Monthly Archives: May 2010

Creative gift wrapping ideas-2

I took some pics of the gifts I wrapped for the party this weekend.

This one is dance mat,that came in a rectangle box. The triangle on top is just a folded newspaper. And the doors and windows are made of aluminium foil.It was a present for a 5 year old and she was kicked to see the details:)
See the CD box behind the wrapped present?That is a box of crayons.I wrapped it up like a toffee,in tissue paper,like this:

Tell me what you think:)
Edited to-change the order of the pics.

Whole wheat herb&cheese muffins


Weekend Brunches are back in our household-only difference,now its good home-cooked food,and not cafe/restaurant fare!
The deal is -hubby makes the tea and I dish out the goodies..fair enough?You think?? I have to grovel every other weekend..for that cuppa chai! but on those other weekends,when he makes it without the grovelling,its a bliss!So anyway,coming back to the weekend Brunch..on Saturday,I made this Spinach casserole,following Monu’s recipe,as it is..it turned out great..only I should have used more spinach.We had it with Papad and Boondi Raita.
On Sunday,I made these whole wheat herb and cheese muffins. I had been wanting to try savory muffins for a long time..but didn’t find any recipe,that I wanted to try.So,today,I decided to experiment..and it was a success.
Here you go:

Savory Whole Wheat Herb and Cheese Muffins

Ingredients
1.5 cups whole wheat flour(atta)
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup grated cheese(any cheese you like)
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup olive oil spread
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
2-3 tsp chopped mint
2-3 tsp chopped corriander
1 medium sized onion-fine chopped
2 green chilies chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Oil for greasing

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 200degF or 180 deg fan forced.
Sift the flours and baking powder in a bowl.
Add the cheese,herbs and salt and pepper to the flour mix.
Melt the olive oil spread in a pan and pour it into the flour bowl,reserving about 2 tsp melted butter for frying onions.Fry the onions till translucent.Let it cool.
Beat the egg and milk together.Slowly add this to the flour mixture,stirring simultaneously.Mix well to incorporate all the flour.Add more milk if required.
The batter will be lumpy.
Put the batter in a greased muffin tray,filling each cup about two-thirds full.
Bake it at 180deg fan forced for 15-20 minutes,till the tester comes out clean.
Serve hot with ketchup or dips of your choice.
We had ours with ketchup,hummus,garlic sauce and Chai!
I think it will go well with a mint chutney too.Next time,may be I’ll replace the chai with freshly squeezed orange juice!yummm..
If you happen to bake this,do let me know,how it was 🙂
Enjoy!

Orange n’ purple scarf


This scarf was made for a friend,who loves handmades-specially my handmades.
When I first started ,I was going to follow a pattern on Ravelry.But,somehow,after the first 2-3 shells,I changed my mind.I had a picture in my mind,the next step was to achieve it.
This is what I came up with.

I wrote down the pattern,so,if anyone wants to use it,feel free to do so.I keep forgetting to write the pattern,so this time,I did it pronto.
Material- 100% acrylic 8 ply yarn,assorted colors-leftover yarn.
hook-4.0mm
Pattern-
Chain 140.
Row1-Sc all along.
Row 2- Chain3,*skip 1 sc,2 dc in the next sc,repeat from * all along.
Row 3- Change color- Chain3,1 dc in the same stitch, 2 dc in the space,all along.
Continue till you get the desired width.
Last row- sc all along.
Add fringes,if you like.
Hope you enjoy making and using it.Don’t forget to link back to me,if you use it.

Creative Gift Wrapping ideas

I am forever looking for wrapping a gift in a way that’s simple yet cute.
When wrapping my presents,I use all sorts of things-wrapping paper,cellophane paper,newspaper,stamped butter paper,fabric,strings,leaves,fresh flowers,beads,ribbons.And though I love the classic clean gift wraps,I can’t help but play around.
If I am giving a soft book/or a tubular roll of colored pens..I just roll it and wrap it to look like toffee,using slightly longer length of the wrapping paper and ribbons.
Same thing goes for something flat and round like a cookie box.
I don’t have many pictures of my own gift wrapping,except this one:

This is simple jewellery box,wrapped in crepe paper with colorful string,to resemble a potli or hobo-bundle! I was going to add a twig to it but it was too dark to go outside and look for it 😛
I also found these cute gift wrapping ideas,on google.(all images courtesy google images)

These bags are the best alternative to store bought gift-bags-economic and ‘Green’.

And look at this-So cute-just right to wrap up that scarf or book.I love it!

And this one-The gift is wrapped in a soft blanket-you are giving not one but two gifts!how cool is that!

While you are at it,do check what Martha has to say- I absolutely HEART her plant wrappings!
P.S. this is my first time,doing this type of a post..so please excuse my unpolished take on it!

Where did this week go?

Gosh..its already Thursday!!Where did the week go??
We had a super-busy weekend-Indian grocery,vegetable market,gift-hunting,a house-warming party,baking/cooking,a dinner and before we knew it,the weekend was over-Poof!!
On Monday morning,we woke up sore-the kind of soreness that comes from excercising a lot!*Starting to digress-In a way thats good-i dont feel so bad about not being able to start week2 of the Couch25K..Mornings are so cold,these days..I tried going out for a walk,early morning by 7.30 am,but came back with a headache,that last 2 whole days.So,I gave up.But,we have been blessed with good sunny afternoons,so I go for walks..I have been walking almost 40-45 minutes,3-4 times in a week.OK digression over.
So,Monday was playgroup day..Aadi was so tired,she woke up just half an hour before the scheduled time..ideally,when we leave home..but I have a rule,about not waking her up,in the morning.Most days she is up really early and every once in a while,she sleeps in and makes up for all those early mornings.So,anyway,she woke up late,and we reached there late. After playgroup,we went over to a friend’s house,the one whose housewarming party we attended,spent the afternoon there and then went to the park and then finally reached home-Walked 45 minutes.
Tuesday,was spent in cleaning..-somehow,I just dont get that happy feeling after cleaning these days.May be because,I am so stressed-first about the mammoth task of gathering Aadya’s toys from every corner of the house..then the size of the house.I can never clean the whole house in one go! and so even if two rooms are clean,other two are still taunting me! So,after cleaning the next thing on my list was baking.A friend’s daughter S was turning 5 and I offered to bake cupcakes for her kinder class.I gathered all my baking supplies and started to line up the muffin pan and realised,that I had the wrong liners.Aadi was sleeping,I woke her up half an hour early and hated myself for it..but time was short..It was almost 4 and I had to get the cupcakes baked and frosted by 7.00 pm.I almost ran to the shops,got the right liners..and was back home by 5.00.Then,started aggressive whisking,folding,pouring,baking! I had to bake 30 plus a few more..so,I made 4 batches of cupcakes.
When the third batch was in the oven,I started to work on the butter-cream.And it turned out PERFECTTTTTTTT,if I say so,myself!it was just light and fluffy.I finally got done by 8.00 and left to drop off the bounty!A doll got dropped on one tray and then the other..and finally we managed to deliver them safely..with only two smudged frostings!My friend fed us dinner and we came back,only at midnight.
Wednesday-Took Aadi to the library for story-time,then hung around in the mall with one of the mums and finally walked back home.cooked lunch,and dozed off with Aadi.Woke up,cooked dinner..by now,the un-vaccummed floor was beginning to prick me in the eye..After dinner,I sent DH and Aadi to the bedroom and started cleaning,furiously.Vaccummed the floor,loaded the washing machine/dishwasher,cleaned the kitchen..washed the baking trays..and then finally sat down to enjoy the silence and clean living room..the mopping ,toy room and guest-room can wait till thursday.
Phew…just writing about the week..tires me out.Thursday will be spent at home,finishing up the cleaning..and Friday is school day.Saturday is S’s birthday party and hopefully I will get to rest on Sunday!
Sorry,I havent blog-hopped or commented..but now u know why..hope everyone is doing well.

Abc of my life…

I think this was a tag that did the rounds nearly two years back.I was wondering what to write today and remembered this..Here’s the ABC of my life-

A – A is for Aadya..that covers pretty much my life.And A is for Addicted..to blogging and chai,
B is for Books ..I have to read every night and every morning and anytime I catch in between.
C is for Crochet..Love to crochet little knick-knacks.
D is for December is the month we got married.
E is for Elephants..My favorite animal
F is for Fan..I need a fan in my bedroom.The fan has to be ON and running at full-speed,every night for 365 days..no matter how cold it is.
G is Ganesha,my favorite God and Google is my answer to everything!
H is for House-keeping is not my strong point..but home decorating is.
I is for India..Need I say more?
J is junky-I am a junky and I love hoarding my junk..be it old bills,old clothes,anything!
K is for Knits,Kitchen,Kids..My 3 fortes!!LOL!
L is for Lakheri,my home town
M is for mischief..which was one word to define me,ummm about 10 years back.
N is for-Never give up..thats my motto..No matter what I am doing,I don’t get frustrated and give up.I am not bragging..may be its a vice..
O is for O.J…Freshly squeezed orange juice,is my favorite juice.
P is forPaints..Love my paints..I dabble here and there,but I want to take professional painting classes.
Q is for Quick..which I am so Not!
R- Rum and Coke was the first alcoholic drink I ever tried.
S- DH’s name starts with S and so does my nickname.
T- My favorite letter..after all my name starts with it.
U- U.S.A-Where my darling Baby was born.
V- Variety is the spice of my life.I have to read 2 books together-I have to work on two craft projects simultaneously.
W is for weekend sleep-ins..I have to have my weekend sleep-in..If I wake up early,I end up being grumpy..grr..LOL! I am kidding..I am not grumpy..but I feel the weekend isn’t a weekend!
X is for Xmas..My earliest Xmas memories date back to when I was 5.Xmas was the festival that was added to our (DH and me) list of festival,that we celebrate ,when Aadi was born.
Y- Yoga,my new found love.
Z- Zzzzzz..I need my zzzzz and can fall asleep ANY TIME..If only I had the luxury to do that:P

Trans-Continental Baking Experiment-Chocolate Mud cake

5 women,across 4 continents,a lot of emails equals to a yummilicious Mud Cake..you wonder how?Let me tell you
It all started with an email from GM,asking a bunch of us,if we had any good,tried and tested mud-cake recipes.I had one in a book that I hadn’t tried yet..there is something about mudcakes that I used to find daunting.I couldn’t pin point what exactly..may be the fear of failing or the fear of getting our taste-buds all excited and then not meeting the expectation..but whatever it was,I had never attempted baking a mud-cake before.
‘A’ generously shared a mud-cake recipe that she had used to bake cupcakes.And GM tried it.It didn’t quite turn out the way,that she/we expected and a flurry of emails later,one by one all of us decided to try our hand at it.First it was ‘A’,then Smitha,then Monu and me..
A’s cake was the best looking and I am sure it tasted divine..Actually all the cakes tasted delicious…
These tonnes of emails exchanged,left me,with so many tips.And what amazed me was,how each one of us,added our own twist to the same recipe-either by choice or by necessity 🙂
The recipe called for dark chocolate and I thought I had some,stashed in the back of the chiller tray,but it turned otherwise.So,I just substituted the dark chocolate with cocoa powder-equal quantities and increased the sugar.I found Monika,online and she suggested the same thing.I love this virtual hand-holding.
I am always a little vary of adding melted chocolate to the eggs…what if it isn’t cool enough..what if the eggs curdle?I waited a little longer for the chocolate to cool and then added it to the eggs and then the rest of the recipe was like a breeze.The batter tasted divine and I poured it in the tin.Only,I wasn’t sure,how much it will rise,so,I just filled the tin,till it was half full.The rest of the batter went into a cupcake pan and the remainder into a 9 inch round.
The cakes came out beautifully..the cupcakes,slipped out perfectly.The main cake had one-two minor cracks,but nothing that couldnt be covered with frosting.
I had recently tried butter icing and whipped cream frosting,this time,I wanted to try a chocolate glaze.The glaze turned out ok..it tasted nice but wasn’t smooth enough.
I liked reaching out to the girls,if I had a doubt,or needed to substitute something.I loved the generous exchange of tips and recipes,that flowed in those emails.I loved connecting with other baking-loving bloggers.
Here are the pictures of my cakes-

Just out of the oven

DH and Aadi,had finished 3-4 even before,it could cool down and I could take pictures.

And lastly,my attempt at decorating with a icing syringe and nozzles!

This has by far been the best cooking/baking experiment,I have participated in.I really hope we can do this more often,ladies.
Do check out what Goofy,Smitha,‘A’ and Monu have to say about this.

Eggless Date cake


This is one of my own recipes.Winter brings out the baker in me and I have to have warm,fresh from the oven treats in my kitchen.
I heart dates,for their moist texture and natural sweetness. They are also a great source of iron.But,for some reason,I can never get Aadi or DH to eat it . But they love cakes and baked goodies.So,I had to find some way to introduce these yummies to their tongues and tummies.
I looked for some recipes,but didn’t find one that I liked.I wanted to use whole wheat flour and minimum or no sugar.So,this is what I came up with:

Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat flour (you can also use all purpose flour)
1 cup chopped dates,soaked in 1/3 cup warm water
300 gms whipped cream
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped nuts(optional)
Preparation:
Puree the dates and keep aside.
Sift the flour and baking powder and put it in a mixing bowl.
Add the date puree,whipped cream, and oil and start creaming.The mix will be very dry and hard to beat,if required add 1-2 tsps of water. Keep beating till the batter becomes light and fluffy.
Pour in a pre-greased 9″ tin and bake at 160deg fan forced for 15-20 minutes or till the tester comes out clean.

The cake comes out moist and golden .Cut it into pieces and store in an air-tight box.

Couch25K-Week1-Done!

Yesssss!I finished it!
I finished week1 of Couch25K!And at the end of it,I am 1 kg lighter and let me just tell you how much I love it!
I am more energetic..and I am loving it.On the rest days,I walked or did some yoga.
I know a lot of people do it and don’t make a big deal of this plan..but it is big deal for me,to even finish this first week,first because I don’t remember running/jogging at all in my adult life.I love walking and walk a lot..but no jogging..not even on the treadmill..so this is big step out of my comfort zone.
Second,blogging about it,just makes my commitment even stronger.
Third,I blog about it,because,I see so many changes in me..I know its only been 1 week..but a change is change.Earlier,if I was going out,which meant,I would be walking a lot,I would skip the walk/excercise,sayingthinking that,anyway,I am going to walk today.But,now,I do it even on the day that I am going out..simply because it gives my day a good start.
And last,but not least,your comments motivate me!!So,you see I have to blog!
So,Week1 is done!!and I will start week 2 in a day or two.

Couch25K-W1D2

Yesterday,Friday was Day2 of week 1.
Thursday,was rest day and my thighs were like ROCKS!I swear,even walking inside the house,was painful. I did some yoga in the morning.But I was sore,all day long and my throat was feeling funny too.When I went to bed,I was wondering,if I will be able to walk/jog in the morning.
I woke up,on Friday morning,still a little sore,but not as much as the previous day.I quickly freshened up and got dressed and stepped outside,before I changed my mind.
After the warm-up,by the time,it was time for the first jog,I was feeling good.This time,I remembered to breathe when jogging..and that made a whole lot of a difference.
Edited to add-DH got me another pair of ear-phones,the kind that clip behind your ear and so,they didn’t fall off.Only one was working,but atleast it stayed plugged in!
I breezed thru the first 3 jogs,easily..in the 4th jog,I felt a little pinching on my right foot.I pause the pod-cast and rubbed it and it felt better.I walked a little to build up the pace and then started the pod-cast again.And before I knew it,I was on the 7th run and almost dying!!LOL! but there was just one more run and that was motivation enough.Again for cool down,I walked away from home..so that I would have to walk to get home:P
Day2 was definitely better than Day1.
Today is rest day but I am not as sore are last rest-day.

Yesterday was also school day and I was on my feet pretty much all day..The school is only 3 hours but,we got there half an hour early(DH gave us a ride) and instead of sitting inside,we spent that half an hour playing in the park.
There was a Mother’s Day Party in the school and moms had to stay back.It was really nice.The kids gave us a mini-manicure-rubbed scented cream in moms’ hands and painted their nails.Then,they made bracelets for us and gave us,cards and flowers,which the kids had made themselves,last week.Aadi didn;t go last week,so one of the teachers made it for her.Then there was lots of singing and dancing and lot of fun was had by all.
We got home by 4,Aadi was super-tired,put her down for a nap and tidied up,loaded the dishwasher,cooked dinner.By 9.00 dinner was done and I sat down to knit mittens for Aadi.I couldn’t keep my eyes open.
DH’s friend had invited us over to watch T-20 India-Australia,I begged off and even before DH left,we were both happily in dreamland!
I am soo excited,that I didn’t given and finished W1D2! one more day and I will be done with Week1!
Oh..and the scale is moving!!!LOL!!I didnt expect it to move so soon..but it is.
Current mood- Happy and relaxed!