Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Samosa Puffs

These are quite like the Indian appetizer "Samosa" but instead of wrapping them in dough and shaping them into a triangle, I did a little something different.  I was looking for something Samosa-like last week when it was my turn to host Bunco.  I made up Spinach Dahl, Biju made up Chicken Curry, I baked these Samosa Puffs and then we did up some Gulab Jamuns.  I couldn't have done the Gulab Jamuns without the help of Manjula - her video was a tremendous help!!  For those who don't know what a Gulab Jamun is, it's basically a fried donut hole soaked in a sugar-syrup - Indian style.  Yum. Yum.  (More on hosting Bunco in an upcoming post!)

On to the Samosa Puffs:

2-3 Puff Pastry Sheets (depending on the size of muffin tins you use and how many puffs you'd like to make)
3-4 potatoes (I used Idaho, I think)
1Tbs oil
1/2 Tbs mustard seed
1/2 -1 onion, chopped
1/4-1/2 c. Peas (thawed, if using the frozen kind)
1-2 tsp. cumin powder
1-2 tsp. corriander powder
1/2 - 1 tsp. garam masala
Whatever other spices you care to chuck in!

I tried making these at first in a mini muffin tin, but the puff pastry didn't cook completely, so I ended up going with the full sized muffin tin, and they came out nicely.  My mini muffin "tin" is really silicone and I  baked them on a cookie sheet, so that might've had something to do with it - perhaps I should've baked them longer?  Anyhoo... the process:

Follow the instructions on thawing your puff pastry.  (I found the puff pastry in the frozen section of the store.  It wasn't next to the frozen dinner rolls, as I expected, but was near the frozen Whipped Cream.  Go figure.) 
Boil your potatoes - you can either peel, chop and boil, or do like I did, boil whole, in skin, then peel the skin off afterwards (when you're able to touch them).  Fork mash the potatoes. 
In a skillet, heat the oil.  Once hot, add the mustard seeds.  After the seeds pop, add in the onion and cook until tender.  Add in your spices and cook about a minute.  Add in the peas and let them heat up.  Add in your potatoes and mix well.  Taste.  If you like it, fine, if you need to add a little something, go for it.  This is really an "up to your taste buds" recipe.  (There are more authentic recipes out there on the web if you like.)
Cut your puff pastry into circles (I used a cup, but a round cookie cutter would be great if you have one).  Measure one circle to be sure you have the right size for your muffin tin. 
Spray the muffin tin with a little oil spray and lay the puff circles inside.  Fill the circles w/ potato mixture.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or so.  (Check your puff pastry box, it may indicate a different heat setting.)  Just be sure to check on them while they bake - look for the edges of the puff to get golden brown.  If you find you've got leftover filling, grab some naan, bread, tortilla, or even just a fork and dig in! 

I wish I had a picture to share with you.  Silly me, I got a pic of the gulab jamuns frying, but I forgot to get a shot of the yummy Samosa Puffs.  (Okay, you twisted my's the pic of the jamuns.)

Please do try these Samosa Puffs - they're delish!!  And if you have the chance, try the gulab jamuns - they're really easy and are soooo tastey! 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Road Trip

A couple of Fridays ago (Oct. 15th) after lunch I loaded up the boys and we hit the road.  We had checked out a couple of DVDs from the library so I put in the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving video for them to watch.  I thought Alex would fall asleep while watching it but he didn't.  After it was over I told the boys it was time to look out the window for awhile and admire the scenery.  (Insert impromptu vocab lesson.)  This did the trick...for Ajay.  He was out within a few minutes.  For Alex, it took a bit longer.  I turned on some nice classical music to listen to.  That finally worked.  The unfortunate part was that it was working for me, too!  I had to call Lisa at work so she could help keep me awake.   Once Ajay woke, I gave him the camera to take a few photos.  He got a pic of me driving, one of his snoozing brother, and a few action shots. Here is one:

We drove on through without any stops and arrived at Jeff and Jaime's place a little after 4pm.  We finally got to meet Tessa!!

The boys really enjoyed playing with their cousins and I got to have a nice visit with my little brother and his wife.   

It was a beautiful afternoon, so the kids spent most of their time outside playing frisbee. 

We couldn't leave without letting Ajay hold his newest cousin.  The boys love babies! 

After dinner with the family we loaded up and headed to my parents, about 25-30 minutes away.  My niece, Jenna, had gotten a cast earlier that day so the boys got to sign it.  Ajay signed his name, Alex sorta drew a long line :) 

The boys got to spend a lot of time on the farm with the family that weekend.  Saturday morning, I gave them hugs, hit the road and didn't see them again until late Sunday morning.  But of course, that story is for another post!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

So much to say

I've gotten a little behind in my blogging but I've got quite a bit to say.  Last week was a busy (and fun) week.  I got one post started and even uploaded some pics, I just haven't gotten it finished.  I just know you're all on the edges of your seats waiting to hear from us!!  So please bear with me - I haven't forgotten about you all. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A rare experience

A few weeks back Alex and I made our usual trek to the bus stop to pick Ajay up.  Alex asked if he could take Brother's binoculars and I told him he could.  He enjoyed looking through both ends, making everything on our street look either larger or smaller. 
After collecting Ajay from the bus we made our way back home.  As we were walking I spotted something brightly colored in a tree. 

Can you see what that is?  It is a macaw, hanging upside down in a tree just two houses down from our house!  The boys were not the only ones excited about this. 

Turns out the owner of the bird was over mowing his brothers yard (lucky guy!).  This bright red fellow is 25 years old.  Amazing.  He kept screeching and Alex kept asking "Why is he saying 'AAAAHHHHH'?" (I'm sure you can imagine what that sounded like coming from a 2.5 year old!  Even a couple of days later, Alex was saying "Mom!  The bird said AAAAHHHH!") 

The owner got the bird from the tree and told the boys they could "shake hands" with him.  They both declined, but I gladly accepted.  When I reached forward he leaned his BEAK forward!  The owner pulled him back and politely told him no.  We tried again and this time he extended his claw (talon?).  Ajay thought it would be the perfect opportunity to use those binoculars Alex had so thoughtfully brought along!


When we left the guy put the bird up on the porch so he could finish mowing.  As we were walking away we heard a few more loud screeches.  It was a pretty neat experience - for all three of us!  And you can bet the boys were very eager to get home and tell Daddy all about it! 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

This 'n That

I haven't done much in the way of posting pics of the boys.  I thought I should get you all caught up on what went on around here during the last month or more.  These may be in random order, so bear with me.

Norwex came out with some new products.  I ordered all of the new items and was super excited when I received the package.  As it turns out, most of the products were geared towards kids, so Alex was able to carry the box (which included a kids mop!)

  The boys were taking a bath and making faces.  Ajay thought Alex needed a lesson in making funny faces, so he pulled on Alex's ears and instructed him to blow out his cheeks.


We had our annual hail storm.  Some parts of town got hit pretty badly.  We really lucked out.  We did have a touch of hail damage on the van and a light on the back of our house got broken, but all in all, we made out okay. 
Alex really enjoys his playgroup meetings.  He loves to see "Miss Dinah" (not her real name) and play with all of the toys and other kids.  There are usually crafts available to work on.  This day we made a bird house.  When we got home Alex had the idea to fill it with grasses and leaves.  We then slid it into a bush so the birds could get into it and make it their home. 
No need to panic.  This isn't some deformed rodent.  It is actually a sweet potato from my parents garden.  I just had to take a photo :) 
Alex getting his bedtime story read to him by Aunt Brandi, with cousin Brandon listening in. 
While Alex was listening to his book, Ajay was working on his back-bend. 
You know how it goes when you try to get two small people to look at the camera at the same time and smile!!
Shhh.... don't tell Ajay, but Alex and I met Aunt Shelly and her crew at the zoo one day.  Paige was at school, too, so I guess shhh, don't tell Paige!  We stopped for a little snack and this peacock came up to see what he could get from us.   You can see that Alex wasn't into sharing his food with the bird! 
Alex being cheesy on the Komodo dragon statue.
Alex playing in the backyard.  It was a chilly day and he wanted to wear this baby hat.
The boys were enthralled by Daddy filling up the gas tank.  Go figure.
Here you can see our firefighter and batman taking a break from their hero work to draw with side-walk chalk.
On a visit to the park, the boys discovered this praying mantis.  It was cool to watch, but I was afraid they were going to give it a heart attack!
I wish I had been able to get a better shot - it was really a beautiful creature!
There ya go.  That's all the photo candy you get today.  Don't worry, I've got more coming soon. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Banana Smoothie

Ya know, I coulda sworn I had already posted this somewhere, but my sister was asking about it the other day and told me she couldn't find it on here.  I used the search tool (did you all know there's a search tool specifically for my blog on here?) and I wasn't able to find it either.   I was quite surprised!
We love this smoothie.  Thursdays are banana days at a lot of stores, so we always stock up on bananas for a low price.  (Check at your store - even if there isn't an advertised sale, ask a teller and they might give you a discount.)    Our favorite way to use them is like this: 

1/2 c. plain, low-fat yogurt
1/2 T. PB
1/2 c. milk 
1 med. banana, broken into 1-2in. pieces
dash cinnamon
dash vanilla extract.  

Put all into Magic Bullet or blender, blend, enjoy! (Serves one.  If counting points, this is 5pts. and is pretty filling/satisfying.) 

Note - I found this recipe years ago, I think through the Discovery Channel's weight loss challenge.  I first started using vanilla yogurt - that's a great substitute for the plain yogurt, if you're interested.  Also, the original recipe called for frozen bananas, if you'd like to go that route.  

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Popsicles

It may be cooling off a bit but that doesn't matter much to my boys when it comes to popsicles!  I made this up a few weeks back and Ajay has been asking for it again.  I think I'll have to make some up this morning so he can have one as an after school snack this afternoon.   (I made up a batch this morning and drank it all for my breakfast instead of freezing it.  SOO delish!)

1 part yogurt (your choice)
1 part fruit juice (your choice)
1 part fresh and/or frozen fruit (your choice)

As you can see, this is a very strict recipe!  (wink wink)

Chuck it all into a blender of some sort, blend it, pour it into a mold of some sort, put in some (clean) craft sticks.  Freeze.

This mornings smoothie was/today's popsicles will be:
4 fresh strawberries
About 3 big spoonfuls of Strawberry Yogurt
Maybe 3/4-1cup Orange Juice.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Gender Prediction: Test 1

I thought it would be fun to do some gender prediction tests, test out some old wives tales, that sort of thing.  There are quite a few ways of trying to determine the gender of a child.  Some cost money - I won't be using those methods.  Others just require clicking on a link, looking in a mirror or using some items around the house.

The first method I'm going to share with you all is the Chinese Gender Calendar.  You figure up the mother's age at the time of conception, match that up with the month of conception, and this will tell you if you're having a boy or a girl. 

According to this method, we are supposed to have a girl.

And in case any of you were wondering, I went ahead and put in the info for both Alex and Ajay.  According to this method, they were both supposed to be girls.

So there ya go.  One gender prediction test down, many more to go!

Have you ever used the Chinese Gender Calendar on your children?  Was it accurate or way off base?  I'd love to know - please leave a comment in the Thoughts Expressed section.  (ByTheWay - you don't have to be the birth mother to check this info out - all you need to know is the mother's age and the month of conception, which is generally easy enough to figure out.  Click on the above link and try it on any kid you know!)

**Click HERE to find out what baby's gender is**