May 17

All About Tomatoes

“Tomatoes are fruits and not vegetables.” You might have heard this from a number of people. Well, it is true as tomato though put together with other culinary vegetables, is in fact a berry-type fruit. It is red inc color (obviously), but comes in many other variant species too. Tomatoes originated in the Central and South American regions, just like the potato, and was spread throughout the world after the Spanish Inquisition of the Americas. Today, tomatoes are the most widely used ingredient around the world. Whether eaten raw or cooked tomatoes are a rich source of one of the most powerful antioxidants called lycopene. It also include other antioxidants and carotids. Widely used in curries, salads, sauces, and the most common being tomato ketchup (in all its variants). Many tribes in the Americas believed that tomatoes were divine fruits and consumption of their seeds would please the gods.

Tomatoes are mostly used for cooking, but there are other used for tomatoes as well. Beauty, health, and natural dyes, are the other sectors where tomatoes are used in abundance. Here are two ways in which you could use tomatoes at home:

Eat ’em!

Caprese stacks are an amazing dish that can be made easily and are an amazing thing to serve as a fresh salad with a couple of drinks. It can also fascinate children and is very healthy too. All you need is

  • two table spoons of olives (black are preferred)
  • two table spoons olive oil
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 100 to 300 grams of fresh mozzarella
  • fresh basil leaves

Stir the olives and oil together in a ball. Cut the tomatoes into round slices and also slice the ball of mozzarella into round slices. Place one slice tomato and then one slice of mozzarella intermittently with basil leaves. Sprinkle salt and pepper on each slice. Drizzle the olive dressing on each stack. Your Caprese Stacks are ready!

Beauty Tips

Tomatoes are excellent ingredients for making a home made face mask. All you need are tow ingredients. Lemon juice and tomatoes. Blend a tomato into a smooth puree and 1/2 a teaspoon of lemon juice. Use a cotton ball and apply the mixture all over your face. Let it stay for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse it with cold water and then pat dry. Apply a drop of olive oil to moisturize the skin.

All About Tomatoes

 

May 03

Cool Summer Refreshments

Summers are back again this year with the sun and the heat as its compatriots. It is also time for your child’s summer break, which means that your child is all set and ready to go out under the sun and enjoy their vacations. But the sun gives no discount on its heat to children. Dehydration and exhaustion are a big headache for parents as even an hour under the sun takes away a lot of energy from your child. Here are a few quick to make drinks for your children that will not only refresh them but will also help them to beat the heat!

  1. Lemonade – This is the first drink that comes to mind whenever we think of hot summers. It is cool, tasty, and beats the heat like no other drink. You could also help your child set up his own lemonade refreshment counter outside the house on a hot summer afternoon and teach them a bit about being independent. The recipe is quite simple. Squeeze a couple of lemons in a tumbler and add a table spoon of mint in it. Now add water and some ice cubes. Add a little bit of salt if necessary and you are ready to go! You now have yourself a chilled glass of freshly made lemonade.
  2. Watermelon Punch – Watermelons are one of the most amazing fruits of the summer season. They are naturally cool and so a chilled bowl of watermelons pieces can get you through a hot afternoon. Children will love the slightly tangy but sweet taste of the watermelon and so a glass a watermelon punch is the way to go. Take a few pieces of watermelon and remove the seeds carefully. Now use a juicer to squeeze out the juice. Since watermelons are mostly water, you may not feel the need to add more water. Add a bit of lime juice and sugar if needed. Top it off with a few mint leaves and your watermelon punch is ready.
  3. Iced Fruit Punches – Fruits are healthy and contain all the necessary nutrients required by the body. What’s better than a couple of fruits that can help energize and refresh your child as well as provide a good bit of nutrition? Iced fruit punches are easy to make and can be pretty easy to gobble up too. All you need is few fruits that your child likes the most, let’s say an orange, a mango, and a lime. Next, you put these fruits individually into a food processor and make separate pulps. Next you arrange them into ice trays and freeze them overnight. Next afternoon, use a few ice cubes of different fruits and put them into a glass. As the cubes will melt, the flavor and color of the punch will change as well. It is an amazing way to energize and fascinate your child as well.
  4. Berry Blast – Smoothies are an amazing milk based drink for your child. Making a smoothie is as simple as drinking one. All you need for the berry blast smoothie is a cup of mixed frozen berries, a cup of milk, a cup of flavored yogurt, and a sliced banana. Add all of them into a blender and mix properly. Once blended into a smooth mixture, empty it into a long glass and garnish it with a frozen berry. Add ice if necessary. Your berrylicious smoothie is now ready!
Picture courtesy - jontaffer.com

Picture courtesy – jontaffer.com

Apr 14

When Anxiety Strikes!

We keep hearing the terms anxiety, stress, and depression from many people around us day in day out. But what exactly does anxiety mean? In layman’s terms anxiety is a state of inner psychological turmoil that may be a result of some kind of stress or situation that induces a feeling of uneasiness in the body as well as psychologically. As the race for success, fame, money, and many a time for survival has drastically increased in the past few decades, problems such as anxiety that were redundant in the common populace in ancient or medieval times, has come out as a prominent issue among the public. So what is the correct way to diagnose and see whether you suffer from anxiety and what are the ways to combat this psychological issue? Here are a few tips on how to fight with anxiety and transform your stressful life to a stress free life!

  • Eliminate the Negativity – Pessimism might take a toll on your life, and the best way toa void this is to eliminate the negative thoughts and induce an attitude of positive and productive thinking. Many a time, the situation forces a person to waver to the negative patch of the mind, but we must be careful that the more we instill negativity, the more will the situation worsen. Keep your calm, and move forward with perseverance and determination. This will automatically only let good thoughts pass through your mind, and will help reduce the pessimistic attitude.
  • Avoid the Block – Usually, when a situation becomes tense, we tend to fall into a block. We restrict our thinking capabilities, and are in no position to think about a way to fight through. We need to arm ourselves with options and backups that might help us get out of tight situations. Yoga, meditation, and selective breathing can help us get through these times.
  • Relaxing the body and mind – Exercising is a key practice. Practices such as yoga, meditation, jogging, and walking can have a great impact on your life. They can reduce the stress levels thus reducing, the panic attacks and anxiety levels. Take proper sleep as it is also key to happy and successful life. Do not overcomplicate stuff and always be careful to take advice from people who might have more knowledge on the subject than you do.

Stress and anxiety are today’s Golaith. We need to awaken the David in us strike them down with one shot of our determination and perseverance. Happy Living!

Mar 28

Make Your Own Facewash

Pollution in today’s world has led to the spread of a lot of dust and smoke particles that are minute enough to evade the naked eye. These particles get into our hair, and also attach themselves to our skin. This makes our skin dry and also develops different kinds of skin problems. Our face is vulnerable to such pollution, and thus it is very important to shield our face from these particles. Modern face washes and creams promise a lot, but do they deliver? This question might occur to you a number of times. So, what is the best way to ensure, that the face wash or cream we use, is competent enough to fight the modern day problems that lurk in the air? Well, one way to ensure this is that we make our own face wash serums and creams. Making one of these face washes, is pretty simple, and one doesn’t require a degree in rocket science to make a simple face wash. Here are a few methods with which you can create a bottle of face wash at home, using ingredients that are available at any common supermarket:

Castile Facewash

Ingredients –

  • ¼ cup of Castile soap
  • ¼ cup of chamomile tea or honey
  • 8 drops of essential oil
  • ¾ teaspoon oil

Method –

  1. Add the Castile soap in a small bottle or container and make sure it doesn’t have any coloring or dye, as it may cause skin irritation.
  2. Add, the honey or cooled chamomile tea to the container. They are both strong anti-oxidants and reduce minute inflammation on the face.
  3. Now add the oil. You can use coconut, jojoba, or olive oil, whichever suits you.
  4. The last step is to add the essential oils. You can use lemongrass from oily skin, rose oil for dry skin, and jasmine oil for mature skin.
  5. Now close the bottle, and mix vigorously till all the ingredients are combined with one another.
  6. Keep it in the fridge to preserve it for long.

 

Honey Coconut Facewash

Ingredients-

  • 3 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Method –

  1. Put the coconut oil in the refrigerator and harden it a little bit. Then use a warm spoon and stir it a little till it is creamy.
  2. Now add the honey and the baking soda separately and stir till all the ingredients are incorporated all together.
  3. Add the mixture to a bottle and do not worry if the mixture hardens as it will melt when applied to the face.
  4. When applying it, remember to leave it on the face for a few minutes. This allows it to draw the toxins out and exfoliate the dead skin from the face.
sensiblemom.com

sensiblemom.com

Mar 21

Spring Activities for Children

Spring is the season of growth. New plants take roots, trees flower, and new fruits are just on their way. It is a vibrant season and children love this season. Why? It is colorful all around. Mother Nature has just revived itself and vitality, energy, and new life, take birth from her womb. Here are a few activities that might keep your child busy as well as develop his learning skills in one or many ways.

Window Art – A new world can be seen rising from the earth, when one looks out of their window during this season. You could help your child add to this imagery by teaching them to make some window art. All it requires is a piece of white cardboard, a pair of scissors, a glue stick, and some crayons. Ask your kid to observe the environment outside and identify any seven colors they come across. Then tell them to identify seven shapes, seven new objects, and also the way they are placed. Now draw those shapes for them and let their imagination kick in. Tell them to color these shapes and objects in the seven colors they had identified initially. Then cut these objects out, and using the glue stick and tell them to arrange them in any way they wish to on the window. Voila! Now they have a colorful window just like the surroundings they see.

Colorful Pots – You might be enthusiastic to grow some plants during this season. Who isn’t? This is the season of vibrancy. Your children might be more than happy to help you paint some flower pots and make your garden look even more elegant and colorful. All you need is a few flower pots (size may vary according to your preferences), a bunch of oil pastels, a few bottles of acrylic paint, and a nice bushy paint brush. Select any five colors that might go with the flowers you intend to plant. Then ask your child to use his imagination and paint any shape or design they deem fit, with the colors you give them. Take care that the child handles the acrylic paints carefully. After they are done, let them dry out and you are now ready to plant your favorite flowers in the newly designed pots.

Animal Cups – Children love animals, and this is the time when one can see different species of birds and small mammals coming out to see the rebirth of nature. All you need for this activity is a dozen cups of Styrofoam or paper,  a bunch of water colors, a paint brush and some white papers. Start by asking your child his favorite birds and animals and list them down. Next take a cup and color it with the color of one of their favorite birds. Cut out a beak using the white paper and carefully stick it on the cup. Using a marker pen, draw two big dots. These are the eyes. And there you have it, a birdy cup. Ask your child to do the same for the other cups, choosing different colors and shapes according to the different animals.

Okra Paintings – There is a huge amount of vegetables that grow in the spring season. In this activity we will use a vegetable as a medium to make some amazing artwork. Okra is a green vegetable, which is usually disliked by children. This is time to show them how interesting it actually is. The shape of okra is a pentagon. For this activity we will need some white papers, a handful of okra, and a few water colors. Cut the okra from the head and reveal the pentagon shaped inner part. Now ask your child to choose any color and dip the inner end of the okra in the paint. Then slightly press the paint coated okra on a piece of white paper and you will have a colorful pentagon shape on the paper. Experiment with different colors and different positions of pressing the okra to get amazing patterns and designs.

Spring