Watermelon salad


The kid has always been a fan of watermelon. During summer season, vacation, mangoes and watermelons are the things he looks forward to the most! So for this theme of checkerboard, I decided to present him with a rubix cube fashion watermelon salad. The idea, of course, is from the net. There are far too many sources to name any one in particular.

Though it looked an easy task, it was extremely difficult to cut all pieces into same size. Finally I decided to keep a ‘good side’ and let the other sides take a hit. I couldn’t get even a smooth top, but I was impressed with 3 sides. The backside and the top was what took the major hit. It didn’t matter as the cubes came tumbling down as we started attacking the salad with a fork. And to be honest that was the most fun part :-)

This post goes to Blogging Marathon #66 under checkerboard theme. Check out this page to see post from the other participating bloggers. It is also a part of Valli’s Kid’s Delight event, hosted this month  by Archana.



  • watermelon cubes
  • honeydew melon cubes


  1. Dice the water melon into small cubes. Peel and seed the honeydew melon. Dice the pieces similar to the size of watermelon cubes.
  2. Arrange carefully in a rubix cube pattern.
  3. Refrigerate until time of serving.


Beet salad with basil mayo

1beet salad

When I picked up checkerboard pattern for this week’s BM theme, I knew I wanted to try really simple recipes and not complicated ones. This salad was my first trial with the theme. Since it was the first time I was making it, I didn’t realize the importance of cutting the vegetables with precision. The salad was good and I still have some beet to finish off, so I might give this recipe another try to close off the gaps and give it a better look. Lets see!

My favorite salad dressing is mayo + yogurt with salt and pepper for seasoning. Its my close friend’s favorite recipe, so ended up being my favorite too :-). This time I decided to flavor it with some basil (been ‘gardening’ a bit, so lots of basil at home) and up the spice level a bit with paprika. That paired well as the mild sweetness from the veggies complimented the sour and slice spice of the dressing. Like I said, I might be trying this recipe again soon.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page to see what other bloggers have cooked up for BM #66.

2beet salad


For the salad (serves 2 as a side)

  • 1 small beetroot
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1/2 sweet potato
  • few florets of roasted broccoli, optional
  • salt

For the dressing

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • a handful of basil, chopped finely
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika/chili powder
  • pepper and salt as needed


  • Prepare the dressing by mixing everything together well. Refrigerate till time to serve.
  • Peel and cook the root vegetables with salt separately until firm. Don’t overcook them as they wont hold their shape when cutting. I pressure cooked for one whistle using separators inside the cooker. The color from beets will bleed into the other two if its all together in the same pan.
  • Once the veggies are cooked and cooled completely, cut them into squares of equal size and refrigerate.
  • At the time of serving, arrange half the prepared dressing on a plate. Arrange the veggies alternatively to form a checkerboard pattern. Enjoy!

4beet salad

This post goes to Kid’s Delight event, Valli’s brain child and hosted this month by Archana.

Celery juice

3celery juice

I live in a decent sized apartment. Its not as big as our home in India, but its not a teeny tiny one either.There is enough space to move around without bumping into each other. But one single trip to the wholesale store Costco and it changes that feeling completely. I feel as if there is hardly any space in the house! I come back with giant packs of everything right from cereals to kitchen napkins and that’s when the house starts looking small and poses me this huge question : Where do I store all these things?!

I have found nooks and corners of the house to store my Costco supplies, but the refrigerator takes a major hit. The big boxes of yogurt, milk cans and eggs easily take up almost all the room in there. The good thing about Costco is that its not a weekly shopping trip, its almost monthly or at times even a bimonthly trip. Well, the quantities are wholesale and it lasts for a really long time. Though I usually don’t buy vegetables from there, last time I ended up buying a pack of celery from there. And true to Costco size, it was a big pack.

I have heard about juicing celery, so when it showed up in the detox recipe searches, I decided to give it a try. There are many health benefits, but the best part was that the juice tasted good. Added advantage is that this is good recipe to take care of the celery overload in the fridge :D. Read for the recipe.

2celery juice

Recipe for two glasses of juice:

  1. Wash, clean and dice the ribs and leaves from one whole head of celery.
  2. In a mixer or blender, add enough water to cover the vegetables and blend it.You can substitute a portion of water with juices if you like.
  3. Pass the mix through a sieve kept over a bowl to collect the juice. Press the pulp onto the sieve with a spoon to squeeze out most of the juice. Discard the pulp. Transfer the juice to glasses and its ready to drink!

1celery juice

Yogurt smoothie


This post is a part of  the mega Blogging Marathon and A-Z challenge. I have chosen ‘popular American dishes’ as my theme.

We are at the last leg of the alphabetical journey through popular American dishes and the last week has been more difficult than the rest of the month put together. The alphabets get tougher and the time frame gets tighter. My talk about scheduling flew off the window the minute I said it. That was fine, because I had this recipe ready a long time back. All I had to do was upload the photos and publish it. But nah, it didn’t happen. Not because I was out with my family the whole day, but the laptop went on strike.

Right now my laptop is going through a multi organ failure. The touch pad is gone and is replaced by an external mouse. The machine is extremely slow which makes my man crazy, but I am fine with it. Its sole purpose is for editing pictures and browsing. Now that’s where the second hit came. It’s not connecting to the net. That does make things difficult. To get a post up, now I have to edit using the old laptop. Use a thumb drive to copy. Then connect to our chromebook and upload the pictures and post from there.  Chromebook is wonderful, but hardly useful for my purpose. I am sure that day is around the corner when I have to shed some tears for my laptop. I am getting the handkerchief ready and waiting patiently for it to happen.

Coming to the recipe here, I went for yogurt based recipe for Y.

  • Why? Y wasn’t easy.
  • Why? There were hardly any choices. I had yam, yellow cake and yogurt to choose from. I chose yogurt.
  • Why? Its healthy, easy to make and quite popular.
  • Why? It has probiotic which makes it more nutritional than milk.

So have I answered all the question for my choice? Smoothies are popular all over the world as a healthy breakfast choice. Smoothie bowls are more of a recent trend, but its really filling and nutritious.  Smoothies started appearing in US as early as 1930. That information was new for me, I didn’t expect it to date so back. In the 70s, “Smoothie King” opened and soon had branches all over the country. So in short, smoothies are popular here and there are dedicated stores just for that!

Read on for this highly versatile recipe. You can adjust it according to what you have in your fridge.



  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • fruits of your choice (I used a handful of strawberries & blueberries, one banana and one kiwi)
  • 2 teaspoonful of peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar/ honey
  • Banana slices, strawberry slices, chocolate chips,pistachios


  1. Blend everything together. Taste test and add sugar to adjust the taste or yogurt to get the right consistency.
  2. Pour into a bowl, decorate with fruit pieces, nuts and chocolate chips. Enjoy!


Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 63


Waldorf Salad


This post is a part of  the mega Blogging Marathon and A-Z challenge. I have chosen ‘popular American dishes’ as my theme.

Well, after all the big dialogues of yesterday about not being tardy anymore, I am here to tell you all that I have failed miserably before I even started. Coming to think of it, it was more like stating a wish than an actual mission statement :D. So, the next time I declare that I am taking my future into my hands and all that stuff, feel free not to believe a word of what i say. Even I don’t believe it now a days ;-P

The thing is, my family is here (Told you I will come up with good excuses for my tardiness!). My brother is here in the US with his family. My dad is also there with them. I have been so excited about their trip for a while now. I have been shooting down all the invitations of our friends for the two weekends they are here. Yes, I turned down “food included” invitations, can you believe it? But in the end, my brother ended up being busy with some other plans and luckily for me, our friends took us in at the last minute. There is no end to the love that we get in this foreign country. I am blessed to have friends who treat us like family even when my family is visiting :-).

Anyway, I am here with Waldorf salad for W. Not with waffles, not with whoopie pies, not with winter vegetables. Waldorf salad for W.


Recipe source: Simply recipes

This salad can be modified a lot according to your preference. This is what I used – 1 apple, 1 stick celery, 1/2 cup grapes, 1/4 cup walnuts, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 3 tablespoon mayonnaise (or thick yogurt), salt and pepper as needed. In a small bowl mix mayonnaise with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Core and chop the apples into bite sized pieces. Halve the grapes. Thinly slice the celery. Add everything in a big bowl. Add the dressing. Mix well and refrigerate until serving time. Serve on lettuce leaves, with some freshly halved grapes on top.


Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 63


Hot Chocolate

3hot chocolate

This post is a part of  the mega Blogging Marathon and A-Z challenge. I have chosen ‘popular American dishes’ as my theme.

Ha! Its hard to believe that we are already reached the alphabet ‘H’. This was one of the alphabets with fewer choices, still I had about 3-4 dishes before I decided to take it easy and go with the best one :D. I was considering between hot milk cake, hush puppies, hot dog veggie version and hot chocolate.

I already have hot milk cake in the blog. Its one of my to-go recipes and I make it many times in an year. So that was ruled out and among the rest, hot chocolate won the competition hands down.

Hot chocolate is popular anytime of the year, but particular around Christmas/winter, you will see it all over the place. There are three ways in which you can make the basic hot chocolate.It all involves hot milk and sugar with one of the following chocolate agents.

  1. cocoa powder
  2. chocolate (grated, chopped or chips for easy melting)
  3. ready made hot chocolate mix, which is usually cocoa powder with sugar and may be powdered milk

Of course there are a hundred flavor options that you can try, but the about three will cover the basic hot chocolate. Peppermint is popular around Christmas and I still have a pack that a friend of mine gifted me. Here I have made the cocoa powder version, which I feel is the best of the three. Try it out and let me know what kinds you make at your place :-).

2hot chocolate


  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • whipped cream and grated chocolate, for decoration


  1. Recipe serves one.
  2. Add cocoa powder and sugar with a cup of milk in a pan. Whisk well until no lumps remain.
  3. Heat in low-medium flame until it starts to simmer. Turn off the heat.
  4. Pour into glasses and top with whipped cream and grated chocolate. Enjoy!

hot chocolate4

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 63

1hot chocolate

Turmeric milk – Haldi doodh


Turmeric milk or golden milk or haldi doodh is an age-old Indian home remedy for sore throat, congestion or cold. It is anti inflammatory, antioxidant, antispasmodic, immunity building and what not! It means that it fights inflammation (even arthritis related), purifies blood, soothes muscle spasms (especially for menstrual cycle), builds immunity and so on.

Now, I give this to my son whenever he has a cold or congestion. I give to him with the same love with which my mother used to give me when I was a kid. And my son protests with the same strength with which I used to do when I was a kid. I used to HATE it when I was a kid. A sentiment that my son shares now.

But then, wisdom dawns with age and I am a much wiser person now. I am hoping that my son too, will grow up to be wise guy and torture his kids with the golden milk ;-).

Its not that this tastes bad, but it is no hot chocolate. I overdo the pepper part and so it ends up a little more spicy than what the kid prefers it to be. The pepper helps with the congestion (or so I feel), but is totally optional (but recommended). Read on if you want to know more about this magical golden milk.



  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • sugar as needed


  1. Heat milk with turmeric powder, ground pepper and sugar.
  2. Once it comes to a boil, take off the heat, pass through a tea strainer and drink.


Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM

Mulligatawny soup

3mullagatawny soup

This soup is an example of how different something can be today from what it started out to be. Our humble rasam or ‘milagai thanni’ has turned into something totally different over a period of time. Mulligatawny is served now as a thick soup, spiced with curry powder with vegetarian and non vegetarian options.

For the third day of January BM, this soup is inspired from the San Francisco Soup company take away menu. Their description of this soup is “A lightly seasoned curried Chicken and Lentil soup with Apples, Carrots, Celery and Coconut Milk. ” Garnish suggestion is rice and cilantro.

Based on this I searched for a recipe that came close to this description. The one I found online had chickpeas, carrots, celery and coconut milk. My pantry had only red kidney beans, no carrots and no coconut milk. Yet I went ahead and prepared it with suitable substitutions. The soup with apples and sweet potatoes was shunned by the man. He dislikes the combination of sweet and savory in the same dish. If you are in that category, give this a skip. But if you are like me and love the idea of an easy all in one soup, this one is for you.

Read on for the recipe.

2mullagatawny soup

Recipe adapted from : Vegetarian Mulligatawny


  • one teaspoon oil
  • one chopped onion
  • one teaspoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1-2 carrots, diced (I didn’t have any)
  • 4 sticks of celery, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked potatoes/ sweet potatoes
  • 1 diced apple
  • 1 can red kidney beans or cooked chick peas
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon each turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and chilli powder (OR 1 teaspoon curry powder)
  • salt and pepper
  • Cooked basmati rice, to serve


  1. Heat oil in a pan. Saute onions, followed by the ginger garlic paste. Add the diced carrots, chopped celery and potatoes.
  2. Add the spices – turmeric powder, cumin, coriander and chilli powders (OR curry powder). Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add 6 cups of stock or water. Add the diced apple, kidney beans or chick peas. Season per taste.
  4. Let it come to a boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Taste test and adjust seasonings.
  5. At the time of serving, you can add some coconut milk and lemon juice, if preferred. I didn’t.
  6. Serve on top of some cooked basmati rice.
  7. Garnish ideas: a dollop of yogurt, cilantro, raisins, chopped nuts.

1mullagatawny soup

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#60 

Roasted eggplant and tomato soup

1Roasted eggplant soup

There are times when you feel a little curious about a recipe and try it with an open mind. When I say am open mind, what I mean is that a part of your mind is preparing you for a colossal failure. This soup was in that category.

Eggplant, that too, in a soup? I had to try it for myself. I was expecting it to fail, but surprisingly it turned out well. It’s the basil that stands out the most, with a nice taste of eggplant coming in later. I liked it. But I have always been an eggplant lover.

I didn’t bother pureeing it when I served it first, but gave it a try later. Liked both the versions.

My husband is not a big fan of soups. So when I was making lunch for him, I threw a portion of this soup along with some boiled eggs and spinach puree I had and made a quick curry out of it. Served with some basmati rice and he was one happy man!

This post goes to January BM, under take away dishes theme. My choice of take away place is San Francisco Soup company. Yesterday was Smoky split pea soup and today is Roasted eggplant soup. Come back tomorrow for another interesting soup recipe.

2Roasted eggplant soup

Recipe adapted from : Food.com


  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 red pepper
  • 3-4 tomatoes
  • 1 whole garlic
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or chili powder (per taste)
  • 6 cups stock or water
  • few basil leaves
  • salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Coat a baking pan with olive oil and place your veggies on it after cutting it into half.
  2. Eggplant needs to be scored and seasoned and placed flat side down. Peppers can also be placed flat side down.
  3. Garlic can be cut into half and wrapped in foil with some oil, salt and pepper. Tomatoes can be cut into two and kept flat side up.
  4. Bake until the veggies are roasted, about 40 minutes. Place the peppers in a ziploc.
  5. Let it all cool. Peel off the skin from peppers. Roughly chop tomatoes and peppers.
  6. In a soup pan, add one tablespoon oil. Add the onions and cook until its pink.
  7. Add the pepper flakes, follow it up with the chopped tomatoes and peppers. Squeeze out the garlic from its skin and add it.
  8. Scrape out the flesh from the eggplant and throw the skin out. Add it to the soup along with 6 cups of water or stock and basil.
  9. Season per taste. Let it come to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes.
  10. Take off the heat and once cool enough to handle, puree in batches.
  11. Heat at the time of serving and add some grated cheese if you prefer.

3Roasted eggplant soup


Smoky split pea soup


Its been a  mild winter this year. There has been warmer days than last year; there was even a day, right in the middle of December, when we wore half sleeve shirts and went for a walk.

As if to avenge that, its been snowing steadily and heavily since last night. At times, its snow falling peacefully and gracefully. At other times, its fierce and thrown about by wind. But the wind and the snow and all the troubles are outside. Inside the house, we are quite warm and very prepared.

We have power. We have internet.

We have food too.

Its been a non stop movie watching day with minimal cooking. But I wish I had some of this soup to relish today. The next time it’s snowing, green split peas is going to be in the emergency purchase list. But for now, it’s going to be this virtual treat for you and me!

This post goes to January BM, under take away dishes theme. My choice of take away place is San Francisco Soup company. Today you will be served Smoky split pea soup.  Keep an eye here for the next two days for more soups.



Soak 1.5 cups of split pea overnight or for at least 3 hours in hot water till its softened.


Heat one tablespoon oil in a pressure cooker and add 1 teaspoon of paprika.


Add one chopped onion and 4-5 chopped garlic cloves and let it all cook.


Time to tip in one diced carrot and a cup of chopped celery.


In goes one big cubed potato as well. Let it all saute for 3-4 minutes.


Time to add the split peas with salt and pepper.


Add 6 cups of water or vegetable stock. I used 2 teaspoons of bouillon.


Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles and turn off the heat.


Wait for the pressure to drop and after that, open the cooker add 2 diced tomatoes and let it cook. Check the seasoning and adjust according to your taste.

Serve with toasted bread. The soup thickens as it sits. This makes 4 lavish servings.

Recipe adapted from: Smoky Split Pea Soup


  • 1.5 cups green split peas
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika or chili powder
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 4 pods of chopped garlic (or per taste)
  • 1 diced carrot
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 diced potato
  • Water or vegetable stock
  • 2 tomatoes, diced


  1. Soak 1.5 cups of split pea overnight or for at least 3 hours in hot water till its softened.
  2. Heat one tablespoon oil in a pressure cooker and add 1 teaspoon of paprika.
  3. Add one chopped onion and 4-5 chopped garlic cloves and let it all cook.
  4. Add one diced carrot and a cup of chopped celery. Follow it up with a big cubed potato. Let it all saute for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the split peas. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Add 6 cups of water or vegetable stock. I added 2 teaspoons of bouillon to water.
  7. Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles and turn off the heat.
  8. Wait for the pressure to drop and after that, open the cooker add 2 diced tomatoes and let it cook.
  9. Check the seasoning and adjust according to your taste. Serve with toasted bread.
  10. The soup thickens as it sits. This makes 4 lavish servings.


This post goes to Blogging Marathon #60. Check out the BM page for the what other participants are preparing today.