Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The color is blue!

Did you guys watch the cricket semi-finals between India and Pakistan? It was the god of all games I would like to believe. Wow..a huge huge win for India..And I am glad I witnessed it. The men in blue did an awesome job. I was especially impressed with our much under-estimated bowling line. Nehra made every Indian eat his words. What a game! Phew..Just waiting to see the Sri Lankans getting beaten hard at the Finals..Sachin, you deserve the World cup.. Currently, every Indian must be in love with the color blue as I am.So, I had to a make a best wishes card on this occasion and it had to be the Indian blue for sure. Have a look!

My beloved sister sent  the 3-D sparkling liner and the buttons from India for me. I was dying to use them and here I got the opportunity. The sparkling liner looks a bit tarnished in the picture but in real, it looks very pretty. The rhinestone, stamp and ribbon are from Michael's Art and craft. I still have to improvise on my cutting skills though. But I am happy with the card :)
 So, heres wishing the Indian team all my best wishes my style!

I am entering my card to the following challenge:

Paper Romance Bling Challenge

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Veggie Muffins

Yes...Its a recipe post after a long time. As I have always mentioned, baking to me is like magic. The mystic joy of seeing my pastries and muffins puff up through the oven glass door is something I always look forward to when I am baking. I know...silly me :)

Anyways, the recipe that I am sharing today is quite different. I am sorry I lost the link where I had read it long time ago. I was simply blog hopping when I came across this recipe for corn meal muffins. It just stayed with me and I thought to myself, I will try it someday. Well, I did and added few tweaks to it. Here it is:

For 10 to 11 medium sized muffins, you will need:

1 and 1/2 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
1 and 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 cup cabbage
1 chopped green chilly
chopped coriander
1/2 cup green peas
shredded cheese
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Method -

In a skillet, just saute the green chilly, cabbage and green peas for 2 mins in oil. Add a little salt to taste.
In another bowl,  mix rest of the ingredients and whisk them together. I made buttermilk out of two spoons of plain yogurt and water blending it before adding it to the mixture. Now add the sauteed cabbage to the batter and mix it all well.

By the time you get all these ingredients ready, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (It can vary for different oven. This is the temperature at which my oven bakes the best!).  In a muffin tray, lightly butter the muffin cups so that muffins come out easily leaving one cup empty. Fill in the cups 3/4Th. of the original size with the batter and top it with shredded cheese (I used cheddar cheese. You may use what you like.). Fill the remaining one cup with water to assist baking well. I don't know the exact reason why it is done, I simply follow it :D. If anyone knows about it, please share it with me too!

Place the tray the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes at 450 degrees F. After around 20 minutes, check the muffins by inserting a fork. It should come out clean. Yoohoo!! Our veggie muffins are ready to eat !


Just to give you an idea, I would say it tastes a little like the indian Dhokla or idli but still has its own unique flavor. It could be ideal for breakfast or to carry it with you when in a hurry. Relish it with tomato ketchup or green chutney.
Vegetable muffins

You may also add your favorite veggies to it. Next time, I would try adding diced carrots, beans and corn to add the veggie content. I loved the recipe totally and hope you like it too. I hope I come across the blog link again so that I can share my gratitude with the originator of the recipe. Its a must try recipe, believe me you will love it :).

Friday, March 18, 2011

The spring season is almost here and I am loving the weather so much. Nothing feels as good as enjoying the nice and bright California sun :). Though I would love to visit any place where it snows in winter, and all the trees have lost their leaves. And then with the arrival of spring, every plant starts budding. For a gardener, it must be a joyful experience to see his plants blooming with the first bud of the spring season. Year after year, after the harsh winters, the spring brings hope, cheerfulness and yes flowers and butterflies...And thats what is the theme of my card :)

Spring Card

For this card, I used a freebie digi-stamp saying 'Spring' available here. It is freebie for a limited time so grab it soon if you like it . This was my first time to use a digi-stamp and its fun working with them. Its simply a png or jpeg image which you can play with either coloring it yourself or using softwares. I tried my hand on photoshop with this. My hubby Pathik who is a photoshop pro was after me since so many days to learn using photoshop for my creativity. But the "old-school-me" never took it seriously. However, this time I did give it a shot with a little help from my hubby dearest :). Now at least I can play a little with layers.


The flowers are made using a flower punch. Its 3 punched flowers stuck together. I just pinched each petal lightly to give it a little realistic feel. The center of the flower is a quilled tight paper coil. The butterflies are again punched and the trail i hand drawn. For the grass, I cut quilled paper in grass shape and stuck them on the card. It took me a long time but the end result looks good! Isn't it?

I am putting this card for the following challenges:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hearts and Ribbons

I think I am getting the hang of card making now. And I am loving my creations. Here is one of the cards that I made and quite pleased with it.
With love card
How I made this card? Here it is:
-The heart shapes are hand-drawn and thats why not very neat but still I am happy with them.
- The small pink hearts are quilled with 1/8th inch quilling paper.
-For the polka dots, I simply used an office hole puncher.
-I used double-sided tape for the pop-up effect on the hearts.
-The caption 'With Love'  is printed on avery labels.

I am still learning how to tie a neat ribbon bow. Will have to search for a tutorial for that.

Card making is so much fun. There is so much of creativity floating on the internet that you get addicted to it. I surely am :).

My card goes to the following challenges:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mini Cards

I have been a little busy in the last week. We attended a nice Indian-American wedding here in Los Angeles. The groom was American and the girl was US born Indian. so it was a fusion kind of a wedding and the irony was we were from the Groom's side :). So, we were the only Indians making the 'baraat' (wedding procession) dance in our typical desi style. It was so much fun...In fact one of the fellow American friend asked me, "Is it normal? Are we doing it right" with funny expressions on his face ..He was referring to 25-30 of us dancing frenziedly on the beach side road with cars swooshing by..:) :)..and I said, "Thats the way you do it !!". What is an Indian wedding without the baraat and the baraati? Isn't it? We had a gala time at the wedding and the best part was I got to wear a saree after a long time :). All in all it was a beautiful weekend. And that is why I didn't find chance to post on my blog.

Coming back to my card making, after a few poor attempts, I thought to myself..instead of wasting my good handmade paper, I should first try small cards first. And they I came up with these:

Mini Card 1

Mini card 2

Mini Card 3

Mini card 4

These are all 2"X3" cards. I have combined a little quilling with paper punching here. And I used address labels to print these quotes. You will find the software on Isn't it a super cool idea :) Pat on my back ;). These cards can be used as small notes added to a gift or a bouquet and you may add a small message inside. Ain't it a cool idea? Do let me know which card you like the most, Mini card 1,2,3 or 4?

You may put your comments through facebook too!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Card Making - trial 2

I am trying and I am trying hard, but still the results don't satisfy me. I thought card making would be easy but it is not.  I see so many blogs dedicated to card making and I m literally in awe of all of them. I mean people who are doing it since a long time make seriously awesome and unique ones. But before I get a hang of the art,  I don't want to spend my money on all the fancy gadgets they use. You know what happens to me when I  walk into any scrapbook store, or Crafts shop, I am like a little girl in a candy store. There are stamps, buttons,colors, colorful papers, punches, stick ons, all sorts of funky machines,and I go crazy looking at all of them. When I was in Pune, I could spend hours in the 'Venus traders stationary store' on the FC road. It was heaven on earth for a stationary junkie like me. In such places, I have to control myself before my temptations to buy the entire store takes over me. I am sure there are many like me out there and thats why the stores sell :)

Well coming back to the original reason of writing this post,  this is my second try on making a card. Somehow I feel its not even worth a post but still I would like to know your views.
You are my star Card
Whatever you see on the card is hand drawn by me. Inspiration is a tattoo design I came across while surfing the net. I used a black gel pen to do the drawing and thats it.

All those who visit my post and know even a little about card making, please share your pointers and I will be a happy learner.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Card Making - My new found hobby!

Hello everyone! Since a few days I was trying to get into card making. And its been very interesting. After a few not-so-good attempts, this is something I thought is worth sharing. But I am sure I can do much better.

All the supplies used in here were bought from Michael's Art and Craft except quilling paper. I got the quilling beginner kit from 'Blick Arts and Materials'.

I have always liked to put a personal touch to any gift I have given to anyone. And I love to explore new ideas in handmade crafts. Its lovely to know when someone appreciates the effort you put in making a person happy! If anyone of you have craft blogs, please share your link in the comments and I will be happy to follow you. I have shared a few on the side-bar of my blog. I like Manasa's and Eden's crafts. They are both so creative.

I will be putting up my card in a few challenges. Crossing my fingers! :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Let's make some Bhadang!

Have you ever come across times when you are slightly bored, slightly hungry, want some munchies but there is simply nothing in your kitchen. You crave for something that tingels your taste buds and opens all your senses. Well, I was having this kind of craving today.So, I went into the kitchen and thought to myself "Let's make some bhadang!!"

Well, bhadang is the marathi name to the dry snack that is made out of puffed rice or murmura//mamara/moodi (all possible names I knew in our Indian languages). A very quick to make snack and quite mouth-watering. Its the kind of a snack that ones you start eating, you can eat a huge portion of it without even realizing how much you have already eaten. I think its a much healthier option than chips, pop corn, cookies or the likes.

For bhadang, you will need:

1 big bowlful of puffed rice (salad bowl size)
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup roasted split chana dal or dalwa (usually used in chiwda - optional)
8 to 10 curry leaves
2to 3 chopped green chillies
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon chilly powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon oil
Salt to taste

In a wok or deep pan, heat oil and add the mustard seeds. Once mustard seeds are tempered, on a medium flame, put in the curry leaves and green chillies.  Add in the groundnuts and roasted chana dal. Cook it for a minute or two till it slightly changes color. Now add in the condiments turmeric and red chilly powder and immediately put in the puffed rice. Mix it all well. You may need 2 spoons to do that. Switch off the flame. Add in the sugar  and again mix it all well till the puffed rice is coated with the mixture and gets the nice turmeric color. Do not add the sugar in the oil itself otherwise it will get caramelized immediately. You may skip the green chillies if you don't like hot flavors. For me, the hotter it is, the better. Thus, our mouth watering snack is ready!

Keep your ingredients ready and handy or else the mixture gets burnt easily. Especially the peanuts. You may simply have it as is or to raise its taste value, temper it with a squeeze full of lemon juice and a little fresh chopped coriander. Like the way I had it -

Isn't it mouth watering!! It doesn't take more than ten minutes to make and you can store it in an air tight container for days together.  Enjoy this snack with a cup of masala chai. Perfect for an evening snack :)

You may add your comments right here!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Eggless Chocolate Cupcakes!!

CuppyCake Song Lyrics
I just fall in love with this cutie pie song whenever I hear it. Especially because my niece Shreya used to sing it exactly the way it is when she was just a 2 year toddler, and it reminds me of her every time I hear to this song.

Why am I talking about cupcakes, my niece and her cute singing and so on.becaaaause..I successfully baked the most delicious, most yummiest chocolate cupcakes ever!! and it is not an overstatement! I was actually thrilled when I saw the small mass of batter rising up and turn beautifully into ever so delicious chocolate cupcakes :). The best part is, they are eggless and just so easy to make. I always feared baking because its very disappointing when it doesn't turn out the way its expected and you cannot even do anything to correct it. I tried quite a few recipes and the final outcome always found it place in the trash bin. But this time, it just went perfect. I followed the recipe thats here(Show me the Honestly, I never found their recipes as good as those of Vah chef, but for this recipe, these girls win hands down. 

I used the exact measurements as shown in the recipe. I mean I actually used a teaspoon and tablespoon without being lazy or casual about it. The only tweaks I did were I used half teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder instead of just baking soda, and I used Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder . And I made cupcakes instead of a slab of cake. Baked them exactly for 30 minutes at 375 degrees F and they came out nice, light and fluffy. Here are the pictures!
The rich delicious batter!

Ready to go in the oven

Fresh out of the oven!

On my plate ready to be gobbled :)

Dear all, for sure you should try it!  Its utterly delicious  and very easy to make with simple ingredients.  Soon I will be trying different flavors and icings.  It tastes best when warmed up for 10 seconds in the microwave just before eating. One mouth full and 'my dil goes mmm...mmm..mmm!!' :). I am surely going to make these for my niece next time I meet her and I will make her sing the cuppycake song for me!

Rumbaa Tasty - Palak Dal (Spinach lentil soup)

Spinach is one vegetable that I like in any form. May it be in Palak paneer, paratha or even salad for that matter. In my household, Spinach would be made almost every week. We 3 sisters just loved it and our favorite used to be the palak daal aka Spinach lentil soup. I started cooking when I was in my final year engineering, that goes back in the year 2005. I used to stay with my friends and we shared an apartment. My friends had never heard about Palak daal till then and when I made it for them the first time, they all fell in love with it. Till date, we all cherish the memories of staying together and eating together. Its this one recipe, my blog would be incomplete without..

To serve four, you will need:

1 medium bowl of chopped spinach
2 medium sized tomatoes diced
1 cup arhar daal/tur daal/ yellow split lentils
1 teaspoon red chilly powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 or 2 dried red chillies (optional)
curry leaves (optional)
3 to 4 garlic petals (Optional)
1 tablespoon oil
2 cups water
Salt to taste

To make spinach daal, first soak a cup of lentils in water while you make rest of the ingredients ready. To save time, I usually do the sauteing in the pressure cooker itself.  In the pressure pan, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter,  add curry leaves and the whole red chillies. At this point, you may add mashed garlic petals (best way to do is using the mortar and pestle). It gives a very good flavor to the daal. Its optional and it is perfectly alright f you do not use it. Then add the diced tomatoes and chopped spinach. Cook it for around 10 seconds. Add the turmeric powder, red chilly powder,the lentils and salt, and mix it all well. Now add water and put on the lid. After 2 pressure cooker whistles on high flame and 2 whistles on low flame, switch off the flame. Once your kitchen is filled with a beautiful aroma,  you know the daal is ready. Wait till the pressure cooker cools down. Open the lid, mix the daal well so that its slightly mashed up.  Spinach daal is ready to be served.

Spinach Daal goes excellent with roti, paratha, bhakri (bread made out of jowar/bajra flour) or rice. If you are having it with roti or paratha, the best way to have it is, make small pieces of the roti, soak it all in daal for a minute or two, top it with a generous serving of ghee (clear butter), mix it all well and then have it. Trust me, its heavenly. I even eat it like soup. During college days, we used to eat it with bread toasted in lots of butter (Amul butter for that matter - utterly butterly delicious!)..Yummy! Do try it..its an excellent dish, really mouth watering and as a friend of mine would say after a mouthful -"ummm..Rumbaa tasty !!!"

my meal today-spinach daal,brown rice and papad! yumm!