Shutterbug's Blog

Living with Multiple Myeloma in Hyderabad , India . Random musings .


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No cook Kulfi , in a jiffy

Summer is here. The best part of Summer is you can enjoy ice creams without any fear of ending up with a runny nose.

I suddenly felt this urge to make ice-cream at home. I never tried to prepare ice-cream at home.

I remember freezing fruit juice in a steel glass when I was a kid and I was thrilled with the outcome. That was when my parents purchased a refrigerator 🙂 . I Never ever attempted an authentic ice-cream which is actually made with milk and cream. I didn’t want to buy another device for making ice-cream nor did i have the patience to mix the ingredients,  freeze , whip again till smooth , freeze again …whipping again ..again and again till you end up with a smoooth ice-cream. That’s not me.

I wanted to try the ice-cream thing again. I started watching YouTube and was looking for an easy way with few ingredients and a simple process.. hoping someone would have come up with an easy recipe..Luckily I  came across a No cook recipe to make Kulfi.  Wowww , I was excited .  Kulfi is an traditional Indian way of making a frozen dessert which is no different from the regular ice-cream. A Kulfi is traditionally made by thickening milk  on a stove for a few hours and adding powdered nuts and cardamom and then freezing it . Thickening is a lengthy process too. There was no condensed milk or fresh cream or milk powder in the earlier days.  We now get all these in the supermarket and hence there is an instant way to make Kulfi.

I was excited with this recipe and immediately bought the ingredients.

This recipe has just 5 ingredients :

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Fresh Cream – one cup

Milk powder – Half cup

Sugar – Half cup

Almonds / Pista / Cashew – Any two or even one is good enough

Cardamom : few pods

Procedure :

Step 1 – Blend the Nuts , cardamom and Sugar into a fine powder and keep it aside.

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Step 2 – Whip up the Fresh cream in a container. You can use a whipper or an egg beater too.

Step 3 – Add the Milk powder to the Fresh cream and mix well.

Step 4 – Add the fine powder from Step 1 and mix well.

Step 5 – Pour into Kulfi moulds and freeze. Not to worry if you don’t have Kulfi moulds. Freeze the mixture in  any container for 5 to 6 hours.

Your instant yummy Kulfi is ready to dig into. Enjoyy .

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Brahma Muhurtham, the Divine hours

I really don’t know how it happened but I suddenly started waking up at around 4.30 am since last two weeks. During one such day while going through my Youtube subscriptions ,  a video popped up about ‘Brahma Muhurtam’ . I do know that this is an auspicious period which is sometime during the early hours of the morning but didn’t know the exact timings or anything more about it.

I got curious about this video and started watching it. I learnt about a Ghadiya , a Muhurtam , number of Ghadiyas in a Day and how the exact time period of this Brahma Muhurtam is calculated on any particular day.

It is understood that the period from 3 am to 5.15 am approximately is Brahma Muhurtam and that it is good to meditate or do puja/prayer or exercise during this period.

I continued to automatically wake up at around 4.15 to 4.30 everyday. I started doing meditation followed by pranayama . I then go for a walk for 30 mins.

Meanwhile, I started watching more videos about this and learnt that waking up during these hours is beneficial to us.

  • This is the calmest period of the night when the mind is still,
  • everyone is asleep, no noise whatsoever
  • the air has the maximum amount of oxygen during this time
  • this is the best time for students to study because there is no distraction and memory power too is greater
  • this is the best time to Meditate which helps in reducing stress
  • you get solutions to  your problems , your thoughts and Intentions are clear , it is possible to manifest your desires
  • one can do puja or prayer
  • is also good to do yoga or exercises.

Several health benefits can be experienced when people wake up regularly during this period.. The production of Melatonin hormone by the pineal gland is the highest during this period. The pineal gland is located in the center of the brain. This hormone is a powerful antioxidant , it reduces the production of cortisol (by the Adrenal Glands) which in turn reduces stress and anxiety , reduces Blood Pressure, heart burn etc etc.

It is said that one should wake up during this period without any external help from an alarm or someone else waking you up. One video also mentions that if you can wake up automatically it is a sign of being blessed by the Almighty 🙂

All living beings are supposed to follow the rhythms of nature . Dinner to be done by 6pm ( before sunset ) and to sleep as early as possible….latest by 9pm . It would then be easy to wake up comfortably at 4am , much before sunrise .

Our body functions are actually designed to be in sync with the rhythm of nature whereas we have upset these functions by staying up late and waking late . This is resulting in several mental and physical issues.

Am glad I am finally able to tune into this rhythm. Hope to reap all the benefits.

It is almost 2 weeks since I started meditating during this period and I can confidently say that I am not as anxious as I used to be…I feel very calm and in control throughout the day. Overall it is a great feeling… I try to sleep as early as possible …around 10ish …my internal alarm clock is now set to wake me up between 4 to 4.30am.

~~Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi~~

 

 


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A typical morning in our neighborhood in Hyderabad

Here are my observations of a typical morning routine in my neighborhood.As I start my daily walk each morning the following sights and sounds greet me….

I see the paper boy driving a scooter..he slows down but doesn’t stop and deftly throws our newspaper from the road into our house over the gate. He repeats the action in a couple of other houses in our lane and disappears into the next lane.

The guy who supplies milk packets too comes around the same time in a scooter with a huge bag full of milk packets. Other ‘Milkmen’ too deliver their packets in a few houses in our lane and soon disappear.

I see the maids sweeping the area in front of the main Gates of each house …the sounds of the brooms go swish swish …. Soon this sound is followed by the sound of water being sprinkled in the area which is now clean… followed by the maid displaying her muggu/kolam skills…

I usually walk up and down in our lane and sometimes go around the block …I need to be careful and do my best to ignore the street dogs that are all over the place… They start barking as soon as they sense another dog with it’s owner who is taking it for a morning walk… The owner tries hard to pull their dog away from the street dog…a few dog owners hold a stick and shoo away these street dogs…at times two dog owners cross each other and they have a tough time pulling their dogs away…either they are barking at each other and ready to fight or they like each other and show their affection ….an interesting sight :)…

The street dogs usually don’t bark at walkers who are regular…the moment they sense a new person they go bersek…poor walkers are amused, scared and confused…thankfully these street dogs are harmless and don’t bark at me :)..

A young boy gets dropped in his scooter by his friend in front of a house …he is holding a big orange plastic container which is connected to a hose and ends with a handle…looks like a pesticide sprayer….he starts spraying water all over a car that is parked and starts cleaning the car…appears to be the latest innovation in cleaning cars…I also come across another young boy cleaning other cars parked in an empty plot using a bucket full of water which is the traditional way most people clean their cars …one cannot afford to clean using a watering pipe as water is too precious to be wasted especially in Summer.

I see a lot of walkers in all shapes and sizes with different gaits and different pace of walking and in different attires.

A lot of bird calls …. Crows , squirrels ,doves ,sparrows ,bulbuls , sunbirds and cuckoo’s …

I see a few neighbors going to the store with a bag and returning with milk packets…

A few men women children are patiently plucking flowers from the plants that are on either side of the road … these flowers are for their daily puja.

I notice the varieties of plants and trees inside people’s homes and outside their homes too … Some in full bloom …I notice how the trees on either side of the road are cut so as not to touch the live electric wires …some bend at 60 degree to the road…some are cut in the shape of a V and the wires pass in between… there are lots of trees in our colony ….they are struggling to grow with all the restrictions due to obstruction from houses and Electric poles and live wires ..

Here are some of the beautiful flowering trees and fruit trees in our neighborhood at this time of the year.

My 30 minute’s walk comes to an end while all these scenes unfold one after the other each day…This is a typical morning in most urban areas in India.Time to get back home and prepare to go to work.

Have a nice day !!


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Fun times at Granny’s Village – Mar 2019

Got an opportunity to visit my Granny’s Village , (My Maternal Grandmother). The Village is near Nellore. This time my Sister ,nice , nephew , me and my son were able to make a trip for a few days.

Love the Village atmosphere . I can never get tired of going there any number of times.

Every moment from Sunrise to Sunset is something that we can never ever experience in the Cities that we live in.

Being able to actually watch the Sun Rise , the cool morning Golden Sun rays , the cool morning breeze, the cocks crowing , the pure Oxygen filled air that you can fill your lungs without thinking of the pollution ……Village folks going about their activities , sounds of brooms while women sweep / clean their front porches , followed by Muggu / kolam …. tractors moving through the village on their way to the fields , sounds from the few Autos / Bikes in the village… Street vendors selling their wares , the villages kids playing with crude toys , young village boys playing Volley ball in the evenings , the sounds of bells from the Goats being taken for grazing , Bird calls , Sound of breeze from the waving paddy fields , the paddy dancing in the breeze, buffaloes on their way back home, the cool sea breeze flowing in from the sea from 3 pm onward, lying on a cot in the open air and watching the starlit sky, having dinner under the stars sitting on the cot .

Close up of Rice Panicle
The Road leading to our village.
Walking on the Beach near our village with my Niece.

These are life’s simple pleasures that I always look forward to.

Food tastes yummier in the village 🙂 don’t know why 🙂 .

There are hardly any thoughts … just being in the present moment.

A drive to the Beach via roads with paddy fields on either side, animals grazing lazily … An evening at the Beach which is a few kilometers from our Village,walking on the beach barefoot without a care… picking sea shells .. watching how the ocean never tires of sending waves since eternity.. watching fishermen with their boats on the horizon and wondering if I can go on one of the boats someday 🙂

Already looking forward to my next visit.


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Healthy alternative to regular Dosa , Uthappam using Foxtail Millets (Korralu in Telugu)

My post on Foxtail millets is one of the most popular posts on my blog.
Been getting several hits on the post.

Here is the link to that post 

https://devilorangel.in/2016/12/14/health-nutrition-and-south-indian-recipes-with-korralu-foxtail-millets/


Millet’s are the new fad in town , the passionate Dr Khadar Valli  has been promoting 5 types of Millets (Foxtail, Kodo, Browntop, Little , Barnyard) which are very nutritious Organic ancient grains that can heal the body.

There was a time when I wanted to incorporate Millets but was nervous. Thanks to several women who uploaded videos on preparing Millet Dosa’s. These videos gave me the confidence to prepare Dosa’s with Foxtail Millets.

Not just Foxtail Millets , but Little Millet, Kodo Millet, Barnyard Millet  and Browntop Millet , too can be incorporated with great ease in our daily diet.
Easiest to use in the preparation of Dosas and Idlis.

Lemme share how I prepare Dosa with Foxtail Millet’s.

Usual Recipe for Dosa batter :

Ingredients for making Dosa Batter :

Urad Dal : 1 Cup . This is Whole Black Gram (with the Black skin removed)

Rice – 2 or 3 Cups (Quantity of Rice is  your choice)

This is soaked for 6-8 hours. Usually soaked in the morning and the batter is prepared at night.

The batter is left for fermenting overnight .

Dosa’s are prepared the next morning.

Procedure to prepare Dosa with Millets is very much the same.

Here is my Recipe for Dosa with Foxtail Millets :

Urad Dal – 1 Cup
Foxtail Millets – 2 Cups

I soak them in the morning in separate containers for 8 hours.
Batter is prepared in the evening/night. Grind them separately into a smooth batter and then mix them throroughly.

Add salt to taste.
Leave the batter overnight for fermenting.
Make your Dosa’s the next morning.

Just replace Rice with Foxtail Millets and confidently go ahead.

Not just Foxtail Millets, you can follow the same recipe using other Millets too.

Enjoy your healthy Foxtail Millet Dosa’s with your regular Chutneys or Sambhar.

This evening , I prepared Uthappam with the same batter. I chopped a few veggies, chillies, ginger, coriander leaves , jeera and added to the Millet batter. This is my Dinner for today.

Uthappam made with Millet Dosa batter and lots of veggies


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The Millet Man ! Positive grains and Healing

Been watching a lot of videos on YouTube during the last couple of months.

One speaker that I am watching on You Tube these days is Dr Khadar Valli. He is passionate about making people healthy and free from all diseases that are being caused by wrong food habits and lifestyle. His talks are highly convincing and is very popular on You Tube. He has been travelling to various towns and cities in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to share his knowledge. Has been researching on the health benefits of Millets since last 15 years . He gives several tips on treating diseases by eating the right foods especially Millets. Not just Millets , his speeches are about the right way of living , be it exercise/walking , tips to clean fruits and vegetables that are full of pesticides, drinking water from copper vessels, using cold pressed oils etc sprinkled with lots of simple natural treatments for minor ailments .

Surely appears to be an Angel on Earth who has come to prevent/treat/relieve us from several ailments.

I have been incorporating Millets in my Diet since last one month. I was already incorporating Foxtail Millets since last one year and now started including other Millets like Foxtail millet , Kodo Millet, BarnYard Millet, Browntop Millet and Little Millet. I now include Millets in two of my meals each day.

Quite happy/comfortable eating Dosas, Uthappams , Idlis , Pongal , Vegetable Kichdi , Payasam , Pulihora with Lemon or Amla , Millet Rice etc made with the 5 types of Millets. Millet Rice can be eaten with the regular curries. All these dishes are usually prepared with Rice and are equally tasty when prepared with Millets .

Dr Khader Valli has been popularizing 5 types of Millets namely Kodo, Little, Barnyard , Proso , Foxtail. He has named them ‘Siridhanyalu’.

He has categorised various grains based on their effect on the body :

Wheat and Rice : -ve grains – Can harm the body

Jowar/Sorghum, Finger Millet/Ragi and Bajra : Neutral grains – Neither heal nor harm the body.

Kodo , Barnyard, Little , Browntop , Foxtail Millet’s : +ve grains – Heal the body

Dr Khader Valli is confident that lifestyle diseases like Diabetes , Heart problems and even Cancer can be prevented/treated by consuming Millet’s. They are rich in Soluble and insoluble fiber, Gluten free , rich in nutrients , are usually Organic and alkaline in nature.

Dr Khader Valli has become very popular and currently there is a lot of demand for Millets. Got to see how the Supply/Demand of Millets wavers. The prices of Millets has been steadily increasing. Hope the production too increases.


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Bestest News Ever !! :)

A Bi-Annual checkup is a routine event for diseases like Diabetes , Cardio issues and Cancers.
The last time I got my checkup was in June 2018 . A Bone Marrow Biopsy was done and the Results were great. My Oncologist had said that I need not do the Biopsy on my next visit. He recommended Serum Electrophoresis and Beta 2 Microglobulin tests, which are Blood tests, after 6 months.

This time I delayed the tests for various reasons and gave my blood samples for Serum Electreophoresis and Beta 2 Microglobulin in Jan 2019. As expected ‘, M-Band was not seen !! 🙂
Met my Oncologist with the Reports. He saw the results and said we can stop doing the blood tests too from now onwards :). I had a ? on my face and then he said I can meet him after a year 🙂
Yayyyy , isn’t this the bestest news anyone can ever hear. A Doctor is the only person in this world that we wouldn’t like to meet 🙂 . Everyone wants to stay away from Hospitals and Doctors isn’t it ?!!

I am now in the 8th year after my Stem Cell Transplant for Multiple Myeloma.
Not taking any Allopathic drugs since last 3 years. Taking curcumin and few other herbal supplements since last few years and doing great.
Extremely grateful to the Almighty and my Ayurvedic Doctor who is always there for me. God bless him.
So glad to have an Oncologist who has been supporting and encouraging me all the while.

I have an excellent Support System and I am highly grateful for all the support by the beautiful people I am surrounded with.

So happy and in love with LIFE !!

Happy Valentine’s Day !! 🙂

God Bless everyone with Good Health and lots of Love . Everything else is a Bonus :))