3 Things Thursday {Edition 91}

February is here! A month filled pink, roses, romance, a birthday and extra I love you’s, is of course my favorite! Sharing this week’s 3 Things Thursday on a Friday wasn’t planned, but flu season will throw off any scheduled plans. If you are new to 3 Things Thursday and would like to learn more, check out my initial post about it. For directions on how to link up, follow the post! Have a great weekend!

Chill out

I’m done. I mean I know we had 70 degree weather on Christmas Day and Winter didn’t decide to show up until two weeks ago but I’m already over it! Bring on the sun, splash pads, park evenings and barbecues. Summer, I’m waiting.

Swoon

Can we all take a minute to swoon at Sabyasachi’s Summer 16′ bridal collection. This man never ceases to disappoint, the colors, Hand work, styling… breathtaking. Indian wear makes my heart flutter. {Image via Sabyasachi’s official Instagram account.}

Sabyasachi Summer 2016


Be like.

Too perfect not to share. With all the ‘be likes” going around, this one seemed to be the perfect one when it comes to Indian cooking!
Be like Aloo

Now it’s your turn! Share your blog post in the link up below. Just a few rules (well requests really). Please link back to one or all of the hostesses; myself, Nisha from Love Laugh Mirch or Salma from The Write Balance, and share a link to your post (not your blog’s home page). Feel free to use the 3 Things badge in your post. We’re looking forward to reading your posts!

3 Things Thursday


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3 Things Thursday {Week 90}

Happy New Year! I hope your holiday season was filled will love & laughter. We had my parents and brother over for the holidays and it was essentially a 5 day cook off between my mom, brother and myself. Sharing a bit of here and there for this week’s 3 Things Thursday. Also, we have now decided to make 3 Things Thursday a monthly link-up (instead of weekly) which will now occur every first Thursday of the month. If you are new to 3 Things Thursday and would like to learn more check out my initial post about it. For directions on how to link up, follow the post! Have a great weekend!

On resolutions

I find I’m more successful when I make small attainable short term goals so rather than make year long resolutions to reflect upon next year, I find focusing on “the now” works best.
Do themNew Toy

Oh my gosh guys I am SO excited about my newest kitchen toy… the Vitamix! I’ve had a simple little blender for years now but this fall it started slowing down and making odd noises so it was time for an upgrade. Do you guys use your blender often? What do you use it for the most?

Vitamixvia
Sleeping Beauty

Something terrible is happening… Little Mirchi is dare I say it… growing out of nap time ((shudders)). She seems to be skipping her afternoon naps of late and I am in denial. I was hoping napping would last until she went to Elementary school… lol is that being too hopeful?!

Now it’s your turn! Share your blog post in the link up below. Just a few rules (well requests really). Please link back to one or all of the hostesses; myself, Nisha from Love Laugh Mirch or Salma from The Write Balance, and share a link to your post (not your blog’s home page). Feel free to use the 3 Things badge in your post. We’re looking forward to reading your posts!

3 Things Thursday


3 Things Thursday {Week 89}

So I knew I would be jet lagged once I got back from India but OMG I didn’t realize how long it would last. Also I feel like I’m in the twilight zone since I left right after Diwali and it’s already a few days from Christmas. That being said, this will be the last 3 Things Thursday link up for the year. We have some changes coming to 3 Things Thursday in the New Year and are excited to restart the link up on January 7, 2016.

Wise Words
Why Travel
Travels
The best travel partner, my little mirchi. Over a month of spending time with family overseas and making memories with my darling is the best gift I could have ever wished for.

Traveling with Little MirchiPeace . Love . Joy
Wishing you and yours a happy and safe holiday season!

Now it’s your turn! Share your blog post in the link up below. Just a few rules (well requests really). Please link back to one or all of the hostesses; Nisha from Love Laugh Mirch, Raj from Pink Chai Living, or Salma from The Write Balance, and share a link to your post (not your blog’s home page). Feel free to use the 3 Things badge in your post. We’re looking forward to reading your posts!

3 Things Thursday Linkup



Kadak Chai | Strong Indian Tea

“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.” -C.S. Lewis

Kadak Chai | Strong Indian Tea

Is there an Indian home that doesn’t start its morning with a steaming cup of chai? Chai seems to be the start of every desi’s day. Basic chai is made with loose leaf black tea or tea bags (although I prefer loose leaf). And even though it’s one of the most basic and popular South Asian beverages, there are a few tricks that help bring out it’s best flavor. Always add the milk while the tea is on the stove and not after you’ve brewed the tea. You can use any cow’s milk form of your choice: full fat, low fat, skimmed, condensed or evaporated. I personally love the creaminess that full fat milk brings to the chai so that’s my milk of choice. Sugar can be added directly to the chai after the addition of milk or to the cups after you’ve strained the chai. I prefer the latter as you end up using less sugar.

Kadak Chai | Strong Indian TeaKadak Chai | Strong Indian Tea

In our early days of dating my husband would always convince me to stay a little bit longer by offering me a cup of chai. After being shocked by the fact he didn’t have a channi (tea strainer) and running out and immediately getting one for him, he admitted he never drank chai before he met me and was hooked because of me! Nowadays the tables have turned and I find myself bribing him with a cup of chai in exchange for errands I need him to run. Funny how the tables have turned!

How to make Kadak Chai | Strong Indian TeaRecently Tea India sent me their loose leaf mamri black tea for making kadak chai and I knew I had to try it. Because I wanted to enjoy it’s true flavor, I stuck with only cardamom and avoided additional masalas. Kadak Chai is a stronger version of the traditional Indian tea and is as bold as it sounds. Made by adding additional loose leaf tea and boiling it longer than usual, it’s a popular choice after a busy weekday or when you need a quick boost of caffeine. As I’ve been busy moving into a new house, mothering a toddler, and traveling across countries, you can be sure that I’ve depended on my fair share of kadak chai to get me through the days (and nights). Sharing a traditional yet easy kadak chai recipe below!

Kadak Chai | Strong Indian Tea

Kadak Chai | Strong Indian Tea
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Kadak Chai is a stronger version of the traditional Indian tea and is as bold as it sounds. Made by adding additional loose leaf tea and boiling it longer than usual, it's a popular choice after a busy weekday or when you need a quick boost of caffeine.
Author:
Recipe type: Drinks
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of water
  • ½ cup of milk
  • 2 teaspoon loose leaf black tea (I use Tea India's Mamri tea)
  • 2-3 cardamom freshly pounded or crushed
  • 2 teaspoon sugar per cup; adjust to taste
Method
  1. Pour water in sauce pan. Place on high heat and add crushed cardamom. Boil for 3-4 mins on high heat.
  2. Once it starts bubbling add the loose leaf tea. Let tea boil on medium heat for 4-5 mins, ensuring the tea doesn't overflow.
  3. Add milk and boil again on medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Switch off the heat and strain the tea with a strainer. Mix in desired amount of sugar and enjoy!

Kadak Chai | Strong Indian TeaThis post is part of a sponsored campaign on behalf of the South Asian Bloggers Network for Tea India and I have received compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

6 Easy Indian Diwali Desserts and My Diwali Menu

Houses are being decorated, foods are being prepared, fireworks are being sorted and gifts are being shared. It’s my favorite time of year… Diwali! This time of year is all about family, inner peace and sweets!

Today I’m sharing 6 Easy Indian Diwali Desserts from the blog archives that would be a perfect addition to your Diwali spread.

6 Easy Indian Diwali Desserts and My Diwali MenuFrom Left to Right, Top to Bottom.

Dhood Peda | Sweet Milk Truffles
Kesar Pista Kheer
Mango Kulfi
Gajar ka Halwa
Sooji ka Halwa
Jalebi | Indian Funnel Cakes

One of my good friends also requested that I share my menu for what I’ll be preparing this Diwali. As an aficionado of traditional foods, our Diwali menu stays the same each year except for the dessert portion, where I tend to try my hand at various traditional sweets I grew up with.

6 Easy Indian Diwali Desserts and My Diwali MenuThe Kadoo ki saabzi, kale chane, sooji ka halwa and kheer can call be found on the blog! Hoping this helps to get you in the festive mood!

Gajar ka Halwa | Gajrela

“All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.” -Dalai Lama

Gajar ka Halwa | Gajrela
Gajar Ka Halwa, also known as Gajrela is a popular dessert in Northern India during the winter and spring months when dark red carrots are in season. Carrots (known as ‘gajar’ in Hindi) are slow cooked with milk until they reduce to a tender fudge like consistency. Halwa is the Hindi term for pudding and in India several types of Halwas are made with a variety of vegetables, depending on what’s in season. Since traditional dark red carrots (which are sweeter then regular carrots) are available only during the winter and spring months, Gajar ka Halwa is usually made then. The dessert can also be made with regular carrots which are available in the market year round. Gajar ka Halwa is often made during festival season such as Diwali, Holi and Vaisakhi.

 Gajar ka Halwa | GajrelaGajar ka Halwa | GajrelaDuring the week of Diwali there are communal meals, get togethers, fun and fire works. It’s a time to enjoy family and traditional homemade foods. Street vendors light up their shops with the latest bargins, diyas (traditional Indian candles) of all shapes and sizes are on display and mithai-wale (dessert shops) fill gift boxes with colorful confections. The air is filled with celebration while kitchens are taken over by the aroma of authentic recipes. No matter where you celebrate, the festival of Diwali always includes traditional fare, which is often followed by beautiful desserts. Homemade Gajar ka Halwa is one of those popular Diwali desserts. It’s often served warm with a scoop of ice cream or Malai Kulfi. I personally love piping hot Gajar ka Halwa with vanilla ice cream. This recipe is a great way to incorporate both ingredients while serving it in a sweet little cups.

Gajar ka Halwa | GajrelaNotes:

-If you are making the Gajrela into cups a thicker consistency is desired as it will mould better to the muffin pan.

-Chilling the Gajrela after you have pressed it into the moulds will help form the cups, if you want to serve it hot you can always warm it in the Microwave right before serving after the cups have been formed and removed from the muffin pan.

Gajar ka Halwa | Gajrela
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Gajar ka Halwa, also known as Gajrela is a popular North Indian dessert. It's made by slow cooking carrots with milk and sugar, resulting in a sweet carrot pudding.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian Food
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 6 large carrots, grated
  • ½ cup ghee or butter
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 3-4 saffron strands
  • 3 tablespoon cashews, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon almonds, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon pistachios, chopped
Method
  1. Melt the ghee/butter in a heavy bottom pan over medium heat, add cashews, almonds and pistachios. Lightly toast the nuts and add the grated carrots. Increase to high heat, add the saffron and milk, mix and let boil. Reduce heat to medium again and cook for 30 minutes, mixing occasionally, until the carrots become soft and the mixture thickens. Mix in sugar, heavy cream and cook for 20-25 minutes. Once thickened, remove from heat, add cardamom powder, mix and let cool.
  2. Line muffin pan with plastic stretch wrap, take 2 tablespoons of Halwa, press down into muffin mold, firmly around the sides and bottom forming a cup. Refrigerate for an hour until firm.
  3. When ready to serve remove from mold, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream, garnish with chopped pistachios and serve.

Gajar ka Halwa | Gajrela

Gajar ka Halwa | GajrelaEnjoy

Diwali | Celebrating with Evite

Diwali is soon approaching and with that comes the preparation of food, prayers, parties and more. Diwali, one of the biggest and most celebrated South Asian festivals is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains all over the world. It is also known as the festival of lights and is celebrated with an evening full of fireworks and diyas.

Diwali | Celebrating with Evite

Diwali falls on the darkest night of the Hindu lunar calendar, this year being Wednesday, November 11th. The evening involves everyone dressing up in traditional attire, meeting at someone’s place and performing Diwali pooja (prayers). As soon as the formalities of the pooja are done you step out of the house to light diyas (ghee lamps) for your own home. Every nook and corner of ones place celebrating this festival will be illuminated. There are fireworks, old stories, traditional food and lots of desserts. The main essence of this festival is to celebrate your inner light and celebrate the good in life.

This year we have family that will be joining us to celebrate Diwali in our new home. To get the festivities started I chose a beautiful customizable card from Evite, the well known e-invitation site. Did you know they’ve added a whole selection of Diwali themed cards? I was so excited and chose one with a bit of glitz and glamour. I also created a mood board that will help me in setting the mood for our Diwali Dinner.

Diwali | Celebrating with Evite

Decor | While colorful is the theme of many Indian parties, I chose something a bit different for Diwali. Diwali is known to fall on the darkest night of the year, which is why I chose black as one of my main decor colors. I chose to brighten it up with pops of gold, hot pinks and peacock blues.

Table Setting | An elegant yet festive tablescape can be created by adding a simple black tablecloth, a sequins gold runner and bright pink flower arrangements.

Lights | Known as the Festival of Lights, no Diwali party is complete without candles, diyas and fireworks. For some added sparkle, DIY simple white candle holders with gold glitter.

Food | Celebrations on Diwali always include traditional fare, including beautiful desserts.

Dress | Of course for most ladies, one of our favorite parts about Diwali parties and gatherings is getting dressed up. For Diwali I chose a the traditional Indian saree but in a modern color and style.

All sources from my mood board can be found on my Pinterest Evite Diwali Board.

Diwali | Celebrating with EviteI hope this mood board inspired you to start planning your Diwali get together, because after all, life is better together. {#LifesBetterTogether}

Right now for Love Laugh Mirch readers, Evite is offering 15 Free Thank You Cards using promo code: NPTHANKYOU15 (which is good through 11/30/15) – Enjoy!

Influencer BadgeNote: This is a sponsored post on behalf of the South Asian Blogger Network as a part of the Evite Influencer Program. All views expressed are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Love Laugh Mirch. 

Celebrating Karva Chauth

celebrating karvachauth

Karva Chauth is almost here and I can’t wait! Karva Chauth is a North Indian festival celebrated around the world in which married women fast from sunrise to moonrise for the health and long lives of their husbands. You’re probably thinking what could be so exciting about fasting? But that’s just it, the day is spent in adorning yourself like a bride, the full deal from clothing, jewelry to applying mendhi (henna). In addition, housework is restricted and you are so busy in preparations for the chaand puja (moon prayer) that you hardly notice the fasting. Traditionally mother in laws prepare saargi, the pre-sunrise early morning meals for their daughter in laws and fast together. In essence, it’s a celebration of the wife and her promise to always pray and protect her husband.

karvachauth mendhi

Second to Diwali this is the festival I look forward to most. When I was a little girl I would ‘ooooh’ and ‘aaahhh’ as my mom adorned herself the day of. She would take out her crimson color sari, adjust her kamar baand, select something from her jewelry collection and apply sindoor (a red powder, the symbol of a married woman) on her forehead. I would shriek out of excitement of how beautiful she looked. All I could do was hope that I too had the glow of love and femininity like her when it was time for me to celebrate.

My first Karva Chauth as a married woman!

My first Karva Chauth as a married woman!

When it was time for me to celebrate my first married Karva Chauth a few years ago, my mom made sure everything was as beautiful and romantic as I imagined it. She had a mendhi artist come the night before to adorn our hands and feet. A few days leading up to the festival we decorated our plates and accessories needed for the prayer. In the wee early hours of the morning after showering, we sat together in prayer which was immediately followed by a meal of paranthas and jalebis dunked in milk. That evening I took out my wedding trousseau to wear, it felt just as magical as it did the first time. Everything was perfect, even better than I had imagined.

Karva Chauth through out the years

Karva Chauth through out the years

The romance, colors, significance and traditions have me counting down as the festival approaches each year. Last year a group of girlfriends and I had a mendhi celebration the day before – to get us in the spirit and start the adorning early! We played bollywood songs and enjoyed our us time as our husbands watched our little ones. I love celebrating traditional holidays even more now that Little Mirchi is growing up. I hope that she too will be as enthused as I was watching my mom celebrate.

Wishing all the beautiful ladies celebrating a Happy Karva Chauth!

Sooji ka Halwa

“Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made of; the heck with sugar and spice.” -Bethany Hamilton

Sooji ka Halwa | Sweet Semolina PuddingI spent the first half of the day today preparing for Kanjaka, a ritual held on the eighth of the nine day festival, Navratri. I remember when I was a kid, my mom and her friends would gather all us girls together to give us prated  which consisted of halwa, poori and kale channe. In the evening my Dad would come home and give me an extra bonus (read: money or presents) for being ‘ghar ki kanjak’.

Sooji ka Halwa | Sweet Semolina PuddingSooji ka Halwa | Sweet Semolina Pudding

Kanjaka or Kanya Pooja is celebrated in North Indian families on Ashtami, the eighth Navratra. The day is celebrated by preparing poori, halwa, chana for young girls and doing their puja. Kanjaks, young girls are considered a form of Devi,  the divine goddess and are invited into homes for feasts, gifts and prayers. Their feet are washed and tikka is applied on the forehead of each young girl and they are worshipped as goddesses. People often give the young girls money or gifts in addition to the feast prepared for them.

Sooji ka Halwa | Sweet Semolina PuddingI love continuing the traditions I grew up with and celebrating Kanjaka with Little Mirchi. I’m sharing one of the important items made for this puja, Sooji ka Halwa. Sooji (semolina) is roasted and cooked with sugar, cardamom pods and ghee or butter, resulting in a sweet pudding like dessert. Sooji ka Halwa is also one of the first foods given to babies (minus the sugar) when they start solids.

Sooji ka Halwa | Sweet Semolina Pudding

Sooji ka Halwa
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Sooji ka Halwa, is a popular dessert made in India during religious festivals and celebrations. It combines semolina, ghee or butter and sugar to make a sweet pudding.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 3 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup fine sooji, semolina
  • 2 tablespoon ghee or butter
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • ⅓ heaping cup of sugar
  • 2 cup water
Method
  1. In a clean pan, dry roast the semolina until it turns from white to light golden in color. Remove from heat and place in bowl. This step helps you avoid using less ghee or butter. When you dry roast you help remove some of the moisture in the grain. In the same pan melt ghee or butter and add the semolina, mix. In a separate pan boil two cups of water. After it comes to a boil turn off heat and add sugar and cardamom pods. Mix to make sure all the sugar melts. Once the semolina and butter mixture starts browning and looking like wet sand, slowly add the sugared water. Be careful while adding the water as the mixture will sputter. Mix and let bubble away. Once the halwa starts thickening and pulling away from the sides, turn heat off. Enjoy warm.

 

Friday Favorites: IMC’s Treasure Box

Recently Indian Moms Connect contacted me about an opportunity to review their IMC Treasure Box. IMC Treasure Box is a monthly subscription box that’s filled with hand picked children’s books, arts or crafts, a kid friendly recipe and a curated app that makes learning fun. The boxes come tailored for two different age groups. The “Under the Imli” is for ages 2-4 and “Under the Banyan” for ages 4-7. I chose to review the Under the Imli box as it was age appropriate for Little Mirchi.

Friday Favorites: IMC's Treasure BoxFriday Favorites: IMC's Treasure BoxThe Review: The box arrived neatly packed with the crafts individually packaged. Little Mirchi was excited to open it right away. She first dug into the book “Days with Thathu” a sweet tale about a granddaughter and her grandfather. Next we opened the crafts bundle and she was excited to find star stickers along with crayons and cut out characters with grandparents in traditional indian clothes. She colored all the characters and decided to stick the stickers all over her Papa (dad). :) The recipe “Rice, cheese and veggies balls” is something I’ll be trying this week. The app included was a puppet workshop, allowing kids to make sock puppet with buttons and strings and then capturing them in pictures. All in all it was a sweet concept and I enjoyed seeing the wonder in Little Mirchi’s eyes as she discovered each item.

Friday Favorites: IMC's Treasure BoxSomething that sets this box apart from other subscription services is that all the boxes have an Indian theme. I love adding cultural books to Little Mirchi’s library collection and this box makes it easy.

Friday Favorites: IMC's Treasure BoxIf you’re looking for a special treat for your child each month that makes culture and leaning fun, this would be a great box to subscribe to. Love Laugh Mirch readers get 20% off using the code “TBNAV” at www.imcmarketplace.com/treasurebox.

Friday Favorites: IMC's Treasure BoxDisclaimer: I was provided with the box free of charge for the purpose of this post. All opinions mentioned are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Love Laugh Mirch.