Thursday, December 27, 2012

Spice up Christmas with Indian food

It's a tradition within my friend circle. I host the Christmas dinner every year. This year I hosted 2 dinners in 4 days; one for my new colleague-cum-friends, the other for this regular group of friends to keep up the tradition.
So I knew there'd be a lot of cooking to do. I thought I might as well make it fun for myself.

Dinner on Dec 22nd, 2012:
I had invited my colleagues to my house for the first time. The gathering was one of its kind because some of them were also accompanied my their (indian) parents, some by their children, some indian colleagues had american spouses and some american colleagues had indian spouses. (Also, after the party I realized all the couples, including us, had inter-religion marriages!!! which is not so common in India). That just made the evening ever more special!!
So,  here's the menu:

  • pani puri (buy puris, and Mirch Masala pani purwh i paste from Apna Bazaar)
  • Tostitos chips and salsa
  • Water melon
  • Pistachios
  • Veg Pulao (I'll post a very easy yet amazing recipe very soon)
  • Daal Makhani (Vah chef's recipe is very popular among my friends)
  • Ghatte ki sabzi (because I'm from Rajasthan and because an american colleague loves it)
  • bhindi fry (okra with sauteed onion and tomato)
  • fish curry (my husband made it, christmas without fish curry is no christmas for him)
  • roti (ordered tandoori roti from Mayuri Indian Cuisine restaurant...wasn't a very good idea as the rotis were cold and chewy by dinner time)
hot gulab jamun and cold vanilla ice-cream..a deadly combination! Must try!

Overall it was a fun party. Lots of food!! Amazing people!! Music and games!!

Dinner on December 24th, 2012:
Now my regular group of friends. With this group, everytime we get together, the menu is set : chicken curry or mutton curry for all the meat eaters, some paneer gravy for the only vegetarian in the group (me), and roti. Even the dessert is fixed forever - ice-cream cones.
I was craving for some change, but I still had to please the very picky eaters in the group. So here's the menu I came up with:

  • pani puri again (since it was a favorite on the 22nd dinner)
  • chips and salsa again (easy and everyody's favorite)
  • garlic bread (i tried this garlic bread from Winco for the first time, people just loved it!)
  • veg spring rolls (Sanjeev Kapoor's recipe, people love this too!
  • Chicken Tikka burger (sanjeev kapoor's recipe)  - i tweaked the recipe a bit by serving jalapeno ranch dressing, Mirch Masala coriander chutney, and pickled jalapenos to make the burger spicier and juicier!
  • Spicy roasted potatoes (recipe)
  • Hawaiian salad (mixed greens, chopped pineapple, chopped mangoes, roasted almonds, lemon juice, a pinch of paprika powder)
  • Didn't do much here, asked a friend to bring ice-cream cake from Coldstone bakery. 
Overall, I think my guests liked the change too. The food was easy to make, easy to serve, and easy to just pick and eat.
We did the White Elephant gift exchange too. Some gifts were oh-so-funny!!
  • a beautiful gift bag(of course empty)
  • past Halloween's masks, wigs
  • underwear (of course new and unused)
 And then played our favorite holiday game - Dumb charades!

and danced a lot, on desi music!!

All in all, it was fun 4 days to have all the friends over, eat, drink,  and party!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

DIY Wall Decal in just 2 hours!!

I had to make this. The idea was brewing in my head for quite some time, and I have to confess, with all such ideas, I lose peace of mind until I implement it.
Got the perfect opportunity, my husband was out for dinner with his soccer team. And this is what came out of a very productive me-time!

Just three rectangular sheets of white contact paper, cut out hand-drawn shapes and figures to create a sort of a stencil. I created a beach scene here with palm tree on one side, night sky and sea on the other, and us sitting on a bench by the beach. Paste it on the wall, and Voila!! The wall color shows through the cut contact paper. Mine is a cool shade of gray. But I guess a more contrasting color could also look very nice.
The best part of such crafts is that they are quick to make, and if you get bored of it after some time, the contact paper peels off easily! so you can change your wall art easily and keep the decor fresh!

Friday, December 14, 2012

One drawback of Kinect Dance Central

I enjoy dancing a lot! and I enjoy working out too! So Kinect Dance Central is perfect for me, but for one drawback.
After having spent 8 hours in front of a computer screen at work, my eyes are tired. So I'd like my evening workout to be such that it freshens me up and takes away all the tiredness. But, with Dance Central, I realized that since I have to stare at the TV screen to follow the dance steps, it stresses my eyes. It feels great for the rest of my body, but my eyes are still, and perhaps even more tired after this workout.