All I can think of now, is bears and hybernation. One - I am sleepy right now. Two – this space will go into hibernation for the most of the coming two weeks.
Don’t worry if I come back here anxious, worried and low spirited for the next Blogging Marathon - that would just be the effect of my son’s vacation on me. Its going to be half day school from coming Monday. Its almost like preparing the parents for the impending doom - full day vacation - which starts a week after that. I always have a suspicion that teachers do a jig after the kids leave the school premises on the last working day. Can’t blame them, though!
And so the countdown to keeping myself sane is just less than 15 days. Cannot imagine keeping a five year old engaged for 24 hours a day, for TWO whole months. Oh God! Wish me luck everyone!
Easy meals are going to be part of the menu then. Like this oatmeal here. Cooked in the microwave. But that 2-3 tablespoons of pumpkin purée and a dash of cinnamon and ground ginger, makes all the difference.
Try this whole grain dish for yourself, when you need a change from the usual. Or like in my case, you have a lot of pumpkin purée left over after making those melt in the mouth pancakes.
Recipe Source : Craving Chronicles
- Oats : 1/3 cup
- Pumpkin Puree : 3 tbsp
- Water : 1/4 cup
- Milk : 1/4 cup
- Sugar : 1-2 tbsp (brown, if possible)
- Vanilla Essense : 1/4 tsp
- Ground Cinnamon, ground ginger, ground allspice : a dash of each , optional
- Dry Fruits and nuts : handful
- Mix everything , except the dry fruits, together and microwave for about 2 minutes.
- Mix and microwave for a furthur minute or until the desired consistency is required. Top with raisins, walnuts, dried cranberries and almonds and serve.
- You might have to adjust the liquid propotion a bit to get the preferred consistency. Serves one.
This is it! I am quitting bread making – officially! And this time I mean it, not like the past hundred times when I quit and the yeast beckoned me back.
I have tried and tried and tried, but every single time I bake bread, I break my teeth.
I follow the steps meticulously. Yeast is given as much of care as to a new born. Once the yeast bubbles up, I knead the dough, I let it rise and all this happens as it should. But once I bake them, the result is always the same. Rock hard buns (or bread). Sigh…
If you are smiling at this abysmal failure of mine, be warned. I have a weapon with me – yes, these can double up as great self defense products.
Sara and Erica of Baking JDs were our March 2012 Daring Baker hostesses! Sara & Erica challenged us to make Dutch Crunch bread, a delicious sandwich bread with a unique, crunchy topping. Sara and Erica also challenged us to create a one of a kind sandwich with our bread!
I really wish I could have completed the challenge the way it was meant to be! Soft, white rolls with beautiful tiger/giraffe patterns. Hell, I would have settled even for a pattern of a hare! But this is what I got and after thinking over whether I should post this or not, I decided to go ahead and let the world know about ‘How NOT to make (Tiger) Bread’.
Check out the Daring Kitchen for real tiger, giraffe and even a cute turtle shell pattern.
Fifteen mails in my inbox, including ones that scream ‘We are going to steal all your money’, and yet I go and open the one titled ‘Lose your Belly Fat’ first. Our builder is already stealing all our money, so I wouldn’t worry about such mails.
I remember kiddo telling me that there was a teacher in his school who had a ‘biiiiiiiiigg’ tummy. He stretched his hands to his front and arched himself to show how big the tummy was. I told him that I think there is a baby inside her tummy.
Worried, he asked ‘Did she eat the baby?’
Oh, it was so tempting to say yes. It would have been fun to see his reaction. But better sense prevailed and I explained to him in simple words about babies coming from tummies.
I was ready to answer his questions, I wasn’t prepared for this one : ‘Is there a baby in your tummy? Is that why its so big?’
That was the most embarassing reply of my life! No, there is nothing in my tummy, except tons of fat. So as a result, I have started drinking copious amount of green tea and reading mails that say ‘Lose your belly fat’ first.
And while I am fighting with my tummy, I allow myself these steamed low fat quick snack, that won’t do much harm to your tummy.
- Rice Flour : 1/2 cup
- Boiling Water : 1 cup
- Oil : 1 tsp
- Mustard seeds : 1/2 tsp
- Urad dal : 1/2 tsp
- Curry Leaves : 4-5
- Red Chilies : 1-2
- Boil one cup of water with about half a tsp of salt. Take half cup of rice flour in a bowl. Add the boiled water to this, little by little and mixing it with a spoon. Donot add all the water in one go, because you may not need the entire quantity.
- Stop once the rice flour reaches a semi solid consistency – a little bit watery than chapati dough. Wait until the dough is cool enough to handle, but don’t let it become ice cold or it will become tough. Take a pinch of the dough, roll it into a marble sized ball.
- Form about 15-20 small balls and steam them for 10 minutes, till they are cooked and glossy. Make sure that they don’t overlap or touch each other when they are steamed, as they will fuse together and you will have to break them apart.
- Heat one tsp of oil. Add mustard seeds and red chilies. Once they splutter, add the urad dal and curry leaves. Add the steamed kozhukattai and mix carefully, without breaking them.
- Serve hot with coconut chutney or tomato ketch up.
Kiddo spent the first one and a half years of his life teaching me baby language. I learnt ‘Goo goo’, ‘Gaa gaa’ and ‘Hee hee hee’ from him. Then I graduated to learn more difficult words like ‘Awwa Mee mee’, ‘Bhuga buga buga’, ‘tatanga’ and ‘Mammam mammam’.
By the time he was two, we were conversing easily in his language. He didn’t share the same enthusiasm in learning my language though. So googoo-s and gaga-s it was, for a long time.
I used to wonder whether the hours of reading to him was any useful or whether he was just a slow learner wrto languages. My doubt was clarified when we were shopping in the supermarket and he came across strawberries. They weren’t fresh, so I took him to another aisle.
Kiddo, who was two years old then, kept pointing frantically in the direction of strawberries and I kept ignoring the request. He finally blurred out ‘Stabedy Stabedy’. My surprise, my wonder and my happiness knew no bounds. So kiddo could talk, when he wanted to!
I had bugged my MIL to make these kuzhi paniyarams as a tea time snack this weekend. So when I took the camera out, kiddo started scribbling frantically in his note pad and wanted that to be a part of the picture. The way he was scribbling, as if it is the most urgent thing in the world, reminded me of the way he was pointing at those strawberries when he was two.
Enjoy these paniyarams while I am enjoying the little happy moments of life :)
Train, rain, people and ponds!
Special Utensils : Paniyaram Chatti
- Dosa Batter : 1 cup
- Coconut grated : 1/4 cup
- Onion : 1 small, chopped fine (optional)
- Ginger : 1/2″ piece, grated (optional)
- Green Chilies : 1 – 2, sliced
- Oil, for deep frying
- Mustard seeds : 1 tsp
- Urad dal : 1/2 tsp
- Curry leaves : 4-5
- Oil : 1 tsp
- Chop the onions, chilies. Grate ginger. Add this and the grated coconut to the dosa batter.
- Heat one tsp of oil, add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and urad dal. Once it splutters, add it to the dosa batter and mix well until everything is combined.
- Heat oil in a paniyaram pan and add about two tablespoons of batter into each pit.
- Turn over with a skewer or fork and cook until golden.
- Take off the pan and drain on a kitchen towel. Continue making paniyarams with the rest of the batter.
- Serve hot with coconut chutney.
Carrot halwa and pal payasam are the first desserts I learnt to make. Before that, it was just popping a spoonful of sugar into my mouth whenever the sugar craving set in.
Learning this dessert meant getting my fingers cut multiple times, because I never learnt the art of grating the carrot without my hands getting cut in the process. Now years later, I have become smart and I don’t get myself injured while grating carrots. Its for better things like being careless with hot pans and pots and all.
Well, there will be a day when I will stop being so accident prone. Till then, hoping for more ‘injury free’ carrot halwa days!
- Grated Carrots : 1 1/2 cups (about 3 medium carrots)
- Milk : 1 cup
- Sugar : 1/2 cup
- Cardamom Powder : 1/4 tsp (optional)
- Ghee : 2 tsp
- Put the grated carrots and the milk together in a microwave proof bowl.
- Microwave on high for about 15 minutes, stirring once in every 5 minutes, till the carrots are cooked.
- You can also cut the carrots into rounds, cook them with milk and pulse (not puree) them once in a mixie once its cool.
- Add the sugar and cook for another 5 minutes. Mix once and add ghee and cardamom powder. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes till the liquids are almost dry.
- Decorate with chopped nuts and serve hot or cold. Serves 1-2.
I was brought up in Kerala and my hubby is from Tamil Nadu. So clashes with respect to language happen now and then.
One incident that comes to mind is the two of us teaching him the days of the week in Tamil.
- Sunday => Nyayaru (Me : Its Nyayar, not Nyayaru. Hubby : No, its not!)
- Monday => Thingal (Mutual consent)
- Tuesday => Chevvai (Me : Chovva, not Chevvai. Hubby : No, its not!)
- Wednesday => Bhudan(Mutual consent)
- Thursday => Vyazhan (Me : Its Vyazham. Hubby : Its not! )
Full fight broke out by then.
‘Vyazham’ : Me.
‘Vyazhan’ : Hubby.
‘Draagon’ : Kiddo said.
Not surprisingly, we are back to Sunday-Monday. Its easier on every one.
Talking about making life easy, here is an easy halwa recipe. From the time I saw the recipe for Makai Jajaria in Priya’s place, I have been planning to make it. I saw that there was an easier microwave version also of the recipe, so of course, as one to make life as easy as possible, I followed the MW recipe.
- Sweet corn kernels : 2
- Milk : 1 1/2 cup
- Ghee : 1 tbsp
- Sugar : 1/2 cup
- Cardamom Powder : 1/4 tsp
- Pistachios : for garnishing
- Grate sweet corn from the cobs and grind in the blender.
- In a microwave proof bowl, add two tbsp of ghee and the sweet corn and cook on high power for 3-4 minutes. Do not cover the bowl.
- Add milk and cook for 5 minutes. Mix.
- Add sugar and cook for another 3-6 minutes, till you get a semi solid mixture. Microwave power differs and you need to depend on the consistency of the halwa instead of the minutes given.
- Add cardamom, mix well, decorate with pistachios. Serve hot or cold.
- Serves 2-3.
I can multitask.
I can cook and click.
I can cook, click and feed.
I can cook, click, feed and talk over the phone.
But I cannot cook, click, feed, talk over the phone AND fight at the same time.
So our breakfast this morning, whole wheat banana pancakes, is going back to the dining table where a hungry hubby and a grumpy kiddo are waiting anxiously.
Enjoy the virtual treat.
Adapted from : All recipes
- Whole wheat flour : 1/2 cup
- Baking Powder : 1 tsp
- Sugar : 1 tbsp
- Egg : 1
- Milk : 1/2 cup
- Banana : 1, mashed
- Oil : 1 tbsp
- Combine the flour, sugar and baking powder. Whisk.
- Combine mashed bananas, milk, egg and oil. Mix thoroughly.
- Stir the dry ingredients to the wet and mix. The batter was slightly watery, so I added about 1 tbsp of flour to it.
- Heat a frying pan/tawa and add 1/4 cup of the batter.
- When bubbles start appearing and the batter starts getting dry, flip over and cook.
- Top with caramelized bananas and serve hot.
- Makes 5 pancakes.
I buy ready made dosa batter. Always.
Initially, I used to bury it under a lot of other stuff when I am picking them up from the supermarket. I always used to feel that the world is accusing me when I pick the packet from the rack.
The magic cure to my guilty feeling was hubby’s happy observation that the stores are always stocked up with the batter. So that makes me not the only one to buy these.
Its a great convenience, er….except when you are careless and end up picking 3 day old batter that is really sour. Now, that is actually something to feel guilty about!
So here is another leftover make over dosa. I had been to Srivalli’s Dosa Mela and picked this recipe one from the huge list of choices.
- Leftover dosa batter
- Onion : 1 big, chopped
- Chilies : 2, chopped
- Cashews : 4-5, broken into bits
- Bengal gram : 1 tbsp
- Turmeric Powder : 1/4 tsp
- Curry leaves : 4-5
- Heat a teaspoon of oil in a kadai and add the cashews and bengal gram. Once they turn golden, add the curry leaves, chopped onion, chilies, salt and turmeric powder.
- Add this to the left over batter and mix thoroughly.
- Heat a frying pan or a tawa and add a ladle full of the batter and spread in a circular motion to get a dosa. Drizzle oil around the edges. Cover and cook for a minute. Flip over and cook for 20 – 30 seconds.
- Serve with coconut chutney.
The minute they mention about a sale going on, I present myself at the store along with a reluctant hubby and a sulking kiddo. The ‘can we please please go home?’ question starts from the minute we enter the mall.
The first dampener to my mounting excitement would be at the office of the security guard. Handbags are allowed inside and luggage isn’t. So their view of my huge bulky backpack as luggage would be the first fight to start with. ( I win, of course!)
When we get inside the store, hubby would start with a weary ‘Can’t you be lady like and buy one of those cute little handbags?’ question. I ignore the weary tone and the appeal, and move forward with determination to the home section.
A mug, a pitcher and a plate excites me more than a hundred new dresses would do. If there is a new casserole or a steamer, then you literally have to drag me from that place. Which is what happens every time – the dragging me from the home section, I mean.
The real place that needs some attention is my wardrobe and yet, I never stop at the ladies section. I have not even gotten the two sets of salwars, which came as birthday gifts, stitched yet. Er, they came for my birthday last year, btw.
Talking about make overs, this rava dosa is a make over of dosa batter. If there isn’t sufficient batter or if the batter is sour, I have started adding rava and grated veggies to it and making these beauties.
- Left over dosa batter : 1 cup
- Rava/semolina : 1 1/2 cups
- Onion : 1 small, chopped fine
- Carrot : 1 small, grated
- Beans : 3-4, cut finely
- Water : to make the batter mixture thin
- Oil, to make dosas
- Oil : 1 tsp
- Mustard seeds : 1 tsp
- Bengal gram dal : 1/2 tsp
- Urad dal : 1/2 tsp
- Curry leaves : 4-5 leaves
- Chop the onions fine, grate the carrots and thinly slice the beans.
- Mix the left over batter and rava together. Add the veggies and 2 – 3 cups of water. The water needs to be added in half cupfuls after that. The final consistency of the batter should be very thin – like in the picture above.
- Heat a small kadai and add the oil. When it gets hot, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves and cover with a lid. Once the mustard splutters, add the dals and wait for a minute for them to brown. Add this to the dosa batter and mix well.
- Heat a tawa or a frying pan. Add a tsp of oil and let it coat the base of the tawa. I use a wooden spoon for spreading the oil, but a better idea is half cut onion with the flat side down and held with a fork.
- For this dosa, you will have to first make an outer round and then fill the insides. Start with a big ‘O’ and then fill the inside of the O with the batter. You wont be able to spread the batter like regular dosas.
- Pour a tsp of oil around the dosa and when the dosa starts to brown on the side, flip over and cook the other side for a minute.
- Take off the tawa, serve hot with chutneys, sambar and a cup of hot coffee!
We had been to the beach this weekend.
Hubby loves to look at the ocean, let go of all the worries, relax and take a deep inhale of that salty breeze. He loves to let the waves bury his feet in the sand. He likes to ease kiddo into enjoying these little beauties of life. He loves to hold kiddo’s hand and stand next to him proudly, waiting for the next wave to come.
They stand in front of me, at the edge of the waves – a perfect picture of love and being at peace with oneself.
Hubby goes there to find serenity. And I go there to find of the best bajji sold from the beach side bajji stalls. And the chaats too from the near by stalls, while on the quest.
So, hubby came back home with his mind relaxed and I came back with my stomach full.
Talking about stomach getting full, aval dosa is a simple and yummy recipe, that is very filling. One dosa for breakfast is enough to keep you going for a long time.
You can check out the original recipe here.
- Raw rice : 2 cups
- Aval/Rice Flakes : 1 cup
- Curd : 1 cup
- Onion : 1 small
- Green Chilies : 1-2, seeded
- Ginger : 1″ piece, grated
- Curry leaves : 1 sprig
- Oil, to make dosas
- Wash the raw rice till clean and soak for 3 hours minimum or overnight. Wash and clean the aval/rice flakes and soak them in curd for an hour at least.
- Grind the rice and the soaked aval together with salt to get a smooth batter. Add water if the consistency is too thick.
- Leave for fermentation – overnight or for about 6-8 hours.
- When you are about to make the dosas, chop an onion and a couple of seeded green chilies and add to the dosa batter. You can add roughly chopped curry leaves, grated ginger, grated carrots too, if you wish to.Tempering with mustard seeds, ural dal and red chilies will also give the batter an excellent flavor.
- Make thick dosas with the batter. I made these in an appa chatti.
- Serve hot with green tomato chutney.