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Wednesday 31 October 2018

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie | Book Review

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie | Book Review
And Then There Were None
by Agatha Christie #BookReview

“When the sea goes down, there will come from the mainland boats and men. And they will find ten dead bodies and an unsolved problem on Soldier Island.”

- And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.

Somewhere around last year, DH expressed his desire to read some good books. He specifically said he would like to read something thrilling and interesting. So, I suggested him to try Agatha Christie books and since then he orders a new book every other month.

To give you some background, he has had his fair share of reading books during his school days, but he never graduated to become a serious book reader. He religiously goes through the newspaper every day and reads financial stuff online, but reading books has not been his cup of tea. But, now whenever the reading bug bites him, he picks up one of Christie’s work. So, courtesy him, I have a good number of Agatha Christie titles at home.

I have read a few of Christie’s work in the past and had thoroughly enjoyed them. So, I again started off with her best-acclaimed work - ‘And Then There Were None’. And truly, it turned out to be as exciting and riveting it promised to be. This is among the first books I read this year, but I am getting around to write the review only now.

Wednesday 10 October 2018

Wonder by R. J. Palacio | Book Review

Wonder by R. J. Palacio #BookReview
Wonder by R. J. Palacio is one of the most moving reads I have read in recent years. To tell you the truth words fail me when it comes to describing what it was reading ‘Wonder’. But try I will and I hope this review will make you go and pick up the book – that is if you have not read it already. I am quite amazed at the author’s ability to add layers and complexity to a seemingly linear plot. She doesn’t just tell us the story, she actually shows us through her words. The plot in the book revolves around middle schoolers, but I think it makes a great read for adults as well and that there is a lot to take away from the book.

Sunday 7 October 2018

Karna's Wife - The Outcast's Queen by Kavita Kane | A Book Review

Karna's Wife - The Outcast's Queen by Kavita Kane | A Book Review
Karna’s Wife – The Outcast’s Queen by Kavita Kane #BookReview
Karna’s Wife – The Outcast’s Queen by Kavita Kane tells the story of the unsung hero of Mahabharata – Karna – the sutaputra through the eyes of his wife – Uruvi. The story unfolds against the backdrop of the epic saga – Mahabharata. In a way, it is re-telling of Mahabharata in the voice of Uruvi but with Karna at its heart.

Indian Mythology happens to be among my most favourite genres when it comes to books. There was a time when I would pick any interesting title themed around Indian mythology. Apparently, that was why I picked up Karna’s Wife by Kavita Kane a couple of years back. I had even started reading it back then, but left it midway due to reasons I don’t remember now. Early this year when I scanned my bookshelf, I was appalled at the number of unread titles I had and then and there I decided some of them need to be read before I bought more books. So, it was time for Karna’s Wife – The Outcast’s Queen by Kavita Kane to be read.

Friday 5 October 2018

The Fault in our Stars by John Green | A Book Review

The Fault in our Stars by John Green Book Review
 The Fault in our Stars by John Green
Reading ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ by John Green was an emotional rollercoaster ride for me. A book that has the backdrop of cancer certainly cannot really be an easy read, but was it fulfilling? Yes, it was and it was well worth my time and tears. As the story unfolds before you – the characters will seep into you and so will their emotions – their tales of love and loss, their triumphs and defeats and their laughter and tears. While reading the book the hopelessness of the fragility of life got me often, but it also gave me the sense that life is what you make of it. The author has done a great job in taking the readers on a journey that is filled with despair and yet is hopefully beautiful.

Tuesday 2 October 2018

Only Change is Permanent - Looking Back - June to September #GratitudeCircle

Finally, I am here clearing the dust and the cobwebs off this space. For almost 3 months, this place has been deserted and I am really not sure if anyone is peeping up here to see what’s up.

But, hey I know some of you are stopping by because the blog stats say so. So, all is not lost yet and yes, I am not the one to give up. Hello folks, welcome back. Make yourself comfortable as I want to share some news here.

Life at my end past 3 months has been one with lots of movements. Yes, quite literally. We have moved out of Pune and have now stationed ourselves in Hyderabad. So, you can guess what all kept me occupied. Lots of decluttering, cleaning, packing, unpacking, selling stuff, meeting people,  finding and a new place to live, and the list can go on. I am slowly settling down in this new city – the house is almost set, found a help (so important), slowing making new acquaintances. The little one resumed his preschool after a month’s break. But, there are many things that still need to be done – like getting the mobile number ported to the new state, changing the address in every damn place – bank, adhaar, etc. (small tasks, but takes up time real quick).

While chatting with a friend of mine who shifted to Bangalore from Pune while we shifted to Hyderabad, she said – ‘ aisa lag raha hain sab kuch hil gaya hai’ (everything seems to be shaken from its place). Indeed that was my feeling too when we shifted. This has been our first city change within India and with a toddler on tow, I can say that it is not a small task.

There have been a lot of things that I have been grateful for the past three months. But, I think I will concentrate on the one thing that clearly stood out and will stay afresh in my memory for a long time. And that is meeting friends.

The day I knew we were moving out of Pune, I made a list of people I needed to meet before I left the city. We live in a world that is so connected online that we often discount the feeling of meeting people for real. Of course, there are reasons why we can't meet often - jobs and responsibilities keep us occupied and sometimes the distance within cities is so much that it needs a special occasion to meet. But, trust me the feeling of meeting friends and chatting over a cup of coffee is incomparable to any online chat. I am so grateful to have made such wonderful friends in Pune – all of them made the stay memorable. I can't really express in words how I cherish all the lovely moments spent together.

Pune was a city of many firsts for us - for starters, I took my first scooter ride here (LOL), I made a new beginning as a content writer; we bought our 1st car here; we welcomed our bundle of joy in this city, we bought our 1st home here. No matter where we go, Pune will always be special and we hope we come back to this city again in the future.

Letting go is difficult – be it a habit, person, or a place. But, letting go is important. While I still miss Pune and all my friends there, I am also excited about what life will unfold in this new city. Life is all about experiences and we sure want to have varied experiences in our lives. It is what it takes to make a life rich. So grateful that I am getting the opportunity to experience living in another iconic city.

September was my birthday month and I got to celebrate my 35th birthday with my elder sister (Yes, she also lives in Hyderabad). So grateful to have family and friends wishing me a great birthday - no matter how old you get this day always seem special. I think in recent year birthdays for me are less about celebrations and more about contemplation and reflections. Does that sound like the effect of the approaching middle-age? I don’t know yet. But, I do think that I am clearer about my life goals and my priorities. Am I getting wiser?

Since the city move took most of my time and energy, reading has been laid back, so has been the blogging. But, I am soon getting into the rhythm of writing and reading regularly. Did I tell you I have ordered 5 new books (so hard to resist the temptation even when you have a pile of unread books)?

I have big plans on the blogging front this month. So, do visit by to catch up on the pending book reviews and some sumptuous recipes. I assure you, you won't be disappointed.

Have an awesome October. I am joining Vidya's Gratitude Circle for the Month of June. You can check it out too for a liberal dose of Gratitude.

If you like what you read here, do share your thoughts with me on my Facebook PageTwitter Handle or tag me on Instagram @jyotibabel using the hashtag #jyotispages 

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Monday 9 July 2018

When Gratitude is Hard to Find – Looking Back at June 2018 #GratitudeCircle

When Gratitude is Hard to Find, Look For it a Little Harder.

So, finally, here I am with the much-delayed gratitude post for last month. Looking at the title you can make out last month wasn’t a great good one. I will correct myself further here – I just managed to get through it. The reason why I am dwelling on it here is that I think writing about it will make me accept the things as they happened and yes, writing always makes me feel better.

The beginning of the month started on a sad note. A school friend of mine lost her younger brother; he had been fighting for his life and was in ICU for almost 1.5 months after meeting a drowning accident. He never came back. The image of my friend and her brother as I remembered them in school flashed in my mind for days. Such is the fragility of life – it happens to us when we are making other plans. My deepest condolences to the family and I hope they find the strength to move on in life.

If you know about the law of attraction, you would know like attracts like - happiness attracts more happiness and misery attracts more reasons to be miserable for. That was exactly the case with me.

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Eggless Strawberry Jam Muffins Recipe | How to Bake Strawberry Jam Muffins | Eggless Bakes

Eggless Strawberry Jam Muffins #Recipe
These eggless strawberry jam muffins are one of the easiest things to bake. If you like to enjoy the flavour of strawberries, even after the season is long gone, this is one way - use good quality strawberry jam for making these for best taste.

My life has been doldrums past few days. Both my maids are on extended leave and I am just managing to keep my sane doing all the household chores and managing my super active toddler. I am just so thankful that school are open now and that I have at least 2 hours in a day when I do not have to multi-task. One of the consequences of my maidless life is that my blog has suffered from lack of attention. This recipe for strawberry jam muffins which I had to post before 15th of this month is finally seeing the light of the day today.

This recipe is a part of the Recipe Swap Challenge where I was partnered with Priya who blogs at Priya's Versatile Recipes. Choosing one recipe from her blog is a challenge in itself - she perhaps has more than 1000 recipes posted on the blog. But, finally, I settled for these Blueberry Jam Muffins as I was in a mood to bake something and I had some strawberry jam that needed to be used. It is a simple fuss-free recipe that is almost failproof. Try it and I am sure, you will not be disappointed.

Wednesday 6 June 2018

Stuffed Paneer Paratha Recipe | How to Make Stuffed Paneer Paratha | Weekend Breakfast/Brunch Recipes

These paneer parathas are stuffed with a filling prepared out of freshly prepared paneer and some spices. Served with an array of chutneys and a bowl full of yoghurt, it is protein packed in a vegetarian meal.
Stuffed Paneer Paratha #Recipe
Talk of stuffed parathas and you cannot do without mentioning the much loved 'stuffed paneer paratha'. Paneer has an exalted status in a vegetarian's diet and it has earned that name for all good reasons. These paneer parathas are stuffed with a filling prepared out of freshly prepared paneer and some spices. Served with an array of chutneys and a bowl full of yoghurt, it is protein packed in a vegetarian meal.

I am continuing with my 'stuffed dishes' theme of day 3 of Week1 of BM#89 and today I have this easy and delicious stuffed paneer paratha recipe to share. I usually make fresh paneer by curdling milk to use in making these parathas. However, you can also use ready to use blocks of paneer. Just make sure to grate or crumble it finely.

Let's check out the recipe now.

Tuesday 5 June 2018

Rajasthani Mirchi Vada Recipe | How to Make Rajasthani Mirchi Vada | Indian Street Food Recipes

Rajasthani Mirchi Vada, as the name says is a popular deep fried fritter from the state of Rajasthan.
Rajasthani Mirchi Vada #Recipe
Rajasthani Mirchi Vada, as the name says is a popular deep fried fritter from the state of Rajasthan. Large green chillies are stuffed with a spicy potato filling and covered in a chickpea flour batter and are then deep-fried to perfection. An ideal snack to munch on during monsoons.

Almost every year to go to Jodhpur en route our visit to the shrine of our kul diety in Osiyan, Rajasthan. When in Jodhpur, you cannot do without enjoying its local street foods and this Rajasthani Mirchi Vada is one that tops the list, of course along with a glass of Makhanya Lassi. So, for the 2nd day BM #89 with chosen theme 'stuffed dishes' - I couldn't think of any other better recipe to share here.

Pune had its first pre-monsoon showers a few days back and with it, I was in a mood to enjoy some fritters with some 'kadak adrak wali chai'. So, I made these Rajasthani Mirchi Vada and enjoyed it with a cup of tea with my friend and neighbour.

Monday 4 June 2018

Stuffed Gobhi Paratha Recipe | How to Make Stuffed Gobhi Paratha | Weekend Breakfast/Brunch Recipes

Stuffed Gobhi Paratha is a simple and hearty Indian stuffed flatbread which comes with a flavourful filling of grated cauliflower.
Stuffed Gobhi Paratha #Recipe
Stuffed Gobhi Paratha is a simple and hearty Indian stuffed flatbread which comes with a flavourful filling of grated cauliflower. Just like Aloo Paratha, Gobhi Parathas are also a very popular breakfast dish in many North Indian homes.

When I chose Stuffed Dishes as one of the themes for BM #89, I was very sure that I would do some of my favourite paratha recipes here, and Gobhi Paratha was on the top of my list. As much as I would love to have a variety of veggies in my meals, the truth is I am a very choosy eater. And I have to admit that veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, etc., are not at all my favourite. The best way to consume them for me is in the form of parathas. That's the reason why this paratha makes an appearance in my menu every now and then.

Let's check out how I make Gobhi Paratha from scratch.

Saturday 2 June 2018

May 2018 - A Month That Flew By #GratitudeCircle

There is always something to be grateful for. Gratitude for the month of May 2018.

May was a month for me that just flew by! Yes, quite literally. And it ended on such a crazy note that I myself can’t believe what happened.

Life always has its own ways of throwing things our way; things that we think would never happen to us. So, when they such things happen, we can be reeling under it's after effects for days. The challenge is to accept the things as they are and that can be the most difficult thing; easier said than done. No regrets whatsoever, because I think if I were to pass through the same circumstances again, for the first time, I would do the same thing, again. But, will I let that happen again? I won’t comment there, because as I said life can throw a googly anytime but I am better prepared now. At least I think so.

May though fast, it was also memorable (or should I say unforgettable) one. While I may not seem to be all that appreciative of others, I know in my heart how thankful I am. And even if I try to put it all in words, I know my words will fail me. My way of handling things that I can't control is by distancing myself from it. That doesn't necessarily mean that someone did anything wrong or that I mean to hurt someone or be coldhearted. It is just that I would rather occupy myself with something else rather live in a dilemma. It's only sane to stop when you can see that there is a dead-end ahead. Making up your mind is one thing, convincing your heart is another deal.

Everything in life happens for a reason. And my problem is that I try to find a reason for everything!

On that note, let me begin my reflections on the month of May 2018.

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Eggless Whole Wheat Almond Cookie Recipe | Eggless Baking | Cookies Recipe

Eggless Whole Wheat Almond Cookie Recipe
Eggless Whole Wheat Almond Cookie #Recipe
These eggless whole wheat almond cookies come with the goodness of almonds and whole wheat. So, shun the store bought refined flour cookies and enjoy these with a glass of milk.

Some time back, one of my fellow bloggers - Jolly, suggested that we try alphabet themed blog hop event and I was so excited about the whole idea. But, give it to my planning and execution, I am here with my blog post for the themed event on the very last day! Initially, I thought I would try something with apples. I had a couple of ideas - apple pie, apple crumble pie or applesauce brownies. But, none of those worked. And today, on the very final day for posting the recipe, this idea of almond cookies lit up in my head.

I just went into the kitchen, gathered all the ingredients and bingo - the cookies were done, photographed in good time.

Monday 14 May 2018

Rajasthani Panchmel Dal Recipe | How to Make Rajasthani Panchmel Dal | Dal Recipes

Rajasthani Panchmel Dal Recipe | How to Make Rajasthani Panchmel Dal
Rajasthani Panchmel Dal #Recipe
Rajasthani Panchme Dal, as the name says is a dal made up of five types of lentils. It is commonly paired with baati in the quintessential Rajasthani dish 'daal baati', but can also be served with rice or chapati.

For long Rajasthan had been an arid land where water was scarce and hence fresh produce were not abundant. It reflects on the local cuisine quite predominantly. For example, in this dal, only dry ingredients are used. Of course, things are not same now and this dal can be adapted to one's taste buds. You can add sauteed onions and tomatoes too if you like. But, for now, I have kept this dal as simple and authentic as possible.

Saturday 12 May 2018

Chana Dal Recipe | Split Bengal Gram Curry Recipe | Dal Recipes

Chana Dal Recipe | Split Bengal Gram Curry Recipe
Chana Dal | Split Bengal Gram Curry #Recipe
Chana Dal is another of the regularly made lentil dish in my house. Also known as Bengal gram, chana dal is nothing but split black chana (chickpeas) with the husk removed. When this lentil is powdered we get the gram flour or besan.

The recipe for chana dal/ split Bengal gram curry is quite simple. The only thing to make sure is that you should soak the dal at least an hour or so, for it to be cooked properly. Also, the texture of this dish is not smooth. Some of the grains of the lentil should retain its shape. So, be sure to not overcook it. It is a nutritious dish and goes well with plain or jeera rice. It can also be served as a side dish along with the main course.

Friday 11 May 2018

Restaurant Style Dal Tadka Recipe | How to Make Restaurant Style Dal Tadka at Home | Dal Recipes

Restaurant Style Dal Tadka Recipe | How to Make Restaurant Style Dal Tadka at Home
Restaurant Style Dal Tadka #Recipe 
Dal Tadka is a very popular lentil dish and is a regular fare at restaurants. Typically made of cooked toor/arhar dal or a mixture of toor and masoor, this dish is typically served with rice or as a side dish with the main course.

The regular dal I make to go with rice is generally thin and light. However, since DH is a big fan of restaurant style tadka dal, this also makes an appearance on our menu every now and then. Lentils are protein-rich and are a must include in a vegetarian diet. For Dal Tadka, the lentils are first cooked and once it is cooked, it is tempered with ghee and spices which takes the taste of this dal to another level.

After a month break from the blogging marathon, I am here with this Tadka Dal recipe for Week2 Day 1 under the ‘Dazzling Dals’ theme.

Tuesday 8 May 2018

Kairi Panna Granita Recipe | Raw Mango Mint Granita | Summer Recipes #FlavoursomeTuesdays

Kairi Panna Granita Recipe | Raw Mango Mint Granita
Kairi Panna Granita #Recipe
Kairi Panna Granita, as the name says is granita made with the much loved Indian summer drink - Kairi Panna/Panha. Granita is an Italian semi-frozen dessert made with ice, sugar and flavourings of choice. It is quite similar to sorbet. But there are some differences - one being that granita has a coarser and more crystalline texture while sorbet is very smooth.

I love Kairi Panna a lot and make them in bulk in summers. It is very cooling for the body and is a must to beat the heat. But, my DH is not a big fan of it. I know - that's strange right? Well, I don't mind, in fact, I am rather happy that I get to drink his share of Kairi Panna too. A win-win! So, it happened that I had to use up some raw mangoes and I ended up making this drink in bulk. Since I couldn't finish it all off, the idea of making granita out of it struck me. Believe me, it was an epiphany of sorts and I wondered why haven't I tried it earlier. 

Monday 7 May 2018

Attitude of Gratitude - Looking Back at Jan to April 2018 #GratitudeCircle

Attitude of Gratitude - Looking Back at Jan to April 2018  #GratitudeCircle

It seems unbelievable that we are into the fifth month of the year already. It was only some time back that we all were making grand plans for the New Year (at least I was). While I am happy that I have worked on some areas of my life and am happy with the progress I have made. But, that’s not what made me stop now and ponder over the happenings this year, till now. The universe has a unique way of responding to our wishes and time and again it leaves surprised, as to how it manifests the things that one asks for. Past few days have been a roller coaster ride for me – it is incredible how someone comes into your life - like a gush of wind - out of nowhere, connects with you instantly, and puts your life in perspective for you. The happenings past few days put me in a mood for introspection and deep contemplation and at the end of it, I was just left with one feeling – Gratitude. It is a feeling of happiness that comes from appreciation. And I am learning to cultivate it - one step at a time.

It has been a while since I mused about my life, in general, in this space here. So, today I take this opportunity to ramble it out. It is going to be a long one. So, please make yourself comfortable. But, before that let me express my thanks for two fabulous bloggers that I had come across virtually last year – Vidya Sury and Shailaja. Their posts on gratitude have always touched my heart and in the process have inspired me to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. If you have not checked their space, do check out and I am sure you will love it there. I am forever in debt to them for the inspiration - as I know now, it is such a fabulous and rejuvenating feeling. 

Monday 23 April 2018

Spiced Guava Chilli Drink Recipe | Guava Chilli Mocktail | Summer Cooler Drink Recipes

Spiced Guava Chilli Drink Recipe | Guava Chilli Mocktail Recipe
Spiced Guava Chilli Drink #Recipe
If you are looking for a summer drink recipe with Indian flavours, this spiced guava chilli drink will fit the bill perfectly. It is a guava drink with some fieriness from green chilli, red chilli powder and black pepper; it is also spruced up roasted cumin powder, pink salt, lemon juice and mint leaves. A perfect combination of flavours comes together in this glass of guava chilli drink.

Guavas are among my favourite Indian fruits. But, my love for it comes with some clauses. I don’t particularly love the ripe guavas – I love the ones that are a little tart (not hard) but sweet. They are juicy and flavourful. The kind of guavas I like are generally sold by street vendors who sit with a ‘tokri’ full of them. When requested they will slice it in front of you, apply some salt and red chilli powder and you are good to devour the ‘chatpata’ guava slices. I can happily devour a couple of guavas like that without complaining.

I often buy a small pack of guava chilli drink by the brand paperboatdrinks. I am not a fan of bottled juices, but this one is something I can’t resist. So, when I had some ripe guavas at hand I made this drink – spiced guava chilli drink – and I loved the way it turned out. My neighbour also vouched for its taste. So, I was sure, this is worthy to be blogged about.

Wednesday 18 April 2018

Cold Coffee Recipe | Cafe Style Creamy Cold Coffee | How to Make CCD Style Cold Coffee at Home

Cold Coffee Recipe | Cafe Style Creamy Cold Coffee | How to Make CCD Style Cold Coffee at Home
Cold Coffee | Cafe Style Creamy Cold Coffee #Recipe
Creamy, frothy and super delicious, this cold coffee recipe is a must try if you are a big fan of cold coffees, just like me. I think it was during my college days in Guwahati that I came to know about cold coffees. A Cafe Coffee Day outlet had opened up in the city and it was one of the to-try places to hang out with friends.

I remember how I used to save some bucks from my pocket money every month so that I could splurge on a tall glass of cold coffee with chocolate sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It used to be a special visit, a once in a while indulgence. My love for cold coffees never diminished. Even now, I like to indulge myself at cafes whenever I am in the mood.

When I started cooking myself, I realised it was simple to make cold coffee at home. But the thing is if you want it rich and frothy, you must not count the calories. No skinny cold coffee can match the taste I am after. So, when I make it, I make it the best way, nothing less. Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Tuesday 3 April 2018

The Fragile Thread of Hope by Pankaj Giri | A Book Review

book cover of the fragile thread of hope by pankaj giri
The Fragile Thread of Hope by Pankaj Giri
The Fragile Thread of Hope by Pankaj Giri is an emotional, heart-wrenching tale that explores various facets of human emotions – love, loss, struggles, grief, loneliness and hope. It shows us that one must hang on to the fragile thread of hope despite all the hardships and struggles life throws at you. Essentially, it is the story of two grief-stricken people, Soham and Fiona and how they move on in life and finds solace in each other’s company. But, it is not as simple as that. I am quoting the blurb of the book to give you an idea of the plot.

In the autumn of 2012, destiny wreaks havoc on two unsuspecting people—Soham and Fiona.

Although his devastating past involving his brother still haunted him, Soham had established a promising career for himself in Bangalore.

After a difficult childhood, Fiona's fortunes had finally taken a turn for the better. She had married her beloved, and her life was as perfect as she had ever imagined it to be.

But when tragedy strikes them yet again, their fundamentally fragile lives threaten to fall apart.

Can Fiona and Soham overcome their grief?

Will the overwhelming pain destroy their lives?

Seasoned with the flavours of exotic Nepalese traditions and set in the picturesque Indian hill station, Gangtok, The Fragile Thread of Hope explores the themes of spirituality, faith, alcoholism, love, and guilt while navigating the complex maze of family relationships.

Inspirational and heart-wrenchingly intimate, it urges you to wonder—does hope stand a chance in this travesty called life?

Thursday 29 March 2018

Little Maryam by Hamid Baig | A Book Review

Little Maryam by Hamid Baig | A Book Review
Little Maryam by Hamid Baig # BookReview
Little Maryam by Hamid Baig is a beautiful, poignant, and heart-wrenching love story that takes you on a journey of emotions – happiness, heartbreak, love, separation, betrayal, sorrow, heartache and so much more. As you turn the pages of the book, you will surely be in for a roller coaster ride – with many highs and as many lows. When I finished reading it, I kept down the book with a heavy heart and I literally cried. It is not some cheesy romantic love story, but a story of love, loss, redemption and sacrifice.

Set in Dehradun for a good part, at the heart of the story are two central characters, Maryam and Saadiq. Maryam is the daughter of a Colonel and Saadiq is the son of the Colonel’s gardener. Love blooms between these two since the first day they met as kids and as years pass by their feeling for each other just gets stronger. Under the crudest circumstances, the lovers are separated and their love remains unrequited. However, this is not how the author introduces us to Saadiq or Maryam in the story.

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Italian White Sauce Recipe | Besciamella / Bechamel Sauce Recipe | How to Make Italian White Sauce

White sauce is one of the basic sauces used in Italian cuisine. Check this post to know how to make Italian White Sauce a.k.a bechamel sauce from scratch
Italian White Sauce #Recipe
 Besciamella / Bechamel Sauce #Recipe
White sauce is one of the basic sauces used in Italian cuisine. It is known throughout the world by its French name Béchamel; in fact, it is one of the five mother sauces of French cuisine. It is said the French were introduced to this sauce by the Italians. In Italy, white sauce is known as besciamella. It is used in making gratin and many types of pasta like lasagna, cannelloni, etc.

In order to make the béchamel sauce, a roux consisting of equal parts of flour and butter need to be prepared first. To it, hot milk is added and cooked to create a creamy sauce. The roux in béchamel sauce should not be cooked much as it must not get brown. 

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Homemade Pizza Sauce Recipe | Using Fresh Tomatoes | How to Make Pizza Sauce at Home

Make your own pizza sauce using fresh tomatoes at home. Check out my post for an easy homemade pizza sauce recipe made from scratch
Homemade Pizza Sauce #Recipe
Pizza Sauce is one of the easiest Italian sauces to prepare at home. With just a few ingredients, you can have a flavourful sauce ready in about 30 to 40 minutes. Using canned tomatoes are a convinient option and you can use them, but I always prefer cooking with fresh ingredients. So, I am going to share my recipe for making pizza sauce using fresh tomatoes.

Monday 19 March 2018

Basil Walnut Pesto Sauce Recipe (without Parmesan Cheese) | How to Make Basil Walnut Pesto at Home

Basil Walnut Pesto is a pesto sauce made from fresh basil leaves, walnuts and olive oil. Find my recipe for basil walnut pesto here.
Basil Walnut Pesto #Recipe
Basil Walnut Pesto, as the name suggests is a pesto sauce made from fresh basil leaves, walnuts and olive oil. Pesto has its origin in Genoa in Liguria, Italy. Traditionally, it was made by pounding basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese in a pestle and mortar. But, today many variations are popular across the world. With gadgets like mixer grinders and food processors at our disposal now, people seldom make it by pounding it in a pestle and mortar. Making pesto at home is an easy task today, all thanks to the technological advancements. Once you have made it yourself, you will never buy a jar from the supermarket. That's for sure.

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Sandesh/ Sondesh Recipe | How to Make Sandesh | Bengali Sweets

Sandesh / Sondesh is a traditional Bengali sweet. Sandesh Recipe | How to Make Sandesh
Sandesh/Sondesh #Recipe
Sandesh or Sondesh, as it is pronounced in Bengali, is a much loved traditional sweet from the state of West Bengal in India. Freshly made paneer or chenna is used in making these. It can be flavoured in many ways. The recipe for Sandesh I am sharing today has been flavoured with cardamom/elaichi and has been garnish with saffron.

Bengalis are known for their sweet tooth and hence it comes as a no surprise that the state of West Bengal offers us with a delectable spread of sweet dishes. Misti Doi, Rasogulla, a variety of Sandesh, and many more. There are many ways to make and flavour Sandesh. But one thing is common in all varieties - freshly made paneer or chenna. It can then be sweetened with sugar, jaggery or the Bengal special Noler Gur (Palm Jaggery). Sandesh is often flavoured with cardamom, rose, saffron, etc. Fruit flavoured sandesh like aam sandesh are also popular and so are sandesh flavoured with chocolate.

Monday 12 March 2018

Whole Wheat Papdi (Fried) Recipe | How to Make Whole Wheat Papdi

Whole Wheat Papdi | How to Make Whole Wheat Papdi. The recipe of whole wheat papdi I am sharing here is 100% maida/refined flour free.
Whole Wheat Papdi #Recipe
Papdi is small round disc-shaped crisp and is one of the staple ingredients in the making of the famous street foods like papdi chaat, sev puri, etc. Typically, they are made with maida. But, I have been experimenting with a whole wheat version lately with reasonably good results. The recipe for whole wheat papdi I am sharing today are 100% maida or refined flour free. I had made these for Holi this year and used them in making papdi chaat.

Sunday 11 March 2018

Kesar Phirni Recipe | How to Make Kesar Phirni | Indian Desserts Recipes

Kesar Phirni Recipe. How to Make Kesar Phirni | Phirni is a creamy rice based Indian pudding often flavoured with cardamom, saffron or rose water.
Kesar Phirni #recipe
Phirni is a creamy rice based Indian pudding often flavoured with cardamom, saffron or rose water. The Kesar Phirni recipe I am sharing today has been flavoured with saffron and cardamom. It has almost the same ingredients as a rice kheer, but there is some difference in the preparation process.

Whole grains of rice is used in making kheer but, for phirni, we need coarsely ground rice. Kheer can be served hot or cold, but phirni tastes best when served chilled.

Tuesday 6 March 2018

Roasted Mix Veg Quesadilla Recipe | How to Make Roasted Mix Veg Quesadilla

Roasted Mix Veg Quesadilla Recipe | How to Make Roasted Mix Veg Quesadilla
Roasted Mix Veg Quesadilla #Recipe
Quesadilla is a Mexican dish, now popular around the world. Typically, flour tortillas are filled with an assortment of veggies, and cheese and is then cooked in a pan or a grill. The recipe for the quesadilla I am sharing today comes with the goodness of mix vegetables and protein-rich cheese. 

Long back I had a similar quesadilla at a local Mexican eatery - Picantos in Pune and since then I make my own version of it at home. Tortilla wraps are not easily available in India but that is not a cause for concern as home-made whole-wheat chapatis can easily replace them in this recipe.

This is a great dish for kids who are bored of eating the regular chapati and sabji combo. You can get as inventive as you like when it comes to the filling - try only corn and capsicum filling, zucchini and mushroom or a mixed veg filling like mine.

Monday 5 March 2018

Afghani Bolani Recipe | Afghani Stuffed Flatbread with Potato, Spinach, Green Onions & Coriander

Afghani Bolani | How to make Afghani Bolani with Potato, Spinach, Green Onions and Coriander Filling.
Afghani Bolani #recipe
Afghani Bolani is a traditional stuffed flatbread from Afghanistan. There are various options when it comes to the stuffing - potato, sweet, potato, spinach, pumpkin, lentils, etc. The recipe for Afghani Bolani I am sharing today comes with a stuffing of potato, spinach, green onions and coriander.

While searching for an authentic Bolani recipe online, I came to know that these Bolanis can be either fried or shallow fried. Typically, it is made with maida but I have made them with whole wheat flour. In Afghani cuisine, this dish can be served warm as an appetizer, side dish or even as a main course item. It goes very well with yoghurt.

Saturday 3 March 2018

Puran Poli Recipe | A Lentil Stuffed Sweet Bread from Maharashtra | How to Make Puran Poli

Puran Poli is a lentil stuffed sweet bread from the state of Maharashtra. Chana Dal, flour, jaggery, cardamom and ghee are the main ingredients in this puran poli recipe.
Puran Poli #Recipe
Puran Poli is a lentil stuffed sweet flatbread from the state of Maharashtra. Chana dal, jaggery, flour, cardamom and ghee are the vital ingredients in this recipe. A similar puran poli is also made in Gujarat and some southern Indian states, but there is a difference in the lentil used for the stuffing. Like in Gujarat, toor dal is used while in Maharashtrain puran poli chana dal is used.

Making puran poli from scratch is a tedious job. However, on most festive occasions like Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali, etc., in Maharashtra, it is a must-prepare dish. In Marathi, 'puran' means the sweet filling and 'poli' means roti or the flatbread. Puran poli tastes great in itself; you can also serve it with ghee and milk.

Monday 26 February 2018

15+ Holi Delicacies For You to Try This Holi | Holi Recipe Collection

 15+ Holi Delicacies For You to Try This Holi | Holi Recipe Collection
15+ Holi Delicacies For You to Try This Holi
Holi #Recipe Collection
Holi is the Indian festival of colours. The festival has a strong mythological background and it signifies the victory of good over evil. To celebrate this victory, getting soaked in a plethora of colours in a norm on this occasion. You will surely find people playing with and getting drenched in colours on the streets on the day of Holi. As much as colours are a part of this festive occasion, so is delicious food. No Indian festival is complete without food.

Think of Holi and you cannot stop yourself from thinking about Thandai, Gujias, Samosa , Dahi Vada, and a variety of other sumptuous dishes that are prepared on the occasion of Holi.

So, while you plan to enjoy the festival day with colours, gulaal, pichkaris, dancing and merrymaking, here is a list of Holi delicacies, both sweet and savoury, that can make the festival even more special.

Wednesday 7 February 2018

9 Easy Dessert Ideas for You to Try This Valentine’s Day | Valentine's Day Recipe Collection

9 Easy Dessert Ideas for Valentine’s Day | From Elaborate to the Easy, A Collection of 9 tried and tested recipes for Valentine's Day.
9 Easy Dessert Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Valentine's day is around the corner. If you are looking for some easy dessert ideas to try this Valentine's day, this post will come in handy for you. Here you will find a collection of 9 tried and tested dessert recipes that can fit the bill this Valentine’s Day.

From the elaborate to the easy, you will surely find the one that can work for you.

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Eggless Double Chocolate Muffins | How to Bake Eggless Double Chocolate Muffins from Scratch

Eggless Double Chocolate Muffins | Made with wholewheat flour this is quite a healthy recipe and it tastes awesome | | how to make eggless double chocolate muffins from scratch

This recipe for eggless double chocolate muffins has been long due. It has been sitting in my drafts for some months now. Since I have been somewhat occupied with a new project, this food blog of mine is suffering from some lack of attention. Half of the first month of the new year 2018 has elapsed and nothing had been posted here till now. I decided that I need to do the needful today and this recipe from my drafts has come to my rescue.

This recipe is a simple one and it is a healthy one as there has been no use of refined flour. I have used regular sugar, but you can go ahead and use brown sugar to make it even healthier and guilt-free. They go well with a cup of coffee. So, if you are planning a meet up with friends over coffee, this is one recipe you can try.

Monday 8 January 2018

Word of the Year | A Word to Guide Me Through 2018 - Mindfulness #WOTY

Word of the Year | A Word to Guide Me Through 2018

Have you heard the 'Word of the Year' concept yet? 
Well, here is my two cents about it, but before that please bear with my rants for the year that was.

2017, the year that was.

2017 for me was a mixed bag affair. There were some highs and there were some lows. I did work on some of the goals I had set for myself for the year. For example, after almost a year of no posts on this space, I took up blogging again, although I could not be as consistent as I would have liked. I took out time to read some books too. I also got the opportunity to travel a little.

But, most of my time went in taking care of the needs of my little one. In the role of a mother attending the beck and call of her toddler, came the realization that motherhood is a demanding job, one that can keep you on your toes 24x7. In the process of fulfilling my mommy duties, and taking care of the home, I always had my hands full. Too much multitasking became the norm, and soon it started to take a toll on the quality of my life. I felt burnt out at the end of most days.

Thankfully, I realized sooner than later that I have my own limitations and that I do not have to be a superwoman all the time. I learnt to delegate and prioritize which have made life easier. I also learnt that it is okay to put yourself first before others sometimes.

Word of the Year for 2018

Mindfulness #WOTY 
So, when I came across the concept of choosing a Word of the Year - a word to guide you throughout a year, instead of making resolutions, ONE word came to me spontaneously. I am a little old school in that and have already made a list of resolutions to work on and stick to throughout the year. And I am going to do it with the help of this one word - MINDFULNESS.

Mindfulness is quite the buzzword these days. But, what exactly it is?

In simple words - mindfulness means being present in the moment. It is the state of being conscious and being aware in the present moment.

Doesn't sound like much, right? But it is. Today, in our fast-paced lives we are always multi-tasking. So, practically we are never living in the moment. I know being mindful is a habit and it will take a conscious effort to be there and I am going to make it there one baby step at a time.

There are a number of ways I can exercise mindfulness in my day to day life. Here I am listing a few ways and I am sure more will come to me in the way. 

  • Take one thing at a time and do it well. Say, when I am spending time with my little one, I will just focus on that and be there in that moment. What I will not do is check my phone for social media updates, or flip the page of a book I am reading. I will concentrate on doing one thing at a time and do it well. 
  • Mindfulness while cooking. I will try to cook as much we can eat and cut back on any food waste. More thoughts need to be put into menu planning. For that, I need chalk out a weekly menu plan a week in advance so that I can order groceries in time and the work in the kitchen is streamlined. It will also help me in developing food related posts here consistently. 
  • Mindfulness while eating. For that, I will keep the phone away when having food so that I can savour the food I eat. I am often told that I am a fast eater - which means that I don't chew my food well. Being mindful while eating will be good for my gut too. 
  • Mindfulness online. When you are into blogging, spending time online on your blogs, visiting fellow bloggers and spending time on social media is necessary. But, once we get online there are so many things that can distract us. Being mindful when online can help me in being productive when I am online. So, on any particular day, I am going to make a list of things need to be done online and set timelines for that so that I don't while away my time on unnecessary things online. 
There are so many more avenues to put mindfulness to exercise. In our words, in our actions, in our relationships, in our responsibilities towards the society, environment, etc. and more. I hope to better myself by being mindful.

If you have any tips more me for the same, let me know.

Have you chosen your Word of the Year?

Thanks for stopping by! Cheers!

Monday 1 January 2018

My New Year Resolutions for 2018 #MondayMusings

My New Year Resolutions 2018 - www.jyotibabel,com
My New Year Resolutions 2018

At the very outset, let me wish you all a very Happy New Year 2018.

Every year we make a brand new beginning as the new year sets in. Everyone makes tall promises to change at the brink of New Year, but soon the reality of it dawns. Only calendar changes, not the person. I have never documented my New Year resolutions on this blog, in all these years, so I thought to do it differently this year.

"For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning."
---- T. S. ELLIOT

I do have a longish list of things I want to accomplish in the year 2018. Some of these are things I am already working on, and there are also some new projects I want to undertake. But, today I will share with you the 3 most important things to focus on this year.

So, how am I going to make it work for me?

I have always done things better when I have written them down, hence the idea to post it here. Writing things down works for me because it gives me a chance to remind myself of my goals, it pushes me to get things done, and also gives me the opportunity to recheck and reassess when needed. The only way to make it work in the long term is by making myself accountable for it. Don't you agree?

So, let's get started with my New Year Resolutions 2018.


This is the number one area of focus in most new year resolution lists. Mine is no different.

There are many things that I need to change in my daily routine to move towards a healthier lifestyle. I have made efforts in this area this year as well, but I am not quite there yet. After much introspection, I realised that in order to really succeed in this area I have to follow the old age maxim - early to bed and early to rise. If I can join the 6, I am sure I will have the time for the things I need to do to move towards a better and healthier lifestyle. 

This is my simple 5 point agenda for health this year -
Brisk Walk for 1 hour every day (or at least 5 days a week).
30 minutes of meditation every day.
Drink 2-3 litres of water every day.
Eat right. (That sounds vague, but I am clear about what I need to do, maybe I will elaborate in another post)
Get 8 hours of sleep every day.

Read & Write {More}:

Okay. This bit is for the reader and writer in me. Ever since I joined the mommy club, my priorities changed drastically. Now that my LO is soon going to turn two and I am long done with my sleepless-nights phase, I need to shift the focus a little bit (if not all) on me. I have to learn to make time for myself if I don't want to feel burnt at the end of every day.

On the reading front, my goals are clear and simple. I aim to read at least 2 books every month in 2018. I want to catch up on the blogs of my fellow bloggers (I have discovered so many amazing new blogs recently). And yes, I also want to write more, and more often. Anywhere between 6-8 posts a month for each of my blog will give me peace!

This is actually a work-in-progress idea from last year. Somewhere in the second half of 2017, I came across a video on WhatsApp on the importance of decluttering and when I watched it, it made so much sense to me. In essence, the video gave the message that when we declutter our surroundings, we bid adieu to chaos and negative energy and make way for positive vibes.

I went into a reassessment mode after I saw the video and realized that there were so many things in my house- in my wardrobe, in my kitchen, in my storage spaces, etc., that I have not used over a year. Anything that has not been used for a prolonged period is essentially ‘clutter’. There were clothes that did not fit me anymore; bottles and jars I thought I would use as food props and they kept piling up. There were books that were of no use to me and not to talk about the pile of documents that should have been shredded long ago, etc.

You get the drift, right?

Ever since we welcomed baby M into our lives, there has been an exponential increase in the baby items (gear, toys, etc.) in our house. A little more space in the house was more than welcome as it could go a long way in keeping things organized. So, I began my journey of decluttering. I have given away a lot of things that were of no use to me but were useful to others. The space this exercise has created inside my wardrobe, storage areas, and kitchen shelves have given them a breather. And strangely I feel so much lighter.

There is still more to do in this area. In the year 2018, I don't just want to do declutter, but I want to go a step ahead. I want to avoid gathering more clutter. I am often an impulsive buyer and many a time I get things that I don't really need. Recently, I came across this article on My year of No shopping and wondered if I can follow suit. Maybe with a little bit of planning, I can. So, to test the waters, I will make a conscious effort to be more mindful of my purchases. Minimalism is one of my mantras to live by in 2018. That can save me money and much hassle later. A win-win deal. Isn't it?

That's all for now on my new year resolutions 2018. I will love to hear your thoughts on New Year resolutions. Do they work for you? Or you do not believe in them. Whatever is your story, let me know about it by leaving a comment below.

Thanks for stopping by! Cheers!

Linking this to Corinne's #MondayMusings hosted at EverydayGyaan

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