Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Piña colada Smoothie

I nearly had a mild panic attack yesterday when I spotted someone wearing  a scarf!! 
Are you kidding me? 
But yes, considering Chicago's weird  weather swings, it was reasonable..
Um yea.  it's that weird time of the year again..excited-for-Fall-n-scared-of-winter kinda time. 

If only I could switch between Northern & Southern hemispheres.If only..
I always make myself  a smoothie to calm my nerves. It works like  a charm
This time I treated myself with a pineapple & coconut smoothie... 
so tropical, so delicious....

We all know that the combo of pineapple and coconut is a match made in heaven.. Puerto Rico, to be precise :P
Trust me guys, this smoothie is so creamyyy, delicious and guess what it's vegan!! *hi5*
  • 1.5 cups pineapple chunks(fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tsp honey/sugar/sweetener
  • 1/4 cup ice cubes
  • Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Pour into a tall glass/wine glass or just drink right outta blender

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sambar - Tamarind Stew with Vegetables

An authentic South Indian (SI) meal is like a melody that you can taste.

Music has a rhythm, a beat and a soul; a SI meal has colors, spices and texture.

Music is all about striking a chord in perfect harmony; a SI meal is all about striking the beautiful balance between different tastes (sweet, sour, hot, tangy, salty, bitter, pungent, astringent and etc.)

It is a king’s meal with rice being the king’s favorite minister. The three-course meal menu includes sambar rice, rasam rice (recipe here), yogurt rice with any choice of vegetable curry and of course, a dessert (Didn’t I tell you it is the perfect blend of so many flavors and tastes?)
Having said enough, here is the recipe for 'sambar' ( the first course of the meal) , which is translated as 'Tamarind Stew with vegetables'. It is a simple track with catchy beats. There are so many other beats to this stew that will soon be posted here.Until then, here is the most basic version of Sambar.Mix it with steamed white rice and enjoy the pride of South India.

Vegetable Kofta Curry/ Gravy

Kofta in simple words is minced vegetable balls mixed with Indian spices, which can be deep fried or baked. This gravy is sweet and mildly spicy, usually goes well with Indian Flat breads (Chapathi, Naan, Roti etc..) and Mild Pulao. It's tomato onion based gravy cooked with rich cream and milk. This gravy is too rich, as daily routine, so you can plan for special occasions. Kofta is like a appetizer. It's your call you can eat the kofta as such or along with the gravy. When making kofta balls it will tempt your taste buds to have as such, it might be silly right but I did it ;). Here you go with the recipe.....Enjoy the royal treat :)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Custard Cookies

One of the simplest & easiest cookie recipes you can whip up with the ingredients that are staple in everybody's pantry. This cookie might be one of the most delicious cookies I’ve ever made. Custard lovers like me will never go out of stock on custard powder in your pantry. 

These cookies are soft yet crunchy(shortbread-like) and has a custard-y+buttery flavor.They literally melt in your mouth and tastes perfect when accompanied with a glass of milk.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Unclog Your Sink The Easy Way !!

Each day is a gift ! But excuse me, can someone tell me where I can return 'MONDAY' ?? They are such a pain that they somehow come uninvited, unannounced and without even a slightest warning.Monday by itself a bad news to me.

"Just when you think things cannot get worse, it actually can!"

Like how my kitchen sink got clogged (pretty bad! really bad!) one Monday afternoon.I had no plunger at home and to make things tragic, my apartment maintenance guy just dint respond to my call of need.

"Just when you think things cannot get better, it actually can!"

Like how you google solutions for your problem and surprisingly have the necessary things the solution demands.And to make it so much more better, a solution that actually works !

I am sorry I have no pictures to support the results as it did not qualify for a picture to boast about. I am pretty sure you won't be happy to see them either.But, you seriously got to trust me with this. I mean really serious....

For some, it maybe an old news but for those of you who don't know it yet, here you go !

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mango Kalakand (Fudge)

It is not always about having a beautiful day! To me, it is about finding beautiful moments in an ordinary day. I believe that any day, however dark and rustic it maybe, has some shade of beauty in it…….. IF we look for them.

It might be sipping a perfectly brewed coffee while reading my favorite novel...

Or maybe just looking out of my window and pausing to enjoy the pitter-patter on the windowsill....

Or simply enjoy every bite of anything chocolate…well I confess, any desserts for that matter... :P

They say, “A moment on your lips is a lifetime on your hips.” But who cares what THEY say! I say, “Life is too short. So keep calm and eat your desserts first. After all, STRESSED spelled backwards is DESSERTS.” =))

So, what are you waiting for ! Make these yumilicious Mango Kalakand and add a tinge of beauty to any ordinary day.


Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese) - 2 cups
Mango Pulp - 5 tbs
Milk Powder - 2 tbs
Sweetened condensed milk - 1 can (400 g)
Cardamom - 5 crushed
Pistachio - around 8-10 chopped
Saffron - few strands (optional)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Paneer Capsicum Briyani


I'm pretty sure that everyone would miss their mother's cooking, especially when it comes to traditional veg briyani. Whenever I make briyani/pulao, I struggle to cook basmati rice at the right consistency. I found a secret way of cooking rice, let me share that with you in the steps ;). Paneer and capsicum makes a wonderful combination when cooked together and this recipe can be easily prepared when we have unexpected guests. Here comes my secret :) 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Upcycled Wine Bottles

If you'are anything like me, you're always thinking of ways to add that 'little something' to your living room. We can't always afford to buy that 'little something' from pottery barn or anthropologie.
Why not make your own centerpiece? which is easy, inexpensive and most importantly personalized. 

You can customize it completely with your favorite colors and designs.So, what are you waiting for?
Go grab those empty wine bottles and lets have some fun.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Roll-ups

 My husband & I regularly go to the park across the street, watch the sunset  & sometimes I carry snacks with me to munch on. Going to that park is favorite part of my day for various reasons.
1. I love to breathe in summer air 
2. I love watching the sunset, every sunset is beautiful! 
3. I love to see the happy, smiling faces 

I love summer evenings. I want summer forevvvver. OK may be Summer and Fall

So, one such day I was waiting for my husband to arrive from work and was wondering what do I do for snack today. I had some Bread.......
and I had cream cheese frosting.....
and I had GOOGLE to help me out. Hence the idea Cream cheese roll-ups. 
It's actually not at all difficult- Really! You'll thank me later. We are using ready-made cream cheese frosting for filling  & bread instead of pastry. 

Does it look delicious? It is, Trust me!
Crispy n cinnamon-y on the outside, soft n gooey on the inside which showers your taste buds with cream cheese. Sounds good to you? here's how we do it....

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Homemade Sambar Powder (Spice Mix)

Indian cooking is by itself a party that invites so many different flavors. Each day has a color, a smell and a spice! Spices are the music that makes the flavors dance in any dish! 
Spice mixes are predominant in any Indian household. Like any devout daughter, I use the spice mixes that my mom makes.Of all the spice mixes, sambar powder & rasam powder are almost like salt and sugar in my kitchen. What will I even do without them! They can be your saviors on any lazy day. Such is their shelf life – yes, you can store them for even months together.

Do a simple Google search and you will be surprised with how many different recipes you can find for these two. Such is its versatility. And now, let me proudly present my family recipe for the simplest and easiest sambar powder (drum roll, pleaseee!).

Easy Peanut Chutney ( without coconut)

This recipe is easy and different from other usual coconut chutney. I am not a big fan of peanut but I started to love it after having this chutney. I make this chutney for idly and dosa.The best thing about this chutney is its creamy even without coconut, which I love the most. Here you go with the recipe!!


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Crispy Lentil Fritters - Kunukku

Yay! Guess what, my mom is visiting US! She landed Chicago last week and will be here for another 2 months. There is going to be lot of traveling and tourism. But it also means I am going to be living in ‘Yummyville’ for the next couple of months. Nothing says ‘ home’ like a mom cooked food!

There are so many recipes that my mom perfected over many years that has always been our family and friends’ favorite. One such dish is what we call ‘Kunukku’ in South India, which is nothing but ‘Lentil Fritters’! These are fried goodies that can be made from leftover adai (south indian lentil crepe) bater.This dish is a big hit among my friends in school and college. I can still remember the days I used to prepare for school/college tests with my friends at home all day long and my mom’s evening snacks was the much-awaited time of the day! These fritters along with a cup of coffee made a perfect end to the day!

Okay, let me stop my ramble here and jump into the process of making these yummy fritters!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Necklace/Chain Holder

My jewelry organization has always been a shameful mess but definitely not in the recent times. If you had read my DIY Desk organizer post, you would know that my 2014 resolution is just better organization practices. My dangling earrings were saved by this earrings holder project. And now, it is the turn of chains/necklaces for rescue.

I used to store all my necklaces and chains in a jewelry box, which was just not functional. The long chains gets all tangled up that it gets too difficult to untangle. If you are anything like me, you’d rather spend your time on a DIY project for a chain organizer than spend time untangling them.

And so here it is – the most functional way to store your chains/necklaces and I promise you, it’s going to be just a shoestring budget.

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