Friday, 16 February 2018

5 Amazing Uses of Amla

Picture Courtesy: Reward Me

Growing up, we were always told by elders to eat amla and now we know why. Indian gooseberry better known as amla, is definitely a powerhouse of nutrients. This translucent green fruit tastes as delicious as it looks, and provides a host of health benefits with each bite. Whether you have it raw, juiced, powdered, or as part of a variety of jams, pickles, and dips – amla is going to be your superhero ingredient and keep the doctors away. We can go on and on about its benefits, but to give you a glimpse into the goodness of amla, we’ve picked 5 reasons why including amla in your daily diet is the best thing you could do for your health –

1. Metabolism Boost

Amla has natural properties which help in burning fat and curbing cravings. Drinking a glass of amla juice before a meal can fill your stomach up enough to prevent you from binge-eating. This is all thanks to a protein present in amla that curbs hunger. It also gives a great boost to one’s metabolism, helping one shed weight faster. Its high fibre content and acids like tannic acid can also help you look less bloated. Going on a weight-loss diet soon? Ditch the unhealthy methods and include the nutritious amla in your food.

2. Builds Immunity

Amla has antibacterial and astringent properties that help in boosting one’s immune system. A lot of diseases, including cancer, are caused by oxidative damage, i.e when body cells use oxygen but leave harmful by-products called free radicals behind. Amla, being a high source of antioxidants, works as a great agent for preventing and repairing oxidative damage.

3. Fights Chronic Conditions

Amla is loaded with chromium, which helps in reducing bad cholesterol and also stimulates insulin production which reduces the blood glucose levels of diabetics. Amla juice can be a remedy for high blood pressure as well. Amino acids and antioxidants present in amla make it a well-rounded aid for respiratory and heart health in general.

4. Brain Booster

Regular consumption of amla can also improve nerve health by facilitating proper blood flow. It enhances cognitive functions, concentration, and memory. The high iron content in amla increases oxygen transportation, preventing brain degeneration. Start your day with a bowl of chopped amla and you’ll be active all day!

5. Natural Make Up

Amla powder can give you naturally glowing skin and also keep it hydrated. Time to stop spending on expensive cosmetics and start having some amla powder every day! You can have it as an amla-sharbat by mixing amla powder with water to get all the health benefits, or add it to your face mask for a quick glow solution.

Loving all these amazing benefits that this fruit can provide? Let’s see how you can add it to your daily diet with some easy, quick, and totally delicious recipes –

1. Amla and Beetroot Tikki


Picture Courtesy: iDiva

We’ve all heard of amla pickles and juices and chutneys, but ever heard of Amla tikkis? With this recipe, you don’t just get the goodness of amla, but also the super nutrition of beetroots! How great is that? Have it as a burger patty or with a delicious chutney. We’re taking healthy eating to another level with these scrumptious amla beetroot tikkis. Check out the recipe below –

Ingredients

• 5 to 6 amla (grated)
• 1 cup beetroot (boiled and mashed)
• 3 potatoes (boiled, peeled, and mashed)
• 1 tbsp. Healthy Alternatives – Pure Olive Oil
• 1 onion (finely chopped)
salt to taste
• 1/4 tbsp. red chili powder
• 1/4 tbsp. garam masala
• 1 tbsp. lemon juice

Instructions

1. Heat the oil in a broad pan, add the onions, and sauté till lightly browned. Add the beetroot and salt, mix well and sauté for 4 more minutes or till the mixture becomes dry.
2. Add the chili powder and lemon juice to the beetroot mixture and mix well. Add the potatoes and amla, mix well and refrigerate for 1/2 hour.
3. Divide the mixture into equal portions and make small flat tikkis. Heat the oil in a pan and cook each tikki using little oil till they become crisp and golden brown from both the sides. Serve hot with green chutney.

2. Amla Juice With A Twist

What are you waiting for? Get your stock of amla from the Nature’s Basket  store now.

Want to find out what other super foods you can include in your diet to make a healthy switch? Read on to check out these Super Foods You Should Know About .

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Valentine's Day Gifts For Your Loved Ones


Valentine’s Day is here and while most of you have this day all planned out with your loved ones, we’re sure there are plenty of lazy lovers who need a last minute fix to make the day special. Relax. Where there’s a Nature’s Basket store, there’s always a way! Our exciting gift hampers are specially designed for the big day, to make your girlfriend or boyfriend fall a little bit more in love with you. You know what they say – the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Well boys, that stands true for the ladies as well because who doesn’t love good food? So whether you’re declaring your love for the first time or spending quality time together, these Valentine’s Day gift hampers will be the perfect way to bring some sweet romance in the air. Take a look at what we have in store for you!

1. The Chocolate Boy Hamper



The thing about Valentine’s Day is that everyone is doing the dinner and movie date routine. Why not bring the romance indoors? Gift the Chocolate Boy Hamper to your choco-loving special someone and stay in to watch a rom-com while you munch on the delicious chocolate cookies, cupcakes, and savoury snacks.

2. Chocoholic Delight Hamper



This one’s filled with all your favourite chocolate goodies. Customized heart cookies, luxury chocolates and biscuits, homemade cakes and more, all in one big gift hamper for you and your loved one. You know you can’t resist all this sweet love, right? The Chocoholic Delight Hamper is the way to go!

3. Chocolate Celebrations Hamper



The Chocolate Celebrations Hamper is for all those who like to keep things grand. Full of luxury items, both sweet and savoury, this is the perfect gift for the special day and will keep your loved one smiling for long after the Valentine’s Day is over, because we bet they’ll be taking their sweet time to get through this big hamper.

4. Late For Your Date Hamper



If you’re late for your big date, the Late For Your Date Hamper will surely melt your date’s heart before they can get mad at you. The perfect balance of sweet and dark chocolates, this one’s for all you fun lovers out there who are still exploring your relationship. Kindle that electric romance with a bit of love and sugar this Valentine’s Day!

Why waste any more time? Pick your favourite Valentine’s Day Special gift hamper or get a customized hamper from the Nature’s Basket store now!

Looking for more ways to make your loved one feel special with a bit of cooking? Check out these Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipes to spoil them with sweet love.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Wedding Gift Hampers to Die For



How many times have you broken your head over what gift to get for that friend who is tying the knot soon? Our guess – every time. Picking an appropriate wedding gift for someone, whether they’re family or friends, is always a difficult task. But now you can choose from one of our many exciting wedding gift hampers and bring a wide smile on the newlyweds’ faces!

1. The Grand Celebration Hamper


 
Price – 4470 /-

A grand wedding deserves a grand present. What better way to congratulate the new couple than giving a big box of love and everything indulgent? The Grand Celebration hamper is packed with exotic and local gourmet delights that no one will be able to resist. This rich assortment of the finest dark chocolate, various flavours of crisps, basil and cocktail juice, stuffed olives, and lots more will give your loved ones the much needed self-pampering that they deserve.

2. Desi Celebration Mix

Price – 2317 /-

Feel like delving into the rich Indian culture? Add onto the Desi revelry by gifting the Desi Celebration Mix to the couple. Give them a chance to indulge in the sweet joy of premium besan laddoos, assorted sweets, the savoury bhakarwadis, and much more. This Desi Delight will surely add the ‘fat’ to the Big Fat Indian Wedding.

3. Wellness Fruit N Nut Delights

Price – 2078 /-

If you want to go for something simple yet special, choose this minimalist hamper packed with Arabian dates, exotic dried fruits, and many other delicious delicacies. After all that heavy wedding food, some healthy goodness will be much welcome by the lucky couple. Treat them with this guilt-free binge hamper to show them your love.

4. Indulgent Celebration

Price – 3000 /-

Like the name suggests, this one’s for pure indulgence. A well-balanced mix of healthy and delightful snacks and sweets, this will leave your friends and family craving for more and more of those chocolate cashews and coated hazelnuts and other unique picks carefully selected to bring the best of gourmet foods to your loved ones.

Get these exclusive gift hampers at the Nature’s Basket  store. You can even customize your very own wedding gift hamper to give the perfect present on your family or friends’ special day!

Are you on the other side of the aisle, planning your wedding? Don’t worry about what to gift your guests! Check out the 5 best wedding flavours for your guests  and pick your style!


Healthy Food Alternatives & Substitutes for 2018

healthy alternatives & food substitutes

January is the month to turn things around every year and this year, we want you to turn your diet around. It’s definitely the best of both worlds when you can have your favourite foods while also gaining the required nutrition for your body. With the Healthy Alternatives range at Nature’s Basket, you can tweak your everyday dishes to become more balanced and wholesome, without any compromise on the taste. So read about these 5  heart-healthy food substitutes and eat the same things that you’ve always loved, but in a healthier way! 

1. Barley Roti

Barley Roti
Picture Courtesy: That Fiji Taste

It may come as a surprise to many, but this staple Indian bread – wheat chapatti/roti, isn’t the healthiest thing to eat every day. Wheat may be healthier than Maida, but it’s still high in allergens, has a high glycemic index causing a faster spike in blood sugar levels, and over time builds insulin resistance leading to diabetic and digestive problems.

But we can’t just stop eating chapatis of course. The solution healthy replacement is alternative flours! There are many low calorie alternatives available for wheat flour, like rye, bajra, jau/barley, jowar/sorghum, buckwheat etc. and all you need to do is make the switch.

Spoilt for choice already? Our recommended substitute for wheat chapatis is buckwheat flour chapatis. While the other alternative flours are also super rich in nutrients, buckwheat is the best source of high-quality, easily digestible proteins making it a healthy substitute for meat. It is also high in fibre, essential vitamins and minerals. But what truly sets it apart is that buckwheat is gluten-free! With such a power-packed flour at your disposal with no risk of gluten, why choose anything else? Switch your everyday wheat flour to the Healthy Alternatives – Buckwheat Flour for a healthier, gluten-free 2018!

2. Black Rice

Black Rice
Picture Courtesy: Pinterest

Another ingredient in our diet that may not be the best option to consume every day is white rice. White rice is essentially processed rice, removing the outer layer containing the bran – which is where the fibre, protein, and other nutrients lie. So how do we make sure that we continue eating this staple food while also meeting our nutritional requirements?

Black Rice is the answer. It is a low fat alternative to white rice. While both black and brown rice are low in fat and a good source of healthy carbs, black rice is lower in calories, a better source of fibre and has higher amount of anti-oxidants as well. In fact, the bran of black rice contains one of the highest levels of anti-oxidants found in any known rice variety. Say goodbye to your regular white rice and make some space for the super-nutritious Healthy Alternatives – Whole Grain Black Rice now! 

3. Poha

Poha
Picture Courtesy: The Melting Pot

Poha is a staple breakfast dish for most of us, and for good reason. This delicious ingredient when cooked with the right spices and garnished heartily with fresh herbs, might as well be the food of gods. This flattened rice recipe is often considered a healthy breakfast item, and while that may be true, we can make it healthier by using the right kind of poha.

White poha is made out of white rice, which is stripped away of its essential nutrients. A healthier variation of the regular white poha is the red poha, which is made from red rice. Red rice doesn’t go under excessive processing unlike the white rice, and thus remains high in fibre, vitamin B, and various minerals. It also has anti-oxidant properties which help in preventing the risk of many diseases. The best part? Red poha can be used in the same way as white poha! So go ahead and get the Healthy Alternatives – Organic Red Poha and enjoy your favourite breakfast dish while making a healthier choice.

4. Bread

Bread
Picture Courtesy: Breads Bakery

For most people, a day starting without bread is not a day at all. If you’re one of those people, this is for you. We already know the harmful effects of white bread, so let’s keep that one out of the pantry forever. But what about the seemingly healthy wheat/brown bread that has taken over the markets now? If the brown/wheat bread that you’re buying isn’t 100% whole wheat, it contains enriched flour which gives you a sugar spike and crash without any nutritional value.

But don’t fret – there are plenty of alternatives available to satisfy your needs without compromising your health! Choosing any high-fibre bread instead of the regular brown bread is always a good option. The word ‘whole’ is what you’re looking for in the ingredients because whole grains is where the nutrition lies. Our pick for a super-healthy bread that you can switch to is the sourdough bread. This bread is not just highly nutritious, with various vitamins, minerals and a good balance of proteins and fatty acids, but it’s also gluten-free! Get the Healthy Alternatives – Cereal Sourdough Bread for a fibre-rich, nutritious breakfast every morning! 

5. Pasta

Pasta
Picture Courtesy: The Culinary Cook

This universally loved Italian item has almost become a part of everyone’s daily diet – from pasta salads, to main dishes, it’s everywhere. Being a popular base ingredient for most salads, it’s important to choose the right kind of pasta. If you’re using the regular white pasta in your salads and letting yourself think that it’s a healthy meal, it’s time to burst that bubble. Like every other white-product, white pasta is also stripped off its nutrition during the milling process, letting go of all the fibre, protein, and vitamins. What remains on your plate is a refined carb, spiking up blood sugar levels and encouraging cravings and weight gain.

This is where the alternative-pasta game steps up. With options like quinoa pasta, whole wheat pasta, buckwheat pasta, beetroot pasta, etc. you’ll be surprised just how many healthy alternatives there are to choose from. Our recommended pasta for those who like to keep it healthy and tasty is the quinoa pasta. It goes well with all salad recipes, tastes amazing with a host of pasta sauces and what’s more? It’s also gluten-free. A complete protein with high nutritional value, adding quinoa to your diet is a definite plus. Treat yourself to a delicious pasta salad with the Healthy Alternatives – Quinoa Gluten-Free Fusilli Pasta for a wholesome meal.

With all these healthy options available to you now, eating good has never been easier! Get your #HealthyAlternatives for everyday food at the Nature’s Basket  store now.

Inspired to add more healthy  food replacements to your daily diet? Check out how you can have healthy snacks  to make those eating breaks guilt-free.


Post-New Year’s Eve Diet For A Full Body Cleanse

foods that cleanse the body
    Picture Courtesy: Goop

The new year is upon us, the parties are over and now it’s time to hit the ground running and feel great inside and out! The body needs a good month of healthy-everything after all the indulgent celebrations don’t you think? In times like these, a good detox is what we all need to get back into shape. But don’t worry! You don’t need to be on a special diet and you definitely don't need to starve, all you need to do is add a few ingredients into your daily life that will help you detox. Taking a break from refined sugar, alcohol, and gluten to cleanse your system has never been easier. Here are some everyday recipes that can be turned into super-healthy body-cleansing dishes by just adding these few detox ingredients that we’re going to talk about today.

1. Beetroots 

Smoky Black Bean Beat Burger
Picture Courtesy: Doha Family

Your liver has gone through a lot in the past month, and it is time to give it some well-deserved rest from the usual chore of detoxifying your blood. In comes the beetroot – a superfood that has detoxifying powers. Beetroot is a high anti-oxidant vegetable that’s packed with nutrients which are natural body cleansers. It’s also tasty and versatile, and can be included in a variety of recipes to make it easier to get your daily dose of beets. Check out the recipe for a Smoky Black Bean Beat Burger –

Ingredient

• ¾ cup Healthy Alternatives – Peruvian Red Quinoa (cooked)
• ½ large red onion (finely diced)
• 1 cup mushrooms (finely chopped)
• Pinch of salt & pepper
• 1 15-ounce black beans (well-rinsed and drained)
• 1 cup finely grated raw beet
• 1 tsp. cumin
• ½ tsp. chili powder
• ¼ tsp. smoked paprika
• ½ cup raw walnuts (crushed or ground into a loose meal)

Instructions

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add some nonstick spray or a bit of olive oil. Once hot add the onion and sauté, seasoning with a pinch each salt and pepper. When the onions are soft – about 5 minutes – turn up the heat to medium and add the mushrooms. Season with another pinch of salt and pepper and cook until the mushrooms and onions are slightly browned and fragrant – about 3 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and add black beans and mash. You’re looking for a rough mash, so you can leave a bit of texture if you want. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and add the cooked quinoa, beets, spices and stir.
3. Lastly, add the walnut meal a little at a time until the mixture is able enough to form into patties. Set in the fridge to chill while your oven preheats to 375 degrees F (190 C). Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray or olive oil. Form mixture into roughly 8-9 patties.
4. Arrange burgers on a baking sheet and brush or spray the tops with olive oil. Bake at 375 F (190 C) for a total of 30-45 minutes, gently flipping at the halfway mark. Serve on small buns or atop mixed greens with desired toppings. See notes for freezing instructions.

2. Brussels Sprouts

Buffalo Brussels Bites
Picture Courtesy: Pinterest

Brussels Sprouts is a vegetable that goes amazingly well with a variety of recipes, and is a super-healthy  cleansing agent for the body. This green veggie can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits thanks to the fibre-related components in them, and that’s just one of the many other benefits. It helps cleansing your body off all the harmful toxins. What if we tell you that this health-booster can also taste delicious? Check out this easy recipe for Buffalo Brussels Bites and binge on the mouth-watering side while increasing your immunity!

Ingredients

• 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
• 1 ½ cups Brussels sprouts
• 1 tbsp. grapeseed oil
• 1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
• 2 tbsp. hot sauce (of your choice)
• 1/8 cup nutritional yeast
• ¼ cup cayenne pepper
Parmesan cheese
Sea salt (to taste)

Instructions

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the vegetable broth to a boil and add the Brussels Sprouts. Allow them to simmer for about 3 minutes, or until they turn bright green. Drain and rinse in cold water for 30 seconds before cutting each sprout in half.
2. Heat a sauté pan on medium and add the oil. When warm, add the garlic and salt and allow them to simmer for 1 minute. Add the halved Brussels sprouts to the pan, cut side down and sauté them until brown, about 6 to 8 minutes.
3. Allow the sprouts to cool slightly before tossing them with hot sauce, nutritional yeast, and cayenne pepper. Garnish generously with parmesan cheese and serve them warm or cold with chopped carrots and celery sticks.

3. Kale

Mediterranean Kale Soup
Picture Courtesy: Tasty Mediterraneo

If there’s one ingredient that’s the all-star of the detox-universe, it’s Kale. Kale’s multiple nutritional benefits is what makes it so favourable for those who are on a health regime. What’s so great about Kale, you ask? This leafy green veggie is a great source of fibre, with a 1000/1000 score in the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index. Your liver-cleansing can’t get better than this! It also has a high level of Vitamin C, approx. 134% of the daily recommended amount for an adult’s diet, making it a super-food for cleansing the body & improving immunity. If that’s not enough, Kale is chockfull of Omega 3 Acids, which helps with various health issues, both physical and mental. So are you ready to add this hero to your diet and detox like a pro? Check out this delicious Mediterranean Kale Soup recipe –

Ingredients

• 3 tbsp. Healthy Alternatives – Pure Olive Oil
• 1 onion (chopped)
• 1 garlic clove (chopped)
• 3 carrots (peeled and sliced)
• 2 potatoes (peeled and sliced)
• 2 ¼ cups Kale leaves (finely chopped, thick stems removed)
• 2 pints vegetable stock
• 1 tbsp. salt (or salt to taste)
• 2 tbsp. pine nuts
• 4 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions

1. Have all the vegetables well washed and prepared as indicated in the ingredients description. Heat 2 tbsp. of Healthy Alternatives – Pure Olive Oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute until lightly golden. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook over a low heat, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes.
2. Add the carrots and the potatoes and stir all of them together for about 5 minutes until they just begin to colour. Pour in the vegetable stock, increase the heat to medium, and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat once boiled, and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Add the kale and the salt and let it simmer again for 5 more minutes.
3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and with the help of a hand mixer mix it all well until perfectly combined. Serve hot and garnish each serving with the rest of the olive oil, the freshly squeezed lemon juice and some pine nuts (raw or toasted).

4. Artichoke

Artichoke meal
Picture Courtesy: Gimme Some Oven

Artichoke is another must-have ingredient on your detox diet list. They are extremely useful in treating liver/gallbladder conditions because they promote bile flow in the body. Bile acids are what move the toxins that are ingested through food and water from the liver to the intestine, making artichoke an excellent detox food. They also increase the breakdown of cholesterol, thus treating high-cholesterol conditions and helping in cleansing all the cholesterol-heavy food you must have consumed during the festive season. Though the leaves of artichoke are also high in nutrients, the maximum amount of nutrients are packed in the artichoke hearts. Check out this delicious recipe for a power-packed meal that involves whole globe artichokes –

Ingredients

• 3 artichokes
• Half a loaf of sourdough bread
Salt and pepper to taste
• 1 tsp. smoked paprika
• 3 tbsp. L’Exclusif – Whole Dried Cranberries
• 1/2 cup parsley (chopped)
• 2 big lemons
• 2 tbsp. pine nuts (roasted and chopped)
Healthy Alternatives – Pure Olive Oil

Instructions
1. Trim the artichokes. Working with one artichoke at a time, rub a serrated knife with lemon juice and cut off the top of the artichokes, approximately 1 inch. Snap of the outer leaves and trim the stem to the base. As you finish trimming each artichoke, rub it with one halved lemon to prevent discoloration. Repeat with remaining artichokes.
2. Stuffing: In a bowl mix the bread, parsley, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, nuts, and cranberries. Sprinkle some Healthy Alternatives – Pure Olive Oil to moisten the entire mixture.
3. Gently pry open the artichoke leaves. Starting from the outside in, push a little stuffing mixture in each leave, approximately 1 tsp. Continue stuffing till you reach the inside yellow-green leaves. So basically you would stuff 3 – 4 layers. Repeat with the remaining artichokes.
4. Squeeze rest of the lemon juice on top of the artichokes, place the lemons and artichokes on a steamer rack over simmering water. Cover and steam – for large artichokes set your timer for 75 minutes. For medium artichokes 60 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

5. Green Tea
Raspberry Green Iced Tea
Picture Courtesy: Live Internet

When we’re talking about a detox diet, how can we not mention the healthiest beverage on the planet? Green tea is loaded with nutrients and anti-oxidants that give your body a complete cleanse and much-needed nutrition. Green tea contains elements that improve glycemic control and help normalize blood sugar levels. Apart from its cleansing properties, Green tea is also known for improving brain functions, encouraging fat loss in a healthy way, and lowering the risk of cancer. Enjoy a good, aromatic cleanse by replacing your everyday morning tea/coffee with a warm cup of green tea, or experiment with its taste by making a Raspberry Green Iced Tea mix –

Ingredients

• 1 cup Raspberries
• 2 tsp. Healthy Alternatives – Detox Tea
• 1 tsp. granulated sugar (optional)

Instructions

1. Heat 1 cup water and add 2 tsp. Healthy Alternatives – Detox Tea. Let it brew for about 3 minutes. In a large saucepan, heat 1 cup water, add the raspberries and sugar (optional) and boil it on medium heat, letting it simmer until the raspberries break up.
2. Add the raspberry mixture to the brewed tea, let it cool down, and then keep it in the fridge for 1 hour. Strain it once it’s chilled and enjoy this healthy iced tea.

You’re all set to have a delicious cleanse diet now! Get all your ingredients at the Nature’s Basket  store.

Want more ideas to make your detox regime easier? Check out these 12 detox waters  that will help you boost your metabolism!

Monday, 8 January 2018

Easy Party Food Recipes For a Last Minute Party


Planning a last minute party and don’t know what to feed your guest? Don’t worry, when you’ve got us, there’s always a solution. Keep it simple by ordering our beautiful cheese and cold cut platters , or get a bit more inventive with these super quick and easy party snack recipes.

1. Turkey Pesto Sliders


 
Sliders are quite possibly one of the most versatile meals, and they always make for an excellent party snack. They’re easy to make, and can serve as quick finger food or a nice dinner. Combine the creamy pesto and cheese with the succulent turkey slices, and you’ve got an easy party snack right there.

Ingredients

• 6 L’Exclusif Whole Wheat Burger Buns (no. of buns depend on no. of guests)
• 6 slices of Turkey 
• 6 slices of processed cheddar cheese
• 3 tbsp. L’Exclusif Basil Pesto Sauce
• 3 tbsp. L’Exclusif Creamy Eggless Mayonnaise
• 2 tbsp. butter, melted

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Line a baking sheet with foil or a silicone baking mat.  Split the L’Exclusif Whole Wheat Burger Buns and lay a folded slice of turkey on the bottom half of each bun.
2. Layer each bun with a slice of cheddar cheese.  In a small bowl, combine the L’Exclusif Basil Pesto Sauce and L’Exclusif Creamy Eggless Mayonnaise in a small bowl and mix until blended.  Spread a thin layer of the pesto mayonnaise on the inner side of the top half of each bun.
3. Replace the top bun over the cheese to assemble the sandwiches.  Brush the tops of the buns lightly with melted butter.  Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sandwiches are warmed through.
4. Cut the burgers into half or quarters and serve them hot or cold.

2. Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

 
Picture Courtesy: foodiecrush.com

Get that Mediterranean vibe in the air with this delicious version of hummus. The two-step spicy dip can go along with a variety of things – flatbread, veggies, crackers, you name it! This one is an easy appetizer to prepare and serve as a quick party snack.

Ingredients

• 2 cups cooked Healthy Alternatives – Organic Kabuli Chana
• 1 small roasted red pepper
• 1/2 to 1 clove of minced garlic or to taste
• 1/2 cup tahini (or 1/2 tsp toasted Healthy Alternatives – Organic Cold Pressed Sesame Oil)
• 1/4 tsp cumin or to taste
• juice of one large lemon
•  salt to season to taste
• 1/4 tsp pepper optional
• 1/2 tsp crushed chili flakes optional, if you want a spicy option

Instructions

1.  Add the cooked chickpeas to a food processor and process until very creamy.
2.  Add the other ingredients and blend in well. Traditionally served with drizzled olive oil and   
 chopped parsley.

3. Pepperoni Pizza Bites

Picture Courtesy: dinnerthendesserts.com 

Pepperoni pizza needs no introduction of course. These bite sized versions of the juicy and delicious pepperoni pizza are everyone’s food-dream come true. This quick & easy party snack recipe can be really handy when you gotta throw a last-minute party.

Ingredients

• ¾ cup Healthy Alternatives – Organic Wheat Maida
• ¾ tsp. baking powder
• ¾ tsp. Healthy Alternatives – Fresh Cow’s Milk
• 1 Healthy Alternatives – Free Range Organic Eggs
• 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
• 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
• ¼ tsp. salt
• ½ cup mozzarella cheese
• ½ cup parmesan cheese
• Half a pkg. pepperoni
• Marinara sauce for dipping

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In one bowl, mix the Healthy Alternatives – Fresh Cow’s Milk and Healthy Alternatives – Free Range Organic Eggs, and set aside. In a second bowl, mix the Healthy Alternatives – Organic Wheat Maida, baking powder, salt, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper. Combine the wet into the dry ingredients and mix.
2. Add the pepperoni and cheese to the mix, and whisk it together. Spray baking spray onto two mini muffin tins, and using 1 tbsp. scoop, fill all 24 slots (or make 12 large pepperoni pizza bites)
3. Cook for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve it with marinara sauce.

4. Baked Garlic Parmesan Potatoes

Picture Courtesy: lecremedelacrumb.com

Fries are everybody’s weakness – it’s a fact! Nothing beats the absolute deliciousness of fried and baked potatoes and luckily, they’re not that difficult to make! If we could award the best-vegetable award, it would go to potatoes hands down. You need these  easy party snack, and you know it.

Ingredients

• 3-4 large potatoes, sliced into wedges
• 4 tbsp. Healthy Alternatives – Pure Olive Oil
• 2 tsp. salt
• 2 tsp. garlic powder
• 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
• ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
• Optional: fresh parsley (or cilantro), ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking sheet and set aside.
2. Place potato wedges in a large bowl. Drizzle with Healthy Alternatives – Pure Olive Oil and toss to coat. In a small bowl, whisk together salt, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Sprinkle potato wedges with shredded cheese, tossing to coat, then sprinkle with the seasoning mixture.
3. Place potato wedges on prepared baking sheet in a single layer with the skin-sides-down. Bake for 25-35 minutes until potatoes are fork-tender and golden. Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and dressing for dipping.


5. Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Puffs

  
Picture Courtesy: pinterest.com

Sounds a bit complicated doesn’t it? Well don’t fret, it’s not! With this recipe, you can have some seafood gourmet for your party in no time and with no effort! This is an easy party appetizer to prepare and is going to leave your guests asking for more.

Ingredients

• 3 oz. smoked salmon
• 4 oz. goat cheese
• 8 oz. cream cheese
• ½ lemon juiced
• 3 tbsp. fresh dill
salt and pepper to taste
• 1 pkg. puff pastry thawed
• 1 Healthy Alternatives - Free Range Country Egg beaten

 Instructions

1.Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spread out each thawed puff pastry sheet on your work station and cut 2 inch circles from the sheets. Place the circles onto a lined baking sheet. Brush the puff pastry rounds with beaten egg and bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
2.Meanwhile in a food processor, combine the goat cheese, cream cheese, smoked salmon, lemon Juice, dill, and salt and pepper. Process the mixture until smooth then spoon it into a piping bag or a large zip-lock bag with the corner cut off.
3.Store the salmon mixture in the refrigerator until ready to use. Pipe a heaping dollop of salmon and goat cheese mixture on each puff pastry round. Garnish with a tiny sprig of dill and serve immediately.

Hosting a party has never been easier, don’t you think? Send those party invites now and head over to your nearest Nature’s Basket  store to get the essentials!

Have enough time on your hands and you’re ready to whip up something even more special for your guests? Check out recipes of all kinds here  to help you choose the perfect dish!

The Ultimate Gingerbread House Recipe


The tradition of baking gingerbread houses can be traced all the way back to the 11th century in Europe. No doubt, something so delicious and beautiful was bound to become everyone’s favourite around the world in no time! A ginger house recipe filled with so much fun is sure to unite everyone. So this December, gather the kids for an exciting Christmas party and make the ultimate Christmas gingerbread house together with our special recipe!

Ingredients 

For Gingerbread
• 600 g. of Healthy Alternatives – Organic Wheat Maida
• 4 tsp. Healthy Alternatives – Organic Ginger Powder
• 200 g. dark powdered jaggery
• 2 tsp. baking soda
• 7 tbsp. golden syrup
• 200 g. unsalted butter

For Decoration
• 200 g. bag flaked Healthy Alternatives – American Almonds
• 2 egg whites from Healthy Alternatives – Free Range Organic Eggs
• 500 g. icing sugar, plus extra to dust
• 125 g. pack mini chocolate fingers/sticks
• Generous selection of sweets and candies of your choice & colour theme
• 1 mini chocolate roll or dipped chocolate flake
• Few edible silver balls

Template (for house) 

Instructions

1. Heat the oven to 200 C. degrees. Melt the butter, dark powdered jaggery, and syrup in a pan. Mix the Healthy Alternatives – Organic Wheat Maida, baking soda and Healthy Alternatives – Organic Ginger Powder into a large bowl, then stir in the butter mixture to make a stiff dough. If it won’t quite come together, add a tiny splash of water.
2. Cut out the template (download it from the ingredients list). Put a sheet of baking paper on your work surface and roll about one quarter of the dough to the thickness of two 5 rupee coins.
3. Cut out one of the sections, then slide the gingerbread, still on the baking paper, onto a baking sheet. Repeat this with the remaining dough, re-rolling the trimmings, until you have two side walls, a front, a back wall, and two roof panels. Any leftover dough can be cut into Christmas trees or other decorative items if you like.
4. Pick out the most intact flaked Healthy Alternatives – American Almonds and gently poke them into the roof sections, pointy-end first, to look like roof tiles. Bake all the sections for 12 minutes or until firm and just a little darker at the edges.=
5. Leave it to cool for a few minutes to firm up, then trim around the templates again to give clean, sharp edges. Leave it to cool completely.
6. Put the egg whites in a large bowl, sift in the icing sugar, then stir to make a thick, smooth icing. Spoon into a piping bag with a medium nozzle. Pipe generous snakes of icing along the wall edges, one by one, to join the walls together.
7. Use a small bowl to support the walls from the inside, then allow it to dry, ideally for a few hours. Once dry, remove the supports and fix the roof panels on. The angle is steep so you may need to hold these on firmly for a few minutes until the icing starts to dry. Dry completely, ideally overnight.
8. To decorate, pipe a little icing along the length of 20 mini chocolate fingers or sticks and stick these lengthways onto the side walls of the house. Use three, upright, for the door.
9. Using the icing, stick sweets around the door and on the front of the house. To make the icicles, start with the nozzle at a 90-degree angle to the roof and squeeze out a pea-sized blob of icing.
10. Keeping the pressure on, pull the nozzle down and then off – the icing will pull away, leaving a pointy trail. Repeat all around the front of the house. Cut the chocolate mini roll or dipped Flake on an angle, then fix with icing to make a chimney.
11. Pipe a little icing around the top. If you’ve made gingerbread trees, decorate these now, too, topping each with a silver ball, if using. Dust the roof with icing sugar for a snowy effect. Lay a winding path of sweets, and fix gingerbread trees around and about using blobs of icing.

*Your gingerbread house will be edible for about a week.

So there you have it – a classic gingerbread  home to nibble on as you count down the days to Christmas! Get your ingredients immediately & make the best gingerbread house for this Christmas! Visit the Nature’s Basket online store or head to your nearest Nature’s Basket outlet!

Do you know what else you need to have the ultimate Christmas experience? Some warm, sweet eggnog to wash down the tasty gingerbread! Check out our easy-to-make eggnog recipe  and bask in the happiness!