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

Dal Poori

Happy Wednesday everyone!

As someone who cooks a lot, I spend a lot of time trying to use the leftovers – we do end up eating most of the leftovers for lunch but sometimes that doesn’t quite work out.  This is my mom’s way of using our leftover dal (Indian lentils). As kids, we used to look forward to this more than the original meal! Poori is a fried bread and generally very popular with kids – my kids certainly love eating this and it makes for a pretty nutritious dinner for them when they eat it with yogurt. I hope that you try it and let me know what you think!

Dal Poori

Image result for masoor dal

Ingredients: 

Leftover dal (I usually make masoor dal – the small orange lentil – see above)

Chickpea flour and whole wheat flour (can easily make this gluten free by using chickpea flour only)

Salt to taste

Cumin

Oil for frying

Instructions: 

  1. I don’t have any specific measurements listed because the amount of dal I have depends on what is left over – sometimes less and sometimes more, so I will tell you the how and you may have to experiment a bit.
  2. Let the dal sit out to warm a bit, otherwise, your hands will freeze! Put it into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Start adding in the flour. You can start by adding a cup at a time of the chickpea flour. Once it starts to come together into a dough, switch to adding whole wheat flour. The dough has a lot of moisture in it so you will have to be careful when you start rolling it out.
  4. Add cumin and salt to the dough to taste – I usually sprinkle the salt over the dough and then incorporate by kneading so I don’t over-salt.
  5. Here is a good video tutorial for how to make poori. Start at 1:26 in the video as the starting process for these is different.
  6. Make little balls out of the dough and knead them well in your hands to make them smooth and elastic. I usually make them about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. You may need to dip them in flour to combat the stickiness.
  7. Generously flour your working surface and roll them out using a rolling pin. How thin you roll them will depend on 1. how sticky the dough is (these are delicate and sometimes require quite a bit of additional flour so they don’t stick to the rolling surface) and 2. how thin/crispy you like them. For the kids I make them a little bit thicker and for myself, I make them thin and crispy. (see heart shaped one for Esha below)
  8. Heat the oil in a wok – 3-4 inches deep of oil – until shimmering. Lower heat to medium.
  9. After it has fried for about 1 minute on the first side, press down on it with the skimmer (I have this one), if you have rolled it out well, it will puff (mine do about 70% of the time! I’m getting better with practice…..)
  10. Fry each poori, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Drain out on paper towels placed on a cookie sheet.
  11. Serve with a dollop of greek yogurt for dipping.

Some recent pics:

Diya took this amazing one of our sunset view: IMG_0017.jpg

Esha and Nisa – all dressed up and ready to go:

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My most recent favorite memes:

 

 

Love,

Pooja

Kale Salad with Pears, Pistachios, Almonds, Dates and Feta

Happy Tuesday everyone,

So much going on here lately! Diya turned 12 and I can’t believe that my oldest is such a mature young lady (although using that phrase does make me feel old enough to have a mature young lady). We also had my nephew staying with us for a few days and watching him and Nisa together warmed my heart every moment (even the fighting – SO interesting to watch the negotiations).

In the midst of all this craziness, we made this kale salad with the stuff we had in the fridge and it turned out amazingly well. The nice thing is that you can improvise with whatever you have on hand (nut free? use pumpkin seeds, no pears? use whatever fruit you have on hand, I think that grapes would be amazing!)

Let me know if you make it and use different ingredients!

Kale Salad with Pears, Almonds, Dates and Feta

Ingredients:

One to bunches of kale (we used about 1.5 and the dino kale variety)

one pear (we used D’Anjou)

3-4 Medjool dates

1/2 cup nuts/seeds toasted (we used a combination of sliced almonds and pumpkin seeds)

crumbled feta

salt/pepper

olive oil

juice from one lemon

Instructions:

1. Clean the kale, dry well and rip the leaves off the ribs, toss the ribs. Cut into bite-size pieces.

2. Put a tablespoon of olive oil on the kale and sprinkle salt to taste. Massage the kale until it softens and becomes shiny (about 1 minute).

3. Add chopped pear, chopped dates, nuts/seeds.

4. Make the dressing: 3-4 tablespoons olive oil, salt/pepper, juice of one lemon. Whisk until the acid is incorporated with the oil . Drizzle over the salad.

5. Add the feta and toss until the dressing and the ingredients are distributed evenly.

6. Enjoy as a side salad or with protein as a main meal. Serves 8 as a side.

 

 

Chocolate Truffle Torte

This post is coming a bit late since this is what I made for Valentine’s day. Before we had kids, we didn’t really celebrate Valentine’s day. Now, it feels like a good reason to do something special (even on a weekday) that is focused on love. So we have a “family romantic dinner” with candles and a fancy dessert. This year, Vivek was away, but the girls and I had a greek-inspired dinner and I made fresh pretzels (who doesn’t love fresh bread!). The celebration was complete with this chocolate torte – it was pretty simple to make and came out amazing – the girls and Vivek  all said that is tasted “professional”. Now, you should be warned that it is incredibly rich and it lasted more than a week in our house because you can only eat just a sliver. But, it is SO good in the afternoon with a cup of coffee (how I prefer it) or in the morning for breakfast with a glass of milk (yes, i did let the girls do that once or twice!). The other nice thing is that it is flourless and so naturally gluten free. I did cut the sugar down by a bit so if you like things sweeter, you may want to use a half cup. If you try it, please let me know what you think! And, love to you all for a belated Valentine’s day!

Dinner pics:

 

 

Chocolate Truffle Torte

Ingredients:

15 ounces chocolate chopped (I used trader joe’s dark chocolate and some semisweet chocolate chips)

7 ounces butter, chopped

5 eggs

2 tablespoons water

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.

2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler or microwave (in short intervals), stirring occasionally. Pour the chocolate-butter mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer (or just a large bowl if you’re using a hand mixer).

3. Add the eggs and mix at low speed, scraping the bowl as needed, until the mixture is completely smooth, 2 to 5 minutes.

4. Pour the water into a small saucepan, then add the sugar and salt. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar and salt dissolve (a minute or 2), swirling the pan to aid in even cooking.

5. With the mixer at low speed, stream the melted sugar mixture into the chocolate mixture. When all the sugar is incorporated, turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and mix until the batter is smooth and shiny, about 3 minutes.

6. Scrape the batter into the springform pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the edges look set but the center still looks shiny. Let cool before serving.

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My Valentines:

 

 

Love,

Pooja

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (GF!)

Happy Tuesday everyone!

The girls and I made some amazing chocolate chip cookies a couple of weeks ago. These cookies are famous (they were called the best chocolate chip cookies by the NYT). Joy the Baker makes them and the secret ingredient is brown butter. If you have not made brown butter before, I highly encourage you to try it. It is a method of toasting the butter until it becomes very fragrant and nutty which really enhances the flavor of cookies. The original recipe is here: Joy’s brown butter cookies.

I was wondering if we swapped out the coconut oil in my go-to gluten free chocolate chip cookies, if they would be THE BEST gluten free chocolate chip cookies. I think that that is the case, these cookies www crunchy and buttery with a toasted flavor reminiscent of Tate’s bakeshop cookies. These cookies use almond and coconut flour and go best with slightly darker chocolate chips. If you try them, please let me know what you think!

 

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients: 

  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup butter, browned (how to brown butter)
  • 1/3 cup sugar (I often will drop down to 1/4 cup for less sweet cookies)
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 oz dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 1/2 cup)
  • Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling

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Instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, add add in beaten egg, melted and cooled brown butter, sugar and vanilla extract. (Please make sure your butter is cool!)
  3. Next add in almond flour, coconut flour and baking soda, mixing well to combine and form a dough. No need to worry about over-mixing in here as there is no gluten that will toughen up the cookies.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips, I usually use my hands to moisten the dough so that it sticks together well.
  5. Drop dough onto an uncreased baking sheet. Gently flatten the dough with your hand. Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden brown. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and allow to cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finishing cooling. Makes 24 small cookies.

Love,

Pooja