Monday, September 23, 2019

Navrathri Vaibhogam, How i celebrate my Navrathri & Neivedhiyams

Navrathri is next week,how many of you  are excited! One of the festivals I look forward with so much excitement is navrathri! The 9 days of pooja, meeting friends and foods excites me even more. I plan and visualize it months before,  what decoration to do? What theme shall we add this year, and I go for my navrathri shopping when I m in India both for new dolls and also for the thamboolam. 
I love to pick gifts for thamboolam, for my lady friends and also to all the kanya ponnu/girls who tag along their mommas. I take extra care and loads of love when I buy something for them, it might not be big or lavish but the love and thought behind it counts a lot. 

A small packet of pottu/bindi or a pair of hair bands make them squeal with joy. I gift even the boys who come, i keep a stash of stationery(2 pencils, a scale, eraser and sharpeners) for them. 

  • While buying gifts, please keep in mind the utility of it, try avoiding plastic, my manni/co-sister once gave a good  agarbathi/incense stick in thamboolam, something that is useful and will be gone in 10 days. 
  • I don’t gift blouse pieces with my thamboolam, all of us know it gets circulated, instead I give small face towels which can be carried by kids with their lunch box or by adults for gym/workouts/walks. 

  • Once I got some magnetic holders that can be stuck to fridge or doors and can hold utilities like scissors, knives in kitchen or pencil/pen in living room. For the past 3 years I m getting SS utensils from Chennai.
Coming to poojai, I m sharing what i do in my home, hoping a few would find it useful.
  • First and foremost, don’t get tensed or overly worked up, you are celebrating Ambal, a supreme power, a lady who knows everything and also you. The shradhai with which you do the pooja matters more than how many hours you do it or what you offer for neivedhiyam.
  • I chant Ashtothrams(Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi) and do the pooja,  usually around 9:30 -10 in the morning. 
  • I do neivedhiyam both morning and evening. Mornings I usually offer freshly cooked rice, paruppu and payasam, as it is made everyday during navrathri, even otherise rice and paruppu are staple at home.
  • If you dont have time to make the above, a glass of fresh milk in the morning is good as neivedhiyam. If offering boiled milk, add a tsp of sugar and offer.  Evenings are mostly Sundal, that too, just a cup of any lentil/legume .
  • God’s grace till date I have one or the other coming for thamboolam all days so I offer the neivedhiyam done in the evening to them and coffee/tea and there will be snacks if I m expecting lot of people. Usually vadai/salad/poha etc along with the Sundal and coffee.
  • Many people club one or two places together for their evening golu visit, so don’t expect them to be eating a big bowl of sundal or a big cup of coffee at every place. Serve less, so they also don’t feel guilty about wasting food and you too don’t feel bad about them not finishing what you offered.
  • While there might be days where I have to goto another pooja in the evenings , those days I offer fruits and a mix of nuts with rock candy or milk with sugar.
  • If expecting a big crowd any of the days, I keep their thamboolam ready a day ahead, make a big batch of sarkaraipongal/payasam and sundal. So I don’t spend much time in the kitchen, and enjoy the golu with my friends. 
  • Golu/navrathri is all about enjoying the goddess at home, do pooja and chant naamas everyday, be positive all days, do poojai/neivedhiyam with shraddhai and loads of love, for that is what will be measured by her not, what you offer and in what you offer !! Have fun ladies, for it is your 9 days!!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Meal plans 2019

Meal planning, something i have been doing from last year. I feel less tensed when i have a plan chartered to sail through the busy mornings. Also at the same time, meal planning saves a lot in grocery shopping. You will not buy anything unnecessary. I usualy buy the grocery and then plan the meals, so it is easy for me to work with whatever i have at home.
I mostly cook Indian food at home with occassional treats of pizza/noodles for the kids. So my meal plan will be mostly rice/dal/sambar/rasam with roti/dal/paneer and legumes.

I try to make a balanced meal at home, but that doesn't mean it is boring. Sandwich/burgers with cheese and veggies at home is lot more healthier than the store-bought. Homemade pizzas tastes equally better than the store ones. It is about the choice you make, we made a choice of less processed, less take-aways or eatouts, though we still eat out, but it has redued drastically.
Here is the simple meal plan i have chartered for ourselves this week, hope you find it useful.
Vegetarian meal plan

September 22-28, 2019

Vegan/Vegetarian meal plan

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Varagu Arisi Adai/Kodomillet and lentils dosa/pancake, Dinner ideas with Millets

Adai, thick pancake, dosai made in many southindian households. Adai-Aviyal is a famous combo, you can find it in many restaurants during weekends or any specific weekday. Traditionally made with rice and lentils, now we have adai with every grain we find, quinoa, oats, millets, red rice, black rice, this rice and that rice. 
So, me too bringing you this millet adai, using kodo millet. I already have a mixed millets adai in the blog, i love adai for many reasons, it is easy to make, no fermentation required,a grind and pour kind of dosa/pancake, less soaking time and make it thin, serve for breakfast, a little thick for lunch/dinner.
This varagu arisi/Kodo millet adai is  easiest way to feed millets to your people, incase they dont like the taste or texture of it and also, it is lighter on tummy. The recipe is relatively simple, just soak all the ingredients for the varagu arisi adai together. Let is sit for 3-4 hours minimum, then grind and pour immediately.  i usually soak them overnight, so the breakfast tension is sorted for me during busy days.
Any leftover Varagu arisi adai batter can be stored in the fridge and used for a day. The below ingredients will result only batter that will be enough for a 4 member family. 

1 cup varagu/kodomillet
1/4 cup chana dal
1/4 cup toor dal
1/4 moong dal
1/4 masoor dal
4-5 nos red chilies
handful of curry leaves & coriander leaves
1/2 tsp shredded ginger
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • Wash and soak the millet and the lentils together for 4 hours minimum. I usually soak them around lunch 2 pm for 8pm dinnner. I grind it around 7 pm and rest it for 30 minutes before making it for dinner.
  • After the minimum 4 hours of soaking time, drain the excess water, take the contents into a mixer jar along with red chilies, curry and coriander leves, ginger and grind it to a batter.  It usually needs around 1/2 - 3/4 cup of water to grind well.
  • Remove the batter to another vessel, add salt and mix well. Check the consistency, it should ne little thick like idly batter. Some might prefer the adai batter to dosa batter consistency. If yes, then add aother 1/4 cup of water to it and mix well.
  • Let the batter rest for 30 minutes for the spices to mingle well. Heat a dosa pan, i use my cast iron tava for my dosa/adai.
  • Keep the flame medium, add a tsp of gingely oil to the tava, spread it well and wipe it off with a tissue or a cloth.
  • Pour a ladleful of batter in the center of the tava and spread it using the back of the ladle in circular motion. I usually prefer my adai thin that its usual thickness.
  • Make a hole in the center of the adai, this ensures even cooking of the adai, dot the edges with gingely oil, once the edges turn brown, flip the adai to the other side and cook for another  minute.
  • Serve hot with jaggery/aviyal, i served mine with jaggery and coriander thokku.
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