Saturday, 31 October 2015

All natural homemade gram flour face pack

There was a time when i would try all possible creams, lotions and face packs available in the market to get that flawless looking skin. I also tried various night creams. Nothing seemed to work for me. And buying something expensive was out of the question. Why waste money when you don't see results, right? 
That is when i decided, enough is enough. Rather than looking for shiny little glossy bottles on the supermarket shelves (which is probably loaded with god knows what chemicals), why not just show your skin some love and go all natural? 

And so i decided not to run around anymore in supermarkets looking for the perfect face pack or cream, instead i just turned to my trusty kitchen cabinets :P. Now I have started using only homemade scrubs and face packs for my skin. Its natural, its safe and with some patience and religious use you will indeed see the results. I have been blessed with a pimple free face. The only problem I have is pigmentation and uneven tan (specifically on the forehead area). Even standing in the sun for 5 mins will leave my face heavily pigmented with uneven dark patches all over. 

So today I will be sharing my favorite go to face pack which helps in reducing pigmentation and also makes the skin look healthier. I am not in any way claiming that by using this face pack you will get a fair skin tone. Nope. I am totally happy with my skin tone (which is brown). Its the uneven pigmentation that makes it look all dull and unhealthy. 


You will need:
2 tbsp of gramflour/garbanzo bean flour
1 tbsp of yogurt
1/4 tsp of ambe halad powder/mango ginger/Turmeric powder
Water as needed

Method:

1) Mix all the ingredients with help of water. Add little water at a time to make a paste. 




2) With a brush or your fingers apply this paste on to your face (except the eye area) and neck. Any leftovers can be applied even on legs and arms.

3) Leave in on for 15 - 20 mins or until its all dry and starts feeling a little tight. 

4) To wash off, first wet your face and neck with lukewarm water. Massage your face in circular motion. Repeat until it all the pack comes off. 

5) Pat dry with a dry towel. 

Benefits:

Ambe Halad Powder/ Turmeric powder: Turmeric is known for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Turmeric is a spice widely used in Indian cuisines (gives a distinctive yellow color to the food and curries) and has been used as beauty product since ages. It helps fight signs of aging, wrinkles, pigmentation, pimples, blemishes and is also known to treat various other skin conditions.  

Gram flour/ Garbanzo bean flour: Gram flour is known to reduce pigmentation and tan. It is a really good cleanser and cleans clogged pores. It is also good for reducing oiliness of the skin. Good for reducing pimples and blemishes as well. 

Yogurt: Yogurt acts as a good moisturizer. It also helps in reducing pigmentation and skin discoloration. 

Apply this pack once or twice every week for a healthy looking skin.

I hope you all liked my first beauty related post. Looking forward to sharing more of my homemade skin care routine. 





Thursday, 22 October 2015

Homemade Oats and Nuts Energy Bars



Why buy energy bars from store when you can make perfectly healthy and yummy ones for yourself at home. Store bought energy bars have tons of sugar and additives. By making these at home you know what goes into your energy bar and your body. 

I have adapted this recipe from thekitchn.com and have made few changes of my own. Since this is an energy bar, i decided to ditch honey and instead used jaggery as a sweetener. Jaggery is known for its high fiber and mineral content. Also unlike sugar it provides energy slowly and for a longer period of time. Far better than any form of sugar. And so works perfect as a pre workout snack. I wasn't sure about the quantity of jaggery but thankfully the amount i decided to add worked perfectly. This bar is very lightly sweet, cakey and chewy in texture. I have used the quick cooking rolled oats for this recipe and mainly nuts. You can also use traditional oats with any nuts or fruits of your liking. 



Makes around 14- 15 medium sized bars. 

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups of quick cooking rolled oats
1 cup of applesauce (since i was out of applesauce quickly made one at home)
1/3 cup of jaggery (here you can substitute the jaggery with 2 - 3 tbsp of honey, maple syrup or any other sweetener of your choice)
3 tbsp of creamy peanut butter ( i used the organic salted one)
1/4 cup of melted coconut oil ( i used organic virgin coconut oil)
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
1/4 cup of ground flaxseed
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
1/2 cup of slivered almonds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup of pistachios roughly chopped
1/4 tsp of cinnamon powder
A little less than 1/4 tsp of salt

Method:

1) Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a 8"x8" baking pan with parchment paper. 

2) In a large bowl combine the oats, nuts, cinnamon powder and salt. Keep this aside. 

3) In a saucepan add coconut oil, peanut butter and jaggery. Heat it on a low flame and cook until jaggery is melted and everything is combined. Remove from heat and add the the applesauce, vanilla extract and ground flaxseed. 

4) Add the wet ingredients (that is the coconut, peanut butter, applesauce mixture) into the oats and nuts mixture. Mix well until everything is nicely combined. 

5) Transfer this mixture onto the baking pan. Press down the mixture evenly with your hands. 

6) Bake at 325F for 45 minutes until it is lightly brown in color. Lift and remove from the baking pan and let it cool completely on a wire rack. Cut them into bars of your desired size and store them in an air tight container in the refrigerator. 

Note: For the applesauce i used 1 large apple. Peeled and chopped. Added it in a saucepan with 3 - 4 tbsp of water and cooked it for 15mins or so until it was tender. Mashed it using a fork. And thats it homemade applesauce is ready. Applesauce is mainly used for binding and is way to replace fat in the recipe. 





Monday, 12 October 2015

Fall Foliage 2015 - New Hampshire (A Photoessay)

After 3 years in US, i finally got to experience the beauty of fall season this time. How do i describe it?? It is nature at its best, mother earth displaying wide array of bright, beautiful and vibrant colors everywhere in her own spectacular way. We drove from New Jersey to New Hampshire which is almost a 5- 6 hour long drive, but it was totally worth it.

I don't think there is any need to further describe the beauty of fall colors in words, the photos says it all :) .

Hope you will enjoy some of the pics clicked by me and my hubby.



Lily Pond (Kancamagus Highway)

Kancamagus Highway











Tips: Check the New Hampshire fall foliage tracker online and decide the best time to visit. The best and most scenic drive was the Kancamagus Highway (don't miss it). Most of the pics you see here are of Kancamagus Highway.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Egg Curry (Hard boiled eggs in flavorful curry)


Give me an egg in any form and i will eat it. That is how much i love eggs. And obviously egg curry is one of them. I usually don't experiment much when it comes to egg curry and follow the common recipe. However one afternoon, after making tawa paneer i had some leftover tawa masala. So after few days when i planned on making egg curry, a thought crossed my mind. Why not use this leftover masala? Because i was sure that the masala would compliment the eggs very well. So the first time i tried it turned out really good. The second time around i tweaked the recipe a little and it turned out fabulous. The best part was both my parents and in-laws loved the recipe a lot when they were visiting us.  So here is my recipe for Egg Curry using taw masala. 






Ingredients:

5 hard boiled eggs (peeled and cut in half or anyway you like :)
2 medium sized onions sliced very thinly (i used a slicer for this)
1 medium sized tomato chopped
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste or grated
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp degi mirch powder
Tawa masala
2 - 3 tbsp of oil 
1/4 tsp sugar (to balance out the tanginess of the tomatoes)
Salt to taste
Water as required

For the tawa masala (recipe adapted from Vahchef)
8 -9 peppercorns
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
4 dry red chillies 
1 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)

Method:

1) Dry roast all of the above ingredients (for around 3 - 4mins) for the tawa masala except kasuri methi. Once the masala is roasted and gives out nice aroma, add the kauri methi towards the end and roast it for a minute. Transfer the roasted masala in a mixer grinder jar and grind it to make a coarse powder. Keep this aside. 

2) In a kadai or no stick pan, heat oil. Add the sliced onions and a little salt to speed up the cooking procedure. Cook the onions till they are golden brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute it till the raw smell goes away. 

3) Now add the turmeric powder, degi mirch powder, tomatoes and salt (according to taste). Saute for 1 -2 mins. Add the tawa masala. Cook until the tomatoes are very tender almost mashed completely and oil starts to separate form the masala. This will take around 5 mins. Add water as per your requirement. I like to keep the consistency of the gravy a little thick. Add more or less water as per your liking. Check for seasoning. Add sugar very little around 1/4 tsp and mix.

4) Finally add the sliced hard boiled eggs and mix very gently. Let the eggs rest in the masala for a 1- 2 min and then switch off the flame. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with rotis, fulkas, bhakris or rice. 














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