Saturday, April 14, 2018

Alternative (Healthy) Baking!

This is something that I have been exploring for about 2-3 years now. Traditional baking recipes call for use of All purpose flour (Maida/Refined Flour), Refined oil, White sugar (Refined sugar) - all of which are not recommended for regular consumption. Along with this, I also started exploring how to get fluffy, sponge cakes, without adding eggs :-)

Before we get into replacing an ingredient with an alternate/substitute, we need to understand their characteristic. For instance, all refined products are very light, in consistency and colour - resulting in light, spongy cakes. Whereas, the substitutes - Atta (Wheat Flour), Jaggery (Naattu sakkarai), Honey, etc are little heavy/sticky in texture and dark in colour. So you might end up with darker, dense cakes.


This photo is one of my initial cakes, It is pretty dense and not fluffy - although very soft and moist.
 

    This is a more recent cake, after perfecting the recipe - Extremely fluffy, soft and totally decadent! 


Replacers:

Maida - All purpose flour 
  • Atta/Wheat Flour
  • Oats Flour
  • A mix of Oats and Atta
  • Yet to explore - Almond and Coconut flours
White Sugar
  • Jaggery/Naattu sakkarai
  • Honey
  • Yet to explore - Palm Candy (Panakalkandu)
Eggs
  • Flax Seed Powder
  • Ground Bananas
  • A mixture of Banana and Flax Seed Powder
Refined Oil
  • Cold-pressed/wood-pressed oils 
Tips & Tricks

Especially in the case of alternate baking using substitutes, we need to to follow these steps diligently for light and fluffy cakes! I have picked up a few tricks and tips from various Cooking blogs on YouTube and listed the ones that work for me.
  • The dry ingredients should be sieved at least 2-3 times for incorporating air into the mixture - making it light and fluffy, at the same time mixing together all the ingredients.
  • The sugar replacer - Jaggery tends to have small bits that do not easily dissolve. Hence it is included along with the wet ingredients and blended in a mixie/blender.
  • Traditionally the wet ingredients are mixed using a hand mixer or a stand mixer. We might not have those equipment, so instead of investing in them, we can very well use a regular Blender/mixie for mixing ONLY the wet ingredients.
  • Please note - all dry ingredients should be gently folded into the wet ingredients using a spatula or spoon only. Please do not use the blender/mixie or a hand mixer/stand mixer for blending in the dry ingredients.
  • Most Youtube videos show bananas that are mashed by fork.  I get better results by blending in a blender/mixie.
I will be following this up with some of my favourite cake and cookie recipes!.. So Stay tuned :-D

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Product Review - Bumpadum small wetbags

When Bumpadum released their small bags, I was very curious about the utility and got a couple of my favourite prints to try them out. They are very versatile and have multiple uses. Attached some photos from my holidays, and small outings.

While on vacation, I use these to hold just about anything - from medicines, to cosmetics, to important documents like passport, to small snacks for the toddler. At other times, it carries a diaper or two for short trips, walk to the park, trip to the mall, etc. It is very compact and fits well in most of my hand bags. 

Wet bags do not need any special maintenance. Just wash the used wetbag along with your diapers as per your usual wash routine and dry well.

 Small Wetbag - Jungle print - loaded with medicines and thermometer while on a vacation

  Small Wetbag - hibiscus print - loaded with cosmetics and hair clips while on a vacation


Small Wetbag - hibiscus print - loaded with 2 diapers for a quick walk

Small Wetbag - hibiscus print - loaded with 2 diapers for a quick walk (inside view)

Small Wetbag - jungle print - loaded with dirty diapers during a vacation

Con:
If overloaded, wetness is felt on the outside. This has been my experience with most of the wetbags I have used. If the diaper is soaking wet, or more diapers are stuffed into the wetbag, and placed in the luggage, under pressure, you can feel the wetness on the surface and it does make other items in the bag also wet.

To get over this, I always place the wetbag in the middle of my dirty clothes so that my fresh ones do not get wet.

Verdict - Recommend! It is a good buy - Versatile usage, good for storing a variety of items during travel.

Cloth Diaper Accessory - Wetbags

Wet bags are an essential part of a Cloth Diaper stash. They are highly versatile and come in different sizes and types. Typically, they are simple bags, designed to store your diapers while on the go! Especially the dirty diapers - without smell or wetness leaking outside.

Some bags might have a single pouch (store only dirty diapers), while other might have double pouches (can store both fresh and dirty diapers in separate pouches). Likewise, there are large wetbags and small wetbags.

The photo below is my full stash of wetbags - Top Row Super Bottoms Utsav and Mischief Managed, White Econobum wet bag
Bumpadum Small bags (one below the other) - Forest and Hibiscus, Unbranded china made wet bag - Barnyard animals



Usage:
* For a quick walk in the park - Stuff a diaper in a small wetbag. Mine are from Bumpadum. Include a cloth wipe/napkin for emergency.
It is very compact and can be carried easily in your handbag or any handy bag, along with water and snacks for your toddler. If you need to change the diaper, just take the fresh one out and put the dirty diaper inside and you are good to go!

*For a quick outing or walk in the park without your hand bag? There is a wetbag for that - Superbags from Superbottoms. These are large wetbags with 2 pouches. So I stuff the bigger pouch with 2 diapers, 1 dress, a small snack and my wallet. sometimes I add in a small water bottle, sometimes I carry the water separately with a shoulder strap. The other pouch is left empty to hold the dirty diaper if I need to change her diaper..

* Vacation/Weekend trips - The small wet bags from Bumpadum are great to hold medicines and drops. Even if there is any leakage, it will be contained inside the bag.
And they are very handy to store cosmetics too :-)

*Holiday - One Superbags from Superbottoms holds all the fresh diapers (in both pouches), whereas the other one holds all the dirty diapers, as and when we change the diaper. This way, in case of any emergency, I still have an entire wetbag to use. Once the Superbag is full of dirty diapers, i start using the other wetbags, the unbranded one and small wet bags from Bumpadum.


Once back from the park/walk/vacation you can take the diapers out of the wetbag(s) and wash everything.The wet bag does not need any special maintenance. Just wash the used wetbag along with your diapers as per your usual wash routine and dry well.

Hope this has been helpful to those considering buying wetbags. Incase of any queries or questions, please feel free to get in touch :-)

Cheers!!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Product Review - La Flora Organics (Mosquito repellant spray and balm)

On recommendation of a friend (who is also a doctor), I got the La Flora Msquito repellant spray and balm, to use on my toddler during night time and when going out.
We have been using this regularly for the past few months now, and have been very happy with the results.

Description:
The spray is a tiny bottle of essential and aromatic oils and is very handy to carry..
It squirts a small amount of the oil mixture, which can be applied/spread on hands and legs.. What I felt is that, on spraying, the oil immediately runs off and has to be quickly rubbed by hand.
To prevent that, I spray on my palm, and then apply on my toddler.

The balm comes in a very tiny bottle, and Honestly I was disappointed at first look. For complete application, we need to keep dipping fingers inside and apply the product. That is one reason I prefer spray to the balm.

Experience:
Both products have a very pleasant fragrance and are soft on the skin. (my toddler has extra sensitive skin)
Both products are quite thick, and do not spread a lot, hence feels like I am using a lot of the product to cover the exposed skin completely.
Efficiency wise, both the spray and the balm work really well in protecting my kiddo from mosquito bites (Yayy!!)

Verdict:
Highly recommend!
Out of the current options available in the market, these are one of the best (in my experience and opinion)
Slightly expensive, but totally worth it!

Link to product on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.in/Mosquito-mosquito-repellant-Balm-25gms-Liquid-50ml/dp/B01085BJPG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1504315701&sr=8-2&keywords=la+flora+mosquito+repellent

Monday, August 28, 2017

Product Review - Godrej Roll on

As my toddler has insect bite hypersensitivity, we are forever looking for effective mosquito/insect repellent solution, that is toddler friendly. She also has sensitive skin, so I am very careful on what I apply to her skin.

One of the first few products I tried was Godrej Fabric Roll-on. I was extremely attracted by the advertisement which said that 4 drops of the liquid on kid's dress (one drop each on both sleeves and trousers) is enough to keep mosquitoes away! I promptly ordered one and was highly disappointed with the tiny sized bottle that I received! But nevertheless, gave it a shot..

On first usage, I was shocked by the distinct odour that the product gave off!! Although it did seem to be effective against mosquitoes, I could not not bear the smell. Hubby joked - Hey it repels humans too!! And the teeny tiny bottle got over in no time.. and I do not think I ll get this one again..

Priced at INR 75 for a tiny bottle, I personally felt that this product is not a value for money.

PS - this is my personal opinion after purchasing above product and using on my toddler.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Product Review - Super Bags from SuperBottoms!

Aptly called Superbags, these are easily one of the best wetbags I have used in these 2.5 years of Cloth Diapering. 

Description:
2 zippered, double layered large wetbags
1 large pouch to hold fresh diapers, spare clothes, etc
a smaller pouch to hold dirty diapers
(or the other way around :) )

I purchased these in November 2016, just before a vacation which I wanted to exclusively Cloth Diaper. I needed only one, but when browsing through the SuperBottoms site I got so attracted to the gorgeous prints and ordered 2 :-P

The bags were delivered in eco-friendly package (a big plus for me) and my first impression was Wow! I have used them extensively over the past several months and they have served me well. 

They are quite handy to use and I take them wherever we go. Whether it is for mini vacations, or evenings out to the beach or a park. In fact, for simple evenings out, the Superbag can be loaded with dress, spare diaper, some snacks, wallet and carried as is, without an additional shoulder bag!

 The 2 prints I have - The festive - Utsav and the Harry Potter special - Mischief Managed


The fully loaded Utsav with fresh diapers and spare dresses for the toddler

 

Utsav snapped on to my 'Soul Slings - Dream Bag. Easy to carry and flaunt these gorgeous paisleys!<3 p="">
<3 p="">



Pros:
* Double layered
* 2 individual pouches to store
* snappable handles on either side, that can be used to hang the wetbag on the clothesline (for drying) or attach to your hand bag (like in the picture above).

Cons:
No con as such!

Verdict - Definitely recommended. Every cloth diapering mother needs a good quality, sturdy wetbag in her stash. And Superbags are definitely one of the best for the intended purpose :-) Absolute Value for money!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Motherhood hack - Juice without a juicer!!

Necessity is the mother of all inventions ;-) and that is how I got this idea :P

When buying oranges, I got the ones that are good for juices, instead of the usual Kamala Orange (which can be peeled and eaten). My daughter spotted the oranges and wanted to have one immediately. So I had no choice but to make orange juice  without a juicer :-)

And this is what I did :-P




Used this wooden masher to extract the juice from the oranges, filtered and gave it to my toddler - fresh! No water, no added sweetener, nothing! She totally enjoyed it and asked for more :D

Amma happy, papa happy! :-)

Alternative (Healthy) Baking!

This is something that I have been exploring for about 2-3 years now. Traditional baking recipes call for use of All purpose flour (Maida/R...