How to Make Fried Moringa Bean Cakes (Akara)

I love moringa, so much that food no longer  taste like food without some touch of the green wonder leaves.

fried moringa bean cakes

I heart Moringa

Okay let me confess…actually, my love for moringa is fast bothering on obsession. (If an obsession is ‘healthy’, it’s okay…isn’t it?)

There is no meal or drink I take that does not have a dash of moringa…it’s that bad and I am going to be sharing how I am incorporating moringa into my diet / lifestyle in a series :1001 things to do with Moringa.

A friend remarked just two days ago that very soon, all moringa trees would begin coming to life and starts taking to their heels whenever they see me coming.

So funny.

If you follow me on instagram, you would have discovered this new love of my life by now. If you don’t follow me yet, my instagram ID is biolaleye_1.

Taking care of myself / health has become non-negotiable for me and it should be for everyone else, too. That is about the only way we would be able to take care of all God has entrusted in our care -Family, work and all.

I have spoken about my health challenges several posts ago and you may check them out here. In my quest to improve my health and quality of life (as well as that of my family), I have been incorporating natural herbs and spices as well as fruits and there has truly been a significant improvement. Will put up a post of the things I am doing later.

Health is truly wealth and I am committed to deliberately investing in it.

Since I ‘discovered’ Moringa anew some months back, there is no meal this superfood is not added to; I have literaly been on a roll, experimenting in my kitchen and creating various dishes and drinks incorporating Moringa and herbs.

There is an healthy living category (and also the icook category) up there in the tabs and I am going to be adding all the dishes and drinks I make with Moringa and herbs to it tagged 1001 things to do with moringa.

This is to document this journey as well as to encourage and inspire someone out there who might need this.

This meal is popularly known as ‘akara‘ in Nigeria and is a staple of the South-western part of the country. It can be taken as snacks, alone or with Cassava flakes (Garri) or Custard or Pap (Ogi or Eko). Growing up, mum used to make it on Saturday mornings and we’d all take as breakfast with Ogi.

But I did not quite like it then because I disliked beans and her offsprings.

On starting a family and burdened with the task of coming up with different exciting dishes to break the monotony of rice, beans and yam, akara sneakily found its way into my heart and kitchen again. And now, I LOVE it and I love putting a spin on it, as with every other dish I come up with.

The fried moringa bean cakes was borne out of my desire to add moringa to every meal I churn out.

To make Fried Moringa Bean Cakes, you need:

2 – 4 cups of red or white beans

2 – 4 spoons of moringa powder or a bunch of fresh moringa leaves (I used semi-dried leaves which is as good as fresh)

2 – 4 teaspoons of ground crayfish

2 – 4 pcs of scotch bonnet or habanero pepper

A clove of garlic / ginger

Salt (Optional: Adobo seasoning / Mrs Dash)

Olive oil / Sunflower oil / Canola oil (I used Sunflower oil)

Fried moringa bean cakes

Beans. pepper, moringa, ginger, garlic, turmeric & crayfish

METHOD OF MAKING FRIED MORINGA BEAN CAKES:

-Soak your Beans in cold water for 5 – 10minutes minutes to soften the beans a little (Red beans soften faster in water)

-Remove / peel off the now soft skin and remove the chaff. Clean thoroughly by draining the water and repeatedly adding fresh water until you are satisfied.

 

-Add the clean de-skinned beans with the pepper, crayfish, moringa, ginger and garlic into your blender and blend.

-When blending, add just a little water to the blender content and Run the blender, if the blender blades resist, keep adding more water -a little at a time until the blades are able to move ‘freely’.

Adding water, ‘little by little’ is to prevent ending up with a watery beans-paste which would be no good for this recipe.

-As soon as the mixture moves around fluidly / smoothly in the blender, cease adding water and blend until smooth to the touch or until you are satisfied with the consistency.

-Decant into a big enough container and start stirring the mixture / paste with a spoon. Stir / mix in just one direction.

fried moringa bean cakes

Blended beans paste

This step is to ensure the incorporation of air into the mixture. This might take between 10 to 15 minutes (of cardio exercise).

-Add salt to taste.

-Heat your desired oil till it is hot.

-Scoop a small spoonful of paste into the oil to test the readiness / hotness of the oil.

-When satisfied the oil is hot enough, start frying the paste in bigger spoonfuls.

-Let it fry till it is as puffy and golden as desired, turning at intervals to ensure the sides are not burned.

fried moringa beans cake

Frying Akara…

-Scoop out the balls into a bowl or platter lined with towels to absorb excess heat.

fried moringa bean cakes

fried moringa bean cakes

Akara and Pap

You can enjoy this as snacks or as a main meal.

The Moringa bean cakes can be accompanied with Custard or Pap (made from millet or maize) or Cassava flakes (Garri) or Bread.

Note: My akaras are flat and not round / puffy because I love them like that and that is the only way I can really enjoy them without peeling off the crunchy back to eat and thrashing the soft portion on the inside.

Recall I mentioned way up there that I hated beans and all her off-springs growing up. Back then, I would only eat the golden and crispy back and secretly throw away the inner mushy part when nobody was looking.

It became an habit and I still love the crunchy / crispy outer part till date.

This is why I always make my bean paste lighter (with water) and I would still go ahead to press it flat in oil. However, I do not recommend this…*smiles*

Bean cake lovers swear by the puffiness and claim it is more enjoyable as a round ball rather than the deflated version I love.

So, go ahead and try this.

You would be having a ball with this fried, nutritious balls while knowing you are packing a lot of nutrients into your body.

For me, I am never going to make Akara, again without moringa. Now that would be a completely cruel deprivation.

Is this something you want to try?

Yay or Nay?

 

 

Banana-Apple-Ginger Smoothie

BANANA-APPLE-GINGER SMOOTHIE -A WORLD OF GOODNESS IN A BOTTLE!

Banana-Apple-Ginger Smoothie
Until some months ago, I used to associate smoothies with fitness-fixated humans of the world. Lol.

How wrong I was. Or how right…I mean, who wouldn’t want to be fixated on fitness and the general well being of this house we live in and carry around?

Our body is the only house we live in, why shouldn’t we take care of it or be fixated on it? (Provided fixation is not equal to obsession..)

Peradventure we have one or two people walking the same shoes I was in, in ‘that era’, I am pleased to announce to you that the best you can do for yourself, and body is to make fruits a very regular part of your diet – a better part, even.

Yeah, I know it requires a great deal of effort, conscious efforts but it can be done.

If we consider how much we are likely to spend (financially, emotionally, psychologically, etc) on treatments if we happen to come down with any of ‘those’ dreadful illnesses, then the daily cost of some apples, carrots, bananas, nuts, etc is insignificant in comparison.

So let’s get on to it.

How to make the Banana-Apple-Ginger Smoothie or any smoothie at all is a no brainer.

Let me tell you my big secret, the how-to (make smoothies) got me staying away (from smoothies) until late 2015. Yes, you read that right.

Seeing as yours truly is a lazy human who can sometimes be frugal and who is adept at shying away from anything that has the tiniest suggestion of stress, I just maintained my lane – taking my fruits the good old way of biting, chewing, gulping and digesting..until my eyes literally opened.

What you need to make smoothies:
  • Fruits and a (powerful) Blender!

If you have fancy smoothie makers, the type I gawk at online for years, fine. Otherwise, just make use of your Blender. We all have one on our kitchen shelf / cabinet.

Here is how to make any smoothie at all:

Simply throw your fruits into a (powerful) Blender, blend smoothly and you have your delicious cup or bottle of goodness ready to take in less than 5 minutes.

Now, how cool is that.

Banana Apple Ginger Smoothie

 

How I Made My Banana-Apple-Ginger Smoothie

2 (frozen) Green Apples

2 ripe (frozen) Bananas

1/2 (inch) Ginger

1 cup of (cold) Water

I diced the apples and removed the seeds, peeled the bananas and cut into smaller bits and finally scraped the ginger clean.

The three ingredients were blended for about two minutes (until smooth) and transferred to a bottle.

BENEFITS OF TAKING SMOOTHIES OVER EATING ‘RAW’ FRUITS

Now, here is one thing about smoothies which I love very much:

It ‘protects’ the teeth from prolonged acidic assaults!

Our dental enamels should not be over-exposed to acidic fruits / foods for the same reason fizzy drinks are being discouraged.

Prolonged chewing of sugary / acidic foods exposes us and our dental wonders; When we take smoothies, we do not have to worry so much about that.

This is because the teeth are protected to a large extent considering that we do not have to keep biting into the fruits on end.

That is of course subject to the fact that we do not ‘prolong’ taking the prepared smoothies.

Remember that an apple a day does not mean an apple eaten on end, the whole day.

See what I mean?

HEALTH BENEFITS OF THE BANANA-APPLE-GINGER SMOOTHIE
BANANA

Banana-Apple-Ginger Smoothie

For one, bananas is a favorite in my home and is one of the fruits my lil men take without much persuasion. That is my number one benefit.

Seriously, bananas are packed with so much nutrients and vitamins such as Vitamin B6, Manganese, Vitamin C, Potassium, Dietary Fiber, Protein, Magnesium, Folate, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin A, Iron.

Some benefits:

  • Improves the health of the eyes
  • Memory preservation
  • Useful in treatment of diarrhea / bowel movement
  • Reduces the chance of developing asthma
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces risk of  cancer
  • Improves the health of the heart
  • Reduces risk of stroke
  • Preservation of bone mineral density
  • Reduction in the formation of kidney stones, etc
APPLE
Banana-Apple-Smoothie

Health benefits of apples

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, they say…and I believe.

Besides being yummy as a starter or accompaniment, apples are considered to be rich in important antioxidants, flavanoids, and dietary fiber.

Some benefits:

  • They are reputed to help prevent memory loss
  • Improves neurological health
  • Reduces the risk of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease
  • Reduces the risk of stroke
  • Lowers bad cholesterol level
  • Reduces the risk of diabetes
  • Reduces the risk of breast cancer, etc
GINGER
Banana-Apple-Ginger Smoothie

Health benefits of Ginger

LET me tell you why I added ginger (besides the health benefits, of course).

I wasn’t sure I’d love the ‘concentrated’ sugary taste of the combination of bananas and apples, so I decided to ‘temper’ the sweet taste with the tanginess of the ginger!

My love affair with ginger started some 10+ years ago (never looked back).

Some benefits:

  • One of the greatest and healthiest spices (for cooking)
  • It contains nutrients and compounds that are beneficial to our bodies and brains.
  • Contains ‘Gingerol’ – a substance with powerful medicinal properties.
  • Used in alternative medicine / therapy
  • Helps in preventing / reducing nausea
  • Helps fight flu and cold.
  • Has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects
  • Effective against osteoarthritis, muscle pain and soreness
  • May lower blood sugar and improve heart health
  • May help in treating chronic indigestion
  • May help prevent cancer
  • May improve brain function and protect against alzheimer’s disease
  • Can help fight infections by inhibiting the growth of bacteria

Err…back to our banana-apple-ginger smoothie, considering all the wondrous benefits you’re going to load your body in one cup / bottle, are you willing to give this a try?

Note: If you are all for all-sweet-no-tanginess, you may want to leave out the ginger but I strongly recommend adding ginger so you don’t get to miss too many benefits. I am biased though because I am Ms. Ginger…I particularly love the slightly ‘biting’ flavour of this smoothie..

So, what’s your favorite fruit combo / smoothie?

Elusive Peace

elusive peace

The blue-white sky so serene

Speaks of tranquility and peace.

Hard-to-come-by commodities

That have proven so scarily elusive

In these trying days and times so divisive.

Some days are better and clearer than most

While some are worse than the rest.

But the best comes when inwards we turn for strength

And upwards we gaze at length

For peace like no mortal can give.

 

 

Kids’ Craft: DIY Paper Flower Vase

Paper Flower Vase Craft

My boys love art…especially paper crafts.

Maybe it is a fall-out of the numerous episodes of ‘Art Attack’ we spent hours watching but one thing I know is this: I love their love for art.

And now that Summer is officially here and they would go on holiday starting this week, what better way to keep them occupied than to have them make one (or two) of this pretty little paper flower vase?

Seriously, ‘making’ art is one of the tested and trusted ways of keeping them busy while I grab me a shut-eye (when we are not bonding over some wiggley eyes or coloring)…*wink*…

These paper flower vases were made on a Saturday afternoon and they are really very simple to make. Trust me. We sure had a lot of fun playing around with the cardboard, ribbons, water/poster-colors and glue.

Difficulty level: Sub-zero-below-simple-level.
Time Required: 10-20mins
Materials Needed for the Paper Flower Vase

-Cardboard

-Pencil

-Poster colors

-Ribbons

-Scissors

-Glue

Now, let’s get started.

Cut out your cardboard and draw a vase (freestyle) on it. You may do this yourself or guide your little one(s)  or even allow them do it on their own. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you know.

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-Cut out random shapes from your ribbon -any ribbon color will do.

-Spread glue randomly within the lines of the Vase you sketched in the previous step.

 

20160402_142449

Add and arrange the ribbons on the glue / cardboard as desired, press firmly in place.

20160402_144004

Your Vase is practically empty right now and it’s time to fill it up with some pretty flowers. *wink*

So, Cut out oval ‘petal-like’ shapes, you are going to need 8 – 10 pieces depending on how full you need your flowers to be.

Let your little ones smear paint on the ‘veins’ with their desired colors. (They wouldn’t look like petals without the veins now, would they?)

Spread glue as desired and press the petals in place, on the vase.

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Voila. Your paper flower vase is ready to adorn your kid’s space.

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The boys insisted on pinning their creations on the ‘wall of fame’, side by side.

20160710_125909

We sure had fun making these, I am sure you and your little ones will..too.

Happy New July

Happy new July

May July be filled with sweet fragrances

Of wondrous conquests in all of life’s essence

As each day unravels like beautiful presents

Bringing untold pleasures so us, the recipients.

*******Have a very happy new July********

 

Time waits…

Time waits for no (wo)man

Time does a pretty poor job of waiting.

Or how else could one explain the fact that we are already done with the first 6 months of 2016 and my list of goals is still far from being fully dealt with?

I know I am not the only one with their Goals list not even halfway dusted.

(I hope I am not alone…tell me I am not the only one…but it’s okay if I am…I am cool with that…I am cool like that)

Truth is, I’m not too good at adhering to deadlines. It’s a very bad trait that has to do with poor time management skills, I know.

Hubby still reminded me of that wonderful quality of mine this morning.

Him: When is D2’s ‘graduation’?

Me: I ‘think’ July 9 or thereabouts..

Him: Is there anything we need to get him for the event?

Me: ‘They’ sent a memo from the school last week asking us to get him a black suit…white shirt and bowtie

Him: Since last week?…if you like, wait till the last minute but just don’t ‘start’ chasing me all around with phone calls asking me to ‘start looking’ for black suits all over Lagos one day to the event…

Bros, don’t worry..I will handle it.

Yeah. Like I did during the kiddies show earlier in the month…when I started scouting for a plain black T-shirt (after work..late into the night) a day to an event for which I got the memo 3 weeks in advance!

Blame it all on the pregnancy brain…5 years after.

But I digress. Enough of me and my absent-mindedness, for now. This is really not about deadlines, we will get round to that some other time.

Sigh.

Seeing that the first half of the year is practically over, what have you been up to?

What have I been up to?

Am I the only one here who feels that time flies too swiftly? I mean, when did we ring in the new year? Just yesterday…it seems.

I remember a favorite (growing up) song of my dads mine (by Christie Essien Igbokwe…sure you don’t know her).

The chorus goes thus:

”Time waits for no man…man waits for time..use your talents successfully…yeah yeah yeah…”

(Who else has / had a beautiful little turntable box perched majestically atop a black shelf with tens of albums of Boney M, Christie Igbokwe, Sunny Ade, Obey Commander, Sunny Okosun…flanking it on both sides?…pretty old school..very)

Time is mean…it waits for no man. Does not wait for me to get my acts together and start acting on my dreams and goals.

Time waits for no one.

We are the one who always wait for the ‘right’ time to start taking the little steps that would develop into giant strides.

Perfect time. Perfect opportunities. Perfect mood. Perfect family. Perfect size. Perfect shape. Perfect weather.

Truth is, there never is going to be a right time for us to start actualizing our goals.

There is never going to be ‘the’ perfect time to get started.

We are the ones to create the right and perfect time out of the imperfect situations around us.

I mean If I whine from now till eternity, it does not change the fact that I have only 24 hours daily..to live…and create…and impact (throw in some sleep, squabbles, refereeing, school runs, work, writing, cooking, etc)

A friend told me about an acquaintance of hers- a lady who consistently wrote (daily) and succeeded in publishing about 4 books while holding down a job, pursuing a degree, ‘wifing her husband’  and raising their children!

Seriously, we can get so bogged down with the daily rituals of sleeping, waking, settling squables, refereeing, social media, social media, economy forecast, rising cost of living, Brexit, NDAs, Boko Haram, ISIS, etc…which are all legitimate by the way…that we deprive ourselves of actually LIVING. And living well with what we have been given.

Live well to realize, rightly that we need to start working on our goals, dreams and aspirations. Right now.

Take a peek at my Goals for year 2016 below:

1. Read more books2. Get a new hobby3. Try rock climbing4. Be more creative (3)

Very simple goals, right?

I think so too. (The blown-up version does not look so simple)

But if that blob of purple up there could talk or move, it is going to smack me right across the butt or face.

I seriously do a very poor job of impressing my goals list and myself so much that I have given up on trying for me. But I am not giving up entirely…I still am trying. I cannot afford not to.

Because to cease trying is to cease living.

When we realize that other people’s happiness(es) are dependent on our little piece of purple or black 10-point or 20-point creed goals, we have a validation of our living.

Simply put, we cannot afford to fail. We cannot afford to deprive other people of the trickles of happiness or respite, regardless of how insignificant.

But if we do not want to fail, we have to start moving.

What is that one thing or 10 things you need to do?

Our actions and decisions today will shape the way we will be living in the future. (1)

Twenty years from now, would you give yourself a pat on the back for trying or a smack on both cheeks for being too cowardly to take the little step needed to move?

Twenty years from now, I do not want to be disappointed with myself. For the things I was too cowardly to do. For the chances I failed to create or the chances I failed to take.

Time waits for noone, do something your future self will thank you for

Six months have gone by but we still have six months left which is all the time we really need.

Today is all the time we need.

Scratch that. NOW, is all the time we need because the next moment / hour / day / week / year is not promised.

Remember…time waits for no one.

Do something today that your future self will thank you for.

Time waits for no one.

How about we pay Time back in its own coin by stopping the waiting game?

Place a call through to the swimming coach and book a session. Now.

Get out a piece of paper and pen or draw your computer close and put down the first words that come to your mind.  Now.

Scout the Web for schools offering that program you’ve been putting off. Now.

Write a business plan for that business idea you’ve been dreaming about. Now.

Place a call through to your loved one(s). Now.

Search for online self-improvement courses you can try out. Now.

Even if we fail to complete all our goals, it should not be from not trying.

Even if we fail, the only regret we will not have is NOT trying.

Are you going to take the first step? Now?

 

PS: Did you read this post?

PPS: Have you signed the petition?

PPPS: Be kind enough to visit…I’ll sleep better tonight seeing one more signature added to the pool.