Chicken curry recipe – Easy chicken curry

Interested in cooking up some spicy and easy Indian chicken curry? But then you don’t want to go into that elaborate cooking method and procure a really long list of spices. Besides,  you  just have 30 minutes in hand to whip up a spicy chicken side dish with some gravy. Never mind, this simple and instant chicken curry recipe is sure to get you going!

Instant chicken curry recipe Easy Indian Chicken Curry

You will need

Chicken legs – 6 or  Boneless chicken – 1/2 kg
Garlic – 25 pods
Fennel seeds – dry roasted and ground to a fine powder – 1 tsp
Onion – 2 (chopped)
Tomatoes – 2
Coriander leaves – 2 medium cups
Mint leaves – 1/2 small cup
Red chilly powder – 1 tsp
Curd – 1 cup
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Cooking oil – 3 tbsp

Easy Chicken Curry

Clean the chicken legs/boneless chicken pieces and keep aside. Make a paste of garlic pods, fennel powder, yoghurt, mint leaves, red chilly powder and salt. Marinate the chicken with this paste for 5 minutes. Grind chopped onions and tomatoes to a fine paste.

Heat 2 tbsp cooking oil in a fry pan. Add the onion-tomato paste and saute for 2 minutes. Add the chicken pieces. Turn them over so that they are evenly covered with the onion tomato gravy. Cover the pan and cook over low flame for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the chicken pieces, add some 1 tbsp oil and cook for 10 minutes on low flame without covering the pan.

Do not add water as the chicken pieces release water when cooked. Continue cooking till the gravy reaches a thick consistency. Garnish with lots of chopped coriander leaves/ cilantro.

Slurp up this easy chicken curry with steamed rice or Indian breads.

Self watering planters

Do you often forget to water your plants? Or do you wish to go on a vacation without having to bother about watering your plants? Then these innovative and cool self watering flower pots are just the thing for you. These intelligent planters do not need manual watering daily, you just need to water your plants once and then these self watering plant pots will take care of the rest, say for a week or even two. Your plants will be just as fresh, when you return from work or from a week long vacation.

Self watering planters   Photo Credits: One wintry night pottery

Let us check out how these intelligent containers work. Self watering planters have a container that is filled with water. This is the water reservoir from which the soil draws water every time it dries up, by the basic principle of Osmosis. This also ensures that plants get just the right amount of water and not a lot of it. You can add a dilute solution of fertilizer to the water in the reservoir to achieve optimum results. These innovative planters save prevent wastage of water by way of evaporation and excessive watering. You can make eco-friendly, self-watering planters from recyclable materials instead of going for the more expensive ready-made ones.

Self watering plant pots Photo Credits: Sugar Pond

Self watering plant containers Photo Credits: canarsiebk

Points to note
1. This works wonders for many herbs, climbers and flowering plants. But some plants need drier soil conditions and cannot be planted in self watering plant pots. You have to ascertain this before planting.
2. Mosquitoes may grow in the water reservoir. You can prevent this by adding some drops of light weight vegetable oil to the water. The oil will float and suffocate the mosquito larvae.

How to build  self watering planters

Here is a very informative and useful video by BalconyGrow that precisely tells you how to build your very own self watering plant pot.

Now these self watering planters need not be all drab and ugly. You can add a dash of creativity by spray painting the outer container with some nice Krylon paint or arranging containers of different shapes and sizes on beautiful planter stands.

Beautiful planter stands for self watering planters Photo Credits: Haldane Martin

You can user beautiful pots made of  terracotta, stone and ceramic for making these planters. Large patio planters can be made from large buckets and barrels. By proper arrangement of these self watering planters, you can add a beautiful design to the landscape of your garden.

If you are not the ‘DIY’ types, you can even shop online for some beautiful self watering plant containers that embellish your garden. Overall, a self watering container can be an interesting add-on to your indoor as well as outdoor garden in addition to being a boon to your plants.

 

 

What is Pica – Causes and Treatment

What is Pica syndrome?
Pica
is an obsessive eating disorder where a person feels like eating inedible substances like mud, chalk, soap, paper, ice, paint, burnt match stick heads, cigarette butts etc. In some cases, the person may be inclined to eat large quantities of raw rice, cornstarch, salt etc. Pica is named after the bird ‘Magpie’ which is known to eat almost anything. Pica syndrome may also occur due to other factors like mental disorders, celiac disease or stress. But if these factors have been ruled out and a person is anemic, then the cause of Pica is mineral deficiency, largely iron and zinc. A person suffering from Pica syndrome loves to inhale smells like those of Petrol fumes, turpentine, paint, naphthalene balls and may give in to the urge of consuming these things as well! That is the point when it gets dangerous. Eating stuff like paint may cause lead poisoning,  inhaling petrol fumes and smelling naphthalene can affect your lungs. Pica eventually makes a person less hungry and dull. In many cases, a hardened mass is formed in the stomach from all the non-digestible substances that a person consumes.

pica - obsessive eating disorder

Causes of Pica syndrome
Anemia resulting from iron-deficiency is a major cause of concern among women, all over the world. In women, anemia is largely due to pregnancy, breast feeding and menstruation that render the body devoid of essential minerals like iron and zinc. Anemia is characterized by fatigue, weakness, pallor i.e. pale hands, eyes and nails in addition to hair loss. The problem here is that anemia often goes unnoticed till the symptoms get more severe. When a person is very anemic with low hemoglobin levels, Pica syndrome  sets in.

Pica Treatment
Do not hesitate to consult  your family doctor or general physician if you crave eating inedible substances listed above. There is nothing to be ashamed of. There are many women who suffer from this problem.

Your doctor will conduct blood tests to determine the cause of Pica. X-rays may be done to check the presence of foreign substances in your digestive system and chest.

If you are anemic with sever malnutrition, iron and zinc supplements in addition to other nutritional supplements will be prescribed. In severe cases, doctors may prescribe hemoglobin injections which bring back blood hemoglobin levels to normal, faster than iron supplements or tablets.

Pica syndrome may also result from other factors other like mental retardation or Obsessive Compulsive Disorders. In such cases, it is best to consult a psychiatrist.
People suffering from pica due to developmental disorders can avail of  psychological and psychiatric treatment that will help to rectify the disorder.  It is best to consult a mental health care provider for the same, if required.

In addition to iron supplements, women need to take proper care of their daily diet. Fresh fruits, green vegetables, fish, nuts, iron rich foods – in short, a proper balanced diet is very important. Eliminate stress and depression  by practicing relaxation techniques and physical exercises like yoga.

Pica resulting on account anemia and nutritional deficiency, disappears completely with a nutritious diet, health supplements and counseling.

Women need not be disheartened if they suffer from Pica syndrome. You can absolutely get rid of this eating disorder.

Photo Credits:Hunnnterrr

Money Management For Kids With A Piggy Bank

Money Management - Piggy Bank - Kids

Money Management - piggy bank

Money management for kids must be taught at an early age. Have you seen  kids who always insist on buying the latest toys and gizmos? Or kids who who make a huge fuss at supermarkets for buying everything they see? Well, some parents may argue that they are financially well off and there is no harm in pampering kids and meeting their demands and so on, as it keeps them happy. But have you heard of the saying “Give a man a fish and he will eat  for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime” The same goes for kids.

Now the next question would be, “How do I teach my kids money management?” The answer to this is not akin to studying rocket science, you just need loads of common sense.

Money Management Tips For Kids

Start At The Right Age

The best age to start teaching kids about money is from 5yrs-6yrs onwards. Smaller children are likely to accidentally swallow coins. So you need to be very careful.

Get A Piggy Bank

First and foremost, you need to buy an interesting money bank for your child. It may be a small toy house, you keep a coin at the doorstep, the door opens and a dog collects the coin before closing the door. The coin gets collected at the bottom of the toy house. Kids have short attention spans. The more interesting you make things for them, the more they will be keen on accomplishing tasks.

Teach Kids The Value Of Money

Next you have to tell them the reason behind parents going to work. They have to understand that you have to pay money for food, school fees, household expenses, petrol etc. Tell them nicely that people have to work and only then do they get paid.

Introduce kids to coins first. Encourage them to put coins in the piggy bank. Also make sure it is locked. You can tell your child that it will be opened on the first day of every month. This also inculcates some discipline in the child.

Play Money Games

Make them notice when you pay for groceries at the local grocery store. Show your kids that you have allocated a budget for groceries and you are going to spend within the limits. Any loose change that you get after paying for groceries can be given to the child as savings meant to be put into the piggy bank. Introduce role plays for money games like monopoly.

Teach Kids To Save

Encourage teens to go for summer jobs. For instance, if they want a trendy new bicycle, they can use their salary to get it and you may even chip in some more money if needed. This will inculcate self-esteem in the child, in addition to learning how to save.

A rule of the thumb is to teach a child to set goals for saving money.You need to explain the actual cost of a toy that he may want, for instance, and the rate at which he needs to save and the time after which he can take money out of the piggy bank to buy that thing. Put up a money tree on the notice board in your kid’s study. For every penny saved, put up a coin sticker on its branches. You may even  put up stickers on money worksheets.

Start Off With A Monthly Allowance

All said and done, you can begin by giving a monthly allowance for your child. Initially, make sure you are present when he spends the money. Advise him on the quality of the product he is buying. Teach him to understand if he is spending wisely on the right product. Let him not spend the entire money, you see, the purpose of this exercise is to make him save. So that has to be kept in mind.

As your kid grows, you can explain the concepts of debit cards, credit cards, ATMs, aspects of financial management and more.

Now you have something to start with. So go ahead and teach your kids the proper tricks of money management. And remember, this is a long process, you have to be there for kids to guide them on money matters till they are mature enough to take their own decisions.
Photo Credits – kenteegardin

Indian spices – health benefits – Part2

Coming back to health benefits of  more Indian Spices, their English and Hindi names and  health benefits.

Tej Patta: Bay Leaf
Indian spices - bayleaf tej patta

Bay Leaves or Tej Patta have nutritional and therapeutic benefits. Dried Bay leaves are generally used in Indian cooking. They lend a strong aroma and unique flavor to food and are added to food by tempering in hot cooking oil.

Health benefits of Bay Leaves

  • Bay leaves are a good source of Vitamin C, Folic acid and minerals.
  • Bay leaves have anti-oxidant and diuretic properties.
  • Essential oils of bay leaves have insect repellent properties.
  • Rubbing essential oils of bay leaves on to the affected area helps reduce swelling and pain due to sprains, arthritis, headaches and migraines.
  • Bay leaf tea is an excellent remedy for respiratory problems, colds and aids digestion and removes flatulence.

Dalchini: Cinnamon
Indian spices - cinnamon

Cinnamon or Dalchini is both a culinary spice and  a medicinal herb. It isnormally used whole for flavoring rice dishes like Pilafs and Biryanis. Cinnamon is also used as a powder for flavoring  desserts like cinnamon rolls.

Health benefits of Cinnamon

  • Cinnamon is good for controlling blood cholesterol  levels.
  • Cinnamon lowers high blood sugar levels and controls diabetes.
  • Cinnamon inhibits bacterial growth and is a kind of natural food preservative.
  • Cinnamon tea is used to treat nausea and diarrhea.

Jaiphal:  Nutmeg

Indian spices - nutmeg - jaiphal

Nutmeg or Jaiphal is used  in desserts as well as savories. Nutmeg is used in powdered form.

Health benefits of Nutmeg

  • Nutmeg has anti-inflammatory properties and can provide relief from joint and muscle pain.
  • A large pinch of nutmeg powder taken with milk at night induces restful sleep.
  • Nutmeg when taken internally helps soften and dissolving kidney stones.
  • Nutmeg powdered and taken internally with some warm water provides relief from menstrual cramps.

 Hing: Asafoetida

Indian spices - Asafoetida hing

Asafoetida or Hing is used in powdered form mainly for tempering. It is used extensively in curries, gravies and pickles. If used without tempering in hot cooking oil, it will lend a bitter taste to the food. Hing is also used as part of other powdered spice mixes like sambhar masala powder, chaat masala powder and curry powder. Asafoetida lends a unique fragrance to food.

Health benefits of Asafoetida

  • Hing is used for providing relief from indigestion, colic and flatulence.
  • It is used as an expectorant for dry cough.
  • Hing is used for relief from menstrual cramps and menstrual disturbances.
  • Hing is effective against cough, cold and sinusitis.

Elaichi: Cardamom

Indian spices - cardamom elaichi

Cardamom or Elaichi is used to flavor food, desserts, payasam or kheer. In India Elaichi is often used to flavor tea.It is also used as part of different masala powders like Garam Masala. Elaichi imparts a uniquely strong flavor and has a beautiful aroma that stimulates taste buds.

Health benefits of Cardamom

  • Cardamom is a very good breath freshener.
  • Cardamom is an excellent diuretic.
  • Cardamom provides relief from indigestion.
  • Cardamom when taken with milk in powdered form, is a good remedy for impotence.
  • Regular use of cardamom flavored tea alleviates  depression.

Read the Part 1 of this article here  Indian Spices – Health Benefits – Part 1.


Indian spices – health benefits – Part 1

We come across a whole lot of spices in Indian cooking. These traditional Indian spices lend a  delectable and unique flavor to food.  These popular Indian spices have many health benefits in addition to being excellent immunity boosters. An Indian curry is a gravy made from traditional Indian spices in addition to stock, vegetables and meat(optional). Let us check out the benefits of some commonly used Indian spices.

       Methi: Fenugreek
Indian spices - fenugreek methi seeds

Fenugreek seeds aka methi seeds are used in the preparation of pickles, curry powders and in tempering (tadka in hindi). Fenugreek seeds are bitter and so must be used in small amounts while cooking. They impart a wonderful aroma to the food when used for tempering.

Health benefits of Methi

  • Methi seeds are an excellent source of  amino-acid 4-hydroxy isoleucine which supports healthy blood sugar levels in diabetes patients. Fiber present in Methi seeds reduces rate of glucose absorption in the intestines thereby controlling blood sugar levels. Boil a glass of water with a tablespoon of methi seeds. Allow this to cool down till warm and drink. Blood sugar levels can be controlled with regular use of methi seeds.
  • It is a good remedy for sore throat, cough and mouth ulcers. Boil 2 glasses of water with 1 tsp of methi seeds. Let this water cool till it is suitable for gargling. Gargling with methi boiled water provides relief from mouth ulcers, sore throat and cough.
  • Regular use of methi seeds in cooking improves appetite and aids digestion.
  • Use of Methi seeds increases milk production in nursing mothers and addresses the problem of insufficient lactation.

Zeera: Cumin seeds
Indian spices - cumin seeds

Cumin  seeds  or Zeera are used as whole for tempering and in powdered form to lend a unique flavor to curries, snacks, dals, dips, raitas etc.

Health benefits:

  • Cumin is excellent for flatulence,indigestion and morning sickness.
  • It is rich in iron and is good for people with anemia.
  • Cumin helps build immunity against common colds and flu.
  • Cumin has anti fungal and disinfectant properties. Cumin paste is used as treatment for skin disorders.

Dhania:Coriander

Indian spices - coriander seeds

Coriander – dhania is mostly coarsely ground or finely powdered before use, depending on the texture you desire!

Health benefits:

  • Coriander seeds lower blood sugar and bad cholestrol(LDL) levels.
  • Coriander seeds are a good source of dietary fiber, magnesium and iron.
  • Coriander is aids digestion and eliminates flatulence.
  • Coriander juice, mixed with a pinch of turmeric powder cures  blackheads  and pimples.

Laung: Clove

Indian spices - cloves

 Cloves – laung are used whole in several curries, pilafs and biryanis. Cloves are used in powdered form in combination with other spices for different types of masalas like Garam Masala. Ideally cloves must not be powdered and used alone, as clove powder loses aroma over time.

Health benefits:

  • Clove oil has analgesic or pain relieving properties. It provides relief from sore gums and tooth ache.
  • Clove oil  is  antiseptic in nature. It is used for relief from  cuts, wounds,fungal infections and bruises.
  • Cloves have digestive properties. Cloves provide relief from flatulence, indigestion, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

More on Indian spices coming up in Part 2.


Methi Roti

Methi roti is a healthy and nutritious Indian bread made of whole wheat flour, Methi(fenugreek) leaves and other spices. It can be had for lunch, dinner or can be packed for kids’ lunches.

Methi roti  - Indian Flatbread Recipe
Methi roti with boondi raita

You will need:
Whole wheat flour – 4 cups
Methi(fenugreek) leaves – 1/2  a bundle
Cumin powder – 2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Curd(optional) – 1 tbsp
Carom seeds (ajwain) – 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Green chillies – 2
Garlic – 4 pods
Onion – 1/2 (chopped)
Salt to taste
Cooking oil – 1 tbsp

Method of preparation
Clean the fenugreek leaves, wash and rinse well. Coarsely chop fenugreek leaves and keep aside. Heat oil in a frying pan. Add chopped onions and saute till pink. Add chopped fenugreek/methi leaves and cover for 2 mins. Turn off the flame.

Make a coarse paste of green chillies and garlic. Take the wheat flour in a mixing bowl, add cumin powder, coriander powder, carom seeds, chilly-garlic paste, curd, steamed methi leaves and salt. Mix well and knead into a  dough. Prepare the dough with warm water and add 1tbsp of oil while kneading the dough. This makes soft methi rotis that melt in your mouth!

Next, make small balls of the dough and roll rotis out with a rolling pin. Fry the rotis using a roti maker or a tava. Apply butter on both sides and serve with raita!

When packing methi rotis for kids’ lunches, wrapping them in aluminium foil for food packaging will keep them fresh for many hours.

The best part is you can prepare the dough for 2 days and refrigerate. That way you can save preparation time. Just remember to take the dough out of the refrigerator and keep it aside for an hour before rolling out the paratha / roti .

Fenugreek leaves are an excellent source of  iron, protein, calcium and phosphorus and this is easily assimilated by our body. Cumin and carom seeds aid digestion and eliminate flatulence. Garlic has several medicinal properties as well. All in all  methi paratha / methi roti  is a very healthy recipe for the entire family!

Bhakarwadi – Indian Snack Recipe

Bhakarwadi is a sweet and spicy tea-time snack and we can trace its origins to Maharashtra, India. Bhakarwadi can be stored for many weeks in air-tight containers and enjoyed at tea-time.

bhakarwadi

You will need

For the rolls
Gram flour (Besan in hindi) – 1/2 cup
Refined flour (Maida) – 1 1/2 cups
Red chilly powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt as per taste

For the stuffing
Poppy seeds (khus-khus)(Roasted) –  100 gms
Sesame seeds – 100gms
Grated dry coconut – 200 gms
Asafoetida (hing) – a very small amount say 2 pinches
Cumin (jeera) powder – 1/4 tsp
Coriander (dhania) powder – 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Ginger – 1 inch piece chopped finely
Cilantro (Dhania leaves) – 1/2 a bunch (chopped)
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Oil for frying
Salt to taste

How to prepare Bhakarwadi

Mix  gram flour, refined flour, red chilli powder, asafoetida and salt together. Make dough with oil and a little water. The dough must be sufficiently stiff.

Mix poppy seeds, grated dry coconut , asafoetida, cumin  powder, sesame seeds, coriander  powder, red chilli powder, chopped ginger, chopped cilantro and turmeric powder. Roast this mixture for some time, say 2-3 minutes over low flame.

Now make small round balls from the dough. Roll each ball into a round roti. Spread the mixture evenly over it. Make rolls of the roti. Steam these rolls for 15 minutes. Allow the steamed rolls to cool down.

Cut these rolls into small pieces. Heat cooking oil in a frying pan. Deep fry these pieces on medium heat. Take them out when golden brown in color. Crispy bhakarwadi is ready to eat!

Drain excess oil by placing them on absorbent paper. You can serve them hot. To store them, allow bhakarwadi to cool and then store in air-tight containers.

Lemon Rice

Got some juicy lemons and some left over rice? Lets get cooking then!
For some nice and tangy lemon rice, check out this recipe!

lemon rice
Lemon rice with curd and spicy chick peas

You will need:
2 cups cooked rice ( left overs would be great!)
lemon juice (of 1/4 lemon)
curry leaves – a few sprigs
red chillies / green chillies – 1
mustard seeds – few
asafoetida(hing) – a small pinch
chopped cilantro – 2 tsp
onion – 1/4 (chopped)
turmeric powder – a minute amount for coloring purpose
Cooking Oil – 2 tsp

Method of Preparation
Squeeze juice of 1/4 lemon and keep aside. Heat cooking oil in a fry pan. Add mustard seeds and allow them to splutter. Add curry leaves, chillies and chopped onions. Add asafoetida. Saute till onions turn translucent. Add lemon juice. Take the frying pan off from the gas stove or whatever you use for cooking. By doing this, you ensure that the lemon juice does not turn bitter. Add cooked rice. Add turmeric powder and salt as per taste. Mix well. Take care not to mash the rice.

After mixing well, place the frying pan back on the gas stove or electric hot plate.Cover the frying pan for about 3 mins. Turn off the flame.Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve hot with curd and any side dish.

Note: Asafoetida is very good for digestion and provides relief from bloating after eating a large meal. Turmeric used for imparting a distinct yellow color has many benefits in addition to being an antiseptic and antioxidant!

How to decorate Kids room? Top Tips on Kids Room Decor

how to decorate kids room

Before you decide on how to decorate your kids room, get this straight! Designing a kids room needs careful consideration of several facts. Kids dabble in the art of imagination, especially kids in the age group of 5 years to 12 years. They are still exploring the world in their own sweet little way. For them, Disney cars, aliens, mermaids, sea creatures, cartoons and their favorite TV characters are hot topics of discussion. They love role playing and games. They have many activities like drawing, painting, jigsaw puzzles, paper plane making and other crafts, music etc. Kids room decor must accommodate a vibrant and colorful atmosphere complementing the tremendous energy kids have. Keeping this in mind, you can plan an awesome looking yet super functional kids room.
How to decorate kids room - kids room decor - tips
Photo Credits:Shanti Iyer – Interior Designer,Mumbai

Note how this kids room has been done up in bright yellow and blue. I liked the steps leading to the bed. Optimum use of space is a plus point here with drawers on the bed side and under the steps leading to the bed. The study area is comfortable and convenient, with a funky chair kids will love!

How to decorate kids room – Top Tips

For a kids room accommodating more than one child, bunk beds, wall beds or triple bunk beds would be ideal  as they save floor space. Use bedroom furniture that can be folded away or space saving furniture, like foldable trundle beds.
kids furniture
  Photo Credits: Jingdianjiaju

Play area / activity area in the kids bedroom must ideally be free from furniture. Lay a colorful rug on the portion of the floor meant to be the activity area for kids. Rugs prevent injury from fall and lend a soft touch to the floor and the overall kids room decor.

How to decorate kids room - kids room decor - top tips Photo Credits:Ian S Welch

Decorate walls with colorful murals related to a theme which your kid loves. Note that it is important to make the child a part of your discussion on the theme to be selected. Your kid(s) may come up with many suggestions like Underwater theme, Jungle theme, Soccer theme, Walt Disney World theme, Finding Nemo theme, Magic kingdom and many more. Take a look at the beautifully done wall murals below.

Kids bedroom decor – Cockpit Theme

How to decorate kids room - kids room decor - top tips

Photo Credits: Jefferey Wong

This wall is painted to resemble the cockpit of an aeroplane with a beautiful blue sky and two cute little planes flying in the sky. Bright colored curtains complement the cockpit look! Ideal for boys bedroom.

The Ultimate Wave Adventure

How to decorate kids room - kids room decor - top tips Photo Credits: Jeffery Wong
Look at the giant wave and the surfing turtle, the jolly surfboard and the distant lighthouse! This mural looks great for a kids room with a beach theme.

Kids room – Underwater Theme

How to decorate kids room - kids room decor - top tips Photo Credits: Jefferey Wong

Note how a colorful tree mural with flowers and pretty birds, has been made on the wall and the black writing board looks like an extended tree trunk!
How to decorate kids room - kids room decor - top tips Photo Credits: Mountain Ash

You can add wall accessories like animal shaped wall clocks and  photo frames.

How to decorate kids room - kids room decor - top tips Photo Credits:Sleeping Sun

You can have lots of knick knacks and lights dangle or  hang from the ceilings. Go for bright colors if your kid loves it.

Teenage Bedroom Design

For grown up kids, bedrooms can be a little more sober with neutral or muted shades of wall colors. They need a dedicated study area and space for pursuing hobbies like music, painting, reading and the like. Teens love dressing up as they are more image conscious. There has to be a dedicated wardrobe and appropriate bedroom furniture for this  purpose. They love inviting friends over. Unlike younger kids who love squatting on the floor rug, grown up kids need appropriate seats like may be small ottomans or bean bags. Keep a provision for additional bean bags or foldable stools(for smaller spaces).

How to decorate kids room - teenage kids bedroom Photo Credits: Mazzali

teen kids bedroom Photo Credits:Mazzali

Kids bedroom decoration ideas – Must Dos

Book shelf  at the same height as your kids.

Storage chests for toys which double up as a small stool for sitting.

Chalkboard walls that are writeable, made of dry-erase decals or chalkboard paint. You can paint a small part of a whole wall with chalkboard paint. The kid can write, draw and do math on this chalkboard wall.

How to decorate kids room - wall decor ideas Photo Credits: Shanti Iyer – Interior Designer, Mumbai

Note how a chalkboard wall has been made to look like a road with little cars and vehicles plying on the road. Your kid will love to write on this!

Decorate walls with glow paints.
Here is a video by dali decals on decorating an entire wall beautifully!

 

 

Kids bedroom furniture – furnishings

Planning kids bedroom furniture is quite simple. See why trundle beds for kids are better than kids bunk beds.

The kids beds must be quite low. Use plump and soft mattresses as kids love to jump on them. These will also help your child sleep comfortably.

Use long lasting and washable rugs and curtains in the kids room. You can get stunning curtains with cute glow-in-the-dark designs on them. Fairies, aliens, angels … you can use curtains with these glow-in-the-dark designs.

Asian Paints take up kids bedroom decor work. You can visit
http://www.asianpaints.com
for lots of fun ways to plan creative and functional kids room decor.

Sooji Upma

rawa upma

Semolina or ‘rava’  upma is an ideal option for a healthy and nutritious breakfast. The best part is, you can grate and chop veggies into tiny pieces and camouflage these with the upma to make naughty kids eat veggies without noticing them!

rawa upma

You will need:

Semolina i.e. rava or sooji – 3 medium sized cups
Carrots – 1/2  (grated)
Green peas
Beans – 4(finely chopped) – optional
Green chillies – 2
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Clarified butter(Ghee) or Cooking oil – 2 tsp
Curry leaves – a few sprigs
Ginger – 1/2 ” piece
Onion – 1/2 (finely chopped)
Tomato – 1/2(chopped)
Water – 5 cups (Use the same cup that is used for measuring semolina)
Salt to taste

Method of preparation:
Heat clarified butter or cooking oil in a frying pan. Add mustard seeds and allow them to splutter. Add chopped green chillies,curry leaves,chopped onions, grated carrot and other veggies along with chopped tomatoes. Crush the ginger and add it to the frying pan. Saute till onions appear translucent. Add 5 cups of water. Add salt as per taste. Allow the water to boil on a medium flame.

Once the water starts boiling, turn the flame to low and  gradually add the semolina while stirring continuously. The semolina will absorb the water and get cooked. This happens real fast, so keep stirring. We do not want uncooked lumps in the rava upma.

Garnish with cilantro or curry leaves.

 

Note: You can add blanched peanuts or cashews to the rava upma. You can serve this with sliced bananas and a sprinkling of sugar.

 

Getting married after 30

wedding rings platinum

Being 30 is like having reached a milestone in your life. You are successful, more confident, at a peak position in your career and much more! But there is that sinking feeling somewhere inside you which makes you feel lonely all the time. And of course, there are the other aspects: society, an occasional grey hair, your married friends having their own families and a feeling of how great it would be to have somebody to take care of you, comfort you and just be there for you! All this makes you wonder whether you are on the right side of 30 or on the wrong side of it!

The good news is you can never be on the wrong side of 30 or any age for that matter.
There are people who would rather remain single than shoulder the innumerable responsibilities that come with getting married and having a family. They will be happy with their own lives because that is what they want. But for those who wish to find an ideal life partner, read on…

wedding rings platinum

Photo Credits Jeff Belmonte

Society today is more acceptable to the fact that a woman can marry late.  It was a different issue a few decades ago. Social pressure would often make sure that a woman got married before she crossed 25 years. This is more or less true in Asian countries.

Back then there were no social networking sites. But now you can take advantage of them. Women who have gone thru a divorce can find prospective grooms with a similar background. Yours must not be a case of once bitten twice shy!

You must be careful not to share personal information with total strangers,though. But you can make social networking sites work to your advantage. You can connect with co-workers, old friends, neighbors, share common interests, get to know their plus points and check out if they are suitable for you. Take the instance of veteran Indian actress Suhasini Mulay who tied the knot at 60 years of age. She found her husband on Facebook! Click here to read how things clicked between the two!

Submit your profile to leading matrimonial services or dating services. Paying a subscription fee to online matrimonial  services of repute will ensure better services and authentic information. You can even chat, email or talk to prospective grooms. Some common sense on your part will make sure you do not get cheated by fraudsters posing as grooms. You can even let your parents, trusted friends or guardians do the talking. Uploading a profile is to make people know of your existence, your qualities and your willingness to get married. To find the right groom, you have to have choices, you have to know of factors that are compatible to you both.

Enhance your personality. Be confident of your abilities and looks. It is a good idea to visit a salon.Eat well. Dress neatly.De-stress yourself.
You would not want to marry some one who is negative, worries a lot and has a below average personality, right? The same goes for guys looking for prospective brides.

It is never too late to get married and it is better late than never. The only point to ponder over is that it is a blessing to have someone who loves you and cares for you, always by your side, accompanying you thru the journey of life. Solitude is sickening after a point in life. So get up and get going!

 

Single Motherhood – Tips For Single Mothers

single motherhood

Single motherhood may be taking its toll on you. As a single mother, you may feel all alone, with a full time job, running your home, educating and taking care of your kids(s) and the whole lot! You may be a single mother by choice or due to various factors beyond control which may be attributed to fate or God’s will.

single motherhood

However, do not lose heart! This is not the end of the world. Remember, there are many more unfortunate people out there who do not even have a roof over their heads or food or medical facilities especially in poor countries.

Lets see how you can handle all these responsibilities and more without getting tired! Remember, its all in the mind.

Single Motherhood – Top Tips  To Live A Happy Life

Balance Work And Home

The most important challenge for a single mother is balancing work and day to day activities of children including packing lunches, school, day care, home work, dinners and so on. First and foremost, make a time table. It sounds boring, but is the most effective tool of time management. That way, you can keep track of several activities and make sure you have not missed out on any thing. Mark important dates, activities, bill due dates, reminders in a monthly planner and stick it onto the refrigerator using magnets. (We don’t want ugly looking adhesive bits on the refrigerator door).

Single Motherhood – Cooking Tips

Buy fresh food/ingredients for making easy to prepare meals. If you can afford it, employ a good maid/cook who will come when you are around and finish off her work. Let her prepare both lunch and dinner which you can warm later, thereby saving you time in the evening. You can use this time to be with your children. The quality of time you spend with them matters and not the number of hours. If its not possible to employ a cook, prepare dinners and lunches in the morning and refrigerate. You can always warm it again

You can get a whole lot of recipes for easy to prepare meals, here:
Quick recipes for single mothers
http://mssinglemama.com/2008/01/05/single-mom-recipes/

Quick n Easy recipes by Tarla Dalal
http://www.tarladalal.com/recipes-for-quick-recipe-325

Build A Strong Social Circle

A single mother must be part of a social circle. Having good friends is an essential part of life, especially if you are a single mother. Establish a good social circle. Make good friends. It may be your neighbor, old friends or your mom’s friends or the nice lady at the store down the street. You can get lots of valuable information from them like reliable day care, creche, nannys, after school tuition teachers, doctors and child psychologists in your area etc. You can also get information about new jobs and other helpful information. Maintain good relations with friends. Being a single mother is not easy, but if you are emotionally strong everything is like a gentle breeze. Friends and colleagues give a lot of emotional and mental support.

Deal With Absence Of A Father

The absence of a male role model plays a very important part in the life of a child. But do not let that bother you. A single mother can effectively play the role of a good father. Put up a brave front in front of the children. Do not cry in front of them or yell at them when you are frustrated. Crying and venting out your frustration is necessary for a calm mind. But do it behind closed doors or speak with your close friends. Else it may affect the child’s self-confidence. Take up activities with your children that they  used to enjoy doing with their father.

Handle A Divorce Sensibly

A single mother who has gone thru a bitter lawsuit must refrain from talking to the children, bad things about their father. A divorce or lawsuit between the both of you does not necessarily mean that your spouse cannot be a good father to your children. If he has been a good father, let him meet the children if  he or your children want it that way. Keep your grudges aside for the sake of your kids.

Do Some Financial Planning

Plan your finances well. A monthly planner will again be of great help. Reduce trips to the supermarket. Buy things that you actually need. Prepare a monthly budget.

Have Fun With Kids

Take your kids for a walk to the local park, or hang out with them on weekends. Show your love for your child. Praise him for good work and scold him for anything bad that he may do. Find a good child care center thru your social circle.

Do not carry work home. You will be stressed out, I’m sure. Read more on stress busting and relaxation techniques to feel better.

Single Motherhood – Not All That Bad

There is a whole new world waiting for you out there. Being a single mother is not a botheration or something that sparks off uncertainty about the future. Its a challenge, yes, but you have the potential to make the entire process a wonderful experience. Do not let your past trouble you and stop you from having a great future. A little bit of planning day to day activities, finances and having a great social circle will make you a confident and super single mother!

Vegetable Stew

vegetable stew

Vegetable stew in coconut milk is a simple, easy to prepare and nutritious side dish. Its origins can be traced to Kerala, India.

vegetable stew

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

Carrots – 2(diced)
Potatoes – 2(cut into small cubes)
Ginger – a 1/2 ” piece
Button onions – 8
Curry leaves
Green chillies – 2
Milk of 1/2 coconut or Maggi coconut milk powder(using 1 sachet)

Method of preparation

Add diced carrots and potatoes to half a cup of water in a saucepan. Crush the ginger or finely grate it, then add it to the saucepan. Finely chop button onions and add it. Add curry leaves. Split green chillies and add these as well. Allow the mixture to boil. When the vegetables are cooked, add the coconut milk. Turn off the flame within a few minutes of adding coconut milk, else it may curdle.Keep the saucepan covered for some time.

This is a good accompaniment for appams or sweetened rice pancakes.

Note: Substituting button onions with the larger variety will make the stew taste entirely different. Button onions and curry leaves lend a unique and delectable flavor to the stew and must not be substituted.


Staircase Designs – Staircase Railings and Staircase Pictures

wooden staircase design - traditional home-Kerala architecture

A staircase is a connecting element between two floors. Staircases maybe constructed from metal, timber, bricks, stone or reinforced cement concrete.

wooden staircase glass balusters
Wooden Staircase with wooden and glass balusters

Stair parts

Step
It is the portion of a stair which allows ascent and descent. A step is composed of a tread and a riser.

Stair Tread
It is the upper horizontal surface of a step on which the foot is placed during ascent or descent.

Stair Risers
It is the vertical portion of a step which supports the tread.

Flight
It is an unbroken series of steps between landings.

Staircase Landing
It is the level platform at the top or bottom of a flight, allowing for change of direction and taking rest during use of the staircase.

Rise
It is the vertical distance between two successive tread faces.

Going
It is the horizontal distance between two successive riser faces.

Nosing
It is the projecting part of the tread beyond the face of the riser.

Scotia
It is a moulding under the nosing that improves elevation of the step and provides strength to the nosing.

Stringers
These support the steps in a stair. They run along the slope of the stair.

Newel post
It is a vertical member which is placed at the ends of flights to connect the ends of strings and hand rail.

Baluster
It is a vertical member or wood or metal, supporting the hand rail.

Balustrade
Consists of a row of balusters surmounted by a hand rail, to provide protection for users.

Hand Rail
It is a rounded or moulded member of wood or metal that is fixed on top of the balusters.

Header
It is the horizontal structural member supporting hair stringers or landings.

Desirable qualities of  good staircase designs

Location
In domestic buildings, staircase must be centrally located to provide easy access to all rooms. In public buildings, staircases must be closer to the entrance. Staircases must be enclosed by fire resisting walls, floors, ceilings and doors.

Width
The stairs must be wide enough to carry the user without much crowd and inconvenience. 35 inches wide stairs are good enough for domestic buildings while in public buildings, 60   to 70 inches width may be needed.

Length of the flight
The number of steps in a flight must not be more than 12 and less than 3, in a straight flight.

Pitch of the stair
The labor of moving vertically is twice as much as moving horizontally. The best pitch is that inclination which is got when doubling the rise and adding the going equals 23(when rise and going are measured in inches). Pitch should be limited to 30o to 40o.

Head Room
The clear distance between the tread and the soffit of the flight above it must not be less than 82 inches to 90 inches so as to accommodate even tall persons walking with some load on their heads.

Step Dimensions
The going must be between 9 inches  to 11 inches. The rise can be between 3 inches to 5 inches. The width of the landing must not be less than the width of the stair.

Staircase Types

Straight Flight Staircase
Here the stairs run straight between two floors. These may have one or two flight of stairs with a landing.

metal and stained glass staircase
Straight stairs of metal with glass balusters.

Quarter Turn Staircase
This type of stair changes its direction either to the left or to the right, the turn being affected by either introducing a quarter space landing or by providing winders.

wooden staircase with wooden and glass balusters
Wooden winder staircase with glass baluster design

Bifurcated staircase
Bifurcated stairs are commonly used in public buildings at the entrance.The stair has a wider flight at the bottom which then bifurcated into two narrower flights, one turning to the left and one to the right.
bifurcated stair                                                        Photo Credits:Gary Birnie
Spiral staircase
Spiral staircases are usually made of R.C.C or metal, and used in locations with space limitations. Sometimes used as emergency stairs, they are also provided at the backside of the building. All the steps are winders.

spiral staircase
Spiral Staircase

Photo Credits: Ell Brown

Helical staircase
This staircase is made of R.C.C and the structure is very complicated.

helical staircase
Helical Staircase

Photo Credits:Echiner1

Modern Staircase Designs
Staircase inside home Photo Credits:Nanette Turner

staircase pebbled Photo Credits:Echiner1

forest staircase
Photo Credits:Blakeimeson

Stairlifts
Stairlifts are for the aged and wheelchair bound to move up and down stairs without having to climb them. You can even install a stair lift for dogs and pets – especially for overweight dogs.

Learn to read with Phonics – for little kids

Learn to read-phonics-for kids

Books are an ocean of knowledge. This is true about all kinds and forms of books, including e-books, kindles and all. Little kids can learn a lot from good books. As a child, you may have enjoyed the stories that your parents read out at bed time and otherwise. Slowly, you too learned to read. Now, you want your kids to read as efficiently as you, if not better. But how to improve your child’s oral reading skills in a smooth and effective manner? Here is how you do it!

Learn to read-phonics-for kids

Get the basics right! The phonics i.e. alphabet sounds must be clear. The concept of vowels and consonants must be clear.
Here is a very useful online resource for how to learn to read with ABC Phonics – the very basics of reading that will promote phonological awareness in your child.
Teach phonics

You will find additional useful resources to teach a child to read, here
Teach your child to read

The next step is to encourage the child to read. Small children need visually appealing books to at least take a look. Make sure you buy kids books with lots of informative pictures in them. Keep these books within reach of your children(unless they are too small and have a tendency to tear off pages).

Start off with small story books of animals, birds, fish etc. Read the story out loud till you reach an interesting point. Then stop reading and ask your child to read. Better still, you could take turns reading and keep a prize for the one who reads without any mistakes!

Buy good kids books that do not scare the child or teach immoral values or support physical violence in any manner. Initially buy books written in an easy to understand style. Complicated words will discourage the child from reading. A child’s memory skills and  oral reading skills are directly proportional to the number of books found in his home.

When reading out stories, try enacting them by making simple sounds or funny faces. You could add your own description of people and situations. Ask him to do the same. This makes the child more creative and triggers his imagination to a great extent.

Encourage visits to the library! Visit book fairs especially those which are held at school. Involve your child in the book selection process.  Guided reading can be practiced to teach the child, how to read, fluently.

Read daily. Make it a practice to read a book after snacks or after coming home from school. Repetition makes a child learn faster. So read the same story with interesting voices, expressions etc. and make the entire reading experience more lively and interesting.

Many books have an e-version in the form of CDs where stories are enacted as cartoons, movies etc. Take some time to browse thru a CD store for kids’ stories. They’ll surely love the animated version of the stories that you read out!

Check out YouTube videos for children’s stories.

Do not criticize the child if he makes mistakes while reading. Do not expect him to learn reading all at once. It will take some time.  Practice patience and you will see your child’s oral reading skills improve.

 

Photo Credits: aidanmorgan

How to deal with PMS – Symptoms And Remedies

pms symptoms

Worried sick on how to deal with PMS? Do you dread that particular time of the month when you develop PMS symptoms?

how to deal with pms
Facts Of PMS Symptoms

PMS also known as pre-menstrual syndrome is a condition caused by hormonal imbalances characterized by physical and emotional symptoms pertaining to the menstrual cycle. PMS symptoms are seen anytime during the ten days immediately before the start of menses. Physical PMS symptoms include fatigue, bloating, breast discomfort, headache, leg ache, muscle ache, acne and appetite changes. Emotional PMS symptoms include stress,depression and increased irritability. A normally calm, soft spoken  and well mannered woman may become angry and quarrelsome during these days. Women may suffer from all or any of these symptoms. Women already suffering from severe depression must consult a doctor for PMS.

How to deal with PMS

Exercise and lifestyle changes can provide relief from PMS symptoms. Exercise includes brisk walking for 4-5 times a week, abdominal exercises, jogging, swimming and cycling. Research has proved that Yoga is an excellent way to beat PMS blues.

 

Diet For PMS

Food habits  must be changed during these few days. Avoid oily, fried foods. Avoid intake of caffeine and alcohol. Due to hormonal imbalances, you will be tempted to drink tea,coffee etc. and gorge on fried snacks and chocolates. But do not give in to these tendencies. Have fruit juice instead. You must eat foods high in fibers, fresh vegetables, fruits and food grains. Avoid red meat. Eat fish, which is a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Eat foods rich in calcium, vitamin A,B and E. Whatever you eat or drink, make sure it is warm. Take bath with warm water. Constipation during this period is a major culprit. Drink plenty of water and include fiber in your diet to eliminate constipation. Avoid starchy vegetables like potato and vegetables that cause flatulence. Include ginger and garlic in your diet to avoid gas formation.

PMS Mood Boosters

Avoid company of pessimists and people who gossip. Listen to music. Music has soothing powers. It freshens the mind and soul.

Above all, a woman must think of this – The modern woman is strong, she has made many achievements. She works at office, manages home and family and is the key to happiness in a family. She plays multiple roles successfully! She is a mother, wife, colleague, daughter and is at par with men. So something as small as PMS must not be able to defeat the  strong woman in you!

PMS Tips For Husbands

Men in the family must understand that this is just a passing phase caused by hormonal imbalances and that nothing is being said or done intentionally to hurt anybody. They must be caring and compassionate towards their wives during this phase and must be ready to forgive and forget temper tantrums.

Cooking Oil – Different types and uses of cooking oil

types of cooking oil

People often wonder about the right type of cooking oil to be used. Its not a hard and  fast rule that you use a particular cooking oil just because your mom used the same. There are a variety of cooking oils available with different tastes and other properties. Let us take a look at each of them.

types of cooking oil                                            Photo Credits yasmapaz

Types Of Cooking Oil

Groundnut Oil

This cooking oil is extracted from groundnuts, has a mild taste and is used liberally in cooking and for frying. It has many health benefits. Since it is a mono saturated fat, it lowers your overall cholesterol level, lowers the level of bad cholesterol in your blood(LDL – Low density lipoprotein) without affecting the level of  good cholesterol(High Density Lipoprotein). It lowers your blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. It assists in weight loss. Refined groundnut oil is the best. It is clean and free from suspended particles and odor.

Popular brands of groundnut oil
Guinea Double Filtered Pure Groundnut Oil, Marico’s Sweekar groundnut oil, Postman.

Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is commonly used for cooking as a frying oil. Sunflower oil is produced from oil type sunflower seeds. It is light in taste and is a very good source of  high vitamin E. It has both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats with low saturated fat levels. It helps in lowering bad cholestrol levels. Phytonutrients like phenolic acid and choline eliminate the risk of heart diseases.In addition, it has vitamin E, vitamin B, folic acid and Omega-6 fatty acids which are highly beneficial to the human body. Sunflower oil can be used in high temperatures and hence is an ideal cooking oil for frying. Food cooked with sunflower oil stays fresh for a long time.

Popular brands of sunflower oil
Ruchi sunflower oil, Godrej sunflower oil, Sweekar sunflower oil, Sundrop sunflower oil,Vista brand.

Olive Oil

Olive oil was once restricted to mediterranean diet, but now it is widely used in cuisines all over the world. It is now considered as the healthiest of all edible oils. Olive oil is high in monosaturated fats and polyphenols which is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are very beneficial because they help the body get rid of free radicals thereby prolonging the ageing process of the body. Olive oil keeps the heart healthy.

Grades Of Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil

This is the highest grade of Olive Oil. It is produced by mechanical extraction methods with no chemical treatment. It results from the first pressing of the olive fruit within 24 hours of harvesting. Acidity level is an important factor that determines the grade of olive oil. Oil of the highest grade must have the lowest level of acidity. Extra virgin olive oil has  an  acidity level of less than one percent. It also has perfect aroma, color and flavor. It cannot be used for frying and cooking at high temperatures as it loses its original chemical composition and flavor. Extra virgin olive oil can be used in salad dressings, flavorings and dips etc.

Pure Olive Oil

“Pure” olive oil is made by adding a little extra virgin olive oil to refined olive oil. This oil is of intermediate grade with  medium flavour and aroma. This is used for meditarranean and continental cooking, in pastries and doughs and also for mild frying.

Olive Pomace Oil

This is a cooking oil that is suitable for Indian cuisine. It has neutral taste and flavor. It does not change taste and texture even in high temperatures. It is ideal for deep frying and cooking at high temperatures. It is also less expensive that the other varieties of olive oil.

Olive oil must be kept away from heat and light. It must be stored in a dark and cool place, tightly closed in an air tight bottle or container. Constant exposure to light and heat may make the oil putrid and foul smelling.

Popular brands of Olive Oil – Bertolli olive oil, Leonardo Olive Oil

Rice Bran Oil

This cooking oil is extracted from the inner husk of the rice kernel. It is rich in vitamin E and oryzanol. Rice bran oil is widely used as an edible oil in  Japan, Korea, China, India, Taiwan and Thailand. It reduces cholesterol thereby reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. Rice bran oil is ideal for people with food allergies. It also provides relief from menopause symptoms.
Popular brands of rice bran oil – Ricela, Tithi brand refined rice bran oil.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is an edible cooking oil extracted from the fully dried kernel of a matured coconut. It is suitable for frying at high temperatures. Coconut oil boosts immunity of the body. Since it contains saturated fats, it is widely believed that coconut oil is harmful for the body. But like other vegetable oils, saturated fats in coconut oil do not increase bad cholesterol levels. It  prevents high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure due to the presence of 50% lauric acid. It helps in proper functioning of the thyroid and aids digestion; helps people suffering from acid reflux.
Popular cooking grade coconut oil brands in India – Kera, Shudhi

Mustard Oil

Mustard oil is a cooking oil  obtained from black and white mustard seeds. Mustard oil has a strong spicy odor and a strong flavor. This is mostly used in north and north east India for cooking. It is considered fit for external use only, in some countries. Mustard oil has many benefits – It is good for the digestive and circulatory system. It is used in body massages as it gives warmth. It can cure you from cold and cough.
Popular Indian brands of mustard oil– Sunrise, Mustraj manufactured by Raj Oil Mills

Canola Oil

This cooking oil is extracted by crushing the canola seed. It contains very low levels of saturated fatty acids and has high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids. This reduces blood cholesterol levels. It is good source of vitamin E.

Popular brands are Hudson Canola Oil.

Sesame Oil (Til Oil)

Sesame oil also known as til oil or gingelly oil is extracted from Sesame seeds. It is used as a cooking oil and a flavor enhancer in south Asian cuisine. It is rich in polyunsaturated fats and vitamin E. It lowers cholestrol and blood pressure.

Popular brands are Til Raj by Raj Oil Mills, India and Kadoya sesame oil from Japan

Of these, coconut oil and mustard oil have a particular aroma and taste, which may not be relished by everyone. Sunflower and Groundnut oil have a neutral taste.You may try out different types of cooking oil and see which suits your style of cooking the best. Points to consider include nutritional attributes, health benefits, shelf-life and cost of each type of cooking oil.

Glass Floors – Types And Installation

Glass Floor

Glass floors are gaining popularity day by day. The reasons are many.

Glass Floor

Properties of a glass floor

The reflective properties of glass make it an excellent choice for floors. Glass floors make the most out of natural sunlight, making the room look brighter and bigger. Many a time, it is not possible to break down existing structures and change direction of rooms so as to accommodate more sunlight. In such cases, it is a better idea to change flooring  from a light absorbing surface to a surface that reflects light. This makes the room brighter and enhances the mood. Glass floors are used in commercial and domestic interiors to increase light flow and the view from above or below the floor is loved by visitors.

Glass Floor

Glass tiles are far more water-resistant than ceramic,wood or linoleum floors. Glass floor tiles are resistant  to heat,water, stains and other chemicals. Glass floor tiles are available in different shapes. They are available in different thicknesses and have a wide range of finishes, colors and textures.

Glass Floor

Many people doubt  the strength and durability of  glass floor tiles. They wonder whether the glass floor tiles will support weight, are scratch-free etc. Glass floor tiles shatter only when they are subjected to sudden impacts. There are glass floor tiles that are floor rated for high traffic areas and high impact areas. So you may choose the ones that suit your requirement.

Glass floors can be used in the bathroom, living room, study and in the upper floors to give a view of the floors below.

Types of glass floors

Glass pavers

These are hollow glass blocks are used together with a steel or aluminum frame.

Reinforced glass

This type is used  to get a strong base in areas of high traffic like malls and other commercial complexes. Such type of glass flooring used in busy areas is strengthened and  very safe.

Glass floor blocks

These are used to provide light to a room when lit from below. They are often installed in  4-foot by 4-foot panels.

Glass laminate panels

These are used for flooring. They are textured. This eliminates  slippage and also hides scratches.They are made with layers of tempered glass. They are available in different colors, are transparent and can be illuminated from below. They can be used in high traffic areas.

Glass floor tiles

These floor tiles made of glass, are applied to a base like porcelain tiles. Glass floor reflect light back from a floor thereby making good use of existing light in a room. They have a  rough and cloudy texture that hide scratches and have anti-slip properties.

Types of glass floor tiles

Fused glass floor tiles

They are translucent. They are  textured, to provide anti-scratching and anti-slip properties.

Smalti glass floor tiles

These are made from a paste mixture of silica, metal and metal oxides. They have a rough and cloudy texture that hides scratches. It also provides the floor an anti-slip protection.

Sintered glass floor tiles

These are made with a die filled with glass powder and heated until it melts together.

Cast glass floor tiles

These are made by putting pieces of glass together in a mold and melting them.

Care for glass tiles

Glass tiles must be swept clean of dirt and sand. They must be mopped well, else the dirt and grit may etch marks on the floor finish over time.

For glass flooring in India, you can check out www.tradeindia.com and  www.navkushindia.com among others. Or do a Google search for glass flooring in your city as in ‘Glass flooring in Mumbai’ .

Photo Credits
Leo Reynolds
birdvoyeur
Ian Muttoo

Taro Leaves Recipe – Alu Vadi Recipe

alu vadis/taro leaf rolls- steamed and fried

alu vadis/taro leaf rolls- steamed and fried

Alu Vadi

Alu leaves/Taro Leaves are are native to south-east Asia. Fried and steamed alu vadi recipe has its origins in Maharastra, India. Being a south Indian, Keralite to be specific, my mom never knew how to prepare  Alu Vadi or taro leaf rolls.  Thanks to our Aamchi Mumbai neighbors and her keen interest in cooking, she picked it up and passed the recipe on to me. Mumbai is a melting pot of cultures from all over India and the way people gel with each other is amazing. Here you get to savor different cuisines, both local and global.

allu leaves/Taro leaves Alu leaves / Taro leaves

 Now coming back to the taro leaf roll recipe, check out the basic ingredients

Ingredients for Taro Leaves Roll/Alu Vadi

Alu leaves/Taro leaves – 10

For the batter:

Chick pea flower/gram flower(besan) – 3/4 cup
Tamarind pulp – 2 tsp
Crushed jaggery – 1 tsp
Asafoetida – a pinch
Red chilly powder – 1/2 Tsp( as per taste)
Turmeric powder – 1 pinch
Sesame seeds – 1 tsp
Salt as per taste
Sufficient oil for frying

How to prepare Alu Vadi or Rolls of Taro Leaves

Wash and clean taro leaves. Cut the stems. Prepare a thick batter of the above mentioned ingredients. Take a taro leaf, spread a layer of batter evenly all over. Place another leaf above this and spread the batter over it. Repeat this for all the 10 taro leaves till you have a ten layered spread. Roll this from the base to the tip. Steam this for 20-25 mins.

Once it cools down, slice it into rolls. Heat some oil in a frying pan. Fry these taro leaf rolls/alu vali till nice,crisp and golden brown, on a medium to high flame.

Taro leaf rolls are ready to eat!  I prefer to eat these rolls with a hot cup of tea and without any chutneys or sauces. Chutneys and sauces will overpower the flavor of the rolls with their own distinct flavor.

Note: Taro leaves can be itchy if not cooked well! The tamarind in the batter is precisely used for removing the itchiness of the leaves. The itchy leaves can be distinguished from the non-itchy leaves! Just ask the local vegetable vendor! The itchy ones have a purplish tinge on the stem and small hair like strands on them!