Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil - Review & Giveaway!! (USA & Canada)

Virgin Coconut Oil:
There are a lot of reasons why I got attached to the product. Like it is made machine-free, chemical-free, unrefined...many more. For one, I din't know that so many recipes could be made with coconut oil! I'm going to start trying some of them.  How to Use Coconut oil: There are hundreds of uses for coconut oil!

My Take:
I will give my view on my two most trusted and practiced uses of coconut oil. For HAIR and SKIN. Apply coconut oil to your hair at least 1 hour before you take bath and let it absorb.Your hair will be super hydrated with out being weighed down and will not get dry and lifeless! Coconut oil brings me a lot of memories from my childhood. It is a must have at every house in India. I definitely have it here in USA too... I'm extremely elated to have found a virgin coconut oil from tropical traditions :)

Coconut oil is a super natural moisturizer. I have seen and experienced the same over the years. I always have a travel pack when ever we travel. It is a must!! I use it for my kid now... I'll just say, it is one product that is passed down generations!

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

Now to the GIVEAWAY!!!

Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - 32 oz.
Win 1 quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!

Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.

The giveaway is open to USA & Canada.

Fill the rafflecopter shown below for your chance to win 1 quart of coconut oil!!! There is one mandatory entry. You have to subscribe to Tropical Traditions email newsletter (link is also provided in the rafflecopter). Others are optional entries to increase your chances to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

VITA ( Volunteeer Litearcy Tutor) Information - on my FB Page

Hey Ladies! I've posted information of my current volunteer job - Literacy Tutor in The VITA (Volunteer In Teaching Adults) program. If you are interested hop on over to my FB Page to find more information...

Till then... have a healthy, happy day :)

Image source: google

Friday, July 27, 2012

Easy 2 minute Earrings

Hey All! I was feeling a little blue and wanted to make one of those "Feel Good" projects that could be completed ASAP.

I've always wanted to make a pair of earrings for the ruby like bead necklace I made few months back. Got down to work with some ideas... but ended up with this easy design.. on the spot. Do you like it???

You just need the only pliers shown in the pic and your choice of beads, the hook and the jump ring. Put the beads in the jump ring and use the pliers to connect it with the hook.. you are done!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Jalapeno Mandi & Updates

Hey All! I've been active on Twitter and Pinterest the past week . Pinterest is a very nice concept. Got a bunch of ideas from Pinterest which I'm hoping to try out later :)

Regarding Volunteer work.. I'm not sure if I should continue about it on my blog. So thought of sticking with Facebook Page alone. Since I'm not sure if it is interesting :)

Updates apart, coming to today's recipe.. it is Jalapeno Mandi. Mandi is a chettinad delicacy. It is very versatile because, you can use any choice of vegetables to cook. Carrot, plaintain, potato, all kinds of dried beans, pasta, okra, chick peas, even jalapeno. Usually it is a mix of all vegetables except for okra and jalapeno/molakai. It is very healthy and goes well with all rice dishes. Especially with curd rice :)

The idea to make mandi from jalapeno was inspired from a friend.

Number of servings - 2-3
Jalapeno (completely de-seeded) - 6 -7
Onion - 1/2
Tomato - 1/2
Garlic - 4 pods
Tamarind - lime sized ball
Rice flour - 1/2 spoon (to thicken)

To temper:
Mustard seeds
Urad dal
Red Chillies

  • Cut the jalapeno into finger like strips. Heat oil in a kadai and splutter items to temper. Add the garlic, onion and saute well
  • Add the tomato and saute well. Add the jalapeno and saute well.. Until the rawness goes
  • Add the tamarind pulp and salt and let it cook
  • Before switching off the flame mix the rice flour in water and add it to the gravy. Mandi is ready

Sunday, July 22, 2012

How To: Online Volunteering

This post is for certain situations in which you are just not able to get out of the house. Like pregnancy, time crunch, or simply.. what if you don't know to drive yet?.

I've done some online volunteering. Of which two was completed.. and one , I had to leave half way due to my time crunch. There are a lot of things to consider in online volunteering. It might seem like being at home you have a lot of time in hands.. but that might not be the case.. at least with a kid. So think well before committing hours to your volunteer co-ordinator.

Research and submit information is what I did mostly. But one volunteer job gave me the opportunity to explore in my IT area of analysis. So you just have to look for the best match for you. You can make connections, interactions and get to know how it works through online volunteering.

Go to websites like http://www.volunteermatch.org/ and search for opportunities. We can get out of the shell that keep us from achieving our goals. This might be a first step... where in you get to speak/discuss/teleconference. (Link source: google)

If you need any information or have any questions mail me at perspectivemedley@gmail.com

Disclaimer: All information provided/suggested are from my own experience. I'm not a professional in this area.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Black-eyed peas sundal - 175th post N 100th Tweet!!

Hey All! This is my 175th post on my blog and 100th tweet on Twitter  !! Tried this black - eyed peas sundal for snack yesterday. Please excuse the pic because of the lighting...

Number of serving: 2 - 3
Black - eyed peas - 3/4 cup
A dash of lemon squeeze

Dry roast and grind :
Coconut - 1 spoon
Red Chilli - 1
Cumin seeds - 1/2 spoon

To Temper:
Mustard seeds
Red Chilli

  • The idea to make sundal struck my only in the late afternoon. So I saoked it in water for about 4 -5 hours. Then pressure cook it to 3 whistles. Drain the peas and keep aside
  • Dry roast and grind the items to grind
  • Heat oil in a kadai and splutter items to temper. Add the sundal, salt and saute
  • Add the ground mixture and saute
  • Switch off the heat and squeeze a dash of lemon 
Next time I'm planning to add de-seeded jalapeno.

    Thursday, July 19, 2012

    How To: VITA Volunteer (My own experience)

    After doing some thinking... something tells me I have to write information on my blog too.. not stopping with  Facebook.. for true reach... Since I started the page just a week back..

    I might not duplicate all the information.. only because I can't find the time. I'll try to add more information on both...  So keep checking both for a whole lot of information. I do this because it took me a very long time to find all these information.  So wanted to put everything together, hoping it'll be helpful at least to one of you??.. If it is please let me know.. :)

    Img Source: google
    What is VITA?
    VITA stands for Volunteer in Income Tax Assistance. This program is in place during the tax season (from OCT - APRIL)

    Who can Volunteer?
    Anyone can. But you should pass the IRS certification test.  (I'm a Masters in IT field with nil tax background) It is ideal to have or to be currently working in the Accounting field.

    What is the IRS Certification?
    Since anyone can volunteer for this position, you should read the basic rules for filing taxes and pass the certification online/ in the organization where you volunteer. You can read the material from the IRS website. But many Organizations require you to attend their training as well. You'll have to find out from the Organization. Once you have the certificate you are ready to volunteer for different Organizations in the same season!

    When should I do all this?
    You should be ready with all the information by October. So do all the contacting and collecting before that.

    What does it hold for you?
    Trust me, this will be a rewarding experience. You will meet people. Not to mention the rich mentioning on your Resume! and some firms offer you with hours (if you are CPA / Accountant) You can be sure that by the end, you'll be able to understand your own taxes!

    If you have more questions contact me - perspectivemedley@gmail.com or share on my FB page so that all can benefit :)

    Disclaimer: I'm not reviewing / an expert in this category. This is purely my experience and wanting to share with you all... If you already are a VITA volunteer please shed more light on this for all of us :) 

    Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

    Hey Ladies... As promised I started a thread on my FB PAGE to give you all information on Volunteer jobs. Hop on over to my FB page (you can also find the link on the top tab of my blog) to see that..

    My first Thread is on Volunteer Income Tax Assistance.. I just started it.. will let you all know more on days to come.. as my kid is being cranky for the past couple of days!

    Pour in your suggestions and experiences to benefit others. After all we all know how it is to stay alone at home living far away from our Country :)

    Ask me questions.. on my wall, to my mail.. what ever works out for you.. will  be very happy to respond with whatever I know :))

    Copy Kids DVD Winner...

    Hey all!!.. This DVD review and giveaway has been such a great experience to me.. Learnt a lot!

    The Winner is...

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Congratulations Puja!!.. Will shoot you an email :)

    Sunday, July 15, 2012

    How To: Volunteer Jobs

    Hey Ladies :) This post is like a prequel to the original picture. I'm just letting you all know that I'm going to start a discussion and share information on my FB Page (you can also find the link on the top tab) about volunteer jobs. I'm not an expert/professional - I'm just letting you all know how I did. I used to Volunteer as a Income Tax Preparer (I do not have any tax back ground) - that is the point. Even if you do not have a full background it is possible to do it, because they offer training. 

    Trust me, the experience is REWARDING :) A lot of my friends/ people to whom I speak about this ask me how I find it.. so I thought I could use a common medium to get/give more information.

    I'll be MIA for a couple of days... so like and look @ my FB page for the coming up discussion in a couple of days time... 

    Friday, July 13, 2012

    $1 clips from Gem Show

    If you are in the US you might have already known about the "International Gem & Jewelry Show" that happens through out the year and in many cities. I get my beads there to make jewelry and also these clips. These are just a $1 and easily glams up simple plain hair. Need less to say if you have girl babies/kids :) They look super cute on babies :))

    Note: I got these from my pocket and this is my own view. I'm not sponsored/paid to write this.

    P.S. I started a Facebook page for my blog.. just today. We all start the small "FIRSTS" with great hope right?? :)  If you find time, pay a visit and let me know what you would like to see/discuss there.. you can find the link on my blog's top tab or just click here :)) Have a beautiful, fun filled weekend!

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

    Indianzied Vegetable Maggi Noodles

    This one is my go-to recipe when I absolutely have nil time to prepare something for me. You know the days when you keep cooking for your kid the whole day hoping at least one of it will appeal to the kid...*sigh*

    Anyway, coming to the point... I'll not say this is healthy... may be you can feel a less guilty and more filling by adding a load of vegetables.

    Number of servings: 1 big fat serving
    Onion - 1/2
    Tomato - 1/2
    Mixed vegetables - 1 cup (I used carrot, beans, bell pepper, peas)
    Red Chilli powder - 1/4 spoon (rest from the given masala packet)
    Maggi Noodles - 1 pack

    To temper:
    Mustard seeds
    Urad Dal

    • Bring a vessel of water to boil. Break the noodles and add it to the water. Remove and drain it after 2-3 minutes when its soft. (This is to remove the wax from the noodles.. even if I don't add veggies I follow this step) If you leave it for a longer time, it will turn mushy
    • Heat oil in a kadai and splutter items to temper. Add the onions and saute well
    • Add tomates and saute. Add the vegetables, salt , chilli powder, given masala powder and saute well
    • Add the drained noodles and mix well in heat for a minute

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

    Vellai Paniyaram - Chettinad Delicacy

    Just in my other post I was rambling about how hard it was to try new recipe.. But just got a right time to try this one... Vellai Paniyaram. tried is as a snack. I used to dread trying these paniyarams.. there are a lot of things to consider in order to make a perfect paniyaram. Like the rice, urad dal quality, hotness of the oil, consistency of the batter, even the color depends on the dal etc. It takes practice to perfect... or thats what I tell myself whenever it won't come out well, but this time it was real goood, so thought of sharing with you all :)

    Number of servings: 8-10 paniyarams
    Raw rice - 1/2 cup (I did not use sona masoori)
    Urad dal

    • You may have noticed that I din't give the measurement for urad dal.. that is because the way we measure to make vellai paniyaram is different. You take rice in a cup (I used 1/2 ulakku measure) and sweep it off flat to the brim of the cup, so there is no mountain like rice sitting on the cup. 
    • Now take the urad dal and add it to the brim of the rice cup to make it a mountain like meausrement. So its 1 flat cup of rice and a mound of urad dal on top of it
    • Soak the rice and dal for a couple of hours and grind it smoothly with no rice chunks in the blender
    • Add salt. The batter should not be too thick, not too watery - this might make hard paniyarams.
    • Heat oil in a kadai in medium and take a ladle of batter and pour it in the kadai. Wait til the paniyaram fulffs or floats, this is the indication to turn it over and cook. Then take out the paniyaram, draining the excess oil.
    It is very very easy to make.. but looks long in the writing. But everything little thing matters in making a perfect paniyaram!

    Masala Mini Idly

    Its been quite a while since I wrote a cooking related post. Reason?... My toddler gives me the least opportunity and time to try out new recipes... Not to mention the time constraint.. even if I do try something new, there is absolutely no chance he is going to let me click it!..

    Anyways.. ramblings apart. I've started to volunteer (If you are interested, let me know.. will write a post on volunteer jobs). Its not at our library.. can you believe that I applied to a number of library volunteer jobs and the only answer I got was : "We already have enough volunteers.. will let you know when something opens up". I'm glad there are so many to volunteer and help :))

    To today's recipe (from a friend) - Masala Mini Idlies. Doesn't it sound yummm :) Perfect for kids and adults.

    Mini Idlies
    Red chilli powder
    Turmeric powder - a pinch
    fenugreek powder - a pinch

    To Temper:
    Mustard seeds


    • Heat oil in a pan and add items to temper. 
    • Add tomatoes and saute. Add the chilli powder and fenugreek powder, salt
    • Let it cook well. Switch off and add the idlies to the masala and mix well. garnish with cilantro.

    Friday, July 6, 2012

    Mehendi / Henna Tattoo

    Hey friends... I just did this mehendi.. after watching shrutiarjunanand's video on youtube. She is an expert in mehendi designs. I can just say its inspired from hers.. since its not as perfect as her version :)

    Please don't forget to Enter my Copy-Kids DVD giveaway here.. few days left to end..

    Thursday, July 5, 2012

    Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream - swatch & review

    Wonder why the blog got a break for 5 days???... or not :).. anyway I'm gonna tell why.. had been on a big V for the long weekend. Just got back from a very summer-y place of 100 F + vacation. So thought it might be perfect to review this product that I got just before the trip.. and also I din't know what else to do.. since it seems like it might take quite a while before I could settle back at home.. hmmm..

    Coming  to the product, its the Maybelline's Dream Fresh BB Cream. I know its a winner in India or generally a BB cream has been raved about in Asia. But in US, it hit the stores recently. A BB cream is short form of Beauty Balm.. meaning it does a little more than just evening out the skin tone. This BB cream claims to do 8 things:  blurs imperfections, enhances, brightens, adjusts to skin tone, hydrates, SPF 30, oil - free - overall a MUST HAVE  to me :) There is a large variety of shade selection available for this BB cream. BEST part - TESTERS are available (I got it from CVS). So you can test it out and get the perfect shade.

    Top left - without flash
    Bottom left - with flash

    It does what it claims. I wore it in 100 F summer and it worked out pretty well. I can guarantee this because I have a skin that gets real irritated when exposed to sun. The cream protected well enough. I was once advised by a dermatologist its best to use sunscreens with either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide..

    What I like about it:

    • its not oily, greasy or heavy. it applies very light and is hydrating in a non-oily way
    • it does not leave a obvious white cast on pictures despite the SPF 30 and titanium dioxide
    • offers sun protection, which is very vital for me
    • coverage is not heavy and perfect for the summer
    • the shade is a perfect match for me
    Over all I like it best of all my sunscreens, tinted moisturizers, etc...

    UPDATE: I'm updating this post, since I have been using the product more after writing this review. As I had already written, it applies very light... but over the course of time, it turns shiny. Even though you cannot feel it a lot.. it shows well/shiner in the pictures. But I still stick on to the sun protection part. It protects real good! That is the main part why I love it!

    Disclaimer: I'm not sponsored or paid to write this review. I got this from my pocket and this is purely my view on the product.