rose-scented geranium

There are some years when nothing much seems to happen and life moves with a steady and gentle pace and there are other years where change is constant and exhausting.

While 2011 has not required the radical changes of 2008, when we moved interstate and started a completely new life, it has certainly been a period of transition and uncertainty.

Both my husband and I have changed jobs this year, and the kids have experienced changes in their lives too.

However, I am so thankful that we are all together in a house that we love and are slowly building strong networks in Adelaide.  Although I had never considered living here before it became a necessity, Adelaide is now home.

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Friday Favorites ~ 9/30/11

Here's what I found this week that made my mouth totally water! 


Buttery Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings


Chicken and Zucchini Casserole with Sour Cream Sauce


Cauliflower and Walnut Cream Soup

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna


Banana Oat Bars


Check out more favorites at Finding Joy in My Kitchen!
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Karpagambal Mess, Mylapore

 So, after much hype and a zillion friends, well, i exaagerate, it was just a handful of friends and a brother in law raving about the place, i finallly managed to visit the infamous Karpagambal Mess in Mylapore one sunday morning.

My uncles were visiting from Delhi and USA, and on a Sunday we decided to rise early, head for some fun in the beach and then maybe do breakfast somewhere before returning home.  We were all promptly up at 5.30am, including a tiny tot, and managed to get our cousin out of the bed as well.. :-) We had such a blast at the Marina Beach, and all that walking and running had built quite the appetite.

After a brief debate on where to head for breakfast, one of my uncles suggested Karpagambal Mess in Mylapore. It is adj to the Kapaleeshwarar temple, and is a fairly small place that you just might miss, if you dint know of its existence.


The minute you walk in, the heady aromas of sambar, chutney along with halwas and the agarbathi hits you like a storm. The man behind the counter looked like he was trapped behind the little box. Surrounding him were a zillion kinds of Halwa, sweets and savories... There was a shelf near the entrance that was brimming with podis and vadams.. The place is fairly small, and apparently after the renovation, they have included an air conditioned hall, well, its more of a cubicle, you either walk in or walk out, there is no space to amble, leave alone stand... 
We parked ourselves across 2 tables, and placed the orders. I had the pongal and Keerai vadai.. Both came steaming hot, landing plonk on the banana leaf. 

There was another vessel parked on our table- it had 3 containers in it, different kinds of chutneys and then we found a bucket with sambar.. There was also a stainless steel jug filled with water on each table.

 The food was good, hot and yummy... There are no frills or fancies here, what you see is what you get!  The walls inside the AC room and outside are covered with framed images of Gods and Goddesses, literally spanning the entire length of the place...

By the time we were done with our 1st orders, the waiter was back asking if we wanted anything else. Some ordered Poori- potato, while others [including me] ordered coffee..  The poori looked a little crisp and flat, and the potato was alright... 

The coffee was good, just right amount of sugar and strength..

We packed some for those at home and returned home happy and content...  When visiting Karpagambal Mess, 
dont expect a lengthy menu, smart waiters or spacious interiors.. You will none of these here...  
Walk in... Enjoy what you ordered.. pay your bill and get out!! Everything about the place screams Madras... 
The banana leaf, the hot filter kaapi, authentic interiors and the aroma wafting in the air...  
Service: 7/10
Ambiance- 7/10 [cant expect anything more from here]
Food quality- 9/10
Price- 9/10 [And a meal for 2 will likely cost between Rs40 - 70!!]
Shri Karpagambal Mess
E Mada St, Mylapore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600004
044 24642902
 Psst- unfortunately dint have my camera, only the Blackberry....  Took the coffee shot on uncle's HTC Sensation.. :-)
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Cincinnati Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes.  Pure comfort food in my book.  Many, many different ways to make them and their all delicious. 

I've been trying a new way of eating.  I've been eliminating wheat from my diet.  I know, I know, I am the flour tortilla queen. I love, love, love them and would eat them daily.  Well, no more whole wheat flour tortillas for me.  

I've found that a lot of my recipes are fine on corn tortillas. A lot of them are fine just plain or with lettuce.  I'm trying to learn a new way of eating.  Gluten free seems to be working well for me for now.  The family isn't all on board yet so the blog hasn't completely transformed!  Plus I still have a backlog of recipes made when I was eating gluten.

With my elimination of wheat, I decided to eat my sloppy joes over mashed potatoes.  You know what. I actually liked it BETTER than on a bun. Yup.  It was awesome. I didn't miss the bread at all.

Hubs of course still wanted a bun.  It's okay. I'll let him.  :-)

Cincinnati Sloppy Joes Recipe
Adapted from Rachael Ray

2 lbs. ground turkey, 93%
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp. ancho chili powder
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. dried oregano
3 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
1 cup chicken stock
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (14 oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Cook ground turkey.  Add pepper, onion and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes until it softens.  Add all the spices and cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the tomato paste, brown sugar and worcestershire, cook for another minute or so. 

Add the chicken stock and tomato sauce and simmer for a few minutes to thicken.  Add the beans. Serve on slider buns, sandwich thins or over mashed potatoes like I did.

Total calories = 1780 calories
6 servings = 296 calories per serving

1 serving sloppy joes + 2 servings mashed potatoes = 456 calorie dinner

One Year Ago...

Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich

This is linked with:
Ultimate Recipe Swap:Beef at Life as Mom
Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Tasty Traditions at Coupon Cookin'
Cooking Thursday at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Things I Love at Diaper Diaries
It's a Keeper at It's a Keeper Recipes

Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum
Friday Favorites at Simply Sweet Home
Recipe Swap at The Grocery Cart Challenge
I'm Lovin' It at Tidy Mom
Friday Potluck at EKat's Kitchen
Foodie Friday at Not Your Ordinary Recipes
Weekend Wrap Up Party at Tater Tots and Jello

Calories calculated from Some numbers are approximate and rounded.
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Chipotle Honey Meatballs

Meatballs are so cute, aren't they? 

These would make excellent appetizers. Just put a decorated toothpick in them and they would be adorable at your next party!

I LOVED this sauce! You get the super sweetness from the honey and then the chipotle kick comes back at you.

You have to be careful with the chipotle peppers.  They can be pretty spicy.  Here's what I do; I puree the whole can, the peppers and the adobo sauce together.  Then I put in the refrigerator and it keeps for many weeks.  Then I am able to add however much I need to in my recipes.  To me, it's much easier than chopping an individual chipotle pepper.

I used about a tablespoon (maybe more) in the meatballs and then another tablespoon in the sauce.  I would recommend tasting the sauce and adding according to personal taste.

Chipotle Honey Meatballs
Adapted from Noble Pig

2 pounds ground chicken or turkey
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs (I used gluten free)
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 can (4 ounce) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, divided
1 teaspoon salt

Chipotle-Honey Sauce
3/4 cup honey
2 to 3 whole chipotle peppers in adobo sauce ** (see note above regarding chipotle peppers)
2 tbsp. cup chicken broth or water
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 Tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine ground turkey or chicken, eggs, bread crumbs, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, 1 chopped chipotle pepper, about a couple teaspoons of adobo sauce and salt in a medium bowl. Mix well.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and form chicken mixture into 60 meatballs. Place the meatballs on the baking sheets and cover with plastic wrap; chill 1 hour. Or do what I did an just refrigerate the meat dough and then make the meatballs. I got 60 meatballs.

While the meatballs are chilling, make the sauce.

In a food processor or blender combine honey, 1 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chicken broth, tomato paste, lime juice, Dijon mustard and salt. Process until smooth. Set aside. (I didn't use the food processor, I just stirred it all together)

Remove meatballs from the refrigerator and spray with cooking spray or brush lightly with vegetable oil.  Bake both trays in a 400 degree oven for 12 minutes.

Remove the trays from the oven and place meatballs in a baking dish. Add Chipotle-Honey Sauce and brush the meatballs until they are coated.

Bake another 15 minutes or until meatballs are heated through and glazed with sauce.

Total calories = 2550 calories
60 meatballs = 42 calories per meatball with sauce

One Year Ago...

Tomato Basil Bread

This is linked with:
Let's Do Brunch at My Sweet and Savory

Works for me Wednesday at We are THAT Family
Real Food Wednesdays at Kelly the Kitchen Kop
What's on your Plate? at Good Cheap Eats
What's on the Menu at Dining with Debbie
My Best Recipes at This Chick Cooks
The Mommy Club at Crystal and Co.
Gluten Free Wednesdays at Gluten Free Homemaker
Ultimate Recipe Swap: Appetizers at Life as Mom
Recipe of the Week: Appetizers at Family Fresh Meals

Calories calculated from Some numbers are approximate and rounded.
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Some new doors are opening in our lives.  I wonder where they will lead?

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Squash Zucchini Casserole

Whenever I pass by the zucchini and squash at the store or the farmers market, I end up buying some. I don't always have a plan for it but I know it will get used.

So I had some squash in the frig with no plans.  Then my friend gave me a zucchini.  I first thought to make these zucchini cookies that I've been meaning to make for ages!  Then I saw this recipe for squash casserole and thought that combining them would be perfect. 

It was.

I loved having the color of the green zucchini along with the yellow squash. I left the peels on and left them pretty chunky as I was mashing. 

We ate this with spicy chipotle meatballs and it was a super meal!

Squash Casserole

2 - 2 1/2 lbs. yellow squash and zucchini
1/2 cup egg substitute (or 2 eggs)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
3 tbsp. onion, minced
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
15 Ritz crackers (or 2 tbsp. butter/2 tbsp. bread crumbs)

Cut zucchini and squash into chunks. Steam the squash and zucchini in microwave with water until it's soft and able to be mashed. Drain well and mash, some chunks are okay.  Stir in egg, bread crumbs, onion and spices.  Pour into an 8 x 8 pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Crush Ritz crackers and sprinkle on top of casserole.  Bake for another 20 - 30 minutes until golden and done.

Total calories = 665 calories
4 servings = 166 per serving

One Year Ago...

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

This is linked with:
$5 Dinner Challenge at $5 Dinners

My Meatless Monday at My Sweet and Savory
Mouthwatering Mondays at A Southern Fairytale
Your Recipe, My Kitchen at Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker
Just another Meatless Monday at What's for Dinner, Mom?
Midnight Maniac Meatless Monday at Midnight Maniac
Made By You Mondays at Skip to my Lou
Mangia Mondays at Delightfully Dowling
Makin' You Crave Mondays at Mrs. Happy Homemaker
Tuesday at the Table at All The Small Stuff
Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam
Hearth & Soul at Mom's Sunday Cafe
Tasty Tidbits at Permanent Posies
Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at SS & GF
Recipe Party at This Chick Cooks

Calories calculated from Some numbers are approximate and rounded.
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Just as Difficult

People say that young children are difficult to photograph because they won't stay still, but I think foraging chooks are easily as bad.  When the earth is full of bugs and worms, posing sedately just isn't an option.

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Menu Plan Monday ~ September 26 - October 2, 2011

There are just too many things I want to make and just not enough time.  Some weeks, not enough energy!  This week I'm planning to make a bunch of taco meat and using the leftovers for other nights. 

Monday:  Black Bean and Corn Quinoa

Tuesday: Herb and Cheese Stuffed Burgers & Cowboy  Mashed Potatoes

Wednesday:  Tacos & Black Beans

Thursday: Taco Omelettes

Friday: Potato Nachos with sweet potatoes

Saturday: Leftovers and Gingerbread Popcorn

Sunday: Steaks or Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Apples

This is linked with Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie
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Victoria Sandwich with Lemon Butter

A Victoria Sandwich is, of course, not a sandwich made with bread and butter, but a type of sponge cake.

I made this one for afternoon tea on Friday, however unlike last time, I used our chooks' eggs rather than ducks' eggs.

The lemon butter (or curd) is made from my favourite lemon butter recipe ever, which I posted here.

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Work in progress...

Ainda não terminei... Mas fico feliz, pois desde que têm as suas novas caminhas, as minhas filhas dormem a noite toda no seu quartinho. ♥

Aqui ficam mais alguns pormenores do quarto. Como a Carlota adora dançar, vou pôr uns quadros com umas bailarinas. Esta foto mostra um dos desenhos, do lado direito. E agora, na minha cabeça, estão uns pratos para pendurar na parede, com o nome de cada uma delas... Ah, e claro está, uma arca branca, com a largura da cama, para pôr ao fundo do beliche. Serve para arrumar mais alguns brinquedos e para fazer de mesinha para elas. Ainda não decidi se forro a tampa da arca com papel ou se forro apenas umas cadeirinhas de madeira que ainda vou arranjar... o que acham?

Tenham um bom fim-de-semana!

Uma vista do beliche...
A view of the bunk bed...

Still unfinished... But I'm happy, as the girls sleep all night in their bedroom ever since they have the new beds. ♥

I leave you with a few more details of the room. As Carlota loves to dance, I'm hanging two ballerina pictures - I'm showing you one of the prints above. And for now all I can think of is two custom made wall plates, each with their name on it... And, of course, a white chest to put at the end of the bed, with the same width. Then I can clear up a few more toys and have the chest work as a table as well, as I'm planning on having little chairs too. I still didn't decide whether I'm covering the top of the chest with paper or if I'll just use some bits of wallpaper that I have left to cover the chairs... what do you think i should do?

Have a nice weekend!
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Cake Batter Crispies

I wish I had better pictures of these.  I made them, plated them for the party; next thing I knew, they were gone.  I did mangage to steal a taste and they were delicious. Of course.  The kids adored them and have been begging me to make them again every since. 


Cake Batter Crispies
Adapted from Food For Thought

3 tbsp. butter
1 - 10 oz. bag of marshmallows
1/4 cup of yellow cake mix
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal

One Year Ago...

Apple Poppyseed Chicken Salad Wrap

This is linked with:
 Sweets for a Saturday at Sweet as Sugar Cookies
Weekend Wrap Up Party at Tatertots and Jello
Bake with Bizzy at Bizzy Bakes
Tailgating Time at Our Krazy Kitchen
Made By You Monday at Skip to my Lou
Recipe Party at This Chick Cooks

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The First

The first yellow rose of spring

and the first peach rose.

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Arepas with Poblanos, Bacon and Eggs

I loved the name of this recipe. Arepas with Poblanos.  It just has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? You have to say it with an accent too of course. It just rolls off the tongue. Arepas with Poblanos!

I had never made arepas before.  I'm not sure I even really knew what an arepa was.  Well, let me tell you, they were delicious.  Like awesome corn pancakes.

While the poblanos looked pretty and were delicious, I think next time, I would just cut them up into the eggs.  I'm all about simple and that would just be one less step. Call me lazy but I think it would be just fine.

Arepas with Poblanos, Bacon and Eggs
Adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine Sept. 11

2 large poblano chile peppers
1 cup corn flour or finely ground cornmeal
1 cup corn
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (3 oz)
1 cup milk
2 tbsp. butter
6 slices bacon, chopped
8 eggs
Cilantro (optional)

Preheat broiler to high.  Char the poblanos under the broiler on all sides, 5 - 6 minutes.  Place in a bowl, cover and let cool.  Peel, seed and slice.

Place corn flour and corn kernals in a bowl and season with salt.  Add the cheese and toss with your fingers.  In a small saucepan, heat the milk but do not boil. Add the butter to melt.  Stir into the corn mixture and let stand for about 10 minutes. 

Cook the bacon in a skillet until done and crispy.  Scoop bacon out onto paper towels to drain.  Save bacon grease to cook arepas and eggs in if desired.  (it's bacon grease, how could you NOT want to do this!)

Heat a thin layer of oil (I used bacon greast) in nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Spoon corn cake mixture and flatten slightly. I used an ice cream scoop for measuring and just flattened them with the end of the scoop.  Cook them for 3 - 4 minutes on one side, or until you see the edges just getting brown.  Flip and cook on the second side for a couple of minutes. I fit 4 in a pan and cooked 12 arepas. 

Add small bit of bacon grease to skillet and and add the eggs.  Season with salt and cilantro.  Scramble to desired doneness.  Layer the eggs on the arepas and top with poblanos.

One Year Ago...

Cilantro Rice

This is linked with:

Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Tasty Traditions at Coupon Cookin'
Cooking Thursday at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Things I Love Thursday at The Diaper Diaries
It's a Keeper Thursday at It's a Keeper
Ultimate Recipe Swap-Side Dishes at Life as Mom
Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum
Friday Favorites at Simply Sweet Home
Recipe Swap at The Grocery Cart Challenge
I'm Lovin' It at Tidy Mom
Friday Potluck at EKat's Kitchen
Foodie Friday at Not Your Ordinary Recipes
Weekend Wrap Up Party at Tater Tots and Jello
Makin' You Crave Mondays at Mrs. Happy Homemaker
Made By You Monday at Skip to My Lou
Recipe of the Week at Family Fresh Meals
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Soft and cozy

Ainda não estão passadas a ferro, a luz não é nada de especial, mas tinha que vos mostrar as fotos. Eu adoro as almofadas novas das princesas. Adoro almofadas - quem não gosta? O eterno elemento decorativo com que as mulheres se perdem... temos sempre tantas! :) Não concordam?

They're still unironed, the light is not so great, but I had to show you the photos. I love the new pillows of my little ones. I love pillows - who doesn't? The decorative item that all women like... we always have so many! :) Don't you agree?

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Vegetable Dip

Several weeks back, I was privileged enough to help create an Everyday Meal with 5 other talented food bloggers for Lawry's.  It was a contest.  10 teams, each with a team of 6.  Well, I'm happy to saw that Lawry's announced the winners and we won! Yea! 

Here is the featured recipe for Baked Panko Zucchini Fries from our team.  Here is the Lawry's facebook page as well!

Well, I was in need of some healthy veggie dip so I turned to Lawry's once again and it turned out fantastic!!


Veggie Dip

1 (6 oz) plain greek yogurt
1/3 cup sour cream, light
1/3 cup mayo, light
1 tsp. onion powder
1 1/2 tsp. dried dill weed
2 tsp. Lawry's Seasoned Salt

Add all the ingredients together with a whisk. Chill an hour or so before serving.  This will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. 

One Year Ago...

Italian Sausage Pasta w/ Zucchini Broccoli Alfredo Sauce

This is linked with:
Tuesday at the Table at All The Small Stuff

Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam
Hearth & Soul at Mom's Sunday Cafe
Tasty Tidbits at Permanent Posies
Slightly Indulgent at SS&GF
Let's Do Brunch at My Sweet and Savory
Works for me Wednesday at We are THAT Family
Real Food Wednesdays at Kelly the Kitchen Kop
What's on your Plate? at Good Cheap Eats
What's on the Menu at Dining with Debbie
My Best Recipes at This Chick Cooks
The Mommy Club at Crystal and Co.

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