Thursday, February 28, 2013

Happy Birthday - My Friend!

This past weekend, we celebrated my friend "B" milestone birthday and I volunteered to make this treat for her special day. Her husband along with her new born Princess were the first Indian family that I met when I landed in this foreign country. She remained to be one of my best friends although we now see each other a few times in a year. With her busy work schedule and her little baby, she was my big support when I went through a difficult pregnancy. I will forever be grateful for all that she did. I like to call her as my "Bold and Beautiful" friend.
Knowing her as a very affectionate, artistic, ambitious, creative (the list goes on...) and a multi-talented person, I knew she would cherish these cupcakes and she did!
I find it important to appreciate people when they make a difference in someones lives and I like to make them feel extra special on their special day. The party was one of the best- good food, music and loads of laughter. After a fun-filled weekend, birthday girl responded back the next day "Good friends can see the best in a person and that is priceless".

Happy Birthday!

It was fun making these cupcakes once my mind was stable after brain storming several thoughts. I was undecided with the design until the day before the event. "B" who enjoys art during free time (and also a writer), I thought this would be a perfect arrangement of cupcakes. She loved it and I got a big hug in return. It was 100% satisfaction for me. I only wished, I used fondant to make an edible paint brush.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Chinese Chicken Fried Rice


3 cups cooked white rice (preferably left over from previous day)
1/2 cup vegetables (combination of carrots, peas and green pepper)
1/4 spring onions (I used both green and white portion)
1 clove garlic, grated
1/2"ginger, grated
1/2 cup chicken cubes
1 egg
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp black pepper powder
salt to taste
2 tsp canola oil

How it's made:

Cut Carrots, green pepper and green onions finely.
In 1/2 tsp canola oil, saute chicken with a pinch of salt and pepper. Fry until well cooked and set aside.
In the same pan, add remaining canola oil. Once hot, add ginger and garlic. Fry for 30 seconds. Add veggies and spring onions. Saute' for a minute. Push veggies aside to the side of the pan. Crack one egg onto center of pan and cook until scrambled. Combine egg with veggies. Add cooked chicken, white rice, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Stir well until well until heated evenly. Drizzle sesame oil and give a quick stir. Serve hot. 

Serves: 4-5

Note: Add very little salt to rice since soy sauce is high in sodium.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Donne Mirsang Bajo (Green Pepper Fritters)

It was our first big snow storm of the season. The roads were quite treacherous while I drove back late Friday afternoon so I decided to stay put at home. Luckily, after school events and activities were cancelled for the evening and I was even more happier when all of Saturday's events were cancelled too - One day to sleep until late morning.
Early Saturday morning, kids were geared up outside with sledges and all possible things they could use in the snow. Our neighboring states, all had almost 30" of snow. Those with no power and who were stranded on highways, must have had a very long night. Our area was spared and we got about 8"of snow. I truly consider ourselves blessed after experiencing Sandy.
While the kids played outside, we decided to start shoveling our walkway and driveway. For a moment, I thought "Why don't we let the sun take care of it"? But we had to shovel knowing that it might turn into ice by the end of the day. After spending 2-3 hours shoveling, I could tell all the muscles in the body that had never been used. It was a good work out though!

After being outside in the cold, Bajo/Pakora/Fritters were the perfect snack.


1 large green bell pepper (Capsicum)
1/2 cup besan (chick pea flour)
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp hing (asafoetida)
a pinch of cumin seeds (jeera)
water at room temperature
salt to taste
oil for frying

How it's made:

Wash bell pepper under running water. Cut in half, remove seeds and slice into 1/2" thick slices. Set aside.
In a medium size mixing bowl, add besan, red chilli powder, hing, salt and cumin seeds. Add a little water at the time to make a thick paste. Dip bell pepper slices in batter until well coated and deep fry in oil until light brown. Serve hot.

Note: Cauliflower, Zucchini, Potato, Onions can be used instead of bell pepper.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Bowl 2013

It's Super Bowl time! It is the long awaited game in our house. This year, it is the Ravens Vs. the 49ers. What's your prediction?

Football is always a mayhem in my house (in a good way!) since my boys have never ever supported the same team during any football game. I leave the boys by themselves, and utilize the time for myself during Sunday Night Football, with the exception of the Super Bowl. You can imagine the chaos in the house! I think it's best for me to say "may the best team win". I have watched a few football games occasionally, but still have no clue on any of the rules. The best thing on Super Bowl day that I look forward to are the ads and the half time show. Getting game day food ready is my only contribution to football ; and of course, I cannot miss Beyonce's performance after her lip-syncing episode at the President's inaugural. I look forward to the interesting ads and the two brother coaches playing against each other.
Last year when the Giants won, one of my boys almost jumped on the couch. What excitement! It reminded me of Tom Cruise on Oprah's couch! The other was rolling on the floor, frustrated.
Super Bowl being on Sunday's, we have always stayed at home and watched the game. But after a long, crazy week, I decided to accept an invitation to a friends Super Bowl gathering. I'm looking forward to relaxing and catching up with good, old friends and trying different types of food including Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings and Panini with Ground Meat. Thank you "S" family for inviting and hosting the event.

Baked Buffalo Wings

Football game + Buffalo Wings = Great Game! Buffalo Wings are a must especially for Super Bowl in my house. This is a very easy and healthy version of Buffalo Wings.


12 chicken wingettes
1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce
1/4 cup hot sauce (1/2 cup for extra heat)
celery sticks
blue cheese/ ranch dressing (store bought)

How it's made:

Clean and pat dry chicken wings. Marinate chicken wings with buffalo wing sauce. Set aside for 30 minutes.
Line a baking sheet with non stick foil. Place the wings on the lowest rack in the oven and bake at 375 degree F for 15 minutes on each side. You can brush the wings with hot sauce for extra heat. If the wings aren't browning, crank up the heat to 425 degree F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place in a pyrex bowl. Add 1/4 cup hot sauce and toss until wings are well coated. Serve hot with celery sticks and blue cheese/ ranch dressing.

Panini with Kheema (Panini with Ground Meat)

Panini's are great for parties when only finger food is served. These are filling and make great snacks. I made these ahead of time and all they need is, to be placed in a 300 deg F oven for 10 minutes before serving. I hope everyone enjoys these Panini's for tonight's Super Bowl gathering at our friends.


12 grinder rolls
1 lb lean ground meat, I used chicken
1- 8oz pack sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup frozen green peas
1 large onion, chopped fine
4 green chilies, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1"ginger, chopped fine
1 tsp red chili powder (optional)
1/2 tsp haldi (turmeric powder)
1/4 cup tomato puree
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
salt to taste
8 oz mozzarella or cheddar cheese, shredded/ sliced,

How it's made:

In a wide pan, heat oil. Add green chillies, garlic and ginger. Fry for a minute until color changes. Add onions and fry until translucent. Add a tsp of salt while frying onions. Add chilli powder and haldi. Saute until well combined. Add tomato puree and ground meat. Combine well and cook until meat is almost done. Add mushroom and peas. Stir and cook for a minute or two. Add coriander powder, cumin powder. Adjust salt. Add mint leaves and remove from heat.

To assemble Panini:
Slice bread horizontally. Spread a couple of tablespoons of ground meat mixture. Place two or three slices of cheese to cover the meat mixture. Place on Panini maker for 4-5 minutes  Cut in half and serve hot with chips on the side.