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
*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

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

* 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 :-)

* 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)

* 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!


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.

* 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.

* 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

Dry Roast the following separately and grind coarsely:
* 1 cup Kadala paruppu (Gram dall)
* 1/2 cup Daniya
* Dry Red Chillies - according to taste

This is 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.

* Full Fat Milk
* Sugar 
* Elaichi powder

* 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 :-)

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...