Tuesday, March 19, 2019

16 Bean Dosa - High Protein breakfast

Food - a simple concept most of the time, or at least it should be. But it seems like everytime I turn around, there are changes in scientific research that either vilify a particular food or glorify it to such an extreme that prices then are necessarily through the proverbial roof!
As a person trying my best to feed my family healthy meals, I have found that exercising moderation in all aspects is the golden key to solving this food puzzle. In an effort to reduce the over consumption of  polished white rice, I am always on the lookout for recipes that utilize other grains / lentils and beans. My niece had remarked once that she used a combination of beans in her dosa batter and had achieved good results. The light bulb went off the next time I was pondering over the weekend breakfast.
I had some 16 bean mix that I had purchased from the bulk bins of my local Natural Food market.
(As an aside, if you have access to any grocery store that has bulk bins - Sprouts Farmers Market, Whole Foods, Winco, do check out their bulk bins. They have an amazing variety of items that you can try and incorporate into a healthy eating routine.)
I soaked a cup and a half of the 16 bean mix overnight. The next morning, I drained the beans and ground them up in my blender with an inch of fresh ginger, a couple of green chillies and a handful of fresh cilantro. I added a sufficient quantity of water to ensure that the blender ran smoothly and to get a free flowing batter. I also added half acup of semolina and a teaspoon of salt.
You could also add half a cup of rice flour instead to ensure that the batter spreads evenly and has a crispy texture.
This batter does not need any fermentation time. I let it sit for about 15 minutes while I did some other chores. 

I served the dosas along with coconut chutney and the family indulged in a rice free, protein rich breakfast that didnt take too much effort to put on the table.

1.5 C of mixed beans and lentils (Either store bought or mix it yourself)
1 inch fresh ginger
2 -3 green chillies (depending on taste)
1/2 C finely chopped cilantro
1/2 C finely chopped onion (optional)
1/2 C semolina or rice flour
1 tsp salt or to taste

1. Soak the beans overnight. This will ensure that the beans are soft enough for grinding. If you do not have a high powered blender, then make sure you grind in batches and rest the blender in between to prevent an overload.
2. Drain the beans and discard the soaking water, Blend the beans in batches, if required along with the ginger, chillies and cilantro.
3. Remove the mixture into a pot / vessel. Add the semolina or rice flour and adjust to a pouring consistency by adding sufficient water. Add the salt.
4. Add the onions if using and mix well.
5. Heat a pan well and then make dosas by pouring a ladle of the batter and spreading it out on the pan with the back of the ladle in a circular motion.
6. Cover the dosa to ensure that it gets cooked well. Drizzle a little oil around the edges of the dosa.
7. Flip the dosa and cook it on the other side for a while.
8. Serve hot with accompaniment of your choice.

As with any other dosa / pancake, make the first one slightly thick. Subsequent dosas can be spread thinly. Make sure the pan is sufficiently hot before you start making the dosas.
I prefer to eat dosas while they are piping hot. These will still taste good when cold, but eat them while they are hot if possible!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Wishes, Purposes and Fulfillment

As the day bowed down and gave way to the impending night, so did the exhausted old year yield to the energetic new one. I had already started getting messages and forwards from friends and family across the ocean through social media, celebratory and jubilant. All expressing a wish that my family and I would have a prosperous, fun filled,healthy and happy new year; that the new year would bring with it new beginnings, new hopes and new aspirations. After all, they had already bid adieu to the old year and relegated it to their memories.
I, on the other hand was still in the process of saying my goodbyes. It was still New Years Eve for us in the western hemisphere and the old year was like the guest who was leaving after the party, but was in the midst of a last minute conversation at the door. The old year had not yet been captured and framed to be boxed up with its predecessors. I was preparing for a quiet separation, one that would not involve boisterous games and excited conversations and kids running around waiting for the obligatory slice of cake.
When the new year dawned on me, it brought with it more messages and wishes, all of them more or less repetitions of the same variety. I had nothing against them, I myself had sent numerous such replies to my well-wishers. But once I had done that, I found myself in an introspective mood. What, in the end, did these wishes mean? What is the recipient to do?
"Wishing you a New Year filled with new hope, new aspirations and new happiness"
Wouldn't it be amazing if wishes such as these were self-fulfilling and would grant us all that they contained, without needing anything from us in return? They would be fantastic!
Alas, then that wishes have no such power hidden in their depths. All they convey are expectations and desires and wants, whether for ourselves or for others. Do we then receive them, acknowledge them and let them flow through the sieves of our daily routines?
What if we picked through the list and selected the wishes that spoke most compellingly?
New aspirations? Check.
New happiness? Yes, please.
Then, what if we added our own goals and wants and yearnings to the pile?
Dig through that discarded bag of resolutions and dust off the "better health", "better relationships", "better career" wishes and look at them through renewed eyes.
Its time to convert the well meaning wishes into something more purposeful, something achievable and something that we all have to do for ourselves.
I want better health this year, like I have wanted for the past several years. I am going to have to take steps to achieve that, though. I will need to make better choices regarding food and I am most definitely going to need to make a sustainable plan for working out on a regular basis and follow through. I also want better relationships. That means, I will need to work on that also. I need to make plans to spend time in a meaningful way with my husband and my kids and my friends. Its not something that will happen automatically.

So dear readers, here I am, at the beginning of another beautiful year, not just wishing you a happy new year, but urging you all to find the purpose in your wishes and then working through a plan to bring those wishes to fulfillment. We are all fellow travelers in this life. Our wishes, goals and purposes might be as different as chalk and cheese, but the happiness that we will derive from the fulfillment will most certainly be the same.
Let us then make this year not just about passage of time, but about an achievement of desires and wants. Let us not be beguiled into thinking that our friends and neighbors have a better life than us just on the basis of their social media presence. They are also, after all struggling through their own personal obstacles that we might know nothing about. Let us look through a lens of optimism and encouragement and perseverance and realize that when we focus, we progress and when we progress, we fulfill. When we fulfill, we have contentment.
Let us all strive towards a state of contentment so that when it is time to look at this year in our rear view mirrors, we can do so with a lighter heart, a smiling face.
                                                        Happy New Year

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Himalaya Botanique Complete Care Toothpaste - review

Gone are the days when everything that a family might need for its day to day living was made at home. In the modern world, all daily necessities are easily available in any store or market. There are sores of brands that churn out newer and more improved varieties of personal hygiene products like soaps, shampoos and creams. Toothpastes are by no means an exception. Rows upon rows are filled with tubes of all shapes, sizes and brands, Colorful pictures and texts proclaim benefits upon benefits. But an informed consumer should know that not all toothpastes are created equal.
A glance at the ingredient list in most common toothpastes will show names such as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Triclosan, Artificial sweeteners and colors, Propelene Glycol among others, Studies have shown that these ingredients are not really good for our health and yet they are used to make a product that is used at least twice a day, if not more.

When I got the opportunity to try out the Himalaya Botanique Complete Care Toothpaste through the Moms Meet program, I was intrigued by a couple of points. The first was that ingredients included Neem, pomegranate, Triphala and xylitol. The product was also free from SLS, fluoride, carrageenan and gluten. I readily agreed to try the product with my family.
The review kit was really a surprise. I got to try several varieties of Himalaya paste including peppermint, spearmint, cinnamon and Neem and pomegranate. The tubes came in beautiful cardboard boxes, which are completely recyclable. The toothpastes definitely have the astringent taste because of the Neem, Triphala and the pomegranate. There was a pleasant feeling after brushing.
Some of the more salient features of the product are as follows:
* Neem leaves have been used traditionally to maintain dental health and they work to keep the mouth clean.
* Pomegranate has astringent properties and helps support healthy gums by tightening the tissues.
* Triphala is a much loved Ayurvedic formulation and is composed of three different fruits and helps in keeping the teeth clean.
* Xylitol is a tooth - friendly sweetener and has also been clinically studied to support good dental hygiene.
* With regular brushing, this herbal formulation helps remove plaque, supports healthy gums and maintains white teeth.
* The Himalaya Botanique Complete Care toothpastes contain Papain and Bromelain, enzymes from Papaya and Pineapple to remove surface stains.
* The toothpastes are gluten free, carrageenan free, SLS free and fluoride free.
* The toothpastes are available in a variety of flavors and retail for $5.99

For more information, do visit the following sites:

My kids found the flavors a tad overwhelming, but both my husband and I really liked the paste and are using it daily. I like that there aren't any sulphates and artificial sweeteners and colors. I like the inclusion of Ayurvedic ingredients. I would really recommend this toothpaste to anybody looking for more herbal preparations for their dental health.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

NeilMed Naspira Nasal-Oral Aspirator - Review and Giveaway

If you have ever suffered from a common cold and everything that it entails, then you know just how frustrating and torturous it can be to go about your daily routines while battling with congested noses, sore throats and watering eyes. On the other hand, if its your toddler or baby who is suffering from congestion, then it becomes even more difficult to provide them with relief until the cold runs its course.
We have used a neti pot with our older son when he was around 4 -5 years of age, successfully to an extent. The neti pot definitely helped in gently flushing the nasal passages with warm saline water and seemed to have helped in reducing congestion and helping our son breathe better. But a toddler or a baby cannot use neti pots and the suction bulb can only help so much. 
I recently hear about the NeilMed Naspira Nasal Oral aspirator and was struck by its unique design. The aspirator is designed to help suction a baby's or a toddler's nose safely, gently and effectively.
I was offered a chance to use a kit and review it and I decided to give it a try.

Unlike the ubiquitous blue suction bulb that is provided by the hospital after a baby is born, the NeilMed aspirator is transparent and has a 2 in 1 design. You can either use it as an aspirator or as a nasal / oral suction device. Parents can use this device to generate suction force through the mouth to alleviate nasal congestion in their little ones.

Although my youngest is now 5 and can blow his nose by himself to clear any mucus that might accumulate, he did allow me to try the aspirator on him when he had a slight cold earlier in the month. When I tried to insert the tip of the aspirator into his nose, it took us a few tries just because he kept getting tickled by it! But once he had the hang of it, it was easy enough to gently use the aspirator to clear his nose. I can see how easy it would have been to use this product if he had been a few years younger.
The aspirator is made of high grade silicone and can be easily pulled apart for thorough cleaning. It can also be sterilized and disinfected easily by using boiling water or in the microwave.
The product has a life time warranty and is made without latex, pthalates or BPA. It is also dishwasher safe!!
The NeilMed Naspira Nasal Oral aspirator kit also includes 7 in-line disposable filters to prevent any mucus from entering the tubing and reaching the user's mouth.
The retail price of this kit varies from $9.99 to $14.99. The kit can be easily found at retailers such as Walmart, Babies R Us, Toys R Us, Rite Aid , Target and amazon.com.

Giveaway !! - 
GreenMomsMeet and NeilMed have graciously provided me with a few kits so that I can share them with any readers who might be interested in trying this out. Please leave me a comment with your name, email address and why you think this product might be useful to you! Give away closes in a week!!

For more information about the kit and other products from NeilMed, visit the following websites: 

Disclaimer:I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program (greenmomsmeet. com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Harvest Monday - 6/20/2016

Summer has burst into the North Texas areas now. Temperatures are soaring during the day and nights are getting pretty warm too. It is typically an expected occurrence here and temperatures are already at the 98 / 99 F range with the worst of the summer yet to come.
Although I had sowed my seeds well in advance and prepared my beds by working in compost, the big mistake I made was not getting protection in place for my tiny gardening space. The rabbit population has increased drastically in my neighborhood and they need to get sustenance from somewhere! My unprotected raised beds are, therefore,  fair game. My okra plants have been all but decimated, only small twigs remaining in place of lush leaves. The green bean plants have been trampled over and several are broken. Its nobody's fault but mine! Lesson learned the hard way, that is all!
I do still have several growing plants in the beds, so all is not lost!

                                                                      Green amaranth

I harvested another big bunch of amaranth leaves and shared them with a neighbor.

I also pulled up two of my garlic plants. Having planted them in November last year, I was very curious to see what was going on underground. I have never grown garlic before and as an experiment, planted 12 cloves of ordinary store bought garlic. The only amendment I added to the soil was compost and I watered the plants with liquid sea weed once in a while.
I am very excited about the results. Granted, they are not huge bulbs, but I have seen bulbs this size in grocery stores and considering what I started with, I think its a fair harvest!!  I still have about 8 more bulbs in the ground and I am planning to let them stay there for a tad longer before taking them out.
                                                             Raw horsegram beans  - image courtesy Wikipedia

I also made sprouts last week. I am not sure if they are considered typical harvests. Instead of the usual green mung beans that I use, I sprouted horsegram (Macrotyloma uniflorum) beans.  Horsegram beans are legumes of the tropics and the subtropics and are known by several different names . Wikipedia tells me that these legumes were primarily grown as cattle feed, but they are very commonly consumed as sprouts in several regions of India. Like other beans, these little gems are high in protein and fiber and are also an excellent source of iron. This is a very drought tolerant vine. It can withstand prolonged duration of drought. The stems and leaves are used extensively as cattle fodder and once the crop is harvested, the plants are worked back into the soil to improve the  soil quality. 

sprouted horsegram  

I soaked a cup of these beans overnight and then let them sprout in a sunny corner of my kitchen for about 3 days, rinsing them periodically. Even after sprouting, these beans are pretty chewy. They can be easily cooked on the stove top or in a pressure cooker to make them softer. I used them to make a curry to go with rice and also used them as sprouts for a simple sprout salad with cucumbers and tomatoes. If you would like to try these, a quick trip to the nearest Indian grocery store should suffice! You can find some more information about these beans here.

Simple sprout salad with horsegram sprouts, chopped cucumbers, tomatoes and red bell pepper dressed with lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper. Since this will be consumed for lunch at work tomorrow, I didn't add onion, else a little chopped onion would add more flavor.

For bounteous harvests from other gardeners around the world, visit the Harvest Monday roundup at Our Happy Acres.