Delicious Almond Blueberry Cookies

Ready to get messy yet love cookies and can’t figure out what to buy your loved ones or neighbors, then this is the one cookie you won’t regret making from scratch!

Can’t bake without these utensils. You need an electric hand mixer or a kitchen aid to prepare the cookie batter. You also need a flat baking dish!

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1/4 to 1/3 cup whole milk

1 tsp almond extract

1 tsp lemon zest (grated)

1/2 cup chopped almonds (toasted and chopped)

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Direction:

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.

In another medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar using a hand mixer. Add egg and beat into the mixture. Add milk, almond extract, and lemon zest.

Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Fold in the almonds, then the blueberries. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. If you need a softer dough, bake them right away without chilling the batter.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Using two small spoons, dollop mix onto cookie sheets. Bake until golden brown around the edges, about 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

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mulaku bhaji (Mexican chilli pepper Bhaji)

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Ingredients:

10-15 Stem on green chilli peppers (slit in the middle)

2 cups of gram flour (kadala podi)

1/2 cup water

1/4 tsp of turmeric powder

1-2 tsp of chilli powder

1/4 tsp of asafetida

1/2 cup of tamarind juice (2 lemon size tamarind mixed in water)

1 tbsp. of salt

Direction:

Add 2 lemon size tamarind and mix well into the water and strain it and keep it aside.

In another bowl, add in gram flour (besan). Add in some water and mix till you get a thick batter that will stick to the chillies.

Add in the turmeric, chilli powder and asafetida with salt and stir well.

In a wok or a deep pan add in about a cup of oil and heat the oil.

Take the slitted chilli, put it into the tamarind juice and allow the juice to sweep through the slit and pour out the juice before you put it into the besan mix.

Once the oil is hot enough, add the coated chilli into it and let it become golden brown. Flip it to the other side and repeat.

Squeeze some lemon juice onto it and eat it with tartar sauce.

Enjoy it with some hot tea!

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Facts About Chillies:

Vitamins

Green peppers are an incredible source of vitamin C. One medium-sized green pepper has 95.7 mg of vitamin C, which is even more than the 63.5 mg found in a medium-sized orange. However, most of us are not going to eat an entire green pepper at once like we would an orange, so it’s better to look at the amount of vitamin C in more typical serving sizes. One “ring” of green pepper provides 8 mg of vitamin C and 10 green pepper strips contain 21.7 mg.

Green peppers are a good source of vitamin K and vitamin B6, with 10 strips providing about 3 percent of the daily value (DV) of each one. Ten strips also provide about 2.25 percent of the daily value of vitamin A. Other vitamins present in small amounts include vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate and pantothenic acid.

Minerals

While green peppers contain a variety of minerals, they’re only present in trace amounts. The two most abundant minerals are potassium and manganese. Ten strips of green pepper will provide about 1.5 percent of the DV for potassium and 1.75 percent for manganese. The remaining minerals in green peppers are calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and copper.

Other Nutrients

You might be surprised to learn that green peppers also contain the healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. One medium green pepper has 64.3 mg of omega-6 fatty acids and 9.5 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. Orange and red bell peppers have significantly higher amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, but a medium-sized green pepper provides 0.41 mg of these important antioxidants. You’ll also benefit from 10.7 mg of phytosterols, which help to lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Kerala Love Letter (Madakussan)

simple-pancake-

Ingredients:

1 cup of maida (all purpose flour)

1 cup of water or as required to make a batter of pancakes

1 tsp of vanilla essence

1/2 cup of sugar (optional)

For the Filling:

shredded coconut to fill the pancakes (about a cup)

1 cup of sugar

1 cup ripe bananas (finely chopped)

Directions:

In a bowl, whisk in the maida and enough water to make regular pancake or dosa batter. Add in the vanilla essence and sugar (optional) and whisk it into a smooth batter.

In a fry pan, add a small batch of batter and spread it like a dosa. Once the batter firms, flip it to other side and take it out and set it on a plate.

In another bowl, add in the coconut, sugar and bananas and mix well with a spoon.

Add this mixture to the end of the pancake and roll it and set it aside till all the pancake batter is used up and rolled with sugar mixture.

Enjoy it with tea!

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Facts about bananas:

Calories and Fat

A medium banana, equal to 126 g, contains 110 calories.  The sweet fruit is fat-free, making it a guilt-free treat or addition to your  morning cereal. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that  consumers  eat between 1 to 2 cups of fresh fruit per day, and a medium banana  equals 3/4 cup.

Cholesterol, Sodium and Potassium

Bananas contain no cholesterol, and are sodium-free,  making them a good selection for a heart-healthy diet, even if you have blood  pressure concerns. Rich in potassium, a medium banana contains 450 mg of  potassium, the equivalent of 13 percent of your daily recommended  intake.

Carbohydrates, Fiber and Sugar

A medium banana contains 30 g of carbohydrates. Sugar  contributes 19 g of those carbohydrates with 3 g of dietary  fiber. The sugar  in bananas metabolizes quickly, which may create a rapid increase in your blood  sugar.

Protein, Vitamins and Minerals

Each medium banana contains 1 g of protein and packs 20  percent of your daily requirement of vitamin B6. Eat a  medium banana daily to gain 15 percent of your recommended daily intake of  immune system-boosting vitamin C.

Naranga (Lime) Achar

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Ingredients:

10-15 key limes (quartered and deseeded)

7-10 garlic pods (halved or quartered)

2 tsp ginger (julienned)

1 shallot (chopped)

handful of curry leaves

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

3 tsp of chili powder

1/2 fenugreek powder

2 tbsp. oil

salt

1 tsp of sugar

First Step of pickling:

In a glass jar, add the quartered limes with 2 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of sugar and keep it aside for a week (the more the better).

Second Step:

In a pan, add the oil and add in the curry leaves.

Add in the chopped onions, garlic and ginger and sauté till golden brown.

Add in the spices (turmeric, chili and fenugreek powder) and sauté well. Add in 2 tbsp. of water along with some salt. Once the spices are sauted well for about 2 minutes, take it off the stove.

Add in the pickled limes and coat well. Leave it aside.

In another pan, add in 1 tbsp. of oil and add in the mustard seeds and some curry leaves.

Once this is cooled, add it into the pickle mixture.

Serve it with some hot rice or roti.

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Cholesterol Fighting

The lime’s high concentration of vitamin C makes it a  nutritional weapon against both heart disease and stroke. “The Practical  Encyclopedia of Whole Foods” asserts that vitamin C has the potential to lower  bad cholesterol while raising levels of beneficial cholesterol. Adding limes to  your diet will result in vitamin C converting bad LDL cholesterol into bile  acids that are then excreted. A vitamin C deficiency results in an unhealthy  accumulation of LDL cholesterol.

Carbohydrates

A single average-sized lime only has about 20 calories.  Carbohydrates make up more than 85 percent of the caloric value and the lime is  unusual among citrus fruits in that its carbohydrate content is made up more by  dietary fiber than  sugars. This ratio makes the lime one of the better fruits for adding fiber to  your diet while cutting down on sugars.

Health Problems

“Prevention Magazine’s Nutrition Advisor” warns against  excessive consumption of raw limes. Eating too many limes can produce intestinal  gas in some people. A high level of acidity in limes also has the potential to  erode tooth enamel if consumed too often. An oil found in the peeling of limes  called psoralens can create an allergic reaction in some people, so take care  when handling raw limes in food preparation to avoid the potential for  developing dermatitis. Limes provide a valuable nutritional service through the  ability of the juice to be used as a salt substitute or meat tenderizer, but you  want to cut the peel away before squeezing any juice out of the  fruit.

Drumstick curry

Ingredients:

1 cup drumstick (2 inch lengthwise)

1 tsp turmeric powder

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds

1/2 tsp of mustard seeds

1 tsp of cumin seeds

1 onion finely chopped

1 tomato diced

1/2-1 cup of tamarind water- (add tamarind in water and microwave it for 1 minute)

curry leaves

salt to taste

Direction:

In a sauce pan, add in 1 cup of water along with drumstick,1/2 of turmeric, 1 tsp of chilli powder and salt.

Cook for 5 minutes and set it aside.

In another sauce pan, into the hot oil, add in the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds. Saute the chopped onions and curry leaves.

Add in the tomatoes and once it cooks through, add in the 1 tsp of chilli powder, 1 tsp of coriander powder and salt. Mix well.

Add the tamarind water and then the drumstick and discard the water it was cooked in.

Close and cook for 3 minutes. If you wish to have more gravy, increase the amount of tamarind water .

It has a very unique and distinctive taste and aroma with all the seeds added.

Great side to your lunch!

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Kingfish Fry

Ingredients:

Any desired fish steak or fillet

1 tsp chilli powder

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 pepper powder

1 tsp of ginger-garlic paste

1/2 cup italian bread crumbs

Oil to cover the bottom of the pan

salt to taste

Direction:

Mariante the fish steaks with all the ingredients for 5-10 minutes.

Add the cooking oil and once the oil is hot enough, add in the couple of steaks at a time and fry till the fish becomes brown or crisp. The bread crumbs add to the crispness and notice how you don’t add egg, so it perfectly healthy.

Facts about fish:

Fat, Carbohydrates and Protein

A fish fillet contains 11 g of fat, which is about 17  percent of the daily value for fat. It also has 15 g of carbohydrates, or about  5 percent of the daily value for carbohydrates. The protein content in a fish  fillet is 13 g, which is about 27 percent of the daily value for  protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

A fried fish fillet contains 17 percent of the daily  value for vitamin B12, and ten percent of the daily value for niacin. It also  has 484 mg of sodium, or 20 percent of the daily value for sodium.

Papaya and Payar Thoren

It is one of my favorite recipes and if you try it I’m sure this dish will find its way to the top of your dish list too.

Ingredients:

1 green/unripe papaya (shredded in a food processor)

1 cup payar (cooked and set aside)refer to my cowpeas thoren

1 onion (finely chopped)

2-3 green chillies (slit)

2 garlic (finely chopped)

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

curry leaves

salt to taste

Direction:

Just like any other thorens, in a pan, add oil and crack some mustard seeds.

Add in the curry leaves, onion, garlic and sauté it. Add in the shredded papaya and sauté well. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Add in the turmeric and salt and sauté it.

Cook for another five to six minutes till the papaya has turned yellow and tender. Once you have cooked the papaya through, add in the fully cooked payar and add it to the papaya thoren and mix well.

Adjust the salt if you need to at this point. Enjoy it with hot rice.

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Facts about Papaya:

Nutritional Content

Papaya extract is chock full of dietary fiber, vitamins  B1, B2 and B3 as well as vitamins A, K and C. Papaya extract also contains  minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. It is also  fat free, cholesterol free and has low sodium content. It contains the  carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are both beneficial for age-related eye  diseases such as macular degeneration.

Effects on Digestion

According to Ansci.cornell.edu, “Papaya extract has  papain and chyomopapain; these two enzymes help with the digestive system by  breaking down the proteins and supporting production of digestive enzymes.”  Individuals over 50 years old produce fewer digestive enzymes in their stomachs  and intestines, resulting in poor protein digestion. Papain is helpful in  preventing this digestive problem. Papain also helps alleviate nausea,  flatulence, diarrhea and constipation.

Health Benefits

Some of the health benefits of papaya extract include  the anti-inflammatory effect of papain in treating the inflammation of  rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Its fiber content helps with bowel  elimination and the binding and removal of cancer causing toxins from the  bowel.

Coconut cake with cream cheese filling

Is your anniversary around the corner and wondering how to wow your partner or want to give him/her something special made from scratch with your bare hands? Then here is a cake for you and what could be more delicious to a keralite than a cake covered with sweet coconut!

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup packed shredded unsweetened coconut

3 tsp baking powder

1 tsp  salt

3/4 cup  unsalted butter (at room temperature)/I can’t believe it is not butter!

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

Direction:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Lightly butter or oil two 9-inch round cake pans. I used one big pan and cut the cake in half after it had cooled off.

Line bottoms with a circle of lightly buttered or oiled waxed paper. I sprayed the tin pans with PAM.

In a bowl, using a fork, stir flour with coconut, baking powder and salt.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter with sugar until light, occasionally scraping down side of bowl, 3 minutes.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, until evenly mixed, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 2 parts, alternating with coconut milk.

Divide batter between prepared pans. Smooth tops. Bake in centre of preheated oven until a cake tester inserted into centre of cakes comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove pans to racks. Since I used one big pan, I had to bake it for an hour or even an hour and half till the centre of the cake hardens.

Cool 10 minutes, then turn cakes out onto racks. Turn top side down so cakes will be flat, for easy icing. Cool. If baking ahead, wrap in plastic wrap. Leave at room temperature overnight.

Ingredients for Icing:

16 ounces Cream cheese — softened

8 tablespoons Butter — or margarine

2 cup Powdered sugar (grind regular sugar)

1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

Direction:

Beat together cream cheese and butter; stir in powdered sugar and vanilla and blend until smooth.

Evenly coat the cream cheese between and over the cooled cake.

Evenly coat the cream cheese filled and frosted cake with sweetened coconut.

Using your imagination, decorate the cake or use the food colored icing to decorate the cake before you present it to your loved one!

Enjoy it after dinner or even with tea or coffee.

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