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Showing posts from 2013

Planning a Drinks, Appetizer and Dessert Party for the holidays

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Last year, I had an appetizer and dessert party for the holidays. I had 5 different appetizers and desserts. I also added some homemade hot chocolate, pumpkin spice latte and rose lemonade for drinks. It took a lot of planning and almost a week of preparation to pull off comfortably. For the drinks, I kept a thermos of hot milk and the hot chocolate mix and pumpkin spice mix separately. The rose lemonade, ice and seltzer formed the cold drinks part. I only have the pictures of the dessert table which was set up beforehand. The appetizers were in the oven, to keep warm.


There were around 12 people invited to the party and I grossly overestimated the amount of food that would be needed. I did not realise that one person cannot eat 5 different appetizers and 5 different desserts in a single night :) (specially since appetizers and desserts are generally so rich). I made 12-15 servings of each item. At the end of the night, I was packing food for the guests to eat as breakfast or lunch t…

Steamed methi balls in Kadhi

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These days we are getting some good methi leaves in the local indian grocery store. I always pick up a couple or more bunches every time I visit. I stagger my methi preparation steps because I cannot get it all done in a day with a busy 3 year old to take care of. I pluck out the leaves one day, the next day I wash and chop them and the methi gets prepared on the third day. We do eat other vegetables that take less prep time on day 1 and 2 in case you are wondering :)

Steamed Methi balls in Kadhi

One day, while talking to my mom on the phone, she mentioned she saw a steamed methi ball in kadhi recipe on the TV that day. I had the methi all prepped and ready to go. This was as good a day as any to try the recipe based on the general idea. My daughter loved to help me make the little balls. She was inspired to eat them too :)


Ingredients:For Methi Balls1 bunchmethi leaves, cleaned and chopped1 mediumonion1/2 to 1 cupbesan1 tspsalt1/4 tspchilli powderFor Kadhi1 cupyogurt2 cupswater2 tbspb…

Christmas crafts - Pinecone Christmas trees and DIY holiday snowman cards

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This week me and my daughter did some Christmasy crafts to get into the holiday spirit. We did some pinecone christmas trees and cards for the daughter's preschool teachers.

I had some pinecones lying around the house and decided to put them to good use by crafting them into Christmas trees. I had picked up some foam glitter stars from Michael's the other day. Those were used as the star tree toppers.

I did two kinds of pinecone trees. The first was very simple. Just some glitter glue and some glitter stars.

I arranged some pinecones in a plastic tub which used to be a takeout container (reuse!). Just added some red and white glitter glue and topped with silver glitter stars. I kept it simple so the arrangement can work for other seasons with some modifications.

For the second arrangement, I went the whole wintery route.
First, I made faux snow. There are different ways to do faux snow. I opened up a clean diaper and removed the powdery stuff inside and placed it in a tr…

Citrus Marmalade muffins with almonds

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I like to bake muffins as I have said before. I bake a tray of muffins and freeze the batch. It lasts us about a month. I make them healthy enough to be eaten at breakfast since they make for a quick, portable breakfast.

Today's muffins are a tad bit more indulgent. They could pass for dessert if you really try. :)
I had an overflow of citrus fruits in my fruit drawer and they were not getting eaten at all. So I made a marmalade to rescue them. The marmalade will have a blog post of its own sometime later. I made marmalade muffins from some of that homemade marmalade.

Marmalade Muffins
adapted from Poppytalk

The citrus zest and vanilla make it one amazingly scented packet. I could love it for just the smell but it tastes delicious too. I think it is a better use of marmalade than even spreading on buttered toast.



Ingredients:1/2 cupall purpose flour (maida)1 cupwhole wheat flour2 tspbaking powder1/2 tsp salt3/4 cupmilk1/4 cupmelted butter1 tbspvanilla1 egg 1/4 cuphoney1/2 cupmar…

A special Gujarati meal - Chana bataka nu shaak (black chickpeas and potato curry), Gujarati Kadhi

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I have a special place in my heart for gujarati food. Having tasted authentic home-cooked gujarati food, I have very high standards when it comes to eating gujarati food. In my experience, it is very difficult to get the gujju taste outside of Gujarat.
Although here in the US, gujarati food in Atlanta does come close to meeting my standards. I haven't tasted the food since a couple of years so I hope this still holds true.

Today's lunch thali of chana bataka nu shaak (black chickpeas and potato curry) and kadhi with rotis and rice is a special combo where everything goes so well together. These recipes make me feel I am back in Gujarat eating a homely meal.
Chana Bataka nu Shaak

Black Chickpeas and potatoes are cooked in a sweet spicy gravy thickened with besan. The besan is a key ingredient to get the signature gujarati texture and taste to the gravy.



Ingredients:3/4 cupdry kala chana2-3potatoes1tomato2 clovesgarlic1 tbspjaggery1 tspsalt1/4 tspturmeric powder1dry red chilli1…

Chocolate Walnut Pie

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I made this pie for a party last year when I was not blogging. In those days, I just clicked pictures and uploaded them to web albums along with recipe notes. It was my way of having a recipe book.
In my usual habit, I made a lot of food for the party and everyone was stuffed when I said there is dessert to come. But this pie was so decadent, no one could say no to it. Some even asked if they could take a slice home to savour on a more relaxed stomach :)
The husband said this pie is better than any restaurant pie I have had. I have to agree. The pie was so good beyond my expectations. I was glad there were other people to share the pie otherwise I could definitely have finished it on my own.
I mostly followed this recipe exactly except I used a different and very easy method of "cutting" butter into the flour which I found here. I did not use bourbon because I didn't want to buy a bottle just for this (we dont drink) but I am sure it will taste even better with the b…

Lauki ke gatte ki sabzi - Steamed bottlegourd besan dumplings in yogurt gravy

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I am always looking for new ways to make the humble and healthy lauki (bottlegourd). It is not a vegetable most people look forward to eating. Lauki chane ki dal is the usual way it is made in our house, which is an acceptable way for the picky eaters in the house. I was looking for something more exciting to add variety to our lauki eating habits. I came across this member contributed recipe on tarla dalal website.
This recipe completely disguises the lauki and makes a pretty looking and pretty tasting dish. It will not evoke any of the boring expressions which usually accompany a regular lauki ki sabzi.

Bottlegourd gatte in yogurt gravy

Grated bottlegourd is kneaded into a dough and steamed to make the gatte which are then lightly toasted on a pan before adding to a light yogurt gravy. These go perfectly with some rotis. I used this recipe from tarla dalal website with a few changes.



Ingredients:For Gatte:1medium bottlegourd1 cupbesan 3/4 tspsalt1/4 tspturmeric powder1 heaping tspc…

Cardboard play kitchen

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During the summer I worked on a few craft projects; one of which was a cardboard play kitchen. It is made completely from recycled materials which would otherwise have ended up in trash. I had seen the idea on Spoonful and immediately loved it. It took me a few months to really get working on the idea because it seemed kind of daunting; but once I got to it, it was fun. I am so glad this went from bookmark to reality because my daughter was so excited about it while we were building it and it is still her favourite "toy".
First I started collecting cardboard boxes. 2 equal sized boxes for the base, a pizza box for the window, 2 smaller boxes for the shelves. I fixed them all together using duck tape (big duck tape fan).

Then I added the details. For the window, I looked for a nice picture from my stack of magazines and glued it on to the pizza box lid. Then I cut up one of my daughter's old dress to make curtains and glued them on.
For the sink, I cut a hole in the bas…

India trip in food (Mumbai street food and Gujarati thali)

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I am back from the long break. A two month long vacation in India. And now I have big trouble trying to write a blog post. I guess that is why consistency is the key.
I really want to write about the fabulous food we ate in Mumbai and Gujarat. We really were spoilt for choice.
The first half of our vacation was in Mumbai where we ate every street food we could get our hands on.
Street food tastes best when eaten out of the smallest of stalls on the "street". The same food in bigger restauranty places just does not have the taste. The most popular street food all over India is "Chaat" which comprises of several types of spicy, sweet, tangy and crispy dishes. The same basic chutneys are used to create a plethora of chaats. One of which is the Sev Puri pictured above. It has a layer of crispy puris, topped with boiled potatoes, onions, chutneys, coriander leaves and a generous topping of sev and some spicy peanuts. We got this from a small stand (in the corner of…

Brownie Bar - brownies, caramel chocolate sauce, lemon whipped cream

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For this post, I am going way back to my cinco de mayo post where I mentioned about the nacho and brownie bars at the party. I never got around to posting about the brownie bar. I love the idea of a toppings bar at a party. There is something about creating your own special version of the dessert with all the toppings. That might be why I love "Souper Salad". As the name suggests, it is a soup and salad bar; but it also has a dessert bar.

For the brownie bar, I made spiced brownies, salted caramel chocolate sauce, lemon whipped cream and laid out store bought vanilla ice cream and crushed some oreo cookies.

The next day, we ate the leftover brownies, parfait style with layers of brownie, icecream, whipped cream, caramel chocolate sauce and strawberries, topped with the crushed oreos.

Yes, it was as awesome as it looks.

Spiced Brownie

Everyone should take the journey of finding the perfect brownie texture that works for you. I have seen brownies ranging from cakey to almost…

Healthy Kid friendly Savory Veggie Pancakes

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My almost 3 year old does not eat her vegetables. I try to offer her some vegetable everyday with the hope that she would eat it today. On some blessed days, she eats raw baby carrots or some lightly sauteed broccoli. She almost always eats methi in a dal or kadhi.
It is no wonder that the biggest question on most mom's minds is how to get their kids to eat more vegetables. The recipe was a result of this ongoing question that I face. Since she loves dosas and pancakes, I thought a hybrid with vegetables might work. She ate two of them which is a big success. And I have noticed that grating vegetables makes them more palatable even for adults.

Veggie Pancakes
Grated vegetables, flours, egg cover all nutrition groups to make this a complete meal.

Ingredients:4carrots1/2beet1/2onion3 tbspchopped spinach1egg1green chilli1/4 tspbaking soda1 tspsalt1/2 tspblack pepper1/4 tspturmeric4 tbspbesan1 tbspflax seed powder4 tspwhole wheat flour1 tspginger paste1 tspgarlic paste5 tbspwaterGrate …