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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Cashew Coconut Amaranth Bars

Homemade snacks are always the best snacks. These cashew coconut amaranth bars are definitely a good choice to satisfy your sweet tooth. Over the last months, I was doing a lot of research to find ingredients that are healthy and boost you with loads of energy. One name that I came across over and over again was amaranth. Whether puffed or not, it was very often part of an energizing snack. I've never heard about amaranth before but I found out that the seeds are a good source of protein. Moreover, in comparison to many other grains, amaranth is rich in the essential amino acid lysine. Assuming that you had a varied healthy breakfast, packed among others with seeds, the amaranth portion is perfectly complementary. 

Last week, I was at a local market in Luxembourg City where I stumbled upon a young lady selling nut butters. As I love nuts, I immediately bought an almond butter and a cashew butter. The latter was mixed with coconut and it was really tasty. Well, when I tried my amaranth bars, I was determined to add a little grated coconut to the mixture in other to give my recipe a little extra.  I have never tried the coconut cashew combo before, but I must admit that by now I am a huge fan. It is somehow an exotic voyage, taking place in your plate. And while savoring this flavorful bar, every bite becomes a flavorful journey. In addition, what I also love about the recipe is that all the ingredients have their very own intense flavors so there is absolutely no need to add any sugar.


For around xx bars you need:

70g puffed amaranth
1 large ripe banana
175g cashew butter
3 tbsp grated coconut
4 tbsp maple syrup 
1 tbsp sunflower oil


In a small saucepan, gently heat the cashew butter, maple syrup and sunflower oil for three minutes until they form a runny liquid. Then pour the maple-nut butter mix to a blender and add the banana. Blend until you obtain a smooth and even paste. 

Place the puffed amaranth into a middle-sized bowl and pour the banana-nut butter mix over it. Now stir well until the amaranth is well-covered and sticky. 

In order to be able to easily remove the mixture afterwards, place cling film over a baking dish. Transfer the amaranth mix into the dish, spread with a spatula until the whole dish is covered. Now place it to the freezer for around 90 minutes. 

When taking it out, cut it into bars. If you don't want to serve them immediately, store them in the fridge.

Enjoy!!!!



Monday, May 25, 2015

Mini Pesto Muffins with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Pine Nuts

Summer is approaching and as every year, one should not neglect the preparations for a successful BBQ or picnic season. The days are getting longer and the nights shorter; in other words perfect conditions to spend endless evenings on the terrace with a good glass of wine. This is why I thought it was about time I share with you my lovely mini muffins. Their size is perfect for appetizers or little buffets. 
I love hearty cakes because in small bites you can experience wonderful savory combinations. When choosing the recipe for picnics I always prefer to bake them in my mini loaves or normal muffins molds. When opting for the picnic variation, I can only recommend having them with colorful salads.

When it comes to savory cakes one always has to be very careful. A lot of recipes are too dry or overloaded with too many ingredients. From experience I can say that there should never be more than three specific flavors in one savory cake in order to keep it simple yet rich in taste. This recipe is very moist, no matter what size you opt for. The only thing changing is the baking time, but no matter what the consistence of the cake remains the same. 
A good thing to know is definitely also that you can bake the cakes in advance and freeze them. If you are throwing larger parties and you don't have enough time to prepare all dishes the same day this is clearly a great option. The quality of the cake does not really change. Once defrosted, you should bake it for about two thirds of the initial baking time. 

For around 50 mini muffins you need:

160g flour
2 tsp baking powder
150ml milk
100 ml olive oil
3 eggs
110g parmesan 
120g pesto
110g sun-dried tomatoes
60g pine nuts


Preheat the oven to 180°

Pour the flour into a large bowl and mound it like a volcano. Add the baking powder and the eggs and start beating. While beating continuously add the milk and oil, then the rest of the ingredients. 

Pour the dough into the little muffin molds and bake for 12 minutes.

Optional: If you choose to use usual muffin molds the baking time takes 15 minutes. When opting for a large loaf, double the time and bake for 30 minutes.

Enjoy!!!




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