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The Diabetes -Friendly Dessert Series with Aster Medical Centre – Rose Sandesh

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Until 6 weeks ago, I was suffering from a serious delusion. I thought my life was perfect and that everything was just right whether it was my health, work, family, friends and so on. Delusion is dangerous. It makes you believe what is not true. It feels good to remain in  that make-believe world but an intervention becomes necessary. Being a border -line diabetic came as a shock to me. It felt like I was living in a bubble, thinking I was healthy but that wasn’t true. I was pushed to take the test just because a doctor friend was shocked when I confessed about not able to recall when was the last time I got a health check up done. He literally forced me into and I am glad that he did. The result was not the one I preferred but atleast it was a wake up call which is important because only now I was in a position to do something about it.

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When I first got to know that I was a border-line diabetic, I began to analyze why it happened? There could be several reasons –

  1. My irregular and sometimes extreme diet patterns leading to long hours of starvation or eating heavy meals together
  2. the stress levels which I was unable to control

Did I feel any symptoms that I ignored? Well, I felt an unnatural craving for sugar where one morning I woke up to have a big cup of milk with 4 tablespoons of Horlicks and plenty of extra sugar and still it felt like it wasn’t enough! I ate a chocolate every few hours and felt my energy crash several times in a day.

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I started reading up on diabetes and asked my parents who have been diabetics for so many years for their guidance. Obviously, a lifestyle shift was in order and that is what I did. I started eating my meals more regularly. I tried to work out with discipline and started going for walks. I limited my sugar intake and replaced it with more natural sugars from fruits and dates. Ofcourse I have days where I end up eating more than that is necessary but I compensate it by eating light later. Skipping meals was the most difficult habit to overcome and I still struggle with it. But with the encouragement of my family and friends, I manage to stay disciplined. 

IMG_7333This is my last dessert that I developed as a part of the 7 diabetes friendly recipes for Aster Medical Center. It has been absolutely wonderful doing this as it is so close to what I am going through in life. Thank you Aster Medical Center for this opportunity and for running this successful campaign called #AsterAgainstDiabetes. If you have been falling back, here’s your chance to know what Aster Medical Center has been doing this November on Facebook, Twitter , Instagram. You can also get yourself checked for diabetes at their FREE camp happening at Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Park on the 4th and 5th of December (4-7 PM)

This dish is a Bengali dessert called Sandesh. I made a rose sandesh using stevia which makes it suitable for diabetics. It is low calorie and is quite healthy without the processed sugar. I also made the paneer at home, which makes this dessert healthier. To make paneer, you can opt for low fat or full fat milk and allow it to heat until it boils. Once it boils, add vinegar to it so that the milk curdles. Take it off the heat and add ice cubes so that the cooking process stops. Place a colander over a pot, layer it with a thin muslin or cotton cloth. Pour the curdled milk into the colandar. Bring the muslin or napkin together and while doing so squeeze the curdled milk. Take a plate and keep the muslin with the curdled milk on it and place a heavy weight on top of it to drain off as much water as possible. It is as simple as that!

For the rest of the recipe –

Rose Sandesh
Yields 10
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Ingredients
  1. 2 litres milk
  2. 3-4 tbsp of vinegar
  3. 2 tbsp stevia
  4. few drops of rose essence
  5. crushed rose petals
Instructions
  1. Once the paneer is drained off all the water, open the muslin cloth and take it out of it in a bowl or a plate. Mash the paneer with your fingers and make it very smooth
  2. Add stevia and rub it well into the paneer. Add rose essence and the crushed rose petals.
  3. Knead well to bind and get rid of all the lumps
  4. Make small 10 round portions and if you have a sandesh mould, place it in there. I did not have a mould so I simply shaped them oval with my hands
  5. Garnish with more rose petals and store it in the refrigerator
  6. Serve chilled
Notes
  1. Adapted from Tarla Dalal
Sliceofmylyfe - a Food blog based in Bahrain http://www.sliceofmylyfe.com/

Rant & a soya mince – peas stir fry

Rant alert! 

You know that feeling when everything is spinning out of control despite your best effort? We all go through our fair share of troubles in our personal and professional lives. Then you try harder to control it by switching gears, changing direction and honking constantly, yet the derailment is imminent. What do you do, when it is all flailing arms, despair and utter confusion? 

I understood two simple things-Wait for the storm to pass and life goes on. 

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Come to think of it, there are so many struggles and choices we face everyday. The struggle of striking that work-life balance, of finding that balance between finding time for yourself versus rest of the world, choices relating to eating healthy etc.

Life of an entrepreneur is extremely demanding and I always find myself struggling to balance my time for everything. I feel I am rushing all the time and sometimes ( well, most of the time) it is quite overwhelming. Food choices suffer because of this rushed state of mind. Not to mention all the food tastings and restaurant reviews I have to do. I keep making resolutions about cutting down sugar, exercising and I find myself steering away from it quickly. I fall for what is convenient and NOT what is beneficial. The most worrying part is, I do not feel guilty anymore. I find some excuse or the other to justify my indulgence and complete lack of discipline. Eating at odd hours has become a norm and desserts are an every day affair. I have sort of developed an addiction to sugar which is very, very disturbing. When I do not get my fair share of sugar each day, I grow irritable and cranky. An immediate infusion of sugar in any form quickly transforms me from a maniac witch to a fairy godmother. The transformation post sugar, is remarkable.

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One of my recent pictures was an eye-opener for me. I rarely spend time in front of the mirror to assess my deteriorating state. But it caught me off-guard when I saw a random picture of mine clicked my someone else. I could see how different I was in my head vis-a-vis for real. Hence, I knew I have to act fast before it was too late. Plus coming from a family with all kinds of medical history, doesn’t help.

So I have decided to officially end my hedonistic food lifestyle and really take a closer look at how I am going to transform it. I believe I need to do this not just for my sake but also for my daughter who is absorbing everything that she sees. 

I have started  gym schedule with a trainer that is more endurance focused. I also have a diet plan. Mind you, it is not for the weak of heart – this diet plan. It is quite extreme and I need to be on it for 6 weeks. Usually I don’t write about my exercise or diet here because I am insecure in my head about not keeping up with it. But this time, I am going to be confident about it and I have no qualms in sharing this diet with anyone who reads my blog. 

My diet for each day shall be as follows:

Starting 15th of July, up until 30th of August, 2015 ( 6 weeks) with 6 small meals

Only 1 liter of water through out the day.

Meal 1 

100 g chicken + 100 g rice + 50 g almonds

Meal 2 

100 g chicken + a portion of vegetables 

Meal 3

2 whole eggs + 50 g quinoa

Meal 4

2 whole eggs+vegetables

Meal 5 

100 g chicken + 3 rice flakes + 50 g almond

Meal 6 

100 g chicken + a portion of vegetables.

Work out – 1 hour 15 minutes with the trainer in the evening

After one of this diet, I will try and including some cardio in the morning along with training in the evening with the trainer.

I really, really hope to stick with this plan and see it through. It is a matter of 6 weeks and it will be huge test of my will power especially because I am so addicted to sugar. 

Before I sign off on a healthy note, here’s the recipe of a delicious soya mince- peas stir fry which is wonderful with chappatis and even just by itself.

Bread Poha
Serves 4
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. Bread slices, torn into small pieces ( atleast 8-10 slices- older the better)
  2. 2 large onions, chopped
  3. 5 green chilles, chopped fine,
  4. peanuts - half cup( boiled)
  5. salt as per taste
  6. chilli powder - 1 tsp
  7. coriander powder - 2 tsp
  8. tumeric powder - 2 tsp
  9. sugar - 1 tbsp or less
  10. lemon juice - a dash
  11. sprinkle of water
  12. mustard seeds,- 1 tsp
  13. cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  14. dash of asafoetida
  15. curry leaves - 8 -10 leaves
Instructions
  1. Tear all the bread slices into bite sized pieces, keep aside
  2. Take some oil in a flat frying pan, splutter mustard seeds, cumin seeds and add asafoetida
  3. Add chopped onions and fry until light & translucent
  4. Add green chillies and curry leaves and fry.
  5. To this add, all the spice powders including salt and sugar and mix well.
  6. Add boiled peanuts and fry well
  7. Add bread pieces and let the spices coat the bread pieces very well.
  8. Once the bread is mixed well, sprinkle water to soften the bread.
  9. Take the pan off the heat and add a dash of lemon juice and serve hot
Sliceofmylyfe - a Food blog based in Bahrain http://www.sliceofmylyfe.com/

 

Eid Mubarak and my family’s favourite Kheer recipe

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Here, in Bahrain, we are still reeling from our longish yet blink and you miss kinda  Eid Holidays. My kitchen still smells of butter and chocolate and spice from plenty of baking expeditions that Mimi and I carried out. My instagram account is filled with pictures of my moreish banana breads ( will blog about it soon), Nigella’s Orange and chocolate cake and almond biscotti. As an expat and a non- Muslim in Bahrain, being around during Eid celebrations is a special experience each year. As an outsider and an observer, the festivities marked by a long holiday and the Muslim community getting together to celebrate after a month of fasting and prayers, have always left me with a feeling of longing for my family back in my own home country. There is a spark in everybody’s eyes as they go shopping for gifts and traditional sweets. To feel close to it all, I too, go for shopping for traditional sweets and gifts for friends and my family.The other major attraction during Eid would be to go to the Grand Mosque which is a unique experience and this year my parents would be visiting the Grand Mosque for the first time. It would be interesting to see the Mosque once again through their eyes. The Ministry of culture has come up with a great line up of performances from all over the world as a part of the Bahrain Summer Festival 2014. I can’t wait to attend some of them which sound every bit delightful. At home, I try to create a festive atmosphere by preparing some delicacies like the Shir Korma and  Biryani. I call friends home and do our own little Eid party with cheese sampling and such. Eid, on the whole, leaves me feeling festive and I look forward to this festival like I would, Deepawali, while I lived in India.

So that was a bit about how we spent the holidays. I would also like to share a few interesting updates. I couldn’t have imagined on that sultry afternoon of 23rd February, 2010 that my blog would come this far. The innumerable opportunities that my blog has provided have helped me explore my own potential as a food writer and a food photographer. I still have a long way to go but every opportunity is a divine gift that I shall treasure.

I had the opportunity to share a recipe, picture and a write up of the famous Thalassery Biryani with the readers of Bombay times. It is a small mention but for me a big milestone to be featured in the supplement of the Times Group. In this article, I talk a bit about its origin and the interesting history behind the Thalassery Biryani. The recipe is pretty amazing too.

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The other update includes a chocolate cookie recipe that Mimi and I shared with the readers of a Bahrain based magazine – Bahrain Confidential. Here, I discuss why baking is such a fruitful exercise with children especially during their summer holidays. I shall share a detailed post on the cookie recipe, soon.

Bloggers Bytes BC August 2014

Now that the updates are out of the way, let me share with you my simple, yet absolutely delicious Kheer ( rice pudding) recipe which I made to celebrate Eid.  Just with a few ingredients it is possible to create something so magical that it unites your family at the dining table even if they have vastly varied tastes for other foods.

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Most of my cooking that I do at home is instinctive and I never take the pains of jotting down the recipe. But during these Eid holidays, I thought better and wrote down the recipe for Kheer as I made it. It is a favourite with my family especially my daughter and my husband. They enjoy a cupfull of this in its warm and chilled forms.

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While it uses few ingredients, its taste blooms because it is cooked slowly on low flame. To speed up the process would mean cooking it at high temperatures but then it would completely kill the taste. I know of several other methods of making Kheer like cooking it in the pressure cooker etc but these short cut methods do not do it for me. I like the traditional way of cooking it slowing and allow the flavours of the reduced milk to merge with the cardamom, sugar and the ghee-fried raisins and cashews.  This recipe gives atleast 8 servings.

Wishing everybody a great week ahead!

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Apple tarts for ordinary days and a poll

All of us remember special days – birthdays, anniversaries, festivals and personal triumph days such as promotions etc ( its been long since I have celebrated that one!). I try and celebrate the ordinariness of each day. It gives me a special high. I try to have a special sort of breakfast or dinner or snack since its super fun to share on instagram, Facebook and twitter. People respond to my attempts to celebrate ordinariness which makes all the effort well worth it. That is why I am so glad that social media platforms like Facebook, twitter, pinterest, instagram are around which make our daily routine stories sound fancy thereby giving us the strength to get past each day.

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There is a lot of criticism concerning these social media platforms where several people (including my husband) think that this culture of over-sharing is overbearing.  I agree to a certain extent but all in all I feel it has brought us closer as a community – of like minded people, friends, supporters etc.

Digital Media has got me so interested that the pros vs cons war doesn’t bother me. Like they say, you can love it, you can hate it, but you cannot ignore it. Social media is here to stay and its evolving and adapting to real life as I write this post. Soon there will be a time when there wouldn’t be any distinction between the real and the virtual life. Scary? Exciting?

What are your thoughts on it. Social media – love it? hate it?

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Take this small poll for fun and it will tell me how many of us think social media is amazing and the single biggest invention after the world wide web and how many think that it is a high risk infection that needs to be stopped via a new antidote or vaccine!

Well apart from all the digital media debate on this post, I have a warm and a sunny apple tart recipe to share.

AT2This recipe is the easiest and absolutely no-fuss. The last traces of the good weather are leaving Bahrain and summer is setting in. I am not exactly ready for summer and continue to hold to my fall/winter/spring mode. The baked apple tarts is my way of expressing weather -related withdrawal symptoms.

AT3What is it about the cinnamon and apple combination that is so heavenly! Pair it in tarts or cakes or muffins with strusel, it just creates that quiet corner of heaven when you are eating them. I served warm these tarts with simple and the understated vanilla ice cream – symbolic of the receding winters and the entering summers.

The recipe has been inspired from here and the recipe card for the detailed recipe is below.

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Now bringing the discussion back to social media and the impact it has on our lives these days.I feel moderation is the key. I feel we have control over what part of ourselves we want to put out there for the unknown world to see. Ofcourse that balance comes through trial and error. As a blogger, I have realized that like – minded people connect when they read what I post is relevant to their lives. For that I post stuff about my life which I don’t mind sharing. It is also heartening when people come and validate that they feel the same, given a situation. For me personally, being a part of such an online community has been inspiring and each day I learn a lot which I then apply to my real life. Hence, I do not mind declaring that I am social media- happy and would continue my trysts in this medium.

Do you feel the same?