Garlic Bread- The most Luring Bread Variety

Garlic bread is a great appetizer. This a very easy and simple way to make your own.

Pasta in chilli Sauce

Pasta has become a weekly dinner for us. This is yet another very easy and quick to make Pasta recipe.

Coconut Cookies

A Yummy delight. Easy, simple and delicious cookies make at home within minutes.

Capsicum Rice - Must try!

Capsicum + Rice = Delicious! , A must try vegetarian healthy recipe.

Healthy Spinach Rolls

Easy and healthy snack ,the kids will love.

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Festival Series - Sundal and Sweet for Navaratri 2008 Celebration

Navaratri or Dasara is a very fun festival in India, especially for kids. In the evening, when that day's pooja is over, the kids go to each house for collecting Prasadams. They also sing to the god. I remember my childhood days carrying polythene cover to collect all the sundals. Fun!

Navaratri is celebrated for nine days. This year Navaratri started on 30 Sept 2008 and will run till Oct 8th 2008. Oct 9, 2008 will be Vijaya dasami.

There are a lot of websites sharing information about this festival. Learn more about Navaratri 2008. Learn about Navaratri Significance.

Photo by: Manvendra

Navratri is divided into sets of three days to adore three different aspects of the supreme goddess. Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Check out how 'Art of Indian Cooking' celebrated the Navaratri 2008.

Day 1

  • Groundnut/Verkadalai Sundal and Rava/Suji Kesari

  • Day 2

  • Pattani Sundal and Ladoo

  • Day 3

  • Channa dal Sundal and Kaju Katli

  • Day 4

  • Payathamparupu/Gram Dal Sundal and Mysore Pak

  • Day 5

  • Chickpeas sundal and Kasi Halwa

  • Day 6

  • Rajma/Red Kidney Beans Sundal and Beetroot Halwa

  • Day 7

  • Payaru/Whole gram dal sundal and Rice pudding/Arisi Payasam

  • Day 8

  • Corn Sundal and Rava Ladoo

  • Day 9 - Saraswathi Pooja

  • Carrot Kheer and Vadas

  • Day 10 - Vijayadasami

  • Navaratri Series - Vijayadasami, Day 10
  • Navaratri Series - Sundal and Sweets, Day 1

    Navaratri or Dasara is a very fun festival in India, especially for kids. In the evening, when that day's pooja is over, the kids go to each house for collecting Prasadams. They also sing to the god. I remember my childhood days carrying polythene cover to collect all the sundals. Fun!

    Navaratri is celebrated for nine days. This year Navaratri started on 30 Sept 2008 and will run till Oct 8th 2008. Oct 9, 2008 will be Vijaya dasami. There are a lot of websites sharing information about this festival. Learn more about Navaratri 2008.

    Navratri is divided into sets of three days to adore three different aspects of the supreme goddess. Today being the first day, we worship goddess Durga, in order to destroy all our impurities.

    As today's Navaratri special, I would like to share Groundnut sundal/ Verkadalai sundal recipe.


    1 cup groundnuts
    1 tsp urad dal
    1 tsp channa dal
    1 tsp mustard
    2 green chillies
    2 tsp oil
    A pinch of hing
    Salt to taste
    1/4 cup onions (optional)

    Ground nut sundal


    Pressure cook the ground nuts until you get two hisses.

    In a pan, add oil, mustard. When it pops add a pinch of hing.

    Add urad and channa dal and saute them.

    Add the onions and saute.

    Add Green chopped chillies and salt.

    Now add the ground nuts and mix well.

    Ground nut sundal is ready!. It is tasty even when not hot.

    Navaratri special sweet :

    Rava/Suji Kesari

    Today I would like to share Rava/Suji Kesari.

    Happy Navaratri to all readers!

    Avial - A famous Kerala recipe

    Recently I was chatting with my friend who was working with me in India. One thing I have to tell about her mom is that she is an awesome cook. Daily, or most of the days during lunch time or even before (sometimes I couldn't control) I along with few other friends will inspect her lunch box. God!Those were fun days!

    Every time I look for Vazhapu vadai (banana flower fritters) in her lunch box.Though I know that no one will prepare the same recipe daily, it has become my practice, something I couldn't avoid. I really don't know if I got the English name correct but, I can surely say that it is one of her mom's best recipes. Even today, if I eat those vadas I will surely be reminded of her mom's recipe.

    You may wonder why the post title is Avial Recipe and this girl is taking about vazhapu vada? It is because, this friend requested me to post Avial recipe. Also, I had invited few friends for dinner last week, which gave me the perfect occasion to serve Avial.

    How to make Avial? - The famous Kerala recipe, which is a must in most of the South Indian Marriages and also in festive lunches. The secret ingredient for Avial is the few drops of coconut oil. I can't call it a secret ingredient because everyone knows that coconut oil is the key performer here, but then just wanted to give it a twist.


    1 cup of vegetables chopped lengthwise. This can include carrots, beans, Peas, Drumstick, potato, cauliflower, eggplant etc. Any vegetable of you choice. More the vegetables, more the taste.

    2 tbspn of curd
    Salt to taste
    1 tsp Turmeric powder
    1 cup of Grated fresh coconut
    3 - 4 Green chillies
    few Curry leaves
    1 tbspn Coconut oil (A must! Do not substitute. As I said before, it is the key ingredient for Avial recipe)


    Wash the vegetables.

    Boil the vegetables until just done, with turmeric powder and salt.

    Be careful not to overcook the vegetables.Some vegetables may get cooked sooner. So add them accordingly, with the longer to cook first followed by the easily cooked.

    Grind the coconut with green chillies, without using water.

    Drain the vegetables.

    In a pan,add the coconut mixture, beaten curds, curry leaves and gently toss for few minutes.

    Now add the vegetables and coconut oil and mix so that all the vegetables are coated with coconut oil.

    Serve hot! Can be refrigerated and used too. Just reheat it before serving.


    Cream of Tomato soup with bread crumbs - Tried and Tasted! & WYF

    T&T is one of my favorite food events. When Zu announced that this month it is all about Sia's recipes I knew I had to participate with more than 1 recipe. But, you know it doesn't always happen as you think. I have been waiting for a perfect opportunity to try out Sia's recipes and boom! came last Friday!

    Nothing special, but my husband was in a great mood to eat something new and tasty. A big 'no! no!' to restaurants because we had already crossed last week's quota! I had to prepare something very healthy and tasty. I already bookmarked few of Sia's recipes to try out for this event and in a flash I remembered cream of tomato soup was one among them.

    Soups tastes great if we use vegetable stock in its preparation. But, I did not have vegetable stock in stock! Stock in stock!lol!did you get it?If not, I am a lousy humor writer. But, I did have the drained water from the Panner making process. It serves as a great substitute to the vegetable stock. It is true, the Paneer water makes the soup taste even great! Like restaurant soups!

    Now coming to tomato soup, the Soup recipe of Sia's is perfect on its own. But I had to lightly modify according to our needs. Here is the Cream of Tomato Soup recipe for you,


    1/2 medium Onion
    2 big ripe red Tomatoes
    1 Bay Leaves
    1 tsp Corn Flour
    1/4 cup Milk
    1 tbsp Butter
    Salt to taste
    Pepper to taste
    1 tsp sugar
    2 garlic flakes
    basil or oregano(optional)


    Heat butter in a pan and add bay leaf and chopped onions.

    Saute them for 2-3 minutes and Garlic flakes.

    Now add the chopped tomatoes. Fry them.

    Add enough water/vegetable stock/water from Panner preparation to cover the pieces and cook till tomatoes become tender.

    Cool the mixture and blend it. Strain well.

    Make sure you cool the mixture before you blend and while straining, use a big filter so that the staining process becomes easy and fast. Especially if you are doing this soup for more people, straining may take time.

    Make a white sauce with milk and corn flour.

    Heat the strained soup with salt & sugar. Stir occasionally.

    Add the white sauce slowly while stirring the soup.

    Cook in reduced flame for few more minutes.

    Serve hot sprinkled with pepper powder along with bread crumbs.

    Making this tomato soup with basil is considered to be very healthy. But, I did not use it in my soup because I didn't have basil at home. But, I suggest you all to give it a try. You need to add basil while adding onions and fry them too.

    How to make Bread Crumbs:

    Take a slice of bread and cut it into small cubes or required size.

    In a pan add some oil and deep fry the bread pieces for 2 sec and then add them to the soup.


    Toast a bread slice in high for 1 min in a toaster and then cut into small cubes.

    Either way the bread tastes great with the soup!

    Enjoy early mornings of winter/rainy days or any day for that matter with this cream of tomato soup.

    I am sending this recipe to Zlamushka's T&T and to EC's WYF- Salad/Started/Soups


    Eat Healthy Contest

    Many have been an inspiration to start this event. When I threw myself into this blogosphere, I found so many great cooks who are unselfishly sharing their recipes with us. I can see their dedication and passion towards cooking by looking at the pictures they take. Wow! They truly inspire me to contribute more. So, what is this Event all about? There are gazillion foodie event happening daily in this blog world and I do not want to be an exception. I want to host one too :) (New blogger enthusiasm. lol!). Finally I decided on the topic.

    Eat Healthy is a monthly event. Sometimes two months once. It all depends on the topic. When my husband saw my enthusiasm, he came forward to sponsor one prize of worth $20. Thanks my dear hubby! The contest will be more fun if we have more sponsors. Do you want to sponsor the prizes? Contact me. I really appreciate it.

    The contests held till now,


    Eat Healthy Fiber Rich Contest

    Eat Healthy Fiber Rich Round Up

    Eat Healthy Fiber Rich Winners


    Eat Healthy Protein Rich Contest

    Eat Healthy Protein Rich Round Up

    Eat Healthy Protein Rich Winners


    Eat Healthy Calcium Rich Contest

    Eat Healthy Calcium Rich Round Up

    Eat Healthy Calcium Rich Winners


    Eat Healthy - Fight Diabetes
    Eat Healthy - Fight Diabetes Roundup (Part 1)
    Eat Healthy - Fight Diabetes Roundup (Part 2)
    Eat Healthy - Fight Diabetes WINNER

    EAT HEALTHY during Pregnancy

    Eat healthy during pregnancy contest

    Free Recipes and Cookbooks in PDF

    Who will say NO to a set of FREE cookbooks? We all love to cook and try out new recipes. When I was browsing for some recipe information, I came across this wonderful collection of free recipes/cookbooks in PDF. Assuming that we all have Adobe acrobat reader, I am sharing this Free cookbook collection.

    If you do not have Adobe Acrobat reader, you can download it here.


    Photo by danflo

    New recipes are always interesting to try. This free cookbook collection has the following,

    Appetizer Recipes
    Fish and Game Recipes
    Low Carb Recipes
    Low Fat Recipes
    Barbecue Recipes
    Italian Recipes
    Chinese Recipes
    Mexican Recipes
    Brand Name Copycat Recipes
    Pizza Recipes
    Crockpot Recipes
    Salad Recipes
    Diabetic Recipes
    Soup Recipes

    Hope you all will enjoy this collection of free recipes.


    10 Tips for a successful and fun filled Food Potluck Party

    I must say, life in the US is very different for me from what it was in India. In India, it was mostly going to work, spending time with my family. But here , it is more fun. Mainly because I quit and I am enjoying my life as a full time homemaker! But there is more to it. Here in US, there is a lot of get together.

    Photo by Seamus Murray

    Even Yesterday we had a small gathering at my place for dinner. Though not a potluck, we had called his colleagues for dinner (5 of them) and I prepared some of my favorites. Here is the menu for you,

    Vada for appetizer
    Main course - Bisibelabath, Rasam, Curd rice
    Side dishes - Avial, Potato fry, Papads
    Dessert - Carrot Kheer

    Just wanted to share it with you. I will be posting few of the recipes soon.

    The main advantage of Potluck Party is, it is enough if you prepare 1 or 2 recipes and the rest is taken care by others. Potluck means undoubtedly 'Variety'. You will have so much of variety that your tummy will get full just by looking at the food.

    What if you are host of the Potluck Party? There are few pointers to be considered for a successful and fun filled potluck parties. Below are the 10 tips that I consider worthy to be shared.

    1.Plan well ahead. Maybe 2 weeks before. This gives you lot of time to be creative and make the party a success.

    2.Maintain a group list of all the members you are inviting to the party. By this way, you can make sure that each one is informed about the party details. You can also make sure that the items (recipes) don't duplicate by confirming the items with each person and letting others know through group mails.

    3.If you are inviting more than 10, make sure you have enough space for the party. If you have a big house, then no worries. But if you live in an apartment, consider hosting it in a clubhouse or a big hall. This way, you can avoid your potluck party look too crowded and the kids will have room to play and run around.

    4.Use Paper plates, Plastic Tumblers etc for the party so that you can just use and throw it. This avoids a lot of after party work.

    5.To avoid the food becoming cold, make sure you start the party on time. This should not be a problem as you would have already contacted all your party members through the group mail. Also eat first. You can enjoy later. Eating first gives you lot of energy to participate and mingle with the crowd.

    6.Share the leftovers. Many a times, potluck dinner/lunch ends with a lot of leftovers. Do not throw it. I bet you won’t. Instead, take them home. Make it a point to take a dish that you have not cooked for the party. By this way, you can eat food cooked by someone else for a change and by commenting the next day about their food, you build a great friendship.

    7.For the menu, make sure you have at least 2 in appetizers, main course, Side dish etc. One for vegetarians and one for Non-vegetarians so that you don’t make anyone feel left out. You can check my recipe index for ideas.

    8.If you are going to the party with newborns or Toddlers, make sure you have their food and their favorite toy to avoid crying at the party.

    9.Not every kid loves these parties. To make it interesting for kids, have some contests or activities. This is why we need to plan (point 1). Few fun activities for kids of age 5 and above,

    a.Memory Game – Place say around 20 to 30 things on a table. It can be watch, pen, pencil etc. Make the kids see it for 1 min and then cover them with a cloth. Now ask them to write down the names of the things they remember. The kid with most of the things correct is the winner.

    b.Imagination Game – You can show a thing to the kids and ask them to imagine it as something different and write about it. The most creative person is the winner.

    10.Plan for mementos. Make the party memorable for your friends. Give them some surprise gifts. You need not spend a lot on this. You can find lots of cheap yet cute gifts in shops.

    Have you hosted a potluck party? Though I have attended many Potlucks, I have had a chance to host only once. How many times have you hosted a potluck at your place? Any other interesting tip that you want to share for a successful and fun potluck party? I may have left out some major tips. Please pour in your thoughts!


    Voting for Eat Healthy Calcium Rich Starts Now!

    Check out the Round up of Eat healthy Calcium rich event.

    The 15 recipes that have been picked randomly ( I used are,

    1. Sathumavu urundai by Kailaskitchen
    2. Jalapeno poppers by Cham
    3. Bread Rolls by Uma
    4. Grilled Salmon by My Spicy Kitchen
    5. Soy and Spinach Gravy by Nalabagham
    6. Palak Paneer by Srilekha
    7. Lemon & Saffron Cheesecake by Palachinka
    8. Pal Khova/Kalakhand/Theratipaal by EC
    9. Chocolate Pistachio roll by Divya Kannan
    10. Cheese Apple Souffle by Health Nut
    11. Spinach Layer Pancakes by Creative Saaga
    12. riccota cheese kachodi by Asankhana
    13. Cabbage Cream Soup by Priya
    14. Oven Roasted Kale by Payt Pooja
    15. Kadai Pakoda by Sireesha

    The Voting poll is placed in the right sidebar of my blog. Please do vote for your favorite recipe and make them win $20 gift card!. The voting starts from now and runs till 30th Sept 2008, 12.00PM Pacific time. So what are you waiting for? Vote and may the best calcium recipe win!

    The winner of $20 gift card will be announced on 1st of Oct,2008.

    You can also subscribe in a READER

    OR via EMAIL to my blog! so that you do not miss these roundups and the winners!

    Featured Food Blog winner for this event:

    This time I am going to feature two Food blogs! The first one is Srilekha as she sent 31 entries and the second one is....oh! I want this to be a surprise so check out on Oct 1st for the winners!

    Eat Healthy Calcium Rich Round Up

    There is really some thing special with my round ups. It is a coincident for the second time. My Eat Healthy - Protein Rich round up was my 100th post and now my Eat healthy Calcium Rich is my 150th. Wow! Something magical with the numbers. I am so very happy!.

    I take this opportunity to thank each and every one who sent their entries. We have received an astounding 156 entries this time. Nearly 20 last minute entries. I am so excited and thrilled. Thanks very much !

    With no further delay let me take you to the round up.

    Let me start the menu with Soups and Snacks/Appetizers filled with calcium!

    Sesame Chikkis by Kailaskitchen
    Vada and Nutty chutney by Health Nut
    Cutlets by Health Nut
    Oakra soup by Health Nut
    Spinach Lentil Soup by Health Nut
    Sesame Laddu by Payt Pooja
    Boondi Raita by Sukanya's Musings
    Dahi wada by Indian Khana
    grilled minty riccota cheese sandwhich by Asankhana
    Cheese Sticks by Priya
    Broccoli Cream Soup by Priya
    Tofu Cutlet by Priya
    Tofu Crispy Balls by Priya
    Cabbage Cream Soup by Priya
    Sathumavu urundai by Kailaskitchen
    Dahi Mattar by EC
    Dahi/Thayir Vada by EC
    Dahi Bhalla by EC
    Spinach pakodas by EC
    Oven fried Tofu by Payt Pooja
    Broccoli and Cheese Tikkis by Supriya
    Jalapeno poppers by Cham
    caluliflower 65 by Srilekha
    Dahi Wada by Health Nut
    Fruit and Nut mix by Health Nut
    Laddu by Health Nut
    Oakra fritters by Health Nut
    Mullumurungai Keerai Vadai by Srilekha
    Chickpeas Chat by Srilekha
    Bread and Jam by Paajaka
    Bread Rolls by Uma
    Hot Chillies by Aparna
    Italian Cheesy Bread by Sujatha

    Now we go in to dig the calcium rich vegetables prepared as poriyal and Salads

    Easy Broccoli in Garlic Oyster Sauce by Heart and Hearth
    Brocolli Omlet by Health Nut
    Stuffed Oakra by Health Nut
    Vendakkai Varuval by Nalabagham
    Oven Roasted Kale by Payt Pooja
    Fried Kale by Payt Pooja
    Kale Poriyal by Yensamayal arai
    Brocolli poriyal by Yensamayal arai
    Tomato Mozzarella Salad by Priya
    Fresh Salad in Yoghurt Sauce by Priya
    Pasta creamed Veggies by Priya
    Dahi Bhendi by EC
    Keerai Poriyal by Srilekha
    Fresh Green Beans Curry by Srilekha
    Soya Beans Curry by Srilekha
    Butter Beans Curry
    by Srilekha
    Fresh Green Peas Curry by Srilekha
    Ladies Finger / Okra Podiams by Srilekha
    Curry in a Hurry by Payt Pooja
    Yoghurt Pomo salad by Illatharasi
    Podalangai Poriyal by Nalabagham

    Next we have our Main course and Some Non-vegetarian Recipes,

    Spinach and Lamb by Health Nut
    Peas Pulao by Nalabagham
    Spicy Chilli by Nalabagham
    Oakra Fried Rice by Priya
    green peas pulao by Srilekha
    kennipes by Srilekha
    Hotel Style Curd by EC
    Sesame Seeds rice by EC
    Spinach rice by EC
    Shrimp Briyani by Health Nut
    Fish Biriyani by Health Nut
    Grilled Salmon by My Spicy Kitchen
    Fish Vegetable Cutlets by Health Nut
    Biriyani by Nalabagham
    Salmond Salad by Nalabagham

    To go with our Calcium Rich Main course we have our Calcium rich Side dishes,

    Pulikeera by Eminentlife
    Oakra curry by Health Nut
    Soy and Spinach Gravy by Nalabagham
    Mor Kozhambhu by Nalabagham
    Dhal Methi by Nalabagham
    Makhanwala curry by Nalabagham
    Kale and Lentils by Payt Pooja
    Tomato Curry by Eminentlife
    collard kootu by Yensamayal arai
    Palak Kofta by Yensamayal arai
    Egg Tomato by Bengal Cuisine
    more by Srilekha
    morkolambu by Srilekha
    Paneer Kadhi by EC
    Kadhi Kashmiri by EC
    Moru Kuzhambu by EC
    Banana stem raitha by EC
    Palak Paneer by EC
    cauliflower kolambu by Srilekha
    Brocolli Kheema by Health Nut
    Spinach Fry by Aparna
    Keerai Kolambu by Srilekha
    Keerai Kootu by Srilekha
    Udaichuvitta Muttai Kolambu by Srilekha
    Large Red Gram Kolambu by Srilekha
    White Pumpkin Raitha by Srilekha
    Eggplant and Yogurt gravy by Uma
    Egg Curry by Srilekha
    Thai Tofu Curry by Supriya
    BrocolliMoong Dal fry by My Spicy Kitchen
    tofu in tandoori masala by Asankhana
    Palak Paneer by Srilekha
    Kadai Pakoda by Sireesha
    Navaratna Kurma by Nalabagham
    Palak Paneer by Creative Saaga
    Egg Curry by Nalabagham
    Baby corn with Soy by Nalabagham
    Moongdal curry by Pavani

    We can't stop eating until we have some Desserts and juices. So here they are with lots of calcium.

    Lemon & Saffron Cheesecake by Palachinka
    Mango Banana smoothie by Vegetable Platter
    Strawberry Banana Milkshake by Nalabagham
    Mango Milkshake by Nalabagham
    Vermicilli Payasam by Nalabagham
    Healthy Fruit Milkshake and Lassi by My Spicy Kitchen
    Orange Basundhi by My Spicy Kitchen
    Mango Custard by Ramyacooks
    Avacado Milkshake by Yensamayal arai
    Carrot Almond Sago Kheer by Priya
    Paal Payasam by Suma's Cuisine
    Rose milk by Srilekha
    Mango milkshake by Srilekha
    apple milkshake by Srilekha
    mango fruit custard by Srilekha
    bajji chaar by Srilekha
    home made eggless vanilla ice cream by Srilekha
    Pal Khova/Kalakhand/Theratipaal by EC
    Rice kheer (Pal payasam) by EC
    Chocolate Milkshake with Icecream by EC
    Strawberry Milkshake by Sangeeth
    basundhi by Srilekha
    Beet Cheese Treats by Health Nut
    Falooda by Health Nut
    Badam Milk by Health Nut
    Chocolate Pistachio roll by Divya Kannan
    Plum Clafoutis by Health Nut
    Vermicelli Kheer by Srilekha
    Custard Pops by Aparna
    RasGulla by Srilekha
    Chilled Macadamia Nut Kheer by Few Min wonder
    Rabdi by Sireesha
    Apricot Almond Delight by Sireesha
    Cheese Apple Souffle by Health Nut
    Lemon Ricotta Almond Cake by Health Nut
    Beetroot Halwa by Sangeeth
    Mixed fruit salad by Mahima

    Now we have our complete menu. But what if some one comes during our tiffen time? So we have the Calcium rich Tiffen recipes to present to our guests!

    Green Dosa by Health Nut
    Lentil Kichidi with seasme chutney by Health Nut
    Tofu Paratha by Priya
    Spinach Layer Pancakes by Creative Saaga
    Palak Roti by Kailaskitchen
    Juar jo Dodo by Sindhirasoi
    Spinach rotis by EC
    Dosa by Deepika
    Sevi by Srilekha
    riccota cheese parantha by Asankhana
    riccota cheese kachodi by Asankhana
    Vegetable Pasta by Nalabagham
    Omelet by Nalabagham

    With this, we are tummy full of healthy recipes. Thanks to all!Vote for the 15 recipes Chosen randomly now!. You can also subscribe in a READER

    OR via EMAIL to my blog! so that you do not miss these roundups and the winners!

    And now for the person with loads of entries. Even this time Srilekha did not allow anyone to take her place. She sent 31 entries and a special Thanks to her for being such a supportive friend!

    Following here were Yasmeen of Health Nut with 24 entries, Aarti of Nalabagam with 18 entries and EC with 17. Thanks so very much girls.

    Please let me know if I have missed any entry by mistake. Hope you understand! Meet you at the Voting Poll soon.


    Why we must change to Organic Food?

    It is true that after coming to US, my perspective on Food has changed. Previously I used to think frozen food are bad for health. But, after doing online research, I confirmed that Frozen food are not as bad as we think. In fact, they are equally nutritious to raw food. Now, I have various queries on organic food. As usual started my online research and here is a basic information about organic food.

    Photo: House of Sims

    What is Organic Food? - I have had this doubt for a long time now. I used to think that organic food has some different or special ingredients that is healthy. But, when I started to browse the net for more information, I came to know the truth. Oh! I was so ignorant. Here is what Organic means according to US department of agriculture,

    - A food without toxic agri chemicals
    - No Preservatives/Additives
    - Not been genetically engineered
    - Raised by human
    - Not treated with antibiotics

    Basically a food that is produced naturally!

    We must consider organic food to prevent the consumption of pesticide and insecticide residues. There is a possibility of getting infected by mad cow disease if we consume infected beef. The list grows!

    10 Foods you must try in organic farm

    1. Apple
    2. Beef
    3. Bell Pepper
    4. Carrots
    5. Celery
    6. Cherries
    7. Chicken
    8. Citrus
    9. Coffee


    Why we should change from normal eating to organic eating? Though costly, there are valid reasons for us to change our food habits. Being organic means we opt for

    - Healthy eating
    - No toxic chemicals in our food
    - Tasty food
    - helping unknown small farmers
    - supporting our ecosystem

    With all these benefits, we must consider organic diet.

    10 more Foods you must try in organic farm

    1. Eggs
    2. Grapes
    3. Milk
    4. Nectarines
    5. Peaches
    6. Pears
    7. Potatoes
    8. Raspberries
    9. Spinach

    I have just written the basics of organic food. Not even the basics. Just the definition and few health benefits. It is a big topic. It is advisable to get information from the people who like it and use it. Have I missed any point here about organic food? Please add more and enlighten us.

    A request to my readers:

    Lately I have been thinking, it is almost 7 months of food blogging for me and I would like to know where I stand. Do you like my blog? or do you hate it for any reason? I want to know if I am giving what my readers want. Am I boring or Am I interesting in each post. To know better, I have created this form and would highly appreciate if you could spend few minutes telling me what you think about me and my blog. This is just to connect with you more deeper.

    You can share your views by taking this survey. I am sure that your comments will make me a more active blogger. To appreciate your time, I would like to award the best suggestion given with something very special. This is open for a month from now, i.e open till 31 Oct 2008. I am waiting to hear your thoughts.


    Foodie Chat - Interview with our lovely Cynthia!

    This week's foodie needs no introduction. She has been and will be a great inspiration to many. I am really happy to present an interview of our favorite Cynthia from Tastes like home. When I started blogging, her blog is one of my inspirations. She is one of the simplest and humblest food blogger I have come across.

    I have learned many recipes from her blog and also have wondered how she takes such beautiful pictures. I have always wanted answers to these and now we have our dear Cynthia openly talking about blogging with us.

    Sangeeth : How did u get the idea of blogging?

    Cynthia : The idea to have a blog was not mine, it belongs to my best friend, Susan. Once I started writing my newspaper column she encouraged me to create a blog.

    S: When did u start blogging?

    C: In September of 2006, I had a blog called In Good Taste, that was related to another set of columns but my current blog, Tastes Like Home was created in January 2007.

    S: Why did you choose this topic to blog?

    C: The column Tastes Like Home was borne out of my longing for the food of my homeland, Guyana since I now live in another country.

    My newspaper column is titled, Tastes Like Home, hence the name of my blog. My blog is really an extension of my column, it is a place for readers to interact with me and for us to discuss stuff from the

    S: Have you any ambitions of stepping up to the next level, writing on a site attracting the mainstream media's attention – or having a go at professional writing directly?

    C: When you say mainstream media, are you referring to media in North America and Europe?

    My newspaper column is currently published in newspapers in three Caribbean countries - Guyana, Antigua & Barbuda and St. Kitts Nevis. And then again, one does not get more mainstream than the internet :)

    If by writing professionally you mean, the writing being my main job and source of income... as long as the opportunities continue to present themselves then yes. You see, in addition to the newspaper column, I also write for a Regional Caribbean Women's Magazine and I have a food column in Whitesands Magazine (a Canadian Real Estate Magazine). I've also written for a West Indian newspaper in Canada.

    S: wow! Cynthia. Is there a way for us to read those?

    S: In a day, how many hours you spend blogging?

    C: I don't blog every day. On average I'd say that at any given time, I don't spend more than 2 hours blogging..

    S: Do you have any other hobbies other than blogging?

    C: Of course! I enjoy playing my keyboard and reading. I really love reading. I read a lot for my work at the college as well as my food writing but I really enjoy pleasure reading like Novels etc. I like travelling too and discovering new things and new places.

    S: Do you see any change in your blogging habits?

    C: Oh definitely, at first, like most bloggers I think and just like when you have a new toy, you can't seem to get enough of it :) Constantly checking your comments, tweaking your blog template etc. That obsession had to stop quickly though because, like I mentioned, I have a full time job teaching and it demands my attention and so too does my writing. I also wanted to ensure that there was balance to my life.

    S: oh! I know. I still do this. Got to stop sometime soon!

    S: Where do you see your blog 1 year from now?

    C: With a new look for sure :)

    S: What advice do you give to the new comers?

    C: Balance, balance, balance - do not let blogging take over your life.

    S: Do you have any other blogs other than the food blog?

    C: Yes, I co-author a blog, Forgive Me My Nonsense... with my friend Bee from Jugalbandi, it is a place to let off some steam and just comment on things going on around us. S: What do you feel about recent copyright issues?

    I am outraged. The lack of respect for other people's work is appalling. I mean, how much would it take to write an email asking permission to use someone's work? Treat people and their possessions the way you would like to be treated.

    S: You are right, Cynthia.

    S: Do you have any experience like this before? Any advice?(Reg Copyright issues)

    C: Knock wood. I have not had to deal with this too much. There were 3 occasions last year when people had lifted by photographs and columns and posted it on their sites. I immediately wrote strongly-worded emails to all three persons and within 24 hours they responded by removing my content from their sites and apologizing.

    I also set my preferences on my photo hosts restricting certain views, copying etc. I also watermark my photographs. But to be honest with you Sangeeth, there will always be dishonest people and the most we can do is to look out for each other.

    S: Can bloggers earn from blogging? Yes. Do you earn from your blog? Yes. If yes, can you tell us more?

    C: Each month Foodbuzz (which is the only advertisement I have on my site) sends me a cheque every month. I know that other bloggers have a variety of advertisers on their sites and earn from those as well.
    In the past I've received offers from other advertisers but I find that some of them demand too much real estate on one's blog without a fair return.

    S: What is your typical day consist of?

    C: A typical day finds me monitoring my student’s performance as they broadcast from the College's radio station, writing and reading. I don't cook everyday :)

    S: Tell us about your family.

    C: My family is pretty small, it's just me, my mom, brother, Eon, sister, Pat and my nephew, Ethan. I am the eldest and my brother is the youngest.

    I am from a bi-racial family, my mom is Indian and my dad was African. My family lives in Guyana. I live in Barbados.

    S: More about your hobbies,interests

    C: I like watching good movies and shows, I have very little tolerance for medicore stuff. I love to people watch, you know, you go somewhere and there are lots of people and you sit there, watch them pass by and think about what kind of jobs they do, what their lives are like etc. I don't know if this qualifies as a hobby or interest but I do like to spend quiet time, all by myself.
    S: You are a regular reader of ....

    C: many things

    S: How do you keep in touch with your fellow bloggers, do you use social sites?

    C: You mean such as facebook? To be honest, although I have a facebook account, it is just to have a presence there, I don't really get the time to socialize there. I keep in touch with my fellow bloggers by emails. We write each other frequently about a variety of things.
    S: Your favorite food blogs, other blogs
    C: There are too many to mention here but there is a blog in particular that I like to visit because the author goes to these amazing places and gives real insight into his subjects. The site is
    S: How blogging has changed your life?
    C: From the emails I get from readers, especially Caribbean readers, I know that I am bringing something special to their lives by reconnecting them to home they left a long time ago and also it gives them an opportunity to share with their family and friends some of the foods they've been raving about. For my non-Caribbean readers, it is an introduction to new ingredients and dishes. It is amazing to see also how we are all not so different. I love learning news dishes and ways of preparing ingredients seen on other blogs.

    S: very true.
    S: Your favorite cooking show, cookbook, cuisine, restaurant, food?

    C: Cooking show, there are three: Lydia's Italy, Amercia's Test Kitchen & Tyler's Ultimate :) Sorry, couldn't just name one.
    Favourite Cookbook: Food Blogs! Come on, the variety is amazing and totally awesome.
    Favourite Cuisine: Chinese (gosh but Thai, Vietnamese, Indian & Caribbean are right up there!)
    Favourite Restaurant: Don't have one (and that does not mean I cannot name just one:))
    Favourite Food: do you mean like a favourite dish? If so, fish curry

    S: Who/what is your inspiration?

    C: My inspiration comes from all around and many people

    S: Do you host your blog in your own domain? What blog hosts you suggest for a new blogger/experienced blogger?

    C: Yes I host my blog in my own domain and I also have hosting services but I currently use blogger's platform.

    Suggestions for new bloggers: I like blogger because it is simple with it's point and click, drag and drop guides. It also allows you to manipulate the html template as much as you like, most other hosts require you to have a pro account in order to be able to play around with their templates.
    S: How do you cope up with the technical requirements for being a blogger?

    C: I don't! I mean I do basic things like adding a page etc and at first, I made some html changes but since I got this template I'm currently using from a friend who is a web developer, I don't tinker around. I rely on her for my technical stuff.

    S: You lucky!!!

    S: If people want to contact you through social media, are you available?

    C: Social media, again does that mean Facebook? I'd say that the best way to contact and communicate with me is through email and yes I am available. Like I said before, I don't really get the time to socialize on facebook. Besides, I find facebook a bit too public for me.

    S: Your achievement as far as blogging is concerned so far.

    C: I'd have to say my photography
    S: How do you take wonderful food pictures? Any tip to newbies.

    C: The photography is a constant learning venture. I experiment a lot.

    Tips for newbies: Read your manual with the camera in the other hand. Experiment, experiment, experiment. Lighting is the life of many photographs, start by shooting as often as you can in natural lighting and this will prevent you having to use your flash. Focus, most cameras allow you to set the focus automatically and then shoot, use this feature. If you're focusing manually, well then you are in control, ensure that what you are see through the lens is clear and in sharp focus.

    S: How can I not ask this.....Tell us more about the book you are writing. How is it coming?When are you publishing it. What is the name of the book etc.

    C: The book is part food memoir, part cookbook. It is based on selected columns and accompanying recipes. The book will have 100 recipes. It is currently with the publishers in the UK and though it was expected out in October, the publishers have pushed back the launch date. What I do know is that the book will be out in time to capitalize on the Christmas sales. The book is called: My Caribbean Cookbook, Tastes Like Home.
    S: Last question, Have you been to my site before? Do you have any comments for me?

    C: Yes, I've been to your site before and not often enough :)

    I can tell that you are obviously good with html with the way you have organized and created things for your blog. You have a wealth of information there also. One of my favorite things is your glossary, I have learnt so much from it.

    S: Oh Thanks Cynthia!

    I take this opportunity to Thank Cynthia for her quick response to the interview request despite her busy schedule.

    I appreciate your comments and suggestions for future interviews.

    Don’t miss the interview series. Do subscribe in a READER

    OR via EMAIL to my blog!

    Checkout the previous foodie chat.


    I update my Blogroll.Check and let me know if I need to add yours.

    Atlast! I updated my blogroll. This has been pending with me for a long time now. You can check if your blog is listed by searching by your name or your blogs title or your blogs URL (first part).

    You can check for the blogroll here

    As of now I have added almost all the food blogs which I visit. But, there is a possibility that I have missed yours. Not intentionally, but by mistake. Please go through the blogroll, search for your blog and if it is not present please leave a message/comment and I will add yours immediately.

    Do consider adding my blog into your blogroll too. :) Thanks for all your support.

    If I say Italy, You say?

    Pasta! What else? Though there is lot other things to embrace in Italy, the main thing most of us foodie remember is Pasta. Preparing any kind of Pasta salad recipe requires creativity and passion. Italian Pasta recipe has its own flavor and fans. As we all know there are different kinds of pasta, I used Rotini Pasta to prepare this salad.

    Cooking during weekends is difficult for me. With my husband sitting in the sofa enjoying himself watching a movie or browsing the net, I feel lazy to even get up to drink water. Seeing this my husband volunteered to cook dinner on Saturday. OK. What's going on? Is he really going to cook? Thank god! Yes. I decided to help him for various other reasons and knowing the very fact of how my kitchen will look after he finishes his cooking.

    He decided to do Egg Pasta Salad dipped in chilli sauce with some leftover vegetables. Vah! Here is the recipe,


    Pasta - Desired amount as given in the manufacturers direction
    1 cup of Onions Sliced lengthwise
    1 cup of Zucchini Sliced lengthwise
    1/4 cup of tomato
    1/4 cup lettuce
    1/4 cup of Spinach
    1/4 cup of corn (optional)
    1/4 of celery
    1/2 cup of bell pepper
    Salt to taste
    Pepper to taste
    1 tbspn of Chilli sauce
    2 eggs


    Cook pasta as given in the manufacturers direction. Keep it aside.

    In a pan, add some oil. Then add onions and saute them.

    Add tomatoes,and all the other vegetables including corn and cook with little water.

    Add salt and pepper.

    After say 3min, add the chilli sauce and some more water to the mixture and cook in Sim flame for 5 min.

    All the vegetables would have absorbed the flavour and now it is time to mix the cooked pasta.

    Switch of the stove and mix the cooked pasta with this mixture.

    You can serve at this point if you do not want to add eggs. Check for the seasonings and serve hot.

    Meanwhile in another pan, add some oil and break the eggs in the pan. cook them with salt and pepper.

    Scramble the eggs and when it is ready add this to the vegetable pasta mixture.

    Mix well and serve hot.

    If you feel that its very spicy, then squeeze a lemon on top!

    This recipe doesn't require any side dish. But, if you want, be your boss.


    Did you get 2 free bottles of Country Bob's Sauce?

    A few days back, not days may be months back, I was contacted by a representative of Country Bob’s all purpose sauce to review their product. In turn, they sent me 2 free bottles of their sauce. I get excited when I am asked to review something, especially when it is food related. Who will not? Within a week, I got their 2 bottle of sauce. As usual I was skimming through the ingredients and was surprised when I saw Tamarind listed. Tamarind! I never thought a BBQ sauce will have tamarind.

    To review the product I have to use it in my cooking. But before using it as an ingredient, I tasted it and it was almost similar to our Indian Maggie Hot and sour chilli sauce. This made me very close to the sauce as I love Maggi sauces. So now I know how to use this sauce. Though I have not prepared any BBQ, I used this sauce for my salads and as side dish to my potato chips and Lays.

    "You can grill, cook, and marinate with it, or put it in your soups, stews, baked beans, and your other favorite dishes."

    You can try it too. They give a free bottle of sauce,which is a $32 value to those who subscribe to them. Give it a try. Hope you love it as I did.


    Eat Healthy Calcium Rich Update!

    I really appreciate the contribution to this event. Till now we have received 121 entries without including my contribution. I really thank each and every one who contributed.

    As you know, the contest ends on Sept 24th'08 and 10 random recipes will be selected for voting and the voting will be up from Sept 25th. Those who have thought of contributing, but have forgotten due to their busy schedule, please take this as a reminder and contribute for the same. I highly appreciate your entries.

    Till now, no one have referred their friends to subscribe :( Thats ok. You still have time, so don't miss the chance of winning yourself a gift worth $15 in addition to the $20 first prize.

    Non bloggers, do contribute by emailing me the entry. Your entry will also be condsidered for the $20 cash prize.

    Do remember - The voting will start from Sep 25,2008 and will run till Sep 29,2008. The winners will be announced on Sep 30th,2008.

    Eagerly waiting for your entries. Thanks for your support.


    How to make a sweet when you are out of Sugar.

    Every cook will have an alternate for each ingredient, so that he/she need not get panic when in crisis. Alternatives, have been and will always be of great help. The greatest alternative I have come across is, tofu for eggs and yes, it makes a lot of recipes involving eggs available for vegans.

    Yesterday, I wanted to prepare Rava ladoo. Sometimes you get this urge suddenly from no where to eat a particular food. I have experienced this a lot of times. How about you? With this irresistible feeling I went into the kitchen and found that I am out of sugar. Darn my memory! I have been out of sugar for a couple of days now and yet to stock it up.

    These practical difficulties are never understood by our desire. My craving for rava ladoo was on top of my mind preventing me from doing any other work. Even without this craving, I wouldn't have done anything because I am lazy. But, now I have a reason to skip my chores.

    OK. I have to make Rava ladoo and I am out of Sugar. What next? Bingo! I found Jaggery. I know few sweets made out of Jaggery and also know that Rava Ladoo,made with sugar is a treat. But, I have no other option. With no further adieu I put on my creative chef hat and was ready to take the risk. Here is the recipe of Rava Ladoo with Jaggery for you to try.


    1 cup Rava/Suji/Semolina
    3/4 cup Jaggery
    1 cup Ghee/clarified butter (Yes! more ghee, more taste)
    Fried Cashews
    Fried Raisins
    1 tsp cardamom powder or 2 whole cardamom


    Fry the Rava/Semolina in ghee till it turns light brown and your kitchen is filled with a pleasant smell of roasted rava.

    Powder the jaggery in a blender.

    In a pan, add ghee. Now add the rava and jaggery. Mix well.

    Add fried cashews and raisins along with the cardamom powder.

    Make small balls from the mixture.

    Store it in an air tight container and enjoy!

    Actually this is the same process as that of Rava Ladoo with sugar, but instead you use Jaggery. I must say, worth a try.


    Free Menu Planning e-course for Busy Moms

    Recently, I came across this site called and their free tool for menu planing. The Menu Planning course for busy moms, teaches how to spend less time and also save money planning your day to day meals. I find it very informative and c'mon it is FREE!

    Not only Moms, it is useful for every women/men who spends time in cooking and packing lunch. I found their site packed with a lot of information for moms. Check it out yourself.

    Thought it will be useful for my readers. You can register for the free e-course here.

    Menu Planning for Busy Moms - Free e-Course

    Baingan Bhartha - Eggplant gravy/curry

    When it comes to spicy gravy/curry recipe, no recipe can compete with the Indian recipes. They have their own 'it' factor that makes them unique. Baingan Bhartha is one such South Indian recipe, an Andra Recipe to be precise. I had bought a big eggplant to make Bagara baigan, one of the famous eggplant recipe prepared the Indian way. Unbeknownst to me, I had been preparing baingan bhartha. Got a little confused with the names. Whatever may be the case, I was happy that the recipe turned out to be highly tasty.

    This is a simple and easy way to cook eggplant and it goes great with any type of biriyani, pulao, chapathi, roti or even naan. You can find these recipes in my recipe index.

    Ingredients for Baingan Bhartha:

    1 large eggplant/Brinjal OR 2 to 3 medium sized eggplant
    1 cup of finely chopped onions
    1 tsp coriander powder
    1 tsp cumin powder
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1 tsp turmeric powder
    1/2 tsp Ginger and garlic paste
    1 tsp mustard seeds
    2 tbsp Oil
    50 ml Tamarind juice
    Jaggery (small lemon size)OR 2 tsp of sugar
    3 cup Water
    Salt to taste

    To make the paste:

    1 cup Groundnuts
    2 tbsp Dry coconut powder
    1 tbsp sesame seeds
    1 Green chilli

    Whole Garam Masala

    1 Bay leaf
    1 stick of cinnamon
    2 to 3 Cloves
    3 whole cardamom OR 1 tsp cardamom powder


    In a pan, dry roast ground nuts, coconut powder and sesame seeds. Allow it to cool.

    Blend it to a coarse paste with water and green chilli.

    In a pan,add oil.Fry whole garam masala,mustard and cumin seeds when they start to splatter add onions turmeric,Ginger Garlic Paste.

    Add cumin and coriander powder.

    Now add the paste we had prepared earlier. Add salt to taste and cook for 10 min.

    Now add the tamarind paste and jaggery and cook till oil oozes out in a Sim flame.

    Meanwhile, cook your eggplant either by showing it directly to the flame in your stove or using a pressure cooker. The choice is yours.

    If using pressure cooker, do not cut your eggplant. Add little water and a pinch of salt. Pressure cook for 3 hisses. Allow it to cool.Peel the skin and mash it with a spoon or masher.

    If going to cook eggplant directly in the flame, be careful. Don't hurt yourself. Slowly cook till the skin peels off by itself. It will take time and make sure that you don not burn the eggplant too much, which undoubtedly will spoil the taste for you.

    Personally, I made this gravy by cooking eggplant directly in the flame. It gives a very unique flavor to the recipe.

    Now, add the mashed eggplant to your gravy which is already cooking. Mix well.

    Cook for at least 15 min so that the eggplant absorbs the flavor from the gravy.

    Serve hot. You can also store refrigerate it and use it for later use. Reheat before serving.

    This is going to MM (Sensational Side dish) started by Meeta and this month hosted by Ruth.


    How to prepare Vegetable Stock

    Stock is a flavoured liquid. It forms a basis for many of the Chinese food. Not only Chinese food, many Indo Chinese/Thai food. Many soup recipe calls for this vegetable/chicken stock as a main ingredient to add flavour to the food. I did not know that these stock play a major role in these soup recipes. Once I came to know, I thought it is one of the difficult process to prepare these stocks. But, I was proved wrong. Preparing vegetable stock is one of the easiest process. I am sharing a video from Vahrehvah for letting people like me to know how to prepare vegetable stock.

    A few basic rules commonly prescribed for preparing stock from Wiki:

    -The stock ingredients are boiled starting with cold water. This promotes the extraction of protein, which may be sealed in by hot water.

    -Stocks are simmered gently, with bubbles just breaking the surface, and not boiled. If a stock is boiled, it will be cloudy.

    -Salt is usually not added to a stock, as this causes it to become too salty, since most stocks are reduced to make soups and sauces.

    -Meat is added to a stock before vegetables, and the "scum" that rises to the surface is skimmed off before further ingredients are added.