Vegan Gnocchi With Creamy Cauliflower Sauce

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This recipe is a complete experiment and it turned out delicious. This is my healthy version of Mac n Cheese or Alfredo sauce.

Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets

2 chopped carrots

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tsp garlic granules

1 tsp sugar

2 tsp dried sage (or fresh)

3 tbp of nutritional yeast

1/2 cup of grated vegan pizza cheese

1 cup soy milk

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

Salt to taste

500 gms gnocchi

Method:

Cook the carrots and cauliflower and then blend it with the soy milk to get a creamy thick mixture. Set aside!

In a hot pan, add the oil and fry the onions. Add the garlic granules and mustard. Stir well and add just a little dash of water to stop it from sticking. Now add the cauliflower mixture, cheese, sage and nutritional yeast.

Let it cook for a couple of minutes and set it aside.

In a separate saucepan, cook the gnocchi as per instructions.

Once cooked, drain and stir it in the cauliflower sauce.

Serve hot!

Tip: Sprinkle some chilli flakes or throw in some butternut squash. Instead of gnocchi add macaroni or any other pasta of your choice.

If you thin out the sauce with some plant based milk, you could have it like soup.

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Why We Chose Cloth Nappies?

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There are many good reasons why people choose to cloth nappy their babies. Ours was essentially environmental (also, I am a sucker for cute prints).

We, as a family try to be as conscious as possible when it comes to the environment and we try to incorporate a lot of cruelty free products into our lifestyle.

Infact, the very first thing I brought for the baby was a big stash of cloth nappies. I do not like the idea of something synthetic and plastic against my babies skin. So when I knew I had an option to cloth nappy my baby, it was a no brainer that I would go that route.

When I tell people that I cloth nappy my baby, I get a lot of questions. I will try and answer as many queries as I can think of, some queries were received by people and some made up by me to make sure we cover all the basis when it comes to cloth nappy-ing.

1.  Isn’t it a lot of work, washing and drying them?

Yes it is!

Unfortunately, we have ignored the eco-system for so long that, to be honest, we cannot afford the luxury of ignoring it anymore. In order to save our planet, we will have to go that extra mile. 

Honestly, it only seems like extra work because we live in a quick fix culture. Once you get a hang of things, you start incorporating the nappy wash into your routine and before you know it, it becomes less of a hassle. 

The rewards of not using plastic based nappies to the eco-system and our babies skin is so huge that the time consumption involved in cloth nappy washing seems miniscule. 

Aren’t cloth nappies expensive?

No. My baby is 12 months old and I might have spent a total of about £250 – £300 on nappies. Now it seems a lot at first but honestly it is not even a tenth of money you would  be spending if you were using disposables.

Also, these nappies only get more absorbent with use and last for a long time which means you could potentially use it for your next baby (s).

They also hold their resell value. After selling, if you tally your money, you would have spent much less than your initial investment. 

Won’t babies feel wet? 

Yes and No. 

Most cloth nappies have a top layer of microbire which prevents babies from feeling extremely wet and protects the skin from extreme dampness.

It does feel wetter than disposables if left unchanged for a long time. But it is this damp feeling that helps toddlers potty train themselves early. Babies in disposables are much harder to potty train because it keeps them dry and comfortable for so long.

How often do you change nappies?

You don’t have to change nappies as often when they are babies unless ofcourse they are heavy wetters. But as they grow older, you need to change them ever 2-3 hours just like disposables. 

How do you clean poo-ey nappy? Isn’t that gross?

Yes, they are vile!

But when they are a newborn and are exclusively fed on milk, their poo is water soluble, so they can go in the same wash as the pee nappies. 

When they get older and start solids, that’s when things get dirty and muckier. In my experience, the easiest thing to do is to put a biodegradable nappy liner that catches all the poo. They can be disposed off easily. If you do catch some poo in the nappy, the microbire is such that you can, in most cases simply flick it in the toilet and the poo comes off, if not a bit of jet spray and job done!

How to get rid of stains?

Sun them out or let it rain! After you have washed the nappies just dry them outdoors, the sun has magical powers. Even on a grey day, it usually works. I sometimes let it get rained on and then leave them to dry as the weather settles a bit. I haven’t had to try anything else. 

Be careful what detergent you use. No liquids or bio detergents. Also, stay away from stain removers. They totally ruin the shelf life of your nappies.

Don’t they take ages to dry?

Cloth nappies come in different materials. Microbires and cotton for example don’t take very long to dry but bamboo takes longer to dry. 

They recommend not to tumble dry your nappies but if you are in a cold country like I am, I would recommend investing in an electric air-dryer. I brought mine for £30, second hand. My nappies dry overnight and it is a handy investment which you can resell easily, especially to someone who is cloth nappying.

It doesn’t sound travel friendly, does it?

It is a matter of perspective.

Cloth nappies consume some space plus they take some time to dry. You have to carry atleast two days worth of nappies which can be anything from 12 to 15 nappies.

When we travel for day trips or to a friends house, we don’t bother with cloth nappies. But if we are visiting family and they don’t mind us using their washing machine to wash dirty nappies, we carry cloth nappies. 

Handy tip: I always leave a few clean nappies home, for them to be ready to use when we arrive back just incase what I bring back is dirty and wet. 

What kind of nappies do you use?

There are so many choices but we use two types. We use all in ones and two parter. 

In two parters, you have the minky nappy and then a leakproof cover. An all – in – one is exactly what it says. It is like putting a disposable on. No cover involved. 

All in ones are less bulky and but also comparatively less absorbent. Hence, they are perfect for day time wear, easy to pack in your nappy bag and quick to change.

Whereas, a two parter is a tad bulkier but has a brilliant absorbency. They are perfect for night time wear. But I use two parter even in the day time. They are my favourite as I have a super heavy wetter.

Did you use them right from birth?

No. But that is only because my baby was very tiny at birth. He was a mere 2.5 kgs baby. Most newborn nappies fit babies that are 6 oz or 7 oz and up. There are cloth nappies for tiny babies but I knew that my baby will outgrow them as soon as my milk was established and he started gaining weight. 

Will my baby get a nappy rash?

Well unlike disposables, cloth nappies are notorious for wasting your money, that is if you have invested on an expensive nappy rash cream (not all rash cream are cloth nappy friendly by the way).

In all honesty, my baby has been wearing cloth nappies since he was 6 weeks old and I have never had any problems because unlike disposables there are no chemicals in the nappies. Having said that babies do get rashes especially if they aren’t changed often enough or due to some irritants like a new detergent or the material of the nappy even.

The only time I saw a sore bum was when he was teething. I use two things on such ocassions coconut oil or weleda nappy rash cream. Both are cloth nappy friendly and very good for rashes. But there are plenty of options out there.

How many nappies do you need?

In my opinion, 20 is a good starting point. 

I personally brought a pack of 20 nappies. Realistically, you will need about 6 to 8 changes a day.  Because my entire stash of 20 was a two parter, I then invested in another 10 all in ones. And that is personally more than enough, especially if you plan to do a wash every other day. If you plan to wash in longer intervals you will need more. 

I hope I have answered most of the common queries people may have about cloth nappies. There is honestly nothing negative to say about them, when what they do to this earth is so rewarding.

Let’s not contribute to that landfill and let our planet breathe.

……to a better and a cleaner future. Cheers!

 

A Letter To Baby Ro On His Birthday

 

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Happy Birthday Roshan!

You are one already. It just feels like yesterday that I gave birth to you and was having sleepless nights, not because you won’t sleep but I couldn’t stop looking at you in awe. It still feels surreal that you made me experience motherhood like never before.

You have been the easiest baby. You came to this world without causing mama any pain, and you have lived for an entire year so far and have not caused mama any trouble in any form. I had a terrible pregnancy. I was worried for you because I could not eat or drink for the first six months, but you came out with a very loud pair of lungs and energy that is so infectious. You light up everybody’s day and your smile, just heart warming.

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Everybody knows you as the “happiest” baby in the world. On your birthday, we all started the day by having an early morning breakfast as daddy had to shoot off to work unfortunately. We opened some presents and daddy read you a book.

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Later on, we went to the grove ferry with Reuben and Irene and the dogs. The park was empty and the sun was shinning. There were dandelions all around. You had a nice sleep in the sling.

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When you woke up, you insisted we sat down. We played tickles with you, Irene made you a bouquet of wild flowers, you loved playing with dandelions. We watched a lot of birds together and you even tried to play ball with Pepper. In the afternoon, we visited Flo’s house and invited them to come over for some tea and cake at our house. Mama made you a nice chocolate cake (you devoured it). We sang you happy birthday, even daddy joined us on video call. It was so precious.

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Party cake by Kim

Your birthday celebrations did not stop at that. On the weekend, we threw you a huge birthday party. A lot of friends came to see you from far and wide. You were showered with so much love and presents. To be honest, you were slightly overwhelmed and the teething had given you a temperature, so you couldn’t be your own self that day. But people loved to see you nonetheless and enjoyed a lot.

This entire year has gone so quickly. You have learnt so much in just one year. There were so many moments that I have cherished with you. Some of them are already fading in my memory. But here are some of the fun facts that I remember about you and I know you would like to know them when you grow up. This is some of  the ways you have about you that makes you so special:

  1. You love to feed everyone whatever that is you are eating.
  2. You are really the happiest baby we have ever seen. You must have cried less than 10 times in the entire year (most of which was for legit reasons like temperature, teething, falling etc). I honestly, remember three such instances: once when I accidentally burnt you. So sorry! Once when you were teething and had a temperature and once when you fell for the first time.
  3. Babies have a reputation for not sleeping well or waking up in the middle of the night all active and hyper. But you have never done that. You wake up for night feeds, but you have literally never woken up with your eyes open wanting to be taken down to play or chat etc. We all sleep through the night pretty much.
  4. Recently you have developed a new attachment towards daddy. You prefer to sleep in between the both of us, roll over to me for some milk and then roll back over to sleep with daddy. It is so endearing!
  5. You never threw up, not even whilst burping after a feed. Burp cloth? What is that for?!
  6. You tell us off or whinge or even start to cry everytime Pepper is told off. Pepper gets away with murder these days, all thanks to you.
  7. You also have learnt the trick to feed the dogs under the table. You are so cheeky that you call the dogs even when they are in their beds to come and eat food from you.
  8. It is no surprise your first proper word happens to be Pepper. You do say mamma and babba, but it is still all babbles but when you say Pepper it is very intentional, articulate and full of effort.
  9. Your second favourite thing in the world after Pepper are birds. You are fascinated by them. You can point them out and say, “buuuuuuuds”. If we ask you where is the bird, you find them and then point out to say, “theeeyyhh” Awwww (melts my heart)
  10. Your favourite song to watch happens to be this bollywood song called, “bum bum bole” from “taarein zameen pe”. If you find anyone on the laptop or phone, you start saying, “umm umm, umm ummm” and do a little bounce bounce as if you want them to put the song on so you can dance.
  11. You are very gentle with cats and dogs. You have never once pinched them or scratched them or pulled their tails. Unlike your mama, you really like cats. Cats love you too. So far, all cats have rolled over for you including the stray ones. I hope it stays that way!
  12. You are obsessed with daddy’s guitar. He is the coolest rockstar for you. You almost have a baby crush on him. You relate to the “beep beep” song that he used to play when you were in mama’s belly.
  13. You also have a quirky way of eating your biscuit. You love dipping it in my tea. It has to be done!
  14.  You have always woken up just as mama sat down to eat. No seriously, every single time! Every single time! No seriously!
  15. You have one very annoying habit of twiddling with my other nipple whilst feeding on the other. If I move your hand, you boss me out by shouting.
  16. You have recently learnt to crawl up the stairs, and you love to climb all three storeys to get to Reuben’s room and play with his toys. You enjoy taking all his books off the shelf and empty his lego box and mess up his entire room.
  17. You love emptying all the cupboards in the kitchen. Well all babies do, but what you like the most is putting them back in. By the time you finish, the cupboard is a mess but you know what, they are all in the cupboard and I am grateful that I don’t have to do it.
  18. You also love emptying the washing machine for me. So after a wash I sometimes put you in front of the machine with a bucket, and you very happily empty it out for me. So thank you. Wonder how long will this last! I hope forever!

Honestly, the list could go on and on. There are just so many little details I don’t want to forget but I know I will with time. I hope you and I can read this together in the future and have a laugh about it.

We all love you so much. You have brought so much love to us all. You are the one who makes us a family. I hope you feel loved all your life and you carry on giving just the way you do at the moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The No-Poo Method

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Hair is quite often referred to as a woman’s jewel in a lot of Indian poems. And yet, we put our beautiful mane go through endless torture and abuse. If exposure to sunshine and pollution wasn’t enough, we kill the life out of our hair by shampooing it endlessly.

As a kid, I always shampoo’d my hair once a week. I had luscious long hair all the way up to my knees. I was very proud of my hair. When I became a teenager, the rebel in me wanted to care for my own hair. I cut it shorter, I coloured it and ironed it flat. Results were great and I enjoyed the look for a year that it lasted but as soon as the colour wore off and I lost the straightened hair, I realised the damage all that had caused. My hair was left lifeless. I had frizz and my hair was so badly damaged that I could not simply wash and air dry my hair anymore. I had to blow dry and straighten it every time to avoid frizz. Rain became my enemy. I could not just enjoy going for a swim in the sea unless the plan was to head straight back home after the swim. I tried all sorts of shampoos and conditioning/masks to repair my hair but to no avail!

Why stop shampooing?

Shampooing our hair regularly is actually pretty harmful for us. The chemicals in the shampoos not only strip off our hair and make it dull, they totally dry out our hair which confuses our system and thus, our scalp produces a lot more oil to compensate the loss of moisture. In order to get rid of the excess oil we shampoo a bit more. It is a vicious circle. Not only that, but every time we shampoo and rinse our hair we pass on the chemicals into our water sources causing enormous amount of damage to our marine life. And lets not forget the plastic waste!

After giving birth to Baby Roshan, I became very conscious of my use of chemicals. I did not want to wear, consume or promote the use of so much chemically rich products into my life. I wanted to go the natural parenting ways and live a natural lifestyle too. I started boycotting a lot of cosmetics products that were full of harmful chemicals. One of which was my shampoo and conditioner.

Another reason to ditch my shampooing routine was the lack of time. After having a baby, long showers became a luxury. For the first 8 months, I hadn’t had a shower without an interruption from the baby. Since my hair needed immediate blowdrying and straightening in order to prevent it from getting frizzy and dull, my hair care routine became a liability with a baby on toe. So the first thing I did was to cut my hair short.

I loved my long hair. I have always had beautifully thick black hair. Cutting them short was a big emotional decision. I chose to send it to a charity that makes pretty wigs for little princesses with cancer. That way, I felt less bad about cutting my long mane shorter.

Now that I had short hair, I thought it would be a perfect time to try out the No-poo method for my hair care routine.

No-Poo Method:

No-Poo method simply means reducing or boycotting the use of shampoo altogether. I chose to go all out and give up shampoo completely.  For the past six months, I haven’t used any shampoo in my hair and I have to say it works. My hair is clean, healthy and smells of nothing but hair! It does not stink nor does it smell of any artificial perfume.

My hair care routine:

I started off by using bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar.

Now it is important to note that initially your hair will feel very greasy even after washes. But trust me, stick to it and be patient. It really works.

What you need to realise is that all those years of shampooing has resulted in an unimaginably excessive amount of oil secretion from your scalp. It will take a while for the scalp to realise that you don’t need so much oil for your hair. So I would say it can take anywhere from a month to six weeks for the hair to feel less greasy after a wash. In fact, the first few washes, the hair will seem very very greasy and oily. almost yucky!

After three weeks, I almost gave up because my hair did not feel clean. It constantly looked greasy. I also realised diluting the bicarb and vinegar wasn’t working for me. So I took the risk of using it directly.

I washed my hair once every three days with bicarb and vinegar!

My current routine

So after rinsing my hair with water, I use a table spoon of bicarb and massaged it into my scalp. I leave it in for 2 minutes before washing it off.

I would then use the white vinegar as a conditioner. I use about two to three tablespoons of vinegar and massage it into my hair.

It is important to rinse the vinegar off with luke warm water and not hot water. This helps to lock in the moisture and gives the hair a luscious and glossy look.

It has been six months, and I am thoroughly convinced with my no poo method. It gives me such a pleasure to think how much I save on shampoos and conditioners and how naturally clean my hair is. It does not smell, it is clean and it is shiny.

This method not only prevents the use of chemical to clean your hair but the use of bicarb and vinegar is good cure for dandruffs too. Who would have thought!

Give it a go. What is to lose? If it doesn’t work for you, you can always go back to shampooing. There are so many herbal shampoos with less chemicals to choose from too.

Tips:

Frangrance

Now, if you are wondering that vinegar would leave your hair smelling all vinegary you are wrong. It does not smell of vinegar once washed thoroughly, but if you want to be extra sure, you could dilute some essential oil in a mug of water and rinse your hair with it. I use lavender oil or rose oil.

Coconut Oil

I use coconut oil as a serum to tame the frizz or flyaways. Once a month I also massage my hair with coconut oil and leave it on over night. I wash it off in the morning. This helps the hair gain some volume and repairs any damage.

Let me know what you think of No-Poo Method?

Beetroot & Chickpeas Burgers

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This recipe is so easy and can be made in less than 2 hours. A good way to get those veggies into your kids. The beetroot adds a nice raw pink colour to it which we loved. We were surprised by the combination of beetroot with chickpeas. Flavours were subtle but very satisfying.

Servings: 8 to 10 patties

Ingredients:

3 cans of chickpeas

2 big beetroots, cooked & grated (I used precooked from the shop, a pack of 6 to 7 tiny beetroots)

1 finely chopped red onion

3 – 4 cloves of garlic

Handful of chopped coriander

4 – 5 tbsp quick oats

1 tbsp cornflour

1/2 tbsp of grammar flour

2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

2 tsp of chia seeds (optional)

100 grams of walnuts, coarsely ground

1 tbsp of cumin powder

1 tbsp of smoked paprika

Salt to taste

3 tbsp oil to cook

Method:

Take a can of chickpeas and blend it with its water. It will be nearly as smooth as hummus, pour it in a mixing bowl. Drain other two cans and put it in with the ground chickpeas. Now mush up the chickpeas with a potato masher.

Add all the other ingredients and mix well. I would get in with your hands. If it is too wet, add more oats or a sprinkle of cornflour should do the trick.

Once the mixture is ready, form your patties and set them aside in the fridge to set.

In the meantime, chop up all the other fillings you would like to put in your burger: tomatoes, red onions, gherkins, cheese etc.

After about 30 minutes of chilling. I shallow fried the patties until golden brown on both sides and then put them in a preheated oven on gas mark 5 for 20 mins or so.

Check after 15 minutes and cook accordingly. Voila!

Serve with some homemade chips and cold glass of lager! Perfect way to welcome spring.