sweeteners, either you like it or you don't. I only like Splenda or Stevia, others destroy the taste of coffee. And stomach upset :( for some people. Its a pretty controversial topic but as FDA says we are safe as long as we do not abuse them!

Gluten-free products have gained so much attention lately and some people blindly pay premium prices for gluten-free products without truly understanding it. Originally, gluten free products were meant for people who are sensitive to gluten or have celiac disease. but people have reported (anecdotal) feeling better, even weight loss with it. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, oat (if cross contaminated) etc and some people cannot digest that protein and opt for other grains such as rice, corn, millet, quinoa etc. If you are not sensitive to gluten, always read the nutrition label before paying the extra price to see if they are comparable in nutrients and really worth it?

Dairy-free-where do I even begin. I have on and off relationship with dairy, particularly milk. Yogurt- I do fine. But again, I have never been tested for it either. There are many other varieties, such as soy, almond, hemp milk; if you are in limbo with dairy like me :)

The FDA hasn't defined dairy- or lactose-free. In general, dairy-free should not contain cow's milk, while lactose-free products have had the lactose, or milk sugar, removed. 

If you are interested to learn in detail about this topic, read this article . It gives a clear insight on what these products really have to offer and if they are even worth it!

Aloo (potato) - Mint Paratha

Apr 2, 2012
Parathas are wheat-flour based flat bread, made usually either plain with ghee (clarified butter) or with stuffing of your choice (both veggies or meat). When I was little, I watched my grandmother make these parathas for afternoon snack and always still today I admire her rolling pins skills to make them perfectly round. Only If I had possessed some of her rolling skills, I would have made them every now and then.. my previous attempts have gotten me barely circle looking shapes which is why I stay far far away from rolling pins...Today, during my phone call with my mom, she happened to mentioned about my grandmother's famous aloo-parathas they had for snack,  I remembered the smell and taste of it and immediately had cravings for some..thats when I told myself, maybe it was time to bring those rolling pins back..



This great website was very helpful, they provide directions that are easy to follow..I used it as a guide for my dough, rolling the parathas but I made my own filling.

Fillings:
3-4 medium size potato, boiled mashed
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp red chilli powder
salt to taste

Mix everything together in a bowl and you are ready to start stuffing into your dough.



Was I proud of myself or what? My grandmother would be too :)
I was pretty impressed with the results, both appearance and taste wise. Normally, cilantro is used in stuffing with potatoes but using mint was a pleasant surprise. Also, since I did not add too many spices, I enjoyed the taste of potato with subtle mint flavor. And most important of all, rolling pins is not that scary after all, I just need little bit more patience & more practice...

and I am sending this recipe over to Cooking With Wholefoods where the chosen ingredient is whole wheat flour. For other delicious recipes from fellow bloggers, click here:

and Kirans blog for further information on this event.

Maybe Second times the charm'

Apr 1, 2012
Sunday was going smooth; as usual I was hurrying (hoping) to get my laundry list  accomplished..I have this new thing with home-baked breads, this week I was going to stack up on some muffins. It took me forever to decide what kind of muffin I wanted mainly because of two reasons. First, I did not have all the ingredients for the recipes I looked up and second- I thought I could get creative with muffins and use ingredients I had.. Second reason was clearly a very bad idea if I told you what happened with my first batch of muffins..but to save myself some embarrassment, I wont share any pictures..


Carrot and uber ripe bananas felt like a great combo (at least in my mind) and I decided to just follow my instincts- failed the first attempt. Okay, lets just say besides their pretty darn good taste, my first batch of muffin did not come any close as per joyofbaking's description.

"The 'perfect' American Muffin is symmetrical with a domed top.  The surface of the muffin should be bumpy and the volume of the batter should have almost doubled during baking.  The muffin should feel light for its size and when cut in half its interior should be moist and tender with no tunnels". 

As much I was frustrated to throw away all the muffins, waste ingredients & my time (which I could have spent watching Prison Break), I really wanted some decent muffins even though it meant grating these carrots AGAIN!


Carrot-Banana Muffins
Makes: about 10 muffins

Ingredients:

Dry ingredients:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purose flour
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats (not the instant type)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Wet ingredients: 
1 banana, mashed
1/2 cup carrots, grated
2 tbsp milled flax seeds + 4 tbsp water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup whole milk (I would put little less than 1/2 cup as my batter was little runny for muffin batter)

Directions:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 360F.
  2. Mix flax seed and water and set side.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine all the wet ingredients and pour into dry ingredients bowl.
  5. Mix them until just moist.
  6. Pour the batter into lined muffin tins filling 2/3 of its way. 
  7. Sprinkle some oat on top (optional)
  8. Bake for about 25-28 minutes or until inserted tooth pick comes out clean.

RESULT:  Muffin that satisfies at least half the description of "perfect" American Muffin and less frustrated me on a Sunday afternoon.. The only thing I would change is add more carrots.