Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Very Hungry Cheesy Caterpillar !

Every celebration starts with food + smile and definitely ends on a happy note with a "Cheese, Smile" :)))
The happy and cheesy moments give a handful of  pictures to cherish, and a bag full of  memories of the beautiful time spent with family and friends. Revisiting the memories of all the parties I had at my place or have been to reminded of the fact that 'cheese' is our companion at all happy and special occasions in our lives. Cheese is there in the celebration and makes the party look so special, be it an appetizer, a main course or a dessert. 
Couple of years back I visited my sister's place and she gave me an a book on 'Cheese' ! Yes, it wasn't a recipe book as at that time I had little ventures and adventures in the kitchen. The book was on a business fable  "Who Moved My Cheese" by Dr. Spencer Johnson. The book has an amazing message on how to deal with change in your work and in your life. That day I learnt a different perspective of looking at Cheese. It gives a message of being soft and warm to yourself and others and quickly adapting to change. 'Cheese' is a metaphor of what we want to have in personal and professional life @ job, relationship, health, wealth, name & fame :) Each of us have our own idea of what cheese is and we pursue it because it makes us feel happy. If we get it, we feel attached to it and if we lose it, we feel sad and it changes our lives :(
I appreciate the opportunity given to me by the team of Foodbuzz tastemaker program to make a post on 'Kraft Singles' and share my precious memories. I sat back and reflected to realize that a  plenty of cheese dishes roll out in my kitchen every 'day and night.' Perhaps my favorite memories are when I was a kid and used to make a cheese tomato sandwich for midnight snack during the exam days. The recipe is simple yet classic and withstands the present time. The very soft texture of the cheese singles makes it a perfect pair with breads, cookies and soups. I used to make a lot of 'Cheese Cookie Sandwich' to nibble a snack made in no time and satiating hunger for quite a while !
This post of mine is inspired by the famous book The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Here we end our circle time, take a break to have a look into"The Very Hungry Cheesy Caterpillar" ! 


Cheesy-Toasty, What-say ?


Ingredients:
Bread Slices: 4-5 (White bread cut into round circles with cookie cutter or lid)
Cheese Slices: 5-6 (By Kraft Singles)
Campari wine Tomatoes: 4
Salt, Pepper: to taste
Roasted peas: just few to decorate
French beans: 2, to decorate
Broccoli florets: 2, to decorate


Lovely ingredients - Kraft Singles & Veggies !


Method:
Cut the bread into circular discs of about 11/2''inches with cookie cutter (can also use cap of any bottle as I did). Cut one big disc about 3'' for the face of the caterpillar.


Nice & Round - Simple !


Arrange the bread discs in a platter.
Similarly cut the cheese slices into circular discs and arrange.
Finally cut the tomatoes discs horizontally with a sharp knife. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Here we start assembling this project...


Preheat the nonstick pan and slightly spray with cooking oil or butter.
Roast the bread till it becomes light golden brown yet soft to eat.


Here comes the legs & the Head :)


Arranging the Cheese Caterpillar:
Place the bread face first followed by smaller discs and arrange in the format of caterpillar.
Quickly place all the cheese discs on top of the bread followed by tomato discs.
Close the sandwich by putting another layer of bread slices.


Finally the Guy's here - A Very Hungry Cheesy Caterpillar !



Decorate with more cheese triangles and lightly roasted peas. 
The double cheese gave a nice softness to the sandwich, lending it more flavor.
The legs of the caterpillar were made with cutting the french beans into 1/2'' small pieces. 
Eyes are made from kids craft (borrowed the eyes from my son's kit). Else olives can be used.
Finally the antennas of the caterpillar were made from broccoli florets. 


The very edible and hungry cheesy caterpillar is ready to roll out... :)


My caterpillar is all hungry for classic cheese and tomato sandwiches. So I made plenty of them so that  the Sniff, Scurry, Hem & Haw at home amongst ourselves are able to satiate their hunger and enjoy this long weekend ! 






Disclosure: "As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, I received a coupon for Kraft singles and a stipend."


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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Pirouettes Pearl Chocolate Cake for My Peter Pan !

May'18th is a big day for us, It's the Birthday of our little man !

And with a merry twinkle in his eyes, my little Peter asked me, "Mommy, what cake are you going to bake for me this year ?"

I could feel the mystery expectation for a something Special cake.....!

This pressed me and his dad hard to search a cake made of chocolates and decorate it as per his liking. Our radical surf around the nook and book came to an end with this artfully decorated cake - 

"Pirouettes & Pearl Cake with Chocolate." 

Just seems yesterday when we celebrated the first birthday and he was dressed up in pearl white little angel dress handmade by his Grandma, just for him. 

The other day his teacher gave him a task sheet at home to be completed, "When I grow up I want to become....."
 and guess what, he muttered, "A Butterfly".....

Yay, I want to stay in the park whole day and will be more than happy to camp in the parks :)))))) 

It is so much  fun to chase butterflies and wave to aeroplanes ! 

These years were blissful yet the best years are still to come, I guess....

 This anecdote reminded me of John Lock's Theory of  “tabula rasa”. 

When a child is born, the mind is described as a 'blank slate' in Latin. An individual grows up as a product of interaction between his environment and heredity. A doze of positive reinforcement and modeling helps to develop self esteem and identity in the child. The energies can be channelized to harvest the best potential which will enable a child to carve a niche on the world map. I really wonder if my little one might be inspired to become somebody like Wright Brothers, Einstein or a Vinci, one day ! 

Each day I'm growing with him, I'm learning and exploring the wonders of our little world. So it's time to celebrate... !


Here is the checklist:

Ingredients:
All-purpose flour: 1 Cup
Baking powder: 1/4tsp
Baking soda: 1/4 Tsp
Sugar: 1/4 cup
Salt: a pinch
Milk: 1/4 cup
Vanilla extract: few drops
Eggs: 3
Butter : 1/2 Stick (at room temp)
Unsweetened Cocoa: 1/4 cup
Chocolate Bar: 1 (8oz, melted)
Coffee: a pinch (for richer color)
Pepperidge Farms Pirouettes: 16 (one box full box)
Silver Pearls: for decorations

Pepperidge Farms Pirouettes are perfect to add zing to celebrations !
Crispy 'n' filled with Hazelnut deliciousness !


Chocolate hazelnut spread for frosting: 
Mix cream cheese(2 tsp), Butter(1/4 stick), sugar(1/4 cup) and cocoa(2 tsp), Nutella (2 tsp)

Method:
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar. 
Bring chocolate bar to room temperature and grate it or melt it with butter in a microwave. 
Set aside .
In a separate bowl whisk milk, vanilla extract, eggs.
Gently fold flour mixture into liquid mixture and chocolate until well blended. 
Pour this mix into a cake pan layered with parchment paper. 
Else, oil the pan well and sprinkle some flour. 
Bake it for 30 - 35 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Assembling & Dressing the Cake:
Let the cake cool down. 
With a sharp bowl or knife cut out two small circular cakes to make a double decker cake. (Bake two separate cakes in two pans of equal size). 


Layer the two cakes  with chocolate hazelnut frosting. 
Then smoother the cakes with frosting all around. 
The more the frosting, merrier is everyone.....!
Decorate the sides of the cakes by fencing it with Chocolate and hazelnut filled Pirouettes.
Tie it with a ribbon to secure the pirouettes and a pearl string.
Dust the top of the cake with cocoa.

Top Shot.... What 'say !!!

Finally throw a fistful of teeny tiny silver pearls to complete the setting !

Cake made with Love by Mamma & Papa

Awesome........A gorgeous piece of love and art activity is ready !

For his special day he just wanted to have cakes and more cakes through out the day.

 So the day started with a pan cake, then some cup cakes , some home made pan pizza and finally got his treat of chocolate cake.  

I'm so glad that the whole project ended as an art and family project and we had fun decorating it with pirouettes and pearls !

'A very Happy Birthday to my little Peter as you happily march from the age of fairytales to age of make believes !'  

Luv - Mom & Dad





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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Lentil Cake with Kiwis & a Strawberry Heart for Mothers Day.

"Mother's Day is a time for warm thoughts and fond memories, for expressing the feelings and words that often go unspoken, for letting those special people in our lives know that they are loved and appreciated - always". A Lentil Cake with Kiwis & a Strawberry Heart made with loads of luv especially for the Idol of love - A Mom. This is an ideal dessert for a mother who makes umpteen recipes to nurture her family with her deep reservoir of affection and love. Isn't it amazing to see how a mom juggles between different roles she plays. She swiftly goes from being an ideal mom to caring wife, from a perfect daughter to a loving sister, playing all these roles with an ease. Today is a special day to honor every Mom for being there for all of us, Always !!!

Featured on FoodBuzz Top 9 , 15th May 2012


This recipe is inspired by a very famous snack food from a state of Gujarat 'Dhokla'. I added hand full of more grain flours to the gram flour mix to make it more nutritive. Next I Topped it with garden fresh fruits (kiwi & strawberries) instead of coconut shreds. Can also top it with any of your favorites - blueberries or raspberries, all taste amazing and is an ultimate combo. Best of all An Instant Cake to Make & Gorgeous to Present to a 'mother - always on the go, who looks after her family 24/7 rain or shine.' 


Ingredients:
Gram flour: 1 cup
Oats: 1/2 cup
Semolina: 4 tsp
Rice Flour: 4 tsp
Lime Juice: 1/2 tsp
Lime zest: 1/4 tsp
Ginger Zest: 1/4 tsp
Sweet Bell Peppers: 4tsp (finely chopped)
Sugar: 1/2 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Yogurt:  11/2 cup
Eno (fruit salt): 1 sachet/1 tsp


Seasoning & Topping:
Water:  1 cup
Kiwi glaze: Made by combining 4 tsp of sugar to 1sliced kiwi. (Cook for 8-10 mintes on a low heat and add 2 drops lime juice, let it cool down, filter & use) 
Fresh slices of kiwi
Strawberry for topping


Method:
In a pan slightly dry roast the oats. 
Let it cool and grind with a mortar and pestle, else electric mixture.
Give a quick toss (1/2 minute) to gram flour, semolina and rice flour in the pan. Let it cool down.
In a bowl mix with a spatula moving it in a circular motion couple of times to allow for air circulation.
Add salt, sugar, lime and ginger zest, lime juice and finely chopped bell peppers.
Whip the yogurt with little water. (To avoid lumps in the yogurt and batter).
Gradually add yogurt to the seasoned flour mix, till both are well blended.
Spray a micro wave safe baking dish with little oil.
Finally add 1 tsp of Eno to the batter, it will rise immediately and pour it to the baking dish.
Bake it in a Microwave for 6 minutes. Leave it there for another two minutes.


"A Lovely home grown Strawberry Heart"


Cake Topping:
In a pan, warm up some water on medium heat and gently pour it on the cake.
The cake will soak up the water and will rise a little bit making it soft and spongy.
Top  up the cake with fresh slices of kiwi, kiwi glaze and a garden fresh strawberry :)))


Nutritious cake for all the beautiful moms on the go after their kids :)))))
Share this instant and oil free cake enjoy with your family :) 


Hugs and kisses to all the Beautiful Mom's of the blogging world, XOXO !







 
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