Monday, May 25, 2009

Health Drink - Almond Milk/ Badam Kheer

Almonds mistakenly were considered too fatty to be a healthy snack! but research has shown otherwise. 90% of the fats in almonds are unsaturated, it is high in protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin E, and antioxidants.
Almonds are considered to be the healthiest and most nutritious nuts of all. Owing to this fact it is termed as the source of well-balanced food. Almonds make a great snack, as they reduce the blood sugar levels and free radicals from the body. Health & Nutrition Benefits of Eating Almonds include but not limited to:
- Help in the prevention of cancer, as they are low in saturated fat
- Contain protective nutrients like calcium and magnesium, which assist strengthening of bones
- Contains phyotchemicals, which protect against cardiovascular diseases and cancer
- Reduces the risk of heart attack
- Help in checking blood cholesterol levels
- Contain lots of fiber, which is good for the system
- Contain folic acid, which is believed to reduce levels of homocystein, the amino acid thought to contribute to the buildup of fatty plaque in the arteries
- Assist in controlling diabetes, by lowering blood sugar after meals
- Provide essential anti-oxidants and help in the clean up of the free-radicals in the body

Badam kheer or a health drink made of almond and milk has been my favourite ever since childhood. My mom used to make it frequently considering its health benefits. It enjoyed it most during the summer months when i got back from school.

Ingredients: makes 4 glasses

Almonds 40
Milk 4 glasses
Ghee/clarified butter 2 tsp
Saffron 3-4 strands or 1 pinch
Sugar 12 spoons
Saara pappu (telugu) chironji (hindi) 3 tbsp


1. Soak almonds in water overnight and peel the skin out
2. Puree almonds along with half glass milk in the blender
3. Bring the remaining milk to boil in the mean time
4. Add almond paste to the milk and keep stirring constantly till the raw smell goes. This might take 8-10 mins
5. Add sugar, stir well, turn stove off and then put in the saffron
6. In a saucepan heat ghee to roast saarapappu (pieces of cachew if desired). Mix this to the badam kheer

This could be consumed either warm or cold. It satys good in the refridgerator for upto 3-4 days.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What do you think about Angels and Demons movie?

Director: Ron Howard
Based on Novel: Angels and Demons
Novel Author: Dan Brown
Starring: Tom Hanks, Ayelet Zurer
"Though the novel "Angels and Demons" was published beore the "Da Vinci Code", much of the hype was attached to the latter. Apparently I read the Da Vinci Code first too. I was hoping that this be made to the movie taking care about the controvercies though... However it opened with international criticism.
The "Angels and Demons" movie though adhrered to the story line of the best seller by Dan Brown, did have certain fine modification to suit the big screen better. The tone of the movie was mostly narrative, with the narrator being none other than the the Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon.
“Angels & Demons” boldly insists that science and religion must coexist. The irony is Langdon a no favorite of the Holy rescues the belief of the Holy! Dan Brown has a good style in spinning stories with continuity, fiction and irony. Langdon was long denied access to the Vatican archives which would aid to his research on Illuminati; he is summoned to Rome to assess, a deadly threat involving antimatter - created by a scientist/holy man to only prove that science and religion co-exist. His foster daughter Vittoria Vetra who specialized in “bioentanglement physics” plays role with Langdon to help diffuse the anti-matter.
Some interesting scenes which was dipicted very well in the movie were the Vatican Archives episodes; following the Illuminati trail - so the most recent qualified member to the Illuminati would be Prof. Langon! ; The cardinals in the conclave; the anti-matter at the stroke of mid-night - Let there be light... The background music was stunning all through the movie keeping up the suspense.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Health Drink - Carrot Milk

Once spring comes, it brings along with it all kinds of flowers, fruits and veggies:) I normally buy 2 carrots during my weekly grocery shopping. The other day my husband got a 10 lb bag full of carrots from Costco!! I was wondering what on earth would I do with so many carrots. Then I started trying out all the carrot recipes I knew and had heard off. However, after 10 days I had hardly used up half the stock. I preferred making khajar ka halwa, carrot milk, carrot curd pachadi, as these utilize more carrots. When I was discussing this with my cousin Sunitha, she gave me her version of carrot milk recipe. So taking the best of hers and mine here is what I have.


Makes 4 cups

Carrots shredded 1 cup
Milk 2.5 cups
Cardamom powdered 1 pod
Sugar 5 spoons
Saffron 3-4 flakes
Cashew/almond paste (optional)

- Soak 2 cashews and 4 almonds overnight and grind to a paste with milk (after removing skin) - keep aside
- Boil carrots and puree
- Boil milk, turn to simmer add cardamom powder and saffron
- Let it stand for 5 minutes, then add the carrot puree and nut paste
- Boil the mixture together for abt 10 mins
- Add sugar
Drink either warm or refrigerate till cold and consume. It tastes better when cold after a bright sunny day. This drink is very healthy with the vitamin A + fiber from carrots, calcium from milk and one of the two "good" fats responsible for lowering LDL cholesterol in Almonds.

My half Cross-Stitch project - Srirangam Gopuram

Tiruchirappalli, is situated on the banks of the river Cauvery in Tamil Nadu. It was a citadel of the early Cholas and later the Pallavas. This is supported by archaeological evidence and ancient literatures. Trichy has a fine tradition built around its history.
My mother hails from this temple city. As is customary in our family, the married women go to their mom's place for delivery. Thereby, i was blessed to be born in Tricurapally, Tamil Nadu.

Srirangam, a pilgrim centre is located in an island 7 kms from Tiruchy. This island is surrounded by the waters of river Cauveri and its tributary Kollidam. The largest Gopuram in the first wall on the southern side was completed as recently as 1987, and now measures 73m. Besides the Rajagopuram there are 20 beautifully decorated gopurams in the temple complex that spreads over 600 acres.
I used to visit my grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins every year during my summer vacation as a kid. It mostly used to be for December vacations, as Trichy has only 3 seasons viz. hot hotter hottest. Jokes apart, many a time this period coincides with the Vaikunta Ekadesi - hence the trip. It is believed that on this day who ever passes thur the Lord's Inner Sanctum, of the temple will get direct entry into heaven. During this period, Lord Ranganatha is adorned is an armor of diamonds, pearls, rubys, emralds, etc and is brought to the Thousand-Pillared Hall from the sanctum. This gate is opened just once in a year. On this day it is auspicious to even be present on the sands of Tricy. I used to prefer to the sands of Trichy part, than the rush inside the temple! Irrespective we make multiple trips to the temple via the cauvery bridge. The bridge used to be a perfect visual treat - the breeze from the river, the colorful rajagopuram amidst lush green neem and coconut palms, orange sun raising, the ancient church tower, paddy fields with white pelicans flying across..... what a beauty - man and nature complimenting each other!!

The Trichy Innovative Ladies United Needlework Association – TILUNA members wanted to put this rich culture on the Guinness Book of Records as well as do some social act. They narrowed down to help giving vocational training to the children who finished special aid schools.

The plan of action to was, to make a half cross stitch of the tallest temple tower of Srirangam on a 36x26 inch canvas. The aim was to make a Record of 15,000 sq ft on a single theme of the Gopuram. Now they are into the Limca book of records as well.

My eldest aunt has made more than 11 Gopuram half cross-stitch before we lost her for ever. My mom and many other cousins/ aunts have also contributed to this amazing cause. I used to be quite busy with my work, so never gave it a hand. In 2008 i was in Bay Area. I had managed my to spare some time to stitch and soon I fell in love with it. The art form uses 10 brilliant colors to make this master-piece. The finished master piece looks like the one here.
In 2010, the TILUNA held an exhibition to announce the art pieces for sale! I pray that the entry of this art piece to peoples home, bring them a sense of the culture we hail from as well as help the spastic kids!!