Tuesday, 7 May 2019

DIY Coffee Chocolate Scrub Bar

I love to exfoliate my skin no matter what the season is.


If it is summer, the dry and hot season calls for scrubs that are nourishing yet gets rid of dry flaky dead skin cells. And, if it is winter then dry skin syndrome heightens and scrubs becomes even more essential.


Today I have a recipe that is so delicious smelling that you can almost eat it.


Actually you can ! Because all the ingredients are edible.


Edible ingredients also means active ingredients that really gets down to work and give you a nice smooth skin feel after every exfoliation.


I am a coffee person and it struck me to include it into my skincare. And BAM! Comes into picture my DIY Coffee Chocolate Scrub Bar for not just face but the whole body.
The benefits are:
  • Coffee has antioxidants and when applied directly onto skin, the skin cells improve.
  • Some studies tells that coffee protects the skin from harmful UV rays and other skin damages.
  • Coffee grounds are natural scrubbing agents that promotes good blood circulation as opposed to micro plastic beads that are used in commercial skincare products.
  • Coffee has the exact same effect when applied on skin as it has when taken internally. The aroma of coffee is invigorating and very stimulating to the senses, and fills one with energy.
  • Coffee reduces cellulite on skin. It also reduces puffy eyes,
  • Sugar is a humectant, meaning sugar attracts moisture from the environment into your skin and helps keep skin soft and hydrated.
  • Sugar is a natural glycolic acid, so it exfoliates dead skin cells.
  • Milk has lactic acid which is a great cleaning agent.
  • Milk has fats, so it is moisturizing the skin.
  • Milk itself is loaded with vitamins which treat dry skin, boosts collagen, fights dark spots, and repairs ageing tissues.
I have used a premix meant for making hot chocolate/chocolate drink. And the reason is that a premix is a mixture of sugar granules, cocoa and milk powder. This way I don't have to measure and add sugar, cocoa and milk powder later into the scrub.

Ingredients:

  1. 1/2 cup filter coffee granules
  2. 1/2 cup hot chocolate drink mix (alternatively use 1 tbsp. of each - sugar granules, milk powder and cocoa powder)
  3. 3/4 cup coconut oil

Method:

In a container add all the ingredients.
Mix well.
On dry skin, gently massage the scrub.
Most of the oil will be absorbed by your skin.
Now take some water on your palms and pat on your skin.
Continue massaging.
The water will begin to dissolve the sugar and milk. Thereby allowing milk's lactic acid to activate.
Now wash off the scrub.
You have the option to leave your skin as it is with a slick of oil. Or use a face wash right after scrubbing.

Storing & Usage Options:

Pour the mixture into small moulds and refrigerate. Take out when it solidifies and use the scrub bar in shower for one time usage.
Or
Pour the mixture into a container and leave it on your bathroom shelf. In colder months, the coconut oil will harden the scrub and in summer the scrub will remain soft and mushy. Ensure that you finish it off within 1-2 weeks.
Or
Pour the mixture into air-tight container and refrigerate. Whenever you feel like scrubbing face or body, scrap off the required amount and use. This is my most preferred way, as I am not contaminating the whole scrub with wet fingers each time and storing the scrub in cold temperatures.
 










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Sunday, 5 May 2019

Recipe 80: Coconut Pancakes

In an Indian household, breakfast means bread, egg, roti, sabzi, paratha, poha, etc.


Dishes like pancakes, waffles, croissant, sausages, etc, are not considered common Indian breakfast. In fact, these are considered more as a dessert and delicacy.


One evening, wanting to experiment with pancakes, I made some for my family. It was an absolute hit-and-trial and I was rather amazed at the results.


Believing pancakes to be a good evening snack, everyone loved it and so the recipe became blog worthy!


I made a good enough stack of pancakes and drizzled thick sugar syrup instead of the quintessential maple syrup on not just top of the whole stack but inbetween each pancake. I then cut the stack like a cake and served each person a slice with extra syrup! This way you get a mouthful feel.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1/2 cup shredded fresh coconut (you can use desiccated coconut also)
  3. 3/4 cup of milk
  4. 1 egg
  5. 2 tbsp. sugar
  6. 1 tbsp. baking powder
  7. 1 tsp. vanilla essence
  8. 1/4 tsp. salt
  9. Sweet syrup (maple or sugar) for serving

Method:

Whisk egg, coconut and sugar till sugar dissolves and egg turns frothy.
Add the flour, baking powder, salt, essence and milk.
Whisk to yield a smooth batter.
Now heat a non-stick pan and brush 1 tsp. of butter or vegetable oil.
Add 1-2 ladle full of the batter.
Do not try to spread the batter with the ladle. Let the batter spread on its own gently.
The more the batter spreads the thinner the pancakes will be. So, choice is yours in terms of a thick or thin pancake.
Keep the heat on stove on low and wait till tiny bubbles form all over the pancake.
Flip the pancake.
Do not press or flatten the pancake. The baking powder will ensure that pancake rises.
Place it on a serving platter and drizzle syrup.
Prepare more pancakes and stack one on top of the other and keep drizzling syrup inbetween.
Finish off all the batter and serve with more syrup, fruits, whipped cream, etc.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Dalai Lama's Tip on Parenting

I have been reading a book nowadays, called Winning in Testing Times, edited by Namita Bhandare.


It is basically a compilation of speeches that were delivered at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in 2010.
From Manmohan Singh, Gordon Brown, Nandan Nilekani to Wasim Akram, Dr Ravi Gopal Verma, the Summit was an excellent gathering of people from almost all professions.


Each of the speeches and the question-answer rounds have been noted in this book. And all are so inspiring.


I finished the first speech by Dalai Lama and he had an interesting thing to say about parenting. And, I felt it is worth sharing.


  1. Everyone is influenced by their mother. So, for a child (who later becomes a person) to become good natured and compassion, the mother has to be very kind and loving. In the words of Dalai Lama," At a very young age we survive on our mother's affection. At that stage the maximum affection we receive is from our mothers. That experience is absorbed by every particle of our body … Those who receive the most affection from their mother at an early age are safer and feel more secure. Those who grow up lacking a mother's affection or in abusive conditions, always remain insecure no matter how smart they may turn out to be."
  2. The next remarkable point Dalai Lama made was in the context of religion and state development. But I found it to be application to parenting as well. He says that, "Without human action, Buddha's blessings are not very effective, are they?" He means that there are scores of scriptures and classes held on Buddha and his teachings but if people and state do not sit down to implement it, change will not take place. This got me thinking that no matter how many books on parenting and child care we read and no matter how many educational and learning toys we gift our kids, if parents/guardians do not deliberately sit down to talk, play and spent time with kids, never will they be able to change their parenting style for good. A lot of our efforts to raise to a child is dependent on television, mobiles, tablets and computers because with a click of a button songs can be played, alphabets are taught, and dances can be shown. We never really think about raising a child technology free and ourselves dancing, singing or teaching numbers and alphabets. Coming to Dalai Lama's point, human action is required to implement the things that are taught in parenting books. But, sadly we all prefer to pick and choose what suits our lifestyle and interest.











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Friday, 19 April 2019

Recipe 79: French Beans & Coconut Stir Fry

French beans is a tricky vegetable.


Its tasteless on its own and is difficult to come up with recipes for lunch or dinner.


But this recipe marvelous.
It can be prepared using fresh as well as desiccated coconut. I, however, had some freshly grated coconut and used it.


Try this simple recipe which goes really good with roti or paratha. It is also a perfect tiffin recipe.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 cups chopped French beans
  2. 3/4 cup freshly grated coconut
  3. 1 medium size onion chopped
  4. 6-8 grated garlic cloves
  5. 4-5 green chillies slit
  6. 2 dry red chillies
  7. 10-15 curry leaves
  8. 2 tsp. rai/mustard seeds
  9. 1 tsp. haldi/turmeric powder
  10. 1 tsp. chana dal (optional)
  11. salt to taste
  12. vegetable oil for cooking

Method:

Heat some oil in a kadhai.
Temper mustard seeds till it crackles.
Add chana dal, curry leaves and dry red chillies.
Fry for 4-5 seconds.
Do not burn or darken curry leaves.
Now add garlic and saute till raw aroma disappears.
Add onions and green chillies.
Fry till onions turn golden brown.
Add salt and haldi.
Now add french beans.
Add 1/4 cup or 100mls of water.
Lower the heat and cook the beans by covering the vessel for 5 minutes.
Add the coconut.
Stir for 1-2 minutes or till all the water has evaporated, the oil has separated from the dish and beans are completely cooked.
Switch off the heat.
Serve hot.

Aneeta Paul
I am social, goal-oriented and fun loving person. I love to dance, sing, paint and do yoga.
I love to travel and make new friends.
Professionally, I have been into teaching for several years. But lifestyle demanded change and I am loving the desk job. Currently, I am a recruiter in an MNC.


Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Recipe 78: Eggless Vanilla Cookies

Vanilla is such a tempting flavour and aroma. It reminds both kids and adults that there is sweet dessert somewhere.


The day I tried making Chocolate Chip Cookies, I made some basic eggless vanilla cookies as well.
And much to my apprehension, my about-to-turn-2 year old girl, chomped on those as well!!
Extremely glad and satisfied that she replaced store bought cookies for homemade, I am sharing my recipe of Eggless Vanilla Cookies with you all.


I baked my cookies on stove-top. So, this means you can bake absolutely crunchy and great tasting cookies without any oven or microwave.


Happy baking!

 Ingredients:

  1. 3/4 cup all-purpose flour/maida
  2. 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  3. 1/4 + 2 tbsp. granulated white sugar
  4. 1 tsp. baking powder
  5. 1 tsp. vanilla essence (click to buy Ossoro French Vanilla)
  6. 1/4 tsp. salt

Method:

In a mixing bowl, whisk together room temperature butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
Sieve and add flour, salt and baking powder into the butter mixture.
Add vanilla essence.
With clean hands, begin kneading the mixture to form a soft dough.
No need for additional water or milk.
Cover the dough with a clingfilm and refrigerate for atleast half an hour to harden.
Now prepare stove-top oven by placing a large cooking vessel/handi/patila.
Place another small handi/patila inside.
Place an aluminum plate on top of the small handi/patila.
Now take out the cookie dough from fridge.
Make your desired shape and place the raw cookies on top of the aluminum plate with ample space inbetween.
These cookies almost doubles its size after baking.
Cover the large handi/patila with another plate in order to trap the heat.
Bake for no more than 15 minutes.
Take out carefully the aluminium plate on which cookies are placed and let it cool naturally.
Store your cookies in air-tight container. 



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Friday, 12 April 2019

Recipe 77: Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookies

"Wow" is the only word that came out when I plated my first ever Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookies and presented it to my daughter.


My about-to-turn-2 year old, was sure that something of her interest is cooking because the house was smelling like vanilla all afternoon. Therefore, as soon as I plated, she grabbed a hot cookie and ran away with it.


And in minutes it was over!
That's when I knew my recipe is a huge hit and absolutely blog worthy.


With simple ingredients these cookies require no long preparation or technique. Just follow the recipe and it will yield the same results as mine.


This recipe is eggless and also great for lactose intolerant. So anyone who is a vegetarian or doesn't eat eggs and milk can every well enjoy it whole heartedly.


Lastly, I made them on a stove top. So, the recipe also teaches "How to Bake Cookies Without Oven".


The chocolate that I have used is dark chocolate. And, rather than adding chocolate chips I have chopped a bar of chocolate into big and small pieces and then folded it to the dough. That way after baking you get this really yummy soft chocolate morsels along with a crunchy cookie.
Plus, chopping your favourite bar of chocolate also keeps in check the quality of chocolate used in the recipe. For instance, I always stay from Compound Chocolate because it uses low quality fat and not real cocoa butter. A good quality dark chocolate gives you yummy chocolatey taste. If you, however, prefer something sweeter then go ahead with milk chocolate.

Ingredients:

  1. 3/4 cup all-purpose flour/maida
  2. 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  3. 1/4 + 2 tbsp. granulated white sugar
  4. 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolates (click to buy Amul 55% Dark Chocolate Bar)
  5. 1 tsp. baking powder
  6. 1 tsp. vanilla essence (click to buy Ossoro French Vanilla)
  7. 1/4 tsp. salt

Method:

In a mixing bowl, whisk together butter and sugar till the sugar has melted.
Add flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla essence.
Whisk for a minute to roughly combine all the ingredients.
Leave aside the whisk and with clean hands, begin kneading the dough.
No additional water or milk required.
Wrap the dough in a clingwrap and refrigerate for half an hour.
Meanwhile, on a gas stove place a large handi/pot.
Inside it place another smaller handi.
On top of the smaller handi, place an aluminum plate.
Ensure that the aluminum plate is not touching any sides of the large handi.
Now cover the main large handi with a lid.
This is the stove top oven you just created!
Take the dough out from fridge and mix in the chopped chocolates.
Now prepare small size roundels of the cookie dough.
Flatten each cookie slightly.
Place 4-5 cookies on the aluminum plate.

No need to grease that plate.
Keep ample space between the cookies as they will expand and double their size.
Cover the main handi with a lid and bake on low heat for 15 minutes.
Peek once or twice to check if cookies are not burning.
After 15 minutes, open the main lid and without any delay carefully lift with the help of tongs the aluminum plate.
Using a spatula, lift the hot cookies and place them on a wire rack for cooling.
If you leave it on the hot aluminium plate, cookies will continue to bake and may even get burnt.
Upon cooling the cookies will become very crunchy.
Store them in an airtight container.







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