October 27, 2006


Welcome to beautiful Fall!
Happy and frightful Halloween to all of you!
Hope you all have a very scary night,and lots of nightmares!:D

I don't know whether I am ready for some more sweets, but when you have kids we mommies just have to get on with it and make the Halloween fun too! Hopefully, Halloween night would be a little warmer, not bitter cold like it is now & poor kids don't freeze up in their costumes..keeping my fingers crossed..

Updated!! Kids in Halloween costumes!!There is my daughter trying to strangle her brother as usual!:D
Weather is a perfect 65F, a beautiful evening for trick or treaters:)

Martian in the house!

A colorful tree right infront of my house I can't stop looking!
Life is so beautiful, isn't it? :))

Some rich guy with his "toy" Airplane made this BOO to spread the Halloween scare! Photo taken from my backyard deck:

I baked these Pilsbury ready-bake cookies for my kids' friends. My son ate half of these alone before they even reached his friends! Yes, I had to bake some more..sigh..My kids BETTER take care of me when I am old!:D:D

Here is what else but my Halloween Pumpkin Pie!
Recipe below, next to the Pumpkins.

Delicious Coffin and Tombstone snacks!
Psst!! What's on your Tombstone?!
Recipe below, next to the Pumpkins.

A bloody monster slice of Devil's food cake!:)

Help yourself to my Halloween Treat,no Trick involved at all!

Scary carved Pumpkins:

These are from a book 'PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD' by Joost Elffers !
It has some amazing fruit and vegetable carved into hilarious faces and expressions. Some as you can see has pretty scary carvings. Be sure to look up this book in your local library and you will love all the beautiful creative carvings and makeovers. "You will never look at fruit and vegetables the same way again",as the book says.

Here they are:

Enjoy looking at all these scary pumpkins and my recipes!

To make Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie,you need:

1 four cup volume 9" deep-dish pie shell.
1 15oz can Pure Pumpkin,1 12fl.oz.Evaporated milk,3/4 C sugar,1/2 Tsp salt,2 eggs,1 tsp ground cinnamon,1/2 tsp ground ginger,1/4 tsp ground cloves.

Heat oven to 425F.Beat eggs in a blender, add sugar, salt,all the ground spices.Stir in pumpkin puree, mix well. Pour in evaporated milk slowly,and blend well.

Pour into the pie shell, tap to get the bubbles out. Put it in the oven carefully and bake for 15 mins. Turn down the heat to 350F and bake for 40-45 mins more.Do not burn the sides.Insert a knife to check if it's fully baked inside.Take it out, cool on the wire rack for 1 hour.

Whipped Cream:
Whip 1-2 cups of heavy cream with 2 tbsp sugar powder and any flavor or color you like which is optional until it thickens.Pipe it on the pie to decorate.Your delicious pie is ready to dig in.Serve with some more whipped cream and don't scare yourself by looking at the mirror until next week!:D

I am not very good at baking. But even dummies like me can bake this easy pie.It comes out perfect.I used ready to bake Graham cracker crust pie shell, my kids like Oreo crust too.You can make your own pie crust if you like.

To make Coffin and Tombstone snack, you need:

1-2 Flour Tortillas cut into rectangles 3x7", 1 cup frozen or 2 cups fresh Spinach chopped fine,salt, pepper,1 tbsp Parmesan cheese,any spices you like, 1/2 cup grated Mozzarella or cheddar cheese.

Grill Tortillas until golden brown and crispy,sprinkle some Mozzarella and cool.
Cook spinach in the microwave with salt, pepper and a tbsp water.Make sure spinach is completely dry.Mix in all the spice and cheese.Spread it on the Tortilla to cover the rectangle.

To make the Cream cheese spread,you need:

1/2 a block of Cream cheese,2 tsp milk. Mix cream cheese with 1-2 tsp milk,pinch of salt to make it thick enough to squeeze through the piping bag but not too thin.Using a ribbon nozzle, pipe on the spinach to make somewhat like a coffin! :)

Well, you are done with the Pumpkin pie and the delicious Spinach-cream cheese snacks which tastes like Spinach Alfredo pizza, YUM!
Fill up your candy containers with loads of candies for Trick or Treaters. Get your costumes out, dress up and get ready for Halloween party!:))

Look at this real life horror!!:D

I found this warty, horrible looking Pumpkin in my local supermarket. No, I didn't buy it but took a photograph:) What a great addition to Halloween, scares the heck out of you just by looking at it or is it more like a nightmare. Wonder what kind is this or how a farmer grows these natural Pumpkins,does he do something clever to grow those thingies on it? Do you have any idea?! Let me know,if you do!!:)

A close up:


(from Photocreations)


October 24, 2006


I would like to thank EACH ONE OF YOU who visited my blog home and wished my family on Diwali with all my heart.You have really made this year's Diwali a memorable one for us indeed!!Hope all of you had a great Diwali or weekend and our muslim friends a great Eid celebration as well!
I don't have much energy left to cook this week but looking forward to Halloween for kids' sake this weekend...

Alrighty then, let's do this...here is a delicious,easy meal I made the other day when my husband was at a meeting and was not expected to come home for supper!! Every time that happens, my kids would say "Yay!! dad's not coming home for dinner today, we get to eat junk food!!" :D..When I am too lazy to cook, canned food or frozen , or anything quick to prepare would be very handy :)

A Plate of Quesadillas, Taquitos, Spanish Rice, Texas Beans and Salsa!!

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Here is the menu for quick Mexican dinner, some home made and some store-bought to make life easier!! I made Spanish rice from scratch,cheese and Salsa Quesadillas, ground chicken and cheese Taquitos and few re-fried beans and cheese Taquitos , canned Texas style beans and served with some salsa. For dessert, I made some quick and easy version of Mexican Sopapillas.(soft pillows)

For Quesadillas:

You Need:

Take 6"-8" flour tortillas,heat on a pan for a minute. Place on a plate , sprinkle 3 tbsp any Mexican blend cheese,sprinkle salsa and cover with another warmed tortilla.You can add re-fried beans, any meat filling ,jalapenos ,vegs , any sauce at this stage.

Pat down firmly to seal,spray or smear some oil and cook both sides until golden brown and crisp on a non-stick pan on a medium heat. Take it out on a wooden board or metal sheet and cut into fours to get triangles. Serve warm...

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To make
Taquitos;take few 6" flour tortillas.Usually Taquitos are made with corn tortillas but I find them harder to roll.Warm flour tortillas, put in cooked ground chicken or re-fried beans,any cheese you like ,some salsa and roll to a tube. Cook seam down first to seal and roll them to cook on non-stick pan with little oil to a golden color on all sides.

To Make Spanish Rice:

You Need:

1 Cup uncle Ben's easy cook rice, 1/4 cup (sauteed in 1 tsp oil) vermicelli(optional),salt,1/2 cup Tomato sauce,chilli flakes or pd ,1 tsp cumin pd,1/4 cup minced onion, minced 1 garlic or garlic pd, lemon-pepper pd,1/4 tsp Oregano , dry parsley and some cilantro.

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Mix everything together in a bowl with 2 cups of water, put it in the microwave and cook until rice is soft.It should still be little thin not very dry ,it thickens as it cools. Sprinkle hot sauce and cilantro if you like before serving.

Posted by PicasaOpen a can of Texas style beans or any beans you like, heat in the microwave and serve!! Did I have to explain that to you!!:D

Cinnamon-Sugar Sopapillas:

Mexican 'Sopapillas' (Pronounced as 'sopapiyas') literally means 'soft pillows'.They are made of flour dough ,rolled out, cut into squares like little pillows, deep fried and sprinkled with sugar pd. I added cinnamon pd to make it more flavorful dessert for kids!!

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I used 1 cup store bought Sopaplilla mix,mixed with water to a firm dough.Rest for about 5 mins. To make them from scratch : Mix 2 c. flour,1 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt,1 tbsp butter or margerine,some warm water, make a firm dough.Rest for 5 mins.

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Roll the dough to a circle to 1/8th thickness, cut them across into squares and seperate them slightly. Heat oil to 350F, gently lower the squares ,fry them to a golden color and all puffed up. Drain on paper towel.

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This is how they look before and after you sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar!! While they are still hot on the peper towel, sprinkle cinnamon-sugar quickly and generously on them.Delicious Sopapillas are ready to eat! :))

NOTE: Sopapillas I have made with store-bought mix although tasty ,did not puff up well as you can see. But you are better off with the 'from scratch' recipe I have given you which is very easy to mix in a jiffy and you will a get a pillow like dessert.

If you want to make own cinnamon-sugar, mix 1 tbsp sweet cinnamon pd with 3-4 tbsp fine sugar and sprinkle evenly on the Sopapillas!

Have a great Mexican meal and remember, this is not an authentic Mexican food but my quick ,delicious version. Kids will love them!:) Enjoy!!

Halloween is on Tuesday this year which is really weird and inconvenient. Lot of kids have school next day.I am hoping they would change it to this weekend instead of a school day...

See you all on Friday for Halloween party! Be scared, Be VERY scared!:))

October 19, 2006




Deepavali in sanskrit or Diwali literally means "Rows of lights or lamps"!! A very popular 'Festival of Lights', in India which is celebrated by all Hindus is a symbol of renewal of life,a new beginning!! Women buy Gold and Silk Sarees, new clothes for the family,cook lots of sweets and other goodies, while kids and men have a blast,literally with loads of fireworks!!We exchange gifts and sweets among relatives and friends, a time for happiness,shopping,eating and having families come together for a week long celebration!! Whole house,specially the front porches are lit up with earthen lamps called 'Deepas' and 'Diyas' as the sun goes down and they are also decorated with colorful rice flour designs called 'Rangolis'!! It is a sight to see and non-Indians can only imagine unless you are there in India during Diwali to experience the joys of millions of Indians!!:)))

Rows Of Lamps:

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There are lots of stories about why Diwali is celebrated!! We are supposed to be celebrating the return of King/Lord Rama to his throne after a long exile, slaying of Evil Asura by a Goddess Kali/Durga to bring peace on Earth,worshiping Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi for good luck and wealth etc,. Millions of Indians live in other countries away from India! Most of our westernized kids are unfamiliar with much of the our culture unless we live nearer to 'Little India' or visit India frequently! For my kids sake, I TRY my best to do something close to what our families do in India,so they can have some idea of Indian customs,festivals and traditions as they grow up!:))

Here is one of the intricate Rangoli patterns we create in temples and in our homes for Diwali and other Hindu festivals! (from aparnaonline.org)

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Here is a sample of a Diwali Platter of my goodies I am planning to cook for my family, Karnataka (South India) style except Jamuns & Samosas! A typical 'Festival Lunch'(Habbada oota) around Mysore, Bangalore and Hassan!! Every household has their own dishes they prefer to make, this would be my family's fare! Two recipes follow!! :))

MENU:Vegetarian feast of course, as most Hindus are vegetarians!!
Appetizers: Chaklis,(Samosas are not traditional Mysoorean snack but I had some in the pantry!), Spinach Pakodas.
Entree: Vegetable Pulao with Raita and a beans Kurma (gravy,not shown in pic),Cumin Rice and mixed vegetable Mysore Saaru (Dal sambhar).
Side dishes:Coconut chutney,Papad,Pickles,Chutney pudi (powder).
Salads: Cucumber-carrot Kosambari (medley),Green bell pepper-coconut stir-fry, raita and one more dal medley coming to the table on Sat. 21st!!
Desserts: Mysore Pak(Susan in Italy style!), Kobbari Mithai(Coconut Burfi),Mysore GasaGase Payasa (Poppy seeds Porridge: Go easy! It's Poppy, source of Opium, remember!! :D) My grandmothers' make even more desserts actually! These sweets are enough for us!! Phew!!
To drink:Good old spiced Buttermilk!! No Alcohol involved at all!
Fruits to end the Feast:Apples and bananas or any fruit we have!

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Diwali Shopping:

You can see the Indian silk Shawl(Pashmina)up there and my Diwali 22ct.gold bracelet here!(Indian design,Ofcourse!) No silk Sarees!!I do not wear Sarees, silk or any other! (First and the last time I wore Sarees were during first few days of my wedding!!)

Hope my family appreciate all the cooking I am doing singlehandedly!
(My husband is on call this weekend!) Or else I am calling the police to throw all of them ie two kids and a grown man to Alcatraz!! I will keep my Bichon!!:D:D:D

More Stories!!

My fav. story about Diwali would be , when you light up your front porch with lots of deepas or lamps, Goddess Lakshmi,the 'Goddess of Wealth' will notice and walk into your house!!That means people, we are going to earn loads of Moola!! Wouldn't you want that??!! So, even if you don't believe in this story like me or a non-Indian unlike me, why don't you get some votive candles and put in a safe place in your front porch this Sat. night (21st)!!May be Goddess Lakshmi will visit you too along with your Indian neighbors?!:D

Another belief, which I like during Diwali festival would be 'Good always wins over evil'!As they say there is always light at the end of the tunnel!! Might take a little time to pass through that tunnel,but good will win in the end! Don't you WANT TO believe in that?!We Indians do!! No wonder Indian culture has survived for sooo long!!:))

Have a blast! Be careful with the fireworks!! Be safe and have fun!!

Now The Recipes:

MYSORE GASAGASE PAYASA: (My grandma's Poppy Seeds Porridge)
This Payasa is a very typical Mysoorean dessert made for most Hindu festivals along with Obbattu ( a sweet pancake like dessert, made of flour wrap stuffed with sweet dal filling) which I am not planning to make for Diwali!

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You could eat this as a dip with Molasses Pancakes on the left which tastes similar to Obbattu or like Kheer on it's own!! Addition of Poppy seeds makes you drowsy for obvious reasons just like after eating Turkey on Thanksgiving!!:)) Eat your bellyfull and sleep until it's time for the fireworks and lighting the Deepas in your porch!

Gasgase Payasa shown below is very flavorful despite the bland look of beautiful milky white color with a hint of saffron!! Adjust the sugar to your taste!:)

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1 Cup fresh coconut or 2 cups coconut milk extracted ,3 tbsp white Poppy seeds,1 tbsp dry rice,1 cup hot milk,1/2 cup hot water,1/2 tsp cardamom pd,1/2 cup or more white sugar, few Almonds and Cashews, pinch of saffron.(Optional)

Dry toast poppy seeds and rice to crisp them not reddish.Soak in 1/2 cup hot milk for 5 mins and grind with cashews until smooth.Grind the coconut with warm water and milk,strain through to get just the coconut milk, discard solids.Should get up to 1 1/2 cups coconut milk.Mix in poppy mixture, sugar, rest of the milk and simmer on low heat.

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Heat until the raw smell goes,for 10 mins.Add more milk if it is too thick.Before taking of the heat ,add cardamom pd,mix and pour in a dish.Toast Almonds (peeled, sliced) in 1 tsp butter or ghee until golden.Garnish with toasted Almonds and pinch of saffron!!



Posted by Picasa Mix 1 cup Besan flour,1 tbsp corn starch,1 big onions sliced thin,1 cup fresh spinach leaves or few frozen,thawed,salt,2 green chillies chopped,cilantro,crushed 1 tsp each coriander and cumin seeds,pinch of baking soda well and add a tsp of water only if necessary! Onion and spinach makes it wet enough to bind.Batter must be thick with droppable consistency!

Heat enough oil to deep fry to 350F and drop small rounds with a fork so as not make a ball of dough but a irregular shapes. Fry until golden and drain on a kitchen paper towel.Delicious, crunchy Palak Pakoras are ready!!

My home's front porch all lit up on Saturday night for Diwali to welcome Lakshmi 'Goddess of Wealth' in to my home with some sparklers for fun!!:))

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Have a wonderful Diwali and forget about the calories on Saturday!! See you all next week somewhere jogging!!:D:D:D

Pictures of Deepas and fireworks are from this site:
Others are from Your's Truly!:))
These recipes are my entry to Jihva 'Diwali Special'!!:))

A NOTE: My family did appreciate all that I cooked up for Diwali. Hey Alcatraz, you just have to look for some other inmates!:D:D