Thursday, April 30, 2009

Spring Flower Arrangement

"A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success."

This saying says a lot what i wanted to write in this Post.Recently i entered a contest and I got the First Prize.Its a wonderful feeling when u win something.Participation is more important than winning but winning makes u feel you're the best,which boosts the confidence level and encourages you to do more.After couple of years of gap from my college life, doing something for yourself and winning is the BEST feeling you can get.I am very thankful to the site who took my entry and awarded me with this certificate.
This is the first time i did some flower arrangement for a contest.Its a simple arrangement.The contest rules was to use just 4 flowers with any amount of side flowers but the main flower should be 4 and others flowers coordinating should not exceed 4.It can be either real or artificial flowers.So I used 4 Mums , 1 Daisy and the rest was some wild flowers and leaves.All were fresh flowers and leaves that I bought the bouquet from a store nearby.Used a bunch of artificial Grapes for decoration in a coffee mug.Is int it a superb idea?Coffee mug can be used once the flowers dry out.



Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Zucchini Chutney

Zucchini is vegetable which belongs to Cucumber family.Its widely available in USA, and can be used in almost any recipe which requires a vegetable.It cooks fast and tastes good too.As its low in calories its good for the people who are dieting...some useful information i found on net says:

The zucchini vegetable is low in calories (approximately 15 food calories per 100 g fresh zucchini) and contains useful amounts of folate (24 mcg/100 g), potassium (280 mg/100 g) and vitamin A (115 mcg/100 g). 1/2 cup of zucchini also contains 19% of the recommended amount of manganese.

I have tried a very healthy and low carb version of chutney with this vegetable.Its very simple to make, healthy and mouth watering.It can be eaten with Rice, chapathi's, dressing for sandwiches , Dosa or Idli.

Ingredients:

3 Zucchini
1tsp Oil
2tsp Crushed Paprika
salt to taste
1tsp Jaggery(optional)
1/2tsp Mustard seeds
a pinch of Hing

Method:

Chop the zucchini, fry them in 1/2tsp oil till it looses its water and turns a little brown in color.Add Paprika, jaggery and salt.Cool it and blend it with a hand blender /Mixer grinder.Add tempering with the leftover oil, mustard seeds and Hing.Chutney is ready to be served.

Note: U can skip putting tempering and reduce that portion of oil too.Paprika can be substituted with Red chilli powder.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Heart Purse


On a valentines day, girls love to see heart shape in everything,it might be a heart shaped pancakes or heart shaped cookies or wearing a red/pink outfits.To go with those cute dresses there is a cute purse for young girls to carry it.Its a perfect gift on a valentines day.Its a simple project to make and kids can help too.

To make this project we need:

2 colored Stiff Felt Sheets(8.5x11 size)
2 colored 3mm Ribbon
5mm size Punch
Glue
Measuring tape/scale.


First take 1 color Stiff felt of your choice which will be the main body of the purse and cut two(2)
10 inch x 10 inch size using a scale.Fold it into half and cut into heart shape, which will probably be 8 inches of two Heart shaped.With the other colored Stiff felt cut two(2) long strip for handle which measures the size of 15 inches (L)x 1.25 inches(W) size(if u increase the width it will increase the depth of the purse, u can do about 3-5 inches width too).

Now with a marker mark the dots on the edge of the cutout every 1 inch apart about 10 dots on each side on both the hearts.Punch the holes with a paper punch and keep aside.Take the strip handles, measure and mark 1 inch dots about 10 dots on each side of the strip and punch them, keep aside.Measure 12 inches ribbon and cut 4 of each color.So u should have 8 ribbons totally.
Now take the Ribbon 1 and go inside the holes in a zig-zag position sewing the heart 1 to the handle 1 and do with Ribbon 2 the other way and tie a bow in the corner.Repeat the same on all 3 sides.Finally to join the handles u can either staple it or u can punch some holes and tie a knot with ribbon as I have done.In a middle cut two hearts of different color and sizes and glue to secure them and then glue the whole to the big heart.The valentines purse is ready.[Note: Donot pull the Ribbons too hard otherwise the punch holes will tear apart.It has to be soft and gentle.]

Veggie Hot Dogs


I was very fascinated to see Americans enjoy street food like we Indians love eating Chats on street corners.Being a Vegetarian i was just curious to know how it tastes so started my hunt for a veggie Hot dog and i found one recipe for it which i liked it and gave it a try.It was superb and i loved it.


Ingredients:

4 Hot dog buns

For rolls
2 large sized Potatoes
200gms Cottage cheese /paneer
10-12 Raisins
Fresh coriander leaves a few sprigs
1 medium sized Onion
3-4 Green chillies
2 Red chillies flakes/Paprika
1 tbsp+to deep-fry Oil
1 tsp1 tsp Garam masala powder
1 tsp All purpose Flour/Maida
Salt to taste
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 cup Bread crumbs

To Serve
2 medium sized Onions
4 Green chillies
1 bunch Lettuce
2 tbsps Butter
4 tsps English mustard
4 tbsps Tomato ketchup

Method:

First Slit hot dog buns into half without cutting it into two and keep aside. Wash, boil, peel and mash potatoes,grate paneer. Soak raisins in warm water for fifteen to twenty minutes,drain and pat dry. Clean, wash and chop coriander leaves ,chop onion, green chillies. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and sauté onion till translucent.Mix together potatoes, paneer, raisins, red chilli flakes, sautéed onion, green chillies, coriander leaves, garam masala powder and salt. Let cool and divide into four portions.
In another bowl mix refined flour and salt together and keep it aside.Shape potato mixture into cylindrical shaped croquettes. Roll croquettes in seasoned refined flour, dip in milk and roll in bread crumbs. Keep them in the refrigerator for an hour or more .

In a kadai heat sufficient oil and deep-fry croquettes till golden brown and drain onto an absorbent paper. Keep aside.


To serve: Mix Chopped onions,chopped green chillies, shred lettuce. Apply butter on the inside of the buns, apply mustard paste and place one spoonful of onion mixture. Spread tomato ketchup and arrange some shredded lettuce. Place a hot fried croquette, one in each bun and serve immediately.Decorate it with some Yellow Mustard.


[Note: If you dont want to deep fry Croquettes,it can be baked in 400 degree pre-heated oven for 15 mins too.If the criquettes are not refrigerated well it will break while frying/baking.]

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hand Purse



Crochet is my new passion and I always wanted to learn this art.Its a wonderful art and quick to learn than Knitting.Crochet does not need much time to finish a project and anybody can do this.I tried to learn this from a book but did not give much results.Last year when I visited my Sister-in-law she showed me the basics of crochet and I tried to do few projects and this purse is my First Project.I am happy it turned out well and inspired me to do more.It makes a cute collection and also a pretty gift to some one close.

Instructions:
About 4 x 6 in. (10 x 15 cm) after felting

Gauge:
12 single crochet and 15 rows = 4 in. (10 cm) before felting.


Exact gauge is not essential for this project.


Purse: Chain 43.

Row 1: Single crochet in 2nd chain from hook and each chain across - 42 single crochet.
Row 2: Chain 1, turn, single crochet in each single crochet across.
Repeat last row until piece measures about 7 1/4 in. (19 cm) from beginning.
Fasten off.

Loop: Join yarn with slip stitch in center of one side. Chain 10, slip stitch in base of chain to form loop. Fasten off.

Finishing: Weave in ends.Add nice button and stitch it in the middle so the loop and be fasten.

Felting: Wash by machine on a hot wash/cold rinse cycle with detergent and several pieces of clothing to agitate. To felt additionally, dry by machine on a regular setting until almost dry. Remove from dryer and pull to about 10 x 6 in. (25.5 x 15 cm).
Fold piece to about 4 x 6 in. (10 x 15 cm), leaving a 2 in. (5 cm) flap. Sew side seams. Sew button opposite loop.

Note: Be sure to check your gauge. When you match the gauge in a pattern, your project will be the size specified in the pattern and the materials specified in the pattern will be sufficient. If it takes you less stitches and rows to make a 4 in. [10 cm] square, try using a smaller size hook or needles; if more stitches and rows, try a larger size hook or needles.

Kadai Paneer


When you want to break a diet and eat some rich and cream curry with Paratha/Chapathi, Kadai Paneer is the name that comes to my mind.When I go to a restaurant and want to eat some North Indian food this is one of my choice.But its easy to prepare it at home if Paneer is in the refrigerator.

Ingredients:

8oz/1 pack Paneer cut into cubes(I used cut and fried)
1/4 cup Yogurt/curds
3 Onions finely chopped
2 big Capsicums finely chopped
1/2cup Tomato puree(blanched)
1tbsp Ginger+Garlic
4 Green chillies finely chopped
1/4cup Cream
3tbsps Oil
2tbsps Kasuri Methi
To taste Salt
1tbsp Cashew Paste(about 10)
1-2tsps Red chilli powder
1tsp Dhania powder
1tsp Jeera powder
1/2tsp Turmeric powder
1tsp Garam Masala powder
1tsp Sugar

Method:

First fry the paneer in a little oil and mix it with curds and keep aside.

In a Kadai heat the oil and add chopped Onions, saute' till it turns light brown add ginger and garlic paste,green chillies and all the dry powders.Allow it to fry for a min and then add tomato puree,chopped capsicum and sugar.Mix it till the water in the tomato puree evaporates.

Add Paneer with yogurt, cashew paste and salt to taste with 1/2 cup water and cook till it gets thick.Finally add cream and Kasuri Methi for garnish and serve hot in a small kadai.

[Note:I like the capsicum with paneer but its an option.Add extra water if the gravy is too thick. Blanched tomatoes means boil the tomatoes,peel the skin and make a puree]

Kadubu

"Kadubu" is fried snack with sweet stuffing usually made for Ganesha Chaturthi festival.This is one of the biggest Hindu festival in India.This is a must when u do a Ganesha pooja.I do this every month as we celebrate Sankashta chaturthi on the 4th day of the Full moon.

Its a simple and easy to prepare and kids love them as they r crispy with a sweet stuffing inside.Stuffing can be altered according to your choice.

Ingredients:

1 cup All purpose flour/Maida
1/2tsp Rice flour
1/2tsp Hot oil/ghee
1cup Oil

For stuffing:

1/2cup Dry coconut powder
1/2cup Sugar
1tbsp Cashews(broken into small pieces)
1tbsp Raisins
1tbsp Almond pieces(optional)
a pinch of Patch-Karpura/nutmeg(otional)


Method:

Mix the All purpose flour and Rice flour with a spoon of hot oil/ghee , use a little water and make a smooth dough and knead for a min or two and keep aside.In a bowl add dry coconut powder, Sugar, dry nuts and Patch-karpura.Mix them all and keep aside.

Make 15 small balls from the dough and roll each of them into a round shape (or a kadubu maker can be used to give it a shape or otherwise make a round shape and fold the edges)and add a spoon of stuffing into it and apply a little bit of water to the corners and press them.Deep fry each one of them in hot oil in a low flame for about a 1 min or 2.The Kadubu's are ready to be eaten.

Note:Store the remaining ones in a container so it stays crispy.Do not over heat the oil.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Marching" Penguins"

Olives contain healthy fats and antioxidants.Turn them into Penguins and kid's will love to eat them.They look so awesome and delicious to eat.Easy to prepare and a good center piece on the table. Try out and see how it comes out and you will be the talk of the day.It is so healthy you can see from the chart below.


The olive is:
  • Low in Cholesterol
  • High in Dietary Fiber, Iron, Copper (good) and Sodium (not so good)

Eat olives in moderation if you're interested in:

  • Weight loss
  • Maintaining optimum health
  • Weight gain
To make this u need 3 black olive , carrots and cream cheese.
  1. Create the body and feet: Slit a V into top of a large pitted black olive and fill with low-fat cream cheese.Cut a V from thin carrot"coin".Add a dab of cream cheese and stand the olive on it.
  2. Add the head,a beak and the eyes:Insert carrot V into opening of a smaller olive.Poke two tiny holes in olive with a toothpick and fill with cream cheese.Set smaller olive on larger one as shown.
  3. Attach wings:Cut two olive slices and secure with cream cheese to sides.Place olives on a dry coconut/Parmesan-dusted tray.
  4. Penguins are ready to march.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Tricycle


My son loves to play with dough clay and it keeps him occupied for hours... but i' am afraid to leave him all alone with it as he might put it into his mouth, they say its safe and is made out of edible items but still i don't want to take any risks.So sitting and playing with him i started to create something while he was busy doing a pizza/something for me out of the dough.I was inspired by his Tricycle, which he has been riding for long time now.He was so happy to see a miniature version of his cycle.Just a smile on his face made me Happy and motivated to do more for him.

Its very easy to make as it is very soft and and can be molded as desired, anybody can do this.So next time give it a try and see how easy and fun it is to make.The brand name is Play-Doh and can be found it any grocery or toy store, they come in lots of colors and sizes.I have used 3 colors in this as u can see... a blue, pink and green.They even have molds to make some extraordinary designs aswell.It can be dried by air drying or by letting it stay for couple of days and it makes a perfect show piece or a gift.

I am sending this post to Valli's "kid's Delight " event.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Heerekai (Chinese Okra)Chutney


Chinese Okra/Heerekai in "kannada" is a tender and sweet flavored vegetable available throughout the season.It used in different forms and in different dishes.It can be used to make bajji's, curries, sambar/tove and chutney's too.


Here i have made chutney out of it, its a simple and easy recipe.It goes well with Dosa, Idli, Chapathi's or Rice.


Ingredients:

1 Chinese Okra/Heerekai
1/2tsp Channa Dal
1/2tsp Urad Dal
4-5 Red Chillies
1/4 cup Fresh Coconut(dry coconut can also be used)
1/2tsp Tamarind Paste
1/2tsp Jaggery(optional)
2-3 Curry leaves
1tsp Oil
1/2tsp Mustard Seeds
a pinch Aseofotida



Method:

First clean the chinese okra and chop it and keep aside.In a pan add 1/2tsp oil and then add Channa dal, urad dal and fry till it turns golden brown.Then add Red chillies, tamarind and roast for a minture and cool it on a plate.In the same pan add the chopped Okra and fry till it looses all the water and turns a little brown.Cool it on a plate and grind by adding all the roasted dals, coconut, jaggery and salt with out adding any water(U can add a little water if its not grinding well).
In a small pan add 1/2tsp oil and mustard seeds and when it crackels add a little aseofotida , curry leaves and pour it on chutney and mix well.Store it in a container and can be used for a week.

Note:If u dont add any water it will stay longer.Refrigerate after using.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Banana Bread with Walnut 'n' Raisins




Banana bread is a tasty snack with elegant, soft and tender inside.The recipe is very simple and easy to bake,I got this recipe from Food Network(a TV Channel).Everyone in my house love to eat this, its very yummy.I have used eggs in this recipe but u can skip the egg and use just ripe bananas, as it makes the bread fluffy by itself.You can add any nuts instead of walnut, like pecan,almond, pistachios.But walnut and banana together makes a good pair.

Ingredients:

1 cup Granulated Sugar
8tbsp(1stick) Butter
2 Eggs
3 Riped Bananas
2cups All purpose flour
1tsp Cinnamon powder
1tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Baking soda
1tsp Salt

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 325* F
  • In a mixing bowl add granulated Sugar and room temperature butter and mix well.
  • Then add Eggs to the sugar-butter mixture and beat it well.
  • In a small bowl mash the bananas and add the above mixture and mix well.
  • In a seperate bowl swift All purpose flour, cinnamon powder, Baking soda and Baking powder and salt.
  • Add the sugar-butter mixture slowly into the flour and mix it well and pour it to a greased baking tray.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 1hr 10 min.
  • Cool it on a cooling rack and then cut to the desired shape and size.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Halsinakai Huli (Jackfruit Sambar)


Halsinakai/Jackfruit is one of the Royal Fruit available and one of the fruit which is cooked as vegetable.I love this fruit because of its color and taste.It can been just eaten or with a little bit of Honey or can be cooked and made a sambar out of it.When i use to visit my Aunt's house she used to prepare this Sambar with some Papads to go along with,its heavenly.Its a very heavy meal, so it should be prepared occassionally.

When picking a jackfruit see to it that u pick an unripe jackfruit piece for sambar as ripe one is sweet and will not taste good in sambar.If u buy canned jackfruit add a little more spice than usual without the water/syrup inside it.

Ingridients:

1cup/1canned Jackfruit(peeled and cleaned)
1/2cup Toovar dal
2tsp Sambar Powder
1/2tsp Tamarind Paste
1tsp Jaggery(optional)
1tbsp Fresh grated coconut
1/tsp Urad dal
1tsp Mustard seeds
1tsp oil
4-5 Roasted Pepper corns(dry roast the peppercorns in small vessel before grinding)
3-4 curry leaves
1-2 Red chilles
pinch Hing

Method:

  • Seperate the Fruit and seeds and dry the seeds in sun for a day or two so it leaves the outer skin.
  • Pressure Cook the Dal and Jackfruit with dried seeds for 3 whishles.
  • Grind coconut, Sambar powder and roasted peppercorns into a fine paste.
  • Put the dal, jackfruit, 1 cup water in a vessel and bring to aboil.
  • Add tamarind, jaggery,salt and grinded paste and bring to a boil.
  • Put some oil in a small kadai and when it gets hot add mustard seeds, curry leaves, red chilles and hing and pour it into Sambar.
  • Serve hot with Rice.

Rainbow Capsicum Masala




I have named this dish "Rainbow capsicum" because its one of the tastiest Capsicum Curries i have ever tasted.Its very simple to prepare and dosenot need much ingredients as well.Rainbow name is given because of the different colored capsicum used in this dish.I learnt this dish from a cooking class back in my hometown.


Ingredients:

4 Capsicum(different colored each-cut into cubes)
2 Onion(sliced)
2 Tomato(sliced)
1tsp G+G+C(Ginger, Garlic, Chilles green)
1-2tsp Red Chilli powder
1tsp Jeera Powder
1/2tsp Kitchen King Masala Powder
1tsp Garam Masala Powder
1/2tsp Turmeric Powder
3tsp Oil
1/2tsp Jeera seeds
2tsp Ghee/cream
2tsp Cashew paste/coconut paste
1tbsp Fresh Cream
Salt to taste
Fresh Chopped Coriander leaves for garnish

Method:
  • Heat Oil ina pan add jeera seeds, Onions, G+G+C paste, Tomato, Capsicum, all dry Powders.
  • Add Salt and1/2cup of water and cook for 5 mins.
  • Add cashew/coconut paste
  • 1/2cup of water again and cook till it gets thick in high flame.
  • Lastly add Cream and coriander leaves.
  • serve hot with Chapathis.

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