Two in one: Crunchy honey / mango muesli

I’m going to be honest I just love anything that contains oats and not the saw dust type supermarket brands but good high quality whole grain oats that have that distinct oats smell…yum… just yum!
Here’s a really simple recipe for homemade muesli that doesn’t take much effort or time to make but tastes divine and is great for a a quick breakfast with yogurt or milk or as a snack when the 4 o’clock munchies strike at work!
I even throw in a handful of this mix into my protein shake to give it that additional crunch and flavor.

The best part is you can play around with the ingredients and give your own twist to your recipe once you get the basic muesli recipe right, cacao nibs, desiccated coconut I could go on…
This recipe is gluten free, if you want to make it vegan just swap the honey with maple syrup or date syrup.

If you don’t know where to buy rolled wholegrain oats in India just click the link on the ingredient in the recipe.

muesli

8 min prep time 15 min cook time

Ingredients

Group A –Dry Ingredients

  1. 2.5 cups whole grain rolled oats
  2. 1 cup sliced almonds (or use walnut as an alternative or a combination of both, ½ cup each)
  3. ½ cup pumpkin seeds  (or use sunflower seeds, macadamia, pecans)
  4. 1 tbsp flax seeds  
  5. 1 tbsp chia seeds (or use sesame seeds instead)
  6. ½ tsp cinnamon powder (optional)
  7. A pinch of salt

 

Group B –Wet ingredients

  1. 1 tbsp. virgin coconut oil (or ordinary sunflower oil but I like the taste of coconut oil plus the health benefits)
  2. 1-2 tbsp. honey
  3. 1 tbsp. palm sugar/cane sugar
  4. 1 tsp vanilla essence
  5. ½ tbsp. water

 

Other ingredients to be added after roasting

  1. ½ cup raisins (regular golden or black)
  2. ½ cup dried and roughly chopped cranberries (optional)

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients from group A in a large mixing bowl (dry ingredients)
  2. In another smaller cup or bowl mix group B ingredients (wet ingredients)
  3. Mix the bowl of wet ingredients in to the large bowl of dry ingredients thoroughly until the thick sticky honey sugar mix coats the oats etc.

Handy tip: pour out the coconut oil in a measuring tablespoon first so that the thick viscous honey will easily slide off the oil coated spoon when you use it!

  1. Pre-heat your oven (I use a convection oven) to 160C -a low temperature because you want to lightly roast and not burn the muesli.
  2. Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread a thin layer of the muesli mix onto the tray

(It has to be a thin layer so the mix gets evenly roasted. If your oven is small you will probably need to divide the mix into two or three batches)

  1. Place the tray with raw muesli mix inside the oven for 15 minutes
  2. Please note it is important to keep checking on the mixture in the oven and every five minutes or so to lightly toss the mixture around so that it gets evenly roasted.
  3. The mixture is ready when it turns into a light golden brown color. The muesli will not be crispy or crunchy at this time which is perfectly fine it will crisp up when you leave it out to cool.
  4. When you lay out the muesli to cool you can toss in the raisins and chopped cranberries
  5. Once the muesli completely cools you can store this mix in an airtight container for weeks…if you don’t manage to eat it all up 🙂 

Tweak this recipe slightly to make mango flavored muesli

For the wet ingredients:

  1. Place a saucepan on low to medium heat
  2. To this add the coconut oil, honey and 1 cup pureed mango (Raspuri, Badami, Alphonso, Beganpalli varieties work well), vanilla essence and water. (no palm sugar as the mango is already sweet)
  3. Cool the mango-honey sauce completely before adding to the dry mixture

Proceed as described in the main recipe above

 

 

Almond-cranberry energy bites!

I’m sure you’ve seen aisles full of protein bars and yoga bars and similar “health bars” in supermarkets. Many of these bars are actually filled with extra sugar and fillers (inexpensive and low nutrition ingredients that form large part of the bar). Why buy them when you can make one at home in under 20 minutes!

Once you make your first batch the next time around you can play around with other ingredients like walnuts, peanut butter, dried coconut etc. If you are looking for an extra dose of protein then feel free to replace the cacao powder in this recipe with a scoop of your favorite flavor of protein supplement.

This is a super quick and simple recipe that requires little or no cooking (the roasting bit is optional but gives a nicer flavor) Its my go-to food when:
1. I need a quick energy pick-me-up between classes or meals
2. I’m craving something sweet after a meal
3. I’m on the move and I know its going to be a long gap between meals and I don’t want to starve and then binge

DIY energy barOne caveat though- this is a fairly high calorie food but packed with nutrients so its all good stuff just don’t go overboard 🙂
Some of the benefits of the main ingredients are mentioned below.
Almonds:
Almonds contain lots of healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E. The health benefits of almonds include lower blood sugar levels, reduced blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. They can also reduce hunger and promote weight loss.

Pumpkin seeds:
A 28g (1oz) serving of pumpkin seeds contain 7 grams protein, 13 grams of fat (of which 6g are omega 6’s), magnesium, Vit K, copper, zinc, phosphorus and fiber in significant quantities. Enough said!

Chia seeds:
These little seeds are currently every health freak’s favorite super food and with good reason! Despite their tiny size, chia seeds are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. They are loaded with fiber, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and various micro-nutrients.

Gluten free Rolled oats:
Oats are technically gluten free however most regular supermarket brands are grown and processed along side wheat and cross contamination is always a possibility and thus are not considered gluten free. Online several brans of certified gluten free oats are available they are whole grain and taste and smell much better than regular oats. My go to brand in India is from Sattvic foods However if you are not gluten sensitive I guess regular oats will also do in the recipe. here are some of the benefits of oats:
Help Lower Cholesterol, Provide Filling Fiber, Help Improve Digestion, Increase Immunity, Have a Low Glycemic Score Compared to Refined Grains,Provide Trace Minerals like Manganese and Phosphorus, Higher Source of Protein Compared to Most Grains.

Dates:
Dates are a good source of various vitamins and minerals. They are a good source of energy, sugar and fiber. Essential minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc are found in dates. They also contains vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A and vitamin K.

Dried Cranberries:
Many of these phytonutrients offer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer health benefits. Cranberries are a very good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese, as well as a good source of vitamin E, vitamin K, copper and pantothenic acid. However the commercial drying process reduces the amount of vitamins compared to fresh cranberries and adds sugar, so in this recipe I have used this ingredient sparingly.

Cacao powder:
Cacao can improve your memory, reduce heart disease, shed fat, boost immunity, and increase energy levels. Raw cacao contains nearly four times the antioxidant content of regular processed dark chocolate, 20 times more than blueberries, and 119 times more than bananas. Again my preferred brand is Sattvic Foods but you can buy your wherever you get it!
Cacao is not to be confused with cocoa powder! Cacao is the purest form of chocolate you can consume, which means it is raw and much less processed than cocoa powder or chocolate bars. Though cocoa may seem inferior to raw cacao, it’s actually very good for you (and less expensive) if you choose a variety without added sugars and milk fats or oils (i.e the unsweetened variety).

 

Source for information on ingredients from:
mercola.com
authoritynutrition.com
dailysuperfoodlove.net
organicfacts,net

 

News Article: Slowing down aging

Recent article in Times Of India regarding slowing down aging will less dependency on drugs:

“Our studies have shown that we could prevent about 82% of heart attacks, about 70% of strokes, over 90% of Type-2 diabetes, and over 70% of colon cancer, with the right dietary choices as part of a healthy lifestyle. The best drugs can reduce heart attacks by about 20 or 30%, yet we put almost all of our resources into promoting drugs rather than healthy lifestyle and nutrition”, Walter C Willett, professor at the Harvard School Of Public Health told TOI.

He told TOI that this diet needs to be combined with stress management techniques (including yoga and meditation), moderate exercise (such as walking), and social support and community (love and intimacy).

“In short — eat well, move more, stress less, and love more,” he said.

 

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Anti-AGEnts-Eat-play-love/articleshow/47651295.cms

Maggi: Tasty bhi unhealthy bhi!

Watching the new channel debates over the last few days one would think that its been a pretty slow week new-wise or the newswala’s have had their head in the sand for a while. They were debating about the whole Maggi noodles fiasco. Looking shocked and betrayed (seriously, some of the anchors should be nominated for a filmfare award) that their beloved Maggi was found to contain 17 times the permissible limits of lead. Along with that ofcourse the entire can of MSG worms was also opened, lots of chest beating and dramatic statements like “can we ever trust Maggi again?”
I only had one question watching the whole tamasha; did you really ever think that Maggi noodles was healthy??
Seriously? At best best Maggi can be passed off as quick relief food when you’re in college and there’s no time or you’re running on your last 100 bucks of pocket money, or you’re a single working person who really couldn’t be bothered to whip up a three course meal after a long day at work. It CANNOT under any circumstances be eaten as a healthy alternative to regular home cooked food.
Some of us have even convinced ourselves that we can ‘make’ Maggi healthy by adding lots of chopped carrots and beans or paneer or egg (I’m going to admit I was guilty of this too)… but really who are we kidding here? If the basis of the dish is maida and taste maker that’s full of chemicals, preservatives and sodium that’s close to half your recommended daily sodium intake no amount of veggies is going to change that!

For those among my friends who say chalta hai…once in a while..the kids like it. Let me ask you, would you knowingly give your kids harmful chemicals once in a while? I think not. Might as well get off the high horse while you’re at it and let them also play with those cheap Chinese toys that contain lead based paint…same thing right?

OK down to the basics. Here is what Maggi contains that Nestle`has actually listed (the hidden gems like lead we can let the food administration guys find out for us).MaggiIngredients

Wheat Flour: Aka maida, refined wheat flour. Maida is made from the starchy part of the wheat grain, stripped of fiber maida contains very little nutrition and is typically bleached using flour bleaching agents like benzoyl peroxide.
Edible Vegetable oil: commonly considered healthy (most of us use vegetable oil for cooking), they are highly processed and involves pressing, heating, various industrial chemicals and highly toxic solvents. (will be blogging about this soon!)
Salt: Now interestingly it seems that in India sodium levels are not mandatory to mention on the packaging of foods, however the order in which the ingredients are listed is a good give away. Manufacturers are required to list the them in order of quantity. Salt is number 3 on the list of ingredients here- need I say more?

Wheat Gluten: This is the protein in wheat, its what makes the wheat dough sticky. Not too bad unless you suffer from non celiac gluten sensitivity (probably the most under diagnosed condition for most people, but that’s a topic for book by itself)

Mineral: Calcium carbonate and guar gum- calcium carbonate is commonly used in food as an anti caking agent, acidity regulator. Not good in large quantities. Guar gum: used to improve shelf life

Tastemaker:
Hydrolysed groundnut protein: This ingredient is basically the substitute for MSG. it provides the umami (savoury) flavour of the tastemaker that we all just love. it also contains glutamates …yes you heard me. so while Maggi can technically say no added MSG it does contain naturally occurring glutamates via this route! This is pretty much what keeps you coming back for more it is highly addictive and targets the same taste receptor that MSG targets.if you have eaten nachos, kurkure, lays…cant stop at one..its the umami!
Mixed spices: (onion powder, corriander, Chilli powder, turmeric, garlic powder, cumin, aniseed, fenugreek, ginger, black pepper, clove, nutmeg, cardamom): dehydrated onions and coriander I suppose, so it can last forever!
Noodle powder:(wheat flour, edible vegetable oil, salt, wheat gluten, calcium carbonate, guar gum) sugar, edible starch,
Edible vegetable oil
Acidifying agent (330): enhances the activity of anti-oxidants but is not an anti-oxidant by itself, used as a flavour enhancer, emulsifier and prevents foods from reating to metals like jams, soft drinks etc.
Potassium chloride: Used commonly as a salt replacement, flavour enhancer…you see where I’m going with this!
Colour(150d) -Caramel color- this ones debatable- while some say its ok, if it is prepared using ammonia it is carcinogenic
Flavour enhancer (635): Similar to the Hydrolysed protein targets that umani taste we love, typically used in foods that contain MSG
Raising agent (500ii) Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate- raising agent

The only conclusion I can come to is if I’m putting 400 calories of something into my body it had better provide me with better quality nutrition than Maggi.  Some real food maybe?

If you have something to add or say about this article I’d love to hear your thought.  Head on over to the comments section!

Easy ideas to on how to include healthy foods to your diet

Flaxseeds
flax-seed-1Unless you’re living under a rock you’ve probably ready enough about flax seeds and how they are a healthy source of omega 3’s for vegetarians. Consuming whole flax seeds is a bit pointless since it just passes through your body without giving you much benefit, freshly ground flax seeds is what you want to consume. Flax seed oil is good too provided it is not heated and fresh (it tends to turn rancid pretty fast).
Add flax seeds the next time you make Chutney powder (molaga podi/chutney pudi)
Sprinkle freshly ground flax seeds on your oatmeal porridge, smoothie, yogurt, raita

 

Karipatta/ Curry leaveskaripatta
Now this ingredient is commonly used across Indian cuisine however I mostly end up picking it out of my sabzi or curry and placing it aside to be thrown later (which defeats the any nutritional purpose of adding it to the dish).
Karipatta is known to help in
-Lowering cholesterol
-Controlling blood sugar levels
-Preventing graying of hair, helps treat damaged hair
-Treating skin infections because it has anti fungal properties and has strong anti-oxidants that leave your skin looking healthier
-It’s good for digestion
-Cures diarrhea and,
-Is a great source of both iron and folate (folic acid helps your body absorb the iron in your food)

When you buy a fresh bunch of karipatta wash it and let it dry out for a day or two. it will start to look crispy as it dries out. Once it dries out remove the leaves from the stalk and pop it in a spice grinder and blitz it till it to form a powder. (how fine you grind the leaves is up to you)
Now you can bottle this powder and sprinkle it over your dals, sabzi, sambar, butter milk etc. you will consume it without having to chew through the leaves. Now you can include this wonder food in your diet and enjoy its many benefits.

Karipatta Chutney

This is my MIL’s recipe which I love but there are lots of different recipes for the same on the internet, just google it!

Ingredients:KadiPattaChutney

One small bunch of karipatta

2 tsp oil

1 tbsp urad dal,

1 tsp channa dal,

4 to 5 dry red chillies

1/2 tsp whole black pepper

tsp jaggery powder

2 pieces Hing OR 1/2 tsp if using powder. (I like to use the crystal hing (brand SSP) rather than the powder for this recipe

1 small lime size ball of tamarind (can replace with amchur powder)

Salt to taste

Method:
Fry urad dal, channa dal, karipatta, red chilli, black pepper in oil till light brown.
Put all of the above ingredients in a grinder along with salt, jaggery, tamarind/amchur and grind into into a fine paste. Add water to adjust the consistency to a thick paste.

Talk to me! Do you like this post? Let me know if you have any other healthy ingredients that you are trying to add to your current diet…do you have any special karipatta or flax seed recipes? Would you like me to feature any particular food ingredient in a future post?