Kid's Delight Activities and Cooking with Kids Round up

>>  Monday, May 31, 2010

Finally after much delay in doing a round up just because I thought I might do some more, I have the round ready. It was a fun filled vacation this time. We ended up doing lot of activities with the kids. My Nieces and Nephew stayed for a week and it was fun overload through the week. More so because Peddu and Chinnu stay back through the week.

Coming to the round up, the entries sure have me all bookmarked for trying it myself. The next theme will be annouced shortly. Lets go ahead with the entries!


I am sure many of you know Asha, she makes sure every comment of her's is as personalized and encouraging. Its no wonder that she sends us cards that can kids can make to give a personal touch. This sure is an awesome way to get the kids interested in something very useful!

Alka's son Yash is as talented as the mother if not better..:) He rolls out parathas like a pro and gets such tempting desserts out. This Choco Banana Delight is a sure die for not only for the kids but for us too. 

Check out the video that shows how well Yash can roll out a Alu Paratha

Seeing these delight Marie Delight from Niloufer, one wouldn't assume it has such a lovely tale behind! Read on as she spins a tale and how she gets her son help her in making these!

Knowing that Meera's daughter shares her mom's talent, I sent in a mail asking Meera to send in something that her daughter helped her prepare. Little did I know that they will plan such a wonderful treat for me! This Onion focaccia left me craving for one!

Priyanka gets her son help her in decorating the cupcakes and seeing the result I was sure I won't have been able to do them so well!

Mansi sends this beautiful plate of Ragda Patties which sure proves to be a wonderful dish to get the kids involved. Give them the boiled pototoes and forget about the mess. You sure will have a faithful follower!

Finally my own entries Bhel Puri made at home by Konda and her friend.

And the mehendi done to the kids which sure is another wonderful way to get the kids use their creativity and of course get them engrossed and stayed put for few hours!


I hope I have not missed out any entry, my aplogies if I have missed, but do let me know right away! Another day to go for the Thanda Mela to reach me!


Uncontrolled diabetes leading to Renal Failure

>>  Friday, May 28, 2010

Source: Written for Spice your Life, by Dr. Nagarathnam Jetti, MBBS,DPH,DIH,FIAOH.


Diabetes has truly become a pandemic disease and with modern lifestyles being liberally adapted and practiced by all populations of the world, the incidence and prevalence of diabetes is sure to increase.

In this context, it is apt that one, whether he/she is a diabetic or not, has to know more about diabetes and its complications.

The Diabetes, if not controlled properly will lead to complications affecting all systems of the body progressively. Once damage occurs in a system it will be difficult to reverse the damage.

Notably kidneys, eyes, nerves, cardiovascular systems are affected. Since all the systems in the body function in a well coordinated manner, the bad effect in one system will affect other systems also.

Lets take one system at a time and understand better on how this actually affects and what can be done.

Renal system

We have two kidneys which act as controllers for the correct balancing of the water and electrolytes in the body. It is also an excreting organ for the waste products, chemicals and other unwanted materials from the body.

The waste products are removed from our body through various sources like skin, breath, urine and faeces. When there is a restricted intake of water, Kidneys manage the short supply of water and electrolytes to the body by reducing the formation of urine.

Coming to blood glucose, we can monitor by checking the threshold levels. As long as blood sugar is within 180 mg/dl the kidneys will retain the glucose but when the blood sugar crosses 180 mg/dl, the kidneys will allow the glucose to pass in the urine. Hence the threshold level of blood glucose is 180 mg.

Beyond 180 mg/dl, the glucose appears in the blood and we call the phenomenon as “Glucosurea”.
The glucose may appear in urine, even when the blood glucose is less than 180 mg/dl. The situation can be expected in ‘Renal dysfunction’.

How to know that a diabetic is developing Renal Failure / dysfunction?

Two main reasons that can attribute to a quicker damage to kidneys can be persistent hyperglycemia and high blood pressure. Renal failure is never sudden in this process, but may take long time for the kidneys to fail completely.

Two important tests are done to the Renal functions status.

1.    Micro Albuminurea - Total amount of urine excreted in the collected for the 24 hour period and then tested for Albumin levels.

2.    Creatinine level in the blood

What one has to do to stay healthy with Diabetes?

a.    Follow a healthy diet plan
b.    At least 30 minutes active, suitable exercise
c.    Proper medicines to control diabetes
d.    Check the blood glucose at frequent interval and record
e.    Control blood pressure and cholesterol
f.    Check your feet for cuts, blisters, swelling, redness, sores and sore toe nails.
g.    Brushing of teeth twice a day
h.    Avoid smoking
i.    Extreme moderation  / avoid alcohol

Specifically to prevent kidney problems

•    Good control of blood glucose
•    Good control of blood pressure
•    Use of ACE inhibitor or ARB drugs as prescribed by the doctor
•    To keep under check the Microalbuminurea  and serum creatinine levels (testing atleast once in 6 months)
•    Avoid taking pain killers like paracetamol regularly

Consult your doctor if you have these symptoms.

a.    pain or burning when you urinate
b.    frequent urge to go to bath room
c.    urine that looks cloudy or reddish
d.    fever or a shaky feeling
e.    pain in the back or on the sides below the ribs

‘X’ ray with contrast has to be avoided.

Albumin in urine

-    Less than 30 mg is normal
-    30 to 300 mg indicates early kidney disease

More than 300 mg indicates more advanced kidney disease

Serum Creatinine levels

Normal – 0.8 to 1.4 mg/dl.
Slightly low values for women

Now, we have seen that by allowing the blood sugar to be at high levels(hyper glycemea for a long period there  will be Renal damage ultimately and Renal failure.

Once the Kidney failure takes place, we have to resort to peritoneal dialysis or Haemodialysis to set right the various deranged parameters of   blood to lead a normal life.The dialysis also can  not  be prolonged for a long time and a stage will come where Renal transplantation has to be thought of.

We have to avoid this stage by strictly following the prescription of Drugs,Diet and Exercise  and regular periodic  checkup of B.P,Lipid profile,HbA1c and urine for Albumin.

Next time we will talk about the damage to the eyes, like, cataract, retinopathy etc.


Ras Malai for Indian Cooking Challenge for April ~ Step By Step Recipe!

>>  Sunday, May 16, 2010

After lot of consideration I finally decided on Ras Malai. I had no trouble finalizing the recipe as I knew from our blogger Meet that Lavi's recipe comes out good. Then I got lot of suggestions from ICC members, so based on reading the I finally did on my own, which obviously must be the reason why my paneer wasn't so soft as it must be. I have never tasted Ras Malai till now but for once. I knew I was going to take this and had to know how it tastes. So I know it was very soft and spongy.

Let me explain how I went about with Step by Step pictures!

I normally make Paneer at home using Lemon Juice.

Once the paneer curdles, hang it in a muslin cloth till the water drains off.

While the paneer is getting drained, have the Milk boiling, add sugar and boil till it reduces and becomes thick.

Knead the paneer with All purpose flour and make equal balls of the size as seen in the picture.

When you have all the dough made into balls, you will have something like this.

For the Sugar Syrup, bring to boil the water added with sugar, Gently add the paneer balls and cook on sim

Until it is almost done. Squeeze out the excess sugar from the balls.

Finally add the paneer balls into the Milk Syrup and refrigerate until it is served.

Ras Malai

I did with just 1/2 liter Milk for paneer.

Ingredients Needed:

Milk - 1 litre (1/2 litre for making paneer and 1/2 litre for making Rasa/Milk syrup.)
Lemon - 1 medium
Water-2 cups
Sugar- 8 tbsp (4 for Sugar Syrup and 4 for Rasa/Milk Syrup) + 2 tbsp Condensed milk
Saffron- 3-4 pieces
Cashew Nuts - 5 whole
Almond - 4 whole
Maida / All purpose flour- 1/2 tsp

Making of Paneer:

I followed the normal way I make Paneer.

Lavi recommends storing the whey water, though I normally have not used it much.

Since I used a skimmed milk, I didn't get much of the fat from the milk. I directly proceeded to make the paneer.

Preparing the Paneer Balls.

If you are ready to make the balls right away, then allow the paneer to hang for 15 mins, proceed right away. Else store it in fridge and thaw it before using it. I stored it overnight and thawed for 30 mins before making the balls.

Knead the paneer well with your fingers, add 1/2 tsp all purpose flour. continue kneading it for 10 mins, until you get a soft dough. Divide into small equal balls, remember these are supposed to absorb and will become double

Preparing Sugar Syrup:

I used a non stick wide pan with lid for making the Sugar Syrup. Add 2 cups of water and 4 tbsp of sugar. Let it boil. When it starts boiling, gently add the paneer balls. Simmer the flame and cover with the lid. I thought it might break but fortunately it held its shape. Cook for 10 minutes in slow flame.

The water almost got absorbed, I didn't have much to squeeze out.

Preparing Milk Syrup/Rasa:

You can start making the Milk Syrup, when you are doing the sugar syrup. Take milk in a wide bottomed vessel and let it boil and get reduced into half of the quantity. Add sugar and mix well. Soak the saffron in hot milk and keep it aside. When the milk is almost thick, add the condensed milk if you have in hand. Then goes the saffron to the milk. Put the paneer ball's into the rasa/milk syrup. cool it down and refrigerate.

Serve with chopped nuts on top.

Notes: Mine wasn't as spongy as it should be. Maybe it had to do with the paneer not being very soft. Will have to try again to get the spongy Ras Malai.

To all my ICC members, please link your Ras Malai post to Mr. Linky.


Ideas on Healthy snacks for Kids

>>  Thursday, May 13, 2010

With the summer vacation almost coming to an end, I thought I should be better planned to get the different menus all planned. So starting with the snacks list which by the way is the most tough one to handle, will be featuring list that will be sent to the school and also prepared when the Kids get back home.

To break the monotony, I included snacks of all types. Typically in a South Indian family, you are served even Rice for a snack. Imagine eating Pulihore coming back from school! But believe me it was always my most favorite dish to eat, coming back hungry from school.

This is not only for kids, even for elders when they get back home after longs hours, they get extremely hungry. At those moments, they normally end up eating whatever is reachable, mostly junk and unhealthy dishes.

If you have these dishes well planned and sorted, you can avoid such problems.

With Fruits

Fruits are the most filling and satisfying food to eat on coming back. We normally have bananas all ready for the kids. If you feel eating fruits as such is boring, pep them up as Chats by sprinkling Chat masala.

Fruits salads: Make the custard or pudding ahead and refrigerate. Just before serving, mix in your fruit of choice. Including the seasonal fruits this way is most healthy.

With Corns

Masala Corn: You can either use fresh or frozen to make these delicious Masala corn. Micro for 1- 2 mins and season with salt, pepper. If you don't have a microwave, pressure cook the corns and season once cool

Corn Kernels Salad : Sweet Corn Kernels are so delicious to be had as a salad along with Paneer, Vegetables etc.

Nuts Plain/ Roasted

Plain nuts like Almond, Walnuts, Cashews and Raisins are good to be munched as such. You can have 4 -5 of these in one go for a good snack.

Have a tin of roasted nuts on hand for munching them. Even a handful is enough to satisfy your hunger.

Since in India we don't actually have those protein bars or cereal bars, you can have those Peanut Chaklis etc in replacement.

Masala Papad:
Mix chopped onions, carrot, cucumber and roasted groundnuts, season with pepper and salt. Spread this mix on the roasted Papad.

With Bread

Make sandwiches with fresh vegetables like onions, cucumber and tomatoes.
Make spicy sandwiches with spreads with greens like spinach, Mint etc.

With Lentils:
Toss in Fried Gram dal with lemon juice, salt and pepper. You can add in chat masala into this.
Make south Indian Sundals with lentils like Channa/ Garbanzos, Rajma/ Kidney beans etc.

Chilled drinks with milk with Bourn vita, Chocolate and other flavours works out so well.
If you like smoothies, they are pretty easy to make too. Add milk, yogurt, fruits and a little sugar in a blender and blend well to get a refreshing drink.

Semi Heavy Tiffins like
Poha upma
Semiya upma
Wheat dosa

Rice Varieties like Lemon rice, Mint rice, Coriander Rice, Capsicum rice, Pulihora (which helps as early dinner and snack) and have fruits during dinner time.

That seems quite a list, do share if you can think of other ones!


Activities for Kids ~ Mehendi Designs

>>  Thursday, May 6, 2010

With houseful of kids what should one plan ahead to keep them occupied and interested. My daughter and nephew are in that age group where they are so eager to declare being bored. It is left to the elders to find enough ways to get them interested. It is at such moment I remember my own childhood and wonder how well we kept ourselves so busy and occupied. Infact end of the day, I used to feel the day was not enough for us to do as we planned. Well plan is nothing, just get the maximum enjoyment of being on vacation.

But with kids these days, the most they can get themselves do is to watch movies. Especially at our home now, we got to listen to the commands of our twins. The current craze is the telugu movie Mahadeera. Like I said recently we have already watched the movie for some 30 -40 times, our guests were meted with the same fate, all three shows were screened this movie. So much so that they were even teasing each other saying they want to get ready soon so as not to miss out the matinee show.

I thought I was the lucky person to get all the movie dialogue memorized, well I now have my sister-in-laws for company! They are so much taken in with their little nephews that they didn't have heart (read courage) to say no to their wish to watch the same movie! The last 4 days has been only this movie that was running on since dawn till midnight.

So in the process, knowing we got to distract the kids with some activity, I planned for another session of making Bhel Puri at home, without the chutney. My first niece who is very much interested in cooking, already made a kind of bhel with poha and sev. She was much too interested with this type too. I got my daughter and her into the kitchen to make this. Since last time I served chocolate Milkshake with Bhel, my boys assumed that it will be served again.

They kept running around saying they wanted the Milk, Milk. I finally had to resort to making it with the Vanilla ice cream that I had, well it goes without saying that everybody got dunk! Then we went to have the mehendi done. My niece who is really very good at these mehendi designs got all ready. I bought two cones, hoping we will get to do this.
 Peddu getting his hand done!, while Chinnu was pulling!
Everybody along with the boys sat down to get their hands adored with Mehendi. 
First ones to have were Peddu and Chinnu. Peddu had the patience to keep on the mehendi for a while.
whereas Chinnu was most impatient and got it washed within minutes, even then it turned a beautiful orange on his sweet little hands. 
Both of them were so excited being tattooed with Mehendi.
My niece did a beautiful work on Konda's.
This was all also done in anticipation of the birthday party celebrations!

The night ended with Chinnu spoiling his new shirt with mehendi, what else did I expect!

This is another entry for Activities & Cooking with the Kids.

Do share if you have engaged your kids in interesting ways!


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