Quick treats: Peanut Butter honey dip, oatmeal raisin cookies

My thesis, validation and kids on vacation makes for a terrible combination.  My younger one is used to a modicum of attention from me, some art, a story here and there,  lots of conversations and trips to the store/beach/coffee place; My older one is used to having me whip up treats, some savoury, some sweet, some savoured, some not so much.  Now, I am continually shushing them while I try to write, to think out they next line/paragraph/chapter mentally.  I also have CMC asking to validate my two projects, WB government reading about our mannequin in TOI and asking to see a demo, TN government medical centre,  right around the corner from IITM, finding out about us from TOI and wanting demo and training... Nice problems to have, but very poor timing.  My deadline is Oct 28th and I have barely 2 of my 5 chapters written!  On the other hand chapters 3 and 4 are just papers and validation I have already done, so they may need no more than 3 days.  I give a seminar on 26th, then hunker down and finish these chapters.  Chapter 5 is just conclusion and future work.

My forays into finding the perfect writing music continues much to Gau's irritation.  I have switched to exclusively listening to my iPhone line up when I am writing.  One of my favourite is the BMK rendition of "Endaro Mahanubhavulu".  I remember being touched by the lyrics in the climax of "Shankarabharanam", long before my music teacher taught me the pancharatna krithis.  Tygarajar not only wrote great songs, he also changed the facets of classical music completely.  Yet, Tygarajar humbly honours all those who have done service to God and Music. Newton has famously said "If I have seen further its is only because I have stood on the shoulders of giants" (or words to that effect).  The Tao of Physics is apparent even in the nature of the greats in their respective fields!

This somehow brings me to Gau's agnostic to atheistic attitude - somehow everythings eventually leads to him.  I was telling him how Dikshitar brought down rain to parched land by singing in Raga Amritavarshini. He snickered and joked my head was in the clouds.  I reminded him how he tried Accio Shoes after reading the first harry potter book.  This may seem similarly magical but may be plausible.  My great grandmother would have pooh poohed the idea of cell phone and video conferencing.  maybe, if he had faith curing drought with music is a possibility, someone might figure out how to fix even global warming with music (I know I am stretching things  ;)  He nodded his head, just wanting me to keep quiet probably.

I wonder if faith is needed to lead a contented life.  Tyagarajar lived a life of poverty, content in his music and not concerned with preserving his compositions past his lifetime.  Ilayaraja, while his achievements don't compare to Tygarajar, introduced Tamilians to sophisticated, orchestrated original music.  Violins never sang so beautifully in our movies before him!  A whole generation swears by him.  Yet, the last time I heard him talk, after a Music Academy concert, he sounded embittered by the lack of opportunities to produce Mozart like music. Isn't the very act of creation self-satisfying?  Does one need accolades and recognition?  Once basic needs of some respect and fiscal self-sufficiency is met?  I am too ordinary to resolve such questions.  Maybe if there is a next birth, I will ask for real talent and find out.

For now, all I have is simple treats from busy mom: Peanut Butter Honey dip
1/2 cup peanuts
2 tspoon honey
1/2 tspoon salt
Heat oven to 350 degrees
I roasted a 1/2 cup of organic peanuts at 350 deg F for 20 minutes.
Try to de-skin the peanuts in a sieve..  I got about a third off;  It is not necessary perhaps.
Grind to a paste with the honey and salt.

Serve with peeled sliced apples, thinning the dip with a little water/milk as needed.

I used organic raw unfiltered honey; My dip looked a little crystalline.  These are awesome in a chapathi roll too - chapathi smeared with the drip, sliced fruits on top, rolled up makes a great lunch box treat.  PB  without needing the J Sandwich, again fruits might be a good addition.

Peanut Butter Honey
Apple with Peanut Honey dip

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

  1. 1 2/3 cup oatmeal, the slow cooking kind
  2. 1 2/3 cup popped amaranth
  3. 1 cup all purpose flour
  4. 1 tsp baking soda
  5. 200g butter clarified to make ghee
  6. 3 free roaming eggs  (these tend to be smaller, hence 3)
  7. 2/3 cup brown sugar  
  8. 1/2 cup white sugar
  9. 2/3 cup chopped almonds
  10. 2/3 cup chocolate chips
  11. 2/3 cup dry fruits - I used a combination of cherry and cranberry this time;  usually I use raisins.
  12. 1/2 cup milk optional

Make ghee.  Cool.
Preheat oven to 350 deg F
Mix the flour and soda.
Add sugars to cooled clarified beat for 2 minutes.
Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until well incorporated
Add the flour and mix until well incorporated.
Add the oats and amarath and mix with a spatula;  If the mix feel very stiff add some of the milk.
Fold in nuts, chips and dried fruits.
Drop by tbspoons on a buttered cookie sheet.
Bake for 12 minutes until edges seem a lil brown. They will stiffen up on cooling.
Remove from sheet when cool.  Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 6 dozen small cookies.  I make my cookies small to control my portions.  My kids will scarf down 1/2 a dozen at a time.

If you don't have access to amaranth seeds, just add another 1 1/3 cup of oats.


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