Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Cookies w Skor Bits

When we were little my brother Murtaza decided that we need to eat peanut butter. It was hardly a staple in our Pakistanis-in-Saudi Arabia household, but my parents promptly obliged by buying an imported jar of the stuff. We tried it and all of us unanimously thought it sucked. My mother then tried the back of the jar cookie recipe for peanut butter cookies, but with no success. Not for a lack of talent mind you, my mother was quite the baker. We just didn’t like peanut butter.

Somehow I went from being that kid to the adult who eats it off a spoon as a snack, whose kids do the same, who doesn’t believe in peanut butter and jelly because it gets in the way of the peanut buttery goodness and who can’t say no to a peanut butter cookie. How did this happen? Beats me.

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Cookies

When I recently acquired Tara O’Bradys Seven Spoons cookbook I marked a whole variety of things to try, but a late afternoon craving had me turning to her Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Cookies first. Whole Wheat Flour, Natural Peanut Butter, 2 tbsp honey, I didn’t think that these changes off the usual would make such a difference, but suddenly it was like I was eating a cookie that had grown up. It is less cloyingly sweet than previous ones, but has a deeper flavour. I added 1/3 cup of skor bits and while they weren’t noticeable in a warm cookie, they definitely added interest to cooled ones.

As you can see my cookies were slim at best despite the freezing and I blame that on my overfull freezer. I am sure if you follow the freezing instructions yours won’t be so slender. They are in their thin form the perfect candidate for a filling. Strawberry Jam, Dulce de leche, vanilla cream, or perhaps a dollop of Nutella with a little Sea Salt?

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Cookies

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Jalapeno Popper Wontons or a Spicy Cheesy ‘Samosa’

If I don’t already have a meal plan in place then I try to figure to out early in the day what it is that I will be making for iftar (the meal Muslims have when they open/break their fast). However, the hungrier I get the more I add to my list of things to cook. These babies are the product of one such hungry afternoon. The fact that they’re a cinch to put together is a bonus/ requirement in my world.

Jalapeno  Popper Wontons or a Spicy Cheesy 'Samosa'

I love the flavor of Jalapeno Poppers (when they aren’t too spicy to eat!), but making them has always seemed tedious and store bought ones have some odd mystery ingredients in them. These crispy wontons are the perfect way of getting that flavor with minimal effort. Now mind you I found the one jalapeno to be pretty spicy in here, but I put it in seeds and all so just adjust to taste. Also I had monterey jack handy, but I imagine cheddar wold work just as well.

Jalapeno  Popper Wontons or a Spicy Cheesy 'Samosa'

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A Creamy Strawberry and Cream Cheese Tart with a Graham Cracker Crust

Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians and a Happy early 4th of July to those south of the border! Hope both days are filled with happiness and celebration … and dessert!

My girls and I went strawberry picking a few days ago and now we have baskets and baskets of red to the core strawberries that are just begging to be eaten. While eating them straight up is our favorite way to go I decided to include them in last nights post iftar dessert. I don’t usually have dessert after dinner, but after a long day of fasting a little sugar seems needed!

Strawberry Tart with Creamy Cream Cheese Filling and Graham Cracker Crust

The Graham Cracker crust has a lovely crunch that contrasts with the creamy filling and  the juicy slightly tart strawberries provide the perfect contrast. Learn from my mistakes though and keep this baby in the fridge until you’re ready to eat!

Looking for more strawberry dessert ideas? How about this cake or this tart with one  of my favorite crusts of all time!

A Creamy Strawberry and Cream Cheese Tart with a Graham Cracker Crust

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Baked Oatmeal with Bananas, Pecans and a Nutella Swirl Plus Announcing a Virtual Eid Party – Eid Eats 2015!!!

Ramzan/Ramadan Mubarak to all those who will be commemorating this holy month. For those of you who are wondering what it is, Ramadan is a month on the Islamic (lunar) calendar where Muslims world over fast from sunrise to sunset. During a fast we can not eat or drink anything. The purpose of this fast is to help us subsume our physical needs in favor of spiritual ones and also to develop a deep sense of empathy with those who are less fortunate, for whom ‘fasting’ is not an option.

At the end of the 30 days of Ramadan comes a wonderful celebration of Eid ul Fitr, which as you can imagine, revolves heavily around food! Last year Asiya of Chocolate and Chillies and I hosted Eid Eats! a virtual potluck party for to celebrate Eid ul Fitr and this year we are back with another co-host, the amazing Henna of My Ninja Naan.

EID EATS 2015

So how do you join in? Easy!

1.) Make any dish of your choosing that you would make for Eid – something traditional, something unconventional, whatever you fancy – write a post and have it ready for the 15th of July 2015.

2.) Our posts will also be live July 15th 2015. You can link back to our blogs i.e. My Ninja Naan, Flour & Spice and Chocolate & Chillies  through a link party  we will set up and use the button above in all of your posts (pretty cute isn’t it!)

3.) Remember to check out and leave comments on participating blogs!

Okay just thinking about Eid Eats is making me hungry. Good thing I have something yummy and filling for you today that would be wonderful for Sehri/Suhoor as well as breakfast any day. Baked in a square tin and sliced it will probably be pretty picnic friendly too!

The yummmy recipe I am sharing with you today originally comes from Asiya of Chocolate & Chillies. With it’s triple whammy of banana, oatmeal, and pecans it is quite substantial and healthy! Or rather it was until I couldn’t help myself and added a teaspoon of nutella on top  of each ramekin *guiltily looking away…*

Baked Oatmeal with Bananas, Pecans and a Nutella Swirl

I baked mine in individual ramekins to make them easier to eat and freeze since I wanted a large-ish portion that would be perfect with a glass of milk for Sehri/Suhoor. The baked oatmeal is fairly dense since I effectively make ‘thicker’ portions than Asiya does. I also halved the recipe, increased the whole wheat flour, and decreased the brown sugar (to make room for the Nutella lol). For my purposes this is wonderful as is. For summer snacks I would omit the Nutella and go back to baking it in bar form like Asiya does.

Enough blathering.. on to the recipe…

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Aaloo Chholay/Chana or Potato and Chickpea Curry

School was a hop skip and jump away from Boat Basin, an iconic strip of food joints that had some of the best food Karachi has to offer. Most people will sit in their cars and order food from the servers who will come up to the window. You could get a burger from Chips, a slush from Mr. Burger, Chicken Tikkas from Tandoori Hut, Caramel Crunch Ice Cream from Rajoos and a Cold Coffee from Baloch all without moving an inch. Just thinking about it is making me happy and hungry.

Aaloo Chholay or Potato and Chickpea Curry

My favorite Boat Basin memories are the early morning ones – the times where close friends and soon to be friends would show up long before the city was awake to sit on damp plastic chairs, huddling in to ourselves as we held our cups of chai tight and anxiously awaited our halwa puri breakfast. Now we call it halwa puri, but most of the times it was a ‘hold the halwa, bring me puris and aloo chholay” breakfast. I have blogged about this breakfast before and didn’t anticipate doing so again. But then I made a variation of this awesome recipe and I decided that with it’s extra everything it was just too good to keep to myself.

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Salty-Sweet Butterscotch Pecan Cookies

Quite recently a fellow transplant from Pakistan reached out and commented on how “exhilliratingly high the aroma of vanilla and sugar emanating from my oven makes me (her)”. The entire time these cookies were baking all I could think of was how perfect these would be for her, a fellow lover of butter and sugar. E, I hope you make them and know just how much I appreciate your kind words 🙂

Salty Sweet Butterscotch Pecan Cookies

If vanilla has soft beauty then butterscotch packs a sweet punch. It’s tempered by a subtle amount of coffee and a healthy smattering of chopped, toasted pecans. The real piece-de-resistance though is the sweet and salty sugar that these cookies roll around in before making their way on to the baking sheet. I more or less kept the original name (i.e. Salty-Sweet Butter Pecan Cookies) for the recipe out of deference to the awesome people at King Arthur Flour, but really these are Crack Cookies.

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You can’t have just one.

Especially when they’re warm.

Fuggedaboutit.

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Timatar Gosht or Tomato and Beef Stew

All things tomato-y are delicious. IMHO. I know some of my family members will disagree – you know who you are 😉

So for my meat loving tomato loving self timatar gosht ranks pretty high in my list of favorite foods. It is not the same as my previously posted, but also delicious Bhunna Gosht – there is no boiling, no shredding, etc. This is a one pot dish that is delicious with a side of raita and your flatbread of choice.

Timatar Gosht or Tomato and Beef Stew

My only complaint with this dish is that as opposed to a rice dish or a curry this doesn’t stretch very far since there no fillers, just solid meat. You can easily double this recipe if needed and if you make it ahead then I would suggest reheating it on the stove. Beef chunks and microwaves are not good friends.

It really is at it’s best when you put in as many green chillies at the end as you can handle. You can cut them lengthwise instead of chopping them so that you can pick them out if need be, but that way at least you get that green chilli flavor and aroma that really makes a good timatar gosht sing. I’ve attempted to make this without tomato paste, but it always pales a little in comparison,

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Chocolate Drizzled Stovetop Kettle Corn w Oreos and Sprinkles

And that folks is what a tray of happy looks like when you’re four years old 🙂

Stovetop Kettle Corn with a Chocolate Drizzle, Oreos and Sprinkles

When Salma over at The Write Balance posted her perfect stovetop popcorn recipe I realized  how long it had been since I had made any myself. Kettle corn with it’s sweet salty twist is my personal favorite so that was a no-brainer. The Oreos and sprinkles I had on hand and mixed them in. Mix in whatever you have handy or nothing at all. Because there is such little ‘cooking’ required, once the popcorn has popped this is such a fun thing to do with kids. They love to suggest mix ins, help you take pictures (lol), and of course – taste test.

Stovetop Kettle Corn with a Chocolate Drizzle, Oreos and Sprinkles

Have a bright, happy, colorful weekend. This also brings to an end my ten posts over two weeks challenge courtesy the South Asian Bloggers Network. Thank you for coming back every day. If I could figure out how I would insert a bunch of heart emoticons here 😉

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Three Things Thursday

Hi and welcome to Three Things Thursday! Hope you enjoy these random snippets and do check out what every one else is up to at one of the host blogs – Pink Chai Living, Love Laugh Mirch, and The Write Balance.

Thing One: Desi Designs

For my firstborn we did a very girly nursery, a soft purple and off white room with panel moldings and chair rails, plus a chandelier (of course lol). Girl 2 is going to get her own room this summer and this time I have something very different in mind and I am really excited about it! Think a bright white room with pops of color and some Pakistani kitsch thrown in. So this…

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Plus this….

Beautiful Image Credit: Maria Aeliya Jafri

Beautiful Image Credit:        Maria Aeliya Jafri

Whaddya think? Yes, no, maybe?  

You can find my Pinterest board for the room here.

Thing Two: Qwirkle

I’ve been seeing this game around for a long time and got the travel version recently and it is so much fun! I love the strategy element of  it and that my 4 year old gets it. She still needs a little help, but it is a game that we can enjoy now and play for many years to come.

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Another recent game that we got and she liked: Wash my (under)pants. For obvious reasons. Sheesh.

Thing Three: Cookie Decorating Classes?

Between Hello Kitty cookies, Frozen cookies, and these just for fun cookies, I have really started to love decorating cookies with royal icing. Would any of you know where I can take classes to get better at it or is YouTube my best bet?

Have a great day and come by tomorrow for my last post of the South Asian Blogger Networks 2-week challenge!

My Favorite Sugar Cookie – Cream Cheese Cut-Out Cookies

Decorated sugar cookies are so pretty aren’t they? I frequently see them in bakeries and cafes. The pretty colors and designs always make my older girl ooh and aah then beg and plead and most of the time she winds up not liking them. I can’t blame her because neither do I. Then a few years ago I discovered this cookie. This cookie has real bona fide flavor. People like it even without the icing and that says a lot.

My Favorite Sugar Cookie - Cream Cheese Cut Out Cookies

My Favorite Sugar Cookie - Cream Cheese Cut Out Cookies

There are two things that make this cookie a little extra special – one the inclusion of cream cheese and the second the few drops of almond extract which give it a fresh undertone without it tasting overtly like almonds. Mind you, I don’t always use the extract especially if I am taking them somewhere that is nut free and they are delicious without.

My Favorite Sugar Cookies - Cream Cheese Roll Out Cookies

My favorite part about making these cookies was decorating them. My royal icing skills were pretty pathetic, but then youtube came to the rescue and now I love it and can’t wait to try different designs and techniques!

For those of you keeping track this is now my 8th out of 10 (hopefully) posts as part of the South Asian Blogger Networks two week blogging challenge! I see more and more of you are coming back here and I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU!

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