Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What's cooking Wednesday - Maple walnut biscotti


1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup chopped walnuts
1.5 tablespoon maple extract
(This recipe yields 3-4 dozen biscottis)

1.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

2.In a medium bowl, beat together the oil, eggs, sugar and maple flavoring until well blended. Combine the flour and baking powder, add walnuts and stir into the egg mixture to form a heavy dough.

3. Divide dough into two pieces. Form each piece into a roll as long as your cookie sheet. Place roll onto the prepared cookie sheet, and press down to 1/2 inch thickness.

4.Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on a wire rack.

5. When The cookies are cool enough to handle, slice each one crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Place the slices cut side up back onto the baking sheet.

6. Bake for an additional 6 to 10 minutes on each side. Slices should be lightly toasted.

7. Unless you plan to eat it all right away, store it in a good air tight container. I only choose Lock & Lock for this.

Until next time,

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Our home grown Christmas tree!

Merry Christmas everyone!

This year, instead of buying a full size Christmas tree and throwing it out later and add to the trash, I decided to be creative and minimize the carbon footprint of Christmas in our house. And while I was at it, I also decided the kids can learn a thing or two about what "naughty" and "nice" means... And voila, the Mission Christmas tree was created...

Right after Thanksgiving, I took a green poster board and cut out a Christmas tree structure. I made the trunk from brown construction paper. This "Base" tree was then attached to the side of the fridge! I also made an ornament from cardboard as a starting decoration and did some basic decoration on the tree.

I marked one side as Reya's side and the other as Rithik's side. Then I told the kids that they had a whole month to decorate the tree, BY BEING NICE!... Basically if they are nice, they will earn stickers, ornaments and stamps that they could use to decorate their side of the tree. The kids also out up their wish lists and letters to Santa there and they started working to earn "nice" decorations.

By the Christmas eve, the tree was fully decorated and I had 2 NICE and happy elves who were proud of their accomplishments...

Operation Christmas Tree was definitely a success and the kids and I are looking forward to another mission like this soon... Mission Valentines may be!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cyber Monday deals!

Hi all,

I had a fantastic Thanksgiving and Black friday. We had family over for Thanksgiving dinner and we played Taboo which was so much fun.

For the Black Friday, I got tons of stuff from Macys, Old Navy, LocknLock.com, Joann and JCPenney This was by far the most relaxing Black Friday I have ever had because I did most of my shopping online (Old Navy and LocknLock.com). I only visited Macy's store and spent 2 hours... and then I was back home... all done! JCPenney and Joann was for Saturday.

I think another reason was that since the stores have had good sales throughout the year, I have already been getting things I need throughout the year.

Here are some of the things that I got...
* Programmable slow cookers
* Belgian Waffle Iron
* Panini press
* Tons of clothes for the family
* Lock n Lock Borosilicate glass bowls
* Lock n Lock Cookplus cookware
* Lunch boxes
* Soft fuzzy popcorn socks

Well, we also wanted to buy a TV from Costco, but when my husband reached there, it was sold out.... so we will try again in a few weeks...

Anyhow, Black Friday is my favorite shopping day of the year... and the next favorite is Cyber Monday that has just started in East Coast... and for this special day, I want to share some deals with you...

Just for today, you can buy a $100 gift card from LocknLock.com for just $40.... I couldn't believe the deal when I saw the email a few minutes ago.... seriously, this is a good deal and their products are great...

And 30% off at Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic and Athleta for the next 24 hours... so what are you waiting for... Happy Shopping!

Until next time!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Whats cooking? Kadai chicken

I have decided to be a vegetarian for the 6 months...

I do this from time to time, but before I started the 6 months, I decided to eat my favorite Kadai chicken one last time... This is my no frills quick (very quick thanks to my cookplus ceramic pan) recipe to make Kadai Chicken using leftover Rotisserie chicken.

 1. Start by putting some oil in a pan and heat in on medium flame. Add shredded ginger and thinly sliced onions and let me fry just a bit. You don't want onions to go all soft.

 2. Then add carrots. since carrots are the toughest vegetable used in this recipe, you want to cut it thin. Strips work best. Add it and cook it on high heat for a bit. Keep stirring as this pan gets quite hot.

 3. Add bell peppers. Do not cook them for long as they get mushy very easily.
4. Add turmeric, salt, cayenne pepper and a tiny bit of garam masala. Stir.

 5. Add a little bit of tomato puree. you can also deseed a tomato and dice it to use in place of puree. But I find puree has a consistent taste and you don't have to taste and adjust as much with it.

6. Add pieces of cooked chicken. I use grilled chicken strips or leftover Rotisserie chicken from Costco. If you do not have cooked chicken, pan fry the chicken pieces in a tiny bit oil, salt and a pinch of garam masala before adding it here. For a vegetarian recipe, use Paneer in place of chicken.

7. Cook for a few minutes. Add cashews and raisins (soaked in water) if you like.

There you have it.... Enjoy!

Until next time,
Shilpa at The Crafts Corner

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Deal, no steal alert!!!

Hey all,

If you have been reading my blogs, you already know that I love LocknLock products and actively promote them. If you do like them too then you are in for a good deal. I happened to be surfing the LocknLock website today and I saw that several of my very favorite zen ceramic containers were on clearance.
I have these containers in both sofi and esly patterns and today I bought the Summer Breeze pattern too. They are beautiful and functional and I genuinely feel happy when I use them. I know it sounds weird, but they make me happy.

I remember one of my friend telling me last month that she loved the containers but they were a bit pricey at $18 a pop. So right now, for less than $4 a piece, these are a real steal.... do check them out.... and if you cannot think of any use for them, feel free to buy them as a gift for me... I wouldn't mind filling my fridge and closet with these... just be sure to fill them with some delicacy before you give them to me... LOL

Until next time!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Little Hands Art #7 - Bouquet of flowers greeting card

I really like the cut and glue projects for little kids... And when you have a 2 kids, one older than the other, they make for perfect teamwork projects....

Here is one such "teamwork" project.... A "Bouquet of flowers" greeting card that the kids made by helping each other...

Reya drew and cut the yellow flowers and Rithik glued them on to the construction paper that was folded to make the greeting card.

Rithik drew the green stems that were then re-enforced (corrected) by Reya. I made the bow which Reya colored.

 A little more decoration on the edges and voila.... it's ready....

Greeting cards were quite popular when I was growing up back in India... anything you wanted to say.... there was a card for that... and I loved making them... I don't make cards any more... but I still remember how great it felt to get a hand-made one... hopefully the person who got this card felt the same way...

Until next time
Shilpa @The Crafts Corner

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Little Hands Art #5 - Meet Aadya

Today, I am going to introduce you all to a budding artist... 7 year old Aadya!

Aadya is Princess R's dear friend who is a budding painter. She gets the creativity from her mother Rama who is an excellent painter herself. Here is a work of art from Aadya.

I am amazed that a 7 year old can do that... Way to go Aadya!

Please leave a comment for Aadya here and I will be sure to pass it on to her...

Until next time,
Shilpa @The Crafts Corner

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Little Hands Art #3 - The nature cut and glue project

These days, my son Rithik is big on PROJECTS....

I was once trying to engage him and he was not interested in  "coloring" or "tracing", so I told him that we were making a "project" and from that day he doesn't color or pain anymore.... he works on "Projects"....

Here is his very first project....

I took some pieces of construction paper and drew some objects like Sun, birds and flowers and let him cut.... The cutting did not go very well so I ended up cutting a few items for him. 

Then I handed him crayons and helped create a "blue print" for the project.... as you can see, the birds have really big legs.... so cute... 

Lastly, I handed him a glue stick and let him stick the cutouts on the "blue print" to make a picture....

Here is the proud artist with his newly created masterpiece... He proudly displayed it on the refrigerator in the weekend and then took it to school on Monday where the teacher displayed it on the wall for a week... He couldn't be happier with the appreciation and encouragement... since that day, he wants to create many more projects....

Try this at home and no matter what the end results are, be sure to praise the child and proudly display it around the house... the simple act of encouragement means a lot to the little kids ...

Until next time,
Shilpa @The Crafts Corner

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Back to school shopping begins!

It's Shopping time...Summer break is almost over... 3 more weeks of Summer and then school opens again. And like each year, the "Back to School" sales are in full swing...

I am still waiting for the official supplies list from school, but that didn't stop me from going for several shopping trips and collect things for the upcoming school year. Take a look at my shopping and tell me if I missed anything...

LeSportsac backpack.... oh I love this pattern!

Lock n Lock Water bottle 

A ton of crayons for Rithik
I prefer RoseArt brand

And a ton of erasers...
we loose about one every week.

Lock n Lock lunch box for Reya -
It's big enough for her lunch and snacks

A dozen sharpeners
One in every corner of the house

About 100 pencils
of course!!!

Washable markers, pencil colors and paints....
looking forward to the craft time with kids
But there is one thing that is missing from the list this year as Reya moves from private to public school.... UNIFORMS!!! She cannot be happier....

Until next time,
Shilpa @ The Crafts Corner

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Little Hands Art #2 - Butterfly food art

We have a lot of fun with food in our household... and I am all for it. 

It helps feed the kids easily... Kids are more likely to eat food art than plain old dinner and it also helps them be more creative and imaginative. Instead of seeing objects in front of them, they can envision what can be made out of those objects...

Here is the dinner art made by Reya.  Using a butterfly cookie-cutter, she transformed rice into a butterfly and then decorated using grapes... The rice butterfly was accompanied by Sambhar in a rectangular LocknLocck glass container... I was impressed when she chose that container and gave me the reasoning that the shape goes better with the shape of the plate than a round bowl... someone is developing a sense of presentation and decoration... 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Little Hands Art #1 - Art work made with yarn and glue

If your kids are at home this summer and you have run out of ideas to keep them engaged, try this.... 

Give them a piece of paper, a pencil, some colorful yarn and some glue, and have them create a materpiece for you... it will use up the scraps of yarn at home and give them a different medium to work with... Here are some samples to get the creativity flowing...

So go ahead, try it with your kids and do send me pictures....

Until next time,
Shilpa @The Crafts Corner

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Where have I been?

I have been missing because I am spending time with my mom who is visiting me for summer... 

Having mom here is great because I get pampered...  Just like I fuss about my kids, she fusses about me, feeding me vitamins, calling me 5 times to come and drink my chai, and taking care of things even before I get around to them... moms are great... my mother in law is very nice too, whenever any of these ladies are here, my workload becomes half and the happiness level of the house doubles...

So while I have been MIA, I have been enjoying my mom's cooking... and trust me when I say that within 2 weeks she has become a big fan of my new favorite vendor, Lock & Lock... everyday she looks into my kitchen for a new Lock & Lock item to try out and then she asks me to take pictures for my blog... I am not kidding!!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What's cooking Wednesday - Sausage curry

Work has been terrible this week. I am working with people in 5 time zones (India, Shangahi, Cupertino, Europe and Texas) and with round the clock work, I have not been able to cook much or do anything for that matter. But when I am in a crunch like this, there are some easy recipes that I rely upon.

One such recipe is "Sausage Curry".. btw, this is my original work!

You will need (I am guessing since I didn't note down, so be ready to adjust to your needs):
  • 2 tblsp oil
  • 1 tblsp minced ginger
  • 1 tblsp minced garlic
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/2 lb sausage chopped (any mild kind should work)
  • 1 tsp turmuric
  • salt and paparika to taste
  • a few springs of chopped cilantro
  • a pinch of garam masala (or curry powder as a backup)
  1. Start with heating the oil over medium heat. Add onion, ginger and garlic and cook until onion gets a bit brown and soft.

2. Add tomatoes and continue cooking. The tomatoes need to break down somewhat.

3. Add salt, paparika and turmuric. Add chopped sausage and cook for a minute.

 4. Add cilantro and continue stirring. You can add a bit of water to the mix if this is too thick for you.

 5. Turn the heat off and add a pinch of garam masaala.

All done... Serve it with roti or rice...

Not only is this recipe fast, I cook it even faster in my new cookplus ceramic coated cookware. It conducts heat very fast and I feel the cooking time for everything is less when I use it.

And 3 days ago, I also got the cutest ceramic containers to serve this in...  Too bad we ate the food before I thought about taking a picture.. But here is the bowl... and you guessed it right... it is from Lock n Lock (I am crazy about this website)

 Until next time,
Shilpa from The Crafts Corner

(C) The Crafts Corner 2010-2011 All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What's cooking Wednesday - Sooji (Semolina) Halwa

Last week, I got my new Ceramic Cookplus cookware from Lock and Lock and I was intrigued. I loved the color and it is very different from my existing heavy copper bottomed cookware.

As I couldn't wait to try it out, I made "Sooji Halwa" in it immediately. Here is the recipe for you to try as well.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A really cute Spice Kit

It is no secret that I am a fan of Lock n Lock.... I go all giggly and happy when I have a new Lock n Lock product in my hand... and my family thinks this obsession will stay for some time until replaced with something else.

So let me spread the love and introduce you to the Lock n Lock Spice kit.

Being of Indian descent, I have a special affinity for any "masaledani", "masale ka dibba" or spice kit in plain English. When I was little, it was one of my chores to refill the dabba once a spice ran out. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What's cooking Wednesday - My first fondant cake

 My very first fondant cake...

I made it in Feb 2009 for my 10th wedding anniversary. I made everything from scratch including the chocolate fondant. The inside cake was black forest and number 10 on top are sugar cookies covered in molding chocolate...