Monday, November 14, 2016

Mediterranean Morning Glory Muffins

Growing up I had the privilege of enjoying the fresh homemade breakfast and a lunch packed by my Mom.  She used to wake up around 5.00 am and get both the breakfast and lunch ready for us before we head to school.  I am not sure how she managed to get everything done within the short time.  Being a picky eater, I would just nibble some breakfast for the name sake and drink a glass of milk and run for my bus.  The breakfast was really enjoyed as an evening snack by me.  Since my Mom knew me better, she would make a fresh batch and get it ready when I am back from school.  My brother and I used to enjoy the warm 'Puttu and Kadala' (steamed rice cake with chickpeas curry) she used to give us in 'Urullas' (a small handmade ball of food) even when we were in college.  Yes, we were spoiled to the core :).  But those were some good nostalgia I cherish.  Kids of this generation are so independent and miss all those tiny things we enjoyed while we were kids. 

 Even though I am not a morning person, I wake up pretty early to go to work.  But I am not too passionate about making an elaborate Indian style breakfast on the weekday mornings.  Like I had mentioned in several posts, a quick and easy breakfast works out for everyone in my house hold.  So I am in the constant hunt for a healthy breakfast that makes my kids happy and keep them full till lunch.  This recipe is an inspiration from the famous Mediterranean muffins.  It’s fruity, nutty, healthy and yet delicious.  I strongly recommend you to give this recipe a try. These muffins are one of my family favorites now.

Inspired by Better Baking
Yields - 12 -15 muffins
Dry Ingredients
1 1/2 cups - Whole wheat flour
1/2 cup - all purpose flour
1/2 tsp - salt
1 1/2 tsp - baking powder
1/2 tsp - baking soda
1/3 tsp - ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp - ground nutmeg 

Wet Ingredients
3 - eggs
1/2 cup - brown sugar
1/4 cup - oil
1/4 cup - plain yogurt
1/2 cup - freshly squeezed orange juice

Fresh & dry fruits
1 1/2 cup - grated carrots
1 1/2 cup - peeled and chopped apples
1 cup - golden raisins, black raisins & dried cranberry mix

1/2 cup - chopped walnuts
1/4 cup - walnuts, raisins & cranberry mix

  • Pre-heat oven to 375 ° F.
  • Sift together all the dry ingredients and set aside.
  • Beat the eggs and brown sugar together in a mixing bowl using a stand mixer or hand mixer.  Add, oil, yogurt, orange juice, grated carrots and chopped apples and mix well.
  • Now add the sifted flour mix and mix till well combined.
  • Add the nuts and raisin cranberry mix to the batter and mix well.
  • Line the muffin tins with cupcake liners. Use an ice cream scoop to fill the muffin tin up to three fourth.  Sprinkle the topping mix on the top of the batter and gently press it with the back of a dry spoon.  
  • Bake the muffins from 18-20 minutes or till the center of muffin is cooked well.  Cool the muffins on wire rack and enjoy.

  • The left overs can be stored at room temperature for a day if you your house is not too warm and humid.  Otherwise you can store them in air tight container in the refrigerator.
  • Microwave for 20 seconds to warm up the refrigerated muffin.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Quinoa And Mixed Nuts Granola

Breakfast being the first meal of the day is very important to me.  My husband does not believe in breakfast and its health benefits, but I like to sneak and pack a small bowl of granola, a muffin, a banana or some dry cereal for him to munch in the morning.  But for me skipping breakfast does not do anything good rather than makes me eat more during lunch which negates the whole purpose of fasting or dieting.  The word BREAKFAST truly refers to the breaking of fasting period of the previous night.  So something easy, light and healthy for the tummy is my preference on weekdays. Make ahead breakfast or easy to go breakfast options are a great way to hurdle the busy weekday mornings.   Granola bars, breakfast muffins, Oatmeal or a healthy parfait works perfectly on weekdays.  I was really contented to add another breakfast option to my repertoire.

As I was cleaning up my pantry I came across a bag of quinoa that was sitting in my pantry for some time.  It ended up in the form of crunchy granola with a mix of nuts and some coconut flakes.  I love to fill up the mason jars in the pantry with healthy treats like this and hide the store bought snacks behind it, so when my kids come from school and go hunting in the pantry they will see the homemade snacks in the front of pantry in clear mason jars and would pick them up instead of the store bought snacks.  But with this delicious granola, I didn't have to try anything tricky.  Half of the granola was already gone by the time I decided to take pictures.  The nutty roasted aroma of quinoa and nuts would tempt even the picky eater in your house. This granola serves as a perfect breakfast, a quick dessert fix or an after school/work snack with a bowl of plain yogurt, some fresh/frozen fruits and a drizzle of pure maple syrup or honey. 

1 cup - dry Quinoa
1/4 cup - pure maple syrup
2 tbsp - oil
1/2 tsp - pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup - chopped walnuts
1/2 cup - almond slices
1/2 cup - roughly chopped pecans
1/2 cup - coconut flakes
1/2 tsp - salt
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
  • Rinse the quinoa thoroughly.  Use a fine mesh sieve to rinse it few times and set it aside to drain water completely.  Spread the quinoa on a baking sheet and bake till it attains a golden color.  Set the timer to 5 minutes and take it outside and give a stir and continue baking till its light golden color.  It takes from 7 - 10 minutes to completely dry the quinoa.
  • Whisk together the maple syrup, oil, vanilla and salt in a mixing bowl.  Add the nuts, coconut and quinoa to the bowl and mix well.
  • Line the same baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the quinoa mix on it and bake for 25 - 30 minutes till the nutty and toasty aroma comes out and the granola is light golden brown.
  • Take it out from the oven and stir well and let it cool completely before you transfer it to a clean dry jar.
  • Make sure you rinse the Quinoa well, otherwise the saponins on the seeds might give a bitter taste.
  • Don't over cook granola over 30 minutes, it will burn.  The granola will be still wet after the cooking time, but they will dry up once it cools down.  The cooling process will make the granola crunchy.

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