Vegetarian Food Pyramid - Barley

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Posted by DK

The next in the line of my series (see my previous post here) is going to be Barley. I have all kinds of Barley at home (at least all the ones I can find that is :)). The reason? Well Barley, a grain of the grass family, is among the oldest cultivated grain and is one of the most nutritious grains there is. I still remember how I used to keep my face when my mom forced the barley water down my throat in the name of health. I guess if she hadn't said precisely used "health reasons" , then I would have probably gulped down glass after glass :) – which of course I realize now in the aftermath. Barley forms one of the principal diets among the Eastern Europe, the Middle East and among the Asians.

Types of Barley

Let me now go into the different types available and their cooking method.

Different Types of Barley

Ask this to a farmer and he would probably give you at least 6 different types of Barley. But to a common (wo)man, our exposure to barley in the market comes down to majorly only three types.

Hulled Barley1) The Hulled barley is the most nutritious type of barley where bran and germ layers remain intact while only the outermost hull of the grain gets removed. It is the forerunner of nutrition among its various types. It is also called as “dehulled Barley”. While it takes a lot of cooking time, the nutrition that it gives is worth all the effort. This would be found in bulk in the health food stores. It is light brown in color and a bit bigger than pearled barley.

How to cook Hulled Barley?
For every one cup of Hulled Barley, add 2 cups of water. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer until it gets tender. It takes the longest cooking time – approximately 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes. It would be convenient to cook large quantities of these and store in the fridge to use as and when required.

2) Pot Barley(also referred to as Scotch Barley or Barley Groats) is the whole grain with just the inedible outer husk removed. It is the next best thing to hulless barley since here too the bran and germ are left intact although lightly polished/ minimally refined. You would get this type mainly in the Health Food stores and is not commonly available.

How to cook Pot Barley?
For 1 cup of Pot Barley, add 2 cups of boiling water, cover and simmer until tender. It takes approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour to cook.

3) Pearl Barley is the most commonly available form , which is nothing but an extension of Pot barley. Pot barley - polished some more with little bit of steaming added to it makes Pearl Barley and needless to say is little less nutritious than the former. The advantage would be the availability and also that it cooks faster than than Pot barley. The color of pearl barley is off white

How to cook Pearl Barley?
This is one of the fastest type among the three to cook. Take one cup of Pearl Barley and cook in 2 cups of water, bring it to a boil, cover and simmer for approximately 30minutes-45 minutes until tender.

Barley can also be steamed. Take one measure of Barley along with one measure of water. Steam it for approximately one hour. Adding few vegetables to it makes it a crunchy and healthy lunch.

With these three classifications in place, different forms of these are now available in the market in the recent years.

Other Varieties of Barley

1) An Asian variety of Barley is available in the Asian supermarkets and which goes by the name hato mugi, is supposedly the Japanese version. It is also called as pressed barley or Job's tears This grain is compressed, hulled and enriched.

2) Barley Flakes ( also referred to as Rolled Barley/ Flaked Barley) are nothing but Barley kernels which have been sliced and then rolled into flakes. This is most sought after for breakfast cereal and takes about 30 minutes to cook.

3) Barley grits are barley kernels which have been toasted and crushed into smaller pieces in order to reduce the cooking time. These are harder to find in the markets.

4) Black Barley (also referred to as the Ethiopian black barley) is , as the name emphasizes, black in color. They look similar to pearl barley in appearance.

How to cook Black Barley
Soak the barley overnight. For one measure of barley add 2-1/2 cups water, bring it to a boil, then simmer in covered pan for approximately 30-50 minutes until tender.

5)Quick Cooking Barley, as the name denotes, is the quick cooking version of Barley and takes only about 10 minutes to cook since it has been already pre-steamed. Use it in salads/side dishes.

6)Sprouting Barley are used to make sprouts which is not refined. They are not good for cooking since they have very thick hull

Barley Flour7)Barley Flour is the whole barley grain ground into a fine powder.These can be made at home provided you have grain Mill. There are two ways to make these flours.

a) Malting Process involves the barley allowed to sprout, rapidly dried and then made into a flour. This process changes the chemical structure of the barley and is the first step in brewing too. This also is more nutritious since it includes the hull of the grain.

b) Unmalted Barley flour is also available in the markets or you can make your own by grinding pearled or hulled barley using a Rice Mill.

Like any other flours, they go rancid very fast and its beneficial to store them in a freezer (good for 3-4 months) or else it should be stored in cool dry place (good for 1-2 months). One can use the flour for substituting 1/4 th of regular flour to give a nutty flour, can be used as thickeners in soups and stews etc. Since the flour has very little gluten, it needs other flours to make good textured breads.

8) Barley Malt Syrup. Move over sugar, here comes barley syrup :).I prefer such sweeteners to the regular refined white sugar. This syrup is made by sprouting the barley, then drying it quickly in a kilt/quick drying oven, cooked until it gets to a syrup consistency and finally strained to remove any impurities.

How to Use Barley Malt Syrup
The manufacturers specify the following substitutions : Use one for one measure as a replacement for honey and molasses. To replace sugar, use 1/4 cup of less liquid for each cup of barley malt syrup used.

Health Benefits of Barley

As mentioned earlier, hulless variety or even the Pot barley are more nutritious since they are less refined as compared to pearl Barley which is the most processed. Barley is rich in fiber, calcium, phosphorous, iron,magnesium and B vitamins.

In the ancient times, it was believed that consuming barley would increase potency and boost physical strength. The fiber in the grain helps to prevent constipation as well as other digestive problems. It also helps to minimize heart related diseases, certain cancers and harmful cholesterol produced by the liver.

If you have Type 2 Diabetes and have been taking Oats to reduce the same, then here is another good news for you. Barley helps to reduce the insulin and glucose responses than Oats. Eating insoluble fibers which is what Barley is all about., helps to prevent gallstones.

Related Recipes

1.Step by step pictorial of making Barley Roti - a healthy and satisfying Indian flatbread

This post was written by Dhivya

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Three Years Daily Tiffin

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Posted by Meeta K. Wolff

6thB-dayCake01 framed It's hard to believe but yes The Daily Tiffin is turning three. Personally it's a grand milestone for me as I have watched this blog grow from a one woman show to an incredible group grandstand.

I was so proud of my first post, not only because it was the first post but my first step into the blogging world. Since then many things have changed here.

The Daily Tiffin has flourished into an informative, fun and exciting team blog. The awesome team that helps me put together posts for a healthy and better family life are all driven by one thing - passion.

A passion to share their knowledge on how you can live a better life. We are not experts but we are parents, thinkers, inquirers, go-getters and communicators and we love what we do. This is portrayed in each post and we hope you enjoy your stay here.

I thank our readers some who have been around from the beginning. We know you are out there and we hope you are enjoying what we offer. I also thank my team - for just being the best darned group of people I know. I love your support and appreciate your energy.

Come help me blow these candles will ya!

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

So You Wanna Blog?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Posted by Peter M

I've been food blogging since for almost three years and what I thought was going to be a passtime has turned out to be a passion, a living entity and something that consumes alot of personal time.

If you're thinking about starting a blog, there are no real rules but there are some things you should consider, some tips to better blogging and some behaviour you should avoid.

So, you've started a blog - GREAT! Congratulations. What's your blog's purpose? Who's your audience? Do you have the time to write? What will the frequency of your posts be? There's a blog for everybody and for every interest so now that you've started a blog, you have some responsibility. There will be followers of your blog who expect a routine, a schedule or some regular posts from you. Set the pace of your blog early.

Stay on topic, don't make your blog too long winded and be yourself. Don't try to discuss something beyond your boundaries/limits and if you your homework. If your blog has photos, try and use your photos and if using others' photos, seek permission before using and heaven forbid...DO NOT use something elses' writings and pass it off as your'll get busted real soon and your blog will be viewed by little.

Everyone wants traffic, comments on their blog, right? We all want attention, encouragement, acknowledgement. Anyone who says otherwise is lying. When I first started my blog, no one knew I existed...until I started commenting on other blogs. Circulate. Leave comments, leave genuine comments on posts that truly interest you. That's one of the best and easiest ways to draw traffic to your site. It's time consuming but it works. Once you've developed a knack for content and photography, you'll rely less on "marketing" your blog.

If you're going to choose controversial topics, expect to take some heat and be prepared for the good, the bad & the ugly. It's your blog, you do what you want but sometimes one can stray into dangerous territory. I recently got notice of a blog that dared to discuss the topic of circumcision and sure enough, a flame war commenced in the comments section and talk of banning people, deleting and name calling ensued. Not cool.

Which brings me to the topic of leaving comments. As a blogger, most of you will write posts and also visit other sites and leave comments. Give opinions, be a critic, correct an erroe and of course, give praise but whatever you do, behave as though you were a guest in someone's house. Being rude will get you uninvited, so to speak.

One general type of behaviour that will alienate you is to leave lame comments that are barely sentences and thir only purpose is to draw traffic to your site. People can see righ through a comment like, "This is delish and you should come visit me at and the link below". For all intents & purposes, you morphed from a blogger to a SPAMMER.

The majority of bloggers in the food community are wonderful, nurturing people and I have qualms with few but with every community, there are some bad apples. The majority write entertaining, informative posts, some delicious foods, decent photography and posts are written at a consistent clip.

Find your niche, be yourself, be honest, treat your readers like your entertaining at your home, you'll find your style, you'll find an audience and ultimately you'll have a living, breathing entity called a blog with fans, readers, supporters. A little nook in the corner of the blogosphre.

This post was written by Peter Minakis

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WASTE - The Demon of Despair

Posted by Deeba PAB

When the economy is galloping full throttle, & life is hunky dory, a lot of things fade into oblivion. But in times like these, where recession is looming large, & it becomes prudent to tighten purse strings wherever possible, issues like food waste leave the back burner.

The US, which in my view poses the biggest example of ‘large king-size portions’ of food in every form, leads by far. A niggling question always … if you don’t serve such large portions of food, will there be such a huge percentage of waste? Also, would you agree or disagree that the body gets used to eating what it expects to be served up on the platter? Over the years, consumers have become conditioned to eat ‘larger’ than required portions. Visiting my sister in the US, I have seen more being trashed in a frenzy to clear the counters or fridge, than was required. Breaks my heart to see kids at fast food joints trying to wolf down more than necessary…& then the rest reaches the bin. It was heartening to read a report the other day about a restaurant in the UK where you can order according to the amount you wish to spend. That kills 2 birds with one stone, well make that 3 … fills the tummy satisfactorily, gives you the option of saving money, & most importantly, actively reduces waste!

What can we do to reduce food waste in our own little ways?
  • Left-overs are left-overs. Store them, labeled with a date, & creatively re-use them as soon as possible. Small portions make nice after school nibbles when the hungry ones head home. Make a kaleidoscope topping on a pizza base, veggies & all. Grill that left-over chicken or veggies into a sandwich with the left over pizza sauce, & watch them enjoy!!
  • Treat perishables with a vengeance. Have a plan. They say ripe bananas keep well as is in the freezer, just the skin gets black, but they remain fine within for the banana bread you were planning, but never happened.
  • Freeze a portion if you judge that it’s too much to consume at a go. It always comes in handy on a rainy day. In addition, clear the freezer regularly, & do a stock check every month.
  • Mark a day to clear the fridge. When we were young, Fridays were 'left over days'. Mom would clear out the fridge & we would finish all the little bits & bobs crowding the fridge, no matter how disjointed the combination was. It was a standing joke amongst friends & relatives not to visit us on Fridays …they would only get left-overs. I try & carry out the left-over tradition to date!
  • When eating out, see if you want to share large portions. Check if the restaurant is willing to make a 1 X 2 serving. We used to do that in college to save money, & more often than not, the restaurant would oblige. No harm in asking!
  • Gradually encourage kids to order small servings. The mind, body & heart adjust really fast. It’s a matter of conditioning. A scoop of ice-cream or cheesecake can fill in the gaps!!
  • Sharing is caring. I love to share with my Mom, neighbours, friends & household help. If I get large portions of veggies or fruits from the farm, which I know will spoil before I get to the bottom of the basket, I share them out immediately. If I make 4 jars of jam, we keep one, & the rest are sent out to my friends. It works vice versa as well!!

I just googled to see what the world thinks about food waste. A few points highlighted on a news report on CNN:

  • 5 percent of American's leftovers could feed 4 million people for 1 day
  • Disposing of food waste costs the U.S. $1 billion a year
  • Rotting food releases methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2
  • Methane can be harnessed to create clean energy for heat, light and fuel

Got any 'wasted' ideas? Let's hear them. Together we can reduce our carbon footprint & fight the demon of waste!

This post was written by Deeba

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5 Essential Practices for a Successful Diet

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Posted by Meeta K. Wolff

Now that the year is well underway, many people are trying harder than ever to hold firm to their resolutions, many of which include a healthier way of eating. Whether you are looking to shed a few holiday pounds or completely transform your look, there is hope when it comes to dieting. With a few simple guidelines, diets can produce some amazing results. Keep reading for some great practices that will make your diet a successful endeavor.

Learn the Principles of Your Diet

How is your diet plan ultimately going to help you reach your goals? Will you need to count calories or watch carbs? Perhaps you will need to do a little of both. Take some time to learn how the body uses food and what kind of diet will truly suit your weight loss needs. Knowledge is power, so take some time to research the best methods for achieving your desired results.

Find New Recipes

The internet is an amazing resource for food lovers of all walks of life. A simple search will give you access to thousands of great recipes, all of which can be tweaked to meet the needs of your specific diet plan. Learning new recipes is a great way to find new flavors from the comfort of your own home without having to place undue strain on your pocketbook.

Avoid Eating Out

Eating out provides many temptations that could ultimately subvert your dietary goals. Many restaurants claim to have healthier or lighter items, but these items or only healthier or lighter when compared to other menu items. Salads at fast food restaurants, for example, can have as many or more calories than a large burger and fries once the protein and dressings are layered on. When you cook at home you know what you’re getting, plain and simple.

Keep a Food Journal

Keeping a food journal can serve many useful purposes when dieting. First of all, it helps you track what you’ve been eating, as well as what you liked and didn’t like about these items. You can track your portions and the ingredients, even the cost of your meals quickly and easily. Make it an interactive journal by pasting in photos of your meals or even recipes and responses from others who have tried your food. Doing this is a great record of your diet and a resource for the future.

Keep With It

Developing the bad habits that caused you to either want or need to develop took time, so expect your good habits to take a while to develop. Thirty days is the standard amount of time to supposedly change habits, so keep at it. Dieting is not always easy, but can be facilitated by practicing a few of these suggestions.

This post was contributed by guest writer Holly McCarthy, who writes on the subject of nursing school.

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Simple DailyTips For a Healthy Glowing Skin

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Posted by Mansi

One of the most important part of our body is the Skin, and though people do tend to try and take care of their skin for beatific reasons, it is necessary to know that it is your first layer of protection against harsh forces of nature, after your clothes, of course, and hence, should not be neglected. Getting a silky smooth and flawless skin is indeed a nature's gift, and the dream of many, but with a few basic ingredients, and a little bit of time and extra care, you can make the most of what you have and be proud to have a healthy glowing skin.

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

1. Wash your hands and face (the most exposed parts of skin) with gentle cleansing soap and lukewarm water, at least twice, daily. Do not use harshly medicated products before consulting a skin specialist!

2. Eat Right - which means try to eat foods rich in Vitamins A & E, like dark green vegetables, nuts, or yellow or orange-colored foods. Also opt for healthy omega-3 rich foods like whole grains or flax seeds which promote good skin health.

3. Drink plenty of fluids. The suggested intake of 6-8 glasses of water, or non-aerated liquids per day is not a myth; keeping your skin hydrated is the best way to keep it looking plump, soft, and actually healthy.

4. Exercise Regularly - This is one of the most important in maintaining the natural elasticity and texture of the skin. Moderate aerobic activity of about 30 minutes a day, at least thrice a week will keep your skin supple and soft.

5. Turn to natural rejuvenators like fruits, avocado, aloe vera, oatmeal, almond-pastes, sandalwood, olive oil and similar others for pampering your skin with a facial or light massage, at least once or twice a month. Avoid harsh cosmetics, and don't ever use old or expired products as they can do permanent damage. Also, soaking yourself into a nice hot tub with some body oils will not only relax your senses, but will rekindle your skin too.

6. Always keep a Moisturizer and a Sunscreen (with minimum SPF 15) handy in your purse. Never let your skin get dry, and always wear sunscreen, even if its not summer! The UV rays that you can't feel is because your skin feels them for you, and believe me, they are not good for you, nor your skin, so wear your protection.

7. Don't Compromise on your Sleep - this holds true in any case, perhaps more for your mental balance than for a healthy skin, but nevertheless, its important to get at least 6-8 hours of peaceful sleep and you wouldn't have to worry about the dark circles and under-eye wrinkles.

8. Avoid Smoking, Drinking and Tanning as much as you can. The first two are actually good for your health too, and as much as getting a toned and tanned body sounds attractive, frequent tanning or that which is not done the right way can cause permanent damage to your skin.

9. Be extremely careful to remove any makeup from your face before going to bed. Use a mild cleanser or face-wash, then pat dry your face and apply a thin layer of moisturizer if you have dry skin. I follow this routine every night, even without makeup, and I can tell you it goes a long way in preventing acne and breakouts.

10. Lastly, try to avoid greasy, spicy or sugary foods, as believe it or not, they have a direct impact on your skin. Most dermatologists recommend getting off high-sugar, high-spice food as soon as you go to them with an acne problem. These foods can result in loss of natural elasticity of your skin, making it more prone to pimples and wrinkles.

These are just a few things that I try to stick to, to keep my skin naturally healthy. There would be a 100 other tips out there for you to explore, but these simple ones work best for me, and might do so for you too. So take care of your skin as much as you care for your body - it will make you feel good from outside and within!

This post was written by Mansi

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Recycling: A Primer

Friday, February 13, 2009

Posted by Suganya

‘Going Green’ seems to be the buzz these days. Looking around, one could notice that a growing number of companies and individuals are embracing practices that are safer to the environment. Even though this movement has gained momentum, we still have a long road ahead. A huge percentage of people still think going green is a lot of work. In reality, its a lot simple. With a few small changes, you would be surprised how achievable this feat is. Of course, you cannot make all the changes in one day. But baby steps is all it takes to get the ball rolling.

Greener living starts with the practice of “three R’s” – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Reduce what you use, reuse what you can and then recycle. Practices like buying in bulk, reusing grocery totes instead of plastic bags, avoiding disposable products like paper cups, paper towels, are few of the practices to reduce and reuse.

When it comes to recycling, there is a lot of information to be gone through, that you may be left with a lot of questions. What are those recycling numbers? Why do I need to sort my recyclables? Why wouldn’t my recycling service accept certain products? Is recycling so confusing that you wouldn’t really bother? Fear not, it isn’t that complicated.

Theoretically, it is possible to recycle much of the household waste. But practically what is recyclable is dictated by your community recycling service. Glass, aluminum, paper, and plastic are all recyclable. When it comes to plastics though, they have to be sorted based on the type of resin its made of. To determine, look for the three arrow symbol, called ‘chasing arrows’ on most plastic containers. The numbers inside the arrows are the codes that the industry uses to distinguish the resin. Lower numbers are easier to recycle, but some recycling facilities accept higher numbers too. This is what the numbers mean and some places where they are used.

1 - Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET, PETE) - Clear sturdy plastic used in drink bottles and food containers
2 - High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) - Milk containers, detergents and cleaning supplies
3 - Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) - Clamshells, blister packs, piping, shower curtains
4 - Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) - Grocery bags, squeezable bottles, wrapping films
5 - Polypropylene (PP) - Yogurt containers, bottle caps, prescription bottles, microwavable containers like Tupperware
6 - Polystyrene (PS) - Styrofoam items such as coffee cups, packing peanuts
7 - Other - Made with a resin other than the six listed above.

Find out what kind of plastics your community recycles and sort accordingly. Previously, you may require to sort glass, aluminum, paper and plastics (the accepted codes). But with a new program called ‘single-stream recycling’, everything goes into one container.

If your community doesn’t have curb-side recycling pickup, talk/write to the appropriate individuals. With enough people requesting for such services, they may consider doing it.If you are looking for incentives to motivate your friends and neighbors, there is program called RecycleBank that offers reward points for the amount of recycled wastes. These points can be redeemed with many of the organizations they have partnered with. Meanwhile, you can find out where the nearest recycling centers are in your area from this directory. Call ahead to find out what they recycle. The center that I visit, offers free recycling to non-commercial wastes, once a week. An identification or water bill to prove that you are a resident, is what they ask for.

Try employing a few of the above said steps everyday. Once it becomes a routine you would hardly fell that its an extra work. If you are already doing all of these, pat yourselves on the back. But don’t stop there. Find out what more you can do. The world wide web has a wealth of information to go green and save our beautiful blue Planet Earth.

These are some of the links to learn more about green living. The facilities given in these links may be available only for a particular region. If you know of other useful links on green living, pertaining to other regions, please leave them as comments. It will be mighty useful for our readers living across the globe.

This post was written by Suganya

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The Secret for Getting My Kids to Eat Green Beans

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Posted by Andrea Meyers

My favorite food is avocado, and I'll eat it just about any way you want to prepare it, whether it's sliced on top of a sandwich or salad, chopped into a bowl of ajiaco or tortilla soup, mashed into guacamole with cilantro and lime, frozen into ice cream, or pureed into a shake. On the other hand, I really intensely dislike liver and choose not to prepare it in any way. Just like everyone, I have preferences and enjoy certain flavors more than others.

I've paid more attention to food preferences since we started having children, and I'm learning that our likes and dislikes don't always mesh, even though the boys came from my body. Some I understand, like the liver thing, and others completely mystify me. For example, our oldest son does not like chocolate cake, cookies, or candy (but he does like chocolate ice cream). I have to give him credit for at least tasting it each time, but after a bite he's done. He's a savory kind of guy, and not so big on sweets, which is not a bad thing. Our middle son doesn't like pizza, and he requests a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when we make pizzas. He also has a big sweet tooth, which I have to watch out for. Our toddler won't touch carrots, cooked or raw, and his favorite color is green but he won't eat anything green. I'm still trying to sort that one out.

It's winter time here, and we eat lots of green beans and broccoli this time of year. I have been hooked on green beans since I was a young girl; they were a staple in my family, so preparing them is enjoyable for me. My boys are more skeptical and have never really taken to eating green beans, so I decided to try a different tactic: I only put one bean on each plate. My boys gave me a funny look.

"Mommy, you only gave me one bean!" exclaimed four-year-old said.

"I know. You may only have one bean until you eat everything else on your plate," I informed him.

He and his older brother laughed and they ate the bean right away. They asked for another, but I repeated they must eat everything else before the could have another bean. After finishing off the rest of their meal, they both asked for more. I put one more bean on each plate. Now they were giggling and said they wanted more.

"You need to eat that one first," I said. They promptly ate it and looked at me expectantly.

"Mommy, I want two beans," announced my six-year-old.

"Mommy, I want 10 beans!" countered his brother.

"Mommy, I want 100 beans!" You can see where this was going.

"No, I want (long pause) 1,000 beans!"

I gave them both a healthy scoop of beans, which they promptly devoured. Even their little brother got into the game and ate several beans that night.

I can't say I'm an expert on training kids to eat, but we try to promote healthy foods at our house. After many experiments, we've found a few things have helped get the boys more interested in foods they initially reject. We encourage them to help prepare food whenever possible because they are more interested in new foods if they help make them. And I recently started putting all of the food on the table at once rather than having some of it on a nearby counter or keeping warm in a pot on the stove. When the boys see what's available, they are more interested and try more things. And then there's always the trick of making it seem like a treat, as I did with the green beans.

Some of the selectiveness comes with age, and as my children get older they seem more receptive to new things. My six-year-old gradually went from needing to have all of his food separated on his plate and not touching each other to piling multiple fillings on a tortilla, and it gives me hope that my two younger children will grow accustomed to a variety of healthy foods.

This post was written by Andrea

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Weekend Herb blogging # 169 - Recap

Monday, February 09, 2009

Posted by Dee

Here is the much awaited round up for Weekend Herb Blogging # 169. Thank you Kalyn and Haalo for giving us this wonderful opportunity to host and thanks to all the dear participants who have made this a success. We have received 25 entries and here are all of them.

This week's host for WHB # 170 is Cheryl of Gluten Free Goodness

The recap is in the order of the emails received.

Meeta has definitely re invented the wheel by making over this classic dish . It definitely looks mouth watering!

Fettucine with spicy lamb sausage meatballs

Dhanggit gets rid of temptation by yielding it with this crispy , golden pork with apples " lechon style"

Roast Pork with fried apples

Pamela turns some tired looking zucchini and carrot lying in the fridge into this fantastic mouthwatering cake!

Carrot Zucchini Cake

Anna turns a simple warm potato salad into a light meal by itself by making a rich addition of her father's home smoked trout to it.

Smoked Trout and warm potato salad

Chriesi talks about the goodness of artichokes and sends a wonderful risotto made with baby artichokes our way ! This is definitely a keeper !

Risotto ai carciofi

Suganya goes back to her childhood and makes her favorite dish Pennywort pepper gravy. It looks mouthwatering to me !

Pennywort Pepper Gravy

Joanne comes to us with this simple , yet endearing healthy side dish which goes well with her lasagna. I sure can gobble those up in a jiffy !

Peas with Honey and Lemon-pepper

Pam sprouts some broccoli seeds into nutritional powerhouses and yes I do agree with her that its the current hottest thing out there!


ts and js make these beautiful and unique lime macapuno bars for us and one new thing to know about is the mutant coconut !

Lime macapuno bars

Ning gets us this delicious, hot and flavorful and hearty chinese seafood and wintermelon soup

Seafood and wintermelon soup

Joelen throws in a few random ingredients for dinner and whips up this fantastic meal of mushroom and sundried tomato stuffed chicken , keeping in mind all those weight watchers !

Mushroom and sundried tomato stuffed chicken

Kalyn gets us a great Phase One food recipe for the south beach dieters, Its an asy-to-make hearty and wholesome Twice-Baked Spaghetti Squash with Pesto and Parmesan is definitely something which she will be making again.

Twice-Baked Spaghetti Squash with Pesto and Parmesan

Marija shares with us a recipe of Venezuelan Pickled eggplant salad from Manolla , a sweet beautiful Venezuelan lady with whom she and her family are acquainted with...

Venezuelan Pickled Eggplant Salad

Rachel, the talented gardener, talks to us about planting, storing and using the double agents in her garden , Cilantro and Dill. She has some great storage and cooking tips to share with us.

Cilantro Seeds

Brii gets us some yummylicious swedish sweets which are simple and easy to make. I am counting on this recipe to help me cook up something quick.

Swedish Sweets

Scott sends us a healthy , delicious asian inspired green salad whipped up with his kitchen grown cress and herbs.

Mixed Cress and Herb Salad

Kits Chow shares with us a spinach and tofu soup made of light vegetable broth which looks delicious and quite filling.

Spinach and Tofu Soup

Laurie shares with us an innovative and hearty seafood and vegetable stew . She used Poivron rouge , a moroccon spice. Quite an informative post and a hearty looking stew!

Seafood and vegetable stew

Haalo gets us a wonderful starter or a lunch recipe with this yummy looking carmelized endive tart. It is indeed a treat to our eyes !

Carmelized Endive Tart

Poonam gets us a dish called Daal Palak, Lentils with Spinach . Simple yet heartwarming and surely falls into comfort food category. She serves it with a simple Aloo - methi Bhaji( Potato and fenugreek leaves stir fry)

Daal paalak

Aloo Methi Bhaaji

Cinzia gets us a Softly glazed and fantastically fresh, yet simple and a very special Carrot vichy to us. Check out this recipe guys! It looks delicious!

Carrot Vichy

Organically cooked gets us

lahanorizo (cabbage rice) , a greek recipe. Now I know what to do with the head of cabbage , that I always conveniently tend to forget !


Liz gets us a dessert she invented just before a dinner party and she calls it frozen citrus cream with candied thyme. Tell me, Can you resist that ? I definitely cannot !!!

Frozen Citrus Cream with candied thyme

I get to the recap , tandoori asparagus, a healthy dish with a popular Indian dressing / marinade !

Tandoori Asparagus

Please feel free to leave a comment or write to me, In case I missed someone's entries or have a wrong link. Hope you guys enjoy the recap.

This post was written by Dee

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

Teaching Daddy a thing or two...

Posted by Dharm

When I was a child, my parents liked to take credit for everything that I knew – as if they taught me all that I know. I do not dispute the fact that I learnt a lot from my parents. I learnt everything from the importance of good manners to the correct utensils to use at formal meals. I was taught math during rides in the car and picked up early cooking tips from helping Mom in the kitchen. But I learned a lot of things, including many life lessons, on my own. I often wonder if my parents learnt anything from me when I was young.

When I became a father myself, I persevered in the belief that I would need to teach my son and daughter everything and that there was no way that I could possibly learn anything from them. How wrong I have been! Aside from the unquestionable fact that my children have taught me to be a father, a skill that I had no prior knowledge off, they have taught me so much more.

At the age of two, my son developed a fascination for animals. In an attempt to cultivate this interest, both his Mother and I bought him numerous books. Through reading to him, I have learnt of animals that I never knew existed. I have learnt of the Jerboa, Hyrax and Okapi in Africa. I have learnt of the difference between alligators and crocodiles. I have learnt about Pandas, Polar Bears, Grizzly bears and Kodiak bears. Did you know that Polar bears are only found in the Arctic and not the Antarctic? I have even learnt the difference between the African and Asian elephants. What else have I learnt? I have learned about dinosaurs – something that I had no knowledge of nor interest in before. My son has become a walking encyclopaedia on dinosaurs and I have been forced to learn just to keep up with him.

My daughter has taught me some words in Spanish. She loves the cartoon Dora the Explorer and picked up some Spanish words that she has passed on to her Mother and me. Just like dinosaurs with my son, I have been forced to keep learning Spanish words just to keep up with her. My daughter loves to read and every car ride is filled with questions of how to pronounce certain words she sees on road signs and billboards. This has taught me patience and reinforced the fact that every situation can be a learning opportunity. My daughter loves art and craft and I have learnt that I am really not such a klutz when it comes to handicraft!

I have learnt that imagination knows no boundaries and I have learnt how to use imagination not just as a toy but also as a way to broaden the kids’ minds. I have learnt the joys of just being silly together with my children and learning how to laugh at ourselves.

I have learnt that the mind of a child is like a sponge. They absorb everything they see and hear. I have learnt that children develop at a phenomenal rate and that not providing them sufficient mental stimulus is akin to not providing them enough food. I have learnt the importance of cultivating their interests and taking an active interest in it myself. By doing so I am able to learn things I never knew before. And would probably never know at all.

I have learned to ignore the age-old adage – ‘children should be seen and not heard’ – rather I encourage them to ask whatever they want and try to find an answer to their questions.

Perhaps the greatest lesson that my two children have taught me is how to appreciate the gifts and blessings that God has given us. They have taught me to be thankful for what we have. They have taught me that life is made precious by the things we often take for granted – love, laughter, health and the warmth and security of a happy home. They have taught me to leave my worries outside the front door and to come back home with a clear head and a light heart. They have taught me that the sweetest sound a father could ever hear is the sound of his children’s laughter – especially when he is the one that makes them laugh.

We have been blessed with two remarkable children – a son and a daughter. They have taught me so much in such a short time and I can’t wait for them to teach me even more.

This post was written by Dharm

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Sourdough Starters and Mothers

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Posted by Donna

Nurturing Mothers
We're all about families here at The Daily Tiffin. Mothers and fathers nurturing their family, and families caring for each other. For thousands of years, Mother
was the center of the household unit. While there are many types of families today, there's one thing that keeps them going - a nurturing parent, grandparent, siblings, aunties and so on, that feeds, sustains and cares for the family.

Today, I want to talk about another Mother. One who has been around for what seems like forever. She's been my mother for many, many years, and maybe even your mother, and your neighbor's mother too. This Mother is a real world traveler and has been part of cultures that we can't even imagine. This Mother really gets around!
Of course, I'm not talking about your biological Mother. I'm, talking about "Mother Sourdough". It's hard to tell how many families she's fed over the years. We could even be related in a spiritual sourdough sort of way!

Years ago, while I was still in my teens, I got this notion that I wanted to be independent. Sound familiar? I wanted to take care of myself, get back to nature, and create something that I could call my own. Too young to marry and start a family of my own, I learned that I could still create a living being, or substance as you will, that needed to be fed and cared for much like an infant. I picked up a new book (1970) called, Sourdough Jack's Cookery and Other Things by Jack Mabee. You can still find it today on Amazon or eBay. This book started a love affair with all things sourdough!

A Living Organism!
Keep in mind, I was a teenager, living at home with my parents who were not into that sort of "hippie stuff" back then. I made my starter - a bubbly, sour and yeasty smelling sourdough concoction. Sound yummy? It will when you discover all the delicious baked goods I made from this humble sourdough "Mother". I made sourdough pancakes, muffins, coffeecakes, and sourdough bread kneaded by hand. I kept my sour smelling mess in the fridge with strict instructions to my bewildered family, "DON"T TOUCH, Living Organism!" I called him Herman. Yes, he had a name, and it didn't matter to me that he was "THE MOTHER". Dad soon discovered that icky bucket of Herman in the fridge was like a pot of gold to his stomach! He ate everything - and I don't mean just the delicious creations I churned out. I mean the rejects, flops, the dropped-on-the-floor-five-second-rule yucky stuff too!

Over the next 30 years (please don't do the math!) I used the same starter for my family. (OK, I have to fess up here. I did let Herman die, but only once. I asked forgiveness, created him all over again, and life went on.) No matter where we lived, we always saw the bucket of sour and bubbly Herman in the back of the fridge. Then we opened a bakery and Herman needed to grow up fast. We fed him really well until he grew big enough to fill four, 5 gallon buckets at a time. We were always rotating them, never wanting to let Herman get too skinny and die again. This went on until 2004 when we closed the bakery and finally let Herman go. He served us well all those years, but it was his time to rest in peace.

The Supposed Story Of Sourdough
There are stories of sourdough "Mothers" living for 150 years, being shared one cup at a time and keeping the family going, generation after generation. Wagon trains crossing the country in search of gold and a better life, made sure they always had a sourdough "Mother" sponge aboard. San Francisco Sourdough Bread is probably one of the most famous breads made with sourdough. Friendship starter is another term used by friends as they shared a crock of the starter with a new bride or neighbor. A little card with recipes and wishes for a happy life is attached with a ribbon.

Sourdough (or natural leaven) has been around for a very long time. Before yeast was sold in little packets, it was made with leftover potato water and flour. Some bakers use scalded milk before mixing. Others use a variety of flours, such as whole wheat or rye. Wild yeast can also be used. Different ingredients will change the taste of the sourdough, in turn imparting unique flavors to your baked goods. You can also skip the entire conception part and buy Vermont's King Arthur's classic Sourdough Starter and then maintain it.

There are plenty of recipes out there, many made from scratch, but this is one of the easiest to make and care for. Experiment!

Homemade Sourdough Starter Recipe

* 2 cups Unbleached King Arthur Flour, or similar all-purpose flour
* 1 pk Active Dry Yeast (Again, play around with potato water, scalded milk, wild yeast.)
* 1 Tbsp sugar (optional)
* 2 cups (more or less) lukewarm spring water.


* Use a plastic container or a crock with a lid.
* Make sure it is double the size of your beginner as it will rise and fall, giving off gases. This is normal.
* Never use metal containers or spoons. A chemical reaction will take place and ruin the process.
* Mix Flour, yeast and sugar in container.
* Add enough water to make a pancake batter-like consistency.
* Place the cover on top, but don't seal it.
* Set it in a warm place for 24 hours or until bubbly and yeasty smelling.
* It will have risen during this time, so stir it down, cover and place in refrigerator.

Care and Feeding
Now that you've created a life, you need to feed and nurture it. Some bakers give their sourdough a name, although that's really not necessary.(Remember Herman?) At this point it's still a baby and needs to be cared for. After a day or two when it smells sour and tangy, cover and put it in the refrigerator. As it gets older, it will soon be called "Mother" and has to be replenished each time you use "her". If you use 1 cup of starter, then you need to put 1 cup back. Replace with 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup water, mix in well, let her sit out for a while, cover and put her back in the refrigerator. Every now and then, add some potato water to help her along. You must remember to feed her often or she will get moldy and die. :-(

Sourdough Baked Goods
So, what can you make with this messy, sour-smelling slimy goop? Plenty! Some good suggestions are; sourdough bread, sourdough carrot cake, pancakes, bagels, coffeecake and muffins, quick breads, brownies, buttermilk biscuits, cinnamon rolls and, well, you get the picture. Just about anything that calls for leavening can be substituted with sourdough and with a little tweaking, turn out delicious baked goods.

This Sourdough Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is from my own collection. I've literally made a thousand or more of these cakes over the years. For obvious reasons, I highly recommend it!

The Sourdough Home
has a number of delicious recipes for breads, muffins, sweets, rolls and more, some with photos, tutorials and classes.

The Fresh Loaf
is a community for amateur artisan bakers and bread enthusiasts.

King Arthur Flour has an amazingly easy Rustic Sourdough Bread Recipe. Full of tips and photos, I love this website!

Also from King Arthur Flour comes a Chocolate Sourdough Cake! I haven't made this one yet, but it's next on my list!

Joy The Baker shares her recipe for Sourdough Pancakes.

The Kitchn from Apartment Therapy has an alternative Sourdough Starter for you to try.

Remember to have fun with your sourdough. Take it out of the fridge once in a while and have a bakery play day with your kids. You'll make memories they'll never forget!

written by Donna Diegel

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Tiffin tuesday - quick bento

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Posted by jokergirl@wererabbits


This bento was very quick to make with a microwaved quiche muffin cup from the freezer and couscous made with water from the tea boiler.
The upper layer is couscous salad with parsley and lemon. The lower layer is a quiche cup on lettuce, a cherry tomato, pickled onions, some homegrown alfalfa sprouts (I put some homegrown cress on the quiche as well), a candy and a fishy with balsam vinegar.

Even though it's winter, this is the perfect time to grow your own cress and various types of sprouts in your own home! Just grab some mung beans, linseed or pea kernels, or cress seeds and start sprouting.
You don't even need any special equipment for it - my cress grows on some wet kitchen paper inside a tray I had previously used as a paint palette on my windowsill, and my sprouts need nothing more than an empty marmelade jar, some water and a dark warm place to sprout in.
A perfect project to do together with kids! I still remember fondly my own first cress plantation.

This post was written by jokergirl from WereRabbits

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Weekend Herb Blogging #169

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Posted by Dee

Weekend Herb Blogging this week is hosted by the team at " The Daily Tiffin" we are proud to announce its commencement starting from 2nd Feb'09 to 8th Feb'09 . We thank dear Kalyn for graciously letting us host and also Haalo , who has taken over managing the event recently from Kayln. Thank you dearies once again for working so hard and making this a success for the 4th consecutive year.

Here are the RULES of the event and below is a recap just in case :)

1. Entries to Weekend Herb Blogging must be posts written specifically for Weekend Herb Blogging. This means they cannot be cross-posted in other events. Photos used in the posts however can be submitted to photo events like DMBLGIT.

2. Weekend Herb Blogging entries should have the goal of helping people learn about cooking with herbs or plant ingredients.

Only two types of entries will be accepted:
* Recipe posts where a herb or plant ingredient is one of the primary ingredients in the recipe
* Informative posts that spotlight one herb or plant ingredient, particularly including information about how they are used in cooking.
Naturally, posts can be a combination of both these criteria.

3. Posts must contain the phrase Weekend Herb Blogging with a link to this postand to Haalo's site. ( Cooking almost anything atleast once!)

4. The posts may be written anytime during the week but you must email us at thedailytiffin(at) with WHB in the subject line by:
3pm Sunday - Utah Time
10pm Sunday - London Time
9am Monday - Melbourne (Aus) Time
You can use this converter to find out the corresponding time in your location.

5. In your email please include the following information and email it to before 8th feb '09

* Your Name
* Your Blog Name/URL
* Your Post URL
* Your Location
* Attach a photo (300px wide)

This information will help us greatly as the recaps can be quite time consuming.

6. Recaps will be published Sunday Night or Monday.

7. Please feel free to use the logos above.

We are so looking forward to seeing all those wonderful recipes soon!

This post was written by Dee

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