Shailja Rambles

One Year Anniversary Of Sweet & Savory By Shailja ..

image

Wow… I have been blogging for a year now …
It’s amazing how fast a year can fly ..
Today Feb 22nd marks 1 year of my blogging adventure .

I was made to start blogging by my very dear friend SONAL who blogs from SimplyVegetarian777 . She was the one who was constantly encouraging me and even made my blog page for me . Thank you Dearie for always being there for me .

When I started this blog one year ago today, I had no idea how much work would be involved, I did not even know what I was getting into. Little did I know that food blogging involved food styling and i would have to be a writer, have to answer questions , to develop new recipes for my readers and managing my time which is the biggest struggle for me .

I’m so grateful for the day when I finally decided to get started. Having this space to share my love of food and my thoughts and journeys has been so wonderful.

Since starting this blog I have come a long way . I have gotten faster at taking pictures , I am trying to develop many new recipes and have rediscovered my forgotten love for cooking . And most importantly, I am having so much fun with blogging .I am excited to see what the upcoming year brings.

My Thank you to my followers and other readers who takes time to visit me and to leave comments, I hope you realize how appreciative I am of you. I enjoy your comments and your “likes” on my posts. Without all of you, this wouldn’t be much fun. Thank you for making my food blogging journey so amazing .

And my very special “Thank You ” to my two boys who are always ready to try new food and wait patiently while I photograph their dinner.. 😃😃😃

image

Wishing All My Friends And Family A Very Happy And Prosperous Dipawali

image

Diwali, or Deepawali is the biggest,the brightest & most well-known of the Indian festivals. The word “Deepawali” refers to rows of diyas, or clay lamps.It’s the festival of lights that’s marked by five days of celebration . Families light lamps, candles and fireworks to symbolise the triumph of light over darkness, wisdom over ignorance and good over evil.

During five days festivity various rituals are followed and with Goddess Lakshmi several other Gods and Goddesses are worshipped. However Goddess Lakshmi is the most significant deity during Diwali Puja. Lakshmi symbolizes wealth, happiness and prosperity. The new moon day, which is known as Amavasya, is the most significant day of five days Diwali festivities and known as Lakshmi Puja, Lakshmi-Ganesh Puja and Diwali Puja.

Indians celebrate with family gatherings, glittering clay lamps, festive fireworks . Various lights, candles and sparklers are lit on Diwali. Many homes that celebrate Diwali prepare assorted sweets & savories to exchange among friends & families .

The first day of the five-day Diwali Festival is known as DhanTeras . The word Dhan means wealth and Teras means 13th day as per Hindu calendar. On Dhanteras, Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped to provide prosperity and well being. On Dhanteras Hindus consider it auspicious to purchase gold or silver articles or new utensils. It is believed that new “Dhan” or some form of precious metal is a sign of good luck.

image

The second day of Diwali Festival is celebrated as ‘Choti Diwali’ or ‘Small Diwali’ . People celebrate this day with fewer lights and fewer crackers.

image

On the third day, ‘Diwali’ people worship Goddess Lakshmi, who is believed to be associated with good luck, wealth and prosperity. The house is thoroughly cleaned and the family members get together to offer prayers.

imageimage

Fourth day OR The day after Diwali is referred to as Govardhan Puja & is celebrated as the day Krishna defeated Indra. It is the day when Krishna convinced his father and the elders of his village to perform pooja of Govardhan hill instead of worshiping the celestial god Indra.

image

BhaiDuj is celebrated on the fifth day & is a day for brothers and sisters. On this day, the sister applies vermillion on the forehead of her brother and prays for his long life. The brother presents a gift to his sister and blesses her that she may get the best of things in her life.

image

Diwali night falls between mid-October and mid-November & is an official holiday in India .
Off the whole, this festival is an occasion for joy, thrill and excitement.

Oil Free / No oil cooking …

I know that cooking without oil might not sound like fun, but use the oil for the main events and parties . It will take a little time for your taste buds to adjust to no oil . The dishes actually turning out pretty delicious, the effect of zero oil side dishes can only mean one thing – a healthier you.

Oil is very high in calories, about 120 per tablespoon; compare this to maple syrup (52), balsamic vinegar (14), soy milk (8), vegetable broth (2), and water (0).

Saturated fat found in oil increases the risk of blocked blood vessels. Coconut oil, palm, palm kernel oil, and cocoa butter supply large amounts of saturated fat . Your body makes all the saturated fat and cholesterol it requires, so you don’t need to eat any. You also don’t need any trans fat, which, like saturated fat, increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Trans fat is found in stick margarine, some tub margarine, and in shortening,

Here are a few suggestions that will help you to enjoy your food without the use of oil …

Vegetables: When you are sautéing vegetables on the stovetop, simply replace the oil you normally use with water or vegetable broth. Vegetables naturally have a lot of water , which releases when they are cooked , Just keep an eye on your pan so that your vegetables don’t stick to the bottom of the pan .

You can brown onions without oil: Water works well for browning onions. A tablespoon and your dish’s onion base is ready. And if water works for onions then it will work for other vegetables as well.
When sautéing vegetables like onions, celery, mushrooms, and bell peppers, heat up your skillet or pot (non-stick or stainless steel) with a couple tablespoons of water in the bottom, and when it starts to crackle, add the vegetables, keeping them moving with a wooden spoons for a few minutes until they soften.

Using the lid: A simple method to loosen any vegetables or meat etc that stick to the pan, is to just close the lid. The moisture that remains within the closed pan will loosen the contents and will come out with seeds, cumin, ginger, coriander, and garlic don’t need oil to let out their aromas. Most Indian kitchens are equipped with spice mixes like garam masala, goda masala, and curry leaves. Use these spices and mixes to add flavour to your food.

Sautéing without oil: Apart from water, you can sauté vegetables and meats in other ingredients like soy sauce, vegetable broth, stock, wine, rice vinegar, tomato juice, lemon juice, and ginger/garlic/tamarind/tomato pastes and purées. If you miss tastes like mustard, coconut etc, use the powders and let them sit in some water. For example, Simply grind some yellow mustard seeds and add some of the powder to a small bowl of water. Put this mix in the microwave for a 15 seconds, and let it sit for a few minutes. The resulting mix is a thick mustard liquid mix. Drizzle this over the vegetables or meat for Instant mustard flavoured food without any mustard oil. You can do the same thing with coconut powder too .

Dry roast spices and seeds: Indian cuisine uses lots of spices Spices like chilli pepper, black mustard seeds, cumin, ginger, coriander, and garlic don’t need oil to let out their aromas. Most Indian kitchens are equipped with spice mixes like garam masala, goda masala, and curry leaves. Use these spices and mixes to add flavour to your food.

Source : internet & My Mom …

imageimageimageimageimage

Some Benefits & ways of Incorporating Chia Seeds into your diet …

image

Chia seeds are very easy to incorporate into your diet. They are becoming popular for weight loss. They reduce food cravings by preventing some of the food that you eat from getting absorbed into your system. This blockage of calorie absorption makes them a great diet helper.
There’s evidence to suggest they can reduce blood pressure. They are the richest plant source of Omega-3 (the vital fats that protect against inflammation—such as arthritis—and heart disease). In fact, they contain more Omega-3 than salmon.
Because chia seeds slow down how fast our bodies convert carbohydrates into simple sugars, studies indicate they can control blood sugar. This leads scientists to believe chia seeds may have great benefits for diabetics.
They are easier to digest than flax seeds, and don’t need to be ground up.
Dietitians recommend two daily doses of about 20 g each (1.5 ounces total).for adults ..

Here are some great ways to enjoy chia seeds:

1. Soak 1 level tablespoon of chia seeds with a quarter cup of water to make an egg substitute for baking cakes and cookies.
2. Chia seeds add a mild nutty flavor to lentils .
3. Grind seeds and add to hot milk to make a “porridge”
4. chia seeds can be added in soup to thicken and add nutrition.
5. Grind seeds and mix with flour, milk and eggs to make pancakes.
6. Chia seeds can be added to salad dressings.
7. Eat Chia seeds whole and raw as a snack.
8. Make Chia Pudding by adding whole seeds to milk, almond milk or soy milk.
9. Chia seeds can be Blended into smoothies.
10. Make a “lassie” by blending chia seeds, yogurt and fruit juice.
11.chia seeds can be added to beaten eggs, soak for 10 minutes and make an omelette.
12. Add ground chia seeds to flour when making bread.
13. Add whole chia seeds to a cake batter to make a heavy poppy seed like cake.
14. Add some seeds into a stir fry.
15. Chia seeds can be sprinkled over a salad.
16. Stir whole seeds into cooked lentils.
17. Soak seeds in besan and use this mix to make a fritters , bhajiyas .
18. Cook brown rice in vegetable stock and stir chia seeds through when rice is cooked.
19. Top a cheesecake with chia seeds soaked in fruit juice to make a gel toppingl.
20. Add whole or ground seeds to cookie mixes.
21. Mix ground seeds with ground meat to make meatballs , kabobs etc .
22. Cook brown rice in apple juice, add grated apple and stir whole chia seeds through the mixture for a tasty dessert.
23. Sprout the seeds and use in salads.
24. Mix ground seeds with butter or peanut butter for a nutritious spread.
25. Spread a mixture of honey, cinnamon, dried fruit and ground chia on to filo or puff pastry sheets, roll up and cook in a hot oven.
26. Mix the chia seeds, whole or ground with Nutella.
27. Soak chia seeds in milk and mix through hot oatmeal.
28. Add ground or whole chia seeds to your favorite stuffing mixture
29. Whisk 2 teaspoons of chia seeds into coconut water. This is especially good on a hot day for keeping hydrated and an excellent idea for athletes. It’s so effective and healthy I feel it will soon be marketed as a sports drink.
30. Add to sauté vegetables, salad and cut fruits.
31. Add grounded chia seeds into you chapatti dough.
32.Mix it with roasted chana, puffed rice and raisins to make snacks.
33. Chia seeds add a mild nutty flavor to daal and other curry based dishes
34. They can be soaked in fruit juice (in Mexico, they call this “chia fresca”).
35. Mix Chia seeds with your favorite beverage. Try stirring 1 tablespoon of chia seeds into 4 ounces of chilled lemonade. Let it thicken for 10 minutes, then garnish with a mint leaf and enjoy.
36. You can also sprinkle Chia seeds on top of cereal, yogurt, vegetables or rice dishes.

I have come across some Health Benefits of Chia Seeds . They are :

1. Chia Seeds Deliver a Massive Amount of Nutrients With Very Few Calories

2. Chia Seeds Are Loaded With Antioxidants

3. Almost All The Carbs in Them Are Fiber .

4. Chia Seeds Are High in Quality Protein.

5. Due to The High Fiber and Protein Content, Chia Seeds Should be Able to Help You Lose Weight

6. Chia Seeds Are High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

7. Chia Seeds May Improve Certain Blood Markers, Which Should Lower The Risk of Heart Disease and Type 2 Diabetes

8. They Are High in Many Important Bone Nutrients.

9. Chia Seeds Can Cause Major Improvements in Type 2 Diabetics

10. Chia Seeds Can Improve Exercise Performance as Much as a Sports Drink.

11. Chia Seeds Are Easy to Incorporate Into Your Diet as they themselves taste rather bland, so you can add them to pretty much anything.

A common dosage recommendation is 20 grams (about 1.5 tablespoons) of chia seeds, twice per day for adults .

Source :
Internet
http://www.nuts.com/cookingbaking/chia-seeds/premium.html
http://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds/

Wishing Friends And Family A Very Happy Independence Day ….

image

“At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new…India discovers herself again.” – Jawaharlal Nehru

The national flag, a symbol of free India, is a horizontal tri-colour of saffron, white and green.
The wheel in its centre, is a replica of the chakra, which appears on the abacus of Ashoka’s pillar.

The color saffron, stands for courage, sacrifice and renunciation.

White, symbolizes truth and purity
“truth in our speech and purity of thought”

Green represents life, faith and chivalry.

Today I am Sharing the joy of India’s 68th Independence day with this Tricolored Sandwich bread representing National Flag Of India .
image

I have used simple hamburger bun recipe for this bread . The same recipe can be used for making hotdog buns too . You can find the recipe HERE ..

Once the basic dough is prepared

Divide dough into 3 equal parts .
Place each piece in a small bowl and cover with a kitchen towel.
Remove one piece from a bowl and place it on cutting board . Add several drops of food coloring ( I started with 6 drops ) begin to knead the food coloring into the dough, adding more food coloring if needed until it obtains the color you want .
This will takes some time ( you can use flour if the dough becomes sticky to handle )
Shape dough into a ball and return to its bowl. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough .
Make sure to wash your hands/gloves and your work surface between each color.
Cover bowls with a kitchen towel or lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 to 2 hours.
When dough is risen, punch down the dough.
Remove orange dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface into an 8-by-4-inch rectangle.
Now Roll out white piece of dough into an 8-by-4-inch rectangle and place directly on top of orange dough.
Repeat with green dough .
Place loaf in a lightly greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Cover with a kitchen towel or lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Uncover dough and bake until browned on top (about 30 minutes ) OR hollow sounding when tapped on top .
Let the bread cool on a wire rack for 10 – 15 mins and then Remove loaf from pan and cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing.

Linking this post to an ongoing event at Cooking With SJ

imageimageimageimage