Have a calcium storehouse

Why is it that kids are calcium deficient in spite of healthy diets? We all know where the problem lies and it is time to address it! Kids drink milk but they drink aerated drinks too…and much more than what was consumed twenty years ago. At every stage, from infancy to adolescence, calcium is one nutrient that kids simply cannot afford to take lightly. Calcium plays an important role in muscle contraction, transmitting messages through the nerves and the release of hormones. If blood calcium levels are low (due to poor calcium intake), calcium is taken from the bones to ensure normal cell function. When children get enough calcium and physical activity during childhood and the teen years, they can start out their adult lives with the strongest bones possible.

During childhood and adolescence, the body uses the mineral calcium to build strong bones – a process that is all but complete by the end of the teen years. Bone calcium begins to decrease in young adulthood and progressive loss of bone occurs as we age, particularly in women. Teens, especially girls, whose diets do not provide the nutrients to build bones to their maximum potential are at greater risk of developing the bone disease osteoporosis, which increases the risk of fractures from weakened bones.

Of course, milk and other dairy products are good sources of calcium. And milk and some other dairy products contain added Vitamin D, which is also important for bone health. However, do not overlook the other healthy calcium-fortified foods, including orange juice, soy products and bread. Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption, so it is important to have enough of this nutrient as well. Made by the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight, vitamin D is also found in fortified dairy and other products, fish, and egg yolks.

Always remain motivated to be involved in regular physical activities and exercise, which are very important to bone health. Weight-bearing exercises such as jumping rope, jogging and walking can also help develop and maintain strong bones. In fact, current scientific evidence suggests that, for kids and teens, exercise may be even more strongly linked to better bone health than calcium intake.

Apple Rabdi

Fruit Kheer with Custard
Paneer Kheer

Take care
Sanjeev Kapoor

Do something different today

Planning a dinner party at home when everyone wants vegetarian food is a challenge! Why, because I want to do something different and put on the table a variety that will be most remembered. So focusing on starters because I know when your guests come in, a little weary and wet because of the rains, they are hungry and would simply love some crisp and hot starters…and if your starters are huge, then the main course can be a little light and then again fill up with desserts. So I plan to make veg seekh kababs under the grill alongside paneer shashlik, rice paper rolls with veggies (from the kadai), hara bhara kabab (from the frying pan). This way I satisfy all types of palates…both that enjoy low calorie food and others that do not mind the not so low calorie food! Topping this with a lovely veg biryani, lulla mussa dal and hot paranthas. Incidentally, we are making LMD after a long time at home and the kids have asked us to make enough of it so that they can enjoy the leftovers tomorrow. Yes, the desserts too will come in a as a surprise: Chocolate mousse with coffee, Apricot cheesecake and Kheer Kadam with Chocolate Ganache and all will be bite sized.
Travelling tomorrow to Bangalore as there an interactive cooking session with executives of a top end IT company. They will cook along with me and I am sure that will be enjoyable and fun.

I will use this opportunity to give you the recipes that I have used today.

Hara Bhara Kabab
Veg Seekh Kababs

Vegetable Biryani

Let’s enjoy together!
Sanjeev Kapoor.

Wet weather, whetted appetites!

As the monsoon looks well settled over Mumbai and in no hurry to go, we might as well look at stimulating samples of food called appetizers. These may be called as starters or an ice breaker for a party. These are finger foods usually served prior to a meal and may range from the very simple to the very complex, depending on the occasion and the time devoted to making them. Ideally appetizers should be easy to handle with just a napkin and easy to eat in one to two bites. This way guests can continue to mingle without needing to carry around food laden plates. Some ideas:

• Try a simple plate of cheese and crackers
• Keep a tray with batons of crisp vegetables called crudités and serve it with a dip
• Canapé baskets filled with a choice of vegetarian and non-vegetarian stuffing
• Kababs – these can be served hot from the grill or tandoor! Have a variety of chicken and fish as also vegetarian. Ensure that the cooking areas are different.

How does one know how many appetizers will be enough? Follow a simple rule: allow six to seven appetizers per person per hour. If you do not know all the food preferences of your guests, be sure that you have something substantial for vegetarians.

• Garnish or line serving trays with lettuce leaves/shredded lettuce or cabbage leaves. You can also line bowls with cabbage leaves.
• Serve the dip in interesting containers like a hollowed out cabbage, or a hollowed loaf of uncut bread, pumpkins or watermelons.
• Place appetizers in multiple locations rather than having one table. This encourages your guests to move around more.
Prepare trays of appetizers before hand in the kitchen so you can quickly refill. Appetizers served before a buffet or full dinner are optional. But remember that they do reduce the intake of dinner food, but only about ten percent. If you do choose to serve an appetizer, remember there is a meal following immediately. And yes, try to select complementary foods.

Some vegetarian appetizers that you can try out this very evening!

Peanut Tikki

Stuffed Potato Shells
Mirchi Roll

Happy Cooking!
Sanjeev Kapoor.