Pongal, a harvest festival, is celebrated here to thank the Sun God. Sun is regarded as the creator and sustainer of life on earth, and worshipping the Sun is an age-old practice still followed in India. We could find several hymns praising the Sun god in our scriptures and also several temples enshrining the Sun god (Surya) as the primary deity across India. Suryanaar temple is one of the Sun temples in south India (Kumbakonam, Tamilnadu) where wheat pongal is offered to the supreme deity, Sun God. So we can also prepare wheat pongal instead of rice pongal and offer to Sun God on this Pongal festival.
It is challenging for every mother to meet the dietary requirements of highly active & energetic teens today. She needs to serve them 4 meals a day that satiates their hunger, nourish them adequately, and most importantly please their palate. Since it is almost near to impossible to prepare healthy hearty delicious meals four times a day, it is a good idea to prepare a dish that can be reused for the next meal. Now I have prepared yellow peas ragda (curry), served delicious cornflakes chaat as an evening snack, and serve the same ragda with chappathi or poori for dinner.
Women of all virtues are regarded as goddesses in our society even today, we could find men treating his worldly-wise mother as Sarasawathi, the goddess of wisdom & knowledge, his caring wife as Durga Devi, the goddess of strength & protection, and his lively daughter as Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity. Our prime minister, a devotee of goddess Durga, inducted a righteous woman into his cabinet of ministers as the national defence minister. We could also find several references in our ancient literature that stress the need for the respect of women in unequivocal terms.
Truffles are French candies made using cocoa, nuts & dry fruits and chocolate truffles are nutty balls coated with chocolate ganache. Since all the ingredients in here are rich sources of vitamins, minerals & anti-oxidants, these candies are not only delicious but also nutritious treats. These chocolate truffles act like protein-rich energy balls and can be packed as a mid-morning snack for school-going children. Here I have shared a recipe for ginger and fig truffles that can be prepared easily so that we can gift them to our loved ones on any special occasion.
Panchamirtham is the sacred fruit salad offered as naivedyam to deities at home, and also used for abishegam (bathing deities) in Hindu temples across Tamilnadu. The most renowned Palani panchamirtham is prepared using unique bananas that are exclusively grown near Palani hills. It is offered to the Lord Murugan in Palani temple and also to devotees as prasadam. You can check out this video to see how panchamirtham abishegam is performed to the deity in a temple.
Being a vegetarian I like to use walnuts as much as possible as these are quite a few of plant based sources of omega-3 fatty acid. It has always been challenging to prepare a recipe using these slightly bitter nuts, now I have baked an eggless walnut Bundt cake using banana & toasted walnuts as they compliment each other, sweet bananas suppress the bitterness of walnuts and also they both add a delicious flavor & texture to the cake.