30 March 2019

Ragi Vermicelli Upma|A Finger Millet recipe |Ragi semiya recipe

ragi-vermicelli-upma-recipe

Ragi or finger millet is a super grain full of vitamins ,minerals,fiber,protein,anti-oxidants etc etc .They are gluten free,good for diabetic people,people who are trying to lose weight and also for people who want to look young (Holy grail!!).

Yes,this humble grain has got everything covered it seems like a natural multi-vitamin grain-y tablet from mother nature .In India ,especially in South India,ragi is a staple food item .Many amazing recipes are made with this super healthy grain .

Ragi-finger-millet
Finger Millet Vermicelli

There was a time when I thought ragi seeds and mustard seeds are non-identical twins.To be frank ,I was not that into ragi.For me, it tastes so bland and is quite dense in texture .Up until my mother recommended ragi cereal for my baby and the immense health benefits it has to offer .Amma packed a bagful of ragi for the baby while returning from India to US .It was so much that I wanted to try a few recipes as well to finish it before it goes stale and I started researching about all the health benefits of finger millet and I was totally taken aback .

My real experiments with Ragi started there after .Then I came across this Ragi vermicelli packet at the grocery store and I gave it a try .As I feared ,my first attempt making the ragi vermicelli upma was futile .I overcooked the ragi and it tasted nothing less than a fodder .Well,I was the one who had to finish it up completely.😞

finger-millet-recipe


I realized,making ragi vermicelli upma unlike other vermicelli upmas was not a child's play.It was like how we should manage and maintain any relationships .You see,ragi vermicelli is quite tender,delicate and we have to be very careful ,understanding and so lovingly handle them or else it will be a piece of mess. It will be very heartbreaking I tell you !!

I was not going to give up on ragi vermicelli that easily (just like my any relationships).So,my second attempt with ragi semiya/vermicelli was a huge hit with my family .Even the ragi hater,me,loved it !!

ragi-recipe


So,let me share with you how I make ragi vermicelli upma at home with the extra goodness of many vegetables ,a dash of spices,seasoning etc and making it one finger licking upma to be devoured as if you were starving till then …


Ragi Vermicelli Upma Recipe
Serves 1-2 
Cooking Time 15-20 minutes
Preparing time 10 minutes 

Ingredients
Ragi semiya/Finger Millet vermicelli- 1 cup
Water - 2 cups (approx.)
Oil/Ghee - a few drops for cooking ragi

Ghee or oil - 1-4 Tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 Tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 Tsp
Asafoetida - 1 pinch (optional)
Onion,chopped - 1/2 cup
Green chilli,chopped - 1-2 Nos.
Ginger,chopped - 1 inch
Vegetablles - Carrots,Beans,Green Peas,Corn - 1 cup
Potato small cubes - 1/2 cup
Groundnut/Peanut/Cashewnut - 1/4 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/4 Tsp
Red chili powder - 1/4 Tsp
Curry leaves, a few
Salt to taste

Idli cooker or any steamer
Water for steaming 




Preparation method (Updated) :
  1. Heat some water and let it cool down a bit .It should be between warm and lukewarm .
  2. Put the ragi vermicelli into a strainer and pour this warm water over it.
  3. Let the water get strained away and let the ragi sit like that undisturbed just for a minute.Not more than that or it will loose its texture.
  4. Now heat some water in an idli maker or any steamer .
  5. Put the wet ragi into it and steam it on low-medium flame for 2-3 minutes .
  6. Put off the flame.
  7. Now,heat oil/Ghee in a pan and roast some peanuts .Keep it aside.
  8. Side by side ,heat oil/ghee in a pan and splutter mustard seeds followed by cumin seeds and asafoetida .
  9. Add onions ,green chili and ginger .Saute for a minute or two.
  10. Then add all mixed vegetables (carrots,beans,green peas,corn and potato) and saute well.
  11. Add a tbsp of water and bring everything to the center , cover with a lid and let everything get cooked .
  12. Add the roasted peanuts into it.Mix well.
  13. Add curry leaves,turmeric powder ,chilli powder and salt to taste.
  14. Finally ,add the cooked ragi vermicelli from the idli maker into it and mix everything well very gently.
  15. Put off the flame and that's it my yummy and nutritious Ragi vermicelli upma is ready to eat.
Tips/Things to remember:
  1. I microwave the peanuts quickly like for a minute or it can also be roasted in the same pan after spluttering mustard seeds and cumin .It may take little more time though .
  2. Pouring warm water and then steaming the ragi semiya makes sure that the ragi gets cooked perfectly without breaking down or becoming clumpy and tasteless.
  3. Adding potato to this upma makes it really yummy.
So,this ragi vermicelli upma is quick to make and tasty to eat if we keep those points in mind and it is quite filling and satisfying as well .Now this upma is one of our family favourite breakfast item and me ? I am totally going ga ga over this ra giii …


Dear Ragi,I think I am falling in love with you but we will take it slow ,













28 October 2018

How to manage bottle feeding the baby during long travel | My 10 tips to fly with a baby stress free

Plan-bottle-feeding-baby-long-trip


We were super excited to show my baby girl to her grand-parents in India after she was born .Unfortunately, neither my parents nor my hubby's parents could make it to the delivery etc because of their old age and poor health and the looong travel and stay was not worth that risk .

So,we travelled to India when my girl was 6 months old .Though my baby's doctor advised to feed her solid food right from her 4 month itself ,I fed her lightly only as according to our Hindu custom in my hometown in Kerala,baby's first solid food should be fed at 6 month infront of God in a temple among priests,grand parents and other relatives in a pious way.We call this custom,"Kunjinde Chorunnu." and we performed this ceremony in the famous temple of lord Krishna in Kerala,Guruvayur .(Pictures are not allowed inside the temple .So,we couldn't even capture the ceremony in camera but just in our memory forever)

PICTURE CREDIT - HARIVARA.COM

It was winter here in US when we left and the flight was about 30 hrs approx. (including the stopovers/layover). I decided to use infant formula for the journey and the stay in India as I didn't want to struggle on-the-go and wanted to make sure my baby was well-fed and relaxed through out.

After lots of research ,weighing all the pros and cons of different infant formulas available in the market ,we chose and used Gerber good start gentle formula and Enfamil Enspire formula as the components in them are very close to the breast milk as specifically mentioned in them and my baby was also very happy with both the formula milks.

PICTURE CREDIT :Harivara.com

Long flight with a small baby was not going to be a child's play . My excitement became jiggly .Loads of questions and concerns build up in my mind and heart like how many bottles I must take ,How do I store my formula powder safe ,how do I wash my baby bottles etc etc etc....This was so scary,challenging and overwhelming . This was gonna be nothing less than an adventure!

So,I knew I need an action plan .I must be prepared .So,I started doing my research how to travel with a baby for long distance .Thank God my dearest Google is always there at a fingerclick with oodles of informations always .But time was a constraint .I got lots of informations scattered here and there but not upto my satisfaction .I didn't see a particular blog or article with all the information I needed.I collected whatever information was available in the internet and then I customized my plan ,found all the stuffs I believed would make my long distance travel with the little one comfortable and stressfree for all of us .

So,I am going to share how I victoriously managed bottle feeding my baby during the long international travel .These are the blessed stuffs I purchased that helped me for the same :


1.Infant Formula -


I bought a formula dispenser (Shown below) and filled it with enough formulas for 8 feedings approx. .Rest, I took the formula can as well for back up.

























       

 






Products:

  1. Gerber gentle formula closest to breast milk

  2. Gerber ready to use formula

  3. Enfamil Enspire Infant Formula (closest to breast milk)

  4. Enfamil NeuroPro Infant Formula packets 





2.Formula Dispenser 



I bought two of this formula dispenser can/bottle with 4 compartments from Ebay to store enough formula powder for the trip and it was so convenient and very helpful.It could easily fit into the diaper bag without taking much space .Since the formula is premeasured in every compartment,it was easy to make milk aptly .


3.Baby milk bottles 


Best-baby-bottle-glass
Philips Avent Anti-Colic Baby Bottles Clear












Because of BPA and other similar chemical concerns in plastic bottles, even though they claim to be BPA free,I used only glass bottles with silicon nipples that resembles breast and are anti-colic/anti-gas as well .I had about 8 small baby milk bottles for the journey.

By the way,there are also pre-sterilized single-use baby milk bottles in the shops or online,though they are bit pricey it seems.
bottle-liners
Playtex Baby Nurser Drop-Ins Baby Bottle Disposable Liners, Closer to Breastfeeding, 100-200 Count

We can also use disposable milk bottle liners as shown above ,that can be inserted into the milk bottle and can store milk for feeding .In that way ,we can skip washing the bottle provided the milk doesn't leak into the bottle .But then the nipples and lids have to be washed.In that case spare lids and nipples would be required.I bought these bottle liners but didn't buy spare lids and nipples .SO,it was not that helpful to me.

     

4.Baby milk bottle cleaners


























During air travel ,the water in the toilet or airport are not that safe to clean those milk bottles properly and it is very necessary to sterilize the bottles after each use or they may harbor any bacteria growth from any formula leftover .For that I bought these - Fizzwizz cleaning tablets and wipes made up of natural things that cleans and sterilizes bottles,pacifiers,toys etc  on-the-go and also special microwavable bags that cleans and sterilizes the bottle as well . They saved my sanity !:D

     

5.Baby bottle travel warmer 


baby-bottle-warmer
Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Portable Travel Baby Bottle Warmer - Multi Function -  BPA Free
 This bottle heater/warmer is a portable one which doesn't need any electricity .It easily fits into the diaper bag and can be used as needed especially during flight when you wanna warm milk for the baby if your baby prefers warm milk . Otherwise the baby can be practiced a week or two ahead to accept the milk that's not that warm so that it will be easy while travelling .

      

6.Thermo Flask

For warming any milk or for preparing infant formula we need hot water .We can store water in these thermos flasks which holds hot water for 8-10 hrs .

Before boarding ,the security officers may screen any baby food or liquid .Sometimes they may allow that much water just because it is for the baby otherwise I usually borrow some hot water from any shop in the airport .Most of the restaurant especially starbucks will be happy to give if we mention that it is for the baby . We can use this water to make warm infant formula milk or for warming the ready -to-feed one or any pumped breastmilk.The air hostess in the flight may or may not have hot water and can also warm the milk in the microwave but it may warm it unevenly and can cause mouth burns to the baby.I carried two thin and small thermos flask with me.

      

7.Large zip lock bags

Have a few large size ziplock bags handy (4xl size not required though) .After feeding milk to the baby,we can put the used bottle for cleaning later into these bags and keep it safe from spilling in to the bag .Also,after cleaning since it will be still wet,we can use these zip lock bags to store and keep them away from dripping or spoiling the bag .We can also use Ziploc bags to store any used bibs or burp cloth or any spoiled baby cloth as well.

    

8.Diaper bag with lots of compartments

Large diaper bag with lots of useful compartments to store everything needed handy .I had two ..Phew....One of them ,just to store my heavy glass feeding bottles exclusively with thermos flasks .It was sooo heavy ..Oh my !! I looked like a potli baba ji

     

9.Dish soap (liquid) and Bottle cleaning brush

Whenever possible, especially in layovers,I would clean bottles with the cleaning tablets and finally with this bottle cleaning brush just to make sure no milk residue was left anywhere and dish soap as a backup if needed.
10.I also got lots of bibs,burp cloths,pacifiers,extra cloths,washcloths,diapers,diaper changing pad ,boogie wipes (for stuffy nose just incase ),infant Tylenol for any cold,Baby vicks ,baby lotion,baby powder ,cotton towels (Large and small) ,small blankets ,baby carrier,stroller etc....
Depending upon the duration of our journey ,considering the airport waiting times ,any layover's duration,any delays or what if we miss the flight etc ,we must plan accordingly atleast a month or two ahead .I made a checklist for the same as I ordered many things from the Amazon and some orders take time to arrive and if we use Amazon prime program we can get them within two days ,almost everything at a good price,saves money and our time in shopping otherwise .

Even though I was well-prepared,nevertheless, with the baby many things can go unpredictably wrong.I took a sigh of relief only when I reached my country ,my home.So,I was still little worried but then we also have to remain stress free ,otherwise it will be contagious to baby as stress in mother = stress in baby.So,I was also trying to regulate all my chakras and meditating from inside silently - on-the-go yoga :D

We had long flight delays as I feared but because of my preparation ,everything by God's grace regarding baby went smooth and she was well-fed and well-rested and all set to meet her folks in INDIA,her motherland....:)

I hope this blogpost will be helpful to any new mother in the (more or less) same situation and hopefully guide her in her preparation to travel with a baby stress free and aptly.


HAPPY and SAFE journey mommys and munchkins ,

Yes,I believe you can fly ..










P.S. : Pls share with others ,it may be useful to someone out there !!

22 September 2018

Does baby need Vitamin D ?

vitamin-D-FOR-BABIES

Vitamin D is one of the quintessential vitamin not only for adults but also for babies as well .Babies need Vitamin D for a healthy growth and overall well being.

As per the well known researcher Michael F. Holick, Professor of medicine, Physiology, and Biophysics at Boston University School of Medicine , Vitamin D deficiency can not only cause rickets (a disease that can lead to bone deformity and fractures), it can also keep a child from reaching her genetically programmed height and peak bone mass  ~ Babycenter.com

What are the health benefits of Vitamin D for babies and adults ?


HEALTH-benefits-of-vitamin-D

Did you know that,though breast milk is consider the elixir,all-in-one nutrition for baby ,it typically doesn't have enough Vitamin D necessary for an infant's overall development and so a baby may require supplements prescribed by the doctor.On the other hand ,most of the infant formula milks are already fortified with enough Vitamin D ,that any further supplement (medicines) are unnecessary . 

How to get Vitamin D ?

  1. Sunlight -Vitamin D is also called "the sunshine" vitamin as Vitamin D is naturally created by skin when directly exposed to sun .However,the harmful effects of Ultra violet radiation can also cause skin cancer ,making it tricky .Moreover,in babies because of the clothing and sunscreen sunlight effects are minimal and hardly helps in creating Vitamin D .
  2. Foods - Most of the formula milks are fortified with enough Vitamin D  for the baby.Mothers who took enough Vitamin D during pregnancy ,may forward it to the baby after birth  via breast milk but they may or may not meet baby's need and may require additional supplements .As a baby gets older and on solid food ,including  food items rich with Vitamin D will be helpful.
  3. Vitamin Supplements - For adults ,many Vitamin D tablets are available in the medical store or as advised and prescribed by the doctor.Babies with Vitamin D deficiency are prescribed Vitamin D in liquid form ,easy to swallow ,using a dropper .As per FDA,the baby should be given the exact amount as prescribed by the doctor using the dropper that came with the medicine and it should not exceed the dose in any way ,which may otherwise be harmful to the baby .

How much Vitamin D the baby / child needs ?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics ,all infants,older kids,teens should  take Vitamin D supplements of 400 IU each day unless otherwise advised/prescribed by the doctor.


What are the best sources of food that contain Vitamin D ?


Sources-of-vitamin-D

I remember, when I was struggling hard with breast feeding my baby properly after she was born and when I visited India with my baby,after lots of trials and guilt trips,I finally decided (with doctor's suggestion and assurance) relied upon the infant formula milk completely to feed my baby .

In US and in India,I was interrogated , belittled ,judged by many "women" (people I know well) for that as if I was committing a sin and I was lectured that there is nothing like breast milk ,it has everyyyything and I knew a few women who completely breast fed their babies ,(those babies) were always sick and by God's grace ,my baby was doing well (touchwood!)…

I do agree there is nothing good like the natural breast milk for the baby but it also has its own cons -Breast milk doesn't have enough vitamin D,iron etc  but infant formula has ...so,all those breastfeeding moms cut some slack ,sometimes even mother's love will be enough to make a baby thrive happily and healthily and mothers who give infant formula to their baby,"If you can't breastfeed your baby and you have switched to infant formulas ,don't worry,be happy,you are doing your best for your child ,rest leave to God,he will take care of rest with blessings "...😊

Anyways,I always wanted to write in my blog all about Vitamin D as Vitamin D is one of the unavoidable vitamin for adults as well and Vitamin D deficiency is quite common among adults nowadays and it causes lots of health issues if not restored sooner .So,when it comes to baby,we want to give them the best jumpstart to a good health and Vitamin D is one of the most essential vitamin a baby must have .Now,I am relieved as I finally have the complete list of the Vitamin D food items for referral.

So,this is for my little sunshine ,so that she may shine bright always (AMEN!)








DISCLAIMER:This article/blogpost is for informational purpose only and are not intended to offer any personal medical advice. 

REFERENCES:
  1. Vitamin D in child's diet
  2. Does my baby need a Vitamin D supplement ?
  3. Babies may get too much vitamin D from dropper
  4. Breast fed babies still need extra vitamin D
  5. Vitamin D for infants
  6. Sources of vitamin D