Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas

Wishing all my dear friends here a very Merry Christmas

I am part of this group on FB called the Home Baker's Guild (HBG in short). The group has a whole lot of lovely people baking from home and willing to share their experiences and guide novices like me as we travel the baking journey. All my recent baking has been majorly inspired by the lovely people here.

And here's some more baking that I tried inspired by the beautiful Christmas baking. First off is the snow ball cookies aka melting moments
This was so super easy to make and the result is just absolutely awesome. I am definitely going to bake more of these. The recipe source is here

I also made a maiden attempt at a Christmas fruit cake.

I brought some of this to work and the pieces just vanished within minutes. I cut down the sugar by half a cup and I thought it was good. The link to the recipe is here. Both the recipes are eggless and very easy.

It's a great pleasure sharing our joy with everybody and looking at other's faces isn't it? Baking and crafting just makes us so much more generous. I have absolutely started enjoying baking and beading for friends and family. Gives us a feeling of total satisfaction.

Though I do not have a stitchy progress picture to share with you all yet, I have definitely started working in seashells again. And I promise to show a picture of my progress in my last post for the year

Oops, I missed my bloggoversary again!! Dec is my bloggoversary month and thanks to all my lovely friends here I have completed 5 whole years of blogging!!! I cannot believe it myself that it's been 5 years now since I started the blog and along the way I've made so many new friends, learnt so many new ways and the blog world has made me a much more confident crafter. Thank you all again my dear friends for guiding me and keeping me motivated. Hope to know more and more people and learn much more.

With that note of thanks I sign off today. Till next time.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep stitching.. Au Revoir

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

So much baking.. still no stitching!!

Dear friends, I have been very quiet again this last month. Neither have I posted nor kept myself update with the happenings around here. I have been missing you all terribly, and promise to catch up soon. 

So, here I start with all my baking expeditions. 

I have been wanting to try my hand again at trying to bake a bread loaf with yeast. Ever since I had a not-so-successful attempt at making cinnamon rolls with yeast, it has been intimidating me. Finally, I got over that and decided to move out of my comfort zone. Here's the herded bread I baked a few weeks back for breakfast

The house smelled heavenly for a very long time. 

The norm in the home front these days is to have a new dessert every weekend, and mostly Fridays to kick off the weekend with a bang. Last weekend it was Cherry-Lemon "cheese" cake. Only I did not use cream cheese, but whipped cream.

Got the recipe from a Jamie-Oliver show. I had bought a bottle of lime curd a while back and wanted to use that up before it expired. The base was ginger-nut biscuits and pounded hazelnuts. The combination of flavors was absolutely wonderful and a must-try

Last but not the least, the cottages are all done up!!!

I have no idea why this picture is turned, the original is not. I am not able to rotate it :( But anyway, aren't they all beautiful. This has been a wonderful project to work on. I have started working on seashells again the last 2 days. Hope to share some pictures of progress next time

Well, that's it today from me friends. Till next time.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep stitching.. Au Revoir

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Dear Friends, let me first apologize for being away for so long. The last few months have been totally crazy. So many changes happening at home, first with DH's travel to Germany, then his falling sick. Lot of anxiety, stress and work not being any easier either. Now that DH is back and is getting back his health, hope my old routine would set in soon

My stitching has been zilch the last 2 months, thanks to so much going on. Add in the most important festivals of Navrathri and Diwali happening during this period too. I am yearning for some calm and some me time

Here's the Tusal - nothing new there, just a few orts from seashells

Oops, wonder why it's rotated :(

Through all this, baking is what has been keeping me sane.

I have been wanting to bake red velvet cupcakes for a very long time and I finally got down to it
Got the recipe from Goodhousekeeping magazine. I replaced the eggs with flax seed powder. It turned out so soft and moist. Topped with cream cheese frosting, perfect combination indeed

Tried another recipe from my new Baking book - currant muffins
Again replaced egg with flax seed powder

I managed to put together November cottage and up for display

Well friends, that's all from me today. Hope to share lot more interesting updates next time. Till then.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep stitching.. Au Revoir

Monday, October 7, 2013

TUSAL and a loooong update

Hello dear friends, beware this is going to be a loooong post, considering the number of days of silence here. I have been quite busy, what with DH away, me managing everything at home front alone and of course the work. But I have been crafting whenever I could.

My Tusal is a make-shift one, as I am away from home at the moment and could not wait till I take a picture

All the Orts are from seashells

I attended this baking workshop a few weeks back. This was an eggless one.

We were taught to bake brownies, vanilla cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes, strawberry crush filled cupcakes, apple cupcakes with streudel topping, hazelnut swirl cupcakes.

On the decorating front - chocolate ganache, buttercream frosting, rose decoration techniques. These 2 were decorated by me :)
 It was great fun. We took away a lot of tips.

Here's the October cottage, finished and ready to be put up when I go back home.

Just 2 more to go

And finally, I can show you some progress on seashells

It's festival time here, with the start of Navrathri and time to get dressed up, go visiting people. There's a whole lot of positivity and cheer in the air. With this festive note I sign off today

Till next time.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep stitching.. Au Revoir

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Quick bread

I have been on a spree borrowing baking books from our library. The most recent one I borrowed is "The baker's bible"

This has a whole lot of easily do-able recipes. Most of them are really simple, and for people like me who prefer to bake eggless, this is a good book. All recipes use very few eggs and can easily be replaced. Last weekend I baked a low-fat raisin bread from this book and it turned out absolutely amazing

Thanks to my baking spree, I have a new addition to my library

This is another book loaded with absolutely easy and do-able and yummy recipes. It's loaded with pictures, so a feast for the eyes too.

I am definitely making a steady progress, though a slow one, on seashells. Well, that's a very quick update from me.
Till next time.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep stitching.. Au Revoir

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

TUSAL and Gaming!!

Yes, that's precisely what has been keeping me away. Thanks to Fruit Ninja, Tetris, Subway surf and my new jigsaw apps, I have hardly made any progress with my stitching.

Let me show you my orts for the months first
All orts are from december cottage, just a few from seashells

We just removed the training wheels from V's cycle and she just can't stay away from it.

I tried this new recipe - corn pudding.
I found this recipe in one of the women's magazines, while I was enjoying a mint pedicure at the parlor. Here it is:
Boil a cup of corn in a cup of milk till it is well cooked and soft. Cool this and grind to a smooth paste. Pass this through a sieve. I skipped this step (out of sheer laziness). Pour this corn mixture into a heavy bottomed vessel, add more milk, 1 cup sugar, 1tbsp butter and cook till the mixture is thick. It should look like custard. The original recipe called for cinnamon for additional flavor, but I used cardamom and saffron. This gave a real nice touch. Chill and serve.
This is a very quick and easy dessert.

As the months fly, it's time to display the "finished" September cottage.
Just 3 more to "finish" and they will be done for good. I have gathered all the materials required to finish them all and hope to get that done by this week.

Though I have not made much progress with seashells, here's where I am with it.
I have not been baking the last few weeks at all.

I promise to make more progress and put down my games from now. Till my next post, hopefully with more progress.. Take care.. Be Happy.. Keep stitching.. Au Revoir

Friday, August 23, 2013

A b'day and a finish

What a busy 2 weeks it's been. There was so much work at work, at home. everywhere. Just seemed endless!! But looking back am happy and satisfied with whatever happened

So, let me start with the birthday. V turned 9 on 19th!! My little baby is now 9!!

It has been 2 years since we had a party for her birthday, and this year she was sure she wanted one. Not just any party, according to her she wanted the "best party ever", whatever that meant.

I had already decided that I wanted to move out of my comfort zone and try something new for her birthday cake. So, I ventured into trying a shaped cake
I did not have a cake board big enough to hold the cake. So, I had to prop it up on a circular tray. The cake was yummy and the kids just loved it. It was a basic vanilla sponge with buttercream frosting.

You can view a video of how to make a simple butterfly cake here  It is really simple

V and I made ear-ring for the girls as a return gift.

And guess what dear friends.. I have finished my cottage series!!!

Atleast the stitching is all done. Am soooo thrilled with finishing december, but can't believe that the series is over now. I will put up a picture of all finishes once I proper finish them into ornaments.

I am going to pick up seashells again now. That's about it from me today friends. Till next time.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep stitching.. Au Revoir

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A finish, some baking, some progress and Tusal

Has been quite a while since I posted last. So, there's been quite a bit of activity happening at my end.

First the Tusal for the month

All Orts here are from December of course. 

Here's the August cottage in all its glory.

Am really proud of the Indian flag, has turned out really well too. Not bad at a first attempt at changing a pattern to suit my need

Do you remember I posted a recipe for Choco-nana crinkle cookies a few weeks back. I tweaked the recipe to make lemon-choco chip cookies.

It was a suuuper hit. The change I made was skipped the cocoa and used flour, lemon juice instead of vanilla extract. For some extra spice, added half tsp of nutmeg powder

Another new trial was a potato bread

It tasted real yumm. Only it was not fluffy :( Am planning to bake this again for sure.

Guess what arrived by mail. My order from 123.

How could I just order spinach?? It's not fair right, hehe

Finally, some progress in December

After  I took this picture, I've made a lot of progress and now just have the border at the bottom left

So, that's allll the updates from me today :)
Till next time.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep stitching.. Au Revoir

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Some more desserts

I really seem to be on a dessert roll, thanks to all the inspiration from the FB group Home Baker's Guild. I tried a new dessert and an old tried and tested recipe.

The already tried is carrot cupcake.

I was going to make them into a cake, but V preferred cupcake. The idea is to prepare something every week for V's school snack. Something interesting.

I tried a no-bake chocolate tart.

I have been wanting to try chocolate tart for years. This dessert makes me extremely nostalgic, as it goes way back to my college days. There used to be this bakery near my college called Baker's Inn, which sold the best ever chocolate tarts. Ever since we moved to Chennai in 1996, I have been on the look out for tarts that taste atleast close to this, but have only faced disappointment every time I buy one. Having gained so much confidence in desserts now, I decided to try making these myself. Pardon me if I sound conceited, but I am happy that I tried. Finally I think I have (almost) matched the taste of my favorite dessert.

I was too lazy to bake the tart shells, so used the digestive biscuit+butter as base. For the filling, made chocolate ganache using the recipe from Martha stewart. It was an instant hit with the family as well. And so simple to make.

And guess what my new toy is
Isn't it a beauty?! V says "Amma this is too much, you have not put your phone down ever since you got it". I am addicted to it. Have been fidgeting with it non-stop. And I have not even started downloading any apps or music!!

Having said so much, you would have guessed that I have made zero progress in december cottage. I have picked it up again, and am making slow and steady progress.

Well, that's all from me today. Till next time.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep stitching.. Au Revoir

Monday, July 8, 2013

Lots of baking and Tusal

Whooo am reallly on a baking spree now. Last week I tried 2 new recipes - a cookie and a pudding.

The cookie is part of a challenge hosted by the Homebaker's guild - a group of bakers on FB. The challenge is called the choco-nana crinkle cookie challenge
It's an absolute yumm recipe and a must-try. The recipe is from here

The pudding was something that I've been wanting to try for a very long time. So finally I put this together, literally on Friday night for dessert.
This is what I did:
Line the baking dish with bread slices, pour cooked custard covering the bread layer completely, top with raisins and nuts of your choice and bake in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. I sprinkled some cinnamon and also added a few strands of saffron to the custard. Server warm. The hubby and V totally loved it.

Now for the Tusal
There's not much progress since my last Tusal. I have just managed to put in a few stitches on December cottage.

Here's where I stand with it now
I am taking it really slow for a few reasons - this is the last of the cottages and am cherishing it and also, am waiting for the arrival of Spinach 

And here's my July in all its glory
 That's all from me for today dear friends. Till next time with more baking and stitching.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep stitching.. Au Revoir

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Vegan kitchen and a few other books

Oops, it's already July 1st and I do not have the cottage of the month all done up :( And this time even V forgot to remind me!!!

While I put July together, I thought I'd write about this new recipe book I borrowed from the library. It's called My Vegan Kitchen by Anuradha Sawhney.

I was looking for a book that suggests quick lunch box recipes and found this one.

The cover was quite interesting, unlike the usual which made me pick this up.

And also I liked the different desserts under the dessert/sweets category. On going through it though, I was slightly disappointed in that, most of the dishes are the ones we are already familiar with in the kitchens of India. There was nothing different, nothing that I HAD to try from the book.

Apart from this I also borrowed a few other books - The baker's dozen (which is a collection of short stories written by Indian authors), US edition of good housekeeping (I love that magazine) and Pure sequence.

I liked Pure sequence - this is a very different novel about how 4 ladies in their twilight years accept their current situations and how they make the best of them. I really enjoyed reading it. For once, this was not yet another love story.

Thanks to all this reading, I guess the crafting has taken back stage. I tried my hands at baking cinnamon rolls again last weekend

and the family loved it. Though they did not specifically say so, I did not have any left to bring to work the following monday. I guess that's a good sign?! ;) For better effect, I tried to show the pictures from my first trial and the one I made last weekend. The recipe I used was a no-yeast one from Joy of baking. The recipe can be found here.

That's it from me today friends. Till next time.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep stitching.. Au Revoir

Monday, June 17, 2013

Disney and some baking lessons

We did some mall-ing on saturday. It's the one closest to our place and also the newest one in town. As it's quite close to where we live (about 10 minutes by vehicle during off-peak hours), we decided to take our motor-bike. I think that was a very bad decision, as it took us about 45 minutes to reach the place!! We were totally dead by the time we even reached there.

Disney channel had a lot of activities planned the whole of last week at the mall starting on the 7th. We just decided to visit and see if we could take a few pictures. V was quite put off by the queue and did not want to take a picture with them. I managed to take a picture of them anyway

Disney's brings out the kid in each of us, doesn't it? There were a few stalls where the girls could be dressed up as their favorite princess. Again the build up of queue was quite long. So, just took a picture of V along one of the "walls"

By the end of it all we were famished and wanted something to eat. Again the coffee shops were full and no place to sit!! Finally managed to get a few seats in one of them. After being refreshed it was time to go grocery shopping at the new hyper market in the mall. Auchan (a hypermarket chain from Europe) has opened a branch here, and obviously we have to check that out, don't we. I was expecting a few imported brands, but was disappointed there. I am happy with the freezer section though, as I got some varieties of cheese and Khoa there.

V and I are back to our baking days, and no more cold desserts, as school has started. V wanted to bake something completely on her own. So we picked up a recipe from Rachel Allen's bake series - peanut butter and white chocolate blondies

V worked on it completely, with me only helping with checking if it was done. It came out quite well, except that I think it could have been baked just a little longer to be completely done and be firmer.

The recipe for these can be found here

I have put in the first few stitches on December cottage, but not enough to post a picture yet.

Well, that's all I have this week. Till next time.. Take care.. Be happy.. Keep stitching.. Au Revoir

Sunday, June 9, 2013

TUSAL and a finish

It's once of those few months when I post the Tusal on time!!

All orts this month are from November cottage.

Speaking of which, I managed to finally finish November :)

Isn't it a beauty? I am all set to start December. When I was kitting for December, I realized that I miss one of the shades - a crescent Spinach!! Yikes!!!! I have to figure out a way of getting that.

Last night I baked these "emergency brownies", which is a blessing for sudden chocolate cravings and for people like me who are constantly craving for chocolates

Here's the recipe

That's the latest from me