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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Iron Rich Poha Beetroot Cutlet



A woman's body is prone to iron  & calcium deficiency which lead to serious health hazards later. Iron deficiency, especially after child birth, complicates lot of things. Failing to compensate the low levels may lead to hair fall, brittle nails, fatigue, paleness in skin and much more. Anemic women face trouble in keeping energy levels intact which adversely effects their social, economic status. Why wait for the consequence to take a toll when little changes in food habits can do the job? In association with livogen.in, here is an attempt to create iron rich recipes for women and help fight anemia. 


I love having poha for breakfast and keep giving twists to it for interesting recipes. Hereby, presenting tikki or cutlets made with poha, beetroot and potatoes.





Health goodness
Beaten rice or rice flakes, also called poha is a rich source of iron. Every 100 grams of raw rice flakes has 20 milligrams of iron besides a good value of carbs and minerals. Experts suggest that regular consumption of flattened rice can prevent iron deficiency and form hemoglobin that carries oxygen to blood cells. Beetroots are also iron rich and proven extremely beneficial in case of anemia or low hemoglobin.. 

 


Ingredients

  1. Poha- 2 cups
  2. Potatoes- 3-4
  3. Beetroot-1 medium size 
  4. Salt to taste 
  5. Green chili- Optional- 1-2
  6. Black pepper- Half tea spoon 
  7. Coriander powder- 1 teaspoon
  8. Cooking oil- 3-4 tablespoons

Method
  1. Soak poha in water for 10 minutes. Drain water. Keep aside. Make sure all water is drained out from poha. 
  2. Boil  potatoes. Peel and mash them. 
  3. Peel and grate beetroot. Keep aside. 
  4. In a large bowl mix the mashed potatoes, soaked poha and grated beetroot. Bind them together to make dough. Add salt as per taste. Mix black pepper and coriander powder. Churn the dough well. 
  5. Make little round shapes from the dough, pressing them gently to flatten them. 
  6. In a pan, heat oil and shallow fry the cutlets. 
  7. Flip and fry till the pink tikkis turn brownish on both sides.


Tip: Flame should be kept low to medium. Potatoes give cutlets a binding texture and body. Do not over-boil potatoes. Since beetroot is used raw in the dough, it will give crunchiness to cutlet. You can add onions to the tikkis if you like. I wanted to keep it quick and simple, hence skipped it.

For more iron rich recipes visit http://www.livogen.in/iron-chef


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Chickpea spinach egg spread



Come winter and the market gets flooded with green veggies. Spinach suddenly rules the Indian kitchens. But who really wants to eat palak saag or palak paneer every day? So, I put on my thinking cap and dished out chickpea spinach & egg spread for a winter morning. Keeping the fact in mind that iron is one of the most important elements for women's body, Livogen.in's iron chef inspires me to make an innovative recipe fortified with iron. 




Health goodness 

100 g of besan or gram flour contains 34 iron, 68% dietary fiber and good amount of vitamins. Spinach is undoubtedly a rich source of iron, magnesium, dietary fiber and zinc while egg stands out with iron, protein and Vitamin D. 



Ingredients

Spinach leaves- One small cup
Besan or chickpea powder- 3 small cups
Eggs- 3-4
Onion- 1 big, fine chopped
Tomato- 1 big, fine chopped
Green chilies- 2, fine chopped
Salt to taste
Black pepper- 1/2 tea spoon
Cooking oil- 3-4 Tablespoons
Coconut milk (Optional)- half cup


Method



Preparation 
  1. Blanch (not boil) spinach in less water. Since boiling destroys the nutritional content of spinach and the water drained goes a waste. Hence blanch in very less water till spinach turns soft.
  2. Mash the blanched leaves.
  3. Sieve besan/chickpea powder in a large bowl, ensuring no lumps are formed. Add little water.
  4. Break eggs and whisk with besan smoothly.
  5. Add chopped onions, tomato, green chilli, pepper, salt, and mashed spinach in the egg-besan mixture. Whisk well.
  6. If the mixture turns thick, you can add little water or coconut milk for flowy consistency.
Cooking


  1. Heat oil in a flat pan. Pour the mixture. Spread it evenly and let it cook for 2 minutes. 
  2. Cover the pan for a minute, allowing the egg to cook.
  3. Flip side and cook till both sides turn light brown.
  4. Serve hot with mint chutney or ketchup.
  5. Team it with hot tea or coffee for a filling healthy breakfast

Tip: Make sure the pan is on low flame. Use non-stick cook ware to avoid sticking of cheela and allowing smooth flipping.

For more iron rich recipes visit http://www.livogen.in/iron-chef

Sunday, November 5, 2017

5 places to see when in Ubud, Bali



Ubud, the cultural town of Bali is a center for traditional art and tradition. Surrounded with rain forests and rice paddies, the place is a haven for art lovers and nature enthusiasts. Bali tour is incomplete without visiting Ubud. Here are the 5 best things to do and see when you are in Ubud.

1. Ubud Palace



Once the residence of the royal family, Ubud Palace is now a tourist attraction in Bali. The palace showcases the arte facts of the kingdom and spaces which were used for prayer or meetings.

 


Several portions of the place are not accessible to public for religious reasons.  The premise has the royal throne on display which is the most noticeable thing. What gets your attention is the intricate carving on the doors. Visitors are not allowed to cross the threshold of the door, leaving you wondering what’s behind those doors? In an opportune moment, one of the doors swung open and revealed a statue of goddess Saraswati . It was truly divine! 


 

When the door flung open and reveled the idol of goddess Saraswati


Dotted with colorful garden and well-built pathways, the Royal Palace lets you peek-a-boo into the glorious relics from the past.

Location-Ubud Market, 15 minutes walk from monkey forest
Entry-Free
Time spent- The place is small, so you can spend thirty minutes at the max here. 
Parking- You can park your bike in the market. They charge around 2000-3000 IDR. If you are lucky, you may find a free parking spot.
Dress code- None.

  
2. Sacred Monkey Forest


This dense forest dedicated to the monkey god would leave you with deep respect for Indonesian culture. Imagine an entire forest for the monkeys! Inspired from the ancient culture and Ramayana epic, Balinese declared the 12.5 hectares forest land sacred and protected.


 

You not only get to see a large number of primates in the forest but also ancient temples and magnificent structures that marvel you. The monkeys are harmless, and friendly most of the times. In case a primate crawls onto your back, give it a banana treat. Should any of these threaten you or turn notorious, the forest guards are there to help you. The lush greenery, lovely architectural structures and huge variety of flora silently make your senses happy. Fill your lungs with oxygen, walk and burn our calories and have fun in the sacred forest in Ubud. 



Location-15 minute walk from Ubud Palace
Entry-50,000 IDR
Time spent-You can cover the huge forest place in 2-3 hours.
Parking- You can park your bike in the parking lot for free.
Dress code- None. Wear comfy shoes or flats. Avoid heels.


  3. Ubud Art Market


Courtesy: Bali-indonesia.com

Courtesy: Tripadvisor.com
Balinese culture oozes of art and beauty. The colorful market dazzling with Balinese art would surely delight your senses. From old paintings to hand made home d├ęcor, the art market is nothing short of a heavenly experience. The rich culture and beautiful tradition embedded in the hearts of the residents’ uplifts your mood, cajoling you to buy something and cherish the memento. Dotted with uptown cafes, restaurants and resorts, the art market would paint a picture of a modern yet peaceful place from somewhere in the lanes of Europe or Goa. Before you reach Ubud, the refreshing rice paddies on the way give you various photo opportunities.



Vegetarian food is so rare to find in Bali, forget about vegan. So, when we passed by Veggie Table, a vegan restaurant with unlimited buffet, it immediately caught our fancy and we dashed in without wasting a single minute. Soft Hindi music greeted our ears, taking us by surprise. The staff told us about the owner's love for Indian culture and his influence on on the cuisine which he curated to cater to Indian taste buds. Do give Veggie Table a try for simple yet delicious and filling vegan lunch.

Location- In the heart of Ubud, barely 10 minutes from Monkey Forest
Entry-Free
Time spent- You can spend the whole day without restriction. If you are staying in Ubud, there is nothing like it.  
Parking-  2000-3000 IDR. If you are lucky enough, you can find a free parking spot. Just keep your eyes open.
Dress code- None


4. Goa Gajah



People also call this place “mini monkey forest”. Honestly, both places have no comparison. The star attraction in Goa Gajah is the 9th century elephant cave, housing Ganesha and Shiva idols. The ancient cave temple has dark interiors with simple and bare minimum decoration. It’s the grand entrance with demon and god carvings that attracts tourists for photos. Often wrongly perceived as a dwelling place for elephants, Goa Gajah made it to the UNESCO world heritage site in the late 90’s. Apart from the cave, the whole area has several small temples, royal thrones, sacred bathing tanks, Buddha temple, beautiful gardens, holy monk cemetery, gorgeous waterfall and tiny art shops. It is a visual treat to be in this place.

You cannot afford to wear heels or tight shoes as you need to walk a lot in Goa Gajah. Explore the well maintained site flanked by sacred places throughout the forest and feel at peace. 


 

Location- Goa Gajah, Bedulu, Gianyar. Around 4 km from sacred monkey forest.
Entry-15000 IDR
Time spent- 2 hours
Parking-  Free
Dress code-  None. A sarong is compulsory if your bare legs show. Sarong is provided at the entry counter.


5. Pura Taman Saraswati Temple


Courtesy: commons.wikimedia.org
You cannot afford to miss this beautiful water temple in central Ubud. Boasting of lotus filled ponds and classic architecture, Pura Taman Temple is dedicated to the goddess of arts and knowledge, Saraswati.  This is great stopover through the town of Ubud. The large premises and amphitheatre gets your attention immediately. From the moment of seeing the temple to entering the site, fills you with a sense of calm and tranquility. At night, the temple is a prevalent location for cultural performances. There are regular dance performances in the evening, except Friday, at cost 80000 IDR.  Pura Taman Saraswati Temple is a prominent landmark which you would cross on the way to Monkey Forest in Ubud. The beauty is awe-inspiring.
Courtesy: commons.wikimedia.org   
Location- Jl. Kajeng, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 
Entry-Free
Time spent- 30 minutes
Parking- Free  
Dress code- Cover your legs with sarong which is given to you at the entrance. 


Sunday, October 22, 2017

In The Making Of Super Delhi



It would not be wrong to state that the environment we live in is in grave danger. This not only refers to the pollution that harms all the five senses of humans but also the society as a whole and the perceptions that we have for life. There are people from all walks of life, from the filthy rich to the underprivileged, from farmers to industrialists and we are connected to everyone directly or indirectly.  But how many think for the environment and do something positive for it? Few do, many don’t.

When Delhi choked in 2016
Who can forget the odd-even rule that was applied in 2016 in Delhi post the aftermath of Diwali crackers? This was one of the initiatives taken by the Delhi Government. Among many other organizations, Vodafone initiated several measures to contribute to the environment. 


In the wake of air pollution that converted Delhi into a gas chamber in 2016, this year Vodafone pledged to celebrate Green Diwali. Between 16th to 19th October, the brand made super crackers available in 52 Vodafone stores. Super crackers are one of its kind initiatives where the crackers are full of seeds and people only need to plant them. While crackers sale was banned in Delhi NCR by the Supreme Court this year, super crackers kept the essence of the festival alive without harming the environment.  If only everybody thought of such innovative ideas, the world perhaps would be a better place.




Vodafone’s philosophy “Resolve” was another program based on the three R’s i.e. reduce, reuse and recycle for waste management. Implemented in many other states, this ongoing activity also takes place in Delhi through local NGO partnership. The program aims at enhancing the livelihood as well as providing sustainable livelihood opportunity for the urban poor by creating awareness and imparting education on waste. This involves education on categorizing waste into wet, paper and plastic or hazardous- non-hazardous waste. The waste management policy ensures adequate disposal of all types of waste. Adhering to the same Vodafone facilitated e-bills, reduced the size of recharge coupons & bill envelopes to save paper, reduced sim size to cut consumption of PVC and initiated reviving of dead cells generated in the network operators to give life extension of 6-12 months. Such little steps in Delhi besides other states were to make this a smart city and let each one live a super life.

Drishti: For the visually impaired
As we speak of improving livelihood, the telecom giant gave a serious thought for the visually impaired under their project Drishti. It partnered with National Association for the Blind (NAB) to provide employment opportunities to the sightless. NAB helped Vodafone recruit visually impaired personnel who were made to man call centers and reach out to postpaid customers in Delhi. What stood out was the training imparted to them on voice recognition system instead of Braille which enabled them to handle calls. Launched in 2011, this initiative by Vodafone proved its commitment to help the under privileged and improve the quality of life. It sets a fine example of moving to a super life. After all why should the physically challenged be deprived of jobs or the basics rights?


Air purifying bus shelter in Delhi

Vodafone also launched the first of its kind air-purifying bus shelter in the busy area of Safdarjung Hospital bus stop so that commuters could breathe in pure air. The bus stop is surrounded by plastic curtains and has three industrial purifiers fitted inside with an indicator showing the difference in air quality inside and outside. This super-move was launched in December 2016 after the increased levels of toxic gases choked Delhi. This was some respite for the commuters or patients from the polluted gases they inhale daily. Vodafone deserves a huge applause for this out-of-the-box initiative.  

Wi-Fi enabled bus shelter
Among many steps towards building a smart city, Vodafone introduced first Wi-Fi enabled bus shelters in Gurgaon. The first was launched in July 2017 in Huda City Center and the second recently came up at sector 14 Bus Stop in September. This was done to let customers enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi for 20 minutes even if they are on a different network. The initiative aims to let people stay connected on the go and enhance data consumption among smartphone users in the region.  Just one year ago, Vodafone partnered with GMR to create India’s largest Wi-Fi hotspot at both terminals of Delhi airport. There are 120 such free hotspots in Delhi NCR to let people stay digitally connected even while travelling


Our environment also comprises of animals and they often subjected to abuse, negligence or illegal trade practices. NGOs like Fauna Police contribute by rescuing animals, helping them getting adopted, treat the ill or injured ones and creating awareness for animal welfare. Fauna Police has rescued hundreds of species of exotic birds from illegal trade and sheltered abandoned pets. The NGO has significantly created awareness on rules of treating and upbringing of pets as well as built aviaries for birds. They aim to sensitize children on animal welfare and stop animal abuse. It takes courage and strength to stand up for the cause of animals and Fauna Police deserves a salute for the tremendous efforts put in by them tirelessly. It’s because of this NGO that illegal selling of goldfish and exotic birds stopped in South Delhi, more people started adopting strays and illegal transportation of cows was brought under control.


There are several other positive efforts which have been taken in Delhi to make it a smart city and enable super living. It is commendable to see Vodafone taking steps towards creating a super life in NCR. I sincerely hope and wish for many such mass initiatives to make Delhi the best city to live in.  

For more super initiatives visit https://www.vodafone.in/home-delhi


Friday, September 22, 2017

Tanah Lot- The most photogenic temple in Bali



With the record of being the most photographed and the most photogenic temple in Bali, Tanah Lot stands tall and firm on the black rocks since the 16th century. Literally translating into “Land in the sea”, Tanah Lot is said to be a work of Dang Hyang Nirartha, a Hindu traveler and a religious figure in Bali. 



This is one of the seven sea temples around the Balinese coast dedicated to the sea gods.
The large offshore rock has been shaped by the sea waves continuously for years. Resulting this, the temple's face rock started to wear out, posing danger to the surrounding and inside potions of Tanah Lot. The Japanese Government in 1980 helped in conservation of the temple and offered an aid of $130 million for its restoration . The exposed areas were restored and parts of the rock temple are artificial installations, unknown to the public.





Like all other temples, public entry is restricted inside the temple. Visitors can roam around the temple premises and the temple cave. Tanah Lot offers magnificent view of sunset and the surrounding enormous ocean that washes the rocky banks with full might. The holy snake housed in the cave at the foot of the temple is said to be guard Tanah Lot from evil spirits. Seeing the snake is said to bring good luck. Well, you can see and touch it by buying a ticket at 50k IDR which they term as"donation".

Cave of the lucky snake






I made it to the Tanah Lot around 5:30 pm, just before sunset. You need to enter through the market place, passing by the colorful souvenir shops. Suddenly the street echoed with soothing music and got crowded with people dressed in traditional attire, carrying a palanquin or paalki. I instantly felt a divine connection while witnessing the procession.



The market street in evening
The long distance that we traveled and spent lavishly on refilling our scooter's petrol were worth the pain . The gorgeous sunset, the magnificent temple and the traditional procession were visual treats. Post sun down, the market street started to bear a deserted look. We made a pit stop at an eating joint to have an early dinner, since we had famished. My growling tummy gave up and I refused to budge without eating. So much for skipping lunch!




Bali is non vegetarian food haven. For the veg eating mortals, noodles is the safest option. We had a wholesome meal at Naty's with veg noodles topped with egg, crispy fries and banana shake. A smiling courteous staff, great food and relaxed ambiance makes Naty's a "must try" in Tanah Lot.
With beautiful memories and full appetite, we rode back to our hotel, passing through the rice fields and crowded streets.

Though wearing a sarong is practiced at the premises, we did not see anybody sport it. Neither we were asked to tie one. I am assuming they ask to do that during the worship/puja time.

Advisable- Be dressed in breathable comfortable clothes, since the weather is humid and hot during the day. Carry water with you and be prepared for a long ride to and fro. The roads are literally jam packed in the evening. Be patient, do not honk or shout when stuck in traffic in the narrow lanes. It is a common sight and locals are used to this chaos. All you can do it wait for the traffic to clear.

Location-  20 km from Denpasar.
To reach- Hire bike /scooter or taxi.   
Best time to visit- Evening. Reach after 4:30 pm to view the sunset and the religious procession leaving from the temple.
Entry Fees- 60,000 IDR
Entry to the cave of snake- 20,000IDR 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Atmos for royal atmosphere, literally!

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The rising levels of pollution and resulting climate changes have been prime concerns for all since long. India wasn’t behind in the race towards contributing to the level of daily poison. And then the controversial Odd Even happened (in Delhi) to combat pollution.

As conscious citizens, husband and I took careful measures to minimize pollution, because every contribution matters. Husband humbly drove his CNG fitted car to cut down air pollution and I planted saplings in my residential colony to improve air quality.  During Diwali we refrained from crackers and discouraged others as well. In spite of being proactive and aware with outdoor pollution, we could not escape the negatives while indoors. And the reason was our ignorance for indoor pollution which is 5 times as much the outside effluence. As the realization dawned upon us, we scratched our grey matter figuring out how to fight indoor pollution:

The scratching of grey matter further polluted the indoor air but cleared our rational. We immediately bought snake plants which are known to clean indoor pollution commendably. This is one of the plants that releases oxygen at night and filters all toxin from air. Ah! We felt our mission was accomplished. We proudly owned and placed this plant in every room of the house. Several other indoor plants help control pollution, besides emitting positive energy and decorating the place naturally. Go for happy greens J




And then my mind raced to the scented sticks which my mother in law lit up for pooja every day. “Don’t they cause pollution?” I asked myself. Several researches have proved the toxic effect of agarbattis and scented sticks. But who bells the cat, was the question. How dare would I challenge the religious beliefs of my own mom in law. I faked headaches and gradually shifted the agarbatti holder outdoors under the holy basil tree. Though I added toxin to outdoor air, atleast the indoor air would be clean, and I patted my back.



Did you know your footwear also bring in dust and trash indoors? Besides the negative energy ofcourse.  Hence many Indian families practice leaving footwear outside their house to avoid bringing in dust and pollutants. You can call me superstitious, but I leave footwear outside my bedroom. I do this to ensure the room is clean sans dust and negative energy. (I am talking too much on energy. No it causes no pollution but does impact the vibes of the air, if you believe in it)


To keep indoor air clean, people have retorted to air-purifiers. Though I find these puny and over hyped, I may want to give it a try. Who knows it might as well just work.



Ignorance is bliss, but not always. It’s not good to ignore your ceiling fan and carpet that lie neglected, collecting dust since eternity. It is advisable to clean these un-noticed assets at-least once a month, if not weekly. Invisible dust in your carpet and the thin layer of grime on the fan easily makes way to your nasal passage and even contaminates your food. Let the mattress, pillows and doormats soak some sunlight so that they remain free of moisture and germs. Now you see that Vitamin D is not only good for us but for home too :-) 



Often unnoticed and under-estimated, the LPG gas in kitchen or freshly painted furniture also releases toxins in the air, strong enough to trigger migraine or breathing trouble. The best possible solution is to check the cylinders for leakage and use paints less toxic pollutants or VOC content. Chemicals in paint have been found to react with forming smog that triggers respiratory disorders. So much for beauty of our homes!


Last but not the least; we can paint our homes with Asian Paint Royale Atmos. Didn’t see Deepika Padukone swear by Royale Paints? Take a look here-


Precisely, Royale Atmos is a paint that reduces harmful air pollutants and makes the air cleaner. The activated carbon technology absorbs various foul smells & makes the air fresher. Thus, for the first time, Asian Paints presents a paint that not only looks good, but also helps purify air and improve the air quality inside your home. You can even wash your walls before the autumn cleansing ritual without spoiling the paint. Certainly gets brownie points for wash-ability and durability. 
What’s better than purifying your home in the colors of your own choice! Let’s make a pure choice for clean, fresh and pure indoor air.  Let’s make it happen with #RoyaleAtmos. Visit https://www.asianpaints.com/atmos for cleaner details.


Picture credits- Free images from Pixabay