Saturday, December 10, 2016

Winter Skin Care

The colder months of the year are just begun and they are proved to be the harshest on our skin. In winter we often face multiple skin problems including patchy skin, dry and dull skin, roughness and even shreds.

Let’s talk about some tips on how to take care of your skin in the cold weather. These skin care codes are perfect and pocket friendly.

•Tip number one, no matter how much you hate water in winters, continue to cleanse, tone and moisturize your skin as you do any other time of the year. 


•Change your moisturizer; your summer cream should be different to your winter cream. Ideally, use something with Vitamin C and more hydration. (Note: Remember, a thicker cream does not mean more hydration! And if your skin is oily, too much cream in any season will give you hard time.)


•Continue to wear SPF (sun protection factor) in the colder months; it’s a year-round endeavor. Although it doesn’t have to be high, look for SPF 10 – 15.

•Don’t use harsh exfoliants. They don’t refresh your skin but actually damage your natural protective barrier. Use enzyme-based exfoliants which are gentler or opt for less gritty ones.


•Taking some oral supplements for skin can be an option. Although consider your physician and look out if you have any allergies. Omegas, multivitamins and vitamin C are some universal supplements.

•Eat healthily. In the winter, we tend to go for a floppy diet as being cold and indoors most of the time makes us wants to eat more, mostly unhealthy stuff. Try to have a healthier diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Soups are great for winter months.


•Water is good for your overall health. Drink suffient water in winters too as water helps in detoxification and keeps the skin younger.


•Use natural ingredients to hydrate your skin. Homemade masks provide needed moisture in the winter months. Use ingredients like honey, avocado, yogurt, almond oil, bananas, and aloe. Create a paste, and leave on skin for 10-30 minutes for lasting hydration. (Note: Allergy checks necessary). 


This will prepare you to put your skin barriers up for the winter! Comment below if you want a detail list of masks that I use in winters. Enjoy the season :) 

Mugdha

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Winter is coming

I am going to start this post with this beautiful image.. Hope you enjoy the rest of the post as well :)



Winter is finally here at my door :) It was the first day of fog.. I almost sprung out of my bed, when I saw dense white fog, peeping in side my window..



I am so excited for the coming winter months. I just moved in to a new house and I'll start decorating my room and make it winter ready in coming week. We'll talk about that in my next post and now lets discuss some activities that you all should try, this December and January. 



Fun activities that will help YOU to have a happier winter... 

INDOOR ACTIVITIES FOR WINTER:

Create Ambiance! -- First and foremost! Buy a fireplace dvd, use candles that remind your of happy times, lighting, lanterns, teas, cocoas, make your home winter (holidays) ready :) 





Create a Work Coop -- work with friends/family to accomplish tasks that are long due 

Game Nights/Movie Nights -- with friends or family, try to find winter movies, my favorites are Christmas Hallmark Movies 


Organize/Decorate rooms: you can start by de-junking your home



Talk Therapy - find a friend or family member to talk to instead of staying isolated

Read a good book or have a Read-a-thon -- its a best time to complete that one novel that is sitting on your side table since you remember 


Try new recipes -- avoid the stress... just cook it out :) 

Buy new make-up kit, give yourself a makeover or enjoy a home spa 

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES FOR WINTER:

Go see a movie -- make it a family night out

Sign up for a class -- be it cooking, language learning or guitar lessons, just do it 

Book a hotel or cabin for a quick get-a-way


Exercise -- go to the gym and start 2017 on a healthy note...Get a walking partner! (Can be a indoor activity too)

Find a patch of sunlight everyday -- enjoy the sunset 



Meet friends for lunch

Make a snowman -- if you live where it snows; Go ice skating



These are only ideas, develop them according to your taste and feasibility. Hope you all have a good, good winter. Make it magical and special some how. 



Thanks for reading

Mugdha 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Combat Air Pollution using Natural Purifiers

The mere thought of living in a toxic environment is appalling and what is research says that the air inside your home is actually 2 to 5 times more polluted and toxic than the air you breathe outdoors?


Over commercialization of goods created a web of harmful chemicals and toxics around us. Everything from the mattresses we sleep on, bowl we use for food to our kids' books and clothes contain these chemicals. The health experts says that even breathing around such things can be a cause of out toxic gases in take which leads to rashes, coughing, irritation in the eyes, as well as asthma like symptoms.


Formaldehyde, a toxic gas, is found in insecticides, glues, shampoos, shaving creams, carpets and other such items that we use on everyday basis. The chemical is actually a carcinogen and can be fetal for people with sensitive respiratory issues.

Furthermore, thanks to the Diwali 2016, the level of pollution in the capital is all time high. On 30 and 31 October, 2016, from 9 pm to the wee hours of the next morning, North India - especially parts of Delhi recorded PM 2.5 levels of pollution which is beyond scale of pollution values.

Natural Ways to Purify Air at Home

Many parts of the India are gasping for fresh air but shrouded in a thick blanket of smog (smoke + fog). It is unimaginable that people do not know how many types of pollutants they have in their house and they do not even open a window to have some fresh air. Here is the list of natural purifiers for homes and workplaces, which will keep our ‘Air’ fit.

1. Houseplants

Houseplants, is a but obvious way for purifying and rejuvenating the air within houses and workplaces, safeguarding people from any side effects associated with prevalent toxins like ammonia, formaldehyde and also benzene.


It's the best way to counter the impact of pollution indoors, particularly if you have a family member with some respiratory illness. It's suggested that you have at least one plant per 100 square feet of home for efficient air cleaning to be accomplished. The best plants to filter toxins from the air are Peace Lily which prefers moderate sunlight, Lady Palm or Broadleaf Lady Palm which is adaptable but prefers bright, indirect light.


Areca Palm, Golden Cane Palm and Bamboo Palm grow in bright, indirect light and can be kept anywhere, especially in carpeted rooms or those which have recently been painted. Chrysanthemum, commonly referred to as Pot Mums loves bright sunlight, and Money Plant i.e. Golden Pothos - also called Devil's Ivy, Money Plant, Silver Vine are adaptable in nature.


Another houseplant which helps purify the air is English Ivy - often called Common Ivy or European Ivy and can be kept in rooms with computers, printers, fax machines. Boston Fern also grows easily in bright light and is best for hanging baskets. Spider Plant is useful in kitchens with gas stoves as it helps control carbon monoxide and xylene.

2. Activated Charcoal

A fantastic way to purify indoor air is with activated charcoal, also referred to as active carbon. It's odourless, highly-absorptive and works wonders with eliminating toxins from the air. Bamboo charcoal can do wonders as natural air purifier.

3. Salt Lamps

"Salt crystal products tend to reduce airborne irritants, pathogens and allergens by pulling water vapour out of the air. Himalayan pink salt is a natural ionic air purifier that pulls toxins from the environment and neutralises them.


Simply by adding a Himalayan pink salt lamp in your room or near your desk at the office does the trick, in terms of functionality and decor. You can leave it on at night as well, since the natural orange glow doesn't disrupt sleep hormones. Salt lamps improve air purification much more when they are turned on, but surprisingly work when turned off too.

4. Increase Ventilation

Better ventilation in homes reduces moisture levels, a major problem for indoor air quality. The trick is not just open a window and let all the outdoor air pollution enter in the living space. Instead, install trickle vents to purify and cycle the air you breathe indoors, like use of exhaust fans which help carry pollutants outside.

Ventilate the kitchen with chimney, since cooking can be a major source of indoor air pollution, especially if you have a gas stove. Scientists who measured indoor air quality found that cooking a single meal on a gas stove can produce levels of nitrogen dioxide that the EPA considers unsafe to breathe.

Also, after taking a shower, it is advisable to vent out all the steam and extra moisture in the air which can cause mold and mildew growth by turning the fan on.

5. Beeswax Candles

Opt, beeswax candles instead of petroleum derived candles which releases benzene, toluene and other chemicals in air. Beeswax candles ionise the air and neutralise toxic compounds and other contaminants. Besides improving the air quality at home, beeswax candles burn slowly so you don't need to replace them often.


In fact, pure beeswax candles burn with almost no smoke or scent. They are especially helpful for asthmatics and to remove common allergens like dust from the air.

Few Quick Tips
1. Carpets are a toxic sponge. Clean them often. Study suggests that if you use a doormat and take shoes off at the door, common toxins are reduced by about 60%.

2. Eliminate excessive moisture, dust build-up and the use of chemical products like paint, detergents, and synthetic fibers.

3. Quit smoking, and prevent guests from smoking inside your house.

4. Always lookout for natural alternatives for any household item.

5. If you have plants at home, clean leaves regularly to get rid of dirt.

6. Since dry cleaning solvents can be toxic to breathe, first let dry-cleaned items air outdoors before bringing them inside in order to prevent chemicals from entering your home.

7. Know the limitation of air purifiers, as they can help reduce some of the tiniest air borne particles to an extent but fail to get rid of larger particles effectively.


8. Clean your air conditioner to help keep asthma triggers away from your house. And as soon as you notice drips and leaks, get it fixed.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Awesome Rawsome : healthy food diet

With all the advances in medicine, it is astounding to see how ill most of us are, especially with universal diseases like diabetes, obesity, heart problems etc.

So can food heal us? Or we need medicines and medicines and more medicines to be the part of our diet.

Most of us must have heard from our parents that a healthy (food) lifestyle is the key to success. But what we cook and we eat or for many families nowadays, what we buy, we heat and we eat is a matter of concern.

But what if there is a better way? A way that helps us recovers our health and look and feel ten years younger?


Eating raw

I was first introduced to the raw foods lifestyle when my grandmother said, chewing some nuts are good for my brain. I was struggling with my college studies and her advice helped me a lot…


A whole new world opened to me as I realised that there are people out there who are healthier and smart then me and almost never cook yet what they eat is tasty, varied and in its best form to release its vitamins and minerals.

Why eat raw?

Quite simply, to unlock the powerful nutrients and enzymes that raw foods contain; these are usually killed off at high temperatures and we end up eating ‘dead’ food instead.

Even worse, a significant chunk of the population depends on processed food, which is NOT food, merely junk masquerading as food. All the cereals, energy bars, frozen foods and packaged goodies lining the supermarket aisles are the cause of our declining health.

And when in desperation we visit our doctor, he is just as clueless and ends up prescribing a ‘pill for every ill’ to treat symptoms rather than address the root cause of the problem.

When we heat foods above 48°C we destroy live enzymes that assist in digestion and health. Raw foods alkalise the body, which helps to flush out toxins from cooked food. Cooked foods build up acidic toxins and can lead to weight gain and disease.

Because raw food is nutritionally dense, even a small quantity is more filling than a larger quantity of cooked food. The latter may taste nicer but all we’ve done is consuming calories, hence we get hungrier quicker as our body still craves the necessary nutrients.

Who is a raw foodie?

Anyone whose diet consists of 75% or rawer, live, nutritionally dense, unprocessed foods is considered to be a raw foodie. For the majority, we are nowhere near that goal and many of us will never be raw foodies.

How to begin

Admittedly, most of us will never go fully raw, but we can all incorporate raw elements into our diet and build up gradually. The easiest ways to begin are to:

1. Include freshly made salads as the main item at meal times. Instead of taking a huge helping of steak and creamy mash, try to reduce the cooked food on your plate and increase the amount of salad.



With so many varieties of salad to try, I am sure there is something out there for everyone.

2. Make fresh juices a daily part of your food intake. This means buying a powerful blender or juicer; the former will pulverize all the fibre as well, so you can drink your juice or smoothie consuming all the vegetable and fruit; whereas a juicer will give you a lighter drink, but you will miss out on the fibre.


Instead of having processed foods like cereal or rich foods like fried egg and buttered toast for breakfast, try to begin the day with a vegetable smoothie; it is filling, tasty, and won’t leave you feeling sluggish.



Aim to drink at least two glasses each day, or go on a juice fast one day a week, consuming nothing but vegetable juice all day long. Most people find the thought of drinking a vegetable juice revolting; I did too until I tried it – it was delicious! Sweetened only with fruit, it was satisfying and filling.

3. Go nuts – snack on nuts and seeds instead of crisps and biscuits and you will find that you never experience the midday energy drain that is common to most people.


Make your own raw snacks that are super delicious and good for you and you’ll never reach for a candy bar again.

For recipes click here.

PS: Make sure that you clean the food (vegetables, fruits, grains etc) as much as you can. Proper cleaning and rinsing with water is must to remove any sorts of bacterias, chemicals etc from the food item.

Comment below if you want more recipes. For this particular type of post, I would like to invite guest posts too. If you have any recipe, share with us, with your name on it and be a part of 'Mugdha Says'

Thank you for reading guys… stay healthy

Mugdha

Monday, October 31, 2016

The quick Halloween treat

Halloween is here and got no time for decorating your house to arranging spooky dresses. But for one thing I can help you… I can give you three easy breezy recipes that will make your Halloween party perfect..

You’ve run out of time to make Halloween-themed food, so it will be better if most of the items for cooking can be used from your current pantry. So here you got cocktails, sweet treats and some savory ideas, too. Now go and enjoy your Halloween…

Candy Corn Pretzel
Ingredients:
Pretzels
Candy corn
White/regular chocolate


Directions:

Preheat oven to 250F degrees. Line baking sheet and align pretzels on the sheet. Place small pieces of chocolate on each pretzel. Stick in the oven until it begins to melt down.
When it melts and starts covering the pretzel, take out the tray and quickly put the candy corn on it. If the pieces as not sticking together, remove the candy and place the pretzel back in the oven for 30 more seconds.
Put the candy again and let the pretzel cool completely. Chocolate will set in about 10 minutes in the refrigerator.
Note: Chocolate chips can also be used instead of bars

Spooky Fingers
Ingredients:
Chocolate sticks
White and regular chocolate


Directions:
Melt the white chocolate. Dip the chocolate sticks in liquid chocolate. Make fake nails out of regular chocolate place it on the stick. Let it set.

Melt the regular chocolate and dip the base part of stick in the regular chocolate liquid. Put the finished product in a glass or make it look like hand. Can it be more scary?

Halloween Candy Bark
Ingredients:
Chocolate to melt
Candies
Pretzels
M&M


Directions:

Melt your chocolate in the over. USE your imagination. Dump all of that leftover candy in to the melted chocolate. Let it set and after it hardens, break it into pieces.


To know more recipes... please visit.. Tis the season to be foody

It’s a combo post for the readers… go and check the Lastminute decoration ideas for Halloween too... thank me later :)

If you are struggling to guess, what Halloween is all about, check 'Halloween Special'

Thank you all for reading


Mugdha 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

India illuminated with Diwali festivities

India is celebrating Diwali, the biggest and the brightest festival in the country with utmost enthusiasm. Lights, colours, flowers, rangolis, crackers, traditional sweets, friends, family and get togethers are some of the fun activities that every Indian family will do on the occasion.



Diwali, Deepawali or Deepavali as it is popularly known in India, is a Hindu festival that is celebrated every year in autumn across the nation. It is considered a very auspicious occasion not only in India but also in Fiji, Guyana, Pakistan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal and other countries.


Spiritually, it signifies the victory of light over darkness and of good over evil. Hindus across the world celebrate Diwali to celebrate the homecoming of Lord Rama, his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana, after 14 years in exile.



To honour the return and illuminate their path, villagers had then lit up diyas (earthen lamps) to welcome them and since then every year, people follow the same. The celebrations include decorating homes, temples, offices and residential societies with lights, diyas, flowers and rangolis; wearing new clothes and participating in family prayers.


After the prayers, from little children to the elders, everyone enjoys fireworks, following a family feast and an exchange of gifts. However, the festival is not only a day-long affair, the Diwali festivities extend over a five-day period.

Festivities start with Dhanteras, where people worship Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, followed by Naraka Chaturdasi. According to Hinduism, demon Narakasura was killed on this day by Lord Krishna.

Diwali is celebrated on the third day and then Padva is observed the next day dedicated to the husband-wife relationship and the festivities end with Bhai Dooj, dedicated to the sister-brother bond, on the fifth day.

On the day when Hindus celebrate Diwali, the Sikh community in India celebrates Bandi Chhor Divas to mark the release of Guru Hargobind from the prison.

While in the eastern regions, people worship goddess Kali instead of Lakshmi and call the festival Kali Puja, in other regions, Govardhan Puja is celebrated with hundreds of different cuisines prepared and offered to Lord Krishna.



Not only in India, but Diwali is now a very popular festival in foreign countries as well. Many people have started celebrating the festival. They burst crackers and also decorate their houses.


So wish you all, A very happy and prosperous Diwali. I wish that you'll always shine as bright as Diwali Diyas and remain as sweet as Diwali Deserts!

Thank you for reading

Mugdha 
                                                                                                                                                                                      (Image Courtesy: Internet)

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Delectable Diwali Desserts

Diwali is most happening time of the year in India. It doesn’t matter if you Punjabi or Bihari, Bengali or Maharashtrian, you must be fond of desi mithai – the delicious desserts that you’ll made or buy from local sweet shop.


As a kid I use to love the edible toys made by sugar that we used to call ‘Khilone’. They are made by sugar syrup and often mold in various shapes such as horse, camels, elephants etc. As I grew up ‘Khoya’ become a center ingredient of my traditional desserts.


Melt-in-your-mouth khoya barfi, scrumptious halwas and mouthwatering pedas over other meticulously made, fancier mithai are my weaknesses. And don’t judge me when I tell you that my birthdays never saw dark chocolate cakes or fondant laced customized bakes but a big a box of kaju katli.

Today I am going to share the tiny packets of sweetness that cheered me up without being failed. With time, the veil of ignorance gave way but my love for those simple treats grew greater.

Khoya is a magic ingredient. To Make Khoya from Scratch, all you need is full cream milk and a kadhai (wok). Bring the milk to a boil and let it simmer on low flame. Keep stirring. Milk will eventually thicken and start collecting into a solid mass. And it’s done.


Now you have mastered the art of making khoya at home (or buy from shop), it is about time to learn some dreamy desserts. Also share your recipes in the comment section so I can learn something from you guys. Enjoy!

1. Khoye Ki Barfi

The all-time favourite khoya barfi has a unique taste and it slowly melt in the mouth.

Prep Time: 51-60 minutes
Cook Time: 41-50 minutes
Serve: 4

Ingredients for Burfi Recipe
Khoya/mawa: 375 grams
Sugar: 1/2 cup
Liquid glucose: 1 teaspoon
Green cardamom powder
Pista to decorate


Method
Cook the khoya and sugar together in a large thick-bottomed non-stick kadai on low heat, stirring continuously, till the sugar dissolves and the khoya starts to melt.

Add the liquid glucose and continue to cook, stirring continuously, for twenty minutes, or till the mixture thickens and begins to leave the sides of the kadai. Add the cardamom powder and mix well.

Transfer the mixture to a greased six-by-eight-inch aluminum tray and spread evenly. Set aside to cool to room temperature and set. Cut into twenty squares or diamonds and serve. Use grated pista to decorate.

2. Peda
Simple ingredients go into making this old favourite of Uttar Pradesh. Click here to know how to make peda


3. Mawa Cake

This melt-in-your-mouth, Rajasthani dessert is a must try
Prep Time: 26-30 minutes
Cook Time: 31-40 minutes
Serve: 4

Ingredients for Mawa Cake Recipe
Refined flour (maida): 1 1/2 cups
Mawa (khoya) crumbled: 1 1/2 teaspoons
Butter softened: 3/4 cup
Powdered sugar: 3/4 cup
Milk powder: 5 tablespoons
Corn flour/ corn starch: 2 tablespoons
Baking powder: 1 teaspoon
Soda bicarbonate: 1 teaspoon
Green cardamom powder: 1/4 teaspoon
Buttermilk: 1/4 cup
Milk: 2 tablespoons


Method
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease moulds or paper cups. Take butter and powdered sugar in a bowl and cream together with a wooden spoon till light. Add milk powder into the bowl and continue to mix. Add mawa and mix again.

Add refined flour, corn flour, baking powder, soda bicarbonate and green cardamom powder into the bowl and mix. Add buttermilk to correct the consistency. If the batter is still thick add a little milk and mix.

Pour into the greased moulds or paper cups. Tap the moulds lightly to even the batter. Place them in the preheated oven and bake at 170°C for thirty minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool before demoulding. Serve warm or cold.

4. Gulab Jamun

Who wouldn't love to have a super treat to satisfy their sweet tooth? The great Indian dessert that needs no introduction; read the recipe here


5. Gujiya

This one is a hit during Holi festivities and a delightful treat all-round the year.

Prep Time: 31-40 minutes
Cook Time: 11-15 minutes
Serve: 4

Ingredients for Gujiya Recipe
Khoya crumbled: 2/3 cup
Refined Flour: 1 cup
Ghee: 3 teaspoons
Oil to deep fry
Dried figs chopped: 1/2 cup
Seedless dates chopped: 1/2 cup
Cashew nuts chopped: 10
Almonds chopped: 10
Walnuts chopped: 10


Method
For the pastry, sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the ghee with your fingertips till the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add one-fourth cup and one tablespoon of cold water and knead into stiff dough.

Cover with piece of damp soft cloth and set aside for fifteen minutes. For the filling, heat a non-stick pan; add the khoya and sauté for three minutes or till the fat separates. Set aside to cool.

Add the figs, dates, cashew nuts, almonds and walnuts, and mix well. Divide into twelve equal portions. Divide the dough into twelve equal portions and shape into balls. Roll out each ball into a puri.

Place one portion of the stuffing on one half of the puri, lightly moisten the edges, fold the other half over the stuffing and press the edges to seal. Pinch the edges to make a design.

Heat sufficient oil in a non-stick kadai; gently slide in a few gujiya at a time, and deep-fry for five to six minutes or till golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper and store in an airtight container when completely cold.

Send these sweet gifts to your loved ones and enjoy the festival of lights!


There you go, you have recipes of five awesome desserts that will make your Diwali sweet. If you are looking for some other recipes… read my last year’s post… Diwali 2015

Thank you for reading

Mugdha