Chewy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

 Peanut butter anyone? Peanut butter and oatmeal? With milk chocolate chips?? Here have one. Or two. Or maybe five. Okay, I didn’t have five. But I did have three right in a row. 

The hubby is out of town. Do you know what that means? That means that it was just me and a bag of giant milk chocolate chips having a stare down in an otherwise empty kitchen. I’d had a huge bowl of piping hot oatmeal for breakfast that was D-licious, and a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, but just didn’t get enough of the two I guess because although I set out to make a batch of good old chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal and peanut butter somehow made it into the mix. 



And thank goodness. Because like I said… I didn’t stop at one. It may have been the bit of emptiness I felt from being home alllll alone today, or the dreaded summer math class I am starting tonight (oh mercy…) but these cookies did a fantastic job of lifting my spirits. The best part is how chewy they are. Mmmmm, ever so chewy. DON’T overbake them! I made that mistake with half of the batch and sadly they got a little too crunchy for my liking. But the half that I was more careful with turned out perfectly soft yet firm. Now get a move on and make some for yourself!

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Lemon and Honey Salad Dressing with Passion Fruit

Summers are approaching and it’s the time when I like to eat light and fresh salads. I always try to look out for new dressing recipes and make my meals more interesting. Lemon and honey is one of my favorite dressing and it gets whipped in no time. I had a few passion fruits lying in the fruit basket, so thought of giving my usual salad dressing a twist. The slightly sweet and tangy flavor of the passion fruit went well with lemon and honey and I had a different dressing for my salad. If you don’t have access to passion fruit, just skip using it. Here is the recipe.

All you need is

Olive oil – 14 cup
Lemon juice – 4 tbsp
Honey – 4 tbsp
Salt – 14 tsp
Freshly ground black pepper – 14 tsp
Passion fruit – 3-4

Method of preparation

Cut the passion fruits and remove the pulp.
Pass the pulp through a soup strainer and collect the juice.
Mix all the ingredients in a jar.
Cover the lid of the jar and give it a shake.
Chill for a few hours in refrigerator.

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Skinny Zucchini Muffins

I love love love summer vegetables. I actually always have. I don’t think I ever had that typical kid’s aversion to veggies. In fact, my favorite color is green. So I probably just ate them for that reason. When I was growing up, we had a garden in the backyard. It was a pain to keep up with the weeding, I especially hated being assigned the corn rows because I had an uncanny knack for finding spiders in those stalks. The big, black, hairy kind… (is there really any other kind of spider?). But I thought that the whole concept of a garden was the neatest thing since sliced bread. The process was fascinating to me.  You dig a hole, bury a seed inside, give it a little water and poof… food! Okay, it’s a little more complicated than that… but that’s basically what happens isn’t it? And to a kid, that’s practically magic.

Of course, even though I really loved veggies (green beans, zuchinni, bell peppers, corn on the cob… mmmm) I still didn’t love the idea of putting them in my sweets and bread til I’d gotten a little older. Now I’m a fan. And I’m a fan of these muffins. Sweet and hearty at the same time, so classic, so delicious. And healthy with a little fiber bonus thrown in there! So you can have two if you’re feelin it.

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Strawberry and Almond Salad

Here is a summer salad for you all. Strawberries and almonds paired with lettuce and onion is a healthy way of eating your meal. I have used a lemon and honey dressing for this salad which complimented the sweetness of the strawberries. Here is how to bring it together.

All you need is

Lettuce leaves – 2 cups ( washed and chopped )
Strawberries – 1 cup ( thinly sliced )
Almond slivers – 14 cup
Red onion – 2 tbsp ( thinly sliced )
Lemon and honey salad dressing – Recipe is here.

Method of preparation

Mix all the ingredients in a serving bowl.
Chill in refrigerator for  15-20 minutes.
Pour the dressing when ready to eat.

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Brownie Pancakes with White Chocolate Chips

Originally I was going to make myself a big stack of my White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Pancakes. But as I was just about to spoon the batter onto the pan I just wasn’t feelin it. How is it possible to not be “feeling” light and fluffy clouds of goodness adorned with bits of white creamy morsels of joy you ask?  I know. Weird. Just bear with me here, this story has a happy ending.
It’s not that I don’t love those pancakes, because I definitely have a special affection for a cookie-inspired anything, especially pancakes. It’s simply that I was really really really in the mood for a brownie. But I’d just mixed up a batch of pancakes, not brownies. Problemo. 

Wait a minute… what’s that can there on my shelf…. Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa?? (angels sing) Bam. Problem solved.

Two scoops, in you go…  Oh and why not some of this chocolate syrup while we’re at it.


Thank you Mr. Hershey. You have truly saved the day. Brownie-inspired pancakes for moi, merci!

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Murg Khada Masala

Murg Khada masala is a signature dish of my Dad. Everyone in my family loves to cook and my Dad is no exception. Both my parents being doctors had a very tough and busy life and cooking a hearty and delicious meal for the family was their stress buster. So on a few of the weekends, my dad would take over the kitchen and whip up a delicious meal which mostly used to be Non vegetarian curries or his signature aloo matar ki sabzi. Most of the time, he used to experiment with new dishes and come up with something of his own, but when he wanted to be sure of the result, this Murg khada masala made it’s presence. This recipe is more like a stew where all the ingredients are put together in a pan and cook in the juices released by the chicken. This recipe is still my favorite among the many chicken recipes that I make. You must give it a try too. Here it is.
All you need is
Chicken – 600 g
Oil – 5 tbsp
Whole red chilies – 3-4
Bay leaves – 3
Cinnamon – 2 inch piece
Black cardamom – 4
Black peppercorn – 7-10
Cloves – 5-6
Javitri – 1 flower
Onion – 4 cups
Ginger – 2 inch piece (coarsely ground )
Garlic – 10-15 cloves (coarsely ground ))
Curd – 6 tbsp
Salt to taste
Red chili powder-12 tsp
Turmeric powder-12 tsp

Method of preparation

Heat oil in a pan.
Add bay leaves and whole red chilies.
Crush cinnamon,black cardamoms,black peppercorn, cloves and javitri.
Add these to the oil.
Fry for few seconds.
Add onions.
Saute for 3 mins.
Add ginger and garlic paste.
Saute for another 3 mins.
Add chicken, curd, turmeric powder, red chili powder and salt.
Add 3 tbsp of water.
Simmer the heat.
Cover and cook till oil separates from the masala on low heat.
It will take 45-60 minutes.
Stir occasionally.
Add little water and cook till chicken is soft and cooked.
Garnish with coriander leaves.
Serve hot with chapaties or rice.

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Toffee Caramel Corn

I have always had a special place in my heart for popcorn. The best part about going to see a movie has always been that giant bag of overly-buttered popcorn hasn’t it? The smell alone is enough to make me swoon.  By the time I get settled in my seat I’ve already shaved off the top of the popcorn mound and I have to remind myself to slow down… Otherwise my overindulgence will be wasted on the previews. And that’s just sad. 
Probably one of my most memorable popcorn experiences was the time I accidentally “shared” my popcorn with half the audience during a horror show. I’ve never been good with scary movies so it wouldn’t have been my choice to see this particular film but I didn’t have much of a say because it was a first date. Little did he know… About ten minutes into the movie when an unexpected murder by gunshot occurred I jumped, the popcorn went everywhere, and my poor date spent the rest of the movie trying to get it out of his lap, hair, and apologizing profusely to our neighbors. Not my best popcorn moment. I don’t think I need to mention that was a first and only date. 
Ps. similar events have happened with my now-hubby and he was a champ about it. 😉 
I love popcorn variations of all kinds but one of my favorite ways to eat popcorn is with something chocolatey. This caramel corn recipe is perfect for getting that sweet and salty fix that I crave probably daily. And the toffee hue is just glorious. It really kicks up that caramel flavor to a new level I feel. So go ahead a make a batch, with or without a movie this stuff is fantastic. 

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Balushahi Badusha

Balushahi is a traditional Indian sweet which is made using all purpose flour, ghee and yogurt. It crispy from outside and soft and flaky from inside. It’s usually made for the weddings in India and can be kept for a few weeks without getting spoiled. making Balushahi at home is very easy. By keeping a few tips and tricks in mind, you can make this delicious sweet in your kitchen. The first thing to keep in mind is to fry the Balushahi on very low heat. This way, they get cooked till inside without getting burned from outside. Another thing to keep in mind is the consistency of sugar syrup. It should be of 2 string consistency, otherwise it will not set. So here is the simple recipe to make Balushahi at home. Give it a try. You will love i.

All you need is

Maida All purpose four – 2 cups
Salt – 14 tsp
Baking soda – 12 tsp
Baking powder – 14 tsp
Ghee Clarified butter – 14 cup ( At room temperature )
Yogurt – 14 cup ( cold )
Cold water – 4-5 tbsp
Ghee for frying

Silver foil for garnishing
Pistachio slivers for garnishing

For the sugar syrup

Granulated sugar – 2 cups
Water – 1 cup
Cardamom powder – 12 tsp
Saffron – a pinch ( crushed )

Method of preparation

Sieve maida, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl.
Add ghee and mix nicely with your finger tips.
Add yogurt and mix well.
Add water and knead to make a soft dough.
Cover and keep the dough aside for 30 minutes.
Make 16-18 equal sized balls from the dough.
Do not smoothen them much.
Press in the center with your thumb.
Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan.
When the ghee is slightly hot, drop the Balushahis in the ghee very gently.
Do not heat the ghee very much otherwise the Balushahi will fry from outside but will remain raw from inside.
Fry on very low heat till golden brown.
Keep changing the sides while frying, but be very gentle.
Do not overload the pan.
Fry the Balushahi in batches.
Each batch will take around 25-30 minutes for frying.
Remove from heat once done in a plate.
Let cool.

For sugar syrup

Heat sugar, water, cardamom powder and saffron in a pan.
Do not stir much.
Cook till the syrup reaches a 2 string consistency.
To check the syrup consistency, drop a little syrup in a bowl filled with water.
Touch the syrup with your forefinger.
Now touch your forefinger and thumb and pull apart.
It should make 2 strings.
Remove from heat.

Dip the balushahi in the sugar syrup and remove on a plate.
Let them dry for 2-3 hours.
Garnish with silver foil and pistachio slivers.
You can store balushahi in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

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Tropical Paradise Overnight Oatmeal Parfait

I think in another life I could have been Hawaiian. Long black hair, gorgeous milk-chocolatey skin, hula dancing skills like you’ve never seen… that could’ve been me. But I guess it wasn’t in the cards cause I’m definitely white and cannot hula dance to save my life. 🙂


And sadly, I haven’t even visited the islands of Hawaii, much less hail from them. It’s on my bucket list, don’t you worry. I just haven’t had the opportunity yet. But when I do, you better believe I’m on that plane in a heartbeat with my sunscreen in one hand and 5 dollars in the other for one of those flowers they stick behind your ear. 


When we got engaged and were discussing potential honeymoon destinations, the hubby (then fiancee obviously) mentioned Hawaii. I got excited of course and said YES, but was soon deflated when he said, “yeah, I love Hawaii”. Oh. You’ve been there before? Yeah. Just 5 or 6 times. It was dumb but that kind of ruined it for me at the time. I wanted our honeymoon to be a new and exciting adventure for both of us, not a repeat thing.I wanted an exploration buddy, not a tour guide. Dumb, I know.
Looking back, I really should have taken him up on the offer cause I ended up bundled up in mittens and scarves for my honeymoon. Because it was February. In Chicago. Can you say windchill? Negative 2 degrees is a painful experience I really would rather not revisit in the near future. Or the distant. 
And let me tell you, Hawaii was lookin better than ever. 

But more about that later. What I really want to talk about is how Hawaii and pineapple go together in my mind like PB & J or socks and gym shoes. They are meant to be together. They need one another. I guess this probably stemmed from when my parents visited Hawaii when I was younger and brought back all sorts of treasures, my favorite being the freshest, most juicy and delicious pineapple I have ever had in my life.  So when I was piling the pineapple onto my oats last night I just kept day dreaming about that pineapple my parents brought home and re-promised myself that I will go to Hawaii and eat pineapple while sitting on the beach, even if I have to swim there. 
Have you been to Hawaii? Which island is your favorite??

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Gulab Phirni

Phirni is a traditional Indian dessert where grounded rice is cooked with milk till it is creamy and thick. Usualy kesar and cardamom are added to enhance the flavor of phirni. I have already made a kesar ilachi phirni before, so this time though to flavor it with rose. Gulab phirni came out very delicious. It was rich and creamy with a subtle flavor from the fresh rose petals and rose water. Here is the recipe.

All you need is

Full cream milk – 1 liter
Rice – 14 cup
Rose petals – 2 tbsp ( chopped, use the petals of local variety of rose. The hybrid ones doesn’t have good flavor and smell )
Sugar – 12 cup
Rose water – 1 tsp
Slivers of almonds and pistachios for garnishing

Method of preparation

Soak rice in 12 cup of water for 3-4 hours.
Grind in a blender to make a coarse paste.
Heat the milk in a heavy bottom pan.
When the milk comes to a boil, add the ground rice.
Keep stirring to avoid the rice sticking at the bottom of the pan.
Simmer the heat and cook for 30-40 minutes, till phirni thickens.
Keep stirring in between.
Add sugar and rose water and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
Transfer the phirni in the serving bowl.
Garnish with almond and pistachios slivers and a few rose petals.
Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.

Note

The consistency of phirni is much thicker than the kheer.
So cook it accordingly.
It will thicken further after cooking so keep that in mind.
Keep stirring in between to avoid burning from the bottom.
Phirni is best served in clay pots.

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