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North Indian Punjabi Recipes

North Indian Punjabi Recipes
If Punjabi recipes tempt your taste buds, then this page is a must-visit. Take a peep into Anita Chahal aunty's kitchen and see what authentic Punjabi food is all about. You will also find fusion recipes from Anita aunty's Punjabi kitchen. Not to mention, she has started to share OPOS recipes as well.

Authentic South Indian Recipes

Authentic South Indian Recipes
If you love south Indian food, do not leave without checking this page. Dedicated to Chitra Balachander, a south Indian homemaker, the page is all about taking a journey into her south Indian kitchen. Travel with me to her kitchen to savor traditional south Indian food.

How To Make Coconut Oil at Home; Health Benefits


how to make coconut oil
Coconut oil benefits are aplenty. If you can make coconut oil at home, nothing better than that!

Here you will learn  not only benefits of coconut oil, but also how to make homemade coconut oil.


I was never an admirer of coconut unless I realized how beneficial it was for overall health. There was a time I would not touch coconut and hated its very taste.


parle coconut cookies recipe

Now, times have changed and I am experimenting with coconut in the kitchen ever since I came across the umpteen coconut benefits.

In fact, every single part of coconut can be put to use. There are plenty of coconut oil uses that will leave you surprised. 

When processing coconut oil at home, you will first get homemade coconut milk, which makes a great flavoring agent for most south Indian recipes.

Coconut oil is the most versatile of all other types of oil -used in infant food, nutritional formulas for patients, food preparation, skin problem remedy, among others.  


It has plenty of health benefits, but should be used in moderation, as excess may cause gastrointestinal problems and diarrohea.

If used in moderation, coconut oil benefits health in more ways than one. It is known to
  • improve digestion
  • strengthen immunity
  • help in weight loss
  • slow down aging process
  • prevent arthritis and other joint problems
  • boost heart health
  • removes wrinkles and gives your skin that much-needed glow
  • aids memory
However, research is still under way to establish the link between coconut and the aforementioned health benefits. Extra virgin coconut oil is rich in saturated fats, but since this fat is natural and not hydrogenated, it can be treated healthier than most other oils that contain artificial fats.

Skin Care
benefits of coconut oil
Homemade coconut oil benefits for skin are numerous. If you can make coconut oil a regular part of your skincare regimen, you can derive several benefits. It works as a natural skin moisturizer. Rich in vitamins and fatty acids, coconut oil is great for healthy, soft skin. You would be surprised to know that coconut oil can even help fight acne, since it has antimicrobial properties. 

Learn how to make coconut oil at home below.

Lauric acid in coconut oil works great for skin disorders. In fact, your body turns lauric acid into monolauring that is associated with anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. One research report claims that virgin coconut oil can help reduce wrinkles on your face and give your skin that much-needed natural glow.


Homemade coconut oil benefits baby skin immensely. This is one reason I have tried to make it for my 7-month-old niece. 

It is better to use coconut oil for babies, instead of other skin creams or moisturizers, since this does not have any side effects.

coconut oil for skin
By using only a small amount of coconut oil made at home, you can not only avoid skin rashes, pimples, and acne, but also avoid the use of hidden chemicals in lotions and face creams, which can be harmful/ irritating to your skin. 

Since coconut oil is rich in antioxidants and resistant to oxidation, it can be used as a face product a few times a week to reduce wrinkles caused by oxidative stress.

Solid coconut oil can be whipped to make body butter, so you don't need a body moisturizer. Homemade extra virgin coconut oil will serve that purpose and give you naturally beautiful, beneficial results. You can store it in a jar and use it whenever you feel like pampering your skin with nature's bounty.

Here's some feedback from a dear friend Neelam Avasthi on how to make coconut milk at home. :)
feedback on how to make coconut oil at home


Eye Makeup Remover
I have always struggled to remove eye makeup, since I don't want to use any chemical makeup remover creams/lotions on my eyes. However, to my surprise, coconut oil works great as an eye makeup remover, since it is completely safe and gentle for sensitive eye area. 

I use it regularly now and find that it takes makeup off much better than chemical makeup removers. All you need to do is simply dab a small amount of coconut oil on to a cotton pad and rub it gently on the area where you want to remove the makeup. And you are done! It will not only remove the makeup, but also leave the area moisturized!

I was so happy to get this homemade coconut oil feedback from Anita Chahal aunty on my birthday. 

feedback from Anita aunty on homemade coconut oil
Coconut Oil Benefits Heart
Since coconut oil contains natural saturated fat, consumption of this oil does not pose the risk of increase in LDL levels. In fact, a number of studies conducted in the Pacific Islands claim that inhabitants in these areas, who get almost 30-60 percent of their calorific intake from coconut oil, have non-existent rates of cardiovascular diseases. Further, coconut reduces incidence of injury in arteries, thus helping avoid atherosclerosis.

How to make coconut oil coming shortly below!

feedback on how to make coconut oil at home from Divya Suresh
Works Magic for Weight Loss
As coconut milk is easily digested, unlike other types of milk, it stimulates the body's metabolism and is easily converted into energy, thus enhancing physical or athletic performance, so you can work out for longer periods in order to shed those extra pounds. Coconut is also known to boost functioning of thyroid gland.

Promotes Hair Growth
coconut oil for hair
Coconut oil helps renew and revitalize your hair. I have always cherished long, beautiful hair but hardly did I realize that coconut was so beneficial for hair. Coconut for hair was my grandma's favorite, who always advised me to use it for good hair health, but I never tried it until I read some research papers proving the coconut oil-hair connection. 


  • This oil gives your hair deep conditioning.  
  • Vitamin E in coconut strengthens hair follicles, filling up hollow hair shafts, which gives volume to your hair. 
  • Using coconut oil hair mask will help hair retain hydration and moisture, preventing it from looking dull or dried out.
Coconut Oil Benefits Abound
Take some homemade coconut oil in your palm and rub it on your scalp. Then wrap your hair with a towel or shower cap for a few minutes and then shampoo your hair. Doing this twice a week will give you stronger, voluminous, more vibrant hair. Thus it can be concluded that coconut for hair is a blessing.

Coconut oil for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's
Processing coconut oil at home is known to produce a different type of fat, known as caprylic acid, which is broken down into ketone bodies. It is these ketones that are claimed to provide alternative sources of energy to the brain cells of Alzheimer's patients that have lost the ability to use glucose. 

More research is under way to establish a the benefits of coconut oil for Alzheimer's, though many online reviews from patients claim that they have benefited tremendously from the use of coconut oil. 

Similar are the claims for Parkinson's patients. Coconut oil has improved quality of life of some patients suffering from Parkinson's disease, with claims abound that virgin coconut oil has helped them speak louder and clearer, walk faster, stand straighter, indulge in several chores that they couldn't do otherwise, made them calmer than ever and less nervous.

Coconut Oil for Colon Cancer
The lauric acid content in extra virgin coconut oil kills colon cancer cells.
It works by poisoning cancer cells by "unleashing profound oxidative stress while strongly reducing their levels of glutathione - otherwise needed by cancer cells as a safeguard from the increased oxidative stress. (Source)

Homamade coconut oil is easy to make. Check Sarada Shreya's feedback below:







How To Make Coconut Oil at Home

With an umpteen number of benefits, coconut oil at home is easy to make. The extra virgin coconut oil that you get from this process is fresh, clean, and undiluted. On top of it, homemade coconut oil is the best thing in the world to apply to your face and body as a moisturiser.

Coconut oil bought from the market is expensive and you never know what kind of ingredients go into its extraction. Of course, they do add scents and chemicals to prolong its shelf life.

Homemade coconut oil is sans these chemicals. This is the best thing about virgin coconut oil extracted at home.

Extra virgin coconut oil made at home has no match. What do you say? It's fresh, unrefined, and undiluted!
Whether you make coconut oil at home from fresh coconut or dried/ dehydrated copra, you will get the maximum benefits.

I had never thought I would make coconut oil at home. But my passion of healthy, fresh ingredients keeps me going so much so that I have attempted making this fully beneficial oil at home.

In order to make coconut oil at home, you will first need to learn how to make coconut oil.
Worry not!

It's a super easy process. Let's get started without further ado!

One medium-sized fresh coconut should give you about 50 gm of edible oil.


make coconut oil at home- take a fresh coconut and cut it into small pieces










Grind coconut with water. Make sure you give it a few good rounds with water. You will get milky mixture, known as coconut milk. See how simple it is to make coconut milk at home!










Strain coconut milk and coconut powder. This will separate coconut milk (watery milky stuff) from dry ingredient.





Keep the separated coconut milk covered in freezer























freeze for 8-10 hours or overnight


You will get a thick creamy layer on top of coconut milk after freezing. Remove coconut meat or creamy layer on top from coconut milk.










Heat the coconut cream or top layer removed from coconut milk for some time, and you will get homemade coconut oil floating on top , with coconut solid at the bottom.


Strain the oil and remove the coconut solid that settles at the bottom while heating...here's your crystal clear virgin homemade coconut oil

Here's the best recipe to use leftovers - try making coconut cookies with the leftover coconut meat that can substitue ghee/butter, use coconut powder and coconut milk to replace milk in the recipe.



Edible coconut oil Ingredients
1 coconut
2 glasses of water


Procedure



  • Take a fresh coconut.  
  • Grind it. 
  • Take half of ground coconut and add 1 glass of water. 
  • Grind along with water.
  •  Take a sieve and filter coconut from water. Keep aside. 
  • Follow the same process with the remaining coconut. The milky liquid is coconut milk.
  • Mix coconut milk and pour into a wide vessel or bottle.
  • Close the lid and leave it undisturbed in the freezer for 24 hours. 
  • After 24 hours, take out the jar from the freezer. Leave it out for half an hour or until you are able to remove the thick top layer. 
  • Separate the coconut milk top layer and add it to a thick vessel or nonstick pan. 
  • Heat on medium flame until coconut meat separates and settles at the bottom, leaving behind coconut oil. 
  • Let it cool down and filter the oil in a bottle. Fresh extra virgin coconut oil is ready. 

When you make coconut oil at home, you can put to use coconut meat. I made cookies with coconut meat, without a single drop of oil. 


You can sundry leftover coconut solid after extracting coconut milk and use it for cookies or other coconut recipes.


Check the homemade coconut cookie recipe here on stovetop.






References
3. http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/hwnl_9-4.htm
4. http://www.wildcat.arizona.edu/article/2013/02/a-skin-and-hair-product-you-can-eat

Image credit

1. http://www.truthnhealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/coconut1.jpg
2. http://foodmatters.tv/images/coconut-oil.jpg
3. http://purecoconutoil.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Beauty-Uses.jpg
4. http://bodyxbeauty.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Coconut-Oil-for-Hair-Growth.png

Disclaimer
All the information on this page is no medical advice. The information is based on my research of numerous education websites. Always consult your doctor before starting on an alternative medicine therapy.

Plastic Pollution: Demanding Ban on Plastic


say no to plastic
Undoubtedly plastic has remained our friend for ages. We have been making use of plastic in everything we do - going to the market, stocking up food items, decorating our homes, using plastic mugs and buckets, and what not. Plastic is all pervasive!

But how many of you realize how detrimental plastic is to the environment? When exposed in the environment, plastic turns toxic. It not only pollutes the environment, but also is extremely harmful for those who collect and carry plastic waste. Plastic proves harmful to water bodies, polluting them and making survival difficult for marine creatures. Plastic is hazardous and turns toxic, clogging drainage and water channels.

As a concerned global citizen, I demand a ban on plastics. I take my jute bag along to the market so that I do not leave plastic footprints.
I am working toward this end to contribute my bit for the environment. I support the loud hue and cry against the use of plastic and try to take every step that is in line with the environment.

This includes the use of plastic containers. Do you know plastic can kill? Heating plastic or storing hot food in plastic containers can release harmful carcinogens into your stored food, which can turn it toxic.

I love plastic containers and have a huge collection. But now that I have realized how toxic this could be to my family, I choose not to:

  • use microwave-safe plastic containers
  • heat food in plastic
  • reuse disposable water bottles
  • make food in plastic 



With global warming spreading its arms around the planet, what are you doing to save mother nature? Do you call for a ban on plastic? Do you support the anti-plastic movement?

plastic ends up in fish tummy
What are you taking along with you to the market today - plastic bag or jute/handmade carry bag?
Little steps taken by all of us will certainly do good to the environment as well as the planet. It's high time we realize our responsibility toward the environment. We still have time! Do not leave the burden for the next generation, because whatever steps we will take toward saving the planet from climate change and global warming today will give time for the coming generations to breathe.

What are you doing for your future generations? I reject the use of plastic bags wherever I can and demand a ban on plastic! All of us can take steps to raise awareness about how the use of plastic is proving harmful to the environment and life on earth. In many countries, this forms part of the school curriculum so that our coming generations are prepared in advance for the times ahead.

war on plastic
The following article certainly presents how plastic is detrimental to the environment and what we can do to save the planet. The article supports the war on plastic.

http://bhallaneet.hubpages.com/hub/What-do-u-think-about-plastic-bags-and-bottles-Can-we-do-without-them

Image credit:
1. http://sandiegofreepress.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/wholesalebagsbest.com_.jpg
2. http://bigislandnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/stanford-university.jpg
3. http://planetforward.ca/blog/wp-content/themes/Insignia/lib/scripts/timthumb/thumb.php?src=http://planetforward.ca/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/reuse-reduce-recycle-plastic-bag-ban.jpg&w=720&h=380&zc=1&q=100

Dowry: Heinous Crime Ever

dowry
The customary practice of giving bridal gifts to our daughters on their marriage has taken the form of the evil practice of dowry. It is that evil that has permeated all sections of Indian society, forcing several parents toward penury.

I am saddened and distressed at the sight of hundreds of thousands of girls and their parents who are forced to suffer at the hands of the greedy groom family. If the girl's parents fail to fulfil their greed, the girl is either forced to commit suicide or killed. Yes, in both ways the girl is doomed.

Do we girls deserve this treatment?

With a majority of the population in India below the poverty line, parents find it hard to fulfil demands of groom's family, since this is not just about bridal gifts, but more about forced demands from the groom and his family. In a majority of the cases, dowry is the root cause of the problem of female feticide. Would you disagree?

Since parents of the girl know they would be forced to submit to the greed of the boy's family, they try to kill their unborn daughters in the womb so she does not come in this world of greedy people.

Is it the best solution?

Dowry and Poverty

Poor parents who are forced to submit to the boy's family's are sometimes dragged to the doors of penury. In some cases, when they do not submit, their daughters are forced to take drastic steps, like committing suicide, to save their parents from the shame of keeping a married or unmarried girl at home.

Indian society is biased toward male sex, and the parents of boys consider themselves as superior, who can demand just anything from the girl's family.

dowry death
Root Cause

I think parents are responsible to a great extent in giving airs to this heinous practice of dowry. The custom of bridal gifts has assumed greater proportions in the form of forced bridal gifts, in which the groom's family seeks bigger, costlier gifts from the bride's family --to fulfil which they even go to the extent of calling the marriage off on the very day of marriage - or bringing disgrace to the girl's family by boycotting the marriage and returning from the doors of marriage.

What a shame!

Such acts often force parents of the girl to cave in to their demands merely to save their pride and safeguard their girls from social ostracism (girls whose marriages cannot solemnize or break on the marriage day are looked down upon in India to the extent that in most cases nobody ever marries them or if someone does agree to enter into a wedlock with them, they demand dowry - so this means girls and their parents continue to be caught in the vicious cycle of dowry - the very reason their marriage broke earlier).

Pathetic, isn't it?

dowry is a crime
I sometimes wonder why parents of the girl need to give even a single penny to the guy's family? If the boy's parents had raised their son, didn't the girl's parents do the same?

Why does the girl's family have to suffer every time? Why can't the girl's family live in peace? Why is the girl's family forced to endure the feeling that giving birth to girls is the biggest blunder of their lives..for which they will continue to suffer from birth to death? Why?

I am saddened to reveal that this is the reason girls continue to be unwanted in most families. The birth of a girl child often brings clouds of doom in families!

How sad!


Boys & Girls Wake Up
Why does this happen? Why is the purest relation between a husband and wife hanging on the brink of dowry?

This brutal practice of dowry needs to be stopped. What can be done?

  • The boy or the groom has to take the initiative and make his family understand the values the girl is bringing into their family. Boys should rather reject anything and everything that parents of girls think of gifting her because then begins the vicious cycle of demand and expectations. To start with, let us pledge we will not take anything. I am fortunate to have married the boy of my choice. Fortunately, my husband is a highly learned, self-respecting individual, who is completely against the practice of gift giving and taking. My in-law's never asked for a penny from my parents. We never wanted pomp and show on our wedding - but my parents had different views. They wanted the society to see their girl being married, so they arranged for a gala event. I believe a marriage should be a simple ceremony.
  • The girl should be brought up in a manner no less than boys - they should be made to realize they are at a par with their brothers and that they should never submit to dowry demands. Luckily enough, my parents raised us no less than our brother. Rather, we got each and everything we demanded - I should say more than what we demanded during childhood.
  • Parents of girls should realize that daughters are an asset, which will continue to reap rich dividends all their lives - daughters are yours for life! They are not a burden that must be shelved!
  • Anti-dowry awareness campaigns are the need of the hour that can enlighten people about the value of girls. Let's spread our words against dowry. Let's pledge - girls that you will not ask anything from your parents on marraige. I have seen examples in my family, where girls have themselves demanded big 4ws from their parents on their marriage. How sad? Does it not set a bad precedent for others? Think of those parents who do not have the means to fulfil such demands!
  • Strict dowry law and legal action will certainly become a deterrent. 
Why can't we all live happy lives? Why are we fighting with each other? Why such an inhuman, beast-like attitude with our daughter-in-laws just for the sake of material expectations? When you die, you will go empty handed!

WHERE IS THE END?

This is high time we opened our eyes and brought this savage practice to an end before it drags our daughters to the death doors!

Who will initiate. I know merely writing or giving my views on dowry will not change anything unless the pathetic mind-set of the entire society is changed. Yes, it is the mind-set and thought process that needs overhauling.

Who will change it? From where will the winds of change blow? God knows whether that day will ever come....

Girls should take a  pledge that being a daughter, they will not take a penny from their parents to their husband's home. When girls are educated and on their own feet, why should their parents give their hard-earned wealth on their marriage? I totally reject that. 



Many girls have shown the courage to walk away from such marriages themselves. I salute their courage because in India this is a bold step that only a very few girls can dare to show.

Girls wake up!!!! Please wake up and take the cudgels in your hands to put an end to this heinous practice once and for all. If you do not initiate and make your husbands understand this, your life will certainly be a hell.

I have seen so many girls being dragged to death, forces to kill themselves -- because their parents could no longer afford to dole out more money to her in-laws. Once the girl's parents stopped giving money, or other amenities, the boy's family forced them to suicide or murdered them in cold blood.

My dear friends, this is the height of brutality. Kindly wake up and show to this world that girls are no less than boys and they stand at a par with them. Once this mind-set changes, lives would certainly bloom.....

Please listen to my voice against the worst crime ever - dowry!

Image credit:
1. http://blogs.thenews.com.pk/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/dowry.gif
2.http://indiathishour.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/dowry-image.jpg
3. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Ctow1snwtJo/TxBWWr5p1LI/AAAAAAAACmg/1ebraH4tY5k/s72-c/dowry-demand-for+solution.jpg
4.http://act-now.weebly.com/uploads/1/3/5/6/13563789/4401951_orig.jpg
5. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-nPBah0lpd80/T6GVMxj0kwI/AAAAAAAAAIo/_pgNaJT_iRI/s1600/dowrydar.jpg

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