Friday, August 8, 2014

All you need is a little love

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.” - Charles M. Schulz



Snoopys creator sure knew what he was talking about. Love , chocolate and food make the world go around. I was always told that a way to a mans heart was through his stomach , but the way to a toddlers heart is also food.

My two loved ones adore a good meal . I entered the borosil hamper #beautifulfood contest on a whim , considering the sorry state of my crockery cupboards. The husband and the toddler were craving a lovely home cooked meal served in royal style.
Sadly , I had no crockery to speak of , considering an international move from the land of have alls (the USA ) to the land of , well I had nothing much to speak about.

So , cutting a long story short , I entered the contest and won a borosil hamper. Fast forward a few days , there stands a handsome ( I wish) with the best gift ever. A big read huge borosil hamper just brimming with all the essentials for a teeny tiny kitchen. Thanks god and the judge for the competition.

Zoom to round 2 of the contest and I persuaded my Camera savvy (sorta ) husband into taking photos of the meal . Long carbohydrate rich twirls of soft creamy pasta , tossed in garlic infused oils and sauteed with a rainbow of red , green and yellow peppers beckoned. Flecks of mixed herbs showered the pasta. (The Hubby was beyond convinced , I had to literally hold him off )



The starter was a yummy luscious tomato soup garnished with swirls of cream and showered with the crisp bell peppers. The soup looked restaurant style served in my spanking new borosil bowl .


Well , I did mention love and chocolate . The husbands loves himself any sweet thing and yes he went goo goo gaa gaa over a kesar essence infused dream.  ( An essence bargain scored at more ) . The voluptuous serving of baby pink mounds of whipped cream ensconced a pillow soft cloud called rasgulla. It just needed a hint of tutti frutti to complement it.


Whats a meal without  a little excitement ? Soft , light as a dream chocolate cupcake decorated by a 3.5 year old while your heart is palpitating at the sheer mess. Love overrules all sense and sensibility and I helped her pipe out a white cloud of fresh cream topped with pink and white sprinkles and colored sugar. She loved the experience and the bliss showed on her face.


Too much action needed a little unwinding and I relaxed with a glass of chilled aamsutra....

The meal was followed by a perfect comment , momma you make the best food......WOW, Mommy Bliss..



I want to thank Borosil for giving me an opportunity to pull out all the stops and prepare a fingerlicking meal and presenting it beautifully. Usually i just slosh it and plop it on whatever hapless crockery I have.

This is my entry for the 2nd round contest of   http://www.myborosil.com/. Fingers crossed for the next big hamper coming my way....

Monday, July 7, 2014

Just Because

The pitter patter of little feet outside the doorbell , the jangling of the doorbell and the Mom open ups heralded the arrival of Sanskriti. The whirling dervish of excitement caught me in a bear hug and inquired , “Mom , when is my birthday ? Can it hurry up? “.This was followed up with demands of marshmallow fondant and ganache .Not too bad , considering that the budding baker is only 4 years old .

I decided to give in to her demands and uttered those 3 words which she loves to hear every time, “Yes , lets bake “. Her infectious laughter upped the ante and we decided to surprise her dad with a chocolate and chocolate cake. Luscious , light as air chiffon sponge with a decadent , creamy and heart melting chocolate ganache.

As we measured and scooped ingredients , we were on the lookout for the perfect vessel for all the gooey goodness.I suddenly remembered the borosil square glass dish gifted by my mom which had been the recipient of many a finger licking sweet dish.

With little fingers helping me and nibbling on the chocolate , we smashed and broke the chocolate into pieces. Mysteriously only 50 gms survived out of the 100 gms , with a tiny mouth smeared with chocolate. Sifting and blending , we prepared a thick and chocolatey mass of goodness. We poured the voluptuous batter into the dish and set it to bake. Little fingers helped with the cleaning up of the mixing bowl .

With the cake baked and cooled , we set off with the death by chocolate ganache frosting.The thick bittersweet ganache makes you gulp down the frosting all at once. The ganache with its glistening cream and chopped chocolate came together in a thick viscous chocolate mass that was lightened up with vigorous whisking.

The icing completed , we waited with baited breath for the bell to ring and to shout surprise for the unsuspecting Dad.Confronted with sheer dark and intense indulgence , he asked me the occasion . I replied “just , because”. Sometimes nothing gives more pleasure than a rich and creamy dessert served in a bowl that reminds you of good things .

This is a post for the borosil contest on indiblogger . Here is the link http://www.myborosil.com/

Monday, January 27, 2014

3 Exercises for periods

Whenever its that time of the month or even before it we start feeling fatigued and listless.In fact we do go to work / studies and also manage the house expertly even during these times but as always exercise is neglected .
In fact many myths are there to not exercise related to anemia etc but after discussion with your doctor you can maintain fitness during these days and exercise is  the best panacea for the dreaded bloat which adds 5-10 pounds .Being active increases endorphin's and oxygen supply to the blood making you feel tons better .

Here are a few words of caution before embarking on a fitness regimen during periods


  • Make sure to stretch to avoid any muscle pulls
  • In case you attempt yoga inverted poses should be avoided.
  • Ensure the right protection and  proper clothing and shoes.
  • Don't go overboard and don't undertake strenuous /vigorous exercises. It can interfere with your periods ex avoid boot-camps , Excessive weights 
  • Moderation should be the key and always listen to your body ..


Here are a few easy ways to remain fit and active


  1. Moderate Walking - Choose a speed which is comfortable and ensure 40 minutes of walk every second day .Fresh air / Treadmill whatever is accessible will be extremely beneficial .You can soak out all the stress using aromatherapy products .If going outside does not appeal to you , you can turn to our handy dandy "youtube".I have used youtubedownloader to download videos to repeat use.Here is a video where you can walk the pounds away at home.You can also divide the segments into 1 mile increments.


    2. Light to Moderate weights for Sculpting Arms / Shoulders- By focusing more on sculpting
       arms and shoulders in combination with light cardio and walking you can reap maximum 
       benefits.This will not put pressure on your Abs alone and will be much easier to do .You can also
       do arms with  weights lying down to define your biceps .Again, youtube is a treasure trove of
       videos .Here is one  I like


    3. Do a Dance Workout - I don't know of anyone who doesn't enjoy dancing.Dancing just puts 
        you in a better mood and makes everyday feel like a party.There is just so much satisfaction in 
       dancing.Just grab a friend or two or even one and lets Cha cha. Zumba is also particularly fun 
       during periods and you can dial up or down the intensity .If nothing more at-least you'll be up and 
       about rather than in the dumps  .Who can be grumpy during a booty shake ? You can
       try a variety of dance videos including 




And after all this when you are sweaty and soaked you can reward yourself with goodies from your own stash of edible goodies  provided by freedommantra .You can also dip into your freedommantra box and  luxuriate in aromatherapy products.Chocolates , fine fragrances and periods go together like nothing else in life

This is a guest post for freedommantra .I have received no consideration for this post .Freedommantra is India's first monthly period subscription box.Cant wait for it ? Then subscribe and request an invite at www.freedommantra.com





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Sunday, January 26, 2014

3 Apps for your periods

So we are back after a long hiatus...It’s been a roller coaster 6 months. The gist of it being "Relocation" aka moving bag and baggage to our Homeland .Now that the dust seems to be settling in we are going to be blogging again regularly - Hopefully...

This time around I want to talk about periods/ menses/ aunt flo /being down ... There are many monikers , but we talk very less about the process of going through it.It’s considered a routine thing but everyone who has a period every-month knows what a task it is.These days there are apps for everything, even a breastfeeding/ motion recording app from SIMILAC. Trust me I used it.....and you will too...if you are a first time mom. So, when I looked for period apps I was surprised to find a surfeit of tech tools for periods. Here is a short list of tools that I particularly liked 

(Image courtersy google images )
1.     Period Calendar / Tracker (rated as 4.5 stars by 630,712 people) this is the topmost period app available and is compatible with both ipods and android. It does much more than just tracking your period. You can just enter your last period date and length and hey presto it automatically predicts your next period and you next fertility date.
·        Record your period dates and predict future periods - Use as a pregnancy Planner by recording body temperature etc
·        You can track your moods and symptoms like acne etc. in case you need to visit the doc.
·        Manage your weight by entering and monitoring your weight in the log
·        It has a pregnancy Mode where it pauses your period anticipation and starts delivery countdown
·        Log into forums and exchange information with fellow users


2.     The Period Tracker (rated 4.5 stars by more than 45,000 people) this is compatible with both ipods and android. This is an interactive and feature rich app with a very eye catching interface. 
·        You can track your periods easily by pressing a button at the start of your period. It helps to predict your next period based upon data entered for the past 3 months ( that's great cause PMS may not be the only way to predict the start of the onslaught)
·        You can easily access all your current and future period dates 
·        Choose your moods and enter your symptoms
·        The best part is that it is discreet as it shows up only as a "P Tracker"

  1. My Cycles Period and Ovulation (rated 4.5 stars by 7,771 people)
     
·        This also has a discreet icon – a pink flower  
·        At the login itself it asks you whether you want to use it for ovulation or for period records .This is a fairly detailed tool for both uses
·        You can record various life events and if you are expecting you can also record symptoms for the same
·        More Geared towards pregnancy and ovulation


There are many more apps for period tracking and I will be covering some more of them but these essentially will fulfill your needs of period management, ovulation / fertility, weight records and connecting with various forums. 

All these tools are great for records but if you want to ensure period supplies without the hassle of remembering the dates or late night panic runs to the chemist then subscribe at www.freedommantra.com for your monthly essentials without the hassles. 

An innovative concept – freedommantra , India’s first monthly period subscription service aims to cover your monthly needs without any stress. Just subscribe and enter your next period date and the items will be delivered at your doorstep in a discreet package , leaving you to enjoy your periods.




Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Books I am reading this week


New Castle county library .... I heart you in many many ways.You have the best and diverse collection of reading materials.Here is a short stack of books I am reading this week.I am mentioning the one's I like


  1. Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren  - Move over "50 shades of Grey" , beautiful bastard is here to stay.Does anybody else think that the 50 shades trilogy is so over-rated and may I even say a tad boring? Introducing beautiful bastard - its another twilight fan fiction offspring and trust me its actually much better than 50.Its on the same lines of a corporate romance but let me tell you , my heart was in my mouth no thanks to all the public places they indulge their "romance" in , for want of a better word.More exciting and also from a dual point of view, its a more M & B ish book.I like the heorine's sass ... 4 out of 5 stars.Image courtesy www.christinalauren.com
  2. Ghouls gone wild by Victoria Laurie - Seriously , I am hooked on to the series.Even as I type, I am reading the third in this series. The premise is a gang of ghost busters who are working on a TV show called ghoul getters and travel around the world busting ghosts. Imaginatively and creepily written, its just what you need to shkae out of your slumber.Its fast paced and has a nice mystery angle to boot.This book is about a centuries old curse and some vengeful witches. Enjoy it along with a chocolate cone .An engaging read.Read one and read all by this author .5 out of 5 , it does spook me out at times.(Image courtesy www.amazon.com)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Home made Pav's or Dinner Rolls


Scrumptious , Luscious and yummilicous .Yes , you can call these dinner rolls or pav's any of these adjectives and more.The scent of the baking bread permeates your house and causes your mouth to water and trust me its an easy recipe with a few steps which are so worth while.These are amazingly versatile and can be adapted to any taste - sesame seeds, italian herbs etc etc.The original recipe can be found here.Here is the recipe and the method

Ingredients

  1. 3 cups Bread Flour ( Do not substitute )
  2. 1 packet Rapid Rise Yeast (2.25 teaspoons)
  3. 1 cup milk (Lukewarm)
  4. 1/4 cup water (Lukewarm)
  5. 1 egg + 2 pinches baking soda.In case you dont want to use egg just use 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  6. 1 tablespoon sugar
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
  8. Milk / Butter / Beaten egg for wash / glaze on buns
  9. 3 tablespoons melted butter
  10. Assorted toppings like sesame seed, italina herbs (optional)
Method
  1. Combine bread flour , melted butter and mix into a crumb like consistency .Add yeast , salt and sugar and mix. Add baking soda or egg .Start kneading a pliable and smooth dough with the milk and water .Knead it will the dough becomes smooth and without cracks
  2. Use 1 tablespoon olive oil and coat the utensil and the dough.This avoids any crust formation.Cover with cling or a damp cloth.Now the dough will prove for at least 30 minutes and the yeast action will lead the dough to become almost double.This is extremely important.
  3. After an hour or so remove the dough from the bowl and knead it .Now roll it around the palm of your hand to make a smooth ball.The dough will yield 12 balls. Place them in a parchment paper lined  or greased pan leaving a little space between them.After the second rest they will puff and come together. Use milk or egg for the wash/ glaze using a pastry brush.Add any additional toppings.Cover with cling and let rest in a warm place like an oven or a microwave for at-least 2 -3 hours .
  4. Preheat oven at  375 degree Fahrenheit and remove the cling and bake 25-30 minutes till they are nice and golden brown
  5. Remove and immediately brush with butter for a nice shine


What we are reading this week

When you have a wild and wacky toddler dancing on your head in the summers , the library provides its largess to entertain your toddler for hours.I love , love , love the library here.Our library at newcastle county is a treasure trove.Where else can you find legos, puzzles and even a doll house to entertain your toddler ?Lets not even get into the friendly staff that recognizes me as the person who puts 40 holds on at once.It has amazing resources , i have checked books out of each genre.Each and every time that I check out books , I am in awe of the library ...
This week we are reading


  1. Richard Scarry's All the colors of busytown- Richard Scarry needs no introduction and is a much loved kids book author.His simplistic style of prose and the illustrations are adorable.In this book we are introduced to a world of colors in fact a rainbow of colors .I like this book and rate it 4 out of 5 stars for composition, words and illustrations. Sanskriti enjoys it.
  2. Dinosaur Trains- Big and Small - How many , many episodes have I seen of dinosaur train? Did I mention that my daughter has a princess craze but adores dinosaurs as well ?What I marvel at is how 2 year olds can pronounce and recognize Argentinosauraus , stegasoraus and a T-Rex.Based on the wildly successful exploits of  the Pteranodon Family , this book lets the children expolre the concept of big and small animals and how each one is special no matter what their size is .5 out of 5 for illustrations and putting the message across.
  3. The Bernsteins Bears New Pup- This is a level one reading book with an easy theme of the bears adopting a dog who is naughty and badly in need of potty training.Trust me , I can soo empathize with the Mama bear who finds a calling card (code word poo) .My toddler is making us undergo the same and trust me its not pleasant.More on that later 

Read , read and read to your kids no matter how big or small they are and you will find life much more enriching.