Rangoli Ladoos

Diwali has always been a special festival growing up in my family… in fact for most Indian families.  It’s the Festival of Lights, where we celebrate faith and hope and wish that everyone has a bright future, happiness and prosperity in their lives.

Everywhere you look, Diwali takes over with lights and colors.  Rangoli designs are a prominent component of Diwali, with the idea that it brings strength, good luck and genorosity.  Keeping in mind that very foundation of colors and brightness, I decided to bring the spirit of rangoli to my mithai (sweets) for Diwali this year.


Coconut ladoos are very popular in Indian and the best part is, they are very easy to make.  The basis of each ladoo was kept the same with the main ingredients being coconut, almond flour/ground almonds, and condensed milk.  The ratios vary based on the flavor and additions of the ladoo.

Here are the flavors I decided to go with:

  • Mango (seriously, how could I not include this flavor?!)
  • Lavender (because it’s a new obsession and the flavor and colors are so amazing!)
  • Rose (the colors, the fragrance, and the taste are so pretty, it makes me feel like a princess when I’m eating this!)
  • Mojito (…..yep.  No alcohol, but that hint of lime and mint….YUM!)
  • Coconut Almond (the original cannot be overlooked!)


Some tips to make it easier for you when you make this:

  • Use a non-stick skillet to make these.  It prevents the mixture from sticking and makes the process that much easier.
  • Make them vegan!  Use vegan condensed milk and coconut oil instead of ghee to roll the balls.
  • You can use frozen grated coconut.  Just leave it out for a little bit to thaw and bring to room temperature.
  • If you don’t want to use or don’t have almond flour available, substitute with the same amount of almonds and grind them up into a flour.  It’s an extra step but easy and a perfect swap.
  • When buying almond flour, make sure you buy the almond flour and NOT the blend.  I almost did that.  The blend has a mixture of rice and other ingredients that would change the taste of this dessert.


If you end up making any of these delicious ladoos, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram at @bitofspice146.  I would love to see your creations!

Coconut Jalapeño Dressing

I’ve been really getting into making my own dressings lately.  I like it because it’s easy to control the ingredients, eat healthy, and so fun to get creative with out of the box dressings!
IMG_7473
When I was thinking about this dressing, I knew I had to do something different so that I can keep a hint of the sweet coconut while incorporating other flavors.  As they say, sweet and spice makes everything nice (or something like that anyway).  Of course I had to add jalapeño peppers to this to give it a kick and the best part is you get a hint of each of the flavors without one overwhelming the other.
IMG_7458
I paired this with a Rainbow Crunch Salad (coming soon!) and it was absolutely amazing.
Try out this coconut jalapeño dressing with these other recipes:

Desi Masala Bowl
Zucchini Corn Cakes on a bed of Grilled Peach and Pineapple Salsa
Crispy Chickpeas and Sweet Potato Tacos

How to make a Nutty Granola

Homemade granola is the best!  It’s healthy, you know exactly what ingredients are going into it, and there is so much room to play around with it!
wp-1596650943963383718514328119327.jpg
Can you tell I made this one all about the nuts?  I added chopped almonds and pistachios to this granola and it tastes so delicious!  Crunchy and scrumptious, and the girls an I couldn’t stop eating it.

My favorite part of this granola recipe…. it takes 5 minutes to toss the ingredients together and only 20 minutes in the oven!  Yep.  Granola in less than 30 minutes.  It’s possible people!
wp-15966509433317414365542734045311.jpg
If you like this granola recipe, check out my “Date” with Granola recipe.  That is a huge hit in our family too!

What to use in a Nutty Granola?

OATS:  always a basic ingredient, I use the old fashioned as these are the best to bind.  I don’t recommend using the quick oats as they are thinner and (as the name suggests) cook faster which can lead to other ingredients in the granola being partially cooked.

NUTS:  any of your favorites will do.  Cashews, pecans, and walnuts taste great too!  Lately I’ve been on a pistachio and almond craze hence that’s what I used in this one

SWEETENER:  traditionally honey or maple syrup is used.  In this recipe, I changed it to agave.  Any of the three sweeteners work, just substitute it out for a 1:1 ratio.
wp-15966509444203174206797488539393.jpg
What can I eat my granola with?
Make a YOGURT PARFAIT with it

Sprinkle it on some vanilla ICE CREAM

Eat it as CEREAL for breakfast with some milk

Indulge in a little bit as an AFTERNOON SNACK

What do I need to make this granola?
Besides the ingredients, all you need is a mixing bowl, spatula, and a baking sheet.  So simple!

If you like how simple and delicious this granola is, try out some of my other easy recipes:
A “Date” with Granola
Spicy Garlic Hummus
Berry Bake
Breakfast Oat Muffins




Almond Coconut Porridge

Breakfast is my favorite meal. There are so many fun foods to eat and start your day. Sweet or savory, light or hearty, healthy or greasy!

A couple of months ago, a friend recommended a local restaurant, Homegrown. The moment I walked in and saw their menu, I fell in love. They’re a casual place that serves food which is organic and from local farmers. Talk about tasting the freshness in my food!

I ordered their Coconut Chia Porridge. Was I blown away! The creamy porridge paired with the crunchy toasted coconut and almonds, topped with sweet banana slices. I was in breakfast heaven!

Since then, I’ve been obsessed. Especially over the last week. I just can’t get it out of my mind so I decided to try my hand at it and make my own version.

20180315_142907.jpg

In addition to chia seeds, I added flax seeds. A double dose of fiber and omega 3’s (which is a win-win when you’re feeding two toddlers)!

20180315_082228.jpg

If you don’t have time in the morning because you need to rush out of the house, then this is a very easy prepare the night before recipe. Just mix all the ingredients for the oats, cover and keep in the refrigerator. Heat it up the next morning and add your toppings.

20180315_083655.jpg

Here is what I added to mine: toasted coconut, walnuts, craisins, sesame seeds and fresh blueberries. Not the same as Homegrown obviously but still delicious!

20180315_083632.jpg

Try it out!

Ingredients:
1c Steel Cut Oats
2c Unsweeteened Coconut Almond Milk (or any milk of your choice)
1c Water
1tsp Salt
1Tbsp Ground Flax Seed
1Tbsp Chia Seeds

For Toppings:
1Tbsp shredded coconut, toasted
Handful of toasted walnuts
2tsp Craisins
Handful of fresh blueberries
½tsp sesame seeds
1Tbsp Almond milk (or more for your desired consistency)

In a medium saucepan, combine the almond milk and water and boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat and add in the oatmeal and salt. Stir occasionally as the oats cook, approximately 20 minutes. As the oats start to thicken, about 10 minutes into cooking them, add in the chia and flax seeds. Mix well and continue to cook until the oats are done.

Spoon into a bowl and add the toppings.

I hope you and your family enjoy this bowl of porridge as much as me and mine did!

A “Date” with Granola

This recipe has a couple of stories behind it.  The most simplest, my toddler was having issues and I need to find a way for fiber to be in her diet and her to like it! The second story is a bit cuter.
We had been invited for breakfast and a playdate with one of her dearest friends, E.  Her parents had laid out a delicious breakfast for us and part of it was Granola.  I know you’re thinking, this is nice, but cute?  Mmmmmm…… well let me tell you.  E calls granola Crunch Crunch.  My toddler, (like most toddlers), is a monkey see monkey do.  She ate quite a bit that day and a couple weeks later, when I ran into a dilemma of how to incorporate more fiber, I had just the perfect solution.  Yep, her new favorite word – crunch crunch!
Dates is my new fave thing.  I like to snack on that and nuts throughout the day so I don’t eat enough chocolate to get a tummy ache.  Plus, it is loaded with fiber so I knew I needed to include this in my recipe.  The rest, well, was trial and error.  This is a very simple recipe.  Try it!
No seriously, try it! Our house eats it alone, with milk, yogurt, in any form basically because it is that good!
20180210_092658.jpg
Chop up some dates

Add in the oats, walnuts, and coconut.  (if you eat a bit of your ingredients along the way – don’t worry! I won’t tell because I’m doing the same!)

20180210_095046.jpg
Add the salt, vanilla extract, and olive oil and mix well.  Finally, add in the honey and mix really well.  You want the honey to mix evenly so all the ingredients combine.
Be careful! I got greedy the first time and added too much honey.  I definitely regretted that decision!

20180210_095740.jpg
Line a 2inch baking sheet with a silicone mat and spread the granola evenly.  Bake for 15 minutes at 350F.

20180210_104949.jpg
Look at how beautifully golden that looks!
Let it cool for about 5 minutes then gently scoop it into an airtight container.  Or, if you are impatient like me, just eat it as soon as it cools and make excuses about tasting it!

I’m hoping my “Crunch Crunch” recipe will join you for breakfast soon!

Here’s the full recipe:

Date Granola

Ingredients:
2c chopped dates
3c Old Fashioned Oats
1c shredded coconut
1c chopped walnuts
2Tbsp honey
3tsp vanilla extract
3/4tsp salt
3/4c EVOO

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Line a 2inch baking sheet with a silicone mat.

In a bowl, combine dates, oats, coconut, and walnuts.  Add in vanilla extract, salt and EVOO.  Mix well.  Add in honey and mix until honey combines with granola.

Spread evenly into baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

When it’s golden brown, pull out of the oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving.  Store in an airtight container for future use.

Enjoy!