Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Diwali 2017

This third week of October the Indians are celebrating Diwali. Diwali is a very ancient Hindu festival. Diwali or Deepavali means series of lights. This festival is celebrated all over India , and it is the most awaited festival. Though this the festival of lights,but no festival or celebration can be finished without delicious food.So,before the festival, all the Indians clean their homes, decorate, and make many sweets, and yummy snacks. If I don't mention the two main decorations, then the story will be unfinished.Those two are 'Toran', and 'Rangoli'.They put decorations on the top of door frame of the front door of the house which is called “Toran”. We know ,Indians love colors. So, in their any festival, there must be some colors. When this is the biggest festival, no doubt, they make it very colorful by putting some colorful designs on the porch or doorway  as well as on floors of other rooms in the house. It depends on the one’s wish. These colorful designs, called Rangoli, are usually created by a powdered material which usually comes in many colors.

The part I’m from of India used to celebrate Kaali Puja, (worshipping goddess Kaali), but nowadays we also celebrate Diwali, along with Kaalipuja. They also put Rangoli, but we usually create the designs not by powder, but with a batter made out of rice flour. Rice flour is known as very auspicious.

The people of other parts of India worship Lord Ganesha, and Goddess Laxmi. Lord Ganesha is the god of prosperity, fortune, and success. Laxmi is the goddess of wealth. During this festival we lilt up candles,and Diyas (another form of candle). Lighting up diyas, bursting fire crackers, exchanging gifts, visiting the relatives, and enjoying with savory sweets are the main attractions of the festival.

"Toran" made by kiddie

This year, due to the remodeling episode, I couldn’t do anything , but I made some sweets, which my son is liking a lot. I’m trying to put some candles just to lit up our minds, and to get rid of the stress of remodeling. 

This deep fried dish is call Nimki to Namak Para, made out of wheat flour
Moong dal laddu (yellow lentil balls), and semolina laddu

P.S. I’m not putting any rangoli, so, I cannot give any picture. However, if you want to see how it looks, just search ‘Rangoli’ in Google, you can get an idea.
carrot fudge

Monday, October 16, 2017

Chicken with Green Bell pepper

This week the air is much better, and it is more clear. From this week we can start our usual outdoor activities. The remodeling job is going on full swing. The week was nice, and the weather is cool. First we decided to go to Half Moon Bay on Saturday to be in the Pumpkin festival . However, Half Moon Bay is far from our home, and we had to start very early in the morning to reach there , and to get a good parking. So, we decided to stay at home. Anyway, as I don’t like to on weekends, I decided to cook a simple chicken recipe.

One pound boneless skinless chicken breast
One cup tomato sauce
One fourth cup soy sauce
One tsp black pepper powder
One big green bell pepper 
One medium sized onion 
Two cloves of garlic finely chopped
salt to taste
Four tbsp. oil 

Wash the chicken breasts , and pat dry with kitchen napkins. Cut into small cubes. In a big bowl take the pieces, add soy sauce, tomato sauce, freshly ground black pepper powder, and then add the chicken piece. Mix well, and marinate at least for two hours. Cut the onion into cubes. Cut the bell pepper into halves. Discard the seeds, and cut into square pieces. 
Heat oil in a heavy bottomed wok, in medium. Shallow fry the chicken pieces , few at a time. In the same oil, add  cinnamon stick. When fine aroma starts coming add minced garlic, slightly stir, and add the onion. Mix well and let look around 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. When the onion becomes tender, add the fried chicken pieces, and salt . Cook until the chicken becomes tender, covering the wok, in low-medium heat. If you need, you can add a little bit of water. When the chicken is almost done, add the bell pepper pieces. Cook until bell pepper pieces are tender. Serve hot with steaming rice.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Five on Friday

This week the situation in California is not good. In many places wild fires brake out, and many people are suffering from that. Though, at the end of the week the situation has come under control, but the loss is immense. I’ve never heard such devastating fire in California in 10 years. When we were in Southern California, we saw the mountain very near to our apartment under huge fire. We saw the blaze from our patio, but never heard about such horrible destructions.  This time the fire has created a horrible situation. Though, we are far from the fire, still we can smell the smoke. I can imagine the situation of those less fortunate people who are still going through it. Hope, the situation will good be very soon. 
My five days in this week
Everything was fine until today morning. As usual I woke up early, and switched on the light in the kitchen. The lights flickered for a moment then went off. It was dark and cold, which was not at all a favorable condition to wake up. On the top of that, the kitchen became dark. I tried in the living room lights,it didn’t work. Already we are in a miserable situation due to all renovation works. On the top of that the kitchen, living room area became dark. Luckily, the refrigerator, and the light above the stove was working. Later, when the contractor came to work, we informed him. He tried, but failed. It was Columbus Day, the electrician was out of town. As few part lights  were working, we could manage the day. 

Today morning the electrician came and fixed the problem. We got back all the lights. He also started working on other electrical things on the rest of the house. At the end of the day he almost finished with the fixtures of the remodeled part of the house. Now all the guys are working in good pace. Hopefully , it would be finished very soon. 

The electrical works were still going on. Today we both had appointment with orthopedic doctor. I have a pain in my right knee, and Mr. Man got a pain in left knee, after the 1st October run. Anyway, doctor found we have the same problem, in the exactly same position of the knee. She suggested physiotherapy, which we are going to start soon.

I had conference with my son’s teacher in the morning before school. He didn’t have the chorus practice in the morning. His teacher asked me to take him to the conference, so, she could interact with both of us, and we could make some plan to improve his weak areas. As usual he had been making late in the morning, we literally ran to school after parking our car to reach on time.

Morning I didn’t do much. Actually, around 10 in the morning I went to Costco. Through out the week, the school had minimum days, as it was the conference week. It took me forever to finish Costco shopping. I understood that I was going to be late for pick up from school. So, I called one of my friend to keep an eye on him. From the Costco I went to school. He wanted to some books for his project, so again I took him to library. After coming back ,I finished cooking, clean up the kitchen, and did tow loads of laundry. Then I was dead tired. Though, I had another duty to take kiddie swimming, but the class got canceled due to bad air quality. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Five on Friday


After Sunday’s run, I needed rest very much (Those who wants to know about the run please click here). So, I didn’t walk or exercise in the morning. Though I thought of having rest, but I ended up doing lots of works entire evening.  In the morning took my son to doctor’s office  for physical in the morning before school. From there rushed him to school. In the evening we take him to swim class. In the forty-five minutes we ran a lot of errands. As he fished him swimming we rushed to Part City to by his halloween costume. We didn’t want to wait for the last moment to buy the costume. When we got back hime 8:30 I was tired as a dog.


Today again I resumed walk. I started walking a little more distance. The remodeling work is going on full swing. The roof is on the way. We  hope that the roof will be finished within this week. However, as I stay in the home, I’m facing a major problem in staying. We have no option. Until, the construction is finished I’ve to bear it. 


Today my son had his first breakfast book club in school.  We rushed to school around 7:30 in the morning. I was there as food server. After finishing serving, I went morning walking. Today  plumber guy came, did work in the bathrooms. However, again we got a little setback. We wanted to use one of the existing Jacuzzi tub, but it was not fitting in the designated area. We took hasty decision to buy new plain tub to be fitted there. Our contractor rushed to store and quickly bought a new tub.


The roof guys are still working. They are desperately trying to finish it. I had feeling a little tired since morning, so, I didn’t walk the distance, which I walked yesterday. I had been doing one cross stitch, but still unable to finish it. Today I tried to finish, but couldn't.


Today my son had a holiday. So, he was with me whole day. In the morning he wanted to watch T.V. When I din’t allow me to do that, he made a beautiful ship, just cutting papers. He is very much for of ships. He really studies about ship. His passion is Titanic. Whenever, he get any book related Titanic, he just devours the book. 

Here is the ship. This is his photography. *smile*

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Buttercup squash soup

When you get a large buttercup squash from you backyard garden, what can you do? Yes, you can cook delicious buttercup squash soups. Few days back Mr. Man cut the huge butter squash, I couldn’t  understand what to cook with that. I cut it into few big chunks, and kept them in the refrigerator. Few times I cut the big chunks into small slices, and fry them. Then I got bored cooking the same thing. I searched on the Pinterest, and found some delicious soup recipe. However, whatever recipe I chose, I found that some of the ingredients were missing In my pantry. So, I decided to cook the soup with my own recipe.

Three cups of buttercup squash chunks
One big onion
One big tomato
Few asparagus
Four-five white mushrooms
Half pound skinless boneless chicken thigh
Two tsp. of garlic powder
One tsp. of ginger powder
One branch of celery 
One carrot (peels of carrots will work fine)
One stalk of broccoli
One bay leaves
salt to taste
One tbsp. of olive oil
Two tsp. of wine vinegar
Dry oregano
Chili flakes(optional)

Cut celery, carrot, tomato, asparagus,onion into big chunks.
Cut the mushrooms into thin slices. Keep aside.
Take a big sauce pan.
Fill the sauce pan with few cups of water.
Cut the chicken into medium pieces.
Add celery, carrot, broccoli stalk, bay leaves, chicken pieces.Cover the pan, and bring into boil.
Cook until chicken pieces are tender. Let it cool down a little. Remove it into a big bowl. 
In the same sauce pan add the squash chunk, onion,tomato, and add sufficient water to just cover the vegetables. Bring into boil. Cook until the chunks are soft. Let it cool down.
Make a course paste in a blender.
Take another sauce pan, heat oil into medium high.
Add ginger-garlic powder. Add asparagus, mushrooms.
Mix well, and cook, covering the pan.
In the meantime, scoop the chicken pieces out of the stock, shred, and add with asparagus and mushrooms.
Strain the stock in a container, and keep aside.
Pour the stock into the pan. Mix well
Pour the squash paste into the pan. 
Add wine vinegar, salt. Mix well. Bring into boil. 
Simmer it. Cook until desired consistency reaches. 
Divide the soup into five bowl. Sprinkle oregano, and chili flakes. Serve hot.

Monday, October 2, 2017

A super busy Sunday

You know past few weeks I was talking about 5K run on 1st October. I did practice, still I couldn’t raise my stamina. Lastly I decided I would run, as far as possible, then I would walk. 

Anyway, it was cold Sunday morning. We woke up very early, as we had to reach the venue early, to get a good parking spot. We all three participated in the very event. When we reached the venue , many participants already reached there. We actually participated in the 5K fun run/walk. Though we three started together, father-son passed me very fast. I took my own time, though I never stopped. Sometimes I ran, and when I couldn’t make it , I walked very fast. I finished 5K in 40 minutes. My son finished in 38 minutes, his dad finished in 30 minutes. Then our run was over, we took some time to visit all booths, my son collected a good amount of toys, notepad, pens. I collected the ice packs, which are very helpful. 

After coming back my day started. I really couldn’t believe myself, that I did so many jobs, after 5k run in the morning. My son, wanted to eat biryani for along time. Biryani is a delicacy all over the Indian sub-continent. Most of the people love to eat biryani. I don’t know whether I can tell it is kind of fried rice or not. However, there are many differences in cooking these two dishes. Later I’ll try to post the recipe the biryani I usually cook. Cooking biryani is elaborate process. Specially, if you want to cook the dish with the kind of meat, which takes time to be cooked. The father-son duo loves only goat meat biryani. Goat meats are usually available in the Mediterranean grocery stores. Anyway, to cook goat meat biryani, I had to marinate the goat meat in the previous night. 

I’m talking about only biryani. I should tell you why the sunday was  super busy. As soon as I enter the home, I rushed to the kitchen. Not only I cooked biryani, I made two more sweets also. I’m from the eastern part of India, and we celebrate Durga Puja, which usually takes place for four days during this time. On the last day of the puja we usually eat some sweet, and meet other people, share sweets. After cooking biryani, I made two sweets, and both usually take quite a time to make. I finished all kind of cooking around 1:30. Then we had a late lunch with savory biryani. 

This sweet is called "Malpoa", it is batter made out of milk, flour, little sugar and green cardamom powder . Then little scoops are deep fried in oil. After that, they are dipped in sugar syrup.

No, the day didn’t end there. Then we went to meet one of our relatives, who live nearby. I won’t say nearby, because that was 30 miles drive. I packed some of the sweets I made and went to their house. After coming back from there, we took kiddie to a creative writing class. This was also fund raising event run by the high school kids.

The second sweet is very much like crepes 

Anyway, we had one hour time in our hand. So, we went to SportsBasement to buy Mr. Man’s running shoe. When we finished there, it was time to pick the little one. Our next plan was to buy Halloween costume for him. However, we found out that 7 o’clock was the store closing time. To my great relief we came back home. 

Lots of jabbering, huh? *smile* 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Watermelon rind curry

My sister once told me about watermelon rind curry. She told me that, one of her friends told her that, watermelon rind can be used as a vegetable, and the curry can be tasty. Her friend learned that recipe from her mother-in-law. It is long chain, huh? Anyway, when I went to stay with my sister, she wanted to cook that curry specially for me. However,the watermelon she bought had rind of orange rind like thickness. So, she couldn’t make that curry for me. After coming back from there, one day, while I was cutting watermelon, I got very thick rind from that very watermelon. I promptly called my sister  for the recipe. She told me, but I didn’t have prawn in my refrigerator. She suggested me replacing prawn with soy nuggets. You can you use prawn or ground chicken, or soy nuggets. If you want to use soy nuggets, you can get them any Indian store. 
Anyway, here is the recipe.

Watermelon rind (I used half of the rind, from a small watermelon)
One and half cup prawn or ground chicken (Or one cup soy nuggets soaked in hot salted water)
One inch cinnamon stick
Two-three clove
Two-three green cardamom
One small onion
One small tomato
Two tsp. ginger-garlic paste
One tsp. garam mashala(you can get it any Indian store, or you can mix cinnamon powder, clove powder, green cardamom powder, and nutmeg powder)
Salt to taste
Pinch of turmeric powder
Two-three tbsp. of oil
Chopped Coriander leaves for garnishing

rind the green part of the watermelon rind. Cut them into small cube. Finely chop onion, and tomato. Marinate chicken or prawns with salt and turmeric powder. Heat oil in a wok in medium. Fry the prawns or the chicken pieces. Take out the prawn or chicken, keep them aside. Heat two tbsp. of oil in another pan. Keep the temperature in medium. Add clove, cardamoms, and cinnamon stick. When the fine aroma starts coming, add onion. Fry the onion in medium heat, covering the pan, stirring occasionally. When oil starts oozing out, add ginger garlic paste. Slightly sauté, and add tomato. Fry the tomato until mushy ,covering the pan. Add the watermelon rind cube. Mix well, and let it cook. The watermelon rind is watery. So, you don’t need to add water, unless it starts sticking at the bottom of the pan. Add salt, and turmeric, and cook, covering the pan. Stir the curry, occasionally. When the rind becomes tender, add prawn or chicken. If you need, add one or two cups of water. Cook the curry until the desired consistency reaches. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.Serve hot with steaming rice.