Monday, February 28, 2011

Greater control, savings and ultimate comfort!

As a followup to my last post addressing programmable thermostats and our tendencies as homeowners to be selecting all the wrong [but with good intentions] settings, I am excited to show a new product that has promise to save you energy, increase home comfort and maybe even add some fun to your day to day. "Intelligent conservation solutions for real people"....That's the headline in one marketing piece for the latest in smart thermostats built with the homeowner in mind.  
Presenting: ecobee. The ecobee is a WiFi connected smart thermostat designed to save you money in utility costs and reduce your environmental impact.  Its capabilities are enormous, with the capability to monitor and report heating/cooling systems status' such as the amount of time your furnace/boiler or air conditioner run in a day to the usefulness of having your own web portal to change the settings while away.  

Have a vacation property? Multiple homes? Busy lifestyle (who doesn't)? The ecobee brings us the ability to control when and for how long our heating/cooling systems run.  This is extremely beneficial for those of us who are heading to the cabin for the weekend, either from a computer or from an iPhone & Droid app we can now turn up the heat on the way up north rather than bear the frigid temps waiting for the place to heat when we get there. And talk about savings!

Regular programmable thermostats are "locked" in to the program we set for them.  I can't speak for everyone but, my families schedule hardly meets the actual definition of a schedule, we are going every which way but loose most days.  With the instant connectivity to my Droid phone via an app I can easily change the temperature settings with the swipe of my finger, after all we planned on being home for dinner but those plans go out the window sometimes....I don't need the heat to kick back up for a few hours, not today....

This may seem contradictory to my last post, it isn't though.  The ecobee has a monitoring and reporting function that allows me to see how my system is performing, showing me information that can help me save energy by not having too deep of a set-back.  With cool features like a 5-day weather forecast of my local area I can even decide to adjust my heating cooling settings in anticipation of upcoming weather that's kinda geeky but it makes sense!

There's safety built in! 
Wouldn't it be nice to know if there is a problem at home before you get there, during normal business hours when you can get someone for service?  The ecobee has the ability to send an alert if your system is malfunctioning.  An alert can be sent because the home's temperature is too low, indicating the furnace is out or the a water sensor can be installed in the basement to alert you if there is a leak or the sump pump stopped working.  Does your big box store t-stat do that?

This interactive way of home comfort is a 180 degree turn away from a traditional programmable thermostat, and with great results.....SAVINGS! I would love the opportunity to show you how it works, how it may fit into your lifestyle and the benefits it is sure to bring to your bottom line. 

Your Basement Stinks!

What You Can Do If Your Cellar's a Smeller!

If you’ve ever spent time in a stuffy, musty basement you don’t need anyone to tell you how unpleasant the smell can be. Worse than dirty gym socks, worse than rotten eggs, worse than…well, there aren’t many things that smell worse. A smelly basement is especially problematic for homeowners who want to use their basement as additional living space for a den, extra bedroom, or entertainment room -- or if you're looking to sell your home.

Where is That Basement Smell Coming From?
Usually, bad basement smells come from humidity and moisture that comes up from the ground. Because the basement is below ground level, this moisture never really goes away and just keeps accumulating. Mold and fungus grow and spread, causing the unpleasant smells. The only way to permanently get rid of odors is to get rid of the moisture.

While totally removing moisture and condensation from your basement is not realistic, there are plenty of steps you can take to dramatically reduce the amount of moisture entering the space and eradicate that horrible musty basement smell.

Cover Sources of Basement Moisture
Dirt that is left exposed will attract moisture, which then seeps into your basement through the foundation and leaves behind a nasty smell. You can try to fix this problem by covering the dirt around the outside of your home with plastic sheeting, mulch, or gravel. This should help block some of the moisture and improve the smell in your basement.

Exposed water pipes may get cold and collect condensation, allowing moisture to build up. Insulating pipes in and around the basement can really help reduce moisture and tamp down the smell.

Turn Up the Heat
Moisture and heat generally do not get along. One of the best ways to eliminate excess condensation in your basement is to crank up the heat. If your home’s HVAC system doesn’t have a control for the basement, you can try one of these alternatives:
  • Open basement window curtains to let warming sunshine in during the day. Shut them at night to hold heat in and prevent overnight condensation when temperatures drop.
  • If your boiler or furnace is located in a separate basement room, leave the door open to allow heat from the unit to raise the temperature in the rest of the space.
  • Place a small space heater in the basement and run it whenever someone is home. Even a few hours of extra heat can make a big difference.

Air It Out

Improving air circulation through your basement can help dry up moisture and get rid of bad smells. Installing an exhaust fan in the basement is a good idea, as is running a simple standing or box fan. In pleasant weather, open basement windows to let fresh air into the room. And putting your laundry dryer in the basement, with the outgoing air vent directed out of the basement, can also help improve air flow and dry the air.

Dehumidify Your Basement
Perhaps the most effective way to eliminate moisture from a musty, moldy basement is to get a dehumidifier. These devices pull moisture from the air, collecting water in a built-in reservoir. Empty the basin regularly and you’ll have a fresher, more pleasant basement.

Install a Sump Pump In Your Basement
If your foundation rests over a well or water table and if your basement is prone to dampness, groundwater leaking and flooding, consider installing a sump pump in your basement. Sump pumps funnel and collect basement moisture in a pit dug into the foundation and pump it out of your home. A Horizon Services plumbing technician can recommend and install a sump pump system that's ideal for your basement.

Could It Be Your Sewer or Water Lines?
Is the smell especially foul? The source could be sewage waste slowly seeping into your basement due to obstructions in or damage to your main sewer and water lines leading out of your house. Over time, these lines can rsdily clog up with waste; crack, bend or break; or even be penetrated by creeping roots from trees and shrubs. This can cause sewage to back up into your home or seep your yard and foundation into your basement.

One sure sign of sewer and water line problems, besides the smell, is if water does not flow easily down your toilet, sinks or tubs, or makes unusual gurgling, bubbling sounds when it does. If you suspect such a problem, don't delay: call a professional sewer & water line repair/replacement contractor like Horizon Services. If left untreated, the problem could result in a major backup of sewage waste into your home; this is not only extremely unsanitary, it can result in permanent damage to floors, carpets and other parts of your home.

Related Information from Horizon Services...

Related Blog Posts...

Saffron Milk Panacotta and Florentine Cookies - Daring Baker's Challenge, February 2011

This Month Daring Baker's Challenge hosted by Mallory of A Sofa in the Kitchen!!!! She Challenged us to make these Gorgeous Looking Panacotta and Delicious Florentine Cookies!!!! When she talks about the recipe, she says it is Simple and Delicious, So True!!! Its a Simple, Delicious and makes a Great Dessert!!!! It can be served in small bowls, Portion Control, Light, Tasty and definitely doesn't scare your guests, if they are one of those from the Eat-Wisely Group!!!!!
Mallory Offered us to the choice of making panacotta using any of the Flavored Milk!!!! While Blog-hopping i came across Thasneen's Rose-Raspberry Panacotta. Inspired by that i chose to make the same using Saffron Milk and Almond Meal!!!! 

Ingredients : Saffron Milk Panacotta
2 cups of Whipped Cream
1/4 cup China Grass/Agar-Agar
2 tbsp Warm Milk
2 tsp Saffron threads
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp Almond Meal
4 tbsp Sugar
Soak Saffron threads in Warm Milk. Soak China Grass/Agar-Agar in half cup of water for 10 minutes. Heat it in a pan, dissolve it, Strain it and keep aside. But, make sure it doesnt stay aside fopr long, it jells fast!!!!! In a saucepan, add cream, vanilla essence, sugar, and heat it over medium heat.  Let the cream simmer for few minutes, add the saffron soaked milk and add the melted agar-agar and Combine Well. Remove from the flame and Cool it down.  Add the Almond Meal, Stir well. Pour them Small Individual Bowls and Refrigerate them for 6 hours At-least.

Ingredients For Florentine Cookies
5 tbsp + 1 tsp Unsalted Butter
1 cup Quick Oats
1/2 Cup Sugar
5 tbsp + 1 tsp All Purpose Flour
2 tbsp Golden Syrup (Replacing Corn Syrup)
2tbsp Whole Milk
2 tbsp Vanilla Extract
pinch of Salt
Dark Chocolate/White Chocolate for Drizzling the Cookies
Oops!!! Sorry for that Bad Pic!!!!
Preheat Oven to 190C. Melt butter, to this add Oats, Sugar, flour, golden syrup, Milk, Vanilla and Salt.  Combine Well.  Grease the baking pan with Parchment paper, Add a spoonful of cookie batter on the sheet leaving atleast 2-3 inches space between them. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are brown.  My Oven took 10 minutes to do the same.  The Baking Temperature depends upon your Oven. So Keep an Eye on your Cookie!!!!!Once done, Cool them on a Wire Rack, you can drizzle melted dark/White Chocolate on top!!!!! I topped the second batch cookies with a choco button in the center!!!!
Enjoy Light, Airy Panacotta along with Little Crispy, Little Chewy Cookies. It was a great pleasure making them both!!!  Be Creative with your Panacotta Flavour, Try them and let me know!!! 
Until Next Post, God Bless you and Have a Great Day!!!!!

Globe Cake ( Harry,Centre Culturel Français )

Ini pesenannya Mela n the gank buat temennya,Harry yang mau keliling dunia ( Duhhhhh asiknyaa, ikut dong..hehehe)

Dapet request ini, langsung secara ga pernah bikin globe, wkt sekolah jg peta buta nya ancur..hahaha.
Tapi Mela bilang " Gpp Kak, pokoknya asal berbentuk peta aja, orangnya botak trs bawa ransel ya kak" Wadohh pusing deh langsung tp teteupp berkat dukungan ( or paksaan??wkwkwkw ) Mela, diterima lah order ini.

Ceritanya, Harry ini temen CCF - Centre Culturel Français nya Mela n the gank.Harry nya mau keliling dunia. Nah kue ini mo dibawa keliling dunia jg..Eh salah ya..heheheh..kue ini mo dikasi buat,yaa sebagai tanda selamat jalan kali ya ( sotoy mode on ).

Awalnya kue nya mau diambil, trs ga jadi, pgn dianter aja katanya.Contact kurir, full..Yauda terpaksa bilang Mela kue nya harus diambil, lagian kalo pake kurir jg riskan bgt karena ada figurine berdiri nya.

Untung banget Mela ini baikk hati, jalan2 ke luar kota ya Mel ( cengkareng ), mana sempet salah kasi petunjuk lagi. maapp ya neng..hehehe

Langsung dipajang jadi pp

Comment : " Kak, kamiii segenap CCF'ers mengucapkan xie xie ce lorennntt.kuenya bagusssss..cakepppppp" tinggal tunggu komen pas kue nya dipotong tar malem" 

Pas malemnya via bbm setelah kue dipotong :
Kue nya enyakkkkk Kak, uda abiss..
Hah? da abisss??? iya dikerubutin..qiqiqiqii

Lola's Kitchen tiens également à dire je vous remercie beaucoup pour votre commande à Mela et CCF'ers 

Bonne chance, Harry..
Nous étions tous en attente de votre retour

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Spaghetti with Roasted Garlic and Home made Marinara

I know the name is bit long but I couldn't help but to mention the actual one. I was inspired by this from the 'The Best Thing I ever Ate' - With Garlic in the Food network. It was one classic recipe. I made this for lunch today and it was simple yet elegant.

Serves - 2
Spaghetti - 1/2 lb
Garlic - 3 pods ~ 25 cloves
Butter - 1 tbsp
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
For the Marinara sauce:

Molake Hurali Saaru / Kollu Rasam - Horse Gram Thin Soup



Molake Hurali Saaru ( Kannada) or Kollu Rasam ( Tamil ) is a very tasty and healthy dish, which has various medicinal properties. My mother used to prepare it only sparingly,  saying that it had a severe heating property, and insisted that we savoured it with a liberal scoop of pure ghee. Molake Hurali or Sprouted Horse Gram tastes very good in salads and raitas.


Sprouted horse gram - 2 cups
Tamarind - 1 small marble size
Tomato - 1 big
Rasam Powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Curry leaves - a few
Freshly chopped coriander leaves - 1 tbsp
Pepper - 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Garlic - 2 cloves
Ghee - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp


1. Wash and soak horse gram overnight.
2. Drain the soaked horse gram through a clean white towel .
3. Bundle the soaked horse gram in the same towel and store in a vessel covering it with a tight lid. A casserole or a hot box will be perfect for the purpose.
4. Leave the vessel undisturbed for one more night.The wet towel is enough to retain the moisture needed for sprouting.
5. Horse Gram Sprouts will be ready by the next morning.



1. Add turmeric and pressure cook sprouted Horse Gram with one cup of water.
2. Soak tamarind and the chopped tomato in warm water and extract juice to make two cups.
3. Add salt, rasam powder ( can be substituted with one slit green chilly), asafoetida and curry leaves to the juice.
4. Boil the above for ten minutes on low flame.
5. Take out 2 tbsps of the cooked sprouts and grind it to a smooth paste.
6. Add the cooked sprouts and the paste to the boiling saaru/rasam.
7. Cook for two more minutes till all the ingredients blend together.
8. Lower the flame and add 2 cups of water in a steady stream so that bubbles are formed on top of the saaru/rasam.
9. Add coarsely crushed pepper, cumin seeds and garlic cloves to the saaru/rasam.
10. Top it with fresh coriander leaves.
11. Do not stir the saaru/rasam and allow it to form a thick foam on top.
12. Switch off flame when it is just about to boil, and immediately remove the vessel from the stove.
 DO NOT BOIL SAARU/RASAM to preserve the wonderful flavour.
13. Heat ghee and splutter mustard seeds, and pour the seasoning on top of the saaru/rasam.

Molake Hurali Saaru/Kollu Rasam can be savoured with hot steaming rice or Ragi Muddae.
It can be thickened by adding more of the hurali/kollu paste and savoured as a thick soup.


It can be sipped as a thin saaru/rasam by adding more water according to the requirement.

But do not forget to top the Molake Hurali Saaru/Kollu Rasam with a teaspoon of pure ghee before you start relishing the Ambrosia!

Sending this thin soup to Divya's Show Me Your Soup event in Dil Se!

Friday, February 25, 2011

DIY Plumbing in Orange County - Why You Need a Professional Orange County Plumber

Simply put, your home is valuable. Its quite the asset. It needs to be taken care of.

Like most things in life, it need a little love, or maintenance, from time to time.

A DIY or Do-It-Yourself plumbing project usually looks a little something like this..

  1. You have to go get the parts.
  2. You have to go back and get the parts you forgot.
  3. You have to spend more time than you ever could have imagined working on the project.
  4. It doesn't work.
  5. You realize you have no warranty because you didn't use a licensed professional.
  6. You repeat the steps above.
  7. You finally call an Orange County plumber like Splash Plumbing.

Care enough about yourself and your home. Call a licensed, insured, and experienced Orange County plumbing expert make the plumbing repairs?

Call 1-877-HEY-SPLASH to have us dispatch a trained technician to your home or office.

Written prices/quotes are provided before work is started and progress updates are provided along the way. Best of all, in most cases, the job will have a one (1) year warranty!

Call now to find out just how inexpensive it can be to have a professional do the job for you.

Still have the urge to fix those leaking pipes yourself, try something a lil less expensive and a lil less damaging to your home, ego & wallet...

Koshimbir / Kosambari

Koshimbir is a raw vegetables salad served along with the meal course in Maharasthra. It is similar to the Kosambari dish of Karnataka. First time I had this was in a restaurant in Bangalore and loved it having Cucumber and moong dhal, both my favorites. Tried this for the first time and I served it as a side for my lunch the other day and we enjoyed it. 

Cucumber - Peeled &

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Think You Can Take On That Bathroom Remodeling Project?

Before You Decide to Do It Yourself, Read This!

With one of the highest rates of return on investment of any home improvement, bathroom remodeling not only adds value to your home, but also is a major selling point for potential buyers. However, when you consider everything that goes into a quality bathroom renovation, the costs can add up quickly. From fixtures to plumbing to floors to paint, you may find yourself in over your head before you even begin. Add expensive labor costs and contractor fees and you may start to think that doing the work yourself is not a bad idea. But before you undertake a major bathroom renovation project on your own, think about it carefully.

Sure, you can manage to finish all the work yourself but can you manage to make it look great? We all want to save money, but none of us wants oddly cut tiles, crooked wallpaper, peeling paint,leaky pipes an uneven toilet, or any one of the number of other little mistakes that can creep their way into an amateur remodeling project. Make sure you’re ready for—and can live with—a finished job that looks like you did it yourself.

Have you ever planned and executed such a project before? Not everyone has the eye, the vision, the understanding, the attention to detail, or the focus to properly design a bathroom themselves. And have you ever actually performed any of the remodeling tasks that your plan calls for or used any of the tools required to do the job? If you are inexperienced or just all thumbs, you may be biting off a lot more than you can chew.

Are you basing your bathroom remodel on something you got from a home improvement book or magazine? Sure, on paper it may seem like a simple, step-by-step process. But remodeling a bathroom is not like baking cookies. All homes and bathrooms are not alike, and a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all design project may simply not work for your bathroom situation.

Does your municipality require permits for such work? If so, do you know how to acquire them? Plumbing and remodeling contractors can get these permits easily; do-it-yourselfers may not know the proper channels.

If you’ve ever attempted a do-it-yourself home improvement you know how hard it can be to overlook even the smallest mistake once the project is complete. Your eyes go over and over that one spot that looks less than perfect or that dark corner that just doesn’t seem right. If you’re the kind of person who is uncomfortable with imperfection or can’t deal with your own failures then it may be better to leave the job to a professional.

One of the best things about hiring a pro is that they know people. And not just any people. They know people who can get great deals on everything from light fixtures to faucets to custom tiles. You probably do not know these people. A professional can help you get the best price on the best materials; you could actually end up paying more by doing things on your own.

Home improvements take time. In some cases, they can take lots of time—time away from your spouse, your kids, your normal life. Before you undertake a major renovation like a bathroom remodel, make sure you consider the toll it may take on your personal life and your relationships. Annoying delays and setbacks can pile up, making what once seemed like a simple project drag on for weeks or months. Unless you’re truly prepared for the unknown, you may want to leave things to the pros.

Bathroom upgrades are not a simple home improvement project. You may be reluctant to spend money on hiring a professional, but this is really the only way to avoid costly mistakes. It is possible, though, to save money even if you go with a pro. Here are some ways how:
  • Buy your own fixtures instead of paying the contractor’s mark-up.
  • Remove tile and flooring yourself if your plan is to replace it anyway.
  • Take on painting and tiling on your own. Even if you’re a total novice, you can do a good job with a little practice.
Don't Forget: Beautiful walls, cabinets and floors are great, but the real guts of your bathroom are the pipes and plumbing fixtures. You not only want your remodeled bathroom to look like a million bucks, you want it to be functional and worry-free. If your bathroom remodeling project calls for the installation, replacement or reconfiguration of plumbing fixtures, pipes and equipment, call the plumbing professionals at Horizon Services. We will make sure that everything is installed and connected properly and fully operational so that you can use and enjoy your new bathroom to its fullest.

Related Bathroom and Plumbing Information from Horizon Services...

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KHI Quarterly V2/Q1


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cupcake B'Day for Hubby - Puput

Pesenan dadakannya Puput lagi ( My loyal customer ) usually, teteup dadakan ya Put..hahahaha.teteup pula gue ga bisa nolak Puput..hahaha

Ini orderan jam stgh 2 pagi, wkt gue abis baking terima bbm an puput mo pesen buat ultah hubby nya.

Tapi gue suka sama Puput ini, anaknya ga banyak ngomong, to the point, cm bilang maunya kaya gini-gini..jelas deh pkk nya.

As per your request, Beb..ini ya penampakannya ( cupcake nya aja masih di rmh,lom diambil..uda dipejeng dl ..gpp ya beb )

Apple Flaxmeal Chapathi | Roti Paratha Recipes

I had been thinking of using apple in my chapathi for a while now ever since I read it in a magazine. When I told this to my DH, he was dumbstruck (yeah, that is the word that best describes his reaction) and so I had not spoken about that to him. I used flaxmeal in my Blueberry scones and fell in love with it being healthy and rich in fiber. I made this chapathi for lunch the other day and my

Accolades (blush)

I received a very nice email from Martin Holladay, of GreenBuildingAdvisor this morning.
Green Building Advisor is a great site for consumers researching green products and methods. They also have a "Pro" section, that is subscription-based, for contractors and designers.
Our Web site, GreenBuildingAdvisor, has published a review of your blog. It’s here:

Thank YOU Martin!
Also thanks to Scott Gibson who wrote the review.
I'm thrilled!
You guys (and gals) are doing a great job too!


Interesting Light Fixture

The Ataro Hybrid light fixture from Waldman is designed for use in an office setting, but I think it would make a very interesting island light fixture in a contemporary kitchen. 

It has LED downlights on the bottom and fluorescent T5s on the top. So it provides both task and ambient illumination. Very energy efficient as well.



Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Raw jackfruits can be cooked in many ways like briyani, kurumaa, masala, vadai, poriyal, varuval etc. This snack, palakkai vadai is very tasty and it is very simple to make. Here is a small tip. When boiling the jackfruit pieces, just boil for a few minutes. It would be immediately cooked. Otherwise it could be cooked in a pressure cooker for one whistle. When grinding it, just run the mixi for a split of second. It will be ground nicely in this way. Do not over-grind it. Then it will be like a paste.

பலாக்காய் வடை


Small raw jackfruit-1
Tuar dal- half cup
Bengal gram- half cup
Red chilies-10
Fennel seeds- 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder- half sp
Chopped onion-1
Chopped coriander- 2 tbsp
Curry leaves- 2 arc


Clean the palakkai, remove the hard outer cover.
Cut it in to big pieces and boil them in clean water until all of them are cooked enough.
Cool them and mash them finely.
Soak the dals in enough water for an hour and then grind them coarsely with the chillies, fennel seeds and salt.
Add the mashed palakkai and the greens.
Mix well the dough and make small balls.
Flatten them in to vadais and fry them in hot oil to golden brown.
Tasty palakkai vadais are ready now!

Cupcake B'Day for Papa ( Ida, Gading Serpong )

Ini repeat order dari Ci Ida, yang kemaren order BDCK Toy Story itu..hehehhee dia kayanya ngefans bgt ama gue ( wkwkwkwkw ampunn cii.. )

Minta nya ga aneh2, buat bday hubby tercintah.Pake kacamata, ada Ci Ida n Naomi ( anaknya yg mirip Jepang bener), kata nya kalo aneh2 tar gue pusing..ckckckck customer yang pengertiann..

Ci Ida bener2 asik bgt org nya, trs per hari ini gue diangkat adek merangkap bagian promosi ( wakakakka pisss ). Asli kita bener2 orang asing yang ga kenal, cm kenal ya gara-gara mesen kue kmrn itu.

she's so much fun person, gokil abis, bocorrr sebocor2nya tp beneran org nya gampang bgt, ga rewel, ga nawar pokoknya TOP deh. 

Nih jelasnya..biar pada mejeng..qiqiqiqi :

Comment nya : " Lucuuuu Ren, I like it" Wih g pajang di pp, langsung ada yg nanya nih, temen kantor laki g mo ada yg pesen.." wakakkaka maaakasii.

Makasi ya ci..Muaahhhh

Chayote Squash Curry

Chayote Squash (chow chow) chopped - 1
Red Chillies - 2
Curry leaves - a few
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urud dal - 1/2 tsp
Hing - a pinch
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Oil - 2 tsp
Grated Coconut - 1 tbsp

Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds, red chillies and urud dal.
When mustard seeds splutter, add chayote squash, hing, turmeric, salt and curry leaves.
Close the lid and cook on low flame.
When the squash turns soft, add fresh grated coconut and mix well.
Serve with rice and sambar.

Reposting for Events

Fenugreek Idli
Fenugreek Idli is one healthy dish with all the goodness of fenugreek and makes a tasty breakfast/dinner. Check out the recipe here : Fenugreek Idli

I am reposting this to send to the following events.
Dish Name Starts with F event by Akila; B for Breakfast event by Charitha.

Tomato Rice
Tomato rice is one of my comfort food and comes

Couple cupcakes ( Ci Susan, Agung Sedayu Group )

Orderan buat temennya Ci Susan..hahaha aku ga kenal lagi ama orang yang mesen..Mesennya melalui Ci Susan.
Requestnya mau ada figurine pasangan, bunga n love

Jadinya gini deh...
Simple tapi aku suka bagian ce nya..modis..hehehehe

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy Anniversary Kitchen-Exchange!

Unbelievable how the time flies!

I started this blog on February 20th 2005, and here we are still at it six years later.

A lot has changed in the intervening years: Mostly as a result of the depression in the construction/remodeling industry caused by our housing market crash. That slow motion train wreck really started in the Fall of 2007, came to crescendo with the stock market disintegration in 2008, and continues with the seemingly never ending parade of housing foreclosures.

2005 was when housing prices and the refinancing and remodeling delirium surrounding them were at their most feverish pitch. Fast forward to today and everyone left in the Industry, and anything connected to housing, is struggling to stay afloat.

Contractors have it bad...really, really bad. Many have gone out of business or retired. The ones who remain are glad to have any sort of work. Kitchen and bath retailers with showrooms have been very hard hit. Most have fairly large overhead. Only those who socked away money for that proverbial rainy day and cut staff have survived.

Many other retailers whose businesses were built around furnishing and decorating homes have gone under, as well as building materials suppliers (those few that were left after the Big Box stores decimated their numbers).

Many businesses that I have known and sent my clients to for decades are now, sadly, gone.

It's a gloomy time. That's for sure! The only bright spot is the ultra high-end. Seems like those folks just never run out of money! 

The middle-class continues to struggle with joblessness, under-employment and homes that are too expensive for their reduced incomes. Worse, many have already lost those homes they invested so heavily upon.

About the only thing you can say about the future few years is that we have nowhere to go but up. I think it will be a long and slow haul though. Living within our means does not come easily to Americans.

Good luck everybody. Here's hoping that my seventh year anniversary post is back to ebullient and optimistic.


Know Your Heating System Operation Costs

Ongoing Costs of Operation Are Just As Important as the Upfront Costs of Purchase and Installation

Buying a new home heating system is an important investment. The right heating system for your home will not only keep you and your family warm and safe, it will also run smoothly with minimal problems. It could significantly lower your monthly heating costs, and it can even enhance the value of your home. And, since this is an investment you’ll probably live with for years to come, you’ll want to invest wisely.

When shopping for a new heating system, you need to compare not only the initial cost to buy and install the system, but also how much it will cost you, on average, to operate your system.

Make sure you know the energy efficiency of the heating system you are getting. Older, conventional furnaces or boilers can often have an energy efficiency lower than 65%. Today’s more efficient heating systems have efficiency ratings that range from 78% to 97% for forced air systems and 80% to 95% for hot water systems. That’s why upgrading to a new, more efficient heating system has the potential for reducing your monthly heating bills by 20-40%.

The extra money you spend for a high-efficiency heater or heating system will pay you back in energy savings in a relatively short time. For example, suppose you are choosing between a heating system with an efficiency rating of 78% and one with a rating of 93%. The higher-efficiency heating system will cost $500 more, but will probably save you, on average, about $137 each year in operating costs. So you will recover the $500 additional upfront cost in less than five years. That's a big saving.

If you are not planning to stay in the home long enough to reach the payback point, you may wish to choose a lower-priced heating system. But remember, a high-efficiency heating system can be a good selling point when it comes time to sell your home.

Our Recommendation: Schedule a FREE In-Home Comfort Analysis from Horizon Services. One of our experienced Comfort Consultants will come to your home, study your house from top to bottom, get a sense of your heating requirements, then give you a complete report with recommendations on a heating system that is just right for your situation, as well as assist you in determining how much you can actually expect to save in monthly heating costs by upgrading to a more efficient heating system.

Related Heating System Installation Information...

Cabbage Dosa ~ No fermentation, spicy dosa

At first, cabbage in a dosa did not appeal to me. I have seen many blog posts featuring the cabbage dosa, a famous Konkani recipe. My husband's aunt Malathi is a great cook and she loves to cook and feed too. When she is serving, she keeps filling your plate and you will be too full that one will need support to get up from the chair.  M aunt's husband is very choosy when it comes to food. He will have only oil free food and don't eat onions. M aunt will cook the same curry in two ways, with ease. Also sometimes she will cook different menus to satisfy all. And she puts together the meal at super speed. And in many ways, she reminds me of my mother.  That way, I have always felt that I am staying at my home when I go there. She has never treated me as daughter-in-law. I am literally pampered there.  After we shifted to Pune, I had to visit my hometown and I stayed at aunt's house. She made this dosa for breakfast. I was simply hooked to it and understood a recipe cannot be judged by its ingredients alone.  And then it is a regular at my home.

This dos is almost an instant kind since no fermentation is required here. Tamarind is added to the batter and it takes care of the slight sourness to the batter. If you remember to soak the rice and dal the previous night, then the breakfast for the day is ready in 15 minutes including the grinding and chopping time. So if the cabbage in the recipe has put you off, do try it once and you will be proven wrong.

You need
  • Parboiled rice - 1 cup
  • Chana dal - 2 tblspn
  • Tuvar dal - 1 tblspn
  • Red chillies - 6-8 nos
  • Tamarind - Gooseberry sized
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tspn
  • Hing - 1/4 tspn
  • Salt to taste
  • Finely chopped cabbage - 1 cup

Soak rice and dal together overnight.
Soak tamarind and red chillies in warm water for 10 minutes. Soaking in warm water makes the tamarind soft. Grind the soaked tamarind, red chillies, hing , turmeric and salt along with few tablespoons of rice. Grind it to smooth paste and then add the rest of rice+dal mix. Grind it coarsely. To the batter, stir in the chopped cabbage. The batter will be thick like that of adai.

Heat dosa tawa and when it is hot, spread a ladle of  the batter. The batter is not easily spreadable like dosa. Using the ladle lightly spread the batter to a circle. Don't try to spread thin. This is a fairly thick dosa. Drizzle oil around the dosa. When the bottom is cooked, flip and cook on the other side.

The dosa can be had on its own since it has tamarind and red chillies to add spice. A side of coconut chuntney or sambhar is also good. Serve it hot.

Strawberry Iced Tea

Iced tea is a great alternative to the carbonated beverages carrying just sugar and empty calories. I opted for my favorite Strawberry and it came out very well with a light and pretty pink color. Loved it and I am gonna make it more often. 

Tea bags - 2 (May use Black or Green Tea. I used Green) ~ 2 tsp
Water - 600 ml
Strawberries - about 8-10
Water - 1/4 cup
Sugar/Honey - 3 tsp

Hello Kitty Cupcake ( Vanessa, Kelapa Gading )

Ini pesanan tante cantik dan tersayang.Pesen cupcake buat goodie bag anaknya alias sepupu aku.hehehe
Ini juga hadiah buat ultah sepupu kecil :)

Fotonya kurang bagus krn pake BB, kameranya ketinggalan memory card nya..huhuhuhu

Happy Bday ya Nesa, cepet gede n makin cakep yaaa

Close up nya :

Sunday, February 20, 2011

My King loves Football ( Alvina, ITC Mangga II )

Laporannn ahhhh...

Ini masi fresh baru dianter tadi pagi ke ITC Mangga 2, pesenannya Alvina untuk yayang tersayang nya yang B'Day ke 22.

Deg-deg an takut kue nya rusak, soalnya yg anter kurir..Tapi legaa kurir nya OK bgt, semuanya OK ga ada yg rusak.

Suka deh ama kue ini.apalagi ama mahkota nya..qiqiqiqiqi. Bola sama mahkota..unik konsepnya lucu..

Figurine nya :

Comment Alvina : Ci, kue nya lucuu...suka...

Makasi ya Vin.. :)

sukham ayu

sukham ayu

I was pleasantly surprised last week, when the postman delivered a copy of the sukham ayu from Pritya Publishers! It was for a Facebook contest in which Dibs, had taken part and won! I had the opportunity to go through a few pages of the beautifully designed book along with Dibs on skype. I could not put down the book until I finished reading it cover to cover. It was more like reading Upanishad and a self improvement guide rolled into one, studded with delicious recipes prepared, based on Ayurvedic principles.

Armed with their jigyasa ( thirst for knowledge ) and pratibha ( talent ) the authors have deeply delved into the ocean of Ayurveda and brought out this precious pearl of wisdom for the benifit of every individual who is striving to live a healthy and long life. sukham ayu can be considered as an Ayurveda samputam, since it illuminates the reader with a brief but rich knowledge of the ancient native Science.

The recipes are very simple and appealing to the palate.The simple methods for preparing the delicious dishes do not exceed five or six steps which can be easily followed even by a novice.
Kudos to Jigyasa Giri and Pratibha Jain for their wonderful effort in putting together this priceless cook book. It is most befitting that it has been awarded the second place for Best Health & Nutrition Cook Book In The World, by Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2009.
Congratulations and may you publish many more award winning books!

Here is Broken Wheat Kheer which I have made following the recipe in sukham ayu. This one is for Dibs for winning the invaluable book.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fiery Chilli Baby Corn | Indo-Chinese Appetizers

I had bought a box of Baby corn planning to make stir fry. It was hiding in my fridge until I found it on the other day and was pleading to be used. I was no mood to make a stir fry that evening and so decided to make this as a quick and a super-spicy snack. My sis gave me the recipe for Chilli paneer with the same method. I decided to substitute Baby corn for Paneer. But yes, Paneer is still

Friday, February 18, 2011

Winter Window Warmers

Insulated Window Treatments Conserve Energy, Increase Comfort

If rising fuel and heating prices have you searching this winter for energy-saving alternatives that are easy on your already tight budget, consider insulated window treatments. No matter where you live, these specialty drapes will help cut your energy and heating costs while adding a little style to any room.

One of the biggest areas of heat loss in most homes is drafty old windows and doors. Even tiny openings can suck out a significant amount of heat, forcing your home’s heating and cooling system to work harder and costing you more money on utilities. Fortunately, it is pretty easy to remedy the situation without spending thousands of dollars on new windows.

First, be sure your windows and doors are sealed as well as possible. Re-caulk and replace worn weather stripping to fix drafts. After all, putting up insulated window treatments won’t do much to combat ill-fitting widow sashes and door seals.

Once you have ensured that all the windows in your house are sealed up tight, there are lots of options for insulating your home with window treatments.

Cellular Shades:
Many of the industry’s top manufacturers now market cellular shades that incorporate single, double, and triple layers of cells to absorb drafts and stop heating or cooling loss. These shades are available in a variety of light control strengths, from semi-opaque to blackout. In terms of style, there is a wide range and you should not have any trouble finding something to complement your décor.

Insulated Drapes:
This is another great way to insulate your home without sacrificing style. Choose a heavy fabric to ensure the best possible result, or consider combining an insulated shade with coordinating traditional curtains for a more customized look. For the ultimate energy savings, pair insulated drapes with cellular shades to restrict heating and cooling loss nearly completely.

Plantation Shutters:
Often used simply for aesthetic purposes on a home’s exterior, plantation shutters actually do a fairly decent job insulating windows and preventing heat and energy loss. Composite or vinyl shutters are particularly effective for insulation. While plantation shutters cannot quite compare to cellular shades or insulated drapes, they do offer a decent amount of insulation when fully closed.

Additional Winter Window and Heating Tips:
No matter which kind of insulated window treatment you choose, be sure to install it as flush with the panes as possible. This will ensure the treatment is able to perform as effectively as possible.

Budget and style preferences will typically dictate which kind of insulated window treatment you select for your home heating and comfort needs. Though the most expensive, triple layer cellular shades are the most efficient and may be especially helpful if you live in a really cold climate.

Over time, any investment in insulated window treatments will pay for itself in a relatively short time thanks to heating savings and general comfort. You will pay less on your heating and energy bills and will be able to enjoy the perfect indoor temperature throughout your home.

Insulated window treatments can be found at most retailers including home improvement stores, discount stores, department stores, and specialty home interiors stores.

Related Heating and Energy Information from Horizon Services...

Turnip Chayote curry

The other day I was scanning my fridge to make some curry for chapathi. What could one do with one small turnip and half a chayote? These two vegetables almost had the same texture, so decided to make a simple curry adding some cabbage. It was so tasty and healthy.

Turnip - 1 - small - cubed
Chayote - cubed - 1 cup
Cabbage - chopped - 1 cup
Onion - 1/2 cup - chopped
Tomato - 1 -

Mixed Berry Gratin

I like berries like Strawberry and Blueberry are my favorites, but this time I wanted to make something will all the berries and keep it light and simple and as usual keep it healthy.
This is a simple dessert recipe and eat at anytime. It is a healthy and satisfies your sweet tooth too.

1/2 cup Strawberries cut into 4 quaters
1/2 cup Blueberries
1/2 cup Blackberries
1/2 cup Raspberries
2 tbsp All-Purpose flour
1 Egg
1/2 cup Slivered Almonds, roasted
1/4 Cup Sugar or Honey
1 pinch Salt
2 tbsp Butter

1. Pre-heat oven to 350F
2. Grease a Pie plate or a Grating dish with cooking spray or butter and spread all the berries evenly.
3. In a blender add blend the almonds to a powder.
4. To the almonds add the egg, sugar/Honey, butter, AP flour, salt and blend it again
5. Now pour this mixture on top of the berries and bake it for about 50 to 60 mins.
6. Serve this warm with your choice of Ice cream or Whipped cream or you can eat as it is.

Green Moong Dal Poori with Potato Subji

Today I am feeling like eating something deep fried, may be a poori with my favorite Potato. Is is possible for me to eat healthy when I am deep frying something?? hmm....good question. Ok I thought why not try to add some healthy stuff into the deep frying concept. This is how I came up with this recipe - Moong Dal Poori. Does it sound unusual? Definitely Not!! you guys should try this ...this wonderful and puffs up better than the normal poori :-)

1/2 cup Split Green Moong Dal
2 1/2 cups Wheat Flour or Atta
1 Green Chilli
1/4 inch Ginger
Water as needed
Oil for deep frying

1. Wash and soak split green moong dal in water for about 3-4 hours. 
2. Grind the dal with green chilli, salt and ginger (Note: no need to add water, but add the water in which the dal was kept to soak)
3. In a bowl take the wheat flour and mix with the dal mixture and kneat it to a firm dough. (just like you make the regular poori dough)
4. In a kadai add oil and wait until it's medium high hot. (around 350F)
5. Make small lemon size balls and roll to rounds as pooris.
6. Make poori one by one. (Note: when u put the rolled out poori into the oil, and when it rises to the top press with a spoon lightly so that it will puff up and then turn it to the other side. This will make good poori's)

3 medium sized red skin potato's (boiled, peeled and mashed but with little chunks)
2 medium sized Onions sliced
3 medium sized Tomatoes chopped
3 Green Chillies Chopped
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1 Spring Curry leaves
Salt to taste
water as needed
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Oil
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
1/4 cup Cilantro

1. In a kadai add oil, and when it's hot add mustard seeds and when they start to sputter add Asafoetida, cumin seeds, green chilies and curry leaves.
2. Add Onions and saute them until they become transparent.
3. Add Tomatoes, salt and turmeric powder and cook until tomatoes are soft.
4. Add 1/2 cup water and when it comes to boil add the mashed potatoes and cook until you get a boil.
5. Garnish with chopped Cilantro and serve with hot poori's.