Mango custard with fruit

Fruit salad with custard. It was a given that when you went for Goan party, dessert would include a fruit salad with custard. In my home, it’s now a nice option for when the kids want a quick snack. Use low fat milk, let the fruit sweeten the sugar, and now you have a healthy snack or even breakfast option!

Custard, a creamy milk dish, was traditionally made with milk, cream and eggs. Today, the fastest (and eggless way) to make this is by using custard powder. I often buy Brown & Polson’s custard powder, as that’s what I remember my mom and grandma using. It’s easily available in Indian grocery stores and is a quick option for when the kids want something for a snack or a dessert when guests swing by. The addition of milk and a variety of chopped fruits give it a ton of nutritional benefits. For a twist, I will use unsweetened mango pulp for mango-flavored custard. I hope this becomes a regular at your home too.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup custard powder ( I use Brown & Polson vanilla custard powder)
  • 2 cups 1% milk (3 cups milk, if you don’t want to make a mango custard but prefer a vanilla custard)
  • 1 cup unsweetened mango pulp (omit if you just want a vanilla custard and increase milk to a total 3 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar ( or reduce it to 1 tablespoon and let the fruit sweetness take centre stage)
  • Fruit for serving – blueberries, chopped banana, apple, grapes, strawberries, pomegranate arils

Method

  • In a bowl, mix 4 tablespoons of the milk with the custard powder to form a smooth plaster and set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, boil the remaining fill on medium heat. When the milk reaches boiling point, stir in the sugar and the mango pulp.
  • Turn the heat to low, and add the custard paste and continue stirring until it thickens. The consistency should be almost like a sauce.  You don’t want this to burn so continue stirring until it reaches that consistency.
  • Turn off the heat and cool. Store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
  • Serve with fresh fruits like blueberries, chopped strawberries, apples, bananas, grapes and pomegranate arils.

Easy, Healthy Granola

Granola is an excellent source of fiber and potassium. It’s a magical, delicious mix of oats, nuts, dried fruits and maple syrup or honey. Not only is it beloved by hikers, it’s good for breakfast, a snack, or when mixed in with yogurt and berries, makes for a delicious desert. But store bought granola can be full of artificial sweeteners. Here is a super easy and yet, very healthy granola recipe. It’s sweetness comes from maple syrup (or honey) and the crunch comes from nuts. Make it your own with your choice of nuts.

Servings: 6 cups of granola

Time: 35 minutes including baking time of about 20-22 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats ( or use gluten free oats)
  • 1.5 cups mixed nuts – almonds, walnuts and pecans (you can use your own combination of nuts – cashews, pistachios taste great)
  • 2/3rd cup maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup olive or coconut oil (I prefer the flavor of coconut oil)
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3rd cup dried cranberries (other dried berries, just watch the sugar in those)
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Method:

  • Line a large, rimmed baking sheet or pan with parchment paper while preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts, salt, cinnamon powder.
  • Pour into the mixing bowl the maple syrup(or honey), oil and vanilla essence. Stir to combine so all the oats and nuts are coated.
  • Evenly layer the mix on the baking sheet and place the sheet in the oven. Set the timer for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, remove sheet/pan from oven and stir the granola so that it browns evenly. Put the sheet back in oven and cook for another 10-12 minutes.
  • Remove sheet/pan from oven and cool for an hour, as the granola will further crisp.
  • When cool, mix in the dried cranberry and chocolate chips.
  • It is now ready to be served or store in an air-tight container.
Berry yogurt with granola topping

The best buttercream frosting ever!

Growing up, every birthday party had the most delicious and beautiful homemade cakes. I especially remember a cake in the shape of a multi wagon train with goodies in each wagon, and a checkered cake for my 21st birthday. I am so grateful for such a creative and loving mom. I have tried to replicate that for my kids with every birthday being a themed one. As they’ve grown into teens, the themes are no longer there but they still want homemade cakes. And that’s where this buttercream icing has stood the rest of the time. Adults, kids all love it and I will often use a box cake mix (I love Duncan Hines) to save myself time and focus instead on the shape and decoration. This icing makes the cake out of this world.

Time: 10 mins including prep time

Servings: enough for one 9 inch cake

Ingredients

  • 3 sticks salted butter, softened
  • 1/3rd teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ pounds ( 3 cups or 24 ounces) powdered sugar (confectioner’s), sifted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons milk

Method:

  • Soften the butter either in 15 second increments in microwave or by keeping it at room temperature. Butter should be soft but not fully melted. If melted, the frosting will just take a little longer to make.
  • In a large mixing bowl (or bowl of a standing mixer) add the butter, and beat on low speed with the mixer (hand or stand mixer) for 30 seconds until butter is a little fluffy.
  • Slowly add in the sugar to bowl and continue to beat on low speed until the sugar is fully incorporated.
  • Add in vanilla, salt and 3 tablespoons milk and continue to beat until fully incorporated. Turn speed to medium and beat for another 5-6 minutes.
  • If buttercream is too thick, ass in milk one tablespoon at a time to get the desired consistency.
  • You’re now ready to frost your cake and if your family is like mine, they will be standing around to lick the paddles!

No-bake easy Chocolate Cheesecake with orange liqueur

This Father’s day turned out to be an unusually special one. My dad is visiting from India (the first time we have him here for Father’s day), my mum’s cousin Fr. Allan is visiting and of course, Nilesh. Three fathers in the house – we had to make something special! But after toiling over several dishes for lunch, I wanted a chocolate dessert that would make Nilesh’s day but would also be special and yet, easy.

That’s where this easy, no bake chocolate cheesecake comes in. I didn’t have the ingredients for a pie crust and even without that, everyone said this was finger licking good! And the orange liqueur with a dusting of shaved dark orange chocolate – ooh, heaven!!

Try it – this will be the highlight of every dinner party, and celebration.

Prep time: 10 minutes Chill time: 3 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips ( I use Kirklands)
  • 11 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 2 cups whipped topping
  • Optional but it definitely elevates the flavor- 2 teaspoons Grand Marnier Orange & Cognac liqueur and 1/4 cup shaved dark orange chocolate

Method

  • Place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in microwave for 45 seconds and then continue hearing in 10 second increments, stirring until chips are melted
  • In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, sugar on medium speed with mixer. Gradually add melted chips, until blended
  • Fold in whipped topping, until blended
  • If using liqueur, pour in and blend
  • Spoon into a pie bowl or if using a prepared crust, spoon into crust
  • Refrigerate until firm
  • Garnish with shaved dark orange chocolate and whipped topping
  • Serve

Mango Chia Seed Pudding

If you love mango and tropical flavors, this chia pudding is for you. A combination of coconut milk, combined with chia seeds and mango pulp, makes for a delicious pudding that will energize you and fill you up. A great way to start the day or a pick-me-up during the day.

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut milk (alternatively, almond or any other milk, or 1/2 cup coconut cream with 1/2 cup milk)
  • 1 cup unsweetened mango pulp
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds
  • Toppings: Mango cubes, pineapple, berries, almonds, granola

Method

  • In a large, lidded bowl, mix the mango pulp and almond milk. Stir
  • Add in the chia seeds and maple syrup. Stir with a spoon. Ensure no clumps of chia seeds remain
  • Close with lid and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight
  • Top with mango chunks, pineapple, berries, granola, or nuts

Try these other chia seed pudding flavors:


Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

This deliciously sinful, chocolate chia seed pudding is for when those chocolate cravings hit or if you want dessert for breakfast without feeling guilty. This calls for only 5 ingredients and you likely have them already.

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond milk (alternatively, any other milk)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds
  • Toppings: Berries, almonds, granola

Method

  • In a large, lidded bowl, whisk in the cocoa powder into the almond milk, removing any clumps
  • Add in the chia seeds, vanilla essence and maple syrup. Stir with a spoon. Ensure no clumps of chia seeds remain
  • Close with lid and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight
  • Top with berries, granola, or nuts

Try these other chia seed pudding flavors:


Matcha Chia Seed Pudding

Sophie loves her matcha boba tea and was very happy when we made a matcha Chia seed pudding. Not only did the matcha powder give it it’s beautiful green color, the matcha flavor was elevated with the use of coconut cream. If you love matcha, this pudding is for you! It will energize you while filling you up.

Why Matcha? Did you know it’s full of antioxidants, can speed up metabolism, and lower bad cholesterol? And of course, chia seeds contain protein, fiber and the good-for-you kind of fat

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons matcha green tea powder
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds
  • Toppings: Berries, almonds, granola

Method

  • In a large, lidded bowl, whisk the matcha powder, coconut cream and almond milk, making sure no clumps remain
  • Add in the chia seeds and maple syrup. Stir with a spoon. Ensure no clumps of chia seeds remain
  • Close with lid and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight
  • Top with granola, fruit or nuts

Try these other chia seed pudding flavors:


Chia seeds pudding

Something I always struggle with is what to eat as a snack or have ready for breakfast for the kids to grab quickly before school. This chia seed pudding fits the bill – it is a make-ahead, easy and yet healthy breakfast or snack option that is energizing and filling. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days. And best of all, it is so good for you.

Chia seeds contain protein, fiber and the good-for-you kind of fat. Soak them in a liquid and you get this smooth, gelatinous pudding texture. Add a little sweetener, a topping of your choice like fruit or granola, and who can resist dessert, and a healthy one at that??!

I make this Chia seed pudding with simple ingredients. And then top it with granola (at time of eating) or layer it with fruit for a grab-when-you-need option. I have found that 1 tablespoon of chia seeds to 1/4 cup of milk is the ideal ratio.

Once you have this, it may soon be a go-to, so check out the links below to other chia-seed pudding options.

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 cups light coconut milk or almond milk (or cow’s milk)
  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1.5 tablespoon maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)

Toppings

  • Berries
  • Granola or chopped nuts
  • Chopped fresh mango or pineapple
  • Coconut flakes

Method

  • In a lidded container, pour in the milk. Stir in the chia seeds. Cover the container and shake well to combine. Wait for 2-3 minutes and then stir well with a spoon making sure to break any clumps
  • Add in the vanilla essence and maple syrup, and stir
  • Cover with a tight light and let set in fridge overnight or at least 2 hours
  • When serving, top with your favorite fruit, nuts or granola, and enjoy!

Other Chia Seed Pudding recipes:


Peach Cobbler Dump Cake

This is one of the easiest desserts you can make and I guarantee, it will be a hit. This super-simple, 4-ingredient peach cobbler is always polished off at parties. So much so, I’ve not been able to take a good picture of it, it’s usually gone before I get to a picture. 

The work involves taking the ingredients and dumping it into a container and then baking or slow cooking it. Viola, dessert is ready!! I hope you find it wonderful too.

The difference between a cobbler and a dump cake is that the latter uses cake mix while the cobbler uses pie crust.

Prep time: 5 minutes, Cook times vary based on method below

Servings: 10

Ingredients

  • 2 (15oz each) cans sliced peaches in pear juice (I avoid the ones in syrup)
  • 1 (15.25oz) yellow cake mix package
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon powder

Method

  • Slow cooker method
    • Empty cans of peaches including the juice into the bottom of the slow cooker container
    • Sprinkle the dry cake mix evenly over the peaches
    • Sprinkle the cinnamon powder evenly over the dry cake mix
    • Pour butter evenly over the cake/cinnamon mix
    • Layer paper towels over the rim of the slow cooker so it absorbs the steam. You may need to change the paper towel
    • Then cover and cook on high for 2 hours or 4 hours on low
    • Serve warm with a big dollop of icecream
  • Oven method
    • Pre-heat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Empty cans of peaches including the juice into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish
    • Sprinkle the dry cake mix evenly over the peaches
    • Sprinkle the cinnamon powder evenly  over the dry cake mix
    • Pour butter evenly over the cake/cinnamon mix
    • Place dish in oven
    • Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the cobbler is golden on the top
    • Serve warm with a big dollop of icecream

Jaya’s caramel sauce

Easy instructions for a clean-ingredient, simple yet finger-licking made-at-home caramel sauce.

I have fond memories of my classmate Jaya – two braids with blue-ribbons – the school-house color. She was simple, beautiful and fun-loving. It’s been decades since we met but thanks to Facebook, it’s wonderful to watch how our lives have panned out. She now lives in Singapore and is always rustling up these delicious looking dishes for her family. When she posted this clean, corn syrup free, simple caramel sauce, I had to give it a try. I will never buy caramel sauce again…. P.s. my kids licked the bowl clean!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup half and half milk
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Method

  • In a small thick bottomed vessel, mix all the ingredients together
  • Bring to a boil
  • Turn off stove, cool and store in an air-tight jar
  • Serve at room temperature over ice-crean, drizzle it over desserts or just steal a teaspoon full and lick it clean! Yum!!


No bake peanut butter cheesecake

We love desserts in this home. Chocolate is a favorite but just about anything goes. So, quick desserts are always welcome.

Around Thanksgiving, Sean enthusiastically announced he was competing in the youth ministry’s pie competition. I am a good baker but haven’t tried many pies. After some debate, we agreed on no-bake pies and here is one of those. And this one, won a prize! Yay!!

Give it a shot, it’s easy and quick and best of all, finger-licking good!

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 1 package (14.3 oz) Oreo cookies
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

For the filling

  • 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 16oz regular cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 package (10oz) snack size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, chopped

For the toppings

  • 8 snack sized Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, chopped
  • 2 tbsp caramel sauce (I used this recipe)
  • 2 tbsp chocolate sauce

Method:

  1. Take the package of Oreo cookies and grind into a fine crumb using a food processor. Transfer to a mixing bowl
  2. Melt butter in microwave in a small bowl, about 35 seconds
  3. Pour the melted butter over the cookie crumbs and stir until the crumbs are well coated
  4. Press the crumbs into a pie plate pressing firmly into the bottom and up on the sides to create a thick crust
  5. Refrigerate the crust while you prepare the filling

Prepare the filling

  1. Pour the heavy whipping cream into a bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat the heavy cream at medium speed until the cream starts to thicken. Slowly add the powdered sugar and continue beating at high speed until stiff peaks form. Set the whipped cream aside
  2. In another bowl, beat the softened cream cheese until it’s completely smooth. Then add the peanut butter and beat with the mixer until well combined
  3. Add the vanilla extract and continue beating until smooth
  4. Slowly fold in the whipped cream until it’s incorporated, then add the chopped peanut butter cups and continue mixing until well combined. Pour the filling into the prepared crust, spreading evenly
  5. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours minimum

Serve: Decorate with toppings and serve


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