Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pea Seedlings

My first activity of gardening this year was growing these pea seedlings. I started these indoors and just transplanted them out. This is my first time with peas and I am hoping to get a good harvest :-). I read that peas are cool season crop and would survive well in the early Spring /Spring of Northern California.
Starting these seedlings is fairly easy. For early start I soaked the seeds in a bowl overnight. After I drained water, covered with paper towel and kept at a warm place for sprouting. Then just placed the sprouts in small paper cups with soil for the leaves to come out before I can transplant. I really adore the beautiful tendrils.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Apple Oat Bread

Here in California, Cherry blossoms are blooming everywhere. It's such pretty sight. At my workplace, the walkways are lined up with these Cherry blossom trees. It's a treat to walk through them now :-) I love this time when the trees transform as if they are trying to express themselves with beautiful hues and put their best show.
Coming to today's recipe, it's a healthier version of the regular apple bread that I usually bake. Quick breads are a breeze to do. They are easy, delicious and as the name says very quick to make. Most of the times I have a bread either in my freezer or fridge since they make a good breakfast or snack.
I have to admit that I am not a big fan of oats. So, I try to sneak them in my food for their nutritional value. Trick is to grind oats into powder and add this in different mixtures. So, I substituted almost half of all purpose flour with oats in this recipe. I do the same for Idlis and Uthapams, that's a post for another day :-)

What you need:
(makes one 9X5 loaf)

3/4 cup All purpose flour
1/2 cup Oats flour (just add oats in a blender and grind them)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
Unsweetened Apple sauce - 4 oz (usually sold in 4 oz cups)2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Steps to follow:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a bowl beat eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla extract together. Add apple sauce to this mixture and beat again until everything is well mixed.
  3. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients - all purpose flour, oats flour, baking soda and salt.
  4. In 2 or 3 batches add flour mixture to wet ingredients and beat until batter comes together.
  5. Grease a loaf pan and pour batter in it.
  6. Bake for 51-53 min. Stick a knife in center and it should come out clean.
  7. Take it out from oven, cool it in loaf pan for 15 min.
  8. Loosen the sides with a knife and place it on a rack to continue cooling for another 30 min or so.
  9. Slice it and serve or store in airtight container. Keeps well in fridge for a week or freeze it for a later use.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Beautiful California Coast

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

DIY: Wall Decorative Item

Sometimes it's difficult to decide on what to buy for adding decorative touches at home. I usually prefer something simple to cover the bare walls. I also like to keep changing the style often, so I don't want to spend too much on decorative pieces. Today's craft is one such affordable item. My Sis made this easy to do wall piece with wooden craft sticks. You can buy them at any craft store or sometimes even at dollar store.
Also, you need sequins to add some bling :) . My mom sent me so many colors from India, the capital of sequins I would say. Gorgeous embroidery work is done in India using sequins. 
Mix and match different colored craft sticks and sequins for this craft.

Works well in powder room
What you need:
20 green craft sticks
20 blue craft sticks
80 silver color sequins
super glue

Steps to follow:
  1. On a clean surface line up four craft sticks with alternate color
  2. Leaving small width on outside of each stick and place small amount of glue at four points so that we can place four more sticks on top
  3. At exactly right angles place four sticks on top of first four with alternate color.
  4. Press them slightly with fingers to make sure they glue together.
  5. Again place small amount of glue at each intersection for the sequins
  6. Using a tooth pick, place sequins at these intersections and let the glue dry
  7. This makes one square, similarly make other four and glue them all as shown in the picture.
  8. Hang it anywhere using a pushpin.