Growing up whenever there was any kind of celebration, this sweet yellow rice dish would always be the grand finale of an amazing day. From weddings, babies, jobs, religious festivities, get together…..Zardah was always the star of the night. It is extremely popular in the South Asian region.
I have memories of my Bari Ami (grand mother) and later my Ami (mother) making this on numerous occasions. This wasn’t a dish they would make in a hurry. In fact it was like a baby…..gently cared for, loved and nurtured. From using special Sela rice, special food coloring, right kind of almonds, plump raisins and Murabbas (Candied Fruits), this is one royal dessert.
The word Zardah has its roots in the Urdu word Zard meaning yellow, hence the yellow color. Some people add other colors too but in my home we always stuck to the yellow color.
I decided to step out of my comfort zone and finally try making Zardah. I know I can never make it the way they did so after playing around with their recipe I finally came up with an easier version. As I love me my short cuts, here is an amazing recipe which will give you pretty much the same results but with less than half the effort 🙂 and trust me your mother will think you spent hours in the kitchen 🙂
I don’t like candied fruits or a lot of nuts so I kept it simple, but you can go ahead and add as much as your heart desires. Also I don’t like super sweet Zardah so I’ve kept the sugar a bit less. Feel free to add more sugar if you like your desserts with a kick of sweetness. Some people also top it with khoya and shredded coconut, so decorate it what ever way your heart desires.
Let’s get started…..
Ever since I watched the commercials of KFC Zinger Burger I have been craving a good juicy chicken sandwich.
Halal burgers near me have ground chicken patty but since I was craving a spicy,crispy chicken fillet one, I had to make one myself. As compared to a lot of online recipes, this recipe uses fewer ingredients.
I kid you not, it tastes more yummier (if that’s even a word 🙂 ) than the KFC Zinger Burger back home and since I made it myself, I had control of what goes inside.
The ingredients are simple and readily available in all pantries.
Enough said…..Lets get to work…..
First of all why a special diet?
There is a very famous quote by Hippocrates which says:
“LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE AND MEDICINE BE THY FOOD”
It’s a no brainer that how we feel depends a lot on what we put in our mouths. When there is a special health condition, it is plain common sense to avoid foods which aggravate the condition and instead, give the body healthy nutrients for it to thrive. It does not mean that you are depriving the body, instead you are helping it to heal from inside and function like it is meant to.
When it comes to Autism, there is no fixed diet. In fact, there is nothing approved which will have a sure shot affect on the overall health of the child.
However, that being said, there are a couple of diets to try, which many parents (including myself) swear by. The benefits of these diets include but are not limited to :
-Refined social skills
-Better eye contact
-Reduced hyper activity etc.
Like I said in the previous Autism related posts, since it is a spectrum, the progress varies from kid to kid.
A general rule of thumb is to try the diet for good 3 months and if you see no improvement that means that it is not working for your child. Also make sure during the three months, that there is no cross contamination.
Keep a notepad handy to take notes on your child’s mood, health, sleep etc. so you know the reaction to certain foods. Do not however, expect to see overnight progress. Healing with food is a slow process with loads of trial and error.
Let us now discuss the diets in detail.
GLUTEN FREE/ DAIRY FREE/ SOY FREE DIET(GFCFSF)
This is perhaps the most popular and the most tried diet when it comes to ASD. It includes removal of gluten and dairy and soy products from the diet.
Gluten is a protein found in many grains including Wheat, Barley, Spelt, Rye etc. Unless the Oats are grown in a gluten-free manner, they too come under the gluten umbrella.
Casein is a protein found in all mammals milk.
Most of the Soy Crops in America are highly genetically modified therefore it is best to avoid them.
Kids with ASD and ADHD generally have elevated levels of Gluten, Gliadin and Casein and have gastrointestinal problems. Eliminating these proteins helps in reducing the gut inflammation and help lift off the foggy effect off the brains.
SPECIFIC CARBOHYDRATE DIET (SCD) AND GUT AND PSYCHOLOGY SYNDROME (GAPS) DIET
SCD was created by Elaine Gloria Gottschall who based her research on the findings of Sidney Haas, M.D. More details on SCD and her research can be read in her book Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet.
This diet severely limits the carbohydrates. The model is based on the theory that most carbs convert to sugar and are difficult to digest so by allowing only specific carbs which require minimal digestion, gut inflammation can be reduced.
GAPS diet is derived from SCD diet and is created by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. More details on her research and GAPS can be read in her book Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia.
The GAPS diet focuses on removing foods which are difficult to digest and replace them with nutrient rich foods which gives the body a chance to heal.
People usually combine the SCD and GAPS diet and find a good medium which fits their need. One concern about this diet is that it is very restrictive and must be supplemented with vitamins and minerals to make up for the nutrition lost.
THE FEINGOLD DIET
This diet has been said to work wonders for kids with ADHD.
Feingold Diet is an elimination diet created by Benjamin Feingold M.D. The theory behind this diet is that food additives can cause hyperactivity in children and by elimination of those additives one can figure out which food acts like a trigger for their hyperactivity.
Sheri Davis’s book All Natural Mom’s Guide to the Feingold Diet: A Natural Approach to ADHD and Other Related Disorders is an excellent resource for trying out this diet. She writes in detail how to do this diet, what to include and what to eliminate and also how to reintroduce things back to the diet.
Other notable mentions are
A very good read by Julie Mattews , Nourishing Hope for Autism: Nutrition and Diet Guide for Healing Our Children [Perfect Paperback] talks in detail how nutrition affects children with ASD and the different types of diets to try. If you are unsure which diet is right for your child, this book will give you a good idea firstly on how different foods can cause certain behaviors and secondly, a guideline on how to carry out the diet.
My kid has been following the GFCFSF and mostly low sugar diet for the past 4 years. It works for us.
How you ask?
The day my kid has a regular muffin or dairy, he is bouncing off the walls, inappropriate laughter kicks in and he has a hard time falling asleep.
Since I can safely call myself a pro at the GFCFSF diet, I will do a detailed review and help you do this diet, step by step, if you want to try it with your kiddo too.
Feel free to contact me via email if you want any kind of help regarding your kid’s diet.
(DISCLAIMER: These are my views and should be taken for information and education purposes only. Not two on kids on the spectrum are alike. If you think someone you know needs help, please talk to the concerned Pediatrician today.)
Is 2017 running a marathon?
Last I checked it was still January and we were unpacking from our trip back home. And in the blink of the eye its April?? And not the start but the tail end?
I seriously think 2017 has a hidden agenda 😉
Anyways, back to the topic. Don’t you think the word “FAVORITES” is hypnotizing? Any where you read this word, you automatically have the urge to dig deep and find out the lucky winners who made this list.
I am just like you. I luuuuuuuve (yes its serious) to google/watch/read favorite stuff. Sometimes the stuff is soo real that the very next day I run to the Target nearby to get it but other times I am left confused as to why….
I also love-making small lifestyle changes which make our family happy and healthy.
For me favorites can be a product, lifestyle change, a podcast, a book or as simple as……
Here are some of my random favorites lifestyle/products:
Every night after dinnertime, once the kids are in the bed, me and my husband enjoy a cup of soothing herbal tea, sometimes with a sweet bite, other times on its own. It’s the perfect way to unwind after a long busy day. This is the time where we discuss our day and everything around it. Sometimes the chai is accompanied with a show on TV.
My current favorite is Pukka Herbs Tea Herbal Three Fennel while he enjoys Tapal Green Tea 30 Tea Bags (Mint).
If you are like me and love-making lists then this is App is just for you. Now you don’t have to make multiple lists every time you switch device. You can make lists, write notes or snap photos to Google Keep. If you are pressed for time, then record a voice note and it will be automatically transcribed.
Accessible from computer, tablet and phone. Everything you add, gets synced to all the devices which makes it so convenient. You can also color code the lists/notes which makes it super easy the find them in a jiffy.
The reason why I love it the most is because of its organization and accessibility across the devices.
Check out more at: Google Keep
Do you want to be happy, contented, healthy, optimistic???
This is one habit which has brought immense positivity in my life. When you take out time to say “Thank You” for all the blessings in your life, no matter how insignificant, your outlook will change.
Tashakkur has a chain reaction. When you start being grateful for little things in life, the blessings keep on multiplying. You realize that you might not be the richest person in this world when it comes to money, but you are richest when it comes to contentment. A feeling money cannot buy.
At this very moment, take a look around you. I can safely say that you can find at least 5 if things, if not more, to be grateful for. The first being the ability to read.
There are many ways to show gratitude. By praying, meditating, penning your blessings in a journal etc. But the simplest way is that whenever you feel blessed or even if the thought of the feeling arises, say ThankYou God or ShukarAllah.
And now on to some of the products I am currently enjoying…
Scrub & Protect
Thanks to the unpredictable Californian weather my skin has been acting very strange. There are days when it gets super oily while on the other days its soo dry that I am one flaky mess. Also as the sun is super Sunny here, my body is now an array of colors.
I tried a couple of products but nothing seemed to fit the bill.
I am a DIY type of girl and sugar with some olive oil and lemon is the best scrub on this whoooole wiiideee world but sometimes a girl has no time to whip up some magical concoction and most of the times when the thought of DIY arises I am already in the shower 🙂
First time I saw Soap and Glory was back in 2015 while walking the heavenly aisles of Sephora (Don’t you love it?).
I loved the packaging but didn’t get it then and later when I went to get it, found out that they don’t carry this brand anymore. Oh well….
Last month while shopping at Target, I saw these cute pink packages again. I was already looking for a scrub so picked up the Sugar Crush Body Scrub and Sugar Crush Body Lotion. To be honest, I didn’t have much expectations as more pricier brands had disappointed me.
Moment I opened the jar and took a whiff, I knew ….THIS IS IT!!!
It smells like fresh lemon with the warmth of brown sugar and a musky hint of vanilla. It scrubs and exfoliates. DO not over wet the skin as the oils melt with the warmth of your hands and they will flow instead of scrubbing. If you have dry/ flaky skin you can comfortably use it 2-3 times a week. For oily skins, one a week is enough.
Follow it with the luxurious lemony, AHA fruit complex infused with kiwi water and lime seed oil Body Lotion.
With Summer almost here, get ready to sweat…..
I have been religiously using Schimdt’s Deodrant for the past few years and still am their loyal customer. You can read my detailed review by clicking the link below:
I love me my chewing gum. My latest love is these Glee Chewing Gums which are Non-GMO, natural chewing gum with no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives. They are available in the regular flavors like all kinds of mint and cinnamon but there are some sassy flavors too like lemon-lime, tangerine, and wild watermelon.
Check them out at your local natural stores or via amazon Glee Gum 6-Flavor Variety pack, 16-Piece Packages (12 Total Packages) 2 of each flavor
I don’t know if it’s just with me or it happens with you too that when you buy the Avocados, they are usually not ripe. That simply means one thing that you cannot use them right away.
Either they are stashed in the veggie/fruit drawer in the refrigerator or if I need them sooner they end up on my counter packed in a brown paper bag with bananas. But every now and then I forget about them and when I do realize they are soo soft that they end up in the trash can 🙁
This recipe happened out of necessity. I had a big bowl of boring salad and some tortilla chips which needed to be finished and this time I didn’t want anything to see the dark depths of the trash can.
I tried mixing a few things and trust me, it turned out pretty good. Not only did I use it as a dressing as well as dip, but everyone in my house ended up using it as a chutney with rice and curries. Score!!!!
This recipe is pretty spicy so if you wanna tone it down, do read the notes.
I love the Tortilla Chips from Chipotle….crunchy….lightly salted with a kick of lime.
I have been on a search to find a similar tasting Tortilla Chips so I don’t have to find a Chipotle every time that tangy craving hits and drive for miles.
Aimlessly roaming the World Market food aisles I stumbled upon the Lime and SeaSalt Tortilla Chips by Frontera. The word “Lime” on the simple package caught my attention.
I bought them and tried them right at the register. (imagine my enthusiasm)
I found my perfect Limey….Tortilla Chips
They are restaurant style tortilla chips created by the famous Chef, Rick Bayless. These chips are made in small batches with Non-GMO Stone Ground Corn, Lime & Sea Salt. They are super crispy, light on salt and heavy on lime seasoning providing that perfect kick.
Enjoy them on their own or with guacamole or sprinkle on top of dishes…..
If tangy tortilla chips are not your thing then try Frontera Foods Thin & Crispy Tortilla Chips, 10 oz
Last week my friend suggested trying a new restaurant (new to me but it opened last year) and I am soo glad to have found SKEWERS HALAL.
Skewers Halal is located at 9820 Topanga Canyon Blvd, in the Chatsworth neighborhood which is in the northwestern San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, California. The restaurant is hidden in the corner of a plaza on the main Topanga Canyon Boulevard next to Del Taco.
The restaurant has A-Rating which assures the good standards. The ambiance is nothing fancy. Lime-Green chairs and white tables make the space bright and lit up.
As the name says it is halal and the menu has a variety of items to choose from. There is Middle Eastern, Afghani, and American Food ranging from Bolani to Philly CheeseSteak Subs to Pizzas to Koobideh to Chapli Kabab and more.
We tried the Wings as an appetizer and they were crisp and not crunchy and not super oily. They come with hot sauce and ranch sauce.
The Pizzas were cheesy and baked to the right degree. There was a lot of meat and cheese to satisfy all your cravings.
The cheese Ravioli was super cheesy and was bubbling hot and came with yummy garlic bread.
The Spaghetti & Meatballs were meaty and the tomato sauce made them juicy. It had the right amount of spices and tasted comforting. This dish is also accompanied by Garlic Bread.
The Chicken Parmesan was the only thing we didn’t like that much. Don’t get me wrong, it was meaty and cheesy but lacked in flavor. If you are someone who does not like a lot of spices then you will probably love it.
The star of the show was the Chicken and Rice and Chapli Kebab Dish.
The Rice and Chicken came with creamy homemade white sauce and extra spicy red sauce and freshly baked naan. They bake the naan in-house and I can eat them just by themselves.
Chapli Kebab are Lean ground beef patties minced with vegetables and herbs and they come with rice and naan and green chutney. In my opinion this was the most flavorful dish.
The have a variety of wraps too which include beef koobideh, gyro and chicken. We tried the Chicken Wrap which had charbroiled chicken, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, fresh mint and basil, and homemade creamy white sauce wrapped in a freshly baked naan. It was light and flavorful.
The service was quick and the food was piping hot. They make their bread in-house which is why is tastes flavorful and different from you get at other restaurants.
If you are ever near the Chatsworth area, then I highly recommend trying the Skewers Halal. At least I know that we will be going back soon 🙂
When ever we go camping, we love to cook the food at the campsite and enjoy it there. However, if there are local restaurants nearby (not the fast food chains), we love to walk over and enjoy a meal.
On our recent camping trip to Carpinteria, we discovered a local Thai restaurant SIAM ELEPHANT.
SIAM ELEPHANT is located at 509 Linden Ave, Carpinteria, right in the middle of a very busy and happening street, full of local restaurants and coffee bars. You either have to do street parking or you can park in the Amtrak Station Parking area, one block away for free.
The restaurant is a short walk from the beach so you can come after spending the whole day there or before hitting the beach for a nice after-meal stroll.
The restaurant has Thai décor everywhere. You can see elephants and Buddha as soon as you enter. There are two elephant statues guarding the outside bench to the entrance door. The patio area has a lovely Thailand feel with cute wooden lanterns and pagoda style sitting booths.
There are two sitting areas to choose from. An inside dining area and the outside patio area. The indoor area is small but well maintained but their patio area is just….WOW! Open, bright, modern.
We decided to sit outside in the patio area to soak in some Vitamin D while enjoying our food.
The menu card design is lemongrass green which is very soothing. There is a variety of options in all categories to choose from, so everyone will find definitely something to enjoy.
Our waitress was very friendly and offered to help us decide what to get. We ordered some dishes with substitutions and they were spot on. Unlike a lot of restaurants, the service was quick and accurate. The crisp white and blue tableware was beautiful and made our dining experience more memorable.
We ordered some soup, entrees, including fish, currys, fried rice, noodles, and sticky rice with mango for dessert.
You can tell that the food has been cooked with love when each dish is bursting with color and flavor. The portion sizes are decent and the prices moderate.
If you are in the Santa Barbara or Ventura area, I highly recommend this place to fulfill your Asian food cravings. The food presentation, the service, the taste, the ambience….everything is just perfect.
We will definitely be coming back 🙂
(To read about the Carpinteria Camping Trip click HERE)
A trip to Trader Joe’s can never disappoint you. You go to buy milk and end up with a big brown bag (reusable? recyclable??) full of goodies. On my last trip I saw a sweet green box in the ” NEW” items labeled Organic Moroccan Mint Green Tea.
Moroccan Mint Tea also called “Maghrebi Mint Tea” is typically made with spearmint leaves. It has a mild, slightly pungent flavor. I love Moroccan Mint tea as it is excellent for digestion. We serve it as “Kehwa” and is consumed after heavy meals.
Trader Joe’s has taken the mint tea to another level by incorporating green tea and lemongrass. The result is a sweet tea, with a fresh feel and aroma to wake you up. The ingredients are Spearmint, Green Tea and Lemongrass and all are organic. The box is under $4 and has 20 teabags which is a steal. Try comparing this price with other organic tea brands and you will be shocked.
You can enjoy this tea hot or cold, either ways it is perfect. It is the best tea to sip in the afternoon to overcome the slump or late night after dinner to soothe your digestive system.