Monday, January 16, 2012


Happy Pongal and Makara Sankranthi to everyone.
Image : source

This year we had a very simple celebration, made ven pongal and coconut chutney and offered payers.
We make pongal in two different style at home, venpongal, and the khara pongal. Ven pongal ( ven- means white in tamil), is served with sambar or chutney or both.
This year I am having major problems with my gadgets, first I lost my pics, now my SD card reader of my laptop broke, have to wait until I get a card reader. So can't upload any pictures. Just thought I would post the recipe so that I don't take any more long breaks......

What we need:
1 cup- Raw rice
1/4 cup moong dal
1 tspn black peppercorn
2 tspn cumin seeds
8-10 curry leaves
2 tablespoon ghee
salt to taste
6 cups of water

How I made it :
Heat a pressure cooker or a thick bottomed pan. Dry roast the moong dal. Wash the roasted moong dal along with the rice 3-4 times. In the same pan / pressure cooker, heat 1 tablespoon of ghee, when hot add peppercorns,cumin seeds, curry leaves and than add the washed rice and dal. Add water and salt to taste. Cook in pressure cooker for 2 whistles or in a open pan till the rice is well cooked. Rice should be mushy, it tastes better.

Once done add 1 tablespoon of ghee and mix well. Serve with chutney or sambar. It's ultimate comfort food.....

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cookies for Santa- a chewy chocolate chip cookie

These days my little one always asks me to bake. She will take a bowl and a spoon and say, "Mummy put some stuff into this, I will help you mix mix mix..... ", does it really help??
I normally give her flour and baking powder to be mixed, but the end result, flour all over the place and of course on herself, but surprisingly every time she helps me mix, whatever I bake turns out to be extremely good. Magic of little hands.Three days before christmas she went on nagging me that we need to bake cookies for Santa. I was really tired and was looking forward to my vacation, finally I gave up to her request and decided to bake some simple chocolate chip cookies, following the recipe on the shortening container :). Sometimes they have the best recipe out there.

So we made a batch of cookies and she kept on peeking into the oven to see if they were done and constantly telling me, "I need to be careful right mummy, remember the oven is hot". When the oven beeped, she stood there, with an oven mitt for me to pull out the baking sheets, of course giving me a piece of advice, that I need to be careful or else I will get booboo.

My little baking assistant

The cookies came out and guess what, I tried to taste them and she goes ,"They are for Santa mummy, he come our home tonight". I  stored the cookies in a container and left them on the table hoping that she would eat, but she would sincerely take a cookie out of it, put it in a bowl and give it to Santa to eat. Me and my hubby ate the cookie left for Santa in her absence and she assumed that Santa ate them all :). None of us were allowed to eat the cookie from the box in her presence. So we still have cookies left and everyday she has been giving Santa some cookies. Yesterday morning she found a small cookie box filled it up and left in front of Santa. Now Santa no more sits near the christmas tree, he is enjoying the comfort of our couch and the soft chewy chocolate cookies......

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies:
source- Crisco shortening container
Makes 36 cookies 

What you need:
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup shortening
2 Tbspn whole milk
1 Tbspn vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 3/4 All purpose flour
1 tspn salt
3/4 tspn baking soda
1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 

How I made it:
Preheat oven 375 F. Combine brown sugar, shortening, milk and vanilla in a large bowl and mix until well blended and creamy, add egg and beat it well into the mixture.
Combine flour, salt and baking soda and mix into the wet ingredients mixture until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Drop tablespoon full of cookie dough on an ungreased baking sheet about 3 inches apart.
Bake for 8 minutes to get nice soft chewy cookies. Cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet and than place cookies on cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Seven Layer Bars

Wish you all a very happy new year.
I have been not enough motivated these days to post anything in my blog and secondly lost all my pictures saved on my laptop with no backups, which was enough to demotivate me further. Finally I made up my mind and decided click some pics of the stuff I baked during my christmas vacation and post them. Better late than never. 
I hope every one and wonderful start this year and made some good resolutions that you will hopefully not break. I made a resolution to be active in blogging to keep my mind diverted for sometime from my daily routine and try out new things.......will I be able to keep up with it????, only time will tell.

Coming back to my recipe for today, I tasted seven layer bars for the first time almost 3 years back at a super bowl party hosted at my hubby boss's house. I enjoyed it and immediately came home and searched for recipes, but never made it. Than again when I started blogging, I decided I need to try this out, got ingredients and than used it for something else. Finally, I decided to bake these lovely bars for christmas.

Its so simple, I wonder why I didn't bake them till now...... I got the recipe from here but made changes in some ingredients and the method, to suit my taste. I tried to  keep it seven layers though and didn't add any extra layer.

What you need:

1.5 cups of graham crackers (tightly packed)
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch flavored chips
1 cup chopped Nuts ( I used cashews, almonds, raisins)
1.5 cup dry coconuts flakes
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk

How I made it:
Set oven temperature to 350 degree F, meanwhile in a 13 x 9 inch baking tray put butter and leave it the oven. In another tray leave the nuts to get slightly roasted (may be 3-5 minutes ) until they turn a golden brown.
Once the butter gets completely melted in the tray add the graham cracker crumbs. Mix with the butter until well blended and than pat it on the bottom of the tray to form a uniform layer. Than layer with chocolate chips, followed by butterscotch chips, nuts and 3/4 cup of shredded coconut. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over this. using a fork gently press down. Add the remainder of the shredded coconut on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the coconut turn lightly brown. Cool and than cut into desired shape. I got 28 pieces.

-I made crumbs using graham cracker that the the crumbs are nice and fresh. gently crush the crackers by hand and put them in a ziplock bag and using a rolling pin (or the condensed milk can as I did) crush the crackers to get crumbs.
-Roasting the nuts prior to baking gives a nice flavor and crunch to the bars
-You can use a parchment paper to line the tray for easy lifting of the entire bars
-Wait till it cools a bit to cut the bars.

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