..goodbye 2009..with spicy Mirchi Ka Salan

2009 is done..and so is the fun-filled recipe marathon we all participated from Dec 25th to Dec 31st 2009.. a unique & delicious way to bid adieu to our beloved 2009..(Thanks Nupur for organizing such an awesome pot-luck party)....:)

..I still have the malware problem in my laptop... so I will be quick & concise today....will leave you here..with a spicy curry.. a famous hyderbadi dish - 'Mirchi Ka Salan'...:) Enjoy!!



Mirchi Ka Salan (Peppers in Peanut gravy)

Ingredients:

6 (anaheim) mexican peppers (or any long peppers will do)
1 tsp oil
2 tsp amchur powder

For Salan:

1/4 cup peanuts
3 tbsp cup sesame seeds
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1/2 cup onions, chopped
5-6 dried red chillies
3-4 tbsp shredded coconut
5-6 tbsp tamarind juice
salt- to taste
water - as per consistency

1/8 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp chilli powder (optional)
2 tbsp oil

Preparation:

1. Slit the peppers and remove the seeds. the anaheim peppers, I used were very long..so I cut them into half. Soak them in warm water for couple of minutes and wipe them dry. Pat a little oil on the outer sides on the peppers & rub some amchur powder in the insides..:)

2. Heat a tsp of oil in a pan and sear the peppers into a light charred skin color. Keep aside.

3. In a separate pan, roast peanuts. remove their skin. then roast sesame seeds, cumin seeds and dried red chillies.
Heat little oil and saute the onions for 3-4 minutes until lightly caramelized.

4. Grind together - roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, cumin seeds, caramelized onions, shredded coconut with tamarind juice and water for a paste light consistency.

5. Heat a tbsp of oil and add the salan paste to it. Season with salt, turmeric and chilli powder. Stir in the seared peppers, cover & cook for about 15-20 mins on medium-low heat, stirring couple of times in-between until the sauce thickens. Serve with rice (or) rotis..:)


...more Mirchi Ka Salan: @ Mahanandi ; @ Ruchikacooks ; @ Vindu



Wishing you all a very Happy and Joyous 2010. May all your dreams come true and God Bless us all!!

Chao,
Siri

2-minute Pineapple Dessert

First of all, this post was supposed to be for yesterday (I am cheating my publishing this on yesterday's date ;))... I couldn't publish on time as my system got malware and am still in the process of cleaning it. I have borrowed my friend's laptop.. so that I can quickly hit 'Publish'....:)

..I am so glad, finally I am able to share this easy-peasy dessert with all of you, which I learnt from one of my office colleagues, V. It has no cooking involved and trust me, the taste is mouth-watery. This is her signature dish for almost every pot-luck at our office and we eagerly wait for it, every single time. Yesterday, it was time to take the plunge & create my own. I stayed true to most of the recipe, but to add the touch of saffron was my idea. I love this queen of spices - as DK says 'the stylish and regal spice of all'..

.. do give this recipe a try and you will be pleasantly surprised with it results.. just like I did, when tasted for the first time..




2-minute Pineapple dessert (Adapted from my office colleague, V)

Ingredients:

1.5 cups (canned) crushed pineapple [in 100% pineapple juice]
1 cup fat-free condensed milk [Update: I used sweetened condensed milk]
1 cup light whipped cream
few saffron threads, dissolved in a tbsp of hot water

Preparation

In a large bowl, mix crushed pineapple, condensed milk and whipped cream. Whisk the ingredients rigoursly so that there are no lumps. Add dissolved saffron and stir well. Chill for atleast 3 hours. Serve.

I am sending this as an entry to DK's JFI:Saffron. :)


Today is Day Six in our recipe countdown to New Year...only one more to go.. Yeh!! 2010..we are almost there....

Day Five - Chole Paneer
Day Four - Basic Home-made Granola Mix
Day Three - Methi Pulao
Day Two - Stuffed Bell Peppers
Day One - Cheesy Brown Rice Cakes

Chao,
Siri

Chole Paneer

Oil+Onions+Garlic+Tomatoes+masalas] = Tomato-Onion gravy. (TOG)

..this tomato-onion gravy is such widely used gravy base for most of the north-indian curries. Any vegetable, legumes and meat based curries can be whipped up in minutes, if we just know how to make this TOG. My mom, used to even make this gravy upfront, pour them into ice trays and used to freeze them. Just heat these up, as-and-when-used...:)

Today's recipe uses this TOG base and I added chickpeas & paneer to it. Yum..:)



Chole-Paneer (Chickpeas with Indian Cottage Cheese)

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1 cup paneer, cubed
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
fresh coriander
2 tbsp yogurt
1 tsp lemon juice
salt - to taste
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
1/8 tsp turmeric
2 tsp oil

Preparation:

1. In a large pan, heat 1 tsp oil .add garlic, green chillies & onions. saute until golden brown. then add chopped tomatoes, cook until a little mush. Season with salt, turmeric, chilli powder and garam masala powder. Cook for 5-6 mins until all flavours blend well - together.

2. Add chickpeas and cook for 2 more mins. then add yogurt. Stir well. reduce heat.

3. In a separate pan, heat a tsp oil and saute paneer cubes until golden brown. drain on paper towels.

4. Add these paneer cubes to tomato-onion-chickpea mixture. Cook for 3-4 mins on low heat.

5. Finally add chopped corainder with lemon juice. It tastes awesome with rotis or chapathis :)

I just came home watching the movie of a lifetime - AVATAR 3D. I have just one word for it - 'magnificent'. It is just amazing how James Cameroon built this whimsical world of Pandora and trust me, you wouldn't want to come out of it.. It was B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L.. Don't miss it.. watch it in 3D..:)

Today is Day Five of our recipe countdown to New Year.. 2010.. here we come!!!

Day Four - Basic Home-made Granola Mix
Day Three - Methi Pulao
Day Two - Stuffed Bell Peppers
Day One - Cheesy Brown Rice Cakes

Chao for now,



Basic Home-made Granola Mix

It is a well-known fact that 'High Fructose Corn Syrup'(HFCS), commonly used in processed foods has negative effects on our body. Though eaten in moderation, it wouldn't pose any immediate threat...its pre-dominancy in almost every packaged product these days is a matter of concern to me. I always check the label of any product to make sure that it doesn't have any high amounts of HFCS. I was surprised to see that even my favorite brand of granola bar had large amounts HFCS..

...that is when my rummage for a fool-proof granola mix began.. I wanted to try a basic version first and then try to tweak the recipe...my hunt ended at one of my favorite blogger - Nupur's post and was pleasantly thrilled at the sheer simplicity of the recipe. I made this today, in an hour at most - from start to finish, with the minimal natural ingredients I had in my pantry today and guess what, I am ready for a second batch.. It was that good. I packed them in air-tight containers, ready to be gifted to my friends..:) Happy Holidays everyone..!!!


Basic Home-made Granola mix



Ingredients:

3 cups instant rolled oats
1 cup raw mixed nuts, chopped [I used cashews, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts & walnuts]
1 cup dried raisins and dried cranberries (together)
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
1/4 cup cane sugar
3 tbsp water

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven for 325 F

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl - mix oats and nuts.

3. In a microwave safe bowl, mix cane sugar with 3 tbsp of water and MW for 50-60 seconds. (make sure sugar is completely dissolved and it has syrupy-consistency)

4. Add the sugar syrup to oats& nuts and stir well so that they are evenly coated.

5. Pour the oats & nuts mixture on a (lightly greased) baking sheet and bake for 25 mins, stirring 2-3 times in regular intervals. Then add raisins, chopped dates and cranberries & bake for 5 more mins.

6. Cool the mixture and then store in an air-tight container.

Serve with yogurt and fruit :)) Yummy! 




Thanks Nupur for such a lovely recipe and am ready now to make a variety of versions of it - with different fruit based syrup, honey-sugar syrup, dark mollases-honey-sugar syrup (just like Nupur's recipe asked for) etc etc.. I have so many ideas..and I wish to do them all..:))).

Today is Day Four of our recipe countdown to New Year..browse through the side-bar to see what everyone else is cooking.

until tomorrow,

Methi Pulao

Andhra Pradesh, the state in India I hail from is sweetly named as 'Rice bowl of India'. We eat rice almost every day and we love it to the fullest...:)..

.... but some unfortunate events ,happening back in my state are threatening the very integrity of it. Some want a separate state called - 'Telangana'..on the sole reason that the region is being neglected and proper funds are not allocated for its development. though the demand for separate state is not new, recent events took a new twist and every day - the first thing I tell my parents, when I call them is 'to be careful'...it is sad that when politics become pre-dominant, the voice of the people is snubbed and the result of that is ...utter chaos.. I fervently hope things would settle soon, back home and everything comes to its normality.. Do I support this 'separate state'.. Hell No!.. It is so hard for  me to comprehend the thought that my state will be broken into pieces.. It is entirely my opinion & there might be others who totally disagree with me.

....coming back to today's recipe...is a rice dish ofcourse..'Methi Pulao'..and the recipe is of sindi roommate....we ate this with a spicy eggplant-tomato curry and it was simply heavenly..:) Enjoy.




Methi Pulao (Fenugreek Pulao) [my sindhi rommate's recipe]

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh fenugreek leaves
1 cup long-grain basmati rice
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
1 cup vegetables - I used beans, carrots & corn.
2 green chillies, very finely chopped
2 bay leaves
2 cardamom & clove pods
2 tbsp ghee (butter or oil)
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
salt - to taste

Preparation:

1. Clean rice and soak for atleast 15-20 mins.

2. In a pan, heat ghee and drop cloves, cardamom and bay leaves. let them crackle. Add green chillies and tomatoes. Cook until a little mush. then add the rest of veggies. cook until tender.

3. Add methi leaves and cook for 5 mins till it releases the aromatic smell of fenugreek..:). Add rice and fry for couple of minutes. Add 2 cups of water. Season with salt and garam masala. Mix well. Do not cover yet.

4. Let it come to a rolling boil, then cover & cook on medium heat until rice is done.

Optional: Garnish with fried onion and cilantro & serve hot with a spicy side dish.

Heaven! :)

Eggplant-Tomato Curry -





Today is Day Three of the recipe countdown to New Year 2010..to know what other participants are cooking.. please scroll through the right-hand-side-bar.

Chao,

Stuffed Bell peppers

Today's recipe is very dear to me.. why you ask? - it was made not by me.. but by 'S' (Are you listening?)....:)) Ok, here is what happened yesterday.

I love surprises...truly lady-like.. (jaise filmo me hota hai) I expect 'S' to surprise me ..not everyday..but atleast for special occasions...and as it always happens - 'one always finds their opposites in life'..'S' doesn't believe in the concept of 'surprising'..of any sort - his philosophy about this: "What if the person doesn't like whatever he got? waste of effort, time and money. Right?. Instead take the person to the store and ask him/her to choose whatever (s)he wants..I will pay the bill.;) Done-done!"..I mean.. 'surprises' do not work that way right?.. I have been struggling to explain this to him for such a long time.. that now I gave up..:)..

..but this christmas..(which was yesterday)..he did the 'unexpected'..where he volunteered to make 'lunch' for both of us..to be really honest I didn't know what to expect.. he said absolutely nothing about what he was gonna make.. though it took him quite a long time to come out of the kitchen.. the end-result was heavenly, I must say. I never thought of adding yogurt to any kind of stuffing.. he did.. today's recipe - 'Stuffed Bell peppers' is all-his and when served with hot rice.. I can't express in words how tasty it was....he indeed made my day..:)))




Stuffed Bell peppers

Ingredients:

5 medium-sized bell peppers
3 tbsp olive oil
salt - to taste

For stuffing:

1 cup besan (chickpea flour)
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp yogurt
2 tbsp roasted peanut powder
2 tbsp roasted sesame seed powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
fresh corainder, finely chopped
2 tsp chilli powder
salt - to taste
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 cup water

Preparation:

1. To make stuffing: Heat oil in pan, add cumin seeds,garlic and onion - fry till golden brown. Then add besan and saute till light brown. Season with salt, turmeric and chilli powder. Stir in yogurt and mix well. Finally add roasted peanut powder and sesame powder. For a paste-like consistency, add a cup of water. Towards the end, add freshly chopped coriander and mix well. the stuffing is ready!!

2. Cut the top part of bell peppers, remove the stem & seeds. Fill the hollow peppers with the stuffing. Lightly rub the outer skin of the peppers with (oil + little salt) mixture.

3. In a pan, heat a few teaspoons of oil and drop the stuff peppers. Cover the pan and cook on medium heat, flipping each side occasionally..to get the charred skin taste of the peppers. Serve hot with rice. :)


This is my recipe for Day Two of recipe countdown to New Year, 2010. scroll down the right sidebar of the blog, to see what other marathoners are upto..

Hope you all had a joyful Christmas,

until tomorrow,

Cheesy Brown Rice Cakes

What do you do when you are waiting to be attended to at a beauty parlor? my favorite past time is to browse through their cooking magazines..and there are some recipes which you see and instantly fall in love with. Your subconscious mind already sets the plan and all the rest of the body has to do - is follow it ;)...One such recipe is this cheesy rice cake recipe.. which I saw in Rachel Ray magazine (No! I am not a fan of hers).



Cheesy Brown rice Cakes (Adapted from Rachel Ray magazine)

Ingredients:

1 cup brown rice medley (It is a blend of long-grain brown rice, black barley and radish seeds, which I got from my local Trader Joes. this can be substituted with any kind of firm rice. the original recipe used 'arborio rice')
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (original recipe: 1 cup)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (original recipe: 1 cup)
salt & pepper - to taste
crushed red pepper flakes - as per taste
1/2 cup bread crumbs
olive oil - for shallow frying
1 egg (optional) - I had to omit this as my friend, whom I was serving this was - a staunch vegetarian.

Preparation:

1. Cook rice as per package instruction. Set aside and cool slightly.

2. In a bowl, mix rice, both cheeses and egg (if using). Season with salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. (Don't let the mixture cool, as it would be hard to make patties then.)

3. Heat some olive oil in a pan. Make patties of desired shape, roll in bread crumbs and shallow fry both sides (turning very carefully) on medium-low heat. Drain on paper towels & serve warm with spinach salad on side.  Yumm-o!!


I am sending rhis as an entry to Superchef's event - Sunday Snacks:Cheese. Enjoy!

Today is the Day One of Nupur's 7-day recipe marathon countdown to New Year. To check what rest of the 25 bloggers are cooking , check the 'Recipe Marathoners' feed on the right-side bar of the blog.

Merry Christmas to all....

Merry Christmas



............... and Happy Holidays 2009

Menu For Hope # 6




What is Menu for Hope?

Menu for Hope is an annual fund-raising campaign hosted by a group of food-bloggers in the month of December and it has proudly entered its 6th year now. The idea was conceived by Chez pim, 5 years ago to raise funds for people effected by tsunami-hit South-east Asia. In the past three years, Menu for Hope have raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars to help the WFP end world hunger.

This year, Menu for Hope is in support of the UN World Food Programme, especially highlighting the new initiative Purchase for Progress (P4P). P4P enables smallholder and low-income farmers to supply food to WFP’s global operation, helping farmers improves their practices and putting more cash directly into their pockets in return for their crops. This will immensely help their local economy by creating jobs and income locally.

We, as fellow food bloggers can make an impact  and every dollar donated will make a huge difference to a farmer in thelow income countries to buy his own seeds and produce food locally..ultimately making them self-reliant.

Here are the rules for participation:

1. Use this Menu Hope Donation Form to view the master list of bid items and for a simple 3-step checkout process.


Each $10 you donate will give you one raffle ticket toward a bid item of your choice. For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for EU01 and 3 tickets for EU02. This would be entered as “2xEU01, 3xEU02″.


2. Please check the box to allow us to see your email address so that we can contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.

The Menu for Hope raffle runs until December 25, 2009 (only 4 days left) and the results will be announced on January 28, 2010 at Chez Pim.

Let us all join hands and donate as much as we can to support such a great cause.

until next time,


 



(Snow) Men.. in my life!!





Which one is your 'handsome hunk'? :-)

P.S: I hope you all like the new festive look of my blog. Happy Holidays to you all!


Chickpeas with Spinach

There are some books which evoke such nice feelings in you that you wanna go back and read them again and again...and again.. One such book is 'Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant', which is a collection of essays from many renowned foodie people who basically open up and talk about what would they do cook when they are absolutely alone. It can be quite challenging and boring, I must say to cook just for oneself and this book says it all - it has many funny moments.. where you just laugh-out-loud and think what would you do then.. if you were them!

... sometimes it feels nice to know that there are people out there who most of the times enjoy and sometimes loathe to cook - just for themselves...


Today's recipe is something I made just out of a whim.. not as elaborate as our Indian version of 'Chana Palak'.. just a quickie version of that.. but equally yummy and tasty...Enjoy!


Chickpeas with Spinach

Ingredients:

1 can of chickpeas, rinsed
1 bag of fresh spinach
1 medium onion, finely chopped
a very small ginger piece, very finely chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp olive oil
salt - to taste
1/8 tsp turmeric
1 tsp amchur powder (raw mango powder)
1/2 tsp chilli powder

Preparation:

1. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. Saute ginger and chopped onions until golden brown.

2. Add chickpeas and cook for about 2-3 mins. Add turmeric, salt, amchur and chilli powder. Mix well and let the flavors blend in together.

3. Finally add spinach and mix & cook for 3-5 mins on medium-low flame, covered until wilted. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve hot as side dish with rice or bread.


I am sending this recipe as an entry to My Legume Love Affair 18, this month guest hosted by Srivalli. Originally the idea for this event was conceived by Susan of 'The Well-Seasoned Cook'.

Hope you are all gearing up for the upcoming holidays!

P.S: Just ONE day left, if you wish to vote for my blog @ Indibloggies 2008 awards for 'Best Food Indiblog' category . Click here for more details.


Indibloggies 2008 Voting

Hi ppl,

With great pleasure and pride, I am happy to let you guys know that my blog - 'Siri's Corner' has been nominated for 2008 Indibloggies awards in the 'BestFood Indiblog' category.

If you wish to vote for me, please follow the link below:




Hope you all had a fun-filled Thanksgiving.

Chao,


Proven ways to reduce stress...

...this post is like a keep-sake for me...a reminder that life is never perfect and is ALWAYS a roller-coaster ride. So many people have asked me why I am blogging less frequently these days.. Well, the answer is kinda unknown to me too.. I guess, my life has changed (still is changing) so much in last few months that I am still trying to get a hang of it.. When the right time arrives, I will definitely update you guys with all of it.. till then.. :)))

As I was having my evening tea today, my roommate gave me a pamphlet which had the following 'proven stress reducers' and I thought instead of taking a xerox of it and (for sure) loosing it.. I thought why not chronicle them here on my blog... it might be useful to somebody out there and to me too!.. So, here it goes..




1. Get up 15 mins earlier in the morning. The inevitable morning mishaps will be less stressful.

2. Prepare for the morning the evening before. Set the breakfast table, make lunches, put out the clothes you plan to wear etc.

3. Don't rely on our memory. Write down appointment times, when to pick up the laundry, when library books are due etc. "The palest ink is better than the most retentive memory!" ~ Old Chinese Proverb.

4. Do nothing which after being done, leads you to tell a lie.

5. Make duplicates of all keys. Bury a house key in a secret spot in the garden and carry a duplicate car key in your wallet, apart from your key ring.

6. Practice preventive maintenance. Your car, appliances, home AND relationships will be less likely to break down/fall apart "at the worst possible moment."

7. Be prepared to wait. A paperback can make a wait in a post office line almost pleasant. :)

8. Procrastination is stressful. Whatever you want to do tomorrow, do today! whatever you want to do today, do it now.



9. Plan ahead. Don't let the gas tank get below one-quarter full; keep a well-stocked "emergency shelf" of home staples; don't wait until you're down to your last bus token or postage stamp to buy more etc.

10. Don't put up with something that doesn't work right. If your alarm clock, wallet, shoe laces, windshield wipers - whatever - are a constant aggravation, get them fixed or get new ones.

11. Allow 15 minutes of extra time to get to appointments. Plan to arrive at an airport one hour before domestic departures.

12. Eliminate (or restrict) the amount of caffeine in your diet.

13. Always set up contingency plans, "just in case." ("If for some reason either of us is delayed, here?s what we?ll do?" kind of thing. Or, "If we get split up in the shopping center, here?s where we?ll meet.")

14. Pollyanna-Power! For every one thing that goes wrong, there are probably 10 or 50 or 100 blessings. Count ?em!

15. Ask questions. Taking a few moments to repeat back directions, what someone expects of you, etc., can save hours. (The old "the hurrieder I go, the behinder I get, " idea.)

16. Say "No!" Saying "no" to extra projects, social activities, and invitations you know you don?t have the time or energy for takes practice, self-respect, and a belief that everyone, everyday, needs quiet time to relax and be alone.

17. Unplug your phone. Want to take a long bath, meditate, sleep, or read without interruption? Drum up the courage to temporarily disconnect. (The possibility of there being a terrible emergency in the next hour or so is almost nil.) Or use an answering machine.

18. Turn "needs" into preferences. Our basic physical needs translate into food, water, and keeping warm. Everything else is a preference. Don?t get attached to preferences.

19. Simplify, simplify, simplify?

20. Make friends with nonworriers. Nothing can get you into the habit of worrying faster than associating with chronic worrywarts.

21. Get up and stretch periodically if your job requires that you sit for extended periods.

22. Wear earplugs. If you need to find quiet at home, pop in some earplugs.

23. Get enough sleep. If necessary, use an alarm clock to remind you to go to bed.

24. Create order out of chaos. Organize your home and workspace so that you always know exactly where things are. Put things away where they belong and you won?t have to go through the stress of losing things.

25. When feeling stressed, most people tend to breathe in short, shallow breaths. When you breathe like this, stale air is not expelled, oxidation of the tissues is incomplete, and muscle tension frequently results. Check your breathing throughout the day, and before, during, and after high-pressure situations. If you find your stomach muscles are knotted and your breathing is shallow, relax all your muscles and take several deep, slow breaths. Note how, when you?re relaxed, both your abdomen and chest expand when you breathe.

26. Writing your thoughts and feelings down (in a journal, or on paper to be thrown away) can help you clarify things and can give you a renewed perspective.




27. Try the following yoga technique whenever you feel the need to relax. Inhale deeply through you nose to the count of eight. Then, with lips puckered, exhale very slowly through your mouth to the count of 16, or for as long as you can. Concentrate on the long sighing sound and feel the tension dissolve. Repeat 10 times.

28. Inoculate yourself against a feared event. Example: before speaking in public, take time to go over every part of the experience in your mind. Imagine what you?ll wear, what the audience will look like, how you will present your talk, what the questions will be and how you will answer them, etc. Visualize the experience the way you would have it be. You?ll likely find that when the time comes to make the actual presentation, it will be "old hat" and much of your anxiety will have fled.

29. When the stress of having to get a job done gets in the way of getting the job done, diversion ? a voluntary change in activity and/or environment ? may be just what you need.

30. Talk it out. Discussing your problems with a trusted friend can help clear your mind of confusion so you can concentrate on problem solving.

31. One of the most obvious ways to avoid unnecessary stress is to select an environment (work, home, leisure) which is in line with your personal needs and desires. If you hate desk jobs, don?t accept a job which requires that you sit at a desk all day. If you hate to talk politics, don?t associate with people who love to talk politics, etc.

32. Learn to live one day at a time.

33. Every day, do something you really enjoy.

34. Add an ounce of love to everything you do.

35. Take a hot bath or shower (or a cool one in summertime) to relieve tension.

36. Do something for somebody else.

37. Focus on understanding rather than on being understood; on loving rather than on being loved.

39. Do something that will improve your appearance. Looking better can help you feel better.

40. Schedule a realistic day. Avoid the tendency to schedule back-to-back appointments; allow time between appointments for a breathing spell.

41. Become more flexible. Some things are worth not doing perfectly and some issues are well to compromise upon.

42. Eliminate destructive self-talk: "I'm too old to?," "I'm too fat to?," etc.

43. Use your weekend time for a change of pace. If you work week is slow and patterned, make sure there is action and time for spontaneity built into your weekends. If your work week is fast-paced and full of people and deadlines, seek peace and solitude during your days off. Feel as if you aren?t accomplishing anything at work? Tackle a job on the weekend which you can finish to your satisfaction.

44. "Worry about the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves." That's another way of saying: take care of the todays as best you can and the yesterdays and the tomorrows will take care of themselves.

45. Do one thing at a time. When you are with someone, be with that person and with no one or nothing else. When you are busy with a project, concentrate on doing that project and forget about everything else you have to do.

46. Allow yourself time..everyday.. for privacy, quiet, and introspection.

47. If an especially unpleasant task faces you, do it early in the day and get it over with; then the rest of your day will be free of anxiety.

48. Learn to delegate responsibility to capable others.

49. Don't forget to take a lunch break. Try to get away from your desk or work area in body and mind, even if it?s just for 15 or 20 minutes.

50. Forget about counting to 10. Count to 1,000 before doing something or saying anything that could make matters worse.

51. Have a forgiving view of events and people. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world.

52. Have an optimistic view of the world. Believe that most people are doing the best they can.

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Tofu Rancheros

We all use food to affect our moods all the time without even thinking about it. It is that connection between mind, body and soul that determines how healthy we are both emotionally and physically. Did you know that milk acts as a very good mood lifter because it contains tryptophan, an amino acid that is used in the production of serotonin. Serotonin is the 'feel good' neurotransmitter in the brain, so making more of it improves your mood and sense of well-being. Likewise, whole-grain rice or pasta also boosts serotonin levels, while the slow-release aspect of the carbohydrates helps to sustain the good feelings. Since whole grains are digested more slowly, they provide you with a longer-lasting effect than you get from simple carbs.

Paying close attention to what we are eating and knowing how it is affecting us is very important. Today's recipe is one such feel good recipe, a tofu twist on a classic mexican dish. It is vegan, gluten-free and doesn't ask for any kind of cheese.  Enjoy...




Tofu Rancheros (Adapted from Vegetarian Times- September '09)

Serves: 6
Time: 30 mins or fewer

2 tsp olive oil [vegetable oil]**
1 medium onion, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin-coriander powder [cumin seeds]**
2 tsp oregano [I skipped this]
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes [1 15-oz can tomato sauce]**
1 cup diced extra-firm tofu
2 tbsp lime juice
1 can refried beans, warmed
6 wheat tortillas [6-inch corn tortillas]**
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

** ingredients in the original recipe

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion, chili powder, cumin-coriander powder. Saute for 5 mins. Stir in tomatoes and tofu. Cover and cook for 6-7 mins. Finally add lime juice and cilantro. Adjust salt as per the refried bean taste.

To Assemble: Spread beans on tortillas and top with tofu mixture. Garnish with tomatoes, avocado and cilantro.




This also makes a prefect entry to this month's Monthly Mingle:Brunch.

Have a great week ahead.





Source

Urad Dal with Tomatoes

I was gone, missing from my blog for couple of months and it happens when one's life gets unexpectedly busy and also when there is absolutely NO motivation to cook something special just - for oneself. But, I have been blog-hopping a lot and bookmarked so many wonderful recipes that the list is unmanageable now. One such recipe is this which I saw long time ago and made it at last.

I always used Urad dal just for tempering and never made a complete dal out of it. I seriously thought this would just turn out very mushy and funny. Guess, I was wrong. Also what I didn't know was, this dal is served as a main course in many punjabi households. I am glad, I explored this 'gentle dal'.. finally!

This is my entry to Susan's 'My Legume Love Affair - 16', guest hosted by Jeanne.




Urad Tamatar Dal (Adapted from here)

Ingredients:

1 cup urad dal (without skins)
4 cups water
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/8 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp ghee (or canola oil)
salt - to taste
fresh coriander - for garnish [which is missing for my dish as I didn't have any]

For tempering:

1 piece of star anise
2 cloves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp minced ginger
2 whole red chillies
a pinch asafoetida powder

Preparation:

1. Wash dal thoroughly and keep aside.

2. Melt some ghee in a saucepan and add water & turmeric. Once it comes to a boil, add washed dal to bring it to a boil again. On medium-low flame, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. Now add tomatoes. Continue cooking for 45mins more, until the dal is fully cooked. Remove from heat and add salt. [If you are in a rush, pressure cook the same ingredients for 2 whistles]

3. Heat remaining ghee in a pan and add ginger & other ingredients listed under 'tempering'. Saute until light brown. Finally add cooked dal and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with rice (or roti).


Happy Halloween to all!!!


I always come across so many wonderful articles and from now on..at the end of my posts..u will find the 'article of the week'...

Since today is Halloween.. Check out the 'Four Kinds of Vampires that haunt your life' ..:)


Foodbuzz Blog Awards

I was so excited to see some of my favorite blogs nominated for this year's Foodbuzz Blog Awards.

Click here to vote for your favorites too.

Deadline: All through October 2009. Winners will be announced on Novermber 7th at Foodbuzz Blogger Festival at San Francisco.

Goodluck to all the nominees and May the best man/woman win :-).

- Siri

Chickpeas and Potato curry and HC update...

Monday & Tuesday - are the only two days I was able to survive myself for the Hunger Challenge week...then came my birthday on Wednesday and it was impossible for me to further continue as the birthday cake itself was more than $10. I should have realized that before I took up this daunting task ..but well, atleast I had a chance to participate for two days which made me realize how difficult it is to sustain oneself on a $4 food stamp per day.

..I made this 'Chickpea and Potato Curry' on Tuesday for the Hunger Challenge.



Chickpeas and Potato Curry (Aloo Chole)

Ingredients:

1/2 can of chickpeas, drained & washed [$0.86]
1 potato, peeled, cubed [$0.99]
1/2 tomato,chopped [$0.56]
1/2 tsp oil
salt to taste
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/8 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 cup water

How to make:

Heat oil in a saucepan, add cumin seeds and let them splutter. Add chopped tomato and cook until mush. Mix cubed potato into it and cook until tender. Mix chickpeas, turmeric, salt, garam masala, chilli powder to the potato mixture. Add water and let the curry cook for 8-10 mins on medium-low. It can be served with rice or any kind of bread.


Here are my advanced Dussehra wishes [September 28th 2009] to you all ..:). May Goddess Durga bless one and all.


Image courtesy

~ Siri

Hunger Challenge Week: Sept 20th - 26th 2009 - Couscous Avocado Salad

I know, I have been missing from my blog for quite sometime due to some personal commitments which took all of my free time. In the meantime, I shifted to a new place and that means - packing, unpacking and settling myself was one helluva job in itself.

...though I was blog-hopping all this while, a little motivation - was the only thing required for me to get back! ...and Amy's post on Hunger Challenge gave me that push.

Some Hunger Facts, in USA -


    * In San Francisco, 150,000 people are unsure where their next meal is coming from.
    * 1 in 4 San Francisco children lack regular access to the food they need to learn, grow and have  a healthy start in life.
    * 1 in 5 San Francisco adults cannot count on the daily meals they need to lead healthy, productive lives.
    * 1 in 4 San Francisco seniors lack the nourishment needed to control chronic health problems.
    * For every $1 donated, San Francisco Food Bank can distribute $9 worth of groceries.
    * San Francisco Food Bank distributed over 33.5 million pounds of food in the past year - nearly 8% more than the year before.
    * Half of the food that San Francisco Food Bank distributes is fresh produce – more than 16 million pounds of it last year.
    * More than 35 million people in our country are on food stamps - up 3 million just since January.
    * About 40% of families now on food stamps have “earned income” – up from just 25% two years ago.
    * 60% of the clients San Francisco Food Bank served last year come from working households.
    * In California, the average food stamp recipient gets $4 a day to spend on groceries.
    * In California, a single person is can get food stamps only if their yearly gross income is $14,079 or less.
    * 5.3 million Californians are living below the federal poverty line ($21,834 for a family of four).
    * The number of households participating in San Francisco Food Bank’s grocery pantry program is up 24% over last year.

...$4 is approximately 200 Rupees in India and there are so many unfortunate people who earn less than 100 Rupees a day and have to feed a whole family on it. Hunger, in any part of the world is a dreadful experience and hope by creating awareness through this Hunger Challenge, I could be of some help - in my own little way.






Hunger Challenge Rules:

1. Spend just $4 a day or $28 a week (per person) for your entire food and drink budget. This is the average amount that food stamp recipients have to spend on food.

2. The $28 limit includes any food and drink consumed inside or outside of your home, as well as any staples or condiments you have on hand (salt, pepper and tap water are considered “free”).

3. Do not accept any free food from family, friends or at work (that means coffee, too!).

4. If you have a garden, please price-out any produce you source from your garden based on supermarket or farmers market prices in your area and include that cost in your $28 total.

It will be just me who is gonna take part in this week's Hunger Challenge and I will try my best to post my progress everyday here, on my blog!

Some useful links:

Hunger Challenge Recipes

Blog posts on Hunger Challenge 2008

Hunger Challenge posts from SuperChef

Hunger Challenge posts from Sig

50 items at Whole Foods for under $1.50

Today's recipe:

Couscous Avocado Salad

This salad, my dinner today is at its simplest best. Just with couple of ingredients, few of minutes of prep and you have a full meal in itself.



1. Boil 1/2 cup of water with 1/8 tsp of salt. Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup of Whole Wheat Couscous. Cover and keep aside for 5-7 mins. Fluff it with a fork, once done.

2. Meanwhile, slice half avocado into small slices.

3. In a mixing bowl, add couscous, avocado pieces with salsa and some hot pepper sauce. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Variation: Couscous can be substituted with any grain like brown rice, quinoa etc.

16 oz Couscous packet: $3.49; 1/2 Avocado: $0.83; Salsa (one whole bottle): $2.99; Hot pepper sauce (one bottle): $2.76

The quantities used for the recipe vary according to one's taste. But, the total cost would definitely be less than $2.

Have a good week ahead. cya soon!

Siri

Second Blog-O-Anniversary



Image Credit

Am I still dreaming or has it really been 2 years, (with 247 posts) that I started this blog. For someone, who was totally jobless at that time and with absolutely NO experience at cooking, maintaining such a thing is really a big deal.

All thanks to such wonderful people whom I met all along this fabulous journey and have learnt so much from them in this once-an-unknown territory, that it surprises me myself.

Thank you for all your love and support,

Siri

Repost: Preparation Vinayaka Chavithi



Image Credit

Vinayaka Chavithi (Ganesh Chaturthi) is one of the very auspicious festivals observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhadrapada, starting on the Shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). This year it is on August 23rd 2009, which is Tomorrow.

So, I thought why not re-post couple of useful links for performing the pooja, especially for people like me who stay far away from India. :)

Original Post

Vinayaka Chavithi Pooja Vidhanam - Text in Telugu and in English.

Vinayaka Chavithi Pooja Vidhanam - Audio(Telugu): Part 1 : Puja
Part 2 : Katha*

May Lord Ganesha bless you all and Happy Vinayaka Chavithi.

*Courtesy: teluguone.com

Siri

One stop shop for.. Srilankan recipes

Finally Finally.. here is the roundup of AWED:Srilankan event :)

Without any ado, let's begin the roundup with the entry of patentee of this event ;)


Entry 1: Kiri bath with Lunu Miris from DK of 'Chef In You'


Entry 2: Mun ata Kiribath with Lunu Miris from Sweatha of 'Tasty Curry Leaf'



Entry 3: Kahabath + Potato curry from Dipali of 'Centaur Cooks..'




Entry 4: Srilankan Omlette Curry from HB of 'Dew Drop in the Kitchen'



Entry 5: Pol Roti from Lubna of 'Yummy Food'



Entry 6: Aubergine Morju from Sudha of 'Malaysian Delicacies'



Entry 7: SriLankan Egg Curry from Raje of 'Raje's Culinary Adventures'



Entry 8: Eggplant Moju from Vani of 'Mysoorean'


Entry 9: Soyabeans Kofta Curry from Pinky of 'Esho-Bosho-Aahare'




Entry 10: Beetroot Thel Dala from Nags of 'Edible Garden'



Entry 11: Mango Curry from Nags of 'Edible Garden'



Entry 12: Red Onion Sambol (Lunumiris) from Bee & Jai of Jugalbandi



Entry 13: Pol Sambol from Malini of 'Khana Khazana with Malini'




Entry 14: Kiribath from Malini of 'Khana Khazana with Malini'



Entry 15: Mutta Barotta from Malar of Kitchen Tantra



Entry 16: Wambatu Curry from Priya of 'Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes'



Entry 17: Vegetarian Chilli Sambal from Priya of 'Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes'




Entry 18: Sri Lankan Paruppu Kari from Priya of 'Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes'



Entry 19: Wattalappan from Priya of 'Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes'


Entry 20: Ala Badun (Srilankan Deviled Potatoes) from Priya of 'Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes'



Entry 21: Srilankan Broccoli Fry from Priya of 'Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes'



Entry 22: Srilankan Rolls from Priya of 'Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes'


Entry 23: Mixed Veg Parotta from Sree of Vidya's Kitchen

A hearty thanks to one & all for contributing their recipe creations to AWED :)

Current theme: AWED: German hosted by Lakshmi Venkatesh.

Enjoy!

Siri
 
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