baking, healthy baking, oats, savoury, vegan, wholewheat

Of seeing joy in simple things…and Wholewheat Oats Jeera(Cumin) Kasoori Methi Crackers

IMG_5750One of the ‘big’ super-special outings my son and I shared while staying in Richmond Town, was to suddenly plan a visit to Cubbon Park ( The above picture is not of Cubbon Park, but another park in Wellington ūüôā ) . The serenity of the park especially on a week-day would re-energize me while the old-world no-frills rides, the toy train, a pack of juice and hot popcorn from the vendor there would fill my son with glee.
We shifted homes some months ago and the Park became very far to go to, in a spontaneous manner. I was a little worried¬† about how I might explain the sudden drop in our visits to my son when he asks about it again. In addition to that when we moved homes, I was 6 months pregnant with my second baby so I wasn’t looking forward to traversing the breadth of the city.
But, explaining things like distance and traffic to a 4 year old and then seeing his disappointed face- I wasn’t looking forward to it.
Then, he woke up one morning and said “After a while can I have some juice and popcorn?” My response – “Yes you can”. His reply – “Wow, that will be just like a ‘picnic’ , like when we would go to the Cubbon Park”.
A child’s mind is like a natural receptor for picking up the positives, absorbing the fun part of each situation and moving on. The child sees joy in the simplest of things.
An adult’s mind, on the other hand, worries and worries about the negatives and mundane issues. I learnt that from my son that day.
In line with seeing joy in simple things, here is a recipe that is not only simple, but brings together warm and hearty flavours that can create a sense of winter for you, even if you live in a city that does not have winters. Like me.
Wholewheat Oats Jeera-Kasoori Methi Biscuits
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Ingredients

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup Oats ( Rolled)

Jeera and Kasoori Methi, as much as you prefer

Salt as per your preference

Homemade garam masala, as per your preference

Red chilly powder , as per your preference

4 tablespoons of oil + 2 / 3 tbsp of ghee ( to make a vegan version, exclude ghee and add only oil)

Warm water to bring the dough together

Method

Mix together whole wheat flour, oats( I ground them roughly), salt, jeera, kasoori methi in a big bowl.

Add the oil and ghee, into the above mix and rub into it till it turns crumby. Add only as much warm water is needed to bring the dough together. 

Preheat oven to 165 degrees Centigrade and prepare your biscuit tray. 

Roll out the dough as thin as possible. Cut out the crackers with a cookie cutter. Arrange them on the baking tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes till it turns crispy. Cool it off and store. 

 

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baking, gluten-free, healthy baking, millet, rice flour, savoury, Uncategorized, vegan, vegan baking

Being “Grounded” and Gluten-free, Vegan Spicy Jeera Crackers

Final picThe lady who was my house help at my previous home came to meet me a couple of days ago. We started catching up about each other’s lives – her by asking me about how I was coping up with the baby and me by asking her about whether she had found sufficient work. Somewhere along the line the conversation drifted into areas that I realized mattered to both of us, as mothers and working women – children’s education and schools, and rising house rents and inflation.

Life has a funny way of bringing back people from your past always – it’s just an amazing thing because while it’s great to be able to talk about larger complex issues to a wide audience, it’s as important to connect to someone who you can exchange ideas with on the ground level issues at hand – it keeps you grounded. It keeps you wanting to always come back to earth no matter how high you fly.¬†

Our link to the earth is what drives all else, no matter how widely we travel through the vast, blue skies. And on that note, here is a recipe which is earthy, uses flours and spices are more connected to our Indian taste-buds and fairly easily available locally.

1 1/2 cups Bajra / Pearl Millet flour

1/2 cup Rice flour

Salt , red chilly powder as per your taste

1 tsp of Amchoor powder

1-2 garlic pods that are mashed

2 tbsp Jeera

2 tsp homemade Biryani masala

3 tbsp oil

Hot water to bring it together.

Mix all the dry ingredients together. Add the oil and rub it in. Add the hot water and knead it. Cover and keep for 30 minutes to rest the dough.

Roll out the dough. Cut the shapes you want ( I used a pizza cutter for this). Roll it very thin so that they are thin and super crisp.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes. And let them cool off. Store in an air tight container.

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amaranth, baking, coconut sugar, eggless, gluten-free, healthy baking, Uncategorized, walnut

Simple Tasks…Baked Gluten-free Date and Walnut Squares (contains no white sugar, no egg or baking powder/soda)

IMG_6258.JPGGive a child a simple task that involves some work , some fun and they can keep themselves engaged with it for such a long time. Amazing, absolutely wonderful to see it – I asked my son to help me wash, clean and dry some of the baby’s rattles and he spent over an hour doing just that. I might have done it faster – but then I wouldn’t have realised that enjoyment is far better than efficiency¬†¬†And so I gave the task of mixing the flour with the dates and walnuts to my little boy when I was baking these yum squares.

Baking with Gluten-free flours is not an easy task. It takes a lot of experimenting, a lot of courage and a lot of thought process, to bake something that will be delicious and full of nutrition.

Here is the result of one such delicious baking experiment that took shape when I decided to check out the Grow Fit Gluten-free flour mix.

Chewy, intense and perfect for snacking Baked Gluten-free Date and Walnut Squares (contains no white sugar, no egg or baking powder/soda).

The Flour by itself, is Gluten-Free, Diabetes Friendly, PCOS-Friendly Thyroid-Friendly and Low-Carb. You may need to adapt the other components to ensure that the final baked squares fit in those parameters too.

Flour Link: https://getgrowfit.com/collections/essentials/products/low-carb-gluten-free-roti-flour

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Recipe –

1 1/2 cups of the Gluten-free flour ( mainly contains Bamboo Seed, Amaranth Seed, Soybean, Arrowroot, Oats, Flax Seed)

 

3/4 cups Coconut Sugar

Dates and Walnuts chopped

2 tbsp Honey

3-4 tbsp Ghee/melted butter

Mix the dates and walnuts into the flour and coat them well. Add the coconut sugar into this mix, using a whisk. Add the butter or ghee. Finally add honey to bring the dough together. Press it into a baking tin that is greased and lined with baking paper.

Bake for 15 minutes in a prebaked oven at 175 degrees C. Open it, slice it into squares while it is still soft and then put it back into the oven for another 10 minutes of baking.

Cool and remove the slices.

 

 

 

 

 

amaranth, baking, biscuits, butter-free, eggless, quinoa, savoury, Uncategorized

Playing with Soil…and Earthy flavours of the Baked Butter-free Kasoori Methi-Ajwain Matthi

I took my son to a place close to home, where the children were going to spend a couple of hours working on a patch of garden. I went with the idea of getting him to expend his energy since the summer vacations are on. As some of you might be aware, a restless 4 1/2 year old with unused energy is a different kind of person altogether !

For the first 15 minutes I simply looked on and prayed for him to remain engaged for the entire duration of 2 hours. I wondered if I had done the right thing – gardening and connecting with the soil, as well as nature are immensely therapeutic but will he want to do it again?

But as I kept watching him, my mind was whirling with thoughts….The world we live in – we have to teach our kids to play in mud, to wonder about the magical creatures living in the soil, to touch leaves without hesitation, to feel the wonder of planting a seed, to squeal with delight when a caterpillar crawls on their little hand.

And when you do that, the world we live in changes…A little each time, because we start removing the layers of indoor dust that’s settled into our own souls as well, to uncover the glistening beauty of outdoors.

That’s what nature does for us – puts us back right where we belong.

And by the end of those 2 hours, I think both of us had been put back where we belong – more me, than him. Because for a child, it is so much easier to sense that belonging. But for a jaded adult, it takes a while to revisit the deep recesses of the soul, scrape off the dirt and uncover the roots.

On that note, let me share something that is earthy in flavour and contains ancient grains.

Grow Fit¬†has some excellent flour mixes and the first one “Ancient Grain Low Carb Atta” that I tried has yielded excellent results. I was very excited to try it in both, savoury and sweet bakes.

It is diabetic-friendly, PCOS-friendly, Low Carb and High Protein, containing Quinoa and Amaranth.

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What I baked with it ( also eggless, bp/bs free) –
1. Kasoori Methi- Ajwain Matthi / Mathri ( butter-free)
2. Chocolate Almond Cookies

They turned out so crisp and crunchy in texture, that I am looking forward to baking many more things with this flour super soon.

Flour Link –
https://getgrowfit.com/…/produc…/ancient-grain-low-carb-atta

Baked Kasoori Methi- Ajwain Matthi / Mathri ( butter-free)

1 cup of the Low-Carb Flour, Ancient Grain

Kasoori Methi and Ajwain as per your taste preference

2-3 tsp salt, 1-2 tsp red chilly powder, 1-2 tsp homemade garam masala

3-4 tbsp oil

Hot water for kneading

Mix all the dry ingredients well. Add the oil and mix with hand. Use hot water a bit at a time and then mix well. Knead it well and leave it side for 10 minutes. Shape it into rounds and bake at 180 degrees C, for 20 minutes or until crisp.

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And talking about the earth brings me to my recipe.

baking, biscuits, cane sugar, chocolate, coconut sugar, cookies, eggless, gluten-free, healthy baking, liquid jaggery, vegan, vegan baking

The Sounds of the Night and Eggless Gluten-Free Ragi Amaranth Chocolate Biscuits ( Vegan version also)

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It’s 3 weeks since we welcomed our second baby into this world – our little girl.
As it is with newborns – the erratic pattern that sets in with their arrival , seems to be overwhelming at first. You start taking it a day at a time. Then you tell yourself that as a second time mom you are seasoned and will handle it with ease. ¬†Much to your shock you realize that each baby is different ( yes, everyone might say it to you but it’s only when it happens that you realize it ) ¬†and while you might be able to handle it a bit better, you still tend to struggle with a lot of the basics.
Then you calm yourself down.  Your mind makes the effort to find the high points in seemingly crazy days that flow so rapidly and fluidly into each other, that you stop seeing the calendar.
I have found those moments of re-connecting with the positive elements around me, in the middle of the nights that I am spending awake. Since those times always seems to go by slowly ¬†in order to bring some calmness to one’s tired soul I have rediscovered the sounds and sights of the night – the sky at 3 AM, the moth flitting under the dim night lamp , the rotating fan’s monotonous and comforting sound, the slight drizzle that falls on the road beyond the curtains, the occasional dog barking up a storm, the quiet breathing of my other child sleeping. ¬†Nothing can break that rhythm of the night sounds – and that is the peace that every new mother clings to, as she remains awake with her newborn baby and manages a slight smile.
The darkness of the night always reminds me of one of the flours I discovered when I moved to Bangalore 5 years ago – Ragi. Apart from being highly nutritious, I realized that being a naturally gluten-free flour it lends itself to so many recipes. So I tried using it along with Amaranth seeds in a biscuit recipe. And these beautifully flavoursome bites emerged as a result of the experiment.
Gluten-Free Eggless Ragi Amaranth Chocolate Biscuits

1 cup organic ragi flour

¬Ĺ cup amaranth seeds

¬Ĺ cup organic cane or coconut sugar

100 gms unsalted butter ( for vegan version use peanut / apple butter or oil – texture will change)

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tbsp organic liquid jaggery

Add the dry ingredients together and whisk them well. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients and add the liquid jaggery. Mix well and keep in the fridge overnight after cling wrapping.

Shape them into cookies, place them onto a greased tray and bake at 170 degrees C for 20 minutes, in a preheated oven.

 

almond, baking, healthy baking, jaggery, oats

Why Ovenderful is, where it is today.

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Many of you have seen the kind of note 2017 has started on , for Ovenderful. Receiving such a lot of recognition and appreciation is incredible, but also overwhelming. It also leads to a whole lot of soul – searching , at least for me it did. People will probably say that one should savour the moment – which I did. But when you realize the power of what you created it can be humbling.

The Ovenderful you see today seems to be lit up in all the success – But with all the adulation that has come, each time I have looked inwards to remind myself that this is not a story of Glory , it is a story of Grit.

I don’t say this for any reason except to simply share this experience with more people – many of who are struggling with a small / home based venture. So that they remember to stand tall each time the venture receives a setback and they understand that the sun rises and sets. Today it shines on one and tomorrow on the other – so don’t lose heart.

I baked only to raise funds or for social impact for the initial years – not because I wanted to have a story to tell. But because ,simply put, I believed in them and they in me.

I sold baked goods at prices that were laughable, so much so that those who ordered them told me to rework my prices – upwards. Not because I couldn’t price better but because the idea of completely monetizing what I had realized was a passion, seemed to reduce its value, to me.

So Ovenderful is where it is, only and only because of two things – the unchanging philosophy that it will always stand for social impact alongside being a venture and that it will dare to go where few will ( healthy baking ) even if the orders are few and far between.

And since Ovenderful has been like a baby to me, which I have spent love and time on, to nurture, it is only fitting that I share a recipe that is close to my heart – that of Lactation biscuits, which many new moms have found useful when they are feeding their babies.

Published first on : http://fitmoms.in/lactation-biscuits-recipe/

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Rolled Oats
  • ¬Ĺ cup chopped Almonds
  • 1 tbsp Flax seeds
  • ¬Ĺ cup organic Jaggery
  • ¬Ĺ tbsp Fennel/Saunf Seeds
  • ¬ľ cup Ghee/Butter

Preparation method

  1. Grease a baking tray and keep it ready. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes.
  2. Dry roast the oats and then grind them coarsely. Add the chopped almonds, flax seeds, fennel seeds to it and mix well.
  3. Add the organic jaggery ‚Äď either as a powder or in grated form to the above dry mix. Mix it thoroughly to ensure that the jaggery has been spread uniformly. Then slowly add the ghee or butter ( at room temperature and soft). As the dough comes together, do not knead it. Just bring it together and then cling wrap the dough.
  4. Refrigerate it for 30 minutes. Take them out and shape them into whatever shape you prefer and place them on the baking tray. Then bake them at 180 degrees , for 15- 20 minutes.
  5. Allow them to cool off well and then remove them from the tray. Store them in air tight containers.

 

 

almond, baking, biscuits, cane sugar, cookies, healthy baking, jowar, Uncategorized

Christmas Baking Story 2 & Wholewheat Jowar Apricot & Almond Cookies

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What does a child want ? Nothing in the world will be a perfect answer to that question. You¬†will think it will be the “bigger” things – love, security, appreciation, family, education. You will also think that it could be the “smaller” things – toys, chocolates, candies, shoes, clothes.

Well, I am not an expert on understanding children and their psychology, but I think often we overlook the fact that perhaps, just perhaps, a child wants things that are not categorized, things that cannot be slotted into any form of definition.

Could it be a fleeting moment of joy when they see their friends after a school break? Could it be the chance to savour a few minutes of having the slide at the park, just to themselves ? Could it be the thrill of hearing their voices fill up a festive song ? Could it be the anxious anticipation of few seconds from when the school gets over till when they actually see their mother/father across the gate to pick them up ?

Why is my post talking about this ? It is because when I visited Ashraya Initiative for Children( a picture from that visit is shared above), an NGO that works with 200 slum children, with the Pune bakers in December 2016 as part of the “Bake a Sunshine Cake” initiative, I found myself reflecting about what are the things that bring such a warm smile on the faces of children living in abject poverty and why we adults are not able to muster up a smile despite the comfort we live in…

The only answer that connected with me was – because they keep it simple. It is that easy to be happy ! And so simplicity is the approach that I always follow when it comes to my healthy bakes. Presenting one such simple bake here for you to put together easily – Wholewheat Jowar Apricot Almond Cookies.

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Ingredients –¬†

  • 1 cup wholewheat flour
  • 3/4 cup jowar flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped¬†almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried chopped apricots
  • 1/2 cup¬†unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method –

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Mix together the flours, almonds and apricots.

Beat butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the egg, beating until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Add the flour mix slowly and mix without over-beating.

Scoop the dough using a spoon and drop them onto the baking tray, 2 inches apart. Add a chopped almond and apricot on top, and bake them for 15 minutes.

Cool them off and store in air tight containers.

 

baking, biscuits, cane sugar, eggless, healthy baking, jowar, wholewheat

Christmas Baking Stories -1 :Spiced Wholewheat and Jowar Shortbread

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#BakeaSunshineCake, by the Ovenderful Mom Bakers Community is yet again making it a December to Remember, for the 2nd year in a row. Christmas is truly here early in many parts of Bangalore and the US ūüôā ¬†Here is a little story from one of those parts – a quiet and serene old age home in Whitefield Bangalore.
A deep sense of poignancy and dejavu hit me the moment we started walking through the gates of Cheshire Old Age Home. Because around the same time last December ( 2015), we had walked into it for the first time Рhoping to spread a little bit of warmth and take back a lot of memories. This year was as special as the first Рthe young ( our children) and the old ( the ladies at the home) met each other and connected instantly, the Christmas carols reverberated through the walls of the home and for a few hours , life became magical for us, the volunteer bakers as it possibly did for the ladies at the old age home.
On my way back from the visit, my son decided to sleep off. And that left me alone with my thoughts – And these were the only ones that kept playing on my mind.
I was thankful…..
For still being able to cry when something moves me.
For not accepting everything that is sad around us as ‘reality of life’.
For being able to know when to move on and when to wait a while.
For still being able to smile instantly on hearing an old friend’s voice.
For being able to wake up with a mind full of ideas.
For being able to sleep with tired feet and plans for next day.
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Spiced Wholewheat and Jowar Shortbread

  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
  • 1 ¬†cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup jowar flour
  • 1/4¬†cup¬†demerara sugar
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

Method – Cream the butter and sugars together till it is light and fluffy. Sift the flours together with the ginger and nutmeg. Add it slowly to the sugar-butter mix and mix well. Wrap it well in cling wrap and refrigerate for an hour or so.

Take it out and press it into a greased flat baking tray. Pre-heat the oven at 175 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes. Place the tray in the middle rack. Bake for 10 minutes and then take it out. Use a sharp knife to cut the rectangle shapes on the tray itself.Bake it again for 15 minutes after doing that and then remove them from the tray to cool off and store.