Sunday, February 24, 2019

Homemade Healthy Granola

Granola is a popular breakfast food or snack which mainly consists of a mixture of rolled oats, nuts, dried fruits and seeds; sweetened using maple syrup, brown sugar or honey. People often buy it from market assuming that it is difficult to make or you need to collect lots of ingredients for making it. However, after reading this post you will be pleasantly amazed how easily & quickly it can be prepared at home with the common ingredients available in your pantry.

I personally prefer homemade granola over the ones you get on store shelves as it gives you a scope of customizing it as per your taste and choice of components. It is not only cost efficient but also saves you from added preservatives/chemicals which are generally present in the granola boxes sold in market.

Each serving of granola is somewhere between 1/3-1/4 cup depending on the dietary requirements. By adding all healthy ingredients in correct proportions, you can be sure that with each serving you are getting a part of you daily dose of fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants etc. Generally people find it difficult to make nuts & seeds a part of their daily diet. With this effortless homemade granola recipe you can easily make them part of your breakfast or evening snack.

When it comes to choice of flavours, my all time favourite is chocolate. In this granola recipe I have used Cadbury brand Unsweetened Cocoa powder, which gives a slight flavour of chocolate to granola without making it too sweet along with brown sugar. Little bit of cinnamon powder has also been added to give it a sweet aroma. As oil or butter is generally added in granola we have replaced it with a healthy fat in form of peanut butter. Different type of nuts (almonds,walnuts, pecans etc.) & seeds (flax, sunflower, pumpkin etc) can be used in making this granola. I have mentioned the details below in the recipe but you are free to replace them with your preference without disturbing the proportions drastically. If you don't have brown sugar you can use white sugar also, however brown sugar gives a distinct rustic aroma to granola because of which I would recommend it.

Granola can be served or eaten in many ways but as a matter of rule it is always served cold. You can have it with milk, yoghurt & fruit bowl, fruit salad, smoothies or can directly munch a fistful of it. I like to have it with my fruit bowl on regular basis in breakfast. My husband is although not very fond of oats, even he eats them this way without complaining.

Serving Suggestion: Fruit Bowl with Granola

You can also prepare parfait using this granola. I had earlier shared a recipe of Yoghurt & Fruit Parfait recipe using muesli. You can replace muesli with granola in this preparation. Recipes like these helps us to sneak these nutritious things in our kids diet.

Serving Suggestion: Granola Yoghurt Parfait

Granola can also be packed as a healthy snack in kids tiffin. Another delicious whole oats recipe which I have shared earlier is "Fruits & Nut Chocolate Oats Bar". Do check it out!! Hope you would like this crunchy healthy granola recipe!! 

List of Ingredients:

  • Rolled Oats- 2 cups
  • Chopped Nuts (Almonds/Walnuts)-1/2 cup
  • Mixed Seeds (Flax/Sunflower/Melon/Pumpkin)-1/4 cup
  • Chia Seeds- 2 tbsp
  • Brown Sugar-1/2 cup
  • Peanut Butter- 1 & 1/2 tbsp
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder-1/4 cup
  • Cinnamon powder-1/2 tsp
I have used Quaker brand Whole Oats. You can check out its price & other specification by clicking on this Amazon product link.
Whole Oats

Steps to Prepare:

Dry roast the rolled oats in a non stick pan. The oats need to be roasted on low-medium flame till they start releasing their nutty aroma & become slightly golden in colour. Keep these roasted oats aside.

In the same pan, dry roast the chopped nuts on low flame. I have used only almonds here but you can use other nuts also like walnuts, peanuts or cashews as per your taste. Mix these roasted nuts with oats and keep them aside.

In this step we are going to roast mixed seeds. Below I have used flax seeds & sunflower seeds. You can add more seed like melon, pumpkin or sesame. The seeds are roasted on low flame for just 1-2 minutes till they slightly puff up; then mixed with nuts & oats above.

Also, Add chia seeds to the above mixture. Stir well & keep these aside.

In the same non stick pan, add brown sugar. Heat it on low flame till it melts completely & become liquid.
In this melted sugar, stir in some peanut butter. Mix well.

Add the oats, nuts & seeds mixture in it while it is hot. Gently stir it with spatula so that all particles are coated with this caramelized sugar.

Sprinkle cocoa & Cinnamon over it. I use a sieve for sprinkling part as cocoa gets evenly dusted on the entire mixture. Mix it gently. When the mixture cools down enough so that you can touch it, you can even use hands to mix the granola & break some of the clumps into smaller pieces.
Enjoy this delicious granola with a serving of yoghurt or fruits or have it as it is as snack!!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Broccoli Cheese Soup

It is winter time in most parts of India and soups top the list when we talk about comfort food in this chilling weather. A hot steaming cup of soup instantly provides the body warmth along with the nutrients and essential vitamins.

Earlier I had shared the recipe for Tomato Soup, Vegetable Noodle soup & Sweet corn soup. In this post, I will be sharing a really easy recipe for awesomely delicious & creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup.  You can check out more salad & soup recipes by clicking here.

Broccoli is really good for health as it contains vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium & magnesium etc. It is often recommended for weight loss also because it is low in calories too. I had had Broccoli Cheddar Cheese soup once in a restaurant & instantly fell in love with it. The hint of cheddar cheese balances the taste of broccoli, enhances the flavour of soup & adds a rich creaminess to it. I tried making this soup without cheese also but trust me don't skip the cheese unless & until you are a vegan or cheese is completely off-limit for you. 

Vegetable stock is used in this recipe. You can either buy it directly from market or make it at home. I have used onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf and black pepper in making vegetable stock. I learned making vegetable stock from this link. You can check it out this site more details as it has explained really well what vegetables we can or cannot use for making the stock. 
The broccoli soup recipe here is straightforward and does not take much time. I am sure you will love its velvety smooth texture with delectable flavours of broccoli & cheese seasoned with garlic and black pepper. You can enjoy it with breads of your choice or bread croutons. No cornflour or thickening agent has been used in this recipe which makes it a prefect healthy choice for you & your family.

Hope you would like this Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Soup recipe!!

List of Ingredients: (Makes 3 serving)

  • Broccoli Florets- 200 grams
  • Vegetable Stock-3 cups
  • Cheddar Cheese-1/4 cup
  • Olive Oil-1 tbsp + 1 tsp
  • Whole Wheat Flour-1 tbsp
  • Milk-1 cup
  • Large Onion- 1
  • Garlic Cloves- 4
  • Black Pepper-3/4 tsp
  • Salt - To taste

For garnishing:
  • Boiled Broccoli Florets-1/4 cup
  • Grated Cheese-2 tbsp

Steps To Prepare:

Finely slice the onions and chop the garlic cloves. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a non stick pan. Sauté these chopped onion & garlic for 2 minutes or till the onions turn translucent.

Add washed & cleaned broccoli florets to it. Sauté them for a minute more.
Add vegetable stock and black pepper. If the vegetable stock already has black pepper, then adjust the quantity accordingly. Let it boil for 5 minutes. After that cover it with a lid and let the broccoli simmer in vegetable stock for 5 more minutes.  Switch off the gas & let the mixture cool.

Transfer this in a mixer jar and blend it to form a uniform consistency liquid. Keep it aside.

Heat olive oil in a pan. Add whole wheat flour to it. You can even use APF or Maida but I have used whole wheat flour here. Roast it on low flame for a minute till it changes its colour slightly.

Add room temperature milk to it. Here I have used single toned milk. Cook it on medium flame while stirring till it starts thickening like a sauce.
Add the blended broccoli (prepared in step4) to it. Stir well. Add salt to it now. If cheddar cheese which you are going to add has salt then keep the salt on slightly lower side otherwise after adding cheese it will become too salty. Let the soup boil for 3-4 minutes more. If you would like the soup on thinner side add some water.
Once the soup is ready, switch off the flame and add grated cheddar cheese to it. Mix well so that cheese melts in it completely. I would not advice to boil the soup after adding cheese as sometimes the fat gets separated. Add it when you are ready to serve.

Garnish the soup with some more boiled broccoli florets and grated cheese. Enjoy this delicious creamy soup with bread of your choice. 
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