Saturday, June 25, 2016

Cocoa hand-care cream

Hands are the most used parts of our bodies. They are used from typing, cooking, scrubbing dishes to writing documents and giving hi-fives, driving and styling our hair, and practically everything else! Yet they are often the least cared-for body parts while we spend a lot of money on our face and hair-care etc. Our hands go through a lot on a daily basis and still care for our hands, more often than not, falls on the bottom of our list of beauty priorities. But did you know, hands show the first signs of ageing, even before our face? Rough, dried hands, chappy nails, dark spots, veins and loose skin on your hands are no pretty sight; and also they give away your age earlier than your face.

So, it's really high time we start caring for our hands and showing them some love with a regular care regime. With busy lifestyle, it's often easy to ignore our personal care, let alone caring for our hands. I had faced the issue of having dried hands, peeling off cuticles and chapped nails for a very long time and it was almost impossible to take care of hands everyday. I tried some hand creams which gave nice results but are so expensive if I were to use them every single day so I ended up skipping them many times. And then I decided to use something that would keep my hands soft and supple, without splurging a lot of money. With all of this, I was also short of time to experiment making a cream or a lotion from scratch. So I used a regular, basic, flavorless and odorless cheap body butter cream from my local store and converted it into a nourishing hand cream. With the use of this cream in just 15 days, my hands have become softer, cuticles are no longer dry and the nails are getting healthier.


Basic body butter cream (odorless and flavorless): 6 tbsp. (Use any cream you can find)
Olive oil: 3 tsp.
Coconut oil: 1 tsp. (optional)
Glycerin: 2 tsp.
Lemon juice: few drops
Cocoa powder: 1 tbsp.

  1. Take out the body butter cream in a bowl. 
  2. Warm the olive oil and coconut oil in microwave for a minute each, in separate bowls.  
  3. Add both the oils to the body butter and mix nicely to incorporate the oils completely in the cream. 
  4. Add the glycerin and lemon juice. Mix nicely again. 
  5. Add the cocoa powder and mix everything vigorously so there are no lumps remaining of cocoa powder.  
  6. Warm everything again in a double boiler till it's just warm but not hot and bubbling. 
  7. Let cool completely and transfer this cream to a box with a tight lid. Any old and clean cream box would be ideal to store this hand cream. 
  8. Use every night before going to bed. It will help keep your hands, nails and cuticles soft and supple and delay ageing. 

How each ingredient helps for the skin of hands?

Olive oil: Olive oil contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which keeps your skin smooth and soft to touch. It is filled with vitamin E which is a famous antioxidant. It prevents oxidation in skin cells so the skin looks much younger and less wrinkles appear on the skin surface. It will make your hands baby soft and smooth. 

Coconut oil: Coconut oil is naturally antibacterial and anti-fungal, it's a natural moisturizer and can penetrate our skin better than other oils. 

Glycerin: Glycerin is a humectant, which means it attracts water. When applied to the skin, it seals in moisture that might otherwise escape. That is why it helps combat dry skin. It helps keep the skin more hydrated and the hands won't look dry and scaly with the use of glycerin. 

Lemon juice: Lemon juice has antibacterial properties and it is used to avoid darkening of skin of hands and it also helps in keeping the skin shining and glowing. It also helps reduce acne and dark spots on the hands. It even moisturizes and tones, and fights wrinkles. 

Cocoa powder: Cocoa promotes collagen for tighter skin, is rich in antioxidants so it helps fight ageing, moisturizes and prevents blemishes. Also it smells good and I love the feeling of smelling chocolate on my hands while sleeping so I can dream of chocolates. ;) 

Use this regularly for best results on hands and nails. Please don't use if you are allergic to any of the products. 

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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Crumpled paper art for kids

Well, teaching kids comes with a lot of benefits, as it's a process of learning and experimenting for oneself with so many fun activities while teaching. I did this "crumpled paper art" recently and I must say it was really interesting and fun for children, and I really love the bright, colorful end-products! This is a very easy activity to do with 3-5 year old children with a bit of supervision. This is exactly how to create these simple and fun crumpled paper art.

Materials required:

Paper (any desired size, but I used 1/2 of an A4 size paper)
Liquid paint colors (2 or 3 colors)
Small brush to paint

  1. Let the child crumple the paper he has nicely with his hands. 
  2. Then let him/her choose one single color he wants to use and let him color the outside of the crumpled paper with that color using the brush.  
  3. Now let him open that paper. There will be paint on few areas on the paper and the rest will be white. So let the child crumple the paper again nicely with his hands.
  4. Now let him chose another color and paint the remaining white areas with the another color. The colors can even overlap as they will form even colorful pattern. 
  5. After it's done, let the child open up the paper carefully. The colors will be spreading and mixing on the paper creating a pattern. 
  6. Crumple the whole colored paper one more time nicely and open up the paper very carefully as it would be wet with the color and we don't want our art to tear. 
  7. You can use a third color as well and repeat the same steps but we used only two colors as by the end of using two colors and crumpling the paper, it was too wet to use another color. 
  8. Let it dry completely. Your crumpled paper art is ready! Make many with your child using different colors each time. Decorate in your child's room.


  • It's a messy artwork but completely fun. 
  • This activity, whole crumpling the papers and painting and opening up is good for improving the fine motor skills.
  • It will be good to use colors that combine to form another color like blue+ yellow makes green so that the art would be more colorful where the colors overlap. 
  • Use an apron before you start this paint activity as it's a messy activity and children can easily get color on their clothes. 
  • Small children might need help with opening up the paper, but it's good and fun for all pre-schoolers. 


Friday, June 3, 2016

Maa ki daal/Kaali Dal/Black lentils

Maa ki dal (typically called maah di daal) or kaali daal is a typical recipe made in Punjabi households and this recipe my dear, has always been very much famous in my home. This is a very simple version of dal, unlike the Dal Makhani recipe, there is no butter, ghee, cream, cashews, spices etc. added in this recipe and this is a perfect homely recipe made only using black whole lentils, simmered in a simple masala and served without any garnish and served with simple garam garam ghee wali chappati.

My Nani has a saying about this dal in my home which goes like: "Maah di daal, te hove do ghee chupdi rotti naal" !! (Black lentils with two ghee smeared chappatis is a heaven!).

Have previously shared three equally yummy and different recipes using the same whole black lentils:
Dal Makhani: The royal taste of Punjab
Dal Bukhara recipe
Amritsari Langar wali Dal recipe

Here's the recipe for maa ki daal/ black lentils soup..


Black whole lentils: 1 cup
Onion (chopped): 1
Garlic (chopped): 4 cloves
Ginger (grated): 1 inch
Tomato (chopped): 1
Green chili (finely chopped): 1
Cooking oil: 2 tsp.
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp.
Asafoetida: a pinch
Salt to taste
Red chili powder: 1 tsp.
Turmeric powder: 1 tsp.

  1. Soak the black whole lentils in water for 6-8 hours or overnight. 
  2. Wash thoroughly and drain the water in which the lentils were soaked. Pressure cook for 8-10 whistles with salt or until soft. 
  3. Heat oil in a pan and crackle the cumin seeds. As they crackle, add the asafoetida.  
  4. Add the onion and ginger and fry the onions until they are transparent. 
  5. Add the garlic and fry for about 2 minutes. 
  6. Add the tomatoes and green chili and sprinkle salt. Mix well and let cook until the tomatoes are soft and mushy. 
  7. Add the red chili and turmeric powder and mix well. Turn off the flame after 2 minutes. 
  8. Add this masala to the boiled dal and simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn off the flame and serve hot. 
  9. This dal is best served with simple chappatis smeared with ghee. Please do not add any garam masala or any other masala. This simple, homely flavor is actually the specialty of this dish without and added spices. Ideally this dal is also not garnished with anything and savored in its simple form.
  10. Enjoy !!! 

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