Friday, April 22, 2011

Healthy refreshment : My homemade Punjabi Mango Lassi adaptation!

Last Saturday I was talking to a friend before heading to the salon to get my hair done and I mentioned to her that I would fix some Mango Lassi before going out! She did not know what a Mango Lassi was so I explained it to her before I started telling her about some great Indian spices she could use for health as well as beauty treatment! One spice I told her to shop for is turmeric! A spice I love to add in many things and you can read more about it on my article:
Anyway, since some of you might not be familiar with Lassi I guess I can give you too a little introduction to my Mango Lassi before sharing my version of it! I say my version because I am not sure that there is such a thing as the perfectly authentic Mango Lassi recipe. I think it initially starts with yogurt and mango but who knows how it finishes...
N'na's own: Mango Lassi

Lassi is a popular and traditional Punjabi-yogurt drink from India and Pakistan that is generally enjoyed fresh as a refreshment during hot weather. Punjab is simply a region in North western India and Pakistan, just in case you wonder what's a Punjabi yogurt! Punjab means the land of five rivers "Panj" means "five" and "ab" means "water"! I know I am sharing a recipe here but a little culture is good for you! Might as well feed the intellect too while we are talking recipe!

 So...Lassi  is made by blending yogurt with water or milk and adding some Indian spices. I think Punjab yogurt includes curry and turmeric among their Indian spices.  There are quite a few variations for the drink such as salted lassi, sweet lassi, mango lassi etc. The drink is called different things in different parts of the world! For example, in Turkey, a drink similar to Lassi is called Aryan,  while in Afghanistan and Iran a similar drink is called Doogh!

 Here on the left is a picture I found online of an Ayran drink, it's a yogurt and mint drinkThis one is a picture I found online representing a Doogh drink.

Anyway, to fix some Mango Lassi you mainly need Mango and Yogurt! I used plain Vanilla Yogurt. Don't worry,by the time I add some spices of my choices it will not be that plain.... I can guarantee that!!!!
In addition to Mango and Yogurt you add water or milk!
I personally would not add dairy milk to mine (having Yogurt is enough for me) I would suggest you add coconut milk, I think it's more tropical (smiles)...well that's my humble opinion...
Alright...what else..? Well...  let's  just use the pictures as a guide since they say a picture is worth a thousand words I will use them to save me some typing...

N'na's own: Mango Lassi in progress

I don't think that the recipe would specify to use some frozen mangoes but my version does! I am using some frozen mangoes as well as fresh mangoes. I always keep a stash of frozen fruits because it adds more texture to my drinks and I can benefit from them already being cold! I do my best to avoid crushing or adding ice simply because I want to take advantage of my blends full flavors and not 'water down the taste'.

In trying to decide what to add I am turning to my special 'natural medicine cabinet"! I call  this kitchen cabinet my 'natural medicine cabinet' because I use most of the things in there for their health benefits! More on that later.

Having to choose between water or milk I actually opted for coconut juice. I figured plain water would be boring to my taste buds and I was not in the mood for coconut milk! Coconut juice was a great compromise! I used about 1/4 of the can. (Next time I will try my Lassi with rosewater and let you know how it turns out)

Well... I know I said it's a Mango Lassi but it's my drink so I can add whatever I desire...I was thinking that the taste of pineapple juice and some pineapple could add extra flavors to my drink. You know...take it to the next level!!! I love flavors! So I used a couple of slices and blended them with a little bit of pineapple juice.

I sweetened with a little bit of honey this is truly optional, and figured I could make use of some spices from my ' natural medicine cabinet'! After all a Lassi include Indian spices... so I selected my own spices Ginger, Caraway, Fennel and a little bit of turmeric! I was actually hoping to add some Cardamon as one of my main spices but I did not have any left! I could have used other spices too but I figured my first selections were alright. I only added a few pinches of  my chosen spices.

I poured my mixture to my glass, decorated with some fresh mint from my garden and topped my drink with some crushed pineapple and mangoes. Why add the crushed pineapple and mangoes? I just felt that my promising refreshment could handle some extra 'texture' and hmm was I right! It was so good.... 
N'na's own: Mango Lassi
I did refrigerate my drink just a few minutes until I was ready to savour it!
I poured some in a glass and saved the rest for later enjoyment!
Keep in mind that the drink should be refrigerated before drinking, it's meant to be chilled and served as a refreshment for a hot day! I was able to enjoy mine without a long refrigeration simply because I have used some frozen mangoes in addition to the fresh ones!

Doesn't it look good???? knoooow it tastes good! If it has mango alone it tastes good! Add all those other ingredients and it taste GREAT! Hey that's N'na's Mango Lassi! Taking a simple drink to the next level!That's the kind of things you drink and you smile for not apparent!!!

N'na's own: Mango Lassi

 The leftover was a delicious treat later on in the day...

N'na's own: Mango Lassi

Voila, N'na's own version of a delicious refreshment! Mango and Pineapple Lassi! To be honest I haven't heard of pineapple Lassi, it's always Mango Lassi that I hear about but nobody said I could not come up with my personal variation! So from coconut juice to pineapple and some unexpected ingredients like Caraway and Fennel, my Lassi was not just delicious it turned out to be a very healthy refreshment!

Now, I have read that one variation of Lassi make people drowsy, that might explain why I yawned so much when I was at the salon getting my hair done! Who knows? I probably should blame the fact that I went to bed really late the night before (making a face)!

 If you have never tried a Mango Lassi it's worth trying, I guess any kind of Lassi is worth trying, but I can only recommend what I know for sure to be very tasty! Mangoes are delicious and are one of the healthiest fruits you can eat! It's also a great fruit for skin care and hair care treatments....if you want to know more about that you will just have to come back another time! Stay tuned! Become a Follower by joining this blog if you are new here, Like the facebook page Healthy can be done and Follow Goodhealthdiva on twitter as well! Alright that's it for today, hope you enjoyed learning about my adaption to Mango Lassi.
 I don't mess with alcoholic beverages so for a hot weather refreshment packed with health benefits I greatly recommend that you give the Mango Lassi a try!
Are you a Lassi drinker? If yes, what kind of Lassi do you drink? What's your favorite (healthy) hot weather refreshment?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The benefits of gardening: A sneak peek at my natural garden

Hello friends!
Hope all is well with you all! I know you all have noticed that it's Springtime... With the weather improving I am less often around my laptop and I am more busy getting my hands in the dirt!  Those past days I have been more active outdoors taking full advantage of the sun and especially....especially admiring my humble & enchanting N'natural garden in bloom! Yeaaah!!!

You know when we talk about living a natural life, being healthier and improving our lives, I think gardening should be at the top of the list of things that are recommended for a better body and a better life the natural way!
Think about it, to garden you have to move, carry things, dig, pull, lift, bend...well, you get the got to stay mobile right? Well, that's great exercise and you don't have to time yourself or do some monotonous repetitive motions like when you are at the gym etc. You get the added benefits of seeing birds flying around, enjoying the breeze blow when you need it most, and you even get a free tan!

 Well those are just some benefits of the actual labor...Talking of labor I am sore right now, I feel like I have lifted some weights...when you think about the bag of 2 cf potting soil, the bags of 2cf mulch,  some weed pulling and moving some planters etc. I have had a good work out for the last 5 hours.  Time goes by so fast when you are doing something you enjoy, gardening is one such thing for me!!!
So I have had a good work out in while doing some gardening but I was in a great mood the whole time I was working and this is why...

Pink knock out roses and Salvia in bloom April 2011.
N'na's garden.
Yes, many of my flowers are in bloom! There are a few more roses and other flowers that are reserving me some surprises but today these flowers smiled at me....

Blaze roses and Clematis in bloom April 2011.
N'na 's garden

Mint, Clematis and more April 2011.
N'na's Garden

Clematis and Blaze climbing rose in bloom April 2011.
N'na 's garden.

  And I smiles right back! I got to be honest with you, it's much prettier in reality! Seeing them in bloom, and watching the bees actively flying around the Salvia... I have been waiting for Spring with much anticipation! Today I was enchanted!
It was 4:30 pm before I finally had lunch. I am exhausted but I am so pleased. Gardening is such a rewarding activity! If you are a gardener I am sure you will agree with me!!!

Pink knock out roses, Iceberg Roses, Salvia in bloom April 2011
N'na 's garden.

Two days ago I got the pleasure of fixing my dinner with some lettuce from my container garden.
I have a big yard but I am not up for tilling and all so in my first attempt at growing some vegetables I created a small container garden on my deck. I have a lot of experience growing herbs in containers and this year I ventured into lettuce, broccoli, peppers and Brussels sprouts. So for a newbie I am so excited to see that I can now fix my salad with home grown lettuce! Yeaaah! I will keep you posted on my progress with the other plants.

My first dinner plate with home grown lettuce! Yeaahhh!

For now all I wanted to do was share with you how rewarding gardening is to me! From enjoying the beauty of flowers in bloom to the satisfaction of home grown produces, gardening is truly one of the most rewarding Natural Hobby one can have!
If you are not used to gardening give it a try this season it will totally improve the quality of your life. A few years ago my husband had a coworker who started to garden and he reported that she lost a lot of weight as result and she was a nicer person to be around! I think that it has some great psychological benefits! It's a great outlet!

Iceberg and Catmint in bloom May 2010 in N'na's garden!

One thing I love to do when my flowers are in bloom is to create small vases and treat a neighbor or one of my husband's coworkers to some fresh flowers! It's a small gesture but I have been told many times that they brighten their days in ways I could not expect and that I always seem to know the right time to deliver my small gift! I also love to make some tea bags or some sachets with the herbs from my garden and offer them as gifts!

Iceberg roses in bloom May 2010 in N'na's garden!

Gardening has the power of bringing people together. I had neighbors share their cucumbers, squash or okra with me and it's always exciting to receive fresh produces that are unquestionably organic (lol)!

 N'na's favorite:  Joseph's Coat Climbing Roses May 2010!
This is my favorite rose from my garden will tell you why later! It will soon be in bloom...

 If you are concerned that you might not have a green thumb just take a chance! It starts as a very small investment with very great reward! I say starts because once you fall in love with gardening you will invest more, but the reward will always outweigh the costs!  

Since gardening is one of my passion you will get to read more and see more pictures this Spring and Summer! Last year I took hundred of pictures, this year I will get to share some old and new pictures with you all.  I hope you enjoyed your little tour in N'na's garden. (Smiles). Please come by often, become a Follower here, Like the facebook page Goodhealthdiva and spread the word. I love hearring from you so leave your comments and let me know...

Do you have a green thumb? What's your favorite thing to grow? Do you garden for pleasure (flowers) or for consumption (food)? What's to you the most rewarding thing about gardening? If you are not much of a gardener are you now inspired to become one?