Saturday, February 26, 2011

Don't Panic When The Cookies Get Burnt

What do you do when part of the cookies you bake get burnt? Throw them? Get disheartened? When I first tried my hands at baking cookies a few years ago, it happened to me quite often.But not anymore.
I found an easy way out to fix the problem and not feel guilty about discarding my hard labour into the thrash disposal .And believe me no one is going to refuse them once they re appear on the serving tray after their remarkable  reformation ( better still..shh!! If you can keep a secret your guests needn’t know about this transformation). Now let me reveal my magic formula in dire circumstances.( Alert ! this is only an amateur's tip)

Heat pan .Melt a few pieces of chocolate in a little water.Remove and set aside.Using a knife, scrape off the burnt side of the cookies and once all the batch of cookies go through the scraping process, coat the burnt portion, with the chocolate sauce.Place them in the refrigerator until the chocolate sets.

Looks delicious isn’t it? Now.. Please! for heavens sake! don’t burn the cookies intentionally.

coating the burnt portion


Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Blog Star Award

A big surprise was waiting for me ,when I checked my blog today. And  goodness gracious ! Wasn’t I astounded ! I am greatly  humbled at this  lovely gesture on the part of the established  team from  add your , for having bestowed me with this amazing  Blog Star Award. It is with great pleasure that I receive this significant honour . I am experiencing a great sense of contentment right now, to know that my  blog is  being appreciated among readers in blogosphere and with this same sentiment, I feel privileged to  have my new award  on display. Thank you once again for this amazing award.

You can read add your 's testimony  in the comment section  here

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Aftermath Of Cooking

Cleaning the kitchen after cooking is not an easy task for a ‘somewhat clumsy’  cook. Thinking  of it makes the head spin. But one way or another it has to be done.Imagine the pile of dishes, pots, pans and the spills and splatters,  all waiting to be cleaned and scrubbed till spick and span. Often people living in apartments have to deal with the odour that seeps after sometime , from cooking.This happens because there is n’t enough ventilation for the cooking smoke to escape.Thus the house is filled with smoke like air ,causing  embarrassing situations when you have unexpected visitors show at your door.

I came across some interesting and useful tips that would become  handy the next time you want to clean your kitchen. It’s amazing how these simple household chemicals act as cleaning agents that assist in making  the kitchen spotless .All these products  could be found in your kitchen.So you don’t have to worry about  spending any extra money.

To clean the oven- mix 330ml of bicarbonate soda with a little water to get a thin paste. Apply this inside the oven. Leave it for a few hours and rinse.

To deodorize the refrigerator-place half a lemon dipped in salt in the middle shelf of the fridge.

Bicarbonate of soda-removes grease, dirt spills and stains from carpets and surfaces.

Vinegar-deodorizes and act as a mild disinfectant

Lemon juice-is a natural bleach.Could be used as stain remover and surface cleaner.

Olive oil- use sparingly as furniture polish and finger print remover for stainless steel.

Happy Cleaning!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Visit To The Book Fair And A Lesson Learnt

Last evening , we went to  a book fair which was held in our locality. My children had got the brochures , which had being distributed at school. As soon as my  husband said that we would be able to attend, the children, especially the sons, got so excited about it and were chattering non-stop about what books they should be buying and what latest books  they were going to select. Lately I have been observing their mind-set during their spare time, I couldn’t be possibly  imagining this , but I feel they are  showing less interest in playing with their toys and have gradually shifted their interests in reading books. Which is a good sign indeed! A sign of development I should say, although  their reading is focused mainly towards the  animated characters that they have been  watching on television,  for most part of their growing years. As a parent ,who loves reading as well ,seized   this  opportunity with the intent of  encouraging them and showing  support towards  their latest inclination.  What is more important is as they grow older , they would with all possibility changed the genre and would be  reading more advanced books.

 By the way, there was so much to browse and I didn’t know where to begin .Eventually I ended up buying a few too.The best part of going to the fair was when I  got an honest opinion (which I least anticipated) from my second daughter, who is fourteen and  a vegetarian by all means. She  suggested a latest copy of a vegetarian’s recipe book, She felt I needed to buy that particular book , in order to experiment new variety and  give flavour to the  vegetable dishes that I have been preparing for her for the past one year. In other words ,she  was  bored eating the same kind of  stuff everyday . What a change of twist! The whole concept of going to the fair was to motivate the youngsters  to move forward in their  reading skills. Who would have thought that I’ll learn a few lessons as well ! Children! what would we do  without them! J

Monday, February 21, 2011

Some Left Overs…

These are some pictures which were taken during the making of Tuna and potato cutlets.I tried posting these pictures in my previous post but due to some technical hindrance, I had to abort the idea temporarily. However the glitch was detected sooner and thus have made it possible to affix them today.

You can follow the recipe here. Tuna And Potato Cutlet

work in progress -round shaped cutlets

coated in breadcrumbs

Fried-golden brown

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tuna And Potato Cutlet

This is an easy to make savoury dish.An all time favourite of the young and the old.This dish is in the spotlight during special family occasions.

Tuna and potato cutlets

4 (100gms) canned tuna fish
2 medium potatoes( boiled and cooled )
3 big onions chopped
3 green chilies
3 cloves of garlic chopped
A piece of ginger chopped
A tsp cumin seed
1 tsp pepper seed
1 tsp curry powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
A few coriander leaves
1 carrot chopped
Juice of one small lemon/lime
Salt to taste.
Oil for frying

For coating the cutlets
2-3 eggs

Method for preparing:
Transfer the canned tuna into a bowl. ( discard the liquid).
Pound the garlic,ginger,cumin and black pepper seeds ,set aside.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a nonstick pan.
Cook the onions till tender.
Stir in all the pounded ingredients and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the green chilly and the chopped carrot.Saute for another minute.
Stir in  the turmeric and curry powder
Now add the tuna, separate the pieces gently and mash with a spatula. Add the lemon juice and salt and mix the coriander leaves. 
Transfer this curried mixture into a big bowl and set aside to cool.
Next, mash the boiled potatoes and add to the curried tuna .Mix well

Now follow the instructions  below

Using fingers,make  medium sized round patties.Place in the refrigerator for ½ hour.

For Coating the cutlets - Remove the cutlets from fridge.Beat the eggs.Dip the cutlets  in beaten eggs and coat with breadcrumbs.Fry in hot oil till golden brown.Makes about 25 cutlets.

Hearth & Soul Hop

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Formula For Friendship

A recipe for friendship

1 cup unselfishness

2 cups love
¼  cup loyalty
1 teaspoon sense of humour
4 cups girlish delights
A dash of silliness
Mix them all together and you somehow end up with the best friend you
ever had...

Remember to garnish with sweetness
And plenty of blessings…

Friday, February 18, 2011

My Favourite Cook Book

Whenever I get the opportunity to visit the bookstore ,I head over to my favourite spot and  browse through cook books. And here’s  my much  preferred…

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Extreme Make Over

When bananas get all browned and bruised,my children  refuse outright to eat them.So instead of letting them go to waste,I give the over ripened fruits a quick ‘make over’. Making use of  my reasonable gastronomic know-how,I transform them into something more appetizing.And it isn’t surprising at all, when everyone goes crazy over this new transformation Now tell me who wouldn’t want to indulge into a scrumptious,crispy sweet snack, immersed in  a puddle of rich jaggery syrup!

Banana fritters

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Binge Shopper

How much do you love shopping? I guess you would probably say a lot.Anyway don’t we all love shopping? We wait in earnest, for any occasion, to shop for our favourite things. Besides, when we have some extra cash to spend, wouldn’t we think of buying that home appliance, we had been dreaming of,for ages.Subsequently when we have to cater to a large family,it’s sometimes necessary to shop in between our next scheduled shopping, because we fear that the desired item if not purchased immediately, may run out of stock or become outdated .

However, there are people who love to shop every week or so, and buy items they didn’t specifically need.This type of people fall into the category of compulsive shoppers. Shopoholics,as they are commonly  known ,tend to shop for things beyond their expenditure.They become extravagance in their spending .The things that are purchased are not all essential to them. Every thing luxury and in the latest trend would find the way into their shopping carts. I believe they hate to bargain!

They over indulge in spending on expensive things beyond their budget. Shopoholics get the urge to go on a shopping spree every now and then .And that’s what they do- binge shopping. They spend their money on superfluous items and later regret at their impulsiveness. These shoppers become very  satisfied and get a great sense of accomplishment of how they had  shopped and not by, what they had  shopped .

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Replica Of Paul The Octopus

Did you really think so?Another world cup sensation? Oh! No!.The one I  am
talking about is only  a ‘cardboard copy’ 

This is a class project made by my son. An octopus made out of thermal paper cup and construction paper.

Sorry… no more predictions…

Monday, February 14, 2011

Papaya, A Nature's Healer.

Papaya or papaw is a fruit found in tropical countries.It is very healthy  and has an extensive list of nutritional values.Papaya helps easy digestion and boasts the immunity levels.The ripe fruit when eaten regularly help do away with constipation, at the same time the raw papain compensates the deficiency of gastric juices and wards off excess mucus in the stomach.There are many advantages of the Papaya juice. It can be used as cosmetic,to clear the freckles due to exposure to sunlight.It helps clean the skin and get back the glow.Papaya tastes delicious in salads and gives wonderful flavor in juices and milk shakes.The raw papaya is curried with  zesty herbs and spices.The juice of raw papaya mixed with honey, another nature’s healer, could be applied over inflamed tonsils and other throat disorders .And even the seeds are of medicinal value.The paste of papaya seed is effective on skin diseases caused by ringworm. Lately it has  come to light that the juice of papaya leaves is used in treating patients with dengue fever and has been a success. All of us at home relish the fresh ripe ' papaw’ the name rightly referred by most of us. Having papaya in the refrigerator, comes in handy when the children suddenly call for dessert.Once in a while, as a special treat, I let them indulge into a wonderful dessert,that is made in a jiffy. Everyone at home enjoys a bowl of  fresh ripe papaya cut into bite- size pieces and sweetened with condensed milk. We also love the refreshing taste of papaya  milkshake. Cheers!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Eek! A Snake

Whether this is a verse, a canto,a stanza or whatever that may deem fit to denote in one word the writing I have herein put in black and white, was instigated  by a rattle snake which stayed overnight at my parent's home during my younger days. The snake was not inflicted in any way, as it went back quietly to where it belonged.( the zoo)

One Sunday,
This slimy creature
Wrapped well in shiny leather
Came in through the door, left ajar

Mother unaware
Engrossed deep in the
Sunday Paper

Then She thought
It was the figmentation
Of her imagination
When she sensed company

She gaped
When she saw this slimy  creature
Cosily coiled up in
Father’s favourite chair.

Digitally created

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Adieu To The Grand Old Banyan Tree

Standing tall ,right in front of my childhood home, this banyan tree depicted a humble woman, with beautiful long strands .Some days the strands looked like they were braided and at other times during the rainy season , she would look all scruffy and drenched  . Although a bit curious, we  would eagerly wait to hear the piece of sad  music that came from somewhere atop this banyan tree and used to wonder  why the cuckoo bird lamented.She was so  graceful and strong and braved the many  turbulent weathers.The  squirrels, that scampered up and down her outstretched branches relied on her for safety and comfort. It was not only the squirrels that  ran up to her for warmth, there were other animals too,that made her their safe haven, whenever they wanted to escape the prying eyes..We all depended on the shade she  provided during the  hot fiery afternoons.
But Alas ! like all living things that must come to an end,this grand old banyan tree too succumbed to old age, leaving a great emptiness in our surroundings.  
And with her   went  the  aura  of tranquility.  Her absence is greatly felt.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mother's Musings

How time has flown ! My oldest daughter was just 3 months old ,and travelled in a bassinet in a flight from our native land  to Saudi Arabia.I had gone home for my delivery and returned back to the kingdom ,with the first born who was  just a few months old. Harking back to that day, more memories of days gone by, flood my mind.
Even though she  towers over me now.I still envisage her as the  little girl who kept me on my toes all day. She would be with me where ever I went.Creeping  into the the kitchen , she would imitate me. Many times I had to hunt for the spoons and spatulas that she would take to play  and misplace them somewhere in the house.There were times I had laughed in silence at the way she played with the household items , as if they were her play mates.

And now I cannot imagine how the time had gone by. This March she will be sitting for her class 12th, board exams and thus finish school. She’ll be entering another phase in her life.Although my husband and I would continue to encourage and guide her,  it will be her  decision in opting for what is good for her, academic wise. 
During childhood and throughout their adolescent years, we as parents, make decisions for  our children. As they pass through the  metamorphic stage, transforming into adults, they become remarkably wise  to make  their own decisions ,which would be the starting point to their future, whether academic or otherwise.Thus We have to accept and respect the choices they make. 

Another interesting incident that keeps flashing in my mind is that particular day back in 1999, when she was in the first grade and was  going to sit for her term exams for the very first time. And I being an over anxious mother advised her to pray quietly and turn to God , if she found anything difficult. And back came her answer, “that’s cheating mom” .
Recounting this to her today, she went red in the face.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Barney And Fred Flintstone

The Flintstones, the cartoon characters created by Hanna- Barbera in the 1960s,is still loved by most of us. Even the younger generation born  in this new millenium are  fascinated by  these entertaining characters .What’s so humourous about this show is that  animals  are being portrayed as technology.Their  mode of transport and their house pet,besides many other things , are implemented by a pre historic animal the dinosaur. This animated  series is set in a place called Bedrock,in the stone age period. My children got drawn towards  this particular cartoon show,from the time they were toddlers when anything animated attracted their attention.As much as they love watching Barney and Fred Flintstone on television,they love reading about them too. And lately my nine year old has
started to sketch these toons by simply looking at the original pictures.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Home Made Bread


         Baking a perfect loaf of bread needs a lot of practice and patience, sadly I did n't possess both these qualities  when I decided to bake a loaf. Having watched a few demonstrations on You tube, I wanted to try my hands on this too. This was my first attempt (and most probably won't be the last) .As per the instructions ,I baked it in a water bath: with another tray filled with water. I was thoroughly contented with the outer covering,which looked crusty and  fine, an ideal cover for the ‘not–so-well-done’ texture , inside of the bread.. It wasn’t easy as it seemed, kneading  and shaping  the dough. In the end  with a few “karate’ like  punches, I was able to soften the dough. However I need to put in a lot of  extra effort a few more times before getting the   taste of   perfect home made  bread. Anyway  with all the flaws  in it, the freshly baked loaf was  greatly enjoyed . And I am  motivated outright by the ratings given by hubby and children and  now have plans  to work harder  to bake to perfection .

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cold Weather

It’s past bedtime. And there goes the sound of the raindrops.The weather is getting colder and unbearable. Earlier in the evening, the children were beginning to  sneeze and cough. Everyone at home is experiencing some sort of  irritation from the effect of this cold weather.I tried to relieve their distress with a home remedy.And it needed a lot of cajoling to make them drink the nice hot soup that I made,thanks to the instant soup packet.I stack a few for an emergency like this. I wish I had made them some home made, but anyway that was not possible. It would take more than an hour and by that time probably they would all be sound asleep. In any case the instant one came in handy at this hour.It somewhat  relieved them.The cold air outside can also be a factor for triggering my  children's allergies. The street lights began to flicker and the youngest wanted to know if  we might experience another power failure.I said we might not. Soon after my reassurance he fell asleep.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Short Snippets

Not too long ago,I started  collecting short snippets  and anecdotes from my favourite magazines which were filled with all kinds of interesting content..The most appealing topics  once read were  high lighted,So I may read them again when I get some quiet moments to myself. These ,however after a lapse of time got out of sight, until I chanced to stumble upon them quite by  accident. Sorting out some of my childrens’  previous class  work sheets, I happened to lay my hands again  on  some of these snippets which were hidden amid the clutter...

magazine snippets digitally re- created 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Healthy Choices

The pharmacy close to my house recently  distributed booklets on dietary advice. My husband brought home one.I thought this was  laudable  on their part for creating awareness to eat healthy and live healthy.This was all about taking the  right steps to prevent hypertension. It’s always good to be aware and take necessary actions  to avoid being a victim to this deadly illness.

Eating food with low sodium helps  to reduce blood pressure ,which is the major cause for heart problems. A lot of pre-cooked and processed food have high sodium. ,We try to  avoid eating   them as much as possible . Another helpful hint  I  gathered from this booklet was,  to  forget  salt and add more herbs and spices in the food . Or switch to cooking food with chili,ginger and lemon for flavouring,  instead of salt . Oh! Dear! I have a penchant for salty foods. So to begin with, I must
work on that..

It’s about time I took  these guidelines seriously.   ’Why don’t you do some walking Mom,’ , suggested my daughter , when I showed concern about my weight. But then again, just the mere thought of running on the threadmill, makes me go weak at the knees..

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Time And Tide Wait For None

This morning there was an electrical shortage in the computer and it  was immediately sent to the  technician to have it fixed. Actually I didn’t know what to do, to while away ,till  it was being  done. With the children gone to school, the house was  very quiet. That’s when I began to hear a different kind of ‘noise pollution’.The pigeons coo, coming from atop the  TV antenna and the angry mews of the hungry cats ,which was imminent from the trash can. In fact I also actually  heard the sound of the wind sweeping across this chilly morning. It was  always a figment of my imagination to envisage  the wind to whisper softly  and sweetly as it passed by, but this was nothing like that. This was something like a howl, a scolding perhaps by mother nature for not appreciating the beautiful morning. On the whole this temporary halt from my computer time, made me become conscious and enjoy the mornings’ glory, which  otherwise would have completely gone to  waste.

- The time missed or the time wasted is the time lost forever-.

Friday, February 4, 2011


My children love chocolates.And once in a while,  as a special treat, I make something for them with chocolates.Often they get a craving to eat chocolate fudge.But the truth is however hard I try to bake a perfect fudge,the end result would  always take a disastrous turn.But that didn’t discourage me from baking them ,for I  found a smarter way of making chocolate fudge.Whenever there’s an urgent need to eat them.I simply turn to the instant mix variety. Basically,I have to follow the instructions given on the back of the mix packet.And the fudge is ready to eat. By the way, as much as possible, I try to distract my children to other healthy tidbits, when their cravings for chocolates persists more often.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Travel Sickness

My youngsters  love traveling, but at the same time dread the thought of voyaging long distances due to being affected by' travel sickness'. Every summer vacation  two of my children go through this hassle when we have to travel for more than three hours on the road.Their condition aggravates when the roads are uphill, bumpy or goes round a bend. Though its only the two sons who go through this, the rest of us,  in some way get affected too .We have to stop the vehicle to let them get some fresh air as well as get them cleaned , if any traces of vomit is left  on their clothes. Needless to say, the rest of the journey  is sustained in a somber mood.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cleaning The Clutter In Us

When ever the word clutter, is mentioned, we immediately think of the room, the computer desk or the kitchen. But how often do we think of the clutter in us, the clutter we have created and collected in our heads. The clutter collected up there is an emotional baggage we carry within us, which in other words could be phrased as  a profusion of total confusion. As much as reorganizing  an unkempt room by putting things back in proper places, we need to seriously focus on clearing up the mess holed up in our heads too. All that litter collected in our mind could result in an emotional mayhem. Chaos and confusion takes place, storing bitter and negative feelings, that allow our brains to get tangled and go kaput . And more still, if we didn’t undo these knots sooner, there could be a propensity to let these uncertainties take control of our lives, which could eventually lead to a  nervous breakdown. Next time, let us not think  only of  tossing away  the scraps from the kitchen counter or the unnecessary items from the bedroom dresser. Let’s begin to clean that rubbish off the mind too. By bottling our emotions, there’s always a tendency to flare up at the slightest aggravation. By decluttering and tossing away all those negativity, our minds become  more smarter, much cleaner and healthier. Thus, we become better persons.. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bits And Pieces

An activity which was created on the spur of the moment when my older daughter brought a rose which was presented to her in school. The rest of the siblings wrapped it in woollen to keep it warm and fresh. If you take a closer look at the picture, you’ll probably guess  what the rose is wrapped with.

This ornamental vase was created by my children; using an empty water bottle (to hold the flower) a colourful old sock and a ribbon (Refill the bottle with water if you wish to keep the flower fresh for a day or two).

In the meantime I found this wonderful piece of information that I came across in a household management book. The book furnished two great tips in relevant to preserving fresh flowers.

Freshly cut flowers may be preserved for a long period of time, if placed  in a glass or vase with fresh water, to which a little charcoal has been steeped or in water with a piece of camphor  dissolved.
To revive cut flowers after packing: Immerse the stems into boiling water. (The flowers will be revived, when the water begins to cool).Then trim the ends of the stems and keep them in fresh cold water.

Regrettably I don’t  have charcoal or camphor to experiment this .And the rose is beginning to wilt!