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

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

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!

Almond Date Bars

Healthy, nutritious, simple, clean ingredients! With the kids always on the run with school and sports, it’s good to have healthy snack options on hand. I love Larabars and this make-at-home, no-cook option tastes just as good!

Grab it before getting on the bus for school, enjoy it as a before-sport snack or just when those hunger pangs strike.

Servings: 6 bars or smaller, 18 bite-sized squares

Ingredients

  • I cup almonds
  • 1.5 cups pitted dates
  • Dash of salt

Utensils

  1. Food processor
  2.  7×7 baking tray/pan
  3. Parchment paper to line the baking tray/pan

Instructions:

  • If dates are very dry: Place dates into a heat-safe bowl. Pour a cup of hot water, allowing the dates to soak for 10-15 minutes to soften. Drain the liquid and reserve dates
  • Use a food processor with an s-blade
  • Add the nuts and pulse until the nuts break into very small pieces
  • Add the dates and the salt
  • Pulse until a thick paste forms, scraping the sides, if required
  • Remove the mixture from the processor
  • To shape the bars, press mixture into the baking tray
  • Place the tray in the refrigerator for 30 minutes
  • Remove from refrigerator, cut into 6 bars, cover and store for when those hunger pangs hit!

Hummus

When Nilesh thinks of Hummus, it takes him back to his childhood in Dahran where his dad whipped up bowls of hummus that were wiped clean at parties. Even when his parents visit, we leave it to his dad to make the tastiest, most garlicky, finger-licking hummus around.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup roasted red bell pepper (Use only if you want red pepper hummus)
  • 2.5 cups soaked and cooked chick peas / garbanzo beans
  • 0.25 cup tahini paste
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 0.25 cup lemon juice (usually 1 lemon)
  • 6 cloves fresh garlic (chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder

Instructions:

  1. For Roasted Red Peppers:
    1. Move the over rack closer to the broiler, about 6 inches away. Turn broiler over
    2. Remove core of the red peppers and cut into large, flat pieces
    3. Lay flat on an oven tray with skin side up. Broil 5-10 mins until charred
    4. Remove from oven, when cool enough to handle, gently peel away the charred skin and discard
  2. For Hummus:
    1. Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor
    2. Process of 2-3 minutes
    3. If the hummus is too thick, add a tablespoon of water at a time, until you reach the desired consistency
    4. To serve, put hummus into a bowl, make a little well and add a 1/2 tsp of olive oil, with a sprinkle of red chili power. Serve with pita chips, or vegetables like carrots and cucumbers.

Serving Suggestions

  1. Pita pockets – layer hummus, cooked and diced chicken, tahini, and greens in a pita for healthy pita pocket for school lunches
  2. Serve with cucumbers and carrots
  3. Wraps – layer hummus, long, thin carrot and cucumber slices, greens and deli meat for a school lunch or an on-the-go wrap


Beetroot cutlets (Tikkis)

When my dad mentioned he tried to eat beets daily, I googled the health benefits and found there is an impressive amount of goodness packed into that little vegetable. They are low in calories and a great source of fiber, vitamin C, iron, and magnesium and potassium. According to health.com, your risk of heart disease can drop and you can also lower your blood pressure.

While I typically served beets just boiled with a dash of lime juice, my friend Chaavi made some delicious beet cutlets that I had to make at home. Try it out – it’s as simple as aloo tikkis but with a chockful of nutrients!

Servings: 10 cutlets

Ingredients

  • 2 medium beetroots (grated – about 2 cups)
  • 2 large potatoes – boiled in pressure cooker for 7 whistles, and mashed
  • 1/4 onion – finely diced
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp fennel powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin power
  • 1 tbsp dhania powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp chaat masala
  • 1 tsp aamchur/dry mango powder
  • 1/2 tsp ginger/garlic paste
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs or 2 slices of bread (white/brown) – soaked in water, squeeze the water out
  • 1/4 cup semolina also know as rava or cream of wheat
  • Oil to fry or optional – bake in air-fryer

Method:

  • Squeeze out the water from the beetroot and then add to a large mixing bowl
  • Mix in the potatoes
  • Add in the remaining ingredients
  • Mix everything well
  • Now shape them into round cutlets or tikkis
  • In a large mixing bowl, first squeeze out pan or pressure cooker, boil both the beetroot and potatoes together with some salt and enough water for 7 to 8 whistles on medium flame. 
  • Drain all the water. Then peel and grate the beetroot in a bowl. 
  • Grate the potato in the same bowl. This is done to get a even smooth mashed potato mix.
  • Add all the spice powders, green chili, salt and corn starch. Instead of corn starch you can also add rice flour or soaked bread slices.
  • Mix everything well with your hands. Now shape them into round cutlets or tikkis.
  • Now, add the semolina to a plate
  • Place each cutlet on the semolina to coat evenly on all sides by the semolina. Dust off any extra semolina

Shallow-fry option

  • In a pan, add in 2 tbsp of oil, and when heated, fry the cutlets in it, flipping over, till it is crisp and golden on all sides
  • To shallow fry on a stove, heat a nonstick pan on medium heat
  • When hot, spray oil and arrange patties in single layer on the pan
  • Continue cooking on medium heat until golden brown at the bottom
  • Spray a little oil on the top of the cutlets and use a spatula, to flip them over
  • Cook until the bottom layer is golden brown
  • Turn off the heat and remove from the pan
  • Serve hot, with a side of mint chutney

Air-fryer option

  • Arrange cutlets on a sheet in a single layer. Spray some oil on the patties. Bake at preheated 350°F for 12 minutes. Flip them upside down halfway for even baking.
  • Serve hot, with a side of mint chutney

Notes

  • Do check the salt in the mixture before coating and frying the tikkis or cutlets.
  • If the beetroot culet does not hold it’s shape or is too soft, add another slice of bread (mashed up) to the mashed beetroot mix