Not feeling the Diwali cheer? Entering the kitchen might help…

Barfi-Diwali_sweetI have grown up hearing my mother and grandmother’s stories about how in their time, Diwali was a month long affair. In the years bereft of Amazon, Myntra, Snapdeal, and the one-click-retail therapy,  Indian households would start the preparations in advance. Much like a military operation, there was a strategy . The season began with  kachori’s, mathhi’s, namak para’s, ajwain sticks and namkeens and nearer to the Diwali, the kadhai would witness a makeover and out came the barfi’s , halwas, ladoos and other sweet delicacies….

So this year, to get into the festive mood, I decided to encourage the feeling by engulfing myself in the kitchen, to make a traditional sweet.

Enjoy my grandmother’s badaam (almond) barfi recipe. ( the recipe is so easy that you can replicate the almond with pistachios, cashew or any other dryfruit)

Almond Barfi Recipe

Ingredients: 

1kg almonds ( soaked overnight and peeled)

1kg sugar

1/2 tsp gulkand essence

1tsp almond essence

1/2 a cup of water

Method: 

Coarsely grind the blanched almonds ( instead of mixie, use a hand blender so the almonds don’t get pasty) Boil the water and dissolve the sugar. Once done add the almond paste , gulkand and almond essence. Stir for about 5 minutes till it is mixed well. Even out on a platter and leave to cool. Cut in pieces and serve !

 

 

 

 

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5 things from your Gift Cupboard that can be recycled this Diwali

What is a gift cupboard did you ask?

It’s the magical place which promises to be your savior, every time your husband forgets to tell you about a dinner at his bosses, the pandora’s box that has something for every occasion, your own little shopping mall in the comfort of  home.

I got married 6 years ago, and yet some of the 107 gifts that I received on that momentous day are still packed and sealed, waiting to be unwrapped. Just like your wedding day, these gifts too are truly unforgettable.

So here’s a good way of cleaning and recycling that gift cupboard.

  • CROCKERY -Home is a personal space especially when you are setting up your first marital home and while for guests at weddings it makes perfect sense to gift tea sets, plates, coffee mugs, glasses and all types of serving bowls, it may not suit the design sensibility of your home. I divide these gifts into NEVER USE and MAY USE. Every year, I ensure 5 of these ‘Never Use’ home items are donated to a charity home. Why should they always get hand me downs?

 

  • HOME DECOR ARTICLES -Anniversary, Housewarming or a JLT ( Just like that) party means a new a batch of home items. Now who can blame your guests, after all candle holders, coasters, antique clocks, flower vases make for ideal non controversial gifts. But if you haven’t managed to take them out in a while, this Diwali, gift it to your support help at home. After paying premium price for lentils, decorative items is an unaffordable luxury for them.

 

  • PLATTERS & SERVING BOWLS – This one is a particular favourite. Come Diwali, and I like to take out those single platters that don’t gel with any of my houseware, fill dry fruits, chocolates, raisins in them, add 5-6 diyas for festive cheer. Voila! you have a Diwali hamper ready for gifting. Incase you have single serve bowls, add different dry fruits in each, assemble on a glass, marble or wooden tray, add the diyas and it’s ready to go too.

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  • PERFUMES -At any given point in time, I have over 10 perfumes in my cupboard, some that I buy on my shopping sprees and others gifted to me on special occasions. It’s important to remember that like wine, perfumes too, age and get better with time, but they also tend to evaporate over long periods of time. I like to gift them to my team on festive occasions.

 

  • CLOTHES- How many times have you bought an outfit, a tad too small, hoping to fit into it and never did? A majority of my impulsive ‘I love the outfit too much to not get it’ buys, land up in my gift cupboard. I like to gift these to people in the pantry, security or the house keeping team. It’s something that lights up their day.              Isn’t that the whole point of Diwali?

 

THIS FESTIVE SEASON,DON’T LEAVE THE HOUSE WITHOUT…

The weekend’s here! The social calendar is brimming with parties, events and card evenings! Juggling work, family, and parties can be quite exhausting! So here’s a few tips on how to be a Superwoman in this series of – Don’t leave the house without…

#Popping your Multivitamin– With a fast life come many challenges. Easiest way to overcome this is to stay on top of your health. And it doesn’t get easier than taking a multivitamin. All purpose vitamins are supplements to our daily diet, replenishing  minerals that we are missing out on.

#Burning an Aromatherapy oil diffuser in the house-Hectic lifestyle means our body is working 24×7 with too little sleep to help the body repair itself for the next day. The key here, is to walk into a room full of your favourite aroma, as this helps relax your senses and body. This also ensures however short your sleep is, it’s most refreshing, making sure your next day starts with a bang. ( Here’s my favorite )

#Picking out your clothes for the next day– Admit it ladies, staring at your cupboard for 5 mins every morning can save you many a stress attacks. Deciding your clothes for the next day is an attempt to make your morning-wardrobe decision free.

#A party hard/ hangover cure medicine- So while all nights are not wild nights, they have a habit of creeping up on us. Hangover cure medicines are a lifesaver in these situations. Take them before or during the party depending on the instructions on your med.

#Keeping 2 litres of water by your bedside– Does the following register a bell? Enter house, throw heels, wear night suit, collapse into bed. Getting up from the bed to get a bottle of water at that time is not an option. But a good night’s party best friend is hydration. Get all the alcoholic toxins out of the body for a hangover free morning.

#Grabbing a byte– Never leave the home hungry, with our constant jammed roads, it takes a minimum 30 minutes to get anywhere. Between getting ready and actually eating home at your host’s your stomach can be empty for 90 minutes or more. Drinking on an empty stomach is only for the champions. Mere mortals like us need to ensure a lined stomach to avoid the ill effects of a Night Out.

#Hot water shower– It is a myth that cold water helps you wake up. The best thing that you can do to rejuvenate your body is to have a hot/warm water bath. The steam helps the body relax by taking the stress toxins out, making the whole experience more therapeutic and you a fully recharged person. A hot shower specially in summers, makes you feel cooler as the temperature is nearer to your environment.

#Make up removing wipes– Why waste your sleep time trying to keep your skin free of make up?  Make your drive back productive by carefully and gently  removing the toxins from your skin. Now that’s one less thing to do when you get back home!( Buy My choice of wipes here )

Hard working professional by day and Queen Bee of the party by night will no longer be an ordeal. So get cracking, and make sure you have all the ingredients for a great festive season!

-MANSI MEHTA

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