Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Spaghetti - tossed in Cilantro Almonds Pesto

This is an easy peasy recipe for a quick one pot meal kinda days :)

Number of servings - 4
Spaghetti - 1 pack
Mixed Vegetables - 1 1/2 cups (I used colored peppers, carrots, broccoli)
Garlic - 4 minced
Crushed red peppers
Onion - 1
Tomato ketchup - a squeeze

To Paste:
Cilantro - 1/4 of a bunch
Almonds - 5 -6
Pepper - 1/2 spoon
Olive oil

  • Cook the spaghetti as per instructions and keep aside. I like to add salt and olive oil to the cooking spaghetti and give a nice cold wash after draining for it to be nice and separate.
  • In a wok add olive oil, add the onions, minced garlic, crushed red peppers and saute
  • Add vegetables and slat and saute well. Add the paste, a squeeze of tomato ketchup and saute for a few minutes
  • Finally add the spaghetti and give it  a nice toss
Note - you can add more of the pesto if you like it a bit more saucy. I use this green chutney as a base for sandwich too... the pepper is really flavorful! 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Re-Posting: How-to VITA Volunteer

Its time to VITA Volunteer again!!!  Browse through the post and let me know if you have any questions -

It is so interesting to get to know about your own taxes. Let alone that, you get the opportunity to do taxes for some one else! It is such an rewarding experience and personally enriching too.
I wanted to re-share all the 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.. :)

What is VITA?
VITA stands for Volunteer in Income Tax Assistance. This program is in place during the tax season.

Who can Volunteer?
Anyone can. But you should pass the certification test. If you decide to volunteer with any firm like AARP, Ladder Up or Center for Economic Progress, etc they provide you with all the needed in-class and software training.

You need not have any financial or tax background to volunteer in this program.

What is the 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. But many Organizations require you to attend their training. You'll have to find out from the Organization. Once you have the certificate you are ready to volunteer.

When should I do all this?
I'm just going to start for the upcoming tax season, that is why I'm posting this information now. The tax season runs from Feb to April. So all the firms will be providing  training before that, in around Jan.

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 -

Disclaimer: I'm not reviewing any jobs or positions. This is purely my volunteer 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 :) 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Friday, November 1, 2013

Oma Podi - a beginner's maiden recipe

This was a result of such an instant decision that I have to write it down immediately or I'll forget what I did the next time. Mainly, because the reason I made it - my kiddo - liked it :)

I have to tell you, this was my maiden attempt and I was prepared to dilute the batter and make bhaji out of it, if it din't work out.

Number of servings - 3 - 4
Besan flour - 3/4 cup
Rice flour - 4 tbsp
Red chilli powder - 1/2 spoon
Hing - a pinch
Turmeric powder

To Paste:
Ajwain - 1 spoon
Garlic 2 -3 pods


  • Make a paste of ajwain and garlic in the blender with water. It need not be smooth, since we are going to strain it and use the water. Keep aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, add the besan flour, rice flour, salt, chilli powder, turmeric powder, hing and give it a good mix. I kept one handful of this mix separate before adding water, just in case the actual dough becomes sticky, I can add this. And it happened :)
  • Now to make the dough, add the strained ajwain water and prepare the dough. Sprinkle extra water if needed
  • To finish up the dough smoothly, add a spoon of oil  and make a smooth, non-sticky dough
  • Heat oil in a wok at medium flame and once it is hot, make oma podi with the murrukku press. Once it cooks one side, flip it over and cook for a few seconds and drain it