3 Things Thursday {Week 44}

3thingsfinal-1Thursday… somehow the days have started to run into each other since Little Mirchi was sick last week… can you believe it’s almost February?! 2015 JUST started… that was fast.

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!

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The gift that keeps giving

If you’re a parent you know once your kid gets sick the cold/flu is there to stay for a weeks, because you know, it’s got to make it’s rounds to every. single. person. Now that Little Mirchi is feeling better I’m sick… and the best part is now the husband is complaining over a sore throat.

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Swap this, swap that

I was baking something the other day and realized I was short on eggs. While searching for solutions I stumbled upon this info graph with egg substitutes in baking. Pretty useful!

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Bollywood Marathon

Since last week we slept primarily on the couch (because Little Mirchi insisted on sleeping upright while being held) we spent the entire weekend watching Bollywood movies and streaming Bollywood songs. Best way to spend sick snowed in days!

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!


Whole Wheat Cardamom Spice Muffins

If baking is any labor at all, it’s a labor of love. A love that gets passed from generation to generation. -Regina Brett

Whole Wheat Cardamom Spice Muffins In our house, our oven gets the most love during the winter months, when snow days are aplenty and copious amounts of hot chai simmers away on the stove-top. Since most Indian dishes mainly call for simmering, braising, boiling or sauteing (aside from biryanis or a few appetizers) the majority of my everyday meals don’t require an oven. We do however enjoy our occasional banana bread and chai cakes around the year. As our day starts, especially on the weekends, we like to have a little something with our morning chai, whether it’s crunchy rusks, salty crackers or one of these whole wheat cardamom spice muffins; we need something to accompany our morning dosage of caffeine.

These  muffins would be great to make for a quick snack, morning chai accompaniment or even a sweet bite at the end of the day. They’re made with whole wheat flour which makes them heartier and healthier than traditional muffins. The sweetness comes from brown sugar and apple sauce so you can feel confident when your kids (or you) reach for one… or two of these tasty treats. I made these into mini muffins however you can use the regular size muffin pans when baking the muffins. The mini muffin sizes are the perfect size for my toddler, Little Mirchi to grab a hold of and just enough sweetness when my husband is craving dessert.

 Whole Wheat Cardamom Spice Muffins

Tips & Tricks:

- You can make these muffins ahead of time and freeze them in an airtight bag or container. Just take them out to thaw the night before you want to eat them.

- If stored in an airtight container they can last for up to 5 days

- These would be a perfect little treat in a lunchbox – they are mess free!

- Serve these warm with a scoop of vanilla or pineapple ice cream and you have a no fuss dessert.

- Nutmeg has natural warming properties – I tend to add a little extra nutmeg in my baked goods when baking in the winter months.

Whole Wheat Cardamom Spice Muffins

Ingredients:

1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup cooking oil
¼ cup apple sauce
3 tablespoons whole milk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons crushed pistachios

Whole Wheat Cardamom Spice Muffins

Method:

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Grease muffin pan or fill the pan with muffin liners. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; set aside. In a separate bowl beat the brown sugar, oil, apple sauce, milk and eggs until they are mixed well. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Pour the mixture into the muffin pan and top with crushed pistachios. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops spring back. You can check if they are ready if an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool the muffins on a wire rack.

Whole Wheat Cardamom Spice Muffins

Serving Size: 12 regular size muffins or 24 mini muffins

Enjoy!

Panjiri | Ayurvedic Nutritional Mix

It takes an endless amount of history to make even a little tradition. -Henry James

How to make Panjiri

Within hours of giving birth to Little Mirchi I remember my mom arriving with a tiffin box filled with homemade food, lactation tea, warm milk and homemade Panjiri. Those first few weeks were rough and I was so lucky to have my Mom by my side to help, support and feed me us. Every morning while making tea for herself she would insist I start the day by drinking a warm cup of milk with a healthy serving of her Panjiri.

Panjiri is nutritious mix with its origins in Ayurvedic medicine. It’s comprised of dry fruits, nuts and spices and is considered a “superfood” while a new mom is recovering after giving birth when she needs to regain her strength and energy for her new born baby. The ingredients help to promote circulatory and lymphatic flow (breastmilk production) and help clear the uterus and excess fluid from the mother’s body after birth. Panjiri is a common snack in Northern India during the winter months to help warm the body and aid in aches and pains.

How to make Panjiri

Like many age-old family recipes, there are many variations for panjiri, with each family having their own unique blend of spices. During my Moms last visit I asked her to make a new batch for us, to last through the winter months. I give a small spoon of Pinjiri to Little Mirchi (now 20 months) every few days. She loves the nutty minty taste and I love knowing that it will help keep her warm.

How to make Panjiri

Note: If you are not nursing and/or plan on giving this to children leave out the Gum Arabica (the ingredient that helps the uterus contract, assisting in healing).

All ingredients should be readily available at your local Indian grocery store.

Panjiri Recipe

Ingredients

1/2 cup ghee or butter
1/3 cup makhana (puffed lotus seeds)
1/4 cup char magaz (melon seeds), dry roasted
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup flax seed powder
1 cup brown sugar or ground coarsely gud
1 cup unsalted almonds, dry roasted
1/4 cup unsalted pistachios, dry roasted
1/4 cup unsalted cashews, dry roasted
1 tablespoon ginger powder
1 tablespoon ajwain (carom seed), dry roasted
1 teaspoon elaichi (cardamom)
1 teaspoon sounf (fennel seed)
2 tablespoon gond/ gaund (gum arabica/edible gum crystals) -only if preparing for postpartum use.

How to make Panjiri

Method

In a coffee or spice grinder coarsely grind the nuts, ajwain, sounf, elaichi and char magaz. Set aside.

In a deep pan on medium heat, melt the ghee or butter. Once hot add the gond (gum crystals) and fry, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Once the crystals puff up, remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside on paper towel. In the same ghee/butter, fry the makhana until golden in color. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside on paper towel. Once cooled, grind both the gond and makhana to coarse powder and set aside.

In the same ghee/butter used above, add the whole wheat flour and flaxseed powder. Stir continuously and cook for 8-10 minutes until mixture is pale golden in color and looks like damp sand. When the flour and ground flaxseed powder are fully roasted, add all the other ingredients. Mix well and turn off the heat.

Allow the Panjiri to cool to room temperature before serving. (If serving to a new mother, serve with a warm glass of milk.) Store in airtight container.

Enjoy!

3 Things Thursday {Week 43}

3thingsfinal-1Weekend, can you hear me? I need you… some this and that this Thursday.

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!

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Technical Difficulties!

Over the past few weeks I’ve been having some tech issues with my site. These are the times I wish I was a bit more savvy when it comes to coding, website development etc.

technical difficulties

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Tis’ the season to… be sick?!

Little Mirchi is down with a cold for the umphteen time this season. Worst part about it is feeling helpless when they are so young, you want to do anything to make them feel better.

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Cooking Shows

I’m obsessed with cooking shows. I’m sure that doesn’t come as a surprise to most of you but seriously I can skip the soaps and serials but just love indulging in a cooking show or two a day. Guess it’s my vice ;)

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 {Week 42}

3thingsfinal-1Happy Thursday! This week was full of Lohri celebrations and appliance shopping! Sharing a little this and that on this weeks link up.

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!

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Lohri

On Tuesday we went to the Gurudwara for blessings and ended it with a quiet evening at home with the traditional dinner of daal (stewed lentils), saag and roti. This picture makes me laugh because while taking it Little Mirchi kept waving to the camera, we have all these pictures with her hand in her facing saying “hi”.

Lohri2015

 

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Louis Vuitton visits India

Parisian fashion house Louis Vuitton’s latest Summer Men campaign was shot in India’s famous ‘Pink City”, Jaipur. Check out the rich leather goods against the city’s beautiful sky line.

Louis-Vuitton-Spring-Summer-2015-Campaign-Men-001-800x1036

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Two in One

As I mentioned above, this week we’ve been shopping for and finalizing appliance choices. While checking out refrigerators we happened to find a GE one that dispenses hot water. Ironically enough, yesterday GE and Keurig announced that this fall they will be rolling out a refrigerator with a built in Keurig machine! Mind blown right?

KeurigGE

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!


Homemade Garam Masala

Once you get a spice in your home, you have it forever. Women never throw out spices. The Egyptians were buried with their spices. I know which one I’m taking with me when I go. -Erma Bombeck

garam_masala_1a

If you’re a familiar with Indian food, you’re no stranger to Garam Masala. This well-known spice blend is the finishing touch of many Indian dishes and known for being both versatile and flavorful! Garam Masala – meaning ‘Hot Spices’ is a blend of whole toasted spices which are ground into a fine powder. Each spice that is used imparts a unique flavor, and when toasted and used together with the other spices, they blend in such a way that the combination changes the individual characteristics. Garam Masala is often used as a finishing spice to help bring out the heat and flavors in dishes. It’s the ‘oooh and ahhhh’ flavor that lingers on your taste buds after you take a bite of that sizzling hot Biryani, a comforting bowl of Rajma, or that juicy piece of tandoori chicken.

As the use of certain spices differ regionally – the combination of spices that make up the blend vary according to what part of India you’re from. This is a basic North Indian recipe with heavy emphasis on coriander and cardamom. Garam Masala mixes can often be purchased, however I prefer to make and toast my own spice blends as you will get a much richer and aromatic flavor when you freshly blend them. If stored in an airtight container Garam Masala can last you months. I generally make a big batch and keep the container in my freezer, taking out a few spoons monthly in a smaller spice jar.

garam_masala_2

Here are some dishes that I’ve used garam masala in:

Kashmiri Rajma
Egg Curry
Tandoori Paneer
Chicken Tikka

Homemade Garam Masala Recipe

Ingredients

1/4 cup coriander seeds
3 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 Indian bay leaves (tej patta)
1 tablespoon cloves
4-5 green cardamom pods
2 black cardamoms
2 star anise
1 tablespoon dried Nutmeg flowers (javitri)
1 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
2 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks (usually 3-4″ in length)

Method

In a heavy bottom pan toast all spices (except for black cardamoms) on medium low heat for 3-4 minutes or until you notice slight browning. Once toasted, remove from heat and let cool. In a spice or coffee grinder pulse all spices together until they become a fine powder. Place Garam Masala in an airtight container, and store in a cool, dry place.

Enjoy!

garam_masala_3

3 Things Thursday {Week 41}

3thingsfinal-1Hi All! Hope you are having a great first full week of 2015. Who else is still writing 2014 on everything?! I caught myself smudging it out everywhere this week. Since next week is Lohri (The Indian winter bonfire celebration celebrating new beginnings, crop harvesting and fertility!), I thought it was only fitting that I share some Lohri inspiration on this weeks link up.

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!

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Smores’ Station

If there’s going to be a giant bonfire, might as well make it sweeter by adding a smore’s station to the party!

SmoresBar_2

SmoresBar_1

 

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Punjabi Juttis

Punjabi juttis (shoes) are some of my favorites! A few years ago when we visited Amritsar, I went bonkers at all the local jutti stalls. I remember my Mom telling me it wasn’t the last time I would come to India (her way of telling me to not to buy them all!)

punjabijutti_1

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Popcorn Bar

Popcorn, rewari, gajak are all popular snacks during the winter months and are sure to be at any Lohri celebration. Check out these gorgeous Popcorn Bar’s – who knew popcorn could be so glam?

PopcornBar_2 PopcornBar_1

For more Lohri Inspired finds – check out my Lohri Pinterest Board!

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!



Homemade Ghee

-“Eat butter first, and eat it last, and live till a hundred years be past.” Old Dutch proverb

ghee_recipe_9

A staple in most Indian homes, ghee is one of the most controversial and misunderstood foods in this generation. Ghee, clarified butter is the ‘liquid gold’ you get when you separate the milk solids and water from the good fats by melting (or churning) unsalted butter (or makkhan).

ghee_recipe_1

When I first married my husband I remember him telling me how he couldn’t start the smell of ghee and requested me never to cook with it. Having scoffed at it myself as a child when my mom would make it, I obliged and agreed only to use it for religious purposes (lighting a diya). Fast forward a few years later when our Little Mirchi started eating solids and I wanted to introduce her to the healthiest food options available, one of the first things that popped up was to cook with homemade ghee. I knew the benefits, as did my husband, Ayurvedic doctors knew what they were talking about from centuries ago. My husband’s biggest concern was the ‘smell’ cooking with ghee left behind. He thought it was too strong and would linger in the house for days. It’s true that in some homes ghee is finished with a tarka (tempering of oil & spices) to preserve it and sometimes ghee if stored for too long in plastic bottles starts to give off a strong stench. My Mom convinced us that as long as we used the best quality butter and stored it airtight glass bottles; there would be no strong smell. And so the day came when ghee made its way into our kitchen.

ghee_recipe_7

The benefits of ghee are endless but these are some of the big ones that convinced me to start cooking with it.

- Ghee’s smoke point is much higher (500°F) than that of many oils, making it perfect for the sautéing, braiding, browning and frying done in Indian cooking.

- For centuries Ghee has been known to help memory functions, ulcers, digestion, burn wounds, and even aid in blood circulation.

- Ghee contains Omega 3 and Omega 9 essential fatty acids along with vitamins A, D, E and K.

- Butyric acid (found in Ghee) boosts immunity and believed to inhibit cancerous tumor growth.

In our kitchen I cook with a variety of cooking oils & ghee. When I’m cooking specifically for my daughter (eggs, French toast, dosas, sautéed vegetables, etc) I always opt for ghee. There are often times I sneak a small spoon into my daals or kebabs for a rich nutty flavor and the husband doesn’t even notice (shhhh).

ghee_recipe_8

Ingredients

1 pound unsalted butter (preferably organic)

ghee_recipe_stages

Method

Place butter in a heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat. Melt the butter until it starts to bubble. At this point the butter will go through a few stages in a quick amount of time – be sure to keep a close eye on it. The bubbling butter will go from a cream to light yellow and foam as the water and milk fats are separating. The bubbles will start to clear up and the color will start turning a deeper yellow. A darker foam will soon start to appear and the milk solids will start sinking to the bottom while turning a deep amber color. Once they are separated remove from heat immediately. Gently pour into heatproof airtight container through fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth. Once it’s cooled completely, the ghee will be opaque and smooth. Ghee is best kept stored in an airtight container for up to one month or in a refrigerator for up to three months.

Enjoy

2015

Happy 2015! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season with loved ones and are enjoying the weekend. This being my first post for the year I thought I’d share some things I’d like to do better this year. I’m going into this year knowing it will be good – don’t ask me why or how I know, I just know. 2015, prove me right. fivethings 1. Follow Through There are so many times where I have an idea and I get super excited about what it could become and gush all my thoughts and ideas to the husband. I start the thought process, see the dream, but somewhere it starts to fizzle away and I put it on the back burner. My husband, the dreamer usually checks up on me and why I never followed up with the idea – which is usually followed up with an excuse of why I didn’t think it would work. This year, I want to believe in myself more and follow the idea/dream of mine through. Whether it’s a blog post, a craft for my daughter or a business brainstorm – I want to follow it through 100%

2. Me time Plain and simple, I need more me time. Whether it’s a trip to nail spa, an afternoon spent in a cafe, or an evening with just me and a canvas – it’s important to me that I make time for myself. I am positive this will help me recharge to be a better mother, better wife and better self.

3. De-clutter Over the years I’ve come to realize both my husband and I are hoarders. Ok maybe that’s a bit extreme but we definitely hold on to wayyyy too much useless ‘stuff’. Sometimes it’s papers, other times it’s wood samples (no joke we had a stack sitting in our living room for months while deciding what to lay in the new house). All that combined with toys, old baby clothes and 101 random kids things makes for a crazy cluttered combination. Happy to report I’ve already started de-cluttering this week and made donation bags filled with clothes and toys.

4. Be patient I think this somewhere is related to #2. Lately I’ve found myself loosing my patience over small things. I’ve caught myself when I’ve lost it with my daughter and had to walk away. I know that she will mimic everything she sees and because of that I hope to teach her patience via my actions.

5. Worry less I’m pretty sure I’ve always been a bit of a worry wort but ever since I became a mom it’s gotten crazy. I worry about everything, anything, silly things really. When she’s awake I worry if she’s sleeping enough, eating enough, learning enough and when she’s asleep – instead of giving myself a break I’m on my iPhone researching more of my worries. I need to chill. There I said it. Mumma needs to calm it and not worry so much. What are some things you would like to do better this year?

3 Things Thursday {Week 38}

3thingsfinal-1Happy Thursday Darlings! Hope your week is going well and you’re all ready for the holiday week ahead! Sharing some old & new this week.

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!

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Grandparents

We’re visiting my parents for the holidays and Little Mirchi has become my Dad’s shadow. She follows him everywhere he goes and it’s simply adorable.image

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Hubby Surprised me with a quick anniversary trip this morning! Anxious because it’s Little Mirchi’s first night away from is but super excited about our getaway!

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TBT

Five years ago today we were celebrating our Mendhi Sangeet (pre wedding party) night! This weekend we celebrate 5 years!

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!


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