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Cardamom Smoothie/Lassi

Lassi is a traditional Pakistani drink made of yogurt, which translates into the English version Smoothie. It’s made in both sweet and salty versions. I prefer sweet lassi and I had often heard/read about adding cardamom to it. And honestly, I always thought the combination of cardamom with yogurt in lassi was strange. Today I just felt experimental and decided to try it. It was SO extremely refreshing! The burst of fresh flavor with sweet, smooth and silky blended yogurt! I am thinking here why didn’t I ever try it before! It seems that I’ve been missing on such a great treat in my entire life till now. It was just SO good that I couldn’t stop drinking it. You can’t get to the bottom of this flavor without trying it. I mean don’t repeat my mistake, you just have to try it. It’s like the best summer drink ever!

Ingredients:

yogurt one cup
milk one cup (the milk-yogurt ratio depends on how thick you want the lassi to be and how thick your yogurt is)
sugar 4 tbsp (or to taste)
cardamom 1 pod
salt 1/4 tsp
ice as required (I used about 1/2 cup)

Method:

The easiest method ever. Remove cardamom seeds from the pod and with everything else throw into a blender and blend till smooth and creamy. It makes one whole tumbler serving of 2 cups, but you can cut all the ingredients in half easily and make a smaller serving. You may use cardamom powder if you have on hand however, the powder won’t give the same flavor as fresh pods. If you may want to take the extra step and grind fresh powder then by all means go ahead. If you have a powerful blender it will crush the seeds altogether anyway, even if it doesn’t, they didn’t really bother me as they settled down at the bottom. Once again I would say, you must try this cool drink and it will addict you to itself-just like it did me!

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Lab-e-shireen

I am re-posting this recipe for this Eid, and also to participate in the Eid Eats 2014 hosted by dear fellow bloggers Flour & Spice and Chocolate & Chillies.

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This is my most favourite dessert! I wish there was a healthy version of it that I could eat everyday. But since there isn’t till now, I make it only on Eid, and I can never get enough of it! The name comes from persian which literally means “The Sweet Lips” and it sure makes your lips sweet! I can eat loads of it and not feel guilty because I keep my mind on the fruits and nuts in it, not on the sugars =D

Some people use canned fruit cocktail for a quick version of this recipe, but in my opinion it’s still not quick because it needs chilling time, and I love the flavours, aroma and texture of fresh fruits. I also don’t believe in short-cutting of recipes to save time and sacrifice flavours and health, I’d rather spend some more time in the kitchen and make a healthier, tastier dish than save time. So here is my most treasured dessert and recipe, shared with you all!

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Yum yum! I want to dig into it right now, don’t you?

Ingredients:
Oil/ Ghee: 3 tablespoons
Coloured seviyan (vermicelli): 1 cup {Note: Vermicelli is not the kind used for decorations on cake etc, it’s the kind which is similar to spaghetti but very fine. You can use regular vermicelli if you can’t find colored. Looks like this:
colored: rainbow vermiccli
regular: 
Milk: 4 cups
Sugar: 5 tablespoons (or to taste)
Vanilla Custard powder: 4 tablespoons (dissolve in a little cold milk)
Cream: 200 ml
Condensed milk: 1 tin (397 grams)
Bananas (finely sliced): 1 cup
Grapes (halved): 1 cup
Apples ( finely chopped): 1 cup
{or pineapple, strawberry, mango etc. any soft fruit you like, total fruit should be approx 3 cups. I like to use as much fruits as I can}
Pistachio and almonds, silvered (or any nuts): 1/4 cup (or as desired)
Jelly: 1 packet (If you want to use more than one color then adjust quantity accordingly)
Rosewater: 1-2 tablespoon

Method:
Fry vermicelli in oil, for a few seconds, don’t let it turn golden. Add milk and boil until vermicelli turns soft then add sugar and custard powder (dissolved in cold milk) and whisk till it becomes thick. Remove from heat and keep stirring occasionally until it is cooled to room temperature, whisk in cream and condensed milk. Add in the prepared fruits and nuts (save some for garnish of desired) and refrigerate until chilled.
Prepare jelly according to directions on package and chill until set. Cut in small cubes and refrigerate until serving time.
When chilled well, stir in rosewater and mix in a few jelly pieces. Garnish with nuts, jelly shapes, extra fruits and serve immediately.

P.S.If it feels too sweet, add a little chilled milk to lessen the sweetness, taking care not to thin it down.

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Carrot Cake

I love this carrot cake! It’s the easiest to make, with one bowl method, and gives perfect result each time.

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Sugar: 1 1/2 cups
Oil (I use coconut oil): 1 cup
Eggs: 4
Flour: 2 cups
Baking Soda: 1 tsp
Baking Powder: 1 tsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Cinnamon powder (freshly ground): 1 tsp
Nutmeg powder (freshly ground): 1/2 tsp
Carrots (grated): 2-3 cups
Pecans/walnuts (Chopped): 1 cup *optional
Method:
In a bowl mix together all wet ingredients. In another bowl sift the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg powder. Add to the wet ingredients and stir, then add carrots and nuts if using, mix well. Pour into a greased and floured pan and bake 25 to 40 minutes depending on the pan you use. Cool completely and frost with cream cheese frosting of your choice.

Here I have frosted with Orange cream cheese frosting, topped with roasted almonds and crushed coconut.

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26th March: My First Result and Chocolate Cupcakes

Alhamdulillah the parents were so satisfied with the result of their children, and so was I! It’s so gratifying to see the good result of your hard work by the grace of Allah, and seeing the children promoted to the next class.

The weather was so fine, or maybe it was my inner happiness that was making the weather feel so good. The result arrangement was done in a free festival style with stall like tents and I felt really, really happy, more than words can describe! I truly felt like I was flying around with the wind. I hope and pray that I am able to work harder and bring about better results next year by the will of Allah Almighty, Aameen!

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Certificates given to students with best behaviour in my class. You can read more about the behaviour chart here.

A photo corner/booth was arranged for the children’s picture to be taken, and since I’m on the school art team I with the help of other teachers arranged it. I made some colorful 3-D stars and pasted them on a blue velvet background. It came out pretty good and colorful!

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Overall, it was a very happy and relaxing day. And we also got a holiday on the next day so I felt like celebrating the result and the holiday and the great weather…in short I just felt like enjoying which mostly ends in baking. I made 50 chocolate cupcakes with orange cream cheese icing! =D

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Yeah my cream cheese icing always spills over. That’s because I don’t like it too sweet so I don’t add too much icing sugar and no matter how much I think I’ve made it stiff it still isn’t that stiff and when I start piping, it starts melting all over the place! And the more I tried to make rosettes, the more it spilled over. So in the end I gave up the rosettes, and I don’t mind it at all, because of course it still tastes great!

It was also my best friend’s birthday, so I sent her some with her name on them (virtually), and then ate them for her too!

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I borrowed this cupcake maker from my cousin and I love this little thing! It’s so convenient and easy to use. Makes cupcakes quickly without any mess. I want to buy one of my own too now.

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Pretty neat, isn’t it?DSC_0299 Can you refuse such a sweet little thing? Want a bite?

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The Chocolate Halwa

A little unhealthy dose of chocolate never hurt anyone ;)

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DSC_0239This droolicious chocolate halwa is something like a cross between chocolate pudding and brownie, and it just melts in the mouth. Oh so decadent! Everyone who tasted it (without knowing what it was) thought it was a brownie at first. Its an instant chocolate craving fulfiller =D and yes I invented so many new words just for this halwa.

The recipe has already been posted at: Chocolate Halwa

P.S. This time I didn’t have Ovaltine, so I just replaced it with more cocoa powder and I think I like the result better.

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Chocolate Strawberry Oatmeal with Egg-whites and Chia seeds

When I read the recipe which adds egg whites to oatmeal, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to try it, but when I did try it I was a happy customer. It doesn’t taste like eggs which I was afraid it would be, and it kept me filled for a longer time. I also loved the fluffy, thick, pudding-like texture of oatmeal with egg-whites. And of course strawberries with chocolate is the ultimate dessert combination! Go ahead and enjoy this super breakfast-dessert which won’t make your inner systems groan!

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Ingredients:

Milk: 1 cup
Instant oats: 3 tbsp
Cocoa powder: 1 tsp – 1 tbsp (adjust according to taste)
Chia seeds: 1 tsp (you may use more, up to 1 tbsp)
Cinnamon powder: 1/2 tsp
Egg-white: of one egg
Vanilla extract: 1/2 tsp
Banana: half, mashed *optional
Strawberries: 2-3 cut up
Almonds: 1 tbsp

Method:

Bring the milk to a boil. Add oats, chia seeds, cocoa, cinnamon and vanilla extract, lower heat and let simmer until oats are softened up. Add banana if using and cook for a few minutes. When oats have thickened up, add egg white and quickly whisk until its melted in. Cover with a lid for five minutes. Top with strawberries and almonds and serve. (To adjust sweetness you can add some honey or maple syrup. I felt it was a little less sweet so I drizzled some honey on top.)

Recipe modified from Skinnyms.

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Chocolate Oatmeal with Bananas

As usual, I was craving something sweet and chocolate is the best option, so I made this yummy oatmeal!DSC_0023

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Ingredients:
Water 3/4 cup
cocoa powder 2 tablespoon
banana mashed 1
Instant oats 2-3 tablespoons
dates 2-3
milk (of choice) 1/4 cup
banana sliced 1
almonds/nuts silvered 2-3 tablespoon

Method:

Boil together water, oats, cocoa powder, mashed banana and dates till thick. Remove from heat and whisk in milk. Taste and add honey or other sweetener as desired. Top with sliced bananas and almonds/nuts. If required drizzle honey. Yummy chocolate oatmeal is ready.