What do you do when you and your kid are under the weather?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Posted by Meeta K

Does this sound familiar?

Your kid falls ill. High temperatures and a flu. You spend most of the day looking after them and on the next day that flu has taken it's grip on you too. You are feeling rotten, head is heavy and everything hurts. On top of that your kid needs a fit and reliable mum to get him back into shape. Daddies do their best, but to be honest you are left largely on your own.

What do you do with your kid to keep them busy during times like these? The situation described is actually what we at our household are going through this week.

Normally when I am fit, I keep Soeren busy with little card games, puzzles, reading stories and listening to audio books. However, on days like today all I really want to do is get under the covers and have someone read to me ;-). The idea of putting your child in front of the T.V. makes me cringe. An idea from a friend of mine who is currently in the same situation with both her kids. So, I pose this question to you.

How do you keep your kid busy when both are under the weather?



Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: blogmeeta@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

This Post was written by MYNAME from BLOGNAME

Indian Lunch: Veggie Poha

Monday, February 26, 2007

Posted by Meeta K



Most Indians love poha (flattened rice flakes). Kids, especially, do. Poha is easier to digest than rice, and takes almost no time to cook. Rinse it, and it’s ready to be added to any dish two minutes from the end of cooking time. This recipe is a great lunchbox idea, ‘cos it has the complete package of carbs, proteins and vitamins. Better still, it takes 10 minutes to prepare. You can prepare this same dish with rice. If you do, add it after frying the onions, and proceed.

Veggie Poha


Ingredients

2 cups thick or medium poha (flattened rice flakes)

(Source: www.ishopindian.com)

1 large chopped onion

2 small potatoes, or 1 large one, diced

1 tomato, chopped

3 cups chopped assorted veggies (we used a frozen combo of corn, peas, lima beans, carrots and beans)

4 green chillies, split

1 tsp. lemon juice

a pinch of turmeric

1 tbsp. unsweetened grated coconut

¼ cup toasted nuts (we used peanuts and sunflower seeds)

½ tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp. mustard seeds

1 tbsp. oil

A few curry leaves

Cilantro

Salt


Method

1. Put the cubed potatoes in a partly covered pan in the microwave with 2 tbsps. of water, cook on high for 3 minutes until done.

2. Meanwhile, rinse the poha under running water in a colander, and leave it to drain.

3. Heat the oil, add the cumin and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds pop, add the onions, curry leaves and chillies.

4. While the onions are cooking, microwave the chopped tomato for 2 minutes until pulpy.

5. If using fresh veggies, microwave until barely cooked. If using frozen veggies, thaw by microwaving for a minute.

6. When the onion turns translucent, add the potatoes, salt, turmeric and cooked tomato.

7. Stir, add drained poha, veggies, nuts and grated coconut.

5. Check seasoning, take off the fire, add lemon juice and cilantro.



Poha links:
Potato Poha

This article was submitted by Jai and Bee of Jugal Bandi




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Hello, I'm 1 Today!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Posted by Meeta K


Happy Birthday Daily Tiffin!

It's true! The Daily Tiffin is 1 year old today. It all started with this post. Incredible how time flies. Today the Daily Tiffin is more than a lunch box blog. It has become a place where family related topics are discussed with a team of wonderful ladies.

I am so glad to have found these super women because not only do they enrich the blog with their informative posts but I have also found new friends in them.

All of us hope that we are able to provide you, our readers, with valuable and helpful tips, tricks and ideas. We share our experiences with you, inform you of interesting subjects that we have learned and we really hope that you are able to benefit from the articles on the Daily Tiffin.

We look forward to another year filled with interesting and exciting happenings here. For example, how do you like the new look? As we decided to finally use the advantages of the new Blogger layout, I could not help but choose this template. We are planning on a complete new design for the Daily Tiffin in the near future though. Look out for that!

Another piece of news is the start of events here. We had you vote for this and you all decided that you wanted events on the Daily Tiffin. So, look forward to that soon.

There is one thing we would like to request from you. We spend a lot of time researching and writing some of the posts you read here. However, currently we are really not sure of what you think. Are you enjoying these posts? We'd like you to interact with us, tell us your thoughts and opinions. Currently we are left a bit in the dark as to what you think. Whatever is on your mind just say it! It helps us to channel our write-ups to fit your needs and likings.

Here's to another year!

Organic Food - Is Organic Healthier?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Posted by Meeta K


Now that we had a closer look at what Organic food is, I think the next question to tackle is:

Is Organic "healthier?"

You might have heard people say that organic products are not necessarily healthier because organic farms are allowed to use certain pesticides on their farms. Given, this does blur the debate of the comparisons between organic food vs. conventional food.

In my own research I found many interesting articles and topics that show me that in many ways organic food is healthier and better for you. This is something I'd like to share with you.

Organic food is grown with a minimal use of pesticides and only natural fertilizers. Furthermore, in studies carried out by the The Soil Association (regulates the organic food industry for the UK), it has been shown that over the years there is a difference between food produced organically and those produced conventionally.

Organic food is healthier because it does not contain artificial additives and retains more natural vitamins, minerals and antioxidant phytonutrients.

Food composition tables and data compiled by the US Department of Agriculture reveal that since the 1940s the mineral and vitamin levels in fruits, vegetables, meat and diary products have declined substantially in conventional food. When we pair this with pre-picking, longer storage and more processing of crops it should not come as a surprise that today we are getting fewer nutrients in our conventional food that we were 60 years ago.

Artificial fertilization in conventional crops produces lush growth, which means the produce is being swelled with water. When compared to organic food on a pound-for-pound basis there is more "dry matter" in organic products, in other words more "food." This is one of the many reasons that organic produce have higher levels of nutrients.
As a matter of fact, research by American nutritionist Virginia Worthington has confirmed that, based on current dietary patterns, the differences can be enough to help you achieve the recommended daily allowances for certain nutrients that you otherwise may not get.

It would also be logical that phytonutrients, many of which are antioxidants that a plant needs for its own defense system, will be higher in organic produce because crops rely more on their own defenses in the absence of regular applications of chemical pesticides. There is also evidence that supports this theory. A recent review of the topic estimated that organic produce will tend to contain 10-50% higher phytonutrients than conventional produce.

Organic food has considerably lower amounts of pesticide levels than the conventional food available. Organic food might not be the only way to increase the intake of nutrients in our diets, it is however, the safest. The conventional food industry often claim it uses "safe" levels of pesticide in their products and it is "safe" to eat these because there are "safe" amounts of residues. However, when researched, it was shown that one in three non-organic food products tested contain a higher level of pesticide residue. The levels in an on organic products contained much lower levels.

It's really quite easy to understand why. Most pesticide residue safety levels are marked for individual pesticides. Many samples of fresh produce, however contain multiple pesticide residues. So, the rules often do not take into account this "cocktail effect." Tests are being confirmed that such increases in toxicity of up to 10-fold result in reproductive, effect the immune and nervous system, which is not expected from the individual compounds acting alone.

Organic food is most important for our growing children. They are the most susceptible to the toxins than we adults are. Their developing organs, brains and immune system need it. Here organic food is not a question of luxury but of a necessity.

It has been found that American toddlers, who were brought up on mostly organic food, had one sixth the pesticide residues in their urine when compared to children eating conventional foods. This lowers their exposure from above to below recognized safety levels.

Furthermore, preservatives and artificial colorings in conventional food are also considered to contribute to hyperactivity in pre-school children. A recent study in the UK found that the proportion of hyperactive children was halved when additives were taken off their diets. Many of the additives like artificial sweeteners, colorings and flavorings are prohibited in organic food production.

Observation studies have also revealed that boarding school students eating predominantly organic food for a period of three years experienced a marked decline in colds and influenza, rapid recovery, excellent general health, fewer sports injuries, a greater resilience to fractures and sprains, clear and healthy skin, and improved dental health.

So, what can we take out of all this. Is organic healthier?

For me, yes, it is. I think if there is any way we can decrease our toxin burden and increase our intake of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants then we should choose this. If it has a significant impact on my child's health, then there is no question about it.

In my opinion organic food is how food is meant to be - just pure food.

What are your thoughts? Have you made positive/negative experiences with organic food? We'd love to hear about them.

Helpful Reads
Online:
Everything I Need to Know About Organic Foods
Updated link: Health Benefits of Organic Food

Books:
The Organic Food Guide: How to Shop Smarter and Eat Healthier
Diet for a Dead Planet: Big Business and the Coming Food Crisis
Your Organic Kitchen: The Essential Guide to Selecting and Cooking Organic Foods



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

Ways to Run

Friday, February 16, 2007

Posted by Susi

I will easily admit that sometimes when running, I get bored. Does this happen to you? The scenery is all too familiar. The play list on my iPod is stale. The thoughts about just stopping the repetitive motion of my running legs is ever so prevalent in my mind. It is these times that I direct my mind towards my body, after all the health of my body is the reason I'm running, right?




First, I pay attention to my feet. I tend to put too much pressure on the insides of my feet (pronation), so I make sure that when my feet strike the ground I am putting pressure on the outside of each foot.

Then I make sure my feet, and my hands are relaxed. I had a running coach way back when tell me to keep them both relaxed.

Moving up my body, I make sure my torso is over my pelvis and that I am not leaning forward. I think of my pelvis driving me forward, instead of my leg - this makes my hamstrings and glutes kick in. Yay!!!!

Then I check in with my shoulders and think about relaxing my shoulder blades down my back. This helps keep my arm motion simple and aerodynamic.

Last, I make sure I am not tensing my jaw. Occasionally, I will do a raspberry with my lips to help remove tension from my clenched jaw.

This body scan keeps my mind occupied, and I forget that I was feeling bored. Instead, I easily focus on just feel how great it is to run.

Now, I need to admit that I haven’t run all my life. I just started recently - suddenly I was the editor of a FitSugar.com and my regular workouts were Pilates, which is great for strengthening and stretching but it doesn’t get the heart rate up. Getting rate up to 80% of it’s maximum is really important for cardiovascular health. Check out this Heart Rate Calculator to find out your ideal heart rate. Using the Cool Running beginner work out I started running, simply by mixing it up with a walking.

You see, folks often start a new training regimen they go all out and often go too far. In pain, wondering why they ever tried to exercise, they quickly abandon their wonderful plan to workout regularly. This is the exact reason to follow The Couch to 5K running schedule.

The program eases you into running 3 miles by combining walking and running together. Over the course of 8 weeks you increase your running time and eventually run for 30 minutes straight - about the time it takes to run a 5K. It is a great way to start running and the schedule has you running only 3 times a week - so easy to fit into any busy life.

Now I love running, or at least the feelings of accomplishment and mental ease when I make it back home.



Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: blogmeeta@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

This Post was written by Susi May from FitSugar.com

Reducing Recipes: Cooking & Baking Smaller Quantities

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Posted by gilly


If there is one thing that newlywed life has shown me, it is that many of life’s great recipes are geared towards the larger serving crowd.

This is not always an issue – a healthy recipe to serve four (4) works out well for two (2), as it is often advantageous (and time-saving) to have leftovers – for tiffins, dinners, base ingredients in other recipes, or to freeze for future use.

However, when sweet and/or rich recipes are made to serve 6, 8, or 10 or more individuals, I proceed cautiously. I do not deny my husband and I indulgences now and again, but it pays to be smart about it. If a reasonably sized treat can be consumed in one sitting, then one simply does not over-indulge: leftovers (and thus the temptation) are not a factor.

So how do we go about reducing recipes down?


Equipment required

  • The original recipe – in all it’s delicious glory

  • A calculator

  • A piece of note paper

  • A pencil or pen


Adjusting servings – determining the scaling factor
Firstly, we need to identify the scaling factor. The scaling factor is a ratio between what the recipe calls for, and what we ultimately want to serve.

If a recipe originally serves eight (8) and you want to scale down to serve two (2):

Original serving / desired serving = scaling factor
8/2 = 4

In this example, the scaling factor is 4. Of course, the math isn’t always this nice. Say you want three (3) servings instead:

8/3 = 2.66666666…

There are several things you could do here. You could simply round to the nearest decimal value (2.67), being mindful of the division and possibility of partial measurements. Alternatively, you may want to consider adjusting the serving sizes: You could reduce that number down to 2.5 and have slightly smaller servings. Lastly, you may wish to adjust the presentation.


Adjusting presentation
Adjusting the presentation simply means that instead of regular full serving of gooey macaroni and cheese or 3 meat pizza, you consider making it a small side dish along side of something healthier. Besides the obvious health benefits , it gives us ‘nicer’ numbers to work with.

In the case of muffins or cupcakes, you may wish to half or quarter of the recipe to start (a scaling factor of 2 or 4) – and then make half-sized miniature versions! I find this allows me to indulge in 2-3 half-sized miniature servings, whereas I would not likely stop at one and a half (1.5) regular sized muffins – I’d likely just eat the entire two (2)!

When possible, adjust presentations to use small (and preferably even) scaling factors like two (2) or four (4). You may have to get a bit creative, but the adjustment of ingredient quantities tends to be simpler


Adjusting ingredients
Now that the scaling factor and presentation has been determined, we can go through the ingredient list one by one and re-write it - dividing each quantity by the scaling factor. As a tip, convert fractions into decimal values prior to dividing.

For example - a scaling factor of 2.5:

1) Convert to decimal - 1 ½ cups flour = 1.5 cups of flour
2) Divide by scaling factor - 1.5 cups of flour / 2.5 = 0.6 cups of flour… so, a bit shy of 2/3 cup

Another technique is to reduce cups down to tablespoons (1 cup = 16 tablespoons) or even teaspoons if necessary (1 cup = 48 teaspoons). This is where ingredients by weight are handy. If you have a nice digital scale, you are off to the races

I know what you are thinking… what about things like eggs? How do I use a third of an egg? You can certainly crack the egg open, beat it, and estimate out a third of it – or you can try to find smaller eggs. Reducing recipes calls for your best judgment, your best estimates, and plenty of resourcefulness!

Once you have your ingredients re-written, paper-clip them over top of the original recipe. I find this keeps me from accidentally forgetting to use my scaled down ingredients, and throwing in a tablespoon of vanilla, when I really meant ¼!


Adjusting cook-ware/bake-ware
You may need to adjust your pans accordingly as well – if you’ve decided to go with miniature versions, you may require additional pans. If you are making a casserole or baked dish, you may want to opt for multiple smaller pans. Note – if you are using numerous dishes in place of one, be careful not to overfill them!


Adjusting cook temperatures and time
As we've seen, the scaling factor is quite handy for reducing ingredients – but unfortunately, it doesn’t usually apply for reducing cook times and temperatures. For the most part, the cooking temperature will probably be the same (or slightly lower). The cooking time is much trickier. Typically, my first try at a reduction recipe effectively means 'baby-sitting' the dish – constantly checking browning, doneness, and eveness - and adjusting cook times and temperatures accordingly. Be sure to jot down your results, observations and recommendations with your re-written recipe - next time, you'll have a leg up!


Exceptions and other strategies
For items such as baking powder and baking soda – I tend to use just slightly more than what my scaled recipe calls for – as these tend to not to scale exactly. Spices are the same way, but I try to be conservative with them, and add as needed. It’s always easy to add a little more, but pretty well impossible to remove from.

Also, yeasted items do not always scale well - however, many of them freeze well, so you may be better off making the full version, dividing into portions and freezing it.


Before I conclude - please note that often times, it IS worth making a rich recipe in full. For cases like this, I try to save up a few recipes and do full batches for special occasions, like potlucks/family dinners – or when I know that I can give quantities away quickly – like cookies to guests. If leftover cake on the counter is inevitable - exercise moderation to the best of your abilities.

It’s not always easy to reduce recipes – but I think you’ll agree that the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Hopefully it will help make you more mindful about portions, and help you better appreciate the delicious treats you prepare. Perhaps you’ll take a few extra moments to savour your treat, and reflect on the effort it took to prepare it...

...and perhaps that scaled-down portion will be much more satisfying.




If you have suggestions and tips you use to reduce recipes, we'd love to hear them! Until next time, I wish you health, happiness, and balance!

Other Helpful Links:
Farmer John - How to Scale Recipes
Allrecipes - Scaling Recipes



Gilly's Tiffin (Thursday):

  • Valentine’s leftovers - a small slice of roast with a mini-Yorkshire pudding, baby potato, green/yellow beans, and Portobello mushrooms

  • celery sticks, baby carrots, and a sliced apple with crunchy natural peanut butter



Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: blogmeeta@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

This Post was written by Gilly from Humble Pie.



Tiffin Tuesday

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Posted by Meeta K



I have to apologize to you all. Those of you who are waiting for a follow up post to last week's Organic Food article, I might have to disappoint you. I will have to postpone that article to next week as I am currently pretty loaded at work.

I did not want to miss out the opportunity to share a lunch box idea with you. As Valentine's day is tomorrow I picked out a festive lunch box. That you can create for your little loved ones to show them how much you care. Also, your bigger loved ones should not miss out. So, here is my idea and a recipe of some brilliant Nougat Treats.

Soeren is turning into quite the cheese connoisseur. He loves Bries, Camemberts and other strong flavored cheeses. So, I decided to coat some lovely French Camembert cheese with bread crumbs and quickly bake them until crispy. I added this to two slices of white bread. Decorated these with some fruit and included some Cranberry Ginger Chutney along with it. A juicy Satsuma and some succulent Persimmon accompanies the lunch box. For my sweetest Valentine I made a batch of these Orange Nougat Treats. What is a Valentine's sweet box without some chocolates. Soeren just loves these little plain milk chocolates (leftovers from Christmas!)

Whatever you decide to pack for your sweethearts tomorrow, just make sure they know how much you care and love them. That they are special and express your love in any way you can. Yes even by packing a lunch box filled with your love.



Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: blogmeeta@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

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

For the Love of an 11x7 Pan

Friday, February 09, 2007

Posted by Meeta K



I know this may sound quite silly but I simply love my little 11x7 pan. I’m sure it was a hand me down from my mom, evident from her name written on marker on the bottom of the pan. I grew up in a very small town and anytime you took a cake to someone, or even to a potluck, writing your name on the bottom of the pan was the only assurance that your pan would be returned to you.

Okay, back to the lovely 11x7 pan. I haven’t actually found too many recipes designed for this type pan, but I have been happily pouring little cakes into my pan for many years. I love this pan for many reasons. The first being I can cut more pieces of cake from this pan than I can a regular 8x8 pan. From an 8x8 pan, I typically cut nine pieces of cake, which was great when we were a family of three, and things divided easily. But now we are a family of five, and no matter how many times I try, I can not divide nine pieces of cake evenly among five people. Now, the 11x7 pan, I can cut typically cut twelve rectangular pieces. I know, I know, you’re doing the math in your head and you can’t divide twelve pieces among five people evenly either. But at least we all get two pieces, and then two extra to fight over.

The pan is also more shallow than your typical 8x8 square pan. This is good, for lunch packing, as the cakes are not so tall to try to cram into our Laptop Lunchbox. I also think it is a great way to fool yourself into feeling like you ate a normal size piece of cake. You don’t even notice that it isn’t quite as tall as the 8x8 cakes.




One of our favorite recipes for this darling cake pan is a Banana Snack Cake. The kids are getting better at reading recipes. This only happens with practice, and you have to let them make a mess. I love my kids cooking, and I’m sure to write more about that another time.

This recipe is easily changed a bit depending on what you have in the fridge. Instead of the sour cream we’ve used yogurt, buttermilk or just plain milk. Also feel free to add a pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon, or even a handful of chocolate chips.

Banana Snack Cake

1 ¼ c. white sugar

½ c butter

2 eggs, beaten

1 tsp baking soda

¼ c sour cream

1 cup mashed banana

1 ½ c.flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 7x11 pan with nonstick baking spray.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light. Add eggs and beat well. Stir the baking soda into the sour cream and add it to the butter mixture. Beat well. Add the mashed bananas and mix in. Stir in flour and mix well.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350°F for 45 minutes or until done.





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This Post was written by Stephanie from Mix It Up Meals

Fruits and Vegetables In The Tiffin.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Posted by Shah cooks


We have all heard it in the past few posts but let me reiterate it. It is important to have at least 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables everyday. It provides us with
nutrients vital for our health and the maintenance of our body.
Growing Kids especially need a source of calcium for their growing bones as well as healthy sources of proteins, either from fish, poultry, eggs, and meat, or from plant sources. These foods give them the vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients they need to build high-quality bodies. Do go through this very interesting article of what foods children need.
Fruits are easy to sneak into each meal. If they are visible, we tend to eat them as a snack, as dessert or as appetisers. How the family eats decides how the kids view fruits and vegetables. Food habits are set during the growing years. Set a good example for children by eating fruit everyday with meals or as snacks.


Here are Some Tips of Increasing Fruit Intake:

1. Offer kids a choice of fruits for lunch.
2. Depending on their age, kids can help shop for, clean, peel, or cut up fruits.
3. While shopping, allow kids to pick out a fruit to try later at home.
4. Top off a bowl of cereal with some cut up bananas, or dried raisins, cranberries etc.
5. Pack a bottle of water in children’s lunches versus soda or other sugar-sweetened beverages.
6. Choose fruit options, such as sliced peaches, mixed fruit cup, or dried fruits such as apricots as snacks.
7. Cut different fruits and mix with vanilla ice cream for a healthy dessert.
8. Add fruits to the salads if the kids approve of it.

Now how to increase vegetables in their diet?
Most of the time, dinner will have at least one or two vegetable items and my son eats it without complaint. Mixed with all the food or as salads at the dinner table, vegetables are a must everyday.


But how to send it to school?
Kids can get picky about what they like and dislike in their food.
In our house, Carrots sticks and Broccoli with ranch dressing for dipping is a favorite as is Avacado cut up with cheese slices. But nutrient rich bell peppers are a no-no. So I hide vegetables and resort to trickery to vary the vegetable intake.

Chicken Patties or Kababs are one such thing he loves without a clue of what's inside. I make the kababs with chicken, red or any other color peppers, carrots and cilantro. A good serving of vegetables hidden inside a patty. When it is so minced up, the sweetness comes through but the chicken flavor dominates.

How to Make it:
Take one chicken breast, wash and dry it thoroughly with paper towels. No water should remain. Cut it into cubes and keep aside. Chop one quarter of a bell pepper, half a carrot, one green chili(if you like it spicy), a small handful of cilantro and scallions in a chopper till coarse. Now add the chicken cubes to the chopper and let it pulse 3-4 times till the chicken looks minced.
Empty into a plate, add salt to taste, 1/2 tsp of lemon juice and 1 tbsp olive oil. Combine all together and make small balls or patties. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray or brush with oil. Spread the patties on it.
Heat the oven in broiler setting(direct flame)and place the tray under the flame. Cook for about 6-7 minutes on each side and then spray with oil to get the crisp crust. Watch carefully as it nears completion of cooking time.
Serve in the tiffin with Ketchup on the side or in a roll with a slice of Avacado, cheese and ketchup.



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This Post was written by Shaheen from Malabar Spices.

Musical beginnings and a tiffin from leftovers

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Posted by Nandita

February has so far been a music filled month. We had the One Tree Music Festival in Mumbai (Bombay) on 2nd-4th Feb with an incredible line up of rock and blues. Day 1 was Alan Parson's Live Project, Day 2 - Walter Trout and the radicals, Day 3 - The one and only Buddy Guy. Are you guys swooning at our good luck? True blue music lovers can read reviews of Day 1 and 2 here.

Continuing with the musical month, we attended this absolutely ethereal concert yesterday at NCPA . Ustad Zakir Hussain on the tabla and Ustad Sultan Khan on the sarangi, along with his budding genius of a son. The concert was from 7-9.30pm, by the end of which I was transported to another planet. Anyone who has heard both these musicians live will swear by it. I had kept dinner ready by afternoon, preparing for the fact that we'd be home late. But as luck would have it, a group of us went straight from the concert to Mondegar's Cafe in Colaba which is a 5 minute ride. Being the lady in the sari etc, I stuck to wine while my buddies guzzled the beer.

Tiffin this morning was no hassle at all, with all the leftovers from yesterday.

List of left-overs




Atta for the rotis (Indian bread)
A vegetable spread
A spring onion dry curry with chickpea flour (Inspired by Nupur's Cabbage Zunka)

I got them out of the refrigerator when I woke up this morning. All I had to do was assemble them into a delicious quesadilla kinda tiffin.


The whole wheat flour dough (atta) was rolled out into Shaheen style Kerala porotta without the oil brushings though, about 4" in diameter and 1/4" thick. The vegetable spread was then generously patted on one side of the parathas which were then layered with the 'zunka'. I folded them in half and voila - tiffin ready.

Was this balanced, you may ask! Carbs from the bread, veggie dose from the spread, greens from the spring onions zunka and protein from the chick pea flour in the zunka made it perfectly balanced. Another small box for a spiced up yogurt dip and it doesn't get yummier than that!

You can do the same thing for your kids. The veggie spread is a great substitute to mayo or readymade sandwich spreads once in a while. It also lets you sneak in some veggies in a way they really cannot find out. You may ofcourse reduce the chillies to make it more kid friendly. You could also roll them into frankies instead of folded semicircles to secure the stuffing in a better way. Pita pockets are very kid friendly as in the stuffing cannot drop out from below as kiddies are busy trying to chew a bit off the top.



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Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: blogmeeta@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

This Post was written by Nandita from Saffron Trail

Tiffin Tuesday

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Posted by Meeta K


Parents who prepare lunch boxes for their kids day in and day out know how difficult it is to try and be creative, offer nutritious lunches and at the same time make it fun enough for kids to eat. So, we do hope that our ideas and suggestions help you pack great boxes for your kids.

Soeren's packed boxes are not filled with "lunch." He gets a warm lunch at his Kindergarten (KIGA), prepared by a very good and healthy lunch service from our local clinic. Soeren's boxes contain a small breakfast, which he eats with his KIGA group, and a afternoon snack, which is taken after the afternoon nap. AHHH! The luxury life of a 4 year old.

When I pack these boxes for him I try always to include 2 types of fruit. That is always (almost) my basis. Once I have that sorted out I can quickly do the rest.

This packed lunch box contains succulent plums and juicy grapes - organic of course. Half a pretzel spread with cream cheese a few cucumbers makes a wonderful alternative to normal bread. And for the afternoon I have packed a gorgeous puff pastry filled with raspberries and apples from our local baker.

The fact that Soeren almost always brings an empty lunch box home always puts a satisfied smile on my face. I am especially curious when I have put something new in the box and sometimes can hardly wait to see if he ate it all up.

What kind of things do your kids like packed in the lunch box? What do they absolutely hate? Share your experiences with us.



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This Post was written by Meeta from What's for lunch, Honey?

Organic Food - What is it?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Posted by Meeta K

As the sales of organic foods boom around the world, many of us must be asking ourselves:
  • Is it really "healthier" or "better" for us?
  • What does "organic" really mean?
  • Is it just another "trend"?
As a parent I do often turn to organic fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat products. As a matter of fact when Soeren first started eating solids (boy that seems like light years ago!) I only turned to produce and products of the organic, or as it is called here in Germany "Bio", type. I prepared all his baby food using fresh organic fruits and vegetables, turning to bottled foods only when we were traveling, and even those were organic.

I do not have a study to prove it, but my experience and comparison to a few friends who had babies of the same age showed me that there was a difference. Today, those same friends complain that their children suffer from neurodermatitis, various allergies and are often ill. In comparison Soeren was a rather healthy baby and even now, besides a runny nose every now and then, has enjoyed the best of health.

So, does this come from organic food? Probably not entirely, but I do believe it has played a role in keeping us all a little fitter, healthier, happier and environmentally friendlier.


I still buy a lot of organic products. Although I do not blindly buy everything organic, I do pay close attention to things like fruit, vegetables, eggs, milk (and milk products), meat, poultry and other products we eat often at home. These are 95% of the time organic.

When I started the Daily Tiffin, I often mentioned that I used organic foodstuff in Soeren's lunch boxes. I got a few mails asking me the questions I posed at the beginning of this post.

I have noticed that in Germany the grocery stores offer a larger variety of organic foodstuff and as I decided to do a little research I found that the same was happening in the US, UK and other parts of the world. Funnily enough, parents in particular are turning to organic produce: almost half of all baby food sold is now organic.

That's fine but before everyone runs out and decides to nourish themselves and their families only with organic foodstuff it might be a good idea to really see what all the fuss is about and to answer a few of the questions we all have.

In my next few posts I will be doing a short series about organic foods and products, answering a few frequently asked questions and if it is wise to only buy organic foods. Today I'll tackle the first question:

What is organic food?

Organic food is produced according to several principles and standards set by the governments and looked after by a main accreditation association or body. These standards and principle concern such issues as pesticides, additives, animal welfare and sustainability. Each country has a different set of standards for organic products, some stricter than others.

"Organic" is actually a legally defined term, regulated by the relevant government or union.

In the US it is the US National Organic Program (NOP) that sets the US organic standards. Europe has similar organic standards but separate
certification requirements that must be met in order to gain access to the
European organic market. In the United Kingdom, the United Kingdom Register of Organic Food Standards (UKROFS) is designated as the competent authority.

The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, based in Germany, regulates the organic market on a global scale.

Organic is referred to being an environmental friendly or "earth-friendly" method of farming or processing food.

Organic farmers do not use chemicals, like fertilizers or pesticides, in an environmentally dangerous manner. Weeds and pests are controlled by utilizing a mixture of old and new practices that sustain our personal health and the health of our planet.

For example farmers will rotate their crops between fields to keep pests from building up and improves soil fertility. Or planting certain plants and flowers, which attract beneficial insects to keep unwanted pests away.
Farmers keeping livestock must ensure that animals are kept and slaughtered in a humane manner.

The ultimate organic farm is a "closed cycle", which means the fields are fertilized using manure from the farm's livestock, which are in turn fed with feed grown on the farm.

What are your opinions on Organic foodstuff? Do you regularly buy Organic products? If you do, what kinds of products are most important to you?

Next week I'll be posting more about organic foods: is it healthier for you and if it makes sense to buy only organic products.

Hope you'll join me then!



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Prenatal Exercise

Friday, February 02, 2007

Posted by Susi




Exercising during pregnancy has so many benefits: it helps you manage the daily aches and pains of your ever changing body, it helps prepare you for the big day when you finally get to meet your baby, and it gets you ready for the rest of your life as a mom. There is also the added bonus of social time with other expectant moms if you take a prenatal exercise class. It is just wonderful to hang out with other pregnant women. The mom's group, I am thankfully a part of, started when we all met one another at a prenatal water aerobics class. It has since morphed into a babysitting co-op, which is really a god send when I want a cheap date with my husband.

Back to exercise: First things first, you should check with your mid-wife or doctor before starting an exercise program. If you have never exercised before, don't wait to start until after the baby is born - try walking. Walking is one of the best forms or exercise you can do when you are expecting. Plus it is free and easy.

In my opinion, the most important parts of your body to strengthen while you're prego are your legs and arms. Having strong legs can help you in labor and after the baby comes you will be using your arms more than ever before. For the legs I recommend practicing the yoga pose wide squat daily to strengthen the legs, stretch the low back and the pelvic floor (the more flexible this area is the less likely it is to tear in labor). For the arms, bicep curls are wonderful. You can do them: with weights or with an exercise band, standing or seated on an exercise ball, at home or the gym.

A few things to remember:

  • Since your body is full of the hormone relaxin which makes your ligaments extra loose, AVOID stretching further than you normally do, you don't want to pull a muscle or over stress a joint.
  • You shouldn't lie on your back for more than 5 or 10 minutes at a time once you past 20 weeks.
  • When doing cardio, keep your heart rate below 140 beats per minute.
  • Swimming is a great form of exercise because the water make you buoyant and sometimes you just need to feel a little lighter. Plus swimming can help with swelling, especially if the water is fairly cool.
  • Gentle forms of yoga are wonderful ways to prepare for labor and motherhood.

If you have any questions, send them my way: email FitSugar. I love talking about exercise and pregnancy, especially together.




Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: blogmeeta@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

This Post was written by Susi May from FitSugar

Making Tiffins More Tempting…

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Posted by gilly


As a working woman in today’s hustle and bustle society, the concept of lunch is integral. I consider my lunch break the essential physical and mental pit-stop of my day. Like a race car vying for the finish line, it’s nearly impossible to perform without it.

And as with all pit stops, the tools and effort involved around tuning up the car greatly influence its ability to get back and chase down the checkered flag.

I do my best to pack my own lunch every day – and my husband’s when he’s open to it.

This isn’t always easy – and it certainly takes a bit of forethought, but the benefit of knowing exactly what I’m eating, and promoting nutritious, delicious, and balanced meals really helps to keep up the habit.

While I’m certainly no expert, I thought I would share a few thoughts how I try to make tiffins more tempting (and how I try to make making tiffins more tempting, too). But don't restrict these ideas to brown bagged lunches - they are useful for making lunches at home too!


Dinner tonight = a base for lunch tomorrow.
In the interest of saving a bit of time, I try and prepare a bit of extra dinner so that I can use some of it towards my lunch the next day. I can typically pack it up after we finish eating and a good portion of lunch is already made! I can enjoy my evening, confident that I need not frantically dart around in the morning, making substandard choices.

Besides the time saving factor, I have an even more important reason for doing this. As someone who adores cooking and baking, I pride myself on preparing high quality meals for dinner. I take time and care in preparing them, garnishing them, and savouring them. There is simply no way that I could possibly replicate this kind of love and attention to detail at 6am while frantically trying to throw something together. It’s a win-win situation: the quality of the food in my lunch is much better, and it gives me something to look forward to during the morning!


Fruit & Veggies = worthy lunch companions.
I won’t lie. Part of my enjoyment of food is oogling it. The more vibrant and colourful it is – the louder it sings. Fruits and vegetables provide the most beautiful colour palate, so I’m sure to include them as the majority of my lunches. I like to combine fresh fruits and vegetables into different types of salads – and finish it with a light homemade dressing. As a bonus, tossing a salad together takes very little time – you can throw one together while your dinner is cooking. I urge you to experiment with different flavour combinations. Here are a few of my favourites:

  • Baby spinach, orange segments, baby carrots, golden raisins, and a light dressing made with mango chutney combined with a little vinegar to thin it out.

  • Blanched broccoli (for the vibrant colour!), apples, baby carrots, red onion, celery, and a light dressing made with light mayo, a little vinegar, and a touch of sugar. Combine this one the night before to let the flavours mingle!

  • Romaine lettuce, black beans, corn kernels, green and red peppers, cilantro leaves, softened onions and mushrooms, and a light dressing made with fresh salsa, light sour cream, and a dash of lime.

Hint: Fruits and veggies that tend to go soggy are best kept intact until just before serving – so toss them in whole, along with a sharp knife, and prepare your salad fresh!


A tiny treat = a reward for your dedication.
Wait! Before you jump up and reach for that box of Oreos, I urge you to stop and really think about what constitutes a treat. Perhaps it’s not sweet at all! Many of the treats that I include are simply things that I don’t indulge in often – and often times they are savoury! Once in a while I’ll include some delicious thin slices of prosciutto, or top a dish with some finely shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, or thin slices of fresh Manchego from the market. If it is sweet, perhaps it’s fresh fruit that is in season, a small piece of dark chocolate, or a tiny sliver of your mother’s homemade pie.

Do yourself a favour – splurge on a little high-quality treat to tuck in once in a while. If cost is an object, remember that it’s likely more affordable now that you aren’t eating lunch out everyday.


Limiting lunch distractions = a chance truly experience lunch.
Given all of the time, ingredients, and effort you have put into making such a lovely tiffin, do yourself the justice of really enjoying it! Eat away from your desk, phone, and any other work distractions. Use a knife and fork. Eat small bites, put utensils down, and truly delight in the tastes and smells of your creations. Imagine if you had to write down what each bite was like – what kinds of words would you use to describe it? These little tricks truly make my lunch much more enjoyable, and allow me to be refreshed when I settle back down to work.


So there you have it. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, just a few things that you may want to keep in mind. Do you have any tricks that help make tiffins more tempting? We’d love to hear from you!

Until next time, I wish you health, happiness, and balance!

Gilly's Tiffin (Thursday):

  • baked solider beans with molasses and proscuitto (leftovers)
  • a homemade whole wheat pocket bread filled with baby spinach, sliced nectarines, shredded baby carrots, and dijon mustard
  • celery sticks with light cream cheese

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This Post was written by Gilly from Humble Pie