Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

My daughter made these cookies while I cooked dinner. It was a beautiful but cold afternoon, perfect for baking. These cookies are crunchy and not soft and chewy.

I asked her to refer to the King Arthur recipe.

You will need
1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup each brown and regular sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 F. Beat the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat again. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Drop a tablespoon of batter an inch apart on a cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes.


Sending this recipe to the Valli's Kids's delight event for baked snacks hosted by PJ.

This is my entry for week three, day three of BM #60 for the theme Cookies. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#60.

Granola Oatmeal Brownie Bars

Spring semester has begun and so has the need to find nutritious snacks. Granola and oatmeal are always good options and are great in baked goodies. Today I baked some bars with whole wheat flour, granola and rolled oats.

This also happens to the 700th post in this space and it took me two years to get to this point. I thank all my readers who take the time to read and encourage me to continue blogging. I could not have done this without you.

The base granola brownie bar recipe is from King Arthur Flour website. I tweaked it based on what I had at home. I also halved the recipe and it called for 3 eggs. I left two eggs in the recipe and that made the bars a little more 'cake-like'. My daughter loved that.

You will need
5 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup granola
1/2 cup rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Use butter at room temperature or add the cold butter to a bowl and microwave for 15-20 secs. Let it cool completely and add the sugar. Beat until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat again. Mix in all the dry ingredients.

Place parchment paper inside a baking tray. Place the flour mixture in the tray and smooth out.

Bake for 25-28 minutes until the top is golden brown. Take it out of the oven and allow to cool a little.

Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Cut into squares. Store in an airtight container. They should last for a week.


French Bean Usili

Usili is a vegetable/lentil side very popular in South India. A mixture of lentils is soaked, ground to a paste with seasoning, steamed, crumbled and then cooked with a vegetable. Every time I see usili on a fellow bloggers space I think of trying it. Today it all came together.

I had fresh French beans in the refrigerator waiting to be used. I had bookmarked Rajani's post for usli from her blog My Kitchen Trials. And I read the recipe when I was wondering what I was going to cook for lunch.

I mostly followed the source recipe, tweaked it a little to suit our taste. I soaked the dals just before going to bed last night. The whole process takes some time which is usually at a premium in the morning. I had planned on making poli with this side but decided to cook rice instead. We had dal rice with this side. Awesome!

You will need (4 servings)
1/4 cup toor dal
1/4 cup channa dal
1 large handful of French beans
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. asafoetida
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. amboshi or amchur powder (optional)
salt to taste

Soak the channa dal and toor dal for at least 2-3 hours. I soaked it overnight and loved the results. When ready drain the water and put the dal in a blender. Add very little fresh water, paprika and asafoetida. Grind to a paste. Cook the paste in pressure cooker.I cooked it for 10 minutes after placing the pressure. Turn off the heat and let the pressure subside completely.

Meanwhile rinse the beans, cut off the ends and dice. Keep aside. When the cooked ground dal cools down, crumble it using a food processor or your fingers. Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When they crackle add the turmeric powder followed by the diced beans, crumbled dal and the rest of the ingredients.

Combine and let cook over medium flame until the beans are cooked. Taste great with dal rice or poli.


Spinach and Feta Frittata

I have always been very fascinated by dishes that start on the stove top and are finished in the oven. However, until I got my Lodge cast iron pan I was not able to make any of these dishes. The cast iron pan is safe both on the stove top and at high oven temperature making it a perfect pan for Frittata. Today I used spinach and feta cheese to flavor the frittata.

This is a great weekend breakfast or brunch recipe using basic wholesome ingredients. If you are looking for nutritious breakfast/brunch recipes look no further.

You will need (2 servings)
4 eggs
1 tsp. olive oil or 1/4 tbsp. butter
1/4 onion
a handful baby spinach
2 tbsp. crumbled feta cheese
6-7 sprigs cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450F. Dice the onion and keep aside. Heat a oven proof skillet, I used cast iron, and add the oil/butter to it. Add the diced onion and saute for a few minutes. In the meantime clean, wash and chop the spinach. Add it to the pan and saute until wilted. Turn off the heat.

In a separate bowl break the eggs and add the feta cheese, cilantro, salt and pepper. Add a 1/4 cup of water and 2 tbsp. milk. Beat well.

Add the egg mixture to the pan. Combine well with the spinach.

Place in the preheated oven. Let it cook for 15 minutes.

The frittata should look fluffy but should not be dried out.

Take it out of the oven and cut it into wedges.


Gigantes Plaki

I had some lima beans I wanted to use up, but I wanted to try something different with them. I decided to search for a new recipe to try. My search took me to a site with a lot of Egyptian recipes and gigantes plaki is the recipe I picked. I tweaked the recipe a little based on what I had in the house. The end result was delicious. I knew this would be loved at home as it has beans and tomatoes, both favorites.

This recipes could be made with other white beans as well. It would taste great as a dip with crackers or chips. I will definitely make this again.

You will need
1 cup lima beans, soaked and cooked (alternately used canned beans)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 pods garlic, peeled and minced
3 large tomatoes
4-5 sprigs cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
feta cheese for garnish

If you are using dried beans, soak them overnight, pressure cook until tender but not mushy. To pressure cook add twice the quantity of water and cook for 10 minutes. Dice the onions, mince the garlic, chop the cilantro and shred the tomatoes.

Preheat the oven to 375F. In a pan heat the oil and add the onions and garlic. Saute for a few minutes and then add the tomatoes and half the cilantro. Let the mixture cook for a few minutes so it comes together as a sauce. Mix in the cooked beans and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to an oven safe dish and bake for 20-30 minutes.

Sprinkle the feta cheese and remaining cilantro.


Sous Vide Sweet Potatoes

Sous Vide is a technique developed to cook tough to cook food. The food is cooked at a constant temperature for an extended period of time. This is not something I would try regularly or even infrequently. It was just something I tried this once as a challenge. The end results were great but I am sure you can achieve the same results with other techniques.

I used sweet potatoes as my 'tough' vegetable. I heated water in a pan on the stove top at a medium low temperature to about 180F and let it sit at that temperature. I peeled and cut the sweet potatoes into chunks. I put them in a ziploc freezer bag with a little butter and sugar. I then sealed the bag and placed it in the water. After about 40 F I had perfectly cooked sweet potatoes.

This is for week 2 for the 52 Week Challenge. The theme for this week is sous vide, not something I would willingly do but did it for the challenge.

This is my entry for week one, day three of BM #60 for the theme New Year Challenge. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#60.

Zucchini Soup

We all love soups on cold winter days. It is especially welcome when you return to the cold weather after spending a few days by the beach. It is also very welcome when your blender does all the work for you. I present today a recipe for Zucchini soup make in my blender, something I have wanted to try for a while now.

I have a Vitamix blender that has an option for soups. Add the liquids followed by the solids and blend. Hot soup is ready in 5-6 minutes. For some reason I had never tried soups in the blender. I tried smoothies but when it came to soups I made them on the stove top. After today that will definitely change.

In this recipe addition of other vegetables will make the soup thicker in consistency. If you like it creamy increase the amount of cream. My primary goal was something warm and light, so I kept the soup a runny consistency and added a little cashew paste to make it creamy.

You will need (3 servings)
2 cups vegetable stock
Cashew paste (Soak 10 cashews in 1/2 cup water, blend to a paste separately)
2 zucchini (about 3 1/2 cups)
1 red bell pepper (optional)
1 baked/boiled potato (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Add to the blender in the order given. Run the blender for 5-6 minutes until steam can be seen coming out the vented lid.


Air Fryer Potatoes

Air Fryer is a relatively new appliance on the market. It is not available where I live and I am not looking to buy one but was curious about how it worked. Last week I was visiting my father. He has an air fryer so I decided to give it a try. It is really easy to use and cooks the food quickly.

I decided on a simple recipe of breakfast potatoes. Nothing could be easier. I got a red bell pepper to go with the potato. There really is no recipe. One bell pepper with a couple of potatoes. The combination went into the fryer and crispy breakfast potatoes were ready in minutes.

You will need
3 small potatoes, peeled and chopped in chunks
1 red bell pepper, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Peel the potatoes and chop into bit sized chunks. Cut the bell pepper in half, remove the seeds and chop into small pieces. Preheat the Fryer to 350 F. Add the potatoes and bell pepper.

Cook for 10 minutes. Sprinkle salt and pepper.


52 Week Cooking Challenge

I have decided to participate in the 52 Week Challenge hosted on the Reddit forums. Every week there is new theme. Every participant is expected to cook as per the theme and post a picture of the finished product. The themes are disclosed a few weeks ahead so there is plenty of time to prepare.

I participated in this cooking challenge in 2014. While it was fun there were a few difficult weeks when the theme was not suited to a vegetarian lifestyle. I am hoping I do not run into similar problems this year. I am really looking forward to the weekly challenges.

Here are my entries so far -

Happy New Year!

I wish my readers a very Happy New Year! I know it is a little late but I was out of town visiting family. It has been great having my daughter home for the holidays and I have new renewed energy to blog.

Shopping for groceries over the weekend, planning the menu ahead and then executing the plan during the week works the best for me. If this is something you are interested in watch this space. Over the next few months I am going to blog about it.

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