Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mother's Day Gift Ideas #2

Hallo! As promised, here is Mother's day gift ideas #2. For those of you who missed #1 which included thoughtful gestures and DIY gifts, you can read it here - mothers-day-gift-guide-1.

Photo book :

 PC -

Gift her a personalized photo book.I am sure she will be happy that you did.Who would not love seeing her sweetest memories in a book! I gifted my sister a photo book from for her first mother's day with all cute pictures of my adorable nephew from month 1 to month 12 and... she loved it.

You may want to check : - personally tried this website and I am more than happy with the quality of the product.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Orange Cupcakes

How was your weekend? I had a fun-filled weekend, thanks for asking ;) It was my friend's birthday and I wanted to bake a lovely cake for her. Yeah Yeah just another excuse for me to bake cake. haha. Do you really need an occasion to bake/eat cake? I just get hyper excited and my imaginations run wild when I think of baking a cake. It's so easy to please a girl by cake because there are zillion no. of ways(girly stuff) you can decorate the cake. But it's so tough to impress a guy with a birthday cake. It was my 'much' better half's 30th birthday this year and I wanted to make it special by baking a geeky cake which is the only way to impress him.This is what I baked for his birthday.

Geeky right? :D 

So, I was thrilled to bits to surprise my friend with a lovely birthday cake. Since I was on orange smoothie heaven at that time, I thought why not Orange Cupcakes which has the right amount of citrus flavor, smeared with frosting and a orange wedge on top :D You get the picture? No? Ok see this

Ok enough said. Let me give you the recipe.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Mother's Day Gift Guide #1

I always wonder if motherhood would cast a magic spell on a person ! If there is love that is 'unconditional' with 'no expectations', 'no agendas', 'no intentions' - just pure love - it ought to be a 'Mother's love' for her children. I strongly believe the word 'Mother' should be added as a synonym to 'Love' in the dictionary.

 PC -

Well, I have always felt that love needs no 'reason' to call for a celebration.Everyday should be a 'celebration of love'. But it is easier said than done.We tend to get lost in our busy schedule that at times a 'quick reminder' is all we need to make our loved ones 'feel' loved and special.

When was the last time you let your mother know how much you appreciate her? When was the last time you thanked your wife for being this awesome mother to your awesome children !

Today? Last week? Last month? Still thinking? Not sure?  Have no guilt, Mothers Day is just around the corner, take this a reason to let her know how special she means to you! Even the smallest of gesture would bring a smile on her face ( not that she expects)! 

We have penned down as many thoughtful gifts we can think of and listed them in three categories. 
  •  Priceless gifts/gestures
  •  Do-It-Yourself gifts
  •  Unique and personalized gifts.(Coming up next!)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

3 Ways to Reuse Your Old Jeans

It is time for some cleaning !! I am sure you have so many old pair of jeans lying in your closet for ages that you don't wear anymore. Maybe it has become too boring or new ones invaded the old.Maybe you have outgrown them. But whatsoever the reason,have you ever thought what you plan to do them? You can always donate them for charity but for people who love to do crafts, it often turns out to be a fabric to work with ! 

So here are three interesting things you can do with your old jeans. I am sure many of you would have known these already, but I hope this will be a quick reminder for you guys!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Vegetable Upma (Savory Semolina Porridge)

Well, this one needs no introduction! Vegetable upma, as most of you would know, is one of the most popular South Indian breakfast dishes. Liked by some and disliked by many :D

A small confession:

I have always hated upma as a kid. Why you ask? Simply because it was a torture and it was prepared too often. My mom realized that I was really having a tough time with upma and she made her version of upma with veggies.

 I must say I eventually quit Upma haters club. I assure you it tastes too good plus healthy and can be prepared in a jiffy!! So let's get straight to the recipe !!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Minestrone Soup

Whenever we go to olive garden, we first order the minestrone soup with salad without even seeing the menu. I wasn't sure why we were crazy about this soup, then I understood that the aroma and the taste from the fresh veggies, beans, mild flavor of tomato and pasta cooked in the vegetable-broth was the reason. This soup can be taken as lunch or dinner portion with two slices of wheat or garlic bread toast, which will be filling. This soup will have an awesome taste when served hot!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Homemade Rasam Powder

“In the childhood memories of every cook, there's a large kitchen, a warm stove, a simmering pot and a mom." -Barbara Costikyan

I was lucky enough to have my grandmother in the picture as well.  What amaze me more than the food are the bonds and memories it is tied to. The very thought of few dishes would instantly take me back to the good old days. Rasam is one such dish and I can still remember the sleepovers my sister and I had at my grand mother's place. She prepares this amazing, mouth watery rasam and what makes it more delicious is the love with which she fed us. A day at the granny’s was never complete without having this along with rice. Ah, how much I miss her now

Before I could get lost in nostalgia, let me get back to the post – Rasam powder - the key ingredient that determines the taste of your rasam. If you have this handy, you can prepare the rasam in less than 10 minutes and what is even better is you can store this for months together in an air tight container. Every south Indian family would boast of a recipe for rasam powder that would date back to ‘God knows how many years’! And so is mine. Though, I can never come even close to the rasam my paati (grandmother) makes, the very thought of me following her recipe gives me joy and brings back fond memories of her in my daily life.

So, for those of you who are using store bought rasam powder, here is the age old family recipe for the homemade version of the same.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Vegetable Cheese Rolls

Hello Everyone! I was planning to post kid friendly snacks for a long time. When I got this idea of making vegetable rolls with cheese,  luckily I had some bread slices left. Most of the kids love cheese, so I decided to add veggies to it and make it healthier.This snack can be served with a glass of milk or fresh juice.The recipe is very easy to make. Now here you go with the making of rolls....

Monday, April 14, 2014

Review: BIC 4 Color Pen

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of BIC 4-Color pen for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I stumbled upon this super cool  BIC® 4-Color Pen in Amazon & it took me right back to childhood days. I vividly remember, my dad gifted it to me for my birthday as it falls just when the school starts. I was so thrilled to be back to school so that I can brag about the coolest pen ever! I even wrote a long letter to my pen pal using all the colors.These 2 hilarious videos below composed by BIC® 4-Color™ reminds how I used to try pushing all the buttons at once.

Orange Smoothie

Hey Guys, I am back again with another simple, but creamsicl-icious (not a word, but should be) smoothie. Classic flavor of orange create a refreshing breakfast treat to make your mornings merry.

Whipping up a smoothie is no biggie; add all the ingredients to a blender and blend it up!
This is the smoothie of minimalism since I have used fresh fruit & minimal ingredients.
There is nothing as satisfying as a smoothie made from fresh fruits. 


1 cup fresh orange juice (chilled)
 2 tsp sugar/honey
3 tsp plain/vanilla yogurt
ice cubes (optional)  

In a blender, combine all the ingredients and blend until smooth. Serve this pronto!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

'No Sew' Pouch

Are you 'sew-challenged'?

Do you look at people who could sew with longing eyes and wish you could pick their talent?

Have you ever felt frustrated at having to miss a great project just because you don't know to sew ?

Welcome to the club! You are at the right place.

I really wish I could sew and even have plans of picking it up real soon.But I just cannot wait till I master it.

"There is always solution to problems and there is always 'glue' for people who are 'sew challenged'"

So what are you waiting for! Grab your fabric and glue.Lets get to the making of these cute pouches which can be done in less than 10 minutes excluding the time for the glue to dry.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spinach Curry

Everyone has days when they just can’t face kitchen. It can be for various reasons or lets just say too lazy to cook. In those circumstances, previous day’s leftovers, 2 minutes Maggie noodles, instant ready to serve dishes can be life saviors. Of course, eating out is another option. But what can be more convenient is to have a husband who can cook. It was one such day for me, and my husband cooked this amazing spinach dish. And from that day on, every time we get spinach, it is him who cooks it. How convenient ;) ! He never follows the rules of cooking or the ones that comes with the recipe. He throws in what he feels but I must say the outcome has always been good and my personal favorite. 

Here is the recipe from my husband’s kitchen which I can say is definitely worth a try.This simple delicious dinner/lunch curry can be served with chapathi (Indian flatbread) or rice.

What you need:

1.   Spinach  - 2 or 3 bunches
2.   Green chilli - 2
3.   Red chilli -1    
4.   Moong Dal  -1/2 tsp
5.   Channa Dhal – 1 tsp
6.   Toor Dhal/Pigeon Peas - 1tsp
7.   Urad Dhal - 1 tsp
8.   Mustard seeds    - 1tsp
9.   Cumin seeds 1tsp
10. Grated coconut - half cup
11. Pepper 1tsp
12. Salt, turmeric and chilli powder

       1.   Clean spinach with cold running water from faucet and cut them into pieces.I prefer using scissors as it saves couple of minutes.Throw out the thick stems that may be present.     

  2.  It is time to make some noise in the house. Add the following ingredients in the mixer jar and grind them to a thick mayo like consistency by adding little water

                   1. Green chilli
                   2. Moong dhal 
           3. Grated coconut
                   4. Pepper 
                   5. A pinch of turmeric and coriander powder

 3.  Grab a skillet (one with a lid) - heat oil (use your own discretion, low quantity  should be fine) Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and let them jump in joy in the heated oil.

 4.  Add Channa Dhal, Toor Dhal, Urad Dhal and stir till it changes color.

 5.  Add half tbsp ginger garlic paste and cook till the raw smell goes-then add  the cut spinach.

 6.  Transfer the paste that has been prepared into the skillet. Sprinkle
 some water.Check the consistency. Molagootal is neither very thick nor thin

 7. Now add salt and chilli powder as per taste. Garam Masala is also invited to the party but make sure the taste is not over powering.

 8. Boil/cook everything for 8-10 minutes. Make sure most of your spinach retains the color, we don't want them over cooked.


a. If you need the dish to not look leafy - you can grind the spinach in the mixer separately instead of scissor cutting them.I usually do not grind the spinach but the picture you see is when I tried grinding them

b. Cashew or coriander can also be included in the paste we prepare.

Serve and eat HOT! Spinach curry can be served with rice or as side dish for chapathi, naan etc.


Of course I didn't invent this - just like you looking at this blog, I reviewed a couple of websites BUT simplified the method to make it my own custom fit. So go ahead try this and see if this hits the right spot for you.

Linking the post with these amazing parties

catch-glimpse-party-177 Life created tuesdays

Friday, April 4, 2014

Chicago Food Bloggers dinner at Mezcalina Restaurant

I was so excited to attend my first Chicago Food Bloggers event recently at Mezcalina, an upscale Mexican restaurant in the Lakeshore East area of Chicago. It was such a great experience from the moment I walked in the door, greeted with gentle smile of welcome, socializing with the fellow food bloggers, food & drinks of course!

The restaurant looks more like an art gallery with their walls filled with amazing Oaxacan paintings and sculptures.

Our dinner began with freshly made guacamole & margarita.


The food & cocktails were presented so well, I just couldn't stop clicking pictures! 

Top right - PINATA
Bottom right - CHAMOYADA

Chamoyada was my favorite, for all mango lovers this is for you! A close second was Pinata, so tropical! I felt like I was vacationing in Puerto Rico.

A wide range of options for Vegetarian/Vegan palate.
My favorite was the grilled corn which had right amount of cheese and spice. Really a showstopper!

These are the most scrumptious vegetarian enchiladas on earth!
 Lovely array of non-vegetarian dishes
Though I didn't personally try these dishes, I can say that octopus was crowd's favorite! 

Finally my favorite part of Mexican meal! DESSERTS

Overall, it was a great experience! I can't wait to take my friends there. See you soon Mezcalina!

A huge thanks to Daniela & Ricardo (2 views,1 life) for hosting a great dinner.

Happy weekend guys!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Vegetable Broth

Got vegetables which are almost  'on their way out' or veggie scraps lying around in your kitchen? I have an idea may be its an old idea but its a good idea, so I thought I would share it with you all. I keep a zip-lock bag in freezer and keep adding the veggie odds and ends to it. Once the bag is full, its vegetable broth time!

Homemade vegetable broth is not only flavorful but very nutritious and much cheaper than the store bought one. It can used as a base for soups, gravies and rice recipes. Make a large portion of broth, cool completely and store it in freezer for later use.


  •  1tbsp oil
  • 1  cup of onion, tomato and carrot each.(you can add other veggies like beans,cabbage,potato)
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 6 cups of water
  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • peppercorn - to taste
  • salt - to taste


Heat a large pot, add oil and garlic cloves, bay leaves and peppercorns. Add in all the vegetables, salt and allow it to cook for 5-6 min. Add in water & cover, increase the flame to high and wait for it to boil. Once it boils reduce the heat, cover and simmer for at least 45 min.Turn the heat off and allow it to cool completely. Strain the stock/broth from the vegetables and remove the bay leaves. Store in refrigerator then freeze it for later use.

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