Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Chocolate balls– simple. easy. vegan. and gluten free.


It’s hard for me to pass up anything that’s chocolate flavored. Chocolate donuts? Yes please! Brownie? Always! As a result, I’m always looking for healthier options to satisfy my chocolate and sweet tooth cravings. When I saw this recipe in Cooking Light, it seemed easy enough that I should at least give it a try. Worst case – I don’t like it and never make it again. Best case – I’ve found a healthier substitute and made my contribution to the chocolate and sweet lovers world! I think they’re going to thank me. What’s even better – these are vegan and gluten free. I know a lot of people out there who belong to one of these categories for some reason or the other. So yes they’re going to thank me too!

After all this cost-benefit analysis I bought all the ingredients – actually just two. Almond butter and hazelnuts. Dates we always keep in our pantry. Then these two ingredients sat in my home for almost a month or so. Getting familiar with each other while I was busy with my life. Every day I would see the almond butter sitting at the back of the refrigerator and think to myself “Oh! I need to make the brownie bites”. Then finally I decided I need to make them before the ingredients expired.

Let me tell you – they’re so delicious! It’s hard to stop at one! It makes me feel good that there’s no added sugar. Only wholesome ingredients. Nutrition information: Protein: 3g; Fiber: 3g; Carbohydrates: 12g; Sugars: 9g; Fat: 7g. Calories: 111.


  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 12 whole medjool dates, pitted
  • 2/3 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment or silicon mat. Add the hazelnuts to it in a single layer. Roast them for 10 minutes. Let cool. Rub them with your fingers to remove the skins. Don’t worry if some of them still have the skins.
  3. Reserve 20 hazelnuts. Pulse the rest in the food processor till they’re finely chopped. Keep aside.
  4. Pulse the dates in the food processor till it forms a paste. Add the almond butter, water, cocoa, vanilla and salt. Pulse till well combined.
  5. Divide the mixture into 20 portions.
  6. Roll each portion around 1 whole hazelnut (reserved in step 3). Roll the ball in your hands to smoothen the surface. Roll it next into the finely chopped hazelnuts.
  7. Chill until firm, around 30 minutes.

Note: Store in the refrigerator for a longer shelf life.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The girl on the train

Author: Paula Hawkins


Given how popular this book is it was a pleasant surprise when I was notified that the book was waiting for me in the library! I further surprised myself by finishing the book in just a few days! Typically it takes me at least a month to finish reading a book and in most of the cases, much more than a month. However I happened to be lucky that after I got this book some free time in the form of a long weekend came upon me. And of course the novel was so engrossing that I just didn’t feel like putting it down till I’d read the end.

The book is about – well as the name suggests – a girl on the train! She takes the train every day in the morning as well as the evening as if she’s going for work. Just to fool her room-mate into thinking that she has a job. She doesn’t have one. She’s an alcoholic and can’t stop drinking – she can drink any time of the day. Having gone through a divorce some time back, she is not in the best of mental state. While in the train, she often spots a couple in the balcony of their home. Given how wretched her life is, she likes to fantasize about how wonderful their life is. How perfect the wife is and how caring the husband is. One day she sees the wife’s photo in the newspaper and finds out that the wife has disappeared. This is when the adventure begins. Since she used to see the couple every other day, she feels she has valuable information that she can provide to the police and feels very involved in the case. Slowly and gradually she takes it upon herself to find out what happened to the wife – this gives a purpose to her life. The whole journey of how she unearths what happened to the wife is very engrossing! I don’t want to reveal too many details lest I spoil somebody’s fun.

Loved reading this book! Highly recommend it to everyone.