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food styling, kids lunchbox, Lunchbox bites, rice recipes, Spreads & Preserves »

[30 Jan 2014 | 9 Comments | ]
Food Styling | Healthy Pulav with Greens and Avocado Chutney – Not Everything in Life is Logical

I received a phone call from a photographer friend the other day, “Hello, Sanjeeta, there is a photo shoot day after tomorrow and I said yes to the client, believing that you are there to help me out with the ‘food styling‘ part.”

You have to cook 15 plus recipes in the studio and style the same. Things moved too fast, and I could not ask for more time from the client.” He concluded hurriedly.

And I was like “What?”. From sourcing props, shopping raw ingredients, planning the shots and cooking recipes in the studio to styling the sets …all in a day’s time…single-handedly…

healthy snacks, Lunchbox bites »

[9 Oct 2013 | 6 Comments | ]
Recipes | 6 Easy and Healthy Festive Snacks Aka Sundal Recipes – Life is What You Celebrate

Look at this pretty Idol of Sarawati with Veena, this one is more than 100 years old, it was passed on to me by my mother. And this white Shiva Idol….a friend of your Tatha’s father (great-grandfather) brought it  from Sri Lanka about 70 years ago.” She wipes the idol gently and asks my son to place it on the ladder specially created for Navaratri festival.

For a change there is a silence at home for long, as the children are sitting patiently next to their grandmother, waiting eagerly for her to open that heavy iron trunk which is rusted beyond repair. I could see the amusement written all over their faces. The trunk which opens up with a creaky noise is like a Pandora box for them with small bundles of memories, moments and untold stories.

Her face lightens up each time she unfolds the fragile age-old clay dolls wrapped in small muslin clothes. I wonder how she never gets bored of narrating the (same) history of each Idol to my children, year after year… 🙂

And I am sure when they hold some of these Idols which belong to their fore fathers, it gives them a feeling of belonging and reminds them from where they came from.

Appetizers & starters, healthy snacks, Lunchbox bites, Veggies/curries »

[17 Sep 2013 | 11 Comments | ]
Recipes | Baby Potato Pops and Minty Coconut Curry – You Never Know When You Need It

I didn’t give much thought back then, but realized that this is a common topic of discussion among many parents I meet during school hours. “Our children spend years gathering useless information they’ll never use again” is the common complaint from many parents.
“You should always remember that school life does not end just with mugging up lessons and clearing exams. Your school life extends much beyond the backpack you carry, to some of the supportive friends you make for lifetime, creative lessons you learn from your teachers in studies and sports to the self esteem you gain in school.”

Lunchbox bites, pulses and beans, Veggies/curries »

[26 Aug 2013 | 12 Comments | ]
Recipe | Bitter Gourd and Chickpea Pitlai – Embracing the Beautiful Cultural Diversity

Living in two different cultures has more benefits than challenges, well, at least to me. I was born and brought up in Rajasthan and moved to Chennai after marriage. I did not anticipate the vast differences in food preference, rituals, languages and the climatic conditions between both the cities. But fortunately for me, except for the common language of communication (Tamil), my transition from one culture to other was seamless.

And yes, the barrier of language was broken long back. I can now converse in local languages (Tamil and Telugu) without getting conscious of my accents or worrying about grammatical mistakes 🙂

breakfast medley, Lunchbox bites, lunchbox medley, Veggies/curries »

[28 Jul 2013 | 12 Comments | ]
Recipes | My Complete Go-To Dinner – Four Healthy Pasta Dishes

Growing up, we rarely had Pasta in our menu. Not that Pasta was easily available in India, it was non-existent in mom’s kitchen. The only recipe I could remember which remotely resembled today’s Pasta was our indigenous Daal Dhokli. Hmm…those delicate stripes of whole grain pasta…err…Dhoklis floating in spicy lentil broth…I would never trade my hot steamy bowl of Daal Dhoklis for any fancy pasta, not in the least.

But no matter how creatively you present these traditional recipes, children are children, they fail to notice.

As your children grow older, your sayings on the dinning table fall off and your food preferences are put to shelf.

Breakfast bites, Festive bites, fresh fruit desserts »

[3 Jul 2013 | 8 Comments | ]
Recipes | Two Easy and Healthy Fruity Desserts, Cottage Cheese Mousse & Yogurt Parfait – Say Yes to Desserts

A delicious meal is great, but a dessert is even better. A handful of fresh fruits, few biscuits, a little yogurt or cottage cheese and you are in for a refreshing and healthy treat everyday. Dessert recipes that are easy on the stomach are preferred anytime in my home to heavy & creamy ones. Nothing is more  rewarding than to see my children appreciating & preferring these home made healthy desserts over store bought ice creams.

These two desserts are now a regular feature on our dinner table, just that the fruits and the biscuit/cornflakes base keep changing to bring in more variation in the recipes. Cottage cheese and yogurt give that feathery touch and extra freshness to the recipes.

Bites, Breakfast bites, sandwiches »

[8 Jun 2013 | 13 Comments | ]
Recipes | A Few Healthy Sandwiches – When Travel Gives You a Story to Tell

To me the best thing about vacation is brainstorming the places to visit and then making a tentative plan for the entire trip. Online reviews and Google comes to rescue for searching a comfortable hotel/resort, book safaris in advance and design the itinerary all by myself.

Years of traveling has made me a planner and I often look out for off beat destinations in India to avoid unruly crowd, commercialization of tourist places and to experience the thrill of meeting new challenges all the way. Traveling together to some known and some unknown destinations has made the nature lover, the adventure enthusiast and the history buff in my family come out in open. We now appreciate the ruins of history and pristine beauty of mountains in the same breath.
A first-hand narrative description of our trip can be read in a series of seven blogposts I published recently on my other Blog, here.

healthy snacks, kids lunchbox, Lunchbox bites, lunchbox medley, pulses and beans »

[14 May 2013 | 17 Comments | ]
Recipes | Two Authentic Healthy Treats from Rajasthan – Time to Slow Down and Enjoy Life

There are a few moments in life when you are truly & completely happy. My yearly visit to hometown in Udaipur, Rajasthan is one such occasion when I wish I could stop the time and live in those moments forever. Though many old familiar houses have given way to high rise apartments now and there are very few familiar faces to greet, but every visit is worth preserving the childhood experiences and keeping them afresh…..from authentic Daal Baatis to exotic Gatte ki subji filled with nuts and dried fruits…they leave no stone unturned to pamper me with their love and let me indulge in my favorite food.

Baking bites, cakes, fresh fruit desserts »

[27 Apr 2013 | 14 Comments | ]
Baking | Two Healthy Fresh Fruit Squares with Finger Millet and Oats – Time for Spring Cleaning

‘Our house is clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy’. Yes, we decided to repaint the house after putting the long due project to back burner for years. The house is in total mess, but this exercise is a good lesson not to collect things which we may never use in life. There are sackful of such useless articles peeping errr..sleeping in the cupboards and overhead lofts, and I am on a disposing spree…finally.

On a positive note, painting your house is a good chance to do some spring cleaning as well. My old oven, box TV, stone age printer, bangle boxes, speakers, toasters, fluffy teddy bears, bagful of plastic kitchenware…looks like I have a real Pandora box…and believe me some of these have never seen the light of the day. Getting attached with these not so useful objects which were a part of my life some years back is inevitable, and I really feel sad to part with.

kids lunchbox, Lunchbox bites, Spreads & Preserves, stuffy delights/Indian flat breads »

[17 Apr 2013 | 13 Comments | ]
Recipes | Two Easy & Healthy Indian Flat Breads with Broccoli and Lentils – Home is Where the Heart is

Home is where the heart is….my heart belongs to Chennai, the place where I got married and have been living since 1996. I have wholeheartedly accepted the city and have accustomed to the traditions, climatic conditions and the food here.

But even after spending a good 17 years in Chennai I feel that a part of my heart still lives in Udaipur. The place where I grew up, studied and spent the most beautiful years of my life with family and friends.

And why not, if one is the place of my birth than the other made me a complete woman! I take it as a special privilege of belonging to the two different cities at once.

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