My garden

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you”.
– Frank Lloyd Wright
I started falling in love with trees and plants when I was little. I started planting and nurturing trees on every world environment day since I was in primary school. My grand father was a farmer, so my dad is and so do I 🙂
When I plant new tree, I always feel that I am giving birth to new life 🙂
When I came to US, I was missing my tree plantation and I always wanted to grow my own vegetables in my own kitchen garden. These two reasons inspired me to grow vegetables in my patio.
My sister who lived in US, used to plant vegetables in summer. I started researching about it and one day, I went to Home Depot and purchased some pots, potting mix soil and some basic plants like mint, Tomato, Chillies, etc and planted them in little colorful pots at the end of month March. I loved to watch them growing and counting new leaves every day 🙂
It is the best feeling when you eat your first fruit/vegetable from your kitchen garden 🙂
I started planting from 2016 and here are some of the pictures and process of plantation.
Step 1: You need to buy pots and plants. I purchased plastic pots and plants from Home Depot. (Most of the time I avoid buying plastic but the reason is: I am going to use this pots every year, I live in apartment so these becomes easy to move and manage)

 

Step 2: Put potting mix soil(Miracle grow or patio plus) in the pot and uncover the outer cover of plants.

 

Step 3: Cover 3/4th of the pot with soil and place the plant. Cover rest of the area with soil and water the plant. (you will need more water for first time)

 

Now, you just need to wait and watch them to grow 🙂
Few tips:
1. They need 4-6 hours of sunlight. so put your plants in accordingly
2. Water regularly. Touch the soil, if you feel it is dry then water them otherwise don’t.
3. Plants need regularity and care.
4. At every week, cut off the yellow leaves or unwanted stems and clean the leaves.
5. Talk with them everyday 🙂 They listen to it for sure 🙂 You will understand their language once you start talking to them.
6. Most important, love them 🙂 Sing your favorite song with them. Watch them atleast 9-10 times a day 🙂
7. If your plants grow very large, then provide some kind of support.

Let me show you some of the photos of my plants:

Plants (8)
On 25th march,2017 – Eggplant, Strawberry, Mint, Marigold, Chillies, Tomato, Aloevera
Plants (9)
After 3 months 🙂
Plants (1)
After 5 months 🙂 🙂

 

First chilli and tomatoes 🙂

Plants (21)
Tomatoes 2016

 

Mint and marigold 🙂

 

Eggplant and strawberry 🙂

 

Sunflowers 🙂 I planted seeds and they grew up preety fast!
Some of the harvesting photos 🙂
plantss (1)plantss (4)plantss (8)plantss (9)
Sometimes, I got lots of chillies and the best thing I did with them was to make pickles !

 

plantss (3)

plants-16.jpg
April 2018 – This time I planted seeds directly 🙂

 

Spinach and fenugreek leaves 🙂

 

Blueberry and Strawberry 🙂

Plants (24)
Me, spending time with them while singing my favorite song 🙂

I want to share my sister’s vegetables harvesting photos 🙂
plantss (5)plantss (6)

Plantation is an amazing journey 🙂 Once you start and fall in love with it, you can’t stop yourself 🙂

 

 

 

 

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Warli Wall Art

This time I wanted to try warli painting on a cloth. I used authentic brown colored cloth and used white acrylic color to paint and then purchased photo-frame from Michaels and put that on guest room 🙂

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It had many minute details 🙂 

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Cartoon Themed Card

I love to make greeting cards for my nephew and niece and send them on their birthdays along with handwritten letter 🙂
I made Minion themed card for my nephew on his 8th Birthday and papa pig themed card for my neice on her 4th Birthday with the same baloon theme 🙂

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Minion 🙂 
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Papa Pig 🙂
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This is a color-in postcard-note calander gifted me by my husband 🙂 I just love to color it every month 🙂 Created by alicia Souza 🙂

Thandai Cake

Thandai is an all time favourite drink for Holi and the mixture of different spices in the thandai masala makes it festive! I tried different version of thandai today, that is Thandai Cake! The base for the cake is a normal eggless sponge cake which I flavoured with a cardamom  and rose to bring out the flavor in it and I decorated the cake with the combination of chocolate ganache. whipped cream and thandai syrup 🙂 The end result was really good! I tried this cake for my parents 35th anniversary and they both loved it 🙂

Ingredients:
All purpose flour – 1½ cups
Baking powder – 1 tsp
Baking soda – ½ tsp
Vegetable oil – ½ cup
Sugar – ¾ cup
Vanilla essence – ½ tsp
Yogurt – 1 cup
Cardamom powder – 1 tsp
Rose Water – 1 tsp

For the frosting:
Fresh Cream – 100 ml
Chopped white chocolate- 100gm
Heavy whipping cream – 200 ml
Thandai syrup – 2 tbsp

For garnish:
Chopped pistachios – 2 tbsp
Dried rose petals – 1 tbsp
Saffron/kesar – ½ tsp

Method:
Grease a 9 inch round cake pan with butter and flour and keep it aside.
In a bowl sift dry ingredients – 1.5 cup all purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, mix well and keep aside.
Take a mixing bowl, add in 1/2 cup oil, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 cup yogurt, 1/2 tsp vanilla essence, 1 tsp cardamom powder and mix well using a hand whisk or electric beater.
Now, fold in the dry mixture into the wet mixture little by little, use a spatula to fold in, do not over mix.

Once batter is ready, transfer it into the baking pan and bake on preheated oven at 350F/180C for around 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Thandai Cake (1)
When the cake is done, let it cool down completely. Now place it again the springform pan. I used this pan to make the frosting in even layers.
Now add 1 tsp of rose water and 1 tbsp sugar into 1/2 cup of water, mix it and make a rose syrup. Now pour this syrup over the cake. This enhances the flavor of a cake.

Meanwhile prepare the mousse, Chop white chocolate and place in a bowl. Now take a small saucepan and bring the fresh cream to a boil on a low flame.
Pour the hot fresh cream on the white chocolate and let it sit for few mins, then using a spatula, stir the mixture and mix well until the chocolate completely melts and you get the ganache.

Keep the ganache to cool down, meanwhile beat the heavy whipping cream to stiff peaks.
When the ganache fully cools down, add in the thandai syrup and mix well.
Now, start adding whipped cream to the white chocolate thandai mixture and fold lightly using a spatula. Be gentle and fold without deflating any air from the whipped cream.

Now top the cake with prepared mousse mixture and tap it so that the mixture settles.
Garnish with chopped pistachios, saffron and dried rose petals and keep in the refrigerator.

Chill for four to five hours, preferably overnight.
When it sets, loosen the sides using a knife and demould the cake.
Thandai Cake (11).jpg

Burney Falls & Mount Shasta

અમારી ટ્રીપના પહેલા દિવસે સવારે અમે ૯ વાગે નીકળ્યા અને ઘરેથી ૩૦૦ માઈલ(૫૦૦ કિમી) દુર ઉત્તર તરફ ડ્રાઈવ કરીને અમે ૧ વાગ્યાની આસપાસ બર્ની ફોલ્સ પહોચ્યા.

બર્ની ફોલ્સ વિષે: આ ફોલ શાસ્તા વિસ્તારમાં બર્ની ક્રિક પર આવેલો છે જે મેકઆર્થર-બર્ની સ્ટેટ પાર્કનો ભાગ છે. આ ફોલનું પાણી ઉપર અને ભૂગર્ભના ઝરણા પરથી આવે છે જે ૧૨૯ ફૂટ ઉચો અને ૨૫૦ ફૂટ પહોળો છે. જે  સૂકા ઉનાળાના મહિનાઓ દરમિયાન પણ દરરોજ લગભગ 379 મિલિયન લિટરનો પ્રવાહ દર પૂરો પાડે છે. બર્ન ક્રીક પિટ નદીની એક સહાયક નદી છે , જે ઉત્તરમાં લેક બ્રિટોન જળાશય પર તેના મોં સાથે છે .
રાષ્ટ્રપતિ થિયોડોર રૂઝવેલ્ટ દ્વારા આ ધોધને “વિશ્વનું આઠમું વન્ડર” કહેવામાં આવે છે, અને ડિસેમ્બર 1954 માં તેમને નેશનલ નેચરલ લેન્ડમાર્ક જાહેર કરવામાં આવ્યો હતો.

burneyFalls (4)
આ છે બર્ની ફોલ્સ

ત્યાં ગાડી પાર્ક કરીને ૧.૫ માઈલની નાનકડી હાઈક કરીને ધોધને એકદમ નજીકથી જોઈ શકો છો.

 

હાઈક નો રસ્તો અને ધોધની પાસે અનુજ

burneyFalls (2)
અમારી પાછળ ધોધ

આટલા પહોળા ધોધને નજીકથી જોવાનો આ અમારો પહેલો અનુભવ હતો જે ખરેખર યાદગાર રહેશે. 🙂
બર્ની ધોધને નિહાળ્યા પછી અમે ત્યાંથી લગભગ ૫૦ માઈલ જેટલું ડ્રાઈવ કરીને સીસકિયું લેક (lake siskiyou) પાસે પહોચ્યા. અમે સાંજના ૪:૩૦ આસપાસ પહોચ્યા હતા. આ લેક પાસેથી શાસ્તા પર્વતનો ખુબ સુંદર નઝારો જોવા મળે છે. અહી પ્રવેશ માટે ફી ચૂકવી પછી સરોવરમાં કયાકીંગ કરવાનું નક્કી કર્યું.
કયાકીંગ એટલે નાનકડી નાવ જેમાં ૧ કે ૨ જણ બેસીને હલેસા મારીને પાણી ઉપર ફરી શકાય! અમે લગભગ ૧.૫ કલાક કયાકીંગ કર્યું અને શાસ્તા પર્વતને અલગ અલગ બાજુથી જોયો 🙂
મોટે ભાગે અહી બધા સરોવર કિનારે નાના તંબુ બાંધીને કયાકીંગ, બોટિંગ કરવાના કેમ્પસ જેવું હોય જેમાં તમે ભાડે કયાક કે બોટ લઇ શકો, તમને લાઈફ જેકેટ પણ આપવામાં આવે પણ હા કોઈ શીખવાડવા વાળું ત્યાં ન હોય, તમારે જાત મહેનત જીન્દાબાદ કરવી પડે 🙂
લેક સિસ્કીયોઉ વિષે: લેક સિસ્કીયો , ઉત્તરીય કેલિફોર્નિયામાં સેક્રામેન્ટો રિવર પર બોક્સ કેન્યોન ડેમ દ્વારા રચિત એક જળાશય છે જે સ્થાનિક મનોરંજનની જગ્યા છે, તેમજ વોટરશેડ સંરક્ષણ અને પૂર નિયંત્રણ માટે ઉપયોગમાં લેવાય છે. પણ આ સરોવરથી શાસ્તા પર્વત ખુબ સુંદર દેખાય છે એટલે અહી કાયમ પ્રવાસીઓનો ઘસારો રહે છે.

mount shasta (1)
સરોવર વચ્ચે 
mount shasta (3)
વિશાળ સરોવર નું ભૂરું પાણી, ચારેબાજુ લીલા પાઈનના વૃક્ષો અને સામે બરફથી ઢંકાયેલો શાસ્તા પર્વત 🙂
mount shasta (2)
રસ્તા પરથી દેખાતો પર્વત 

સાંજે ત્યાંથી કલાક જેટલું ડ્રાઈવ કરીને કલેમથ ફોલ્સ નામના ગામની હોટલમાં પહોચ્યા. અમેરિકામાં ૪થી જુલાઈએ અમુક જગ્યાએ ફટાકડા ફોડવાની પરવાનગી મળે એટલે લોકો આપણે દિવાળીમાં ફટાકડા ફોડીએ એમ રસ્તા પર કે પાર્કમાં ફોડે. અમે એ ગામમાં ચાલવા નીકળ્યા અને ફટાકડા જોયા અને મોડી રાત્રે પાછા ફર્યા 🙂

 

Agar agar Fruit Cake

Agar agar Cake (14)This is different style of a cake! I tried this recipe on my friend’s birthday. The cooking style is totally different and it has bunch of fruits in it. I learned this recipe from youtube and here is the link for recipe : https://youtu.be/dCoexfAQIf0

Ingredients:
For Fruit Layer
Water – 1 ⅓ cups
Juice from canned lychee – 2/3 cup
Sugar – ¼ cup
Agar agar powder – 1¾ tsp
Small fruit pieces of your choice(I used pineapple, lychee, strawberry and blueberries) – 2 cups

For Coconut Layer
Coconut milk – ¾ cup
Water – ¼ cup
Agar agar powder – ¾ tsp + ⅛ tsp
Sugar – 3 Tbsp
Salt – pinch

Method:

In a small pot add COLD water, lychee juice, agar agar powder, and whisk until there are no more lumps. Once mixed, turn on the heat and bring to a full boil, stirring constantly.
Once boiling, let it boil for a minute or so, or until the agar agar powder is completely dissolved. To check, scoop some liquid into a spoon, pour it off, then closely inspect the spoon to see if there are any specks of agar agar powder stuck to the spoon or not. If not, you’re good to move on.

Add sugar and stir until dissolved, then remove from heat. Immediately pour half of the liquid into your mold. Working quickly, place the fruit pieces. Once you’ve added all the fruits, pour the rest of the liquid gently over the fruits. Let it sit for several minutes or until the top is firm enough to pour on the second layer.

In a small pot, combined the coconut milk, water, agar agar powder, and stir to dissolve the powder. Turn on the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once boiling, let it boil for a minute or so, or just until the agar agar is completely dissolved (do the same check). Then add sugar and a pinch of salt and stir to dissolve.

Your bottom layer should be firm enough by this point, but check by gently touching it and see if the top is set and dry; it is okay if it is still soft in the centre. Once it is ready, GENTLY pour the piping hot coconut layer on top of it.
Refrigerate for a couple of hours until cold.
To remove the cake from pan, loosen the sides of the cake with the help of knife and allow air to go to the sides of the cake. then unmold it on serving plate.
Agar agar Cake (3)

Agar agar Cake (14)

and delicious fruit cake is ready!!

Warli painting on cabinet

Me and my childhood art friend (Keta) loved warli paintings and we had done lots of art projects together 🙂
We painted shoe rack cabinet in January 2009, and found that photo in my hard drive today 🙂
Sharing you the final photos :
Material used:
Oil Paint : Dark brown color
Oil Paint: white color
Brushes

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And panoramic photo,

Warli (1)

 

Rose Almond Cookies

When I baked these cookies, I loved the aroma of rose coming out from my oven! Loved the taste and texture. Oh yes, I learned this cookies from Miti’s cooking class.
Rose-almond cookies (2)

Ingredients:

All purpose flour /Maida –  1 cup
Butter – 1/2 cup (soften)
Castor Sugar  – 1/2 cup
Almonds(crushed) – 2 tbsp
Dried rose petals(crushed) – 2 tbsp
Rose water- 1 tsp

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF.
In a bowl, add 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup softened butter , whisk well till the sugar completely dissolves and becomes frothy and fluffy.
Add dry ingredients – 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 tsp rose water, 2 tbsp rose petals and 2 tbsp crushed almonds. Mix and make a dough. Cover it with cling wrap and give it a good shape and make a log. Refrigerate it for atleast 30 minutes.

 

Cut the cookies and place it into baking tray. Bake it on 180ºC/350ºF for 12 to 15 minutes or until egdes are light golden.

 

Once done, let it cool down completely on baking tray for 10 minutes and then place it on cooling rack to cool completely.
Rose-almond cookies (4)And rose-almond cookies are ready!!
Rose-almond cookies (1)

 

 

 

Veg Sizzler

Sizzler (12)
Vegetable Sizzler is the sizzling and yummy assortment of various vegetables along with the spices.
I used rice, sauted vegetables, pettis and on the top used makhani gravy.
Sizzler is made in the cast iron skillet, you have to make everything and keep ready.
And heat the sizzler plate. Assemble everything and pour the gravy on the top so it will sizzle and add the delicious burned taste in your dish 🙂
You can make chinese sizzler, paneer sizzler. There are lots of variations.
You can use pasta or noodles instead of rice.. any sauted vegetables, french fries, any veg patty and any gravy of your choice 🙂
Thanks Miti for teaching me this dish 🙂

Ingredients:
Rice – 1 cup
Salt – 1 tsp
Black pepper – 1/2 tsp
Garlic powder – to taste
Cilantro – 1 cup (chopped)
Corn – 1 cup
Green peas – 1 cup
Carrots – 2 large
Butter – 2 tbsp
Potato – 4 Large
Onion – 1 small
Bell pepper – 1 small
Ginger garlic chilli paste – 1 tbsp
Aamchur powder – 1 tsp
Garam Masala – 1 tbsp
Kasuri Methi – 1 tsp
Tomato – 3 medium
red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder/ stick
Cream – 1/4 cup

Method:
For Rice:

Wash the rice and cook it with salt, corn, green peas Rice.
Once cooked, let it cool completely. Take butter in a pan , add garlic powder , little salt , black pepper and rice. Add cilantro. Mix and keep aside.

For vegs:
Blanch Beans, carrots, potato slices in water with salt . In a pan, add butter , garlic powder , salt , black pepper. Add blanched beans , carrots and boiled potato thick slices.
Move everything on a side of pan and add sliced onions , butter , salt and pepper. Let it cook for a minute.

For Patty:
Take Finely chop beans ,carrot, corn, ginger garlic chilli paste in a pan, add salt, cover cook for 5 min. Add red chili powder, garam masala , aamchur powder, salt, boiled and mashed potato . Mix and make patty. Roll in fresh bread crumbs and shallow fry on pan.

For Makhni gravy:
Take little oil and butter in a pan, add kasuri methi, cinnamon stick , tomato puree, water , salt, garam masala, Kashmir chili powder. Let it cook for 5 minutes. Add cream and simmer for 5 more minutes.

For Assembling:
Heat the sizzler pan for 5-7 minutes or till it becomes super hot. Quickly put rice on one side, vegetables on other side and patties on other side and pour the gravy on the top and let to cook for 1-2 minutes and serve super hot!

and sizzler is ready!
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Party order Cakes

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Orange Chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting

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Orange flavor cake with butter cream frosting and fondant decoration

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chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting
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Thandai and kesar ilaychi flavor cake with fondant decoration – My favorite cake till now 🙂 Made by my best friend Miti on my graduation party 🙂