Out with the old and in with the new!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Posted by Meeta K

The Greek Sunset on Flickr

Here we are counting down the last hours for 2006! Isn't this amazing?

I can't believe 2006 zoomed past at whirlwind speed and we are awaiting a new year.

This year has been rather special for me. It was in February of this year that the Daily Tiffin was brought to life. It started out as a way to document the daily lunch boxes I packed for my son and has now developed into a wonderful team blog. A blog that still gives great lunch box ideas, but also discusses other interesting family issues.

With Shaheen, BlogLily and Nandita we all take turns writing about our experiences and sharing our thoughts with you. Throughout the week you have great topics like how to fight colds with healing teas or about, what many will probably be able to relate to, the culture clashes when preparing lunch boxes. In December we had a few great posts about traditions in family, eating wisely during the holiday season, how to help our children understand the values of receiving and giving during Christmas and of course gift guides to help you find something for your loved ones.

We also brought on a few contributors to join the team. There was a nice recipe and a great article about banning junk food ads.

All in all it was an eventful year at The Daily Tiffin.

The new year will bring on many new posts and interesting write-ups. We hope to be able to get a few more contributors on the team. The main thing that we would like to do is make The Daily Tiffin more interactive with you. You, our readers, mean a lot and we look forward to getting your feedback.
Things to look forward to in the new year will be fun events. We will be having a few events and hope you will take part. More on these in 2007!

For now though, on the behalf of my team mates, BlogLily, Nandita and Shaheen and myself wish you all a Happy New Year! Hope the new year brings joy, happiness and success for you and your families.

See you all on the other side!


BlogLily
Meeta
Nandita
Shaheen

Have A Magical Christmas!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Posted by Meeta K


We at the Daily Tifffin wish you all a very Merry Christmas! Hope you enjoy the festive days with your families, friends and children.

Happy Holidays!


Best wishes from,
Lily
Meeta
Nandita
Shaheen

and our contributors,

Anu and Asha

Adults have to eat too!!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Posted by Shah cooks

Packing kiddie lunches are fun in a twisted kind of way.. it takes imagination to think up something that their finicky selves will like and is yet nutritious. Each day the lunch box comes back empty is a pat on the back. And each day it comes back untouched( not very frequently now) is to be marked and pondered on. So its a relief to pack an adult lunch, adding spices and veggies liberally, without worrying if the combination will be appreciated (and tolerated) or not. So some days I decide to pack lunch for my self or my better half and then its time for all the easy breezy recipes to come into play.
If not leftovers, what then? It has to be a one dish recipe taking up not more than 10-15 minutes of my precious morning time or late night time( when I would rather be watching a movie). Fried rice is one such versatile dish and when made at home, so nutritious and easy. No more of the greasy rice from the fast food places which has made it synonmous with stale food. Its rather a delicate cooked rice just tossed for a minute with vegetables and seasoned while hot. You could add shrimp, chicken or egg to add protein to it and its a complete meal.

Egg Fried Rice:

Cooked Rice- 2 cup
Carrots/Peas-1/4 cup
Green chilies-1 finely chopped
Cilantro- 1/4 cups finely chopped
Scallions/ Green Onion-1/2 cup very finely shredded
Bean sprouts-1 cup (Optional)
Light Soy sauce-2 tablespoons
Garlic clove --1 finely chopped
Black pepper- 1/2 tsp
Salt-1/2 tsp or to taste
Beaten Egg-1 or 2
Oil- 2 1/2tbsp


Cut all the vegetables very finely into small cubes of almost the same size. The vegetables and spices have to be all cut up and handy before you fire up the pan. Keep aside some of the green stems of the scallions for garnish.
Heat 1 tsp of oil in a non stick pan and scramble the beaten egg till cooked. Keep aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large shallow pan or wok and add all the vegetables and garlic. Stir fry for about 2-4 minutes. Add the rice and mix thoroughly. Add the salt, pepper and soy sauce, stir thoroughly and check seasoning. Add the cooked egg, bean sprouts,the chopped green stems of the scallions and the cilantro. Remove from heat and let it cool before packing into lunch boxes. This one was made in the morning and hurriedly photographed before packing it.


Another Lunch

Another common lunch packed for my little one is ravioli. I keep store bought ready made raviolis (yes, I don't make them) with chicken and cheese filling, and cook them as needed. 4-5 pieces is the most he can eat. After cooking them in water and draining, I season them with a bit of olive oil heated with oregano or thyme, a pinch of nutmeg, red pepper flakes or pepper, garlic powder and salt. It adds flavor and tastes good even when it is cold. Add strawberries, a brownie slice,milk and carrots or any other vegetables and fruits of choice.

Well now that we are going into the holiday season, everybody must be excited and looking forward to the vacation ahead. So Happy Holidays and hope everyone gets at least a couple of good memories from all the holiday events. Enjoy!!! As Calvin says the day begins when school ends.

This Post was written by Shaheen from Malabar Spices.

From Receiver to Giver

Friday, December 15, 2006

Posted by bloglily

There are few things more difficult and more important in a child's development than their growth into members of a community, people with obligations toward others, with gifts to give and contributions to make.

One of the best times to lead your child gently in this direction is the Christmas holiday season. Even in cultures that do not celebrate this Christian holiday, the urge and pressure to buy gifts for others is strong. As is our own desire for material things. And we all know that something has gone wrong in the giving and receiving equation -- that we often give beyond our means, that our children seem to become little engines of consumption around this time, wanting things we aren't so sure they should have. How odd and sad that this most wonderful of ways for human beings to express love should so often become twisted into a painful struggle between parents and children over what is appropriate, and how much is too much.

In our family, we have had many Christmases of almost sickening excess. As our children have gotten older, I've come to some small understandings about how to right our course, one that's no longer headed toward the Mall, but toward the stable in Bethlehem. I offer them to you as examples of what one family does to make the holidays more about giving than receiving:

  • Model generosity. Your children learn best from what you do, not what you say. But you cannot do this until you have examined your own feelings about giving and receiving and gotten your house in order so you can be the most outward reaching person you know. That might mean toning down your own desires for things, slowing down so you can find time to give, thinking hard about your own history of finding comfort in material things.
  • Show your children how many places there are to give and then give with all your heart and means. Give toys to the toy drive, food to the hungry, warm coats for the warm coat drive. Bake for the neighbors, put up Christmas tree lights for the woman who can't get out of her house. Ask your children for their help. Start them off with easy things like: reminding you to bring that bag of toys to work, or drizzling glaze on the spice cookies. In general, make sure there is some role, no matter how small, in everything you give, for your children.
  • The children should be in charge of choosing, wrapping and paying for presents for significant people. We started this small: my children buy gifts for their siblings and for each parent. Some years they use their own money, other years they have a budget. It doesn't seem to matter how the gifts are financed because this exercise is really more about teaching children the pleasure of giving. And there is nothing more fun than giving a gift to someone you see every day and keeping it an absolute secret. There is something about the anticipated joy of the recipient that children really respond to.
  • Show your children how small things can be wonderful. When you describe what you want for Christmas, tell them about little pleasures. Lavender soap, new fun paper clips, a set of measuring spoons to replace the bent up ones you're using now. Let them feel your excitement about small new things. Don't insist that this is how it should be for them. Over the years, it will surely sink in.
  • OOOO and AHHHH. We have a tradition in our family that every present has to be opened one at a time. The recipient looks the giver in the eye and says something about it. We've got this thing we do where everyone says "OOOOOOO" and "AHHHHH" when the present is revealed. It's silly and fun. It slows things down. The children like it.
  • Be involved in holiday activities that are about something other than yourself. We sing in the family choir at church. There is no better time to let your children feel the sacredness of the holiday than on a quiet Thursday night in a hushed church suddenly filled with the sound of voices singing about miraculous things. If you are not religious, you can still plan a caroling evening with your neighbors. Or you can have a tradition where you read a story every evening to your children, a story with a holiday theme. There are lots of books that are not so much about organized religion as they are about the goodness of people. Choose them and read them. Ask a librarian for help if you're not sure.
The main point I want to make today, then, is that you cannot tell your children to be generous. You simply have to be that way yourself, asking only that they help you in your chosen way of celebrating the holidays. As they grow older, your children will show signs of this kind of generosity as they -- like you -- discover the generous person inside themselves, the person who truly understands that it is far better to give than to receive.

This Post was written by BlogLily from the TiffinTin.

A matter of balance and some Christmas thoughts too

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Posted by Saffron Trail

A balanced tiffin

While Daily Tiffin is busy with Christmas celebrations and tips, I'd like to sneak in a short post about the kind of tiffins I indulge DH with. It's generally a portion of healthy carbs, a portion of protein from lentils or legumes and a portion of vegetables.

What's in it?

This tiffin has 2 whole wheat chapatis (Indian flat bread), sauteed cabbage shreds and a black eyed peas curry to dip into.

The smaller tiffin is for days when he gets delayed in office. The dry roasted peanuts are for the energy to keep going and a couple of dried apricots because he loves them. A couple of 'Kisses' - Hershey's Dark Chocolate are for the endorphine boost to beat the stress at work.

Kid variation

A similar lunch box for the kiddies would be a sandwich stuffed with sauteed vegetable filling. The black eyed peas curry could be whipped in a blender to make a smooth dip for the sandwich. The fruit-nut-chocolate box treat could go in as it is.

Why is this good?

Legumes and lentils like black eyed peas, make sure your blood sugar rises up gradually and not shoots up and down erratically making you even more hungry at the sugar low. These are not only loaded in protein (a great source for vegetarians) but also in fiber. The advantages of fiber are only too well known. Read this to know more about the goodness of lentils. Investing in a small pressure cooker will make cooking different kinds of lentils a breeze of a task without any prior planning. These black eyed peas get cooked to a soft consistency in just 5 minutes of pressure cooking after a 2 hour soak. Even if you forget to soak them, no problems. Just pressure cook for 5 more minutes.

Green leafy vegetables like cabbage of the Brassica family, are rich in cancer fighting anti-oxidants and you could easily make this saute with a ready cole-slaw mix pack from the supermarket. That way, all it'll take you is 5-7 minutes of the sauteeing time. It's wise not to combine high starch veggies with carbohydrate sources, like bread and potatoes or chapatis and peas. That was you end up eating more from one group and less of the other.

Music for Christmas

As my team-mates on DT are giving you Christmas gift ideas, I'd like to share with you my favourite albums to jazz up your Christmas spirit.

Ella Fitzgerald's Christmas

Frank Sinatra Christmas Collection

The Spirit of Christmas - Ray Charles


Interesting reads

While you are running in a frenzy trying to shop, cook, bake and mind your kids all at the same time, these Top 12 Chilli Out Tips will be real handy.

Gratification overload is hitting many families this festive season. Read about it here.


This Post was written by Nandita from Saffron Trail.


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Christmas Gift Guide: Books

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Posted by Meeta K

In my last post I covered Homemade Gift ideas for Christmas. Something you can create with your kids or just yourself. Today I thought I would complement Shaheen's post and offer a few ideas on children's books and cookbooks.

I would love your feedback on this. If any of you already have one of these books let us know what you think of it. It might help others make a better decision.


Picture Books For Lil Ones

This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt; pictures by R.G. Roth (US$16, ages 3 to 7)

"This jazz man, he plays one, he plays rhythm with his thumb, with a Snap! Snap! Snazzy-Snap! Give the man a hand, this jazz man scats with the band."
Using this jazzy version of the old "This Old Man" rhyme The jazz Man introduces a famous ensemble of African-American jazz musicians as it counts to nine. Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington to name two, joyfully jam for the kiddies and illustrations give clues to the performers, and the end matter has a biographical sketch for each one. It has won three honors including the Nick Jr. Book of the Year for Children.
This will appeal most to preschoolers and kindergarteners.

G Is For Gzonk!" An Alpha-number-bet Bookby Tony DiTerlizzi (US$16.95, ages 5 to 7)

DiTerlizzi's Dr.Seuss will amuse and surprise as he invents imaginary animals to illustrate as he describes a "silly dilly take on abc". Among all the laughs you will have with your kids, the will be exposed to colors, numbers and letters. A great a fun way to engage the creative mind and help them learn. One of my faves for Soeren.


Our 50 States by by Lynne Cheney, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser (US$ 17.95, ages 4-8)

After America: A Patriotic Primer and A Is for Abigail, both Cheney and Preiss Glasser have compiled what in my opinion is their best yet. It is a story of a family who journey across the 50 states. Each page is a filled with colorful illustrations depicting the past and present. There are memorable song lyrics, historical data and famous landmarks are visited. Something that will have the kids glued to the sofa for hours.



Cookbooks

The Silver Spoon by Phaidon Press.

For fans of the Italian cuisine. A revised treasure of over 2,000 recipes, it is a true culinary bible that has been finally translated into English. Folks, this one is on my wishlist too! It contains everything from sauces, pastas, antipasti and sweet dishes.


Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme by Dorie Greenspan.

Another one on my own wishlist. Dorie Greenspan has compiled a divine chocolate desserts by the best pastry chef in the world, Pierre Herme. The recipe collection are compiled for the normal kitchen so even people like you and me can have a go at making some of these sensual creations. The photographs in this book are incredible. There are fantastic recipes for dacquoise, macroons and chocolate rice pudding. I have to stop here otherwise I will drool all over my notebook.
LOL!

King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains by King Arthur Flour

A 600 page baking bible for the health conscious with easy to follow recipes. A book with scrumptious recipes like brownies, flaky croissants and muffins all made with whole grain flour.


Jamie's Italy by Jamie Oliver.

Jamie shows his Italian soul in this book. He tours through Italy and collects awesome recipes from all over the country. Lovely photographs and candidly written. My current fave in my kitchen.

Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Last but not least - a book that has made me find a new liking for baking. Easy to follow and written by Dorie Greenspan in a way you feel as if she was right there next to you in the kitchen. I love this book and have tried out a few recipes here and here. This cannot be missed out on. If you are interested in getting your hands on this book I am offering it as a prize for the Menu For Hope III auction.
Do something good - donate some money for a good cause and get your hands on this book.



You will also find several other great gift ideas on Chez Pim's campaign wesite. By bidding on any of the several prizes offered, you will also be helping some of the millions that desperately require every bit of support.

Please help us support Menu For Hope III by donationg generously.

Thank you!


This Post was written by Meeta from What's For Lunch, Honey?

Banning Junk Food Ads - UK's Bold Step

Friday, December 08, 2006

Posted by Meeta K

Photo courtesy BBC.co.uk

It was exactly one year ago this conversation took place. I was with a group of friends having tea when I happened to mention that that my son Devashish had put on quite a bit of weight in a very short span of time. At least I thought he had, though I was not sure. When I said this, a friend asked me if he was eating too much junk food. My answer to that was a definite NO. I mean Dev was 3 years old and had not even been introduced to junk food as such. So how could he have too much of it? I thought that was a very strange question.

Fast forward to this year and I cannot say the same. Dev now notices and recognises the Golden Arches of McDonalds immediately when he sees them. A fast food joint is one of his favourite places to visit. He rarely eats the entire meal but loves the toys that come along with the meal but I know it won’t be long before he will be gobbling down burgers and chips and washing it down with some fizzy drink and I have to admit that this increasing attraction of fast food joints does leave me a bit uneasy.

How many of you see the similarities to this?

Child Obesity is a rising problem causing great concern and a cause of many debates, issues and controversies around the World. Health Experts in the USA have equated it to National Epidemic and are calling it an Urban Illness. Statistics show that 15% of the children aged between 6 to 11 years in the USA are overweight and the percentage is rising with every passing year. Europe too has seen a steady increase in the percentage of Child Obesity with highest prevalence in Southern Europe. According to the Health Survey for England, 16% of boys and 10% of girls aged between 2 and 10 are obese.

Parents all over the world have the same worries: Is my child eating healthy? Is he/she getting his daily rations of vitamins, minerals? How can I help make the correct food choices with so many external influences on a child’s diet? It seems to be a never-ending story. So, the latest from the UK about junk food ad bans on television in an attempt to beat child obesity, comes as a welcome piece of news.

About 40% of ads during children's programmes are for food. Most of these are for confectionary, fast food, pre-sugared breakfast cereals, savoury snacks or soft drinks. Ofcom (An independent regulator and authority for the UK communication industries) has hence put forth the proposal that ads for food and drinks high in salt, sugar or fat will be banned from British television programmes aimed at children in the government fight against increasing childhood obesity.
Media regulator Ofcom put forward rules that will apply to programming that appeals to children under the age of 16 at any time of day or night on any channel.

This decision has left both advertising and health groups angry.
Ofcom said it had a responsibility to reduce the exposure of children to the advertising of such foods, balanced against the need to secure television programmes of high quality. Consumer and health groups have been lobbying for a full ban on junk food TV ads before 9pm. However, Ofcom thought this to be disproportionate.

Ofcom’s initial aim was to target the under 9-year-old group with this ban, however on November 17 the announcement to extend the ban for the under 16-year-olds came as a big surprise. Due to this new plan, to cover an older group, the regulations will be required to go through new consultation. The final decision will be announced in January 2007. Whatever the outcome one thing is for certain - Marketing companies have till March 2007 to comply with the new regulations and the kids-only networks till end of 2008. The restrictions will apply to all broadcasters licensed by Ofcom and based in the UK, including international broadcasters transmitting from the UK to audiences overseas.

Obviously with a proposal for a controversial ban on the horizon there has to be a strong debate raging over it.
The points that are being debated over are:
1. Whether it is enough to ban the ads only on the children’s channels and during those adult programmes watched by children or should there be a complete ban on these ads before the 9 pm watershed. Health campaigners support a complete ban before 9 pm watershed, but of course the food industry feels that these restrictions will be over the top.
2. Another school of thought is that advertising is a free speech issue and can any independent body bring about a ban on it?
3. Will only banning such ads really reduce the percentage of child obesity? Should it not be accompanied by emphasis on a combination of regular exercise and healthy eating patterns encouraged by parents and schools?
4. The most negatively affected by such a ban will be the food chains, manufacturers and broadcasters as this ban is set to cost them an estimated loss of 39 million Pounds of revenue. The food companies will simply turn to other channels for advertising.

The debate goes on.

This is a positive step towards helping us as parents to get our kids to not only eat healthier but also THINK healthy. The ads might not be the responsible factor for obesity in children, but it certainly is a very positive direction to take.

Book recommendation - Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

Marketing strategies and campaigns from these huge companies have targeted exactly the age groups being considered in the Ofcom guidelines. Fortunately some companies have already taken pre-emptive action ahead of the ban. Burger King said it would voluntarily stop making and showing ads in the UK aimed at children from 22nd December. As parents, we realize that if we start early with giving our children the correct morals, values and eating habits that this will have a positive effect on them as they grow. The big fast food chains and other “junk food” manufacturers use the same method to promote their products.

Beating obesity is the big picture in this fight. Parents want their children to be able to live healthy, without the issues of high cholesterol, diabetes or even the social problems a child might have to suffer. In our attempt to educate our children it might have often become hard when on the other side you had to fight against the side effects of such advertisements. This step however should support us a little more. Education and a good balance should be the focus.

Maybe it might not be so unthinkable that in the future both – parents and the fast food companies – might even achieve more for the future of the children if they worked together. The outcome of this bold step UK has taken might just push these companies not only to re-think their campaigns but also their products. Maybe in the future the prospect of going to a “fast food joint” will not cause parents to cringe but actually look at it with positive feelings. Because in the end which parent would say no to a “fast food” meal prepared with healthier ingredients.

What do you think?

A couple of good articles on child obesity are:
Pester Power on www.arabnews.com
No Child Left Inside on www.dailypressandargus.com

Book recommendation:
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

Researched by:
Anupama – Food n More

Written by:
Anupama – Food n More
Meeta - What's For Lunch, Honey?

Lighting Up Faces Before Lights Off

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Posted by Shah cooks

My son and we have a very simple sleep routine. It started when he was a baby and we read books to him to calm him down and get him ready for bed. He loved it and still goes to sleep just like that after a couple of books read to him (or now read with him as he has started reading). I know those of you who have a sleep rebel on their hands are envious and all I can say each to his/her own methods of calming down. Stick to a routine and they have something familiar to fall back on every day whether its a bath or a song or a book.

So now he has a bigger collection of books than we have and along with him, we too enjoy the variations and subtle jokes in the children’s books. Some of them remind us of our childhood when we were not so proper and were way too rambunctious for our parents. The books speak of experiences gently while entertaining at the same time. This time I am going to introduce you to three of our favorites. You may already be familiar with them but if you are not, welcome aboard.



A book we love to read at bedtime is “Sometimes I like to curl up in a ball” By Vicki Churchill. It is a sweet story of a wombat (Australian marsupials) who plays around the whole day but as night falls yearns for the comfort of his mother’s side. It has spectacular illustrations and makes you want to read it again and again. A comfort book.





The other favorite is DK First Encyclopedia which is packed with clear, well-researched information and quizzes for curious minds. Lively photographic design makes it especially appealing for children ages 4 and up and starts them off on the whole encyclopedia journey. The information is given in bite-sized key points and fact buttons in keeping with the junior minds and the material is similar to what is discussed in school.




The third book or rather magazine we love is “Zoobooks”, a monthly subscription magazine focusing on one type of animal. It has eye popping illustrations, educational diagrams and entertaining photos. Each book is a keeper as a future reference. It introduces ideas such as endangered animals, while describing an animal and its habits and habitats. It is a wonderful gift to give an inquisitive kid.




Do let me know which is your and your kid's favorite book. I could add more to my library too and we could make a best loved list by age group.

For Your Info: From December 11 to December 22 Meeta will be hosting a prize for the Menu For Hope III fundraiser. It would be great if the Daily Tiffin readers help raise money for this special cause by bidding on the surprise prize. Every penny you bid will be sent to the United Nations World Food Programme. In return you will be able to get your hands on a special prize. Many of us are taking part and you will find more details here.

This Post was written by Shaheen from Malabar Spices.

Makeover your food habits

Posted by Saffron Trail

A food makeover can easily lead to a 'you'-makeover. It is astonishing as to how many calories we can cut out from our food by simple subtitutions or reducing the quantity of some ingredients. Christmas and the new year are fast approaching. It is as much a time for celebration (read that as loads of good food) as much as it is for introspection. A conscious thinking about are we doing good to our bodies. Do we need that much sugar in our morning coffee? Do we need that carton of whole cream in our soup? If we absolutely need it there, can we vow to eat a little less of the good stuff?

A few tips to remember

1. Substitute refined products with wholesome products. Our ancestors used to eat raw, the least we can do is to eat 'whole'.

Example: Refined all purpose flour to part whole wheat flour
Advantage: More fibre, stable blood sugar levels, protection from cancers.

Example: White bleached sugar with jaggery or any other unrefined sugar source
Advantage: Refined sugar is a zero nutrition food. Jaggery has loads of iron and minerals.

2. Reduce the fats, sugar and salt. We're not asking you to give up, just to reduce.

Example: Don't keep salt shakers on the table. I'm sure you wont get up in the middle of the meal to get salt. Out of sight is really out of mind.
Advantage: Excess salt is one of the main causes in developing high blood pressure. And it is no secret that a normal blood pressure is one of the key indicators of of your heart health.

Example: Instead of smothering your toast with butter or margarine, try a chutney or a vegetable spread. It's tastier, believe me.
Advantage: Lower in calories and richer in anti-oxidants

Example: We don't need to DRIZZLE loads of olive oil on everything like the chefs on food network do it. Olive oil is good. But remember everything in excess is bad. A tbsp or so per recipe is good enough.
Advantage: Each tbsp of olive oil saved is 120 calories lost. Like they say, a penny saved is a penny earned. I'd say, a calorie saved is a calorie burnt.


3. Use healthy methods of cooking.

Example: Potatoes are one of the greatest vegetables and they get bashed most often. Compare a boiled potato with French fries. While a boiled potato would approximately be 100 calories, a handful of fries would be atleast 3 times as much. It's all in the technique. Baking, roasting, steaming, poaching, grilling, pressure cooking, sauteeing are wonderful methods of cooking. Use them.
Advantage: Nutrients are preserved without adding excess calories from deep frying.

4. Share the good stuff.

Example: Can't resist that chocolate avalanche at your coffee shop? Go along with 4 friends and share it. In short, eat smaller portions of good stuff. Who can survive not eating their favourite chocolate brownie or mom's teratti paal? Eat, but eat consciously. Savour that one small piece slowly and lovingly.
Advantage: You wont crave for the goodie by abstaining. Sharing will cut down your intake by large.

Recommended reads

~I came across this eye-opener of an article in the Daily Mail about child-nutrition. The article was written by Jane Clarke- Britain's leading nutritionists and was called - Let them eat white bread - It really IS healthy! This makes an excellent read for all parents who are concerned about what is the best food for their children.

~The Happiness Project blog by Gretchen Rubin is a part of my everyday reading. Every Wednesday is tips days at her blog and her Tips to eat better is a great way to end this post. Read it here.

This Post was written by Nandita from Saffron Trail

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A Tiffin and a Christmas Gift Guide

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Posted by Meeta K

If you are anything like me I am sure you have some of that Turkey from Thanksgiving leftover and frozen away in the freezer. Am I right? Well instead of shoving it to the back of that freezer let's use it to make some pretty great sandwiches.

I had made a Turkey Roulade from the Bon Appétit menu planner from Epicurious.com. It was filled with Porcini, Crimini mushrooms and lovely Italian Pancetta (Italian bacon).

Once again if you are anything like me you will cook for 80 when only 8 are going to be sitting down at the dinner table. LOL!

What I did with the left over roulade was cut nice slices and put a sheet of waxed paper between each slice. This I put into a freezer bag and up it went into the freezer. Now, I can easily take out exactly the amount of slices I need on the evening before, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. The next day I have juicy slices to use in any way I want. You could do this with turkey breast too. Simply cut in thin slices and freeze between waxed paper.

Tiffin Idea


For Soeren I bought a wonderful rye roll filled with pumpkin seeds and topped with grated parmesan. The roll in itself is delicious. I took one of the turkey slices and quickly panfried it for just a few minutes on each side. The roll is spread with cream cheese and filled with the stuffed roulade. On top of this I spread some of the most delicious cranberry and ginger chutney, which was also a part of the Bon Appétit menu (I will be sharing the recipe and my experience with it next week, so look out for that).
As Soeren is not really a leafy lettuce eater I did not add any, but if you are then I suggest adding some leafy rucola leaves to the sandwich too. Soeren also just loves to nibble on cheese chunks. So, this cheese chunk comes from Bonbel and has a wonderful buttery taste to it.
The fruit choices are organic juicy pear slices and sweet aromatic golden kiwis. We love the golden variety because they taste of so many different types of fruit. I can taste papaya and mango when I take a bite of these. Soeren can eat two or three at a time so I have to make sure I have enough of these in the house.
For his afternoon snack I packed a wonderful European specialty. A nussecke is pastry made from shortcrust dough and spread with a variety of nuts and honey and one side is covered in chocolate. Simply wonderful.



Christmas Gift Ideas


Christmas is just around the corner and yesterday, Lily talked about the lovely way her family have been counting the days to Christmas. It made me smile. Although she is in San Francisco I could not help feeling so amazingly close to her when I read the post. You see we too have a similar little tradition. A few years ago I had made 24 little sacks made of green and red felt. Decorated them with elves and snowmen and numbered them all from 1 to 24. I fill these "santas sacks" as Soeren calls them, with tiny gifts (a few crayons, Matchbox cars, little books) to help Soeren countdown the days till Christmas day. Just like Lily and her family it is such a joy to see the excitement build up.

For the big day itself, I thought I would share some ideas with you for some nice Christmas gifts. In today's post:

Homemade Gifts

What I totally love as gift ideas are those self made gifts. Every year the three of us (Tom, Soeren and me) try and make it a point to take time and make homemade gifts for special friends and family members. What started out as a bit of fun has now turned into a beautiful tradition that we all look forward to. It is not only the speciality of giving homemade gifts, it is the cherished moments spent with my partner and son that mean the world to me.

So, every year we sit together and look at photos we took over the past year. Then we select 12 appropriate pictures and make wonderful calendars for the great-grandparents, grandparents, uncle and aunt. Here in Germany many book stores sell calendars that are pre-prepared and all we need to do is decorate them and paste a few photos on them. They come in a variety of colors and styles - something to suit everyone's taste. The family members get calendars with photos of Soeren, who takes special pride in decorating the borders with glitter, stars, colored stickers and drawings. This gift idea is the hit in our family.

A few of my friends have mentioned that they would love one or a few of my pictures. So, I thought of making a few calendars for them with a selection of these photos. Others will get their favorite photo blown up and framed.

If you too have a creative hobby, how about making something special for your family and friends yourself.
If your kids are a little older they can maybe draw or paint their artwork on canvas. Last year Tom secretly got Soeren to finger paint on a huge canvas for me. This is my most cherished gift and I have it hanging in the office.

Other great homemade gift ideas are those of the edible sort. Little ad-ons to the actual gifts. They look and taste nice, but also has a great side effect. It simply shows "I care about you!"

I like to make Truffles. Placed in elegant boxes, they make a luxurious and personal gift for not only family members but are perfect for your colleagues or boss.

Next week I'll share a few more gift ideas for kids books, tech gifts and other interesting gifts. Hope you'll tune in then!



Menu For Hope III
One last thing before I call it a day for today.
From December 11 to December 22 I will be hosting a prize for the Menu For Hope III fundraiser. I would like to rally up all the Daily Tiffin readers to help raise money for this special cause by bidding on the surprise prize I will be offering during this period. Every penny you bid will be sent to the United Nations World Food Programme. In return you will be able to get your hands on a special prize. Many of us are taking part and you will find more details here.


This Post was written by MEETA from What's For Lunch, Honey?

The Children's Tree

Monday, December 04, 2006

Posted by bloglily


One thing that really matters to children is having the chance to participate in getting ready for big events. Tiniest Tiffin loves decorating the tree, but it's so early we can't really bring ourselves to buy a lovely, expensive tree that we know is going to dry out and become a fire hazard well before December 25th.

Our compromise? We let him choose a very small tree to beautify for all of us. He decorated it with small woodland animal ornaments and put an angel near them to keep watch, added two glamorous bulbs, and a Santa on the top.

To help him manage his excitement, we put something fun under this tree: a stack of 24 (now though, we're down to 20) holiday books, books we've had for a long time, having collected them for years. He and his brothers wrapped these books up like presents, which gave them practice with scissors and tape. Every evening, we've been choosing, unwrapping and reading one book. As the stack under the children's tree gets smaller, it reminds us of how close we are to the Big Day. And even though the books are ones we know well, this doesn't seem to have diminished anyone's pleasure in either the wrapping or the unwrapping. (And don't despair: If you don't have 24 holiday books, there's no reason you can't use library books you've borrowed for the duration of the season, or even books that are favorites, and have no connection to the season. This is a tip that also works for counting down to birthdays: you can wrap in colorful birthday paper, a week of favorite books to help with that count-down.)

It's going to be a lovely holiday season. I hope your preparations are going well. If you'd like a recipe for yummy spice cookies, I'll be posting one over at the TiffinTin a little later today.

This Post was written by BlogLily from the TiffinTin.

Recipe: Cornish Pasties

Friday, December 01, 2006

Posted by Meeta K

Photo courtesy Asha Arvind

For the weekend we have an interesting recipe for you. Cornish Pasties are very versatile and can be served for a lunch, snack and are just perfect for any lunchbox. You can fill the pasties anyway you want and according to any taste. Your kids will certainly get a kick out of guessing what mummy filled the pasties with this time ;-).

Have you filled your pasties with anything out of the norm? Tell us about it.

We thank Asha from Foodies Hope for this recipe contribution.

What are Cornish Pasties?
They are originally from Cornwall, England. They say that no Cornwall Holiday is complete without sampling a delicious proper Cornish pasties, whether they are served piping hot, crisp and golden brown just out of the oven, or eaten cold. With the decline of the mining industry in Cornwall , many Cornishmen were forced to emigrate as far as USA, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and they have taken the pasty recipe with them !

Cornish Pasties ( Makes about 6 Pasties)
Adapted from Linda's of Out of the Garden Pasties

For the crust:

2 - 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 c shortening (crisco )
1/8 cup milk, or just enough to form the dough

For the filling:

1/2 - 1 lb lean, tender sirloin,
1 medium Rutabaga
1 medium onion
2-3 large carrots
1-2 large red potatoes

Seasonings:
Any spices or/and herbs you like
salt and pepper
butter

Eggwash for baking:
1 whole egg mixed with 2-3 Tbsp water

How to:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

1. Mix flour and salt. Now add in the shortening and mix with your fingertips until it looks crumbly. Add milk, little by little just enough to get a firm dough. Divide the into 6 pieces equally and cover the dough to prevent drying and keep it aside.
2. Cut the sirloin 1/4" pieces, and cut peeled vegetables into uniform 1/4" square pieces as well .You can cook vegetables for 5 mins in the microwave with little water until little tender so you don't have to worry about whether they are cooked in the oven, specially Rutabagas. Making sure you don't have any liquid in the meat or veggies, mix all the ingredients with any spices , herbs you like , salt and pepper to taste. Divide into 6 portions.
3. Roll out a dough ball to 1/8" to 1/4" thick circle about 8" in diameter. Must be thick enough to hold the filling without tearing the crust. Place these on a baking sheet lined with wax paper or just spray with some no-stick spray. .Put one portion of filling, a pat of butter, fold one half over and seal both edges with water and press with fork to seal. Brush with egg wash all over the pasties. Prick the top with fork to make tiny holes. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
4. Bake for 50 mins to 1 hour or until the crust is golden. Cool on a wire rack. Serve hot or cold with any sauce you like.

Note: Traditionally, meat and vegs are just mixed together raw and seasoned with salt and pepper before baking. I cooked the vegs just until tender to prevent uncooked surprises inside after baking! It's would be your choice , whether to add them raw or cook for 5 mins before you bake. Same goes for adding spices and herbs in the filling too.


This recipe was written by Asha from Foodies Hope.

If you are also interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin drop us an email: blogmeeta@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

Tiffins and Stories Of An Indian in American Schools.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Posted by Shah cooks

Recently I started paying more attention to my son's lunch box, not entirely out of passion, but out of neccessity. What began as a "OMG,what shall I give him today?" is slowly capturing his and my imagination and becoming simpler and more streamlined.

One of my biggest challenges is a strange one. My little one who eats all my spicy, rustic, traditional and non traditional food at home is shy when he goes to school. I have been gathering all the excuses he gives for bringing back an untouched tiffin. It was gooey, sticky, it didn't taste right, the others made fun of the smell (Indian spices),it was not spicy enough, it was too spicy,I forgot to pack the fork, it was cold (he likes it hot) and so on. My friend said these were similar to the main charater's experiences in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding". The kids want to just blend in and not attract any attention. And if the kid is shy, then its peanut butter and jelly sandwich only. Blending in should not mean blanding in.

So now we made a list of possibilities and a list of no-nos. Rice with curry is out , but fried rice or pulav is ok. Sandwiches, two slices of bread with anything squished in between still rules the menu. Now you would think why doesn't he eat from the cafeteria. He doesn't want to and I didn't insist for now as the menu there was nothing great. Maybe later when I get busier, I will change my mind. Maybe as he grows older, he won't like mommy food anymore. So I am enjoying the attention for now.

This is what a typical lunch would look like now. Some store bought stuff, some home made. If I make cakes or snacks, that gets packed instead or else it back to his favourite junk(as he calls it). That’s a cream cheese and strawberry preserves(jam/jelly) untoasted sandwich, a pork free breakfast chicken links cut and spiced with pepper flakes, an orange(peeled), a yogurt box, couple of chocolate chip cookies, and water. Yep, he drinks water, doesn’t like juice and since is anyway loaded with sugar (36 gm-equals 7 tsps), its better. Milk is an ongoing battle which I shall tell you later.




Another popular lunch is Paratha..stuffed flatbread. Good for me as it takes care of veggies and carbs at one go and can be eaten cold. I remember paratha being my favourite lunch item too. This box has Potato-fenugreek leaves (Alu-Methi)paratha, cream cheese for dipping, A twisted cheese snack, chocolate milk, red globe grapes washed and dried and chocolate chip cookies. Believe me, the lunch box comes back clean.
Some essentials I now love:
Tiny ziplock snack bags, tiny containers, a divided lunch box, Foil, and good plastic wrap. All these fit neatly into an insulated lunch bag and prevents leakage.
I love the look of the laptop lunch box, with all its divided containers fitting in so well, but have yet to get one. One of these days.. Thats all for this week. Do leave a comment and let me know your suggestions and experiences.


This Post was written by Shaheen from Malabar Spices.

Salad for tiffin

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Posted by Saffron Trail

I have never been a big salad fan. But I must confess, ever since I've started bunching up fresh fruits with the veggies in a salad, I am almost changing my mind about this healthy food option.

There are several advantages of eating raw foods - more nutrients, more fibre content, lesser time spent in kitchen and more filling. Think about this - humans are the only species that cook their food. In the city where I live, its summer most of the year, just that some months are a tad cooler than the rest. Where temperatures are at an average of 30 Celsius, who wants to stand in front of a hot stove or eat hot food? This is how salads invariably come to my rescue.

I like pack a box of salad along with a couple of Phulkas (homemade tortilla kind of Indian bread) and some cooked veggies or lentils in my hubby's lunch box. He quite loves to take a lunch box along as the canteen food is typically Indian as the foreigners recognise it - in the greasy, spicy way.



This is a simple salad that I packed him last week, was made with fresh in-season tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, crunchy green bell peppers & carrots and the surprise element - sweet lime segments. My other favourite tip for most salads is to crush the veggies / fruits with your hands, squeeze them a bit, toss them with your hands to release their natural juices . When this salad is eaten after a couple of hours, the natural juices along with the condiments forms an excellent juicy dressing. Fat free ofcourse.

Salad for tiffin

1 large tomato - halved and sliced

1 capsicum (green bell pepper) - deseeded and cut into thin sticks

1 large carrot - scraped and cut into sticks

1 large cucumber - peeled and cut into sticks

1 sweet lime (Mosumbi) - torn into segements, seeds removed

Fresh coriander leaves

Pinch of paprika or red chilli powder

Juice of half a lime

Salt to taste

Mix all the above in a large bowl, tossing well with your hands, giving the veggies a light squeeze. Pack in a tiffin box. The flavours would have gelled wonderfully by the time the box is opened at lunch time.

You can easily replace the sweet lime by any other citrus fruit like orange or tangerine. Peppers of all colours will blend in beautifully too.

For another veggie and fruit salad - check out this fattoush that I make regularly.

Tip

Salads are a dieter's best friend. Starting your meal with a salad, fills you up well enough so that you don't hog on the bread.

Starting kids on healthy meals such as this, early on in their life, will make sure they develop a taste for raw foods and they will make healthy salads a part of their diet for the rest of their life. In fact, once you ready the ingredients required, they'll have fun assembling it together and get a sense of pride in cooking their own food.

Please note that you must wash and scrub any vegetables that you'd use for a salad to prevent food poisoning and worm infestations. Washing them in a potassium permanganate solution also helps.




This Post was written by Nandita from Saffron Trail.

Vitmain C and A Spice Cake

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Posted by Meeta K


How did Thanksgiving go?

Hope you got over it with elegance and there were no major glitches - like burning the turkey!! I was pretty close to burning my roast I can tell you - but just close.
We decided to go out and have a game of football, which is a novelty for my German friends, we were so occupied in the game and had all the neighbors cheering for us that I managed to remember the roast in the nick of time.
Phew!

Today I've got some really scrumptious things lined up for you. The weekly Tiffin idea filled with interesting goodies and a divine recipe of a wonderful treat.

Tiffin Idea
Winter is just around the corner, actually in some parts of the world it has already a tight grip on us. So it is very important to make sure you get the right amount of vitamins to keep away all those illnesses. One very important such vitamin, especially for the winter months is Vitmain C.

Today's lunch box contains a great portion of natural Vitamin C found in fruit. That is an important point to remember. Although there are plenty of pills, syrups and prescription drugs supplemented with Vitamin C, the first choice should really be the fresh and natural fruit and vegetables. Nothing like juicy and sweet tangerines and fresh, ripe kiwis for the extra portion of Vitamin C. Vitamin C should be taken in divided doses throughout the day. Researchers found that an average dosage of 200 mg/day was adequate for men and women, but should be raised for growing children, pregnant women and elderly or sick people. This amount of vitamin C can be obtained from a diet containing five daily servings of fresh fruit and vegetables; unfortunately, less than 15 per cent of children and adults in the USA actually consume such a diet

The funny thing is that I remember my mum telling me the same thing day in day out. Guess that really stuck in my head and now I am forwarding the same message to my own child.

5 fruits a day!

The kiwi contains 90 milligrams per 100 grams and the tangerines 30 milligrams per 100 grams. Not a bad start to the day. Furthermore, there is more to offer in that huge slice of Persimmon Spice Cake.

The cake is also packed with lovely walnuts and aromatic spices to make it just perfect for this time of year. Yes! The recipe is below! I used a really lovely cilantro and garlic pita bread for the sandwich and filled it with some herb flavored cream cheese and slices of ripe cherry tomatoes.

Persimmon Spice Cake
Ingredients:

4 - 6 ripe and soft persimmons - peeled and puréed. You can use an electric mixer or blender for this.
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
115 grams butter
200g brown sugar
350g all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground clove powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
60g walnuts or pecans - coarsely chopped






Method:

Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius.

Add the baking soda to the puréed persimmon. You will notice that the persimmon will set and become more solid. No cause for alarm. Although this might look strange it is perfectly normal.

In a mixing bowl whisk the butter and sugar with and electric mixer, until creamy and fluffy. Stir in the persimmon and egg, beating until well combined. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the dry ingredients to the persimmon mixture. Blend in well and stir in the nuts.

Spoon the batter into a round greased cake pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until the knife comes out clean.

Take out and allow to cool on a rack. Sprinkle generously with icing sugar. If you would like to freeze this cake then skip this part and freeze in an airtight container.

I have more details, pictures and information to the spice cake here.

Hope you enjoy this!



This Post was written by MEETA from What's For Lunch, Honey?

A Bunch o'Lunches

Monday, November 27, 2006

Posted by bloglily




This is what lunch for three boys -- not all of whom like the same thing -- looks like.

Two of the boys are sandwich eaters. One has roast chicken, crusty bread, a bit of cheddar for his sandwich. The other is trying out tuna for the first time, mixed with a dab of mayonnaise. I had tuna every day of my life as a child, and I came to despise it. For him, it's a novelty. We'll see how that plays. The sandwich eaters both get satsumas, and carrots. Tiniest Tiffin likes his carrots with a little dressing, so that's in one of the containers. And they both like maple yogurt -- Tiffin Twin likes his with blueberries; Tiniest Tiffin is very fond of sprinkles. If the tuna doesn't work out, there's always the sprinkles.

And then, over there in the corner, in the thermos, is the other Tiffin Twin lunch. Homemade chicken soup, something that is very easy to do after you've had a roast chicken. You melt some shallots or onions and some carrots in a little oil. When they're soft, you add about four cups of water and a tablespoon of our favorite broth starter (it's organic and tastes remarkably good), let those boil and then simmer for a while, if you -- like the Tiffin Twin -- enjoy your soup veggies meltingly soft. And then you put in some buckwheat soba noodles that you've cooked separately. Add a little diced chicken from last night and just let it warm up. And that's the perfect lunch for a child who's a hot lunch guy: whole wheat grains in the soba, veggies in the carrots, protein in the chicken. All that's missing is a little bit of calcium, and so for his snack we'll have a big cup of hot chocolate. For lunch, they just have water.

Wishing you a fabulous week of good food and good fun.


This Post was written by BlogLily from the Tiffin Tin.

Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Posted by Meeta K

Hello everyone!

We, the team from The Daily Tiffin would like to send you our warmest wishes for this Thanksgiving. Hope you all have a cosy, cuddly and joyous evening with your family and enjoy the next few days with them.

Warm regards,

Lily, Nandita, Shaheen and Meeta

Healing teas

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Posted by Saffron Trail

Our 'Tulsi' plant swaying in the rains

Hi Friends!

Winter is just trying to nudge it's way into Bombay but the stubborn sun just wont let it. Result being, we have bouts of cold and bouts of heat which is confusing the hell out of our body's homeostatis. Every second person I know is down with the flu or cough. I was down too, last week. With hubby out on a business trip and me battling the flu by myself, I nursed my illness with some natural remedies. Since most of the world is facing severe winters, these spicy, herbal teas can be enjoyed even if you aren't down with flu.


Holy basil and ginger tea

Holy basil belongs to same species as Basil, is grown in most Hindu homes in India. While my grandmom will give me spiritual reasons, I'd take the logical reason as to why this tradition came into play. Holy basil has innumerable health benefits. Picking a few leaves and chewing them each day would probably keep one fit and healthy, the herbal way. I too grow this plant at home. It feels good to follow traditions that are good for you as well.

To make this tea, take a few handfuls of washed leaves of Holy basil. Take a piece of ginger, about 1 inch. Wash thoroughly to remove any mud and crush it in a mortar-pestle along with the leaves. In a pot, bring 4 cups of water to boil along with the crushed leaves and ginger. Keep the boiling water at a simmer till reduced to 3 cups. Strain and drink warm.

This makes 3 cups. Had first thing in the morning, this herbal tea is an excellent detoxifying agent. Also removes any phlegm / cough that gets accumulated in your lungs / sinuses in damp weather.

Cinnamon quills - Courtesy: Getty Images

Spice tea

Most of the spices that I use for this tea are used whole. They are easily found in Indian stores around the world. Spices like cinnamon and black pepper can be bought in any supermarket too.

Spices for the tea-
1 long stick cinnamon
1/2 tsp black pepper
2-3 cloves
1 star anise
1 green cardamom
1/2 tsp cumin seeds

On a low flame, lightly roast the spices. Crush them and bring them to boil in 3 cups of water, along with some crushed ginger root. Simmer for around 5-7 minutes until the essences of the spices are out in the water. Strain and drink with a tsp of honey.

You could also add some brandy to the spice tea to make a warming nightcap.

Black pepper is one of the best fat and cough burning spices, according to Ayurveda. Cinnamon and cloves are warming spices which are good for a cold or for resistance in cold weather.

This recipe makes 2 cups of tea.


This Post was written by Nandita from Saffron Trail, India.


Persimmon

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Posted by Meeta K


Isn't this exciting? Yesterday a lunch box from San Francisco and today one coming to you from Germany! We really hope that our new ideas we plan to share with you will interest you and of course inform you.

In our household we've been busy preparing for all the upcoming festivities. In Germany we celebrated St. Martin's Day on November 11. The Feast of Saint Martin in Germany would probably best be described as Halloween and Thanksgiving rolled into one. Both Soeren and I spent a few days making our own lanterns to take to the procession with the KIGA (Kindergarten Group). It was a really great evening as we all met up at the KIGA and then went through the city and park with lanterns and singing songs.
Next up is Thanksgiving. Although it is not a a traditional feast here in Germany, we celebrate it as I grew up with this wonderful tradition of giving thanks. Giving this message to Soeren is very important to me, showing him that there are very many things one should be thankful to. If anyone is looking for decoration ideas for Thursday, I have put up a few ideas here.

The lunchbox idea today is an interesting and a quickie for those days when one has overslept. Since the days are shorter and the sun rises later than usual we've been doing quite a bit of that lately.

Using a quick ready made croissant dough, spread thickly with cream cheese and fresh herbs. Put into the oven for the time stated on the croissant packet. Take out and the aroma will wake even the sleepiest of kids. Perfect for a second breakfast at KIGA. For the afternoon I packed a sugar glazed donut and to balance it off some lovely raisins and fresh chunks of Persimmon.

Persimmon
The Fall brings with it several delicious types of fruit and one of them is the Persimmon. Also known as Kaki or Sharon, they come in two categories - the Hachiya Persimmon, which is large and round. The Fuyu is smaller, flatter and tomato shaped. Both taste very differently from each other. The Hachiya is soft, creamy and tangy sweet, in comparison, the Fuyu remains firm upon ripening and has no tangy aftertaste. They can be used for a variety of things like jellies, cakes, and spreads, but we've been eating these by the carload just the way they are.

Selecting and Storing
While selecting you should go for smooth, brightly colored and plump persimmons. They can be ripened at room temperature and then stored in the refrigerator for several days.

Health Facts
Persimmons contain twice as much fiber as apples and play an important role in keeping a healthy heart. Persimmons also contain antioxidants such as carotenoids and polyphenols which affects fat metabolism. In addition persimmons are good source of sodium, potassium, magnesium, manganese and iron. Therefore, for many reasons, adding this colourful fruit to your diet may be a good idea.

Here are a few great recipes from my blogger buddies:
Persimmon Madeleines.
Persimmon Salsa.
Dried Persimmon.

Next week I'll treat you to my succulent Persimmon Spice Cake.

In future you can expect from me on the Daily Tiffin the health benefits and interesting facts about the fruit and vegetables I pack in Soeren's lunchboxes, a quick recipe or reviews about current themes. Stay tuned!



This Post was written by Meeta from What's For Lunch, Honey?

Watermelon and Plum Cake

Monday, November 20, 2006

Posted by bloglily

This morning was a late-rising Monday -- it was so warm in bed and so foggy and chilly outside. And the heat wasn't on! It took us a while to emerge from our cozy beds.

But when my eleven year old son (one of the Tiffin Twins) opens his lunch today, there will be a little bit of summer inside. Watermelon is still yummy here in California and the cake is made with the last of the fall's good plums. (The sandwich? Whole wheat bread, his favorite salami, and some sharp cheddar cheese.)

It's a happy day here in Berkeley, and one reason for that is my discovery that I'm not the only person in the world who's a little obsessed with packing lunches for herself and her children. On Mondays, as time goes on, I'll also be bringing you a few recipes, a snapshot or two from the hot lunches offered by my youngest son's school, some holiday baking, and the lunches we send with our children so they remember how loved they are even when they're away from home.

Have a wonderful week!





This Post was written by BlogLily from the Tiffin Tin.

The New Daily Tiffin

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Posted by Meeta K

Just about a week after I announced my new intentions for the Daily Tiffin, I am so proud and very honored to announce the new team and concept for this blog.

About The Daily Tiffin

The Daily Tiffin started off as a daily web log for the lunch boxes packed by Meeta, the creator of the Daily Tiffin, for her 4 year old son, Soeren.

It is evolving into something more now. Concentrating on healthy, active and fun family life, I have decided to bring on a few great people to join the team. The idea behind the new Daily Tiffin is to share ideas, thoughts, articles, reviews and recipes for our family life. So, you'll not only find ideas for lunch boxes for your kids but also creative lunches for adults too. There will be interesting articles on healthy eating and reviews about products, books etc. You'll also find scrumptious recipes here that you can add to your lunches for the kids or for the hubby! The main thing that you will find here is fun.

This is about a balanced life and not about getting every little detail right. It is about discussing the ideas and commenting on the thoughts. There'll be things for mums and dads, but most important you'll find great ideas for the little ones in our lives.

Here are all the wonderful helping hands that have made the Daily Tiffin a great place to be.

About Meeta - Administrator, Organization
I am a working mum and have a 6 year old son, Soeren. When I am not busy with family and making lunches, you'll find me working for the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar in Germany. I am passionate about living a fun and good life, which mainly revolves around my family, work and hobbies. Offering Soeren good values and setting a healthy base in life is very important to me. You might see me jetting off with my camera in my hands and lost in some photo shot - you see I am an amateur photographer and am always looking for the perfect picture.
Read articles by Meeta
Meeta's blog: What's For Lunch, Honey?

About Aparna- Contributor My name is Aparna and I blog at My Diverse Kitchen, which is a vegetarian food blog. I enjoy cooking and baking, especially bread, but that doesn't mean the kitchen is always my favourite place in the house!

I am a stay-at-home-mom to our 13 year old daughter. We are from the south Indian state of Kerala (more famous for its coconut trees, backwaters and ayurveda) and we now live in Goa (known for its beaches, churches and Portuguese influenced cuisine).

My husband, our daughter and I are vegetarian by tradition and by choice, though we do eat eggs occasionally. We enjoy good food and are willing to try anything at least once, so long as it is vegetarian.

In my spare time (when I am not blogging) I enjoy reading, listening to music, watching movies, traveling with my family, gardening, embroidery, painting azulejos and especially enjoy doing creative projects with my daughter.

As you can see, I have too many interests and too little time to spend on all of them! Thanks to blogging, I have a new found passion for photography and am now in the process of trying to make sense of my camera and the mysteries of light!
Read articles by Aparna
Aparna's blog: My Diverse Kitchen

About Bina - Contributor Bina grew up in Mumbai and credits the unforgettable meals in her home and those of her friends for turning her into a complete foodie! Collecting cookbooks and recipes became somewhat of an obsession and just when they threatened to take over the entire house, she (happily!) stumbled upon the world of food blogs. She loves to browse through her favorite blogs hunting down interesting recipes to try out and share with family and friends.

Bina has a Masters degree in Biology and worked as a researcher before turning into a stay-at-home mom when her son was born. She lives in the US with her husband and son and in her spare time, likes to paint in watercolor, sew and cross-stitch.
Read articles by Bina

About Dee - Co-Administrator, Events
Before food blogging turned from a hobby to a full time obsession, I used to work in the areas of Supply chain management and Customer service management. 8 years in these professions left a yearning in me for a break. My Husband's transfer to the US gave me this much wanted break. Initially bogged down by free time, I started Ammalu's kitchen (Ammalu means Little Girl in my mother tongue) to pen down my culinary journey from a novice cooking vegetable stir fries to my present day avatar.

Apart from blogging I love to sleep in the car while my husband is driving, sometimes feigning illness if required to snatch a wink! Time becomes a long warp when I'm reading, be it internet or books. On a more personal level, I'm a proponent of Yoga and ayurveda, and am embraking on a journey to explore these ancient jewels of India.
Read articles by Dee
Dee's blog: Ammalu's kitchen

About Deeba- Contributor
My name is Deeba & I blog @ Passionate About Baking...& beyond. I’m excited to be part of Daily Tiffin & am just over a year old to blogging. I worked for 8 years with British Airways as a Passenger Services Manager, & left when my daughter was born. Am a happy stay-at-home Mom, with 2 lovely kids (12 & 9, who hand me plenty of ups & downs) & an appreciative hub. Baking is my passion, & reading cookbooks, photography, art & craft are in every breath I take. Blogging has become a HUGE part of my life & I’m happy to be part of a wonderfully active & exuberant blogging community. I live in Gurgaon, which lies in the suburbs of New Delhi, the capital of India.
Read articles by Deeba
Deeba's blog: Passionate About Baking...& beyond

About Hilda - Contributor
Hilda was born in Iran but grew up in France and the U.S. and is now married to someone who is equally divided in his origins, none the same as hers, which along with her two step-children (16 & 9) makes for an interesting household. She is not working at the moment, as she has an adorable baby girl keeping her busy, but when she does she is a freelance film editor and post producer, and was a civil & environmental engineer by training. She loves food, photography/film, visual arts and crafts in general, is fascinated by technology, and derives great satisfaction from making things with her hands. She wrote only about food on her blog Saffron & Blueberry until just recently and now incorporates anything that is beautiful and/or of interest to her.
Read articles by Hilda
Hilda’s Blog: Saffron & Blueberry

About Jamie - Contributor
It all started when my husband put two and two together: knock on the head at 9 years old + obsession with food = Gourmand Syndrome. That’s when I decided to create my food blog and devote myself to it full time. I finally accepted the fact that my life revolved around food.

I have been, over the years, an art gallery manager, volunteer English teacher, research assistant on 1 cookbook and 1 art book, culinary guide and interpreter, milliner and now a full-time food blogger. American of Russian Jewish descent and married to a Frenchman, we have a true multi-cultural home; between the two of us, we have worked and lived in 5 countries and we have raised our sons, Clément, 21, and Simon, 19, in 3. And this mix of cultures extends deep into our kitchen. We both love good food and wine and we both love to cook. We also love to travel and discover other cultures and other cuisines. We use our cooking to bring our own cultures into our home, share with others and teach our sons.

Besides cooking, baking, eating and writing, I love to travel, am an avid reader and love watching movies with my family. We take long walks in the country with our Boston Terrier Marty and I get back to Florida as often as possible to visit my family.
Read articles by Jamie
Jamie’s Blog: Life’s a Feast

About Manisha - Co-Administrator, Organization
Manisha is an Internet Strategist who believes in the benefits of slowing down, which is, in essence, anti-thesis to the world of instant gratification that we currently live in. Her food blog, Indian Food Rocks, is about her personal journey through life, spiced by Indian food and anecdotes. Apart from food and being online all the time, her obsessions include gazing at the Rockies, hiking and biking whenever she can, photography, knitting and crocheting, and figuring out the next change she can implement in her life-style to help save the Earth. Manisha is currently grappling with the challenges that go hand in hand with raising a moderately gifted child.
Read articles by Manisha
Manisha's blog: Indian Food Rocks

About Mansi - Co-Administrator, Marketing
I'm a fun-loving, highly-social person who loves to try and conquer challenges in life. Being a Gemini, I have the "twin-tendencies", so one day you may see me writing poetry and trying some art, while another day you may find me doing bungee-jumping or para-gliding! But thanks to a sane husband, my family, friends, and a little bit of common-sense, I have learned to balance my life. I've loved cooking since I was a kid helping my mom in the kitchen, but over time, it has grown into a passion that I nurture and enjoy catering to! I love experimenting with foods and flavors, enjoy entertaining friends, and since past few years, I've also developed a fitness-streak that makes me find ways to make food healthier. You can find my recipes and articles on my blog called Fun and Food. Besides cooking, I also enjoy travelling, adventure sports, reading, writing and singing.
Read articles by Mansi
Mansi's blog: Fun and Food

About Petra - Co-Administrator, Organization
I used to work the IT business, but now I am a freelance writer, cookbook author and novelist, living in Hamburg, Germany. I am a foodie, as reflected in my blog Foodfreak, active in the slowfood movement, and I have a passion for Asian cuisines as well as local ingredients. In 2006 I started packing bento boxes for my husband to provide him with fresh, healthy and nutritious foods, and this has turned into a passion for bentos, too. I learned that bentos are widely unknown in Germany. When I find the time, I love to paint, read books (the higher the pile the better) take photographs or stroll across one of the various markets of my hometown. My latest outdoor addiction is geocaching, which leads me to fascinating placs all over my country.
Read articles by Petra
Petra's blog: Foodfreak

About Suganya - Co-Administrator, Design & Image
I am a fun-loving, affable & broad minded individual of Indian origin, living in the US. I started cooking at a very early age and have a strong affinity for tasty and healthy food. I write a blog called Tasty Palettes, where I express myself through food & flavour that is not limited by cuisine. I believe in leading a healthy lifestyle. Naturally this consciousness extends into my day-to-day activities, food recipes and choice of ingredients as well. I constantly strive to make food healthy, by making sensible choices while cooking or baking. I also try to make healthy food interesting and appealing for everyone, using contemporary presentation / styling techniques and photography.

Being a vegetarian all my life, I often find myself in a position where I need to be very flexible and adaptive. So, one can find me experimenting on proven recipes (Indian or not) with locally available or organic ingredients. I have recently started exploring veganism not only as a means of extending my beliefs in a healthy lifestyle, but also my beliefs as an animal lover and an environmentalist.

My other interests include food styling, travel & photography. I also love to read a lot, watch movies and drink a good cup of coffee.
Read articles by Suganya
Suganya's blog: Tasty Palettes

Guest Writers to The Daily Tiffin:

Pintoo: Articles
Bee: Articles
Stephanie: Articles
Asha: Articles
Anupama: Articles

We are always looking for guest writers and bloggers for The Daily Tiffin. If you would like to be featured as a guest writer on the Daily Tiffin please contact us per email with your ideas. Looking forward to hearing from you!
Email: thedailytiffin[AT]gmail[DOT]com

The Daily Tiffin Alumni:


About Abby - Alumni
I lived in Malawi until I was 14 and grew up eating homemade food made with seasonal ingredients. Moving to the UK and encountering processed food for the first time as a teenager was a real shock. I feel very fortunate to have always eaten homemade food and have the confidence to cook. I am always keen to share how easy it can be to cook and eat healthily. As well as being a keen cook I'm also studying nutritional medicine. I live in London, UK.
Read articles by Abby
Abby's blog: eat the right stuff

About Andrea - Contributor
Andrea is an instructional designer and former teacher, now a work-at-home wife and mom to three boys. In her early adult life, she spent eight years teaching at U.S. schools in Saipan, Colombia, and Saudi Arabia and enjoyed opportunities to travel throughout the world. She fell in love with many dishes in her travels and brings that spirit to her cooking blog Andrea's Recipes, where she writes about her adventures in the kitchen and edible garden and hosts the Grow Your Own blogging event. She also gives her opinion on products for home and garden at her blog Andrea's Reviews and writes for FoodieView.com and DC Metro Moms Blog.
Read articles by Andrea
Andrea's blog: Andrea's Recipes

About Ann - Alumni
Though technically born long enough ago to be counted as part of the Baby Boomer generation I consider myself a First Generation Punk. I have three amazing children, one ex-husband, two cats and a lovely partner named Jack. I live in New York and make my living as a senior software consultant. An ongoing constant interest has been a love of reading and writing, but I think I am happiest when I am working with my hands-- which would explain why I have combined cooking and writing into my blog.
Read articles by Ann
Ann's blog: Redacted Recipes

About Amanda - Alumni
I'm a stay at home mum of two great boys, just setting up a business from home. My working life has been diverse to say the least, and includes time in the travel industry, the landscape gardening industry and before becoming a mum a few years as Training and Development Manager for a Law Firm. I never was one to follow one straight path!! My main passion is food, particularly children eating and learning about good food.
Read articles by Amanda
Amanda's blog: Little Foodies

About Biggie - Alumni
I've been living in San Francisco since 1999 (after living in Japan for nine+ years), my son is two and a half, and I'm now a stay-at-home mom since the arrival of my son (after a career in high-tech PR both in Japan and San Francisco).
Read articles by Biggie
Biggie's blog: Lunch In A Box.

About Dharm - Contributor
I'm from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and a Mechanical Engineer by profession. I've always had a passion for food, both eating and cooking. When I was younger, I used to help my Mom with the the baking while I really only started cooking once I went to University in Australia. I soon found that cooking was a great way to meet women! Now happily married and blessed with two lovely children, my cooking and baking revolves around the family. I have always loved to write and have a great interest in photography as well. So what better way to combine my love of food, writing, photography and cooking for my family than to maintain a blog!
Read articles by Dharm
Dharm's blog: Dad ~ Baker & Chef

About Dhivya - Alumni
I am among those working woman, who consider providing their family with a variety of healthy and delicious meals, as their sole responsibility. I believe in my mom's saying - "It is better to know and not use rather than not knowing at all." That has inculcated the need to learn as much as I can.
Blogging is another channel which helps me to learn more in this gastronomical world with each passing day. The more I blog, the more I learn, more I get exposed to some immensely talented people who simply inspire me to push myself harder.
I find that I have a burning necessity to involve myself in pursuits that are creative and foreign to me at the same time. So a poem then, some art work later and food writing now... the journey continues.
Read articles by Dhivya
Dhivya's blog: Chef in You

About Donna - Contributor
I'm an ex-caterer and pastry chef from Vermont that got tired of the rat race and sailed off into the sunset. That's not just a metaphor, I really did! I had my own wholesale bakery and catering business for over 15 years when I got tired and bored and said to my husband, "Let's get in the boat and sail away!" Our 4 adult children and four grandchildren were given 2 years notice that we were running away from home. I gave the inn-keeper 10 months notice to find another chef. They all thought we were nuts and would never follow through. Well, we did, and here I am, 4 years later living, cooking, baking, photographing and blogging about it all on a sailboat in RI. I do this all on a rocking, rolling boat with a 2-3 burner stove and mini oven that I affectionately call my Easy-Bake-Oven! Gone are my 30 quart mixer, 10 burner stove and my organic gardens! My plan was to eventually end up in the Bahamas sipping Pina Coladas with little umbrellas with my toes in the sand. Instead, here we are on the East coast of the USA with ice around our boat every winter. It makes for a great story though, and I wouldn't change it for anything. The location? Yeah, I would definitely go south for the winter! Read about my culinary and sailboat adventures on my blog, Spatulas, Corkscrews & Suitcases. I'm also the Baking & Desserts Feature Writer for Suite101 which keeps me on an even keel and out of trouble!
Read articles by Donna
Donna's blog: Spatulas, Corkscrews & Suitcases

About Gillian - Alumni
I'm a graphics artist/designer with a keen interest in cooking delicious, healthy, balanced meals for both my husband (of a year and a half) and I. My philosophy is that "food is fuel for life" - the more nutritious and wholesome food we prepare, pack, and eat, the more we get out of bodies - whether it's at work, school, home, or play! Of course, that doesn't mean that we don't enjoy a luscious treat now and again - my musings at Humble Pie are evidence of that!
Read articles by Gillian
Gillian's blog: Humble Pie


About Glenna - Alumni
I’m a respiratory therapist by evening, novelist and magazine article writer by day. My love of cooking came from being drafted into the kitchen at an early age by my professional cook mother and grandmother and from a first career as a hotel convention planner along with a second career as a cake decorator/caterer. Now, thankfully, rather than a career, cooking for me is a passion and an escape, that I use to keep the cobwebs cleared out of my head and the smile on my face.
Read articles by Glenna
Glenna's blog: A Fridge Full of Food.


About Helen - Alumni
I was born and raised in France 32 years ago, and moved to the US 10 years to complete a Master's in American History. I met my husband and life changed completely. I have a very strange resume as I am a pastry chef half the week and a certified personal trainer the other half. I befriended the most amazing chef at the French restaurant I was working for and when he retired I quit to follow him. I love fitness and health and got certified in various areas: nutrition, Pilates, Aerobics, ... I think I have found the way to balance the best of both world and I am a happy fish in bright waters!
Read articles by Helen
Helen's blog: Tartlette

About Joker Girl - Contributor
I'm a 24- year old software engineer from Austria who lives in Sweden and likes to play with her food. International cuisine and photography are probably the most feminine of my hobbies, which combine well in making cute lunchboxes!
Read articles by Jokergirl
Jokergirl's blog: Bento Lunches

About Kristen - Contributor
Kristen Doyle works from home as a freelance writer and a professional recruiter. The mom of three kids (ages 2, 4 and 6), the wife of a wonderful man who actually cleans up the kitchen after she cooks, and a June Cleaver wanna be, Kristen discovered her fervor for cooking shortly after she began staying home with her children. With a passion for writing, a flare for entertaining, and a crazy busy schedule, Kristen understands the importance of family meal time, but also recognizes the need for meals to be quick, easy and healthy. Kristen shares, "It is my goal to help those people who are too intimidated to start cooking or baking to actually get into the kitchen to take that first step. All it takes is a little bit of encouragement and some practice, and before you know it homemade meals will be a regular thing at your household. Trust me... if I can do it, and I started out thinking Hamburger Helper was considered homemade, you can do it!" Kristen's culinary writing work can be found in various places, but regularly on her blog Dine and Dish, Her Life Magazine, The Well Fed Network, Blogged In and now The Daily Tiffin.
Read articles by Kristen
Kristen's blog: Dine and Dish



About Lydia - Alumni
I write the lively blog The Perfect Pantry and am a professional food writer. I am a contributing editor of Rhode Island Monthly magazine, where I write a monthly column called Local Flavor. Author of one cookbook -- South End Cooks: Recipes from a Boston Neighborhood -- I currently teach cooking classes at Rhode Island School of Design, a world-famous art college in Providence, Rhode Island (because artists make great cooks!), and also teach classes for adults and children in my log house kitchen. A long-time hunger relief activist, I am the founder of Drop In & Decorate Cookies for Donation, and a co-founder of Will Paint For Food, which works to help end hunger through education, outreach and food distribution. Oh -- and I am a grandmother of 4!
Read articles by Lydia
Lydia's blog: The Perfect Pantry

About Mike - Contributor
I am a software engineer, married and living in Florida with two very excitable dogs. Despite my self-proclaimed distaste for writing when I was in school, I now find myself writing as a hobby on a fairly regular basis when chronicling my other newfound hobby (cooking and food photography) over at Mike's Table.
Read articles by Mike
Mike's blog: Mike's Table


About Nandita - Alumni
I'm a medical doctor but I pursue my passion for writing. I write on health and food for several publications including Men's Health - India and Complete Wellbeing. Life with my husband in Mumbai is fast paced. Striving to maintain a balance between work and pleasure, fast food and healthy home cooked food, heavy metal and the blues, that is I guess is the fun of life.
Read articles by Nandita
Nandita's blog: Saffron Trail.

About Nupur - Alumni
I am an Indian currently living in St. Louis, Missouri, USA with my wonderful spouse and our handsome pooch. I write a regular blog at One Hot Stove, exploring my love for regional Indian cuisine and traveling the world, one recipe at a time. For me, blogging is a wonderful way to connect with people who appreciate good home cooking, and a learning experience on a daily basis.
Read articles by Nupur
Nupur's blog: One Hot Stove

About Peter- Contributor
Greek-Canadian living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, passionate about Greek and other delicious cuisines. Enjoy travel, the company of friends and family and I hope to travel the world one day and retire by the beach in Greece.
Read articles by Peter
Peter's blog: Kalofagas

About Sabrina - Alumni
I am the editor at YumSugar.com and enjoy keeping my readers up to date on the latest food trends, news and more. I pride myself on the fact that I has traveled and eaten meals in more than 15 countries. After graduating UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Fine Art/Photography and Computer Science, I began a daily food blog called Pocketpig.com featuring drawings and discussions of every meal I ate. During this time, I lived in Cambridge, England and learned to appreciate the finer points of British cuisine. I also once created a 3ft x 4ft self portrait made entirely out of cake!
Read articles by Sabrina
Sabrina's blog: YumSugar.com

About Shaheen - Alumni
I am a part time working and full time mom to a 6 yr old son. He started public school now and packing his lunch is what led me to the Daily Tiffin. I work as an architect in New Jersey, now part time so rest of the time is being devoted to my wonderful family. I love cooking, find it relaxing and creative most of the time. Other interests are mostly books and movies now. .
Read articles by Shaheen
Shaheen's blog: Malabar Spices

About Susi - Alumni
I am the editor of the website FitSugar that I write with Denise Stirk and Jenny Sugar. After teaching Pilates in the San Francisco Bay Area for 7 years, I decided it was time to write about fitness and health in hopes of changing the world or at least reaching a broader audience. My two little girls keep me quite active and I love to run (I just started recently and I am hooked), practice yoga, and bake sweet treats. I am more of a baker than a cook.
Read articles by Susi
Susi's blog: FitSugar