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Oct 30, 2012

Pumpkin Soup / maththan soup / Manjal Poosani soup

Winter is on. air is dry and lightly cold. I have started making a soup daily. Today made Pumpkin Soup.




Pumpkin also known as Kadhdhu / Kasi bhopla / Maththan /manjal poosani / budi kumbala / budikumbadi is a bright orange vegetable which is easy to cook and is little sweet in taste. The flesh, seeds, stringy inner part all are edible. With the stringy part inside on which seeds are seen can be used in chutney making. (will post the recipe). 

It is rich in vitamins and minerals. Good for prostrate gland and heart, irritable bladder and the seeds are used to treat mood swings and depression.



Pumpkin is orange inside (which means it is ripe). If it is pale in colour then it is not a ripe pumpkin. Some mistake it for ashgourd which is white inside and is also used in the famous 'petha' from Agra.

The best way to get all the nutrients in a vegetable is by par boiling it. So let me share a nice soup recipe today.

Ingredients :-

  1. Ripe pumpkin - 1/4 kg
  2. Bay leaf - 1/4 leaf
  3. Black pepper - 4 nos.
  4. Onion - 1 small
  5. Salt to taste
  6. Water - 1 cup
  7. Butter - 1 tbsp (you can use olive oil to make it more healthy)
  8. Lemon juice - few drops
  9. fresh cream for garnishing (optional)
Procedure :-
  • Wash, peel and dice the pumpkin into cubes 
  • chop onions
  • In a pan, add the butter / olive oil, bay leaf 
  • Add the chopped onion, black peppers and fry for 3 minutes
  • Add the pumpkin cubes, fry for a minute
  • Add water and pressure cook it for a whistle 
  • strain and save the stock. cool the vegetable, remove the bay leaf and puree the vegetable.
  • Transfer the puree to a vessel, add the stock and bring to boil adding salt
  • remove from fire, add few drops of lemon juice, mix it
  • Serve hot garnishing with fresh cream


Enjoy the winter with a cup of soup each day.

Oct 24, 2012

Navratri / Dusserah 2012

Navratri celebrations went on merrily at our place with dandiya & garbha dances every night after the arati. Every afternoon bhog was offered to devotees (prashad of durga ma).


This is the mandap inside which goddesses were kept.


An inviting rangoli :-




A mini fair was conducted with various stalls and various competitions were organised for the kids. Prize distribution ceremony was conducted yesterday. 






Today the dasami day all the celebrations came to an end by evening. Durga ma was taken out for immersion in a grand manner with a fireworks show.

May the goddess bless you all with happniess, good health and prosperity.

Jai mata di

Oct 11, 2012

Decorative Glass Work

I went to market 3 weeks back and on the way in a supermarket  bought a bottle of Amul's flavoured milk as I was feeling hungry orange. I saved the bottle & brought home. I kept a plant in a plastic container. So replaced the plastic container with this bottle after cleaning. The plant looked beautiful than before. 

Couple of days back saw a glass art work in a TV programme. They showed similar work on a plain piece of glass which was then converted into a Clock. Thought why not try that work in a bottle? So here it is for your views. Sorry folks, i forgot to take stage by stage picture. But one shot will show you the glue in semi dry form.

A simple art which gives amazing texture depending upon the tool you use & your creativity.




I didn't colour it as i felt this is more beautiful than the coloured one. Here is the procedure for you :-

In any glass article, squeeze dabs of fabric glue here n there.

Now let out the magical spell from your fingers!  :-) ha.ha.ha  (yes you all have it!) With your index finger tap on it & spread it through out the surface in the same process.



When the glue is semi dry, using back of a paintbrush or a pen, roughly run it over the semi dried glue to form some rough pattern.

the work will look like this :-



Let it dry for 5 hours

If you want to colour it, you can colour using water based glass colours & spread it to make a nice varanajal on to your glass article & enjoy your interiors by giving it a feather touch make over!


 This makes a beautiful decor item which you can even gift after you do a creative work.

Isn't it simple? eyebrows  Now cast the magic onevery plain glass you see & turn it into gorgeous show piece!

Happy Crafting!

Oct 10, 2012

Navratri - preparations

Always making a list will ease your work stopping the last minute running around or anything getting missed out.

Rangoli / Kolam :-  This is the first thing that catches the attention of the guests. So plan & keep a chart of rangoli / kolam that you may like to draw. If you wish you can even make it in a plate in advance & display it.

You can check the dot, spiral, geometrical padi kolams in the kolam section of my hobby lounge. You can see it under the 'Kolam /Rangoli' label on the right hand column display.


Refreshment to offer first to the guests :-   Once your guest arrive, you offer them Chandan, kum kum. Then comes light beverage for refreshment.

  1. Panagam 
  2. Lemon Juice
  3. Buttermilk / sambharam
  4. Lemon + mint juice
  5. Diluted milk with crushed banana pieces & elachi powder
  6. Iced tea (available ready in bottled form)
  7. Watermelon juice
  8. Any other juices of your choice
(tip : when you offer sweet juice, very lightly moist the mouth of the glass, in a plate put some black salt and dip the mouth of the glass in it so that the salt get coated around the mouth. This will give a nice taste to the juice when sipped)


Offerings  - neivedhyam & Prashad

Things you should keep in mind :-

1. Make one sweet item after every 2nd day of the 9 days of navatri celebration
2. Make one sweet on Friday
3. Don't use onion on for the festive preparations


  1. Black Chana (karupu kondai kadalai / blak chick pea)
  2. Green Gram (sweet using jaggery / or salted one)
  3. Pattaani (vatana / dried yellow pea)
  4. Moong dal (sweet or salt) - pasi paruppu
  5. Sweet Rice Puttu
  6. Curd Rice
  7. cow peas (karamani / chavali) - salt / sweet
  8. Kadalai paruppu (channa dal)
  9. Green peas (fresh or dried) - salted
  10. Rajma (salted or sweet)
  11. Groundnut (avoid onion)
  12. Ghee Appam (nei appam)
  13. Nei Payasam / Ghee payasam
  14. Milk Kheer (paal payasam)
PS : You can even make a mix match of sundal & variety rices (curd rice, lemon rice, tamarind rice, coconut rice) 


Tempering for the salted sundals / salads  will be

1. oil + hing powder + mustard seeds
2. Oil + mustard seeds + urad + hing powder
3. Oil + mustard seeds + hing powder + Red Chilli Flakes

Masalas :- (Grind it coarsely without water)

  1. grated coconut + green chilli + ginger
  2. Grated coconut + Red Chilli (fried in oil
  3. Grated coconut + Green Chilli
  4. Red chilli + Dhania seeds + grated coconut  (fry dhania, red chilli in little oil before grinding)
So alter the tempering items & masals to give a different taste each day

For Sweet items :-

  1. Dissolve jaggery in water, filter to remove impurities, add cardamom powder.
  2. Use ghee which will enhance the taste of the sweet item
  • You can offer the neivedhyams to God early & pack them in compact paper packs by placing it on cling film & wrap using a paper / disposable paper containers (avoid plastics for go green measure) so that you can offer it to your guests while they leave
  • Take help of your kids or friends to pack the prashad, to arrange the tamboolam (betel leaves, haldi, kumkum, banana, betel nut, flowers) so that you will get sufficient time attending your guest.


A little planning & preparation will help you make a good host.


You may check out my earlier posts  :-

1. Golu Ideas

2. Park - suggestions 
Happy Navratri

Jai Mata Di



Oct 8, 2012

Navratri / Golu Gift Ideas

Coming to the gift part, first and foremost thing I would like to stress is 'Gift' is not important for a celebration. The boosting of spirit & sweet memories are the best gifts you can give your guests as a wonderful Host.

Still sharing some ideas if you desire to gift. 

Few points before you buy a gift:-

  • Plan it as per your budget.
  • Prepare a list of Guest whom you expect will attend the golu so that accordingly you can decide on the suitable gift for them
  • Seasonal gifts
Image courtesy : Google Search

SPIRITUAL GIFTS :-

  1. Idols of deities
  2. Mythological / Spiritual stories
  3. Decorative items for deities (for those who conduct poojas)viz.,  garlands, vagamalai, throne, seat, Umbrella, Thombai, etc (you can google to see the pictures to get an idea on what they are)
  4. Small dresses & jewelleries for small idol of gods etc
  5. Brass items viz., urulis, etc. 
Thombai : ,    Umbrella :
Vagamalai : ,  small Urulis : 


FANCY / DECOR ITEMS :-

  1. A stone studded kum kum chests
  2. Tamboolam set or Aarati Plates  [plate, kum kum, haldi, lamp (fixed) ] This will help the receiver to use for their poojas.
  3. Wooden covered agarbathi stand cum box (it will be nice to see the smoke coming out of the holes, the ash falls into the box thus helps for easy cleaning)
  4. Imitation jewellery sets, pendants
  5. Fancy Bangles
  6. If the guest also keeps golu, find some unique dolls & gift them or festoons for decorations
  7. Fancy house decor items viz., vase, fengsui dolls etc
  8.  Thorans / door hangings
  9. Fruit Basket / bread Basket
  10. Table place mats, coasters
  11. Doilies
  12. Indoor Plants which comes in small pots
  13. Cosmetics
  14. Antique look alike pieces
SEASONAL GIFTS  :-
  1. Fancy Diya sets (lamps) -will be put to use for the oncoming deepavali festival  
  2. Christmas tree ornaments
  3. Books - story, good housekeeping, tips n tricks, etc.
  4. Home made chocolates in personalised wraps
  5. Kolam books
  6. Rangoli Powders
  7. Art & craft kits
 OTHERS:-
  1. Stationery items for kids
  2. Recipe books (you can make your own & gift too)
  3. Fancy Cloth / jute bags (as a part of go green measure to help them shop)
  4. Your personalised art & craft gifts

I will keep updating various things as and when they come to my mind. In the meantime, you may also check the following posts on navratri / golu.

Navratri / Golu


Navratri Golu Ideas


Navratri Preparation

Happy Navratri

Jai mata di

Oct 6, 2012

Weightloss Tips

For weightloss, physical work out and regulated diet helps a lot. Sharing some weightloss tips which I follow.

  1. Early Morning - in empty stomach have this drink which not only helps weightloss but also boost your energy level.  [Squeeze in half lime, 1tbsp honey, 1" piece of ginger ground, warm water.] Honey has two properties. If taken with warm water early morning it helps in weightloss. If taken with milk at night it helps to gain weight.
  2. Include barley water twice in a week.
  3. Include horsegram in your diet weekly once. Both barley & horsegram increase body heat hence use it max 3 times in a week.(in powder form, gravy, water form)
  4. Keep drinking hot water instead of normal water (heat should be bearable). Jeera water is the best.
  5. Do stretchings frequently in between your chores. If you have tummy,  stomach crunches will help you shed those extra fat.
  6. Reduce sugar and rice intake
  7. Make a big vessel of soup so that you can heat & take it through out the day when you feel hungry
  8. Never skip your food as it will only make you hungry & crave for goodies.
  9. Before a meal have a bowl of soup to bring the appetite down
  10. Your meal should contain fiber, protein, essential vitamins & minerals. So include whole wheat Indian Bread (without oil), a big bowl of vegetables / Greens (not fried but boiled or if at all fried use olive oil), a small cup of dhal, a cup of buttermilk, a small cup of salad (this will also reduce your appetite and give you a filled up feeling), a small bowl of rice (optional).
  11. Night have your food 2 or 2.5 hours before you go to sleep. Staying awake late night will only make you hungry and end up eating extra. Have a light dinner & go early to bed.
  12. Oats Porridge (without sugar) for breakfast. If you feel hungry in between, help yourself with n number of bowls of soup till your lunch time or fruit bowls.
  13. If you talk on phone, walk n talk
  14. Every day make it a point to go for a brisk walk. If you have starting trouble then don't buy provision on monthly basis. Buy only those items which you need in bulk quantity (viz., rice, atta etc) for a month at one shot. Other items you try to buy it from local store during your evening walk. This will push you out of house for a nice evening walk.
  15. Never use curd, but have buttermilk for rice or to drink.
  16. Use olive oil, gingely oil for cooking. Never let any oil reach smoking point.
  17. Have sufficient sleep.
  18. If you are a greentea lover then go for it.
  19. When you are enjoying yourself eating yummy food, when you crave for one more helping, stop your thoughts there because that is how your body tells you to stop.
  20. Chew well and eat not in a hurry. As your brain takes sometime to receive the signal from the stomach that it is filled up, slow eating will help you eat the right quantity.

Oct 5, 2012

Navratri Golu Ideas

  • There are variety of themes available from traditional to modern world viz., on saints / devotees, Temples, village life, Mythological stories, Pilgrimage, Festivals, On specific deities, Go Green, Good Thoughts, Mountains, Rivers, Clay works, Wood Works, Art & Craft etc
  • You can use idols, pictures or drawings / paintings by you or by your kids or a mixture of it to display the themes
  • Use a light shaded background on steps etc so that it gives clarity to your display. White or off white is the best colour for this purpose.
  • Instead of going for electric illumination go for Oil Lamps or Candles to give a classic effect
  • You can hang a nice saree or netted shiney duppatta material available for decoration to decorate the centre background wall going to the two sides of the golu steps.
  • You can let your kids make paper butterfly and stick it here n there. Involve them in decorative works as it will also keep them engaged and let them knowledge of the tradition & golue arrangement - a helping hand for you. 
  • You can make kolams in thermacol or plastic plates for each day and keep on display.  Also discuss some topics on different types of kolams (dry flour, wet flour, spirals, dotted, geometrical, various types of rangoli etc).
  • Flowers floating in water along with some candles also bring a beauty to your arrangement
  • If you or your children has talents like singing, dancing, story telling etc you as a colony of people can come together and arrange functions by 8 pm to bring out their talents, award each kid. Light refreshments can be distributed between various families for each day thus bring equal participation & involvement.
  • If you or your children know art & craft works. Let them teach it to those who are interested to learn (elders & kids). This will make the celebration more interesting.
  • Play some light classical instrumentals in the background to lit up the ambience.
  • Make sure you have one senior citizen from your neighbouhood (you can bring them together and plan for it) to be present everyday evening to tell mythological stories.
  • Make yourself available or your kids to give a warm welcome to the guests. A smile & welcome makes the occasion inviting.
  • Offering sacred things like chandan, kum kum be given to kids.
  • Plan a evening celebration exclusively for :- (never forget to invite the those living in single in all the below celebration)

  1. senior citizens
  2. Kids
  3. Wives
  4. Husbands
  5. Family get together

  • Make sure every night after the traditional golu poojas & visiting hours you along with neighbours or your building / colony people come together & spend some quality time together. It strengthen the relationships. Moreover such celebrations will help you get introduced to any new comers in your colony / building. 
  • If celebration happens as a community, together then expenses can be shared & joy increases. Binds the relationship & cultivate good habits & tradition to the young generation. 
Do check some more navratri / golu suggestions :-
 
Navratri / Golu


Navratri Preparation

Navratri Golu Ideas
 
Park - tips & suggestions

Wish you all a happy navratri.

Jai mata di

Oct 3, 2012

Burnt garlic, broccoli, carrot clear soup

In my soup series, making a post after a long time.  Burnt garlic gives a nice aroma to any dish. Clear soups are light appetizers which will make you enjoy your full course of meal. If you are aiming for weightloss go for plain soups (without cornflour) or clear soups.





Broccoli is rich in Vitamin C, dietary fibre and has cancer fighting properties. Any vegetable for that matter needs to be only partially cooked to retain its complete nutrients.

How to select:- selecting a good vegetable / fruit always help you get the maximum nutrients because after it is cultivated it takes days to reach our hands which results in loss of nutrients. Here are few points that you should note while buying

  1. Should be dark green in colour
  2. No yellow flowers should be there
  3. florets should be thick (applies to cauliflower too)
  4. The stems should be strong & not tender (shows how fresh it is)

Ingredients  :- (servings :2)

  1. Garlic pods - 2 nos
  2. Broccoli florets - 1/2 cup
  3. Carrot cubes - 1/4 cup
  4. Chilli sauce - 1 tsp
  5. White pepper powder -1 pinch
  6. Water - 3 cups
  7. Salt to taste
  8. Corn flour - 2 tsp
  9. Olive oil - 2 tsp
  10. Spring onion - 2 tbsp
  11. Spring onion greens - 1 tsp

Procedure :-

  • Blanch brocolli and carrot in hot water for 10 minutes or Microwave it for 4 minutes
  • Finely chop the garlic pods, spring onion and spring onion greens.
  • Heat  olive oil and add the chopped garlic. Fry till it is golden brown. 
  • Add spring onion and saute for a minute on low flame.
  • Add the cooked veggies and saute for 2 minutes
  • Add 3 cups of water, chilli sauce, salt to taste and bring to boil
  • dissolve corn flour in water and add it to the boiling soup and boil for 3 minutes
  • Serve hot sprinkling white pepper powder & spring onion greens




PS : If you don't have chilli sauce, you can chop green chillies and add while saute' ing vegetables.

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