Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chinese noodles with lots of farm fresh veggies and soupy love

As much as I love Chinese food I have developed strange taste buds for all kinds of Chinese variations and extensions. Soya sauce, vinegar, worcestershire sauce, chili sauce, garlic, ginger, onion and lot of farm fresh veggies like carrots, french beans, cauli flower florets, spring onions etc. - prove to be a great platter with metamorphosed Chinese flavor.

Chinese noodles is easy and fast to cook. Dip the beautiful long strands of egg noodles in hot water to make it tender and just rightly soft. Saute the freshly cut vegetables, sprinkle the sauces, add semi boiled shredded chicken, shrimps etc and plate it immediately. Chinese food is cooked even as you eat it. So relish it while eating and allow the flavors to melt into your mouth.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tips to shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

BBB (Better Business Bureau) has laid down a detailed memorandum to shop during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday. As I was reading through the guide, I thought it is relevant for anytime shopping. Shopping would be a better experience if we could follow most of the guidelines.The BBB recommends the following tips for shopping online this holiday season to help fight unscrupulous online retailers, scammers and hackers:

Start planning now. Many retail stores are already promoting Black Friday deals in ads and on their websites. Take time to print out or clip ads for items you are interested in buying to help outline your shopping day in advance.

Read the fine print on gift cards. These can be found on the back of the card and will let you know the terms and conditions for using the card. There could be limitations to in-store purchases or exclusions on certain items.

Ask about return policies. While many stores offer a 30-day return policy, it is important to read the terms and conditions associated with each purchase. And remember that the refund policy usually applies to the day you purchase the item not when you give the item as a gift. Be sure to request gift receipts for all gifts.

Ask for gift receipts. When buying gifts, it’s important to obtain and keep receipts for all purchases in case the recipient needs to return an item. Many stores will provide gift receipts upon request, which allow returns but don’t show the recipient how much you paid for an item.

Protect your personal information. Check to see how your information may be used online. When shopping at stores, keep your card out of sight and make sure you get it back and safely in your wallet before you leave the store.

Check the site’s security settings and privacy policy. If the site is secure, its address should start with https://. You also may see a picture of a small closed lock in the lower right hand corner of the screen.

Know the company’s refund and return policies. Are there restocking fees? Do you have to pay shipping costs on returns?

Do not rely on pictures of a product. Read the description and check model numbers, if applicable.

Be cautious of free or low-price offers. Often, free offers are followed by an open-ended enrollment in a program that automatically bills your credit card account. Before ordering anything online, make sure you click on and read all terms and conditions.

Pay with a credit card.If you suspect fraud or don’t receive your order, you can challenge the charge in the event of a dispute.

Obtain a tracking number for shipments. If you need the product before the holidays, find out when the seller intends to ship it and if possible, how it will be shipped.

Print out the order. Make sure you have the documentation page for online orders and save it until the order arrives.

Be aware of phishing. Don’t respond to emails that ask for your credit card or bank account number or other personal information. Legitimate businesses do not send emails claiming there is a problem with an order or account to lure you into revealing financial information.

(C): BBB

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without thanking her

There lived a princess in the heart of the city of Calcutta in the eastern part of India. She had all the things in life – a loving father, 3 loving sisters, nephews, nieces, brothers, a big house, lot of books and the money to buy more and most of all the love of everyone around – everything that would make someone classically happy.

Then one day as she was getting ready to join her lovely sisters for a movie, she felt numbness on her legs. She fell down. Things followed rapidly there after. After several top doctors in the city were consulted, investigations procuring humongous bills were taken care of and after never ending sleepless nights, the top neurologists came to conclude that she was suffering from a rare type of neurological disease - Moyamoya disease(MMD).

In a matter of one year, she started to feel enormously weak and numb. She succumbed at home several times and had to be hospitalized few times. She was ventilated and weaned off after stormy periods. On all occasions, she was hassled, humiliated and treated like a vegetable. Now, she rests in an ICU facilitated bed at home, cared by her father, sisters and full time expensive and expert nurses. The room has suction tube, syringe pumps, ryle’s tube mechanics, all that a proper ICU must have.

A lot could be said about the medical mal treatment, mis diagnosis, lack of medical expertise and callous practices. We all know how it goes. Maligning is easy. Today however, I want to thank her who is living it all numb, unaware, yet not dead. Her fleeting smile (that’s once in a blue moon on seeing her father) is the reason her father is still fighting it along with her. He has stents to take care of his clogged arteries, he has a lot many instructions to abide by and he is not left with much money now. Still, he never does miss his dose of medicine so that he might not miss his daughter’s dose. He spends nearly 50K per month for her beautiful daughter. He is failing now with aches and pains catching up every now. But, he should never give up on the hope. That’s what has made both father and daughter so much more alive than many of us and so painfully beautiful.

Moyamoya disease was first identified in Japan. It occurs most frequently in patients from Japan and Korea. Moyamoya disease is a rare vascular disorder characterized by the progressive narrowing of the blood vessels in the circle of Willis (the ring of arteries at the base of the brain). The result is irreversible blockage of the carotid arteries to the brain as they enter into the skull. Moyamoya disease primarily affects children, but may also occur in adults ages 20 to 40.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Soy Sauce Eggs: Easiest, fastest and yummiest eggs you have ever tasted!

Mahogany eggs dipped in luscious soy sauce - have you ever tasted something like that? If not yet just save yourself 7 minutes before your pack your lunch box for the next day and see how sumptuously you are served for the day. Besides, the taste is uncompromising. Soy sauce eggs are wonderful as snacks because they don’t need any additional seasoning.

Use super quality authentic soy sauce, which is darker in appearance and richer in flavor than regular soy sauce. One trick to note–when peeling your hard boiled eggs, peel carefully, trying to avoid nicking the surface of the egg whites. If you do nick the surface, the eggs will still taste delicious, but they just won’t be as pretty.

You will need:

Hard boiled eggs
Authentic soy sauce


Pour the soy sauce into a pan and heat it on slow flame. When the soy sauce starts foaming up, add the eggs. Roll the eggs around in the soy sauce to coat them, and continue rolling them around the pan until the eggs are a dark mohagony color and the soy sauce has been reduced to a thick sludge.

Remove the eggs, letting any extra soy sauce drain off, and place on a plate to cool.

And you are done with nice pretty and healthy mahogany eggs!

Learned from Malaysia Rasa.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Decoding Milk for kids by Wendy Donahue

Q: Why milk is important for children?

A: It contains so many nutrients that children need to grow. Calcium is obvious, but milk is also high in potassium — it has more than bananas — phosphorus, protein, vitamins like B12 and D and magnesium.

Q: What is the right milk for what age?

A: Birth to age 1 is breast milk or formula. Age 1 to 2 is the only time that whole milk is necessary; the fat content is needed for the brain when it's developing rapidly.

Q: If fat helps a brain develop, would it make sense to give a child higher-fat milk if obesity isn't a problem?

A: It's better to choose plant-based sources of fat or low fat milk. Try to get fats from olive oil, avocados and peanut butter rather than saturated fat from animal products, ice cream, butter and cream.

Q: Some older kids aren't getting enough milk?

A: The recommended amounts are 3 cups over age 9, 2 cups for ages 2 to 3. Kids aren't getting enough potassium, calcium and magnesium. Two ways the teens get to drink milk are in smoothies and yogurt parfaits, with low-fat granola and fresh fruit.

Q: Do we reduce liquid milk in their diet if they eat a lot of yogurt and cheese?

A: The trick with yogurt is you have to look at the nutrition label. If the calcium and vitamin D are equivalent to a cup of milk, go for it. But some have a lot of gelatin, which means less calcium, and some have added sugars or artificial sweeteners.

Q: Milk also has sugar. Is it good sugar?

A: Unfortunately the sugar grams on labels do not differentiate between added sugar and natural sugar, or lactose.

Q: What are the best substitutes for cow's milk?

A: For some ethnic groups that do not digest lactose well, there are lactose-free milks. Soy milk is very similar to cow's milk in the calcium content, because they add it.

(C): wdonahue@tribune.com

Friday, November 11, 2011

The easiest snack to prepare: Healthy and spicy chickpea salad

This dish is surprisingly good and easy to prepare considering that the ingredients are so simple and easily available. Cooked Chickpea salad is very healthy and makes an excellent item to snack on. It also makes a nice accompaniment to many major dishes.

What you will need

teaspoons olive oil (any other oil will do)

diced onions, freshly chopped green chili and coriander leaves

turmeric, whole cumin

par-boiled chickpeas, drained and rinsed

lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste

How to make

1. Heat a sauté pan large enough to easily hold the beans over medium heat. Add oil to heat, then add the onion and sauté until transparent.

2. Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander and pepper and continue to sauté until the spices are aromatic and a bit toasted, about 3 minutes.

3. Add the chickpeas, lemon juice, salt and pepper and cook for another 5 minutes to blend the flavors.

4. Serve with freshly chopped green chilies and coriander leaves.

Photo credit: NYTimes