5 Super-Quick Summer Dessert Recipes for Kids

Want to put together a filling sweet treat for your little one but have no time or patience to bake a cake? I have five no-fuss dessert recipes to satisfy those unstoppable cravings.

PC_EasyDesserts_IMG_2754-1

Satisfying your kid’s sweet tooth can be a challenge at times. Especially when you are famished after a long work-week or decluttering the home. Instead of reaching out for the chocolate bar or candy, try some of these easy recipes that you can whip up in a jiffy. With a little bit of pre-planning, you will be able to put these together in a few minutes. Most of the recipes are nutrient-rich for guilt-free indulgence.

Fresh Mango Sorbet
A quick recipe, especially for the upcoming mango season. Avoid adding sugar by selecting the sweetest variety of mango available in your local market.

Ingredients
3 cups chopped mango
½ cup pineapple juice
½ cup milk
1 tbsp sugar or honey (optional)

Method
Freeze mango chunks overnight in the freezer. Place the frozen mango pieces and pineapple juice into the blender. If the mango pieces aren’t sweet enough, add a bit of sugar or honey. Halfway through the blending add milk. You can use almond milk instead of regular milk. Scoop into your children’s favourite ice-cream bowls. Top up with freshly chopped mango.

Lemon Strawberry Chia Pudding
Surprise your kids with this bright coloured dessert after a long day at school. Packed with nutrients from chia seeds and dates, this is a delicious pudding for both you and children to enjoy together.

Ingredients
1 cup fresh strawberries
1 cup milk
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 dates
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest

Method
Blend the strawberries, milk, and dates until smooth. You can replace dates with sugar or honey. You can substitute the regular milk with yoghurt, almond or coconut milk. Whisk in the chia seeds, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Pour into individual serving cups and refrigerate overnight or at least for six hours before serving. If your kids do not prefer the texture of chia seeds, blend the seeds along with the strawberries in the first step.

Instant Choco Mousse
This recipe is especially for your impatient chocolate-loving munchkins. It can be whipped up in minutes and served at room temperature.

Ingredients
1 cup marshmallows
1 ½ cups dark chocolate
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp hot water
1 cup whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method
In a double boiler put the marshmallows and let them melt. Add the butter, dark chocolate and water. After the chocolate and butter liquify, stir everything together. Keep aside to cool. Whip the chilled cream and vanilla extract together, till the mixture forms stiff peaks. Gently fold the cooled chocolate mixture into the cream and set in individual glasses. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Crunchy banana-chocolate pops
Who doesn’t love banana? Prepare these pops as a healthy birthday party treat or to fuel the kids up after a swim or dance class.

Ingredients
2 bananas
4 ice-candy sticks
2 tbsp chopped nuts (peanuts, almonds, cashews)
½ cup dark chocolate

Method
Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave or double boiler and pour it into a tall glass. Dry roast and spread the chopped nuts on a plate. If your child is allergic to nuts, replace it with sprinkles or granola. Cut the banana into two halves. Insert the popsicle sticks to the wider end. Dip the banana into the chocolate mixture and shake off the excess. Roll the chocolate covered banana around the nuts. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes till the chocolate hardens and serve.

Apple Coconut Barfi
Make barfis healthier by using fruits, fresh coconut, and homemade ghee. It can be packed into your kid’s lunch box or given as a snack with her glass of milk.

Ingredients
3 cups grated apple
1½ cup grated coconut
1 cup milk powder
½ cup sugar
3 tbsp ghee
2 tbsp chopped nuts
A pinch of cardamom powder
A pinch of salt

Method
Grease a baking tray or plate with ghee and keep aside Dry roast the grated coconut on low flame till it gives out a nutty aroma. Heat ghee in another pan and cook the grated apple till most of the moisture evaporates. Toss in the coconut, milk powder, sugar, cardamom powder, and salt. Mix well. Stir the mixture continuously for around 10 minutes till ghee starts oozing out from the sides, and the mix comes together to form a fudgy mass. Set this mix in the greased tray and smoothen it out with a spoon. Sprinkle the chopped nuts and let it come down to room temperature. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container.

Check out my post on Parent Circle.com
https://www.parentcircle.com/article/5-superquick-summer-dessert-recipes-for-kids/

Pan-fried Salmon and Garlicky Stir- fried Beans

I am on a healthy eating spree (again) which happens after piling on vacation weight. One of the meals I really enjoy in this very brief phase is a good chunk of protein and some veggies on the side. This post qualifies as a ‘throwback’ post because the recipe was tried first time in my Seattle home. I remember enjoying some red wine on the side.

My camera wasn’t charged properly today, so I am posting the Seattle photos in this post.

Salmon and Veggies for healthy eating weekdays

Leo trying to peep into my plate. His favorite fish is salmon.

Ingredients

For the fish

Salmon fillet (size it as per your preference)
Blob of Butter
1/2 lemon juice
Salt and Pepper

For the beans

1/2 kg of french beans (stringed and trimmed)
5 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 inch of ginger (minced)
1 tsp red chili flakes
1 tsp sesame seeds
2 tsp of any Stir-fry sauce (Optional)
2 tsp of Olive oil
Salt to taste

DSC04934

Method:

Blanch the beans in boiling water for 5 minutes and drain off. Keep the crispness intact. Overcooking will make it limp. Heat oil in a wok. When hot, add the minced garlic and ginger. When your kitchen is filled with the sweet aroma of cooked garlic and ginger, throw in the beans and toss away. Add in the chilli flakes and sesame seeds. Once it is all well-coated add some salt and plate it. You can also add a little stir fry sauce or oyster sauce into it before plating. But I skipped it.

DSC04921

Now for the fish. Rub some salt and cracked pepper to both sides of the fillet. Now add some butter (and a little oil to prevent the butter from burning) into a pan. Once hot, gently place the fillet skin-side down. Two super important reasons for searing fish skin-side down is to lock in the juices and make the skin nice and crispy. Around 4 mins later flip it over and cook it for another 3-4 mins depending of the thickness of the fillet. I like it a little pink in the center. You can cook it through if you prefer by keeping it on the pan for longer. Before taking it out pour in the lemon juice over the fillet.

DSC04931

Now serve it with the beans. You can make this more elaborate with a salad or butter bread.

Enjoy!

Hummus

Hummus-6

Homemade Hummus in my cute mason jar

Very excited to write my first recipe post sitting in my room in Mumbai. This is one of my favourite dips. It also doubles up as a healthy spread on whole wheat toast with some sliced cucumbers. I generally prefer more garlic and red chilli in mine.

To start preparing it, either take one can of chickpeas or if you are in India like myself and cannot find them easily soak and pressure cook the regular chickpeas with a little salt.

Hummus-1One of the main ingredients in making Hummus is the Tahini which can be easily made at home. Tahini is nothing but a ground paste of sesame seeds and olive oil.

Hummus-2

Toast around a tablespoon of sesame seeds on a wide pan till it leaves a nutty aroma. Put it in a coffee grinder.

Hummus-3

To this drizzle some good quality olive oil. The can pictured above is by far the best olive oil have tasted ever. It was a gift from my dearest Rishita & Kintan. I’ve snacked on it (yes the oil) mixed with a dash of balsamic vinegar with fresh baguette from Theobroma on lazy Sundays.

Hummus-4

Once the Tahini paste is ready, add it to the 1 cup of boiled chickpeas. Pop in 3 cloves of garlic for a strong garlicky flavour or just one clove for a milder version. Now add 2 tsps of red chilli powder and juice of half a lime.

Hummus-5

Blend it all with a little water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil till it is nice and smooth. Serve fresh. Add a dash of olive oil and sprinkle some more chilli powder while serving.

Hummus-7

I love making extra to store in my mason jars shipped all the way from Seattle. They are precious precious little jars and when stored in the refrigerator, it lasts easily for a week.

Easy Canapés

Had spotted cute little toasties in Fred Meyer last weekend. They are bite-sized (with almost the Indian rusk kind of texture) that can be topped with almost anything you have in your kitchen and still look fancy. The other one I picked up was a loaf of mini Pumpernickel bread which is a slightly sweeter version of Rye bread.
Here is what the Curried Chickpeas on Mini White Toasts looked like and if you scroll down you shall spot the Cream Cheese with Chives on Mini Pumpernickel bread. Looks nice?

For curried chickpeas on toast, take one can or a cup of cooked chickpeas and crush it roughly with a masher or a spoon. Add 1/4 cup of plain yogurt, a little olive oil, cumin powder, coriander powder, curry powder, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon and add finely chopped coriander. Combine the mixture and set aside till your guests are about to arrive.

Spoon in tiny portions of this into the toasts and add a disc of any salady vegetable to give a fresh bite. I used slices of a mini radish. You can use celery or cucumbers instead. A tiny coriander leaf completes the look.

For the cream cheese and chives version, mix light cream cheese with freshly chopped chives. Spread it on the slices. Add a slice of cucumber and place some chives on top.

 

If there were enough seafood lovers in the party, I would have loved to add some smoked salmon on top of the cucumber. Also, if you dont find fresh chives you can replace it with equally complementing fresh dill.
The good part about both these party snacks are they are easy on your waist and are fairly budget-friendly. So go on and try these for your next party.
The cucumber and chive add a zing to the cream cheese base
Make sure you line them up properly unlike me!!
Ignore the messy arrangement. I should have lined them properly!

Homemade Strawberry-Rhubarb jam

Homemade Strawberry-Rhubarb jam

Homemade Strawberry-Rhubarb jam

Last weekend I organized a baby shower for my dear friend in Seattle, Tina. When Tina broke the news about their baby and shared her first trimester ultrasound picture, I knew I have to throw her the best shower.

Tina has always reminded me of my sister Akki. They are so similar in nature. Very very caring, nurturing, looking out for you and at the same time super-intelligent and practical. I missed out on putting together a shower for my sister being so far away. So doing this for Tina, was almost like arranging one for Akki.

As return favors, I wanted to put together a DIY project. Canning procedures have always fascinated me. I would sit for hours in my grandma’s kitchen during our school holidays and watch her painstakingly canning spicy mango pickles in the hot summers of Mangalore. Amma would store some in large barnis for the home and the rest in sterilized jars for us and my cousins to take back home. We would eat these amazing pickles – Moodi Uppad (whole raw baby mangoes in a spicy mix) and Kochhidina Uppad (finely chopped raw mango in the yummiest spice mix) with watery Ganji (Rice served with the water it is cooked in) in the monsoon season where our staple fish diet would be affected by the lack of fishing activities.

Although making jams and pickles are often considered as a ‘Grandma’ activity for its lengthy procedures and patience required, I often enjoy them when I have some ‘me time’ on Saturdays. It is very relaxing. So the Saturday before the shower, I turned on some music, put all the ingredients together and made this jam.

Strawberries were the primary ingredient as they were the safest bet for a first time experiment. To make it a little more special, I added two cups of chopped Rhubarb as well.

To make a dozen of 1/2 pint jars of jam, I took around 6 cups of chopped fruit. 2 cups of rhubarb and 4 cups of strawberry. You must measure the fruits as you need equal amounts of sugar. So 6 cups of sugar in my case. In a pot, put the chopped fruit and half the sugar. No water is required.

The fruit breaks down in the pot and releases enough water of its own. Keep stirring it occasionally and let it come to rolling boil and let it boil for 5 minutes. Remove the white scum that forms on top. This is very crucial or else you might get white streaks in your jam. It is very simple to do it. Just scoop it out with a clean ladle.

After 5 minutes of the rolling boil and scum removal,  add around 2 thsps of freshly squeezed lemon juice and the rest of the sugar. Many add an ingredient called Pectin at this stage. But I wanted  this batch chemical free. Just pure jam. The lemon juice helps the jam set well, so you don’t really need the Pectin. Now let it come to a rolling boil again. Once it is on the roll ;), let it boil for 10 more minutes on the timer. Turn off the stove. Remove the remaining scum. The jam is ready.

Let it cool in the pot for ten minutes before pouring it in sterilized jars.

Sterilizing the jars:
This step is very important to store the jam for upto a year. You need to sterilize every single jar and tools including the ladle to pour in the jam for 10 minutes in hot water. An easier option is put them in the dishwasher and let the heated dry procedure do the magic. Canning jars are easily available online. I ordered mine from Amazon of course 😉

Smoothie for the warm and sunny weekend

The sun surprised us this weekend by shining brightly and giving an almost spring like feeling to the rather gloomy winter. So out came the fruits and ice for a delicious ‘Jamba Juice’- like smoothie.

I put together chopped strawberries, de-seeded oranges and one banana into our juicer with plenty of ice and a dash of lime juice. And blended it together with some light cranberry juice.
What joy!
Today also happens to be the Super Bowl Sunday which is the annual game day of the National Football league (NFL). All over America, families and friends come together and get hooked on to their television for the game of the year (that I don’t understand) and chomp away on pot-luck goodies. I for one have still not got into the Super Bowl groove, but I enjoy the spirit. The painted faces, yummilicious food spreads and all the fun! Might take us another year to get bitten by this very American bug.
So for the ones like me, here is screen-shot related to the Super Bowl from one of my favourite online comic strip series – The Oatmeal. To all my American friends, if you enjoy the game, have a wonderful Super Bowl Sunday!

Meaty Savoury Cupcakes

Meaty Savoury Cupcakes by Parinita

Meaty Savoury Cupcakes, a photo by Parinita on Flickr.

I was pretty excited to see 50 ‘likes’ on my Facebook page on the very first day of sending off invites. Thank you all. It is very encouraging.

To celebrate, I thought I shall bake a cake. But I also had to cook dinner. Can dinner look like dessert? Googled for some savory cupcakes and didn’t really find any interesting recipes. So I made my own version.

I had some minced meat in the refrigerator. I combined that with an egg, ketchup, worchestire sauce, breadcrumbs, parsley, chopped onion and peas. Mixed it well and spooned them into a muffin tray. At 350 degrees F baked them for 30 minutes.

So here is what makes it special. Adding a mashed potato frosting 🙂

For this, boil potatoes and a few cloves of garlic together a pot. Once done, mash, mash, mash. Add salt, pepper, butter and some milk or sour cream. If you have piping bags, use them for some serious frosting. I couldn’t find mine anywhere (as usual), so resorted to snipping the end of a ziplock bag and piping the cute little meat cupcakes.

As i have mentioned before, my piping skills are that of a 3-year old. But it does look cute right?

Thank you all for the support again!

Manila Clams, Mussels and Chilli Spagetti

Today I bought some fresh seafood from the market. Initially thought of cooking the clams into Mangalorean Marwai Sukka, but then decided to make it special with chilli spaghetti with clams.

This recipe needs some saffron strands, fresh fennel (which we replaced with dried fennel seeds) and a glass of dry white wine apart from the more common kitchen ingredients. Before you start cooking the clams in white wine (which you are not drinking 😉 ) add a few saffron strands and mix well.

While your spaghetti is cooking according to the packet instructions, on the side take a pot and heat up some really good olive oil. When warm add chopped onion, garlic, dried chilli peppers and fennel seeds. Once the onion turns translucent, throw in your shellfish. Add the saffron-white wine mix, and close the lid for 5 mins for the clams to open up. I added some baby shrimps too.

As the rules for clams and mussels go, dispose off any clams and mussels that are open before cooking and closed after cooking. They can upset your tummy if consumed.

Lastly finish off with any of your favourite herbs like basil or parsley and some peas. Sprinkle some grated parmesan and voila!

Rosemary Chicken & Potatoes

One pot meals are so convenient. This is my favourite one. I use rosemary most of the times because I have a small plant of it at home. It is a herb that can withstand harsh weather and gives a very nice flavour to dishes that don’t comprise of a complex list of ingredients. And again the best part is you can dunk it away in the oven to cook while you curl your hair or Facebook around on your well-earned Saturday!

Put olive oil, paprika, rosemary, garlic pods, salt and pepper to the chicken and potatoes and  oven bake them at 425 degrees F for 35 mins. If the chunks of potato are too big, separate the chicken pieces out and dunk the potatoes in the oven for 15 mins before adding the chicken.

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup by Parinita

Butternut Squash Soup, a photo by Parinita on Flickr.

So this is what my lunch looked like. Comforting bliss on a slow Saturday. I arranged some chopped squash along with chunks of onion, garlic pods with their skin on and some rosemary on my roasting pan. Drizzled it with olive oil and put it in the oven at 350 degrees F for an hour and a half. By the time I completed my Saturday cleaning, it was nicely roasted and ready to be blended. Before putting in the blender I poured some vegetable stock and seasoned it. The soup was perfect.

Roasted squash is sweet and is flavoured with the caramelized onion, garlic and rosemary