Baking | Whole wheat Fresh Cherry Cocoa Brownies #comfort food #wholegrain #one bowl

“In today’s world, when many of yesterday’s fashionable habits are today’s misdemeanors, we should rejoice that a chocolate dessert can bring so much innocent pleasure.”
Marcel Desaulniers

Whole wheat Fresh Cherry Cocoa Brownies Whole wheat Fresh Cherry Cocoa Brownies … yes chocolate again, cocoa actually. Pointless apologising for my long absence again, but life is getting a little hectic. This time I am blaming it on the IFBM 2014 in Bangalore. It was the best meet of it’s kind held for food bloggers in India, and it’s now a little difficult getting back into the mold of things.

Whole wheat Fresh Cherry Cocoa Brownies Call it withdrawal symptoms if you like, but will hopefully get a long post out soon. Until then, here’s a batch of brownies I made for a boy who was having home baked stuff withdrawal symptoms yesterday. The past two days he went, “processed again?”. Of course, I was ashamed. Haven’t been at home the last week. It’s been madness, so before I stepped out to do grocery, I popped these into the oven yesterday.

Whole wheat Fresh Cherry Cocoa Brownies Picked him up off the school bus and entered a home smelling like chocolate heaven. “Yay”, he yelled! “You baked.” He happily settled down with a jug of fresh lime juice etc. The rest was …. gobble, gobble, gobble!

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Baking | GF Amaranth Pom Parfaits & Amaranth Dark Chocolate Brownies – Eating smart & SmartEats

“The body is the soul’s house. Shouldn’t we therefore take care of our house so that it doesn’t fall into ruin?”
Philo

Amaranth Pom Parfaits & Amaranth Dark Chocolate Brownies Amaranth Pom Parfaits & Amaranth Dark Chocolate Brownies. Can you tell that amaranth is my latest obsession? I have been baking smart of late. Eating smart too, and hopefully spreading the word a little! You might have noticed that I am reaching more often than ever before for whole grains in my recipes. It’s a practice I strive to stick too, and have been lucky so far.AmaranthNot every time though. Amaranth is one ingredient that has caught my imagination of late. Sangeeta introduced me to it, inspiring me to experiment with this wonder grain. I strive to find better ways of including it in our diet. Popped amaranth eluded me until Cookaroo was generous enough to give me a bag!

Like buckwheat and quinoa, amaranth is an especially high-quality source of plant protein including two essential amino acids, lysine and methionine, which are generally low in grains. Amaranth is packed with iron and calcium, and its fiber content is triple that of wheat. Amaranth is completely gluten-free and suitable for those with celiac disease; what’s more, it is an especially digestible grain, making it a traditional food for people recovering from illness or transitioning from a fast or cleanse.

Amaranth Pom Parfaits The Pomegranate Salsa Parfaits made for interesting {and pretty if I may say so myself} glassfuls. A nice breakfast dish, maybe an evening snacky dessert! I love making pom salsa. It’s got a complex mix of flavours with ingredients that pair beautifully with each other.

Amaranth Pom ParfaitsGot the recipe while googling for a pom salsa. Happily enough I had everything on hand that day. We had friends over. I’ve made it a few times after that too. The flavours are refreshing. Different too. As deep, red Kandhari anaars or poms begin to flood the market again, it’s a great side to make for flat bread or crackers.

Amaranth Pom ParfaitsThe salsa worked well for these Amaranth Pom Parfaits too. Layer them, drizzle some pom molasses over them, leave them for a bit,  … and dig in! Not quite what kids might like, but we enjoyed them.

Amaranth Dark Chocolate Brownies So I got more adventurous. Ordered more amaranth online, didn’t realise I hadn’t ordered the flour. It was in grain form! We live and learn, and so did I. Tried milling it in the thermomix but didn’t quite get what I was looking for. Yet made brownies with it. They came out quite good. Gluten free too. The only drawback was that you could feel the graininess coming through. Still, the kids enjoyed them. {Recipe once I get the flour!}

Amaranth Dark Chocolate Brownies With all these healthy choices I am beginning to include in my everyday food, it’s a good time to review SmartEatsa subscription service to  delicious, natural & healthy snacks in the NCR.

SmartEats

We at SmartEats have started, what we call a “Healthy Eating Movement” towards making us and our children, healthier and happier. We have teamed up with well-known nutrition specialists to develop & find snacks which are delicious, unique and healthy. These snacks are 100% natural, made from whole grains, high in micro nutrients, high in Fiber and have balanced calories.

SmartEats is a convenient and tasty way of healthier snacking for you and your family. Your monthly membership of Rs. 499 delivers a box full of 100% Natural, Delicious, Unique and Healthy snacks along with smart-living ideas to your door. Each box contains 5 new & exciting snacks. These snacks are a delectable mix of Baked & Roasted snacks , various flavors of Nuts, and Fruits recipes, Rich tea infusions, Herbal drinks and much more. It’s a great way to “EXPLORE & DISCOVER”.

SmartEats The box arrived for a review and I was impressed with the neat packaging, both outside and inside. It had the promised 5 exciting snacks within. I reached for the nuts first. They didn’t disappoint. Honey Chili Nuts … very very nice. Well balanced, slightly chili but the honey fixed that. The Very Berry Strawberry bits were absolutely delicious and addictive. A great snacking option I thought. However I got curious as they were really sweet. Did ask the SmartEat folk who told me that liquid glucose had been added to enhance their sweetness. I’m not sure if that still makes them healthy. I’d sooner opt for fresh fruit. Next came the Lean Bean Mix which was very nice too. Maybe a little over spicy for me but nice flavours. A healthy mix of baked/roasted lentils. I think this can make a good base for a bhel puri like snack too. Some chopped onions, tomatoes, fresh coriander, a dash of lime … and I’d be a happy camper! Marching on to snack four, and it was time for Parsley Pepper Crackers. I liked these even though they could be cheesier. They were really good with the pom salsa {and the Baba Ghanouj & Muhammara I had on hand that day}. The Oat & Raisin Cookies are the only snacks that disappointed.  To be fair to them, on giving the company feedback, they tried to fix the problem and sent me another batch. Cookies for me are truly comfort food, something I would definitely reach out for again and again. That comfort is lacking here. These were too oaty, and far from crisp. The nut-oatmeal balance didn’t quite excite the palette, and I would probably give these a pass the next time.

You can reach SmartEats here. The good thing about this exciting new company is that they are eager to listen, and willing to adapt. I am impressed by the variety they have on offer, new snacks each month!

TUV SUD & AssochamInterestingly enough, there seems to be a lot happening on the food front of late. In recent times, emphasis on food safety standards has taken centre stage in the global food trade, alongside food security concerns. Assocham cohosted a day long event with TÜV SÜD … Safe Future Now Summit for Food safety – a collaborative approach today for a sustainable future in Gurgaon yesterday. I was privileged to be invited to moderate a panel discussion on “Effective implementation of new age media strategy, to safeguard consumer’s interest and enhance company’s reputation.

New social media and the food industryAs globalization increases and the food chain gets increasingly complex, it is natural for incidents of food safety to increase. Food safety was the key message delivered touching upon the power of social media, the burgeoning online market economy, how to contain a safety issue, and how to use the power of social media the leverage a food crisis to the benefit of all concerned. The consumers role as an important entity in the food chain was established. {On the panel that late afternoon were Mr. Max Hegerman, Managing Director, Edelman Digital, Mr. Samir Kuckreja, President, National Restaurant Association of India, Liz Fendt, Vice President, International Marketing, TÜV SÜD and Kishi Arora, Chef}

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Baking | Chocolate Oat Walnut Brownies … Baking and other activities for the family this summer

“Summertime is always the best of what might be.”
Charles Bowden

Chocolate Oat Walnut BrowniesChocolate Oat Almond Walnut Brownies … you can’t have enough brownie recipes under your belt. The younger teen is suddenly showing sporadic bursts of interests in the kitchen. Maybe he’s trying to beat the heat, or maybe discovering a new hobby. Maybe forever H U  N G R Y, he thinks it’s best

Wholewheat Double Chocolate Brownies I was pleasantly surprised some time back when he sauntered into the kitchen in his PJs while I was stirring brownies. Nonchalantly he took the whisk and bowl from me, and made the batter like he had been doing it for years! So I asked him to get up early a few days ago to bake another batch. He made these as we were off for a weekend to Calcutta.

Chocolate Oat Walnut Brownies It’s a nice way to engage kids in the kitchen, brilliant actually. Brownies are forgiving creatures. Delicious too! The batter gets stirred together in minutes, and these are less messy. It’s a simple one bowl recipe. Nothing much can go wrong.

Chocolate Oat Walnut Brownies 2You can see how the lad had a go at them. He stirred them together gently, and then in a moment of happiness, gave the batter a vigorous  stir up! Soon we had a batch of Chocolate Oat Walnut Brownies. These are gluten-free.

{Research suggests that pure, uncontaminated oats and oat products are not toxic to the majority of adults and children with coeliac disease. However the vast majority of oats and oats products on the market are contaminated with wheat, rye and/or barley. Processing, such as milling, makes them unsuitable for people with coeliac disease. The protein found in oats is called avenin, which is similar to gluten. There is some evidence to suggest that some people with coeliac disease may even react to pure, uncontaminated oats.}

Chocolate Oat Walnut Brownies This recipe is ever forgiving and came out good. Good enough for the kids to enjoy, good enough for the younger teen to flaunt them. I made them”,  he announces to all and sundry, then goes on to devour another rightful square! Milk and brownies forever welcome!

Lemon Ginger Creme Brulee

Lemon Ginger Creme Brulee He also enjoyed brûléeing the crème brûlée we made a few days ago. It’s nice to involve kids in the kitchen during the summer break. Beware though, the mess is yours to clean if you have teens like mine! He seems to be loving it. So does the elder sis. She baked the cocker a special doggie birthday cake a few days ago. I was skeptical. Needn’t have been. She had a blast and made it look so pretty! Baking is now a big option in the vacations!

Doggie birthday cake These Chocolate Oat Walnut Brownies were for Calcutta, the city of joy! Not a planned vacation, but a weekend getaway to join Mr PAB who had work there. Another inspiring Indian city covered, another opportunity to experience a rich culture. O Calcutta … you are just so beautiful!

CalcuttaThere’s been a lot of Bengali influence in my life of late. I was recently interviewed by Sananda magazine, the east Indian version of Femina, in an anniversary special. These days, Mr PAB regularly visits Calcutta on work, coming home laden with intriguing tales! I’ve also recently reviewed a Bengali cookbook cum food journey ‘Bong Moms Cookbook’ for a magazine. That brought the Bong culture and cuisine onto my table.

Chocolate Oat Walnut Brownies What are your plans these holidays? We’re halfway through the vacations here. Between internships and a theatre workshop, we’ve crossed the halfway mark. With Master Chef Oz around the corner, hopefully some culinary skills might get polished. Did I forget to mention some candid photography that the kids did too? They both get pretty trigger happy now and then!

Get cooking this summer Here are some simple recipes to get the kids into the kitchen with … Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Brownies, Creme au Chocolat Shots, Minty Chickpea Yogurt Parfaits, Simplest & Best 2 ingredient Dark Chocolate Mousse, Whole Wheat & Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies, Vanilla Bean Chocolate Chip WookiesAlmond Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream, One Bowl Milk Chocolate Brownies, Strawberry Fro Yo

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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