Today I am bringing in a yummy recipe by my mom, Mrs Sridevi Balakrishnan. A magician in the kitchen, she always prepares full-flavoured dishes which leaves us craving for more.
Soya Chunk Fries
The Meal maker is here to add a wallop of magic to your table. Soya chunks commonly known as meal maker can be used to prepare a creative vegetarian dish rich in protein. This dish can be used as a substitute for non-vegetarian dishes as well.
1. For Soya chunks preparation
Soya chunks large -2 Cups
Ginger-garlic paste- 1 Tablespoon
Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
Chilly powder -1 tablespoon
Coriander powder-1 tablespoon
Salt- as per your taste
Garam masala powder-1 teaspoon
Butter -1 tablespoon for marination
Coconut oil- as required for frying
2.For the dry gravy preparation
Coconut dices (small )
Onion- 1 large
Cashew nut -a handful
Pepper- 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder-1 teaspoon
Chilly powder-1 teaspoon
Curry leaves- a handful
Finely chopped Coriander leaves- 2 tablespoons
Method of preparation
Take the required quantity of soya chunks and wash well. Soak soya chunks in hot water. After 15mns, the chunks would have absorbed water and increased in size. Now drain the water, squeeze dry the soya chunks.
Marinate the soya chunks well with the ingredients from the first list and put in the pressure cooker. Let it cook till one whistle is heard. Remove from heat and open the cooker.
Deep fry the soya chunks in coconut oil . (This can be stored in the fridge for a week. When required, take the chunks and fry again in coconut oil /butter. Continue the recipe as below)
In another pan, add the required quantity of coconut oil and butter and fry the coconut dices. Remove and set aside. Then fry the cashew nuts and keep together with the fried coconut dices.
After this, saute the sliced onion till golden brown in the same pan.
Add the fried cashew nuts and coconut dices to the sauteed onions.
Add pepper, coriander powder and chilly powder and saute till the raw smell of the masala disappears.
Add curry leaves to this mixture and stir well.
Now our masala is ready.
Add the deep-fried soya chunks to the fried masala. Saute well for 5 minutes till the masala is absorbed into the soya chunks. You can add a bit of oil at this stage if you prefer.
Once crispy, remove from heat and shift to a serving bowl. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves.
This protein-rich curry is super tasty and serves as a great side dish with Chapathi or white rice.
“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” – Lucille Ball
“Lighten up on yourself. No one is perfect. Gently accept your humanness.” – Deborah Day
“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.” – Lao-Tzu
“Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.” – Anna Taylor
“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.” – Bob Moawad
Meet my aunt Mrs Ambika Menon! She is a delightful multi-cuisine expert who constantly makes a whole range of lip-smacking dishes.
Today she is sharing a popular dish-Pasted Chicken, which has always been an instant hit at any occasion in the family. This is a simple and quick to make dry chicken recipe which you can prepare in a jiffy. You get a tempting appetizer made of juicy chicken pieces that always leaves you craving for more. Kids will love this dish as it has an exotic flavour and is too yummy for words.
400 grams Chicken (small pieces with bone or boneless)
1.5 tablespoon Soya Sauce
1.5 tablespoon Chilly sauce (Garlic flavoured chilly sauce is the most preferred for this recipe)
1.5 tablespoon Tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Red Kashmiri Chilli powder
½ tablespoon Turmeric powder
1.5 tablespoon Refined Oil
Salt- Not required initially
Points to note before preparation
Wash the chicken pieces well and drain completely
Do not add water at all during any stage of preparation.
Do not use Coconut oil as there will be a distinctive flavour which is not required in this dish.
Mix all the ingredients, except chicken and taste this paste before adding salt.
There will be enough salt when the different types of sauces are combined. However, if you feel you still need some more salt, please add according to your taste.
Marinate the chicken with the prepared paste of spices and sauces. Then keep it aside for 15min.
Shallow fry after 15min. First, keep your frying pan covered with its lid till the chicken pieces get cooked. Then remove the lid and continue till the chicken becomes dry. Garnish as per your liking. Serve piping hot!
My childhood has forever been blessed with the lovely aroma of home-made food ,full of love and happiness. There was always something cooking on the stove and my parents have always been finding ways to fill my sister’s and my days full of surprising , mouth watering dishes. Both my Dad and Mom are excellent cooks ,each with their own speciality dishes. And that’s not all. Coming to the extended family, there is so much to say. We have a gang of wonderful ,cheerful ,nurturing Grandparents, Uncles and Aunties who make our vacations wonderfully special and tasty.
Even today, the thought of spending our vacations at any of their homes is extra special and thrilling ,because all of us cousins know that we will be getting that extra touch of love with all our favourite dishes. We are a lucky bunch of kids who even today, with families of our own, return home to be pampered and loved by a fantastic generation of cooking experts. Our whole family gives such importance to serving food with love and compassion and I have grown to love the art of cooking because of all these wonderful people around me. The main agenda of any of our family gatherings will be food. We can go on for days discussing what the menu would be and how eagerly we wait for all those home-made ,mouth-watering delicacies.
Today, each dish I cook is a reminder of what they have taught me throughout the years. Cooking is a passion that fills me with a sense of fulfilment. And again I have been blessed with a family of my own-my husband and two boys, who are ever ready to taste my experiments and encourage me to the core. These three dears are the pillars of my cooking mansion.
There was a time just after my marriage when I hadn’t tried out any practical cooking and was quite a disaster in the kitchen. I had only experienced eating wonderfully cooked food, however, had not tried anything of my own. I must say that my In-laws gang patiently endured my mistakes and mix-ups. Today they are also my biggest support group who still try out my culinary results wholeheartedly.
I now try to pass the same experience to my kids and their cousins whenever we have family gatherings. I need the kids to feel as welcome and excited to come home, just the way I did.
It’s only fair to share these wonderful delicacies with you too. So from now, this section is going to be dedicated to my entire family and we will be sharing our food with the whole world!
The clock’s ticking and you have to run. Please take a moment and breathe. We all have these panic stricken moments wherein we feel time is not sufficient to get everything done. We panic, then over react and rush things to move ahead in our daily schedule. Take a moment and re assess your life. Are you spending time for what you really require or are you simply running along with the wind? Here are a few simple tips that are going to get you on track.
Plan your day ahead
Yes, it is tiresome and at times boring to keep planning your days. You should be impulsive and have lot of –‘seize the moment’’ kind of days. However, to be consistent achiever, you need to plan your day to be productive. Prioritise what has to be done and go for it with all your passion and willpower.
Keep yourself away from unnecessary drama
Let go of things, events and situations you cannot control. No one ever has everything under control. You need to let go of the unwanted drama and emotionally draining situations. Stay away from negative people. Knowingly or unknowingly, they bring you down. That’s not what you need if you want to utilise your time wisely.
Stop focussing on your mistakes
Its human nature to make mistakes. We all make them. But you don’t need to dwell upon your mistakes. If possible learn from them. Remember what they taught you, however, forget that it happened. The past is over and gone. You have to move forward, strong and steady. Concentrate on your strengths and remember who you are. Stand-alone bravely and focus on your goals.
Keep still during chaos
Chaos is everywhere. Life is not easy or smooth always. What you can do is try keeping still and focused, in spite of the chaos around you. Try not to get involved in everything. Be aware of what is happening and ask yourself if there is a need for you to get involved. If there is no point, or if your opinion or presence does not make a difference, stay away. Save your time and energy for events that make you feel good.
Don’t spend time checking what others are doing
You need to focus on your goals. Keeping a check on what others are doing, how far they are, what they have achieved etc is not going to help you. If you are looking for inspiration, that’s great. However running a race to see who is better -now that’s not a good idea. Be happy for others when they achieve their goals. Then move further in your journey. You yourself determine your self-worth.
Set aside Me time and recharge yourself
As I always say, everyone needs some Me time. Spending some time alone has so many benefits. You feel recharged and your mind clears. Doing what is important to you makes you feel alive. Then you will see how efficiently your days progress!
Be that person who is in charge. Strive for perfection, however, don’t make your life all about being perfect. Cut yourself some slack and relax. Enjoy the ride while focussing on your priorities. Keep calm as you are a winner!
Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude. ― A.A. Milne
Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow- Melody Beattie
The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness. —Dalai Lama
Why you need to be full of gratitude
Being grateful for all your blessings makes you a happier person. Practice saying Thanks every hour and see how different your world becomes. You learn to be more positive when you start appreciating all the tiny things in your life. Start with the smaller things and eventually you will end up saying Thanks for having your biggest dreams come true. Being grateful helps you to never take anyone for granted. You learn to appreciate and be kind to all the people in your life. Just imagine how happy and blessed the world would be if gratitude becomes a way of life.
Do you need a few pointers on how to start ?
Be thankful that you have a home.
Be thankful that you have food to eat.
Be thankful that your family is safe.
Be thankful for whatever source of income you have.
Be thankful for the abundance in nature.
Be thankful for your healthy body.
Be thankful for the ability to see, hear, feel and speak.
Be thankful for all your life experiences as those shaped you to become the person you are today.
And what happens when you become grateful ?
While it may seem like an act in the beginning, if you keep at saying Thanks frequently, you slowly realise how fortunate you really are. You get to know that you are living the life someone else is desperately praying for. You give up complaining on what you don’t have and focus on what you have. This attitude always helps you get more to be grateful for. Sit quietly for a while,dear friends. Listen to your own inner voice and understand how blessed you are simply to be alive.
What I want to say special thanks for today
Today I take the time to be grateful and say Thank you to each one of you for all the support you have given me in getting my blog- ”Love your life” running successfully. We are almost completing two months online and I am overwhelmed with the love received.
Everything that is done in this world is done by hope – Martin Luther
May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears – Nelson Mandela
Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness – Desmond Tutu
I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains – Anne Frank
It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop – Confucius
Recipe for A hope-filled Life
2 full cups of Faith
1 cup of Love
1 cup of Laughter
1/2 cup of Vision
1 teaspoon of Self Esteem
A pinch of smiles
A dash of Positive Thinking
Stir in your 2 cups of Faith(strong and firm) along with 1 cup of heartfelt Love. Mix well and keep aside. Take 1 cup of Laughter and slowly blend with a pinch of smiles. Add this magic potion to the Faith-Love mixture. Blend 1/2 a cup of Vision into this and stir in 1 teaspoon of Self Esteem. This step is essential for your success. Now set the concoction in a beautiful mindset and sprinkle a dash of positive thinking over it all!
Take this daily in the morning and start your day with a fresh attitude !
Do you know how important it is to stay hydrated ?Water accounts for more than half of your body weight. Your body needs water for its daily functions. Each cell in the living body stays healthy when it receives the proper amount of water and nutrients. Keeping your body hydrated is important in numerous ways. Some of the main benefits have been listed down below:-
Improves physical health and performance
Boosts energy levels
Increases memory power
Enhances brain functioning
Reduces the occurrence of anxiety and panic attacks
Improves your sleep quality
Reduces mood swings and keeps you in happy spirits
Improves your focusing ability and concentration power
Boosts your weight loss
Reduces the possibility of severe headaches
Keeps your heart healthy
Improves the function of your digestive system
Keeps kidney stones away
Promotes cell growth and nutrition
Reduces symptoms of hangovers
Improves the efficiency of your joints
Keeps your bones and muscles healthy
Keeps you motivated and feeling fresh
Keeps your skin clear and glowing
The perfect detox drink
Maintains your weight at healthy levels.
The list goes on and on. These are just some among the many benefits you get by staying properly hydrated. So now, make sure that you are drinking a minimum of 6 glasses of water per day.
How do you know that you are not drinking enough water
When you are dehydrated, you feel low and weak. There are many symptoms which are an indication that the body is dehydrated. Some of the main ones are:-
Dryness in the mouth
Lesser trips to the bathroom
Feeling fatigued throughout the day
Too tired to sleep
Headaches with increasing intensity and repeated frequency
Feeling light-headed and confused
Tips to stay hydrated
Most of you follow very busy schedules. So here are some options that help stay hydrated:-
Always keep a water bottle with you. If possible choose a reusable one and refill it.
Set a reminder in your phone after each hour to take a few sips of water.
Ask your friends /family to check that you are following your water schedule
Have a partner to join your plan-The more, the healthier
To enhance the taste, add some lime if you don’t like drinking plain water
Bored with plain water -Here are some alternatives
The recommended level of drinking water is to have 5-6 glasses daily. However, if you are looking for alternatives other than water, you can choose one of the following options
Fresh fruits like watermelon, strawberries, peaches, musk melon, cantaloupe
Vegetables like tomatoes, bell peppers, lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, celery, cauliflowers
Note:- Please do keep in mind that plain water is your best option!
Healthy-clean eating, proper hydration and a good night’s sleep will keep you away from most physical and mental ailments. Check out any diet plan and you will see how they mention the importance of including water in your daily routine. So from now on, start your day with two glasses of clean drinking water. This will keep you active and happy all day long. Let’s decide to keep healthy the right way!
Hey there, Like me ,do you also think that depression is such a negative word?
The last thing someone who is feeling low needs is to read more about the causes or reasons that hurt you more. I’ll give you a simple example to prove my point. Suppose you feel slightly feverish. You may also have the slightest body pain. Upon an urge, you check out your symptoms on Google. Oops, This is when all hell breaks loose. You read more pages on fever, then move ahead to causes of body pain. Within the next 5 minutes, you confirm that you have all the symptoms of a deadly disease. See my point? Your mind absorbs whatever you feed it. So today, we are not talking about any symptoms or any reasons that cause low /negative feelings. I am going to find solutions for you to overcome those bad moments. Stay with me here and enjoy this ride 😊
Hello Mr Dep- You don’t scare me!
The first thing I am going to do is stop typing the word Depression. Let us just call him Mr Dep. I feel better already. This is exactly what you should do. Acknowledging that you are scared, tensed or depressed is a matter of great courage. And you have faced that, Bravo !!
From today stop affirming to yourself that Mr Dep is troubling you. The sentence I am feeling …….. is something only you have the power to fill. So start saying I am happy, I am loved and I am blessed. Your life will change- That’s guaranteed.
Mr Dep is someone who is lonely and is looking for company. But my dearest Reader, there is no reason to give him space in your life. You have Mr Happy, Mr Adventurous, Miss Excitement, Miss Discovery and so many others to befriend. Promise me that you have made up your mind to get Mr Dep out of your life from this moment onwards.
Watch out Mr Dep – I am fighting back
Life is never easy and seems unfair to all of us. I haven’t yet met a person who hasn’t had something or the other that keeps disturbing his /her peace of mind. But I have seen some inspiring & lovely people fight back with two secret weapons- Trust and Hope. The fighting back requires patience, effort and blind belief in the entire process. Whatever happened was bad, really bad and sad. But it is over.
You should not ignore your feelings or avoid them. Let them flow. Watch them and acknowledge them as they come. Trust that everything happens for a reason. Let Hope take roots deep within you. You can create a happy tomorrow by keeping hope alive.
Goodbye Mr Dep- Your time is over
Now let’s come to what you are waiting for. Each one of us needs to know how to face Mr Dep and to stay afloat on your ray of hope. Just follow a few simple steps for a start.
Be aware of your breath
Watching your breath takes away your attention from other issues and you wholly concentrate on breathing. Sit in a quiet room, by yourself. Close your eyes and focus on your breath for a moment. At first, you may not notice anything happening. Take a deep breath and hold it. Count till 5 and then slowly exhale. Breath out the pain along with that slow exhalation. Let peace enter. Repeat this for at least 7 times. Once done, relax in that state for as long as you can. Focus on the blessings in your life, however small.
Then open your eyes with a smile 😊 Mr Dep is already thinking of leaving. He doesn’t like it that you are not focussing on him- The jealous type I guess! Do this whenever he tries to remind you of things you don’t like. Remember that he will try to defeat you with all his might, but you are a fighter! Have no doubt.
Absorb the present moment and live in it fully
Ready to hear the second trick? Recently I came across two beautiful books by The famous Tibetan Monk Thich Nhat Hanh. In simple language, he explains the power of enjoying life in every moment. The way he describes how joyful it is to do a simple task like washing the dishes helps you see life in an entirely different way. Whatever you do, be mindful of that very moment. Leave the overthinking and worrying part. Thats not for you. Just sit and watch the birds fly, the rain falling or even look at small kids playing.Sit still and you will see how peaceful it is. Your life is too precious. Don’t hand it over to Mr Dep. He is completely useless. The present moment is so much more beautiful.
Listen to the Sound of the Ocean
This may sound strange at first. But it works. The sound of the ocean and its magical powers are amazing. As you look at the waves and listen to the sounds, a strange calmness engulfs you. It’s as if your troubles are getting washed away. Your mind is free of all disturbing thoughts and you find the experience a new strength.
And by the way, Did I mention that Mr Dep is not good at swimming?So why not just wash him away 😊
Affirm that you are happy
I want you to know that feeling low is normal. No one is immune to those moments. Our strength to rising above those feelings awakens when we trust God or the Universe without a doubt. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO REMAIN THE STATE OF SADNESS. The Past is over and gone. Get help from people around you. Never feel that you have to suffer in silence. Go within yourself and search for who you are really. Maybe, this is the time meant for you to rediscover your true self. Think Happy thoughts, Affirm and keep affirming that you are happy.
Sharing my favourite quotes from Thich Nhat Hanh
“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”
“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.”
“I will practice coming back to the present moment…not letting regrets and sorrow drag me back into the past or letting anxieties, fears, or cravings pull me out…”
“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”
I sincerely hope this article helps you with finding peace again.
Most parents have asked themselves a question -Am I a good parent, at least a dozen times. Well, I certainly have, guess I have lost count of the number of times 😊 There is this feeling of uncertainty as to whether or not we are raising our kids right or not. There are other times when we know instinctively that the kids seem to be doing well. The purpose of today’s article is to make a few points clear on what helps raise happy kids. By default, parents know what is good for their kids. It’s just the way of nature. You may doubt yourself many times, however, don’t stress out. You know what is best for your kid. Instead of comparing yourself to other parents who seem to be doing the perfect job of raising picture-perfect kids, rely on your instincts and trust your intuition. That should do the trick. So now let us move ahead to see a few pointers to raising happier kids.
Nurture your happiness
Believe me when I say that happy kids come from homes where the parents are happy. The responsibilities of a family will take its toll on each one of you out there. But remember- you need to prioritise your happiness to keep your kids smiling. Being grumpy and complaining all the time about the chores you have to do, the hard work it takes, how little appreciation you get etc is giving out negative vibes to your family. To avoid all this, you take time for some Me time, go enjoy it and come back refreshed. It will make a world of difference to the way kids see you They will even respect you more for the fact that despite all the hard work, you can still be cheerful and merry!
Let them get bored
There is no need to entertain the kids all day long. They need some time to be bored. This is when their creativity takes roots. They explore options to keep themselves interested and you will be surprised to see what fun games or projects they come up with. Yes, the house may get messed up, however, teach yourself to see the creative mind behind the mess. And for sure, make it a point that they need to help clear their mess.
Don’t be the genie in the lamp
Kids will keep on asking for stuff. It is not your duty to get them everything they want. Smaller wishes lead on to bigger ones and gradually kids get the idea that they can expect their parents to provide for whatever they ask. So curb those unrealistic demands early enough. Do not feel guilty or do not feel that you are a bad parent. This gentle refusal to meet all demands will help them realise the value of money, time and hard work. Also, they will learn the lesson that life comes with not only roses but has a couple of thorns as well. It will do them good, I promise.
Praise your kids for the right stuff
Praising your kids for every little achievement will leave them feeling entitled to appreciation. As they grow up, the world is not always going to keep appreciating them. This may disturb them and leave them upset. So get them ready to face the real world and save the praises for achievement that matter. Your sincere words of encouragement will be more than enough for a lot of small goals achieved. Help them feel that they earned praise. This is a valuable lesson, even if you have to teach them the hard way.
Teach them to value relationships
Kids learn how to value relationships from home. Teach them with your example that family matters.No matter how busy you are, you have to show kids that family is a priority. This will be engraved in their little minds. And this is how they get to value their relationships later on.
Don’t expect perfection every time
Expect kids to make an effort. Don’t stress on getting everything perfectly right. Give them the chance and freedom to make mistakes, realise those mistakes and then work on correcting them.
Teach them Prayer, gratitude and how to apologise
I do not have words to stress this point enough. Kids need to learn how to thank anyone who helps them. There is no social status, money or age involved here. If someone, anyone for that matter, helps them or does them a favour, your kids should be grateful for that, no matter how small it is. Likewise, if they have hurt another person, you should teach them to apologise. Above all, teach them to believe in the Divine strength and offer a prayer each day. This gives them the mental and emotional strength to face their reality.
From a mom’s experience:-
Dear parents, please do read the following tips. Do not compare your kids with their friends, cousins or neighbours. That hurts their self-respect and they feel inferior. Let your kids be responsible for their lives and allow them to make mistakes too. They should be confident to speak openly with their parents. So helping them confide in you is very important. Let them know that it is ok to fail because what counts is getting back on their feet after the fall.
I am sure this article has helped a few of you who are struggling to do the right thing and give the best to your kids. There is no such thing as a perfect family. We all learn through our mistakes and the learning process is what creates those strong bonds between us. Relax, breathe and love with all your heart. Your kids are growing up just fine!
Row, row, row your boat. Gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream. Alice Munro