Chocolate Oatmeal energy balls

Clean, healthy and simple! Set aside a bag of chips and keep this handy in your fridge for a snack. I usually struggle to stock healthy snacks because the kids are always hungry. This is a quick to prepare, grab & go snack with ingredients that are good for you.

Servings: 20 balls

Prep time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oatmeal (old fashioned)
  • 1/2 cup nut butter
  • 20 soft dates (pitted) – see note below, if hard (alternatively, 1/2 cup honey)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions:

  • In a food processor fitted with an s-blade, process half the oatmeal and half of the chocolate chips into a powder
  • Add the dates and grind until a paste starts to form (If using honey instead of dates, add the honey here)
  • Add in the nut butter to continue to form a thick paste
  • Remove the paste from processor into a bowl and mix with remaining oats and chocolate chips
  • Roll into 1-2 inch balls
  • Serve cold or at room temperature
  • The balls can be stored covered in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for much longer

Notes

  • Place dates into a small heat-safe bowl. Pour hot water over the dates and allow to soak for 10-15 minutes to soften the dates. Once dates have softened, drain the liquid off the dates. The dates are now ready to be added to the food processor
  • Once the dates have soaked, drain the liquid off the dates, reserving the liquid to use if needed.
  • If your oatmeal balls are not sticking together well, add something sticky. If they are too dry, add more nut butter , one teaspoon at a time
  • If the mixture is too sticky, add in a little more oatmeal, one tablespoon at a time
  • If the mixture is sticking too much too much to your hands, wet your hands lightly with water! The water helps to be able to work the dough into a ball without sticking

Pea Pulav (Basmati Rice)

No Indian meal is complete without the fragrant Basmati rice. And, in our house, no birthday or celebration was complete without my mom’s flavorful pea pulav – an aromatic dish made with long-grained Basmati rice and green peas, and flavored with cardamoms, cloves, and other spices. It was inviting enough to eat on its own, no sides needed. When I make it for a Sunday-special lunch, I will often mix in other vegetables and have a delicious meal on-hand in no time at all.

Interestingly, each of the spices have a health benefit – so why not take a couple of minutes and add flavor and nutritional benefits to plain ol’rice:

  • Bay leaves are a rich source of vitamins A, and C, iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, promoting general health
  • Cloves are rich in antioxidants and minerals and known to strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation, and aid in digestion
  • Thanks to it’s anti-inflammatory properties, peppercorn improves circulation, reduces joint pain and also helps combat high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases
  • Cardamom helps improve oral health and may have antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Turmeric is said to ease joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Basmati Rice
  • 4 tbsp Ghee (or vegetable or olive oil)
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 8 cloves
  • 8 Peppercorns
  • 1 inch Cinnamon stick
  • 4 Cardamom – crushed
  • 1 large Onion (chopped finely)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 cup Green Peas
  • 1/2 cup Carrots (diced) – optional
  •  1 tsp Salt
  •  2 cups Broth ( veg, chicken or beef) – For perfectly separated rice – use the same cup to measure the rice and the broth

Instructions:

  1. Wash the rice very gently and drain all water. Rinse twice more so that the water is clear (this removes the starch from the rice). Drain water completely each time
  2. Place a large pan on the stove on medium heat
  3. Add the ghee to the pan
  4. Once the ghee is hot, add the Bay leaf. (Note: If the bay leaf sizzles immediately, you know the oil is hot. If not, wait a few more seconds, until you start to see the leaf sizzle)
  5. Add the rest of the whole spices to the ghee – cloves, pepper corn, cinnamon and cardamom
  6. Fry for 30 seconds
  7. Add the onions and fry for 2-3 minutes until the onions are translucent
  8. Add the turmeric powder and stir for another minute
  9. Add the rice to the pan, and fry for 1-2 minutes
  10. Add the stock, salt, and stir once, very gently
  11. Let the stock come to a boil then reduce the heat to low, and cover the pan with a tight fitting lid
  12. Let the rice cook – will take about 10-12 minutes
  13. After 10-12 minutes, check rice. If all the water is evaporated, turn off the flame. Keep the container covered – allowing it to sit covered for 5 minutes
  14. Fluff the rice and vegetables with a fork and serve

Chai (Tea)

Chai….a staple of Indian homes. I didn’t really drink tea while growing up. Unlike Nilesh, who comes from a family that doesn’t get moving until they’ve had at least two cups of tea. So, I’ve learnt that the best way to get Nilesh moving is to have that cup of chai ready for when he wakes up, and woah, that honey-do-list gets moving in earnest! Kidding aside, we both swear that this ginger, cardamom combination not only is a great start to the day but the ginger keeps those sore throats away! On weekends, grab a cup of chai and the newspaper and it’s the perfect start to the weekend.

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp tea leaves (typically, 1 per cup of tea)
  • Sugar to taste
  • For Ginger-Cardamom tea
    • 1/2 tsp finely minced /grated ginger
    • 3 green cardamom pods with seeds – crushed

Instructions:

  • In a pan on stovetop, mix water and milk
  • When mixture starts to bubble, add in the ginger and cardamom
  • Bring mixture to boil, and add tea leaves and switch off stove
  • Cover and let the tea steep for 3-4 minutes
  • Filter into a cup with a small sieve and serve

Chocolate Smoothie (Oats, Blueberries, Banana)

Healthy, filling, satisfying start to the day! No time for a sit-down breakfast but want something that’s healthy and keeps you satiated for a few hours? This perfect combination of oats, blueberries, bananas and chocolate along with some flaxseed is a smoothie packed with beneficial nutrients, omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Perfect for an on-the-go meal!

SERVINGS: 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups Almond Milk (or milk of choice)
  • 10 Almonds
  • 3/4 tsp Cinnamon Powder
  • 2 Bananas
  • 1/2 cup Oats (uncooked old-fashioned)
  • 1 cup Blueberries
  • 2 scoops Flaxseed
  • 4 scoops Chocolate Protein powder (I use Orgain protein powder)
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes

Instructions:

  1. Pour the Almond Milk into a blender (I use a Vitamix)
  2. Add the remaining ingredients
  3. Blend – 1-2 minutes based on your blender
  4. Pour and enjoy!


Peach oatmeal

Peaches are an excellent low-calorie snack that combined with oatmeal and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg, makes a delicious healthy breakfast. And why a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg? Cinnamon has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties while nutmeg has lots of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory effects.

Servings: 3

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (or honey or other sweetener – you can add more based on your taste preferences)
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1/2 cup Peach slices
  • 1/4 cup Granola for toppings

Instructions:

  • Boil water and milk
  • When boiling, stir oats briskly into the water/milk mix
  • Reduce heat
  • Stir in the vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg
  • Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Turn off the stove, cover and let stand for 5 minutes
  • Fold in 1/4 cup of the peaches, reserve 1/4 cup for serving
  • Serve the oatmeal in two bowls, drizzled with maple syrup and topped with reserved peach slices, and granola

Mango Pineapple chia seed pudding

This easy make-ahead recipe is a clean, dairy-free, filling breakfast. Chia seeds are considered a superfood because they pack a nutritional punch with very few calories. So, go-ahead and make this for breakfast, or a mid-morning snack, or even a dessert for after dinner!

Ingredients

  • 14 oz coconut milk one can
  • ½ cup Oat milk (or almond milk)
  • 3 tsp maple syrup (or sweetener of your choice. If your fruit is sweet, the sweetener is optional)
  • 2 tbsp vanilla protein (optional)
  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • 1.5 cups cubed mango fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks fresh or frozen

Method:

  • Using a mixer, blend all ingredients except the fresh fruit (Alternatively, whisk with fork or hand mixer gently to blend ingredients and avoid chia seeds from clumping)
  • Pour the mixture into two large serving bowls or 3-4 smaller bowls
  • Top with mango, pineapple dividing equally across the bowls
  • Keep in refrigerator to thicken for atleast 2-3 hours
  • Can be served straight out of the fridge

Apple-pie oatmeal

Oatmeal – one of the best choices for breakfast! It is supposed to help with weight loss, manage your cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, and lower blood sugar levels. Combine that with apples and cinnamon, and you’ve got a trifecta for breakfast that is sooo healthy and good for you and helps you stay full for a couple of hours! While Nilesh and I’ve had oatmeal for breakfast for a while, I’m trying some combinations to entice the kids with a healthy breakfast as they rush out of the door at 6:45am!

The sweet aroma of apples with cinnamon baking wafts through the air as the kids wake up and get ready for school. If that doesn’t tempt them with breakfast, nothing else will.

SERVINGS: 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 sweet apples -cores and evenly sliced
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tsp honey (alternative is 2 tsp maple or agave syrup)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (GF for gluten-free eaters)
  • 2 cups water ( or 1 cup water and 1 cup regular milk or unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds, or walnuts
  • 4 whole dates (finely chopped)
  • Optional: Flax seeds, chia seeds, brown sugar

METHOD:

  1. If using the oven:
    1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
    2. Toss the apples with cinnamon powder, 1 tsp honey and lemon juice
    3. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and lay apples flat on the pan
    4. When oven is ready, put pan in the oven, bake the apples for 5 minutes
    5. When 5 minutes is up, remove pan from oven, roll over parchment paper to create a box so the apples are in a sort of “pocket” to trap in moisture. Place pan back in oven and cook for 15 minutes more until soft.
  2. If using the stove-top:
    1. Add the apples, honey, and sprinkle in the cinnamon and lemon juice. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the apples are softened
  3. Making the oatmeal:
    1. In a small saucepan over high heat, add oats, and water(or water/milk or milk only). When it comes to a boil, reduce to low-medium heat and cook until thick and creamy to a desirable consistency
    2. Once think, remove from stove top
  4. Serving:
    1. When oatmeal has cooled slightly, arrange 4-5 slices of baked apples in bottom of a serving bowl. Top with oats. Add 1/3 cup of the apple slices as topping to the oatmeal along with 1/2 the nuts and a drizzle of the honey
    2. Other toppings may include flaxseed, chia seed, brown sugar

Kulfi – A rich, Indian ice-cream

Nothing entices kids more than the sound of the ice-cream truck on a hot summer day. In India, that sound was the ringing of a bell, as the kulfi cart came rolling down the street. At that time, for 10 paisa, he’d pull out a stick with kulfi out of a metal cone. Kulfi, a traditional Indian ice-cream, is richer, denser and creamier than regular ice-cream. Flavored with saffron, cardamom and pistachios, not only is it a delicious summer treat but can be stored in the freezer for when guests stop by.

Serves: approximately 20 (small Dixie cups)

Ingredients:

  • 14 oz sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 12 oz Evaporated Milk
  • 16 oz Cool Whip whipped topping
  • 16 oz Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 3/4 tsp Saffron threads
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/2 cup Pistachios / Almonds coarsely chopped

Method:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sweetened Condensed Milk, Evaporated Milk, Heavy Whipping Cream and Cool Whip
  2. At medium speed, using a hand mixer, mix all ingredients together for a minute
  3. Fold in the saffron threads, cardamom powder, half the nuts and beat for another minute
  4. Pour mixture into small Dixie-style plastic cups. Sprinkle remaining chopped pistachios/nuts on top
  5. Cover cups with foil and insert a wooden popsicle stick into the center. Alternatively, mold in ice cube trays or in a popsicle maker
  6. Freeze Kulfi for at least 4 – 6 hours, preferably overnight
  7. Serves approximately 20

Very Berry Chocolate Smoothie

Almonds + Berries + Chocolate = Loads of Antioxidants! And kids just love any chocolate drink. So, motivate yourself and the kids to get moving and then come back for this delicious smoothie.

Now I do use Orgain’s protein powder. It fuels your body with clean, organic protein and other nutrients. Given that it’s all plant-based, I don’t think twice when the kids make a smoothie with it.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 scoops Orgain Chocolate Protein Powder
  • 8 Almonds
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 cup frozen Blueberries
  • 0.5 cup frozen Strawberries
  • 2 cups Almond Milk

METHOD:

  1. Add the Almond Milk to a blender (I use a Vitamix)
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients
  3. Blend, pour and enjoy!

Cinnamon Cake Bites

A quick and easy dessert for a weekday or a nice breakfast option with coffee!

While nothing beats baking a cake from scratch, unfortunately, lack of time on a week day calls for improvisation. It’s always nice to have the aroma of cinnamon wafting from the kitchen when the kids get home. This quick dessert, or after-school snack, is easy to put together while on a lunch break from work!

Ingredients:

  • 1 yellow cake mix box – 15.25oz (I typically use Duncan Hines)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (also known as icing sugar)
  • 1.5 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees farenheit
  2. Coat a 9×13 pan with butter and then set aside.
  3. In a bowl combine cake mix, eggs, oil, vanilla and sour cream. Using an electric mixer, beat on low for 30 seconds then raise speed to medium and and mix for 2 minutes
  4. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon
  6. Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon mix and the walnuts evenly onto the cake batter
  7. Taking a butter knife, gently swirl the sugar cinnamon mix and walnuts into the cake batter. DO NOT over swirl
  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Put a tooth-pick into the center of the cake and if it comes out clean, the cake is ready
  9. Cool for 20 minutes
  10. While cake is backing, gently whisk together the powdered sugar and milk. Pour this over the slightly cooled cake
  11. Allow icing to set – 5-10 mins
  12. Cut cake into mini squares and it’s ready to eat
  13. Cake can stay refrigerated for a couple of days – mine doesn’t last more than 2 days!