Thursday, January 26, 2012

Oranges!

I have an over load of oranges at home because Shiv wanted the 'cuties' and Ishaan wanted the navel oranges. My fruit basket was over flowing with other fruits so I had to come up with a better way of storing all the oranges. I kept them in my candle holders which makes such a lovely center piece for my dining table. I wish I had some greenery to add to the hurricanes.






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Friday, January 20, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ishaan is a big cookie monster! If there is a box of chocolate chip cookies from Costco, he can polish it off in a matter of two days. His love for chocolate chip cookies made me look high and low for a recipe that is easy enough for a novice baker like me and requires minimum ingredients. The main reason being I did not like the long list of nasty ingredients in store bought cookies. My stomach hurt when I saw him gobbling down the so called cookie that contained few ingredients that I could recognize or carry in my pantry, and more chemicals.

Finally, after an extended search I found one recipe that I really liked. It appealed to me right away.

Recipe adapted from: Annies-eats

Ingredients:
1. APF: 2 cups plus 2 Tbsps
2.Baking soda: 1/2 Tsp.
3. Salt: 1/2 Tsp (less if you use salted butter)
4. Unsalted butter: 12 Tbsps (melted and cooled down until warm. Do not rush this step. Make sure that the butter has cooled down or else your cookies will spread and be more pancake like.)
5. Brown Sugar: 1 cup packed
6. Sugar: 1/2 cup
7. Egg: 1 large plus 1 yolk
8. Vanilla extract: 2 Tsps
9. Chocolate Chip cookies: 1 cup (The original recipe calls for 1& 1/2 cups)

All you do is:
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. I was out of parchment paper so I greased the cookie sheets with oil.

2. Whisk dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
3. Mix the sugars and set aside. 
4. Add the melted butter and beat with hand or electric mixer until combined. Add vanilla extract, egg and egg yolk and beat again. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until combined. Add the chocolate chips to this and mix. 

5. Roll a small ball and place on a cookie sheet leaving some space between the cookie balls. Bake reversing the cookie sheets half way through baking for 16 -18 mins until the cookies are light brown in color and the edges have hardened. The original recipe calls for 11-14 mins, but mine took longer.


6. Cool cookies on the sheet until able to lift and then let it cool on a cooling rack. We did not have to wait for that. The boys attacked them as soon as they were cool enough to hold.


 The best quality of the recipe is that it is very forgiving.
1.The first time I made these, I mixed the sugars with the dry ingredients instead of butter. I also forgot to add the extra 2 tbsps. of flour.
2.The second time I made these, I added the chocolate chips in the dry ingredients before getting the dough together.
3.I never stock unsalted butter in my home except when I have to make ghee. So, though the recipe calls for unsalted butter, I have used salted butter and reduced the quantity of salt.

Both times the cookies came out excellent. In fact, when I asked Shiv how it was, he said, "AMAZING in upper case." I thought that was very cute. My cookie monster of course devours these!! Hubby thinks they are a little buttery, but hey its butter that holds the dough together... if I decrease it, the cookies will be dry and crumbly.

So what  are you waiting for? Go ahead and enjoy these warm cookies fresh out of the oven with a glass of milk. mm mm mmmmm!
This dough freezes very well also. I rolled small balls and froze them in a muffin pan. Once they were frozen, I stored them in a freezer safe container. I have noticed that the baking time increases to 22-23 minutes for frozen dough.


Linking to Vegetarian Tastebuds.
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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Vegetarian Stuffed Tomatoes

I was looking for a healthy, vegetarian appetizer/starter that looked tempting and colorful. I found a lot of recipes of vegetarian stuffed tomatoes, but most had some or the other cheese.

So, I thought and I thought (scary) and it finally occured to me... why don't I deconstruct a veggie chutney sandwich and stuff it in the tomatoes. So, fully excited I got to work. I was sure the tomatoes will taste good!

All I did was
1. Sliced off the stem. Scooped the center and invert them on a cooling rack allowing the liquid to drain out. Like so



 2. In a food processor, I pulsed the ingredients of a basic green chutney minus water. I added a few sprigs of fresh cilantro, a clove of garlic, 2-3 green chillies, salt, lemon juice, chat masala and cumin powder. Once everything was finely chopped, I added two slices of whole wheat bread and pulsed it again. I took this out in a bowl and added chopped onions and cucumber to this. Other vegetables that can be added to this are boiled potatoes, shredded carrots, beets, corn, etc. 



3. That's it. My stuffing was ready. All I did then was stuffed this in the tomatoes and enjoyed the healthy pre lunch snack.





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Monday, January 16, 2012

Marshmallow and Toothpick Creations

It was one of those snow days when school was not really off, but it was right before the long weekend so there was not much going on in school. Keeping this in mind, I started prepping for this activity for my boys to do. I left a bag of marshmallows open on the counter for about a week. I tossed it once everyday so that the hardened ones go on the bottom and the softer ones come up to breath some air. The marshmallows did harden, but not as much as I had expected. I think a better option would be to spread them on a platter and let them air dry for a couple of days.

Well, coming back to the activity.... armed with toothpicks and semi hardened marshmallows, my boys set out to make their creations. It kept them busy for quite sometime. Having Dad's company made the project all the more fun!

There was a lot of building and rebuilding and of course, how can we forget the temptation to pop the marshmallows in the mouth. Luckily, the boys opted not to because the bag was left open on the counter so they were afraid of germs. Here are a few pictures of their creations.




We learned that triangles are stronger than squares and cubes. They provide a better support. Overall, it was a fun activity that kept them occupied for some time.  



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Sunday, January 8, 2012

"Straw"berry

Here is a quick and easy way to hull strawberries.

Insert a straw from the narrow end of the strawberry and push it upwards. This takes out the center and the leaves at once.

I used the reusable straw which is very sturdy. So, the straw became a skewer for the strawberry kabobs. 
 
Shiv thought this was very cool because he was now truly having a "straw"berry (berry on a straw). 


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