Nutella Granola Bars

DSC_1810

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes.

Who doesn’t love nutella? (update: I have found actual living breathing human beings who do not like nutella and they are currently under observation right now for mental illness and/or extra terrestrial taste buds)

I love granola bars. They’re the perfect snack but the store bought ones are so expensive and unnecessary when it’s so unbelievably easy to make your own at home!

You can eat them anytime –  take them to school, eat them as a midnight snack, eat them for dessert, eat them for breakfast, eat them with more nutella on top, eat more than half the batch while you’re photographing them..

You can play around with the ingredients and mix and match to your liking.

Don’t like nuts? Don’t put them in.

LOVE nuts? Put in more!

Like your granola bars crunchy? Add 2tbsp. more oil to the batter and bake for a few minutes longer!

These make approximately 8-10 bars, depending on how big you cut them and how much of the mixture you ‘taste’ before baking.

DSC_1809

Nutella Granola Bars

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup mix nuts and dried fruit
  • 6 tbsp nutella
  • 5 tbsp honey
  • 1.5 tbsp oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional but strongly recommended)
  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celcius and grease a baking pan.
  2. Mix oats, flour and nuts/dried fruit in a large bowl.
  3. Microwave the honey and nutella in a small bowl.
  4. Beat an egg into the honey and nutella.
  5. At the wet ingredients into the dry and  mix well.
  6. Add in the chocolate chips.
  7. Press the mixture into a baking pan.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes.
  9. Let cool before slicing and eating.

DSC_1815

Advertisements

Presto Pesto

DSC_0621

The saying about only appreciating things when you don’t have them – so true.

When we moved to India, one of the biggest problems for me was getting used to the fact that lots of the fresh products I was used to getting in Singapore were just not available widely here. I mean, you can still get things like raspberries, blueberries, avocados and asparagus but you have to go to specialty ‘gourmet’ stores and they’re extremely overpriced. Things I had taken for granted like basil, I now relished.

But now that we’ve moved into our own house we have lots of fresh produce growing in our own garden! We have spinach, methi (fenugreek), basil, mini oranges…  So you would think that now I have an almost endless supply of fresh basil I would be using it 24/7. Right?

DSC_0610

But yeah… not so much. Since we’ve moved into the house (5 months) I think I’ve used basil approximately… 3 times. And in that time we have probably gone through 10-12 jars of store bought pesto. I know, I know. Disgraceful.

It’s just that the whole process seems like so much work. It’s easier to just buy a ready made jar and not think about it. But when I went out one day and saw that the basil plant was slowly drying up I decided it was time to change.

And I’m so glad I did! Making pesto is so easy – it takes practically 15 minutes and most of that time is spent getting the pesto out of the food processor! When you make your own pesto, you can alter the flavors to your liking and experiment with different nuts and even add in other herbs. Also the taste of fresh pesto exceeds store bought by a landslide!

DSC_0612

So no further ado.. here’s an amazing, customizable, pesto recipe inspired by love and lemons.

How to customize:

I always use 2/3 basil + 1/3 coriander because otherwise the basil flavor is a bit too strong, but feel free to use all basil or experiment with addition of other herbs like mint or arugula

For the nuts I used a combination of walnuts and almonds, but you can use any nuts – pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans.. Pine nuts are generally the best for pesto but I didn’t have any on hand 🙂

Add in some grated parmesan cheese, some nutritional yeast or a dash of balsamic vinegar for some extra kick. Most recipes also use black pepper but I prefer the taste without it. It’s a personal opinion though so if you like it – go for it!

Basil Pesto

(Makes around 1 cup)

  • 1 1/2 cup herbs
  • 1/4 cup nuts
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and paprika/chili flakes
  1. Lightly toast the nuts in a small plan until lightly browned
  2. Add all the ingredients in a food processor until well blended
  3. Taste and adjust the salt or acidity if necessary. If too sour, add a splash of honey or agave syrup.

Enjoy!

DSC_0622

Lentil Millet Vegetable Stew

DSC_0537

This is a take on indian ‘khichdi’, a simple traditional stew made with lentils, rice and vegetables. I used millet instead of rice and added some masala to brighten it up.

It’s a one pot meal – all the veggies, lentils and grains are dropped into a pressure cooker with some ghee and spices and voila, in twenty minutes you have a complete meal.

It’s already vegetarian but if you use oil instead of ghee and omit the yogurt topping, it’s vegan!

DSC_0533

This dish is a nutrition power house!  Protein rich from the lentils and millet, high in fibre, full of vitamins and minerals! Millet is one of the best sources of copper and manganese, while the ginger and yogurt aide digestion.

Did I mention it’s creamy, comforting and delicious?

mhm.

I have used carrots and bottle gourd (an indian vegetable) this time, but most vegetables work really well in this type of stew or khichdi. Use whatever produce you have at home – Zucchini, Spinach, Kale, Beans etc. would all be fine. Just keep in mind some vegetables like greens decrease a lot in volume when cooked so you would need to use more of them to start with. If you don’t have millet feel free to use rice.

DSC_0542

Lentil Millet Vegetable Stew

(Makes 1 large serving, just multiply the ingredients to make more)

Ingredients:

  • ~1.5 – 2 cup vegetables diced
  • 1/4 cup lentils (I used green split mung – mung (gram) lentils work best)
  • 1/4 cup millet
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1.5 tsp ghee/oil
  • 1 tsp curry powder (can substitute with indian spices of choice like cumin, coriander or turmeric powder)
  • salt to taste
  • plain yogurt + coriander/cilantro to top (optional)
  1. Wash the millet and lentils
  2. In a pressure cooker turn on medium heat and add the ghee or oil
  3. When the ghee/oil becomes hot, add in the diced onion and sautee until browned
  4. Add in the vegetables, ginger, spices, millet and lentils.
  5. Add ~2.5 cups of water
  6. Put on the lid and cook for around 20 minutes
  7. Release the pressure and remove the lid
  8. Serve and if you wish, top with yogurt and herbs

best (healthy) pancakes

DSC_0547

these pancakes were good.

like really good.

and not just ‘healthy’ food good, but actually delicious.

if you ate them you wouldn’t be able to tell they don’t have any refined flour, sugar or butter.

(and they’re gluten free!)

DSC_0544

now the best part about pancakes that are healthy is that you can have them anytime without feeling guilty because hey, they’re healthy. and they’re quick and easy too. win, win, win.

i really hope you make them. (like now) because once you make them, you probably won’t want to ever make the normal white flour-butter-sugar-egg combo pancakes ever again. i swear, they’re really not lacking in the sweetness department but if you like your pancakes sweeter just add sweeter toppings 🙂

and have fun with the toppings! GO CRAZY! because the pancakes themselves are so nutritious and good for you, you can even use crazy toppings like chocolate chips and sprinkles.

DSC_0546

more topping ideas: nuts, nut butters, honey, coconut cream, dried fruit, chocolate chips, sprinkles, banana slices, strawberries, chocolate syrup, maple syrup, whipped cream, butter, toasted coconut, granola

note: for the flour, I used chickpea flour (besan) but you can use oat flour (oats ground into a powder) or buckwheat flour too. (if you’re gluten free make sure your oats are gf)

now on to the recipe!

(makes 1 serving which is around 4 pancakes)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large-ish banana, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons flour (see note above)
  • 2 tablespoon yogurt or 1/2 tablespoon yogurt and 1.5 tablespoon coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder (optional)
  • 1.5 tsp chia seeds (optional)
  • olive oil/canola oil to cook

Directions

  • mix the mashed banana, the egg, yogurt/coconut milk, honey and vanilla essence in a bowl
  • add in the flour one spoon at a time and then the baking powder, cocoa powder and the chia seeds.
  • heat a fry pan and spray/spread with oil
  • when oil is hot drop in roughly 1/4 of the batter (2 spoons?) onto the pan in a circular shape
  • lower the heat
  • (i make 2 pancakes at a time but depending on the size of your pan and your cooking ability, cook the pancakes at the rate you want)
  • little bubbles should appear and after around twenty seconds when the pancake is holding together, flip it (lift the edge with your spatula to check whether its ready)
  • cook until both sides are lightly browned and then take out on to a plate, stacking the pancakes
  • add toppings to your pancake stack!
  • (my pancakes have coconut milk, honey, nuts and dried apricots on top)

Chai Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Frosting

These. Were. Delicious.

DSC_0504DSC_0502

The cupcakes themselves were buttery and moist with a subtle and warming chai flavor. When topped with a rich and chocolatey frosting, they were elevated to the next level. Chai and chocolate are actually a wonderful combination. They complement each other beautifully.

I made them for a birthday and they were so rich, it was a perfect substitute for the traditional birthday cake. Cupcakes actually save a lot of trouble – no trying to get the cake out of the pan, no messy slices and frosting is much easier! And everything tastes better in mini form hehe!

The cupcakes are quite simple to make but the best part is the frosting. IT’S 2 INGREDIENTS. JUST TWO! And it’s so delicious, I bet once you make it once you’ll have to make it again!

DSC_0506

So I hope you make these cupcakes because they are absolutely fantastic.

If you don’t have chai powder, here’s an easy recipe to make your own at home.

Chai Cupcakes (makes 10)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1.5 cup plain/all purpose flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 – 1 tablespoon chai spice mix (depending on the strength of your chai powder)
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
  2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, chai powder and salt.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy with a hand mixer or by hand. I suggest using a mixer for the entire recipe, it makes your life much easier.
  4. Add in the egg and vanilla and continue mixing.
  5. Add in the flour and milk alternately in batches and continue beating as you do so.
  6. The batter should be a cream color and about the consistency of thick frosting.
  7. Fill cupcake liner 2/3 way and bake for around 25 minutes until the tops of the cupcakes are a light caramel color and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Let cool before frosting.
  9. After frosting feel free to add sprinkles or chopped nuts.

Milk Chocolate frosting

  1. Melt 75g chopped milk chocolate in a microwave or on the stove.
  2. Cream together with 1/2 cup butter.
  3. Aaaaand you’re done! 🙂

 

Sesame & Peanut Crusted Tofu

DSC_0483

This is a great side dish to serve along with rice or vegetables or meat. It’s flavorful and hearty and really easy to make!

If you have time to marinade the tofu in the sauce, that would be highly recommended but if you’re pressed for time you can skip the marinading step and just dip the tofu in.

Serving size: 1-2 (easily double or triple the recipe for more servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 package tofu
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon coconut milk (optional, can replace with 1 tsp water and )
  • 1.5 tsp ginger paste/grated ginger
  • 1 tsp honey/agave (I used honey, if vegan you can use agave)
  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • pinch of chill powder/paprika
  • 3 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoon shelled and toasted peanuts
  • sesame/canola/olive oil (sesame is best)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • handful fresh coriander (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cut the tofu into square slices
  2. In a wide bowl, mix the soy sauce, coconut milk, honey, ginger and peanut butter well.
  3. Add the tofu pieces to the sauce and if you can, leave for 2-3 hours. Otherwise just move on to the next step.
  4. In an other bowl, crush the peanuts and sesame seeds.
  5. Heat a flat frypan, heat around 1-2 tsp oil and spread evenly
  6. Wait until the oil is hot
  7. Dip the tofu slices, one by one, in the crushed peanut-sesame mixture and then place on the pan. You can do 5-6 slices at a time.
  8. Pour some of the leftover sauce on top of the tofu slices and flip after around 30 seconds
  9. Cook until browned on both sides and then remove from pan.
  10. Top with fresh coriander, squeezed lemon juice and any leftover sauce or nuts
  11. Enjoy!

DSC_0480

Homemade Granola

DSC_0474

A wonderful crispy granola, perfect in the morning with some cold milk and some dried fruit added on top. Or however you like granola, but thats my preference 🙂

I find making my own granola much better than buying store bought because I can alter the flavors to my liking and mix and match it instead of having the same flavor everyday. Also, I know exactly what’s going into it – no chemicals or sneaky corn syrup hiding in here! Not to mention, it’s super easy. All you need is oats, toppings, an oven and less than half an hour of your time. And 20 minutes of that is just waiting for it in the oven.

This is a simple granola because I like making this and then adding whatever toppings I feel like on that day, but feel free to add in more flavors or dried fruits or anything into the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oats (rolled oats are best, but any oats would work!)
  • chopped nuts
  • 1/4 cup olive/coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey/agave
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • More add ins: dried fruit, shredded coconut, cocoa powder, coffee powder, cinnamon, maple extract, cocoa nibs)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius and take out a baking tray
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the oil and add in the honey and vanilla extract. Stir on low heat for about a minute until well integrated.
  3. Spread the oats, nuts and whatever other toppings on the baking tray.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients on top and mix well.
  5. Pop in the oven and bake for around 20 minutes, shaking the tray ever 5 minutes to make sure the granola doesn’t stick and gets evenly baked.
  6. Done! Serve with yogurt, milk or fresh fruit!

Note: If you use dried fruit, add in only in the last 3 minutes.