Monday, June 24, 2013

Whole Wheat Banana Bread With Maple Syrup


Last few weeks flew by rapidly that I was not finding enough time to check my favorite blogs.  Summer is at its brim and you wish you could whip up something to utilize the splendid sunlight that last till the dawn around 9:00 pm.  But outdoor activities and gardening is taking most of my time these days.  Yes, I had started my outdoor gardening and the plants are in their very immature stage and I am impetuously waiting to see them bloom and fruit.



An easy make ahead healthy breakfast is my motto these days.  Banana flavor was never my favorite as I am not a banana lover opposed to my hubby.  So I usually buy them for my hubby and he finishes them before they over ripe.  But during summer season, I always had the problem of over ripe bananas and I used to waste a lot of bananas till I started making these banana bread.  To balance the nutrition, fiber and fat content, I tried several version of banana bread by altering the ingredient and this is the final version which fitted my family's taste.  This is a perfect soft healthy banana bread loaf which is not over sweet and still has the natural flavors in it.  My taste palate has changed so much that I started liking the banana bread now.


This bread is highly volatile in my family and I am sure you will love it!!!

Yields - 1 loaf

Ingredients
2 Cups - whole wheat flour
2 tsp - baking powder
3/4 tsp - baking soda
1/4 tsp - salt
2 - eggs
1/2 cup - brown sugar
1 cup - mashed overripe bananas
2 tbsp - low fat sour cream
1/4 cup - low fat milk
1/4 cup - oil
1 tsp - vanilla extract
1/4 cup - raisins
1/4 cup - chopped walnuts
2 tbsp - pure maple syrup
1 tbsp - chopped walnuts

Directions

  • Pre heat oven to 350 degree F.
  • Mix eggs, sour cream, oil, mashed bananas, brown sugar, vanilla extract and milk using an electric mixture till well mixed.
  • Sift together wheat flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a separate bowl.
  • Gently add the sifted wheat flour mix into the wet ingredients and mix for 1 minute.
  • Fold in the raisins and chopped walnuts into the batter.
  • Pour into a greased loaf pan lined with parchment paper.  Sprinkle the 1 tbsp chopped walnuts on the top of the batter and using a rubber spatula press the walnuts gently down on the batter.  Drizzle 2 tbsp of pure maple syrup on top of the batter.
  • Bake for 50 - 55 minutes or till a toothpick comes out clean when tested on the center of the bread.
Notes
  • Use overripe bananas for better flavor and taste.
  • This bread is not over sweet.  So if you like your loaf to be sweeter, adjust the brown sugar.
  • The loaf can be stored in air tight container outside for 1 day.  To store for more days, keep the loaf refrigerated in air tight container.



Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Orange Sesame Dressing With A Hint Of Ginger



Salad has become an integral part of our diet (strictly followed by my hubby) as we got more health conscious as a new year resolution we took couple of years ago.  At times I get lazy and resort to left over dinner for my next day lunch.  But a fresh box of spring mix sitting in my refrigerator always makes me guilt free even I indulge on some baked stuff :).



  Including salad in your daily diet not only makes you feel that you are doing something right for your body, but also provides the recommended intake of dietary fiber.  Salad diet really helps to shed down the extra adipose that is gained with irregular eating habits.  At least that's what my experience is.



I love this uplifted version of Orange Sesame Dressing that has a hint of Ginger and orange zest.  The nutty and citrus flavors of this Asian dressing can jazz up any spring leaves based salad.  I usually throw some sesame sticks or fried noodles into the salad to give the crunch.

Yields - roughly 1 cup of dressing

Ingredients

1/2 cup - Freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup - light soy sauce
1/4 cup - dark sesame oil
1 tsp -  fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp - sesame seed paste
1 tsp - orange zest
1/2 tsp - freshly grated ginger
1/2 tsp - sesame seeds
Salt and ground pepper to taste

Directions

  • Put all the ingredients together in a air tight bottle/jar and shake well till everything is blended together.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hr.
  • Drizzle it over your favorite spring leaves mix and vegetables.  Add some sesame sticks and fried noodles.  Enjoy the salad.



Monday, June 10, 2013

Real Fruit Ice Cream - Peach and Strawberry flavors



Homemade ice creams are the recent hit in my family.  Since the sun started to show up last few weeks, I am making batches of these homemade ice creams in pop sickle form and they are well received by my kids and I got raving comment from my neighbor who happened to taste it.  My first trial was with dark chocolate ice cream and it was my kids' all time favorite ice cream, which never got a chance to be photographed.  I was astound by the fact that these fruit ice creams I made never attained the same color as we get from the store bought brands.  It reveals the role of artificial color in the store brought brand ice cream. 



My attempt to make a low fat version of ice cream didn't get any further when I found out the additives/ingredients that was added on the low fat creams available, which turned out to be more processed than the full fat creams.  So I went with the full fat cream and low fat milk to balance the difference, but I must admit, they were so creamy and delicious.


My kids had given me another list of flavor to try on, so I will be experimenting with more flavors pretty soon. 



Here are the 2 real fruit flavored ice creams I made couple of weeks ago.   Out of the 2 versions, Peach ice cream was my favorite.



Ingredients
4 cups - whipping cream
1 cup - low fat milk
1 cup - sugar
4  - egg yolks
1 tsp - salt
1 tsp - vanilla extract

Strawberry ice cream
1 cup - fresh strawberries
1/4 cup - sugar
1/4 cup - finely chopped strawberries
1 tsp - sugar

Peach ice cream
1 cup - fresh peach cubed
1/4 cup - sugar
1 tsp - fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup - finely chopped peaches
1 tsp - sugar

Directions

  • Puree the strawberry with 1/4 cup sugar and keep it aside.
  • Puree peaches with lemon juice and sugar and keep it aside.
  • Whisk 4 egg yolks well in a bowl.
  • Take a heavy bottom sauce pan and add milk, whipping cream, salt and sugar and bring to simmer.  Take one cup of the hot milk and cream mixture and gently pour into the egg yolk and whisk continuously till well blended.  Now pour the egg yolk mixture into the sauce pan by stirring continuously with a wooden spoon.  Cook the custard stirring continuously till you notice a thin coat of the custard gets on the back the spoon when the spoon is taken out of the mixture.  This is the right consistency.  
  • Turn off the burner and add the vanilla extract.
  • Divide the mixture into half by separating into 2 1/2 cups in 2 bowls.
  • To the first half add the strawberry puree.
  • To the second half add the peach puree.
  • Cover the bowls with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or a minimum of 4 hrs.
  • Add the chopped fruit pieces into the respective ice cream mixtures and churn the ice cream mixture in a ice cream maker according to to the manufacture's directions.
  • Or you can pour them into pop sickle molds and freeze till they are ready to enjoy.
Notes
  • You can use any fruit of your choice.  If you are using any fruit that changes color after cutting, use lemon juice with it to prevent oxidation.
  • We prefer less sugar in our ice creams.  If you need more sugar, feel free to add more.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Badami Chicken/Almond Chicken - A guest post for Rafeeda



Blogging had opened a wide door that led to networking and making friendship with people who I had never met but share the same ardor for food like me.  I had astounded by the fact that how much blogging had changed my taste buds and try new recipes of my blogger friends. Exchanging tips and tricks from the kitchen, chit chatting with friends whom you never met is the joy of blogging I had experienced.  It is very easy to communicate with people who share the same interest and ideas.



Rafeeda is one of my blogger friend who blogs at 'The Big Sweet Tooth' whom I met through the world of blogging.  It was only few months ago I stumbled on her blog while searching for something, but I couldn't stop going back to her blog again as I felt that she is someone who lives next door to me.  Her blog had got a huge attention in this short period of time.  The amount of dedication she might have put into her site to nurture it from a seedling to a fast growing tree is appreciable.  You can see a great collection of food ranging from Sweet treats to Keralite authentic food on her blog.  When Rafeeda asked me to do a guest post for her, I was thrilled to do so as it was my first guest post since I started blogging. 


 My guest post for Rafeeda is this Badami Chicken/Almond Chicken, which is a North Indian preparation of boneless chicken in spicy gravy made with almond milk.  This dish makes use of whole spices which gives it a pleasant aroma.  Badami Chicken is perfect when paired with steamed Basmati rice or Indian flat breads (Naan/Roti/Chapthi/Paratha).  Navigate to Rafeeda's 'The Big Sweet Tooth' to view the recipe.


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