Reuse Golu stand – To a Storage Rack for Kids room

With Navarathri just a week away, I thought I will post this little project I did… What do you all do with your Golu stand after you are done using it for 10 days? Usually it lies in the loft in all our houses.

(For those of you who are wondering what I am talking about…Google out “Navarathri Golu” or check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golu to know more about this. Normally we use slotted angle Golu stands for this purpose)

Some people assemble it as a regular Storage Rack and use it to store books etc but my problem with that has always been that it looks very dull and unappealing.

I decided to get over this issue of appearance of the Steel rack by painting it and use it in my son’s room. I am constantly challenged with Space issues for storing my son’s books and toys. He is just 3 years old and I cannot believe how much stuff we have accumulated – I don’t even remember buying most of this stuff. I guess friends and family have been very generous with their gifts 🙂

Every time I think my son has outgrown some of the toys and I try to put it aside, he starts playing with those!

I just painted the rack with the colours I thought would go well with my son’s room. (Anyway for the actual Golu we will be covering this with a white cloth, so the painted rack should not matter). I have used Enamel Gloss paint colours which I picked up at the hardware store.

Kids room storage rack

Painted and ready to be used!

From a different angle

Pros –

1) It can hold quite a lot of stuff.

2) You can fix it as you need – if you need shelves with more spacing and some with less, you can fix it the way you want.

3) It is open and kids can see and pick what they need for playing – Well, this also leads to a mess sometimes 😉

4) You can expand the storage by adding hooks wherever you need and hang some stuff – the options are endless!

Cons –

1) It is a open shelf – so attract dust and you have to keep cleaning it!

Tip : It would also be a good idea to put a couple of nails in the wall to fasten this to the wall, to avoid it from toppling if you have naughty kids who might climb on it!

Hope you like this idea!

It was super easy and did not cost much. Do share your comments 🙂

Close-up shot of the design…

Filled with toys, puzzles, books…

DIY Earring holder – Reuse and Recycle

If you have a lot of earrings and you do not get time to search for which one to wear when you are stepping out of home everyday, this could be the simplest solution for you!

I have always had the problem of how to store my earrings in such a way that I can easily pick from it in the crazy morning rush. And of course the other issue I always have is I don’t seem to find the pairs!

DIY earring hanger

I have a earrings holder now to hold all the danglers (the ones with hooks). I have just reused an old Duppatta that I had (you could use an old stole or a scarf too) for this.

All you need is a hanger and the duppatta/scarf. Use a command center hook (sticker hook) that can be stuck to the inside of the wardrobe door. The hanger can hang from this – so you save a lot of space and can see exactly what all earrings you have and you will not need to search for the matching earring to make a pair!

This works best for danglers; You could even put studs in these but if you have a lot of studs , I think it is better to store them somewhere else.

Don’t you just love this! Share your feedback and also other ideas you might have for this.

I know what you are thinking now…Too much empty space on this – I need to go shopping today 😉 !

DIY Earring holder on the wardrobe door – Space saver!

Naga Chaturthi and Naga Panchami

Naga Chaturthi and Naga Panchami are very auspicious days in the Madhwa calendar. On these days we worship the Serpent God – Naga.

Naga Chaturthi is observed by Ladies who pray for the welfare of their children and Naga Panchami is performed by all. Naga Panchami is also a day when women pray for the welfare of their brothers.

Naga Chaturthi (Nagaachautha)

Significance

Nagaachauth, a festival to worship Nag Devatas (Serpent Gods), is mainly a women festival. It is observed by married women for their wellbeing of their children.It is also believed that praying to Naaga will keep one away from skin disorders and ear problems.

Note: I know that people say that Snakes don’t drink milk or any of the things that are offered as part of the ritual mentioned below. However I think the ritual might have been started to encourage people to live in harmony with Nature. Apart from this, by offering this to the Termite mount, we might be feeding and supporting a lot of other insects and organisms around it.

Preparation

  • Unboiled milk
  • Ghee
  • Flowers
  • Rock Salt
  • Pepper
  • Rice flour
  • Jaggery and Til (ground in mixie)
  • Thambit (Rice flour, Jaggery, Til and Coconut)
  • Green moong (lightly roasted)
  • Full channa (lightly roasted)
  • Nel Pori
  • Cotton
  • Rangoli powder (Kola maavu)
  • Paat (Plank)
  • Diva/Lamps for lighting
  • Fruits, Flowers and Cocunut
  • Haldi
  • Mantarakshata, Vasthra – Both Yellow for Naga chaturthi (no kumkum)
  • Silver Naag (for pooja)

Items for Pooja

Procedure –

1) Make a rangoli outside the house with 2 Nags (Usually there is always a big Nag and  small child Nag drawn in all the places). A similar one is done near the stove in the kitchen and on the Paat on which the Naag is going to be kept for the pooja.

2) Draw Naag outside the house on the wall with turmeric water – 2 Naags are to be drawn. (If you live in an apartment and dont want to draw it on the wall, you can do it on paper and stick it outside). Put Vastra for this Naag also.

3) Keep the Silver Naag for Pooja in a plate or small bowl. Keep this on a Paat.

4) With a silver Udharani, put 3 spoons of water, then put 3 spoons of unboiled milk, Ghee and then again water.

5) Put little of each of the following (or whatever is available) – Salt, Black pepper, cotton, Rice flour, Channa, Full moong, Jaggery and til paste, Nel Pori.

6) Put Haldi, yellow Mantarakshata (made with only turmeric), Vastra (made only with turmeric).

7) Light the lamps, Put flowers and pray to Naag for the well being of children and all others in the family.

8) Do Mangalaarathi and namaskara.

9) Saanje (Sojji or Rava Kesari) is made as Neivaidhya. Offer the same to God. Also offer coconut and other fruits as Neivaidhya.

10) Usually women with children do Palahara once – This depends on family tradition also, so please check and follow accordingly.

11) If possible go to the temple (puthu – Termite mount) and offer all the items that you offered to the Naag at home.

12) There is also  practice of tying Daava (a thread like Raakhi) to small children below 5 years. The Daava is tied on the right hand above the elbow.

Nagas drawn outside

Naga chaturthi Pooja

Naga Panchami

On Naga Panchami day, all the people in the house should do pooja in a similar way as mentioned above. You can also include Kumkum, Red mantrakakshata and Red Vastra on this day.

We also make a Putthu like object using Clay and keep a few Naagas on it and do Pooja (Forgot to take a picture of this).

This is a festival and so festival food is prepared and eaten.

Tips –

1) You can get a few things like all the items for Pooja a day earlier.  Keep 3 portions of this – one set for the Nagachaturthi pooja, one set for Naga Panchami pooja and one set for the temple pooja.

2) Palahara items for Naga Chautha are usually Uppit, Sojji, Sadudhana Bakala bath had along with Vadaya (Papad).

3) I have mentioned almost an exhaustive list for what all needs to be put on the Naaga for the pooja. However it is all optional and you can use whatever is easily available.

Eggless Vanilla Sponge cake/cupcake

It has definitely been a while since I have been able to post anything on the blog 😦 …. so I thought I’ll put in this Sponge cake recipe that my sis has been asking for quite some time! This sponge cake recipe has definitely become my favourite recipe and I have made it sooooooooooo many times already 🙂

The original recipe is here but I have modified it slightly as given below.

The original recipe calls only for Maida (All-purpose flour), but I have tried this with substituting 2/3rds of the all-purpose flour with Wheat flour to make it a healthier cake and the cake still comes out very very yummy! I like to make these as cupcakes as I can put it in my son’s snack box (that is currently my biggest challenge – to find stuff that I can send so that he would definitely eat)! I have also halved the oil called for in the recipe and added some flax seed powder and water.

Ingredients-

Wheat flour (Aata) – 1 Cup

All-purpose flour or Maida – 1/2 cup

Yoghurt – 1 cup

Sugar – 3/4 cup

Baking soda – 1/2 tsp

Baking powder – 1 1/2 tsp

Cooking oil – 1/4 cup

Vanilla essence – 1 1/2 cup

Flax seed powder – 1 tbsp

Warm Water – 1/4 cup

Procedure –

1. In a mixing bowl, Mix sugar and yoghurt till sugar dissolves

2. Add the baking powder and baking soda to this and mix well.

3. Keep this aside for 5 minutes

4. In another small bowl mix the warm water and the flax seed powder and let this also rest for 5 minutes.

5. Add the vanilla essence, oil and the flax seed mixture to the mixture in Step 3 and mix

6. Add both the flours to this and mix well till creamy.

7. Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C

8. Fill the cupcake liners and bake for about 15-20 minutes. My cupcakes were done in about 18 minutes. Check with a toothpick to check if it comes out clean. (Large cakes will take about 40 minutes – again this depends on the oven and you need to check when your cake is ready)

Hot cupcakes with the wonderful aroma filling the house!

Really soft sponge cake is ready! Be careful when you remove the cake from the pan or when you remove the cupcakes from the paper liners – they are so soft that they can crumble in your hands!

Tips

– For the measurements given above you will get about 15 small sized cupcakes

-You can add some choco-chips or raisins etc instead of a plain sponge cake

-Increase the sugar to 1 cup if you like it to be sweeter.

Hope you enjoy these egg-less cupcakes and it is a wonderful and easy option for kid’s snackbox!

Cupcakes for the snack-box!

Eggless Triple-choc Muffins

There was a Aussie TV soap I used to watch sometime back in which the main character – a lady would often bake Triple-choc muffins and people would devour it like it was the tastiest thing on earth! From the time I watched that, I have been planning to make it. I checked for recipes for the same but could not find any good recipes which were eggless. So I kind of dropped the idea of making this.

My sister also keeps herself busy with her baking experiments and she told me that flax seed powder is a good substitute for Egg in baking recipes. So I decided to try it out for myself with this Triple choc recipe – and the results were amazing!

You can find the original recipe here but I have tweaked it quite a bit below.

I have tried this recipe a few times and it comes out really well. This is a very rich recipe – sinfully rich! Chocolates, Butter, Sugar etc but I did not want to alter this too much because I made this only when there was a reason to indulge in a good dessert.

You can probably use the store-bought Flax seed powder but I had only Flax seeds with me and I powdered it in the blender.

Ingredients

3 cups plain flour

1 1/4 tablespoon baking powder

1 cup choco chips (dark, milk and white) (I had only white and dark choco chips, used a regular milk chocolate bar cut into fine pieces for the milk chocolate)

1 1/2 cups milk

2 tablespoon Flaxseed powder in 6 tbsp water – left for 10 mins

3 tablespoon cocoa

1 ½ cups brown sugar

125 g melted sugar

Method

Preheat oven to 160 deg

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder

Add the brown sugar, choco chips and mix well

Add melted butter, milk and the flaxseed solution and mix well

Fill ¾ each muffin hole with paper lining and back for 18 to 20 mins or till cooked. I always use the famous toothprick test to check if it is done. Mine took about 25 mins but this might vary depending on your oven and the size of the muffins you bake.

With the measurements given if you use small muffin cups, you would get about 24 -30 muffins.

The muffins were moist, dense and not-too-sweet . They disappeared in a jiffy!

Triple-choc – Fresh out of the oven!

Deliciously Chocolaty!

Tips

  • If you try to reduce the amount of choco-chips in the recipe, the taste is a bit bland – do not compromise on it.
  • Using brown sugar works really well in this recipe but you can substitute it for White sugar if you don’t have it in your pantry.
  • Let the flax seed powder mixed with 3 times quantity of water rest for about 10-15 mins – that helps it get an egg-like consistency.

Old newspaper recycling – DIY basket

When I was browsing the internet a few days back, I came across a very interesting video in which a lady makes a solid basket using old newspapers. It looked amazingly simple and I decided to try it.

The original video link – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3E3uS9QF28

All you need is some old newspapers, a plastic basket for the template, a clean sink and a little fevicol. If you chose to paint it and stick gift-wrapping paper etc, then you need paint and the wrapping paper but that is optional.

Here is what I did-

1.Started with some Old newspapers…..

Old newspapers

2.Tore it into pieces (that was fun 🙂 )

3.I used a plastic basket that I use to wash vegetables. I put the old papers and basket in the kitchen sink (For a change my sink was empty and clean – Rare occasion)

Model plastic basket

4.Put the wet paper pieces into the basket just as shown in the video.

5. Once you feel you have the thickness that you need, just press the basket as shown to squeeze out any excess water.

6. Then just let it dry – I left it for a few days because I did not have time to look at it for sometime! but I think 2 days should be enough if it is summer.

7. When it was dried, this is what it looked like  –

Paper basket and the model plastic basket

8. My paper basket was not as hard as what was shown in the video – i think either i did not use too many layers of paper as required or I did not make the papers wet enough to stick together well. (However it is sturdy enough for the purpose I am going to use it for – to organize some stuff in my son’s toy room). The next step I did was, using fevicol I stuck a layer of newspaper on this to give it a neat finish and not show the flaky edges that I had in some places. This was the outcome….

Final outcome

9. The final finished paper basket looked good but since I was planning to use it in my son’s room and place it on his toy/book rack which is blue in colour, I thought it would look good if I painted it blue. Well, that was not such a great idea and i realized that when I was half way through the painting…so I just painted the inside and put some gift wrapping paper on the outside. (I know it probably looked better without any of this with the newspaper finish – but could not revert!)

Finished basket with my son’s alphabet magnets

It is really as easy as it looks and definitely useful – you could use it to organize anything!

Tips :

  • Watch the video carefully and follow it to the ‘T’
  • I think it might have been a better idea to select a regular circular plastic basket as the model instead of going with complicated shapes to start with.

Eggless Banana Cookies

I got this recipe when I was watching  Chellam Rani’s cookery show on Jaya TV with my mom few months back. However at that point of time I did not have an oven. I tried to recollect the recipe and jot it down for my sister who is now a Pro in baking :)! My mom is interested in all these recipes and used to do a lot of baking when we were young. I will get the recipe of my mom’s lovely butter biscuits and Omum (Ajwain) biscuits and put it in the blog sometime.

This banana cookie recipe may not be exactly what was mentioned on the show because I did not write it down while I was watching the show – Nevertheless I have tried this out a couple of times and  it came out well!

Ingredients

Margarine/Saltless Butter – 50gm (I used butter)

Maida – 100gms

Baking soda/Cooking soda – 1/4 tsp

Castor sugar – 50gm (I used regular sugar)

Brown Sugar – 50gm

Banana – 50gm (about half of a big banana – I used 2 small elaichi banana)

Vanilla essence – 1tsp

Almonds/Walnuts (chopped) – 1 tbsp (Optional)

Cinnamon powder – 1/4 tsp (Optional)

Procedure

  1. Bring the butter to room temperature (if it was frozen)
  2. Since I used Granulated sugar, I powdered it a little in the dry jar of mixie along with the brown sugar (for which I used Deremera sugar). If you are already using fine sugar, you can chose to skip this step.
  3. With a fork/masher/hand, mash the bananas.
  4. Mix the mashed bananas, sugar, brown sugar, butter and mix it all well till it forms a smooth mixture. Add the vanilla essence to this and whisk it together. Also mix the cinnamon powder if you are adding it.
  5. Take the maida and baking soda and sieve it together (about 2 or 3 times) so that it is mixed well.
  6. Now mix the dry maida+soda into the wet mixture – but dont beat it or mix it too hard. Just gently fold it till it is mixed well.
  7. You can add the chopped walnuts/almonds to this and mix it.
  8. Dust the baking tray/aluminium sheet (Spread butter and pat it with maida) or line it with a butter paper.
  9. Now you can take this cookie mix (dough) and roll it into small balls (You can use your hands for this. Greasing your hands will not be necessary as the mixture contains the butter required for this. If it is too sticky, then you can grease your palms before you do this)
  10. Put these cookie balls on the tray and ensure you leave enough gap between them as they are going to rise and expand as it bakes.
  11. Use a fork and press these gently to make it a little flat and also to give it a striped design/effect. You can also poke holes in the cookies using the fork. [Note: If you make them too flat, your cookies will come out too crispy.]
  12. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 150 deg Centigrade for about 15-20 mins. (Mine took about 18 mins to have the right cookie texture)
  13. Remove the tray from the oven and let it cool completely before you can taste them. (This is really important as it would seem very soft when you take it out. However it gets crisp once you let it cool off)

Cookies just out of the oven – needs to cool off!

Tips

  • The cookies taste really yummy but it was a bit too sweet for my taste – so maybe you can reduce the sugar a little. However I am not sure if the cookies would come out fine if you reduce it considerably (My son and hubby seemed to like it this way, so I dont plan to alter this recipe much)
  • If you make the cookies too flat/thin, they turn out very crispy (my son loved the batch that I made crispy!) However, if you make them a bit thick, they are more cookie-like – They had a nice crispy crust and chewy inside.
  • The cinnamon powder was not in the original recipe. I just tried to add it to give it a different flavour.
  • The measurements above would make about a dozen regular sized cookies (Approx  – Honestly mine got over so quickly I could not even count them after it was done :)!)

Enjoy your cookies with a cup of hot coffee! Perfect for a relaxed weekend 🙂

Cookies with Madras-style coffee – Heaven 🙂