Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

All I can think of now, is bears and hybernation. One – I am sleepy right now. Two – this space will go into hibernation for the most of the coming two weeks.

Don’t worry if I come back here anxious, worried and low spirited for the next Blogging Marathon – that would just be the effect of my son’s vacation on me. Its going to be half day school from coming Monday. Its almost like preparing the parents for the impending doom – full day vacation – which starts a week after that. I always have a suspicion that teachers do a jig after the kids leave the school premises on the last working day. Can’t blame them, though!

And so the countdown to keeping myself sane is just less than 15 days. Cannot imagine keeping a five year old engaged for 24 hours a day, for TWO whole months. Oh God! Wish me luck everyone!

Easy meals are going to be part of the menu then. Like this oatmeal here. Cooked in the microwave.  But that 2-3 tablespoons of  pumpkin purée and a dash of cinnamon and ground ginger, makes all the difference.

Try this whole grain dish for yourself, when you need a change from the usual. Or like in my case, you have a lot of pumpkin purée left over after making those melt in the mouth pancakes.

Recipe Source : Craving Chronicles 


  • Oats                                                 :             1/3 cup
  • Pumpkin Puree                             :             3 tbsp
  • Water                                              :             1/4 cup
  • Milk                                                 :              1/4 cup 
  • Sugar                                               :              1-2 tbsp (brown, if possible)
  • Vanilla Essense                             :              1/4 tsp
  • Ground Cinnamon, ground ginger, ground allspice  : a dash of each , optional
  • Dry Fruits and nuts                      :             handful


  1. Mix everything , except the dry fruits, together and microwave for about 2 minutes.
  2. Mix and microwave for a furthur minute or until the desired consistency is required. Top with raisins, walnuts, dried cranberries and almonds and serve.
  3. You might have to adjust the liquid propotion a bit to get the preferred consistency. Serves one.


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Grrr…Where is the Tiger? DB Mar 2012 Challenge

This is it! I am quitting bread making – officially! And this time I mean it, not like the past hundred times when I quit and  the yeast beckoned me back.

I have tried and tried and tried, but every single time I bake bread, I break my teeth.

I follow the steps meticulously. Yeast is given as much of care as to a new born. Once the yeast bubbles up, I knead the dough, I let it rise and all this happens as it should. But once I bake them, the result is always the same. Rock hard buns (or bread). Sigh…

If you are smiling at this abysmal failure of mine, be warned. I have a weapon with me – yes, these can double up as great self defense products. One throw with this bread and it might do you some serious injury!!

Sara and Erica of Baking JDs were our March 2012 Daring Baker hostesses! Sara & Erica challenged us to make Dutch Crunch bread, a delicious sandwich bread with a unique, crunchy topping. Sara and Erica also challenged us to create a one of a kind sandwich with our bread!

I really wish I could have completed the challenge the way it was meant to be! Soft, white rolls with beautiful tiger/giraffe patterns. Hell, I would have settled even for a pattern of a hare! But this is what I got and after thinking over whether I should post this or not, I decided to go ahead and let the world know about ‘How NOT to make (Tiger) Bread’.

Check out the Daring Kitchen for real tiger, giraffe and even a cute turtle shell pattern.

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Ammini Kozhukkattai


Fifteen mails in my inbox, including ones that scream ‘We are going to steal all your money’, and yet I go and open the one titled ‘Lose your Belly Fat’ first. Our builder is already stealing all our money, so I wouldn’t worry about such mails.

I remember kiddo telling me that there was a teacher in his school who had a ‘biiiiiiiiigg’ tummy. He stretched his hands to his front and arched himself to show how big the tummy was. I told him that I think there is a baby inside her tummy.

Worried, he asked ‘Did she eat the baby?’

Oh, it was so tempting to say yes. It would have been fun to see his reaction. But better sense prevailed and I explained to him in simple words about babies coming from tummies.

I was ready to answer his questions, I wasn’t prepared for this one : ‘Is there a baby in your tummy? Is that why its so big?’

That was the most embarassing reply of my life! No, there is nothing in my tummy, except tons of fat. So as a result, I have started drinking copious amount of green tea and reading mails that say ‘Lose your belly fat’ first.

And while I am fighting with my tummy, I allow myself these steamed low fat quick snack, that won’t do much harm to your tummy.


  • Rice Flour            :       1/2 cup
  • Boiling Water     :       1 cup
  • Salt


  • Oil                          :   1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds  :   1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal              :   1/2 tsp
  • Curry Leaves    :   4-5
  • Red Chilies        :   1-2


  1. Boil one cup of water with about half a tsp of salt. Take half cup of rice flour in a bowl. Add the boiled water to this, little by little and mixing it with a spoon. Donot add all the water in one go, because you may not need the entire quantity.
  2. Stop once the rice flour reaches a semi solid consistency – a little bit watery than chapati dough. Wait until the dough is cool enough to handle, but don’t let it become ice cold or it will become tough. Take a pinch of the dough, roll it into a marble sized ball.
  3. Form about 15-20 small balls and steam them for 10 minutes, till they are cooked and glossy.  Make sure that they don’t overlap or touch each other when they are steamed, as they will fuse together and you will have to break them apart. 
  4. Heat one tsp of oil. Add mustard seeds and red chilies. Once they splutter, add the urad dal and curry leaves. Add the steamed kozhukattai and mix carefully, without breaking them.
  5. Serve hot with coconut chutney or tomato ketch up. 

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Kuzhi Paniyaram

Kiddo spent the first one and a half years of his life teaching me baby language. I learnt ‘Goo goo’, ‘Gaa gaa’ and ‘Hee hee hee’ from him. Then I graduated to learn more difficult words like ‘Awwa Mee mee’, ‘Bhuga buga buga’, ‘tatanga’ and ‘Mammam mammam’.

By the time he was two, we were conversing easily in his language. He didn’t share the same enthusiasm in learning my language though. So googoo-s and gaga-s it was, for a long time.

I used to wonder whether the hours of reading to him was any useful or whether he was just a slow learner wrto languages. My doubt was clarified when we were shopping in the supermarket and he came across strawberries. They weren’t fresh, so I took him to another aisle.

Kiddo, who was two years old then, kept pointing frantically in the direction of strawberries and I kept ignoring the request. He finally blurred out ‘Stabedy Stabedy’. My surprise, my wonder and my happiness knew no bounds. So kiddo could talk, when he wanted to!

I had bugged my MIL to make these kuzhi paniyarams as a tea time snack this weekend. So when I took the camera out,  kiddo started scribbling frantically in his note pad and wanted that to be a part of the picture. The way he was scribbling, as if it is the most urgent thing in the world, reminded me of the way he was pointing at those strawberries when he was two.

Enjoy these paniyarams while I am enjoying the little happy moments of life :)

Train, rain, people and ponds!


Special Utensils : Paniyaram Chatti

  • Dosa Batter           :        1 cup
  • Coconut grated   :        1/4 cup
  • Onion                      :         1 small, chopped fine (optional)
  • Ginger                     :         1/2″ piece, grated (optional)
  • Green Chilies       :         1 – 2, sliced
  • Oil, for deep frying
  • Mustard seeds            :   1 tsp
  • Urad dal                        :   1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves                :   4-5
  • Oil                                     :  1 tsp


  1. Chop the onions, chilies. Grate ginger. Add this and the grated coconut to the dosa batter.
  2. Heat one tsp of oil, add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and urad dal. Once it splutters, add it to the dosa batter and mix well until everything is combined.
  3. Heat oil in a paniyaram pan and add about two tablespoons of batter into each pit.
  4. Turn over with a skewer or fork and cook until golden.
  5. Take off the pan and drain on a kitchen towel. Continue making paniyarams with the rest of the batter.
  6. Serve hot with coconut chutney.

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Carrot Halwa

Carrot halwa and pal payasam are the first desserts I learnt to  make. Before that, it was just popping a spoonful of sugar into my mouth whenever the sugar craving set in.

Learning this dessert meant getting my fingers cut multiple times, because I never learnt the art of grating the carrot without my hands getting cut in the process. Now years later, I have become smart and I don’t get myself injured while grating  carrots. Its for better things like being careless with hot pans and pots and all.

Well, there will be a day when I will stop being so accident prone. Till then, hoping for  more ‘injury free’ carrot halwa days!


  • Grated Carrots            :    1 1/2 cups (about 3 medium carrots)
  • Milk                                 :     1 cup
  • Sugar                               :     1/2 cup
  • Cardamom Powder   :     1/4 tsp (optional)
  • Ghee                                :     2 tsp


  1. Put the grated carrots and the milk together in a microwave proof bowl.
  2. Microwave on high for about 15 minutes, stirring once in every 5 minutes, till the carrots are cooked.
  3. You can also cut the carrots into rounds, cook them with milk and pulse (not puree) them once in a mixie once its cool.
  4. Add the sugar and cook for another 5 minutes. Mix once and add ghee and cardamom powder. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes till the liquids are almost dry.
  5. Decorate with chopped nuts and serve hot or cold. Serves 1-2.

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