Easy Sweet Potato Payasam

sweet-potato-payasam
Sweet Potato Payasam

 

sweet-potato
Sweet Potato

 

GUEST BLOGGER: NEENA VILAS TALPADE

If you are looking for comfort food, this is one of the healthiest and tastiest porridges you could ask for! Prepare this porridge or payasam, curl up with your favourite book and enjoy a relaxed weekend. So here’s what you need:

Ingredients:

Sweet potatoes (pink variety has a fragrance) : 3 large

Milk: 1/2 litre

Coconut milk powder: 2 pouches

Coconut milk cream: 1 Tetra pack

Sugar: 2 tablespoons

Cardamom (elaichi) powder: 1/2 teaspoon (optional)

Slivered, toasted cashews or almonds: 2 teaspoons

 Method:

Wash the sweet potatoes thoroughly.

Pressure-cook for 3 whistles OR microwave for 12 minutes till very soft.

Peel and pass through a sieve with the help of a masher.(the kind we use for mashing pav-bhaji or roasting parathas)

Add milk, coconut milk powder or cream.

Add cardamom powder if desired.

Garnish with slivered, toasted cashews or almonds.

Serve warm or chilled, as preferred.

Eat well, stay healthy and enjoy life…

 

20 Minute Chocolate Cake

chocolate-cake-2chocolate-cake-1

Guests arriving in half an hour and you don’t know what to do!! Here’s a super quick, soft, spongy, melt-in-the-mouth chocolate cake that will definitely impress them. If you are short of butter, no issues. This recipe needs cooking oil, which has the double benefit that the cake remains soft even in very cold weather.

USE THE BLENDER INSTEAD OF SEPARATE BOWLS FOR EGGS, CREAM, ETC AND REDUCE YOUR WASHING UP TOO. 

So here’s the recipe

Dry Powders

  • 3/4 cup flour (maida)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (Flour+cocoa makes 1.1/4 cup)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

Other ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1.1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup cooking oil (use refined oil that doesn’t have a strong aroma of its own)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tbsp yogurt/curd (take yogurt in a small bowl, add 1 tbsp water, mix well and keep aside)

Method

In a blender, add sugar and oil and blend together for 2 minutes.

Add all 4 eggs and blend for 2-3 more minutes.

Add the dry powders, vanilla essence and yogurt.

Blend for another 2-3 minutes or till it looks homogenous.

**Transfer to a greased baking dish and bake at 230 degrees C for 15-20 minutes.

You can eat it hot from the oven, at room temperature or right out of the fridge with vanilla ice cream. Enjoy eating…

**The oven setting and time will vary according to the brand of the oven so refer to the manual for individual settings.

 

Savory Banana Pancake – unusual breakfast fare!

 

savoury-pancakes

GUEST BLOGGER: NEENA VILAS TALPADE

During the festive season, you often find your hands full of mithai plus fruits that are ripe at about the same time! At such time, my over-ripe bananas often end up on our breakfast table in this unusual yummy dish.

You’ll know it’s tasty when you try it!!

Ingredients:

  1. Ripe bananas: 2-3
  2. Salt: 1/3 teaspoon(to taste)
  3. Sugar or Jaggery: 1 teaspoon
  4. Tamarind Pulp: 1/2 teaspoon
  5. Finely chopped green chilli(non-spicy variety): 1
  6. Finely chopped coriander leaves: 1-2 teaspoons
  7. Fine Semolina(sooji/barikrava): 3 tablespoons
  8. Ghee or oil for roasting
  9. Butter if desired: for serving

Method:

  1. In a bowl, peel/mash the bananas.
  2. Add ingredients 2-6. Mix well.
  3. Add semolina. The mixture should not be too dry.
  4. On a non-stick frying pan, put 1/2 teaspoon ghee or oil and spread all over the frying pan.
  5. Ladle a large serving spoonful of the mixture.
  6. Spread evenly- thickness of a crepe or utappa.
  7. Cover and brown on a medium flame.
  8. When brown, turn over and brown the other side as well.
  9. Serve hot with (optional)a small dollop of butter.

This recipe is really yummy. However, you may omit the green chilli if you are not used to its ‘spice’ quotient.

Using Hobbies For Charitable Causes

If you are a homemaker with a lot of free time or you are a retiree, there are some unique ways to use hobbies for charitable causes. Here are some ideas that will help you to socialize more, aid others and spend your time fruitfully:

Imparting Free Education

adult-education

When you read the statistics given by UNESCO you will be horrified at the percentage of illiterate youth around the world. Nearly 67 million children across the globe do not have the benefit of a school education. But there are NGOs (Non Government Organizations) in most nations that deal with children’s education. You can work as a volunteer and teach the children whichever subject you enjoy teaching.

Yarn crafts for charity

crochet-2

Knitting and/or crochet projects sounds more like a fancy hobby. But when you knit or crochet blankets, shawls, monkey caps, rompers, cardigans, etc for the poor or underprivileged; the activity becomes more meaningful.

Volunteering

volunteering

If you are fond of outdoor activities there is a plethora of volunteer work you can participate in:

  • Helping out at a departmental store during the festival rush,
  • Helping at a fund raising cultural/sports event,
  • Socializing at the nearest home for senior citizens,
  • Mentoring an underprivileged student (actually tutoring at home),
  • Helping at church events,
  • Spending time with terminally ill patients,
  • Providing free goodies for poor children/adults.

Making funeral arrangements for the poor using your organizational skills

coffin

This may sound morbid but here’s the harsh truth – there are many people in the world who can’t afford a decent funeral and coffin for their departed ones. In their time of bereavement a helping hand even from a stranger would be most welcome. If you are good at organizing things, you can use that talent and make funeral arrangements on behalf of a grieving family.

Making toys from recycled materials

tin-car

Making toys is fun. It is a unique art. But making toys from recycled (throw away items) materials is even better. It serves many purposes:

  • It reduces trash,
  • It hones your creative and artistic skills,
  • It gives you pleasure and keeps you occupied,
  • It gives your fingers and hands exercise,
  • It gives pleasure to the children who receive free toys.

You can make toys with any throw away items like packaging material (bubble wraps, thermocol or cardboard boxes), leftover cloth, tins, bottles or plastic. These toys can be given away in charity.

None of the activities mentioned above will cost you much money. They are cheap to indulge in. Yet it will mean a better and happier life for someone if you utilize one of your hobbies for charitable causes.

Anti Ageing Cum Skin Whitening Cream

 

beauty-2

Wouldn’t it be just perfect if we could buy one anti ageing cream cum skin whitening cream instead of having to buy two separate jars? It can be annoying having to use two products when one would do. So I researched a bit and tried out this homemade anti ageing cum skin whitening cream that works wonders with my dry skin…

What you need:

anti-aging-cream

You will need just five everyday stuff to make this cream:

1 tsp almond oil
1 capsule of vitamin E (cut capsule and remove oil)
1 tsp honey
1 tsp aloe vera gel
1 tsp milk cream

How to prepare the cream:

  • In a microwave-proof bowl heat the almond oil for 10 seconds.
  • Remove and add aloe vera gel and mix thoroughly.
  • Cut the vitamin E capsule and add its contents to the bowl.
  • Add milk cream, honey and blend it with the spoon so that it is homogenous.
  • Apply immediately.
  • Keep for 30 minutes and rinse with plain water.

Repeat this procedure once week for a wrinkle-free complexion.

Note: Do not use makeup or any other cream for 3-4 hours after this treatment.

Note 2: You can also mix turmeric in this cream with a little extra almond oil for quicker results.

 

How Much Water Should You Drink As Per Ayurveda?

water-1

Do you consciously drink 2-3 litres of water per day at fixed timings? When I was told to drink plenty of water as part of my general diet I read extensively on the subject. Unlike other experts, according to Ayurveda a fixed schedule is not necessary. I asked Ayurvedic doctors the right time to drink water. And you will be surprised at the reply – “Drink water whenever you are thirsty.”

What is the right time to drink water?

Many others (non-ayurvedics, if you permit the terminology) have given helpful tips on the right time to drink water, for example:

  • A glass as soon as you wake in the morning,
  • A glass of water half an hour before meals,
  • A glass of water just before bathing,
  • A glass 30 minutes before lunch,
  • A glass before sleeping at night.

These are just 5 that I have listed. There are many more suggestions about what is the right time to drink water.

Where are we going wrong?

Why is there an apparent contradiction in what most people say and what Ayurveda says? It’s really simple – our brain always gives us the right signal when we are thirsty. We don’t interpret the signal correctly.

In my mother tongue Konkani there is an idiom – “chor bhuka chor taan”. This translates as “false hunger, false thirst”. What is our first reaction when we feel thirsty? Instead of drinking a glass of water we will have a cup of tea or coffee. Worse still we opt for a diet Coke or eat a midday snack! We know we are thirsty but our actions are erroneous!

 What should we do?

Drink water whenever you feel like. It shouldn’t happen that in an attempt to keep to a fixed schedule you end up drinking less water than your body needs!

The only rule you really need to follow is not drinking too much water just before a meal. The strong stomach acids are necessary to break down food particles for easy digestion and proper absorption of nutrients. If you drink a glassful of water just before a meal you are actually diluting the acids and forcing the stomach to work that much harder.

If you like having water with meals, substitute this with a glass of buttermilk (2 tbsp yogurt diluted with a glass of water) and drink it during the meal, a sip at a time. This way you are having a probiotic along with the meal and digestion will improve. Secondly, drink buttermilk that is at room temperature and not cold. Avoid adding ice.

So as per Ayurveda drink water when thirsty  and enjoy good health.

How Cleaning Closets Improves Self Esteem

No, I haven’t lost it! This is a tried-and-tested theory and one which works wonders. When I was first diagnosed with osteoarthritis I asked the predictable question “why me”. Strangely, the journey from self-pity to being a happy blogger started with cleaning cupboards! Here’s how cleaning closets improve self-esteem…

Activity improves blood circulation

The first effect of cleaning your closet is increased physical activity. This naturally improves the circulation of blood, thus improving overall health.

Helps to develop positive thinking

Let’s say you have had an argument with a friend or family member. You will go on thinking about the tiff throughout the day and your anger will resurface. But as you begin cleaning the cupboard your thoughts are more rational. The entire argument will become a non-issue and your relationships will be more important.

Encourages creativity

While cleaning the closet you will find answers to some housekeeping problems. For example, we had got our house painted recently but then the curtains looked shabby. While cleaning one of the cupboards I found some satin fabric pushed at the back which was long forgotten. It is enough to make some nice drapes for the bedroom windows.

Enhances the mood

Once you have cleaned and sorted the cupboard, it looks neat and tidy. You can now pat yourself on the back for a job well done because you know it is a sign of good housekeeping. This will definitely make you feel elated.

Reduces stress

Every time you need something from the cluttered closet you have the tedium of searching high and low. The urgency to find the item will lead to stress. Besides, you know you are solely responsible for the chaos. Once you have cleaned the closet the stress will reduce because there’s a place for everything and everything is in its place.

So when you sum this up, what do you get? You have an organized cupboard, less searching time, efficiency, neatness, creative ideas, better mood, and much more. So however corny it may sound, cleaning closets improves self-esteem.

 

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