Making a move towards clean eating or healthy sounds idealistic, but in reality, sometimes the going is tough.
I admire people who have it in them to give up carbs ( except for an occasional indulgence, maybe once a month! ) and never to eat any sugar or sweet.
I get on that bandwagon only to get off after a short while. I cannot give up carbs, I try to increase other crucial components, but I crave those comfort foods I grew up eating.
Maybe it just needs a lot of willpower and perseverance and patience.
I am taking baby steps. I have cut down my sweet intake and make something occasionally. I do not deep fry, unless it is Diwali or a birthday. We do not bring any biscuits ( or cookies, as they are called here), this was a sacrifice for me as I do like something to dip in my tea. My son gets to eat some of course.
What I find difficult to give up is bread. I love bread and how handy it is to have a loaf at hand.
And rice. Nothing is as comforting or satisfying as soft, fluffy, steam-rising out of it rice.
And what I have difficulty accepting is tofu. I sigh every time I think of all these things.
Snacking is inevitable. I do it unknowingly, I walk past the pantry, spy something on the shelf and pop it in my mouth, continue doing what I was doing.
Sonali made this snack and shared it with me. Her son is very fond of it and she makes it very often.
One bite convinced me that I had to make it!
Dates, nuts and some dessicated coconut, of course you want to make it and eat it! And it is healthy too. Dates are full of vitamins and minerals, fiber, rich in iron an tasty to boot.
This was something I used to eat during Diwali as a child. Does anyone remember those dates stuffed with nuts and wrapped in bright yellow /red/ blue crinkly plastic wrap? The ones we used to get in Diwali Hampers with other nuts and dry fruit and Pista biscuits? This is a somewhat elaborate (if you can call it that) method of making the same thing.
This is a very forgiving recipe and can be molded to suit your taste. Making it is easy and quick.
I used a tub of pitted Mejdool dates, the 2 lb. one most commonly found in stores.
1 tub Dates
1/2 cup mixed nuts ( Almonds, Walnuts and Pistachios - all or any combination, do try not to skip the Almonds though)
1 Tbsp Ghee
2-3 pinches Cardamom powder
Dessicated coconut - as required
Place the dates in the food processor ( with the chopping blade) and give it a whirl, the date should be chopped in small pieces. Remove and set aside.
Place the nuts on a baking tray and toast the nuts in the oven at 250 deg. F for 10 mins. They should be warm and toasty, not brown. Be careful.
Alternatively you can toast them on a skillet on low heat over the stove.
Cool the nuts and pulse them in the food processor. Do not powder, leave the nuts chunky (ignore the fact that I blitzed the nuts a bit too much in my food processor)
Toasting the nuts is optional, according to a friend of mine. She recommends using slivered almonds available in most stores.
Heat ghee, on medium, in a deep skillet or a kadhai. Add the dates and the nuts and mix well to incorporate the nuts as evenly as possible. Switch off the heat and add the cardamom powder, mix well again. Let the mixture cool down.
Cut a large square piece of Saran Wrap and place it on the counter-top and spread a layer of the dessicated coconut. Take a third of the dates mixture in your hand and while the mixture is slightly warm, make a log of it and place it on the coconut and roll it to coat evenly. Now, cover the roll with saran wrap and make a log and twist the ends .
Make similar 'logs' of the remaining mixture.
Place all the logs in the fridge for about 2-3 hours to firm up.
Remove from the fridge, and carefully peel off the wrap.
Using a sharp serrated knife, slice the 'log' in to even pieces.
Store in a container and eat as and when you want.
You won't be able to stop at one piece, I bet!
Have you read about the contest and exciting giveaway I am hosting? The contest is open to all bloggers in the USA and India and there are gift cards to be won ( Amazon and Flipkart). Moreover, it is also another excuse for us foodies to test something in our kitchens and share it with our family and (virtual) friends!
The contest is open until Feb-14 Midnight PST to share some culinary gems with me and other bloggers and readers.