Simple Achta Pastry Cream

Simple Achta Pastry Cream

For those who don’t know what Achta is and why I’m completely obsessed over it…what you need to know is… making real Achta is a long and lengthy process of watching raw milk boil till it curdles on the top and then scraping the curdled part in baby steps till you have a small plate of pudding (yawn). 

My job is to take complicated recipes and make them simpler. I know it’s not traditionally correct but this is the closest you’ll get and I love that there’s barely any sugar in it AND my son, “Mr Food Snob” really enjoys eating this as a pudding. I have finally been able to replace those sugar infused processed puddings with this homemade option full of dairy and calcium. 

What the heck is Achta? It is a popular Arabic pastry Cream used for many desserts, knafeh, atayef or even on its own with honey, fruit and nuts sprinkled on top. My son preferred it with no honey. We ate it on its own this time and I made a small batch of dried apricots stuffed with atayef. So easy to prepare and a nice treat to offer guests! How beautiful do all the colors look!? 


Here is the recipe: Do as you please with it! 

Prep time: 5 min 

Cooking time: 5 -8 min

Resting time: 2 hours 

Ingredients: 

  1. 7 slices white bread crust removed 
  2. 1/2 cup corn starch with 1/2 cup water 
  3. 2 cups milk 
  4. 2 cups cream 
  5. 2 tbsp sugar 
  6. 1 tbsp rose water 
  7. 1 tbsp orange blossom water 
  8. Cling Film

Method: 

  1. Cut crust off bread and chop into squares. Don’t be a perfectionist here
  2. Mix corn starch and milk till it’s a smooth liquid
  3. Mix with a whisk the milk, cream, corn starch mixture and sugar till all incorporated
  4. Put pot on top of heat (medium to high) and add the pieces of bread 
  5. Keep stirring all the time till mixture gets thick and then use a whisk to smoothen the mixture out 
  6. Once the bread has dissolved and mixture has boiled (2-4 min) you can turn the fire off and add the orange blossom and rose water. 
  7. Pour into a glass Pyrex and cover with cling film. This part is important: let the cling film touch the Achta and cover the mixture completely because it will keep it from forming a hard layer on top. 
  8. Cool down and place in fridge
  9. Achta is ready to eat after two hours and ready to be filled in your recipes if you give it a mix so it clumps up a little. 

Let me know what you think! 

The end. 

Easy Cinnamon Rolls without the waiting 

Easy Cinnamon Rolls without the waiting 

I accidentally bought one too many packs of puff pastry. Never a problem, if anything that’s a good kind of mistake. The famous picky eater child of mine loves bread but frowns upon puff pastry, however he is obsessed with cinnamon. He will eat it dry with a spoon. Total weirdo who I am in love with! So anyway, I did a super quick version of cinnamon rolls with a side of apple sauce for dipping into. A week has passed since I’ve made these and I’m craving some now just because of that apple sauce dip. Total winner and perfect to send to school as a snack for the kids. Good news is Ryan loved them, I realize I didn’t accomplish much in the nutritional aspect of it all but when a picky eater like him, finally accepts another food WHATEVER it is without a fight, that’s always a good step towards more food acceptance and letting his food barrier down creating more trust in trying new things. Next time, I’ll Mix a vegetable and purée it inside perhaps that’ll it work. Find something they love and experiment! 


Recipe: 

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry, I like to use the jus roll brand. Don’t roll it out. It’s better to get the box that comes in a big rectangular sheet. When you defrost it, take it out and don’t roll it out or else it’ll make it hard to roll it later. 
  • 3 tbsp raw refine free brown sugar 
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon 

Combine the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle it all across the pastry sheet. 

Roll it and slice into equal parts. 


I’ve done this before and each roll ended up opening leaving me with snail looking rolls. I had an idea to place the pin wheels into a cup cake tin so that when they expand in the oven they stay confined in each individual cupcake tin. It worked really well! 

Cook on medium heat till golden and remove! 

For the Apple Sauce: 

3 apples peeled and chopped up coarsely 

1 tsp cinnamon 

1/2 tsp lemon zest 

1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)

1 tsp butter 

Add to a pot and simmer till apples are soft. Blend and you’re done. 

Rice Crispy Treats, only better!


I recently purchased the book “Deceptively Delicious” recommended to me by @amominlove (follow her on Instagram for inspiration on what to serve your kids in their lunch boxes everyday)! She makes it look like fun without too much effort. Love that! 
Back to the book! It’s packed with recipes on how to hide healthy ingredients into your food for the kids. As amazing as the options are, my son will barely go for any of them because he’s a special type of extreme picky eater! What it has helped me with is my other kid and it has served as an inspiration to other things I could cook and smuggle into for my boy! 

This recipe is adapted from Jessica Seinfeld: here it goes! 


Ingredients

  1. 1 tbsp butter 
  2. 4 cups mini marshmallows 
  3. 3.5 cups brown rice cereal 
  4. 1 cup sugar free granola cereal (mine included oats and pumpkin seeds)
  5. 1/4 cup flaxmeal 
  6. 1/2 cup organic dedicated coconut (optional) 

Directions

  1. Met butter in pan and add marshmallows. Mix around till puffed up. Do not over heat! Let mixture cool down for two minutes before adding rice cereal or else the cereal will become soggy. 
  2. Add rice and granola and coconut
  3. Pour mixture into greased pan and flatten to the desired thickness you want. I like to use wax paper to pat down the treat. 
  4. Let cool down completely and cut into desired shapes. 


What a success these turned out to be! Loved by all! The end

The art of food stealthing

360 moms is an online platform for women in the Arab world. It could quite frankly be for women and not necessarily just for the Arab women though. It has a community of experts from different background sharing their tips and experiences in motherhood. I am so happy to begin contributing on the site from my food recipes to my every day life of being a mom and a wife. My first piece is all about how I deal with my son, the one who hates food! It’s been two years and it hasn’t been easy. Rather than fighting back and putting him through therapy sessions, I finally realized that perhaps I need to give him a break and fix things from my end. The end that I can control. I am the one making his food so I might as well hide as much as I can in there till he finallly (hopefully) begins to eat like other children his age. Below are the links to read the article both in English and Arabic. 

If you have any questions or suggestions please do let me know! And feel free to let me know if there’s something you’d like me to write about and share! ❤️❤️❤️ 

English:http://360moms.net/en/contributions/art-food-stealthing/

Arabic: http://360moms.net/مشاركات-2/فن-تهريب-الطعام/

Pumpkin Donuts for the win! 


Pumpkin, pumpkin everywhere! I’m in love with Fall and all it’s dishes it has to offer! I’ve been wanting to make pumpkin donuts for a while now and I finally did it because 1) Something in my head was telling me to package pumpkin in a donut form so that my son would eat it. 2) Been waiting to find a simple and easy recipe! 

I’ve cooked baked donuts before and they came out cake like – total bummer! I felt like I got ripped off. These on the other hand, came out thicker but still moist! I refused to glaze them despite the little Halloween devil on my right shoulder whispering “caramel frosting, brown sugar frosting, cinnamon – sugar frosting in my ear” I managed to block it out and keep them plain. This way, the kids are actually eating good stuff and I can send to school in their lunch box! 

I used my electric donut maker that I have seen in several kitchen gadget sections of stores. However you could also use a donut baking tray. (The electric one takes 2 min per round and is much quicker) 


Ingredients and Method

In one bowl whisk the following:

  1. 2 cups all purpose flour minus 2 tbsp
  2. 1 3/4 tsp baking powder 
  3. 1 1/4 tsp salt 
  4. 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
  5. 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg 
  6. 1/4 tsp ground ginger 

In a second bowl mix with an electric blender the following till well blended and no more lumps: 

  1. 3/4 cup unrefined brown sugar (original recipe called for 1 1/2 cups brown and white sugar so add extra as you wish) 
  2. 1/2 cup sunflower oil (or canola)
  3. 3 eggs 
  4. 1 1/2 cup pumpkin purée (canned or fresh)
  5. 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • Empty dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix again till smooth. 
  • Drop 1 tbsp full into donut pan or donut maker and cook. 

If in an oven and in a pan: 10 min 

If in an electric donut maker: 2-3 min 

The end! 

Easy and Guilt Free Pumpkin Pie


So it’s Fall and the pumpkin flavors are upon us and the pie crusts are secretly joining forces with our hips! If I want to enjoy pumpkin pie season I’m gonna need to take it easy on the crusts and this pumpkin pie is not only ridiculously easy but it’s also more healthy! The kids loved it so much too! Shocker. 

The pan I cooked it in was quite wide in diameter so the filling came out to be low so I cut them up in bars to be sent to school individually. Next time, I’ll do it in a smaller pan for more thickness! Apart from that this was so good! 


Prep: 10 min 

Bake:40 min 

Servings: 8

  1. 1 cup canned (or fresh) pumpkin purée. If using fresh please make sure to strain out all the liquid from the puréed pumpkin! 
  2. 1/2 cup pancake mix ( I used the bob mill 7 whole grain one). This is what will help create a thin layer as the pie bakes. 
  3. 1/2 cup refined free brown sugar 
  4. 1 cup evaporated milk 
  5. 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice 
  6. 1 tsp vanilla 
  7. 2 eggs

Method: 

  • Heat oven to 180 C and grease a 23cm pan with butter. I used a bigger pan and cut the pie into bars later.
  • In a large bowl mix all the ingredients with a whisk. And pour filling into pan. 
  • Bake for 35-40 min until toothpick inserted comes out clean. 
  • I topped each bar with a pecan and less than half a tsp of a failed butter cream I’ve been trying to make for my daughter’s upcoming birthday.

The end!! 

Anytime Popsicles

These Popsicles will always be in my freezer! I realize that when you juice fruits the fibers go and it’s more sugar for the kids however with this Popsicle, I only blended a watermelon i purchased that is always too damn big for our family of four and added plain yogurt to it. If your kids have a sweet tooth, add a little bit of honey but try it Au Naturel the first time. The cereal you give them with the yogurt popsicle can be the sweet part if you want to use that as your negotiation! The kids and you will love these! And the best part is…when they start melting just a little in their little hands, the yogurt falls into the granola and makes that even better. It’s like a win-win situation guys! 
No recipe needed for this. Just blend whatever watermelon you have left and then add some Yogurt (2:1 ratio) worked well! 

Other ideas: I am always doing these Popsicles, if you want to add more nutrition to them, you can cut up some fruits inside, add coconut water, aloe Vera, some super food powder! The list can go on and on but for now and for my son’s “good boy” stamp that he received today; these will do with a side of organic crunchy granola. 


Enjoy! 

Snickers and Twix get an extreme make over! 

Snickers and Twix get an extreme make over! 

Watch video for tutorial! What you’ll need: 

  • Dates (mine were so sweet and soft and almost tasted like caramel. That’s what inspired me to do this!)
  • Peanuts 
  • Peanut Butter 
  • Chocolate Melted
  • Biscuit (I used digestive) 

Watch the video and you will see how it’s done! https://youtu.be/HBgCelqqIiU

Wholesome Banana Cake 

Another week, another banana cake. I feel Iike this has become part of my life. Whatever gets some extra nutrition in that child of mine! This time, my plan was to create a banana dried fruit cake. Which meant I got to put much less sugar (always refined free) in the mix. Halfway through mixing I realized I was one cup short of all purpose flour. Ground Flaxseed was the only thing I had in my cabinet which I thought I could substitute it with. So I did. I used a little over than 1/2 a cup to substitute for 1 cup of flour. 

The only problem was, when the cake came out of the oven, it had a weird flaxy smell to it. “How on earth am I gonna disguise this to the kids!!” The torture of baking something and kids not liking it is just terrible. So I thought to make a healthy icing, using labneh. Knowing that I could be making it worse, I went ahead by adding some raw honey I get from Lebanon (l’atelier du miel), orange zest and vanilla. It tasted great! I felt like a champion! I even added sprinkles to it. 

This cake is real proof that even though something looks pretty, doesn’t mean the kids will eat it. They did not approve of the icing nor the sprinkles and asked me to take the top layer away and they are the weird smelling flaxseed cake. How could I even be disappointed when they were eating the cake I thought was going to be a no go for them. Lesson learnt. 

Here it is! I followed my usual banana cake recipe except substituted a few items because that’s what I do and I get that from my mama. 

I would like to add that the adults in the house really enjoyed the labneh icing. Like A LOT! So give it a try! 


Over achievingly healthy Banana Dried Fruit Cake

Method and Ingredients: 

* Preheat oven to 180C or 350F

* Gather all the wet ingredients and beat them well

1. 3 eggs 

2. 3 tbsp  refined free sugar

3. 1/2 tsp vanilla 

4. Add 3/4 cup sun flower oil 

5. Add 1/2 cup yogurt 

* In a separate bowl add the dry ingredients

1. 1 cup flour + 3/4 cup ground Flaxseed

2. 3/4 tsp baking powder 

3. 1/2 tsp baking soda 

4. Pinch of salt

5. 1 tsp cinnamon 

* Mix the dry ingredients and slowly add it to the wet mixture

* soak the dried fruit in two tablespoons orange blossom water for 10 minutes.

1. 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

2. 1/2 cup chopped and pitted dates 

3. 1 cup mashed bananas (the darker the better)

4. 1/2 cup dried raisins

* Grease a pan, pour batter in it and pop in oven for 45 min or until toothpick comes out dry. 

Labneh Icing: 

1. 1/2 cup labneh

2. 2 tbsp honey 

3. 1/2 tsp vanilla 

4. 1 tsp orange zest 

Mix together and spread over cake. 

Old School Pops

Zipsicles

 

I remember when I was a kid, the sight of these frozen popsicles would make me so happy! I just HAD to have one! My favorite flavor was strawberry and it was so junkie that the color would stay on my lips and tongue all day. The high from all the added sugar must have been a pain in the ass for any supervising adult! haha

While shopping at Lakeland in Mall of Emirates, I found these Zipsicles! They come in a pack of 50, and in my opinion can be reusable at least once! I silently squealed to avoid looking like too much of a geak and tossed them in my shopping basket.

The best thing you can do with these ice-cream molds is fill them up with freshly squeezed juice or your own blend of a smoothie. My daughter who is a great eater (knock on wood) loves hers with orange juice and frozen pieces of blueberries! My son, who is a picky eater and one of my biggest challenges I deal with every day, doesn’t like chunks of frozen fruit in his nor does he like vegetables! Little does he know that I blend veggies in his fruit smoothie and he eats it very happily!

What I like about Zipsicles:

  1. Easy for little kiddie hands to hold rather than the alternative popsicle molds with short sticks.
  2. Reusable at least once.
  3. Fun for parties! You can make a big bunch!
  4. The kids LOVE the whole look and mechanism of pushing the popsicle up with every bite!

Some Fruit/Veggie Popsicle ideas to try:

  1. Freshly squeezed Juices: Orange, Apples, Grapes, Carrots, Beets, Coconut water…
  2. Fruits/Veggies to blend: Strawberries, Mango, Avocado, Bananas, Sweet Potate, and more!
  3. Throw in chunks of: Sliced Bananas, Blueberries, Grapes, Raspberries, Strawberries, Kiwi …

Use your imagination and fill these Zipsicles up with pure goodness!

Zipsicles