Thursday, 29 September 2016

KHAO KHILAO MATAJI KA PRASAD

 - By Moctail Mummy Ruchi

Sweets never go out of fashion! And if the festivities are around the corner then only thing on top of the minds of young n old... What's cooking in the kitchen ??? :) :) The sweet aromas that linger in my mind even today from my childhood days...are that of aromas of sweets...it makes me hungrier than ever. Navaratri was one such occasion when my mother used to make different sweets on all nine days as an offering, Prasad, to the Goddess.  Mouth-watering and mouth melting sweets are the flavour of this season. There are many ways to make the Prasad that are fast to cook and good to eat! With the life getting more health conscious and so very busy, I have come up with a fusion of modern and traditional methods of cooking. Here are some handpicked ones...just for you...a modern woman with a tradition at heart!

DATES LADOO
“Ladoo hai aisa jise khane se aaye chere pe noor. Jo khae WO kehlae hoor aur Jo Na khae WO kehlae kajoor”




Ingredients:

Black deseeded dates – 500gm
Mix Dry fruits -200gm (cut into small pieces)
Finely grated dry (desiccated) coconut-1 big bowl (for garnishing)

METHOD:

1. Take one big bowl and mash dates with hand. If dates are hard then you leave them out at room temperature for half an hour.

2. Then add dry fruits and mix well.

3. Make ladoo and roll it in dry coconut.



COCONUT LADOO


Ingredients:

1 tin (400g)-NESTLÉ MILKMAID Sweetened Condensed Milk
350 gm (5 cups)-Fresh Coconut Grated

Method:

1. Keep aside 1 cup of grated coconut, put NESTLÉ MILKMAID Sweetened Condensed Milk and remaining grated coconut into a thick bottomed kadai and mix well. Heat the mixture, stirring constantly, so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.

2. Once heated, cook on a slow fire till the mixture starts leaving the sides of the kadai (approx 5 minutes), remove from fire and let it cool.

3. Cool and roll into laddoos with oiled hands. Roll in the reserved grated coconut.




MOHAN THAL
“Mohan ka man bhavan aur sab ke man KO bahe
Wo hai Mohan thal”


Ingredients:

Besan flour- 500gm
Ghee-450gm
Sugar-450gm
One cup of milk
Cashew - finely chopped 1small bowl
Almond-finely chopped 1 small bowl
Pista –finely chopped 1 small bowl
Elaichi powder - 100gm

METHOD:

1. In a kadhi, mix besan with 3-4 table spoons of ghee and 3/4th cup of milk. 

2. Make sure there are no lumps in it.

3. Saute the mixture after adding rest of the ghee, till it turns slightly brown.

4. Add half cup of milk and sauté till the mixture turns brown.
Remove the kadhai from the flame.

5. In another pan take sugar.  Add as much of water to soak the sugar. Turn on the flame.

6. Let the chasni boil for at least 10mins so that do tari pak is ready. Simmer the gas and let it boil for another 5 mins. 

7. Add chasni to besan mixture. Mix well n add dry fruits. Let it cool for a while. Take big thali, pour the mix in it.

8. Let it rest for half an hour.  Cut into square pieces and serve.






Monday, 26 September 2016

Garba And 9 in 1 Aarati Thali Decoration ...Jara Hatke!!!


                                                             ...By Mocktail Mommy Vidhi

Navratri is round the corner. It's celebration of the woman power, the divine power of Goddess Amba. Navratri parva happens to be the most auspicious and unique period of devotional sadhanas and worship of Shakti of the divine, conceptualized as the Mother Goddess Durga. Ghatsthapana is one of the significant rituals during Navratri. It marks the beginning of nine days festivity. Ghatsthapana involves invoking Goddess Shakti in Ghat or Garba i.e. an earthen pot and symbolically on the growing shoots of grains. 
Vaise to "Ghat" ya "Garba" ko decorate karane ke kai tarike hai...painting, embellishing, use of mirrors and motifs, kundan, laces etc to name a few. And now a days we get to see decorated garbas easily available in the market. They typically have mirror and lace work. Being a MocktailMommy, I always think of making something unique, something different from the rest and at the same time one which is easily manageable. 
I am sure you would also love to do something different, wont you??? Then, here is a step by step guide to decorate Ghat or Garba or pot..thoda sa hatake!!!

Material required:
  • Acrylic Crimson red color
  • Pearl colors - cherry red and spring green 
  • Fevicryl non-sticky Shilpkar clay 
  • Red , Green , White round kundan and golden Pan shape kundan 
  • Fevicol 
  • Fevicryl 3D cone out-liners of pearl golden yellow, pearl green and pearl metallic bronze colors
  • Varnish 
  • Colorful lace and golden Latkans 

Procedure :
Firstly , we will make some round and leaf shapes from shilpkar clay and stick it on Garba .( In whatever size and design you want ) I used clay work to give more depth to Garba. Now , we have three different layers : cut work one ,plain surface one and clay work.


Then we will paint two to three coats of acrylic Crimson red color on Garba.

Now according to my Garba design ,I created pearl spring green color's  leafs and highlighted clay works shapes and lines by using Pearl cherry red color.
Now its out-liners time... You can use any colors outliners to decorate your Garba . These 3D cone outliners are really a game changer for your decorations part!!!

Now you can use kundans to decorate a little more. I used kundans on all clay work so to enhance clay work.

At the end , I have used varnish's two coats on Garba for more shining and stuck colorful lace on the top of Garba and hanged golden Latkans on it. It's ready !!!

Now that Garba is ready, lets move on to the Aarati Thali decoration...

Every year, we decorate new Thali for mataji's aarti . And I know for making and decorating one thali, it consumes a lot of time. So, we end up using the same for 10 days of Navaratri. And unfortunately, after Navaratri, we never use it again. I always have a feeling that we love to wear different colorful dresses for all nine nights, then why cant we change Thalis for every nine days. But from my experience I know it's not that easy:(... So here, I come with new concept that you can use same Thali in nine different way for nine days. So here we go to know how to make 9 Aarati Thalis from just 1...

Material: 

1) Regular Stainless Steel dish
2) OHP sheets ( you can get that from any stationary 
3) Glue
4) Lace and kundan 
5) Glass colors ( water based ) and 3D outliner in golden glitter color
6) Pearl silver acrylic color
7) Scissor
8) 9 to 10 prints of designs of round rangoli for nine days

Procedure : 

1) First take any round shaped Stainless steel Dish


2) Then color the circle of thali with pearl silver acrylic color and decorate the border with lace and kundan.


3) Now how to create an inter-changeable base design part for all nine days. Take the OHP sheet and place it on top of any of the round rangoli design prints you have chosen (make sure the printout diameter is that of the same size as your thali) and outline it with using 3D glitter gold outliner.






4) Now using the glass colors fill the empty areas of designs in a colorful way. 






5) After coloring cut the circle as per your dish size. You will need one more plain OHP sheet circle of the same size to be sandwich on top of the colored portion and stick it with glue (Create nine different designs for nine days and decorate with beads, stones or kundans as per your choice)

6) Now place the circle in dish (don't stick it) and it's ready...you can change it everyday with different designs for whole nine days...




7) Wait ... We are not done yet... After the nine days of navratri the same designs can be reused for Diwali ...Yes, you heard it right ... It can be used as any of the following  as a Garland, as a floor rangoli, as a floating rangoli, as a diya (lamp) or as a sunsketcher mandala !!! 





Monday, 19 September 2016

GRATITUDE....What It Means To Me!!!


GRATITUDE....this word often makes one think...."what really does it mean?" Reading the post about "Pitrupaksha" written by one of my dear Mocktail Mommy friend brought about a storm of thoughts to my mind.

It was just another lazy evening. I was enjoying my piping hot cup of coffee, alongside going through her post......and suddenly I felt this flood of memories running through my brain and I had no choice, but to let go and flow back down memory lane.....

The first memories of childhood are so delightful. I remember my mother loving me so unconditionally, that I doubt if there is any other love in this world, as pure & pristine as a mother's love for her child. She used to feed me, bathe me, help me with the smallest of things and all this she did, with utmost patience, not once losing her temper. She has been my pillar of strength right from the beginning and continues to be so..... Sometimes I wonder, "What would I do without her????!!!!" I remember all the times she stayed up late just to make me a cup of coffee, during my "night-out" exam studies. It was always surprising how she never felt hungry whenever there was shortage of food during a meal. Through all her sacrifices, she has brought me up, making me the woman and the mother that I am today.
Not any less fondly, do I think of my father and all the love he showered on me. There was no time, as far as I can remember, that I was not given the best of education and facilities. He also shared his valuable experiences and advised me from time to time during my undergrad and post-grad studies. This made my life so much easier....and helped me climb the ladder of my career with utmost ease. I don't recollect having to ever struggle with circumstances at any point in my life......all thanks to the MAN who stood by me!!!

When I say "MAN", another person I cannot miss is my dearest brother.....my friend, my protector....although, very often I needed to protect myself from him!!!(that was when we rained blows on each other during our numerous fights). Even though we were at loggerheads most of the times, we were the unbeatable team as far as unity was concerned. Whether it be covering up for each others' mistakes or taking the blame for each others' blunders, we forever had it covered. I still remember how he expressed greatest pleasure at getting the entire room to himself when i left home for studies but then how again he had tears in his eyes when he saw me off at the airport. However much we seemed to hate each other, there was that strong bond which always bound our hearts...still does...

Good education is the basis of a good society. I still remember that first day that I walked into my kindergarten classroom, my tiny hand clinging to the gentle fingers of my teacher. Although I was teary-eyed at the thought of staying away from mom and home, slowly my teacher introduced me to a whole new world. Soon all the anxiety vanished and school became my "Home away from home". My journey began at that very tender age, but through each year of school and college, every single teacher taught me something that has become an integral part of my personality today. Some taught me good table manners, some taught me to speak the truth, some taught me how to face the world, while some taught me how to accept failure....... All in all, they taught me how to be a good human being and how to live a fulfilling life!!

Just as teachers have been the guiding light at each step, so also I have been blessed with endearing and wonderful friends at every stage. Right from being partners in crime, playing pranks on each other......name it and we have done it....hehehe... But at the same time, they helped me with studies, personal issues and crises and were always standing by me during the toughest of times. We were, and still are like family, only not related by blood. But sooner or later, we all had to travel our separate ways, leaving behind loads of fun-filled memories.


Although one such friend, one of my best friends in fact, decided to hold on to me for life!!!!No prizes for guessing this one....yeah, I am married to him!! My husband was my senior during college and with marriage, he gave me a whole new family. After a while i realized that life is not as it is depicted in those "saas-bahu" soaps. My In-Laws have been most supportive and encouraging whenever I have needed them, be it during my education after marriage or my career. As for my better half, I have no words to describe the lengths he has gone to, to make my life comfortable...... Although I do continue to nag him and crib about how he needs to do more for me!!! ;)

After getting this perfect life, I couldn't have asked for anything more, when I was blessed with a daughter. She has taught me how to be patient, strong and how to get up when I fall..... It is from her that I learnt never to give up till I get what I want. At every stage of her upbringing, I have grown myself...... as a person, as a parent.....
I was happily floating through all these memories when suddenly my phone started ringing and I was jolted back to the present.That brought me back to the station from where this train of thought had started....GRATITUDE!!

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery but today is a gift....that's why its called PRESENT" For this gift....what I am today....I am grateful to all these people who have played an important role in my life at some point or the other. Even if i wanted to, I will not be able to express enough gratitude, whether it is in words, deeds or gifts. All I can say is a HUMBLE THANK YOU. I would not have been what I am today, the woman, the mother and above all the human being, if it were not for your presence in my life... Last but not the least, I express my gratitude to the Almighty for making all these pearls a part of the ocean of my destiny!!!


PS: All images courtesy Google image search.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Fortnight Of Remembrance...


Other day, my daughter and her friends were happily jumping on and around the sofas in our living room. Their happy screams fetched me there...To my horror, all I could see was a huge mess. Only one thought dominated my mind space at that very moment...these can not be act of humans, but the monkeys...No wonder that our ancestors were monkeys...

While I was cleaning up the clutter, I wondered how the life must have been for our ancestors, forefathers??? The journey of human race from the monkey state to today's modern avatar is so interesting. However it must have had its own share of difficulties as well. The shear brain power made the human beings race ahead of others and gain the supremacy. As I was vacuuming the carpet, I wondered what and how we might have been, if our ancestors had not toiled so hard to hand us over a comfortable life. But do we appreciate this fact in our everyday life? More often than not, the answer is big NO

We all are so engrossed in our so called busy life that we don't even have the time to pause for a while and thank all the unsung heroes of human-hood. Forget the bigger picture of the human-hood, we don't even know the names and the occupations of our forefathers. Here then enters our religious tradition, a very thoughtful one, "Pitru Paksha". It literally means the fortnight of ancestors. It is this time of the year when we can pay homage to long lost and be grateful to their contributions towards our lives. Pitru Paksh starts on the first day of the second fortnight of hindu month Bhadrapad and ends after fifteen days on Sarva Pitri Amavasya

As a child I have seen many oblong faces during Pitru Paksh in our otherwise chirpy house. I used to be with my Ajoba (paternal grand father) most of the times, in those days. When asked, he once had said that all our forefathers would be descending from their photo frames. They then would stay with us for a day and leave for their heavenly abode to return only next year. With this great enlightenment, I remember, I would check the photo frames many a times during those days. All my little heart wished was to see the forefathers descend from their respective photo frames. Though no one ever descended in our living room from the photo frames, this very memory has permanently descended in my life!!!
There used to be an elaborate puja in our house. A priest would visit us and perform the rituals. At the end of the puja, the priest used to leave the house after a scrumptious meal and a generous donation. I could never understand why every one had to wear a serious, lost somewhere, a sad look on that day? Were we all not supposed to be happy to host the heavenly guests, that too just one day in a year??? The question stayed with me for many years...unanswered. 

As I grew older, I started realizing and appreciating the contributions, sacrifices made by ancestors and our forefathers. And that included not only my great or great great grand dads and moms but many people from varied spheres of life, like the soldiers who lost their lives while guarding our mother land, freedom fighters, social reformers, selfless workers who devoted their lives for up-liftment of the society, etc to name a few. It this very interpretation, my own take, of Pitru Paksha, finally satisfied my unanswered question. I arrived at an answer that says, Pitru Paksh is a "Fortnight Of Remembrance". 


Pitru Paksh is all about being thankful to all those who are no longer with us but have contributed directly or indirectly to our well being. Just pause for a while and recollect all their deeds. This sure will make us humble and grateful. And I really thank our religion for instilling this insight in our lives. Of course there are many other thought processes that define and constrain the very meaning of Pitru Paksh. This period is seen as one that should not be used to start something new or good. But don't you think, every day is a gift and hence called "Present"? Isn't it in our hands to make the day good or better or best? Why then have the fear of forefathers? Will they not be happy to see us happy and enjoying our lives?

On a lighter side, I can always see fewer people in the market and in the shopping malls during Pitru Paksha. As the crowd is less, I can spend quality time in choosing my stuff. Most of the times, I then get the services of the counter sales staff without a crease on their foreheads. Rather, they are more welcoming than ever. Sometimes I even end up getting a better bargain. So, my special thanks to all those who follow the tradition blind folded. 
And here I go on a shopping spree to stock up for the upcoming festive season!!! Till that time, good bye and don't forget its a fortnight of remembrance...
PS: All images, courtesy Google image search.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

My Onam



Onam, one of the most important festival in Kerala is celebrated to enjoy the beginning of the harvesting season. It’s a 10-day long festival. The 1st day is Atham, but the most important day is the 10th day also known as Thiruvonam. It’s a festival, which is celebrated and enjoyed across all the communities in Kerala. It is believed to be celebrated with grandeur to welcome the Legendary King Mahabali, whose spirit is said to visit Kerala on this day.  Onam brings back so many fond memories of my childhood during which we used to celebrate this mostly in Kerala with our family and relatives.


At the first blush of the morning, I remember my mother waking up my brother and me; looking beautiful in a traditional Kerala set saree (2 piece pure cotton cloth with pure gold lining on the border, worn like a half saree) with the ever-fragrant Mullapoo (Jasmine flowers) on her wet hair and adorning the traditional Kerala jewelry. Once we were up, we had to get ready in our traditional attire and go to the local temple for morning prayers…and then came the fun part ….to run to our beautiful flower garden, to pluck flowers of different colors and sizes. These flowers were then used to make Pookallam (Flower designs) in the front yard.





My mother and aunts were mostly busy in the kitchen making Onam Sadhya (Typical Kerala feast with 11 – 13 vegetarian dishes served on a banana leaf).  I used to wait to eat the Sadhya even though it was quite a mouthful for my tiny tummy…but the best part was Payasam (Sweet rice or gram lentil pudding).





Post the grand lunch came some fun games with family called Onakalikal (games like ball games, archery, Kabaddi, chess etc.).

Ladies of the house would gracefully dance Kaikottikalli (Traditional Kerala folk dance with rhythmic and symmetrical dance which involves clapping of hands) in the front yard.  We cousins never missed a chance to see the famous Vallam Kali (Boat race) that was conducted in our village.





Grandmother often told us to be happy and strictly warned us against any kind of sibling rivalry as King Mahabali would come and visit us. That created curiosity amongst us and thus she would often begin telling the story of why we celebrate Onam.


The story goes that the Asura (demon) King Mahabali once ruled the beautiful state of Kerala. Unlike other Asuras, the King was extremely generous. It is said that Kerala witnessed its golden era in the reign of King Mahabali. There was no discrimination between rich, poor, caste or creed. There was neither crime, nor corruption. People did not even lock their doors, as there were no thieves in that kingdom.
Looking at the growing popularity and fame of King Mahabali the Gods under the leadership of Lord Indra became extremely concerned and jealous. They collectively pleaded with Lord Vishnu, who agreed to help them. Disguised as Vamana, Vishnu visited King Mahabali. He pretended that he was a poor Brahmin and asked for a piece of land. The generous King said he could have as much land as he wanted. The Brahmin said that he just wanted enough land that could be covered by his three steps. The King was surprised to hear but agreed.

With his first step the Brahmin boy covered the whole of earth and with the other step he covered the whole sky. He then asked King Mahabali where is the space for him to keep his third foot??
The King realized that he was no ordinary Brahmin and his third step will destroy the earth. Mahabali with folded hands bowed before Vamana and asked him to place his last step on his head so that he could keep the promise. The Brahmin placed his foot on the head of the King, which pushed him to Patala, the nether world.

The King was so much attached with his Kingdom and people that he requested that he be allowed to visit Kerala once in a year and thus his wish was granted by Lord Vishnu.

After so many years …now being a mother myself, I want my kids to enjoy and cherish all the wonderful moments of celebrating Onam. Things have changed though…like wearing plastic flowers on our hair, plastic flower arrangements, eating our feast on a plastic banana leaf, to ordering the full course Sadhya meal online and showing the Mahabali story on Youtube. But the essence of Onam still remains the same ….Celebration, Happiness and Joy.

How I wish. …King Mahabali could visit us daily…So that we could all live in peace and harmony FOREVER…. Is it too much to ask???





Friday, 9 September 2016

MOCKTAIL MOMMIES GUIDE TO INVESTING

Hello friends its festive time !!! I trust like me each one of you would have longed for the second half of the calendar year to welcome majestic fiestas.   Festivals change the environment completely it brings lot of spiritual positivity within ourselves. In such occasions we clean and decorate our houses to give that marvelous festive look. We also spend at shopping centers for some festive apparels for our near & dear ones. Even our markets are full of rush specially the sweet shops and most of us end up buying those enticing sweets . Overall we spend a lot not even thinking about tomorrow,  but then questions continues to hunt us when will I start savings to continue my lifestyle in a similar manner ???.

Every month I tell myself “ OMG  lots of expenses this month  I will surely start savings from next month but the next month never comes this must be a similar scenario with each one of us,  isn’t it ?.

Michael Caine has rightly said   “Save your money you are going to need twice as much on your old age as you think “

Individuals have different objectives for savings letz see some of them below :






Let us all adopt the mantra of Warren Buffet
“DO NOT SAVE WHAT IS LEFT AFTER SPENDING , BUT SPEND WHAT IS LEFT AFTER SAVINGS ”

  
       

The money kept in the valet doesn’t multiply on its own we have to give our money a job ,for that you need to invest .The next question that comes to our mind  on savings is :
  •      Where should I invest ?
  •     Whom should I consult ?
  •   I don’t have lots of savings every month will a small amount      be sufficient?.....Even I had all these questions in mind until I        heard about SIP !!!

SIP  -  (SYSTEMATIC INVESTMENT PLAN)

Systematic Investment Plan or SIP as it commonly called is a smart and hassle free mode for investing money in mutual funds. SIP allows you to invest a certain pre-determined amount at a regular interval (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.). A SIP is a planned approach towards investments and helps you inculcate the habit of saving and building wealth for the future.

How to get Started
First, select the scheme, investment amount and the time frame. 

Next, approach a mutual fund distributor (Banks are also distributors) or the fund house. You can also invest through an online portal. 

So, you can either give post-dated cheques or opt for the auto debit/ ECS option. 

Remember, while you can start investing on any day of the month, you will have to pick a date for subsequent investments. That is, each mutual fund specifies dates for SIPs, like the first, seventh, tenth of each month.

Given below an an illustration which would help us to understand how an SIP works and how we can benefit even when the market fluctuates.

Mrs. Sharma is an housewife . She invests Rs. 10000/- every month in an SIP .The fund manager of the mutual fund company decides where to allocate the funds . If the NAV (Net asset value ) of the mutual fund is Rs. 10/- per unit then Mrs. Sharma  gets 1000 units( i.e 10000/10 )  in the month of Jan .

In the month of Feb she again invests 10000/- now the NAV of the fund is Rs. 9/- per unit so Mrs. Sharma gets 1111 units .

Please refer the investment chart for 12 months below :



At the end of the investment tenure here  12 months Mrs. Sharma is able to buy 12409 units by investing Rs. 120000/- she benefited of the Rupee cost average.
  •       Mrs. Sharma has an option to redeem the mutual fund or retain it     and redeem later whenever she requires fund.
  •     Flexibility in change in amount higher or lower is also allowed in     an SIP  as per the comfort level.
  •       Last but not the least she can continue or discontinue her SIPs         as and when required.

Benefits of SIP :
  •     Helps in cultivating investment habit.
  •    Develops the habit of regular savings.
  •    SIPs investments need not be very huge(can be as low as     Rs.500/-)
  •    Easy to build a corpus over a period of time.
  •    Easy liquidity can redeem or exit whenever required.
  •    Minimum risk involved.



So friends do invest in SIP to ...(S)leep (I)n (P)eace!!!