Carrot Halwa

I am presenting very authentic and famous indian dessert – Carrot halwa (gajar halwa) with a twist. And the twist is – it does not have sugar in it. Yes! you read it correctly. It has only 1 tbsp of ghee and no sugar. Ofcourse I learned this recipe from my friend Miti in her cooking class. (Click here for more details about her classes)
I wanted to make this carrot halwa but I wanted to grate carrots in vitamix blender. (I purchased vitamix blender and it is the best of all blenders I have used so far! 😉 )
Oh yes, so I tried this recipe in early morning today as a breakfast and turned out really well 😉
The authentic traditional recipe calls for carrots, ghee and sugar. I am sure everyone has made and is making this halwa but I really recommend to give it a try to this recipe! I used dates(in place of sugar) and milk-mawa powder(in place of mawa- you can find this in any indian grocery store. if not use grated mawa) because we don’t get good quality of mawa here in USA. And one more thing, In USA we get orange carrots and the color of my halwa is red(like our mom makes)- for that I used 4 carrots and 1 inch of beetroot 😉
So, let’s check recipe now 😉

Gajar Halwo (3)

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

Category: Dessert
Serves: 2 person

Gajar Halwo (2)

Ingredients

Carrots – 4 (washed, peeled and grated)
Beetroot – 1 inch (washed, peeled and grated)
Dates (khajoor) – 9 (pitted, washed)
Milk – 1 cup
Milk mawa powder (mawa) – 1/2 cup
Ghee – 1 tbsp
Sugar – 1 tbsp (optional)
Cardamom powder – 1 tsp
Cashews and dried grapes – 1/4 cup

Method

Soak dates in warm milk for at least 15 minutes and then crush it and make puree. In a pan, hear 1 tbsp ghee, add grated carrots and beet roots and cook till tender.
Add date-milk puree and 1/2 cup milk-mawa powder to carrots.

Cover and cook till milk evaporates, stir occasionally. Add sugar if you feel like. (I haven’t added still tastes really good.)
Cook for 5 minutes and then add cardamom powder and nuts and serve 🙂
Gajar Halwo (4)

 

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Henna Painting

Henna is a dye prepared from the plant also known as hina(mahendi) which is applied on the wedding day, the bride wears a traditional dress and has henna painted on her hands and feet. Henna is filled in a cone and then applied to body with beautiful small designs.
I bought a wooden box from Michaels to put my hairpins and then decided to decorate it. So I painted the box with dark purple acrylic color and then used my creativity and applied henna designs on it with the help of acrylic tube colors.
If you can’t find tube colors then you can make cone out of plastic sheets and fill thick acrylic colors and use it.
So, here is my henna painted box 😉

box painitingbox painiting

 

Dot Painting

One of my friend shared a post on facebook of dot painting workshop. All the colorful dots drawn my attraction and then I started researching about it on pinterest and I got lots of ideas. On the next day, I went to my favorite store, Michaels and bought canvas. I bought their special brushes and tried on second day. I did it on small canvas but honestly, I was not satisfied with the result. I wanted it to be more neat and clean. After some day I found a solution, rather than using brushes I used cotton swabs(cotton buds – which we use to clean our ears) and it worked out very well.
No one has ever thought that cotton buds will be used for painting. haha
And here is my first neat dot paiting 😉

dot painting.jpg

How beautiful does that look? right? 🙂

About Dot painting: Dot painting is made up of small dots of paint colors like yellow (representing the sun), brown (the soil), red (desert sand) and white (the clouds and the sky). These are traditional Aboriginal colors. Dot paintings can be painted on anything, including on rocks, in caves, etc.

Materials Used: 
6 in x 6 in canvas (Painted it with black acrylic color)
Acrylic colors of your choice
Water
Cotton swabs

Method: 
You can download any image from internet and follow the pattern on canvas. Just make sure that you allow every dot to dry out completely before applying new one.

Nankhatai

Nankhatai is an authentic Indian sweet eggless cookie. I just love the flavor of cardamom and nutmeg in it. I tried so many recipes before but I never had a satisfaction with the outcome. But then my friend came to rescue!
Nankhataii (2)
Yes, I am talking about Miti Patel. Her passion about cooking made me her fan. She is a chef and conducts cooking class. I went to her baking class yesterday and she taught me the perfect recipe of nankhatai and I tried it today and came out amazing! So I thought to share it with you! Miti’s facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/MITICOOKS/
Nankhataii (3)

Ingredients:
Ghee (clarified butter) – 1 cup
Powder Sugar –  1 cup
All purpose flour – 1 and 1/2 cup
Gram flour(besan) – 1/4 cup
Baking powder – 1/4 tsp
Baking soda – pinch
Cardamom powder – 1 tsp
Nutmeg powder – 1 tsp
Pistachio – for garnishing

Method:
Preheat the oven at 350ºF/180ºC.
Cream 1 cup ghee and 1 cup powder sugar together very fast and make the mixture smooth,light and creamy.

Add rest of the ingredients(All purpose flour, gram flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom powder and nutmeg powder). Bind very soft dough. Don’t kneed it just bind it together.Make small lemon size ball out of it and press a pistachio on the top for garnishing.

Put the balls on the baking tray and bake the nankhatai at 350ºF/180ºC for 25 minutes or the nankhatai becomes golden brown in color. keep some space in between the balls.

Keep the nankhatai on the cooling rack and allow them to cool down completely.
Nankhataii (4)
And your delicious nankhatai is ready!
Nankhataii (1)

 

Kitchen Tips

  • હમણાં મારા એક મિત્ર છે એમના કુકિંગ ક્લાસમાં ગઈ હતી. તેઓ માસ્ટર શેફમાં જઈ આવેલા છે અને હૈદરાબાદમાં કુકિંગ કલાસ કરાવતા.
    એમની પાસેથી એક ટિપ્સ જાણી જે મને ખુબ ગમી અને કામ લાગે છે.
    આપણે બધા આદુ-મરચા-લસણની પેસ્ટ બનાવીએ છીએ અને એ પેસ્ટ 4 દિવસમાં જ વાપરી દેવી પડે છે. અને ફરી પાછી બનાવવી પડે છે.
    તો એમાં એવું કરવાનું કે આદુ-મરચા-લસણની પેસ્ટ બનાવી એક થાળી ઉપર આપણે જેમ વડીઓ પાડીએ એમ પાડીને ફ્રીઝરમાં મૂકી દેવાનું. બીજા દિવસે એ વડીઓને ઝીપલોક બેગમાં ભરી દેવાની.
    મહિના સુધી વાપરી શકાય છે અને સ્વાદમાં કોઈ ફરક પડતો નથી.
    અને જ્યારે પણ વાપરવી હોય તો તેલ કે ઘી ગરમ કરી સીધી આ ફ્રોઝન વડીઓ જ નાખી દેવાની!
  • આમતો ભારતમાં બધી મમ્મીઓ સવારે દાળ ભાત શાક રોટલી કરતી જ હશે. પણ નોકરી કરતી બેનોને વધારે કામ લાગશે એટલે જણાવી રહી છું.
    હું રોજ સવારે મારું ટિફિન બનાવી દઉં છું. પહેલા બપોરે 12 વાગે બનાવતી. એનાથી થતું તું એવું કે 12 વાગે ભૂખ લાગી હોય અને ઉતાવળમાં શાક ને રોટલી બનાવું અને ફટાફટ જમી લઉ તો એટલી મજા નતી આવતી.
    એટલે હવે સવારે કામ પતાવીને એક શાક, દાળ,રોટલી અને સલાડ બનાવીને ટીફીનમાં ભરી દઉં છું.
    દરરોજ અલગ અલગ દાળ (મગ, તુવેર, અડદ, મિક્સ, કઠોળ) બનાવું, એક શાક ( એના માટે પાલક, કોબીજ, ફ્લાવર, બ્રોકોલી બધું સમારીને અગાઉથી જ ડબ્બા ભરી દઉં છું) અને રોજ અલગ અલગ શાક કરું, અને 3 નાની રોટલી, સલાડમાં ગાજર, કાકડી, બ્રોકોલી, ટામેટા ભરું.
    30 મિનિટમાં બધું જમવાનું બની જાય છે જો અગાઉથી બધી તૈયારી કરીને મેનુ નક્કી કરી દીધું હોય તો.
    – દરેક અઠવાડિયાનું સવાર સાંજે શુ બનાવીશ એ નક્કી કરેલું હોય છે જેથી એ પ્રમાણે જ ઘરમાં ગ્રોસરી લાવું જેથી કશું બગડે નહીં અને રોજ શુ બનાવું એ પ્રશ્ન ના થાય.
    – બીજી એક ખાસ બાબત એ કરી છે કે સવારે જમવાનું બનાવું એની સાથે ફ્રૂટ્સ સમારીને ડબ્બો ભરી દઉં. તડબૂચ, ટેટી, સફરજન, કેળા, સ્ટ્રોબેરી, નારંગી,કેરી વગેરે.
    એનાથી એ ફાયદો થયો છે કે 4 વાગે ભૂખ લાગે ત્યારે ફ્રૂટનો ડબ્બો તૈયાર હોય એટલે નાસ્તાના ડબ્બા ના ફંફોડાય અને રોજ ફ્રુટ પેટમાં જાય.
    સવારે 10 વાગે તો મારું બપોરનું જમવાનું અને સાંજનો નાસ્તો તૈયાર થઈ જાય છે અને સાંજની જમવાની તૈયારી પણ સવારે કરી શકાય એમ હોય તો કરી દઉં છું જેથી સાંજે સમય બચે!
    આ નાની ટિપ્સથી મને ખૂબ સારું રહે છે અને મને જમવા બનાવામાં અને ખાવામાં આનંદ આવે છે 🙂
    સવારના 11 થી સાંજના 6 સુધી મને ગમતું બધુજ કામ થઈ શકે છે.
    આશા રાખું છું કે તમને મદદ થશે 🙏🏻
  • અઠવાડિયામાં એક દિવસે.. મૉટે ભાગે રવિવારે.. બધા શાક લાવીને સમારી, એર ટાઈટ ડબ્બામાં કાગળમાં લપેટીને મૂકી દેવા. બધા ફળો લઇ આવવા.
    શાક ને બનાવતી વખતે બરાબર ધોવા.
    ફ્રીઝમાં કાયમ, સમારેલા ધાણા, આદુ મરચા લસણની પેસ્ટ રાખવી.
    સાંજે જો ઓળો બનવાના હોવ તો સવારે જ રીંગણને શેકીને માવો તૈયાર કરી દેવો.
    ખીરું માટે અગાઉથી પલાળી દેવાનું ભૂલવાનું નહીં.

 

Flaxseed Mukhvas

Adsi-Mukhvas (2)We might have heard everywhere about good things of flaxseeds, black sesame seeds and walnuts. They are super healthy. Flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble fibers and omega-3 fatty acids which is good for fighting against cholesterol. Sesame seeds are an excellent source of many essential minerals as well as a very good source of vitamin B1 (thiamin) and dietary fiber. The health benefits of walnuts include a reduction of bad cholesterol in the body, an improvement in metabolism, and control of diabetes.
I like to munch something while I am studying. So today, I tried to combine all together to make mukhvas. And here I present it’s recipe!

Ingredients
Flaxseeds – 400 gms
Black sesame seeds – 200 gms
Walnuts – 2 cups
Salt – 1 tsp
Lemon – 2 medium

Method
Add lemon juice and salt in flaxseeds and black sesame seeds separately. Mix it very well and set is aside for 5-6 hours.

Heat a non-stick pan, add flaxseeds and black sesame seeds, and roast for 5-6 minutes on high flame with continuous stirring. Turn of the heat and let them cool down completely. Check for their crunchiness. If you find them raw then roast them again for 2-3 minutes. (Note: Never roast them till you feel them crunchy. These seeds will become crunchy after they cool down.)

Adsi-Mukhvas (5)
Chop walnuts into very small pieces and mix everything together.
Adsi-Mukhvas (7)
and store in an air-tight container. and your Mukhvas is ready! 🙂
Adsi-Mukhvas (3)

Cheesy Disks

Cheesy discs (4)

We often crave for a quick homemade delicious appetizer! Here I present you a delicious looking, quick, easy to make, homemade baked appetizer recipe known as Cheesy Discs. This recipe is made up of few basic ingredients and gets cooked in little time.
Recipe inspired by: here 

Ingredients:
For the filling
Tomatoes – 3 (Finely chopped)
Capsicum – 2 (Finely chopped- you can use red,green or yellow)
Onion-  2 (Finely chopped)
Corn – 1 cup (optional)
Tomato ketchup – 1/2 cup
Cottage cheese (paneer) – 1 cup (grated)
Cheese – 1/2 cup (grated)
Salt – 1 tsp
Black Pepper – 1 tsp
Oregano – 1 tsp
Chili flakes – 1 tsp (optional)

For the spread
Butter – 1/4 cup (room temperature)
Cheese – 1/4 cup (grated)
Tomato ketchup – 1/4 cup

Bread – cut into round slices

Method
For the filling,
Mix finely chopped capsicum, finely chopped tomato (after removing its seeds and squeezing out some water from it), finely chopped onions, corn, grated paneer and cheese, salt, pepper powder, dry oregano and ketchup. Keep it aside.

 

For the spread, Take soft butter, tomato ketchup and grated cheese and mix them well.
For preparing the disks, take some bread slices and cut them with the sharp edged cutter in a round shape. Spread the butter spread on the bread slices. Then put the vegetable filling and some grated cheese on the top.

 

Place all the rings in a tray and place them in a pre-heated oven at 180C/ 350F for about 7-8 minutes or  until the rings are golden-brown in color.
Cheesy discs (3)
And Cheesy Disks are ready to be served. 🙂

Cheesy discs (5)

Corn-Spinach Lasagna

Lasagna (16)

Lasagna is an oldest types of pasta commonly refers to a dish made with several layers of lasagne sheets alternated with sauces and different vegetables. Today, I combined different methods and prepared my version of lasagna today and it turned out really good! So, Here is my recipe!

Lasagna (23)

Ingredients
For the filling

Olive oil – 2 tbsp
Onion(chopped) – 1
Garlic (shredded) – 6-7 cloves
Corn(boiled) – 1 cup
Spinach(chopped roughly) – 3 cups
Few basil leaves (torn)
Salt – 1 tsp
Black pepper – 1 tsp

For the Marinara Sauce
Tomatoes Blanched and pureed – 6
Onion Chopped fine – 1
Garlic Crushed – 7-8  cloves
Olive oil – 1 tbsp
Salt and pepper – to taste

For the white sauce
All purpose flour(Maida) – 1 tbsp
Butter – 1 tbsp
Milk – 1.5 cups
Salt – 1 tsp
Sugar – 1 tbsp
Black pepper – 1 tsp

For the Lasagna sheets
All purpose flour(Maida) – 1 cup
Oil- 1 tbsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Baking powder – 1/2 tsp
Water – to kneed the dough

For the Lasagna bake
Lasagna sheets – 8 small
Tomatoes Sliced in rounds – 2
Basil leaves (torn)
Mozzarella cheese (grated) – 2 cups

Method:
For the filling,
heat a pan with the olive oil, add onions and chopped garlic, sauté for a minute then add the Spinach, basil leaves and corn and cook till the water dries from the Spinach. Add the Spinach to the cottage cheese in a bowl with Salt and pepper and mix.

For the Marinara sauce, heat the olive oil in a saucepan on medium flame, add onions and crushed garlic, saute till transparent, add the puréed tomato and the seasonings and let it cook for 15 minutes or till the water from the tomato dries up making it thick.

For the white sauce, Sauté the butter and flour on medium heat till light brown, slowly add the milk whisking simultaneously making sure no lumps remain,as the sauce thickens add the salt, pepper and sugar and switch off the flame.

For Lasagna sheets, Mix all purpose flour, salt, oil, baking powder and make regular chapati dough with water. Roll thin roti and cook it on both side just for few seconds. In a separate pan boil water and put the lasagna sheets in it and boil them for approx 30 secs on both sides. On a dry napkin, spread the sheet to remove extra moisture.

For assembling, -Take a greased baking tray and place – (1) Marinara sauce, (2) Lasagna sheets, (3) Spinach filling, (4) Tomato and basil (5) White sauce (6) Marinara sauce (7) Lasagna sheets, (8)Spinach filling (9) Tomato and basil (10) white sauce and (11) Mozzarella cheese
Lasagna (22).jpg
Lasagna (25).jpg
Bake in a preheated oven at 180C/325F for 25 minutes and broil on high for 4 minutes. Serve hot and enjoy! 🙂
Lasagna (26)

Quilling cards 2017

I love to make quilling cards and gift it to people 🙂 I have made some of them in few months. Making quilling cards does not require any steps. You can easily make one if you have a photo of it.

Quiling card (6)
I made this birthday card for my 7 year old nephew – He likes red color and rainbow
Quiling card (2)
Made this card for my 3 year old niece ! It is pop up 3D card
Quiling card (7)
I made this photo frame card for my friend’s graduation 🙂
Quiling card (1)
I made this for the 1st birthday of my friend’s daugher. She called her daughter ‘bug’. Thats why the theme is bug.
Quiling card (4)
Ganpati birthday card!
Quiling card (3)
Rakshabandhan envelope for my sister in law.
Quiling card (11)
Peacock feather card for my friend and my quilling teacher who loves lord krishna 🙂
Quiling card (10)
Random flower for me 🙂
Quiling card (9)
For my husband’s friend who has joined Google Photos team at google.
Quiling card (8)
Birthday card for my friend 🙂
Quiling card (5)
Appreciation card + photo frame for my director
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Diwali card for both parents 🙂
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Birthday card for my sister 🙂

You can use your own creativity and make quilling cards. It is really easy 🙂 Try it today 🙂