The Joy of Christmas

Friday, November 30, 2007

Posted by Dharm

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you "Be of good cheer"
It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year



Christmas is fast approaching and I'm very honoured to be the latest contributor to The Daily Tiffin. As a quick introduction, I'm from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, have two wonderful kids and a lovely wife. Yeap, you read right - I'm a MAN! So enough of introductions, let's get on with Christmas!


Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year. Not only does it invoke images of gaiety and festivity, it's also the end of the year and time for a short break!


Christmas has always been special to me, aside from the religious factor. It's a special time of sharing love and joy with family and friends. I also love all the traditions and especially the presents! Although now I take much greater joy in Giving rather than in Receiving


I remember when I was young, my parents used to get us to write letters to Santa Claus. My two brothers and I used to diligently write these letters detailing the toys and other stuff that we wanted. This practice went on till I was about 10 years old, even though we all knew (especially my 2 older brothers) that good ol' Santa was really only in our minds.


In those days, all the relatives used to congregate in my paternal grandmother's house for dinner before singing carols and then sitting down to open all our presents. We'd the count the clock down till 12am and gleefully shout "Merry Christmas" with plenty of hugs and kisses all round.


Nowadays, Christmas Eve is spent with my wife's side of the family. We all meet in her parents house for Christmas Eve Dinner before opening the presents. I take the role in giving out the presents each year, and in keeping with the tradition of Santa, I buy a 'dud' present as a gift from Santa Claus to all the children. One year it was a large carton of candies, the next year it was three bottles of Coke wrapped up in a box, then there was the one year with a large box of potato chips. All just for the fun of course.


Once we return home, my wife, the kids and I open up our own presents to each other. I prefer to keep our presents to each other private and thus more meaningful. The kids also get a special present from Santa although this is normally something nice rather than a 'dud' gift!


This year, I plan on printing out free Santa letters from the web (there are a lot of them out there) and send them to my kids by post. I'm sure they'll be excited to receive something in the post from Santa - regardless of whether they know he is real or not!


I try and make sure the kids get involved in celebrating Christmas and make sure they help in buying presents for both my wife and for each other. They take great delight in decorating the Christmas Tree and we have a new tradition now that each year, we buy a special decoration for each kid to hang on the tree. And of course, Church on Christmas Morning is a must!


The kids also enjoy helping me make the chocolate cake to take over to my parents place where we celebrate Christmas with friends and family, on Christmas Day itself. Last year, I made the cake in the shape of a log to every ones delight and I think I'll do it again this year.




Strangely enough, Christmas Dinners for us invariably end up being western influenced, even though we are in Asia, and are held on Christmas Eve. As I mentioned earlier, Christmas Dinner these days is at my in-laws and for some reason, they love to serve turkey. I'm not a great fan of turkey and the one time that we hosted the Christmas Dinner, I insisted there would be NO Turkey!



Sometimes a simple meal is best, as then you, as the cook, can sit down and enjoy the dinner and fellowship. For really, isn't that what Christmas Dinner is about?
What I would suggest is a nice, creamy soup or just a simple Greek Salad as the starter.




Of course eaten with loads of Garlic Bread. Or maybe for a change, try it with some Corn Bread



I like the corn bread because its fairly easy to make and doesn't use yeast. It's fabulous eaten with some garlic butter or herbed butter.

For the main course, how about some Chicken Pie? Don't let the pastry scare you! I use ready made frozen puff pastry and shortcrust pastry sheets for the top and base respectively. The filling is my own recipe using chicken chunks,mushrooms, carrots and cream with some bacon thrown in together with some herbs. If you are vegetarian, just omit the chicken and you have a lovely veetarian pie.
The beauty of this dish is that you can prepare it earlier and then put it in the oven just as your guests arrive.



And of course for the finishing touch you have to serve a decadent and scrumptious dessert. To me, there is nothing more decadent than chocolate and no dessert as satisfying as Chocolate Mousse. I've always loved Chocolate Mousse and this is my own recipe developed after many years of trial and error!



So there you have it. A lovely Christmas spread and before you dismiss it as being too complicated or difficult, bear in mind that I cooked each of these dishes. These are the actual pictures of the food that were taken for a feature I did for a local Malaysian website, The Weekend Chef. All this from a man that has had no formal training whatsoever, other than his love for food and of cooking for his wife and kids. So if I can do it, whats stopping you?

Have a Blessed Christmas everybody!


Recipe for Chicken Pie


Pastry
1 sheet frozen Puff Pastry
1 sheet frozen Shortcrust Pastry
1 Egg

Filling
400 gm Boneless Chicken Breast
250 gm Fresh Button Mushrooms
2 Cloves Garlic
2 Large Carrots
3 Potatoes
250 gm fresh Spinach (or use frozen if you like)
200 ml Cream
½ Tsp Black Pepper
½ tbsp Corn Flour
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Oregano
2 Bay Leaves
½ tsp Rosemary
8 Rashers Bacon (optional)

Method
Line bottom of 9” pie dish with shortcrust pastry. Trim edges and use to cover open areas of dish and line edges of dish. Bake Blind in pre-heated 190oC Oven for about 15 minutes. (Baking Blind means covering the pastry with baking parchment / greaseproff paper and filling the shell with rice or beans to prevent the pastry from rising. Baking blind ensures that the bottom layer stays firm and doesn’t get soggy once the filling is put in.) Remove and let cool.

While shell is baking, Cut chicken into small squares. Mix 1/2 tbsp corn flour with pepper and salt. Add in Chicken and mix well so that chicken pieces are coated. Let rest.
Meanwhile, slice mushrooms thinly, cut carrots and potatoes into squares. Heat oil in pan. Add in chopped garlic, Oregano, Bay leaves and Rosemary and fry lightly till fragrant. Add in Chicken and cook well. Add in bacon if using and cook well.
Add in Mushroom and cook till mushrooms are tender. Add in Potatoes and Carrots and simmer. Add in Cream. Mix well and simmer uncovered. Add in chopped spinach and mix well. Continue to simmer until mixture is thick and potatoes, carrots and spinach are all cooked. Allow to cool.
Fill shell with Chicken filling, taking care to fill evenly to corners and sides. Ensure that filling is COOL before filling pie. Cover with sheet of Puff Pastry. Moisten edges of pastry with water and press down firmly. Using a butter knife, trim the sides, cutting upwards. This helps the pastry from separating while baking.
Using left over pastry, decorate top of pie with pastry shapes. Beat the egg lightly and brush top and edges of pie. Bake in a Pre-Heated 2200C Oven on the middle tray for at least 20 minutes or until pastry has risen and is golden brown.
Serve Hot and Enjoy!





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 Dharm from Dad ~ Baker & Chef


Chasing coughs and colds away!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Posted by Abby

Well, it’s been a lousy couple of weeks for me – I’ve had the sniffles, a sore throat and chesty cough for most of it and am still suffering. Hopefully you’ll all be in better shape than me but if not, or if you just want to make sure you stay ahead of the nasties check out these immune-boosting diet tips.

Boost your intake of antioxidants – antioxidants are vitamins and minerals which help fight disease and infection. They also help counter ageing so are definitely worth eating regardless! These are the top sources of antioxidants:
• Vitamin A - liver, or if you’re veggie, dairy products, and if you’re vegan, carrots
• Vitamin C - guava for a fruit source or red peppers if you want a vegetable option
• Vitamin E - wheatgerm oil for dressing your salad or sunflower seeds for sprinkling on your soup
• Selenium – brazil nuts

Zinc is your friend - zinc helps with healing and supports the immune system. It can also help boost your sex drive, which can sometimes get hidden amongst all those winter layers! Meat and dairy are great sources of zinc but it is also found in good quantities in wholegrain cereals and pulses. Avoid smoking and alcohol as they deplete your zinc supplies.

B good to yourself – the B vitamins work together and help your body cope with stress, both physical (illness) and mental. Like zinc they are easily destroyed by smoking and alcohol. They also get used up quickly so make sure you have a regular supply of foods that are rich in B vitamins in your diet. Good sources are wholegrains, meat, nuts and seeds. Many cereals also have extra B vitamins added to them. If you take a supplement make sure it is a B-complex one which contains all 6 B vitamins.

These tips are also helpful if you are preparing for an operation, or recovering from one.





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 Abby from eat the right stuff



Brightening The Winter Blues

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Posted by Meeta K

winter


It is that time of the year again! In the Northern hemisphere, the days are getting shorter, the cold dark nights seem to engulf us. Some people love winter and relish every minute of it- good for them! But many of us feel inexplicably "blue" during this time- a biological consequence of diurnal animals faced with dwindling daylight. Winter has the tendency to put a damper even on people who are normally cheerful and optimistic- it is quite common to experience mild depression; feeling of tiredness and lethargy and moods that are slumped over. This mild depression can cause immune function to ebb, resulting in colds and coughs and more misery. Here are 10 tips for those who are battling the cold weather blahs and the winter blues. Many of these have helped me immensely in adjusting to the winter in North America.

1. Soak up the sunlight: Many of us leave for work in the dark, return home in the dark, and spend the day in enclosed office spaces, experiencing almost no sunlight at all. Make an effort to soak up some natural sunlight whenever the sun comes out. Taking short walks outside during the lunch break, or scheduling outdoor activities during daylight hours on the weekends could relieve the feeling of being cooped up indoors. Open curtains and blinds to let as much sunlight into the home as possible.

2. Set a sleep schedule: Some of us tend to oversleep during the winter months because the sun rises later than usual. Oversleeping, and fluctuations in the sleep-wake cycle can contribute to the blues, so it helps to sleep no more than 8 hours a night.

3. Nourish your body: For many people, feeling blue is associated with cravings for junk food. Instead of chips, cookies and candy, eat complex carbohydrates like whole-grain rice and pasta to satisfy the need for comfort food while giving your body a steady source of energy. Nuts and fruits are good options for healthy snacks. We tend to drink lots of water in summer, but often forget to do so in winter. In fact, the dry weather and indoor heating systems can leave the body tired and dehydrated, so remind yourself to drink plenty of water.

4. Get moving: Exercise is an all-natural way to get an endorphin high. All forms of exercise can life the mood and help one break out of a lethargic slump. Regular exercise is a good way to limit the weight gain that commonly occurs in winter.

5. Brighten your surroundings: For me, looking around at everyone dressed in bulky winter clothing in brown and gray shades adds to the drab look and feel of life in winter. Winter is the time to break out of the sober colors and dress in something bright and cheerful! Another way to bring some reds and yellows into your life is to dress your home with colorful throws and rugs. Lighting candles in the evenings can bring warmth and cheer into the home. Indoor plants can provide some welcome greenery to the eyes.

6. Stay busy: During the winter months, the evenings sometimes seem to stretch on forever. This is a great time to do all the things that you never seem to have time for- catching up on reading, doing a time-intensive craft project, taking some online language lessons, or whatever you never got around to doing all year. Make a winter to-do list and give yourself some luxurious me-time.

7. Make the best of the season: Try to change your point your view and think of winter as a season with unique possibilities. What other time can you snuggle on the sofa with a mug of piping hot cocoa? Try to participate in some of the winter activities in your town-there might be some winter festivals, or concerts, or an ice-skating rink to enjoy. Until the New Year, most places are buzzing with holiday fever and that can take one's mind off the dreariness of the season.

8. Socialize creatively: For me, the slump of winter often starts in January and February, once the holiday season is over. But the bitterly cold nights when it is not too much fun to go outside are still great for getting together with friends. Movies, hearty home-cooked dinners, board games can all brighten up the evenings. One cold night, a friend arrived at a get-together with a stack of poetry books and we took turns reading poems- everything from Dr. Seuss to Pablo Neruda!

9. Prepare for spring and summer: Take your mind off the dull weather by thinking of the warm seasons that lie ahead. Perhaps you could read some gardening books and plan for spring, or browse around for some great summer vacation deals. Or start book-marking recipes to try when the spring and summer vegetables start rolling in.

10. Whine a little: A little whining can be quite therapeutic! Talking about the weather once in a while helps me get the crankiness out of my system. Call a sympathetic friend who lives in some warm sunny place and tell her/him how jealous you are. A few sympathetic clucks might help you feel better!

Finally, listen closely to your mind and body. For those with mild seasonal depression, tips such as these can help in staying active and happy over winter. But if the symptoms are severe and are coming in the way of your normal life, don't hesitate to see a qualified medical professional to see if you have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Your doctor might recommend a therapeutic light box, which delivers a dose of intense light and helps a good proportion of SAD sufferers. Have a cheerful winter, everyone!




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 contributed by Nupur from One Hot Stove



Simplicity, Thy Name is Lunch

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Posted by Glenna


There are days when my private life just barely manages to untangle itself from my work life and on those days I need the lunchbox to be packed quickly and simply so I can scoot out the door to work with no hassle. I bet you know what I'm talking about.

I have to confess. Maybe I should say "share a secret". When my husband had his heart attack several years ago I changed many things in my pantry. Mainly the transfat got the heave ho, including anything that had the label "Little Debbie" (snack cakes) on it. But I knew I'd have a harder time with in the meat department. My husband is a typical meat and potatoes man so, sigh, to cut back on his saturated fat, I had to get a little sneakier. He's long since figured out that the green Morningstar boxes are "vegetarian", a four lettered dirty word in his vocabulary, but I had a good run. It took a year before he read the box and discovered there was no chicken in his chicken patties, no beef in his corn dogs, no pork in his sausage. What can I say? Even the militant meat man knows good taste when he chomps it and he still eats the corndogs from time to time.

These days I, myself, am not eating much meat at all so the convenience of Morningstar's products are a lifesaver for me and my work lunch. Last night was no exception. A couple of corndogs and an orange were easily thrown in my lunchbox and then at work I grabbed a side salad in the cafeteria. Fast, healthy, and pain-free. Exactly what I needed at the time.




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 Glenna from A Fridge Full of Food...And Nothing to Eat



A load of old baubles...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Posted by Amanda at Little Foodies

Christmas is coming the geese are getting fat... and they're not the only ones! However, moving swiftly on to baubles. If you have any old ones or you're able to buy some very inexpensive ones then you can transform them with very little effort into something entirely more glamorous. It's a great activity to do with children or a group of grown ups.



Infact just this morning I spent a few hours with a gaggle of mums from the school, drinking nice coffee and turning some very inexpensive baubles from Ikea into something which would be perfectly at home sitting on the shelves of some very up market shops. The ones this morning were for the craft stall at the School Christmas Fair and I will add pictures of those later in the week as we stuck different things on. They were really very beautiful and the transformation amazing.

All this when I should have been hitting the publish button on a post about the bread that I'm only just making now. As for most, at this time of year, it's really very busy and juggling everything can be a struggle. However doing something like this, centres me again and reminds me that not everything has to be done at a frenetic pace or by winging it. I'm a mother and I think sometimes that just come with the territory.




So to transform your baubles. You'll need some glue, nice ribbon, acrylic or glass paints, maybe some glitter. Anything you can find. Let your imagination run riot.

Simply paint/draw spots or any pattern you like onto the baubles, or paint glue on and then sprinkle with glitter. Leave to dry and then tie some beautiful satin ribbon on to complete the effect. How would you pretty up your old baubles? I'd love to hear your ideas.




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 Amanda from Little Foodies

The Rooster in the Hen Pen!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Posted by Meeta K

Hehehe!

We have news for you all ... we have a new member on our team and we are rather excited about this. Why? Well this member will be bringing on new wind to the Daily Tiffin and offering a different point of view to many topics, ideas, and themes. Ladies, please help me to welcome our first man on the Daily Tiffin team!

Dharm lives in Malaysia, loves to cook and bake, is a pretty nice guy and has a great sense of humor. Wait, wait - before you all send us your stats and dating requests there is a hitch. Dharm is happily married to a lovely lady and has two adorable kids.

Here is Dharm in his own words:

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 at Dad ~ Baker & Chef

Dharm will be writing many great articles, so hope you tune in once a month to check out news, life and other information from a man's point of view.

His first article will be on November 30th - you'll be surprised at what this guy can do!

We've got a few other surprises coming your way too so keep an eye on this space!



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

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Posted by Meeta K



Wishing you all a glorious Thanksgiving weekend.

Tiffin TuesWednesday - travel bento

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Posted by jokergirl@wererabbits

I'm very sorry that I missed posting yesterday (and last week)! I have been away so much I barely had the time to eat at home at all.
Since I will be going to an interview tomorrow at lunchtime and have no lunch break, though, I had a reason to prepare a bento today:




This one contains leftovers from a tapas meal I made tonight. It is designed so I can eat it on a bench or in the subway with my little fork that comes with the box - no parts bigger than a bite!
Starting with the upper corner and spiraling clockwise:
  • grilled wholewheat bread slices with garlic and butter
  • a tomato rose
  • a "ducky" (well, at least to me) of chili cheese tops (organic, bought frozen)
  • mushrooms glazed with balsamico
  • cheese cubes
  • green melon
  • ovenbaked potato wedges and another tomato
  • ovenbaked striped eggplant (sadly the pretty white and purple stripes faded soemwhat in the oven)
  • organic feta cubes (organic feta is very recommendable! MUCH better than the normal one of the same brand.)
  • corn, pineapple and leek salad in the middle


This bento sadly lacks a lot of colour. Since I have been away so long, all the nice stuff in my fridge has spoiled. Curse you, short-notice travelling! But there were always fresh herbs, chilies and spices from my windowsill to the rescue! Thyme, rosemary, red banana chilies and thai basil adorn this bento.
Having a windowsill garden is sooo nice sometimes.




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 jokergirl from Were Rabbits.



Thanksgiving Fun with Kids

Monday, November 19, 2007

Posted by Meeta K



There are times when we as adults forget one thing in the midst of planning parties or traditional feasts like Thanksgiving and Christmas - the kids. They are certainly not interested in how long the turkey takes to roast or if the tablecloth matches the napkins or if Uncle Harry can or cannot be placed next to Aunt Greta. I am also pretty sure that on Thanksgiving, it's not only the kids that DO NOT want to watch 6 hours of football!

So, how to integrate the children into such family holidays and feasts.


I decided to take a look into my own planning. We celebrate Thanksgiving because it's something I did growing up. My parents believed it was a fantastic way to be thankful for so much - friends, family, food, health. So, ever since I can remember we have been celebrating Thanksgiving.

Although in Germany it's not an official holiday, I am carrying on this tradition for my own son. I invite some of our closest German friends and their families and we spend a wonderful day together. It's something that over the years is so looked forward to by all of my friends. Each one of them brings a little something for our dinner table. Now many of them (me included) have children and we are always looking for ways to integrate them.

It's something I am sure many of you think about and so I thought I would simply share a few things we do.

When I am busy cooking Tom and Soeren always help out. There's plenty to do and one of the things we love is playing a game we call "Peels". The idea is to peel the longest apple, potato or carrot peel, without breaking it. All of us, armed with peelers, get ready to produce the longest peel. The winner then gets to proudly display it at the dinner table for all the guests to admire.

If weather allows it, we all go outside and play a few games. Kids love it when adults simply join in and become "one of them". Here are two games we really love and are sure to have everyone playing in fits of laughter.

Deer & Hunter
Several players of all ages stand in a circle holding hands. The first person, who is the deer, runs around through the circle, ducking under the hands of various players and finally taps a player - the hunter. The hunter then separates from the circle and follows the deer. He has to imitate the exact moves the deer makes.

If the hunter catches the deer, the deer goes into the middle of the circle. But if the hunter doesn't follow the deer's movements exactly, or doesn't catch the deer before it has gone around the circle once, he has to stand in the center of the circle. The game continues until there are too many people standing in the center to be encircled by the remaining players.

Turkey Trot
I love this game. Pair up the players and get them to link their elbows. Each team is handed a turkey mascot. We normally stuff a brown bag with crumpled newspaper and draw on a face with colored markers (making this mascot can be treated as a separate kids activity). The Turkey mascot has to be held between the two players' heads.

On cue, the pairs try to make their way to the finish line at the far end of the playing field. The first team to get there without dropping their bird or unlinking their arms wins.

Of course the weather outside is not always perfect and so we have a few indoor games we love to play too.

One of my favorites is "Stories". It can get so crazy and funny but at the same time provokes the imagination to great extends. Soeren has become such a funny and great story teller that almost everyone picks him.

Here's how it goes:

Someone starts a story and, after a couple of sentences, points to someone else to continue the story. It's more fun if you go fast. The crazier the story, the better and the more laughs we all have.

So whatever you choose to do over Thanksgiving try and integrate a few fun games to keep not only our little ones smiling, but I promise you the grownups will have a great laugh too. As for those grownup "kids" who prefer to watch 6 hours of football instead joining the fun - well sometimes kids will be kids ;-)

I hope you all have a great week and a Happy Thanksgiving!




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?

Natural Cold Remedy

Friday, November 16, 2007

Posted by Amanda at Little Foodies

I hope that all of our readers are feeling fit and healthy. However it is that time of year when there are lots of colds and sinus problems around. I always use a tried and tested natural remedy and I swear by it. Lots of people have different versions of this but here's the one we use.

You will need:
A mug or cup
Some fresh ginger (about an inch)
One lemon
Honey
Boiling Hot Water

Peel and grate the fresh ginger into your mug.
Squeeze the juice of one lemon over this.
Add a tablespoon of honey (vary this depending on your taste preference and how sweet you want it).
Top up with boiling water. Let it brew for a few minutes and then drink.

I think warm drinks are so important when you have a cold or sinus problems and the ginger, honey and lemon all work together to kick your sinuses in to touch.

Some people say to add whisky and not the ginger, rum and brandy has also been suggested. Personally I like it with the honey, ginger and lemon.

Picture to follow.




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 Amanda from Little Foodies

Get Glowing!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Posted by Abby



Changes in the weather mean that a lot of us are seeing changes in our skin – often it gets slightly drier, maybe flaky and a little dull looking as autumn gives way to winter. If, like me, you could do with a bit of help, small changes in the way you eat can have a huge impact – beauty really does come from within!

Food which are rich in the antioxidant vitamins and minerals (vitamins, A, C and E plus selenium) will help address any festive over-indulgences, as well as help your body respond to the changes in season. Boost your intake of omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids and ensure that your digestive system is working well to help add a glow to your skin.

Up your intake of…

Antioxidants - eat a rainbow of fruit and vegetables, particularly:
· peppers, citrus fruits and blackcurrants (vitamin C)
· pumpkin, carrots, mango and apricots (vitamin A)
· avocado, broccoli and spinach (vitamins E)
· brazil nuts, lentils and walnuts (selenium).

Essential fatty acids:
· incorporate oily fish into your diet – salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines and trout are all good
· nuts and seeds are healthy snacks – sprinkle them on your soup or muesli, make some seeded bread, biscuits or muffins, add them to a crumble topping. Brazil nuts are full of selenium and most seeds and nuts also containing vitamin e.
· use healthy oils which are high in omega 3 and 6. Flaxseed and rapeseed are particularly good.

Foods that boost your digestion:
· try to eat more wholegrains - wholemeal bread (add some seeds if you are making your own) and brown rice are two easy substitutions to make
· eat legumes, particularly kidney beans (add them to a warming chilli or curry) and chickpeas (make some hummus, adding tahini to increase your intake of essential fatty acids)
· consider porridge or another oat based cereal (make your own muesli or granola) for breakfast – oats contain silicon which helps with collagen production in the skin

At the same time, try to cut back on caffeine and alcohol, both of which will dehydrate you and contribute to your skin looking dull and lifeless.





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 Abby from eat the right stuff



Drop In & Decorate

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Posted by Meeta K


For those of you getting into the baking season, we at the Daily Tiffin would like to bring to your attention a wonderful cause started by the lovely Lydia over at The Perfect Pantry.

It all started a few years ago when Lydia and a few of her friends got together to bake cookies.

Well it seemed like they had baked a few too many and decided to call their local shelter and asked what they thought about receiving a package of wonderfully baked and decorated cookies. You can guess, they were extremely pleased. These cookies had brightened up many peoples day. Ever since then it has become somewhat of a tradition. Each year Lydia and friends get together and have a cookie baking and decorating party. Each cookie is carefully wrapped and then donated to a shelter. Imagine the smiles all around!

Lydia calls it Drop In & Decorate. It's simply a wonderful idea. Call up a few friends, bake a few cookies and then donate them to your nearest shelter. Then watch how this small gesture puts a sunny smile on someones face.

Lydia has also put together a helpful guide, which will show you how to host your own Drop In & Decorate party. This year she's even got King Arthur flour to sell a perfect Drop In & Decorate party kit.

So, if you are already in cookie baking fever why not have a party and help others. Drop on over to Lydia's blog and check out how you can host your own Drop In & Decorate party.



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




Superfoods: Nuts and Seeds

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Posted by Meeta K


If you want to dramatically decrease your risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes, control your weight with no hunger pangs and reduce the visible signs of aging like wrinkles and sagging skin, I recommend that you "go nuts." Here's how:

When thoughts turn to food between meals, enjoy a handful of raw, unsalted nuts. They're extremely filling and satisfying—and healthful.

Add some nuts to regular meals—a tablespoon of chopped almonds on your oatmeal or a tablespoon of walnuts in your lunchtime salad. Nuts are so versatile they can take the place of flour and breadcrumbs—with a lot more flavor and health benefits. Just remember, as with all things, to use moderation.

While it may seem odd, diets that include moderate amounts of nuts—which are inherently high in fat and calories—help prevent obesity and even reduce weight. A study found that people on a calorie-controlled, "moderate-fat" (35 percent of calories) plan that included nuts and other good fats lost as much weight as dieters on a 20-percent-fat calorie-controlled plan. The moderate-fat group also maintained their weight loss better than the low-fat group over the 18-month test period and beyond—likely because the "moderate-fat, nuts-allowed" group reported fewer problems with sensations of hunger than the low-fat diet group did.

Nuts enhance heart health because of their unique protein, fat, sterol and vitamin profile:

Heart-Healthy Protein: Most nuts are high in arginine, an amino acid that reduces cholesterol levels and, as a precursor to nitric oxide, dilates blood vessels, thus reducing blood pressure and the risk of angina, congestive heart failure and heart attack.
Heart-Healthy Fats: Most of the fat in nuts consists of the polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 varieties that reduce blood cholesterol levels. Numerous clinical studies have found that almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachio nuts and walnuts all reduce total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol in people with normal-to-high cholesterol levels. And, the fatty compounds in nuts' phytosterols inhibit accumulation of fats in artery walls, which promotes angina, strokes and heart attacks.
Heart-Healthy Vitamins: Vitamin E—an antioxidant in which almonds are especially rich—helps prevent the oxidation of cholesterol that leads to fatty buildup in the arteries. The B vitamin folate, found in many nuts, lowers high blood levels of homocysteine, a strong predictor of heart disease.
Heart-Healthy Minerals: Nuts and seeds are generally rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium, all of which serve to reduce blood pressure.
Heart-Healthy Phytochemicals: The coatings of all nuts and seeds—such as the thin brown papery layer coating almonds and peanuts—are rich in the antioxidant polyphenols associated with reduced risk of heart disease. (Processed nuts and seeds possess fewer of these antioxidants: choose raw nuts in the shell when possible.) Walnuts in particular are high in alpha-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that is protective to the heart and circulation.

Buying and Storing Nuts

The appetite-suppressing and health benefits of nuts and seeds are lost when they are salted, oiled, roasted, stale, or rancid. And, the fats in nuts and seeds are susceptible to oxidation after they are shelled and exposed to light and air—a process that destroys their nutritional value and degrades their taste.

Accordingly, nuts and seeds should be bought in small quantities and stored in their shells, which shield them against oxidation, in a cool, dry place. Discard any shells with cracks and any nuts or seeds that are discolored, limp, rubbery, moldy, or shriveled, or that have an "off" smell or taste. Store any shelled nuts or seeds in an airtight container in your refrigerator (one week or less) or freezer. Last, prepare your own crushed or slivered nuts, to ensure maximum freshness.

The enzyme inhibitors and phytates in nuts limit the availability of their nutrients. To maximize the nutritional value of nuts, soak nuts in salted water for six to eight hours, drain out the water and oven-dry the nuts on a cookie sheet on low heat. (Cashews become slimy after six hours.)

Source: Dr. Perricone's 10 Superfoods




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This Post was contributed by Pintoo from Zaayka

Inside A German Bakery: A Twisted Bread

Monday, November 05, 2007

Posted by Meeta K



It's been a while since I took you for another peak at my baker's. But I am back with another great bread that my baker makes using organic products. In German it's called "Wurzelbrot" - roughly translated it would mean a twisted bread or root bread. Probably because of it's shape.



While researching for this bread I found out that it actually originated in Switzerland and soon became extremely popular here in Germany. It's has a wonderful aroma and strong rustic taste. The combination of malt flour with wholemeal and normal bread flour probably is what makes this bread have such a unique flavor.



My baker also told me that the aromas have all the time to unfold in this bread as it is left to rest for 24 hours. Cutting into the bread, it has a crispy crust but is a perfectly moist crumb and the light hint of malt lingers in the air when freshly bought.

It's perfect with a strong cheese or even sweet preserve. My favorite way it eating it with a Gruyere cheese and a few slices of figs on top.

This bread seems easy enough to make at home and I urge any one who enjoys making bread to give this a try. Unforgettable.

Twisted Bread - Wurzelbrot

Ingredients
500g flour - you can use a mix of malt, wholemeal and normal flour
1/2 packet of dry yeast
300 ml ice cold water
2 teaspoons salt
Pinch of sugar
Extra flour for sprinkling
Oil to coat the baking tray

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 240 degrees C.

Dissolve the yeast in some luke warm water. Then using the hook attachment of your kitchen machine mix all the ingredients together and allow to knead for 5-10 minutes.

Pour out the dough into an ovenproof form or a casserole and cover it well. My baker gave me a tip: place the from in a plastic bag and tie it tightly.

Allow the dough to rest and rise overnight for at least 12 hours in the refrigerator.

After the resting period remove the dough and pour out onto a floured counter top. Using a sharp knife cut off thick strips lengthwise. Make sure you do not knead the dough anymore as this destroys the air bubbles and causes the bread to become stiff. You are aiming for a light fluffy crumb.

Oil a baking tray well. Take each strip of dough and roll it against each other - almost like a corkscrew. However not so tightly. Repeat for each strip of dough. Place them on the baking tray and bake the bread for 15 minutes until the crust is crispy. Then reduce the heat to approx. 150 degrees C and bake for a further 30 minutes.

Enjoy warm.

Happy baking and have a great week! It's great to be back again!





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