Ricotta Donuts

Happy December everyone! It’s hard to believe that we are approaching the end of the year. In the midst of all of the holiday craziness, I am trying to find ways to stay centered. We celebrated Esha’s 10th birthday and Nisa’s 3rd birthday. I went on a hike with a good friend last week, had a family dinner with a bunch of friends for Friendsgiving last weekend, and was blessed to reconnect with someone important in my life. As we gear up for new adventures next year, we are trying to find ways to be cozy for the end of the year. Enter these amazing donuts – please excuse the pictures, I was so skeptical that these would be good (they are so easy! I have never made donuts before!) that I didn’t take pictures until the girls took a bite and were wowed.

I thought that these were going to be a weekend project but really they only take a few minutes and they are well worth the effort! They may have been even more delicious because I fried them in ghee. We also made these GF by using spelt flour – you really couldn’t tell the difference.

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Ricotta Donuts

Ingredients:

  • Powdered sugar for sprinkling
  • ghee (or canola oil for frying)
  • 1/2 lb ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions:

  1. Beat the sugar and eggs with an electric mixer until fluffy (about 1 minute)
  2. Stir in the ricotta and the vanilla until blended.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl and then add to the sugar/egg mixture until just combined. Careful not to overmix.
  4. Heat the oil until shimmering.
  5. Use a spoon or an ice cream scoop to drop small balls of batter into the oil.
  6. Fry each side until golden brown (about 30 sec to 1 minute). Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels placed on a cookie sheet. Once they are slightly cooled, coat in the sugar.
  7. Using a sieve, shake powdered sugar over the donuts, flip to cover both sides.
  8. Enjoy them hot and fresh! We will never go to Dunkin Donuts again!!

Love,

Pooja

Breakfast Cookies!

Happy Wednesday everyone! We are well into October with Halloween coming up right around the corner! Hard to believe it, right? My girls have their costumes all picked out and they are going to be super cute. I am probably going to dress up again this year, even though I got a bunch of funny look as the ONLY adult wearing a costume last year at Whole Foods:

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I was flipping through recipes and found this lovely post by Robyn at sweetish.co. I love the idea of living your best life and it really inspired me to think about what that looks like for me/us. The breakfast cookies looked amazing too and we made them a couple of days ago with some minor tweaks. They are barely sweet and delicious as a morning meal with milk or coffee. These would be great to take along on a plane for a healthy pick-me-up.

We are not eating apples right now so I swapped out the applesauce for homemade pear sauce (I put in the recipe below, in case you want to make some for yourself since pears are in season). We also left out the maple syrup (didn’t miss it), walnuts, and chocolate chips. I would highly recommend using the chocolate chips – it would take these over the top! We are just avoiding it right now.

Breakfast Cookies

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup oat flour (we only needed a half cup)
  • 2 cups gluten-free (or regular) oats
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • ½ teaspoon fine grain salt
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened pear sauce (recipe to follow)
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup  (optional)
  • ½ cup / 150g peanut butter or almond butter (salted or unsalted, we used salted PB)
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • cup walnuts, chopped – we omitted
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chocolate chips (optional)

 

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Instructions:

  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or use a silpat.
  2. Measure all of your dry ingredients (oat flour, oats, salt, soda + flax) and put them in a bowl and mix.
  3. Beat the butter, sugar and peanut butter until well mixed with an electric mixer.
  4. Mix in pear sauce and vanilla.
  5. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry mixture. Mix well until moistened throughout. Add in the add-ins that you are using (we used only the dried cherries). If you find that the mixture is too dry, add a couple of tablespoons of the milk of your choice to wet it.
  6. Form balls and press down to flatten on cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 12-15 min – these are best a little underdone so they retain their moistness.
  8. Dunk and enjoy! Yum!

Pear Sauce

Ingredients:

2-4 pears

1-2 tsp of ghee

water

Instructions:

  1. Dice pears finely, discarding cores. It is fine to leave the skin on.
  2. Place in a medium saucepan and add water until just covered. Cook on medium-high for a few minutes until pears are soft (this will vary based on the type of pear you are using, bosc pears are firmer and so take more like 5-7 min to cook, softer varieties will only take 3-4 min to cook through).
  3. Drain off the excess water.
  4. Blend the pears using a bullet blender or a food processor with the ghee until smooth. The ghee really enhances the flavor and I find that my kids love to eat this sauce with a spoon!
  5. Eat and enjoy or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

 

Cooking up a storm…

Good morning! I haven’t posted in a while because I have been too busy cooking! We are on a bit of a restricted diet as a family and as a result, I have been spending a lot of time being creative with what we are eating.

The good thing is, we have started to pay more attention to all of the extra junk that is in so much of the food we eat.  We have also tried a lot of cool recipes that we wouldn’t have tried before. Here are some of the more successful ones:

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Fresh paneer!
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Mascarpone-Oat Blondies
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Greek Yogurt Date Pistachio Bark
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Oat Milk

 

The best recipe that we made (I don’t have pictures because they are gobbled up THAT fast) is the one for Spelt Cookies. I made some adjustments: I decreased the sugar to 1/3 cup of coconut sugar and left out the chocolate chips. Sometimes I also brown the butter which makes them even yummier.

The mascarpone blondies are truly amazing. The recipe is awesome as it stands but I swapped out oat flour for the all-purpose to keep them gluten free. I also decreased the sugar to 1/3 of a cup of coconut sugar instead (but you may want to halve it instead) . They are barely sweet and perfect with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee.

I hope that the beginning of fall is going well for everyone.

 

xo

Pooja

M&M Pancakes!

Happy late December everyone,

We have been cooking up a storm lately and hopefully I will be posting a bunch of recipes in the next few days. I love making a bit of a fancier breakfast on the weekends and often make eggs for the grown-ups. My kids don’t like eggs very much so they are always asking for something else. This is their newest favorite pancake recipe – and not because of the M&Ms! It is sweet and fluffy and can stand alone, with just a pat of butter. Maple syrup really takes it over the top. Usually we add blueberries or chocolate chips but they asked for a special M&M treat this time and I obliged. Honestly, I was hoping the M&Ms would convince the baby to eat them – because for some reason, she DOES NOT LIKE pancakes. She just ended up picking the M&Ms out, though (sigh). Try them and let me know what you think!

M&M Pancakes

Ingredients:

Dry:

1 1/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 pinches salt

1/4 cup sugar

Wet:

2/3 cup milk

1 egg

2 tablespoons butter (melted) plus more for cooking

1/2-1 tsp vanilla

mix-ins: blueberries, chocolate chips, M&Ms

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IMG_1452Instructions:

  1. Add the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix – do not overmix, it makes them less fluffy.
  4. You can let the batter sit for 30 min, it will make them fluffier. We often skip this step because we are hungry!
  5. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  6. Ladle the batter into a frying pan and put the add-ins on top.
  7. When you see small bubbles forming, flip them over.
  8. Cook the other side for about 2 minutes until golden.
  9. Enjoy!

IMG_1453Love,

Pooja

The Little Things

Sometimes it’s the little things. We have so many big things going on right now: school, moving to temporary digs until our house is ready for us to move into (2 weeks!), saying goodbye to our beautiful old house. But, you know, I was ready for all of this. I prepared. I have my super-strong husband by my side and we are having an adventure doing all of this. The kids are rolling with it. Even the baby is not too worried about any of it – just perplexed that “everything” is gone from the house and is living in a truck somewhere.

I was even getting confident: all of this is going fine, we are all doing fine, it’s only a couple of weeks. Then, we got to karate last night and Diya’s glasses got lost. Now, we are usually somewhat prepared for these unforeseen disasters, but this time, we were woefully unprepared. She needs them to see. We don’t have a backup pair. Her contacts are packed (in the truck remember?). She and I panicked. Turns out somehow another boy ended up with them in his bag – the whole thing was pretty strange. She had a hunch he had them, but he would not look in his bag or let her look. As we were about to give up (20 minutes after searching everywhere in the studio), his father pulled up and the boy got out and gave me the glasses. Now, I can say that although I was relieved, I was also upset. We ended up exchanging some words, with his father thinking me ungrateful and me thinking them inconsiderate to have put us through that in the first place. I am not proud of that interaction. Today, I will reach out and apologize for my part in that.

But, the thing is, I didn’t have anything left. I couldn’t take ONE MORE THING. So, what did I learn? That I should let go of my guilt over this incident and just apologize. That being prepared also means taking care of myself (which clearly I was not doing). That we all make mistakes – and I need to forgive that dad and forgive myself.

So, after all this craziness, I re-centered. I listened to Nisa singing “work work Angelica, work work Eliza” (I mean, what is cuter than a baby singing Hamilton?). I shared in Diya’s monumental relief that her glasses were found. I listened to Esha tell me about the math game that they played at school. I appreciated my husband saying, “I understand, I am sorry to you had to go through that.” Time to start anew.

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The last thing I baked in our house was a gluten-free, orange ginger dark chocolate bread. It was  delicious, and a good transition into early fall flavors – the ginger offset the orange and chocolate flavors beautifully.

The picture is from the Emma, the author of the recipe. The recipe is here: http://www.mydarlinglemonthyme.com/2017/08/flourless-dark-chocolate-orange-ginger-muffins.html

The original recipe made muffins – but to be simpler, I made it into a loaf. I do think that this required a longer baking time. Please let me know if you make it. I am sorry no pictures, but to be honest, it’s not very pretty! But is is delicious.

Love,

Pooja

Weekend Breakfast: Chilaquiles

Hello everyone!

Once in a while on the weekend, we feel like having a fancier breakfast. My kids don’t generally like eggs so I always end up making pancakes for them and eggs for us. This recipe is great because it’s not very egg-y tasting, so that even Diya (who has never ever eaten an omelette) will eat this.

It comes together relatively quickly for something that looks like much more work. This is my version of it that I came up with while experimenting one morning. We use the Casa Sanchez thick chips to give a bit more bite. You can use any toppings that you like, but our favorites are cilantro, avocado, and a sprinkling of cheese.

Chilaquiles

(this serves 2 people as a main or 4-5 people as a side)

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Ingredients:

one pint cherry tomatoes

1/2 bag (or more) of tortilla chips

salt/pepper to taste

olive oil

taco seasoning (or cumin and paprika)

4 eggs

toppings: queso fresco (I used feta), cilantro chopped, sour cream, avocado (chopped or sliced), anything else that sounds good!

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Methods:

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a cast iron skillet until shimmering. Add the cherry tomatoes (sliced in half lengthwise)
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add taco seasoning and salt/pepper to taste.
  3. Beat the eggs with 1/4-1/2 tsp salt. I used one egg and three egg whites (I am not a huge fan of the taste of the yolk).
  4. Place a large handful or two of the tortilla chips into the tomato mixture, digging them into the mixture a bit.
  5. Pour the eggs over the chip/tomato mixture and cook for a minute, then turn the chips over in sections and continue to cook. Continue this process until the eggs are set and coating most of the chips.
  6. Take off the stove and add desired toppings. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

 

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Love,

Pooja

 

 

 

 

 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

Hello Friends! We are talking again so soon! I think that I inspired a new obsession in my daughter – she is baking again already! She decided to make these cookies – really driven by her craving for something sweet AND her love of PB&J.

Diya is officially a tween, and one of the things that I love about this age is the intensity of  things. She LOVES her music and listens to it loud. And when she craves something sweet, she will even make it herself so she can eat it! This is a complicated time in life and we try to use moments that we are together, here and there, to talk about life and ideas. The quote that I saw and loved today is one that Esha’s favorite teacher posted (thank you Jess!):

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This one is super valuable for all of us, I think.

The cookies are supposed to be for breakfast because they have lots of good-for-you ingredients: coconut oil, almond flour, oats. They are naturally gluten-free and dairy-free. We made some adjustments as the original recipe calls for a banana. She was not a big fan of having these be banana-y so we swapped out the banana for a splash of milk and a tablespoon of olive oil.  We also used homemade chia jam for the centers.

We are posting the original recipe below. Feel free to use our tips/tricks above for swaps.

PB&J Cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup almond flour

1/4 cup  sugar

½ teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large banana, mashed

¾ cup creamy peanut butter, melted

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

2/3 to 3/4 cup jam

Methods:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or a silpat baking mat).
  2. Put the peanut butter and coconut oil in a bowl and melt in the microwave for 30 seconds until it’s nice and melted. Let cool for a few minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, mix oats, almond flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. Add the coconut oil/peanut butter mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix well.
  5. We used our hands to form the dough into a round shape, press down a thumbhole into the middle to make a space for the jam. Spoon a half-teaspoon of jam into the center of the cookie.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

 

They are delicious – she is planning to eat them for lunch with yogurt on the side. A complete meal for a tween!

 

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