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June 29, 2006

What else can I cook?

As I mentioned earlier my niece and nephew are with me for summer vacation and it is a lot of fun having them around. Just like me, they love food, so my niece gave me a list of what she and her anna likes so that I can cook them for here. She likes to see me cook and wants to help me too. So we decided that we make mini Pizzas as finger food before our Italian dinner.
I was too lazy to make the dough from scratch, I went to a
local pizza shop and bought fresh dough from them. We decided to make them with different toppings. All the pizzas had the same tomato sauce base and cheese. I rolled the dough and my niece helped me making small rounds with a cookie cutter and sprinkled the topping.

1st Topping
Bell Pepper

2nd Topping was Indian style which we love the most.
Coriander leaves

Green Chillies

3rd topping
Sun Dried tomatoes

All of us loved it. We are now on our way to camp for 2 nights and then off to Yosemite, so will be back on Monday to blog about our trip and the food ofcourse!

June 22, 2006

Twice Tagged!

5 Items in My Freezer

  1. Coconut flakes
  2. Amma's Sambhar powder,rasam powder from India
  3. Trader Joe's Meatless Meatballs
  4. Batteries ( Dunno R wants it there)
  5. Pastry Sheets

5 Items in my closet

  1. Ton of clothes
  2. Jewellery
  3. Comforters all packed
  4. Suitcases with more clothes
  5. organizer

5 Items in my car

  1. Hair Brush
  2. CD's
  3. Maps
  4. Sun Glasses
  5. Pens, papers, stuff that needs to be trashed (receipts etc)

5 Items in my purse

The one thing I hate to carry is a purse...

  1. Hair Brush
  2. Women's emergency kit :)
  3. Keys
  4. wallet
  5. I normally don't have much in my purse, my cell phone will mostly be in my hand than in my purse coz I am yapping away most of the time

June 19, 2006

Mad House II- posted by R

Shanks blogging using our neighbours wireless n/w before the move. They live across the street and only a couple of spots in the house had a decent signal. But S cant live without the web.

After weeks of packing, taping planning ... its all slowing settling down and coming back to some sense of normality. Part of the complication was due to a business requirements which had us stay in a furnished corporate apartment for 3 months before we could move into our own place. We ended up with stuff in 3 different homes for couple of weeks. Which looking back is too funny. If I found toothpaste, I would be missing the brush, or all my tooth brushes and deo would be in the other city. We had full kitchens both in Folsom and the Bay area, S being as oganized as she is managed without a hitch. We would make the weekend trip to packup for the impending move. Crazy is too mild a word.

So we had to empty and vacate 2 places and move into and set up the 3rd.

Check out Shankari's catalogue , especially the last three....
(Shankari - Ok, I kept asking R what was in the box as he had already taped the box even before I could write what was in the box and he started saying ,"of some S*** and some C***, so I decided to write it there just as he said so we could have a laugh when we were unpacking)

I am a pack rat, and finally got rid of tons of crap (with a berry berry heavy heart relinquished all those treasures that I had collected/scavenged over the years)

Shanks insistence that we list contents of the packing boxes helped, quite a lot. My brain is usually on 3 different tracks and a consequence of this is that I some times cannot recall what I just did a minute ago. I would tape up a box, start listing the contents and go totally blank on what I just put in, and I feared the day we would start to look for something. So I had this brilliant idea of doing an instant catalogue using my camera.

Finally the day of the move and the thats our truck climbing the Altamont gradient, with us following behind it.

In a weeks time I will probably be thinking What was all the fuss about.

June 16, 2006

Tagged - 10 things I miss of Mom’s cooking Meme

I was tagged by Sudha http://mysamayal.blogspot.com/ and I would like to tag http://ashasiva.blogspot.com/ ,
Shanti's Scribble Spot - http://shanthiscribbles.blogspot.com/
Jinguchaka - http://jusfun.blogspot.com/

There is a whole bunch of things that I miss, so let me start from the start of day

1. I used to wake up to the water boiling and my mom pouring the water into the filter, that sizzling sound was my alarm and yes the best coffee ever ( It beats Starbucks and all the other coffees I have had).
2. The hot Idlis and dosas that she used to make to suit my whims and fancies ( roll it like a cone one, with molaga podi, without podi, sprinkle some onions and all the fixings I could ever come up with.... ( yeah my love for food started way early)
3. The Chitranna (variety rice) that she would make for lunch. She used to send lunch in a carrier, the top box would be rice, middle one would be vegetable or chips/pappad and 3rd was a surprise every single day, I have no clue how she came up with something or other, one day it would be a fruit, the next day a chocolate, the third 25paise to buy chikkiand the list goes on...We loved this game.
4. In the evening, when I came back from school the awesome cold rosemilk (home made) and some snack ( not the same as afternoon mind you) My middle sister used to sniff like a dog, go to the sink to see if she can figure out the snack she made, coz she hid some other snacks she would make if she had time that day.
5.Channa , she came up with her own recipe and I have never had the likes, and I cannot get the same taste. She used to sometimes make puri's for breakfast , my dad likes traditional breakfast, so she would make dosas for him and puris for us.
6. Badam Puri - A Very strenuous and time taking sweet that she made occasionally. When I started working and was away from home, I used to crave for it and my dad sent it by courier for me ( yeah I was spoiled by parents - youngest in the family and now spoiled by R).
7. Coconut Burfi Sometimes I think it is just the hand that cooks them. I am terrified that it wont come up to my mom's taste, so have never tried making them
8. AApam with thengai paal - Out of the world!
9. Semiya Payasam (vermicilli kheer) - Heavenly! She made it for all my birthdays and still makes them even though I am so many miles away
10. Sodhi - A tirunelvelli dish made with coconut milk and dhal and served with ginger chutney and potato fry.

As I write this, I wonder if I can be so dedicated as my mom did when I have a child of my own ( I am sure mine will be a big brat coz I was one). Amma I miss you......

June 13, 2006

Curious Joe or Jill?

I am sure all of you have experienced what I am going to talk about during our train journeys in India. As a child , I loved the experience of traveling from Belgaum to Madras by train. The summer trip would be planned well in advance and the last two days, my mom would start cooking puzhikachal, soft Idlis and chutneys.

The moment we enter the train, the first fight among us sisters would be who gets to sit by the window and then later on who sleeps on the upper berth. But in the midst of all this are our co passengers who start asking questions directed to my mom.

1. Where are you going ?
2. To your place or inlaws?
3. Where are you from?
4. Brahmins?
5. Is your husband not coming ( my dad used to join us the last two weeks of our vacation)
6. Don't you have a son?
7. How old is your first daughter, looks like she is ready to be married.

All these questions start from late evening ( that is when we board around 6pm and it used to reach Bangalore the next day morning)till my mom goes to sleep we have our dinner, my mom would feel conscious and offer fellow passengers and vice versa. Some older folks ask us to take the upper berth that we would gladly agree. Sometimes you get along with them so well that when the journey ends, you are sad.

When I started working and came home for weekends or festivals, I hated the day journey by train. God! The questions would be , why I am not married, if I am in love with some one etc? I was on my way to Tirunelvelli , as my grandpa passed away, I had a walkman on and was crying (no songs were played). My co passengers comment
" these city girls, they flirt and now they sit & cry" I was livid with anger when I heard it, I took off my walkman and gave them a piece of my mind and the rest of my journey was peaceful

When I went to India this time, I was returning from Salem to Chennai. My mom and sis came to send me off at the station and I started crying when I saw my mom and sis's eyes filled with tears. To avoid talking, I struggled to read a Tamil magazine ( not a good reader) and never saw my passenger to the eye. The end of the journey, I had to as the old lady was struggling to lift her bag, when I offered help, she asked me questions with a gush of energy, " are you studying abroad? ( my hand luggage gave away that I live abroad), do you live there by yourself? blah blah and then R shouts from the platform to hold on and that he will pick my suitcase, you should have seen the look on the ladies face? She assumed I was not married and R was my boyfriend.
I love to answer in monosyllables with such people and curiosity kills them........

June 11, 2006

Moving Tips and Experience

Yeah , moving is a pain and every bone of my body is tired. We had a little more to sell , but they were too insignificant and not worth the time so took them to goodwill.


1. Make sure that you catalog each box , I made it a point to write on the box each and very article that went in. ( we have experienced trying to search for one thing and opening a whole bunch of boxes)
2. Hire movers,it is not worth all the hardwork you do. We have have helped and received helped from many friends and it takes almost the whole day before everything is moved. Though I catalog boxes, when moving people don't look at where each box has to go and ends up mostly in the garage. When we have friends, we don't feel like telling them where to put what as we are already feeling obligated.
3. Don't have loose odds and ends outside till the last day - we were so overwhelmed with the move that we missed a few things , the movers just come with huge boxes and throw odds and ends together and then it is back to square one looking for things.
4. If you know you are going to move in a couple of months, start discarding what you don't need. If you have not touched or even thought about it in the last two years , then you don't need it.
5. When you hire movers, make it a pointing to check if they have a license and insurance and what the cost would be. We were kind of inclined towards a mover who asked for a fix rate, we then found someone who was a member for the Better Business Bearau, we hired him and we had no complaints whatsever and the cost came up to be cheaper then the guy who asked for a flat rate. He came at the exact time he promised ( have heard horror stories from friends who have told me that their movers carried one pillow at a time) and moved everything so fast, we could not believe it. We were done moving by 2.45 pm & they started at 9:00am.
6. We had marked all boxes with a big green dot on all fours for all items that stayed in the garage. It really helped coz that saves R the trip of taking them back to the garage.
7. Movers ask for 15 to 20% tips, we did not know that it was so much. We just gave some money as tips and then the the mover told us it was 15% atleast.

I guess this is what I have learnt. Now the part of unpacking....what fun !Have to get this done by the 20th as my neice and nephew will be with us for summer vacation.

June 05, 2006

Moving ..Mad House ??Part I

We are moving to a city about 150 miles from where we live and boy what an experience. The saga is not over yet as we have just finished packing. The first step, deciding what we really want and sell/donate/trash the rest. That became a project by itself. R & I are big hoarders, we pick up stuff online, garage sale , from India (influence of the Antique road show) and we have now have a garage full of things ( thank god we still had place to park 2 cars).

After we agreed mutually on some things and debated about the others, we took pictures of everything we wanted to sell and uploaded them and then put an ad on www.craigslist.com. We had a whole lot of enquiries, some flake out and the serious enquiries do drop by to take a look. Sorry for the discrimination, but when local people want something, they are pretty clear, they look at the item and if it is as advertised without a word pay for it, pick it up and leave. But our brethren expect almost brand new items from a garage sale, the only thing that they missed asking was if it had money back guarantee.....It was an experience and the funny part is when some folks start talking in a language thinking we don't understand them.

After all this we started boxing all our things and my friend says that since I am doing it in such an organized fashion, I should become a moving consultant..
more fun to follow next week when we actually move