Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Toddler Lunch 16

Today's Daycare Lunch Bag:

Snack # 1: Cut up peaches and grapes with honey.

Snack #2: True North Pistachio crisp ( you gotto try these!) dried apricots with cheese stick.

Lunch: Cut up spinach na thepla with yogurt.

Note: Thepla is a  Gujarati dish that is easy, tasty and very versatile. You can add any greens or grated vegetables to the dough and it tastes delish! I make the dough the night before. In the morning, roll it out and heat on lightly oiled griddle.

Dough is made of  spinach leaves,whole wheat flour, turmeric, Hungarian pepper powder( or chili powder), cumin-coriander powder, salt, sugar, ginger, yogurt and oil. Ajwain tastes good but is optional.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Toddler Lunch 15

Today's Daycare Lunch bag:

Snack # 1: Juicy red watermelon chunks with bright green grapes

Snack # 2" Wheat thins, dried cranberries and apricot

Lunch: Super soft triangles stuffed with Ricotta and spinach.

 Note: I use  Pillsbury crescent rolls that you get in refrigerator section at Publix. Spread out the dough, pinch together the seams, cut into squares. Filling is made with chopped spinach, ricotta, dot of ranch dressing, Italian seasoning, cumin ( I know strange..but tastes good) and some salt. Bake at 375 degree for 10 minutes.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thalipeeth-Multi grain savory pancake

I decided to take a short break from posting toddler lunch ideas. No worries. I'll resume posting more quick & delicious lunch ideas for toddlers very soon. In the mean time, I wanted to add a post about thalipeeth, since many of you asked for more information.

Thalipeeth is traditionally made by dry roasting different whole grains and then grinding them together to give a wholesome flour mixture, bhajjani,  that is used to make the savory pancakes. Given that it is next to impossible to freshly grind flour here in Atlanta, the other alternative is to use flours and dry roast them on low flame for few minutes until aromatic.  Dry roasting the flours helps in digestion. So try not to skip this step. I highly recommend that you roast the flours individually before mixing them together. Each flour heats up and burns at different temperatures. If you roast all the flours together, chances are that the bhajjani will have a mild burnt taste. You can make a BIG batch of bhajjani, store in it an airtight container and use it over 6-8 months.The proportions listed below are not set in stone. You can add more or less of any flour of your choice. Generally, urad, besan and bajra flours are difficult for little tummies to digest and so they are in lesser amounts. For those who are skeptical about Nachani/finger millet flour, it is a nutrition powerhouse. Nachani Satva / Porridge made of nacahani, milk, ghee and jaggery is given to babies over 6 months because of its exceptionally high iron and calcium content. It also helps in healthy and gradual weight gain. For those with allergies, Nachani chi bhakri/flat bread is another great way to consume this super grain.

I make large quantity of the flour mixture, bhajjani,  once a year and then I use the mixture for making the  pancakes throughout the year. This saves me lot of time. 
1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup nachani or ragi (finger millet flour)
1/2 cup moong daal flour
1/4 cup besan ( chick pea flour)
1/4 urad flour
1/4 cup bajra flour ( millet flour)
1 tbsp rava ( cream of wheat)
2 tbsp of fresh roasted  cumin & coriander powder

1 cup Bhajjani
1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
Spinach leaves shredded -optional
1/2 tsp  turmeric
1/2 tsp Hungarian red pepper powder (or chilli powder for adults)
Pinch of garam masala
Salt to taste

1) Mix all the ingredients with water to make a soft dough.
2) Take 2-3  kitchen paper towels, bunch them together, soak them in water. Squeeze out excess water. Lay the wet towels out on a flat surface. Take a golf ball size dough, place it on the wet towels and usinng your fingers press the dough to form a circular flat shape ( like a thick roti). Make few holes in it.
3) Heat 1 tsp oil in a non stick pan.
4) Pick up the kitchen towel with the dough ( no it won't fall).Gently turn the wet towel upside down near the edge of the pan ( now you see why we soaked the paper towels first, they won't burn despite of touching the scorching hot sides of the pan). Cover and cook on both sides until crispy.

Thalipeeth is generally eaten hot with pat of butter ( yum!) or with yogurt. I like to have some koshimbir ( maharashtrian salsa) with it to make a balanced meal.

Easy Peasy Koshimbir:
1 cup coarsely chopped tomato
1/2 cup chopped onions ( Yes, we love onions)
1/2 chopped cilantro
green chillies-optional
pinch of sugar
1 tbsp of ground peanut.
squeeze of lemon juice.

Mix and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Toddler Lunch 14

Today's Daycare Lunch bag:

Snack#1: Watermelon cubes and grapes

Snack # 2: Chakkali, dried sweet cranberries and roasted pistachios

Lunch:  Savory pancakes ( uthappam) made with moong flour and rice flour topped with sliced red bell pepper and spring oinions.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hungarian Kiffle- Eggless Cookie

Hungarian Kiffle

I had Hungarian Kiffle for the first time in Ohio. During the Christmas potluck at work, one of my co-worker used to bring a platter of these quaint shaped cookies. Now, let me tell you...these are not your usual Nestle Cookie dough slapped on a baking sheet...bleh. No No...these little morsels are divine. The filling is exotic yet simple. Apricot, crushed walnut, almond paste and prune..yum. Basically, you could tell that it took a lot of time and lot of love to make these phenomenal creations. Needless to say, I chased my co-worker  to share her great grandmother's recipe. The scrap of paper on which I wrote down the recipe was filed away safely and forgotten, until yesterday. I decided to muster the courage and make these cookies for my dear friends as part of the 25th post Giveaway.

This pastry dough has LOTS of butter and cream cheese but very little sugar. Sweetness comes from the different filling and the powdered sugar that is dusted on these cookies right before they are served with a cup of dark coffee or mint tea.  My friend's great grandmother used to make her own filing using dry fruits which takes a loooooong time. The new generation uses canned filing for the cookies. Please use Solo brand pie filing. This is a European brand that makes delectable filings for cookies. DO NOT USE FRUIT JAMS. The filing bubbles and thickens in the oven, some fruit jams will burn and become bitter. Solo is available in local Publix. I used apricot and poppy seed. If you can find a can of prune filing, grab it. Prune kiffle, also called 'Lekvar' are the best!

This pastry is tricky to work with because of the high butter/fat content. You have to work quickly and refrigerate the dough often.

Now, if you don't want to do all the work then there is an easier albeit an expensive way for you to still savor kiffles. You can order kiffles from the Kiffle Kitchen Bakery located in PA here 

Hungarian Kiffle:
Makes 36 cookies
2 1/4 cup All Purpose flour
1 cup of unsalted Butter which is equal to 2 sticks of unsalted butter-at room temperature
8 oz cream cheese-at room temperature
1 tbsp of milk
1 Tbsp powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cans of 12 ounce pie filling
Lots of Plastic wrap/wax paper

1) In a glass bowl, cream butter for 5 minutes using a hand mixer. Add cream cheese and continue the creaming process for another 5 minutes. This is an important step to get flaky pastry. Now add milk and sugar. Continue blending.
2) Sift flour, baking powder and salt.
3) Add flour mixture to the butter  mixture to form a loose dough. The dough will be nice and moist but not sticky.
4) Break the dough into 4 equal parts. Use two sheets of  flour dusted plastic wrap to sandwich the dough ball. Using your fingers press down the dough to form a 1/2 inch thick square sheet. Repeat for the remaining dough portions. You will end up with 4 dough sheets each sandwiched between plastic wraps.
5) Chill for 1 hour. The dough with the plastic wraps will look like the frozen parantha you get from the Indian store.
6)Preheat the oven to 375 degree.
7) Take only one sheet of the dough out of the refrigerator. If the sheet is frozen hard. let it sit on the counter for couple minutes. Using a rolling pin, roll over the plastic wrap to make 1/8 inch thick square ( as thick as a roti). The butter will melt in this process making it difficult to work, so pop the sheet back into the fridge for 3-4 minutes.
8) Take out the 1/8 inch thick sheet, using a pizza cutter trim the square to get even edges. Trims can be used again. Now cut out 2'-2' inch squares. Again, if need be, pop the sheet in the refrigerator to stiffen.
9) Put 1/2 tsp of filing in the center of the 2' inch square. Fold and pinch the opposite sides of the square, to form a swaddle around the filing.
10) Working very quickly transfer the cookies from the plastic sheet to the baking sheet. Lay them 1 inch apart on a greased baking sheet.
11) Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden. Cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Giveaway- Winner

The 25th post giveaway winners are  ( drum-roll please)........Aru & Sunita...wooohhhhoooooo

Jury was an unbiased toddler who cannot read ( but was super glued to the alphabet 'A'...hehehhe). Thank you everyone for reading and commenting on my posts. It makes my day to see your responses. Like I said, we will have many more milestones and many more giveaways.

Talking of giveaway, the winners get to taste these......( see the picture) Hungarian cookies called Kiffle - Buttery pastry filled with Apricot & Poppy seed.

Recipe will be posted in tomorrow's post.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Toddler Lunch 13

Today's Daycare Lunch Bag:

Snack #1: Cut up grapes, pineapple and pomegranate.

Snack #2: Shankarpalli, dried apricots and cranberries.

Lunch: Quesadilla made with whole wheat chapatti stuffed with black olive hummus, shredded mozzarella, roasted red pepper ( pat dry) and pinch of cumin- coriander powder.

Note: For picky eaters, drizzle some honey before you fold the quesadilla and toast it. Press down firmly as you toast, so the cheese will melt and hold the filling together as it cools down.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Toddler Lunch 12

Today's Daycare Lunch  bag:

Snack: Cut up banana, figs and pomegranate seeds (!)

Snack #2: Vegetable cracker with roasted salted almonds, walnuts and pistachios

Lunch: Mini sandwiches made with butter bean spread and amul cheese slice. Tomato ketchup to dip and enjoy.

Note: Y tasted pomegranate for the first time yesterday. I was eager for him to like this super nutritious fruit and he did...yeppiee!. So guess what, I had to add few pomegranate seeds to his snack cup today. After reading up on health benefits of these sweet succulent ruby red seeds, I am going to make sure that all three of us periodically eat this wonder fruit.

The butter bean spread is super simple. Blend well cooked butter beans, palmful of spinach, dhania ( cilantro leaves), couple curry leaves, cumin seeds and chat masala. For grown ups, add few green chillies and splash of lemon juice. This spread stores well.

Nutrition Facts-Amul Cheese Slice

Serving Size: 1 Slice, 20g

Amount per Serving

• Calories 70 Calories from Fat 45

% Daily Value *

• Total Fat 5.0g 8%

• Saturated Fat 3.0 15%

• Cholesterol 15mg 5%

• Sodium 250mg 10%

• Total Carbohydrate <1g 0%

• Dietary Fiber 0g 0%

• Sugars 1g

• Protein 4g 8%

• Vitamin A 2%

• Calcium 15%

Nutrition Facts=Kraft Cheese Singles ( Kraft website)

Serving Size: 1 Slice, 19g

Amount per Serving

• Calories 60 Calories from Fat 40

% Daily Value *

• Total Fat 4.5g 7%

• Saturated Fat 2.5g 12%

• Cholesterol 15mg 5%

• Sodium 250mg 10%

• Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%

• Dietary Fiber 0g 0%

• Sugars 1g

• Protein 3g 6%

• Vitamin A4%

• Calcium20%

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Toddler Lunch 11

Today's Daycare Lunch Bag:

Snack #1 : Cut up grapes, strawberries and pineapple slices

Snack #2:  Challah with raspberry jam.

Lunch: Whole wheat vegetable pasta in tomato cream sauce with peas , spinach and fresh basil.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Toddler Lunch 10

Today's Daycare Lunch Bag:

Snack#1 Cut up figs and peaches

Snack # 2: Wheatables cracker, salted almonds, walnuts with raisins

Lunch: Potato & beetroot stuffed  paratha with yogurt.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Toddler Lunch 9

Today's Daycare Lunch Bag :

Snack # 1 Cut up strawberries and grapes.

Snack #2: Khari ( Savory puffed pastry), dried apricots and cranberries (Yum !)

Lunch# Patties made of mashed black beans, sweet corn, shredded mozzarella, bread crumbs with Italian seasoning, pinch of garam masala and salt. Dipping sauce is ranch dressing.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Toddler Lunch 8

Today's Daycare Lunch Bag :

Snack #1: Cut up apple and grapes with couple dates ( regarding dates for toddlers .....less is more)

Snack #2: Chakkli/ Murukku made with multi grain flour ( Y's grandmother made these for him) and roasted almonds

Lunch: Whole wheat vegetable bow tie pasta with peas, carrots, green beans in cream of mushroom, splash of milk, pinch of pepper and a dash of Italian seasoning. Grated cheese on the top

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Toddler Lunch 7

Today's Daycare Lunch Bag :
Snack #1: Cut up strawberries and apples

Snack#2: Wheatables nut crisps with almonds and chocolate hazelnut wafer ( pirouline)

Lunch: Paneer parantha with ketchup

Note: I realized that most of my pictures, although yummy, look the same. Seriously, at 6:30 am without any coffee I don't have the drive to make bunny face sandwiches....hmmm. Maybe when my lunch box will compete with school cafeteria crap, probably I'll start making bunny face sandwiches. Until then, Y has to chow down these delish lunches.

Caramelized Onions, Potato & Gruyère Pizza

FoodTV is a BAD channel for a foodie like me! I don't remember if it was Rachel Ray or Giada from FoodTV that used potato and Gruyere in a Shepard's pie recipe. It looked soo cheesy and smooth, I was dreaming about it for a while. Yes, I dream about food and No, it is not unusual. Hmm

For dinner I made a white pizza with caramelized onions, sliced potatoes, roasted red peppers and Gruyere. Its a fool proof combinations of flavors. Sweetness of the roasted red pepper, crunchy texture of the onions, velvety potatoes and the cheese..ahhh. Gruyere has this nutty almost hazelnut like flavor that brings the dish together. I keep caramelized onions in my fridge all the time, its a great ingredient to jazz up rice and curries to make them extra special. A jar of roasted red peppers was bought on whim. A hunk of aromatic Gruyere was sitting in the fridge for few days. As if the stars were aligned, I actually had all my dream ingredients in the fridge...wooohooo. Save for the pizza dough, I had to schlep to the grocery store on the way back home.

The base sauce is basic Béchamel with grated Gruyere. Don't worry if there are any lumps in the sauce, after all we are going to slather it on the pizza dough. When the cheese melts it will be a thicker sauce that will stay on the dough. No runny mess. I highly suggest that potatoes are sliced really THIN. I added marinated jalapenos to add some tartness and spice. But its completely optional. Other flavors to consider, crushed garlic and mushrooms. Yummmm

Caramelized Onions, Potato & Gruyère Pizza


2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp all purpose flour

2 cups of milk

1/2 cup of grated Gruyere


Heavy dose of fresh ground pepper

Pizza dough ( From Publix)


1/2 cup of grated Gruyere

1 medium potato sliced thin

1/2 cup of chopped roasted red pepper

1 cup of caramelized onions

5-6 slices of marinated jalapenos ( or more if you like it spicy)


Preheat the oven to highest temperature.


Melt butter in a pan and add flour. Roast for few minutes. Since the roux is for a white sauce, do not let the mixture change color. Add milk and stir. Add salt and pepper. Once the sauce starts to bubble add grated Gruyere cheese. Mix thoroughly and let it sit. Simple!


Spread the pizza dough in a greased baking sheet. Slather the sauce. Layer potatoes, red peppers. caramelized onions and jalapenos. Top with grated cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Toddler Lunch 6

Today's Daycare Lunch Bag :

Snack #1: Cut up grapes, strawberries and cheese stick.

Snack#2: Khari ( savory puffed pastry-Indian Store) and roasted pistachios

Lunch: Whole green moong tikki with shredded carrots and spinach. Cool ranch dressing as dipping sauce.

Note: I pressure cook whole green moong beans the night before. This saves me a lot of time during the morning rush. Next morning, drain ( reserve the nutritious liquid to cook rice etc for dinner), blend the cooked moong beans with palm full of spinach leaves, cilantro and shredded carrots. To the paste add rice powder to make a dough, add cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric, pinch of garam masala, amchoor powder and salt. Shape into a flat tikki. Shallow fry in little oil for few minutes to get a crunchy outside.

During Y's last doctor's visit, his physician was worried about his blood iron level because meat is not included in Y's diet yet. The doc has no idea that I sneak spinach and cilantro in Y's every meal. No surprise that the test result was VERY favorable..Yeppiee!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Toddler Lunch 5

Today's Daycare Lunch Bag Yummies:

Snack # 1: Sliced apple, blueberries and banana drizzled with honey .

Snack #2: Banana Chips ( !) and mini raisins

Lunch : Thalipeeth and tomato ketchup

Note: Thalipeeth is a traditional Maharashtrian snack/meal that is very quick, nutritious and tasty. Its a thick pancake made of a multi grain roasted flour called bhajani. Typical bhajani which can be made in advance, will have roasted flour of rice, wheat, ragi (millet), besan, jowar ( sorghum), cream of wheat (Rava), asoefetida, cumin and coriander powder. To the flour add chili powder, turmeric, salt, chopped onions and cilantro to make a pliable sticky dough.
I add chopped spinach when I make thalipeeth for Y. Instead of chili powder, I use the Hungarian red pepper powder which gives the traditional red color without any heat. This tip is from my BFF ..thanks PG.