Sunday, December 25, 2016

Chai Muffins (Indian tea flavor) muffins

Chai! Chai has always been a heaven for me and even though it can be translated as "tea", the tea is quite nowhere around the Indian Chai! Chai from India is a spiced milk tea which is getting increasingly popular throughout the world. I take my Chai very seriously and I can't compromise on a badly-made cup of tea. Indian Chai produces a warming, soothing effect and gives a wonderful sense of fulfillment and well-being. When I'm home from work, all I crave is a hot cup of chai. It is difficult to resist a second cup. Coffee comes nowhere close to my Chai!

I also use a specially made chai-masala or tea spice mix to elevate the flavors of my tea. I have previously shared the recipe of the chai masala. If you missed it, here's the recipe:
Chai masala recipe (Tea spice)

So why am I talking about Chai here in a muffin post? That's because for a very long time I have been wanting to add this spiced mix to flour and try baking some goodies with it. I was sure they would turn up good. So this Christmas I finally went along to prepare Chai muffins and amazingly they turned out so good and yummy.. crusty from outside and soft from inside. Do try this recipe and I'm sure you will make it again and again!


Whole wheat flour: 1 cup
Brown Sugar: 1/2 cup
Baking soda: 1 tsp.
Chai masala: 3 tsp.
Eggs: 2 large
Yogurt (beaten): 4 tsp.
Cooking oil: 1/4 cup
Vanilla essence: 1 tsp.

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200° C. 
  2. Add the flour to a bowl and add the baking soda to it. Mix well. 
  3. Add the spiced tea mix (chai masala) and mix them well. Your dry ingredients are ready. Keep aside. 
  4. Now in another bowl add the eggs and the sugar and mix them really well until light and fluffy. You can use a hand mixer or an electric mixer. 
  5. Add the yogurt and mix well. Add the cooking oil and vanilla essence. Mix everything well until light and frothy. 
  6. Now slowly begin to add the dry ingredient mix to the wet ingredients. Keep mixing slowly. 
  7. Add all the mix and mix everything together. The consistency should be a little flowy and not dense. This will make light and fluffy muffins. 
  8. Grease the mold and fill upto 3/4 with this mix and immediately put in the oven. I have baked them for Christmas so I used special Christmas mold. 
  9. Let bake for 15 minutes and check with a toothpick. If the toothpick is wet then let them be in the oven for 5 more minutes. The outside should be deep brown with a little crust. 
  10. When the toothpick has crumbly mix when you do the test that means the muffins are done. 
  11. Turn off the oven and take out the tray. Let cool for 10 minutes and remove the muffins. 
  12. Cool completely and refrigerate in an air-tight box for up to a week. 
  13. Warm for a minute in microwave while serving with tea/coffee.

Merry Christmas everyone ! 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas crafts for kids

Merry Christmas everyone!
It's really amazing working with pre-school kids and last week we had been making some pretty easy Christmas crafts with kids. At the end of the week, the kids took all the crafts home and the parents were overwhelmed and happy to see the lovely crafts created by their kids. I'm sharing some of the crafts and how to make them at home with your little ones!

Christmas Cards

Materials required:

Green paper
Brown paper 
Orange paper for base (or any other color of choice)
Pencil/pen to draw
Small sequins for decoration
Glitter (optional)

  1. Draw a triangle on the green paper and cut it out. 
  2. Stick it on the base sheet (orange or any other) with the help of glue. 
  3. Now cut out the brown paper for the tree trunk as shown in the picture and stick it under the tree. 
  4. Now decorate by gluing the tree with different sequins of choice and glitter. 
  5. The child may write his/her name and Merry Christmas/God Jul depending upon age. 
  6. A lovely basic Christmas card is ready. You could make many with different colored base for all the relatives/friends. 

Gingerbread Man

Materials required:

Brown paper
Pencil/pen to draw
Black marker
Lots of sequins and glitter

  1. Draw the easy shape of a gingerbread man as shown in the picture and cut it out finely. It's better if you cut it out from a thick paper as it will be used as stencil.   
  2. Your kids could now trace the outline using your gingerbread man cut-out stencil on a brown paper. 
  3. Cut out the shape of the gingerbread man. 
  4. Draw the eyes and the nose and mouth. 
  5. If feeling creative, you could even stick a bow at the neck area of the figure and it can be the gingerbread man. Similarly add a bow on the left side of the head of the figure and it can be a gingerbread woman. 
  6. Now glue the whole gingerbread man/woman and stick the sequins of choice. You could help your child to sprinkle glitter all over. 
  7. The gingerbread figure is ready. You could punch a hole in the top and hang it on the Christmas tree. Alternatively, you could also let the child stick it on another sheet of paper to make a simple Merry Christmas card. 
Pine cone trees

We had collected a lot of pine cones during our outings in the summer months. So we made good use of those to create little glittery pine cone Christmas trees. 

Materials required:

Pine cones
Colorful glitter

  1. Glue the whole pine cone with glue. 
  2. Sprinkle different colorful glitters over the pine cone. Roll it in glitter as well if it doesn't become very glittery. 
  3. Let dry completely and then can be hung on Christmas tree. 
  4. You could also try painting the whole pine cone with green paint mixed with glue and then directly sprinkling glitter to give a little tree effect. 
  5. If you don't have a Christmas tree or don't want to hang, you can just use a flattened ball of play dough as a base for the glittery pine cone. 

Little Santas 

Materials required: 

Empty toilet paper roll
Red paper balls
Red fabric
Green/gray fabric
Glue gun
Black marker 

  1. Cut the red fabric according to the size of the toilet paper roll and wrap it around. Glue with glue gun. 
  2. Cut little strip of green/gray fabric and tie it around the middle as shown in the picture. 
  3. Make the Santa hat as you like and glue it to the red paper ball with the glue gun. 
  4. Now let the child draw eyes, nose and mouth on the red ball with the black marker. 
  5. Attach the red ball to the toilet paper roll with the help of the glue gun. 
  6. Tear little bits of cotton and stick them as beard as shown in the picture. We had used ready to use beard from craft shop but cotton will work as good. 
  7. You can decorate the Santa by tying the hat with a strip of different color fabric or sticking cotton to the end of the hat etc. 
  8. Cute Santa is ready to be placed on the window/center table as Christmas decoration. 
  9. This particular craft was the original idea of a colleague and not mine. I have only shared the craft and process here. 

Beading Santa

Beading is an excellent way to work on the fine motor skills of young kids. For Christmas, Santa could be made with beads on a square or rectangle beading plate. For making this pattern, it's very important to count and place the particular number of beads in a particular order. It really helps the kids concentrate and work on their mathematics as well. After the beading has been done, the beads could be ironed out by placing a butter paper between the beads and the iron. 

Last year on Christmas, I had shared to make Santa Claus with paper. You can follow this link if you want to see the Santa craft. 

If you like my work, please leave a comment/question etc. in the comments section below. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Apple Carrot Basil Soup

Winters are knocking on the door and we have already experienced our first snowfall. Temperatures are dropping down real quick and we crave for warm comfort foods (and drinks) in this weather.. This is the perfect time for warm soups. I had received a soup maker last winter as a gift and there is no better time to put it to good use now. This soup recipe is made in a soup maker but can also be simmered on a stove top. The ingredient which makes this soup special is the soup spice mix (soup masala) which I add to all my soups.

This is a warm and comforting soup and the mix of apples and carrots elevated the taste to another level. I have gotten the idea of mixing apple and carrots from this recipe:


Apple (chopped): 1
Carrots (chopped): 3
Garlic: 3 cloves
Basil leaves: a handful
Yellow onion (chopped): 1
Lemon juice: 1 tsp.
Salt to taste
Soup Spice Mix (Soup masala)
Black pepper (optional)
Cream for garnish (optional)

  1. Wash and chop the apples, carrots, onion and garlic and add to the soup maker. 
  2. Add the washed basil leaves, lemon juice, salt and soup spice mix. 
  3. Add the required amount of water and turn on the soup maker. My soup maker prepares the soup in just 6 minutes! 
  4. If preparing on stove top, add the chopped apples, carrots, onion, garlic and basil leaves to a mixer. Add water and grind to a smooth paste. 
  5. Add this whole mix to a large pot and add water depending upon the required consistency of the soup. 
  6. Add the salt, lemon juice and soup spice mix. Mix well and bring to a boil. 
  7. Reduce the heat and simmer on medium flame for 10-15 minutes or until it reaches the desired consistency. 
  8. Turn off the flame and pour directly into a soup bowl. No need to sieve it. 
  9. Sprinkle black pepper and garnish with cream if desired. Serve hot! 

If you loved this recipe, please leave a comment/feedback and connect with me on Facebook for regular recipe updates.


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