30 September 2014

Kacha kela tikki|Raw Banana Patties|Raw Banana patty sandwich with cranberry chutney



   Are you a morning person ? Man,how do you do it ?Confused face If you are not,"HIGH five or ten"...or if you are trying to be a morning person then also High five .Gimme FiveI am also trying since long time ...I at times do wonder,if I've an ancestral connection to "Kumbhakarna",the ferocious demon from the Hindu,Ramayana epic who had a curse of sleeping for months non-stop.(I hope no one from my family reads this :P ).Well,no I don't sleep for months :P but I certainly get 8-9-10 hrs of sleep (at times I do surprise people though) for sure even if it means I was an owl the previous night.

sandwich_patty_recipe


During my teenage years,I got constant scoldings from my darling mother warning (read:threatening) me that I better change this annoying habit for good & wake up early or after marriage my in-laws and hubby will kick my bu** off :P...Well,to no avail,the only thing that really made me a morning person were examinations during school-college days or after getting jobs (which was also a struggle).My hubby is so far so good (touchwood)Happy Love Heart ,no complains and my parents are still wondering why (Thank God & Thank Honey):P ....

kachche_kele_tikki

Having said that,now that I am on a looooong break from work ,I am so happy to be at home and most importantly and what matters, I am striving hard to make healthy yet yummy food for my better half,Honey P.Needless to say,the most important problem I face everyday is not only waking early but also preparing especially a good breakfast for him .Remember my oats story here,looks like God answered Honey P's prayer hehee,I am really enlightened now to make something more than oats ,something more flavorful yet healthy recipe.Though I do have oats stocked in my pantry as the last resort always:D (Hidden from Honey P :P ).
kache_kele_recipe

When it comes to preparing breakfast,as always I'll be scratching my head ,racking my foggy brain and scanning my pantry and fridge to come out with ideas to make varieties of recipes.So,this time I found something green with black dots here and there playing hide and seek with my eyes .Curiously,I dodged and maneuvered my little hand to trace the alien edible thing hiding in my refrigerator.Aaah there it was....the completely forgotten bunch of raw green Bananas . The vegetable I don't buy that frequently but I always remind myself that these raw bananas are  a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals, and contains a starch that may help control blood sugar,blood pressure, manage weight and lower blood cholesterol levels.( According to  livestrong.com).

raw_banana_patty_sandwich


So,I came up with  an yummy breakfast idea which can also be enjoyed simply as a snack ,or as you wish.Moreover,they can be also kept frozen and used later on as pre-ready patties for sandwiches or snack. (Boon for lazy mornings :P ).

I made raw Banana patties (shallow fried) with the added goodness of mixed vegetables and served it as a sandwich with my homemade cranberry chutney ...How good is that ? ...Very happy to come up wih a breakfast that is so flavorful yet healthy,exactly what we were looking for.

Here is how I make kachche kele ki tikki (in Hindi) or Raw Banana patties and sandwich :

             Raw Banana patties sandwich with Cranberry sauce

                                                       Ingredients:

                                                        Whole wheat bread - 6nos.
                                                         Raw Banana - 3 nos.
                                             Mixed vegetables (I used frozen peas,carrots,beans & corns)- 1 cup
                                                         Water - 1/2 - 3/4 cup
                                                         Onion,chopped - 1/2
                                                         Ginger-garlic paste - 1 teaspoon
                                                         Chilli powder - 1/4-1/2 teaspoon
                                                         Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
                                           Garam Masala/Chat Masala/Curry Masala - a pinch
                                                         Oil - 1-3 tablespoons
                                                 Butter/Ghee/Oil (for toasting) - 1 -2 tablespoon
                                                         Salt to taste
                                                 Toppings-Onion slices,cucumber slices

Method:


  • Slice the bread crusts from each bread and mix them with 2 tablespoons of water.Once they soak all water (Add more water if needed).Mash them (you should be able to make a roll)and keep it aside.
  • Peel and chop the raw bananas.
  • Heat a pan with water and boil the raw Banana pieces and the mixed vegetables.
  • Once boiled,strain them and keep it aside to cool a bit.
  • Mash them all with hand until they are smooth enough to make a roll or any shape.Keep them aside.
  • Heat a pan with oil.
  • Add the chopped onions and saute until soft.
  • Add the ginger-garlic paste to it and saute for a minute or two.
  • Now add the chilly powder,turmeric powder and garam masala to it.Saute for a minute or two.
  • Finally add the mashed paste of raw banana-mixed vegetable and the bread crust together and saute for a minute or two.
  • Add salt to taste.Put off the flame and allow it to cool down.
  • Now make a dough like mixture.
  • Divide the dough into small portions and roll each one of them into small balls.
  • Press each balls between your palms gently and make a 1/2 inch (approx) thick patties.
  • Heat a pan with 1 tablespoon of oil and shallow fry each patties turning upside down once they get light browned on each part.
  • Take two bread slices.Lightly toast it with butter.
  • Apply the cranberry sauce on each slice (Inside).
  • Put a patty in between the two slices  topped with onion slices,cucumber slices or any of your favorite toppings.
  • Raw Banana patty sandwich is ready with the tangy yummy cranberry sauce.
Looks like I'll be buying raw Bananas more often now.;) How about you ?


raw_banana_cutlet

Eat,love,live DELICIOUSLY,







P.S.Similar breakfast or snack options :Vurgers
For a non-vegetarian version you can try Fish Cutlets

27 September 2014

When I met a stranger.......





Clad in a rustic brown salwaar, yellow shawl fell on her shoulder like a U, face dry and pale, with a cluster of acnes, hair covered in oil, lips dark and lifeless, eyes big and deep, nose long and pierced, body short and slim, she sat there dunk in a bunch of files ..as usual...up until papers from one of her file flew right on to my table and floor .
Yes, she was my next desk colleague (when I was working in India in an accounting firm) ,who was almost absent for everyone. Neither anyone noticed her nor did she care. Some called her boring, some called her a total stranger.
However, that day I did notice her because she talked to me. She said slowly, "I am sorry, can I've that paper please?".
I was flabbergasted and at the same time very happy. Imagine sitting next to someone who I guess thought smiling was a sin and talking, an invitation to trouble .Left me gasping for some fresh air always. I even thought of changing the cubicle we were sharing .Moreover no one wanted to share space with her.
With a big grin on my face, I gave her all the papers and it was almost lunch time. I asked her to join me for lunch. She hesitated first, I insisted and then she agreed.
She was nervous as if she was on a blind date. I cracked the ice and began the chit chats which started as an interview. I was stunned that she was gradually opening up. She was just like any other girl I felt and she even smiled. Then came the biggest surprise, that she lived somewhere near by my house - not next door, few miles away. That means we took the same blue-cream colored bus to and fro (Office to home and vice versa).That also meant we started to spend lots of time together. I started to like her gradually .She was a fragile flower. Likewise, she started trusting me.
I told her how I was getting all the marriage proposals and how I wished I had a love marriage which my parents would never allow by all means .She interrupted for the first time. She said (or better to say,she narrated her story/her painful past), "I am a divorcee". "It was a love marriage to my childhood sweetheart, “R”.” “It was a dream come true for me.” “I was the happiest girl of this world then".
Everything was hale and hearty till the honeymoon. Later, everything started to fade.
R's parents were against the marriage initially as they were more financially sound than us. When R insisted, they put forward a high demand of dowry as a compromise. He saw a ray of hope.
"My parents didn't have that type of cash but were willing to go to any extent just to see me smile throughout my life without any regrets .I was their only daughter, apple of their eye." They agreed.
It was like a princess wedding. No one were left unsatisfied. Everyone burped, blessed and bid goodbye to the newly wedded couple.
Days passed and she became the target of her new so called mother and father (in-laws was a word she didn't believe in) .They taunted her for the remaining amount of dowry .R being the pampered and obedient only son, pretended he didn't hear. R consoled me saying they are old people and advised me to ignore it as well.
Months went by, years flew ..my life became harder and harder...I couldn't conceive...this time even R was on the brink of giving up on me ....I became the target of each and every member of this family....Everyone had their own reason to blame me directly or indirectly...I never felt this helpless. People started pouring advise unasked ...I silently obliged to all...R and I were in and out of the hospitals and also temples far and wide...Finally, my prayers were answered & I felt a miracle happened, I became pregnant ...When I thought that would make everyone happy & my life peaceful, it didn't!...R's parents fell short of one of the reason to prick me...the strongest of the lots !..
R sighed and was happy. Unfortunately, our hard earned happiness was short lived. I miscarried. The biggest blow was just waiting around the corner. The doctor said,” I would never become a mother again."
My life became topsy turvy! Or say my days became so!! My father who was otherwise up and healthy person, passed away .He had a silent heart attack. I couldn't tolerate it .I felt guilty. I felt he sacrificed his life to see me happy. My mother couldn't bear it as well. She remained bed-ridden. I tried to stay beside her as much as I can. But that didn't go will with R's parents and R himself. They got another reason to make my life more miserable.
Eventually, they allowed me to stay with my ailing mother FOREVER, R asked for a divorce. I agreed without any tears or words. I didn’t have any left anyways.
I didn't have a job to support my ailing mother. Relatives knew this could become a burden in many ways. So, they shunned us for good. We were alone and financially broke. The house was on collateral due to the dowry pay-off. I got my mother our house back using the money I got back after the divorce.
With the little remaining ,I was preparing for competitive exams and applying for any job that called for 0 experience, which was not many or paid nothing.
God felt pity for me, I got a job in a brand new Law firm because of my outstanding qualifications and achievements, which I almost thought were valueless or people from my past made me believe so.My self-esteem was jittery and fragile.However,now I didn’t have any option to remain so, I started to retrain and rebuild myself. My job paid me suffice enough for me and my mother to survive. I worked for two years until they changed their location which was too far away from my location. So,I started looking for another one and this time I started taking coaching for competitive examinations as well.
That's how I joined this accounting firm, XYZ with a better salary and perks. Next month I'll be leaving, I got appointed as an officer, SBI Probationary officer. YES, last week I got a selection in the Bank PO examination. She smiled, this time proudly.
I was also smiling and so happy for her. My doubts came true. Now I knew the reason why she became like this.
The man of her dreams who left her midway ,whom she trusted to be her life long partner ,his parents ,she believed to be her mother and father were after all IN-LAWS, new people/relatives around she accepted as her own were always strangers, the pressure she went through to calm all the societal norms, the measures she took to make everyone around her happy, peaceful and satisfying forgetting herself, the parent who did their best to make her smile and had a peace less death, the parent who couldn't stand it anymore fell helpless, She was indeed a broken soul. One who took breath but was lifeless, one who was hiding behind an ugly ,don't-see-me mask, hurt and afraid to trust again, love again, live again, and smile again.
When people are busy judging others, such people cannot exist. They are always a stranger. PERIOD.
I am happy that all my values and morals are today re-enforced because I learned, "Don't judge the book by the cover." I learned to lend an ear, give a smile, look for goodness, and be kinder than necessary.
I introduced her to one of my friend's cousin who lost his wife in an accident and had a year old daughter (gem of a person) ,G,they met, dated (yes dated) for a year and now she is married and she is a mother too and she is a living example that to be a mother, you don't necessarily need a womb ,but a heart filled with unconditional love !!
Today on the eve of "Navaratri, which is the victory of good over evil." I am proud to say that she is happily married ever after...She is smiling, giving love, receiving love, she is living her life to the fullest.
I am proud to say that, today she is my best friend, more like an elder sister I look up to. She is my inspiration in many ways.
All this happened,” When I met a stranger". !
Lesson re-imprinted on my heart - When you look at a person, any person, remember that everyone has a story. Everyone has gone through something that has changed them.."..Let us be kinder than necessary...!
She is not a stranger anymore, I proudly introduce my best-est friend to you all,her name is Jeeva.(for privacy purpose,not her real name)
Yes, “Strangers can become best friends just as easy best friends can become strangers.”

Thanks for reading ,









P.S. (This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.)

UPDATE:Received a Blogadda badge...Yuhoooo..

25 September 2014

Dalia/Fada/Cracked Wheat Pulihora




cracked_wheat_pulihora

 

 "Sarva Mangala Mangalaye shive sarvaartha saadhike,
Sharanye triambake Gauri,Narayani namostutae !!

(Meaning : Welcome to you O maa Narayani:who is the positiveness in all the auspicious,one who is so auspicious herself and has all the auspicious qualities,the provider of protection,the one with 3 eyes and a beautiful face:we salute O maa Narayani (Courtesy:ishtadevata.com) ).

Jai Mata di!

Happy and a blessed Durga puja to all !:) ...It's a beginning to beautiful,spiritual,pious nine days !!...It's "Navratri" !! Nav means nine and ratri means night - the nine nights dedicated to the Hindu Goddess ,Maa (Mother) Durga,the embodiment of exceptional yet innocent beauty ,unconditional love and blessings like a selfless mother,the extreme strength to destroy any evil and provide ultimate justice and peace to all the living beings .

Maa Durga represents every woman on the Earth who believes in be good and do good and when messed up for wrong reasons ,fights against the evil.She is the message to the world that "Every woman is as beautiful as a flower and as strong as a wrathful wind ".Treat every woman with utmost respect irrespective of any caste,creed,color etc and never ever underestimate her". This I believe is the actual message behind this festival ,exclusively, as a reminder to all those who think festival is all about pomp and show only !!

dalia_recipe


 People (lots) do all kinds of things to show how religious and spiritual they are but they often forget to be a HUMAN inside out.They harm others ,disrespect them,stamp them ,destroy them and then they will be seen going to temples,mosques,churches etc and reading holy books ,chanting verses ,preaching them, fasting,hosting festivals,offering expensive things to please almighty & what not.What's the point? It's like the Hindi saying,"Mukh mein Ram bagal mein choori."

Though people around are celebrating Durga puja with all faith and fervor,considering the injustice done on women around the world (like killing a baby girl ,rapes,molestations,mothers(/parents) in old age home,dowry deaths etc),I wish they would have instead celebrated every women like that everyday. I wish every man or any person would look at a woman as the face of every Goddess on this Earth not a mere body or a structure born to sacrifice,compromise,be used,abused ,misused or destroyed but a supreme being that deserves to be respected in all the way .For me that is celebration,that is Navratri,that is the real Durga puja !!

cracked_wheat_pulihora_recipe

Though I am not a fan of any particular religion (with due respect) (Thanks to my parents for teaching me to respect ALL religions) , when it comes to all Goddesses we worship in Hinduism,I am proud to be a Hindu !!

Because I am a woman and thanks to all the Goddesses we have to signify and magnify that  and every festival we celebrate, for every Goddess is the ultimate reminder  of the same!!

I here by pray to Maa Durga, to empower all women more(May there be a Jhansi ki Rani in every women as well so that no one dares to consider her as helpless & fragile) and enlighten all those dark souls out there to treat every girl child ,every woman and even Mother nature, as pious and precious.Even if you don't worship her,respect her ,be there for her, AT LEAST!!

That is the ultimate prayer and celebration.That is the true festival I believe!!

Having said that,I am not only a big devotee of maa Durga but also a big fan of all those spectacular Goddess idols that varies from area to area,one of a kind puja pandals (temporary platforms made for worshiping Goddess) scattered around,the Bollywood songs blaring at the highest volume ,yummy devi prasadams,all those fairs around,all those street vendors ,all those scrumptious food stalls,all those fancy stores and most importantly every face beaming with joy unlimited .Oh man,I am so nostalgic !! and SO proud to be an Indian !!

This Navratri I made a twist to the regular Pulihora we usually make ,using dalia/fada :

Dalia/Cracked wheat pulihora

Ingredients

Dalia/Fada/Cracked wheat - 2 cups
Water - 3 cups
Tamarind ,lemon size
Peanuts - 3/4 cup
Jaggery - 1-2 teaspoons
Coconut powder - 1 tablespoon
Green chillies,slit - 4-5 nos (optional)
Ginger,chopped - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 2 teaspoons
Chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
Sesame seeds,roasted & crushed lightly- 1 tablespoon
Salt to taste

To Temper :
Mustard - 1 teaspoon
Chana dal - 1 teaspoon
Fenugreek - 1 teaspoon
Asafoetida a pinch
Curry leaves - a stalk
Oil - 1 tablespoon

Method:

  • Wash and clean the Dalia well with water.
  • Boil the dalia in a deep pan with 3 cups of water.Once it reaches the boiling point,reduce the flame and let it simmer (keep stirring in between) until it becomes soft and well cooked.Drain the excess water (if present) and keep it aside.
  • Soak a lemon size tamarind in about 1/2 - 1 cup of warm water for 30 minutes and then squeeze and extract the pulp .Keep it aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan and splutter mustard seeds,followed by chana dal,fenugreek,green chili,chopped ginger,asafoetida and curry leaves.
  • Microwave peanuts for a minute and add to the above pan.
  • Add turmeric powder,chilli powder,coriander powder,cumin powder,jaggery ,sesame seeds and coconut powder to it.Saute for a minute on low heat.
  • Add the tamarind juice to it and allow it to boil and let it simmer on low flame until it becomes a thick gravy and oil oozing on the top.
  • Add the cooked dalia into it, mix everything well and cook until all water evaporates (on medium flame) and everything gets mixed well with dalia.
  • Dalia Pulihora is ready.


Jai Mata Di!







Sarva-Mangala-Maangalye Shive Sarvaartha-Saadhike
Sharannye Triambake Gauri Naaraayanni Namostute

Meaning:
Welcome to you O Narayani; Who is the positiveness in all the auspicious, one who is so auspicious herself and has all auspicious qualities,
The provider of protection, the one with 3 eyes and a beautiful face; We salute you, O Narayani.
- See more at: http://blog.ishtadevata.com/meaning-behind-the-devi-mantra-sarva-mangala-mangalye.html#sthash.s6w6SUC8.dpuf
Sarva-Mangala-Maangalye Shive Sarvaartha-Saadhike
Sharannye Triambake Gauri Naaraayanni Namostute

Meaning:
Welcome to you O Narayani; Who is the positiveness in all the auspicious, one who is so auspicious herself and has all auspicious qualities,
The provider of protection, the one with 3 eyes and a beautiful face; We salute you, O Narayani.
- See more at: http://blog.ishtadevata.com/meaning-behind-the-devi-mantra-sarva-mangala-mangalye.html#sthash.s6w6SUC8.dpuf
Sarva-Mangala-Maangalye Shive Sarvaartha-Saadhike
Sharannye Triambake Gauri Naaraayanni Namostute

Meaning:
Welcome to you O Narayani; Who is the positiveness in all the auspicious, one who is so auspicious herself and has all auspicious qualities,
The provider of protection, the one with 3 eyes and a beautiful face; We salute you, O Narayani.
- See more at: http://blog.ishtadevata.com/meaning-behind-the-devi-mantra-sarva-mangala-mangalye.html#sthash.s6w6SUC8.dpuf
Sarva-Mangala-Maangalye Shive Sarvaartha-Saadhike
Sharannye Triambake Gauri Naaraayanni Namostute

Meaning:
Welcome to you O Narayani; Who is the positiveness in all the auspicious, one who is so auspicious herself and has all auspicious qualities,
The provider of protection, the one with 3 eyes and a beautiful face; We salute you, O Narayani.
- See more at: http://blog.ishtadevata.com/meaning-behind-the-devi-mantra-sarva-mangala-mangalye.html#sthash.s6w6SUC8.dpuf

24 September 2014

Cranberry sauce/Chutney

  cranberry_chutney

I love anything sweet and I love it more if it is sweet and sour ;) ....and if it is tangy as well...oooooh la la...It's definitely made for me.Isn't that seductive :P...What are you rolling your eyes for ?..Now don't paint any dirty picture here u dirty mind :P... Rather ask your tongue or palate . Aaaah look at you now..you are so drooling there :P....Told you !! ;P

If you are not,you should be inhuman :D...:P

cranberry_sauce_recipe

Anyways,I am not sure about you ,but if there is something that says I am "Sweet-sour-tangy" ,for me that is Tamarind the great .I am such a big fan of it already.However,as "Variety is the spice of life". Now I've found another alternative which I am equally becoming a big fan of ,"Cranberry the great" especially the dry ones.I love them.They are like sweet-sour-tangy cherries for me.So,yes it is also becoming a part and parcel of my culinary adventure.For example I made a cranberry wine here last year.Recently it has become a popular condiment at my house.Can't believe I hardly use my ketchup nowadays (being a hardcore ketchup fan).Instead I use Cranberry sauce or chutney by the side.Even my hubby who is not a fan of any condiments ate it like a little cranberry pudding.


cranberry_chutney

I use this sauce of mine sometimes with sandwiches,for pani puri , chats,with samosas or kathi rolls ,wraps and even burritos...aaand dosas,idlis...too.Since, Cranberries are super foods that are full of anti-oxidants and nutrients and plays a vital role in preventing urinary tract infections,some cancers ,improves immune functions and reduces the blood pressure etc (Courtesy:medicalnewstoday) and when it is home made with other ingredients that are equally healthy ,it feels great to enjoy it as it is without any guilt or doubt and especially to serve it to our family happily.

Here is my version of Cranberry sauce/Chutney recipe :

Cranberry Sauce/Chutney

.......................................................................................................................................................................
Ingredients
.......................................................................................................................................................................
Dry Cranberry - 1/4 cup
Cinnamon - 1 inch
Pepper - 1/2 teaspoon
Ginger - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt a pinch
Honey/Agave nectar- 1 tablespoon
Water - 1/3 cup
.......................................................................................................................................................................
Method
.......................................................................................................................................................................

  • Mix everything and boil.
  • Once it reaches the boiling point,reduce the flame and allow it to simmer until it thickens a bit.
  • Put the flame off and allow the mixture to cool.
  • Then grind them in a mixer into fine sauce /chutney.
  • Cranberry sauce is ready.
Eat,love,live deliciously,


22 September 2014

Healthy sugar free Biscotti made up of Oats ,apricots and plums


biscotti

 I believe we are living in an "Oats era" (at least for me & my health conscious friends). Oats being the healthiest food loaded with high fibre ,antioxidants and lots of other nutrients ,we are trying hard to eat oats,drink oats,sleep oats (ok may be little bit I exaggerated).In fine,the truth is we are trying our best to incorporate oats in one way or the other.

I am indeed a fan of oats considering its health benefits but there was a time when I used to literally worship oats.I religiously ate it .Not only because it is healthy but also "Mainly" they were great time savers .Especially while going to work it was a boon to an harried and not-so-morning person like me. The day I came across oats I was the most happiest person on this Earth .For one, it was the damn healthiest thing and the other, it could be cooked within minutes.Well,what more could I've asked for ! I was thanking everyday the person who discovered the oats .

biscotti


Morning became a snap and happy.Though half-sleepy, I would put my oats and milk in the microwave and by the time I would've completed my brushing,the breakfast would be ready to eat.How convenient-Beautiful days !!:P...When some people opened their eyes in the morning, wishing to see their loved ones or almighty,I opened my eyes to worship OATS !! "Om Oatsaaye Namah"! That's how loyal I was...

However, that was not the case with Honey P, as the days passed by,like a season,something changed...and it was as if my hubby woke up praying hard to almighty to bless me-my lazy,crazy ,busy-for-useless brain with some kind of homely edible enlightenment ...which I got a hunch but pretended to be clueless and still loyal to my oats...Later I did add fruits and nuts to it though...

Eventually ,the oats ninja in me kinda gave up too No picket sign...and then started my new saga of having oats not in the regular way but in unique camouflaged ways ..you see I considered oats as the ultimate food,that could banish & vanish any Horlicks,Boost or any chawanprash ..I was not done with it yet.

biscotti
Pick one-For YOU!! & you are welcome ;)

One such discovery was a Biscotti made with OATS.Biscotti ,if you don't know (As I didn't once),are Italian cookies/biscuits that are "twice baked" made especially with flour,eggs,sugar and nuts .They are dry biscuits that can be stored for a long period of time.Now that's something that caught my attention.Imagine waking up to ready to eat or grab and go breakfast everyday that is pretty and tasty as well! Lovely isn't it and when it is tweaked into a healthy one what can I say other than -"Bring it on"!


So,my healthy Biscotti is made up of oats flour ,is sugar free sans butter and made with the extra goodness of dry Apricots and plums.How healthy is that?Sounds good right?

Then Let's see how to make a healthy Biscotti.




Apricot and plum sugar free oats Biscotti


.......................................................................................................................................................................
Ingredients
.......................................................................................................................................................................
2 cups Oats flour
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour(optional)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 cups Stevia (sugar free powder)
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons orange zest/1/2 tsp orange extract
3/4 cup dried apricot,coarsely chopped
1/2-3/4 cup dried plum,coarsely chopped      .......................................................................................................................................................................
Method
.......................................................................................................................................................................
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add 2 cups of oats in a food processor and pulse until they are ground to a powder like consistency for 1 minute or less approx.Put them into a bowl and mix/stir well to ensure they are powdered well.
  3. To the above bowl of oats flour,add baking powder,salt and whisk them well.
  4. In another large bowl,mix well oil,stevia,vanilla extract,orange zest/orange extract and then beat in the eggs into it.Gradually add the above flour mixture mixing until everything is well incorporated resulting into a dough that will be stiff.Add the chopped apricots and plums by hand and mix everything well again.
  5. Divide the dough into half.With floured hands ,form two logs about 12x2 inches.
  6. Place them on baking sheets that has been lined with parchment papers.Bake them for 35-40 minutes until light golden brown.
  7. Once baked,(it's ok if the top is slightly cracked) remove from the oven and allow them to cool off for 15 minutes.
  8. Reduce the oven to 325 degrees F.
  9. Using a serrated knife ,cut the logs diagonally into 1/2-3/4 inch thick slices carefully otherwise they may break .Place them on the same baking sheets and bake again until light golden,8-12 minutes or until dry.
  10. Transfer to a rack to cool off.
Healthy yummy sugar free oats enriched biscotti is ready . You can have it as a snack anytime like me who usually have it as a breakfast.....then after lunch...then after dinner......You see,only one drawback...Quite irresistible it is!!

Eat,Love,Live deliciously,

19 September 2014

How to - practice food safety guidelines at home

food_safety_tips
Image courtesy : Syracuse University edu

Here in US,whenever we buy any chicken/any meats,seafoods or eggs,there is a food label on the package with warnings and steps to follow to avoid food contamination.Initially,I ignored thinking it just rarely happens..not a big deal after all they are approved by FDA (Food and Drug Administration).

However,after hearing frequent news about E.Coli ,Salmonella contamination and likewise becoming a big threat to an ordinary man’s life ,small to famous food chains recalling their well-liked products and issuing consumer warnings ...A few unlucky people falling victim to it,losing their lives.I realized it is indeed a big deal,”Better be safe than sorry”. Not to mention,I became extra cautious about it.Sometimes,I forget to read those labels at the back of the product and by the time I would remind myself ,it’ll be in the trash.

So,I thought to SAVE it on my blog and SHARE with you all too (if you don't know or as a reminder) ,those vital points to keep in mind or refer always because it doesn't matter where we buy meats/eggs/seafoods from and what types but it does matter whether we follow the food safety guidelines properly or not.It is quite indispensable ! Ours and our family's health is everything after all and it does start from our very humble home.

To make it easy to remember always,let's call it 3C S (CLEAN,CHILL,COOK & SEPARATE)  .Let's explore them in detail:


When foods are contaminated by disease causing bacterias,parasites,toxins,viruses,chemical and physical contaminants, they can cause food borne illness, often called “food poisoning.”

The signs and symptoms of food borne illness are usually gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, and dehydration, and can even cause serous health conditions like paralysis and meningitis.

The pregnant women,very young,  very old, and those with weak immune systems are most at risk and vulnerable to illnesses associated with contaminated food.

Since food borne illness can be really critical or even fatal , it is very important for us to know and practice safe food handling techniques especially at home.








  • Before and after handling raw seafood,meat,eggs ,wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, to make sure you don't spread bacteria (including after using the restroom,diaper changing and pet handling). 
  • ASAP,use soap and hot water to wash utensils and surfaces which have come into contact with the raw food. To sanitize the utensils and surfaces , use kitchen sanitizers or make a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water.  
  • To clean plastic or other non-porous cutting boards after use, wash them in the dishwasher .
  •  Use paper towels/sanitizing tissues to clean up or dry up kitchen surfaces or if using the cloth towel,do wash them in the hot cycle of the washing machine.

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  • To avoid cross-contamination,keep the raw foods (meats,poultry,eggs,seafoods) and their juices away from ready-to-eat/cooked foods.
  • Keep all the raw food separate from the rest in the grocery bags,shopping cart and refrigerator.
  • Never use the same cutting board for the raw foods and the fresh produce.
  • Never use the utensils or surface where the raw foods where handled for any other use.
  • Discard the marinades used on raw food unless it is boiled later.


  • The raw foods(sea foods,poultry,meats,eggs) should be immediately refrigerated as the cold temperatures halts the growth of harmful bacterias and preserves freshness.
  •  It is better to drive directly to home from the grocery store after purchasing any raw food. Take a cooler with ice to store immediately for perishables.
  • Refrigerate or freeze meat,poultry,eggs,seafood and other perishables within 2 hours of cooking or purchasing. If the temperature outside is above 90°F,Refrigerate within 1 hour .
  • Seafoods/poultry/meats can be refrigerated or frozen in its original packaging if they will be used soon.Keep them refrigerated at 40 °F (4.4 °C) or below and use within 1 or 2 days.
  • For longer storage, wrap them in a heavy duty plastic wrap/aluminum foil/freezer paper/plastic bags made for freezing. Ground beef/meat is safe indefinitely if kept frozen, but will lose quality over time. It is best if used within 4 months.
  • Never thaw raw foods at room temperature,like on the counter top.Instead it should be defrosted in the refrigerator keeping it overnight ,safely covered in an extra bag or container so that it won't drip any of its juices to other food stuffs. OR,in cold water by putting the raw meats/seafoods in a watertight plastic bag and immerse . Do change the water every 30 minutes. Cook immediately.OR,to defrost quickly ,use the microwave oven in "defrost mode", provided the raw foods are cooked immediately because some areas may already begin to cook during the defrosting. Do not refreeze raw ground meat thawed in cold water or in the microwave oven unless you cook it first.
  • Raw meats/seafoods should be left to marinate in the refrigerator.
  • The cooked leftovers of meats/seafoods should be refrigerated promptly after cooking (within 2 hours; 1 hour if the temperature is above 90 °F), it can be safely refrigerated for about 3-4 days. If frozen, for about 4 months.


  • Foods should be cooked until they reach the specified (refer the chart below) internal temperature ,which ensures killing the disease causing bacterias etc and making it safe to eat.
  • Use a food thermometer and refer the temperature chart to rule out the apt internal temperature for the ground poultry /ground meats. Color of the raw is not the sure mark of doneness.
  • Cook the eggs until the yolk and white are firm.
  • When reheating,bring gravies,sauces,soups to a full boil.
  • When cooking in microwave ,cover,stir the food and rotate to ensure even cooking.If a turntable is absent,rotate the dish once or twice by hand.Standing time (1-2 minutes) in between completes the cooking.Then confirm with the food thermometer to ensure "Fully cooked”.
Image courtesy:FDA.gov


 


















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[Reference:FDA.gov and foodsafety.gov]


“Care is an absolute and prevention is the ideal” ~ Christopher Howson

Take Care,







P.S.-Also read How to make homemade fruit and vegetable wash?