Category Archives: Home
This past weekend we were in Lonavla, to celebrate my Mom’s 60th birthday. My brother, sister-in-law, my parents and my sister-in-law’s parents gathered at Vipul’s parents house in Lonavla. His uncle and aunt joined us as well.
Mom loves flowers and it was perfect timing as our garden was in bloom. The air was perfumed with their fragrance as we played with Varun on the lawn. He loved sitting out playing in the shade and watering the plants.
Hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend with your family, just like we did!
Its Makar Sankranti on Monday. It marks the beginning of harvest season, longer days and transitioning out of cold winter days. In Maharashtra it is celebrated by exchanging til – gul ladoos ( sweets made out of seasame seeds and jaggery) both because they are warming foods in the cold winter days as well as because they are readily available ingredients at this time of the year.
Puran polis’ and halwa also make an appearance on the menu. Mom used to host a haldi kumkum in the evenings where she would invites her friends over and give them til gul halwa and a token gift. Dressed in black, the only time of the year where its ok to wear black on a festival, my brother and I would eagerly wait till all mom’s friends have left for the evening so we could eat those ladoos. In fact I love them so much that I volunteered to roll out ladoos this year after mom made the mix.
I am in Mumbai this year and helped make her traditional ladoos. Easy to make, they are healthy and perfect to snack on. The key to their success is in handling the jaggery correctly. It has to be softened on low to medium heat without letting it boil. If jaggery boils, it makes the ladoos chewy and stringy rather than the soft one you have in mind.
Mom’s Til Kut Ladoos Recipe:
Makes 40 – 45 lemon sized ladoos
- 1 pound seasame seeds
- 1 cup dessicated coconut or kopra grated
- 3/4 pound jaggery grated
- 3- 4 table spoons ghee or clarified butter
- 2 table spoons water
- 2 tea spoons, cardamom seeds coarsely crushed
1. Mom’s preps for these ladoos over a few days. First sesame seeds are cleaned, washed and dried. Then they are dry roasted till they are light pink and stored in an air tight container. Dry coconut or kopra is grated and then lightly roasted as well.
2. A day before making the ladoos, coarsely grind the seasame seeds.
3. Prepare the jaggery over low heat. Add ghee in a pan and keep it over low heat. Add grated jaggery. Add water and mix well. Take it off the heat and keep stirring to ensure that the melt doesn’t boil. This is the hard part so that the jaggery melts but is lump free as well.
4. Once ready, add the cardamom powder, coconut and til. Mix well.
5. Cool overnight or for couple of hours. Shape them into ladoos. Enjoy!
Winter in Hampi is beautiful with flowers and lush plantations adding life to the stone carvings and pillars. Birds and animals also add to the activity around the time less carvings.
Vijayshree Vilage resort has inviting gardens with broad lawns and flowering shrubs. And the garden was in bloom much to my delight. The flowers reminded me a bit of our Seattle home. My mom loves flowers so this post is for you mom!
I don’t know the names of all these flowers, if you do, do drop me a comment below.
Hope you enjoyed a bit of colorful flowers this weekend!
We are in our 4th month of Indian Adventure. The move has been a great exercise in uprooting our lives in USA and transplanting it in India. For now we have unpacked and settled into a new home, but the garden remained behind. Those spring blooming daffodils and tulips, followed by azaleas, early summer hydrangeas, mid summer blue berries (and Varun chomping on them) and blazing nandina, weepling maple and Kastura in the fall, in my memory, will never fade.
A home, I believe, is incomplete without its garden.Even a small plant, be it succulent , herb or creeper, adds life to the home. A little bit of greenery calms the home. It’s no wonder that every home design magazine, blog or website has a section on gardening and include greenery to add depth to their staged home photos.
While I don’t have a yard here, I have four large sunny balconies where I dream of growing tomatoes, peppers, spinach, mint, coriander and lettuce – once I figure out a place to get seeds. Till then I am making do with two potted plants by the front door.They welcome anyone visiting our home in a Tara Dillard way.
I got these 2 plants from a road side nursery across from Shilparamam in Hyderabad. The nursery is a sharp contrast to nurseries that I have been used to – Molbaks , Gray Barn and Flower World with acres and acres of plants sorted by sun requirements, ornamental v/s edibles, trees v/s shrubs v/s creepers etc.
This is tiny nursery stocking sun-loving plants (out in open) and shade loving plants (under the tarp). They don’t sell any seeds or vegetable or fruit plants. I walked around the nursery with Varun and my mom , selected a couple of plants and asked them to pot it up for me. Varun loved running amongst the neatly arranged rows of plants, tried to feel different leaves textures ( sensory development anyone?) and tried to pluck the flowering daisies when I had to distract him and show the pots to him.
That didn’t work as he was immediately attracted to thorny cacti like plants and then moved on to playing in the mud by the entrance. It was time to warp up the nursery trip and head home before Varun was covered in the red mud. Anyways, it began to lightly drizzle as well so we would have headed home anyways.
While plant shopping, make sure you ask for price as you see the plants. Most small plants were Rs. 100 -150 and larger ones were Rs. 200- 250.I should have bargained but was a bit carried away just being in a nursery. Having mom around helped as she spoke to the nursery owner in Telugu which saved me from paying NRI prices.
Anyways, Rs 700 later (or roughly more than $12), we walked out with 2 plants, 2 pots with matching drip trays, potted up in red soil. This nursery was a bit pricier than what I would have paid somewhere else in the city/outside city per my driver. Oh well, we live and learn.
For now, I have 2 plants by our door swaying cheerfully in the light monsoon breeze. Hope they stay cheerful and don’t die in my care!
Looks like summer is finally here. Our Tiny Lot is blooming and growing lush. Vipul and I spent the last couple of summers laboring over the yard, personalizing it and making it more ‘my taste’ than the ‘cookie-cutter’ installed by the builder.
The goal was a low maintenance yard – less weeding and mowing; more relaxing!
We got deck, patio, beds and paths built, hauled in tons of soil, compost and mulch and planted about 100 ish plants. Some died while most survived. We installed drip irrigation so that the garden is truly low maintenance. And with a tiny patch of lawn, mowing is a breeze.We finally are reaping the benefits and enjoying the fruits of our labor (pun intended).
So, my dear brother, cousins and everyone who I have been inviting over the years – here is a little something to entice you to our little corner…