Forty is the New Thirty?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Posted by Peter M

Or so I thought so after I turned forty last year. I'm feeling better than I felt when I turned thirty, I'm comfortable with what I've accomplished in life and I positively believe I have a lot to live for.

So, what's my problem?

I'm forty-one is what's my problem. No longer do I go for the routine physical at my family doctor's. Now I get phone calls from his office reminding me of that" shot" I should be having.

Or that I REALLY should get a flu shot this year (something I've avoided thus far in my life).

I am now getting phone calls with more unusual requests from my doctor's nurse. I received a call to book an appointment for my annual physical and that I should expect "the finger" or er...a brief check to see if the prostate's okay.

It hit me. Forty is not the new thirty and that my life has indeed changed with my introduction into this new decade. I feel great, approach life with zeal but now I have new things to worry about.

Being in your forties means having an active lifestyle, being physically & mentally fit and taking preventative measures to ensure that continued good health.

The other phone call I received was to have my bone density checked. I asked the nurse if there was something with me that raised a red flag and she just replied, "no, you're in your forties and this is now a standard procedure. It's not just women who are developing osteoporosis - men are developing it in increasing numbers too!"

I've embraced the new thirties (the forties), which means a battery of medical check-ups, diagnostics and reassurances that everything's going to be all right.

You should too!

This Post was written by Peter Minakis

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Diwali Sweet Treats

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Posted by Meeta K. Wolff

Image Source: In Prayer

This year Diwali falls on October 28th and many of our Indian readers are probably busy getting ready for this spectacular festival.

Diwali or Deepawali is celebrated by Indians all across the globe and is celebrated for five consecutive days at the end of Hindu month of Ashwayuja. Of all the several colorful festivals India offers throughout the year, Diwali is the most vibrant, fun and glamorous festival of all.

It usually occurs in October/November, and is one of the most popular and eagerly awaited festivals in India. Also known as the Festival of Lights, Indians will decorate their houses with lights, candles and lamps - or as they are traditionally known in India - diyas. The lights and lamps signify the lighting of darkness and victory of good over the evil within.
Traditionally a Hindu festival, Jains and Sikhs alike regard it as a celebration of life and use the occasion to strengthen family and social relationships.

There are several beliefs as to the origin of the holiday. The most common version is that Hindus celebrate Diwali to mark the time when Lord Rama achieved victory over Ravana. Hindus believe that whenever the power of evil increases in the world, Vishnu comes down to earth in a different form to defeat evil. These forms are called Avataras. Krishna and Rama are the popular Avataras of Vishnu. Diwali celebrations are especially a time for telling stories - about Vishnu and his wife Lakshmi, about Krishna, Rama and his wife Sita and any other tales that personifies the good winning over evil.

For us Indians, this festival means connecting with family and friends and what a better way than to do it with food and sweets. Diwali is a period that marks new beginnings. Houses are thoroughly cleaned, a kind of Spring cleaning in Autumn, and re-decorated. The courtyards in Indian homes are decorated with rangoli, which are vibrant patterns created with powdered or wet paint. Doorways and adorned with decorative garlands made with the traditional gold marigolds and fresh mango leaves. 

The kitchen becomes the hub for many households’ days before Diwali. Sweets, savories and snacks are made, lavish dinners are prepared, it truly is a festival unlike many others I have experienced. No expenses are spared, and everybody buys the best ingredients that is affordable to them.

As I know many of our Indian readers will be busy looking for ideas, I decided to put together a few great ideas for sweet treats I found while blog surfing.


Indian sweets, which is known as 'mithai', are made with a variety of ingredients like semolina, wheat flour, chickpea flour or thickened milk, to which freshly grated coconut, carrots or white pumpkin is sometimes added. The mixtures, which are perfumed with sweet spices like cardamom and nutmeg, and embedded with nuts and raisins, are shaped into colorful shapes. All these processes - preparing, consuming and giving of sweets – are significant facets of the festival.

Nankatai Image courtesy of The Cooks Cottage Nankatai is a lovely flaky and buttery biscuit. They are typically served when the guests arrive around tea time. I found a perfect recipe for these delicate biscuits at The Cooks Cottage who makes her Nankatai recipe with saffron and cardamom.

Besan Laddoos are small balls of sweet heavenly delights. They are made by gently roasting gram flour and flavored with cardamom. Besan laddoos are extremely popular in India and are served as a simple sweet treat or as a bring along when visiting friends. Asha of Foodie’s Hope shares her delicious recipe for besan laddoos made the traditional way, by roasting the gram flour. However if you are looking for a quick method Nandita offers a great 5 minute beasan laddoo version.

Coconut Burfi is a lovely soft, chewy sweet often presented as a gift during festivities in India. Indira of Mahanandi makes a great version of the coconut burfi, without the addition of milk or ghee. She simply uses two coconuts, which she grated and adds cardamom for a gorgeous aroma. If you prefer a fruitier version over at Red Chillies you’ll find a rather scrumptious mango coconut burfi.

Sheera is a warm sweet very much like fudge, which is made using semolina, saffron, cardamom, raisins and nuts. There are several great recipes, some using fruit to flavour the sheera. One I found to be beautifully authentic was this Sheera recipe from Food for ThoughtGajarHalwa 05.

Kheer – a gorgeous milky rice pudding, made with rice, rice flakes or sago. Deeba provides us with delicious kheer, spiced with cardamom, nutmeg and saffron.

Gajar Ka Halwa is a silky carrot pudding, which is one of India’s most popular desserts.  There are several variations for this delectable dessert. My version is one I got from my grandmother. Using khoya, my gajar ka halwa adds a nutty mix of pistachios, cashews and almonds and uses very little sugar.

That was my quick tour of the blog-o-world of Diwali sweet treats, especially for you.

We from the Daily Tiffin team wish all celebrating Diwali a peaceful and joyous festival. Enjoy the time with family!

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

This Post was written by Meeta

Tiffin Tuesday: Heart-y falafel bento

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Posted by jokergirl@wererabbits

Top (small box): Couscous salad with parsley and mint (technically Tabbouleh with the couscous ratio cranked way up), two dates and a tiny radish.
Bottom (big box): Heart-shaped falafel on lettuce, organic tomato wedges, grilled Halloumi, Baba Ganoush with olive oil in a muffin cup.
The falafel are restaurant leftovers - I thought they were perfect for bento!

Quick, tasty and vegetarian - but I promise you won't notice there is no meat!

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

This Post was written by jokergirl

Its Time for Halloween & Holiday Baking!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Posted by Mansi

Fall is upon us in all its glory, and as we move on to cooler weather, its time to turn on the heat in your ovens! Halloween is around the corner, and the Holiday season is on a roll as we look forward to Diwali, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I'm not really sure why Halloween is celebrated - some believe it is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and is sometimes regarded as the "Celtic New Year". So how did it get associated with goblins, ghosts, and witches?? The term Halloween is shortened from "All Hallows' Even" , which is now also known as All Saints' Day, a day of religious festivities in various northern European Pagan traditions.

(img source: wikimedia)

According to Wikipedia, Celts believed that on this day, the disembodied spirits of all those who had died would come back in search of living bodies to possess; this was their only hope for the afterlife, as all laws of space and time were suspended on this day. So, not wanting to be possessed, the "living" people dressed up as ghosts, trying to trick the dead into believing they were already dead! Boy, isn't that confusing!!

And where does the "Trick-or-Treat" come from?? It is thought to have originated with a ninth-century European custom called Souling. On November 2, All Souls Day, early Christians would walk from village to village begging for "soul cakes," made out of square pieces of bread with currants. The more soul cakes the beggars would receive, the more prayers they would promise to say on behalf of the dead relatives of the donors. At the time, it was believed that the dead remained in limbo for a time after death, and that prayer, even by strangers, could expedite a soul's passage to heaven.

Ok, so now that our History class is done, let's turn our attention to some Goodies, shall we! Whatever may be the origin, it is a Holiday that people celebrate with gusto, especially kids! If you are looking for some inspiration, check out Martha Stewart's Halloween Ideas. From Cake Stencils to Pumpkin Favor bags, there is tonnes of fancy stuff to explore. For the more artistic kinds, check out these eery pumpkin carving patterns and ideas, or these cute pumpkin candleholders!

And I'm sure all you baker-moms out there would be looking for ideas to make a batch of Pumpkin Pies or Halloween Cupcakes! Check out these deliciously scary Halloween Spider Cupcakes, the spookiest Skull Cupcakes, the Crawly Spider Cakes, or the largest Halloween Cupcakes roundup you've ever seen.

Don't forget to check out the Halloween Blog for costume ideas, and some wonderful Halloween ideas and tips over at HGTV

Like any other holiday, celebrate this one with gusto; but be sure to teach your kids to be responsible. Don't leave them out-of-sight for long, especially when they go to collect treats. And be as scary, spooky or ghostly as you want, but don't go overboard in giving someone a heart attack! What plans do you have for Halloween? Care to share a few with us?!

Related Posts:
Food & Drink Ideas for Halloween
Creative Decoration Ideas using Pumpkins & Wreaths
How to make an Attractive Gift Wrap at Home?

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: We look forward to hearing your ideas.
This Post was written by Mansi from Fun and Food


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Posted by Deeba PAB

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

Stopped by school a week ago to pick the son after soccer practice & the daughter from her guitar class, & ran into a bunch of teachers avidly discussing diets, mainly vegetarian vs non-vegetarian. Coincidentally, the very evening, I read an article on diet trends & it offered an interesting perspective to something called part-time vegetarianism & new-age diets. The focus was on a flexitarian diet which seems to be gaining popularity & breaking new ground. Flexitarianism refers to being a vegetarian of convenience; or following the ‘eat-less-meat movement’.

The topic intrigued me, & I found that I had been sub-consciously veering towards flexitarianism for a while now. For the non-vegetarians amongst us, how often do you eat non-vegetarian food as part of your main meal menu in a week? Daily, alternative days, bi-weekly, or once a week? We have non-vegetarian food twice a week in our home on an average, & almost battle it through the rest of the week trying to encourage the kids to eat their veggies. Pasta days pass off peacefully as they love their pasta. Blanched French beans with a small dollop of cheese spread work fine, a cottage cheese wrap with a yogurt dip, onions & bell peppers is now being accepted more easily now. It’s easier for mine to down 2-3 helpings of fruit in a day than battle the veggies! I find cottage cheese a really good option, & a rice pulao with a raita goes off well too, but it’s the veggies that face most resistance. Veggie pizza makes them sing, as do savoury vegetarian pies like galettes.…but then cheese is processed & fatty. Oven baked potatoes are good news, but spinach doesn’t work.

Interesting options I found
Frankies/Roti Wraps
A Healthier Recipe for Mac & Cheese

Savoury Vegetable Ricotta Pies

There's an interesting article here on Daily Tiffin titled 'Vegetarian Kids'. It's a great write-up on introducing creative & diverse vegetarian meal options into your diet, & covers different food groups as well. I’m a flexitarian; what are you? Am interested to hear your thoughts on the 'veggie' front? Do you face a battle with veggies? Are you cutting back on meat for health or economic reasons? Do you think that cutting back to semi-vegetarianism can be quite beneficial to health, to the budget & to the environment/global warming?

Check out Tiffin Tuesdays which has some really tempting vegetarian recipes on offer ... Fried Halloumi Cheese Bento, or how about a potato salad with faux meatballs or falafel, appetizingly packed into a Potato Salad Bento! Collecting new ideas for serving ‘exciting vegetarian options’ to kids are priority on my search engine…thankfully, one doesn't have too wander to far.

The idea for my post germinated from a Newsweek article Part-time Vegetarians’.

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

This Post was written by Deeba from Passionate About Baking

The Great Pumpkin

Monday, October 13, 2008

Posted by Mike of Mike's Table

When I was a child, I had an unexplainaible but strong aversion to pumpkin. All it was good for was making jack o'lanterns on Halloween, period. How could anyone possibly eat these things--they're not food! The pulp was merely a nuissance that slowed down carving a face on the pumpkin and the seeds were just garbage.

As with many things, I've come to realize how very wrong I was. First off, pumpkins are obviously food--very good food, as a matter of fact. They're another gourd-like type of squash which, like tomatoes, are one of those things you'd never think to call a "fruit." They can come in all shapes and sizes, whether it be a tiny one pounder or obsenely large 1,000+ lb beasts. There are more varieties than I can count, but as far as your kitchen is concerned, you generally want the smaller varieties (e.g. called "sugar pumpkin," "pie pumpkin," etc.) rather than the giants you carve faces in as there is a big difference in flavor (namely a lack of it in the bigger ones--trust me, I've tried). As for health benefits, the orange color ought to give this one away: they're loaded with lutein, alpha, and beta carotene, which means vitamin A to you and I. And the seeds that I maligned as a child are a great source of protein, zinc, and other vitamins.

Pumpkin factoids aside though, the real issue is how did I ever spend all those years blowing off a sweet slice of pumpkin pie? Why was I going for peanuts and sunflower seeds when I could have opted for toasted, spiced pumpkin seeds? I'm definitely making up for lost time this season. Every week now, I leave the grocery store with a few pumpkins so I can break them down and make pumpkin puree so I have it handy throughout the week (yes, you can always buy canned, but I personally think has a tinny taste, and really, making it fresh is very easy to do and requires very little of your time in the kitchen. You can make a lot, bag it up, and freeze it, too, taking it out as you need it).

Of course, there's a lot more to enjoying pumpkins than the traditional pumpkin pie and toasted seeds. You could make muffins, rice pudding style risottos, cookies, macarons, ice cream, or donut holes. Armed with pumpkin puree, the only real limit to pumpkin-based sweets is your imagination. Of course, you aren't limited to sweets, either. You could try a loaf of bread, savory pumpkin pie, pumpkin wild rice soup, pumpkin gnocchi, or even try your hand at Afghani cuisine and make kaddo bourani. Its surprisingly versatile and I certainly will have a lot of new pumpkin-centric recipes to share this season, both sweet and savory.

How do you enjoy this autumn fruit?

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

This Post was written by Mike from Mike's Table

Are you on Board the Strategy Train?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Posted by Indian Food Rocks

With the days growing shorter and the increasing chill in the air, children will no longer have the luxury of playing outdoors as much as they used to. The onslaught of fall is often one that sends parents into despair – how will they fight the beast that morphs from TV into video games into the computer, depending on the whims of the child. Moderation, as always, is the key. For the rest of the time, go to your neighborhood store and invest in some classic board games. Not only do board games encourage everything from logical to lateral thinking, they also spell quality time spent with your children.

Chutes and Ladders is an old favorite. As are Sorry!, Scrabble and Monopoly. There is, however, an element of randomness or luck in these games. One or more poor rolls of the dice could mean the difference between winning and losing. In Scrabble and Monopoly, some of this randomness is offset by strategy. Pure strategy games encourage logical thinking and inculcate the ability to anticipate counter-moves and therefore planning ahead. Games that have a high element of strategy but also have an in-built quotient of luck are equally desirable as they bring management of uncertainty into the mix. This article will focus on pure strategy games.

Chess is the ultimate example of a pure strategy game. And just like chess is not for everyone, pure strategy games are not for every child. However, there are a few classic games that fall within this realm that are worth taking a look at.

Connect Four is a great two-player game for the young thinker. The players take turns dropping colored discs into a 7x6 grid. The objective of the game is to be the first to connect four discs of their chosen color in a line that may be horizontal, vertical or diagonal. The other objective is to foil the attempts of the opponent. The online version of this game, played against the computer or with a friend, is also hours of fun.

Blokus is a two to four player game that has shades of the popular computer game, Tetris, except that Blokus is played on a board. This game has consistently won awards since its first release in 2000. The board is a 20x20 square board with game tiles of different shapes in four different colors. Players must begin play in their corner using their color of choice and place additional pieces on the board such that the newest piece touches at least one other piece of the same color only at the corner, never along the side. The objective is multi-fold: place all 21 pieces on the board by garnering as much of the real estate as possible, thereby blocking other players from placing all of their pieces on the board. This game can get very animated and leads to hours of fun. That it is simple to understand makes it a perfect game for younger players. There are many versions of Blokus, including a 3D version, that sharpens critical thinking. And yes, this too, can be played online.

Stratego is a lesser known board game but one that is very popular in my home. It is a two-player war game that involves strategy, bluffing and memory. Each player gets 40 pieces that include army personnel of varying ranks including a spy, mines and a flag. The objective is to protect your own flag while trying to attack the opponent’s flag and taking out as many men as possible in the bargain. It's difficult to describe Stratego in a few sentences when there are entire sites devoted to rules and variations therein, and the different strategies that can be employed. One such site is Ed's Stratego Site. We found Stratego to be an excellent alternative to chess.

These three games have led to hours of play coupled with critical and logical thinking, without losing that essential element of fun. With Christmas not too far away, you may want to consider these games as gifts that will keep your children or grandchildren occupied productively and away from the idiot box. You might enjoy a round or two between yourself and a friend, too!

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

This post was written by Manisha of Indian Food Rocks

Leftover Bento

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Posted by jokergirl@wererabbits

This bento contains a lot of leftovers from various meals during the weekend.
Raw corn-on-the-cob flowers on fried tofu (hidden), carrots, and fried breaded squid on chinese cabbage.
The upper layer contains rice with sweet-n-sour sauce.

BF's bento contains the same, plus a toffee.
His sweetnsour is supposedly in the shape of a heart, but you can't really tell... oh well.

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

This Post was written by jokergirl from WereRabbits

Use, don't waste

Monday, October 06, 2008

Posted by Petra Hildebrandt

What do you do with your veggie scraps? If you don't have a chance to compost them (and thus have organic matter add to the fertility of your soil), don't throw it away!

I keep a huge plastic freezer bag in my freezer, where I collect and save the peel and top ends of carrot, onion tops, the hard outer leaves of fennel or tough celery bits, mushroom stems, cilantro stems, ginger peels, kohlrabi leaves, chicken carcasses, bones from chicken wings or roast duck... when the bag is full I pop all these ingredients into a huge stockpot, adding maybe a few spices and a lot of water - and simmer away, until I have the finest, tastiest leftovers stock you can imagine.

Or what about radish leaves? It didn't dawn upon me that the leaves of tiny red radishes are actually edible (and nutritious) until I found a lovely recipe for a

Potato and Radish Soup

You'll need

350 g potatoes, preferably floury potatoes
100 g carrots
1 yellow onion
1 clove of garlic
30 g butter
600 ml vegetable or chicken stock
250 ml single cream
1 bunch of red radishes, with the greens
2 containers garden cress, snipped
pepper, white if you have
nutmeg, frshly grated

Wash and peel the potatoes, scrub the carrots, peel the onion. Chop the veggies and add the minced garlic.

Heat the butter in a saucepan. Sauté the veggies until the onions are translucent, then add cream and stock an dbring to a boil. Cook, covered, for 15 minutes.

Wash the radish greens and spin them dry. Put aside 5 leaves, chop the remaining greens. For the soup you'll need 6 medium-large radishes, just feed the remaining ones to your family fresh and raw :-) .

Cut the radishes and the 6 leaves into julienne.

Now is the time to blend the soup, either in a blender or better with an immersion blender. Add the chopped radish leaves and the cress from 1 of the 2 containers, blend again. Taste for salt and pepper and season with nutmeg.

Ladle soup into bowls, garnish with radish julienne and leaves and the remaining garden cress.

A handful of sourdough bread croutons, or a slice of your favorite wholegrain bread will round out this delicious meal.

I can tell you I wont be wasting perfectly fine organic radish leaves in the future! - Enjoy!

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

This Post was written by Petra from FoodFreak in Hamburg, Germany

Farmers' Markets In Your Backyard

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Posted by Meeta K. Wolff

Our guest writer this month is the vivacious and funny Donna Diegel from the fantastic blog Spatulas, Corkscrews & Suitcases. I am also extremely happy to announce to you that as of next month Donna will be joining the Daily Tiffin Team as a regular contributor. So, if you liked this article expect a lot more delicious and interesting posts from her in the future. Please help me welcome Donna to the Daily Tiffin.



Not that long ago our family had a stand at the local farmers' market. We had a wholesale bakery and organic gardens with 8 raised beds and a large greenhouse. The day before, in the late afternoon while my husband and son were wrapping cookies and sticky buns, I was out in the gardens picking produce. I triple washed 10 varieties of lettuce and greens, snipped 6 different herbs and hand picked 6 perfect edible flowers for each 8 ounce bag. After hours of hard work, I had 40-50 bags of organic lettuce mixes looking oh, so pretty, lined up like an army of green soldiers along the 8 foot kitchen counter. They were lovingly put to bed for the night in the big cooler in anticipation of going to the farmers' market the next morning. We always sold out, our loyal customers ordering more for the following Saturday. Writing this now, I get misty-eyed and realize I miss those farmers' market days dearly.

To a gardener or gourmet foodie, there are few things more rewarding than picking fresh veggies straight from your own garden. But what if you don't have a garden? Some of us aren't fortunate to have a piece of earth to call our own, a plot of soil to get our hands dirty in or to create a bushel of vegetables from a handful of seeds.
I no longer have my gardens. Instead, we live on a sailboat on the east coast of the USA. Gone are the raised beds, greenhouse and farmers' market. No matter how small my living space is or the harsh wind and salt water environment, I'm determined to have some living plants aboard. Right now, I'm looking at a large potted tomato plant on my aft deck loaded with Roma tomatoes and a few morning glories trailing up a pole. There's mint, lemon balm, two types of basil and a big pot of purple mums with two pumpkins on the bowsprit! But there's no way I can grow all the veggies I want on a boat. The next best option? My local Farmers' Market! 

Farmers' Markets Worldwide
What part of the world do you live in? North, south, east or west - no matter where you call home, chances are there's a farmers' market right around the corner. Changing seasons yield all sorts of wild and wonderful produce, but there's no doubt about it, each part of the globe is unique!   

There's a definite chill in the air now that autumn has unofficially begun in my Northeast corner of the USA. As the summer produce winds down, fall colors are beginning to pop up, not only in the foliage but at the farmers' market booths as well. Orange pumpkins, multi-colored gourds, rust colored mums and bright yellow sunflowers - it's a virtual feast for the senses! The further south and west you travel, the warmer the night air, and the farm stands are still overflowing with ripe summer produce! I'm sure you have vegetables I've never seen or heard of in your corner of the world - and visa versa!

What's In Season Now?

PICT0250 Heirloom Tomatoes
Heirloom tomatoes are still in abundance but you better get them soon or it will be too late. Gorgeous colors, shapes and textures, and they're mighty sweet and juicy! Use up some of those heirlooms and make a delicious Caprese Salad with some fresh basil for lunch. Or, try this Heirloom Tomato Galette with Red Onion Jam for a unique brunch idea!

Apples, Peaches and Pears Oh My! 
According to Wikipedia, "There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples!" Your farmers' market will only have so many choices to pick from, what's local to your area and what's in season. But still, with so many choices, how in the world would you know which one is right for baking, cooking or eating? Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Cortland or the ever popular McIntosh? Here's a handy chart to help you choose whether to make homemade apple pie, PICT0337applesauce, baked apples or send one in the kids lunch boxes.
Peach supplies are starting to dwindle, but there's still some hardy varieties in the bins. Peach cobbler, peach pie and peach crisp with a scoop of your favorite ice cream or dollop of whipped cream will usher the summer out with a bang!
5000 Pear Varieties? If you thought you had a hard time choosing apples, the Wise Geek says "There are over 5000 pear varieties grown throughout the world, and England alone grows and recognizes about 100 varieties!" Bosc, Bartlett, Anjou and Asian Pears are ripe for the picking! You can make a pear galette, roasted pears, poached pears, caramel dipped pears or wrap some prosciutto around a slice of pear!  
PICT0422 - Copy (2) Corn, Maize, Mais, Granturco
Whatever you call it, sweet corn, butter and sugar corn or silver corn is plentiful, waiting to be grilled with a pat of butter and salt. The early corn has been picked and stalks are being cut and bound into fall decorations for your front porch. There's beautiful Indian corn to adorn your front door and popping corn for watching a favorite movie.   

Squash, Squash & More Squash!
Zucchini is almost done in New England, but in its place is the most wonderful selection of winter squashes. The farm stands are loaded with acorn, banana, buttercup, butternut, delicato, hubbard, spaghetti, sweet dumplings, the bizarre looking turban squash and pumpkins of all shapes, sizes and colors. Buy them to eat, store or decorate your home with!

Kale and Kohlrabi
Have you ever seen flowering kale up close? Deep purples, pink, white and green, they're a beautiful addition to your autumn flower beds and can take temperatures down into the teens! Fancy restaurants use it as a garnish for their plates, but don't eat it! They're only ornamental!

Kohlrabi (German Turnip) has to be one of the ugliest vegetables I've ever laid eyes on! Really! This odd looking vegetable is a member of the cabbage family and kohlrabi lovers say it tastes like broccoli or brussel sprouts. But with all its funny spikes and bulbous shape, I can't help thinking it looks like a space ship from an alien world! You'll never see me eating kohlrabi, but to each his own!

Bottom Line
I'll have to admit, I am a staunch supporter of buying local. There are many reasons why I'm so passionate about it. One of them is because I did have a farmers' market booth for years and it helped support my family. The way this economy has been lately it's so important to also support your community.


Everyone is struggling to put food on their table.
Here's a few reasons to consider:

  • Eating local is better for your health (you know where it's coming from - think e coli and salmonella).
  • Buying local is better for our local economy (it helps keep the money in our own back yards).
  • Buying local is better for our local farmers (no explanation needed).
  • So, consider shopping your local Farmers' Market! Everyone wins!

Can't find a local Farmers' Market? Try the Local Harvest website to locate one nearest you! Or Google Farmers' Market and add your own country!

Up next - Farmers' Market Alternatives:

  • "What is a CSA and how can you join one?" 
  • "What is a Locavore?"

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

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This Post was written by Donna Diegel from Spatulas, Corkscrews & Suitcases


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Posted by Dee

Yoga and Knowledge are the two method for dissolving the disturbances of the mind. Yoga is control of the movements of the mind. Knowledge is clear observation of them.

Meditation is the essential and culminating practice of the greater system of yoga. Ayurveda as mind - body medicine promotes meditation as one if it main therapies. Much of Ayurveda's popularity comes from its emphasis on meditation and related techniques of mantra and pranayama. Yet meditation proper is a subtle state that is hard to reach. It requires that we first harmonize the body, prana and the senses.

Meditation is our ability to contact our true self and consciousness which is the source of life and intelligence.Conversely, meditation is the ability to clear out the negative aspects of our consciousness, harmful subconscious habits and impulses and also roots out those which are harmful and intractable.

Meditation is an important tool in ayurveda for healing the mind but its benefits extend to the body and mind as well.It reduces the psychological root or complication of the disease process, which always exist to some degree.Ayurveda prescribes meditation as a part of its lifestyle regimens both for health maintenance and life-enhancement.

Aspects , considerations and general format for meditation.

Meditation is a way of life that rests in certain procedures. One does not simply sit down to meditate suddenly all at once any more than one simply, without training, takes up a brush and begins a paint as an accomplished artist.

It is always good to have a special room / place for one to meditate.The room should be , well ventilated and have natural light.Well decorated rooms with water, incense , flowers , fragrant candles is always a plus. One can decorate the room with holy books, special pictures so as to have a spiritual energy. An office or a study room can be used , but not a basement or bedroom.

One should have a comfortable seat or chair for meditation and sit facing north or east. One can use a rosary or a necklace of bead for repeating affirmations or mantra if one is performing a meditation chanting mantras instead of silent meditation. It should be done on a regular daily basis, just like eating and sleeping. Best days for meditation are Thursday , Wednesday , Monday and friday. Best times to meditate is early morning or before dawn. Sunrise and sunset are also good periods.Many people find sunset to be the best time because by that time of the day the main work is done and one can look within.Immediately before sleep is another time to clear the mind.

Follow meditation in the morning with asanas or walking or mild aerobic excercises. Follow it with sleep in the evening, so that a deep sleep can ensue.Avoid disturbing the mind after evening meditation. Do not practice after eating , especially a heavy meal. Practice it for atleast 15-45 minutes. Most important thing is consistency of practice.

General Format:

1. Sit in a comfortable posture with an erect spine, which can be a specific yoga posture like the lotus pose or sit in a chair for those who cannot do this. Without a comfortable and relaxed posture, it is very difficult to meditate.

2. Energize the breath through pranayama. This directs out the energy internally, which gives us more power for meditation. It can be done by any form of appropriate pranayama.

3. Hold a visualization for a few minutes to clear the sensory field and focus the mind internally. Visualization may be of a helpful color , a geometrical design, an image in the world of nature .

4. Repeat an affirmation to increase positive thought power, like calling up your soul's inherent freedom from pain, unhappiness and bondage. Or perform some prayer for healing or inner growth.

5. Silently observe the mind and let it empty itself out. The meditator should take the role of a witness and learn to look at the contents of the mind, just like watching the waves and debris flow down a rapidly moving stream.

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This Post was written by Dee from Ammalu's Kitchen