April – May 2014

B has grown so much in this past month and he is continuing to learn and mature quite fast.

he started walking backwards somewhere in april, for a few days and didn’t do it much after that. hmm..not as much fun as crawling backwards i assume! oh ya he still crawls backwards now and then and enjoys it!

his first day at playgroup was just not how i had imagined! i thought he would not freely go and cry and stick to me, but instead he just held on to me till he got used to the place (which was for 1 min, literally!) and then ran off, did not even bother to turn around  and see if i was following him! playing, running around, screaming excitedly (yes he was the loudest!), it did not look like it was his first day there. i just sat with other moms admiring how B had so easily opened up to the world, interacting with other kids, sometimes being his carefree self, sometimes a bit cautious. And occasionally calling out to me and smiling, telling me relax mamma! i am growing up and having fun, dont worry too much, i am just fine!

all that said and done, growing up comes with its own huge baggage! B’s fussiness is increasing by the day…the outsome? i am learning his new likes and dislikes in food at every meal time. creamy gravies with roti is in, dry dishes is out, potatoes in any form (except fries) is still out, palak paneer in, chicken in, pizza in, plain rice is still in, bananas out, grapes in, recently butter chicken in, dal out, kheer (rice pudding) in, cake out, milk out!

B has reduced his milk intake by almost half! it’s a struggle getting him to finish his morning milk! So now I have started to give him banana milkshake in morning in the hope that a flavour change will help. 3 days down and going good..till his next flavour change!

he has transitioned from 2 day naps to 1, which means hes awake more hours! Oh boy! but thankfully hes flat out by 8pm.

oh he’s recently started this new teddy bear craze! B is soo madly attached to his 2 teddys (one huge and the other medium sized). Cuddles them, kisses them, carries them along with him everywhere, while eating, sleeping..! its funny but also cute how he looks after them, not leaving them alone etc. The teddy’s gone to the park on the swings with him too (thankfully the medium sized one, cant imagine fitting B and the huge one on a swing together!)!

B had his first pyjama party with 8 girls! And he slept at 10.30pm! hehee i forced him to! Ohh his big teddy had joined him here too! 🙂

besides the playing, hes also learning a lot of new stuff. Fruits, veggies, animals, animal noises (meow is meemom for him), names of random stuff around. yes which means his talking has increased even more!

oh talking about talking, don’t be surprised if you call on our landline and B greets you on the phone! he’s answered the phone twice, talking away in his glory. now when the landline rings, i search for B and race to the phone!

the activity….or accident of the month – B had his first major fall last week. bruised his forehead, nose and upper lip! my baby! and M called him little red riding hood, Rudolph the red nosed..! how mean na!

Cannot wait for next month. He turns 18 months! 1½ years old! Party time for sure.

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Shepherd’s Pie or Cottage Pie, is a meat pie with a crust of mashed potato. There has been a tendency for cottage pie to be made from minced beef, and shepherd’s pie to be made from minced lamb. Although its not always the case.

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie

I read quite a few easy recipes for Shepherd’s Pie and there are so many versions (different veggies, different sauces etc) of it on the net. I compiled some good recipes that i liked and created my own basic recipe for a simple Shepherd’s Pie. Turned out really good, considering it was my first attempt at this Pie. Try it out, you will like it!

Ingredients

½ kg minced beef or lamb

1 carrot, chopped

¼ cup corn

¼ cup green peas

1 big onion, sliced

Salt, pepper and other seasonings of choice

2 tbsp olive oil

½ cup grated cheese

½ to ¾ cup beef broth/stock

For mashed potatoes

3 big potatoes

¼ to ½ cup milk

Salt and pepper for seasoning

Method

1. Peel and quarter potatoes, boil in salted water until tender.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, heat oil in a large frying pan.

3. Saute onions on medium heat, until tender. If you are adding vegetables, add them according to cooking time. Put any carrots in with the onions. Add corn or peas either at the end of the cooking of the onions, or after the meat has initially cooked.

4. Add mince along with garlic and ginger and sauté until no longer pink. Add salt and pepper. Add other seasonings of your choice. Add half a cup of beef broth and cook, uncovered, over low heat for 10 minutes, adding more beef broth as necessary to keep moist.

5. Mash potatoes in a bowl adding a splash of milk, salt and pepper. Whip it up using a whisk.

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie

6. Place beef and vegetables in baking dish. Distribute mashed potatoes on top. Sprinkle cheese on top (usually Shepherd’s Pie does not have cheese but i added since i add cheese in everything! you can always skip the cheese).

7. Cook in 180 degree pre-heated oven until bubbling and brown (about 20-30 minutes).

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie

I read this recipe in a magazine yesterday and thought of trying it out fr dinner last night. But by the time i reached home, i only remembered 70% of it. But i knew the overall ‘look’ of the recipe so went ahead and tried it (ofcourse with my additions)! As bad as it sounds, it actually turned out quite good. Trust M. he complimented it on the first spoon. Usually i have to fish for compliments from him!

So try my version of Veg Gratin. its a real hassle-free recipe.

Ingredients

1 carrot

1 big potato

4-5 medium size mushrooms

1 kumara (sweet potato)

1 medium size broccoli

1 cup half boiled spaghetti (my addition)

1 cup grated cheddar and Parmesan cheese

3-4 tablespoons breadcrumbs

Note – this was the part that i did not remember clearly so added vegetables according to my taste. You can add you fav veggies too.

Ingredients

Ingredients

For the white sauce

40g butter

½ cup flour

2½ cups milk

Salt for seasoning

Pepper for seasoning

½-1 tablespoon of dried mixed herbs, as per taste

Pinch of nutmeg

Method

  1. Start by chopping all the vegetables. Thin slices of carrots, potatoes, kumara and mushrooms. Bite size florets of broccoli.
  2. Next boil the spaghetti in salt water. Drain it when its just half done.
  3. While the spaghetti is boiling, make the white sauce on the other side. Melt butter in a pan and add the flour. On slow flame keep mixing it and cook it for a 5 minutes. Remove from heat and slowly add milk, mixing it vigorously all the time so no lumps are formed. Put it on heat and cook it till the sauce thickens. Keep mixing the sauce in regular intervals. Add salt, pepper as per taste. Add mixed herbs and nutmeg and mix thoroughly.
  4. Pre-heat oven to 170deg. Grease the bottom of a baking tray and start layering the vegetables, alternating with the white sauce. You can start with any vegetable. I first lined the carrots, covered it with a little sauce, then potatoes and again sauce, mushroom and broccoli and again some sauce on top of it. Continue layering in this manner with the spaghetti and kumara. Pour the remaining sauce on top. Cover the tray with foil and bake for 30-45 mins or till the vegetables are cooked.
  5. Once the vegetables are cooked, sprinkle cheese and breadcrumbs on top and bake uncovered for another 10 mins or till the cheese melts on top.
Layering the Veg Gratin

Layering the Veg Gratin

 

Veg Gratin

Veg Gratin

Note

  1. Divide your sauce in equal parts depending on how many vegetables you are using and how many layers you will be making.
  2. Rub the mixed herbs between your palms to ‘wake them up’.
  3. You can also add boneless bite size chicken pieces in this.

Rice cereals are the best start a mom would give her child!

Farex Rice Cereal

At 6 months, B started his first solids by Farex baby rice cereal. This is actually for 4 months+ but i started solids at 6 months since it did not go down too well with B at 4 months. I mixed one teaspoon of Farex with enough boiled cool water and he would literally jump on the oncoming spoon! This portion once a day was a good start for his little tummy. Slowly i increased the spoon quantities and substituted water with a fruit puree. A different fruit every 3 days for breakfast and i had a happy-tummy baby!

Farex Baby Cereals

There are many reasons why i choose Farex, the main being its iron content. Its rich in iron, one of the most important ingredients for growing babies. Farex cereals are free from added sugar, preservatives and artificial colours or flavours. Their cereals are specially designed to match each stage in our baby’s development. I also really liked the fruit combos in their cereals. B really liked the banana and pear rice cereal. I would sometimes add extra fruit puree in his cereal for his little hungry stomach.

B has also eaten the multigrain cereals and muesli, but that’s for another review!

Accessories/Accents in interiors is now considered one of the most important selling points of a design. They are objects that compliment a design, add to the aesthetic value of a room. It can be in the form of cushions, mirrors, throws, vases, frames, flowers, candle holders, rugs…they don’t always need to be expensive items, but something that livens up and brings the whole space together.

Accessories don’t need to match the color palette or theme of the space. That’s the best part of it. Use them as an element of surprise!

Here are some examples of accessories you can use. Have a look and get inspired!

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Home decor accents such as lamps, mirrors add to the small details which bring a space together. The final touches!

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Fresh flowers always freshen up a room! Match it with some scented candles for the perfect touch.

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Play around with some bright colored cushions, hang up a bold wall frame/art piece, or a coffee table contrasting the color palette in the room.

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Perfect as a table centerpiece, bookshelf accent, or counter top display, a large bowl with decorative filler can be just the thing your home decor needs.