Vanilla Overnight Oats

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We’ve all heard that. However, very often, its one of the most rushed through or even ignored meal of the day. A lot of times, this happens because of our crazy busy schedules or we fall into a rut and breakfast gets boring. I mean, as much as I like toast, I really can’t eat it every single day. Moreover, I don’t think toast by itself is doing me any good.

In our house, we tend to eat oats for breakfast very often. Sometimes, this can prove difficult, because we’re running late or its summertime and I can’t bear the thought of turning the gas on to make us porridge. Not to mention, eating hot porridge on a hot day, only makes things hotter. So once I tried refrigerated overnight oats, I was really happy. If you’ve never tried overnight oats, you really should. Oats are healthy and when combined with some chia seeds, fresh fruit and nuts, it is a really healthy breakfast. The best part is, this is a make ahead recipe and requires no cooking. Which can be a blessing during hot summers. This is a versatile recipe and you can add your favorite fruit and nuts to top it off. So I hope you try this out as a breakfast option and let me know what you think.

Vanilla Overnight Oats
(Makes 1 portion)

1/3 cup rolled oats
1 tsp chia seeds
1/4 – 1/2 vanilla extract
Maple syrup, to taste
2/3 cup almond milk (you can use soy milk or any other milk of your choice)
Fresh fruit and nuts of your choice (I used some strawberries, grapes and slivered almonds)

In a mason jar, add all the ingredients except the fresh fruit and nuts that you’re using to top off the oatmeal with.

Cover the jar and refrigerate overnight. (You can make a larger batch and use it through the week)

In the morning, add the fresh fruit and nuts of your choice. Serve up.

Enjoy!

Kale Chips with a Spicy Chaat Masala Seasoning

Anyone who knows me well, knows I love my snacks. Most Indian snacks are deep fried. Actually, scratch that, most snacks anywhere are deep fried. Well, atleast the yummy ones are. That being the way it is, I try to cut down on these kinds of snacks. Which means, I’m constantly on the lookout for healthier options. And it goes without saying that even these healthier options, have to be delicious. At the end of the post, I will list some of the recipes that I find healthier. Do you love your snacks as much as I do? Hit me up with your healthy snack recipes in the comments section. I would love to try them out and will post my experience here, with credit to you, of course.

Today’s post is one such snack option. Kale Chips. I never thought I’d love it as much as I do. I’ve had the option to cook with Kale only in the last couple of years. I’ve not tried too many Kale recipes so far. Just this Skillet Breakfast Hash and now these Kale Chips. I’ve made them both a few times and we love them. That is how I knew, I had to share these Kale Chips with you. Kale is really good for you. They are choc full of antioxidants. These are baked and I can’t tell you how delightful they are to snack on. You have to try it to believe it. What I love is that the options for the seasonings are endless. I have a soft spot to this Spicy Masala Chaat Seasoning. It is a little tangy, a little salty and a little spicy – just perfect. And its such an easy recipe too. All you do is prep the leaves, sprinkle the seasoning over, toss and bake. So what are you waiting for? Try it out. You’ll definitely want to make it again.

You can watch the recipe here –

Kale Chips


1 bunch of Kale, washed and shaken dry
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder or to taste
1/2 tsp Chaat masala, or to taste
Salt, to taste

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

To prep the Kale leaves, break the leaves into smaller chip size portions, discarding the tougher stem.

In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, the chilli powder, chaat masal and salt together.

Drizzle this over the the kale leaves and toss well to make sure all the leaves are coated with the spices. Its best to do this with your hands. Rub the leaves gently to get the seasoning in the little nooks and crannies.

Either line a baking tray with some parchment paper or lightly spray with some oil

Arrange the kale leaves in a single layer on the tray.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or till the leaves are lightly browned.

Keep a close watch on the leaves as they can go from just right to burnt very quickly.

Take them out of the oven and let the chips cool completely before eating. They crisp up as they cool.

Sit back and enjoy.

Pin now and enjoy later!

Banana Fritters – another great way to use up over-ripe bananas

If you’re like me, you always have bananas on the kitchen counter. I personally love bananas and we always have bananas in the house. This means that every once in a while, I find myself left with a couple of bananas that are a little too ripe to eat as is. Do you? If you do, don’t fret and definitely don’t throw those bananas away. There are the perfect ingredient for these banana fritters.

I remember my mum and Nana (maternal grandmother) making us some of these fritters just in time for an after school snack. To tell you the truth, I had kind of forgotten about these fritters till my husband whipped up a batch more recently. And I absolutely loved them. They come together in minutes with literally 3 ingredients and no sugar. Now we make these fritters quite often. Sometimes, I leave a couple of bananas to get over ripe just so I can make these fritters.

In the past, we’ve made these fritters using either whole wheat flour (atta) or all purpose flour (maida). They turn out really well using either of the two. So feel free to use what you have on hand. I don’t like my sweets too sweet, so I just use the bananas to sweeten these fritters. Since they are over-ripe, they tend to be sweeter. However, if you don’t find them sweet enough, you can drizzle them with some honey or some maple syrup. You could also add some sugar/honey/maple syrup to the batter. The recipe below is the one I use without any sweetener. I think these fritters would work very well in place of pancakes for breakfast too.

Banana Fritters


2 over ripe bananas
1 egg
2-3 heaped tablespoons whole wheat flour / all purpose flour
1-2 tsp oil, for pan frying (I use olive oil. You could use any oil that you use for cooking.)

Mash the bananas till no big lumps remain.

Whisk in an egg. Whisk till the egg has incorporated with the mashed bananas well.

Lastly add 2 tablespoons of either whole wheat flour or all purpose flour.

Whisk till the flour has just about mixed in. Do not over mix. You will end up with a batter that looks like this.

Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan over medium heat.

Pour a heaped tablespoon of batter onto the pan. Depending on the size of the pan, you can fry more than one fritter at a time.

After a minute or so, or when the bottom is golden brown (use a spatula and slightly lift one edge of the fritter to check for doneness), flip them over and cook on the other side.

At this stage if you find the batter is too delicate and hard to turn, add a spoon more of flour to the batter and whisk through. This should make it easier to flip over.

When it is golden brown on the other side too, remove from the pan.

Repeat till the rest of the batter is over, adding a little more oil to the pan between batches, as required.

Serve hot with a hot cup of tea.

Enjoy!!!
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Banana Fritters
A delicious tea-time snack and a great way to use up over ripe bananas.
Ingredients
  • 2 Over ripe bananas
  • 1 Egg
  • 2-3 heaped tbsp Whole wheat flour / all purpose flour
  • 1-2 tsp oil, for pan frying
Instructions
Mash the bananas till no big lumps remain.Whisk in an egg. Whisk till the egg has incorporated with the mashed bananas well.Lastly add 2 tablespoons of either whole wheat flour or all purpose flour.Whisk till the flour has just about mixed in. Do not over mix.Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan over medium heat. I use olive oil. You can use whatever oil you use for cooking.Pour a heaped tablespoon of batter onto the pan. Depending on the size of the pan, you can fry more than one fritter at a time.After a minute or so, or when the bottom is golden brown (use a spatula and slightly lift one edge of the fritter to check for doneness), flip them over and cook on the other side.

At this stage if you find the batter is too delicate and hard to turn, add a spoon more of flour to the batter and whisk through. This should make it easier to flip over.When it is golden brown on the other side too, remove from the pan.Repeat till the rest of the batter is over, adding a little more oil to the pan between batches, as required.

Details

Prep time: 5 mins Cook time: 10 mins Total time: 15 mins Yield:

Roasted Winter Vegetable Bowl

Ever since we were little, my mother made sure we ate a lot of vegetables. When I think of it, my brother and I were never picky or fussy about eating our vegetables. My mother and my Nana (maternal grandmother) who lived with us, taught us the value of food and ingrained in us how we were lucky to have meals that were lovingly prepared, when there were so many all around the world that had to go without any. And that lesson has staying with us till date. For this we are ever so grateful. 

Very often, I find myself with not much in the fridge, especially towards the end of the week, just before grocery shopping. On one such occasion, I had a few veggies, none of them enough to make a dish in itself, so I thought I’d just combine the lot of them. I also had some leftover falafel from a previous trip to Costco so I added them to the mix. What I ended up was this glorious winter veggie bowl. 
Putting together a veggie spread like this is so simple and requires very little hands on time. And the best part is you can swap these veggies for any that you have in the fridge. I added a simple salad and dressing over it and topped it with some roasted peanuts. I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to dig into a bowl like this – veggies in all their glory. I could live on food like this. You won’t even miss the meat and all these beautiful colors are really good for you too. That’s a win win. The recipe below is not quite a recipe, just guidelines if you want to whip up something like this. Please feel free to change as you wish.
 
Roasted Winter Vegetable Bowl
Serves 2 

1 beetroot, boiled, peeled and cut into pieces 
2 carrots, cut into 2″ long pieces
Cauliflower florets (dont waste the stalks, cut the stalk into cubes and use with the florets)
4 pcs. falafel (prepare according to package instructions)
Hummus 
Olives, pitted and sliced
Green Salad (recipe follows)
Garlic Yogurt dressing (recipe follows)
A small handful of pistachios
Salt, to taste
Freshly crushed black pepper, to taste
Extra Virgin Olive oil, to drizzle over
When prepping the veggies, try and cut them the same size so that they cook evenly. 
I roasted each vegetable in a separate baking dish, but if you prefer, you can use the same dish.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
Cut the carrots, sprinkle with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Toss well to coat and place in a baking dish in a single layer and bake for 15-20 minutes or till cooked to your liking. Flip the carrots halfway through the cook time.
Sprinkle the cauliflower florets with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Toss well to coat and place in another baking dish in a single layer and bake for 15-20 minutes or till cooked to your liking. Flip the carrots halfway through the cook time.
Heat a pan and roast the pistachios on medium flame till they’ve lightly browned.
For the salad – 
1 cucumber, sliced
1 tomato, cubed
1/3 small red / white onion, finely sliced
Salad greens of your choice (lettuce, arugula, rocket, baby spinach)
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Lime juice, to taste
Toss all the ingredients.
For the Garlic Yogurt dressing –  
1 cup Greek yogurt
Salt, to taste
1-2 tsp sugar, or to taste
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped (Use freshly chopped garlic. Do not use garlic paste because that is too pungent for a salad)
Stir all the ingredients through and set aside.
To assemble the bowls
Place the cut beetroot, roasted carrots, cauliflower, falafel, hummus, olives and the salad in a bowl.
Drizzle the dressing over it. Serve a little extra on the side for the falafel.
Top with the roasted pistachios.
Enjoy!
 

Date, Apricot & Chia Bars

How many of you enjoy your dry fruits, nuts and seeds? I’m talking raisins, sultanas, dates, apricots, prunes or almonds, cashewnuts, peanuts and also pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and sunflower seeds. Me, I love them all. They are all known to have health benefits if eaten in small quantities as part of a balanced diet. It is a shame that more people don’t include these little gems in the diets. My husband loves nuts, but isn’t too keen on the dried fruit or seeds by themselves. So I have to think of ways to include them in our diet. Most often, we usually just nibble on a small handful of an assortment of fruits and nuts / seeds, but I was looking for other ways to enjoy them too.

When I came across a post with these bars, I knew I had found something good. It has dates, apricots, pepitas, chia seeds and a touch of cinnamon, all of which are know to be healthy in their own right. They come together to form these little delicious bars which are so tasty. They are sweet from the dates, a little tangy from the apricots and have the crunch of the chia seeds and pepitas though them. As the original recipe included a small amount of white chocolate chips, I threw them in, but they would be fantastic even with dark chocolate or even without chocolate at all.

The verdict, my husband enjoys them, which is a win for dry fruits in his books. They are small portion sizes, but pack a punch. If you like to reach for a snack bar or a granola bar during the day, I suggest trying these out. They are very satisfying and will keep the hunger pangs away till your next meal. They take all of 10 minutes hands on time. So even if you are time poor, you can still make a batch of these on your day off and enjoy them through the week. Kids will enjoy them too. Go ahead, give them a try. If you do, I’d love to hear what you think of them.

Date, Apricot & Chia Bars
Recipe from: Cupcakes & Kale Chips
Yields: 16 pieces (2 inch squares)

1 cup dates, pitted
1 cup dried apricots
2 tbsp Chia seeds
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds / pepitas
2 tbsp white chocolate chips (optional)

Line an 8×8 inch baking dish or tray with baking paper.

Place the dates, apricots, chia seeds and cinnamon in a food processor and blitz till it has coarsely broken down.

Add the pepitas to the processor and blitz again till the pepitas have broken down to finely chopped.

Now add the chocolate chips, if you’re using them and blitz again to break them up to little pieces.

Empty this mix onto the lined baking dish and flatten it down as best as you can, using the back of a spoon.

Next, I used another piece of baking paper on the top and used a large glass jar to flatten it out evenly. You can also use the bottom of a pan or a similar sized baking dish to do this after you place the baking paper on top.

Refrigerate for an hour.

Cut into squares. They are now ready to eat.

To store these bars, place a piece of baking paper between the squares to keep them from sticking to each other. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

You now have little snack bars that will take you through the week.

Enjoy!!!

If you like this recipe, here’s a few more you might enjoy –
Fruit & Nut Balls
Power Packed Snack Bars
Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal


Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal

So baked oatmeal is apparently a thing, and I didn’t know until now. I’m wondering where I’ve been all this while. In a few short months, I’ve stumbled upon Smoothie Bowls and now Baked Oatmeal. We love the smoothie bowls. They were perfect for summer and we’ve had a long, hot one. Its not over yet, but the weather has started cooling down a tiny bit and I am looking forward to winter. Enter this awesome Baked Oatmeal.

In our house, we love oatmeal for breakfast. It does take a little more hands-on time to whip up in the morning compared to making toast. However, we all know that oatmeal is healthier for you than bread. And overnight refrigerator oatmeal is perfect for summer, but I prefer a warm breakfast when the weather is cooler. And how good would it be if someone could make me this warm breakfast in the morning while I got an extra ten minutes of sleep. That ain’t happening so this baked oatmeal is the next best thing. You make a batch up one evening and it reheats beautifully for breakfast the next morning. The flavor options that I found on the internet are endless. This breakfast option is an absolute winner in my book and I know I’ll be making it very often as the weather cools down.

Making baked oatmeal couldn’t be simpler. Whisk the wet ingredients. Stir in the oats and bake. An added advantage is that this is clean eating at its best. No refined sugars in this breakfast option. Its like eating banana bread for breakfast, without the guilt. You use the oats instead of flour and maple syrup instead of sugar. Throw in some coconut oil and pecan nuts and you have taken this humble oatmeal breakfast up a couple of notches nutritionally. Don’t take my word for it. Make a batch today and you’ll have a household that actually enjoys oatmeal for breakfast.



Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal


2 large ripe bananas (or 3 small)
3/4 cup milk, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans (additional for garnish)
2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 180ºC.

Grease an 8×8 baking dish and set aside.

Spread the chopped pecans on another ungreased baking tray and let them roast for 4-6 minutes or till they are toasted light golden brown. Cool.

In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas.

Add the milk, eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla to the mashed bananas and mix well till smooth.

Add the oats, salt, cinnamon powder and toasted pecans and stir till combined.

Pour into the greased baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes or until set and golden brown on top.

Let it cool for a while (around 5 minutes) in the baking dish itself before cutting and serving.

Serve warm by itself or with some greek yogurt or milk, as desired. You could top it off with some fresh fruit and nuts as well.

If you’re making this ahead of time, refrigerate and cut and reheat in the microwave as needed.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

I’m finally back to blogging! If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been over the last few weeks, I’ve been right here but I’ve had my laptop die on me. It was a real task recovering the data on it and getting back to doing this. But thanks to my wonderful husband, I’ve recovered most of it. And now finally have access to it. Still don’t have my trusty laptop, but the family computer works fine for now.

So to ease back into the flow of things, this will be a quick post. The recipe also is a quick one, super simple to make. Infact, you can barely even call it a recipe, but the results are so very good, I will go ahead and post it here to share with you. If you haven’t tried out sweet potato fries yet, trust me, you really should. Even my beloved husband, who doesn’t care much for the sweet potato (he calls it a sweet mush / baby food), loved it and actually requests for these fries every once in a while.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind here. You could peel the potatoes, but I leave the skin on. Just give it a good wash and scrub and you are good to go. Also, size of the fries will make a difference. The thicker you cut it, the longer it will take to cook. The thicker sized fries will still be soft and fluffy. If you are like me and love a little crunch in your life,  cut the fries thin. It cooks quicker and caramelises a little and is super delicious, not to mention perfectly crunchy.

This fries are a much more healthy version that the regular potato fries and are great either as a snack or as a side to a big roast dinner or holiday meal too.

Sweet Potato Fries


1 large sweet potato, washed
Salt, to taste
Freshly crushed black pepper, to taste
A drizzle of olive oil (about 1 tbsp)

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Cut the sweet potato into fries.

Drizzle a little olive oil on a baking tray.

Place the sweet potato, salt and pepper on the tray and toss to make sure everything is well coated. You can add a little more olive oil if needed.

Arrange the potato pieces in a single layer.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, turning the pieces once at the halfway mark.

Keep an eye on your oven from time to time. It may not need as long in your oven. Also this time will depend on the size of the pieces. So keep an eye on it the first time you make this.

When it is done to your liking, take it out of the oven.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Sriracha Chinese Cucumber Salad

Every now and then I love a little snack. Yes, I snack between meals Dad. My Dad would be horrified that I still do. He is a strong believer that food should be restricted to meal time, unless you were at a party or something. However, I love my snacks. I’ve always tried to cook / bake from scratch and now I want to try and take that one step ahead and eat clean. It will take some getting used to, but I think it definitely is do-able and I hope to take that to my snacks as well. Does this mean you’ll stop seeing desserts, bakes and other slightly indulgent food on my blog. Most definitely not. I will still do that, but will try and be more mindful of the kind of food I eat on a regular basis. Do you have any clean eating recipes that you love? I would love to try them out too. Leave me a comment and let me know 🙂

So back to this salad. I love cucumbers – continental, lebanese, baby cukes – all of them. One of my favourite ways to eat cucumber is straight up sprinkled with a tiny bit of salt. I usually serve some up with lunch or dinner. I wanted to try and change it up a little. So after a little looking around on the internet I came across this recipe. It was quick and easy and sounded delicious. I could definitely snack on some of this too. I’m very glad I stumbled across this recipe. 
I did this a tiny bit differently. I didn’t drain out the liquid and to make it work as a fresh salad, toss salad in the dressing and serve immediately. If not, it will get soggy. You can make the dressing ahead of time and just chop the cucumber and toss it up just before serving.
Sriracha Chinese Cucumber Salad
Adapted from: Kirbie Cravings
1 continental cucumber, cut into batons
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 – 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp sriracha sauce
1/2 tsp fresh coriander leaves and stalks, chopped
1/4 tsp red chilly flakes
Lemon / lime juice, to taste 
Mix all the ingredients except the cucumber pieces together in a bowl.
Add the cucumber pieces to the bowl and toss well.
Serve immediately.