Sunday, October 28, 2012

My very first TERRACOTTA JEWELRY attempt

This is my first piece of work... This is the raw piece before painting and assembling...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Book Review - "The U.S. Financial Crisis: Analysis and Interpretation"

Wonder why no posts for the past couple of weeks??... I'm in India for a long vacation :)) Always happy to be here... visiting family and friends after a very long time!

Cutting to the chase.. today's post is a review of the book - "The U.S. Financial Crisis: Analysis and Interpretation" by Cheng Siwei.

About the Author:
Professor Cheng Siwei served as Vice-Chairman of the standing committee of the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China. He is the Chairman of the International Finance Forum and the International CEO roundtable. (quoted from the book) Read more about author here.

Image from internet

The Book Overview:
As the name of the book suggests, it is about the recession period that traumatized the world from a few years back. You might not have forgotten the panic and frenzy that the financial crisis created. The book gets to the root cause for the crisis and details the impact on the world nations that originated from the U.S. This book is for anyone who wishes to get a in depth knowledge about what happened and how it affected various banks, industries, economies, etc.

"The Subprime Crisis":
The financial crisis plummeted off one basic reason - "The Subprime Crisis". That is, when the government started relaxing the rules and regulations of mortgage loans in order to encourage low - income group to own houses and encouraging commercial banks to lend large amounts of money - all of this resulted in loan defaults and foreclosure of houses since the people where unable to repay the loan. What started as a small drop transformed into to a hurricane of depression. The first chapter talks about the general impact on the banking sector of the U.S. and the European countries and the Wall Street crisis since the stock prices dropped drastically.

Author introduces the term "Fictitious Capital" which will lead through out the book correlating with "Real Economy".

"Fictitious Capital" is mentioned in Karl Marx'x Das Kapital, in which he wrote that negotiable security and other financial products occurring from loan capital and the bank  credit system could be considered as fictitious capital. (quoted from the book)

Author discusses how the fictitious economy affected the real economy and caused credit crisis that not only affected U.S. but the whole world.

Impact on the Global Economy:
Economic conditions of 36 sample countries summarized into five categories is analyzed:
  • Seven major developed nations
  • Fourteen other developed countries
  • Four emerging Asian economies
  • Six emerging European economies
  • Five other emerging economies
Various factors and variables are used in different statistical analysis to explore the effect and impact of the crisis over different economies. It is concluded that the developing nations like India, Indonesia, etc recovered relatively faster than other developed nations. 

Performance on different countries like Britain, Germany, Australia, Russia is analysed in detail with respect to different industries and measures taken to handle the recession. 

Impact on Economy of China: 
A very detailed documentation on the impact on economy of China is provided. Various channels through which the crisis might have impacted are suggested and the routes provided for information. Impact on China's fictitious economy, exports, fixed assets, consumption, employment, industries, regions, trade is discussed with detail analysis. Casualty analysis and regression analysis is performed to study the impact. China's countermeasures against the financial crisis and their effects are discussed in detail. 

Lessons from the U.S. Financial Crisis:
"The fictitious economy should not develop without real economy". Effects of uncorrelated fictitious economy and real economy are discussed and concluded that the government should be cautious about the housing market. Loan rules and regulations should be followed and the government should not pressurize the commercial banks to relax the mortgage options and rules. A stable financial system should be followed. 

Six Balances:
Author concludes with details of six balances that would help achieve development:
  • Balance between savings and consumption
  • Balance between domestic and foreign demands
  • Balance between financial innovation and regulation
  • Balance between fictitious economy and real economy
  • Balance between economic growth and sustainable development
  • Balance between globalization and regional integration
Overall this book provides you with the real analysis on the Financial Crisis.

Disclaimer: A copy of the book was sent for the review.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pumpkin farm - fun for kids!!!

Today we visited a pumpkin farm and it was so much fun.. so documenting our visit :)

They had animals that all the kids enjoyed feeding. We saw the cutest baby tigers... They were sleeping and were fed milk in bottles... Apart from farm animals we never expected to see kangaroo, llama, monkeys, fox, etc...  So it was very exciting.
There were camel rides, pony rides, play area, corn maze...
Have you visited a place that you enjoyed with your kids recently?? Do share your experience...

As for me... Apart from all the fun.. got this amazingly sleek tomato cutting knife.. it literally sculpts :) it cost $1.30... Nicee isn't it??

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lunch plate today...

Seems like a wierd combo right?? :)
Aloo in the chapathi saved from the whole plate being dry.... Beans stir fry and boiled egg whites.. 

What is your wired combo of dishes?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Stainless Steel Rice Cooker

Are you a non non-stick user like me??.. If you follow me on twitter you'll know what I'm talking about. I had mentioned our stainless steel rice cooker. Thought of putting up a picture of it...

Trust me, its so much easier to clean than the non-stick ones. It has a sandwich bottom that aides fast cooking! You don't have to worry about chemicals and scratches... :)

Please excuse the pic clarity... taken, edited , uploaded from my cell phone...

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post or review. I'm just posting the pic of the rice cooker from my kitchen...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Chemical Free Cleaning - My Way - For Our Green Earth

Do you believe in chemical free cleaning??... I do. Ever since I found / read about vinegar and its disinfecting properties I've been using it in my kitchen.  I've already written a post on "Go Green" . This one is to show actually what I use day to day in my kitchen.

Got 2 spray bottles - one has just plain water as marked. I use this to spray water and then wipe with a tissue or towel.. this way you don't need to soak the towel and get mushy and wet. Its quicker and cleaner.

The other one contains vinegar + water = disinfecting counter tops. Also for the sink. Just use the spray bottle to spray and wipe away clean!

In addition to this I use baking soda for the sink.

What is your tip to chemical free cleaning??

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Potato in Spicy Yoghurt Gravy

Its been a long time since I made any gravy with potatoes... stumbled on this recipe and had to try it.

I'm going to say its adapted from the source... I made some minor changes depending on the pantry..

Number of servings - 3 - 4
Potato - 5 medium sized
Onion - 1
Youghurt - 2 tbsp
Turmeric powder
Garam Masala powder - 1 tsp

To Grind:
Tomato - 1
Ginger - 1 inch
Garlic - 4 pods
Cashew - 8
Red Chilli - 3
Pepper corns - 3 - 4

To temper:
Cumin seeds
Cloves - 2
Bay leaf
Cinnamon - 1 inch


  • Boil, peel and cut the potatoes keep aside. Grind the items to grind in a blender.
  • Heat the dosa pan and roast the potatoes by drizzling oil over it until it turns light golden brown
  • Heat oil in wok add items to temper. Add chopped onions and saute until translucent brown
  • Add the ground paste and cook. Add turmeric powder, garam masala powder, salt and cook
  • Add the roasted potatoes and mix well. Add the yoghurt and let it cook
  • Add chopped cilantro and switch off..

NOTD - Light Green from Forever 21

I've read great reviews of the nail paints from Forever 21... mainly about their no - chip power...

I got the shade - Light Green and will let you know how long it lasts :) They retail for $ 2. 80 .....

Disclaimer: I bought the product and is not a sponsored review.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Volunteer Income Tax Program - AARP (on my FB Page)

Hey Ladies! If you are interested hop over to my FB Page to find more information...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Modhagam (Sweet Rice Jaggery Balls) - விநாயகர் சதுர்த்தி

This is the first time I've made modhagam by myself. Made this for விநாயகர் சதுர்த்தி. Do you like modhagam??

Number of Servings : 20 - 22 balls
Puzhungal Arisi (Idly rice) - 1/2 cup
Jaggery - a little more than 1/2 cup
Moong dal - a handful
Coconut - 1 spoon


  • Soak the rice for 2 hours
  • Then drain the rice and spread it on a towel with tissue paper to suck the water from the rice (30 minutes)
  • Rub off any moisture from the rice with the towel and break it in the blender (coarsely)
  • Dry roast the rice in a wok until it heats up and keep aside
  • Boil the moong dal in water until its soft and flowered but not fully mushy and keep aside
  • Dry roast the coconut and keep aside
  • Break the jaggery and heat it with a cup of water just to melt it. Sift the jaggery water for mud.
  • Now boil the jaggery water. When it is boiling, add the broken rice and stir constantly until it thickens so you can make balls out of it. Switch off.
  • Now add moong dal, coconut, Elaichi to the rice mixture and pinch balls out of it with the help of gingely oil
  • Now steam the balls like you do for idly. The timing might vary.. just keep checking until it is not sticky.. 4 - 5 minutes..

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Lunch / Dinner Plate Today - 200th post

This is my 200th post on my blog :) I'm really happy to have come this far.. and hope to continue so. This is not only our lunch / dinner plate for today... I make this when ever we have to finish left over bread / have lots of left over vegetables.

Its Bread - Pav Bahji (masala). I made it today with beetroot, cauliflower, potato, peas, corn, bell pepper. This is a real quickie recipe. What is your plate today??

Effective Time Management (My story to start with a Planner)

Recently I read a book called "To - Do List".. if you follow me on twitter you'll know what I'm talking about. This book really had me inspired. It is about the lists that we make for all kinds of reasons.

I'm a big pro-list person. Not on daily basis though.. if I have a list, everything is clear and happens quickly. If not, I always tend to forget or procrastinate. Now this book contains a series of real to - do lists from people. You'll really be amazed when you find more reasons to make lists. Advantages of making a list - effective time management, increases productivity.... sense of satisfaction.  Do we all follow everything when a list is made??... Point to ponder..

Now why am I writing about all of this??.. I had already told you the book had me all inspired.. I got a planner ready and a pen.. I really want to sit down and pen down at least my name on it :) But haven't done yet. Every time I sit down, my kid wants the pen and to rip away the papers.. that is not exactly an encouraging start I suppose :)

So really hoping this post will help me some how find the time to write down the plans and lists that has to be done....

Signing off

Friday, September 14, 2012

Lunch Plate Today

Hello everyone!! I thought of starting a series called "Lunch Plate Today". to give ideas about items to cook for you lunch. Quick ones, tasty ones, healthy, etc all kinds!

I welcome you all to share your lunch / dinner plate too.. with / without recipes - just ideas. I'll also do "Dinner Plate Today". We all know that it always takes more time and energy to think what to make rather than making them itself. Most of the time we know all the recipes but just not which item to prepare when/ along with which item...

So hopefully this will be helpful :)

This was our lunch plate today - Cabbage rice, Broccoli stir fry, Potato curry. What is yours??

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tomato Onion Chutney (spiced) with Dry Basil

This is no unique recipe.. your usual tomato chutney.. with a hint of dry basil. I got this dry basil from Target from herbs section. I couldn't stop adding it to almost everything I cook now. It is soooo flavorful!! I realized a definite taste on our pasta and chutney.

Try it and let me know if you like it...

Red Onions - 1 big
Tomato - 1 big
Red Chilli -2
Tamarind - a bit (optional)
Dry Basil - generous shake overall

To temper:
Mustard seeds
Urad dal


  • Heat oil in a wok and splutter items to temper
  • Add onions and red chilli and saute well. Add tomatos, tamarind, salt and saute well
  • Give a generous shake of basil all over. switch off and grind it in the blender

Monday, September 10, 2012

Beets Vadai

I had 3 beets sitting in my fridge and had to finish it fresh... that is the reason of continuous beet posts :) I made the beet rice for the second time in one week - ADDICTIVE! I was once like this about carrot rice...

Anyways, I've made vadai with beet before.. but may be twice I guess.. This time decided to blog it..

Kindly excuse the pic.. the lighting was so bad on top of my kid's constant playing around the vadai!

Number of vadai - 12 - 15
Beet - 1 (shredded)
Channa Dal (Kadalai Paruppu) - 1/2 cup
Toor Dal - 1 spoon
Onion - 1/2 chopped
Red Chilli - 1
Cumin seeds - 1/2 spoon
Fennel Seeds - 1/2 spoon


  • Soak the dals for 1 hour
  • Then make a coarse paste of the dals with chilli, cumin and fennel seeds without water (or sprinkle little if required)
  • Add salt, onions, beets to the batter and make vadai as you usually do
A real good snack for the kids!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Beet Rice - One Pot Meal

Before starting to talk about how important beets are for kids.. it is absolutely important to adults equally! To me.. I hate the sweet taste of it in beet alone masalas! I try to include it often in different forms... like in pav bahji masala, vadai, perattal etc.. But this is my favorite and fast one!

Learnt the recipe from a friend. Ever since, I've wanted to try it and I finally did and loved it! You cannot spot a taste to sweetness on the rice :) But if you want to, just adjust the chilli powder ratio.

Number of servings: 2
Beet roots - 1 big (or 1 and a 1/2 small ones)
Onion - 1/2
Ginger garlic paste - 1 spoon (I used freshly grated, instead of paste)
Red chilli powder - 1/2 spoon

Basmati Rice - 1 cup
Water - 2 cups

To Temper:
Mustard seeds
Urad dal


  • Heat oil in a pan and splutter items to temper. Add the ginger garlic, onions and saute well
  • Then add the grated beets, salt and red chilli powder and saute well
  • Add this to the basmati rice and add water and cook it in the rice cooker
  • Cook the basmati rice separately and then add the sauteed beets and mix them like for carrot rice  (When I did this method, I skipped the ginger garlic and added hing...)
Both ways tastes great!!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Mini Adai Bites (Lentil Crepe) - with Red Flattened Rice

First of all I apologize for the bad pic, it was clicked during dinner time... It really is mini adai's / marakarikka dosai. In Chettiar houses markarikka dosai (deep fried adai) is used for padaippu.

I din't deep fry it, but gave a fair amount of toss on the gridle(only for the kid though). The recipe for the adai   is same as "Cracked Wheat and Lentils Adai". I added a fist full of red  flattened rice (poha) along with cracked wheat and trust me, it really brought in a good taste. The adai's were soft than usual and not dry and hard to eat. I'm going to add this every time! Another healthy input to already healthy adai!

I only made a separate post to tell you all about adding red rice flakes... it was so nice and different than usual... do try and let me know how it turns out for you :)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Potato Masala / Curry (with Jalapeno, Garlic, Basil n Lime)

This is your usual potato masala with a splash of flavor. Do you like basil??.. This is the first time I've tried adding fresh basil. I've used dry one from the spices section and it really is flavorful on pastas! Little goes long way!

Number of servings: 2 - 3
Potato - 3
Garlic - 2 big pods  (shredded or minced)
De-seeded Jalapeno - 1
Basil leaves - 2 big
Red Chilli powder
Turmeric powder

To temper:
Mustard seeds
Urad dal


  • Boil, peel and chop the potatoes
  • Heat oil in a wok splutter mustard seeds and urad dal. Add the minced garlic and jalapeno
  • Add the potatoes, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt
  • Let it cook for a few minutes, add the chopped basil leaves. Then squeeze a dash of lime and switch off
I think the next time I'll make a paste kind with the jalapeno, basil, cilantro and lime and try it out... 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Jewelry Making - Necklace - Baby Blue Beads

I made this necklace recently. It was a bit time consuming and work. I started off with another design in mind and ended making a different one... and liked it too :)

But had to go through a couple of trial and error designs before finishing. I loved the baby blue color beads and the red contrast.. do you??

Tad bit difficult ones were stringing the seed beads - they are very minute! and making the three hangings. Do you like the design?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Nadu Veetu Kolam - Chettinad Tradition

This kolam is called the "Nadu Veetu Kolam" among Chettiars. It is drawn on all important occasions like wedding, padaippu, pongal, pillayar nonbu etc...  There are a lot of variations of the design. It is usually drawn even bigger with a lot of designs for bigger functions like weddings by Aachis together.

This particular one was drawn for my baby shower by my MIL with a ear bud on our coffee table. The Kola maavu was from India. But you can make it here too. Here in the USA since it is carpeted apts, I draw Nadu Veetu Kolams for Pongal and all on a rexin sheet.

This one was drawn by me on Pongal on rexin sheet. The rexin type makes it difficult and a little blurred... But a nice way since it is / must be washed away.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tomato Rice/Biryani

I'm not a big fan of tomato rice usually. But this recipe from a friend got me hooked on to it. I like to make it often now. It is real quick and flavorful!

Number of servings - 2 - 3
Tomatoes - 2
Red Onion - 1
Ginger - 1 inch
Garlic - 3-4 big pods
Red chilli powder - 1/2 spoon
Basmati rice - 1 cup
Water - 2 cups
Turmeric powder

To temper
Bay leaf


  • Cook basmati rice as you always do and keep aside
  • Make paste of the tomatoes in the blender. 
  • Heat oil in the wok, splutter items to temper. Add onions and saute well. Add shredded/minced ginger garlic and saute well
  • Add the tomato paste, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt and let it cook well until the raw smell fades. 
  • Mix the paste with the rice for a very tasty tomato rice :) You can even make the paste before hand.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Winner - Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil!!

Thank you all for participating! The winner is....

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Will Shoot you an email right away! Congratulations!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Google Friend Connect on Dynamic layout

I see there are some difficulties in locating Google Friend Connect on a dynamic layout. I agree  it could be / is confusing because it is not visible all the time.

There is a black side bar on the top left corner of the blog. If you move the cursor on top of it, it will slide open and you can find the "FRIENDS: section there. Dynamic according to google!

I got a couple of questions regarding this for the Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil Giveaway . Sorry it is not so convenient on a dynamic layout!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mont Bleu's Glass Nail File Review

Yes you read it right.. a glass nail file! Glass nail file is the best for your nails. This nail file literally sculpted my nails to the shape I want. I loved the finish and quality of Mont Bleu's crystal nail file.

Regular filing is very important to maintain neat nails. Trust me, glass file is the best for it. Mont Blue has a very beautiful selection of files studded with crystal details - totally chic and cute :) You can find/buy: glass nail files. When you don't have the time to get a manicure done or even if you did, to maintain.... this is the best!

source: their website

Swarovski Crystal Compact Mirrors:
They also have Swarovski crystal studs detailed compact mirrors that are very beautiful to carry on with! You can Buy Compact Mirror Here .You will love the design and quality of the products!

About Mont Bleu:
Mont Bleu – Design Atelier produces crystal glass nail files and decorates variety of high quality products.  

They are based on CZECH Republic.

Source : Their Website

Disclaimer: I was sent a sample of the products to review and these are purely my own view on using them. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

DIY: Money Plant Decor!

Did you know that you can grow money plant in a glass bowl/vase with water inside house??.. It makes a beautiful decor for the house. You can even cut just a couple of leaves with roots and put it in a small vase and place neat wash basins.. A bunch of leaves as a center piece for your coffee table.. and so on..

Just change water regularly and see it grow beautifully :)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Reminder!! - Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil - Review & Giveaway!! (USA & Canada)

Hey All!!

This is a remainder post about the 1 quart Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil Giveaway - USA & Canada. There is only one mandatory entry - to subscribe to their email newsletter. Click on the post link to find how to enter....

Have a Happy & Healthy Week :)))

Friday, August 3, 2012

Jewelry Making - Earrings with Jump Rings

I made these earrings today to relieve me from some tension and stress. It was nice to make something after a long time. I started and forgot how good jewelry making is about a year ago. It existed only for about 6 months... Coming back again with few small finish-able projects...

These are real easy earrings made with jump rings. All the findings are from a  pack I got from Walmart. except for the beads - from the InterGem Show.

Its free coconut oil.. and 1 Quart of it!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Cracked Wheat Mini Idly - Kid Friendly Recipe

This was a trial experiment and I should say I was very much satisfied with the result. I've already blogged about the same batter for dosa here in the past. I wanted to try out idly today only because my kid wouldn't eat dosa with it! 

I tried the mini version since it was only for him and surprisingly the idly was very fluffy and soft :)

Cracked wheat - 2 cups
Urad dal - 1/2 cup

1. Soak the urad dal and cracked wheat separately and let it sit for a couple of hours
2. Make a paste of the urad dal in the blender adding little water as required
3. Make a paste of the cracked wheat adding little water (this will be in the batter consistency, while the urad dal is a little fluffy)
4. Mix the wheat and urad dal, salt and let it ferment over night
5. Make mini idlies with the batter. 

I mixed the mini idlies in podi and gingely oil for my kid. 

JF&A Show - Jewelry, Fashion & Accessosires

This show is full of fun stuff for women to browse around. They have ready made jewel sets, beads, gems, handbags, accessories, apparel, make up, jewelry making tools and a lot more!

Check it out if it happens in your area. Real fun! JF&A Show

This is from Charming Charlie

Disclaimer: I'm not reviewing or advertising for the show. I'm only stating my own experience and views. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil - Review & Giveaway!! (USA & Canada)

Virgin Coconut Oil:
There are a lot of reasons why I got attached to the product. Like it is made machine-free, chemical-free, unrefined...many more. For one, I din't know that so many recipes could be made with coconut oil! I'm going to start trying some of them.  How to Use Coconut oil: There are hundreds of uses for coconut oil!

My Take:
I will give my view on my two most trusted and practiced uses of coconut oil. For HAIR and SKIN. Apply coconut oil to your hair at least 1 hour before you take bath and let it absorb.Your hair will be super hydrated with out being weighed down and will not get dry and lifeless! Coconut oil brings me a lot of memories from my childhood. It is a must have at every house in India. I definitely have it here in USA too... I'm extremely elated to have found a virgin coconut oil from tropical traditions :)

Coconut oil is a super natural moisturizer. I have seen and experienced the same over the years. I always have a travel pack when ever we travel. It is a must!! I use it for my kid now... I'll just say, it is one product that is passed down generations!

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

Now to the GIVEAWAY!!!

Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - 32 oz.
Win 1 quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!

Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.

The giveaway is open to USA & Canada.

Fill the rafflecopter shown below for your chance to win 1 quart of coconut oil!!! There is one mandatory entry. You have to subscribe to Tropical Traditions email newsletter (link is also provided in the rafflecopter). Others are optional entries to increase your chances to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

VITA ( Volunteeer Litearcy Tutor) Information - on my FB Page

Hey Ladies! I've posted information of my current volunteer job - Literacy Tutor in The VITA (Volunteer In Teaching Adults) program. If you are interested hop on over to my FB Page to find more information...

Till then... have a healthy, happy day :)

Image source: google

Friday, July 27, 2012

Easy 2 minute Earrings

Hey All! I was feeling a little blue and wanted to make one of those "Feel Good" projects that could be completed ASAP.

I've always wanted to make a pair of earrings for the ruby like bead necklace I made few months back. Got down to work with some ideas... but ended up with this easy design.. on the spot. Do you like it???

You just need the only pliers shown in the pic and your choice of beads, the hook and the jump ring. Put the beads in the jump ring and use the pliers to connect it with the hook.. you are done!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Jalapeno Mandi & Updates

Hey All! I've been active on Twitter and Pinterest the past week . Pinterest is a very nice concept. Got a bunch of ideas from Pinterest which I'm hoping to try out later :)

Regarding Volunteer work.. I'm not sure if I should continue about it on my blog. So thought of sticking with Facebook Page alone. Since I'm not sure if it is interesting :)

Updates apart, coming to today's recipe.. it is Jalapeno Mandi. Mandi is a chettinad delicacy. It is very versatile because, you can use any choice of vegetables to cook. Carrot, plaintain, potato, all kinds of dried beans, pasta, okra, chick peas, even jalapeno. Usually it is a mix of all vegetables except for okra and jalapeno/molakai. It is very healthy and goes well with all rice dishes. Especially with curd rice :)

The idea to make mandi from jalapeno was inspired from a friend.

Number of servings - 2-3
Jalapeno (completely de-seeded) - 6 -7
Onion - 1/2
Tomato - 1/2
Garlic - 4 pods
Tamarind - lime sized ball
Rice flour - 1/2 spoon (to thicken)

To temper:
Mustard seeds
Urad dal
Red Chillies

  • Cut the jalapeno into finger like strips. Heat oil in a kadai and splutter items to temper. Add the garlic, onion and saute well
  • Add the tomato and saute well. Add the jalapeno and saute well.. Until the rawness goes
  • Add the tamarind pulp and salt and let it cook
  • Before switching off the flame mix the rice flour in water and add it to the gravy. Mandi is ready

Sunday, July 22, 2012

How To: Online Volunteering

This post is for certain situations in which you are just not able to get out of the house. Like pregnancy, time crunch, or simply.. what if you don't know to drive yet?.

I've done some online volunteering. Of which two was completed.. and one , I had to leave half way due to my time crunch. There are a lot of things to consider in online volunteering. It might seem like being at home you have a lot of time in hands.. but that might not be the case.. at least with a kid. So think well before committing hours to your volunteer co-ordinator.

Research and submit information is what I did mostly. But one volunteer job gave me the opportunity to explore in my IT area of analysis. So you just have to look for the best match for you. You can make connections, interactions and get to know how it works through online volunteering.

Go to websites like and search for opportunities. We can get out of the shell that keep us from achieving our goals. This might be a first step... where in you get to speak/discuss/teleconference. (Link source: google)

If you need any information or have any questions mail me at

Disclaimer: All information provided/suggested are from my own experience. I'm not a professional in this area.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Black-eyed peas sundal - 175th post N 100th Tweet!!

Hey All! This is my 175th post on my blog and 100th tweet on Twitter  !! Tried this black - eyed peas sundal for snack yesterday. Please excuse the pic because of the lighting...

Number of serving: 2 - 3
Black - eyed peas - 3/4 cup
A dash of lemon squeeze

Dry roast and grind :
Coconut - 1 spoon
Red Chilli - 1
Cumin seeds - 1/2 spoon

To Temper:
Mustard seeds
Red Chilli

  • The idea to make sundal struck my only in the late afternoon. So I saoked it in water for about 4 -5 hours. Then pressure cook it to 3 whistles. Drain the peas and keep aside
  • Dry roast and grind the items to grind
  • Heat oil in a kadai and splutter items to temper. Add the sundal, salt and saute
  • Add the ground mixture and saute
  • Switch off the heat and squeeze a dash of lemon 
Next time I'm planning to add de-seeded jalapeno.

    Thursday, July 19, 2012

    How To: VITA Volunteer (My own experience)

    After doing some thinking... something tells me I have to write information on my blog too.. not stopping with  Facebook.. for true reach... Since I started the page just a week back..

    I might not duplicate all the information.. only because I can't find the time. I'll try to add more information on both...  So keep checking both for a whole lot of information. I do this because it took me a very long time to find all these information.  So wanted to put everything together, hoping it'll be helpful at least to one of you??.. If it is please let me know.. :)

    Img Source: google
    What is VITA?
    VITA stands for Volunteer in Income Tax Assistance. This program is in place during the tax season (from OCT - APRIL)

    Who can Volunteer?
    Anyone can. But you should pass the IRS certification test.  (I'm a Masters in IT field with nil tax background) It is ideal to have or to be currently working in the Accounting field.

    What is the IRS Certification?
    Since anyone can volunteer for this position, you should read the basic rules for filing taxes and pass the certification online/ in the organization where you volunteer. You can read the material from the IRS website. But many Organizations require you to attend their training as well. You'll have to find out from the Organization. Once you have the certificate you are ready to volunteer for different Organizations in the same season!

    When should I do all this?
    You should be ready with all the information by October. So do all the contacting and collecting before that.

    What does it hold for you?
    Trust me, this will be a rewarding experience. You will meet people. Not to mention the rich mentioning on your Resume! and some firms offer you with hours (if you are CPA / Accountant) You can be sure that by the end, you'll be able to understand your own taxes!

    If you have more questions contact me - or share on my FB page so that all can benefit :)

    Disclaimer: I'm not reviewing / an expert in this category. This is purely my experience and wanting to share with you all... If you already are a VITA volunteer please shed more light on this for all of us :) 

    Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

    Hey Ladies... As promised I started a thread on my FB PAGE to give you all information on Volunteer jobs. Hop on over to my FB page (you can also find the link on the top tab of my blog) to see that..

    My first Thread is on Volunteer Income Tax Assistance.. I just started it.. will let you all know more on days to come.. as my kid is being cranky for the past couple of days!

    Pour in your suggestions and experiences to benefit others. After all we all know how it is to stay alone at home living far away from our Country :)

    Ask me questions.. on my wall, to my mail.. what ever works out for you.. will  be very happy to respond with whatever I know :))

    Copy Kids DVD Winner...

    Hey all!!.. This DVD review and giveaway has been such a great experience to me.. Learnt a lot!

    The Winner is...

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Congratulations Puja!!.. Will shoot you an email :)

    Sunday, July 15, 2012

    How To: Volunteer Jobs

    Hey Ladies :) This post is like a prequel to the original picture. I'm just letting you all know that I'm going to start a discussion and share information on my FB Page (you can also find the link on the top tab) about volunteer jobs. I'm not an expert/professional - I'm just letting you all know how I did. I used to Volunteer as a Income Tax Preparer (I do not have any tax back ground) - that is the point. Even if you do not have a full background it is possible to do it, because they offer training. 

    Trust me, the experience is REWARDING :) A lot of my friends/ people to whom I speak about this ask me how I find it.. so I thought I could use a common medium to get/give more information.

    I'll be MIA for a couple of days... so like and look @ my FB page for the coming up discussion in a couple of days time... 

    Friday, July 13, 2012

    $1 clips from Gem Show

    If you are in the US you might have already known about the "International Gem & Jewelry Show" that happens through out the year and in many cities. I get my beads there to make jewelry and also these clips. These are just a $1 and easily glams up simple plain hair. Need less to say if you have girl babies/kids :) They look super cute on babies :))

    Note: I got these from my pocket and this is my own view. I'm not sponsored/paid to write this.

    P.S. I started a Facebook page for my blog.. just today. We all start the small "FIRSTS" with great hope right?? :)  If you find time, pay a visit and let me know what you would like to see/discuss there.. you can find the link on my blog's top tab or just click here :)) Have a beautiful, fun filled weekend!

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

    Indianzied Vegetable Maggi Noodles

    This one is my go-to recipe when I absolutely have nil time to prepare something for me. You know the days when you keep cooking for your kid the whole day hoping at least one of it will appeal to the kid...*sigh*

    Anyway, coming to the point... I'll not say this is healthy... may be you can feel a less guilty and more filling by adding a load of vegetables.

    Number of servings: 1 big fat serving
    Onion - 1/2
    Tomato - 1/2
    Mixed vegetables - 1 cup (I used carrot, beans, bell pepper, peas)
    Red Chilli powder - 1/4 spoon (rest from the given masala packet)
    Maggi Noodles - 1 pack

    To temper:
    Mustard seeds
    Urad Dal

    • Bring a vessel of water to boil. Break the noodles and add it to the water. Remove and drain it after 2-3 minutes when its soft. (This is to remove the wax from the noodles.. even if I don't add veggies I follow this step) If you leave it for a longer time, it will turn mushy
    • Heat oil in a kadai and splutter items to temper. Add the onions and saute well
    • Add tomates and saute. Add the vegetables, salt , chilli powder, given masala powder and saute well
    • Add the drained noodles and mix well in heat for a minute

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

    Vellai Paniyaram - Chettinad Delicacy

    Just in my other post I was rambling about how hard it was to try new recipe.. But just got a right time to try this one... Vellai Paniyaram. tried is as a snack. I used to dread trying these paniyarams.. there are a lot of things to consider in order to make a perfect paniyaram. Like the rice, urad dal quality, hotness of the oil, consistency of the batter, even the color depends on the dal etc. It takes practice to perfect... or thats what I tell myself whenever it won't come out well, but this time it was real goood, so thought of sharing with you all :)

    Number of servings: 8-10 paniyarams
    Raw rice - 1/2 cup (I did not use sona masoori)
    Urad dal

    • You may have noticed that I din't give the measurement for urad dal.. that is because the way we measure to make vellai paniyaram is different. You take rice in a cup (I used 1/2 ulakku measure) and sweep it off flat to the brim of the cup, so there is no mountain like rice sitting on the cup. 
    • Now take the urad dal and add it to the brim of the rice cup to make it a mountain like meausrement. So its 1 flat cup of rice and a mound of urad dal on top of it
    • Soak the rice and dal for a couple of hours and grind it smoothly with no rice chunks in the blender
    • Add salt. The batter should not be too thick, not too watery - this might make hard paniyarams.
    • Heat oil in a kadai in medium and take a ladle of batter and pour it in the kadai. Wait til the paniyaram fulffs or floats, this is the indication to turn it over and cook. Then take out the paniyaram, draining the excess oil.
    It is very very easy to make.. but looks long in the writing. But everything little thing matters in making a perfect paniyaram!

    Masala Mini Idly

    Its been quite a while since I wrote a cooking related post. Reason?... My toddler gives me the least opportunity and time to try out new recipes... Not to mention the time constraint.. even if I do try something new, there is absolutely no chance he is going to let me click it!..

    Anyways.. ramblings apart. I've started to volunteer (If you are interested, let me know.. will write a post on volunteer jobs). Its not at our library.. can you believe that I applied to a number of library volunteer jobs and the only answer I got was : "We already have enough volunteers.. will let you know when something opens up". I'm glad there are so many to volunteer and help :))

    To today's recipe (from a friend) - Masala Mini Idlies. Doesn't it sound yummm :) Perfect for kids and adults.

    Mini Idlies
    Red chilli powder
    Turmeric powder - a pinch
    fenugreek powder - a pinch

    To Temper:
    Mustard seeds


    • Heat oil in a pan and add items to temper. 
    • Add tomatoes and saute. Add the chilli powder and fenugreek powder, salt
    • Let it cook well. Switch off and add the idlies to the masala and mix well. garnish with cilantro.