Sweet Potato dumplings with sweetened coconut filling (Sweet Potato Kozhukkatta)

  Its amazing how creative you can get when you are forced to be on a restrictive diet. As a kid, ‘Kozhukkatta’ used to be the occasional sweet treat my mom would make for us. Usually she would make it as an evening snack to be had with tea. I loved these dumplings made with rice flour and filled with a sweetened coconut filling.  These are incredibly delicious and are quite filling at the same time. So these would be a perfect snack for us kids coming back famished from school. I would gobble up like 5 or 6 in one sitting. My mom would also almost always make extra coconut filling and save that for me since I loved to just eat that by itself:)

For a while now I had been thinking of trying to make these Kozhukkatta using sweet potato instead of rice flour. This idea came to my mind because I saw a recipe on instagram where someone had made ravioli using sweet potato.  That was inspiration and I immediately thought of making these sweet dumplings. Finally last week I got to experiment with this and luckily for me the dumplings came out successful!  I used a bit of tapioca starch to help form the dough. And also used Indian sweet potatoes which are less sweet and whitish in color. And of course, I replaced the jaggery with maple syrup.

I offered these to my kiddos as they came home from school not sure if they would appreciate these. Oh boy, I need not have worried – they loved it!  I had made only a small batch of about 12 and pretty soon all three of us were fighting for the last one 🙂

Sweet Potato dumplings with sweetened coconut filling (Sweet Potato Kozhukutta)
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Fusion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
 
A Paleo version of the traditional rice dumplings from Kerala using sweet potatoes and coconut
Ingredients
  • 2 large sweet potatoes,boiled and peeled (Use indian or japanese white sweet potato)
  • about ¼ cup of tapioca flour (you can use coconut flour or rice flour too)
For the filling:
  • 1 cup grated coconut(if using frozen, thaw it beforehand)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the mashed sweet potato and add the tapioca starch (or rice flour) and mix with your hands until you form a smooth dough. Keep aside.
  2. Heat a flat bottomed pan and add the coconut to it. Cook the coconut for about 2-3 minutes stirring frequently. Add the maple syrup and continue cooking it for another 2-3 mins stirring constantly. Add the cardamom powder and turn heat off. Keep aside and let cool for a few mins.
  3. To make the dumplings, take a golf size ball of dough and flatten it with your hands to form a small circle. Place a teaspoon of filling in the center and then pinch the edges towards the center to form a round dumpling. Repeat same process until all dumplings are made.
  4. Steam the dumplings in a steamer basket. You can create your own steamer assembly by heating a large vessel with water and placing a strainer on top. Place the dumplings on the strainer and then cover with a lid. Steam for about 10 mins.
Notes
For AIP version: Skip cardamom powder

 

 

Blueberry Tartlets (Vegan, Paleo)

A lovely afternoon.  A lovely lunch. With a lovely lady. I had been wanting to invite my next door neighbor over for lunch since a few months now. Finally, it happened last week. This lovely lady is actually an octagenarian but behaves nothing like how a typical 80+ yr old would! She is bubbly, energetic, witty, chatty, open minded and so kind.  I first met her 9 years ago when we moved to our current house and we instantly clicked.  The 40 plus yrs age difference between us never felt like a barrier! We talk about so many different topics like gardening, home renovation, raising kids, health issues and occasionally we also indulge in some neighborhood gossip 🙂

She is not just a kind neighbor but a very caring one too. Two years ago when I was first diagnosed with RA, she was the first one to bring me an enormous amount of food – enough food to last a week actually!. She said that since her mom had RA, she knew how physically challenging this disease was! I was overwhelmed and all teary eyed by her kind gesture. Anyways, now that I was feeling much better and since I had more free time during the day having quit my job, I really wanted to make her a special lunch. She had also not been doing well lately. She had a fall recently injuring her shoulder and knee and was undergoing physical therapy. I asked her if she would like fish and her answer was a resounding ‘yes’!

So what did I make? Main course -Pan grilled Salmon with a honey lemon sauce and some ‘Pulao’ rice with vegetables. A small salad – With mangoes in season, I made my caribbean salad. And then I wanted to make a really special dessert since she had a sweet tooth! And I obviously wanted to make something that I could eat too!

So drawing inspiration from my raw vegan cake and my berry panna cotta recipes, I decided to make a tart/pie by making the base like the raw cake and use the filling like the panna cotta. Also I decided to make ‘tartlets’ since I had bought these cute tartlet pans recently and they were begging to be used!

I was so happy how great these blueberry tartlets came out! Not only did they look so pretty – My guest was totally blown away by how cute they looked…but they also tasted awesome! The blueberry coconut milk pudding was so so delicious! The crust with the shredded coconut and dates is to ‘die for’ and the combination just rocked. How great is it when you can bake your tartlets and eat them too without any feelings of guilt? Dairy free, refined sugar free and grain free dessert that is so damn delicious! My guest at the end of our meal told me that I was the best cook in the entire town! Now isn’t that something coming from someone who has been around for a bit? 🙂 🙂

Happy Mother’s day weekend to all of you lovely moms! You deserve a treat like this one!

Bringing this gorgeous and ‘feel good’ dessert to the Vegan, plant based party potluck

Blueberry Tartlets (Vegan, Paleo)
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Dessert, Raw Cuisine
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Mini Tartlets with a delicious crust of coconut and dates and a creamy blueberry and coconut filling.
Ingredients
For the crust:
  • 2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut (I used Bob's Mill )
  • 18 dates
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil melted
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
For the filling:
  • 2 cups full-fat organic coconut milk
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. gelatin (use agar powder for vegan version)
  • ½ cup maple syrup (or honey)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
Instructions
For making the crust:
  1. In a food processor blend all the crust ingredients to form a thick dough / mixture. Place parchment paper to cover the base and the sides of the pan. Press this mixture to the bottom of the tartlet pans. Freeze the pans for 30 minutes.
To make the filling:
  1. Place the lemon juice into a small bowl. Add gelatin keep aside for 5 minutes.
  2. In a small pan, heat half of the coconut milk (about 1 cup) over medium heat. Add the maple syrup (or honey) and the gelatin (or agar) mixture. Stir until dissolved completely.
  3. Pour this mixture into the blender, along with the remaining coconut milk and the blueberries. Blend at low speed until smooth.
  4. Pour the filling into the tartlet pans and place in refrigerator for at least 6-8 hours to set.
  5. Slide the tartlets out onto a serving dish and serve with fresh berries on top!

 

Mixed Berry ‘nice cream’ smoothie (Vegan, Paleo)

I love Instagram! Don’t know why I stayed away from it for so long! I am loving meeting different food bloggers and seeing their inspiring creations!  Am I inspired? Nope, I am floored! Gosh, so much talent out there and so many young kiddos creating such cool stuff. One of my favorite things in the morning (whilst waking up in bed) is to quickly check out the insta posts to get inspiration for my morning breakfast smoothie. These days along with smoothies, a new healthy deliciousness has been trending – ‘nice creams’!  He He, ‘nice cream’ sounds a bit shady but it  is nothing but a healthy version of ‘ice-cream’ which uses only fruits and other vegan ingredients.  Most recipes use frozen bananas to get the ‘nice cream’ texture. And then with that as the base, you can add different fruits – frozen or otherwise of your choice and blend everything to a creamy, smooth ‘nice cream’ texture 🙂 Oh so yum!

So these days mixed berries nice cream is my favorite afternoon snack to satisfy my sweet cravings!  I make sure I keep a few slices of bananas in the freezer at all times so i am adequately prepared to meet my cravings 🙂 The other morning I woke up to see a couple nice cream posts and oh, boy I started craving for one right away. So I decided to make a smoothie ‘nice cream’ for breakfast. A couple dashes of coconut milk gave it the perfect smoothie/nice cream texture. I made a separate blueberry compote to give it some additional richness and sophistication 🙂 Hey, you’ve gotta love your breakfast!

Hope you get inspired by this post to come up with some lovely creations of your own. Please do share with me! Btw, looks like spring is almost here! Yay!

Mixed Berry 'nice cream' smoothie (Vegan, Paleo)
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Snack, Dessert
Cuisine: Fusion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
Mixed berries blended with frozen bananas and a dash of coconut milk to create this healthy and delicious 'nice cream' with a topping of blueberry sauce/compote
Ingredients
For the nice cream:
  • 1 banana, peeled, sliced and frozen for 3 hours or more
  • 1 cup mixed berries (I used combination of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries - if using frozen, thaw them to room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut cream or thick coconut milk
  • ½ cup water
For the blueberry compote(sauce):
  • ½ cup blueberries, frozen or fresh
  • ¼ cup water
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp tapioca starch mixed in 2 tbsp water to form a slurry
Instructions
  1. In a small cooking pot, add the blueberries, water, salt and maple syrup and cook for about 4-5 mins until the blueberries turn soft. Add the tapioca slurry and mix on low heat for another 2-3 minutes till you get a thick sauce. Turn heat off and transfer sauce to a container.
  2. Blend all the ingredients under 'nice cream' in a high speed blender until you get a creamy smooth consistency (should be like slightly thawed ice-cream)
  3. Take a tall glass or jar. Add some blueberry sauce on the bottom. Add 'nice cream' on top and drizzle more sauce on top. Top with berries!

 

A Valentine’s Special dessert: Berry Panna Cotta ( Paleo)

Sometimes I wonder if there is too much hype surrounding Valentine’s Day. Don’t get me wrong…I am very much a romantic at heart!  However I dislike how commercialization of Valentine’s Day by the marketeers has somehow made people hung up with the date of Feb 14th.  Couples feel that they need to do special things only on this date. Single folks might feel depressed thinking that they need to find a date for Valentine’s day or else they will lose out! As a consequence they end up spending too much money more often than not on the wrong person!  Well, the simple fact is this: If you have been fortunate enough to have found the love of your life, then everyday can be Valentine’s day. And if you haven’t been lucky to have met this person yet, it’s not likely that you will magically meet your sweetheart on Valentine’s day!  Anyways the point I want to make is this: I hope that people express their love outside of Valentine’s day too and that everyday can be romantic too. All you need is the right attitude and an optimism towards life and everything beautiful.  All these thoughts reminded me of a quote that I had memorized in high school – don’t ask me why 🙂

“I may not say it often

But you know that it is true

That I am always wishing

Real Happiness for you

For though I may not say so

To me you are always dear

Not only on a day like this

But Every day, Every year! ”

I had pinned this special dessert recipe specifically for Valentine’s day since it was a dessert that I could actually eat! Yes being on a dairy free and sugar free diet for almost a year now, my desserts have been mostly limited to fruits, dates and raw honey.  I was so excited to see this recipe of Raspberry Coconut Panna Cotta by Eileen from Phoenix Helix.  Along with the recipe what excited me was her story of how she has been battling RA too just like me and that the Autoimmune Paleo diet has been helping her control her disease for the last few years. Now isn’t that exciting!

I made some slight changes to her recipe – I added a combination of strawberries and raspberries since I find raspberries alone to be too tart. Also I upped the amount of sweetener -and  used maple syrup instead of honey. I find maple syrup to provide the right amount of sweetness that I crave for in desserts. And for the sauce , since I ran out of raspberries, I made it out of cherries!  The end result was one special dessert!  This indeed felt like a huge treat for me having not had any frozen treats for so long!  Yummy yum! thank you Eileen for this great recipe and I think this is already inspiring me to come up with other ideas of similar frozen treats.

Linking this Valentine special recipe to Fiesta Friday this week. The co-hosts this week at FF are Ai @ Ai Made It For You and Petra @ Food Eat Love.

A Valentine's Special dessert: Berry Panna Cotta ( Paleo)
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 13.5 oz can full-fat organic coconut milk
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. gelatin
  • ½ cup maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1½ cups fresh or frozen raspberries
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen strawberries
Cherry Sauce Ingredients
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen cherries
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 Tbsp.maple syrup
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Place the lemon juice into a small bowl. Add gelatin keep aside for 5 minutes.
  2. In a small pan, heat half of the coconut milk (about 1 cup) over medium heat. Add the maple syrup (or honey) and the gelatin mixture. Stir until dissolved completely.
  3. Pour this mixture into the blender, along with the remaining coconut milk and the raspberries and strawberries. Blend at low speed until smooth.
  4. Pour it into small ramekins or small bowls. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set (at least 4 hours).
  5. For the sauce, Heat all the sauce ingredients in a small pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes. let cool and then blend quickly in a blender to get a smooth sauce.
  6. To get the panna cotta out, dip each ramekin in a bowl of hot water for about 1 minute. Then turn them upside down onto a serving plate. Drizzle with cherry sauce on the top.

 

 

Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies (Peanut Butter Jelly cookies)


Peanut butter jelly cookies
Last time I asked my husband to get peanut butter for the kids snacks, he got a giant jar of it. Which of course the kids were only too happy about.  But that instantly got me thinking about utilizing this peanut butter into other recipes!  I had also been wanting to bake healthy recipes and had purchased whole wheat pastry flour recently. And so the idea of making peanut butter cookies came to mind. I looked up some recipes but came across this wonderful and healthy recipe from ‘The American Vegetarian Cookbook’ by Marilyn Diamond. This book was a gift to me by my newest friend Debbie who has been ‘Godsend’ soul to me to boost my morale and offer so much support. More about Debbie later. For now let’s go back to the cookies!

This recipe uses healthy whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose flour and maple syrup instead of sugar for sweetness. So today evening when I had some free time, I decided to try this recipe. I made some changes to her recipe since I wanted to use regular butter instead of margarine and did not want to add almonds additionally. Wanted to stick to only peanuts to keep this ‘peanutty perfect’.

I didn’t add jelly to the whole batch.  So we had a mix of plain peanut butter cookies and PBJ cookies. The kids loved both of them!  The plain ones were a little less sweet than regular cookies they said but they definitely loved it!  They said they loved the texture – crumbly and melt-in-the-mouth kind! Isn’t that wonderful? When you give them no sugar and they say they love it! What more can a mom ask for 🙂

These also seem like perfect to bake and share for the holiday season – Make a large batch for your family and for your friends!

Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies (Peanut Butter Jelly cookies)

  • Servings: Makes about 18 cookies
  • Time: about 30 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

1/2 cup organic creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

strawberry preserves as needed for PBJ cookies

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 375 deg F (or 180 deg C).

In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix with a fork to blend well. To that add the melted butter, maple syrup, peanut butter and the vanilla extract.  Using a large spoon or your hands knead into a smooth dough.

In a large tray, arrange small ping pong ball size balls of dough. Using a fork, press the dough ball to flatten it.

To make PBJ cookies, flatten and make a deep indent in the center of the dough ball using your fingers. Place about 1/4 tsp of jelly into the indent.

Bake cookies at 375 Deg F (180 deg C) for between 12-15 minutes or until the base is slightly browned. They may still seem soft on top but will harden on cooling. Let cool for 10 minutes on cooling rack before serving.

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PBJ cookies