Monday, January 1, 2018

Carrot Halwa/ Gaajar ka Halwa; quick and healthy version

Happy New Year to all of you. To start off the year on a sweet note, I rustled up together some carrot Halwa or gaajar ka Halwa as it is popularly known. This is akin to a pudding where in shredded carrot is cooked with milk or milk solids, sugar and clarified butter. This is a winter delicacy. I remember the last time which was basically my first time making carrot halwa. It was almost 25 years ago on New Year’s eve, where I spent half the night cooking the carrots, waiting for it to reduce. You guys know that I am not a person for long drawn process. I never ventured to make it again until now. This time I used a quick technique which was basically a trial and error which worked out well. I bought shredded carrots which I pressure cooked with condensed milk which I then cooked on stovetop for a few minutes and reduced the liquid. Add in some raisins , nuts and clarified butter and Viola! Gaajar ka Halwa is ready!

You must try this technique to see the ease of making it. You will never use any other methods.

Servings: 3-4

Prep time: 5 minutesCook time: 45 minutesTotal time: 50-60 minutes


Shredded carrots: 4 cups
Condensed milk: 1 can
Clarified butter/ghee: 2 tbsp 
Cardamom powder: 1/8 tsp
Raisins: 2 tbsp
Nuts: 2 tbsp, chopped. ( I used slivered almonds)


In a pot take the shredded carrots and condensed milk. Cook this in a pressure cooker. It takes about 15-20 minutes. Turn off the pressure cooker. Open only after the steam is completely released.

Now cook on medium high on stove top, stirring intermittently until the liquid is almost gone. Reduce flame to low. 

When the carrots are cooking, lightly toast the raisins and nuts in 1 tsp clarified butter. Add this to the above pot with the remaining clarified butter. Mix well. Add the cardamom powder. Stir. Turn off the flame. 

Garnish with pieces of nuts. 

Stays fresh for upto 1 week in the refrigerator.

Serve warm as is or with ice cream!


Cooking made easy:

Regular milk/evaporated milk or heavy cream can also be used. You can also pressure cook using water and then add milk solids such as mava.

Tip for healthy living:

Desserts are best eaten in small quantities just enough to satisfy your sweet tooth and prevent you from craving it.

Food for thought:

We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, to have the life that is waiting for us. E.M. Foster

Monday, December 25, 2017

Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

Merry Christmas to all of you ..It is finally Christmas Day before I could post this recipe.

It is the Holiday Season!! It is that time of the year when there are festivities everywhere! It is a season of giving.. It is also the season of meeting deadlines before the Christmas break. That with all the events happening, not to mention regular work, it leaves very little time to go on a baking spree. You still want to make stuff.. That's why I made these crinkle cookies!! The good news: they were a huge hit at work and everywhere I brought them! 

The best news: they are super easy and a no-brainer to make. It takes very little time. The reason being that they are made from a red velvet cake mix by Duncan Hines. You can find the recipe on the box and online here.

Today I am sharing this recipe with you.

Servings: makes around 30 medium sized cookies.

Prep time: 15-20 mins Cook time: 16-18 minsTotal time: 30-40 mins


Red Velvet cake mix : 1 package 
Eggs: 2 large
Butter: 6tbsp, melted
Lemon zest: 1 tsp
Powdered sugar ( confectioner's sugar): 1/2cup
Cornstarch: 1/2 tsp 


Preheat the oven to 375 deg F. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment or grease it and keep ready.

In a bowl mix together cornstarch and powdered sugar and keep ready.

In a bowl mix together cake mix, eggs, butter and lemon zest until well mixed. 

Pinch a little of the dough and make a 1 to 1.5 inch ball. I used an ice cream scoop to do this. Do this with all available dough.

Now roll each of the balls in powdered sugar mixture and place it on the baking sheet 2 inches apart. 

Bake for 8-10 mins or until a toothpick when inserted comes out clean.

Cool on a cooling rack. 

Store in airtight container when cooled. Stays fresh up to 10 days!


I am sharing these delicious cooking at my dear friend Angie's Fiesta Friday #203. If you haven't partied there yet, you should. It is super fun!

Cooking made easy: 

Keeping the cookie dough in the freezer for some time makes it easier to handle the dough. 

Tip for healthy living: 

Making snacks at home is much healthier and better for them than store bought ones. 

Food for thought: 

Christmas is the day that holds all time together. Alexander Smith

Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!

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Friday, December 22, 2017

Apple pie

There are many reasons for this apple pie! My son has been asking me to make him apple pie for days now!! I have had the mini-apple pie pan that I have been meaning to use for more than a year now!! We went apple picking and even brought apples for the pie but never made them! I even got the crust couple of weeks ago but only on Thanksgiving Day did I eventually get around to making the pies! There is a story behind that too.. My husband was very sick on Thanksgiving day and was resting. The kids and I were pottering around the house with nothing much to do. When my son went to take a nap, I told my daughter that we should make the pie. We got together and made the pie.

 Really, this pie was super easy to make!! Made me wonder why it took me so long to make it!! Anyways, when my son woke up from his nap and wandered into the kitchen, he had a puzzled look on his face. He said," mommy, I smell something good!!" When I showed him the pie, he was beyond thrilled! He wanted to eat one immediately. He was super delighted that he had his own personal pie!! 

Believe me when I tell you guys that he did not move from that chair until the entire pie was all gone!! Isn't that just cute!! For me, the pie had served it's purpose. I had made 4 mini-pies. Of the remaining three, I gave one to my neighbor and brought two with me to my friend's place when we came for dinner. 

I never realized that making apple pie was this easy! I would have made it ages ago!! 

Servings: 4 ( 1 pie per person)

Prep time: 20-30 mins Cook time: 40-45 minsTotal time: 60-75 mins ( not including the cooling time).


For the filling: 

Apples: 6 medium sized, peeled and thinly sliced.
Brown sugar: 3/4 cup
Cornflour: 1 tbsp
All purpose flour: 1 tbsp
Cinnamon powder: 1 tsp
Nutmeg: 1/8 tsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Lemon juice: 1 tbsp

For the crust:

1 box ready-made rolled pie crust. I used Pillsbury.


Preheat the oven to 425 deg F.

In a bowl gently mix together the sliced apples, sugar, salt, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder and lemon juice. Keep aside. 

Thaw the crust as per instructions on box. 

Unroll one pie crust on the clean counter top or cutting board. Using the cookie cutter, cut 4 circles. 

Place one each in each of the pie moulds of the pie pan. Fill each of them with the prepared filling until 3/4 th full. 

Cut 4 more smaller circles using the cookie cutter. Place each of them on the pie filled moulds. 

Stick the edges together. Make holes on the top crust. 

Brush the top crust with milk. 

Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 15 mins. 

After 15 mins, reduce the temperature of the oven to 350 deg F . Using 2-3 inch wide strips of foil, cover the edges of each pie. 

Bake for another 30 mins. When done take it out and place it on the cooling rack to cool down. 

Serve as is or ala mode with ice cream or whipped cream!!


I am sharing these delicious cooking at my dear friend Angie's Fiesta Friday #203. If you haven't partied there yet, you should. It is super fun!

Cooking made easy:

If you don't have the mini pie pan, you can make the pie using the regular 9 inch  pie pan. Use one rolled crust for the bottom. Fill it until 3/4 full, place the other on top. Crimp edges together. Using a sharp knife, make slits in the top crust in any pattern that you wish. Baking time is similar as before. 

Tip for healthy living: 

Brown sugar is healthier than the white granulated sugar as it tends to be less processed. You can also use other naturally occurring or less processed sugars such as raw sugar, jaggery and honey.

Food for thought:

Failure will never overtake me if my desire to succeed is strong enough. Og Mandino

Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!

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Friday, December 15, 2017

Chocolate Orange Cake with Orange Glaze

At my work place, we have a tradition of celebrating everyone's birthdays. Recently it was one of my co-worker's birthday. She has dairy allergy and therefore cannot eat regular cakes. I wanted to make her something pretty that didn't have dairy in it. I then decided to make her a Chocolate-Orange Marble Bundt Cake with orange glaze. As you can see I have made Chocolate-Orange Marble Bundt Cake before but without the glaze. I used powdered sugar and royal icing flowers to decorate the cake. 

This time I decided to try a slightly different cake recipe. I must proudly admit that this was an experiment that was successful. The cake was moist, light and with the right amount of sweetness.

 I was proud of the end result and the testimony to that is not only my friend whose birthday it was liked it but all my other co-workers did too and the cake was gone in no time!! Bonus: it looked so pretty. 

This is a cake that is easy to make and decorate, especially on a weekday. It is perfect for the upcoming holiday season where you attend so many holiday parties and may have to bring something or have to host one and have so many items to prepare !

Servings: 10-12

Prep time: 30 minsCook time: 45 mins-60 mindTotal time: 75-90 mins


For the Cake:

All purpose flour: 2 cups
Baking powder: 1 tsp
Baking soda: 1 and 1/2 tsp
Salt: pinch
Cocoa powder: 1/2 cup
Instant coffee: 1 and 1/2 tbsp
Milk: 1 cup
Hot water: 1/2 cup
Powdered sugar: 1 and 1/2 cups
Cooking oil : 1 cup 
Eggs: 3 large
Orange juice: 1/4 cup 
Orange zest: 2 tbsp ( from 1 medium orange) 
Raisins: 1/2 cup
Vanilla essence: 1 tsp

For the glaze:

butter: 1/2 cup 
orange juice: 1/4 cup 
powdered sugar: 1 cup 
orange zest: 1 tsp + 1 tsp


Preheat the oven to 350 degree F.

Grease the Bundt pan thoroughly and keep ready.

Seive together flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and salt and keep aside. You could also just whisk it using a whisk. Whisk thoroughly.

Mix the instant coffee and cocoa powder in hot water and keep aside.

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, with the oil, milk and vanilla essence. 

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix well. Do not overmix!

Divide the batter into two equal portions. 

To the first half add the water, coffee and cocoa mixture and mix well. Again, do not overmix! If the batter is too thick, add a tbsp of milk.

To the other bowl,  add the orange juice, orange zest and raisins. Mix gently but thoroughly. Do not over mix!

Now pour the batter into the Bundt  pan little at a time alternating between the chocolate and the orange flavored ones. Start and end with the chocolate batter.

Tap the Bundt pan against the kitchen countertop to get rid of any air bubbles. 

Place it in the center rack of the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes it until a skewer comes out clean.

My oven took 40 minutes. Keep checking after 35 minutes and adjust the time accordingly.

When done, take the pan out and let it cool down for atleast 30 minutes before taking it out of the pan and place it on the wire-rack.

Let it cool completely before decorating it.

While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze.

For the glaze: 

Add the butter to a pan. Once it is melted, add the orange juice, sugar and bring it to a boil. Reduce the flame and simmer for 5 mins stirring continuously. Turn off the flame. Stir in the zest.

Glazing the cake: 

Once the cake is completely cooled, place it on the serving plate/tray. Spoon the glaze on top of the cake. Sprinkle the remaining zest on top. The glaze thickens once it cools down. 


I am bringing this to my friends at Angie's Fiesta Friday#202. Angie's cohosts this week are two awesome bloggers,Judi @ and Laurena @ Life Diet Health. Do check out Angie's Fiesta if you have not already!!

Cooking made easy:

You could make this cake spiked by adding orange liqueur. To do this, add 1/2 cup Curacao or Triple Sec to the glaze with the orange zest once the flame is turned off.

Tip for healthy living:

Since Bundt cakes are not layered with frosting or iced, they are a great alternative to iced cakes thereby reducing the sugar intake. 

Food for thought:

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Theodore Roosevelt 

Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!

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