Going on a health click!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Posted by Abby

There is a vast number of health-related websites which we can turn to for information and advice, but knowing where to start and how to avoid mumbo jumbo and quackery is often a concern.

This top 10 was compiled by Dr Mark Porter, a medical doctor who has been practicing for over 25 years and often appears in the UK media, and is a good starting place if you’re looking for advice.

If you have a favourite source of information or advice, leave details in the comment section so we can all build up a library that we can all use.


www.library.nhs.uk
The National Library for Health brings together UK-based health information. It includes a “For Patients” section which contains details of over 100 website which have been quality-checked by the NHS Direct (see below) team. It also allows you to build a library of information which is especially helpful if you are trying to do in-depth research into a particular subject. Finally, I really like its “Behind the Headlines” section which aims to provide the public and health professionals with an unbiased and evidence-based analysis of health stories that make the news

www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
NHS Direct is the place to go for advice on self-management of minor illnesses. It has an interactive question-based tool to help you identify the most appropriate course of action, which could of course be a trip to your Doctor. It will also enable you to identify your nearest health service and respond to queries about particular health conditions and treatments.

www.dipex.org
This website contains thousands of first-hand patient experiences and works on the principle that a problems shared if often a problem halved. It covers subjects ranging from cancers, heart disease, mental health and neurological conditions to screening programmes, pregnancy, teenage health and chronic illnesses. There is also a forums section where you can ask and answer questions.

www.malehealth.co.uk
As Mark says, “this is a blokeish website for blokeish problems” which is run by the charity Men’s Health Forum.

www.cancerhelp.org.uk
Accredited by NHS Direct, this is the website to visit if you want to know anything about particular types of cancer and their treatment. It also provides information about current clinical trials.

www.teenagehealthfreak.com
This site aims to give down to earth advice about the various trials and tribulations associated with being a teenager. It includes a virtual surgery with Doctor Ann who happily answers the most embarrassing and squeamish questions imaginable.

www.prodigy.nhs.uk
Clinical Knowledge Summaries (formerly kown as PRODIGY) provides evidence-based guidance for treating a range of conditions. It is designed for use by both health professionals and the public.

www.mind.org.uk
MIND is a fabulous resource if you want to learn more about mental health issues, providing a comprehensive range of fact sheets and information about health services in your area.

www.talktofrank.com
FRANK provides advice about illegal drugs. As well as providing a comprehensive A-Z of drugs there is advice for friends and families, information about people’s personal experiences and the ability to have specific questions responded to via the anonymous FRANK email or phone line.

www.webmd.com
This is the one non-UK site on my list. It is a giant health portal and is a good one –stop shop. It includes an A-Z of tests which helps you understand what to expect before you set foot in the surgery





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This Post was written by abby from eat the right stuff.



Tiffin Tuesday - A Snack Box

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Posted by Petra Hildebrandt

Would you believe you can have a complete bento box full of snack foods and still eat healthy?



You can!


One of the harder parts of packing a bento is: how do I make my loved ones eat their veggies?

The answer: dip dip hooray! From guacamole to hummus to - in this case - peanut sauce - a tasty dip makes veggies even more attractive! I had some leftover peanut sauce in the fridge (you can find a recipe here - the surrounding text is German but the actual recipe in English - this makes a lot and I usually scale it down using a 250 g jar of organic peanut butter).

There is red bell pepper, cucumber and carrot in the box, a dollop of the peanut dip (well I admit: and a small Japanese banana-flavored candy). Plus rice crackers with seaweed, nuts, mango cubes, cherries, a French snacking salami for protein, and an (organic) apple. Napkin optional.

Prep time: 5 Mintes for cutting the vegetables into sticks, and packing.




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This Post was written by Petra from FoodFreak



Dining & Dishing on the Daily Tiffin

Friday, May 23, 2008

Posted by Meeta K

The more the merrier - goes that fantastic saying. Here at the Daily Tiffin it really is the case. The people behind all these wonderful posts are totally incredible and behind the scenes we do have a little giggle every now and then.

They are also always around to bring the other one back up when one is feeling down and I'll tell you I would not pick a better set of people to represent the Daily Tiffin.

So, when the team grows, we take in our new colleague with a huge hug and a warm welcome. Today I would like to introduce the newest member - Kristen Doyle. Many of her know her from her great blog Dine and Dish and also from The Well Fed Network where she writes a column regularly. So, it is no surprise when I tell you that having Kristen join us here at the DT is a great honor.

Kristen will be posting a little later today but in the meantime take a minute to get to know her.

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.

Welcome to the team Kristen!


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

Tips for the Beginning Cook

Posted by Kristen - Dine & Dish


As a newlywed ten years ago, I would feel so proud when I would come home from work and share a home cooked meal with my husband. At that time in my life, home cooked usually included a box of Hamburger Helper and a can of green beans. If I was feeling extra ambitious, I would toss in some slice and bake cookies into the oven and we would have dessert. It was not until after my first child was born and I left the corporate world to raise him that I began to take an interest in cooking. I felt a need to take on a more domestic role, to feed my family better, and to nurture an inner desire to be more accomplished in the kitchen.

Over the years, my culinary skills have improved and the confidence I have in the kitchen has greatly increased. When I think back to the time in my life before I became an accomplished cook, I try to recall what kept me from venturing into the kitchen in the first place. Looking back, the obstacles that I had to overcome could be summed up under the categories of confidence, equipment and time.



Confidence

I grew up with a mom who had a huge dinner on the table every night. Everything was homemade and even though I spent a lot of time with her in the kitchen, I did not spend a lot of time absorbing what she actually did in the kitchen. As I started to spend more time in the kitchen as an adult, I began to set small goals for myself. I would start out cooking one or two new recipes a week, building up a repertoire of favorites. I would clip recipes that seemed fairly basic and straightforward and would eventually move on to recipes that were slightly more complex. It was not until I began to gain confidence in the kitchen that I was able to embark on trying out some of the family recipes my mom used to make. By building up my skills, then attempting more complex recipes after the basics were accomplished, I built a solid foundation of self-assurance that gave me the courage to move on to the more challenging recipes. If I would have done it any other way, it most likely would have resulted in my getting discouraged and giving up on future culinary endeavors.

Equipment

Most people, especially newlyweds, have drawers full of kitchen gadgets… most of which are unnecessary for the beginning cook. As you start to cook more, you will soon realize that the most necessary tools for cooking are: a really good knife, a basic set of pots (frying pan, stock pot, saucepan), a meat thermometer, a cutting board and measuring cups/spoons. With these essential tools, you can accomplish a lot of fundamental tasks in the kitchen without breaking the bank on useless gadgets.

A pantry stocked with basic ingredients is also important when learning to cook. Essential pantry lists can be found in most major cookbooks or by doing a quick keyword search on Google.

Time

Creating home cooked meals does take some time, which is often why people shy away from attempting to venture into the kitchen. Simply put, the thought of spending whatever extra time you have in your day in the kitchen is not appealing to a lot of people. What if I told you that with a little ahead planning, your time in the kitchen can be minimal and you can still serve your family home cooked meals? Sitting down once a week to plan your weekly menus out, doing a quick grocery shopping trip of items you may need, and doing any advance prep for your meals the night before can make whipping up a meal after work as easy as stopping by the nearest restaurant for carry out.

There are a lot of resources out there in the form of magazines, food blogs, cookbooks and television shows that offer ideas for quick and easy weeknight meals. Take advantage of those resources, especially as a beginning cook, and you will discover that being accomplished in the kitchen is easier than you had ever imagined.



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 Kristen from Dine and Dish.



Cheater Spinach Soufflé

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Posted by Ann



I love spinach soufflé, but I don't love the amount of eggs and the work involved in making it properly when I just want to get something savory on the table in a hurry, so I often fall back on a very versatile "cheater" version. This recipe is a perfect stand-alone for a light lunch, or as a side dish, and also makes a mean filling for stuffed mushrooms.


Cheater Spinach Souffle

1 (16 oz.) container Cottage cheese (fat-free optional)
3 eggs, well beaten
1/4 c. butter (less is optional)
1/4 cup feta
2 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
3 tbsp. flour
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese

Put the cottage cheese in large mixing bowl. Add the beaten eggs and mix thoroughly. Cut the cheese and butter into coarse pieces and add to the cottage cheese mixture, mixing well. Add the spinach and flour mixing thoroughly. Pour into 1 1/2 quart buttered casserole, and sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.

You can also bake the soufflé in individual ramekins for a shorter amount of time (about 40 minutes), or use it to stuff mushroom caps. For stuffed mushrooms, just fill each cap and bake them for about 15 minutes.




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 Ann from Redacted Recipes

Hungry Planet

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Posted by Nupur

My article this month focuses on a beautiful book called "Hungry Planet" by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio.

I love reading and go through stacks of books from the local library every month, but this book was exceptional in the way it touched me, so I wanted to share it in this space.

The premise of the book is that the authors visited homes of ordinary, average families in twenty four different countries. They spent time studying the food habits of the families in the context of their community and way of life, their likes and dislikes and food preferences. Each family gets a detailed profile in which the cost of their average weekly food is laid out. The authors take evocative photographs in which each family is pictured with their weekly groceries beautifully arranged around them. No matter if the family's groceries are a lavish carload or a meagre few, the food is treated with honor and lovingly placed in these evocative photographs.

The result of this extraordinary work is a snapshot of the way the world eats today. We as in the collective "WE". All the different continents, races and nationalities, as well as the rich and the poor, the urban folk and the rural folk, the producers and the consumers, all taken together. Now, I have been blogging about food for a while, and often do think of food blogs as a snapshot of the way ordinary people eat. But it is clear that food bloggers, while usually being representative of the middle class, are way more privileged than the average human. Anyone with internet access, literacy and not living a hand-to-mouth existence is in a special category. This book provides a glimpse into the lives and dinner plates of people that we may rarely come across, from countries that remain enigmatic, such as Bhutan, Bosnia, Mongolia and Chad, as well as chronicling the food habits of people in nations that are more familiar to me, such as Germany, Mexico, India and the USA.

In these days of global food shortages being discussed in all the news media and touching the lives of many of us, the irony of the title of this book, "Hungry Planet" is not lost on me. Looking at the non-judgmental photographs across these pages that objectively capture the huge disparities in the way families eat across the world the message that struck me was, how nice if we could share a bit more. The book created renewed respect in my mind for the status of food in our lives and a new recognition of the people who grow our food.

I lingered on the pages of this book, piqued with genuine curiosity. Of course, every family is just one representative of that particular nation and does capture all the nuances of life in that country or speak for every family living there, but the information is very interesting anyway. For instance, what does the weekly shopping list in Greenland look like? (It is supplemented to a large extent by hunting and fishing). Does the Indian family's weekly groceries look anything like my family's when I was growing up in India? (It does...the family is the Patkars of Ujjain and you can see them surrounded by a large spread of vegetables, fruits and prepared foods, including a huge stack of rotis!). What is the difference in grocery spending between the industrialized and some other nations? (Unbelievable...the German family spent $500.07 for their week's groceries while the family from Mali spent $26.39. The former had almost all packaged foods while the latter had almost none.) One can spend hours poring over the essays, numbers and pictures in this book, and they tell us so much about the way we ourselves eat. I marveled at the vast number of chili peppers (4 baskets) eaten in a week by the family in Bhutan (the authors tell us that in Bhutan, the chili pepper is treated as a vegetable and not a mere condiment), gasped at the number of beverages consumed by the German family in a week (more than 2 dozen bottles of assorted drinks), shook my head at the ubiquitous presence of the Coca Cola bottle in family groceries from every continent, and felt a pang of sadness at the meagre food supplied to the refugee family in Chad (including just 77 gallons of water for the whole family for all purposes for the whole week...compare this to 25-50 gallons of water used in an average 5-minute shower). In essence, this book is a must-read. It does not preach, it simply lays out a wealth of information and keen observations that are interesting, informative and though-provoking. Please do look for it in your local library or bookstore and you will not be disappointed.



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 Nupur from One Hot Stove.



Testing for Giftedness

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Posted by Manisha Pandit

I work with children to whom things have come very easily. My job is to have them hit a wall and then show them how to scale it. - W. Buffer, Intervention Specialist, Boulder Valley School District, Colorado


In my last article, I shared my unwillingness to get my child tested for giftedness. Yet, once I realized that her needs were not being met in the classroom and that home-schooling was not an option for us, I found out as much as I could about being labeled as gifted and pushed for testing. I do feel the need to clarify that this series of articles is merely a reflection on our journey and to share some of the insights gained along the way with the hope that it might help someone else out there in similar circumstances. It is most definitely not to say that my child is better than anyone else's.

Every child astonishes its parents in one way or another as it grows. There is innate and latent talent in every child, waiting to come forth. In some children, it is apparent at a very young age and parents are left wondering whether they are meeting their child's needs adequately. In most cases, the child will lead the parent to research and provide appropriate input right from the early years. My recommendation is for parents to enjoy this phase and encourage learning through visual stimulation as well as physical exploration. Reading, simple puzzles, math games, movies - especially documentaries on nature and discovery - will ensure that learning is fun and support your child's creativity.


Once your child is in school, find out what your school district offers by way of after-school enrichment as well as programs for Gifted and Talented (G/T). If the school offers testing, opt for this as soon as possible. There are several reasons I recommend this.

  1. The first and foremost is that it opens up many doors. Within our school district, for example, there is a mailing list through which information about G/T activities all over the country is shared: events, articles, new findings, invitations to G/T centric seminars, and even invitations from the local universities for classes for special interest groups. I cannot even begin to estimate the amount of time I would have had to spend to come up with even 10% of the information I receive via this mailing list.
  2. Once on the G/T track, always on the G/T track – for as long as there is a program within the school district. In our school district, the program carries on through high school. Children tested in kindergarten are never tested again. It is up to the parents to decide whether or not the program is of any benefit to the child and take the necessary action. Testing is expensive for the schools and repeat tests even more so.
  3. Age plays a large factor in how the tests are graded. They are therefore more difficult in the higher grades than in the lower grades, making it easier for a child to be accepted into the G/T program earlier than later.
  4. Once tested and approved for the G/T program, your child will probably attend an intervention program where his skills are constantly challenged and he is placed in learning situations that are not generally found within the typical classroom: mixed grade instruction, for example. Topics of instruction may range from Greek Mythology to Banking and International Trade to Impressionist Art. There is nothing that a curious and open mind cannot absorb.
  5. I strongly recommend utilizing all the resources that your school may offer you and push for testing before your child reaches the age of 9 or 10. It has been noted over and over again that gifted children, especially girls, start suppressing their intellectual and lateral skills for social reasons. It is cool to be hip, wear make-up, low-rise jeans with revealing tees, and walk instead of play during recess. It is not cool to be intelligent. Girls are mean and become more ruthless in middle school.


Most of what I have written has been within the context of public schools in the US and based on my experience with two school districts in different states. If there is no specific G/T program within your school, you could evaluate moving to a school that has a relevant program. Before you take a step of this nature, it would be prudent to speak with your child's teacher to see if she can work with you to challenge your child more in the classroom. Teachers are usually thrilled to have a student like this in their class and many will step outside their comfort zone and make an effort.

Another option is to find a Yahoo Group or a Google Group for homeschooling in your area and subscribe to the daily digest. One such group that I subscribe to is the ILHS Announce Group on Yahoo. These are usually very active mailing lists that prove to be an amazing resource for everything from science projects to things to do in summer.




This is the second in a series of articles on giftedness. My next article will focus on board games that depend largely on strategy, rather than luck.


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 Manisha of Indian Food Rocks

Bake. Decorate. Donate. Cookies!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Posted by Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)


Making and decorating cookies -– and donating the cookies to a local food pantry, emergency shelter or senior center -- is a wonderful and fun activity you can do with your kids, your friends, your co-workers, your worship group, or your neighbors.

Cookies make people smile at any time of year. Just last week, I hosted a cookie decorating event, called Drop In & Decorate, at my house. In one afternoon, we decorated 250 cookies and donated them to a shelter for women who are homeless or victims of abuse.

What better gift to give on Mother’s Day -- or July 4, or Canada Day, or any day?

The idea behind Drop In & Decorate is that people get together for the fun part – the decorating. Do the baking ahead of time, or better yet, ask your friends to bake a dozen cookies and bring them to the party.


I use a basic sugar cookie recipe with Royal Icing. The cookies are easy to roll out and cut with large (3-4 inch) cookie cutters and baked up to a week in advance.

This year I experimented with squeeze bottles for the icing, which worked really well. My husband built a holder for them out of a piece of scrap wood. He drilled holes, so the bottles could stand nozzle-side down (avoiding the air bubbles that formed when the bottles stood upright for any length of time), and for legs he used recycled parts from our printer cartridges!

Pastry bags are easy to use for decorating, and give a great amount of control. We’ve had children as young as age 3 use them for decorating.


For more information about how to host your own cookie decorating party, along with our cookie and icing recipes, tips and sources, and lots of cookie ideas, visit the Drop In & Decorate blog.




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 Lydia from The Perfect Pantry

Taking Time to Stop and Think

Posted by Abby



Things have changed recently.

It’s been a really busy year for me. At Christmas, David and I decided it was time to plan a big trip to Malawi, the country where I grew up and which I haven’t yet been back to. My African soul was shouting out that it needed to be nourished and I was feeling out of sorts as a result. So, one big trip started to be planned and saving commenced. How exciting!

Then we decided to move house which meant that all thoughts our African trip went on hold and weekends started to be filled with house-hunting and thoughts of DIY at our current place so we could make it look shiny and new for someone else. Saving every spare penny continued with a renewed focus. Exciting, but also quite stressful, and increasingly so given the current economic gloom.

I also put my studies on hold - a part-time degree in nutritional medicine which I do in my “spare” time.

And, somehow, some of the joy went out of my life. I didn’t really notice it happening, I was too focused on balancing everything and planning for how things would change for us.





Seeing friends was difficult as our weekends were no longer quite so free and going out for a bite-to-eat after work was difficult as we were saving money. My usual jaunts to exciting foodie shops and markets were curtailed as I focused on using up the food in our bulging kitchen cupboards. And time together was usually focussed on tasks that needed sorting out as a result of the possible move.

Thankfully I noticed the change in energy within myself and around me. I had a mini revelation – this is the only life I’m going to have and I really should be making it as happy, joyous and fulfilling as possible. Doing things which give me pleasure should never be stopped at the expense of “sorting stuff out.”

And that’s when things changed.

I had a big rethink about how I spend my time, the people I love and the things which make me feel happy. We’re still planning to move but the holiday is back on. We’re still saving and using up things but I’m also allowing myself the time to be creative in the kitchen and, if we want to treat ourselves to a bottle of champagne, well that’s just fine.

My studying is about to be put on semi-permanent hold as I’m no good at distance learning. Instead of having my nose in the books, I’m going to focus on something practical and creative. I’m going back to an old love of mine - urban photography.

I feel at peace again and I’m so glad.

In some ways it feels very indulgent sharing this with you, but refocusing my time on things which bring me joy has had such a big impact I thought I’d share, in case some of you, or people around you, are in a similar space to where I was.





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.



Herbs: More Than Just A Garnish

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Posted by Suganya

Herbs

Herbs have been sought after for their colour, texture and flavour from time unknown. Snipped as garnish, they brighten even the simplest of foods. But herbs are more than just a garnish. Understanding the power of these plants, Indian Ayurvedha, ancient Chinese and Greek medicine have ingeniously used them as medicines for centuries.

Knowingly or unknowingly, common herbs that we use in our everyday cooking have many beneficial properties. Given below are some of the medicinal properties of these unassuming plants.



Basil - Aids digestion. Used to treat digestive ailments, headaches and anxiety. Basil oil has anti-oxidant properties.

Bay - Heals rheumatism, relieves flatulence. Bay oil is used externally for bruises, sprains and skin rashes. Has bactericidal and fungicidal properties.

Cardamom - Digestive aid and stimulant.

Cayenne Pepper - Used for treating sore throat, stomach aches and cramps.

Cinnamon - Has antiseptic and antioxidant properties. Aids digestion and relieves vomiting.

Cloves - Temporary toothache analgesic. Diluted clove oil is used on wounds, cuts and infections for its antiseptic properties.

Coriander - Calms irritating effects on the stomach that certain medicines produce. Seeds soothe upset stomach and aids digestion.

Chives

Fennel - A carminative and a mild stimulant. Seeds are used to make ‘gripe water’, which relieves flatulence in babies.


Garlic - Used as a treatment for intestinal worms and parasites. Allicin, the component that gives the strong odor, inhibits various bacteria, fungi and yeast. Has beneficial effects in the treatment of high blood pressure and gastric cancer.

Ginger - Treats indigestion and motion sickness.

Horseradish - A diuretic, used to treat certain kidney conditions.

Lavender - Leaves repel insects. Lavender oil has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Aids sleep and relaxation.

Mint - Calms upset stomach and menstrual cramps. Excellent carminative and gastric stimulant. The menthol in peppermint stimulates the flow of bile to the stomach and hence digestion.

Oregano - Leaf infusions are used to treat indigestion, cough, headache and to promote menstruation. Oregano oil is used as a toothache remedy.

Parsley, Chopped

Parsley - A good source of vitamins A, B, C, E, K, calcium and iron.

Rosemary - Stimulates circulation of blood, increasing memory and concentration. Eases migraines and headaches. Rosemary oil is applied externally on sores, bruises and wounds.

Sage - Sage oil has astringent, antiseptic and irritant properties; hence used for treating sore throats, mouth sores and mouth ulcers.

Thyme - Has antiseptic and antifungal properties. Used in cough medicines and mouthwashes. Soothes gastrointestinal discomforts.
Mint Tea

Herbs have other uses in a household.
  • Aromatic herb infused oils can be prepared at home effortlessly.
  • Herbal teas, known as tisanes, can provide a helpful supplement to the daily diet.
  • Treasured for their fragrance, herbs like lavender, lemon verbena and rosemary are used in room sprays, potpourri and fabric fresheners.
  • A warm bath with herbs like lavender, chamomile, mint and rosemary has soothing effects.
  • Wild animals turn to herbs if they are feeling unwell. Likewise, domesticated animals can also be benefited from herbs for simple ailments.
Rosemary - Infused Oil

So next time you look at a herb, take a moment to appreciate its goodness. There is more to it than meets the eye.
Note: This post is intended as a reference only. Consult with your physician before attempting self-treatment.

Reference: Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs



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 Suganya from Tasty Palettes.

An Orange a Day Keeps the Virus Away!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Posted by Mansi

Until recently, I used to cherish eating oranges simply because they taste good, and also that they are really affordable! But a few days back, I came across Blood Oranges in the farmer's market, and that got me trying to find how different types of oranges can actually provide invaluable health benefits to our body. Juicy and sweet and renowned for its concentration of vitamin C, oranges make the perfect snack and add a special tang to many recipes. But besides the flavor and fragrance, they are a powerhouse of immunty, acting as antibiotics in more ways than one! Here's a brief look into what makes Oranges the "Numero Uno" fruit!

oranges_FunnFood

Increasing Immunity (Vitamin-C)
We already know that oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C; a single orange supplies 116.2% of the daily value for vitamin C, which is the primary water-soluble antioxidant in the body, disarming free radicals and preventing damage to the body cells. A good intake of vitamin C is associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer, inflammation, osteoarthritis, infections, common cold and asthma.

Lower Bad Cholesterol
A study by U.S. and Canadian researchers that was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry stated that a class of compounds found in citrus fruit peels called polymethoxylated flavones (PMFs), as well as water-soluble fiber called pectin have the potential to lower cholesterol more effectively than some prescription drugs, and without side effects. By reducing the free radicals in the body, Oranges prevent prevent the oxidation and build-up of bad cholesterol.

Medicinal Properties
In recent research studies, the healing properties of oranges have been associated with a wide variety of phytonutrient compounds. These phytonutrients include several citrus flavanones, but the one that stands out the most is the herperidin molecule; Herperidin has been shown to lower high blood pressure as well as cholesterol in animal studies, and to have strong anti-inflammatory properties. But it should be known that most of this phytonutrient is found in the peel and inner white pulp of the orange, rather than in its liquid orange center, so drinking orange juice may not provide you with this beneficial compound.

So you see, there's much more than just color, flavor and aroma to this fruit. Oranges are as important as apples, or perhaps more, in providing helpful immunity to your body against attacks of virus and bacteria. There's already enough research suggesting they play a key role in prevention of several cancers too, and most of all, just one large orange a day will keep you energetic and less prone to infections. And blessed with the sweet and sour taste, eating oranges is not very difficult to keep up with, right!!




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 Mansi from Fun and Food



Adding another dimension to the fun

Friday, May 09, 2008

Posted by Manisha Pandit

Yes! The fun quotient has just been upped some more with the addition of Mansi Desai to the team at The Daily Tiffin. I will let Mansi introduce herself:

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.

I hope you will all join me in welcoming Mansi to the team!



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

Outshining Mommy

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Posted by Dharm

Being a Dad is never easy. Kids always seem to prefer their Mom. I suppose I can understand that in some ways. After all, I’m the one that is the disciplinarian. I’m the one that does all the nasty things like pointing to the corner and telling them to go stand there. How many of you remember the old cartoon series Wait till your father gets home? Yeah, some things never change. My Lovely Wife, although playing a large role in disciplining the kids, still leaves the bulk of it to me and the phrase “Shall I tell Daddy what you did?” is often the trick in getting the children to behave.

There is one thing however where I will always outshine Mommy. There is just no comparison when it comes to this. Somehow, the Lovely Wife just cant do this well – even when she tries, the kids will just shake their heads and say Daddy is better! If your thinking it's cooking, you couldn't be more wrong!




So what is this magic that I have? Nothing more than Silly Games! The kids know they are nothing but silly games -but they love them! The Lovely Wife can't figure out what makes the kids laugh so much and have a whale of a time. She thinks the games are - well, Silly!

Here are five silly games that I play with my kids that they thoroughly enjoy.

The Boat Story
Lie on the bed with the knees raised and together with the soles of your feet on the bed. Place your child on your stomach and let them lie back on your upraised knees. Grasp their hands in your’s and tell this story.

(I pause at the parts in Italics and get the kids to say it themselves – It lends to more participation and of course more fun!)

Once upon a time, there was a girl called Sarah. One day she decided to go to the harbour. She got into a Boat

(this is where you would wiggle a little to simulate the movement of getting into the boat)

The girl started to row the boat out into the sea. (now you move her hands forward and back in a rowing motion). It was a lovely day with the sun shining brightly and the wind blowing in her hair.

Suddenly… it began to rain! The waves became larger. (your rowing action would become a little crazy now and you’d start swaying and bucking your body to toss your child around a bit) The sea swelled and the waves crashed into the boat. The girl was thrown overboard! (you’d jerk your body and tip your child off of you and onto the bed.)

They will be in fits of laughter at this stage and asking you to do it again! The Boat is sometimes varied to an Aeroplane or a Train - anything really.

Sleepy Daddy
Call your child over and ask for a hug. As you are hugging them, rest your chin on their head or shoulders and then pretend to fall asleep. Start snoring while hugging them really tightly. Your child will start squirming and asking you to let them go. Pretend that you are fast asleep. They will start calling out your name, trying to wake you. Let them call out your name for a while and then suddenly ‘wake-up’ and look around you as if startled. “What, what?” you cry out. “What’s worng? Why are you shouting? I fell asleep….”

You’d be amazed how something as silly as this makes them laugh so hard.


Time Machine.
This game is probably the most fun of all as the whole family can play together! Lie in bed pulling the covers over your and pretend you are in a time machine. Flick imaginary switches as you go through an imaginary checklist.

Engine Oil – All okay
Food supplies – yes, okay
Temperature – good
Oxygen supply – check

Finish off with “set the time for the time machine” My son used to love going “back in time” to the Jurassic or Triassic period. After the “Time” has been set, make a hissing sound and lot of bumps and groans. Then make another hissing sound as you lift the covers off and pretend you are in another time period. Let your imagination run wild and try to ‘see’ things that you would in that time period. If Mommy isn’t playing and she happens to come into the room, make her the ‘dangerous dinosaur’ and quickly get back under the covers and set the time machine to present time – returning home to find Mommy!

Stop Running
This is a great game to play when out shopping. First, as you walk along holding your childs hand, tell them in a rather stern voice (but friendly manner, so they know you are playing) “Don’t run around okay? I don’t want you running in the shopping centre”. Walk along slowly and then speed up a little so you are a few steps in front of your child. Pull your hand forward quickly so they are forced to run forward to keep up with the momentum. Then you ‘scold’ them – “I thought I told you not to run!” Keep doing this until your arms gets tired – which it is bound to do! My kids absolutely love this game! A variation to this game is to walk really fast while holding their hands so they are forced to run - or at least jog at a fast trot - to keep up. Then you ‘scold’ them again for running! This is where they break out in a huge grin and say “Daddy, you are the one making me run!”


Kids Rides
Pretend you are a kid ride – you know, the coin operated kind you find in shopping centres. Place your child on your knee and as them what ‘machine’ you are supposed to be. Then ask them to put a coin into the machine (all make believe of course) Once the ‘coin is deposited’ start a rolling, rocking motion with your legs, while holding the back of their shirts of pants – so that they don’t fall off!

All really quite silly games aren't they. I have fun though and so do the kids - and I guess that's what is important. I hope that when the kids are all grown up, they will remember these silly games that we played and how much fun they used to have with Daddy.

I’m sure all of you have your own ‘silly games’ to entertain your kids. What are some of yours?



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



Tiffin Tuesday - Quiche Bento

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Posted by jokergirl@wererabbits

I'm lightening up to welcome spring with a light quiche in my bento!



Spinach and ricotta quiche on mixed salad, red grapes and a few pieces of Black&Green's organic chocolate wrapped in gold foil to keep it from being soaked in vinegar.

Ricotta is a light, crumbly Italian cheese made from whey. It is very low in fat, has a delightful taste and texture and works well in quiches, filled pasta or as replacement for bechamel in lasagna! (I had a spinach and ricotta lasagna with the leftover cheese - it was heavenly!)

Spinach quiche recipe:

Make a savoury pie shell (I used some olive oil instead of butter in a variation of my staple recipe, and it was rather nice). Prebake in a flat pie form.
Filling: 3 eggs, a few tablespoons of Ricotta, salt and pepper, 1 packet of baby spinach, spring onions, sundried tomatoes, cherry tomato halves as decoration.
Mix the eggs, ricotta and salt and pepper to taste. Blanch the baby spinach very quickly by putting it in a sieve and pouring some boiling water on it. Spread it in the form, add chopped spring onions and sundried tomatoes, cover with the egg-ricotta mix and add tomato halves as decoration.
Bake until it seems done, it goes rather quick since it's so flat.

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 jokergirl from WereRabbits



Lighten Up!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Posted by Abby



As the days grow lighter and longer, and spring arrives, my mind is turning towards lightening up the food I am eating, not least as I know that skimpy summer dresses require a more svelte figure than my winter layers of warmth!

It’s also a time of year for ditching bad habits and embracing good ones – somehow I find it much easier to do this when there is a warm sun in the sky and spring-like food on my plate.

Things which I will be focusing on in the coming weeks include the following:


Boosting my intake of oily fish – two portions a week is what we should be aiming for and I have to confess that my fish-eating habit has been very lackadaisical recently. Fish which are rich in the all-important omega 3 oils include salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines and tuna. Serving ideas include tuna teriyaki, pesto-marinated salmon kebabs, smoked mackerel or trout pate and grilled sardines.

Watching my salt intake – I’m a real fan of salt for bringing the flavours of a dish together but am also aware that i can easily overindulge. Although we don’t eat any processed foods, which are usually among the worst culprits for a high salt content, I am still thinking about this. And instead of using salt I’ll be thinking about how to add flavour with herbs, garlic, chilli, lemon, flavoured vinegars, spices, onions and wine.

Reducing my fat intake – homemade salad dressings will have their oil content reduced by a quarter with the alternative use of wine, tomato juice or hot water (this is a great tip that I recently picked up); dishes that use milk or other dairy products will see me use a low fat version and cream will be replaced with yoghurt. The low fat approach also works well for dishes which are flavoured with coconut milk. A low fat pesto, which substitutes water for most of the oil you would normally use, is worth a try. I’m also planning to try the Californian trick of using avocado mashed with lemon juice in place of butter on my sandwiches; and will be eating smaller amounts of strongly flavoured cheeses when I need a dairy hit. Finally, I’ll be choosing lean cuts of meat but using low fat yoghurt marinades to add flavour and ensure they don’t dry out.

Boosting my pulse and wholegrain intake – pulses and wholegrains are so good for us, being packed with soluble fibre which can help control blood sugar levels and manage cholesterol. They also contain lots of essential vitamins and minerals and are lower in fat than their meaty equivalents. I’ve also got a cupboard full of them which need using up in salads which will be lightened with herby lemony dressings and spring vegetables.

Eating more vegetarian meals – this is especially true for those meals which don’t use much dairy produce, such as healthy stir fries and salad.

What are you planning to do to lighten your cooking?




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.