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!

Dual Berry and Yoghurt Lollies

dual berry n yoghurt lollies

Lollies are the perfect summer treat for kids. Delicious, healthy, easy to make using handful of ingredients they are a great way to give kids fresh fruit and yoghurt.

fruit lollies

Lollies are definitely better than giving readymade ice-creams to kids plus children can prepare lollies on their own making them forget the store bought ones.
I have used 2 berry flavours; Strawberry & Blueberry but any combination is possible.

Dual Berry and Yoghurt Lollies
Makes 8 lollies (as seen in image)

Ingredients
2 packs Danone Blueberry flavoured yoghurt (80gms pack)
1 pack Danone Vanilla flavoured yoghurt (80gms pack)
½ cup chopped Strawberries
1 tbsp honey (might need more in case the fruit is sour)
A pinch of salt

strawberry lollies

Method

mashed strawberryStep 1 – Mix strawberry, salt and honey in a bowl. Lightly mash to make pulp yet retaining few fruit chunks.

Step 2 – In another bowl, empty the yoghurt packs and whisk them well.

strawberry swirlStep 3 – Mix the strawberry pulp with the whisked yoghurt.

ice pops trayStep 4 – Pour the mixture into lolly / kulfi moulds and freeze overnight or for minimum 6 to 8 hours. If you don’t have moulds you can make lollies in paper or plastic cups, insert wooden candy sticks and then tear the outer covering once the lollies have frozen.

Here’s another fresh fruit summer treat for kids that you could try Real Strawberry Pops 

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Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

Review – YouTube Kids App

My son, Nabeel, is a hardcore YouTuber and so are millions of kids around the globe. It was only wise of YouTube to have come up with an app dedicated to children with relevant content picked up from its huge database of videos as well as some parental control features.

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YouTube Kids App was launched in India recently and I was there to know how it makes such a must have app for us kids as well as us parents. We were walked through an informative presentation by Mr. Malik Ducard, Global Head of Family & Learning, YouTube, Mr. Don Anderson, Head of Kids & Learning Partnerships, & Aman Dayal Partnerships Manager, YouTube Kids.
The app focuses on 3 E’s; namely, Entertain, Enrich & Exlore as explained by Mr.Ducard. While YouTube already has a storehouse of kid’s content there was a need to create this app to keep kids away from viewing things not meant for them and to ensure a secure and fun zone of their own which the parents don’t have to monitor time and again, added Mr. Don Anderson.

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The first thing I did, after attending the launch was to download the app and test it over the weekend. Below are some of the features I really loved about the app.

Salient features of the app

1) Content categories based on different interest; namely Shows, Music, Learning & Explore

• Shows include kid-friendly programming from popular YouTube creators.∗
• Music includes songs to sing and dance along to, including nursery rhymes, popular music videos for kids, and clips from their favourite musicals.∗
• Learning includes everything from ABCs and 123s to science lessons and language arts so children can engage, grow and learn.∗
• Explore includes content that helps your child discover the world around them, develop new hobbies, and explore topics they’re interested in.∗

2) Search for content by typing as well as saying the keywords. This is a wonderful feature for younger ones who sure know their “hoolahoops” and “dinosaurs” but can’t spell them 🙂
3) You can set the age of your child and content will be suggested based on it. This makes searching and exploring time less and entertainment time real and enriching.
4) Like the general YouTube App, YouTube Kids also has recommendations based on past viewing patterns.
5) Timers can be set before you handover the phone to your child. Kid’s get a “Times Up” notification once it’s up and locks the app. This is my favourite feature of the app, now no more dodging and yelling at the child to get MY phone back.
6) One more parental control that I like is the option to “turn off search”, which will limit viewing to the videos suggested on the homepage.
7) It is also possible to enjoy the app on a wider screen, your TV, by connecting using a Chromecast.
8) Clear search history is also a good thing since it ensures the same videos are not suggested and viewed by the kids and allows fresh new content to surface on the screen.
9) The interface is pretty simple and attractive with huge video icons.
10) The parental control section is passcode protected so even if the smarter kids manage to get in there they won’t know how to get through.

youtube-kids-cupcake

Yummy Red Velvet Cream Cheese Cupcakes with YouTube Kids logo toppers, at the launch.

The YouTube Kids app is for kids aged between 2 to 10 and is available for iOS and Android platforms. It is free but ad supported. I like that the app is not only entertaining but also educative making it the ideal infotainment app. Also the app has family-friendly shows that the entire family can watch together.
Resorting to digital world for entertainment and learning should not be the only way of doing so..don’t forget to expose the kids to the traditional infotainment ways of free-play, books, co-playing and peer learning.

Source ∗ – https://kids.youtube.com/

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Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

 

Garlic Breadsticks – Dominos Style

The popular Garlic Breadsticks from Dominos are a favourite of Nabeel. We always end up ordering their dry, chewy, zero topping pizzas for the greed of breadsticks (because they don’t deliver unless you order pizzas). So, one fine Saturday afternoon when Nabeel yearned to dig into some hot breadsticks from Dominos and they refused to deliver (just) the breadsticks, we decided to bake our own breadsticks. With time in hand and internet to the rescue I read through a few Dominos Garlic Breadstick recipes, and then finally devised my own recipe to try. In sometime we were relishing freshly homemade garlic bread sticks – Dominos style while watching Po do some Kung Fu 🙂

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The breadsticks are usually enjoyed along with a cheesy dip but since we were in no mood to make one, we decided to stuff the breadsticks with some cheese and make up for the absent dip. It was wonderful biting into homemade cheese burst breadsticks. If you prefer plain breadsticks then do not fold the dough sheet as suggested (step 9), in that case you will end up with 2 sets of 8 breadsticks. We used garlic cloves but garlic powder works wonders too, that is what is used by Dominos.

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Nabeel baked bread for the very first time and looking at Nabeel’s cooking interest, I have now decided to dedicate Saturday’s for cooking with him. It’s going to be our own #WeekendCookingProject .

Stay tuned for more real mommy and child cooking sessions on the blog.

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Dominos style Garlic Breadsticks
Makes 1 breadstick loaf (as shown in the image) Approx. 8 stuffed breadsticks

Ingredients
3/4th cup – flour / maida
1.5 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup water
1 tablespoon oil
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
Mixed Herbs or Pizza seasoning, as required
Pepper powder, as required
Cheese (of your choice) – cheese spread, parmesan, processed, etc, as required
Melted butter, to brush
Method
Step 1 – In a bowl, mix yeast, sugar and water together. Keep it aside and allow the mixture to froth.


Step 2 – Once the yeast is all frothy, add the flour, salt and oil to the bowl and mix well. Let all the ingredients come together to form dough.


Step 3 – Remove the mixture on a clean working counter and knead well to form soft, pliable dough. Place the dough back into the bowl, cover and keep it aside till it doubles in size. This would take approximately 25 minutes on a hot day.


Step 4 – Once the dough has doubled up, remove on the working counter and punch it to remove all the trapped air. Knead for 5 minutes to get back to normal size.


Step 5 – Take a baking tray and grease it with oil.
Step 6 – Roll the dough into rectangular shape, to fit into the tray.


Step 7 – Place the rolled dough on the tray and try to even it out.
Step 8 – Brush some melted butter over the dough. Spread chopped garlic, herbs, salt and cheese on one half of the dough.


Step 9 – Fold the dough, seal and tuck the edges well so that they don’t open up during baking.
Step 10 – Make deep marks using knife to get the breadstick shape.

Step 11 – Brush the top of breadsticks with butter, sprinkle herbs and some pepper powder. Keep the dough aside to rise, for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 12 – Meanwhile, set the oven temperature to 200C and let it preheat.
Step 13 – Place the breadsticks in the hot oven and bake for 25 minutes or till the top turns light brown.


Step 14 – Remove the bread sticks from oven and brush with butter. Serve hot.

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Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

Review – KidZania, Mumbai

“Hurry, hurry, drive the fire truck
Hurry, hurry, drive the fire truck
Hurry, hurry, drive the fire truck
Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!”

This was one of Nabeel’s favourite nursery rhymes when he was a year old. Guess, since then he had this secret wish to become a fire-fighter one day!
Nabeel’s joy knew no bounds when he finally become one at KidZania, Mumbai – an indoor theme park where education meets fun!

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Nabeel – The fireman in action!

Basic Concept

KidZania is a land full of activities that the child can enact and experience.
Open to kids from the age 2.5 to 16 years, the basic concept revolves around children getting to “be” what they want at the same time earn and spend some money, KidZania money called KidZos.

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KidZos – Currency of Kidzania

The entire show runs around earning and spending KidZos while performing roles of one’s choice. There is a sign displayed outside each establishment which gives a brief explanation of the task to be carried out, suggested age of the child to perform the activity, whether one will earn or spend the KidZos, time taken to carry out the activity and the activity center capacity.

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Information boards outside each establishment

One can either choose to spend first and earn later or vice versa. Earning is as easy as spending and every activity is an eye opener for the child. A world of people, professions, life lessons open up for the young souls who wouldn’t know anything beyond their world of cartoons.

The Experience

We entered the make believe world of KidZania by taking an Air KidZania flight. As expected, the first role play Nabeel chose to do was that of a fireman…he was simply thrilled by the whole idea of getting into a fireman’s uniform, hopping onto the special truck and drive around the city to douse fire that engulfed a hotel. He had to spend some KidZos to experience this all and so started the process of earning and spending.
Next in line was the Police Academy, Culinary School, Energy saving department, Painting job, Construction site and Operation theater activity. Phew! Performing the jobs earned him a lot of KidZos and definitely a new perspective towards money and those lesser appreciated jobs.


Then was the time to go spend some KidZos. Donning the factory worker’s uniform, Nabeel learnt how some of his favourite food items namely Chocos, Donuts and biscuits were manufactured. He also got to keep what he made which made him very proud of the entire feat.

In between performing serious roles, Nabeel also had some light moments dancing to the KidZania song to ring in the hour at the clock tower, got a face painting done and played the keyboard for a live audience at the theater.

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Li’l policeman gets hold of Mumma

While Nabeel was busy with his jobs I was busy admiring the park which was nothing short of a movie set. The entire set up of a city complete with cobbled roads, cute retail establishments, European style eateries, a clock tower, a theater, a hotel, a departmental store, etc had me awe-struck!

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I observed most of the park staff to be young and energetic. They were well informed and eager to help kids do their task.
Proper signage’s to maintain discipline, during peak days and help guests navigate around the city were strategically placed across the park.
At the end of the day, Nabeel had duly performed the roles of a fireman, policeman, painter, engineer, construction site laborer, chef, musician, surgeon, clock tower manager and food factory worker. In all, 12 role plays done, in a span of 3 hours. Phew!
Quite a few role-play activities were left undone due to time constraints but we plan to cover them in our next trip, soon.

KidZania is currently celebrating their 3rd anniversary and there are some great offers available till end of this month. Further details can be found here

I would like to thank the JAMM’s Network for this opportunity to visit KidZania.

Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

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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.

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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.

Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

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