Friday, December 06, 2013

An Update On My Life and Eight Steps to Popped Amaranth Bars

I just read an article on how to give great titles for tweets, Facebook posts and blog posts. At the risk of sounding conceited, I will say that I knew and practice most of that. Have been, really, for many, many years. I never thought that the "Caption This" Photo/cartoon contests for which we tried so hard as kids would become a daily challenge for me in adulthood but it's one that I welcome mostly.

Still, given that I blog far less frequently than earlier, I will borrow from the tips given in the article and see if I get more hits than usual. The article tells me that people want to be taught and references to oneself pique curiosity, depending on the social medium. I, of course, am combining all that and giving you both a "how to" and an update on my life. I am not linking to it, however, because the illustration for one important point on how to use photos that are direct vs those that are indirect simply did not make sense to me and I didn't waste any time after a couple of attempts.

The word update is just to test whether the reference to myself brings you all rushing here. My life has really not changed much since the last post, nor since last year, or the year before, or the years before that. I keep saying I want change but of course, I only want the nice parts of it, and of course, that's not acceptable to Change which is as stubborn as I am, so we are somewhat deadlocked. But still, I am going to put this post out as per the instructions and see whether there's any change.

Here's the update, a tame one but a pleasant one: It's a cool December night and it feels very nice and calm despite the boring cricket commentary going on in the other room. It's not even bothering me, that noise. And I am thrilled to tell you this is the first blog post I am doing from my laptop - all these years, I've used a desktop and found it very convenient but in the last week or so, sitting in front of it has been affecting my head and eyes strangely - I had not been well - so I've just placed the laptop on the dining table, on a table mat and am typing away. I guess I had not done it all these years as I was worried I wouldn't be able to do it smoothly, but it is very smooth. Of course, a laptop can never be like a desktop because I have to be conscious of the charge and run for the power cord to plug it in when the charge runs out, but other than that it's really comfortable.

I made these amaranth bars at least two months ago. As usual, I bought three packets of popped amaranth as if I had foreseen a famine of this particular commodity and tucked it away in a commodious container. (Given that this is a commodity one finds in organic stores, which in my experience do not maintain a steady supply of goods, I can be forgiven for fearing a famine.) I soon tired of the morning cereal of amaranth and curds and the amaranth was ignored for a long time. Then Guilt knocked at my door and though I did not want to make anything sweet or dessert-y, I did not find anything very different with amaranth on the Internet and made two batches of popped amaranth bars instead.
This is the recipe for the first batch. In the second batch, I used desiccated coconut and dry cranberries. Not only did those at The Refuge of Failed Experiments (the workplace, that is) like this, they all asked me for the recipe which I mailed them over the weekend. They said they wouldn't really be trying it anyway, but I mailed them anyway.

None of this activity did much to exhaust my stock of popped amaranth, though. And now I wonder if it's my imagination or it's really beginning to smell a little stale. Sigh!

Anyway, here goes the recipe:

1.5 cups popped amaranth
1 cup cashew, roughly chopped
1/2 cup choc chip
1/2 cup sunflower seed

a handful of raisins

4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup jaggery
1/4 cup honey
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla essence

Melt butter, jaggery and honey on low heat till it comes to a boil and then thickens somewhat. (Can add some cinnamon powder here if you like.)

Once it thickens, take off fire.

Add vanilla and salt and stir.

Add it to ingredients in first cluster and mix thoroughly till they are all well coated.

Place in a not-too-deep baking dish, level surface and bake/toast in a slow oven (160 degrees C) for 10 mins till top browns.

Switch it off, stir it,  and then pop it back in the oven for 5 mins.

Switch off after 5 mins, remove and add raisins and level it again.

Cool and then refrigerate. Cut into pieces after a couple of hours.


  1. Your English is such a soothe to the 'real English' deprived soul, Sra. Laptop you say ... Congrats! ... but my doc warned me against using them and am about to shift to the desktop back soon.
    Amarnth seeds?! As in the seeds of our good old Laal saag?! You made that great looking bar from them?! Awesome!

  2. Thanks, Sharmila! Apparently, amaranth spans a range of plants including laal saag. I've used the unpopped version, too, to make a curd rice sort of dish. It's not bad.

  3. Replies
    1. If you try it, please let me know how it turned out, Vanamala!

  4. The caption did bring me here! Not disappointed though. ...

    1. Thanks, Poornima, that means it's not entirely a misleading caption. Once I put up something with stalks (of greens) and called it stalking, you can imagine ...

  5. The bars looks so good and healthy too , ha ha even without the title i would rush here to eard :-) I like desktop too, but i use laptop too especially in the late afternoon anf evenings then i am in th eliving and the sit in the sofa and use laptom but during the day if i am i am in the desktop which is in shyama's room .

    1. Finla, yes, I know what you mean. Till about two weeks ago, I would rarely use the laptop unless I wanted to sit in the bedroom but now I've been using it all over the house and using it to do a post is unusual.

  6. I used to make a bar very similar to this one and now I'm thinking of making again and sending it to school with my son. So thanks! I'll follow your recipe because I can't remember what ingredients I used in mine, it's been so long. Nice update :-)

    1. The thing about these bars is that they will accommodate a variety of things, I think. This is what I assume, of course, having made them just twice.

  7. So ur update is an upgrade to laptop :) No matter what your title says- ur posts are pleasure :) I always felt desktop much comfy because of huge display and my wireless mouse and keyboard.
    I never used popped amaranth seeds sounds much like healthy bar.

    1. Cham, thanks. I've had the laptop for a couple of years now, just using it more often now. Funnily enough, I thought I'd be able to get rid of my desktop but I find that I want both. And I even want a more modern desktop - I'll never declutter!

  8. I have never used popped amaranth seeds myself ...but these looks very healthy way of making bars, kind of like cereal bars...and good for you to have a laptop....and your post title- this one and many other ones do always bring me to read your blog keep them coming :-)...hugs

    1. Thanks, Jaya! I'm going to look for savoury bars next!