About Me

Hello. I started this blog to write about what I do in my chosen profession : a housewife. Some day I might cook or bake something interesting and enlist my 2 year old to help, on another day I make something from scratch instead of buying it from the store and sometimes I craft with my daughter. Once in a while, we travel or have a fun day outside. I am also doing what I can to recycle and reduce waste. I am still learning all of this and documenting my journey through this blog

Recipes tried

I am currently in pantry cleaning mode. So, I have tried out a lot of recipes this past two weeks. I had bookmarked some of them for maybe a year now and I finally tried them out.

Gingerbread Cookies

The daughter saw an episode of Care Bears making gingerbread cookies and since that day, she had been insisting I make them. She even told me the recipe : ground cloves, cinnamon, ginger, molasses and flour. Thats a good enough recipe for a 3 year old. I followed the King Arthur flour recipe This recipe makes real tasty cookies! A great balance of spice and sweet and a good crisp to soft ratio. The dough needs to be kept cold at all times otherwise it will turn into a sticky mess real fast. I made the dough the previous night and stuck it in the fridge in a covered container and pulled it out of the fridge about half an hour before rolling to make it manageable to roll. The dough still has to be cold to touch. I rolled it out on parchment paper with a piece of plastic wrap on top.
The daughter loved cutting out shapes with the cookie cutter. After arranging the cookie shapes on the parchment lined baking sheet, I stuck it in the freezer for 5 minutes to firm them up.
I needed to bake them about 10 minutes. Cooled on the sheet for a couple of minutes and then onto the wire rack to finish cooling.

Milk Peda

I had some milk powder to use up, possibly bought for the purpose of trying this Peda recipe. It had been sitting around for so long, I can hardly remember.
I cannot really say I followed the recipe because I did not have the right quantities of ingredients. I first mixed about a tablespoon of butter, 1 1/2 cups of milk powder and half a container (about a cup) of condensed milk. The mix did make pedas which some people did like but I was not happy about the dryness.
So I crumbled all the pedas leftover from the test batch and added regular milk enough to make a paste consistency and microwaved again (about 5 minutes) till I got a rollable consistency. This time, the pedas were exactly like store-bought pedas. So, to cut the long story short, follow the recipe and make a nice paste with enough condensed milk to get great pedas in the first try. I also added some cardamom powder and some good quality milk masala to the milk paste for a great flavor. The milk powder is a bit smelly while cooking so these aromatics are really key to a great taste.

Mango Icecream

I had half a container of whipping cream leftover from the Strawberry cream cake. I froze the cream to use later. I finally decided to use it in this icecream recipe. It is such an easy recipe and whipping the cream seemed like a good idea to avoid crystallization that is common in homemade icecream. But defrosted cream doesnt whip up well. So I just whipped it as much as it would, without turning into butter and then mixed in an equal amount of condensed milk and some vanilla. I froze it for a few hours. It tasted quite good and much like kulfi. But the lack of air (due to unwhipped cream) to break up all the fat, made the icecream too heavy and rich. So I blended the icecream with about a cup of frozen alphonso mango pulp that was lying in the freezer. What I ended up with was the most addictive mango icecream. It was completely devoid of crystals and very smooth and creamy.

Date Cake

It was our friend's wedding anniversary. I wanted to make a quick cake at the last minute. Going with the pantry chow down theme happening, I had some dates to use up. I made this eggless date cake recipe with a few changes. I increased the quantity of dates to 25 instead of 18 and used brown sugar instead of white. I also used only 1/2 cup of sugar instead of 3/4. Also, used 1/4 cup of walnuts instead of a tablespoon. I am pretty sure the cake would work well with whole wheat flour. I would have tried it but since it was for a special occassion, I went with all purpose flour. Maybe next time. The other important thing about this cake is that it is really delicate. I learnt the hard way to let the cake cool down in the pan before attempting to remove it.

Snack time - Date ladoo with nuts and seeds, Oven roasted Chivda

Recently our snack stock ran out. I decided to restock it with some healthy snacks. One for the sweet tooth and the other for the savory.

No Sugar Date ladoo with chia seeds
Dates provide all the sweetness for this ladoo. They are sweet and full of fiber and nutrition. The nuts and seeds provide crunch and substance while providing good fats.

1 cup dates
1 1/2 cup mixed nuts and seeds *
4 cardamom pods
  • Soak nuts like almonds and walnuts in water for about 2 hours. This makes them easier to digest.
  • Peel and chop. This is a time consuming process. This step can be done a day ahead. Using a nut chopper or food processor will make it a whole lot easier.
  • Boil some water. Barely cover the dates with the boiling water in a container. Cover and leave aside for 15 minutes. This softens the dates. This step is optional if you have a food processor. Since I used the blender, I took this extra step.
  • Blend a little bit of dates at a time in the blender till coarsely blended.
  • Mix together the dates, chopped nuts and powdered cardamom seeds and roll the mixture into tiny balls. These need to be stored in the refrigerator due to the water used for dates. They easily last atleast a month in the fridge.
  • Any nuts or seeds that you have on hand can be used. Here are the seeds and nuts I used:
    • 1/2 cup almonds
    • 1/2 cup walnuts
    • 1/4 cup cashews
    • 1/4 cup pistachios
    • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
    • 1/4 cup chia seeds
    • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
    Chia seeds are a powerhouse of nutrition and full of omega-3, fiber and protein.
  • If you have a food processor, it greatly speeds up the process. Just chop the nuts in the food processor first. Remove. Chop dates. Add back the nuts and cardamom powder and process till it comes together. Roll into balls.

Oven roasted Chivda
Instead of frying or roasting on stove top which requires active effort of mixing, I prefer to roast the chivda ingredients in the oven. It practically makes itself without much effort.

3 cups puffed rice + puffed wheat
2 cups cereal (wheat flakes, corn flakes etc)
1/8 cup oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 1/2 tbsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp chopped curry leaves
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup pistachios
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup peanuts
1/4 cup daliya (roasted chana dal)
1/4 cup raisins and dried berries
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chivda masala
1/2 tsp amchoor powder
1 tsp sugar
  • Combine puffed rice, puffed wheat and cereal in a large baking tray. Roast for 10 minutes in a 350F oven. Stir once midway.
  • Heat oil and add the mustard seeds, asafoetida, cumin seeds, poppy seeds, coriander seeds, sesame seeds, fennel seeds, turmeric and curry leaves.
  • Add the nuts (cashews, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, daliya and sunflower seeds). Let them roast for about 4 minutes. They need to be crunchy.
  • Add the raisins and dried berries. Add the salt, sugar, chivda masala and amchoor powder.
  • Switch off the flame and mix everything.
  • Add the flavorings in the oil to the baking tray with roasted cereals and mix together with your hands so everything is evenly distributed.
  • Puffed wheat is optional. I just used it as I had some on hand.
  • I have also used a combination of cereals like corn flakes, wheat flakes and alphabet cereal.
  • You do not have to use all the seeds (coriander, sesame etc) in the seasoning. Use what you like or have on hand. The same goes for the nuts. I just use them for the added nutrition and taste. Use what you like and have.
  • I had some chivda masala lying around. If you do not have it, just add a little bit of chili powder if you like a little spice in the chivda.
  • I chop curry leaves so that they are eaten and not removed from the dish while eating. Why waste nutrition when you can get it. :)