Friday, September 30, 2011

Happy Times with a Sleepover Party for Foodbuzz


Last week I got a wonderful opportunity to host a "Sleepover Party" at my place for Foodbuzz tastemaker program with Electrolux. It was party time at my place, no doubt my little one is excited. Getting some time out from the hectic schedules to catch up with friends is therapeutic. Yes, it's Always. To me and my family, its more of personal catharsis as its related with cooking good food and doing up your house (just get to do once in a while) plus eating and having fun....its little hectic but completely rejuvenating.

Not sure if you know that it’s Ovarian Cancer Research Month & Electrolux is donating $200 to Ovarian Cancer Research Fund for every washer/dryer pair purchased. Kelly Ripa has partnered with Electrolux to bring you Kelly’s Virtual Sleepover. Please join the Sleepover at kelly-confidential.com. When you do, Electrolux will donate $1 to OCRF and participants are entered for a chance to win a new Perfect SteamTM washer and dryer from Electrolux. This pair offers the most capacity to help you shoulder any load, plus, with just 15 minutes to wash and 14 to dry, the laundry is done in no time. It’s a wonderful cause, and only takes a few second of your time to join!. So guys go ahead and fully support the noble cause as much as you can. It was a fun filled evening we had family friends over for a weekend.


Menu/Agenda for the sleepover party was..
  • Fun with Lego Blocks
  • Papa Johns Cheese Pizza
  • Hide'n' Seek in my Son's Room
  • An Ice Cream Shake from Moon
  • A little Doze of "Dizzy Dragon"
  • Looking for "Where Wild things are"
  • Some "Sweet & Tangy Popcorns"
  • Sleep time with a Round of "Scrabble"
So I was right in choosing popcorns with chocolate ice cream shake for these tiny tots. They enjoyed nibbling the popcorns and playing.

Last week my son became the leader of his class and was really happy being a big responsible boy. So taking the clue from the school, I made each kid taking the lead of the activities and I was amazed to see how smoothly the party went by. The tip I would share is to keep things simple, have snacks and drinks absolutely ready to serve.

Fantasy world with Legos....!!!

Its amazing how Toddlers weave great stories from Legos, the task was to build a fantasy world & what we saw was a spectacular outcome. Yay, now its time to get some energy and it's Milk Shake time !!!!!!!!!!

For Ice cream Shake from Moon:
Chocolate Ice cream: 3-4 tsp
Milk: 1 cup
Chocolate chips: 2 Tsp
Sugar: 1 tsp or to taste
Whipped cream: 2 tsp


Method:
In a mixer add 3 to 4 scoops of ice cream plus milk plus sugar.
Add Choco chips.
Give it a good churn for 2 minutes, till creamy and frothy.
Add whipped cream and pulse for another 5-10 seconds.
Pour in the glasses and enjoy being pussy cats with your little hearts... !!!


One thing I love to do is read to my Son, but I never got a chance to read to three energetic Toddlers. What was great was that we managed to find Where Wild Things Are with Chick-a-Boom ... it was crazy funnnnn !!!


Finally we were ready for our last Item on the agenda.... Tangy/Sweet Popcorns....

Ingredients For Sweet & Tangy Popcorn Recipe:
Popcorn by ActII: 1 pack
Brown Sugar: 2 tsp
Chaat Masala: 1 tsp
Method:
Make popcorns as per instructions in a microwave (the easiest and the best way) or in a popcorn maker.
Now add some sugar in the pan and let it carmalize..
Swiftly add the popcorns and give it a good toss to coat the popcorns well.
Add 1 Tsp of Chaat Masala & shake the popcorns in the bag.
Serve it warm and your kids would love to have it.... !


Three little Toddlers or 3 tiny bundles of energy....



My Little guests loved every bit of their time. They had loads of fun & so did we. It was a great evening & we can't wait to have everyone back again. Hope you like a sneak peak into their time & would keep coming back for more

Hugs... Sonia




Saturday, September 24, 2011

Breakfast Polenta with Pearl Grapes - A Souvenir Recipe

Last year around this time of the year we had a chance to visit Bay Area & Napa Valley with some great family friends. I was completely fascinated with the lush green vineyards. And umpteen recipes started floating in my mind which can be made with the fresh grapes. A deep thought on what to make and how to make took me down the years when we had a huge grapevine in our backyard too. My friends would come and pluck a bunch for themselves and we had a good long chat session in the afternoon followed by mom's -  yum curry with red globe grapes and a veg pulao rice. I wish I had some opportunity to click pictures then and now a recap of the beautiful yesteryears merely seems to be a fantasy. Never mind, here we are & I'm gonna photograph these beauties today.

Featured @ Foodbuzz Top 9 - September 26, 2011
a perfect souvenir recipe to soothe my soul and senses

For quite long I had my eyes on this light and a delightful recipe of polenta by Rachael Ray. It has really been long that I was thinking about making some dish/curry with grapes.  So here comes the merger of two recipes, combined my new passion fruit - Champagne Grapes with Rachel's recipe of polenta. A cheesy version can also be made with adding parmesan cheese and chopped chives plus cherry tomatoes. As of now, here we are & I'll be shooting today.

Ingredients:
Instant Polenta: 2 -3 tsp (add as required)
Milk: 1 cup
Water: 1/4 cup
Ghee/ Butter: 1 tsp
Honey: 1 tsp
Salt: to taste
A dash of black Pepper
A bunch of champagne grapes
Sweet corn kernels : 2 tsp, optional


Method:
In a pan, warm some water and add milk.
Bring it to a boil and season with salt to taste and some honey for mild sweetness.
Now gradually add two to three spoons of instant polenta to boiling milk.
Keep stirring on low heat to avoid sticking against the pan and adjust the thickness of polenta as you like it.
Enjoy a warm and comforting bowl with a dollop of butter and yes with lots of pearl grapes.

Lovely, Ain't it ??

Its indeed a yummy and a soothing bowl of polenta ... !!!
Hope you'll give it a try & let me know how you like it....
If you get a chance pls vote for us @ Parents Mag - Best Blog Awards by Clicking here,
I really appreciate the love you show.

Hugs, Sonia !



PS : Click Here for more Breakfast Posts


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ooey-Gooey Green Mango Chutney with Sunflower Seeds

First of all, did you notice the floating socials bar on the left of your screen ??  I loved it when I saw this at my friend Jenn's website (you can't miss this site - try jenncuisine.com), & I wrote to her asking how she got it. She immediately wrote back with the details & here we are, with my own little socials bar (cute ain't it???). Best thing I love about being a food blogger is there's so much to learn/share & when you have sweethearts like Jenn to learn from it makes it so easy & fun.

Secondly, its a great feeling to ne nominated for Parents Magazine Food Blogs Award 2011. Normally I don't worry much about awards/recognitions etc, but this was from one mag that I've always loved. If you are a young parent & don't subscribe to this magazine - you should. It has very practical tips for young parents, answers that we always want know & dont know where to find. And yess... if you get a chance, click on the logo on the right side of this post to Vote for My Creative Flavors. I would appreciate your love and support. And now its time to share my latest recipe.....

Raw Mangoes are a great ingredient for a hearty Indian meal. You can consume these in any form you can imagine, be it "Mango Powder or Amchoor", be it in form of "Mango Leather or Aam Paapad", or all time great Indian mustard oil based "Mango pickle". My Fvt though is Mango chutney. You can do it a Greenish Tangy combo with Mint & Cilantro or a Pink version with Tomatoes/Onions/Ginger/Garlic. But the most well travelled mango chutney is "Sweet Mango Chutney". I have seen various versions across the globe, esp in the UK where it is very popular in Indian restaurants. Today I will share my mom's version of it, where in I add roasted sunflower seeds in the end to make it crunchy and nutritious. Just make sure you dont intend to store it for real long, if thats the case dont add too many sunflower seeds to start with, this may make it rancid. Though,on it its own chutney will stand well in refrigerated conditions for a couple of months at least. Lets give it a shot...


Ingredients: -
Raw Green Mangoes: 2
Salt: 1/2 tsp
A dash of Pepper + Garam masala
Sugar: 1 /2cup
Ginger Powder: a pinch
Roasted Sunflower Seeds: few to garnish

Method:-
Wash and peel the fresh green mangoes.
Finely shred it or grate, as you like.
In a deep pan/wok, add sugar and the grated mangoes.
Let it cover and cook on medium heat for 20-25 minutes till mangoes are tender.
Season with salt, pepper, ginger powder to taste.
Conventionally melon seeds are added to this chutney but to enhance the nutritional value,
I threw a handful of roasted sunflower seeds.
Let it cool and store in preferably dry glass jar with air tight lid.


The mango chutney is ready to be seasoned with roasted sunflower seeds....!
Relish it with freshly a toasted bread or hot paranthas....!


The ooey gooey mango chutney is simply awesome.
So go ahead and give it a try in your kitchen too.
And don't forget to share with me how you did...

Hugs, Sonia


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pesarattu (Green Lentil crepes) for great Breakfast Start

Every cloud has a silver lining. So did mine.... While my kitchen was packed and was on its way, I had ample opportunity to eat out and try diverse cuisines - Thai, Italian, Mexican, Chinese, North Indian and South Indian. Finally, when my bags came I was already craving to have some fresh and inviting homemade food. So I thought of making Pesarattu, hubby's fav for the first meal in our new home. A recap of couple of years down the line make me recollect that I celebrated all the gud times of my life with dosas, idlis and vadas. I had it on almost all my Birthdays ; on the last day of the final Exams; and of course on the Result days... I  remember going to 'Student Center' or 'Indian Coffee House' to get the day going.

Dosa....wow the name itself makes me mouth water and I always dream myself feasting on a Big Masala Dosa with its various accompaniments. It has always been more DEAR to me, even more than our staple food (whole wheat chapatis). Dosas or lentil crepes, is a famous signature dish of southern India. Pesarattu scores over conventional masala dosa for me for two reasons. One, it is made up of whole green lentils (very high in protein and healthy dal). Secondly, it doesn't require fermentation as it is ready to make crepes just after couple of hours of soaking and grinding, so no long wait time for dosa to come in your plater, perhaps, thats the best point about these quick and green crepes.

A Canopy of Pesarattu with Garden fresh Chillies

Ingredients:
2 cups skin-on, whole Green lentils (sabut moong dal)
1 cup White Rice
1 green chile, optional
2 tsp coriander leaves
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp cumin seeds
Season with salt to taste
Oil/Ghee

For Upma:
1 Cup Semolina (lightly roasted)
Cumin seeds/rai: 1/2 tsp
Onion: 1, finely chopped
Tomato: 1, finely chopped
Nuts : handful
Season with salt/paprika to taste
Coriander to garnish

Moong dal + home grown chillies, hmm...

Method to make Upma:
Lightly roast the semolina in a non stick pan and take it out. (can be roasted and boxed too)
Add ghee in the same pan and splutter cumin and rai. Add the finely chopped onions and tomatoes and stir fry for 5 minutes. Add 3 cups of water (triple the quantity of semolina) and bring it to a boil. Season with salt and paprika to taste. When the water starts boiling, gradually add roasted semolina and keep stirring. Garnish with nuts and chopped coriander.

Method to make Pesarattu:
Wash and soak the lentils and rice in a bowl with warm water.
Let it soak for 4-6 hours or preferably overnight. It will make the grains soften to grind.
Drain and reserve the water to add gradually to make a fine paste.
Now  pulse green lentils, rice, chile, coriander and ginger in a blender or food processor to make a fine and flowing yet thick paste. (add water slowly).
Stir the cumin seed and salt into the paste.

The Batter is ready to go...

Preheat a non-stick skillet/ tawa over medium-low heat. And also keep a small bowl of water and kitchen towel ready to wipe the pan in making subsequent dosas. (A vertically sliced onion can also be used)
Drizzle some ghee on the tawa and check if its ready. Pour a ladle full of batter in the center and swiftly move it outside in clockwise direction.

1,2,3...Gooooo !!!!

Drizzle some oil/ghee on the sides and let it cook for couple of minutes.
Now flip it on other side and add a filling of upma in the center.
Close it in a half way moon style and enjoy with chutney and sambhar.

and when stuffed with Upma = Yumm !!!!

Pesarattu's are best eaten hot and crispy right off the tawa. My platter was already waiting for these hot crepes with chutney and fresh chillies, can't wait more..........


You can have it without upma folded into a cone like you see below.
Whichever way you make it , mmmmm....its quite Gud !!!!!!!!

Elegant... Ain't it ???

The Pesarratu was Phenomenal and worthy of trying at home.
I'm sure all my lovely readers will relish it !!!!!
Thank You, so much again for all your love and support...


Related Posts: - Organic Rava Idlis with Sambar and Chutney



Friday, September 9, 2011

Super Moist Polka Dot Cake with Nutella

Finally, we have completed the move. Although the decision to move was came as late as early August, yet we were able to plan things well to move within a month. Apart from the last minute anxiety - courtesy Hurricane Irene, things went pretty smooth & we landed in Cherry Hill area last day of August. And as anticipated it was now when this cycle of unpacking & resettling started. When you stay at a place for a few years you don't realize how comfortable you get with your interiors. It is only when you have to move & have to think'bout it again - you remember how difficult it was to settle down in first place. It has taken us almost a week, finally the home has taken shape & in a past few days we have been able to go around the town getting familiar with the surroundings. When we first came to Hoboken in late 2008, I never realized I would fall in love with a Town so much that it will break my heart leaving it. We have some really great memories of the place, Like - It was in Hoboken that our Son went to school for the first time, made his first school pals, I made my first friends in the US & it was our first home away from home.

OK, now I need to stop as I'm getting emotional & I've taken an instant decision that I'm gonna collate all my memories of Hoboken & make a neat little post pretty soon. So for now Adios Hoboken & Hola Cherry Hill...... here we come !!!!!


Super Moist Polka Dot Cake with Nutella

A "Super Moist Polka Dot Cake" with with Golden Interiors & Layered with Nutella, Topped with a mixed Bag of M&Ms...... (ain't it a long name for a recipe ??? , Never mind) is what I will share with you today. I made this as a part of my 24X24 party recently & always wanted to share. Recipe is loosely inspired by one my fvt simple yet elegant collection of baking recipes in a book called "Whats Cooking - Baking"


We picked up this book at a book sale & its collection has never ceased to amaze me, watch out more to come from this treasure !


So, here is the recipe full of m&m's, feel free add the flavors of your choice.....!


Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
1/2 Stick butter (at room temp)
A bagful of m& m's 
2tsp unsweetened cocoa (optional)
Nutella/Chocolate hazelnut spread for topping


Method:

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Sift flour, baking soda and baking powder. 
Add sugar and whisk to combine, Set aside.
In a separate bowl whisk milk, vanilla extract, eggs and butter together.
Gently fold flour mixture into liquid mixture until combined. 
Mix a handful of m& m's into this mix.
Pour this mix into a cake pan layered with parchment paper. 
Else, oil the pan well and sprinkle some flour. 
Bake it for 30 - 40 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.


For Topping:
Let the cake cool down and then liberally layer it  with Nutella or chocolate hazelnut spread.
The more :P the merrier.....
You can see my bottle almost emptied out here....come on Bring it on !!!!!!!

Yum, Yum... Nutella !!!!

This Quick, dirty, delicious, sinful , divine...... All Packaged in One !

Wowee, Woweee... m&m's

Arrange the mixed variety of m&m's to make a beautiful Rainbow Cake... ! 
This cake can gel in any party theme and will be surely a show stopper amongst the little tots.........!!!!!

Hope you will give it a shot & share with me how you did.

Take Care & Love

Sonia









Sunday, September 4, 2011

About "Leaving"

Lea.ving
transitive verb
a. going away, departing, dis.associating


“You never really leave a place you love,
part of it you take with you,
leaving a part of yourself behind.”



Taken: Hoboken, NJ
Camera : Lumix GF1
Lens : 
Lumix G 20 mm f/1.7 Pancake 






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