Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New life to an Old Planter !

I had this planter lying around in the house, rotting

On recent trip to IKEA, i go one luck straight bamboo shoot for 99cents. I grabbed it and came home.
When I had nothing to keep the plant in , my thoughts were turned towards this rotting planter!
I did a quick sanding operation on the planter and here is how it looked mid job!

shiny huh! . And then once  I was done with cleaning and sanding It. I had warm yellow spray paint on hand and I spray painted the planter.
Bless yourself for the final out come!

Lovely right!! Wait till my bamboo plant grows up. It will look lovely!

Once more pic of before and after

Before :
and after :

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wall Art Using Toilet Paper Roll!

Since I came to California, I wanted to do wall art using the Toilet/Kitchen paper towel rolls. Its like best way to reuse stuff which we would normally throw away.

My inspiration was this image from pintrest.

I loved  the simplicity of this one from the blog Just a Girl. So I started saving the paper rolls. As soon as I had enough I got to work!.

You will need:
  • Toilet paper rolls : I started when I had at least 15
  • Scissors
  • Glue -I used fevi quick
  • Spray paint in the color of your decor choice. I used metallic brass and white
  • Rubber Gloves 
  • Canvas :3
First. Flatten your rolls, then cut into 6-7 equal strips.You should be having something like this :
Then I first formed flowers /patterns which I decided to use in my design.
You can do this by gluing together two of the little petals together first .Then glue two more to it, creating an “X” with the four petals. 
You can also glue 3 petal together to form a half lotus kind of image and then glue two of such together two form flower.

Once you have the flowers formed, and glued properly (let it wait for few hours)
Now you just have to glue them to the canvas in design  you want  and then spray paint it!
I did the following two designs :


 And this is after the art is placed on the wall!

For now I am in love with it. When I get tired of it, I can throw out the rolls and reuse the canvas , by repainting it . So its always a win-win situation!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

$2 Wall ART

I got these 3 paper frames from Dollar tree for $1(I needed 6 so 2 bucks)
And I had few colored handmade papers , I got from India. I used them and made this !

This is the paper frame I am talking about
And these are the handmade papers which I got from home!
 I just cut the paper , of the size of the frame and glued them together !
(took me hardly 10 minutes)
So easy and it instantly adds a pop of color!

It can be used to form and art on wall , Or can be use as a base on side tables!

Friday, October 07, 2011

Paint Chips turned to chick Wall Art

There won't be any person , who has not handled free paint chips at any point in his/her life right! We all deal with color swatches, be it for new house, room renovation or office decoration ,creation of nursery etc reasons are immense.
But what do we do after we select our color, mostly throw those paint chips right ,not anymore..
Here is a chick wall art which can be created with Paint Samples . You would need only picture frames.
Only in my case, neither am I redoing my house, or painting any room . But just to try this art I collected the paint chips in various colors.This was my inspiration.

This art cost me only 3$ yes that's right 3 bucks was the price for 3 frames I grabbed at Dollar Tree.  I love dollar store! . This is like 135 rupees. (and this can add an easy pop of color) depending upon the color theme, it can be a great wall art in Nursery /bathroom or even hallway!

First I tried cutting the paint swatches in to Stripes and then use them. But I did not quite like the final output very much.

Then we got a circle puncher and made circles, and then used them .

I used normal glue stick  to stick the circles to white sheet of paper.
And this is our End Result!

I made one frame with lighter tones of color , one with darker shades and one with the leftovers!
As in this apartment walls are beige and we have otherwise black/dark walnut furniture , I used all the colors I had. But may be in future I will change to bigger frames and more themed approach.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Bengal Comes Home!

Finally I cooked Bengali meal at home this Saturday! This was my first trial at cooking Bengali meal and that too Vegetarian. What I knew till now was that , this cuisine deals mostly with fishes.So to fend off my ignorance I did what anyone in today's generation would normally do- I went to the Google BABA!

Its varied cooking style surprised me. Its like you can cook  one single vegetable in 10 different ways! You can make Dalna, Bhaja ,Jhol ,Shukto , Shak ,Torkari  or use it in Chorchori .Shorsher tel (Mustard Oil) is the primary cooking medium in Bengali cuisine
Following is the main types which I think is relevant for Vegetarian Bengali Thali!

  • Bhaja : It is anything deep fried, either just after it has been salted or dipped in any kind of water-based batter.Mostly its made with Begun , Alu  and Potol
  • Bhorta : Any vegetable, such as potatoes and bringal.The vegetable is first boiled and then mashed and seasoned with Onions red chili  salt and mustard oil .
  • Chochchori: Usually a vegetable dish with more than one variety of vegetable.Commonly used vegetables are pumpkin, ridge gourd, broad beans, bringal , raddish and potatoes .It is made even with peels of these vegetables. Fried in a korai over high heat at first, and then simmered to let the vegetable cook down to being just done, and then taken off the flame immediately to stop cooking is the method followed.
  • Dalna: Mixed vegetables, cooked in a medium thick gravy seasoned with ground spices, especially gorom moshla and a touch of ghee.This uses spices like bay leaves /cinnamon /Cardamom .
  • Jhol : Vegetable cooked in a thin gravy and seasoned with spices like cumin,chili, salt,turmeric and coriander The gravy is thin yet extremely flavorful.
  • Posto : Anything cooked with poppy seed paste as the main flavoring agent.
  • Shukto : A favorite Bengali palate cleanser, made with a lot of different vegetables including at least one bitter veg, simmered with a hint of sugar and milk to bring out the bitterness of the fresh vegetables.
  • Shak : Any kind of green leafy vegetable, like spinach and mustard greens, often cooked till just wilted in a touch of oil and tempering of nigella seeds.
 What I cooked was the following  :

1 .Alu Potol er Dalna 

Recipe Source :  Here

  • Potol :10
  • Potatoes :3
  • a pinch of Hing 
  • 1 thin stick of cinnamon 
  • 1 small Bay Leaf 
  • 4 small green cardamom 
  • 4 clove 
  • 2 Dry red Chili
Peel and Cut the Potoates and Potol in to bing chunks.
 Bring mustard oil to smoking hot point
Fry the potol in mustard oil.Remove and drain the excess oil.
Then fry the potatoes in the same oil.
Once potatoes are done ,temper the oil with spices and add potol and potatoes.
Add  11/2 cup of water over low flame for 15-20 minutes.

2 .Panch Misali Chorchori

Recipe Source : Here
In this case I followed the source recipe perfectly without any modifications.

3 .Alu Bhaja
Panch phoron (mixture of 5 spices taken in equal amount , cumin seeds , fenugreek seeds, fennel , nigella seeds and mustard seeds ) 
Mustard Oil/Any other vegetable oil will also do.
Red Chili powder
Cut the potatoes in to thin stripes.Mix a pinch of turmeric and keep aside
Add mustard oil to  a pan 
Bring it to smoking hot level 
Ttemper with panch phoron. Once the spices start spluttering
Add the potatoes.
Cook them on high fmae , keep stirring so that they do not burn, 
Add Salt and chili powder as per taste.

4 .Doi Begun
II initially planne don making Begun Bhaja, But I had only 2-3 eggplants at home and that would not have been sufficient for  everyone , So at the last moment I made this!
Ingredients :
  • Bringal
  • Onion
  • Mustard seeded
  • Cumin Seeds
  • Mustard Oil
  • Salt
  • Red Chili Broken in to pieces
  • Curd (diluted with Water) 
Cut bringal, in to wedges, each will yield 8 pieces
Marinate them in salt 
Thinly slice the onion in to long stripes

Heat oil in a pan  Can do deep frying or shallow frying )
Fry the bringal's in oil along with onion . 
Take out and drain the excess oil.
Temper the oil (remove some oil if you used excess for deep frying ) with mustard and cumin seeds and chili Add the bringal and onion .
 Lower the flame and add the diluted curd and salt. Simmer for 10 minutes and then take off the flame.
(Make sure to stir so that curd does not break.)

5 .Masoor Dal Bengali Style
Masoor Dal (Red Spilt dal) : 2 cups
Onion :one finely chopped
Tomato :One finely chopped
Panch Phoron : 1tsp
Red and green chili : 1 each  cut in to stripes
Salt to taste
turmeric powder :a pinch
Pressure cook the dal with turmeric and 2 cups water  till its done.
Add Oil in a pan .
Once its hot add panch phoron and wait till its starts spulterring.
Add Onions and cook till its pink.
Add tomatoes along with little salt and cook till tomatoes are all done.
Then add the dal along with 1/2 cup water .
Bring it to boil on high heat and then let it simmer for 5-6 minutes.

I picked the recipe from Here
  •  Peel of 3 raw banana
  •  Green chili hot  3-4
  •  Mustard seeds 2 level tsp.
  •  Grated coconut  same volume as the peel. ( After boiling, chop the peel . If the peels are one cup , take 1 cup grated coconut , but not less than 3/4 cup.)
  •  Oil 2 tsp
  • Salt to taste
Note :I did not have Kala jeera, so I skipped this.

Pressure cook the peels in salt water for 15 minutes
Chop it in to small pieces 
Then grind the mustard seeds and green chili ,salt, grated coconut  and peels together.Make it a thick paste.

Note Original Recipe calls for grinding them separately but I did all together in blender and paste came out good and saved me time too!
As any Bangla food (generally any Indian cuisine ) is not complete without Sweets, I offered Besan ladoo and Dry fruits katli in the last!

So Our Vegeterian thali had the following:
First Course was Luci and Alu-Potol Dalna  and doi begun, Which was followed by rice with bhaja , chorchori , bhata ,dal ,salad and papad.
We followed it with some yummy icecream and ladood and katli! 

We had some friends over for dinner and everyone actually enjoyed the food.It was yum!Unfortunately though I do not have any pics :((