Archive | January 2015

Food Tag

Thank you Vidhya for the food tag. You wouldn’t know how much helpful it is on days like today! Here is my chitti version 2.0 dot.


  1. What is the first dish that you cooked?
    Hot water. What? I switched on the stove by myself, took cold water in a pot, placed it on the stove and checked every few minutes if it reached boiling state and then took the pot off the stove carefully. Jokes apart, I think it is rasam but the irony is I don’t make good rasam till this date.
  1. What is the first dish that you cooked for your better half? (If you are not married, you can tell us what you are planning to cook for him/her)?
    Honestly I don’t remember. I stayed with my in-laws for 3 years after marriage and my mother-in-law used to cook. I act as that edupudi (help) cutting veggies and following her instructions. May be dosa/chapathi as usually I make them while she makes the subzi or rolls the chapathi. But, it is definitely a south Indian dish. I haven’t cooked anything special just for him as he is fine with anything I cook.
  1. Which food were you reserved to try first but then liked later it since you acquired the taste?
    Brinjal. Until, few years ago I could not even taste test brinjal. Now, I love vangi bath. Its a big change for me!
  1. What is your comfort food?
    Puli kuzhambu/Kara kuzhambu. I have just survived by eating only this with no veggies (plain kuzhambu) during school days. I love potato cubes and drumstick soaked well in kuzhambu.
  2. Which dish of yours you like the best?
    Tough question! Puli kuzhambu. I make it with the vadagam given by Amma and the taste can never go bad. This is Adi’s favorite dish too. Otherwise, I am not very confident about my food’s taste as they differ every time. One thing I can say is the dish cooked in hurry tastes better.
  1. Which dish of yours your family likes the best?
    Adi – Puli kuzhambu, Poha
    M – Beans usili and it keeps changing. Lucky me, he doesn’t have high demands with food. He will eat anything I cook so it is hard to find out his favorite. All he needs is food at home and doesn’t care what it is.
    LHB – Yet to figure out. Oh my spinach dal kootu rice 🙂
    FIL named my dosa as Ani’s dosa and will declare that we will make Ani dosa when guests come home. I used to make dosa very crispy in non-stick tawa and it was very new for him.
    Amma liked my chinese style egg noodles and Poha. 
  1. What is your favorite street food?
    India – kothu parota/masala dosa
    US – Chicken gyro
  1. Tell us about any of your kitchen disaster story.
    It is easy to say if there is one or two. Every day is almost a disaster.
    The fish curry that smelled like fish market after cooking and had to be dumped. This happened when guests were invited for lunch. But I put the blame on the quality of the fish. It was hard to dump a pot full of freshly made curry right off the stove.
    First attempt on kozhukattai. I got so fed up that I mixed the dough and pooranam together and made patties.
    First attempt on gulab jamun – Kept the flame high. So, it turned pitch black very soon with inside uncooked.
    Fish fry – I didn’t know how to place the marinated fish in hot oil and oil was splashed on my hands. M’s friend who came home for lunch taught me how to place it in with help of wide spatula. He then waited patiently to eat it too

And the list goes on and on…

  1. Any one or two food confessions 😉 😉
    I love to drink something hot often. I stopped coffee and tea is occasional. So, I either drink bournvita or hot water. Even at office, I always drink hot water.
    I love thanjavur asoka (green gram dal halwa), dry gulab jamun, adhirasam and fried cashew nuts.
    Like Vidhya, I love cerelac too. Bought a tin just for myself when in college 🙂 
  1. Apart from basic stuff, like milk, yogurt, veggies what you have in your fridge or in pantry? (Name any 3 items)
    Pasta sauce, Dosa batter, Cheese
  1. Any food related or cooking resolutions for this year?
    Every year it has been to eat less outside and it is going good so far. I pack lunch for all of us almost every day except for LHB as he eats in school. Adi orders at school 1 or 2 times a month.
  1. In our custom when you goto Kasi, you need to give up one of your favorite veggie and fruit. So you cannot eat that veggie or fruit from then on. Which one you would you give up? (It should be your favorite one)
    Potato. I like potato in any form (preferably cooked) but not sure if I can really give it up!
  1. You need to prepare a 3 course meal for a party? What dishes will be there in your menu?
    Tomato soup
    Pav bhaji
    Dosa/ coconut chutney
    Wheat rava pongal with araithu vitta Sambar
    Veg fried rice
    Rava kesari/Semiya payasam.
    If its for lunch, I will skip Pav bhaji/dosa and make white rice, rasam, chicken curry, appalam instead.



Long weekend

Long weekend that went by was not relaxing but undoubtedly fun unlimited. One of our friend’s couple visited and stayed with us for two days. I was talking non-stop and felt that all my stress was relieved. Truly, chatting with like minded ones is my #1 stress buster.

We went to temple on Saturday morning, cleaned the house in the afternoon (my favorite task and M was forced to clean as friends were visiting **evil grin**) and friends came home in the evening. P was very kind to bring in chicken curry, marinated fish fillets and home made badam halwa. I cooked mushroom biriyani. Biryani was a disaster as I overcooked the rice 😦 We also made soy chunk meat balls. The whole evening was spent with chatting/cooking with wine as company.


Had dinner around 10pm and then played Uno till around 12:30am. Adi was so thrilled as she had hardly stayed awake this late. she was playing Uno like a pro and won most of the times. She went to bed at 12:30am and we continued to chat till 1:30am and then reluctantly went to bed.

On Sunday, I was praying hard that skating class should get cancelled and my prayers were answered. It was cancelled due to inclement weather. Made pav bhaji, avocado spread and toasted bread for breakfast.


Morning was spent with skyping with parents, playing some more Uno, bluff and casual talks and laugh. Adi couldn’t get enough of the games and was always roaming with cards in her hand. In the afternoon, I sneaked out with friends to watch I in big screen when M agreed to babysit the kids. I wanted to watch in big screen for Shankar’s bhrammandam (visually rich locations especially in songs) and Vikram’s act. Both didn’t disappoint though rest of the aspects about the movie is below expectation. This is my first Indian movie watching in US of A theatre. Thanks to the friends. We came back home and had simple lunner (lunch+dinner – that’s how Adi calls it) with leftovers , freshly made tomato rasam and boiled egg pepper fry. Friends were planning to leave soon but we couldn’t really depart. Adi made them stay over, we played cards, re-lived our days from 15 years ago and called it a day again reluctantly at 11pm. That’s when I came to bed and made picture post for the day.

On Monday, I made egg dosa and coconut chutney for breakfast. M and LHB had business as usual, friends went to NY for some errands and I spent most of the time cooking for this week. Friends came back in the afternoon and we went out for lunch. It was holiday buffet and had varieties of pongal along with other dishes. They left in the evening though it was hard to depart. Adi made a quick card for them in heart shape and the house felt empty after they left. It took a while for us to move on with routine.

I drafted 90% of this post in the train while returning home from work. Work is getting hectic. There is a new project that has suddenly become high priority and its not my comfort zone. It requires more time to analyze and understand, then comes the implementation. Tough days ahead 😦 I am forced to make effort to squeeze in extra time before bedtime to make a post every day. It is very tiring but I don’t think I will give up. What else would I do after giving up something that I love to do? Blogging is a therapy by itself!!

Green rice cake

ETA: This is my 444th post. 4 is a special number to me as LHB and I choose this date to see this world  and Adi’s birth date adds up to 4.

Yet another food post. Looks like I am making more food posts this year!!

Is your kid fussing about eating greens? Here is an idea that works for me. Make moong dal greens kootu as usual, grind a small portion of it into smooth paste and mix with rice. Take a small bowl, grease it with gingly oil, fill it with mixed green rice and then place the bowl upside down in the serving plate. Green rice cake is ready!!!

I use pre washed baby spinach pack and appalam or vathal will be a very good side. Appalam can be used to scoop the ricetoo. Also, you may try both grind and non-grind version. I don’t grind anymore and I can proudly say that this is one of my preparation that LHB eats properly. Hope I am not jinxing it. I have made it for dinner tonight!

I made this for lunch during a play date and all the kids polished their plate off including LHB 🙂

For adults, try this with plain rice and andhra lemon pickle as side. Slurppppp.
This is my comfort and healthy choice any given day.

Sorry for the blured picture..


For the benefit of readers who don’t know the recipe for moong dal spinach kootu:

Spinach – 1 pack
Moong dal – 3/4 cup
Onion – 1 medium size chopped
Ginger – 1 small piece chopped
Garlic – 2 pods chopped
Red chillies – 3 to 4 nos (I also use red chilli flakes)
Turmeric powder

For tadka/thalippu:
mustard, split urad dal, jira, channa dal (optional)
I personally like to add channa dal as it gives that crunchiness with every other bite.

1. Pressure cook/boil moong dal (I usually just boil it in stove top with a pinch of turmeric powder and a drop of oil). The dal will be boiled by the time spinach wilts. Otherwise if you are going to cook rice then its better to pressure cook it along with rice.
2. Saute tadka/thalippu items, add ginger,garlic, red chillies and wait till you the aroma comes out.
3. Add onion, salt, turmeric powder and fry till it turns translucent.
3. Add spinach and cook until the spinach wilts.
4. Add cooked moong dal,stir well and allow it to cook for few minutes.
5. Add asafoetida, give it a nice stir and turn off the stove after few minutes. Ready to serve now!

P.S: We had friends over for the long weekend and it was unlimited fun sleeping past 12 and waking up before the dawn (being host). They have left few hours ago and now I realize what dog tired means. My eyes are burning and body is begging for some rest. Yesterday I survived with a picture post and this post is from drafts. I haven’t logged in to my reader for past three days :(. Hopefully tomorrow..


LHB busy bee


A picture post for the lack of time, as there is only 30 mins left for today to end. That is busy bee shifting all utensils to living room minutes after I cleaned the room. Can you spot the girl relaxing in the couch watching TV?

Florida and Bahamas Trip – Day 1

25th Dec 5am – Are you expecting us to be buckled up in the car? You may not if you have known us well. We were still snoring away to glory. Woke up at 6am with a panic, the panic was spread instantly to rest of the family (just scream out loud – that’s all is needed to spread the panic instantly) and managed to start the sojourn at 6:45am.

We drove for two hours and then had to pull over to the shoulders in highway as LHB decided to puke all the milk he drank at home. Don’t ask me how we cleaned him/car seat, changed his dress all in that narrow shoulder in interstate highway on freezing weather within ten minutes. I should name him as puke boy. He pukes and then the next second acts so casual as if nothing has happened. Puking has become one of his routine!

Continued the drive, we had bagel/cream cheese/bread/fruit spread while driving. I had cream cheese on my right, fruit spread on my left, plate/knife on my lap, bread/bagel on my foot and managed to serve the family. I decided to feed the kids only for half tummy for rest of the drive. Adi was glued to her books most of the time. LHB followed the pattern of getting cranky, pulling Adi’s hair, dozing off, getting cranky… Poor girl was sitting next to him at the back seat and had to put up with him. I must admit that she is darling. I played music for a while, tried to read my book on phone and dozed off for most of the time as M drove major part of the trip. Luckily there was no traffic as it was christmas day when people choose to spend more time with their family than being on the road like us.


We stopped at North carolina visiting center for quick lunch, took two service breaks for gas/restroom and reached our destination Savannah at 7:30pm. Checked-in to the pre-booked hotel, had dinner, took bath and called it a day.

Oh, in the morning I sneaked the christmas gifts under wall pasted tree alike and reacted casual when Adi spotted it. I didn’t want to overreact for the fear of spoiling it and moreover we were already in the panic mood. She was happy with the gift (Godiva gift card) though she was expecting the easy bake oven. Now that Santa didn’t give it, she decided to buy the oven with her “own” money. Did I mention that I got speeding ticket when I made a trip to dollar store to buy gift wrap for the christmas gift? I should have just bought her the oven which was less than half price of the ticket. LHB was happy with the erasable crayon and coloring book and it was put to good use during the trip. By good use, I mean he even ate part of the crayons much to my dismay. But, I was helpless as all were buckled up in the car and there was no way to stop him!!

26th Dec was a day at Savannah, Georgia. More in next post!!

P.S: I will write a post for each day (blogathon calls for it) and try to cover as much details as I can about the cruise. Please bear with me.

Florida and Bahamas trip – Preperation

Until a month ago we had no clue that we will be planning this trip. It was Adi’s winter break for 10 days and my mandated 9 days off from work that led us to this fantastic vacation. The time we started to look for vacation options was too late that all flight tickets were heavily priced. So, our first option of travelling by air was ruled out. Next, we didn’t want to go somewhere in local or few hours drive as we can always do it on long weekends and its very rare for all of us to get a break for 10 days. So, the only option was to take a long drive to some place and upon further narrowing down the options, a road trip to Florida beach side and cruise from there to Bahamas fit our time and budget. Not really the budget at this point of time but we proceeded for whatsoever reason.

Destination has been decided and as first step the cruise for booked – 4 night/3 day trip to KeyWest/Bahamas.  Then, it took us another three weeks to sort out other logistics, book hotels en route and shore excursions on days when the ship is docked. I was actually getting nervous as the day was nearing as we were not so used to the long drive. It was 17 hours drive. The entire drive was around 2500+ miles.

24th Dec – Packing started. All dirty clothes were washed/dried and whatever needed for the trip was packed in bags. Car tires were changed. Gas – Check. Food – I cooked and packed tamarind rice, vegetable fried rice, onion tomato subzi and potato fry. We also did last minute shopping to stock up on some fruits and ready to eats like chapathi, bagel, cream cheese, jam, bread, yogurt, fruit bar, juice carton, lemonade mix, water bottles, grapes, apples, tangerines, banana. You got the drift right? Car was filled with food more than us!! We all took bath before going to bed as the plan was to leave early morning next day. That is 5:00am..

See you at 5am on 25th Dec in next post 🙂

Happy Pongal

அனைவருக்கும் இனிய பொங்கல் நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள் (Wishing you all a very happy pongal)

Its cooker pongal at our home. We celebrated today morning. I made sweet pongal, wheat rava pongal and pongal sambar.



The kids wore traditional dress, got to hit the plate with a spoon when the pressure was released from the cooker (we consider that equivalent to milk overflowing from mud pot) and say pongal-o-pongal. All in 15 minutes. Then we were back to our usual layer clothing and went about our business as usual. Something very little that I can do to keep up the tradition!



As it is with every year, today thoughts were filled with my native village, grand parents and how we all celebrated pongal together in a grand eleborate way every year.. Beautiful memories is all I have!!!

Yayyyyyy to all of us. We have completed half marathon 🙂 15 16 more days to go..



Driving is a pleasure if I drive alone with my audio set on. The recent find of playing Indian FM live from an android app only doubles the joy. Got it? I mean, when the other side of the seat is occupied by the other half, it is full of gyans. How many of you are nodding? 🙂

He keeps repeating these at every single drive only to get onto my nerves

Don’t you see the car in front of you applying brake?
Slow down, there is a sharp turn ahead..
Do you by any chance know the speed limit in this road? My bad luck, I got a speeding ticket during holiday season and paid a hefty amount. Do you want to know his reaction? He gave a “Naan sonna nee kekka mattae”(you will not listen if I tell you) stern look!!
Maintain enough distance with the car in front of you..
Avoid sudden brake..
Hey!! Hey!!Hey!! watch the road! watch the road!

Now, I am not claiming that I am an excellent driver and whatever he says if for good and all but I have been driving for more than a decade now and have around 5+ years of experience with driving at India. I am so comfortable with Indian driving style that sometimes I tend not to leave enough gap or do a sudden brake. But, he raises the ruckus in such a way that Adi and Amma doubt my driving skills. My blood boils and I would have burned him alive if my stare had the power when this Amma of mine used to say “mappilai-yae drive pannatum-di”

Nevertheless, I am the official chauffeur for the family duly dropping and picking up all three of them most of the days. Now you know where all my time is going!!

What I like with the cars in US (not sure if its there in India. At least the car I owned didn’t have these features)

You cannot take the key off when gear is not in neutral.
You cannot lock the doors when the key is inserted (we have faced situations in India when we M have locked the doors with key inside the car).
You cannot start the ignition when gear is not in neutral.
Secured car seat is a law in US.

These features have saved me many times personally. I love driving and never had fear for the road but I am scared this husband of mine might soon make me grow fear for the road!!!

P.S: I was not able to get into my reader yesterday and today. Will soon read your posts. Sorry!

P.P.S: I owe an update to all of you about LHB’s health. He is on antibiotics and recovering well. He has gone to daycare today and I packed Idli/biscuit from home and asked them not to feed anything from school. It will take few days for him to regain his appetite. I didn’t get call from the school and looks like he ate most of the home packed food. Thank you all again for the wonderful support words!

Thank you

Thank you all for your comments. LHB was continuing to throw up till afternoon but now seems to improve slightly. I fed him one idli with sugar for dinner. It has been 2 hours now and he didn’t throw up. M was looking after him during daytime and I went to work today. I might take sick day off tomorrow if his health doesn’t get better. Though the mind says its matter of few days, it feels terrible to see him all curled up, the otherwise chirpy boy!!

Today morning, even in the busiest of time, Adi made this list for her Appa. She wants her Appa to be very clear of the options to feed LHB and kept this list on dining table. No oily/cheesy stuff Appa. She reminded him while stepping out in spite of us hurrying her. She called me after returning from school to check if she can feed grapes to LHB.

If you wondering, cuties are california clamentines and 3rd in the list is britannia marie biscuit.


Last evening, She would have tried at least ten different ways to make him laugh in spite of me asking to mind her own business and finish homework. Distractions during homework time is a mother’s everyday worry you know.. But still, she didn’t give up (in other words turned deaf ear to me) and made him laugh for few minutes. And the pride in her face when he finally gave in and laughed.. She was screaming as “Amma, he is laughing amma”. That did secretly lighten my heart! Thank you dear though I would not say it loud to you! Who will do the homework then?

May their love and bonding grow more with years!

Will keep you all posted about LHB’s health.. Thank you all again!!


He was looking good today morning so we sent him to daycare. But, the moment I dreaded soon arrived. We received call from daycare late morning that he threw up multiple times. I then picked him up and took to urgent care. He has got ear infection again, second time in one month. Also, he has cough and cold. Doctor has prescribed antibiotics and cough syrup. Second dosage of antibiotics in one month and this time they have increased the dosage. He drank pedialite, took his medicines and napping right next to me as I am typing this. I feel like dozing off too as I was unable to sleep last night. Hope it will take few more days for the poor one to regain his appetite and get back to him own self.

I was planning to start the vacation series today but couldn’t. May be from tomorrow.. Only when the loved ones health is at stake it hits our mind hard as how trivial all other things are. The tiff I had with M today morning about sharing household chores, the raise in voice to Adi today morning to complete her glass of bournvita, losing my calmness and getting triggered even for a small matter. How trivial they are…