Salted Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel

One of my twins Rani got in the mood to make some chocolate cupcakes a few weekends ago. But Rani is a picky one; she likes dark chocolate, even in her cupcakes. YES! I thought. I am going to be treated to an adult cupcake made with dark chocolate!

Now as you may know, there are countless chocolate cupcake recipes out there, hundreds of recipes actually. Yet somehow Rani was able to narrow down her search to this one recipe from Gimmesomeoven.com.¬†She asked me to take a look at the recipe for 1: do we have the ingredients and 2: for approval – i.e. is this an easy recipe to follow. I gave her the thumbs up ūüĎć. ¬†This is how Rani’s chocolate cupcakes turned out. ¬†Pretty cool!

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A North Indian Vegetarian Feast at Pallavi & Parag’s

Our family was invited to friends Pallavi and Parag’s home for dinner one weekend and what a feast we were treated to. I haven’t had a North Indian dinner like this in a very long time. So many varieties of vegetarian dishes all prepared at home by Pallavi and her Mom were a feast for the senses.

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North Indian fare that is different from what I am used to cooking was a lovely change from my usual cuisine. Everything looked colourful and tasted amazing.¬†We had over ten vegetarian dishes all prepared by Pallavi and her Mom, Sarla Aunty. ¬†Dinner¬†was just scrumptious and a spread worthy of the Rajas (Kings) of India. Continue reading A North Indian Vegetarian Feast at Pallavi & Parag’s

Apples, Mixed Greens & Arugula Salad with Bleu Cheese Dressing

I tried a bleu cheese dressing salad at one of the tapas restaurants called Loquita in Santa Barbara, California last fall, and that salad tasted so good that I decided to try and make something similar at home. I chose to make my salad with apples and a blend of mixed greens and arugula. I used apples because I knew these sweet apples would compliment the bleu cheese dressing very nicely. Continue reading Apples, Mixed Greens & Arugula Salad with Bleu Cheese Dressing

Bleu Cheese Dressing

I got the idea for this bleu cheese dressing when we were on holiday in Santa Barbara, California last fall. ¬†At one of the Spanish tapas restaurants called Loquita, I had an awesome salad with bleu cheese dressing. ¬†I am not a big fan of bleu cheese, I find the cheese to be too pungent and overpowering, I was dubious about the salad and wasn’t sure if I would like it. But the dressing was so delicately seasoned¬†with bleu cheese that it gave just a hint of bleu cheese flavor. ¬†I liked the flavors so much that I decided to give the salad dressing a try at home, and it turned out pretty tasty. If you are looking for a change from the usual vinaigrettes, try this creamy bleu cheese dressing on your next salad. Continue reading Bleu Cheese Dressing

Coconut Cardamom Cake with Pineapple Guava Blossoms

I have been wanting to make this cake for a while now as I’ve been thinking lately of a sweet my Mom used to make when I was younger called coconut burfi – which is a cross between a cookie and a brownie like texture¬†– kind of like a blondie bar¬†but without the eggs. I typically make¬†coconut burfi with coconut, ghee, milk, cardamom, and sugar, all condensed down into thick creamy dough. ¬†It is poured into a mould and then cut into pieces after it is cooled. ¬†It takes a long time to make and is¬†a lot of work. ¬†This coconut cardamom cake is my attempt to replicate a coconut burfi flavor but in a cake form.

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If you are like me, you may not be familiar with the pineapple guava fruit.  To be honest, I only discovered this fruit five years ago after we moved to our new home.  In this beautiful landscape we saw these evergreen bushes with the most gorgeous blossoms.

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Continue reading Coconut Cardamom Cake with Pineapple Guava Blossoms

Raita. Indian Yogurt Side Dish with Tomatoes and Onions

Raita, an Indian yogurt side dish is very popular in our house. If the family could have it every day with their meal they would. ¬†It’s basically yogurt with raw vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, cilantro and cucumbers along with some spices. ¬†In many Indian households raita is used to soothe the palate when the main Indian meal is too spicy, as the cool yogurt raita helps to neutralize the heat of chili.

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Roasted Pan Sautéed Okra

Okra also called ladies fingers is an interesting vegetable. Growing up my Mom made okra quiet a lot, but I wasn’t always a big fan of this vegetable mainly because I didn’t like the texture of okra.¬†It’s slimy when cut and that’s what turns many people off. But my Mom very often made an okra stir-fry in a well-seasoned old wok that got rid of the sliminess, and to get us kids to eat this very unusual vegetable she would tell us okra is good for the brain, that it makes us smarter, so we ate it slimy or not.

Okra provides about 22% of RDA per 100g of okra (which is about 3/4 cup of okra). RDA is short for Recommended Dietary Allowances that the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences puts out every few years. There is an RDA value attached to each food item. Think about it, 3/4 cup of okra has 22% of a person’s daily-recommended allowance of nutrients – that is pretty high! ¬†The many health benefits of okra Continue reading Roasted Pan Saut√©ed Okra

Portraits of Courage by George W. Bush

George W. Bush’s new book Portraits of Courage. A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors is an artist and former President’s salute to the armed forces -to the men and women who serve selflessly to protect the freedoms that we hold so dear.

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I am a big fan of artists. All types- pottery, fashion, sculptures, and paintings. My favorite style of paintings¬†is impressionist. ¬†I love Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, Manet, you get the picture. ¬†I always assumed art is something that you have in you as part of your DNA – either you have it or you don’t, or you have a little. But I never imagined that one could take up art at the age of 66 and become not only a professional painter but also an outstanding one at that. This is what our 43rd President George W. Bush has accomplished. His paintings are amazing. They speak volumes, they communicate a story, and most of all they look like any of the impressionist painters out there. I have to say, it’s very impressive.

Portraits of Courage is a collection of portraits painted by George W. Bush of service men and women who have overcome immense personal combat injuries to live life to the fullest and some even continue to serve in the armed forces. Continue reading Portraits of Courage by George W. Bush

Cabbage and Onion Pakoras

Pakoras are deep fried Indian fritters made with chickpea flour and chopped veggies. I haven’t made pakoras in ages, mainly because I stopped deep frying foods at home years ago in an effort to eat healthier. But somehow a couple weekends ago¬†I was craving homemade pakoras. I’ve had pakoras at Indian restaurants many times, but there is something about having homemade pakoras that is ¬†– well, let’s just say like anything homemade, it has a taste onto it’s own. Continue reading Cabbage and Onion Pakoras

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