Friday, 30 November 2012 migrated to

Dear Readers/followers,

Thanks for your continuous support shown so far to my blog.
I will continue to write on 'Natural living' under

Please check for my blog postings on 'Natural living'.

Hope you like my new website.

Thanks and best wishes,
PetalDew - Nature's nurture

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Candle in the wind

source of the photo:

Having experienced frequent power cuts in my hometown, I felt quiet relieved after I migrated to Australia. No power cuts except on very rare occasions. Hurrah!  But my heart does miss those times! Power cut in the night provided a good excuse to do nothing. I still remember how I and my bro used to abandon our school homework and sit together as a family around the candle light and listen to our father telling stories and anecdotes. When it is dinner time, we all in unison will decide to go to the terrace, sit beside the subtle glow of the candle light and eat our hearty comforting meal of rice and veggie made by our dear mother. If the power cut gets extended, our time in the terrace gets extended. We end up sleeping in the terrace listening to the lullaby of twinkling stars and the gentle breeze blowing the candle. Pure bliss!

I wanted to bring back those sweet memories to the present times as well. So I came up with the idea of "No lights from electrical source on some Saturday nights except for the light from the candles". On Saturday nights my husband and I enjoy spending quality family time at home with our daughter. We listen to music, dance to its tunes, play some board games and finish off with a detox candle light dinner. It is relaxing and fun with just the lights from the candles in our lounge, family room and the dining room. There is something so serene about the warm glow of the flame. They warm up the room, and smell great.  

I have become a conscious buyer in recent times. When buying things for home, I make sure that I leave a green foot prints on this earth. In this context, I want to share my opinion on the candles that I use.

What type of candles are my favorite?

On our holiday to Tasmania in 2011, we were in a beautiful small country town called Chudleigh. Chudleigh is famous for ‘The honey farm shop’. The shop stocks a wide array of Beeswax, honey and propolis products. I went to the section of the shop selling 100% beeswax products and the first thing that captured my attention was the beeswax candles in different forms and sizes. I took one out of the display shelf to capture its aroma and instantly I was transported to the land of honey, nectar, flowers and bees. I got a pack of beeswax tea lights and a small pillar candle. After we got back from our holiday, I straightaway wanted to light the beeswax candle. I lit the candle and waited for the suspense to break. Just as how I thought, this beeswax beauty released its natural aroma of honey and nectar of the flowers found in the honeycomb.

                                           Rows of Beeswax candles 

source of the photo:

Why Beeswax candles are good?

Apart from the aromatic reasons, beeswax candles have other benefits too:

-      It is economical and has a longer burning time.

-      Pure beeswax candles are made from renewable source – only beeswax.

-      Beeswax candles burn cleaner than paraffin candles, producing very little soot.

-     It is smokeless and drips less.

-     Pure beeswax candles contain none of the harmful chemicals found in the paraffin candles.

-     They have a natural honey scent which smells great and there is no need for artificial      fragrance to be added to make it smell nicer. They are great for people who are sensitive to perfumes and fragrances.

-      No toxic wastes are produced in production and burning.

-     The soft warm glow and the beautiful halo which appears around the flame accompanied with the subtle aroma of honey helps to reduce your stress. It has got a calming effect on the mind.

-     For years alternative health practitioners, entomologists and most notably beeswax candle  makers have celebrated the fact that beeswax is the only candle fuel that emits negative ions which in turn cleanse the air. So while beeswax is not the only fuel to emit negative ions it is definitely superior to paraffin and does not contain carcinogenic compounds that paraffin does.  (

A perfect example of this phenomenon is rainstorms. A rainstorm is a negative ionic event, which is why we say the air smells so fresh after a rainstorm.

What are the other natural alternatives?

Soy wax candles: Soy wax is an all vegetable-based wax which contains roughly 85% soy-based material. Soy wax is non-toxic and burns very cleanly with almost no soot residue. It has a low melting point and thus the burn pool in a soy wax candle is created quickly and reaches its maximum diameter quickly. Generally speaking, soy wax has a longer burn time than paraffin but shorter than beeswax. It is ideal for container candles. Not all soy candles are created equally. Make sure your soy candle is made from 100% soy bean wax.

What types of candles to avoid?

-     Stay away from Paraffin candles. It is derived from petroleum by-products and emits harmful vapor and black soot. It must be blended with chemicals to release its fragrance.
Lighting many paraffin candles every day for years or lighting them frequently in an un-ventilated bathroom around a tub, for example, may cause problems related to cancer and asthma. (

-     Avoid artificially fragranced candles: Choose natural beeswax or 100% soy wax candles blended with pure essential oils.

Burn a candle today and enjoy the full ambiance of light and fragrance all from a natural renewable source. As I finish writing this post, I can hear a beautiful song playing on the back of my mind – “candle in the wind” by Elton John. Pure bliss!

Bye for now. With love from PetalDew – Nature’s nurture.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Living food: Sprouted seeds, legumes, grains and nuts

Sprouts are living food full of health benefits. Sprouting seeds or grains at home can be creative, cheap, healthy and fun! Due to their high water content, sprouts contain absorbable protein, calcium, potassium, sodium, iron, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and C. They make a nutritious addition to salads, wraps, breads, smoothies, juices and crunchy topping on noodles.

Why sprout?

Sprouting seeds are consumed very early in its growth cycle. In approximately 2-5 days, your sprouts will be ready to consume. In its early stage of the cycle, sprouts accumulate massive amounts of energy which will soon power a rapid growth spurt. It is this energy that is captured in the sprouts as protein and enzymes. It is this energy which provides its amazing nutritional benefits.

Other health benefits of eating sprouts:

1. Sprouts are called living food because Living sprouts are quality food of high biophotons (bio meaning 'life'; photon meaning 'electromagnetic') and Bio-genic nutrition, which provide a high bio-energetic  value, to energise our body and help the entire organism function, and prevent and repair defects. Sprouted seeds and baby greens are the most beneficial foods, and are called as life-generating Bio-genic Foods, and it is recommended that they comprise 25% of our daily food as it offer the strongest support for the regeneration of cells.

2. Sprouts are a powerful source of antioxidants in the form of vitamins, minerals and enzymes, which assist in protecting the body from free radical damage.

3. Sprouts are alkaline and have an alkalising affect in the body. If we desire health, the body needs to be alkaline. The immune system is made strong by high alkaline and alkalising foods.

4. Sprouts provide us with whole foods, full of living enzymes, a vital life-force. Eating fresh sprouts provides essential nutrients in an easily assimilable form. Living enzymes, in sprouts, go to work to predigest the protein into their constituent amino acids: this makes them easily digested and absorbed by the body. We can digest sprouts in less than half the time of cooked foods.

5. The formula for multi-vitamin B and C is hydrogen, oxygen and carbon, together with the life-force and elements in the seeds, this creates a complex carbohydrate, and nutrients are formed. These are the magical substances that provide the miracle of life and increased nutrients in sprouts.

6. Sprouts have an excellent array of minerals that the body requires. During sprouting, the minerals are enriched and develop in a chelated form (which are more easily utilised by the body).

7. Sprouts have a generous supply of vitamins . In fact the vitamin content of some seeds can increase from 100% to 2000% in several days of sprouting. Even soaking seeds, overnight, produces massive amounts of vitamin B complex and also of vitamin C.

How to sprout your grains and seeds :

1. Soak half a cup of organic seeds (mung beans, sunflowers etc.) overnight in a bowl of fresh filtered water.

2. The next morning, drain water and rinse well.

3. Place in a damp sprouting bag (cheese cloth or muslin bag) or a sprouting glass jar with a cheese cloth cover or mesh.

4. Every morning and night rinse the sprouts to keep them wet and mould-free.

5. Continue the process for desired length of days, usually 2-5 days.

6. Rinse well with fresh water and serve immediately. Yields approximately 2-3 cups.

What you can sprout?

Soaking and Sprouting chart:

Things to note when sprouting:

1. Always make sure that the soaking, sprouting or seed trays are in a well ventilated environment. If there is not good air circulation you will find that you will get fungus growing around the growing roots where it is wettest.

2. Always make sure that the seeds are able to drain freely and are not sitting in stagnant water except during the first 12 to 24 hours where the seeds are initially soaking.

3. Always wash seeds or seedlings at least twice each day, depending on heat of the day.

Simple sprouted salad recipe:

Things you need (to make sprout salad for 4 people)

*Sprouted Mung beans - 1 cup
*Sprouted brown chick peas (Garbanzo Beans)- 1 cup
*Sprouted sesame seeds - Half a cup
*Soaked raw almonds - Half a cup
*Fresh coconut shavings - Two tablespoons
*Juice from half a  lemon or lime
*Pinch of Himalayan salt
*Cilantro or mint leaves for garnishing

How to make it:

1. Mix the sprouts and soaked raw almonds in a bowl.

2. Add shavings of fresh coconut.

3. Add juice of lemon or lime. Sprinkle Himalayan salt and mix well.

4. Garnish with cilantro or mint leaves.


It is better to eat cooked sprouts during pregnancy. Raw sprouts should be avoided completely as pregnant women have weaker immune systems and are more at risk of developing the food borne diseases spread by these sprouts.

Happy Sprouting!

Bye for now. With love from PetalDew - Nature's Nurture.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Homemade 'Hair Serum' for shiny and silky hair

Those two magical words - Serum and potions sounds bewitching like how we hear in the stories from fairy tales. We imagine ourselves applying these magical liquids on our skin and hair. Poof! We  transform into a beautiful Snow white with lovely skin and a Rapunzel with tower length hair or into a handsome prince! Ha Ha Ha.

This link is for those who wants to read Rapunzel story -

What is a serum? 

In the world of skincare and hair care  a serum is a liquid formulation. A serum is a targeted treatment that is applied topically to the area to be treated. The recipe I am sharing with you is a simple homemade hair serum.

What is Hair serum and what does it do?

Hair serum is a hair care solution which makes the hair shiner and does not allow them to entangle. It should be applied after a hair wash .The effect of the serum application remains till the next wash.  Hair serum forms a thin protective layer on the hair strands. Hair serum can be gel based or oil based and is usually stored in a spray bottle.

Other benefits of using a hair serum:

- It protects the hair from the damages done by over exposure to sun and hair styling products.  .
- It is primarily used for dry and frizzy hair, which breaks easily, or hairs that have under gone excessive chemical treatments like perming, coloring.
- The hair serum provides nourishment to the hair, which makes them strong, and they don't break away easily. It also conditions the hair, which makes them healthy, silky and shiny.

Please read on how to apply hair serum and how it works in the following link :

Hair serum sold commercially may not be 100% natural as it contains alcohol and Silicone oil which is inorganic and it also damages the hair by making it more brittle and dry. On top of that, it is expensive.

My homemade hair serum is a oil based serum which contains the goodness of Aloe vera juice, Henna leaves infusion in pure coconut oil and Jojoba oil with added vitamin E. It has lavender essential oil for natural fragrance and to have a calming effect. This homemade serum is less sticky because of the lightness of coconut oil and Jojoba oil mixed with Aloe vera juice.

Recipe for Homemade Hair serum

Things you need:

* Aloe vera juice - 3 to 4 tablespoons
I extracted aloe vera juice from the aloe vera grown in my garden. Take a medium to large sized aloe vera. Wash it and pat it dry with a paper towel to remove the excess moisture outside. Squeeze the aloe vera gently to allow the juice flow outside into a cup. Make sure that you squeeze out the juice of the aloe vera and not the gel. If the gel comes out too, keep it aside for different use. Alternatively, You can buy aloe vera juice from the shop selling Natural and organic products.

* 100% pure coconut oil - One and a half tablespoons to two tablespoons
I used Parachute 100% pure coconut oil which is light and less sticky.

* Jojoba oil - 3 tablespoons

* Handful of fresh Henna leaves (optional)
I used henna leaves in this recipe as it is cooling to the scalp and gives a brown tint to the hair when applied regularly (If you prefer brown tints to your hair strands). It is optional to add henna leaves. To know benefits of Henna leaves, please see

* Vitamin E (Available in capsule form) or as a liquid - 4 to 5 drops
Vitamin E acts as a natural preservative and keeps your hair healthy.

* Lavender essential oil   - 3 to 4 drops (optional)

How to make it:

1. Extract the aloe vera juice from Aloe vera plant and keep it aside.

2. In a pan, heat the coconut oil on a very low flame and add henna leaves to it. Monitor it carefully. Very soon you will notice that leaves change colour to dark brown. This is because the essence of the leaves is absorbed in the oil. After 20 to 30 minutes you will note that the amber colored coconut oil turns into dark brown.

Henna leaves getting dark brown in the hot coconut oil

3. Strain the oil from the henna leaves in a separate cup using a metal strainer. Now you have Henna infused coconut oil. Keep it aside to cool down.

Henna infused coconut oil

4. In a glass cup, mix henna infused coconut oil with Jojoba oil and add aloe vera juice, Vitamin E and lavender essential oil. Stir it well with a clean and dry spoon.

Mixing everything in a glass cup

5. Store it in a spray bottle.

Things to note:

1. Shake the bottle well before you use the serum as aloe vera juice stays separated from the oil.
2. Use only dime size amount of the serum.
3. Adding liquid vitamin E and natural preservative like grape seed extract will extend the shelf life of this homemade serum and prevents spoilage.
4. If you don't have Jojoba oil use light oils such as grape seed oil or Almond oil.

This homemade hair serum is very effective and not expensive. I love using it after my hair wash. I am not a fan of applying oil on my hair but I like applying this hair serum as it is very light and refreshing because of the aloe vera juice and the Jojoba oil.

Bye for now. With love from pD - Nature's nurture.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Toasty oats and sesame seeds encrusted dry fruits cacao rounds

Do we say no to chocolates? The sinful taste of cocoa not only satisfies a grownup’s taste buds but is equally tantalizing to children as well. We mothers, employ the tactics of disguising the healthy stuff with cocoa and chocolate flavors to make our children eat without protest. That is the reason we see chocolate-banana smoothies, chocolate flavored milk and yogurt being popular among children.

My mission to make my fussy two and half year old daughter to eat dry fruits and oats is accomplished now! Yes, I made her eat almonds, walnuts, cranberries and oats. Of course I disguised the healthy nuts and dry fruits in the form of a tempting treat. To my amazement I saw my “Toasty oats and sesame seeds encrusted dry fruits cocoa rounds" containing a good balance of nutrients disappearing quickly in no time. It was eagerly devoured by my daughter and by her grandparents !

Recipe for Toasty oats and sesame seeds encrusted dry fruits cocoa rounds

Things you need (for making approx 20 small cocoa rounds)

* Rolled oats – 1 cup
* Raw almonds and walnuts – 1 cup
* Dried cranberries or raisins – ½ cup
* Raw Cacao powder /Cadburys drinking chocolate cocoa powder (If you don’t have raw cocoa powder) - 2 tablespoons
* Honey for sweetness – Honey helps the dough to stick together – 1 to 2 tablespoons
* Clarified butter (ghee) – 1 tablespoon
* Sesame seeds – 1 ½ tablespoons
* Cinnamon and cardamom powder – 1 teaspoon each
* Himalayan crystal salt (optional) – ½ teaspoon

How to make it:

- In a pan, dry roast the oats for two minutes on a low flame followed by dry roasting the raw almonds for three minutes to release the nutty aroma.

Keep the toasted oats and the almonds aside to cool.

 - In the remaining heat of the pan, toast the white sesame seeds/ black sesame seeds for less than a minute. I prefer using white sesame seeds since it has nuttier flavor and beautiful aroma. Keep this aside which is used to encrust or coat the rounds.

- In a food processor, first powder the oats. Keep the powdered oats aside. Reserve 1 tablespoon of powdered oats to be later on used for coating the rounds.

- Next, powder the almonds and the walnuts. Keep it aside.

- Blend the cranberries or the raisins at the end as it becomes a paste when blended and will stick to the insides of the food processor.

- In a wide vessel, mix all the powdered and blended ingredients. Add raw cacao powder, cinnamon, cardamom powder and Himalayan salt and mix it well.

- Add clarified butter, and honey to the mixture and mix it well.

- Keep a tablespoon of mixture onto your palm and roll it to make rounds. The mixture should hold well without crumbling. If it doesn't crumble, then proceed with making the rounds.

- If the mixture crumbles, add few drops of clarified butter or melted butter and mix it well. Adding the clarified butter should help the mixture to stick together.

- Taste and see if you need more sweetness. If you need more sweetness, add honey to the mixture.
After you have made the rounds, moist your palm with clarified butter and press the rounds coating it with clarified butter. Roll the rounds again, coating it with powdered oats which was reserved earlier.

- Finally coat it with toasted white/black sesame seeds to form a thin crust on the top.

These healthy oats dry fruits cocoa encrusted rounds will last for a month. But I bet it will be devoured once it is made. It keeps you full and it is a good snack on the go. Enjoy!

 A note of caution: kids suffering from nut allergy should avoid taking nuts. Substitute the nuts with ragi flour aka finger millet flour which is equally nutritious.

Health benefits of some of the ingredients I used in this recipe

OatsOatmeal and oat bran are significant sources of dietary fiber. This fiber contains a mixture of about half soluble and half insoluble fibers. One component of the soluble fibre found in oats is beta-glucans, a soluble fiber which has proven effective in lowering blood cholesterol.

Almonds: Almonds are rich in manganese, vitamin E and magnesium. Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, the same type of health-promoting fats as are found in olive oil, which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease.

Raw cacao powder: I prefer using unsweetened raw cacao powder for this recipe. To see the health benefits of raw cacao powder, see my posting under my blog

Dried cranberries: I used dried cranberries as it has a yummy tartness flavour. When combined with the sweetness of honey and cacao powder, the tartness gets evened out and the result is yummy! Dried Cranberries are the dehydrated version of the Common Cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccus). Dried cranberries are high in Vitamin C and antioxidants. They are used widely for treating urinary tract issues. Dried cranberries are being studied for possible health uses: fighting bacterial infections, cardiovascular benefits, immune system strengthening, and anti-cancer properties. Dried cranberries are even suspected of helping fight tooth decay.

Sesame seeds: Sesame seeds add a nutty taste and a delicate, almost invisible, crunch to many Asian dishes. Not only are sesame seeds a very good source of manganese and copper, but they are also a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc and dietary fiber. In addition to these important nutrients, sesame seeds contain two unique substances: sesamin and sesamolin. Both of these substances belong to a group of special beneficial fibers called lignans, and have been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect in humans, and to prevent high blood pressure and increase vitamin E supplies in animals. Sesamin has also been found to protect the liver from oxidative damage.

Himalayan crystal salt : To see the benefits of Himalayan crystal salt, see my posting under my blog -

Hope you enjoy making these delicious rounds for your children and why not make these healthy rounds for the upcoming festival – Festival of Lights (Deepavali)?

Bye for now – With love from pD

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Beautifully Kohled Eyes

One of my favorite English proverb is -” Eyes are the mirror (mirrors) of the soul”. Our eyes reflect our thoughts and speak different languages of our emotions and feelings – Happiness, amazement, anger, sadness, and excitement. The most attractive part on a human’s face are the eyes. Applying kohl and other form of eye makeup like eye liner and mascara gives that extra elegance and sparkle to our eyes. 

Kohl goes by numerous names. It is called Kajal (in Hindi), Kanmai (in Tamil), Surma (in Turkish) Kuhl (in Arabic). Kohl is widely used in South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and parts of West Africa to darken the eyelids and as mascara for the eyelashes. It is used mostly by women, and by some men and children as it is believed to keep eye infections and other ailments at bay in addition to its beauty profits. Even the ancient Egyptian beauty tips knew the real secret to beautiful eyes, as one young Egyptian girl noted in a sweet poem to her loved one:

"Like eye paint is my desire. When I see you, it makes my eyes sparkle."

Never use ordinary kohl/kajal available in the market made of sub-standard materials and which is prepared non-scientifically and unhygienic ally.  It may contain harmful ingredients like lead sulphide and other toxic chemicals harmful to women and small children. There is no way to tell if any given product is contaminated with lead or not. Buy 100% herbal kohl. In India, some reputed skin-care companies like Himalaya, Shahnaz Husain and Biotique makes kohl from pure herbal ingredients.

I made Kohl the traditional way at home borrowing the recipe from my mother passed on to by my grandmother. The final product – the kohl is pitch black in colour – darker than the night sky. It is totally different to commercially available kohl. Homemade kohl is so cooling to the eyes and very long lasting on the water line. I made only a tiny weenie bit to last me for a month.

Basically a wick is made from clean, white – preferably new – muslin cloth/ cotton. This is dipped into a container of castor oil and lit as a lamp. A rounded brass vessel or kadai is used over this lamp, leaving enough vent to let oxygen in and not extinguish the lamp. The soot thus collected for few hours on the brass vessel is mixed with a drop of castor oil /Almond oil to make homemade kajal. Use the homemade kohl after three to four hours of preparation.

Things you need:

*Clean cotton wick
*Rounded brass vessel/ brass plate
*Castor oil to light the lamp and a drop of either castor oil/almond oil to add in to the soot
*Equal size containers to balance the brass vessel
*Clean and dry spoon to scrape off the soot
*Mittens (to handle hot brass vessel and the lamp)
*Small container with lid to store your homemade kohl

Step by step procedure to make homemade Kajal:

1. Balance the brass vessel on top of the two containers as seen in the below photo. Place the lamp in-between the two containers and place it below the brass vessel.

Lighted lamp placed in-between two vessels balancing the vessel

2. The lighted lamp placed in-between the containers will produce soot on the bottom of the brass vessel as per the photo. Leave the lighted lamp under the brass vessel for one to two hours, occasionally monitoring the whole process.

                    Soot getting collected on the bottom of the vessel

3. Scrape off the collected soot from the brass container into a clean dry container.

4. Mix a drop of castor oil to the soot and mix it well. When adding castor oil, make sure you start with a drop and don’t make it too paste like consistency as it will smudge the water line when applied to the eyes. You can add almond oil instead of Castor oil. It has got similar soothing properties to the eyes.

Store your kohl in a small air-tight container. Homemade kohl has a long storage life. You can apply kohl with the help of a thin applicator like q-tip or with your clean finger tip.

                            Tiny weeny bit of my homemade kohl

See the difference between homemade kohl and almond kohl from Biotique. The first one is Biotique almond Kohl and the second one that is darker is homemade kohl!

I love homemade kohl and love using it on my eyes for that smoky effect. It brings fond memories of my grandmother too. 

Bye from PD – Nature’s nurture!