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Three Things Thursday

Hello people – I got back last week after a wonderful two weeks in Brazil so today’s Three Things Thursday is going to be Three Things Brazil :)

Thing One: Kid Friendly Brazil

Brazilians like kids, like really like them. You pretty much get priority access in every line up if you have kids and – this was very exciting for foodie mama – when you go out to a nice restaurant with your kids no one gives you the stink eye. In fact at one of the nicest places we went to they brought out a very cool distressed leather high chair, pages for coloring, crayons, and a balloon. For real.

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Canadians take notice!

Thing Two: Christ the Redeemer

I feel lame and touristy saying this, but it really is something to be standing in front of one of the modern wonders of the world. While it was not as big as I perhaps thought it is still marvelous and incredibly powerful.

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Thing Three: Water Babies

I am not going to lie – travelling with a one year old is absolutely not for the faint hearted. Especially when yours wakes up at 6AM every single day. Seeing her sister happily splash around in the pool all day went a long way towards mitigating my ire.

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But seeing my Zara run up to the beach when we got to Buzios and the sheer delight with which she whooped and hollered and splashed around made everything more than okay. My 1 year old didn’t take to the beach so much, but she found a way to stay ‘busy’.

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Thanks for coming by and do drop in to see the hosts and other participants at Love Laugh Mirch, Pink Chai Living, and The Write Balance.

Aalu Qeema or Pakistani Ground beef and potatoes

Aaloo Qeema – Ground Beef and Potatoes

Whenever I am about to go back to Karachi my mother always asks me what I want to eat when I get home. The answer always is “qeema paratha” which usually prompts my mother to say “you’re your fathers’ daughter; he also wants qeema all the time”.

I have always loved a good qeema, but since living abroad I practically crave a ghar ka qeema. I don’t mean bihari style qeema, or galawat ka qeema or any of those other varieties that are commonly found in restaurants: I mean the kind of qeema that mama’s make. To say that it has been my nemesis thus far may sound dramatic, but it is true.

Aalu Qeema or Pakistani Ground beef and potatoes

Ground beef here doesn’t taste the same and it certainly doesn’t smell the same. In fact some times it smells pretty darn icky. It has taken considerable trial and error and even the occasional chucking of the final product to get me to a place where I am happy with the end result. I don’t even keep the achar (pickle) bottle handy any more – God knows a few spoonfuls of it has rescued many bad qeemas!

The fresh minced ginger makes a significant difference in overall flavor so please please walk away from the pre ground stuff. If you don’t have time to finely mince then use a box grater and shred it. This recipe is fairly basic so you’re welcome to tweak it by adding more or less tomatoes, throwing in some green bell peppers at the end (yum), subbing peas out for the potatoes etc.

Happy Cooking :)

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Spicy One Pot Burrito Bowl

Spicy One Pot Burrito Bowl

In most cases when you’re of desi (south asian) origin a lifetime of eating spicy food means that you automatically lean towards other cuisines that are spicy – Mexican, Thai, other East Asian foods. If they aren’t ‘naturally’ spicy foods then you make changes – my bechamel sauce for my lasagna has green chillies in it. True story.

Am I embarrassed to admit it to all you wonderful foodies out there? Only a little ;)

Spicy One Pot Burrito Bowl

Meals like this lovely spicy one pot burrito bowl really hit the spot on many fronts. First of all it’s spicy (you can always dial down the spice if you wish), second of all it comes together fairly quickly and in one pot (hooray for less washing up), and thirdly it is so good for you with it’s healthy combination of lean chicken, beans, and brown rice. The best part is that because of all the flavor that gets worked into the dish you don’t miss white rice at all. Trust me in my household that’s an accomplishment.

Spicy One Pot Burrito Bowl

A few quick notes before we go on to the recipe. First of all I used the chilli flavored canned tomatoes which helped give this dish an extra layer of hearty smokiness and second of all I used this brand of brown rice and my cooking time reflects that. If you use a brand that takes longer to cook then add in a half cup of extra water and let it cook on low heat. Also, if you want to make this a vegetarian dish then omit the chicken and sub the broth with vegetable broth or water.

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Giant Cinnamon Roll Cake w Cream  Cheese  Frosting

Giant Cinnamon Roll Cake

It’s miserable out here.  On days like this I want to stay inside and eat my body weight in pizza. And this beautiful cinnamon roll cake. Sigh. I miss this cake already.

What’s nice about this cake is that it’s really easy to assemble. My little one woke up right after I cut the dough into strips to roll up and I had to coil them up with one hand while holding her in the other. It seemed tricky at the time (translation: it felt like the beginning of a hot mess). However, the cream cheese frosting (which I kept thick on purpose) covered it up nicely ;)

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Also, as you can imagine, it smelled absolutely heavenly.

The recipe for the cake is from the fabulous Sally at Sally’s Baking Addiction. I made a slight change in that I subbed out the glaze she uses for a more cinnabon like cream cheese glaze. I did have a little left over, but I find no one really complains about extra frosting on the side ;)

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Mini Oreo Truffle Cakes

Mini  Oreo Truffle Cakes

Happy Valentines Day peeps! Or rather happy-another-excuse-to-indulge day! Despite initially thinking I would effectively sit this one out I have so far made two variations on Bubble valentines, made several batches of heart shaped cookies, and two desserts. Clearly, I am weak willed.

Mini Oreo Truffle Cakes

I was in the car the other day (on my way to the store) brainstorming about an eggless easy treat that I could put together for a Valnetine’s party for the girls that a friend of mine was hosting. I had made Oreo truffles a while back that tasted like tasty little cheesecakes, but disliked the fiddliness of it all. The rolling, the perpetually dirty hands, the nuisance of getting even chocolate on, it just wasn’t for me. I am too lazy you know.

So this is what I did, whizzed together all two of my ingredients in a food processor, lined a mini muffin pan with plastic wrap, quickly pressed in tablespoons of ‘dough’, froze, then dipped the tops in chocolate and let it harden. Cutesy white chocolate heart covered with sprinkles optional.

Mini Oreo Truffle Cakes

Before I go on to the recipe I wanted to apologize to my wonderful subscribers. I was experiencing technical difficulties on Thursday which I now realize were because of my ancient laptop. Now if you will excuse me I will go find a place to bury it…

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3thingsfinal

Three Things Thursday

You know how sometimes you mean to call someone back, but then you forget and think “oh wait I’ll do it tomorrow” and  then something comes up and you forget again. Then you find yourself a little embarrassed and don’t get in touch out of pure awkward “i-suck-so-much-ness”. Well that’s where I am at with Three Things Thursday. It’s been so long that it feels a little weird being back this week to join in the fun, but I sucked it up and here I am :)

Happy Thursday everyone and please pop by and visit the hosts at Love Laugh Mirch, The Write Balance, and Pink Chai Living.

Thing One: My Two Little Things

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My younger daughter turned one in November and with each passing day I watch her relationship with my older one grow further and further and it gives me the warm fuzzies like nothing ever before. There is a part of me that wants to hit the pause button on this time so I can savor it while it lasts. Someone needs to tell me how to make this happen!

Thing Two: Madam Secretary

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I am a  huge fan of the show The Good Wife not least of all because it has a strong intelligent woman at it’s center and now Madam Secretary has joined it’s ranks in that department. While it is not as hard hitting as other political dramas it is really interesting and I really like the character Tia Leoni plays. If you haven’t seen it then check it out!

Thing Three: Hazelnut Granola

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I have a well documented love of all things hazelnut so it is hardly surprising that when I saw this at Target recently (sniff bye bye Target) I grabbed a box. Now I am kinda wishing I had grabbed two.

 

Hazelnut and Maple Muffins

Hazelnut and Maple Muffins

A few days back a dear friend and avid blog reader asked me to make these hazelnut sticks for her. I happily obliged and then a little too happily ate more than my fair share. Oops.

Anyway, eating those delicious crunchy hazelnutty treats made me realize how much I love the unadulterated flavor of hazelnuts and I wanted to capture that flavor in something quicker: muffins. Now I really like muffins, even the bottoms which is usually what I wind up with since my husband and daughter are unabashed muffin top fiends.

Hazelnut and Maple Muffins

I did some thinking and came up with this recipe, fully prepared for this to be round one of many, but lady luck was on my side and these muffins are sheer perfection. The soft flavor of the hazelnuts is beautifully complimented by that of the maple syrup. I know it seems like a lot of syrup, but as it bakes the flavor mellows. Also, as tempting as they are fresh from the oven you must let them cool completely before trying one. They are well worth the wait.

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