Category Archives: Uncategorized

Instant Pot Cauliflower, Sausage and Kale Soup Recipe {Keto/Low-Carb/Gluten Free}

I have been really thankful for my Instant Pot lately.

Although Minnesota winters are always pretty cold, these past few days have been brutal. With windchills nearly reaching -40 degrees F –yes, MINUS 40 degrees–we haven’t got out of the house much.

Being stuck in the house with a “threenager” is no joke. Arjun has so much energy that after tending to him I barely have time to make myself a cup of coffee, let alone cook. It’s ridiculous.

We could go to the mall or the (very few!) indoor toddler/preschool activities around town, and we probably should.  It’s just so hard with two little kids, especially when it’s cold/flu season…

So instead of making the trek to the grocery store, I’ve resolved to using up some of the foods I have in our freezer or pantry. We’ve been enjoying a lot of soups lately, and this recipe has definitely been a favorite!

Piyush said that it reminded him of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana soup.  I suppose it is sort of a copy-cat recipe, but having never ordered the Zuppa Toscana I can’t be sure how close it is.

Give it a go, and let me know what you think! Get the recipe by clicking below:

soup click here (1)



New Post! Updated Shrimp Curry with Coconut Milk Recipe: Chingri Malai Curry

Finally, a new post! It’s been forever.

{Sorry about that!}

I’ve decided that My Fancy Pantry needed a bit of an update.  So much has changed in my life.  I’m still cooking (a LOT!), but now I’m also a mom to two little boys!

stay at home mom

I returned to this space to start blogging, but I just wasn’t feeling the love.

So, I’ve recently started a new blog, Spiced Up Mom, which will showcase both my love for cooking as well as my adventures in motherhood.

I hope you give it a look.  There’s not a lot there at the moment, but I’m working on that.  If you like what you see, please follow along!  I’d love for you to subscribe or follow me on social media.

I love instagram and post there often.  You can find me @spicedupmom

To get my updated Shrimp Malai Curry recipe, please click on the photo below.  This Shrimp Curry is amazing. Trust me. You’re not going to want to miss it!

Not only does it taste really good but it is also so quick to make.  Dinner can be on the table in 20 minutes! As a busy mom, that’s something I appreciate!

shrimp malai curry recipe


This little blog has been severely neglected for quite some time (sorry! ), but for good reason.

Actually there are a few reasons,  but I’d like to introduce you to the main culprit:

Meet Arjun.  My sweet baby boy!


Arjun is now 1 month old and I’m finally beginning to feel like myself again.  My energy is returning and I’m finally feeling like cooking again.

I had a wonderful pregnancy and a very fast labor,


A few hours befor I went into labor--on Saraswati Puja


Time to have this baby!

but I suffered with extremely low blood pressure which caused me to have absolutely no energy until after Arjun was born. 


The night Arjun was born

I seldom cooked while I was pregnant, and my doctors actually put me on a junk food diet to try and increase my pressure so that I wouldn’t need fluid infusions every week.

Now that Arjun has begun to develop a routine (kind of…),


I’m hoping to start cooking and sharing some new recipes!

Enjoying India

Sorry for the lack of posts.  Piyush and I are still enjoying our time in India and we’ll be here only 5 more days, so we’ve been ultra-busy.  I’m sad that our trip is coming to an end, but I’m also excited to share some of our adventures with you all!

We’ve traveled throughout Kerala, survived (barely!) the crazy roads leading to Manali, and celebrated many festivals while we’ve been here.


Durga Puja: very important festival in West Bengal


Happy Diwali! 

We’ve introduced our family to both French omelettes and crepes (with nutella and bananas!)

Simple French Omelette

Simple French Omelette

And we’ve enjoyed more chai than you could possibly imagine:

chaiI’ve been lucky enough to learn many wonderful, new recipes…and I’m excited to try and recreate them here for you to try as well!

Until next time…


Indian-Style Tea –and a Nathmulls Darjeeling Tea Giveaway!

I remember the first time I had a sip of tea. I was about 7 years old and in second grade. My best friend at the time, Anita, was spending the night and we decided to have a tea party. We raided my mom’s cupboards and found some old (antique) cups and saucers. We also managed to find a few tea bags. I didn’t know how to make tea– my parents never drank it– but we figured it couldn’t be that hard.

Anita turned on the faucet and filled the cups with hot water while I cut open the tea bags. We dumped the tea-dust into the cups of water and put them in the microwave for 5 minutes. While the tea was heating, Anita and I made a couple sandwiches–peanut butter and jelly; I believe. I remember being so excited to sit down, clink our cups together (cheers!) and drink tea. I felt like a grown up.

When our tea was finished in the microwave, we carefully took the very hot cups and placed them onto the saucers. We sat down at the table, giggling, and waited patiently for the tea to cool off enough to drink it. Once it was ready, we clinked the cups together (bad idea!…tea spilled everywhere) and took a sip.

As soon as the tea met my taste-buds, I knew tea was not for me. It was gritty and gross; and the look on Anita’s face showed me that she felt the same. We promptly dumped the tea down the sink, rinsed out our cups, and cracked open an orange Crush soda.

20 years have passed since my first experience with tea, and I’m glad to say it wasn’t my last. Now I enjoy many types of tea; sweetened and unsweetened, loose-leaf and bagged, Darjeeling and green.  Although I’ll drink nearly any kind now-days, I undoubtedly prefer the sweet– and sometimes spicy– Indian style tea.

This delicious beverage, commonly known as chai (in Hindi) or cha (in Bengali), is not the same “chai” you get if you order it at an American coffee shop (I’m lookin’ at you Starbucks!).  In America, Indian masala chai (mixed-spice tea) has become synonymous with the word chai; but chai is just a word for tea.  It’s not a type of tea…and it definitely does not come from artificial syrup (did you know that tea leaves are not even a listed ingredient on some of the syrups your favorite coffee shop uses to make your chai?).

In India, chai is most often made with black tea leaves, way too much sugar, thick, whole milk…and green cracked cardamom pods—if you’re lucky!

sweet, green cardamom pods

It can be found everywhere…and I do mean everywhere!  You can buy it for a couple rupees at the train station, served in tiny paper cups;  or along the roadsides, where scant amounts are poured into tiny earthenware vessels; and if you’re lucky enough to be invited into an Indian home, you’re sure to be offered a steaming glass of creamy chai…with biscuits to dunk!

My mother and father-in-law (Maa and Baba), taught me how to make proper Indian-style tea…and for that, I am thankful!  When preparing tea, they never really used exact measurements.  Instead, they relied on color and taste.  It took me awhile, but I think I’ve finally got it figured out (Baba, if you’re reading this…you’d be proud)!

Not only do I intend to share with you, dear reader, how to make Indian-style chai (and masala chai!), but I would also like to give you a chance to try some Darjeeling loose-leaf tea that I bought in Darjeeling, myself!  This is not the Darjeeling tea you find lining your supermarket or co-op shelves…nooo…this is the real deal!

Darjeeling Loose Leaf Tea...and a strainer! The tea was purchased at Nathmulls in Darjeeling. If you want to learn more about it click here.

If you’d like a chance at trying some Darjeeling tea for yourself, here’s your chance!  I’m having a  giveaway, and one lucky reader will receive the package of tea and tea strainer shown above!

To enter, simply leave a comment telling me how you like to drink your tea!  It’s that easy!

The giveaway ends Friday, April 6 at 7:00 p.m. Central Time.  The giveaway is only open to U.S. residents aged 18+ (sorry!).  Be sure to include a valid email address with your comment…if you win, I want you to know!  I’ll choose the winner randomly using’s random number generator.  If I don’t hear back from the winner by Monday, April 9 at 5:00 pm Central Time, a new winner will be chosen!

For an additional chance to win: Follow my blog or sign up for email updates.  Be sure to leave a comment letting me know if you did this!

If you already follow or subscribe, I appreciate it and you deserve an extra chance too!  Leave a comment letting me know!

My blog is pretty young yet…so the chances are good!

**The giveaway is now over!  Congrats, Mary Ella!  I hope you enjoy the tea!**

Now, on to the recipes!

Indian-Style Tea (with milk and sugar)

This can also be made using stevia, if you’re concerned about your sugar-intake.  I also make it with soymilk.  If you choose to do this be sure to add the soymilk at the end.  Don’t boil it, it will curdle!

This recipe yeilds 3- 80z. servings.

  • 2 c. water
  • 1 tbsp. loose leaf tea
  • 3 green cardamom pods, cracked (optional)
  • sugar, to taste (if you want the whole “Indian experience” toss in about 3 tbsp–seriously.)
  • 3/4 c. milk (whole milk, if you want to keep it real)


  • Heat 2 c. water in a small pot over med-high heat until it’s rapidly boiling.  Once it’s boiling, toss in the tea leaves (and a couple cardamom pods, if you want), cover the pot, and turn off the heat.  Let the tea steep for about 5 minutes.
  • Add sugar–to taste –and milk.  Stir to combine everything.  Turn heat back on and bring the tea back to a boil.  Once it boils…it’s done!  Don’t cook it for too long or it’ll turn a little bitter and taste funny.  Turn off the heat, strain, and enjoy!

Masala Chai

To make masala chai–  follow the same recipe and method as above, but also add:

  • small chunk of ginger, smashed (use as much as you would like, but remember…it’s strong!)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • small sliver of cinnamon
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 3 cloves

Add these spices, whole, to the water when you add the tea leaves.  Experiment with the quantities of spices and find the mix that is just right for you!  …Everyone’s tastes are different!

If you want to make the chai really special for someone, add a whole cardamom seed to the bottom before straining the tea into the glass!  If you could say, “I love you” using spices…this is how you’d do it!

A spice-y surprise!


Random Photos

I haven’t posted in awhile (obviously!), I’ve been lazy.  I was going to write that I’ve been busy, but then I thought, “Who am I kidding?!”  I haven’t posted because I’ve decided to watch too much television and bake too many cookies.  Sure, I’ve done a few substantial things…I’ve taken both cats to the vet, got eyelash extensions (sadly, the girl that did them this time didn’t use enough glue…and now they look funky), and I’ve hosted an “Ugly Sweater Party”.  But, aside from those things,  I haven’t really done much…and it feels so good!

I wish I would have taken more photos, but unfortunately my camera was in the cabinet and…well…out of sight, out of mind.  So I’ve decided to create a post full of randomness!


The wedding cake I made for Brooke ---how it looked when it was completely finished.

You can read all about the cake HERE.


Okay, I had to show you one more...


Minty World Peace Cookies. They would rock your world!


Who doesn't love Lavender Macarons?!


Pumpkin Trifle for Thanksgiving. Notice the mutilated gingerbread men on the top? They were delicious!


Merry Christmas!


My rosebush is confused! It's the end of December, not the middle of April! Weird!


Bobbing for apples in Summer's sink. I still have to blog about our crazy applefest!


Early October in my garden


Meet Harry!


 Until next time…