I wanted to first put this as a comment to Malina's post; but then there was a lot going on inside my head so I decided to make it a post in itself.
Malina's post on eating out the healthy options was indeed enlightening; but I still think that instead of asking them to skip the butter while grilling fish, wouldn't it be better to ask them to use olive oil.
I have been trying to make some simple things that we normally would buy off the shelf. The first one is simple cup-cakes. When I saw Nigella Lawson...yes 'the' Nigella make these easy-weasy cup cakes I was like "yes!! I can make those", but being what I am I was sitting on that thought for some time. Well the cup-cakes that we pick up off the shelf tend to be a bit dry and then my son can't eat the dry stuff, and then not all cup-cakes taste good with a sprinkle of milk or juice. So this was the inspiration behind the experiment. The recipe is very simple: 125 gms each of flour, butter and sugar. Now here is the thing, as mommies we are free to use wholegrain flour/atta, and about sugar, please try brown sugar, not only does it taste yummmmmmmmm it is also more nutritious and less loaded with chemicals than plain white sugar. And another thing is to get the finer variety of brown sugar (a friend told me this; but I forget why she said it was better). OK once you mix in your butter with the sugar, you throw in 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence, and just mix these well, maybe for about 4-5 minutes. Then add in the flour and at the end add in 2 tablespoons of milk. The batter is now ready to be spooned into paper cups. Preheat the oven at 200 degrees C and bake the cakes for 15-20 minutes. You need not have the muffin tray to insert your paper cups, I found these cups which have the usual paper cup on the inside, and the outer cup is made of foil, so you can place them straight onto your regular baking tray.
Once this basic cup-cake is mastered then any amount of variations are possible, add bananas to the batter, add some dry-fruit of choice, or chocolate chips the possibilities are endless. I have made 3 batches of these cup cakes within a span of 1 month and every time they turn out better and friends love them too!! Best part is that my son gets to see how a cake is made, and can eat one straight from the oven steaming-hot !!
Now coming on to the second one, this I know Iba loves them a lot...well they are chicken nuggets. This is the way I made them this Sunday: Cut the boneless chicken pieces into thin chunks. Take some mayonnaise in a bowl; and take some salted crackers/biscuits of your choice and pound them into crumbs. Put the crumbs into a plate (make more cracker-crumbs coz if you fall short mid-way it will be very messy to make them again) OK now what you do is take the chicken pieces, roll them in mayonnaise, and then roll them well in the cracker-crumbs. Once you have finished coating all of them, heat some oil preferably olive oil in a non-stick pan and shallow fry the chicken. The will take no more than 5 minutes to cook, and then serve it up with ketchup or a sauce of choice or for kids a mayonnaise dip with some lemon and herbs is also a great hit.
For these nuggets we can also bake them, but right now the oven settings are escaping my memory, I shall pen them down later.
Do try them and meanwhile I take inspiration for some more great things and also some more inspiration to write regularly on the blog!!