Sunday, November 14, 2010

A healthy treat for the child in you!

I remember, once when my nephew was around 1 year old, there was a fancy dress show happening in our residential colony. My sis-in-law thought that it would be a good idea to take him there and so got him a tiny doctor's coat and a stethoscope. Since he hadn't started talking yet, I went along too as his mouth-piece! So when his name was announced, my sis-in-law led him onto the stage; he happily walked on and seeing so many people down there, got excited and started waving his stethoscope wildly, while I gave him a voice-over.
I said "An apple a day keeps the doctor away; but if the doctor is as smart as me-you better keep the apple away!"
But coming to the point of this long-winded story, no matter how ugly the doctor is, I actually prefer them to apples.
I just do not understand how sooooo many people seem to enjoy them. I have tried many, many times to eat one but I never could complete even a single apple. They look pretty enough, staring at me from the grocery stands-startling reds, golden yellows and fresh greens. But I am not tempted.
In fact, I think that if I had been in Eve's place, Original Sin would never have occurred-no one, evil or angelic could have possibly made me eat that apple!

Having said alllll this, sometimes I try to make my husband eat healthy and so bought some apples a few weeks back. But my husband,strangely,never likes to eat, let alone eat healthy. So there they were-unhappily awaiting their path to their destiny, namely the dust bin.
But in one of my rare moments of rationality, I decided today to turn them into something much more attractive to my palate. I searched online for all kinds of recipes and finally chose one, did some modifications and customizations and ta da-delicious Apple Oatmeal Muffins!

So lets trace the journey from here...

From Apple Muffins

to here!

From Apple Muffins

You will need:

3/4 cup all purpose flour (I used the self-raising variety so that I needn't
add any baking soda)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter
Handful of chopped mixed nuts
1 apple


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Core and grate the apple. I left the skin on, figuring it would give more fiber.
(And also because I am lazy ;-))If you want, you could peel them.

Mix all the dry ingredients together. So sift and add together both the flours, oats, cinnamon and salt.

Beat the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs and whisk well.

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture along with the vanilla essence.

Stir till everything is incorporated well-maybe 3 minutes.

Either grease your muffin pan or line them with paper cups. I used paper liners.

Drop the dough into the muffin mould using a tablespoon and teaspoon. Level the surface of the muffins as otherwise you as the muffins rise up, cracks may form on the uneven surface and though the taste is not affected, the aesthetic appeal is!

Place the muffin tray in the oven and bake for 30-35 mins depending on your oven.
Start eyeballing from around 25 mins. The muffins may look a little under-done but they should be springy to the touch.

Remove from tray and cool.

Dig in!!!

From Apple Muffins

These muffins are easy, quick and tasty as well as nutritious since they contain whole wheat flour, oats, apples and nuts (I used walnuts and almonds.)
So here is a treat for all of you grown-up kids on Children's Day!
Happy Children's Day! Enjoy and Keep Smiling :-)
From Apple Muffins

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The ME Experience

Weekends usually mean lots of lazing around, sleeping, watching TV and maybe some shopping for AJ and me. But this weekend was different.
A few weeks back we had been to Dubai to catch a movie. Since the show was not until late night, we decided on a whim to go to the St.Mary’s Church in Dubai. Whilst there, we noticed a poster announcing a ‘Marriage Encounter Weekend’ (No, not the kind of encounters where police and thugs and shooting are involved ;-)). We noted down the contact details and over the next few days signed up for it. And are we glad about that decision!

The weekend turned out to be quite interesting!
We were the youngest couple there, the ‘baby ME couple’ as they called us!
The two days are spent completely with one’s spouse with no outside interferences, influences or worries.
And contrary to popular belief, the world does not stop if you switch off your mobile phone and the sky does not collapse if you cut yourself off from the outside world for just a couple of days.

We stayed at a comfortable place; there was good food, lovely people and lotsa thinking to do! The ME Team Members are such gracious and loving people.
The ME Dubai Team is just a part of a dedicated Worldwide ME Group of volunteers, who unselfishly share so much with us.
Please don’t presume that one should attend this weekend only if your marriage is on the rocks – the ME Motto is ‘Making Good Marriages Great’. It is not just some senseless gyan. Anyone who would like to enhance and enrich their marriage can join in. It is open to people from all religions and all walks of Life. Check out their website:

I do not want to write too much and give away all the surprises!
But if you find an ME weekend taking place somewhere near you, please do make use of that opportunity. It will surely be a memorable weekend for both you and your partner!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Balcony Ballads

We recently moved to a new apartment and are just settling down, unpacking boxes, arranging stuff and in the process of making it into a home. One thing that really makes me happy about this is new place is that, I have not one but TWO balconies! Yeah!
I have always wanted to be in a house with a balcony but unfortunately due to some reason or the other, none of the houses that I have lived in the recent past were equipped with one. Also I do not like balconies that have those metallic grilles built into them. I mean I do know that they are much safer, but me being silly ol’me, I would rather prefer an open and free balcony, where I can lean on the railing with the sun warming my face and wind ruffling my hair-which is exactly how these two balconies are!

We are on the 19th floor and so obviously the view is phenomenal. I can see the backwaters near the harbor on one side and a brightly lit football stadium on the other. After dark, the city’s skyline really comes to life and stands out, with cars moving like tiny glow-bugs, wayyyy down there!

Can You See The Sea?

View From The Top

Zoomed In View

Night View

The Football Stadium

Back in India, clothes would mostly be hung out to dry on the terrace. But living abroad in houses without balconies meant drying clothes inside the house itself. Though washing machines do a good job of drying laundry-the feel of a freshly washed, sun-dried, crisp and warm garment is oh so lovely! So this is what I use the back balcony for.

The front balcony is currently being used to satiate my green thumb!
I always believe that a touch of greenery brightens up any space – and what better place for a spot of verdant foliage, fragrant herbs and colourful blooms than the desert?! The fiery weather is cooling down slowly which is good for my plants. I only have a small collection for now as I wanted to experiment and get familiar without murdering too many of them! Happily they seem to be thriving well enough as you can see from the picture so it can be expected that a trip to the nursery is in the offing :-)

BTW check out this interesting post on Gardening at Work- A novel idea!

The plants that I have currently were all bought as saplings but next time around I am planning to coax a few to grow from seeds, especially the easy to grow ones such as coriander, methi, mint etc. Freshly plucked organic herbs from my own garden, healthy as well as economical-it can’t get better than that! Agreed a garden on a balcony in a dusty country such as this will definitely contribute to some amount of dirt and sand. But with a little extra effort , you can have your own little oasis right there!


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