Corn Salad

For Week 3 Day 2 of BM #35, here is a simple salad which is sure to win hearts.

It is apt in a party set up or an informal gathering just as it is an everyday snack for the kids! Thanks to Pooja, my friend, this is sure to become a regular snack at home.

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Posted by Harini R on Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Baby Corn Masala

For Week 3 of BM #35, I have chosen to blog about some dishes with Corn.

Today, I have this lip smacking baby corn masala which has become a new favorite at home.

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Posted by Harini R on Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Drumstick Sambar From Chettinad

For this edition (Dec week 2) of CCChallenge, I asked my older one to pick up one recipe from this called 'India Cookbook' by Pushpesh Pant. She did the homework for me by bookmarking a bunch of them. Needless to say, most of them were Potato based recipes.

There were some non-potato recipes as well out of which I picked this drumstick sambar from Chettinad. So as a compromise I made some baked potato wedges to with the sambar and all is well!!

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Posted by Harini R on Saturday, December 14, 2013

Fruit Pizza

For the final day of pizzas for BM #35, here is a dessert pizza which is sure to win hearts at any party. A very apt dessert for the holiday season!!

The idea of a fruit pizza sounded awesome to me when I was looking out for the pizza varieties. The fact that this pizza encouraged my kids to try out all the fruits at home made it a raring success in my mind!

My family and friends just went gaga over it making me feel at the top of the world!

Recipe source for the Sugar Cookie Crust
Ingredients - 
For the Sugar Cookie Crust - 
Butter 1/2 cup (at room temperature)
Sugar 1/2 cup
Milk 3 Tbsp
All Purpose Flour / Maida 1 1/2 cups
Salt 1/4 tsp
Baking Powder 2 tsp
For the Toppings - 
Whipped Cream 1/4 cup (or more if preferred) (I used the low fat one)
Fruits of assorted colors as needed ( I used pomegranate, apple, orange, kiwi and banana)

Fruit Pizza

Method Of Preparation -
Making the Sugar Cookie Crust - 
Cream the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy. Add milk and beat it well.

In another bowl, whisk the flour, salt and baking powder.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the fluffy sugary butter and knead into a soft dough.

It is a good idea to refrigerate the dough at this point if you are not ready to proceed further.

If using frozen whipped cream, now is a good time to thaw it. I just transferred it into the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 350 °F.

I went ahead and rolled out the dough (1 cm thick, approx 8-9 inch in diameter) onto a pizza pan lined with parchment paper. [I don't boast of a perfect circular shape :)]

Bake it on the center rack for about 18-20 min until the underside looks slightly golden brown.

Remove and let it cool on a wire rack for about 45 min. Be careful while transferring as the cookie is very fragile and likely to show up cracks.

Assembling the Dessert -  Apply the whipped cream as generously as you prefer and arrange the sliced fruit as per your imagination.

Chill and slice before serving.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 35

Preparation Time 35 min + 20 min baking time
Makes a 10 inch cookie or 14-16 generous portions

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Stir Fry Vegetable Pizza with Oat Bran Crust

I saw the combination for the pizza crust in a book from the library a long time back and roughly jotted down the ingredients. This is for Day 2 of BM #35.

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Veggie Pizza Muffin

"Amma, look at this picture. Can I have this for a snack tomorrow?" - This is the kind of conversations I am having with my older one at bedtime. She looks into her instagram account and challenges me with these pictures. One way my creative juices get a huge boost and the result are these muffins.

I felt that cutting out the small circles and baking them in muffin cups is rather a tedious way of making it. I would rather bake the pizza on the whole flatbread and then slice it out for the kids (which I do many a time :) ).

The advantage of baking them into individual muffin sized pizzas is that there are more veggies per square inch :). The teeny weeny size appeals to the kids and helps in portion control for the adults !! You know I am talking about the pizza loving adult in my house, right?

So stay tuned for some interesting varieties of Pizzas as part of BM #35.

Veggie Pizza Muffin

Ingredients - 

Flatout Flat bread (Tortillas or Home made chapatis would also work) 2 nos
Pizza sauce 3-4 Tbsp
Onions, Tomatoes, Olives finely chopped 1/2 cup each
Cheese, shredded 1 cup (or less as preferred)
Chilli flakes for topping (if needed)

Veggie Pizza Muffin

Method Of Preparation -

Cut out the flat breads into small circles according to the size of the muffin cups.

Preheat the oven to 400 °F.

Arrange the cut out flat bread circles in each of the muffin cups.

Apply pizza sauce on each of the cut out circles.

Sprinkle the veggies in each of them as well.

Finally top each of them with shredded cheese.

Bake for 13-15 min or until the cheese browns slightly.

Remove form oven and let it cool for a couple of minutes.

Carefully un-mould the muffin cups and serve it hot with a topping of crushed red pepper if needed.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 35.

Preparation Time 25 min
Makes 12

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Wheat Bran Roti

As a continuation to the previous posts in which a dietitian friend of mine has stressed on the need for protein and fiber in our diet, I am posting these Wheat Bran Rotis.

This recipe has been suggested by my friend, Pooja for people on a wheat based diet. Also this is diabetes friendly. Please note that the quantities mentioned in the recipe are for one person per meal. 

I totally agree that to be able to eat the wheat bran needs some persistence and will power. But I am sure the health conscious folks out there would be willing to give it a try!! Personally I didn't find it so hard to eat these. I can't say that about the rest of my family!

This forms part of CCChallenge for the month of December, Week 1.

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Posted by Harini R on Saturday, December 7, 2013

To conclude this Weight Loss Series, I would like to thank Srivalli for incorporating this theme for this month and also my friend, Pooja who has contributed the valuable articles, tips, tricks, recipes and strategies which will aid in weight loss goals.

So check out some Weight Loss Strategies and tips as part of Day 3 of BM #35.


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Moong Dal - Pumpkin Soup

For Day 2 of BM #35, here is the rest of the article by Pooja, the dietitian, continued from yesterday..

How does protein pack a punch?
Our bodies need three vital Macro-nutrients to survive. These are carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We also need micro-nutrients like vitamins and minerals, but these are required in lesser amounts. 

Think of the micro-nutrients like make-up that you apply. They're what you need to look beautiful, but it's the macro-nutrients that are going to determine your health and that are absolutely vital. 

Ideally, for optimal health, your intake of carbohydrates, proteins and fats should be balanced. However, in reality, this seldom happens. In fact, 90% of what the average Indian eats consists solely of carbohydrates and fats! We're obviously getting less protein and this can lead to greater medical problems. More than half of the patients we treat today (for obesity and metabolic syndrome) have followed a diet that's severely lacking in protein.

Why is this so crucial that it can determine our well-being? 

  • Proteins are the building blocks of muscles, bones, hormones, skin cells and tissues.
  • It is responsible for the regeneration of our body cells. That's why it's so important for growing children and lactating women. 
  • In adults, it helps heal wounds and recover more rapidly from injury, prevents hair loss and weakness.

If you have been exercising regularly, but not been losing weight, a lack of protein may be to blame. After you exercise, your muscles are worn out; protein helps re-build the muscle tissue. More muscle in the body helps burn more calories and this also gives you the strength and energy to work out more vigorously in your next session as well. This is why weight loss is so much faster when there is adequate protein in the diet. 

High protein diets are also considered better for better diabetic control and dyslipidemia (abnormal amount of lipids (e.g. cholesterol and/or fat) in the blood). But it should be used with caution in people with renal problems(kidney prob). 

Protein for weight loss
Instead of counting calories in our foods as so many diets compel us to do, experts now believe that we should be using our mathematical skills to find out if we're getting enough protein instead! 

A normal person requires 1 gm of protein for every kilo of body weight. So if you're sixty kilos, you need 60 gms of protein every day. However, if want to lose weight, then you need to eat even more. This is because the body tends to burn carbohydrates first, then proteins and finally fats.

When our diet consists of an overdose of carbohydrates and fats, exercising is not as effective in weight loss, since we'll only be burning carbohydrates and won't be exercising long enough to burn fats. If we increase our intake of protein, our intake of carbohydrates will automatically decrease and we tend to burn proteins quickly and the fats more easily, resulting in weight loss.

When to have it
Ideally, protein should never be taken when you're starving or very hungry. This is because the body, in starvation mode, tends to convert protein into carbohydrates, thus defeating the purpose . 
The best way to increase your intake of protein would be to have small frequent meals throughout the day. As absorption of protein by the body takes 1.5 to 2 hours, it is best to complete your food two hours before bedtime. If you sleep while your body is busy absorbing protein, it will hinder absorption, converting it to carbohydrates again.

Vegetarian Vs Non-Vegetarian sources
Both vegetarians and non-vegetarians can get their protein requirements from food, but vegetarians may find it difficult to get enough, since the sources of protein in plant foods are limited. 

Usage of whey water (water left while making paneer) in shakes and soups is a good option. Traditional Indian meals include cereal-pulse combinations that are easily absorbed by the body, like dal-roti, idli sambhar, chole chawal. All this improves the overall quality of protein for vegetarian intake.

Calculate your protein needs based on your body weight. Ensure that you take in adequate amounts of protein everyday, both to fuel weight loss and promote growth.
Since anything in excess has a negative effect, so is protein also. If taken in excess, it puts extra load on kidneys leading to various troubles.

So Balance diet is what is required for a healthy lifestyle.  It can cure more than a medicine and another thing which I always say is your attitude towards life. You can drive your life as God has given the steering wheel to you even though he is the engine. Always trust your engine and drive with confidence in the direction you want. Destination is never far from you.

Some more tips for effective Weight Loss..
  • Know your threshold. Limit your portions and stop before you are full.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. For every 20kgs, you should be taking 1 liter of water.
  • Focus more on salads, fruits, green tea and other fluids like coconut water, buttermilk etc.
  • Use olive oil for cooking and in less quantity.
  • Add fiber to your meals by adding wheat bran to wheat flour and you can have Flax seeds (alsi) 1-2 tsp/day.
Another recipe from Pooja which is protein rich and makes up a healthy and wholesome meal in itself.

Moong Dal - Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients - 

Moong Dal 3/4 cup
Pumpkin Cubed 1 cup
Tomato chopped 1 cup
Turmeric 1/4 tsp
Salt as needed
Pepper as needed
Cumin Powder 1/4 tsp
Red Chilli Powder as needed

Lemon juice squeeze (Optional)

Method Of Preparation -

Pressure cook all the ingredients except pepper. 

After the pressure cooker cools down, puree the mixture adding as much water as is necessary to achieve the desired consistency. (I used an immersion blender to do this).

Boil the mixture again and let it simmer on low heat for a few minutes. Sprinkle powdered black pepper and adjust the taste as needed.

Serve hot with croutons for a filling appetizer/dinner.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 35.

Preparation Time 25 min
Serves 4

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Whey Watermelon Lemonade

For BM #35, I have chosen to do a series on Weight Loss. In that context I shall introduce a dear friend of mine, Pooja, who is a professional lifestyle counselor with over 10 years of experience. Her specialty is Obesity Management and has a Post Graduate degree in Public Health Nutrition and Dietetics (Gold Medalist).

She has kindly lent her expertise in composing an article with some tips, tricks and recipes to make losing weight an achievable goal.

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Posted by Harini R on Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Chayote Curry with Coriander Mint Chutney

Chayote Squash is my most favorite vegetable and so I try to make as many variations of this vegetable as I can think of. This latest combination with coriander-mint chutney was suggested to me by my cousin, Mallika. 

In fact she said it would taste heavenly with potatoes and added that she would love to taste the flavor with other vegetables as well. The flavor of the coriander-mint chutney fused very well in the curry and was a delight to have. I paired with wheat bran rotis for lunch.
This forms part of the last week of CCChallenge for Nov.

Ingredients - 

Chayote Squash peeled, pitted and chopped 2 cups
Coriander-Mint Chutney 1 1/2 Tbsp
Tomato Puree (I used Pasta Sauce) 1/4 cup
Ginger Garlic paste  tsp (Optional)
Onion chopped 1/4 cup
Turmeric 1/4 tsp
Salt as needed
Seasoning (Oil 2 tsp, Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp, Jeera 1/2 tsp)

Chayote Curry with Coriander Mint Chutney

Method Of Preparation -

In a heated pan, add oil, mustard seeds and cumin. After the mustard seeds pop, saute the onions until they are golden brown. 

Also add in the ginger-garlic paste (if using) and saute. Add in the coriander-mint chutney, tomato puree (or pasta sauce) and let the mixture cook well for 3-5 minutes.

Sprinkle turmeric and the chopped chayote squash, sprinkle some water, cover and let it cook until tender.

Add salt to taste and remove from fire. (I didn't garnish with coriander leaves but feel free to add some)

Serve it warm with Roti/Rice.

Preparation Time 25 min
Serves 3-4

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Posted by Harini R on Sunday, December 1, 2013
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