Saturday, October 31, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Nearly half of all the energy used in American homes goes to powering heating and cooling systems; the annual cost of maintaining these systems is more than just about any other home utility. Residential HVAC units also emit millions of tons pollutants into the air, including carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. With so much at stake, both economically and environmentally, it makes sense to reconsider your home’s HVAC efficiency as the cold weather approaches.
Putting just a handful of these tips to work can save you hundreds in utility costs each year and will help reduce your carbon footprint.
- Clean or replace furnace and air filters regularly. Most filter manufacturers print a replacement schedule right on the packaging. It’s also a good idea to invest in a professional cleaning and tune-up once a year just to make sure everything is functioning as it should.
- Keep air registers, baseboard heaters, radiators and vents clean. Check for excessive dust or debris, and make sure heat outlets and returns aren’t blocked by carpeting, furniture or draperies.
- Use ventilation fans in kitchens and bathrooms only when absolutely necessary and just long enough to clear the air. It may seem like a small thing, but in just 60 minutes these fans can draw out an entire houseful of warmed air—along with your money.
- Close doors and turn the heat down—never off—in unoccupied rooms. This will lessen the load on the rest of the system significantly and can make a noticeable difference on your heating bill.
- Set your thermostat two or three degrees lower than normal. It may take some getting used to at first, but you can keep warm in the cozy new sweater you’ll be able to buy with the money you’ll save.
- Invest in a programmable thermostat and customize a heating schedule for your home. Set the thermostat lower when you know you’ll be out of the house for long periods of time, and then program it to kick on just before you return. The hour or two of chill you’ll have to put up with when you get home will be a minor nuisance when you see the eight hours’ worth of savings on your utility bill.
- Seal gaps under doors and in ductwork. Check ducts in attics, crawlspaces, unheated basements and garages for leaks or tears. Repair them using sealant or foil tape, then insulate. Use door stops to plug gaps under doors where drafts can sneak in. These simple steps can improve your heating system efficiency by more than 20%.
- Run heat-producing appliances during the warmest time of day. Dishwashers, dryers and ovens all give off heat. Using these devices at the right time can actually help heat your home and take the load off your heating system, saving you money.
- Consider purchasing an EnergyStar rated space heater. These units are great for supplementing the heat in a small area of your home, or to help keep infants, small children and the elderly comfortable without having to overheat your entire house.
I am back from vacation! I had a great time with my folks in India! Had lots of sweets, visited temples, spent time with my family and did some shopping :). Overall the trip was relaxing and satisfying.
I have always admired my Grandpa's artistic works. While I was in India, I used that opportunity to learn how to decorate deities from him. I bought a black and white poster of Lord Krishna and tried my hand at adorning him with beads, velvet, pearl, stones and silk. The more I worked on this, the more involved and interested I became. Ain't he cute? :-)
OK. It's been a while since I blogged. I am still in the vacation mood. I promise I will get back to blogging and come up with nice recipes next week.
Hope you all had a blast on Diwali!!
Soya chunks Curry:
Soya chunks are rich in protein & low fat food.It's vegetarian meat.It blends in easily in all types of dishes & absorbs their flavour.It can be used as a substitute for paneer,Vegetables and Meat.
After Panner & baby corn i love this.It's helps in physical growth for children.Regular intake keeps you energetic & active.It provides essential Amino acids and light & easy to digest.
Grated coconut-1/2 cup
Fried gram dal-4 tsp
Fennel seeds/sombu- 1 tsp
Gasgasa- 1 tsp
Ginger garlic paste- 1 tsp
Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
Salt -To taste
1. Add salt in hot water pour into soya chunks, wait for 15 min.
2. Squeeze them & add cold water,squeeze it again.
3. Grind Red chilli,Coconut,gasgasa,fennel seeds,fried gram into smooth paste.
4. Heat the pan,add onion,green chilli,curry leaves & ginger garlic paste.
5. Fry until the onion cooks,add turmeric & salt,saute well.
6. Add tomatoes, saute until it will become soft.
7. Now add grounded paste,fry for 2 min.
8. Add soya chunks,mix well.
9. Add required water,allow it to cook for another 10 min.
10. Serve hot with Poori or Roti.
Babli From KHANA MASALA shared these lovely awards with me.
Sangeetha Subhash from Kothiyavunu shared this Kreativ blogger Award with me.
Thanks a lot for sharing these lovely Awards with me.Thanks for your encouragement .It's Motivate me to do it well.Thanks so much Sangeetha & Babli.
Monday, October 26, 2009
This is not the best okonomiyaki but definately something healthier as I followed this guy using wholemeal flour for the recipe. It's quite flavourful with all the vegatables added. Perhaps using plain flour would be nicer. Anyway, I've gained some extra fiber this time :P
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Bitter gourd - 1 medium sized
Tamarind - lemon sized
Kabuli Chana / Tuvar dal - 1/2 cup
To roast and grind
Urad dal - 1 tspn
Chana dal- 1tspn
Red chilli- 3 nos
Pepper corn - 4 nos
Hing - few shakes
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Oil - 1 tblspn
Mustard seeds - 1 tspn
Curry leaves - few
Grated coconut - 1 tblspn
Pressure cook kabuli chana /tuvar dal till it is soft. If using kabuli chana, it has to be soaked for 5 hours. I soak them overnight.
Wash the bitter gourd. Slit it open and discard the seeds. Chop into bite sized pieces. Extract the tamarind juice. Take tamarind extract, salt and turmeric. in a cooking bowl. Add 1/2 cup of water. When the tamarind extract starts to boil, add the chopped bitter gourd pieces. When the vegetable is cooked tender, add the mashed dal/chana. Reserve the cooked dal water.
Season with mustard seeds, curry leaves and a tablespoon of coconut. The coconut should be roasted till brown.
When preparing for Shradham, moong dal is used and red chilly is fully replaced with pepper corns.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
(The above two images are captured with SnapIt)
A fully functional, trial version is available for 14 days. Thanks Katherine Poll for giving me the opportunity.
Friday, October 23, 2009
We're launching a new multimedia series on NPR this January, a listener collaboration in the tradition of Hidden Kitchens, Lost & Found Sound, and The Sonic Memorial Project. This one's about girls. Girls and the women they become. Stories of coming of age, rituals and rites of passage, secret identities. Of women who crossed a line, broke a trail, changed the tide.
Small everyday stories, dramatic life and death stories. Stories from the middle of the city, to the middle of nowhere.
What women should we know about? What girl's story should we tell? The famous, the infamous, the unknown, the untold. Women with public lives. Women with secret lives.
Call our NPR Storyline at 202-408-9576 and tell us your story, or the story of someone we need to chronicle. Or email us at kitchen [at] kitchensisters.org
And here's The Contest. We want you to help us name this new NPR series. We've called it The Secret Life of Girls Around the World, The Scheherazade Project, 1001 Stories, all names we like but can't go with for one reason or another. So, we turn to you to join our brainstorming sessions. You can call or email us with your suggestions. Whoever picks the title will be featured on our website, get the full line of Kitchen Sisters products and productions, a wild boar dinner with forager, Angelo Garro, and the deep satisfaction of hearing the title you came up with on NPR throughout the year.
This soon-to-be-titled project will be full of richly layered sound and striking images, created by people around the world who help capture these stories of eccentric, trailblazing women and ground-breaking girls.
Join The Kitchen Sisterhood and help launch this new multimedia collaboration.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I didn't put so much hope on this recipe at first, because this is my first attempt and the recipe is not that very precise. I used a slightly bigger cake pan to make this also modify the amount of ingredients used from the recipe.
Guess what! The result is absolutely fantastic! If you're a durian lover and cheesecake lover, you'll hardly to resist this. The cheesecake turn out moist, rich and smooth. You will like it to melt in my your mouth slowly and feel hard to let go!
The recipe didn't mention about steam bake but I did it as I think steam bake would produce moisture cheesecake, that's what I found from my previous attempts on other cheesecake experiments. There is just one thing I didn't do it properly for drawing the net pattern on the cheesecake, it wasn't as nice as the recipe shown from the book (need more practice!) However, I must say the texture is a winner! Really yummy! Thanks mum for the recipe book!
Recipe for 7 inches (I used 8 inches lose bottom pan)
For the base (I used my own recipe for the base):
160g crushed chocolate marie biscuits (200g digestive biscuits)
80g melted butter (100g butter, melted)
For the filling (Slightly change the amount of ingredients from the book)
450g cream cheese (500g cream cheese)
80g caster sugar
170g durian flesh (220g durian flesh)
3 eggs (medium size, total about 160g)
80ml milk (90ml milk)
1 tbsp cornstarch (1 tbsp + 1/4 tsp cornstarch)
1 tsp cocoa powder + 2tsp water
Some Oreo cookie crumbs
- To make the base, stir all ingredients until combined. Press mixture into base. Set aside.
- To make the filling, beat cream cheese, sugar and durian flesh until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Beat in milk and cornstarch until blended. Reserve 1 tbsp cheese mixture for topping, the rest mixture pour into tin.
- To make the topping, mix well cocoa powder with water. Add in 1 tbsp of reserved cheese mixture, stir until well blended. Pipe on top of the surface of cheese mixture and draw net pattern with skewer.
- Steam baked at 170C for 45 minutes (my oven 150C for 50 minutes) or until light brown.
- Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely. Chill in fridge 5 hours or overnight.
Decorate sides of cake with crushed Oreo cookie crumbs.
Most HVAC experts will tell you that a good quality heating system should last at least 10-15 years. With proper maintenance, many systems will continue to work for 20 years or more, but energy efficiency becomes an important factor with units that old. If your furnace is more than 15 years old, you could be throwing money away on high utility costs.If you have an older furnace you should have it inspected by a licensed HVAC professional who can determine if there are any urgent issues that could lead to a system malfunction. Beyond that, think about the following if your furnace falls into the 15-25 year old range.
Could you increase your home’s fuel efficiency—and save money—by replacing the unit? The annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) is a measurement of how energy efficient appliances are over the course of a typical year of use. A higher AFUE percentage means a product is more fuel efficient and cheaper to operate over time. AFUE was first used in 1992, but you can still get a general sense of your furnace’s AFUE percentage if it is older than that. Low-efficiency furnaces have an AFUE between 68-72%. They use natural drafts to move combustion gases, have a continuously lit pilot and a heavy heat exchanger. Mid-efficiency furnaces have an AFUE of 80-83%. They use exhaust fans to control gas flow, have electronic ignition instead of a pilot light and are lighter and more compact. High efficiency units register an AFUE of 90-97% and use condensation to move heat more economically.
Could retrofitting your older furnace take care of major issues? Many systems can be upgraded with things like programmable thermostats, new ductwork or temperature zone controls. These improvements will spare you the expense of replacing the unit while increasing efficiency and lowering your utility bill.
Was your furnace converted from coal-burning to oil or gas? Ancient coal-burning furnaces that were switched to gas or oil burners are prime candidates for replacement as they are notoriously inefficient, and the cost of a new system will pay for itself in a relatively short period of time thanks to the increased fuel efficiency and lower operating expense. If you have a gas furnace with a pilot light—not an electric ignition—you could also save significantly by replacing the unit.
Is your unit an oil-burning furnace that is more than 22 years old? While most oil furnaces can be perfectly reliable and surprisingly efficient for many years, once these systems hit the 20 year mark their efficiency and dependability begin to decline. If total replacement is not in the cards, consider upgrading your unit with a newer standard efficiency flame retention head burner. This is a special fixture that mixes a fuel oil spray with the air needed to cause combustion and can increase your furnace’s AFUE to around 80%. The flame retention head provides a more controlled fuel/air mix and makes the burning process much more efficient.
If you're on the fence about replacing your furnace, Horizon Services recommends that you do at least one of the following:
- Schedule a Precision Tune-Up for Your Existing Furnace: A Horizon heating technician can perform this 21-point check in less than an hour. It's your best guarantee that your existing furnace will start the winter season in the best condition possible and get you through the cold months ahead. While performing your Precision Tune-Up, your Horizon heating technician can check to see if there are any broken or damaged parts and give you an accurate assessment of how much useful life your furnace still has.
- Schedule an In-Home Energy Analysis: Horizon Services can do this for you for FREE. One of our Comfort Consultants can come to your home to examine your existing furnace, measure your home and understand your family's heating needs and budget. Your Horizon Comfort Consultant will give you an honest appraisal of your existing heating system and show you multiple options for heating your home more efficiently and affordably.
Chilli powder-1 tsp
Turmeric Powder-1/4 tsp
Curry leaves-1 arc
1. Heat the pan with 1/2 cup of oil.
2. Add Mustard & curry leaves,once it pop up add chopped onions.
3. Saute well,once it will become golden brown add turmeric,chilli powder and salt.
4. Saute well till the raw smell goes.
5. Now add chopped tomatoes,fry well until it will become soft.
6. Cover with lid cook till oil comes from curry.
7. Serve hot with Idly,Dosa,Rice or Roti.
You can store this for a week in Refrigerator.
Babli & Raje have Showered me With this Awards.I have to thank them for their encouragement by passing these Awards.Thanks for Thinking about me & Sharing the beautiful Awards with me.I am so Happy to Receive this award from you.
I am Happy to receive Giant bear hug from Babli.
Raje sent this Beautiful Presentation Award.Thank you Raje
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Time : 20 minutes
Yields - 50 pieces
Maida/All purpose flour - 2 cups
Sugar - 4 cups
Ghee - 1 1/2 cup
Vanilla essence - 1 tspn
Food color - a pinch
Water - 1 cup
1/2 cup tuvar dal
1/2 C chana dal or use 1 cup of chana dal alone
1 cup jaggery
3 tblspn ghee
Roasted cashew - few
Grated coconut - 3 tblspn
Kaja ~ Andhra Special
Maida/All purpose flour - 2 cups
Salt - a pinch
Baking soda - 1 big pinch
Ghee - 2 tspn + 2 tblspn
Rice flour - 3 tblspn
Water - 3/4 cup
Oil to deep fry
Sugar -1 cup heaped
Water - 3/4 cup
Mix maida, salt, baking soda and ghee. Add water to make a pliable dough. Leave the dough for an hour. Resting time for the dough is essential to get good results. In a bowl mix together rice flour and ghee.It should be of spreadable consistency.