Inspirational Story: Put The Glass Down!

Life lessons from a glass of water!
Not worrying too much about the problem is the first step to solve it.
By Prakash Iyer (source)

A chemistry professor decided to teach his students a different lesson one day. Holding a glass of water in his hand, he asked the students, “How much do you think this glass of water weighs?” “500 grams!” came a voice from the back. “600,” said another student. “I don’t really know!” said the professor, holding the glass up to make sure everyone could see it. “And unless we weigh it, we won’t know.” With the glass still in his outstretched hand, the professor continued, “What will happen if I hold it like this for a few minutes?”

Cream of Broccoli Soup

A personal favorite of mine, this broccoli soup recipe is vegetarian, healthy, quick, and easy.  This simple Cream of Broccoli Soup is from Shobha Indani’s cookbook ‘Swad Sugandh’, serves 6.

Vegetarian Cream of Broccoli Soup

What you need to make vegetarian broccoli soup:

For Stock:
For Soup:
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup milk
¼ cup chopped onion
1 pinch nutmeg powder
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp oregano
1 Tbsp chopped celery
½ cup fresh cream
¾ cup chopped potato
Salt & pepper powder as per taste
2 cup chopped broccoli
For Garnish:
5 cups water*
½ cup broccoli (chopped & blanched)

Grated cheese

Let’s Begin!

1.  For stock:  Heat butter, add onion, garlic & celery, stir fry few seconds.  Add potato + water & cook till potatoes become soft.  Add broccoli & cook 2 more minutes.  Let cool & then churn in blender to get fine stock.

2.  For Soup:  In a pan, add milk + prepared fine stock & cook till 1 boil.  Add nutmeg powder, oregano, salt & pepper powder, simmer 2-3 minutes.  Finally add cream.  Garnish & serve hot.

* You  may use vegetable stock in place of water for a healthier soup, non-vegetarians may add broth.
- Tastes great even without nutmeg powder & oregano (in case you don't have them on hand!)
Broccoli Soup
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One-Minute Game Contest Ideas

Image from MS Clip art
Want to have some interesting contests for a birthday party?  

Need some games to play at your kitty party?

Organized a picnic and now looking for some game ideas?

Pick any of these fun one-minute games for your next event!

Recipe: Shakkar Para & Namak Paare

For some of the snacks that go along well with morning/afternoon tea, Mathri wins hands down, but Namak Paare and Shakkar Para come quite close.  And what I find the best part about making snacks like namak paare and shakkar paare is that I put the efforts to make them ONCE – and they last for over a month – saves so much time!

Since the procedure is similar for both, I have combined the recipe (taken from Manjula’s Kitchen) and instructions into one, except the additional syrup for the sweet Shakkar Paare.

What you need:
What you need:
For Namak Para:
For Shakkar Para:
½ cup all-purpose flour (maida)
1 cup all-purpose flour (maida)
½ cup whole wheat flour (gehun ka aata)
¼ cup fine semolina flour (sooji)
2 Tbsp fine semolina flour (sooji)
2 Tbsp oil
¾ tsp salt
Around ½ cup water or as needed
¼ tsp carom seeds (ajwain)
Oil to fry
2 Tbsp oil

Around 1/3 cup water or as needed
For Sugar Syrup:
Oil to fry
¾ cup sugar

¾ cup water

½ tsp cardamom powder

4 Tbsp dry grated/powdered coconut

Let’s Begin!

1.  Mix all the dry ingredients of namak para in one bowl, and the dry ingredients of shakkar paara in another bowl.  Then mix in oil in each bowl and rub till each mixture feels like fine breadcrumbs. 

2.  Then gradually add water in each bowl, one at a time, and knead well to make a slightly firm and smooth dough.  Cover both the shakkar para dough and the namak paara dough separately with moist cloth and keep aside for 15-20 minutes.

3.  After 20 minutes, knead each dough again for a minute & make dough balls, roll each one out flat (neither too thin nor too thick).  Prick it with fork all over so they do not puff when frying.  Then cut each of them into long or small pieces as you wish.

4.  Heat oil in frying pan on medium heat.  Why should you fry namak paara and shakkar paara on medium heat?  Because if you fry them on high heat, they will become soft after cooling down instead of staying crisp.  They should ideally be crisp. 

5.  Add each batch of the shakkar paare and namak paare separately in oil.  Add just until you are able to turn them around easily when frying instead of filling up pan and leaving no space for them to fry.  

If you are making both the snacks at the same time, avoid mixing up the savory and sweet paras – do each batch separately if you do not want to waste time in guessing and sorting them later!

Fry the paare on both sides until light golden-brown.  Drain on paper towel; let them come to room temperature before storing them in air-tight containers.

For Shakkar Paare’s Sugar Syrup:
o     Put water + sugar in a saucepan on med-high heat & bring it to boil, then turn heat to medium & stir to dissolve sugar.  Let it simmer until syrup is about half-thread consistencyThe syrup consistency should not get too thick; it should be thin enough to coat the shakkar paare but not watery because then it will make the shakkarpaare soggy and would spoil the crispiness of paare.
o     Turn off heat; add the coconut & cardamom powder & mix real quick.  Then add the paares to this syrup right away & mix REAL QUICK to ensure all the shakkarepaare are coated with syrup.  [Or you can alternately add pare & syrup in small amounts in another bowl to make sure they are all coated well.]
o     Take them out on a plate and separate the paaras that are clumped together.  Let them cool before storing in airtight container.

These savory namak paare and sweet shakkar para can be stored in air-tight container for a month or two.

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Poetry: Excuse Me?

Here's another one I found from year 2001 :-)

I wrote this short silly piece during those years when I was rebellious like the youngsters at that age and didn't like anything that didn't happen according to my will.
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