Let Chocolate do the Talking | Product Review | Giveaway

Chocolates – just typing the word makes me smile. When I crave for sweet, the first thing I lookout for is milk chocolate. It’s a universal truth that chocolate is one of the most popular sweet across the world irrespective of age and gender. Chocolate makes you happy; it lifts your mood and relieves your stress and a great relaxant too. One of the interesting chocolate facts is that, the smell of chocolate increases theta brain waves, which triggers relaxation [1] Also we know that eating dark chocolate reduces the risk of heart disease.

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Let’s Celebrate this Mother’s Day With The Magic Of Millets

I am happy to announce that I am co-hosting Millets recipe contest for this Mother’s Day with Indian Moms Connect and Secret Recipes of India. Mothers hold a very special place in our hearts. This year, Mother’s Day falls on May 8th, 2016. This year we decided to celebrate Mother’s Day by combining our love for our mothers with our motherland :) A Recipe Contest With Millets which are native grains of India, our Motherland! So go on and call your moms and find out how they created magic from millets.

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Stay Connected With Your Friends And Family

There is a famous saying in Tamil – “Thirai kadal odiyum thiraviyam thedu” which means seek your fortune/wealth by crossing seas. I think most of us follow that which makes us and our family to be spread across this globe. The concept of nuclear family is becoming more prevalent and we need to rely on phones and internet to communicate with our parents and grandparents and they help us to stay close and connected.

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Time Management – My Experience

When RM, Preethi and Aarti asked me to write about my time management I wasn’t sure what to write. But it provided me an opportunity to do a self-analysis. I was analyzing my entire day and figured out I don’t have any set routine. I just take things as it comes. So this post is not going to be like tips for time management or anything related of that sort. I am just going to share what I do and how I tackle my tasks. The two main things that help me to manage all my work are:

  • My commute – It takes 25 minutes without traffic and up to 40 minutes with traffic. This commute time makes a huge difference.
  • My Work – I chose a position where I don’t have any offshore support or calls. Mostly 90% of the times I don’t need to worry about any office work once I am home. Also I chose to work from 7AM to 3PM and this gives me ample time in the evening.

These two things play a vital role in managing my rest of the time.

[pullquote]Seven years ago to come out of my depression I kept myself busy and as days passed it became my habit.[/pullquote]

There is a famous saying “An Idle mind is devil’s workshop”. That’s very true at least in my case.  Seven years ago to come out of my depression I kept myself busy and as days passed it became my habit. Luckily I picked the activities that I am passionate about, so I didn’t feel it like a burden, rather I started to enjoy them and felt so happy about doing the same.  I take Vaandu to all my classes (again I choose my classes where kids are allowed – be it exercise/gym or music or swimming or knitting/art) which gave him a chance to see these activities and explore and slowly he started to show interest in them. I am happy too that he stays with me and I don’t need to find someone to take care of him while attending these classes.

When I was analyzing my day I figured out two more things – I multitask a lot and then I am glued to my phone pretty much always. (That’s a sad truth) I have no idea if I am multitasking efficiently or if these multitasking are good for my health or family, But this is what I do,

  • Adapting: When I pick up kiddo and come back home I see what classes me and kiddo have and what work needs to done. Depending on that my cooking plan changes. On busy days or if I need to code, all I do for dinner is Idly or Dosa or I outsource or handover the kitchen to my hubby.
  • Mostly my blog recipes are the simple day to day recipes. I keep the not-so-regular ones for the weekend. So whatever I cook I try to take pics (of course with the help of kiddo) and post it.
  • I try to complete all my kitchen chores before 5:30PM. We usually take what I cook in the night as the lunch for the next day. So in the morning all I do is preparing either roti or rice and prep work for the dinner like cooking the dals or boiling the veggies. During this time my kiddo either watches his cartoon or plays by himself or comes and helps me in kitchen. As I mentioned above, I am glued to my phone and try to answer couple emails or chats during the cooking breaks.
  • Then comes the play time either to park or some artwork or game or any classes. Most of the time I stay with the kiddo during his classes and utilize those as “me” time. I read books / surf the net or chat or call someone.
  • As kiddo is 6 plus now when I take him to park I don’t need to watch him continuously. So I have started my walk around the park, keeping an eye on him.  
  • After dinner, when my hubby starts to play with the kiddo, I start my blog work and IMC related work and TV will be on for sure.
  • I cannot just sit and watch TV. I will be doing something or the other while watching TV. I do follow cricket, serials and movies and I love to watch them, but I multitask while watching them.
  • We all know bedtime stories, but for me and Vaandu it is bedtime songs. We practice our music and listen to new songs and discuss about the day, including my work during our bedtime and these are my precious moments.
  • Somedays I don’t feel like doing any work. I end up reading a book or I do something els,e but I know the fact that the next day is going to be hectic. Still I do take that break and do altogether different stuff.
  • If I have to code late night, my hubby will be up with me for most of the time and he doesn’t let me feel lone. Glad he is in the same field like me so ,I can chat about my work get his ideas and opinions.

I don’t consider all my days perfect. Some days are really hectic and crazy with unexpected things. I do panic, I do get over stressed especially when I hear complaints from my kiddo that “Amma, you are always working. You are not spending time with me”. I have melt downs but again Time takes care of it and I believe this shall pass too.

I don’t know if I am teaching the right thing to my kiddo by staying glued to my phone and my hubby was complaining the same too. So I tried to stay away from my phone and I did succeed in that mission. But I don’t know if I will be able to watch TV without doing any other work. I can only do that in theatre.  

[pullquote]“The bad news is time flies but the good news is you are the pilot”.[/pullquote]

While I was searching for images for this post, I came across this quote written by Michael Altahuler – “The bad news is time flies but the good news is you are the pilot”.  Yes we are the pilots and we need to manage the time that works for us and our family.  Our office commute, traffic, and work pressure each and every small things plays a major role in this. Schedule and manage your time so that by the end of the day, you feel happy and content.

Earlier Cross Posted Here…


A Recap of Buffet On Table

Blogging Marathons are always fun and at the same time a bit challenging. These marathons help me to get back to all the recipes that I missed or the cooking techniques that I almost forgot. The April marathon helped me to get back to my baking routine and now this got back to explore different cuisines. Apart from these I did learn a lot a recipes from various countries.

I was so amazed by the other participants who posted buffet for each and every day. Just imagine, its minimum three to four dishes in a buffet and that multiplied by 23 days? Kudos to them and I really appreciate their effort and I need to learn a lot from them too. When I look at their effort mine seems to be simple. I think I took the easy route. But I enjoyed doing this marathon and learnt a lot. I have bookmarked a lot of recipe and will be trying them out soon.

Here is my simple recap…

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Non-Recipe : The Flavors of South Tamil Nadu

If you are in my Facebook group friends list you might have seen these pictures. But I am posting it here again – the flavors of South Tamil Nadu. This is how my India trip looks like – a visit to Chennai and a quick 3/4 day trip to Bengaluru (this time it became a weekend trip and I spent more time on roads) and then a trip to either my native or M’s native to visit the temple and then back to Chennai, visit friends and family. That’s it vacation gone. (Err it’s not vacation. India trips are always hectic) Last time I went to Periyakulam so this time we went to M’s native temple at down south. To be precisely the temple in a small village called Puliangudi-Kaaduvetti and the closest town is Sankarankovil.

This time we planned as 2 day trip so that we can go to Kutralam.  It was amazing and I am visiting Kutralam after 15 years. The weather was awesome.      It was end of the season so it wasn’t that crowded. We did enjoy the water and at the same time we did enjoy the street food – Masala chai, Masala Gooseberry, Pickled Green Mango, Hot banana chips and also lychee fruit. I couldn’t take any pics as it was drizzling the whole time. Pics in phone didn’t come that well. 

KutralamKutralam2

That’s our temple and it is in the middle of the farms. Its Dharma Sastha’s (Lord Ayyapan) temple. Sabarimalai is in a straight line behind this temple. The belief is that Lord Ayyapan  rested in this place when he came in search of Puli Paal (tigress milk) for his mother. Its a very small temple and they kept it in this way and we really enjoyed it. No big queue, no waiting time. It was peaceful. 

Temple

Coming to main part and one my favorite city Tirunelveli – we always book our return tickets from TVL (Tirunelveli)  so obviously the visit to Nellaiappar temple is mandatory and also Pothys. :-)  

Nellaiappar

Me and my SIL go crazy and we pretty much complete all our purchases there and come back with our hands full. (We ignores the stares from FIL, M and BIL)

I didn’t forget the most important part – irutu kadai halwa. It’s dimly lit small shop which sells only halwa and it opens at 5pm and closes at 8pm, sometimes even before that. They serve the halwas in lotus leaves. This time I gave the camera to M and asked him to take the pics. The kids were with my SIL and in-laws. So me and my BIL stood in line and got 10 kgs of halwa after 15 minutes of struggle.  Its worth the struggle for that yummiest halwa.

QueueEvenb4theshopisopened

Big Queue even before the shop is opened

IrutuKadai

Irutu Kadai

Here are some other food that we enjoy – Madurai famous jigarthanda and cane juice

ImageSaysitAll

Jigarthanda

Jigarthanda

 

CaneJuice

Cane juice

Seems like my travel post became food post. :-) Hope you all enjoyed.

 

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 56

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Non-Recipe – Our visit to Dubai and Abu Dhabi

I think I have bombarded you with enough recipes, so for the last week of this BM it’s going to be non-recipes. The next three posts will be non-recipes and I thought of writing about my recent travel and keep it picturesque. (I don’t know if my pictures are visually attractive but still let me use that.) Whenever we travel to India as a family, we tend to take mini vacation before going to India. So this time we stopped in Abu Dhabi. Hubby’s BFF was inviting us for a long time so we thought of stopping in Abu Dhabi and booked our tickets via Etihad. But just couple of weeks before our travel our friend got shifted close to Dubai – which means we got a chance to visit both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Basically Dubai and Abu Dhabi are 150KM apart. It took us less than 3 hrs. to reach Dubai.
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Liebster Blog Award

When I received this award from My little Rock, I was in a total awwww moment. The word elated can’t explain my feelings and its more than that and I am not able to explain how felt that day. Because this person followed me silently  for four months and passed on this award. This is what she commented.

Hi! I just wanted to let you know that I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award because I love your recipes and blog!!! I’ve been following your post for a while now and love your work. You deserve the recognition. Thanks for taking up the challenge. I can’t wait to read your answers.

These recognitions from fellow bloggers are really a great boost and thought that people follow and read my blog regularly and appreciating is really awesome. Thanks a ton My little rock.

liebster

So the rules on accepting this “award” are as follows:

1. You must thank and link the blogger who nominated you.

2. You must nominate 11 other bloggers who you think deserve this award and link their blogs too.

3. You must answer the 11 questions posted by the blogger who nominated you and ask 11 new questions for your nominees to answer.

4. You must notify your nominees.

Nominating is always the difficult part. So this time I am nominating

1) Vidya – TMF

2) Malar – Malar’s kitchen

3) Tami – Eat while Standing

4) Mullai Madavan – Spice India Online

5) Padma – MasalaKorb

6) Chitra – Dr Ch Diet food

7) Deepa – Madraasi

8) Marudhu’s Kitchen

9) Shwetha Shetty

10) Charanya

I am passing these same questions to my nominees too. :-)

1. Why / how did you choose the name of your blog?

I want my name in my blog also a name which states what is the blog about. So my URL and blog title are different.

URL is Vidhyashomecooking – I was watching some food show and they were talking about about importance of home cooking thus it became vidhyas home cooking.

Title is Vidhyas vegetarian kitchen – I wanted the title to be self explanatory. So became vegetarian kitchen :-)

So finally it is Vidhyas home cooked Vegetarian food :-)

2. What’s your favourite dish to eat?

Being a foodie this is a difficult question to answer. I love to explore all the vegetarian food.

3. What’s your favourite dish to cook?

My favorite and comfort food Rasam :-)

4. Why did you start a food blog?

Basically I started the blog to record my mom’s recipes. My mom visited us in 2009 and I was asking her to write down the recipes for all chutneys and thuvaiyals. Then thought why not add them as blog entry so here I am blogging from 2009 :-)

5. How much time does it take in total to put a recipe online? This includes the cooking, photographing, writing, uploading etc.

Depending upon the recipe. But on an average I would say 3 to 4 hrs. I cook and take the photography which is approx 2 hrs and then adjust the size of the images and add water mark and writing and scheduling another 1 hour.

6. What type of camera are you using to take photos for your blog?

Till this march I was using my Samsung Note 3 and now my Canon EOS T5 rebel.

7. What’s the worst cooking disaster you’ve ever had?

I have had many disasters. I have separate category even for that – Sodappal Stories. The recent one which I haven’t captured here is baking pav buns. Instead of getting buns I got pav stones. ;-)

8. How long have you had your cooking blog?

From July 2009. I am going to hit a sixer soon.

9. Who’s your favourite cook / chef?

My mom. She is my inspiration and my favorite cook. Both me and my mom love Revathy’s Shanmugam and Meenakshi Ammal’s recipes.

10. What’s your favourite cooking TV program?

I would say all shows from food network especially Giada’s Everyday Italian and I used to follow Jaya TV’s Arusuvai Neram.

11. If you could give one piece of advise to another food blogger what would it be?

Have fun Blogging. I would like to share Julia Child’s quote here.

Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!”

Thanks again for the nomination and enjoyed answering these questions.


Challenge : Love in ten sentences

This is a long term pending challenge and finally got a chance to complete it. Vasantha from My sweet nothings challenged to write a poem about love in ten sentences. Me and poem??? Good joke huh.. So I am just writing about love in ten sentences. But any ways thanks to her for challenging me and this bought some good old memories and it was really fun doing it. When I showed it M, he was ROFLing Max.. I hope you all enjoy it too.

Love in 10 Sentences

So here is the challenge and the  rules:

Rules for the Challenge:

  1. Write a poem about love with a title “Love in Ten Sentences.”
  2. Poem must have 10 lines, each 4 words long. Every line must contain the word “love”.
  3. Include a favorite quote about love at the end of the poem.
  4. Challenge other bloggers.

Before you read my poem (????) I will challenge other bloggers.

 

Errrr here is my so called poem and thoughts behind those sentences.

I would like to start with Mahatma’s quote.
Where there is love there is life.
And now my own
Where there is love there is music
Now love with related to tastes
Love should be sweet as honey so that it lets us to bond with our loved ones in our life
Love should be sour as mango so that it adds flavour to our life
Love should be salty as salt so that it allows chemistry in our life
Love should be hot as chilly so that it gives the perfect kick to our life
Love should be bitter at times like bitter gourd so that it gives a chance to retrospect our life
Now coming to the funny part..
Love is the weapon that helped Harry Potter to win Lord Voldemort.
So from Voldemort’s perspective
Love can be dangerous too

And finally

Love you like a love song baby is one of my favorite song ;-)

I love one of vaandi’s rhyme which says “Love is in air feel it”. Thats my favorite quote.

Hope I haven’t killed love. :-) :-) Err thanks for reading. Here is that beautiful love you like a love song baby by Selana Gomez.

 


Non-Recipe — An Announcement post

Hi all,

This month is going to be a coding month not cooking month. :-) Here is the first step.

I should have done this posting the weekend before doing the hosting. Errr I missed ;-) Actually mine was hosted by wordpress or as they say it is wordpress.com site and I started to hit the maximum space limit and thats when I decided to move to self hosted site. Bought the domain from blue host and I was waiting for M to come so that we can do together but then the itchy software developer in my made me to try it out faster and I hope I did it correct and haven’t screwed it up. :-)

So here is the announcement.

Vidhya’s Vegetarian Kitchen or as I say VVK is now self hosted. :-)

Tried a test post and it all looked good. Not sure if my post will be visible on WP reader but I need to check on that. If you any information on that please add it in the comment.
I need to do couple category re organizations, plugins and theme changes which I will be doing one by one.

I just followed these steps for my move.
https://en.support.wordpress.com/moving-to-a-self-hosted-wordpress-site/

Between if you can any issues, please feel free to contact me at daffodilshree@gmail.com

Thanks for your support

Vidhya