15 August 2019

Tiranga Kaju katli|Kaju barfi recipe|Tricolor cashewnut fudge ,an Independence day special

kaju-katli-barfi-recipe

They say, "You are what you eat."

I say,"True ! So,eat something SWEET!."😉

My love for sweets is beyond words. One of the reason why I am so proud to be an Indian ,as we have varieties of sweets from state-to-state, place-to-place in India. Seriously, I always thank God for that !

I can eat sweets non-stop 😆😋.If there is any sweets competition ever (Hello YOU,do let me know!😎), I bet I will win it for sure.That's why I try my best not to buy any sweets from shop as much as possible.My parents, before my marriage and after marriage, my hubby would always advice me ,"Eat little by little everyday" but to no avail...shaala control hi nahi honda …🙊

unique-Indian-sweet-recipe

I don't know...these sweets are soo tempting and really tests my patience and self-control. All my self-discipline would vanish after coming in contact with sweets .It's like I've been starving till then.I totally forget about calories and weight gain.

Yeah,I have a really crazy sweet tooth and if anyone else is happy with this edible insanity of mine, it should be my dentist.Yet I never learn .So,whenever I get that insane craving to eat something sweet,I make sweets myself .Aur nahi toh kya...huhhh….mujhey sweets khane se koi maa ka laal/laali nahi rok sakata/sakti….huhhh😈💃

My hubby would eat only a bit,rest are MINE 😎😍.However,my girl has got my sweet tooth I think,she is a growing contender...bachaooo

kaju-burfi-recipe

I also have a ritual of making some tricolor recipes for our India's independence day/Republic day every year.Last year being busy with my lil one,I missed it though.

Being away from my country and since I hardly get any feel of India's Independence day celebration here in true sense ,I celebrate it in my own little way.And what's a better way to celebrate such a sweet and special occasion without making something sweet I say ....(OMG,it is rhyming!..mein shayar toh nahi...)

So,in the past I've made these tricolor food recipes : Tricolor Popsicle ,Tricolor Puttu ,Tricolor Panna Cota ,Tricolor Custard ,Tricolor Barfi...

This year's independence day special is this tricolor cashewnut fudge/tiranga kaju barfi/kaju katli .

Usually,kaju katli or barfi is a single layer white colored sweet made with cashewnut and sugar.But ,here I have made it into three layers representing our Indian flag color ,as always....

Like they say,"Dane dane pe likha hai,khane walen ka naam "(Every grain bears the name of the one who gets to eat it !)...DUH...

kaju-katli-recipe

It fills my heart with pride to make this India's Independence day special recipe dedicated to my motherland from saat samandar paar ....

By the way,there is one more reason to be happy,that is,I finally got a PLANT based food color .Earlier, whenever I used any food color in my recipes,I would hesitate and feel guilty to serve it to my family.But this plant based food color sounds good to me as of now made with red radish juice,spirulina,turmeric powder mainly ….

So,over to my this year's tricolor recipe ,this is how I make my melt-in-the-mouth kaju katli/kaju barfi tiranga style .....
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
                     Tiranga Kaju barfi/Kaju Katli recipe  
                                     -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                 INGREDIENTS
                                                               -------------------------------
                                                 Cashewnuts,raw - 2 cups
                                                 Ghee - 1 Tbsp (for roasting) + 1 Tsp (for greasing hand)
                                                 Milk - 1 Tbsp
                                                 
                                                 SUGAR SYRUP
                                               -------------------------------
                                                 Water - 1 cup
                                                 Sugar - 1 cup
                                                 Cardamom Powder - 1/4 tsp

                                                Plant based food color :
                                                  Green and Orange
                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Method to make this tricolor kaju katli barfi at home,please watch this quick video:


As you can see in the video, it is very easy to make kaju katli at home .Though,I just gave a new makeover to our simple diamond shaped kaju katli by putting layers,colors and other shapes .....aur kitna diamond khayenge hum 😜Abb bass mere desh ke rang me rang gaye ye barfi ,mere dil ki tarah...well,wo deshbhakthi bhi kya jismein kuch deewangi na ho 😊🙇…

how-to-make-kaju-katli-at-home


Well,"An Indian can be out of India,but INDIA can never be out of an Indian." ..With all it's incredible beauty and shortcomings,I am proud to be an Indian.Really,thank God for that as well always! (Ofcourse there are many horrible incidents,that do challenge my pride,every country has ,it hurts,sometimes I feel helpless,in deep pain but still I wish,I dream ...of an India 
that will keep on building and renovating our core values,rich culture and humanity in all ...A safe,secular,democratic India in it's true form ...) ...Jai Hind !!


जो शहीद हुए हैं उनकी
ज़रा याद करो क़ुरबानी...

ऐ मेरे वतन के लोगों
तुम खूब लगा लो नारा
ये शुभ दिन है हम सब का
लहरा लो तिरंगा प्यारा..........................

To my country,"Vande Matram!"




              

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 !!