<![CDATA[Ayudh - New England - Home]]>Fri, 20 Nov 2015 06:26:53 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Ayudh Change: The Pledge]]>Sat, 24 Oct 2015 02:42:01 GMThttp://ayudh-ma.weebly.com/home/ayudh-change-thttpsdocsgooglecomformsd1hoyihtodhjouzfdpu-ei1dhfzxq0na2i-nilnis4ojmviewformc0w1he-pledge]]><![CDATA[A beautiful blog post on energy]]>Thu, 22 Oct 2015 23:32:04 GMThttp://ayudh-ma.weebly.com/home/a-beautiful-blog-post-on-energy
One of the Ayudh initiatives is supporting nature. One way to support nature is to reduce energy consumption. Energy production is a complex story with a lot of moving bits and pieces. A good example of this is seen in this amazing blog post. Having a strong El Nino means a warmer winter in MA. However it means a colder and wetter winter down south in Texas. El Nino also has an impact on wind, and this year we produced far less energy from wind, than previous years. 

We should remember that the energy we use has a cost of production and transportation that depends on nature. If we don't take care of nature, we may end up in a situation where the cost of producing energy is more than we can afford. This winter, lets try to find ways to lower our energy consumption. One way to achieve this may be cranking down the heat and wearing a jacket to bed, or having an extra blanket. Not only will this help us lower our energy bills, it will strengthen us to face the changing energy world.
Finally, the blog mentioned that green energy technologies have various challenges that lower their adoption. It is important to remember that most technologies face challenges and present new problems. Coal production without adequate filtration causes acid rain in your lungs, has massive environmental repercussions, and causes global warming - a problem so massive that it is hard to enforce a policy to deal with it. A mole of unburned natural gas (which is mostly methane) is equal to 70 moles of CO2 when it comes to global warming potential. Seeing that around 3% of natural gas escapes, it really isn't all to clean. 
<![CDATA[Ayudh MA get's a Listserv]]>Thu, 22 Oct 2015 22:54:17 GMThttp://ayudh-ma.weebly.com/home/ayudh-ma-gets-a-listservAccess it here
<![CDATA[Ayudh Chapter Goals 2015]]>Mon, 05 Oct 2015 02:00:14 GMThttp://ayudh-ma.weebly.com/home/ayudh-chapter-goals-2015Ayudh at the time of writing has 13 active members. We as a group pledge to accomplish the national Ayudh goals. The goals are a part of three major catogories. 
  1. Nurturing Nature
  2. Serving Others
  3. Saving Change

Nurturing Nature

Nurturing nature is about planting trees, cleaning the community and raising awareness about nature. 
  1. Each member plants one tree
  2. 40 Tulsi saplings are distributed during the year with care instructions
  3. 20 Bags of trash are collected from the community

Serving Others

Serving others is what makes the community beautiful. It is expressing love and gratitude.
  1. Cook and serve 120 meals over the year
  2. Help reduce waste from nearby organization

Saving Change

Ripple Effect 2015 - the second annual Ayudh Retreat could be best summarized by 5 words:  "The change begins with me". When I think about what I can do to improve the world, many things come to mind. The one Ayudh selected this year was renouncing one item/luxury/comfort and whatever is saved goes to charity
  1. Each member pledges to give up one item and donate the proceeds to help other's in need.
<![CDATA[AyudhMA gets mapped]]>Sun, 04 Oct 2015 20:25:55 GMThttp://ayudh-ma.weebly.com/home/ayudhma-gets-mapped13 People filled out the survey I sent out a while back and we have some pretty cool data on where people are located on the map. Here's the breakdown. 
Here is the same map, zoomed in on clusters.
<![CDATA[The Top Seven Things to Buy Before You Start Cooking]]>Thu, 01 Oct 2015 01:35:38 GMThttp://ayudh-ma.weebly.com/home/the-top-seven-things-to-buy-before-you-start-cookingNew cooks are often ill prepared to start cooking because they don't have the basic utensils to cook their meals. Here is the top 7 things I use to cook all my meals. Some of these are not mandatory - but they make cooking so much simpler that you don't want to miss them.

#7: Portable trash

Going to trash to all the time after you cut the tips off your celery, tomato, squash, or after you skin your onion and garlic is a waste of time. It is best to just keep a small local trash close to your chopping and cooking action. A cheep way to do this if you drink milk/water/juice by the gallon is to cut the bottom off the container and use it as your flexible portable trash. The best part is that if it get too dirty you can replace it with another. Alternatively you can use tupperware that lost it's lid.

#6: Tupperware

I regularly cook big meals that last me a couple of dinners. I take the cooked food to work. I need a container that can hold cut vegetables that I didn't use all the way and tupperware is the way to go. I prefer having only two types of tupperware - tall and short. They share lids. It keeps the sorting to a minimum and becomes easier to sort. As a single person - I only need around 5 or 6 tupperware. Don't go cheap on tupperware unless you tend to lose them.

#5: Pressure Cooker [Optional]

If you are cooking your legumes having a pressure cooking really cuts the time down. I got a high quality pressure cooker from India and it was less than 30$. I highly recommend this if you are cooking chickpeas - a great way to get protean in a vegetarian diet.  

#4: Wooden Spoon

Have lots of these. 3 or more. Wooden spoons don't get hot so you can keep it in a pot when you are cooking. You also won't scratch your non-stick pans with wooden spoon. Some people recommend getting oak wooden spoons - I don't know what my spoons are made of, but they are very handy. It's best not to worry about these things when you start out.

#3: A Sharp Santoku/Chef's knife

A good knife will serve you well. Keep it sharp so you don't hurt yourself. I have not used high end knives and the low end knives work just fine for me - I've been using them for 2 years now. You do want to get something to sharpen the knife. I highly recommend a . A good brand that is also cheaper is Victorinox. The chicago cutlery brand is cheaper, and the variety I have. When buying a knife look for full tang, and a size you want. I prefer longer knifes that are heavier and well balanced.

#2: Flexible chopping boards

Vegetarian meals are not complete without vegetables. A silly way of being a vegetarian is eating only bread and cheese. When it comes to vegetable chopping - having a light and flexible plastic chopping board that stays flat is highly worthwhile. Wooden boards are too heavy and a pain to wash. Flexible boards are cheap and bend in a way that it is easy to pore your food in the pot to cook.   

#1: A nonstick pot

You absolutely need this and will use it a lot. Get a good pot. When I stared cooking I had a nonstick pan. This was nice - I could practice tossing my vegetables with the spices as they cooked (I wasn't very good at this and had too clean up - but tossing veggies is bad ass and fast and I did it anyway). The problem with a pan is that it is not big enough when you are cooking for several meals. A pot solves this problem. A good pot should be as wide as your largest gas/electric heat source. It should be relatively tall as well - too tall makes it harder to clean. Make sure you have one with a lid.   

Runner Ups

Not everything makes the top list, here are four things that got left behind.
  1. Can opener
  2. Vegetable peeler
  3. Blender
  4. Rice Cooker
<![CDATA[Top 4 Interesting Ayudh MA Takeaways From Survey]]>Thu, 01 Oct 2015 01:24:45 GMThttp://ayudh-ma.weebly.com/home/top-4-interesting-ayudh-ma-takeaways-from-surveySo out of 21 people we had 9 members fill out our initial survey answering some important questions. Here's the breakdown of the results. 

#1: Wide range of skill levels

One of the best thing about being in a community is tapping into all sorts of knowledge and skills. Here we see that our members bring lots of curiosity and skills. It would be really cool to see workshops and online hangout tutorials where this can be passed on.

#2: Dedicated Free Time

Ayudh members can devote an average of 2.6 hours to community service, talent development, and community outreach every week. That is over 1000 hours a year with 9 members at 2.6 hours per week with 4 weeks a month and 12 months a year! We can make a substantial impact! 

#3: Wheels

While a good portion of our members can drive, few have access to wheels, and even fewer can give rides. This means we will have to find events locally and share updates about how are events go online.

#4: Talents

A good number of MA ayudhians love music and having fun, can cook and communicate.
And many members are look forward to learning how to cook, being in nature, communicating better, get into technology, and practice yoga! 
<![CDATA[The Top 4 Dead Simple Tips for New Grocery Shoppers]]>Sun, 27 Sep 2015 17:49:05 GMThttp://ayudh-ma.weebly.com/home/the-top-4-dead-simple-tips-for-new-grocery-shoppers#4: Stock up on frozen vegetables
When you start cooking at home, you may not have the time or the skill to cut vegetables (quickly) and this will prevent you from cooking when you come home from a busy day at work or school. You can get around this by stocking up on frozen stir fry vegetables. Now, you should supplement this mix with fresh tomatoes, celery, onion, cucumber, potato (preferably sweet), garlic, lime, and cilantro. Also stock up on seasonal veggies like zucchini to mix things up. (Tomatoes and zucchini can get expensive - best to get them from the farmer's market when they are on sale.)  
You don't even need a freezer if it looks like this outside.

#3: Pick a cookbook, and get those ingredients

Recipe books are great when you have no idea what to cook. Many of them offer simple, tasty, fast recipes that don't take too many ingredients. The only problem is that you may not have those specific ingredients. The solution is to pick five recipes you think you might like that sound like full satisfying meals and make a list of these ingredients. If you don't know any good recipe books you ask your family and friends although I was leafing through Peta's Vegan College Cookbook (which happened to be on a shelf when I moved into the apartment) and it seems pretty decent.         
Picking a cookbook that only has recipes on Jello is not a good idea

#2: Keep fast healthy tasty snack ingredients stocked 

Yea the previous tip is very similar to this if you picked a decent cook book, but in case your cook book didn't provide the fast recipes or you just happened to wake up 15 min before the bus was about to leave, having these items close by can save others from your grumpy side.

Stock up on:
  1. Peanut butter with (Bananas, carrots, celery and raisins)
  2. Breakfast/Chocolate powder + Milk/Vegan Alternative
  3. Cereal/Oatmeal - the non-sugary kind - don't worry adding fruits actually makes it taste better
  4. Apples and fruits
  5. Bread
  6. Frozen meals and soups
Potatoes are vegetables - I don't see why we don't call them Veggie Chips

#1: Don't optimize everything at once

When you start out - don't try to go for the healthiest food with the best bargains that will make your tastebuds dance all night long all at once. Don't worry too much if your strawberries go bad or you have to make multiple trips. Don't worry if you misread the day a deal starts or if you bought a 2 for 1 deal for something that was actually overpriced. Shopping is something you get better at with time. You learn when a price is good, when to buy in bulk, how to find better deals, with experience. 

Make your first priority be getting good food you can cook/assemble quickly so that you will actually eat it. Cut out all restaurant/outside food because you can make better food, cheaper and quicker at home. Try out your ideas and learn from your mistakes. Talk with others and see how they shop - you can always learn a thing or two.
"A perfectionist may look good in his shiny shoes but no one invites him to their pool parties" - Ze Frank
<![CDATA[Ayudh Cooks for A Women's Shelter With Local Satsang]]>Sun, 27 Sep 2015 12:52:45 GMThttp://ayudh-ma.weebly.com/home/ayudh-cooks-for-a-womens-shelter-with-local-satsang
Yesterday was Amma's birthday and in Lexington, the local satsang wanted to celebrate by serving a meal to the Women's Shelter close by. The meal was a vegetarian pasta dish with a side of a salad, served with bread. Two Ayudh members showed up to help chop vegetables and prepare the meal. After the meal was prepared, they delivered it to the shelter. 

Serving others is a great way to develop life skills. The ability to chop vegetables quickly will make cooking vegetarian meals tremendously easy. Ayudh can cook, delicious meals and if you want to learn how to do the same - join Ayudh!  
<![CDATA[Wanted: photographer]]>Sat, 26 Sep 2015 14:26:49 GMThttp://ayudh-ma.weebly.com/home/wanted-photographerPicture
My phone doesn't have a great camera and the pictures it takes are bleh. Please volunteer to take pictures at any events you attend and share them with me (Harsh Singh). 

I'm the one sending all the emails. In case you don't have my email it is hisingh1 at gmail!

Thank you so much!