Category Archives: Uncategorized

Update!

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!

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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,

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

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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. 

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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…),

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

Making Cookies

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I’m testing a new cookie recipe, not sure if I love it yet or not.  I guess I’ll just have to help myself to another! 

What do you love the most about a cookie?  Soft vs. Crispy? 

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.

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Durga Puja: very important festival in West Bengal

diwali

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…

 

R.I.P. Laptop

One of my worst fears as a blogger has finally come true.

Without any warning my three year old laptop decided it was time to die.  …At least, I think it’s dead.  Maybe  Hopefully it’s just on an extended (well deserved?) vacation.

I checked my email and uploaded some photos for a new blog post before I went to work, and all was well.

I left for work and Piyush left to play some golf.

When he got home, he flipped open the laptop and…. nothing.

The machine turns on, but the battery will not charge properly and the screen won’t light up.

On the bright side (there’s always a bright side), at least it didn’t crash.

On the sad side (there’s usually a sad side), my poor little blog is going to suffer for a little while. 

It’s true, I could just go purchase a new laptop and get back to work.  But instead, I’m hoping to coax my laptop out of retirement soon.

Hopefully My Fancy Pantry will be back with new posts (and photos) soon!

 

 

 

A Big Thank-You!

This post is a long time coming!  I’ve been meaning to sit down and share how absolutely thankful I am for all the wonderful emails, comments and publicity my little blog has received lately.

I appreciate all the kind words and I’m grateful that people–aside from my family–find my rambling stories, recipes and photos interesting!

Some Recent Accomplishments:

Three of my recent posts have made Foodbuzz’s Top 9:

(click the thumbnails to view the recipe/blog post)

Chicken Tikka Masala Pizza

       

Dabeli

Caramelized Onion, Purple Potato and Pistachio Pizza

One of my recipes has been featured on Yummly!  …this was exciting!

Indian Inspired Pasta Salad

Click HERE to read the article: Perfect Picnic Foods For National Picnic Day

I’ve received some “blogging love” from a few fellow bloggers!

Both Fig and Walnut and The Smiley Soyabean nominated me for the Liebster award.  I’m completely flattered and appreciate the blog love!

This award is supposed to help build a network for newer blogs…and I’m supposed to nominate 5 additional bloggers.  I’ll get to that in a second.

The Windy Kitchen was kind enough to nominate me for the Versatile Blogger Award.  Very cool!  Thank you for the nomination!

This award is kind of neat because upon receiving it, I’m supposed to share it with other bloggers I love and share 7 random facts about myself…so my readers can get to know me a little better.

7 Random Shari Facts:

1. I hate pickles.  I refuse to eat them and the smell alone makes me queasy (I’m pretty sure it’s in my head).

2. I’ve been blogging since I was about 14–although it wasn’t called blogging back then.

3. I wouldn’t eat onions, tomatoes and many other veggies until I was well into my 20’s.  Now, I love them!

4. I absolutely adore Bob Dylan.  Absolutely.

5. I would rather listen to music than watch tv, and always listen to the radio when I cook.

6. I’m allergic to milk.  I break out into hives, but can not seem to break it’s hold on me.  Dairy is just so good!

7. I’m also allergic to the cold.  Weird? Completely.  But, it’s true.  Cold weather brings on the hives! (…and here I am, living in Minnesota!).

Now, I know I’m supposed to nominate a bunch of blogs, but I’ve noticed most of the blogs I love and want to nominate have already recieved these very same awards…so I thought I’d list a few blogs I’ve been reading–ones that inspire me–and hopefully you’ll find them inspiring too!

The Subjectivist – Amrita is witty.  Her photos are incredible.  And her recipes are amazing.  I absolutely love her blog!

The Vanilla Bean Blog– A local Minnesota blogger.  There is no way to look at the photos on her blog and not want to eat what she is cooking.  The photos are beautiful!

Kolpona Cuisine– Fantastic recipes…I always find her food inspiring!

Saffron Streaks– love this blog!

Hobby And More– The photos are amazing…and the recipes are mouth-watering!  Additional bonus: it’s all vegan!

I read many, many more blogs than the ones listed…but they are a few I’ve found the most inspirational lately!


I just feel so happy and excited, and that is due to you–my readers.  Thank you for all the support.  Your kindness motivates me!

I hope you continue to read my little blog…and that I can continue to entertain you.  If only for a few minutes of your day!

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 Random.org’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)

Directions: 

  • 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!

Enjoy!