Monthly Archives: January 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge: Hope

Hope….like the lamps glowing…to a new dream, new beginning, and peace…

Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all they have….


Posted by on January 29, 2012 in Photography, PostaWeek2012


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Vegetable Upma

One of the most popular breakfasts in Southern India,  upma (or vegetable upma, as in this case), is easy, quick, and delicious.  Every mom and homemaker in South India whips up upma in a matter of minutes for a delicious mini meal, school lunch, or after-school snack for hungry kids.  What is upma anyway?  Upma is made with semolina (farina, rava, sooji), and sometimes vegetables get into the mix too. Innovative home cooks have often replaced semolina with bread, quinoa, rice flakes, and oats to make upma.  Upma is also called uppittu or khara bhath.

Although I must confess, in every house, there are some folks who will run miles from upma, and others who love it. I love upma when it is warm and fragrant with mustard seeds, green chillies, and cilantro, not to mention fresh vegetables.  It tastes even better if you have some toasted cashew nuts to garnish.  Upma makes for a quick weeknight dinner too….and I often make upma when I am alone at home.  Leftover upma makes for a nice lunch too.  I customize upma with fresh veggies that I have at the time, but I definitely add some peas and carrot to make a really colorful upma.  Here you  will find one upma that is yellow, and another non-yellow version.

So, what is the difference – can you tell?  Hmmm……just a pinch of turmeric, which gives the upma a lovely yellow color, rendering it a pilaf-like look.

Here are the ingredients I used for the upma:

 1 cup semolina

1 onion, finely chopped

1 cup mixed vegetables, carrots, peas, beans, etc.

1 small tomato, finely chopped

2 green chillies, finely diced

1″ piece ginger, grated

A few curry leaves

1/4 tsp mustard seeds

Roasted cashew nuts to garnish (optional)

Coriander leaves for garnish

2 tsp oil

Salt to taste

A pinch of turmeric

 And, these are the directions:
1. Roast the semolina in a pan until it turns golden brown and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
2. Heat oil in the same pan and add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. When the mustard seeds splutter, add the onions, green chillies and ginger.  (Reduce the green chillies or avoid it if you aren’t fond of the heat of chillies).  Fry for a few minutes until the onions turns golden brown.
3. Add vegetables, tomato, salt, and turmeric. Stir together and combine.  Add about 3 cups water and cook covered until the vegetables are done.
4. Lower the heat and slowly add the roasted semolina, stirring constantly to avoid any lumps. Continue to cook on a low heat until the water is evaporated, about 5 minutes.
5. Remove and garnish with cilantro leaves and cashew nuts (if using). 
6. Serve warm with chutney (optional).


 A tad of fresh ghee or melted butter drizzled on the upma gives it extra flavor and (calories!).  Yum.


Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Recipes, Vegetarian


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Sticky Chocolate Brownies

Isn’t there something about warm brownies that make it so tempting?  Well, if the brownie looks as tempting as this, why wouldn’t anyone want to bite into a warm brownie? 

   I made these brownies yesterday because I was bored….but the brownies were anything but boring.  It was one of those days when I did not want to do the weekend chores or run errands.  Since it snowed on Saturday, walking wasn’t the best way to spend the afternoon.  So, why not bake some brownies so that we can eat warm sticky chocolatey brownies….why sticky and chocolatey….because the recipe says so!

I started taking the pictures with 3 brownies in the plate,

And then started nibbling….

And, then a few minutes later, between clicking the pictures and snacking…..

And, another a few minutes later…..only 2 left. 

I thought it would be okay to stop clicking and eat the brownies…….it sure was an afternoon well spent with sticky chocolate brownies. 

 To make these sticky brownies, I used:

3 oz. unsalted butter

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

4 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

1 tbsp corn syrup

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup all purpose flour

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa

1/2 tsp baking powder

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly butter an 8 x 8 inch pan and line the pan with parchment paper.
  2. Place the butter, sugars, chocolate and corn syrup in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring until well blended.  Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. Beat together eggs and vanilla, and whisk in the cooled chocolate mixture.
  4. Stir together the flour, unsweetened cocoa, baking powder and fold gently into the egg and chocolate mixture.
  5. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.  Cool completely, dust with confectioner’s sugar, and cut into squares (makes large 9 squares).

Recipe courtesy: Blissful Brownies


Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Baking, Dessert, Recipes


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Simple

Georgie, our kitty watching the snow yesterday morning….or was he eyeing the little lonely bird on the tree outside the window….

And, then he sees more birds,

I guess he is now trying to figure out how to jump out of the window

These “simple” pictures do not belong on a blog that started as Healthcare Updates and then came Recipes and now this….I guess I’ve to find another home for these pictures, but for now, wanted to share little Georgie’s curiosity as he watches the birds – so near and yet so far!


Posted by on January 22, 2012 in Photography, PostaWeek2012


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Fresh Dinner Rolls and Vegetable Soup

A simple vegetable soup and freshly baked dinner rolls for lunch today – easy and delicious.

These dinner rolls are addictive….not all the rolls made it to the dining table at lunch time…. but then, I haven’t met anyone who cannot reach out for a warm dinner roll fresh from the oven and cooling on the kitchen counter.  The recipe is courtesy of King Arthur Flour website, a cinnamon roll recipe.  I did not make the cinnamon filling, instead simply brushed the dough with some melted butter and italian seasoning.  I baked these in a 8 x 8 inch square pan at 375 degrees for about 15-18 minutes, and drizzled extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled some italian seasoning and sea salt on the warm rolls.  I could have eaten the whole batch for lunch, they were simply delicious.

The soup was loaded with veggies and a handful of dandelion greens.  Into the pressure cooker, went one finely diced veggie sausage link, one small leek (coarsely chopped), and 2 cloves of minced garlic.  When it all softened, I added one potato, one turnip, one kohlrabi, 2 medium carrots, 1 parsnip (all diced), 1/2 cup green peas, and 1/2 cup dandelion greens (that is what I had in the refrigerator).  Added 4 cups of vegetable stock (if you prefer, add chicken stock for extra flavor) and some salt.  After 7-8 minutes, the soup was ready.  Topped with dandelion greens, freshly ground black pepper, some fresh lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil, the soup was simply delicious.


Posted by on January 1, 2012 in Baking, Recipes


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