Mini Peanut Butter Cupcakes

peanut butter cupcakesThe cupcakes are basic and light with chocolate beautifully complimenting the peanut butter flavour. 

And so, Nabeel is currently enjoying his summer break in full swing, ensuring I am on my toes 24 hours, or at least till he is awake. His constant needs to play, eat, read, and have fun sucks out all my energy and time. I am enjoying no doubt, but the everyday dilemma of “how to keep him busy? is tiring me completely. This year am adopting “no summer class” policy (hope to stick to it till the end) which means all me time will be converted to only mommy time..phew!

peanut butter cake

So, yesterday, we spent time in the kitchen baking cupcakes…something both of us thoroughly enjoy. We baked these cutsie mini cupcakes flavored with Peanut Butter and slathered with chocolate. Peanut butter gained entry into my kitchen for the first time and soon it was used in a baking recipe…something I generally do with all my new found ingredients :-).

We spent our evening snacking on these beauties while watching our 100th session (no exaggeration, really) of Kung Fu Panda.

cupcakes

Heading to the park now, please find this simple recipe of Mini Peanut Cupcakes, below. I adapted it from here.

Do try them with your kid..super fun and messy too 😉

chocolate frosting

Mini Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Makes 24 mini OR 12 regular sized cupcakes

Ingredients
Refined wheat flour – 1 cup
Baking powder – 1 teaspoon
Salt – a pinch
Creamy Peanut Butter – 1/2 cup
Butter – 1/3 cup
Castor Sugar – ½ cup
Eggs – 2 nos
Vanilla Essence – 2 drops
Milk – 3 tablespoons
Melted Dark Chocolate – ½ cup , for the frosting

Method
Step 1 – Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Keep it aside.
Step 2 – In a bowl, put peanut butter, butter and sugar together using an electric beater till fluffy and white in colour.
Step 3 – Lightly mix in eggs, one by one. Add Vanilla essence.
Step 4 – Fold in the dry ingredients with a light hand.
Step 5 – Mix in milk to adjust the batter consistency.
Step 6 – Pour the cupcake batter in moulds and place in a pre-heated oven at 180 C for 25 minutes, to bake.
Step 7 – Once the cupcakes have risen, remove and cool before serving.
Step 8 – Top the cupcakes with melted dark chocolate.

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Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

Snack on Yoghurt

Snacking has become a way of life for kids these days given their rigid schedules. Kids rarely have time to savour and gain from the basic meals of the day, their 3 full meals are essentially broken down into 5 to 6 quick snacky meals out of which 2 are usually grab and go kind of meals.

For most kids’ breakfast is just a glass of milk before heading to school followed by a light Tiffin snack during a short timed break, mostly packaged and lacking good nutrition.
For the after school, after play, before activity class, TV time munching, etc kind of snack breaks kids usually enjoy quick fixes in form of semi-prepared convenience foods or chips and other packaged stuff which tastes delicious but satisfy for a short period.
Lunch and Dinner might be nutritious home cooked meals but they are consumed in small portions because of the many breaks that precede and follow them.

To sum it up, kids eat a lot during the day but does it help them in anyway? Was the consumed food nutritious along with being yummy and convenient? You may prepare the best of and the healthiest stuff for lunch and dinner but are you ensuring their other meals are nourishing, too?While a child may not ask such questions with regards to food, we as mothers need to.

Snacks can be healthy too and nothing like freshly prepared homemade snacks to munch on. However, preparing something fresh every time is not very practical and one does have to rely on food stuffs outside of the kitchen. Nuts, fruits, yoghurt, dried nuts and fruits, etc are great snack options which are very healthy and convenient, one of my past article lists all such healthy snack options that one could consider.

It is important to concentrate on the snacks kids consume during those little hunger breaks as it makes a lot of impact on their overall daily consumption.

Yoghurt as a Healthy Snack

danone yoghurt

The Indian consumer has quite a few variety of packaged yoghurt to choose from. Danone India has fruit flavoured yoghurts on offer and it recently launched a healthier version called “Greek style Yoghurt”. Danone’s Greek Style Yoghurt is one of its kinds for the Indian consumer. It has higher protein content, low fat and is much creamier. The protein is almost double and is ideal accompaniment for the carbohydrate rich Indian diet.

We were at the product launch of the same and there were some unknown insights shared by Nutritionist Naaznin Husein on yoghurt and how it can be a great snack option.

  • Yoghurt has been a traditional food item and every Indian household consumes in it some form of the other for its wonderful benefits
  • Yoghurt is great for your gut and helps aid digestion, something very much needed for our kids who eat so much during the day.
  • Young and adults alike need to consider snacking on pre-portioned yoghurt packs as a replacement to unhealthy options like chips or fried food with empty calories.
  • Yoghurt is high in proteins and helps curb hunger while keeping the calories at minimum.
  • Yoghurt works wonderful as a low fat dessert, late night snack or T.V time snack.
  • Yoghurt adapts well to recipes and there are many ways you can use it to create mouth-watering dishes.
  • Yoghurt packs are ideal as on the go snacks and can be carried in lunch boxes.
  • Yoghurt based smoothies are the ideal breakfast item for kids.

 

chef demo - food bloggers

Chef Varun Inamdar demonstrating few recipes using Danone Yoghurt

I found one of the breakfast recipes interesting for kids, below is an image of the recipe card as shared by Danone.

banana brulee

breakfast recipe card

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Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

Salted Caramel Popcorn

Salted Caramel Popcorn is the sole reason we visit shopping malls frequently….yes such is the craze and love for popcorn that Nabeel and I share. Seems like our trips to the mall are going to end soon, for we tried out an incredibly satisfying, no-frills, melt-in the mouth kinda Homemade Salted Caramel Popcorn Recipe over the weekend as part of our #WeekendCookingProject.

homemade-salted-caramel-popcorn

It’s a fairly simple recipe divided in two parts; the first part calls for making the popcorn and the second one for caramel sauce. Kids can actively participate in making Caramel Popcorn but take care they don’t dip their fingers in hot caramel. This is a no-bake caramel popcorn recipe which is quick and hassle free and best suited for immediate consumption. The popcorn turns out very crunchy and flavourful. If you prefer a complete caramel flavour then just omit the salt.

Let’s get popping now!

salted-caramel-popcorn

Salted Caramel Popcorn Recipe
(Makes enough to last one round of KungFu Panda…we soo love Po!)

Ingredients
½ cup popcorn kernels
3 tablespoon unsalted butter

For the Caramel Sauce
1 tablespoon salted butter
¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder

Method
Step 1 – Heat the butter in a pan, add one or two corn kernels to check if the butter is hot enough and they pop instantly.
Step 2 – Once popped, remove the kernels and add in the remaining corn kernels. Mix them well with the butter. Cover the pan with a lid while the corn kernels pop.
Step 3 – After all the kernels have popped, uncover the pan and let the popcorn cool.
Step 4 – To make the caramel sauce; heat butter in a pan, add in the sugar and let it melt completely. Avoid stirring while the sugar melts, if required just swirl the pan contents by tilting the pan with its handle.
Step 5 – Let the sugar achieve a light brown colour. Switch off the flame, the sugar will quickly turn a shade darker to caramel.
Step 6 – Quickly mix in salt followed by the baking powder. Baking powder will cause the caramel to froth a bit and give it a luscious consistency.
Step 7 – Pour the caramel sauce over the popcorn and mix quickly. Ensure all popcorn is coated evenly; some might even cling together which is ok because they can be separated later on.
Step 8 – Let the corn stand for 5 minutes to allow the caramel to harden. Serve immediately.

Tips: If you have left over popcorn which has turned soggy just place it in a hot oven for 5 minutes till its crunchy again.

homemade-toffee-popcorn

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Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

3 Easy Kids Recipe Videos

Being mom to a dynamic kid sure has it’s share of worries and concerns, one of them being what food to make for him that will ensure a good flow of energy to meet up his activity requirements.

I am often left in this dilemma and so are most moms, many of whom have written to me. They are constantly on the look out for recipes which are easy to prepare, energy giving and at the same time relished by kids, without much coaxing and drama.

So, here are some easy to make, healthy yet yummy recipes for kids, in form of videos, that I did for BabyChakra. The recipes are versatile enough to work as snacks, tiffin treats, on the go food or even mini meals. Above all, they for sure ensure a good supply of energy that will help keep your child active and going any time of the day.

 

VEGETABLE QUESADILLAS

 

POTATO WEDGES

 

KIDS ENERGY BARS

I have been associated with Babychakra for good 2 years now and this new assignment was really fun to work on. Do leave a feedback and let me know what kind of recipes / content would you like to see in future videos.

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Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

 

 

Easy 3 Ingredient Energy Bar for Kids

Energy Bars as the name suggests are packaged snacks loaded with whole lot of goodness that impart instant energy. These bars are a popular product in the US, enjoyed by kids and adults alike. They are a convenient food on the go and sometimes also work as a meal replacement (although I would never recommend that). While off- the- shelf energy bars rely on processed sugars for energy and other synthetic flavours to make them more palatable, I am here talking about the homemade ones, something I have been wanting to try out for Nabeel for a while now.

energy bar for kids

I see kids and mums rushing back and forth to various classes, summer camps, sports centers and what not…a scene indicating THE summer vacations are here. Kids display a range of emotions and moods during vacations from being busy to lazy to hyper active and very passive. If kids are not out for a tour or visit to their grandparents then at home their schedule tends to be busier than school days.

My 4 year old also attends summer classes and this time they are rigorous, meaning I have enrolled him for sports training which is quite exhausting compared to classroom activities. While his food intake has increased many folds I see the need for something handy which can be with me always that I can feed him whenever his battery is about to die 🙂

3 ingredient energy bar

Kids lose out double the amount of energy during vacations; some sort of super food that gratifies and instantly tops up their energy is highly required. Thus, I have been toying with the idea of making him an energy bar using dates since he loves eating them plus we know dates is a super food which gives instant energy. Being a natural sweetener it also eliminates the need of any processed sugars. There are plenty of energy bars that you can make with various wholesome ingredients and amazing flavour combinations. I narrowed down to the one below which is easy as a breeze calling for just 3 ingredients that lend some amazing benefits.

collage

The Easy 3 ingredient Energy Bar for Kids is made using Dates, Oats and Almonds. Iron and instant energy from dates, fiber from oats and vitamins from almonds is a powerful combination which will energize your child right away.  Feel free to replace almonds with any nut your child prefers, add in seeds like sesame and peanuts for additional benefits. A spoon or two of honey can also be added. Enhance the flavour of these energy bars by mixing some cocoa powder or chocolate chips, bits of dried fruit like cranberries, cherries, etc.

featured image

Easy Energy Bar for Kids Recipe 

Makes 10 (1 inch x 1.5 inch) bars

Ingredients

1 cup tightly packed seedless Dates

½ cup Instant Oats

½ cup Almonds

Method

Step 1 – Lightly toast oats in an oven or on a tawa (griddle). Keep aside.

Step 2 – Lightly toast almonds in an oven or on a tawa (griddle). Keep aside.

Step 3 – In a dry bowl mix all 3 ingredients together, then roughly divide in half.

Step 4 – Whizz half of the mixture in a grinder till everything grinds well and you get sand like texture. On pressing the mixture, it should come together and bind well.

Step 5 – Whizz the remaining mixture in a similar manner.

Step 6 – Mix both parts together and let it all come together as a big bowl.

Step 7 – Spread the mixture in a baking tray which has been lined with butter paper. Spread till desired thickness is achieved.

Step 8 – Refrigerate for 1 hour and then cut into bars. Store in an airtight container.

Notes:

  • The bars keep well for a month at room temperature but considering Mumbai summers it’s wise to refrigerate them since the dates tend to get sticky, especially ground dates.
  • Dates are the binding agents for energy bars, except them feel free to add subtract ingredients of your choice as I have recommended in the article.
  • If your dates are hard you may soften them by soaking in just enough water. Discard water before grinding.
  • Honey can also be added to the bar in that case use dry dates as the moisture level of the bars will increase resulting in a sticky mixture.

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Chickpea & Fruit Chaat

Something that will help keep your body and mind cool this summer is this extremely delicious and juicy Chickpea and Fruit Chaat. A tangy amalgamation of flavours and wholesomeness, the chaat is packed with protein and goodness of fruits which can be eaten as a snack, salad or even a light meal.

chickpea & fruit chaat

I have grown up eating the tangy, spicy Chickpea and Fruit Chaat, mostly during summers in a chilled icy avatar. While I relished the juicy fruits and the lip smacking taste of the masalas, Chickpeas were usually ignored and left behind in the bowl. It’s a pity I realized the goodness of this wonder food only now and am determined to use it at least once a week in my kitchen.Along with the Chickpea Tikkis and Chickpea dip, Hummus, the Chickpea and Fruit Chaat is something I whip up frequently, these days for Nabeel who is busy holidaying. Nabeel likes munching on roasted chickpeas and is just getting used to savouring the boiled ones. He helps me in preparing the chaat; washing and peeling fruits is his duty.

indian fruit chaat

The soaring temperatures make one lose appetite, giving kids one more excuse to reject food. The chaat is a good meal alternative for kids and ideal when they are in no mood to eat a typical roti-dal meal. Chickpea and fruit nutrients are good enough to provide them the nourishment of a meal. To make it more summery, one can even add beaten curds to the chaat. The tamarind chutney is an excellent coolant and perfect for summers. Chill the chutney in refrigerator, if you do not wish to serve frozen chaat to your child. Keeping boiled chickpeas handy makes the chaat a quick fix for anytime hunger.

Chickpea & Fruit Chaat Recipe

Ingredients
2 cups, freshly cut fruits, use a range of colors in this mix (strawberry, guava, grapes, pomegranate pearls, and orange)
1 cup boiled chickpeas
½ cup Sweet n Sour Tamarind / Imli chutney (recipe below)
1 teaspoon Chaat masala
Salt as per taste

fruit chaat ingredients

Method
Step 1 – Place tamarind chutney in freezer for 10 minutes.
Step 2 – In a clean bowl, put fruits, boiled chickpeas, chaat masala and salt. Mix well.
Step 3 – Lightly mix in the tamarind chutney.
Step 4 – Serve immediately or place in freezer to chill further.

Sweet n Sour Tamarind / Imli chutney Recipe

Ingredients
½ cup Tamarind / Imli, seedless
1 cup dates / khajoor
Grated Jaggery / Gur as required to adjust sweetness
1 teaspoon roasted cumin / jeera powder
Red chilli powder as required
Black salt as required

Method
Step 1 – In a heavy bottomed pan, take 2 cups of water. Add in the tamarind and dates and boil till the tamarind is soft and pulpy.
Step 2 – Strain the mixture through a soup strainer to remove date seeds and any other tamarind particles.
Step 3 – Check for sweetness and add the jaggery accordingly. Check the chutney consistency, if it seems thin then boil for few minutes.
Step 4 – Cool the chutney, add roasted cumin powder, red chilli powder and black salt.
Step 5 – Transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate or Freeze for further use.

Disclaimer: This recipe was originally submitted on Babychakra and published
here

Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

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Green Pea Parathas

This year’s extended winter is a boon; not only do we get to enjoy the lovely weather but also the endless supply of fresh fruits and vegetables it brings along. Carrot and Peas are the top 2 ingredients of the season that always come home with me after every trip to the market. I pick up nearly a kilo each, every week. The family munches on carrots as a snack, salad and for me, a bowl of carrot easily works as a dinner replacement, select few days of the week. Besides, carrot soup and gajar halwa are the other hot favourites.

Peas are low in fat high in Vitamin C & Vitamin K and a very good source of dietary fiber. 

As for Green Peas, I make stuffed parathas using them. Green Pea Paratha, along with fresh curds and pickle, is the current favourite breakfast of the family. Green Pea Paratha or Matar Paratha, in my opinion, is a healthier and easier alternative to the famous Matar Pooris that are relished for breakfast across India. Plus, if feel, one can taste the green peas better as a stuffing in parathas than pooris.

indian pea bread

It is a known fact that Nabeel loves parathas of any kind and, happily, Green Pea stuffing has also found its way on his approved stuffing list. Cheese tops it by the way. Although, he rarely eats them as breakfast the parathas are always welcome for his snack box. Thrice a week, to be precise.

Peas are high in starch which means they do not need any external binding ingredients; this stuffing uses the binding power of peas and lets their actual flavour come out.

The sweet and mild flavour of peas is such that the vegetable can be easily transformed and adapt to any dish. I have come across many Green Pea Paratha recipes that use a list of ingredients which overpower the humble pea, defeating the entire idea of a green pea recipe; this recipe, however, uses few basic ingredients and is easy to make comparatively. The outer covering is made using whole wheat or refined flour while the stuffing has 100% green peas and no other filler ingredients. Peas are high in starch which means they do not need any external binding ingredients; this stuffing uses the binding power of peas and lets their actual flavour come out. Try this recipe of Green Peas Paratha to know what peas taste like and how they can be delicious on their own.

green pea paratha

Green Peas Paratha Recipe
Makes 10 to 12 parathas

Ingredients
For paratha dough
2 cups whole wheat or refined wheat flour
2 tablespoons oil
2 pinches of salt

For the paratha filling
2 cups – freshly shelled Green Peas
2-3 nos – Green chillies
1 teaspoon chopped ginger
½ teaspoon jeera /cumin powder
2 tablespoons oil or butter
Salt to taste

Ghee / Clarified Butter – as required to cook the parathas
Fresh curds / yougurt & tangy mango pickle to serve with parathas

Method
Step 1 – First prepare stiff dough using the given ingredients and water. Cover the dough and keep it aside or refrigerate while the filling is being made.
Step 2 – For the filling, put green peas, green chillies, ginger, cumin powder and salt in a mixer jar and coarsely churn it.
Step 3 – In a wide (wider the better) non-stick pan, heat the oil. Once hot add in the green pea mixture and sauté for 5 minutes.
Step 4 – Spread out the mixture as thinly as possible on the pan, lower the flame and let it cook. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes, cook till the raw smell of the peas vanishes and you get sweet smelling cooked pea aroma. The mixture is also ready when you are able to mould it easily.
Step 5 – Take off flame, check for taste and let it cool for 15 minutes.
Step 6 – Take the prepared dough and portion it into small balls.
Step 7 – Heat a griddle on medium flame, roll each portion into a thick disc and place about a tablespoon of green pea mixture in the center, bring the dough from the sides together and seal the filling.
Step 8 – Roll carefully into medium thick or ½ centimeter thick parathas.
Step 9 – Place paratha on the hot griddle and roast on both sides using oil / ghee.
Step 10 – Repeat the same with remaining dough balls, one at a time.
Step 11 – Serve parathas hot off the tawa with fresh curds and tangy mango pickle.

matar paratha

Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

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 Disclaimer: This article was originally written for Babychakra and published here