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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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

Hearty Valentine Soup

Love is in the air! This Valentine’s Day show some love to your body and see how it loves you back.

Hearty_Valentine_soup

Try this wholesome “red” soup which is prepared with the best of season’s vegetables. The soup is the best ever Valentine gift you can give your family for it is oil-free, packed with mixed vegetable goodness providing vigour and nourishment and yes there’s an element of love too..in the form of Love Apples, which is what tomatoes were referred to formerly.

Valentine’s Day, this year, falls on a Sunday and the soup is the right thing to start off the day as a brunch item. Not only does the soup look deliciously red, it is also yum to the core given the nutrition and flavour it draws from its ingredients. The soup has an aromatic flavour that is obtained by the “oil free” tempering of curry leaves and whole spices. It is also a good make-ahead recipe as a huge batch of the puree can be prepared in advance and frozen. Use it as and when the need for something nourishing and good looking arises 🙂

Hearty Valentine Soup Recipe

Ingredients
1 cup bottle gourd / lauki / doodhi, cut into bite size pieces
1 cup tomatoes cut into bite size pieces
½ cup beetroot cut into bite size pieces
½ cup carrots cut into bite size pieces
5 -6 cloves of garlic
1 green chilli, slit
4 – 5 spinach leaves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds / jeera
1 teaspoon mustard seeds / rai
Handful of curry leaves / kadhi patta
Salt as per taste
Lemon juice as per taste
½ no, chicken or vegetable soup seasoning cube

Method
Step 1 – Put bottle gourd, tomatoes, beetroot, carrots and green chilli in a vessel along with 3 cups of water. Boil the vegetables on a medium flame till soft. Partially cover the vegetables while boiling. Do not cover completely as the water will overflow from the vessel on boiling.

Step 2 – Once you switch off the gas, put the garlic, green chilli and spinach leaves in the vessel and cover it completely for 10 minutes. The will soften the garlic and spinach leaves while not overcooking them.

Step 3 – Cool the vegetables and then puree them in a blender. Make sure to pick out the chilli before pureeing. This puree is very precious, I often use it to make pulaos or also add it to my gravies for added flavour and nutrition.

Step 4 – Pour the puree in a thick bottomed pan; add about 1 to 2 cups of water depending upon the consistency you like for the soup. If using a soup seasoning cube then add it now. Season the soup with salt and keep it on simmer while you make the tempering.

Step 5 – Meanwhile, heat a dry griddle (tawa) on a medium flame, once hot dry roast the cumin and mustard seeds till you get their aroma. Next, put the curry leaves and roast them till they curl up and give out a lovely aroma.

Step 6 – Immediately transfer the tempering to the soup and mix well. Simmer the soup for another 10minutes, taste it and adjust seasoning and consistency.

Step 7 – The soup tastes good hot as well as cold. Serve as per your liking.

Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

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

Homemade Pineapple Jam

Winters create such a happy environment. What I love most about them is the array of fresh and colourful farm produce they bring along. One is spoilt for choice and before you realize these beauties vanish from the market. So, I decided to experiment with all of them one by one. The first ingredient of the season I picked was a Pineapple which was easily transformed into a luscious Homemade Pineapple Jam.

Homemade Pineapple Jam

Pineapple jam smells heaven besides being tasty. It has a balanced sweet and sour flavour making it a good spread for a variety of products.

Recently I started making Fruit Jams when I realised Nabeel found them missing in his life after exchanging Tiffin’s with classmates. Jams are any child’s favourite. Surprisingly Nabeel is not fond of them, simply because I never served jams to him initially. The cavity creating, loaded with sugar, artificially flavoured & coloured, wobbly mass of “so called fruit jam” packed in attractive jars and sold in the markets, is definitely not a jam in my opinion.

tropical fruit jam

December is a good time to make Homemade Jams as the most jam friendly fruits like strawberry, pineapple, apples, guava, etc are found in their freshest forms during this month.

I try my best to give homemade versions of popular kid’s favourite to Nabeel so that his taste buds learn to identify the authentic delicious flavours versus the artificial crap. My husband is a jam lover; especially the Homemade Mango Jam prepared by his mum. He rarely eats the store bought ones and that is what I want Nabeel to follow.

The cavity creating, loaded with sugar, artificially flavoured & coloured, wobbly mass of “so called fruit jam” packed in attractive jars and sold in the markets, is definitely not a jam in my opinion.

real pineapple jam

December is a good time to make Homemade Jams as the most jam friendly fruits like strawberry, pineapple, apples, guava, etc are found in their freshest forms during this month. Before this I did a Strawberry Jam, but for today, it’s a Homemade Pineapple Jam. With a ripe yellow Pineapple and some sugar you are good to go!

pineapple jam

Pineapple jam smells heaven besides being tasty. It has a balanced sweet and sour flavour making it a good spread for a variety of products like tea-time cakes, toasts, few Indian breads like rotis & theplas, assorted cookies, etc. I often use Pineapple jam as a topping for ice-creams, which Nabeel just can’t seem to get enough of!
My pineapple jam has cinnamon, which can be omitted if you wish to. Small bite sized pieces of dry fruits like cashew, almonds and raisins take the jam to another level. Try adding them!

Happy Jamming!

homemade fruit jam

                        Homemade Pineapple Jam – The Real Jam
    Fills a 500 gm Jam Jar to the brim. Stays good up to a month, if refrigerated.

Ingredients
2 cups pineapple, coarsely grated
¾ to 1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon

Method
Step1 – Choose a ripe yellow pineapple, peel and cut into small pieces. Churn it coarsely and use 2 cups of the pulp.
Step 2 – In a bowl mix the pineapple pulp along with ¾ cup sugar. Let it stand for 30 minutes, till the sugar melts.
Step 3 – Cook the mixture in a thick bottomed pan on a medium flame till the entire mixture turn into a brown mass. You need to keep stirring continuously. This step may take 20 to 30 minutes.
Step 4 – On lifting the mixing spoon sticky sugar threads should be seen, this indicates the jam is ready. At this stage add in cinnamon powder and dry fruits, if any.
Step 5 – Take off flame and cool the jam.
Step 6 – Transfer it into a dry jam jar and refrigerate. I did not use a sterilized jar and even after a month the jam tastes the same.

Tip 1: Allow one day refrigeration before eating the jam, this helps the flavours come out.

Tip 2: Always add less sugar first. Depending upon required sweetness more can be added later.

Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

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Vegan Mayonnaise

Following our rendezvous’ with Vegan food expert, Mayavi Khandelwal here I am posting this wonderful and easy Vegan Mayonnaise recipe that she has shared with us.

Vegan_Mayonnaise

Vegan Mayonnaise Recipe

Ingredients
1 cup broken cashews
2 tablespoons finely chopped onions
4-5 cloves garlic
1/2 -1 tablespoon lemon juice
1. 5 teaspoons whole mustard powder
1/2 teaspoons pepper powder
1/4 teaspoon rock salt or to taste

Method
Step 1 – Soak cashew for 6 hours. Drain and wash the cashews thoroughly so that all the toxins are washed off.
Step 2 – Put all the ingredients into the blender and blend to a smooth creamy mayonnaise.

Use this with freshly chopped vegetables like cucumber, tomatoes, bell peppers, Iceberg lettuce, spinach, grated carrots, etc to make a yummy healthy salad!

Till then, Love Being a Mommy!