Shutterbug's Blog

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


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Lock-down Dairies – 5 May 20 : Update on my garden , commencement of operations at work, my support system

I had sown Fenugreek seeds in a container. Today is the 5th day after sowing. This is how my Organic Methi looks today.

My baby Ridge gourd is also growing well and is now 4 inches in height 🙂 . This one is Organic too.

I have also harvested some organic curry leaves today. Should be sufficient for a week and more 🙂 . These leaves are a very healthy ingredient and are added in almost all South Indian recipes.

Yes, all my produce is Organic 🙂

Work has commenced today and those living very close to the Office premises attended . Almost 1/3rd of the employees attended which is a good sign. Will know the next plan of action in a day or two . I too have been making plans to go to work .Those who have kids below 5 years , are more than 55 years of age and have any health issues, those with any disabilities Appears I have no valid reason for not going to work . Unfortunately I am dependant on my driver which is the major hurdle now. Called my Driver and told him that he has to do his best to come . He lives almost 50km away from the city and not sure how he will be able to get back into the city. Waiting for the cabinet meeting to come out with a decision today as to the current Lockdown which is upto 7 May 20.

I have been supported by two maids , one cook and a Driver during the last 8 years in carrying out my daily chores. Thanks to them , I am doing well and able to manage work and home. I informed all of them to take a break after the COVID was declared a Pandemic. It is now my responsibility to take care of them by doing my bit. I decided to pay 50% of the salary to them. Hopefully that should take care of their expenses to sail through these tough times. I wish them and their families good health. Will definitely help them as much as I can. Our salaries have been reduced too and no one is cribbing.

I am a bit apprehensive as to how i will manage home and go to work even with the help of hubby .Will be very strenuous preparing and packing breakfast and lunch everyday.

Hoping for some miracle to happen.

~ None of us is safe untill all of us are safe~


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Lock-Down Dairies – 2 May 20 : getting rid of Ants Ants , harvesting Ponnaganti koora – a leafy veggie

My ixora in full bloom.

After using several methods to get rid of ants in our garden , this plant is blooming well. I am feeling very happy today 🙂

Here are the different ways we adopted :

Using Laxman Rekha – A chalk ,with which we draw lines whereever there are ants. Quite effective.

Using Neem oil – One spoon of Neem oil mixed with few drops of liquid soap is added to one litre of water and sprayed all over and around the plants.

Using Boric powder – one spoon of Boric powder and 4 spoons of sugar added to 2 spoons of water and made into a paste. This paste is poured into small containers and placed wherever there are ants.

Last but not the least , using Talcum powder. I sprinkled talcum powder on and around the plants.

Next weapon is to use camphor. As of now it appears there is no need for this.

Really tough to protect plants from these ants.

I harvested my leafy veggie called ‘Ponnaganti koora’ in The Telugu. Recorded a video and uploaded it. Very easy to grow these greens. Here is the link to the video-

My first Ridge gourd of his season seems to be growing, after I hand pollinated the female flower using the male flower. Another reason to be very happy today 🙂

~Om Shanti~


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Lock-Down Dairies 1 May 20 : May day today, Movie ‘Bheeshma’ , harvesting Ponnaganti koora – leafy greens , uploading video on YouTube ‘Peanut chutney’ , Lockdown extended to 17 May 2

Today is a public holiday owing to ‘May Day’.

I decided to totally relax today and no work from home too.

Made my Mom’s Peanut Chutney recipe for breakfast today and uploaded the recording on YouTube. The twist in this recipe is the use of Raw Onions at the fag end of the process. Another special ingredient is the use of Coriander seeds/powder which gives a different flavour to the chutney. Also the taste and crunch of raw onion is yummy. Here is the link-

Watched the Telugu movie ‘Bheeshma’ this afternoon . A movie a about Organic farming vs Chemical based farming. A subject which is dear to me. Surely the movie didn’t have much impact on the audience as not many are able to appreciate the difference yet.

Time to harvest my leafy greens namely ‘Ponnaganti koora’ from my little garden . This plant grows easily on the edges of fields in Andhra Pradesh , Telangana , Karnataka ,Tamilnadu and Sri Lanka too. This plant is not usually grown as a proper crop. It is a perennial plant and doesn’t require any maintenance except for a lot of water. It is another healthy green like spinach.

Lockdown on India is again extended by 2 weeks ie from 4 May 20 to 17 May 20.

Don’t know yet if this will have any effect on the reopening of my company on the 4 May 20.

For the first time during Lockdown Indian Railways has arranged a special Train from Hyderabad to Jharkhand for 1200 Migrants. More such trains may be arranged from other parts of the country. Anyday , Home is home , whichever part of the world it is .

Indian Railways is doing a great job under the leadership of Mr Piyush Goyal. Lot of essential supplies like food, medicines, milk etc being transported across the country.

Had another great Meditation experience during the live session by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. During the question answer session after the Meditation he says that after one year all the pain and suffering because of COVID-19 will be gone and things will be normal again.


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Lock-Down Dairies – 30 Apr 20 : Vaccine ready !? , Starting of operations by our Company, Live Meditation with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, getting rid of Ants in my garden , hand pollination of Ridge gourd

Read some good news about the vaccine being developed by Oxford University these days.

Also saw some news about how India is going to manufacture these vaccines.

Appears good.

Some of the branches of our company in other parts of the company have started operations. We are a manufacturing company and hence very important that employees are physically present in the factory so as to produce goods.

There is some news that we might start operations from 4th May 20 which is just a few days away.

There are other similar companies in Hyderabad who are processing passes for their employees so that they are permitted to go to work by the police.

There is a live Meditation session with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar everyday at 12 PM and 12.30 PM. He also answers a few questions and is interviews by celebrities everyday.

I am unable to participate everyday , but whenever I do I am having a great experience. Each meditation is for around 20-25 minutes but everytime it feels like 5 minutes only. Superb !!

Time to try another method to get rid of ants on my garden..Boric powder. Told hubby about it and to try in the Pharmacy…and he got it..I was thrilled. Saw a few videos on YouTube and zeroed in one one particular method.Add one spoonful of Boric powder and 4 spoonfuls of sugar to 2 spoons of water. Mix well and make into a thick paste or slurry. Poured this paste into old diyas and placed them in a few hotspots in the garden.

Hope the trick works. My little ridge gourds are being sucked on by the ants and killing them 🙁 .

I recently learnt about hand pollination of plants. The best way to increase the yield of vegetables. I was watching one small ridge gourd grow and finally the flower on it tip bloomed today. It was dark when it bloomed and I finally completed the activity. Hopefully the Boric powder and the hand pollination will bear fruits ,I mean vegetables 🙂

My first Brinjal crop 🙂

And last but not the least , today’s harvest consisted of 3 long brinjals. Feels nice..hoping for more produce in the future 🙂

~Annam parabrahma swaroopam ~


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Lockdown Dairies – 25 Apr 20 : Harvesting greens in my little garden , Aloo fry by my Son , my current diet

For the first time ,my Son is showing some interest in cooking ….may not have happened if not for COVID-19 …hmmm…anyway good for him.

His Maternal aunt ie my sister sent photos of her daughter ie my niece, cooking in the kitchen..my niece then challenged her cousin ie my Son to prepare some dish and post pics on the family whatsapp group. So my son chose Aloo fry.

I did help him here and there but 75% effort was put by him.

It was time to harvest some greens in my little garden . Here they are –

Two types of Amaranthus varieties.

The lockdown is helping me spend some quality time in gardening . I actually make sure I spend some time with my plants twice a day . I sprayed some Neem oil on the plants this evening. Leaf miner is one problem …also too many ants sucking on the flowers and little ridge gourds. Yet to find a good solution for this problem.

Coming to my diet…I have been following the diet prescribed by an organisation called ‘Natural Lifestyle’. The diet consists of only plant based food with lots of juices, fruits, raw vegetables and cereal only once a day. So far so good and all the parameters in my recent blood reports are normal. And so I have decided to continue this diet. I do cheat once a week :).

Will write more on this diet and lifestyle soon.


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Lockdown Dairies – 19 Apr 20 …it’s a Sunday !!Yummy Salad with beets, spinach , cranberries ,nuts for my breakfast .

Yayy it’s a Sunday !!

The only day during the week when I get an off from work. Usually this too is another busy day. A day to do some pending clean up , to cook something special for the family, talk to neighbours over the gate/compound wall , catchup with extended family and friends.

I have been spending sometime each morning and evening with my plants. Have very little place. Yesterday I harvested some spinach and shared the picture with some whatsapp friends . All were happy seeing fresh spinach and I got several suggestions as to what I should do with the spinach. These days everyone is experimenting with new varieties of cooking at home and sharing pics of their culinary skills all over social media . No one wants to order food from outside though very few options may be available.

This is the harvest 🙂

Dal with spinach and raw mango, salad with cranberries and walnuts , veggie omlette were some suggestions by friends. I finally decided to make a salad for my breakfast today using the tender spinach leaves that I harvested.

Here are the ingredients:

Veggies :

Chopped Beets , grated carrots, chopped tomatoes, roughly chopped spinach and lettuce, dried nuts, dried cranberries and slices of raw Coconut.

Salad dressing:

Lemon juice ,honey, salt, pepper and Olive oil.

Mix all the veggies in a bowl.

Mix all the ingredients to make salad dressing and pour over the veggies.

Your salad is ready to dig into.

You can add whatever veggies you like and have at home. Red/yellow bell peppers, cucumbers, microgreens , dates, any other dried nuts are some of the other options. You can also sprinkle a few pomogranate seeds, small pieces of pineapple etc.

Yummy salad is ready in a jiffy. This I my breakfast today and I enjoyed it thoroughly…. tummy is happy too.

I did share pics and videos of my preparation and got some compliments on my presentation and photography skills.

Also made Veg Biryani , Stuffed brinjal and Raita for lunch. Used store bought Biryani powder and the Biryani turned out just like the one we get in restaurants.

Used the recipe from Cookingshooking channel on YouTube. Link was shared to me by my son. I picked up the recipe for Stuffed Brinjal (gutti vankaya) from Hebbars channel on YouTube.

Both the dishes turned out just like those in the restaurants. Hubby and son helped me a lot and we enjoyed the whole process. I think the best part of this lockdown is that families are getting together and helping in all the household chores.

Had a great day and another busy day today

Situation in India is worsening day by day as people are not serious about staying at home. The counts are doubling every 6 days. Not enough testing being carried out and many asymptomatic people going around ,which is dangerous for the high risk population.

Hope people get serious.

~Sarveshaam shantir bhavathu~


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Visit to an Organo Organic farm in Hyderabad

I had been trying to get a supply of A2 milk since a year but was unsuccessful.Finally got my first bottle of A2 milk delivered by Organo farm store a few days ago.Soon after I got a message that a Santha (farmer’s market) is being organised at organo Naandi and that we can visit their farms too.Organo is starting a concept where a consumer can adopt a farmer and grow veggies which are delivered fresh every week at their doorstep.Wanted to checkout what they were up to and landed at Organo Naandi this morning with Mom.Stepped into a store selling Organic groceries.I was expecting to see lot of fresh veggies and found that there weren’t any. When I enquired , we were told that we will soon be taken to a farm. Saw a few more families arriving.Thought that the veggies would be available at the farms. We were then led to the farms a few km from the store.Saw a few people marking and placing papers (with names of veggies written) on a freshly tilled farmland. Also saw a few cows and calves nearby.Very soon a Farmer and his wife arrived. They began doing puja to the cows that were tied nearby.It was then that we realised that the farm was being inaugurated that day. They hadn’t revealed this event to us.Soon a bottle of cow urine and tricodomas were poured in two dishes. Out came a few packets of Vegetable seeds.The seeds were rinsed in each of the liquids and placed on a jute sack for drying.A few Questionss and Answers were exchanged between the visitors and the Farmer and the caretaker.It was time to sow the seeds and the farmers wife took a few seeds and started sowing. The visitors were told that they can volunteer to sow.Some of us took a few seeds and walked across the field and stuck a few seeds in the soil. Was a different kind of experience. Felt good.Sweets were distributed .We were told that lunch is being served at the Organo farm store. Reached the lunch venue . Had a simple lunch made with millets.Picked up a few groceries and started back . We were disappointed on not getting veggies but were happy that we had a good time at the farm.The weather was great…cloudy with cool breeze blowing..Overall a wonderful surprise for me and Mom.


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Surya Organic farm , Hyderabad , a partner of Farmizen.

My search for Organic veggies led me to the discovery of Farmizen.

A concept where one can rent a piece of land for growing veggies. All the hard work is done by the Farmer who is a partner of Farmizen. A Plots of 20×30 feet can be rented for Rs2500/-. A variety of veggies are grown and delivered to our home every week.

I rented one such plot and have been receiving veggies every week.

Received these veggies this week.

It’s been more than a month that I have subscribed to Farmizen. The veggies are grown using organic manure and pesticides.

The Farmizen app is very user friendly. Status of the plants in our plot is updated frequently. Updates on watering of the plants, application of pesticides , time for harvesting  etc are posted . We can also request for photographs of the plants in our plot via the app.

A notification is sent via the app about the date of delivery of veggies . Facility to pin the location of our home address in a map is provided in the app.

We can also visit the farm 6 times a month. I have been to the farm thrice and it is nice to see the veggies growing . Love driving to the farm which is close to Himayatsagar lake.

Looking forward to visit again once the monsoons are here.


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Stir-Fry Vegetables with Chickpeas

There are times when I crave for a lot of veggies. I quickly stir fry whatever veggies I have , sprinkle salt, pepper, lime juice , Olive oil and enjoy a hot bowl of veggies. This is one such day and here is what I dished out. Luckily I had soaked Chickpeas in the refrigerator too which I added to the veggies.

Here is the recipe for Stir-Fry Veggies with Chickpeas –

Ingredients :

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Boiled Chickpeas – 1 Cup (soak dry chickpeas overnight and add a little salt while boiling)
Assorted Vegetables – 2 cups of Veggies (3 to 4 colourful varieties)
Salt – As per your taste
Pepper powder – As per your taste
Garlic pods – 3 chopped pods
Extra Virgin Olive Oil : 1 tablespoon
Any other cooking oil : 1 to 2 teaspoons
Lemon juice : 1 spoon

Method :
1. Add oil to the pan .
2. Add the chopped garlic before oil gets very hot. Stir fry for 30 seconds.
3. Add all the chopped veggies and stir till the veggies are partially cooked.

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4. Add the boiled chickpeas and salt . Stir till the veggies are cooked but not soft. The chickpeas too will get slightly roasted and that makes them yummier.

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5. Remove from the stove.

6. Add pepper powder, drizzle lemon juice and Extra virgin Olive oil . Stir all the ingredients well.

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A nice hot bowl of Stir Fry Vegetables with Chickpeas is ready to be served.
A very filling, nutritious and yummy dish which can be had as dinner too.

Choose vegetables that are colorful. Red / Yellow/ Green bell peppers, Purple cabbage , Green Broccoli or Asparagus, White Baby corn / Cabbage , Carrots  etc. Select a few that are in season and to make the dish colorful and appetizing.

Include roasted or Boiled peanuts, roasted sesame seeds if you wish.


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Appetizer : Cucumber bites

This sunday I wanted to make a quick snack using readymade Canapes. I had bought Monita canapes from the supermarket a few days ago.

I remember my Mom making a yummy recipe using the same Monita canapes when I was a kid. Mom had learnt the recipe from a cookery class that she attended about 30 yrs ago . I did not want to ask Mom right away.

I started checking out some youtube videos for Canapes. I did not find any recipe that appeared similar to what Mom used to make.

Meanwhile I ended up watching canapes made with salted biscuits , toast, crackers , cucumber etc.

I liked one simple recipe and I had all the ingredients at home.

However, this recipe is more of an appetizer rather than a snack.

Here it is –

Ingredients :-

-Cucumber peeled and sliced into half centimeter thick pieces.

-Greek yogurt

-Salt

-Pepper

-Tomatoes sliced

-Cut cheese slices into squares or use grated cheese

-Mint / coriander leaves / parsley for garnish

 

Procedure :-

Curd/Yoghurt is usually watery and hence cannot be used , it has to be thick.

Place the regular curd in a strainer and let all the excess water drain.

Add salt n pepper to the thick curd.

Slice the tomatoes.

Place a little Yoghurt on top of each of the cucumber slices.

Place a slice of tomato and a couple of pieces of cheese on the yoghurt.

You can also use grated cheese instead of cheese slices.

Garnish with a mint leaf or coriander leaf .

 

You can also add chopped jalapenos and olives to the yogurt mixture .

A bright , colorful and healthy appetizer is ready.

This is my first canape recipe and I am definitely fascinated by Canapes. There are loads of recipes on the Internet. Numerous varieties of canapes can be made in a jiffy to treat your near and dear ones 🙂 .

Get creative !