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 - Recommended!! It is a good buy - Versatile and very useful

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 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:
Not really a con of this wetbag, but more of a general issue with almost all wetbags.

PUL (Poly Urethane Laminate - the waterproof exterior of Cloth Diapers) is breathable - meaning it allows the passage of air. So under a lot of pressure and if over loaded, PUL also allows water to permeate through. Although it would not leak heavily, you can feel mild wetness outside.

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! :-)

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Motherhood lessons - How to remove clay from wall!

We were visiting a relative for a few days and I brought along some clay to keep my toddler entertained. She is 2 years old and loves squishing and shaping the colourful balls of clay :-)
Often I make her favourite shapes like star or flower and give it to her to touch, feel and squish. 

As luck would have it, she took the exploration to the next level and decided paint the wall of their new home with clay :-O Imagine my horror when I walk into the room, barely a minute later - I had just stepped out to get myself a plate of food, and find that she had plastered their wall with green and yellow clay! To make it worse, she had pressed and dragged the clay to form streaks of green. As I looked at her, she pointed to the wall and said 'Green' and pointed to the clay still in her hand and said 'Boo' and showed pasting on the wall. She was actually telling me that she was going to follow up the green clay with some blue clay (LOL) Well I didn't know how to react - whether to laugh or cry :-P

I just took the clay out of her hands and told her that clay was meant to be shaped in our hands and not on the wall and got her ready for afternoon nap. Once she fell asleep, got down to work on the wall :P

Checked Google and different people had suggested different solutions, when it suddenly struck me that I could try scraping the clay off. Here is what I did to get the clay off the wall.

This is what my daughter had done - plastered the clay here and there, some were large chunks, while some were long streaks.


 I first scraped them off - using my fingernails. You could use a spoon or some thing else to scrape off the clay. This is how it looks after scraping off - light streaks remaining.


For the final step, I took a soft cotton cloth, and added few drops of dish wash liquid or hand wash liquid and few drops of water and rubbed the remaining streaks. Within minutes the clay was almost gone. Finally used some plain water and rinsed the soap off the wall.


And that is how motherhood teaches me new things every single day ;-)
Signing off for now.. will be back with more fun :D

Friday, July 28, 2017

How to snap your Cloth diaper for a good fit

Hello everyone! Here is a quick comparison video on how to snap your cloth diaper to get a good fit.



And a couple of fit photos too...

Here, the rise is folded downwards and the fit is not proper. We can see the fold (gap) on either side.



A close up shot of the side where the gap is clearly seen



Here the rise is folded upwards, giving the best fit and no gap or fold in the sides.


 A close up shot of the perfect fit!



Hope this is clear. In case of any queries or questions, feel free to ask me.

Business page:
www.facebook.com/aarikafashions

Shop online:
Http://aarika.meesho.com

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Aarika - a fun post!

It has been almost 1.5 years of Aarika and it has been quite a ride so far :-)
Looking back, I see lots of learning and lots of support. My heartfelt thanks to each and every single person who supported Aarika in every way possible! This would not have been possible without you :-)

For a fun post today, I am going to pen done some of the questions that I am often asked.

* Is Aarika your daughter's name? :-)
No, Aarika is not my daughter's name. I should thank my husband for telling me NOT to name after my daughter and my Logo designer (Aparrna) for letting me take my time to finalise this one name that clicked! Sri (my husband) said that Srishti (my daughter) is different and this (Aarika) is different - how right he is! Srishti is my personal, whereas Aarika is my passion <3 br="">
Aarika means 'admired for looks' or that which is beautiful, lovely to look at! And that is precisely what I think of, every time I shop - 'will this dress look good on me?' I have extended that to Aarika - to host dresses that look good on you. At Aarika, there is some thing special for every single person to wear and enjoy :-)

*Where do you source from?
Honestly, not a single place or source. We get from any place that has good quality fabrics, unique and impressive designs :-)
Sourcing is an area where I focus most of my energy on. Samples are purchased from different vendors for personal use and after trial and quality check, we take it forward.

*So, hows it going?
Well, What do I reply to this question :P It is always, always a roller coaster ride, without an idea of if it is going to be up or down next ;-) So I always say it is going good :-)


*Why did you choose this?
 Well, I personally love online shopping. I follow plenty of shopping groups on Facebook, and read posts about experiences - both positive and negative. I specially love to read about customer complaints and how those are handled by small scale home sellers.
And when I was toying around with the idea to start a business, there was one thing I knew for sure, which is that I wanted to be different. I wish to build trust and an happy experience shopping with Aarika.
Of course I have not been without my ups and downs and all kinds of experiences, but that is part of the growth curve right :-)

Hope you enjoyed reading my 'Aarika' experiences :-) If you have any questions, feel free to PM me!

Follow Aarika on Facebook 
Instagram handle: /aarikafashions
Shop Online at Aarika

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Apple crumble!



For a while now, I have been curious about the bottom layer (of digestive biscuits) in Cheesecakes and pie and really wanted to try out an easy recipe, to see how it turns out. So when I had few apples lying around, I instantly decided to make apple crumble. Now this recipe is ridiculously easy and very delicious. If you try it, do post pictures :-)

All you need are:
*few apples (I used 2)
*digestive biscuits or crackers ( I used a packet)
*flour (I used Atta - 1.5 cups)
*Sugar (I used honey approx 1/2 to 3/4 cups)
*Room temperature butter

Procedure:
* Dice the apples to desired size. I cut them medium to small pieces.
* Add some lemon juice to prevent browning
* If you want to add extra flavour or sweetness to your apples, you can add a dash of vanilla essense and some honey.


* Prepare your top crumble layer - 1 or 1.5 cups of whole wheat flour. Add desired amount of sugar or honey. Rub in cold butter to form crumbs as shown in photo


* Bottom crust - Crush a packet digestive biscuits (Some tiny bits and some medium bits).


* Mix with room temperature melted butter and line the bottom of your pan (I used a 7 inch square pan)
* Your crust is now ready

* Arrange your apple layer on top of the digestive biscuit layer


* Add the flour crumble layer on top evenly and pat down gently.


* Bake for 180 C in a pre-heated oven till a golden brown crust is formed.
* Serve warm as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
* Sit back and enjoy :D





Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Cloth Diaper Laundry - So simple!

When I say Cloth diapers - the first thing I hear is "How do we wash them?!"

Well, it is really simple. Cloth diapers (CDs), are just like your regular clothes - just as simple to use, and just as simple to wash :-) You can use any mainstream detergent to wash them.


For detergents, just check these points:
* No additives
* No fabric softeners (like Comfort)
* No fragrances (Jasmine flavoured, etc)
* No Dettol (Oh please!!)


The next question is - hand wash or machine wash?
Well, that is totally up to you! It depends on how you wash your regular laundry.

You can check my regular wash routine - here.

Few points to keep in mind:* Why no additives, fabric softeners (comfort), etc?
Any extra substance you use on CDs, will clog and cause buildup in the diapers, which will reduce their absorbance and also cause stinking issues.

*Dirty diapers smell a lot, can I use a little Comfort or Dettol to make them smell better?
Err, dirty diapers smell. Obviously - they have been peed or pooped in! If you are using sufficient quantity of a good detergent, then your diapers should come out of the wash smelling fresh and clean.
Absorbance is very important for a cloth diaper.
Any additive or fragrance you use will clog the pores and cause more issues in the longer run.

*What temperature should I was CDs in?
Normally CDs do not require special treatment unless you are facing problems like leaky or stinking diaper. You can regularly wash diapers in normal cold water or at 30 C or 40 C. Using very hot water on CDs may cause the elastics to loosen.


Any questions or queries, feel free to ping or email me and I ll be glad to help you out. Alternatively, Expecting mothers, new mothers, mother looking to cloth diaper your child, you can join the Facebook Group - Cloth Diapering India. It is a support group from Cloth Diapering mothers, with plenty of resources :-)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Cloth Diapering - my wash routine

The most common query I come across is regarding washing CDs (Cloth Diapers). I have summarised my every day wash routine below.

I have been CDing for almost 2 years now and I always wash her CDs together with the family laundry in the washing machine.

I have used  
*Surf Excel
*Tide
*Amway SA8 
*Rustic Art (Power Laundry)

Amount of detergent you use for every wash depends on the load - number of clothes and how dirty they are (a day out in the park, more poopy diapers, etc).


This is my wash routine:

* Dirty diaper goes inside a large laundry basket (with holes for air circulation)
* If there is poop, shake the solids into the toilet and flush. You can also spray off the solids into the toilet. Rinse the diaper under tap and store the diaper in the said laundry basket.
* we do our laundry every night.
* Pre wash in cold water, with little detergent (this step is important to remove most of the urine and dirt) so that when the main wash cycle runs, the clothes are washed and rinsed in clean water.
* Main wash at 30 C or 40 C with sufficient detergent depending on the load.
* Once washed, sun dry.

This routine has worked well for me over the past couple of years, while using different detergents too.

Any questions or queries, feel free to ping or email me and I ll be glad to help you out. Alternatively, Expecting mothers, new mothers, mother looking to cloth diaper your child, you can join the Facebook Group - Cloth Diapering India. It is a support group from Cloth Diapering mothers, with plenty of resources :-)

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Healthy Veggie Dosa

How nice it feels to give a twist to our regular every day dishes :-) This one is very easy to put together and you can season it to suite your taste buds :D

Ingredients
* Vegetables (as per your choice). I chose - Onions, Carrots, tri-color peppers
* Cumin seeds (optional)
* Dosa batter

Procedure
* Chop the vegetables very very fine. I don't have a photo of the chopped vegetables, but below you can see pictures of the Dosa batter and how I make this Dosa. The vegetables are chopped very tiny.
* Add proportionate amount of veggies to the dosa batter. Depends on how you like your dosa.
*if you want to make really thin dosa, the veggies should be lesser in your batter.
* But if you do not mind thick dosa, you can go ahead and fill your batter with veggies.
* Add a spoon or 2 of cumin seeds as per your taste. I love cumin seeds so I added a bit more.
* Mix the batter well, and add a little bit of water (if needed) to adjust the consistency.
* It should not be too thick or too runny.
*Tip* - if the batter becomes too runny, just add a spoon or 2 of Oats Powder (recipe here) to thicken it ;-) 
* At this point, you may check the batter to adjust salt as per your taste. I normally cook with less salt, so i do not add any extra salt to the batter.
* Place a dosa tawa on the stove in medium heat. Check that it has heated sufficiently and pour a ladle full of dosa batter on the tawa and spread it evenly.
* Add a few drops of oil around the edges of the dosa and cook on meduim flame.
* A couple of minutes later, flip over the other side and cook for few minutes.
* Your super healthy and tasty vegetable dosa is now ready to be served :-)


The batter is ready. Mixed well with vegetables and cumin seeds.

 The dosa batter is spread well on a hot tawa. Add few drops of oil around the edges and cook on medium flame.

One side is done, flip over and cook for a few minutes on medium flame..

Ready to be served with yummy Chutney and Sambar :D

Almond Butter Cookies!!

Every time I make cookies, I love to explore and try new flavours, new textures. This time I have tried my hand at Almond butter cookies :-)

Ingredients
* Almond Butter - here I am using fresh home made almond butter. Recipe here
* Powdered Oats (Recipe here)
* Sugar or Jaggery or Honey (as per preference)

Procedure
* Keep your Almond Butter ready and in room temperature (Recipe here. )

I made 2 batches. One with Jaggery as sweetener and the other with Honey as sweetener.

* Take 2-3 cups of Powdered Oats (Recipe here) in a large mixing bowl and slowly add almond butter to it and keep folding/mixing.
* Add about 3/4th of a cup to 1 cup of Jaggery (as per your taste preference) to this mixture.
* Make sure that the jaggery is well powdered and not in lumps.
* I got a pack of Organic Natural Sugar (jaggery powder) that I used here.
* Keep folding till you get a dough consistency. 
* If the cookie dough is too dry, add more almond butter. 
* If the dough feels buttery, but still not holding together, add a few drops of water or milk.
* break off a small portion and rub well to make a smooth ball.
* Flatten the ball between your palm to make round cookies of desired thickness.
* I use a Halogen Oven for baking. Baked for about 10 minutes at 180C.
* The temperature and timing depends on your oven setting.
* Keep checking the cookies for browning.
* Once done, take it out and let them cool before transferring to an airtight container for storage.

Freshly made Almond butter 


 Almond butter and oats - Cookie dough


 Ready to bake!


 Fresh out of the oven!

Yummmmm!!

My Kitchen Essentials!!

Apart from the regulars, I have a few specific items always readily available in my kitchen :-) I often use these in my recipes and will be referring to them in my posts.

Powdered Oats
I like to use powdered oats in a lot of my recipes. It is healthy and easy to use :-)

* Take a deep frying pan (to avoid the oats from spilling out) and dry roast for about 5-10 minutes
* Normally I turn off the stove just before the colour starts changing.
* Transfer the oats to a large plate for it to cool faster.
* Blend to a a fine powder once cool, and store in an air tight container.

Uses:
* Add a few spoons in regular dosa or idli batter for making an easy version of Oats Dosa.
* If any gravy or batter has become runny, a little bit of this oats powder will thicken it.
* I use this powder in almost all my cookie preparations.
* Mix a few spoons of this powder with Atta to make healthy Oats Rotis or Oats Poori.
* Oats porridge is very easy with this powder. Cooks faster too.
* When making patties or cutlets, you can roll the patty or cutlet in this powder too, instead of bread crumbs.

Garlic bread seasoning


Got this in the local supermarket and absolutely love it!! Gives a mild garlic feel, nothing too strong.
* Usually sprinkled on my sandwiches
* even once in a pasta dressing
* Seasoning for Bread upma :D 

I sprinkle this on any dish I feel like..
I am using the other herbs from this same brand - Oregano, Basil, Mixed herbs, and they are quite good!

Melagu-Jeeraga podi (Pepper-Cumin seeds powder)

This powder gives the nice flavour of cumin seeds along with the spice of peppers. 



* Dry roast some pepper and Cumin seeds individually.
* Allow them to cool down and then blend to a smooth powder.

The quantity of Cumin seeds and pepper depends on personal preference. I prefer more of cumin seeds, so I go for 2:1 ratio (2 measures of cumin seeds). If you want the powder to be more spicy, you can even go for 1:1 ratio.

As both the pepper and cumin seeds are wel roasted before grinding, the powder can be used directly.

Uses
* Final seasoning on rasam, just before switching off the stove.
* seasoning on Fried Rice/pulav for an extra punch.
* In sadnwiches.
* Sprinkled on salads (yummm!)

Sundal Podi

*will check exact proportions and update the recipe*

This is a a very versatile powder that I use extensively in my regular South Indian cooking. As the name suggests, its main use is in Sundal :D

Other uses are:
* Final seasoning for Sambar, to add an extra punch
* Additional flavour in Kootu
* Perfect seasoning for Brinjal fry!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Paal Kova - yummy milk sweet

Few days back I had some extra milk on hand, and I was craving for some sweet. First thing that came to my mind was Paal Kova :) Mom used to make for almost all special occasions and I remember my uncle used to specifically request for this ;-)

Paal Kova is a sweet made of densely condensed milk, with sugar to taste and elaichi powder for flavour.

Back then, we used to spend ages stirring the milk, never moving away from the stove. But over the years, I have learnt to be a little more relaxed.

Ingredients:
* Full Fat Milk
* Sugar 
* Elaichi powder

Procedure:
* Boil the full fat milk with some stirring in between.
* After the milk boils, keep the stove on low and let it continue to boil. The milk should become thicker and reduce in volume
* In between, keep stirring so that milk does not sediment on the side and does not stick to the bottom.
* A thick bottomed vessel is good for this.
 * Slowly you will begin to notice colour change. As th milk thickens to semi solid consistency, add sugar as per your taste. Sugar level depends on your preference.
* Add a bit of elaichi powder to taste. You can use freshly ground elaichi powder or store bought.

In this photo, it is almost ready. The colour has changed and milk and thickened considerably.
    

 At this stage you have to be very careful. It is almost completed. You will know that it is ready when it stops sticking to the sides and starts coming off easily.


Transfer to a bowl and enjoy warm or you can chill and serve as dessert :-)


Note - If I am keeping the kova in the vessel itself, I switch off the stove a few minutes earlier as the vessel will retain some heat and some amount of evaporation will take place even after the stove is switched off. This time, I have immediately transferred to a different bowl, so I ensure that Kova is completely done before switching off the stove :-)


Friday, March 31, 2017

Baby-led-weaning (BLW) - in my words!

In my previous post I had mentioned BLW, which is Baby Led Weaning. Let me give a quick overview :-)

The first 6 months, a baby's intake is only milk. Either breast milk (BM) or formula milk (FM). No other fluids such as -  cow's milk, honey, sugar water, gripe water, etc. Once the baby completes 6 months of age (180 days), solids can be started gradually. Milk (BM or FM) continues to be the primary source of nutrition till 1 year of age.

Another criteria for starting solids is losing the 'Tongue thrust reflex' and ability to maintain sitting posture independently, without support. This does not mean that the child should be able to sit up on their own - just that if made to sit, should be able to continue sitting for a few minutes without support.

Traditionally, at this stage, a baby is spoon fed with watered down rice porridge or mashed foods. But BLW is all about self-feeding, and family food. No special or separate food is prepared for the baby.

Surprised? How can a six month old self feed? That too regular family food?

Well, doesn't your baby keep everything from toys to books to her mouth? That is the natural hand-mouth co-ordination movement. See something nearby, grab it and take it to your mouth. Comes naturally to all babies. The parent just has to discourage that with toys and books, and instead offer food in a plate for the baby to touch, feel, grab and mouth. A baby is hard-wired by nature to self feed and knows to regulate quantity too - meaning, a baby will eat as much as needed, and stop! Quantity is set by baby's appetite and hunger and not by mother's expectation ;-)

BLW is more about introducing different flavours and textures to the baby and less about replacing a milk feed with solid food. In fact, please make sure that milk feeds are not skipped or replaced by solid meal till the baby completes 1 year of age.

Another important aspect of BLW is that baby eats family food (without salt, sugar, chilly and honey for a baby less than 1 year). She sits in the dining table or floor with the rest of the family and eats what they eat. This way baby learns eating habits from the rest of the family and will mimic usage of cutlery, etc.

Disclaimer - Please do your own research before trying BLW with your baby. Check YouTube videos for differentiating between chocking and gagging. When beginning solids, it is but natural and normal for the baby to gag out larger pieces of the food. But there is sometimes danger of choking and you should be prepared for that.

Over the next few weeks I ll be following up with details on first foods that I offered to my baby, the no-salt no-sugar rule and much more :-)

Stuffed veg bun - Toddler's review

As with any dish, my daughter is the deciding authority for this too ;-) So I offered her the evening snack and watched from the sidelines :-P

Let the pictures do the talking ;-)


A vary look - Hmm what is this new dish!


A tentative bite.. Always ready for new adventures ;-)


Oh yummmmmmmm :D

A little while later, half the bun done and most of the veggies inside - completely ignored! :-P


Ah well, little S being a BLW toddler, I give her complete freedom as far as her meals are concerned :-)

Wondering what BLW is? ;-) Coming up in next post... Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Almond butter - toddler review!

My toddler is the motivation behind my every recipe and every trial :D If she likes what I cook, it pushes me to make it more often and try more dishes :)
I had used only 1 cup Almond to make butter (previous post) and it all got over almost instantaneously!! :P (Which is why i suggest you make butter from atleast 3 cups of almonds, to last you a bit).
Below are some photos of Little S enjoying the last few licks :)




Monday, March 27, 2017

Home made Almond butter - easier than you think!

After much deliberation, decided to try my hand at Almond Butter today.

Before trying anything new, I check out the method on YouTube. By watching different videos, I get a good idea on consistency, colour of final product, etc. I normally don't stick to measurements and like to eyeball it or taste as I go.. So watching videos makes it easier to get an idea on what to expect :)

You will need:
Almonds
Mixie (blender) or a food processor
Salt to taste .

I took only 1 cup of Almonds. I suggest that you take more.. It will be easier to process and collect if the quantity is more. With just 1 cup of Almonds I had to scrape the butter from the walls of the mixie.

In a saucepan or frying pan, dry roast the almonds for a few minutes on medium heat.. This helps in releasing the oils better.
Now pulse the Almonds to get a well powdered consistency.  In between, keep checking and scrape the almond bits from the walls to get powder uniformly.
once they are well powdered, continue to process and they will start clumping together.
At this stage, you may add salt to taste. I opted for no salt :)
Add a spoon or 2 of any neutral cooking oil.
A couple of more minutes and you will get a smooth buttery consistency.

Your Almond Butter is now ready! I enjoyed it with a slice of bread :-)


Quick Evening Snack - Veg stuffed bun

This stuffed bun is one of my childhood favourites! Mom would whip this up in just 10 minutes!! Easy and very yummy snack :D

Ingredients:
Onion
Tomato
carrot
capsicum (you can use a mix of coloured capsicums too)
butter or Mayo as per your taste
herbs and pepper for seasoning
Jeera for tempering

PS - My mom used to add beans, green peas too. You may add in any veggies of your choice. Cauliflower, potato are good options. Just make sure that they are well cooked.

Method:
Finely chops the veggies and keep them separate.

In a saucepan, add a few drops of oil or ghee and temper jeera.
Add onions and fry till transparent.
Add in the other veggies (tomato, carrot, etc) and saute for a couple of minutes.
Sprinkle some water and let the veggies cook.

Please note - carrot takes a while to cook, so keep checking. if you choose to add other veggies like potato, cauliflower, green peas - make sure they are all well cooked before proceeding further.
Once veggies are well cooked, add salt to taste and mix well.
The stuffing is now ready. Keep aside to cool down a bit

Meanwhile, cut the buns in 2 halves.
add few drops of ghee on a tawa and toast the insides of the bun (golden colour).

Apply mayo on the insides of the bun, add 1-2 spoons of the prepared veggies, sprinkle some pepper, or any herbs like Oregano, Basil, Garlic powder on top - as per your taste.

Tada!! yummy snack is ready.. Enjoy :D



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...