Delicious Autumn Apple Recipes

Firm and crisp Gala apples.
Firm and crisp Gala apples.

Apple-picking season commences in late August or early September and continues to last till November. There are many varieties of apples available in the market. You find them in a range of colors including green, yellow, red and russet. Each variety has a different texture and flavor. You would find apples that are crisp, soft and sweet. When you are choosing apples for your recipes ensure that they are firm. Avoid bruised apples.

Apple Crumble Loaf

Ingredients

  • Butter – 140gms, cubed, 1 tsp for the tin
  • All-purpose-flour – 250g
  • Mixed spice – 2 tsp
  • Raisin – 100g
  • Light brown sugar – 140g
  • Egg- 3 nos beaten
  • Apple – 2 peeled, cored, and chopped
  • Milk – 5tbsp

For The Topping

Ingredients

  • plain flour – 1tbsp
  • Butter – 25g
  • Light brown sugar – 25g
  • Nuts (hazel, cashew) – 1 tbsp.

Method

Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Prepare a loaf tin.

In the processor, add the flour, spice and butter to get

the consistency of fine crumbs.

To this add the sugar and blend well.

Now pour it into a mixing bowl and add apples, raisins, beaten eggs and milk. Combine them well and then spoon it into the loaf tin.

Use a spoon to smooth the top.

To make the topping, make a rough crumble by rubbing together the flour, butter, and sugar.

Sprinkle evenly over the cake mixture and bake for 50 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean.

Gruyère-Apple Tarts

Ingredients

  • unsalted butter – 2 tbsp.
  • Onion – 1 small
  • Frozen puff pastry – 1 sheet
  • Apples – 2 large ones
  • Gruyere – 4 ounce

Method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line the baking pan with parchment paper.

In a small pan melt the butter over a medium flame. Sauté onion till it softens.

Roll out the puff pastry. Cut the dough into four 6 1/2 by 5″ rectangles. Transfer this onto the baking tin.

Divide half the onion mixture among each tart.

Layer the apples in overlapping rows on each tart.

Top the tart with cheese.

Dot with the remaining butter.

Bake tarts for 20 minutes or until apples are tender and the cheese turns golden color.

Share your recipes with us in the comment section.

Is Brown Sugar Better Than White Sugar

Is brown sugar an alternative choice to white sugar?
Is brown sugar an alternative choice to white sugar?

Many of us would be wondering what is brown sugar and  how is it different from the white refined sugar or the table sugar.

What Is Brown Sugar

The byproduct that you get when white Sugar is mixed in various quantities with the molasses is known as the brown sugar. This is one of the reasons why brown sugar can hold its shape similar to that of a wet sand. Raw sugar, that is unprocessed sugar is also brown in color. It’s the end product that you get when the juice of the sugar cane is evaporates. The quantity of molasses added varies from producer to producer. However, light brown sugar contains 3.5 percent of molasses. While, the dark brown sugar contains approximately 6.5-7 percent of molasses.

Why Is Brown Sugar Better Than White Sugar?

Technically speaking, this sugar is healthier than the table sugar because it contains molasses, which is a rich source of dietary potassium. It also has small quantities of B vitamins, magnesium, iron and calcium. Here are a few factors why you should choose this sugar  over white sugar.

  • Moister – Brown sugar is moist because of the presence of molasses. This is one of the reasons, its used in various cuisines.
  • Rich in flavor and texture – Refined white sugar has no flavor. However, brown-colored sugar has both texture as well as flavor. Therefore, its used in the marination of meat and also in other sweet dishes.
  • Skin protection – It resembles wet sand. It can be mixed with fruit pulp to make a scrub. When you scrub this mixture on your skin, it will help remove the dead skin. This sugar also removes the dirt that clogs the skin.

How Much Brown Sugar Should You Consume

It would be wise to limit the intake of brown sugar, molasses and white sugar as much as possible if you want to maximize your health and lower the risks of heart diseases, and weight gain.

Delicious Cashew Nut Recipes

Delicious cashew nut stir fried chicken and steamed jasmine rice
Delicious cashew nut stir fried chicken and steamed jasmine rice

The kidney-shaped seeds attached to the cashew apples are known as the cashew nuts. This nut is native to the coastal area of the northeastern Brazil. Cashew nuts are delicately flavored and are easily found in the local market around the year. It can be used to make nut butter, sauces, added to the salads, stir-fried dishes as well as in desserts and savories. Have a look at a couple of cashew nut recipes.

Cashew Cream sauce

Ingredients

  • Raw cashews – 1/4 cup
  • Water – 1/4 cup
  • Pasta sauce – 24 ounce
  • Gin/Vodka – 2 tbsp

Method

  1. In a blender, blend cashews and water to make a smooth paste or puree.
  2. In a thick-bottom pan, stir cashew cream and pasta sauce and allow it to bubble over a medium heat.
  3. Add vodka/gin and simmer for a couple of minutes while stirring constantly.

Serve this over rice, steamed spinach, or pasta.

Stir-fried Chicken And Cashew

Ingredients

For chicken

  • Egg – 1
  • Cornflour – 1 tbsp
  • Sea salt – pinch
  • Sliced chicken breast – 500g
  • Olive oil –  300 ml

For stir fry

  • Slice onion –  1
  • Yellow, green and red bell peppers – 1 each de-seeded and sliced
  • Chicken stock – 3 tbsp
  • Soy sauce – 3 tbsp
  • Cashew nuts – 10 nuts
  • Spring onions – 3 finely minced
  • Salt and pepper as per taste
  • Steam Jasmine rice – 1 cup

Method

  1. In a bowl beat the egg, corn flour and a pinch of salt. Add the sliced chicken fillets and coat well in the egg.
  2. In a wok, heat the oil and fry the chicken for 5 minutes or until it turns golden brown. Remove and drain on the kitchen paper.
  3. Remove the oil from the wok, except for one tablespoon. On full heat, stir fry the onion for a few seconds. Now add the peppers and stir for a minute or till they soften a bit.
  4. To this add the fried chicken, stock and soy sauce. Simmer for a couple of minutes or till the chicken is cooked well.
  5. Stir in the cashew nuts and spring onions. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Transfer it to a serving dish and serve with steamed rice.

For more delicious recipes stay tuned.

Smart Ways To Store Coffee Beans

Store coffee beans smartly to brew a fresh cup every morning
Store coffee beans smartly to brew a fresh cup every morning

Air, moisture, heat and light are the biggest enemies of your coffee beans. Coffee starts to lose its freshness almost after roasting. Therefore, it’s wise to buy coffee beans in small batches of freshly roasted coffee. However, if you have large quantities of coffee, invest in storage containers. It would be a wise idea to divide your coffee supply into a few smaller portions and store them in air-tight containers. Remember, when coffee is used in many recipes those savories become exotic  dishes.

Best Ways To Store Coffee Beans

It’s not always possible to go out pick up fresh coffee beans everyday. Stocking coffee for an entire month or may be for a couple of months is time-efficient. When we stock up coffee, we need to seriously think about storing them properly to keep them fresh to retain its flavor and aroma. Here are a few tips and guidelines to keep your coffee fresh and aromatic.

  • Store whole beans instead of ground coffee

Coffee aficionados prefer to store beans and grind them as and when required. The reason is ground coffee oxidizes quickly. Therefore, if you want to drink fresh cup of this brew store whole beans.

  • Consume the beans within a couple of weeks

The thumb rule is to consume the roasted beans within two weeks from the date of purchase. If you keep coffee beans longer than two weeks, it will go stale. Instead of stocking up coffee beans for more than two weeks, it’s wise to get purchase roasted beans from any reputed e-store and get them shipped directly to your door.

  • Store the beans in an airtight container

You need to clean your storage container each time its empty to keep your beans fresh. You can always store the beans in the reseal able bags they come in. Else you can store them in a glass jar with a tight lid.

  • Store the beans in a cool and dark place

The best way to store beans is in a dark area of your cupboard. Do not put them close to your cooking range or microwave. it will lose its freshness.

Americans drink coffee every morning to kick start their day. If you have any innovative ways to store coffee do share with us in the comment section.

Interesting Facts About Peanut Butter

Utterly delicious and nutritious savory butter
Utterly delicious and nutritious savory butter

Peanuts as well as peanut butter has a gamut of nutritional value and health benefits. Chocolate and peanut butter is an irresistible combination. You can make various healthy recipes with this wonder food. There are many interesting facts about this savory spread.

13 Fun Facts About Peanut Butter

  1. Every year 13 September  is celebrated as the National Peanut Day.
  2. Do you know that the peanuts are the natives of South American? The Spanish traders carried this plant to the African continent. It entered the American market at the time of slave trade.
  3. America is the largest producer as well as the consumer of peanut butter in the world. Wisconsin, a Midwestern state of United States of America is the largest producer of peanut butter.
  4. Do you know that an average American consumes around six to seven pounds of this butter annually? That is, 90 percent of American homes include peanut butter in their diet.
  5. Thomas Jefferson as well as Jimmy Carter, two former presidents of the USA, were farmers who cultivated peanuts as their staple crop.
  6. Arachibutyrophobia (pronounced A’-ra-kid-bu-ti-ro-pho-bi-a), is the fear of this butter getting stuck on the roof of your mouth.
  7. Unlike the other nuts that grown on the branches of their trees, peanut grows under the ground. Technically speaking, these are legumes and do not belong to the nut family.
  8. Sixty percent of the crop of peanuts is grown in Georgia, Alabama and Florida. And more than half of the harvest goes into making peanut butter.
  9. To make a jar of peanut butter weighing approximately 12 ounces you need 540 peanuts.
  10. As per the American law, a bottle of this butter should contain 90 percent of the peanuts to be labelled as peanut butter.
  11. As per the findings of National Peanut Board, men prefer their butter to be crunchy while the women want it to be smooth and silky.
  12. Peanut butter and jelly (PB&J) sandwiches are the most favored comfort food by the American students. In 2012, Patrick Bertoletti entered the Guinness World Records for eating six PB&J sandwich is just a minute.
  13. Peanut butter contains many essential nutrients. Therefore, it is used in many healthy recipes.

If we have missed out on any facts, please share it with us in the comment section.

What Is Coconut Palm Sugar And Its Health Benefits

Coconut palm sugar - A healthy alternative to cane sugar
Coconut palm sugar – A healthy alternative to cane sugar

Coconut palm sugar is a natural form of sugar that is produced from the sap of the coconut palm flowers. However, it should not be confused with palm sugar. Palm sugar is made from the sap of the sugar palm tree.

The Two-Step Process Of Making Coconut Sugar

  1. A cut is made on the tender flowers of the coconut palm. The sap is collected into clay pots or bamboo containers tied to it.
  2. This sap is heated until the water is evaporated and the dehydrated sap turns into brown granules. Though in appearance it is similar to brown sugar or palm sugar, its different.

Is This A Healthier Option To Cane Sugar?

Coconut-palm sugar has the same amount of carbohydrates and calories as the cane sugar(table white sugar). Therefore, switching to this sugar from cane sugar on these respect would not make any difference. But coconut sugar contains only three to nine percent each of glucose and fructose, and 70 percent of sucrose. And this is a benefit over the cane sugar which contains 50 percent fructose.

Coconut sugar can be substituted for sugar in many recipes and is considered to be a healthier option to white cane sugar.

Benefits Of Coconut Sugar

  • Nutrient content – Though not a nutritional super food, its nutrient content is far better than the table white sugar. Coconut palm sugar has traces of potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, copper, and vitamin C. It also contains certain amounts of flavonoids, polyphenols, and antioxidants. Inositol, belonging to vitamin B family, known for its mood booster qualities is also found in the coconut sugar.
  • Low Glycemic Impact – The level of carbohydrate in blood sugar is measured using the glycemic index. The glycemic index for cane sugar is between 60 and 75 while for this sugar its only 35. Therefore, it can be consumed by the diabetics.
  • Fructose is less – Fructose level is only 45 percent in coconut palm sugar  compared to other sweeteners. Fructose is easily converted into fat by the body and the only organ that can break down this sugar type is the liver; and one of the byproduct is triglycerides – a form of fat.

No matter the form, sugar is sugar. Consuming too much of the coconut sugar can adversely affect the liver.

Interesting Facts About Wheat

Healthy whole wheat bread
Healthy whole wheat bread

Wheat grain belongs to the family of grasses and is believed to have originated in the valley of Euphrates and Tigris. Today, there are over 30,000 different varieties of wheat and its produced in every continent of the world. In the pre-history days, this grain was consumed raw. People gathered the seeds, removed the husk and chewed the kernels. Romans believed Goddess Ceres was the protector of this grain. The term “cereal” was derived from the name of this Roman goddess.

Health Facts of Wheat

  • Improved metabolism – Rich in fiber, whole wheat diet aids in digestive process. This facilitates better overall metabolism of the body. Wheat diet helps to stay slim and healthy.
  • Prevents type 2 diabetes – This grain is a rich source of magnesium. This mineral acts as a co-factor for the enzymes that balances the secretion of glucose and functional use of insulin. Regular consumption of wheat products promotes healthy blood sugar level.
  • Reduces inflammation- Its rich in betaine. This prevents inflammation and this in turns reduces the risk of rheumatic pains and rheumatic diseases.
  • Vitamins and Minerals – Also a source of several vitamins as well as minerals. Some of the minerals include folate, copper, phosphorus, and magnesium.
  • Prevents colon and breast cancer, also protects against coronary heart disease. It reduces the secretion of bile acid. Consuming this grain also improves the gastrointestinal health in the women folk.

Fun Facts About Wheat

  • Wheat is the 3rd largest crop grown in the United States.
  • One bushel of this grain contains close to one million individual kernels.
  • Due to presence of the gluten, a protein, 1% of the human population cannot consume wheat products. The reason is they suffer from celiac disease.
  • The proteins found in this grain is used in the body lotions, lip balms and hair conditioners.
  • The grain is also used to make alcoholic beverages such as whiskey, gin and vodka.
  • The starch is used to make glue, and other adhesives.

There are many interesting facts about wheat. Most important ones have been covered here. If we have missed out any  interesting facts, share with us in the comment section. Heard of unbleached wheat?

Simple Cacao Powder Recipes

Healthy Cacao Powder
Healthy Cacao Powder

Cacao powder is a guilt free super food that has myriad of health benefits.   Cacao is a natural source of magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, copper and potassium, and also one of the greatest food sources of antioxidant flavonols. You can use cacao powder in granola bars, brownies, fudge and smoothies. It has the ability to transform a recipe into a healthy chocolate treat. Try out the simple and easy to make recipes to reap the health benefits of cacao powder.

Chocolate Chia Pudding

This is a super healthy dish that can eaten as a dessert or as breakfast. It’s loaded with benefits of the mighty chia seeds and cacao powder.

Ingredients

  • Milk –  1 1/2 cups
  • Soaked Chia seeds – 1/3 cup
  • Cacao powder – 1/4 cup
  • Dates or maple syrup –  2-5 tbsp.
  • Sea Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Vanilla extract -1/2 tsp

Method

Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend to a smooth paste.

Transfer into a bowl and refrigerate it for 4- 5 hours. Overnight for best results.

Serve chilled with chopped apples, banana or whipped cream.

Hot Cacao Drink

Ingredients

  • Cacao powder –  2 tbsps.
  • Hot water – 16 ounces
  • Honey –  1 tsp
  • Milk (coconut, regular and almond)
  • Marshmallows – as per your taste

Method

Spoon the cacao powder into your cup. Add a couple of tablespoons of hot water to make a chocolate sauce. To this add the sweeteners and the milk and stir till it becomes smooth. Top it with marshmallows and sip before going to bed.

Cacao Peanut Butter And Banana Smoothie

Ingredients

  • Cacao nibs – 2 tbsps.
  • Cacao powder – 1 tbsps.
  • Milk – 1 cup
  • Banana – 1 large sliced
  • Ice – 1 cup
  • Peanut Butter – 2 tbsps.
  • vanilla extract – 1/4 tsp
  • Maple syrup/honey – as per your taste.

Method

In a blender add all the ingredients other than cacao nibs, and blend it into a smooth paste. Add maple syrup or honey as a sweetener.

Transfer this to a serving bowl and top it with cacao nibs and sliced bananas or any other fruits.

When you taste these recipes you will understand why cacao is known as the food of the gods.

5 Uses Of Coconut Oil

Pure Coconut for myriad of uses.
Pure Coconut for myriad of uses.

Of late there has been a lot of hype regarding the uses as well as benefits of Coconut Oil, its meat and milk. Though it’s really not a cure-all oil, it’s good to keep a small bottle of coconut oil at home always. Remember, what works for you may not work for others and vice-versa. However, with a little bit of creativity you can discover many daily uses of coconut oil other than using it as a cooking oil.

  1. Moisturizer

This oil is the nature’s moisturizer. You can use it before bathing or after it. It has the ability to seep into your skin and keep away the dryness. Coconut oil has the power to refresh as well as heal the skin in any part of the body.

  1. As a natural hair gel

You can rub a bit of oil at the ends of your hair to condition it as well as hold its style. It smoothens the ends and keeps it tangle free. You can also use it as a deep conditioner for your hair. Warm a bit of coconut oil and rub it into your scalp and leave it either overnight or for just 10 to 15 minutes, if you are short of time, before washing your hair with a mild shampoo. It gives a sheen to your hair.

  1. Massage oil

It’s a wonderful massage oil for babies, children and adults. Coconut oil is a natural fungicide. It penetrates into the fungal membrane and destroys the fungus. Also good for diaper rashes on babies and toddlers.

  1. Wood polish

If you have many wooden furniture at home and you want to avoid using chemical polish, go for coconut oil. Coconut oil as polish give a dramatic look as a store bought polish, but it protects the wood and gives it a natural look.

  1. Lip Balm

If you are prone to chaffed lips, you should gently rub in the coconut oil directly or make a lip balm. All that you need is equal proportions of beeswax and coconut oil, a dash of honey and 2 Vitamin E capsules. In a double boiler, melt beeswax, coconut oil and honey. Stir continuously and add the Vitamin E capsules and pour it into tiny containers and allow it to set.

There are myriads of uses of coconut oil apart from using it to cook food. Keep watching this space for further updates. Also share your uses of coconut oil with us.

The Mighty Chia Seeds

The mighty chia seeds
The mighty chia seeds

Wondering why these tiny weeny seeds are called as mighty chia seeds?  These tiny little seeds are rich in omega-3’s, fiber, essential vitamins, and minerals, and protein. Chia seeds boost energy levels and help in staying fuller for long duration. These seeds are harvested from holy basil and are virtually tasteless.

How To Consume Chia Seeds

They should be soaked for 10 to 20 minutes before adding to your smoothies, yogurt, or any of your favorite foods or drinks. They fall under the category of the super-foods. Those who are on a weight loss program should consume regularly as it can help in losing weight.

History Of Chia Seeds

The chia seeds were harvested by the Aztecs as early as 3500 B.C. These seeds were offered to the gods by the Aztecs. It was the staple diet of the Mexicans and those of the Mayan and Aztec civilization. These seeds were eaten whole, ground into flour and used as one of the main ingredients in medicines by Aztecs and Mayans. They were also pressed to extract oil.

Present Times

Only in the 21st century, Chia seeds were introduced in the North America.  Currently its grown in Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Australia in commercial scale. In the near future, Australia is likely to become the largest producer of chia seeds.

Why Chia Seeds Are Mighty

  • Rich source of vegetarian protein – Protein aids in the production of the cells. Is required for the healthy maintenance of muscle mass. Chia seeds provide vegetarian protein for the overall improvement of the body composition.
  • High in fiber – Fiber content assists in healthy weight management, and help in balancing the blood sugar levels.
  • Source of Omega-3 fatty acids – Omega 3 helps in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and does wonders to the joints.
  • Loaded with anti-oxidants – Delays the signs of aging, boosts the energy levels and gives a glow to the skin.

Chia seeds are available in black and white varieties. However, both the varieties have the same nutritional value. Those who are under any kind of medication should consult their medical practitioner before consuming the chia seed.