Monday, February 28, 2011

Diaper Bag Essentials

Diaper bags are a necessity for motherhood, but that does not mean you have to settle for anything less than a fashionable bag. There are so many stylish diaper bags out there that you will have a hard time settling on just one.Many of the designer diaper bags look no different than that great purse you carry around now. I was not keen on getting a beautiful trendy diaper bag. I have even carried baby food and diapers in my chic red leather handbag. Its our comfort and convenience,not the number of embellished stones or a overpriced expensive designer tag that matters.
Moreover, I guess the stuff inside the bag calls for more importance.

When purchasing a diaper bag, keep in mind that we have a baby sitting on one of our hip bones and we have only one hand free.  I suggest backpack diaper bags.. keeps your both hands free.

While purchasing a diaper bag

  Check if there are Easy-to-access pockets, plenty of them for various items like diapers,food, bottle, change mats. It helps us organize stuff and easier access to things.
  Comfortable handles or straps for carrying or wearing. Try it on with an imaginary baby on the other hand.
  Ability to fit over the stroller or pram. This will take the weight off you and makes it easy to access.
  Waterproof material. We can't imagine the aftereffects of wet and damp baby stuff during a rainy season.
  Color selection, you know how pink color is glued to girls. Make a wise decision (gender-neutral pattern). You wouldn't want your five year old daughter to point fingers at you later for choosing the wrong color.

There are so many other features like thermally lined pockets to keep food and drink warm or cool, extra large pockets to carry daddy's organizer..etc. Its upto you to choose the most comfortable bag.

Now about stocking up the diaper bag. A well stocked diaper bag can make or break our outing.You may want to have two diaper bags: one for long outings, and a smaller one for shorter trips.For short trips, a smaller bag will be fine but for longer trips, including long car travel, visiting friends,a weekend trip, a larger bag is a must.

Diaper bag essentials

Short trip:
Just remember that you're not packing for a trip, just a time out of the house. Don't overdo or cram things in the diaper bag. Be it my regular red hand bag, gym bag, diaper bag or clutch, the most important and never to be forgotten items of mine are

- Cell phone
- Purse with credit cards and some cash
- lip gloss
- Hair comb

Always be safe, money can't buy everything but while traveling with a baby, you might need some.. we never know. And you never know when you will be clicked by a papparazzi which can turn out to be the magazine cover. Sigh! You have no time to dress up in front of a mirror  so for a minimal beautiful look add in the gloss and comb.
You won't carry two bags , so fit in these 3 in the diaper bag!

Utmost trouble you are gonna face for 2-3 hours is

* Baby crying for food, so pack food, bib, water/milk
* Spill over the food or throw up - pack an extra pair of clothes
* Baby poops - Change mats, diapers, wipes, towel
* Too sunny/windy - a sun hat or muffler depending on the weather.

So, Here is what i carry during my short trip:
  3-4 diapers
  Foldable changing pad or changing Paper spread
•  Antibacterial Gel.
•  Baby wipes/soft tissues
•  Food stock. If you are not breastfeeding, food and drinks should   always be packed.
  (I always carry ready made snacks like gold fish and cheese  biscuits.   Give my boy one of those and I am good to go till he licks his fingers to the end. I have some listed in the 'readymade snack' section. I also suggest 'Candilicious' collection which i get from TJMax, (fruity flavored fruit shaped lil candies with only 3g sugar). Savitha has recommended M&M chocolate box).
•  Food for mommy (Snacks for me of course! A hungry mommy is  a  crabby mommy!
•  Water/Milk/Juice
•  Bottle of water.When you are breast feeding you get SUPER thirsty
•  Change of clothes for baby depending on weather.
•  Hats/caps
•  A Towel/blanket if you want to breastfeed or cover up baby from sun/wind
•  Bib
•  First Aid Kit- I don't really see my baby falling down and scraping his knee, but you never know when he might scratch his face or something else like that might happen.
     - Band aid
     - Alochol prep pad
    -  Moisturizer or cream

•  Pacifier
•  Empty zip lock covers to keep the dirty stuff
(Trust me once i forgot the cover and had to burry the dirty diaper in one of my jackets in the car till I saw a trash can. It sucks!)

•  A toy or favorite book to keep them busy.

Long trip:

•  Camera and Video Cam first (check batteries and don't forget the charger).
   That is the easiest one to forget. I can't risk not taking those funny/first moments wherever it happens.
•  Medicine - Like baby tylenol(Don't forget the filler), Nasal Spray, allergy medications if any , Oragel (if he is teething), any pain relief medicine
•  Diapers
•  Foldable changing pad or changing Paper spread
•  Diaper rash cream
•  Baby moisturizer or cream
•  Baby wipes/Soft tissue
•  If your baby uses pacifiers...have them in little sandwich bags - this helps if one drops on the ground, as you'll always have extra.
•  Food, Spoon, fork for baby
•  Snacks for mommy
•  Water/Milk
•  Sippy cups/bottles
•  Change of clothes for baby
•  Hats/caps/socks/jackets according to weather
•  Change of clothes for Mommy ( You never know when he is gonna throw up on you)
•  Good sized blanket if you want to breastfeed or cover up baby from sun/wind
•  Empty covers to keep the dirty stuff
•  Favorite toy/book
•  Pacifiers
•  Alcohol prep pads
  First Aid Kit- I don't really see our babies falling down and scraping his knee, but you never know when he might scratch his face or something else like that might happen.
      - Band aid
      - Alcohol prep pads
     -  Diaper rash cream
A toy or two and a favorite hard cover book.
A towel

Happy baby after 2 hours @Walmart!(Omy at 8th month). I did have a stocked up short trip diaper bag that day. )

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sweet Palak Roti

Now, this is the first recipe i learned from my mil! I was so fascinated by the way leaves were incorporated into the chappathi dough! Something which atleast I was not aware of. Living down south of India, the roti itself was a rare visitor at my house.

Anyways, I made these for dinner last week and obviously this recipe found its spot in my blog because Omy loved it.

Spinach -  a bunch
Ginger-garlic paste - 1Tbsp
Melted Jaggery       - 5 Tbsp
Salt                          - to taste

Add spinach to boiling water, and let it cook for 3 minutes or until wilted.
Grind together cooked spinach, jaggery, salt, ginger-garlic paste to a smooth paste.
Now mix in with the dough. Do not add water to it. The spinach paste will have enough water content to knead the dough.
Now make rotis with it. You can replace jaggery with sugar or even avoid it completely.

Look who helped me to roll 'em.

I just had Palak roti and yogurt

Mommy Bloggers

This is an article which my hubby forced me to read.. Sharing it with all my fellow mommy bloggers..... Quite interesting

Monday, February 21, 2011

Braided Bread

By friday, my fridge faces drought. There will be nothing in it except for some eggs and cheese! So, that makes yet another reason for omy to open and play with cold air!!!!
Thanks to the mandatory 'eat out' rule on Friday nights. 
Poor Saturday is awful with mostly no food in the kitchen and by Sunday the grocery shopping makes the inside of my fridge a food market... With all stuff pressed in to fit!

Anyways, sometime back on a friday there was nothing to snack..not even Omy's cookies! 
And then I remembered the Bookmarked 'Aipi's braided bread' recipe. I have never craved for bread, but this one made me.. so then there I was with my first baked bread.
I just stuffed some nuts and raisins.

All purpose flour ........................... 1 1/2 cups
Atta or whole wheat flour ............ 1 cup
Rapid rise Yeast ............................1/2 tbsp
Oil ...............................................   2  tbsp
Sugar ........................................... 1/2 tbsp
Salt .............................................. 3/4 tsp
Warm milk ...................................1 cup
nuts and raisins or any filling of your choice.

I had no patience to do it step by step. So i just put everything in my blender and gave a mix. After it started to become a big lump, I took the dough and started kneading with my hands.
After a good hard work on the dough, as Aipi says
"Roll it into a rectangular shape. Place the filling in the center. Leave 2 inch on each side  place the filling in the center. Leaving an inch from one side and cut sideways on either side at equal distance. The number of cuts on each side should be the same. Leave the end closest to the filling attached. "Braid" the strips up over the filling, tucking in loose ends and wrapping the final piece or two under the bread. Let it rise again, about half an hour. Meanwhile cover the bread with a wet cloth to avoid drying.  Brush the top with milk and bake in a preheated oven at 375 deg F for 17-20 minutes till the outer crust gets a light golden brown color. "

Neither did I have time to cut it open and click pictures nor I had the patience to click when Omy took the bite..He loves the 'dip and eat' rule and had enough time to dip the bread in strawberry preserve and  I  hardly had an inch of bread left when hubby came home!!! It was truly amazing... A nice warm home made bread melts in the mouth.. worth a try!

There he is with the Strawberry jam.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Non sticky Payasam

Being THE mom of my mini Tsunami..(it rhymes with Omy), I try to do everything possible to calm him off before the violent waves  crash onto shore. 
Some days the sea is so silent, I feel there is no other sweetheart like him, and the next day he becomes impulsive. His anger often leads to intense fury and rage. He picks up his toys to throw at me. I run for my life! Sometimes I overreact and yell at him. But later after all the wave effect I realize my yelling is only teaching him to do the same.  I am happy in a way that he is expressing it and not suppressing it to emerge later with double effects. So now along with the efforts to tackle his anger, I also seek ways to not ignite any spark to fire his terror engine. 

Some days back we had our friends come over for dinner. I just finished making ada payasam (Kheer with flakes of cooked rice) and couldn't resist sharing a cup with Omy. 
He loved the taste but was not able to enjoy as the drops soaked his shirt and made it sticky. My tsunami radar picked up signals fast enough that i took the cup away from him and changed his shirt in a second. Everything was back to normal. Else the stickiness would have paved a way for frustration and I would have seen payasam all over my floor. But, I agree with him, the sugar makes the milk sticky and what if it sticks to your dry skin? 

Later that day while I was arranging my kitchen cabinets I found an old pack of gelatin. Thus the idea and solution for a non sticky dessert for Omy emerged. 

I don't have a good recipe for ada payasam as I made it with 'Double horse payasam mix'. One of the best one ready in minutes. You need to add only milk and boil it for 30 minutes and you have a yummy payasam on the table.

The idea of freezing it doesn't work as it becomes so hard and by the the time we wait for it to thaw it regains the stickiness. So add Gelatin.

Mix 1 tbsp gelatin in 1/2 cup water.
Mixed it with 2 cups payasam
layer  some raisins on the bottom of mini cups and pour the payasam.
keep it in the fridge for like 2 hours(There is no need to freeze).
Later, scoop out the payasam from the cups and there you have solid, soft and non sticky payasam.

Its also a wonderful dessert presentation.
Most of the times our guest will not have space for dessert, so this one will serve as a mini yet tasty and superbly appealing dessert.

Tsunami Mode

Sweetheart Mode

Monday, February 14, 2011

Banana Biscuit Milkshake

No stories for this one. This is my all time favorite, so it is for hubby and Omy now.

1 cup milk
5 Parle G Biscuits (This works best, you can try with any other biscuit)
1 banana (Sweet Plantain)

Mix it up in the blender. Add more milk to attain the desired consistency. The biscuit will blend in so well that anyone will keep guessing what that chocolaty nutty flavor is!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Veggie Utthappam

Gone are the days when snow used to be a bliss!!!! This winter is horrible. Aren't we tired of snow already?
But, the 'Work form home' option that comes after a snowday is a lazy bliss in disguise.
But to my surprise, Dadu (hubby as called by Omy) jumps up to clean the house on such a day and Omy boy obviously has to do his part.

So, there I was in the kitchen wondering what baby breakfast was it gonna be..
Without much thinking, I was ready with vitamins filled breakfast for the tired ones.

Normally I make uthappams with onions, tomatoes and curry leaves.
But today, I tired carrots, broccoli and tomatoes only because I ran out of onions and curry leaves. But it turned out to be tasty.

Just top it with your choice of vegetables once you pour the dosa batter. But do not make circles and make them thin. You need to have a thick base of dosa to fit in the vegetables..Flip it over after the batter bubbles burst and cook the vegge part till its done.. or starts changing color. Make sure the vegge's doesn't get burnt. I brushed the pan with ghee and even drizzled a bit on top of each uthappam.. Its ok for the baby!

Omy could not wait to eat as he was tired and gobbled up his uthappams.. and so no pics of him with them. I can show the reason why he finished uthappams without much drama..busy body was tired of cleaning the mirror.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mini Tuna Burgers

I am a party freak. I am there wherever there is one,  of course the invited ones. I love to eat good food, be it junk, be it greasy, chinese, Ethiyopian.... I can go on and on and on till my tummy bursts!
Along with the gossip clicks I would also eagerly wait to listen to the host crush the aluminum foil…..
she unwraps the food, the tempting aroma fills in the air and the steam immediately escapes the pan and illuminates the room with irresistible masala flavors…
I grab a plate, eat to my heart's content and go brag about it to my hubby,  then he would  leave his drink and go do the same! But, after the baby arrived, like every mom I too have to wait for my son to finish his slice of pizza.
I was wondering, Why do we always order pizza for kids?
Is it due to the popularity, easy transportability, affordability, problem free food? All I can guess is to not ruin the expensive anarkali salwar by spilling curry all over it. After all the shopping hazards we faced in India, we are back in the US and longing to show it off with tons of style and grace. We wouldn't risk it by feeding our kids on it.. Will we?

We had a party last weekend.. a small dinner for our friends. No pizzas for kids... but to keep  it attractive the menu included mini Tuna burgers along with plain rice and less spicy gravy curry for them. Surprisingly my son voted for burgers and ditched the rice.

The recipe is a mini version of tuna cutlet.

1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 medium size Onion
3/4 cup Tuna ( boil tuna and thinly mince them or get the Canned Tuna (Tuna in water  or Tuna in olive oil)
1 tsp chilli powder or 1.5 tsp mild/medium hot sauce
1 cup cooked nd mashed up potatoes Or store-bought mashed potato pack.
  (If using the store-bought mashed potato pack, mix it with hot water and make a paste, keep 1 cup  ready) 
2 cups Breadcrumbs
1 egg beaten
salt to taste

To the hot oil in the pan, add mustard seeds and after they burst add cumin seeds. Add the ginger-garlic paste and onions..saute until they are soft.
Add 1 tsp chilli powder or 1.5 tsp mild/medium hot sauce and salt.
Drop in the Tuna and mix it well with the masala. Once Tuna is done, add on the mashed potatoes. Mix well everything together and turn off the heat after the mix turns dark brown.
Make small balls out of it after it cools. Dip them in the egg and roll it on the breadcrumbs.
Deep fry them in oil or bake them after you sprinkle some olive oil on all the tuna balls.
As I always say, keep in mind your baby's taste buds while adding spices.

I got those sandwich buns from Walmart, spread some yellow mustard, a lettuce leaf , tuna ball, a slice of tomato and a small cheese slice and served with ketchup.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Healthy Juices for kids (Readymade)

I am not a huge fan of coke, but I don't think there's anything wrong with treating yourself once in a blue moon.
Until recently I used to blame some parents for raising coke addicted kids!
Isn't it up to the parents to teach their children healthy habits?
Yes, But I don't blame them anymore! When my boy was about 1 year old, he saw me open a bottle of coke for our guests and from then on he always had an urge to sip in a mouthful. The black water with bubbles has this undiscovered, invisible gravitational pull for kids.

Too much sugar in these leads to weight issues, dental cavities, and increased problems with insulin resistance.  Furthermore, children who learn to drink sugary beverages are less likely to enjoy the taste of water, which of course, is the ideal thing to drink.  

I always prefer giving my boy Milk, water or homemade fruits/vegetable juice.
Chocolate milk, milk with date syrup, badam milk are good choices.... but occasionally packaged juices grab a spot in my diaper bag. I guess juices are much healthier alternatives than soda, the juices with less sugar of course. They are lifesavers during travel.

I normally stock up
  • Trader Joe’s Concord Grape Juice made from fresh pressed organic concord grapes
  • Trader Joe’s Certified Organic Apple Juice,
  • Trader Joe's White Grape juice, pasteurized
  • Minute maid or Caprisun

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Veggie/dal Roti

Dinner is served..Hot and steamy rotis and sizzling spicy hot rajma curry for hubby and myself.
Lazy mommy washed away the spicy gravy and served the little wonder boy rajma pieces and roti.

Who am I kidding? Wonder boy has sharp eyes, he can spot out even the minute differences in his and our plates. So there he comes to drown his piece of roti in the red dipping sauce. It did not take more than 10 seconds for him to cry out for joooooose (Juice).

So, the next day I turned off my favorite evening show on TV (I wouldn't miss it, I know its safe with 'On Demand'.. Wink) and geared up for some flavor filled no-dip-needed rotis.
We all love a good savory parata, and in particular the stuffed paratta.. A nice mound of flaky, crispy, chewy roti with a nice veggie/butter flavor. And that is how my carrot/mooli/dal paratta was born. I could not make the stuffed version as the mix always jumped out when i tried to spread it So, I mixed it all up with wheat flour. I still need help from fellow bloggers to learn how to roll out neat parattas.

Grated carrots, grated mooli
1 tbsp cooked and mashed moong dal,
1 tbsp cooked and mashed Rajma
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 tsp garam masala
salt to taste,
1 tbsp oil

Saute these till the raw ginger-garlic smell fades and knead this mix with wheat flour.
Make rotis out of it and serve it with butter.

I made very little dough as it was a trial run, But glad to say Omy loved it. His taste buds enjoyed the spiciness from garam masala and veggie flavor. Next time I will try with cauliflower, potatoes or even Beans. No drama.. just flavor and fun.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

First award

I received the first award today, The lovely blog award.

I Thank Reva from the bottom of my heart for sharing with me this wonderful award.
So , here I am sharing it with another 15 of my fellow beautiful bloggers.

1. Aipi

2. Sarah Naveen

3. Satya

4. Tahemeem

5. Roshan

6.  Palatable

7.  Saras

8. Raks

9  Divya

10. Suja

11.  Reva

12.  Swathi


14.  Shanthi

15.  Shanavi


1.Accept the award. Post it in your blog with the name of the blogger who has given u this award with a link to his/her blog.
2.Pass it on to 15 other blogger friends.... to keep the ball rolling.
3.Let the nominated blogger know about their award [leave a comment in their most recent post].