Perfect activities for toddlers

Since now school is done and I have all the time in the world to enjoy the summer with my kiddo! Here are list of our favorite activities of my kiddo, I hope you guys can do some with your kiddos. These activities are amazing for their growth and development.

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I have attached the file below incase if you want to print it and keep it with you.

Perfect activities for your toddler

If you do end up trying any, please let me know your experience and if your kiddo enjoyed it !

🙂

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OVERCOMING FRUSTRATION

Frustration. ITS EVERYWHERE!! Everyone is frustrated at some point in their life. Frustration winds you up and can take so much out of you. Because it not only sucks energy but also distracts you and can steal quite a bit of time.

So what can you do?

Well, sometimes that frustration can actually be a positive and can give you a new idea or angle on things. Or it can give you the power to keep going just a little bit more until you reach your goal. But when you start going in circles, when the frustration just makes you mad or your mind foggy and the day is starting to slip through your fingers then there are steps you can take.

There are ways to turn such a state of mind or day around. Into something better. Into something more helpful. And into something that will make you feel better again.

Step 1: Be here now.

When you are frustrated then you are often somewhere in the future in your mind. Somewhere you wish you would be. Or you are reliving a stumble or failure from your past.

Snap out of those headspaces and calm down by focusing your mind and attention on what is now, right here at this moment.

You can do so by for example:

  • Focusing on your breathing. Sit down, close your eyes and just focus on the air going and out of your nose for 1-2 minutes. Take calm and slightly deeper breaths than usual and breathe with your belly and not your chest.
  • Focus on what is around you at this time. The sun shining in through your window. The kids playing out in the street and the cars and people going by. The smells and feeling of the clothes and warmth of the sun on your skin. Do this for 1-2 minutes to get your attention back to the present moment.

Step 2: Appreciate what you do have.

After you have pulled your attention back to where it can be most helpful focus it on what is still positive in your life. The quickest and easiest way to do so is to focus it on appreciating what you do have.

A favorite of mine during this step is the important things we may sometimes take for granted.  Like for instance:

  • A warm home and a roof over your head.
  • Plenty of drinkable water.
  • Not having to go hungry.
  • Access to the internet.
  • Your friends and family.

Spend a few minutes on this and you’ll find much to be grateful for.

Step 3: Focus on what you can do right now.

With your attention in the present moment and your mood a more grateful and positive one it is now time to get constructive about what frustrates you.

You can do that by asking yourself:

What is one small step I can take right now to improve this situation?

It may be to see what you can learn from what frustrates you and to try another path towards your goal. Or it could be to try one more time and to keep going (because not all things in life will come to you the first, second or third time you try). Or it could be you simply realizing that you may have taken on a bit much lately or things have been tough and that you need to take this evening or a few days to just relax, take care of yourself and perhaps simplify a bit.

So that you can recharge and then get back into moving towards what you want out of your life in a more focused way.

Tips to reduce or prevent frustration:

Make note of your triggers and see what you can do about them.

What triggers your frustration?

Is it when your partner doesn’t take out the trash as you had agreed? Or when you’re not making progress as fast you like with your career or hobby? Or when your phone’s interrupting your work all too often?

Whatever it might be, first ask yourself:

What can I do to prevent this trigger in the first place?

For example, put your phone in silent mode or airplane mode and then get back to people during 1-3 scheduled times throughout your workday.

If you can’t prevent it then ask yourself:

What can I do to reduce the frustration caused by this trigger?

For instance, if you get frustrated with delays or waiting time while on your daily commute then ask your friends or google for answers for how others handle this common issue.

You may discover that one helpful solution is an audio book or podcast to listen to divert your attention and to get something good out of the situation while you’re waiting. I love listening to podcasts – they do really work and give you lots of clarity in life when you are frustrated.

Remember: you’re human (and so is everyone else).

Perfectionism towards yourself or others does most often lead to plenty of frustration and disappointment. So set your standards both for others and yourself at a human level rather than at perfection.

Accept that sometimes you will make mistakes, have setbacks and not reach your goals when you’d like to. And so will people around you too.

Work from that perspective both with yourself and others and when there is a setback then focus on what you can learn to improve and to do better the next time.

Talk it out (instead of keeping it bottled up).

When you talk a frustration over with someone then it can help you to start seeing it from a more level-headed perspective as you vent.

And your friend that’s listening may have one or couple of good pieces of advice from his or her own experience. Or the two of you can start coming up with a plan for how you can overcome or at least reduce this frustrating situation.

Communicate as directly as you can.

People can’t read your thoughts and you can’t read theirs.

So avoid trying to hint, guess or be passive-aggressive and go for simple, straightforward and calm communication as best you can.

It can be difficult to do right at that moment but it will most often save you a lot of unnecessary frustration, tension and misunderstandings in your relationships.

Jackfruit Curry

Ingredients

1 medium raw jackfruit

2 onions (purée)

1 tomato finely (purée)

1 tbsp ginger paste

1 tbsp garlic paste

2 green chillies finely chopped

1 tbsp turmeric powder

2 tbsp coriander-cumin powder

1 tbsp red chilli powder

1 tbsp garam masala

salt as needed

oil to fry jackfruit (optional)

2 tbsp oil

water as required

Method

Peel and wash jackfruit and after all the water is drained, cut them into medium size cubes. You can pan fry your jackfruit prior adding in the pressure cooker. Add little oil in the pan and pan fry pieces of jackfruit until slightly roasted.

In a pressure cooker heat oil, add green chillies, ginger-garlic paste, tomato-onion paste, and salt. Cook for couple of minutes and add all the seasonings. Cook until oil starts separating. Add your roasted jackfruit pieces, and cook for 10-15 minutes. Mix everything nicely and add water as needed depending on how much gravy you like in your curry. Jackfruit does not absorb water, therefore you will have the same amount of the gravy as you add the water. Close the pressure cooker after the water starts boiling. After one or two whistle (approximately  5-8 minutes). Open pressure cooker and check if jackfruit is cooked or not. Cook for another few minutes if it hasn’t cooked. Your jackfruit curry is ready to serve. Serve hot with chapatis/tortilla or rice.

P.S. If you decide to fry your jackfruit, you still can follow the same recipe for perfect results. Adjust water according to your taste.

Vanilla lemon coconut energy bites

Since adapting to low carb/laid back keto lifestyle, I have been snacking on low carb protein bars a lot for sugar cravings. However, it is tough to find a healthy brand that is low in carb and it gets boring eating the same thing everyday!! I do love low carb elevation bars from Aldi – 2 g of carbs and yummy deliciousness. Also, I love kirkland protein bars from costco, because they have ton of fiber/protein and are low-carb.

Now that I have been making my own low carb snacks, I am trying to find new ways to make low carb protein bites. It is incredibly easy to make these tasty little snack bites. you just dump all the ingredients into a bowel, stir to combine, then form into balls. it couldn’t be any easier!

I love no bake treats because they are so quick to prepare. Just try not to eat too many because there are 3 g net carbs for 3 bites (one serving). These little treats came out looking very cute. I would even make them up to serve on a cookie tray over the holidays. That way, you can offer guests a healthier option to the cookies.

You can use any whey protein powder, I used vanilla flavor. I love cytosport whey protein powder from costco! its my favorite. Make sure you dont do too much protein in your diet if you are following low carb, because if you over do it, it turns into sugar. If you end up using unflavored protein powder, you can use any flavor extract. I added coconut to these because it is one of my favorite flavors/topping. You could use peanut butter  or any other nuts that you like also. yum!!

Ingredients 

1/2 cup almond flour (i used blue diamond almond flour)

2 tbsp coconut flakes

1 scoop 100% whey vanilla protein powder (cytosport)

2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

1 tsp lemon juice or 1 tsp of lemon zest

pinch of salt

Method:

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients well together. Sprinkle some water if you are having hard time forming balls. I did not want to use any added sugar /honey or extra fat – so sprinkles of water works and you will be able to form the dough into small ball/bites. You should have enough mixture to create 12 balls. After you make the 12 balls – roll them in some extra shredded coconut to give them a nice finished look.

Place on a plate, cover with a foil and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes prior eating.. they are yummy deliciousness! Keep refrigerated and enjoy as required.

If you are not fan of lemons, why not try them with oranges instead. They would be good too!

This recipe will help you stay on track with your healthy eating habits and curve the chocolate/sugar cravings. I grab these when I crave something sweet! what do you do? what is your favorite healthy sweet snack??

Nutrition info. 

This recipe makes 4 servings

3 protein bites per serving /Calories per serving – 195/ Fat 16.4/ Net carbs 3g / Protein 10g

Low Carb- Keto Zuchinni Fritters

23130686_10154918831261643_8147335188976010413_nI have been exploring many recipes and tweaking original recipes which I used before to make it low carb – laid back keto style.

This recipe is quick and easy to make, these fritters make for a healthy appetizer, side dish, light meal or even snack. They also happen to be a delicious way to sneak veggies into anyone’s tummy which tricking their brains into believing that they are eating the original patties full of carbs!

Ingredients:

2 medium size zucchini – shredded

1 large egg

1/4 cup almond flour

2-3 cloves of garlic – finely shredded

1 tsp salt

2 chillies – finely chopped if you like it little spicy

23130598_10154918808726643_9006014847269214739_nMethod:

Shred zucchini and squeeze the water out. Mix together all the ingredients for the fritters in a medium size mixing bowl. Heat pan at medium-high heat, place small dollops of fritter batter into the pan – about 4′ in diameter. You will be able to cook 3-4 fritters at a time in a 9″ pan. Cook for about 3-4 minutes or until the fritters begin to set up and the bottom is golden brown, turn the fritters and cook another side 3-4 minute or until golden.  Continue the cooking process, adding oil when necessary until all the batter is gone. Serve the fritters immediately as soon as they come out of the pan for crispiest results. It really speeds up the cooking process to have 2 pans going on the stove, especially if you are making this for more than 2 people. You can also pop them in the oven, if you wish.

I made sour cream dip with the fritters. 2 tbsp of sour cream and shredded lemon skin and added salt, garlic, mint-coriander paste, lemon juice. It is quite delicious with fritters.

 

Low Carb-Keto Broccoli Cheddar Soup

DSC_4038-2So far this year the weather is so unpredictable, finally it feels like fall and I am really excited!. I love fall/winter season ever since I was a kid. I just hate the warm humid summer weather. yes, there is a ton of fun to be by the beach, in the pool in the summer weather but nothing beats the cooler weather, colored falling leaves, sweaters and boots!

Since I have started low carb- laid back keto journey, I have thought to share my favorite soup recipe! I have a ton but this soup is my comfort food. This soup is creamy, delicious and very low carb.

Since its low carb, it will not be thick like the original recipe. It will be thinner, more broth-like consistency because it does not have a roux or any thickening agent. The taste is spot in, but if you don’t add something like xanthan gum or corn starch, it wont be thick soup you might be used to.

I did plug in all the ingredients in the myfitnesspal and it comes out to

Nutritional info:

  • Calories: 285
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Fat: 24g
  • Carbohydrates: 3g Total, 2g NET
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 12g

I made this soup and many friends have tried it and even they enjoyed it. This soup is yummy and filling, you wont even miss the potatoes! it is an excellent low carb option for any fall meal!

Ingredients:

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

2 cups vegetable or chicken broth (whichever you prefer) i used vegetable broth

1 cup chopped broccoli

1 tbsp cream cheese

2 tbsp butter

1/8 cup chopped white onion

2-3 cloves of chopped garlic

1 cup cheddar cheese; shredded

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Saute onion and garlic with butter until slightly pink. Add broth and broccoli. Cook until tender. Add salt, pepper and desired seasoning. Place cream cheese in small bowl and heat in microwave for approximately 30 seconds until soft and easily stirred. Stir in heavy whipping cream and cream cheese into soup; bring to a boil. Turn off heat and quickly stir in cheddar cheese. Serve hot.

P.S. Make sure you turn off the heat or put it on low when you add the cheese, otherwise it will clump and will not be smooth creamy texture.

 

Summer & Low Carb Journey

Its been long hectic summer with family in town visiting from India and Europe. It was quite stressful managing school, clinicals, kiddo and house full of guests. Although, I say it was quite fun and we enjoyed the company. I still have been cooking up a storm but have not had chance to update my blog. I have started this low carb journey since beginning of September, and have managed to lose almost 20 lbs.

Couple of exciting things to share! My lil cutie is almost 2!!! Cant believe it, time flies by so quickly. I am almost done with grad school, one more semester to go before graduation.

I will get around to share some of my fav low carb/keto recipes 🙂

Here are some pics of my lil munchkin.

Khaman

20106562_10154656425331643_4188270816247224905_nKhaman, a Gujarati traditional dish is a savory snack made out of gram flour. It is steamed and is typically served during breakfast or dinner. Since it is made out of chickpea flour it is rich in proteins and carbohydrates. Soft, spongy and delicious they also make a great mid-afternoon or tea time snack. Gram flour is a food with very low glycemic index, which is very healthy and good for diabetics.

This is one of the side dishes I learned from my grandmother. My grandmother is an expert at making Khaman. I have attempted many times but never could recreate this dish perfectly. Khaman are very tricky to make. You can easily make mistake if there is even slight change in one of the ingredients. Khaman needs to be cooked properly and they only tastes good if they are soft and spongy. Everyone has different ways of making this dish.

Remember that tadka/seasoning is important and needs to be done the right way. My grandmother has unique concept of seasoning which is adding the sugar in the tadka. When this is poured over the steamed Khaman, they give it a wonderful sweet and tangy flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Gram flour/Besan
  • 2-3 tbsp Sugar
  • 0.5 tsp citric acid (nimbu ke phool)
  • 3/4-1 cup Water
  • 1.5 tsp of fruit salt (ENO) – goes in right before you steam (LAST INGREDIENT to be added)
  • 0.5 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder

For tempering 

  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp Sesame seeds
  • 2-3 green chillies chopped
  • 2-3 Dried red chillies (optional)
  • 3-4 tsp Oil

Garnish 

  • 1-2 Tbsp Grated coconut (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp Cilantro (chopped) (optional)

Method:

  • In a big bowl, add all the batter ingredients besides fruit salt.  Add water and whisk it well. This batter should be smooth and medium in consistency. when you use a ladle to pour it should fall in dollops.
  • Heat a pressure cooker with enough water in the bottom or you can use steamer. Grease a round container that fits in the pressure cooker/steamer.
  • Note: I use the round steel vessel that is used for cooking rice in the cooker. if you don’t have it than you can use a those metal cookie containers as long as they fit in your pressure cooker/steamer.
  • once the steamer is hot, add your fruit salt and mix it well.
  • Transfer the prepared batter to the round container, steam for 10-11 minutes. If you are using pressure cooker then you should use the weight/whistle. Remember after the Khamans are steamed they will puff up. It is really important to close pressure cooker/steamer properly. Khaman will not rise if the steam pressure is leaking out on the side.
  •  To check if they are cooked take a clean knife or toothpick. When inserted into the center it should come out clean. If khaman is not cooked properly your knife/toothpick will be sticky with batter stuck on it.
  • Take the round plate out and keep it aside. Let Khaman cool down completely before you can cut them into squares. 

Seasoning/ Tadka

  • Heat oil in a small pan and add the mustard seeds. Let the mustard seeds crackle. Add the green chopped chillies.
  • Slowly add the water and turn off the heat.
  • Using a small spoon pour it evenly over the steamed and cooled khaman. Let it rest for a little while.
  • Cut them into desired shapes squares and garnish with coriander leaves and coconut before serving.

Ready to Serve. You can eat khaman by itself or with mint cilantro chutney.

 20031594_10154656425336643_6008947727559669113_n

Instant Veggie Oats Idli

This is my sons favorite to go snacks. Its quick/healthy and tasty! Best for kids lunches and best meal when you are on the go!

Ingredients:

2 cup Oats

1 cup Semolina

1 cup Yogurt

1 tsp Baking soda

Salt to taste

2 clove crushed garlic

1 finely chopped green chili

1/4 cup grated Carrots

2 tbsp Green peas

2 tbsp Corn

You can add any veggies you want

Method:

In a blender, add oats and make a fine powder of it.

In a bowl, add oats powder, semolina, baking soda, salt, yogurt, water and mix well. Keep aside for 10 minutes. Now add vegetables (optional) like carrots, green chillies, green peas, corn, peppers, etc.

Put this mixture in a grease idli tray and cook them on a steam for about 10-12 minutes.

Serve warm with any chutney 🙂

Happy 12 months, Dhyan!!

I am not even sure where to start.. I dont know how this year flew by so quickly. I remember Dhyan’s arrival into this world like it was yesterday, yet i can’t even picture what life was life before he arrived. It’s been a very bittersweet past couple of days for Kunal and I. How did we get here so quickly? We have been mom and dad for an entire year? and look! he is still breathing, healthy and happy and oh my gosh, so beautiful!

Dear sweet Dhyan, it has been my greatest privilege to be called your mother this past year. I dont know how many times throughout the day I pause and look at you and think, “he belongs to me?? how did I get so lucky?” Dhyan, you have taught me so much about myself, about love and the things that matter the most. you have made my saddest and most frustrating moments joyful again! I am thankful I get to spend my days by your side. Thank you for being here, for being your happy beautiful self and for making your mama and papa’s day, over and over again! Dhyan has so much personality and my little cutie wants to be so independent already! We love you, eternally! Happy Birthday Dhyan!!

Height/weight: Dhyan weight is about 23 lbs (he lost a little from being sick / ear infections/ cold :() and height is 31.5 inches.

Size: Dhyan is wearing 12-18 months clothing and size 4 diapers.

Routine: His daily routine hasn’t changed much from last month except for the fact that he is not pretty much down to 2 naps a day, which is fine. Length of the naps are approx. 1-2 hours.

Sleeping: Dhyan is  sleeping through the night his crib/in his room with the door shut. I started sleep training slowly by putting him in his crib for naps and at night. I tried the ferber CIO method first night at night but it didnt go well and broke my heart. He did not sleep through the night but did not wake up 3 times either. 2nd night he fell a sleep within 3 minutes and slept through the night and 3rd night he fell a sleep within seconds without crying and slept through the night. I am glad we did this and wished would have done earlier.

Eating: I breastfed until he turned one year old and now transitioned him to organic whole milk. I m happy that I am done with nursing but I am so happy that I completed my goal of a year because I remember how hard it was in the beginning and how badly I was close to giving up. But I am so glad I did not and I can tell you right now that it was absolutely worth it. Dhyan is eating 3 solid meals a day and drinks milk twice during day and once at night. Dhyan loves indian food and easily tries new foods when given to him. I have noticed that he doesnt care for sweet sugary foods but he loves savory things. In the morning he loves his cereal with milk or eggs or anything I make for my self (indian food), for lunch he always has to have his favorite vegetable khichdi and for dinner we have something new and different each day.

Personality/mood: Dhyan is definitely changed compared to last month and wants to be very independent. His personality is really showing through. If he wants something he will point it and say gibberish and he doesnt want something then he will grunt and push it away. If you try to give it to him he will take it and throw it away. He does have little temper LOL. He is so fast at crawling and now soon to be walking. Dhyan loves going to play dates but recently I am noticing behavior that he wants everything that his friends have. My son is very stubborn LOL. I am trying to teach him sharing by taking him to play dates so he learns while having interaction with other kids.

Milestones: Dhyan is about to walk- he holds on to things and walks around slowly. He is such a busy bee and extremely active. He is all over the place and at times I feel like my little cutie is energized bunny. Dhyan talks gibberish and clearly says cookie, daddy, mommy, kaka, dada, papa, hot! He tries to repeat words and when I tell him I love you Dhyan he tries to repeat with back to me.

Loves: Dhyan loves going outside to the park. He loves looking at the dogs and cats, and wants to bring them home. He loves soft toys. Dhyan loves reading books, cars and anything with wheels. Dhyan loves swimming and bath time. Dhyan loves messing things in the house, getting into kitchen cabinets to pull things out. Dhyan has not been afraid of anything yet !!

Doesnt love: Dhyan doesnt like trying sweet things and drinking milk. Dhyan hates when you take his favorite toy away or books away to feed him or for nap time. Dhyan is getting little fussy when we pull him out of the water during bath time and during diaper changes. Dhyan hates wearing socks/ hats/ coats/ tight clothing.

 

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