Nutty Chocolate Brownie Cake

Made an easy dessert to go with our steak dinner the other evening and felt like Martha Stewart with half the effort.

Chocolate brownie dessert with cookies and cream ice cream

Ingredients:

Method:

  • Melt butter, chocolate and sugar in a saucepan.
  • Cool the contents a little and stir in nut powder, flour and eggs.
  • Pour into a prepared pan (25 cm round cake tin).
  • Bake in 160 C oven for 50 minutes.

Notes:

  • The first time I made it, I misread the ingredients and used plain flour instead. It turned the cake into a nice brownie which worked perfectly with a side serving of ice cream.
  • The second time around, I ran out of Walnut and Hazelnut Powder so I swapped in Earth Organic Almond Powder and got the following texture with self-raising flour.

Nutty chocolate brownie cake

It turned out beautifully for such an easy mix cake – the kind that makes you want to pat your own back for a job well done.

An Easy Steak Dinner

An easy steak dinner… I’ve been working this one for a while now (yes, I never professed to be a good cook) and I think we sort of have it down now. If you’re looking for quick and easy, then you’ve come to the right place. If you’re looking for fancy, then this isn’t for you because our flavours are pretty simple – salt, pepper, garlic, butter and olive oil.

Steak dinner

The Steaks

We used rib-eye marinated with olive oil, salt and black pepper. Heat up the grill pan and cook each side of the steak for 2 to 3 minutes, depending on how well you want it done and how thick your steak is.

Sauteed Mushrooms

Heat up some olive oil in a saucepan. Add garlic powder (yes I cheat) then sliced mushrooms. Flavour with black pepper and salt. Set aside.

Broccoli

Wash and cut up the broccoli head. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Add a few slices of butter. Microwave in a microwave-safe dish for 2 minutes.

Corn

Remove the leaves. Wash the corn and rub butter on the sides. Add a few slices of butter on top and wrap with foil. Bake in 225 C oven for 20-25 minutes.

Finishing Touches

Set it all up on a plate and serve. Too easy.

Healthier Snacks and Desserts for the Kids!

I’ve been slack lately. I haven’t been making “healthier” snacks for the kids to take to school because I’ve been busy with the book. Now that I have a little more breathing space, it’s time to heat up the oven and get baking again. What better way to start than with these “healthier” options from Quaker with the wholesome goodness of oats (I’ve been on a mission to get the boys to eat more oats as a healthy addition to their diets).

Coco and Nana Mini Cakes

A perfect size for the snack box, or a well-deserved treat after a long day at school, your children can have their cake and eat it! With this recipe, you can add all the added benefits that oats bring: fibre, vitamin B1, vitamin B12, iron and magnesium.

Coco nana mini cakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp unsaturated cooking oil to grease the muffin cups
  • 1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup Quaker Instant/ Quick Cooking Oats
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
  • ¾ cup low- or non-fat milk
  • 4 tbsps unsaturated margarine, melted
  • 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 4 tsps chocolate chips

Method:

  • Pre-heat oven to 205°C
  • Lightly grease the bottom of miniature muffin cups with oil and set aside
  • In a large bowl, mix flour, oats, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda
  • In another bowl, blend mashed bananas, milk, margarine, egg whites and vanilla essence with an electric blender
  • Add in the dry ingredients and continue blending until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not over-mix
  • Fill the muffin cups almost up to the top
  • Sprinkle half a teaspoon of chocolate chips on each muffin
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes
  • If a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, the muffins are cooked
  • Let muffins cool for a few minutes. Remove from pan onto a wire rack to cool

Nutty Brittle Cookies

Probably not a snack for school if you have a nut-free school, but these are perfect for the kids who are nuts about nuts. With a touch of oats and a layer of chocolate, these crunchy desserts will leave you feeling sated. Peanuts are a source of vitamin B3, vitamin E, folate, fibre and protein, among others – adding to the goodness of oats!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp unsaturated margarine for greasing the aluminum foil
  • 2 cups Quaker Instant/ Quick Cooking Oats
  • 1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup unsaturated margarine, chilled, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsps. water
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup peanuts, lightly salted, dry roasted, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate pieces

Method:

  • Pre-heat oven to 180°C
  • Line two cookie pans with aluminum foil and grease the foil with a little margarine and set aside
  • In a bowl, combine oats, flour and baking powder and mix well
  • Add margarine and beat mixture on low to medium speed with a blender until mixture looks crumbly
  • Add icing sugar, brown sugar, water and vanilla essence
  • Beat again until dough starts to form
  • Slowly add chopped peanuts and mix the dough again
  • Divide the dough into two
  • Place half the dough on one cookie sheet and flatten with light-floured hands into a rectangle
  • Repeat with the other sheet
  • Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes or until slightly brown, rotating cookie sheets after 12 minutes
  • Sprinkle chocolate pieces over each large hot cookies, let it soften and then spread melted chocolate pieces over each cookie
  • Remove cookies from the sheets, break into pieces and serve

Oats and Apple Pie

An apple a day keeps the doctor away! Apples are rich in dietary fibre and flavonoids. Combine it with whole wheat and oat goodness and you end up with a pie that’s not just nutritious, but delicious too.

Oats and apple pie

Ingredients:

For the pastry –

  • 8 tbsps whole wheat flour
  • 8 tbsps Quaker Instant/ Quick Cooking Oats, grind to a powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 6 tsps unsaturated cooking oil
  • 8 tbsps low- or non-fat milk

For the filling –

  • 2 tsps unsaturated margarine, melted
  • 3 tbsps low- or non-fat milk
  • 1 tbsps sugar
  • 10 tbsps Quaker Instant/ Quick Cooking Oats
  • 6 tbsps raisins
  • 1 medium apple, diced into 1cm cubes
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsps honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Method:

For the pastry –

  • Pre-heat oven to 180°
  • Soft flour, oats and salt into a bowl; rub in oil and milk until mixture resembles breadcrumbs
  • Knead the mixture into a soft, but not sticky dough (Add more wheat flour if dough is sticky; or a little more milk if dough is not soft enough)
  • Place the dough in a covered glass dish and refrigerate for about 1 hour
  • Roll out the pastry to line an 8-inch pie plate
  • Bake for about 30 minutes or until slightly brown

For the filling –

  • In a bowl, mix melted margarine with milk, sugar, oats, raisins, apples, lemon juice, honey, cinnamon sugar and salt and dish out over the pastry base

Strawberry Shortcakes

With whole grain wheat and oats, these sweeties offer fibre-rich wholesome goodness packed in with the delicious taste of strawberry jam. Truly a treat made for everyone!

Strawberry Shortcakes

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Quaker Instant/ Quick Cooking Oats
  • 2 tbsps sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup unsaturated margarine
  • ½ cup low- or non-fat milk
  • 8 tsps strawberry jam

Method:

  • Pre-heat oven to 220°C
  • In a bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt
  • Add margarine and milk
  • Mix well until dry ingredients are moist
  • Roll the dough into a boll and knead on a light-floured surface
  • Patt the dough to about half inch thick
  • Using an oval-shaped cookie cutter, cut the dough into oval-shaped shortcakes
  • Using a smaller oval-shaped cookie cutter, make an indent in the center
  • Place the shortcakes on an ungreased cookie sheet
  • Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until brown
  • Serve shortcakes with strawberry jam

Wholegrain Fruit Bars

Instead of buying ready-made muesli bars from the supermarket, why not give these a go? Prepare these fruit bars the night before – they’re easy to make and easier to eat! Dried fruits are a rich source of carbohydrates, low in fat, and a great source of fiber, vitamins and minerals!

Whole Grain Fruit Bars

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup low- or non-fat plain unsweetened yogurt
  • 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 3 tbsps unsaturated cooking oil
  • 3 tbsps low- or non-fat milk
  • 2 tsps vanilla essence
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 3 cups Quaker Instant/ Quick Cooking Oats
  • 1 ½ cups dried mixed fruit, raisins or dried cranberries

Method:

  • Pre-heat oven to 180°C
  • Grease a 13” x 9” baking pan with oil and set aside
  • In a large bowl, combine sugar, yogurt, eggs, oil milk and vanilla essence and mix well
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon powder and salt and mix well
  • Add the flour mixture to the yogurt mixture and mix well
  • Still in oats and dried fruits
  • Spread the dough onto the botoom of the prepared baking pan
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until slightly brown
  • Cool completely on a wire rack
  • Cut into bars and store in an air-tight container

About Quaker

The Quaker Oats Company, headquartered in Chicago, is a unit of PepsiCo, Inc., one of the world’s largest consumer packaged goods companies. For more than 135 years, Quaker’s brands have served as symbols of quality, great taste and nutrition. Holding leadership positions in their respective categories, Quaker® Oats, Quaker® Rice Cakes and Quaker Chewy® Granola Bars are consumer favorites. For more information, please visit www.QuakerOats.comwww.Facebook.com/Quaker or follow them on Twitter @Quaker.

Refreshing Oat Smoothies

I have always loved oats ever since I was a child. Unfortunately, getting my boys to love it has not been quite as straightforward so I’ve had to look for sneaky ways to incorporate them into their diets.

One of the easiest breakfasts to start the day with is a smoothie – it’s quick and easy to make and highly nutritious when you add the right ingredients. Adding oats as an ingredients helps to make smoothies go the extra mile because of its high satiety index that keeps us feeling full for longer.

Health Benefits of Oats:

  • may reduce asthma risk in children
  • may add extra nutritional value to gluten-free diets
  • increases appetite-control hormones
  • beta glucans contained in oats improves the immune system’s defenses
  • natural laxative – helps keep the bowel movements regular
  • may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • may improve insulin sensitivity
  • lower bad cholesterol
  • helps control blood pressure
  • has a high satiety index – keeps us feeling full for longer

Recently, Quaker sent me some interesting oat smoothie recipes and I’ve decided to give them a go. Here they are if you would like to try them, too…

Orange Oat Smoothie

Oranges are rich in vitamin C and super refreshing. Your body will thank you when you stay healthy, energetic and refreshed with a boost of fiber, vitamin B1, Iron and magnesium from oats.

Orange Oat Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of freshly squeezed or 100% orange juice
  • 5 tbsps Quaker Instant/ Quick Cooking Oats, grind to a powder
  • ½ cup crushed ice cubes

Method:

  • Add orange juice, oats and ice cubes into a blender, blend well, and serve.

Peanut Butter Oat Smoothie

Looking for something filling, nutritious and delicious? Toss in peanut butter for a protein and fiber boost; and an extra nutty taste and flavor.

Peanut Butter Oat

Ingredients:

  • 5 tbsps Quaker Instant/ Quick Cooking Oats, grind to a powder
  • 2 large bananas, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 cup low- or non-fat milk, chilled

Method:

  • Add oats, bananas, peanut butter and milk into a blender, blend well and serve.

Mango Oat Smoothie

Mangoes are an excellent source of vitamins A and C. They taste great and are easily available at your nearest supermarket.

Mango Oat

Ingredients:

  • 5 tbsps Quaker Instant/ Quick Cooking Oats, grind into a powder
  • 1 large mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup low- or non-fat milk, chilled
  • 1 tsp sugar or low-calorie sweetener
  • ½ cup ice cubes

Method:

  • Add oats, mango, milk, sugar or sweetener and ice cubes into a blender, blend well and serve

Chocolate Oat Smoothie

Need some pampering? Do it the healthy way – add chocolate, bananas, oats and yogurt into your smoothie. Not only will you satisfy a chocolate craving, but you’ll nourish your body and stay full for longer too.

Choco Oat

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsps Quaker Instant/ Quick Cooking Oats
  • 1 cup low fat unsweetened plain yogurt
  • 1 small banana, peeled and sliced
  • ½ tsp cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup ice cubes
  • 1 tsp sugar

Method:

  • Add oats, yogurt, banana, cocoa powder, ice cubes and sugar into a blender, blend until smooth and serve immediately.

Banana Oat Smoothie

Besides being a good source of potassium, bananas are a good source of fiber. With fiber rich oats and a double fiber benefit, you’ll not only feel full, but fiber is also good for your digestive system.

Banana Oat

Ingredients:

  • 5 tbsps Quaker Instant/ Quick Cooking Oats, grind into a powder
  • 2 bananas, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tsps sugar or low-calorie sweetener
  • 2 cups low- or non-fat milk, chilled

Method:

  • Add oats, bananas, vanilla essence, sugar or sweetener and milk into a blender, blend well and serve.

About Quaker

The Quaker Oats Company, headquartered in Chicago, is a unit of PepsiCo, Inc., one of the world’s largest consumer packaged goods companies. For more than 135 years, Quaker’s brands have served as symbols of quality, great taste and nutrition. Holding leadership positions in their respective categories, Quaker® Oats, Quaker® Rice Cakes and Quaker Chewy® Granola Bars are consumer favorites. For more information, please visit www.QuakerOats.comwww.Facebook.com/Quaker or follow them on Twitter @Quaker.

Easy Honey Soy Roast Chicken

This was an experiment recipe that received such an overwhelming response (yes! Three thumbs up from all three boys!) that I had to make a note of it here. The original recipe was from Healthy Chinese Recipes.

What can I say? I love the easy ones that bring rave reviews. I had no idea it was going to be so well received that I didn’t bother to take a picture until it was nearly all gone. This was all that was left for me to capture at the end…

Honey soy chicken

Ingredients:

  • Chicken drumsticks
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • dash pepper

Method:

  • Line an oven tray with foil (leave an excess at both ends so you can fold them over to cover the chicken).
  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Mix ingredients together and marinate the chicken drumsticks for 30 minutes.
  • Lay the drumsticks onto the tray and drizzle the excess marinade over them.
  • Cover the chicken with the excess foil and place in oven for 40 minutes.
  • Open the foil cover and continue roasting for another 15 minutes or until the juice comes out clear when you stick a knife into the chicken.