Category: Zen (Personal)

Garden Log ~ March, 2011

Fig Plant ~ Spring 2011
Fig in Spring

This will be my third year of vegetable gardening and I am very much looking forward to working and harvesting. Now, I feel more experienced with Houston seasons and I am also putting my experience to good use. I am working as a garden consultant to two first time home gardeners. I am advising them with design layout, plant selection etc, enjoying the role very much.:)

Last year, I employed succession planting to maximize the limited space I have and the growing period. During spring I started with cool season spring crop (peas, green beans, yellow and green zucchini, cucumbers, methi). Followed by a Houston-heat loving summer crop (turia-beerakaaya, papdi lilva-chikkudu, karela-kakara, okra-benda, gongura etc).

This strategy worked. I had a steady harvest throughout the growing season, from April till the end of November. During those months, my expenses on buying vegetables from stores was less than ten dollars a week, usually it would be around thirty dollars. During the past growing season I would only buy onions, carrots and fruits from the stores and all other vegetables that had cooked were from my garden. Not only my kitchen needs were met, I was also able to share the excess vegetable harvest with friends. Succession planting is a joy and I am planning to stick with this strategy this year as well. If weather permits and I could, I would also do a third fall crop.

Here are the list of plants I planted for this growing season:

Box 1: Okra, Peanuts, Fennel Bulbs, Kohlrabi, Tomatillo, Kerala Potatoes

Box 2: Tomatoes (Celebrity, Cherry Tomatoes), Cantaloupe (from last year seeds)

Box 3: Vines – Green Beans, Peas, Cucumber (Persian and Pickle), Lemon-cuke (budamkaya), Malabar Spinach (bacchali)

Box 4: Vines – Zucchini (yellow), Mexican Squash, Grapes, Papdi-liva&Valor (chikkudu), Chinese and Indian Karela, Turia (beerakaaya) (for summer)

Box 5: Aaku Kuralu – Methi, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Coriander, Purslane (payala), Amaranth (thotakura), Gongura (for summer)

Box 6: Herbs – Mint, Rosemary, Marjoram (maruvam), Lemongrass, Turmeric, Dodda Patre (Coleus Aromaticus, Karpooravalli)

Box 7: Peppers – Pequin, Guntur, Habanero, Cayenne. Bell Peppers and Banana Peppers

Box 8: Brinjal – Fairy tale, Japanese, Indian and Italian

Box 9: Tomatoes – Better boy, Brandywine, Cherokee Purple

Planning to try out something new – Tuvar and Parval

Here are the boxes in long shot:


Boxes 1, 2, 3 and 4


Boxes 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9


Fruit Trees ~ Cherry of Rio Grande, Orange, Loquat, Mandarin, Fig, Guava (looks dead right now due to last winter frost), Pomegranate

Garden Log: April, 2010 ~ The Second Year
Garden Log: March, 2009 ~ The Beginning

~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~

What are you planning to grow this season? Any new ideas? I would love to hear from you fellow garden enthusiasts.

Party in the Park ~ Houston Holi

“Holi” – the festival of colors is one of Houston’s favorite festivals. Every year, Indian Association, Gujarati Samaj and Masala Radio together organize a fun filled, Holi celebration in a Houston city park. Nearly 10,000 to 12,000 people come from all parts of Texas to this event. Colors, food, dance programs plus pleasant weather and spring holiday break make Holi celebrations a hugely popular, favorite family event. We go every year and always had fun. The celebrations for this year were today at Seabourne Creek Park in Rosenberg. Here are some photos of Holi hungama.

Sunil and Priyanka ~ Masala Radio DJs
Sunil and Preyanka ~ DJ’s and Organizers of “Party in the Park ~ Houston Holi” Event

Auto Riksha
Auto Riksha from India ~ Transport Mascot of Houston Holi

Houston Holi Celebrations
Holi Balloon Decorations in front of a Food Stall

Houston Holi Celebrations
Entertaining Dance Programs by Houston Youth

Houston Holi Celebrations
Bhangra for Holi

Houston Holi Celebrations
Traditional Dress Fashion Show by a Local Designer

Houston Holi
The Crowd, Watching the Holi Event

Houston Holi
buranaa maano, Holi Hai” ~ Fun with Colors

Houston Holi
Fresh Sugar Cane Juice (Ganne ka Ras, Cheraku Rasam) ~ Our Favorite Holi Beverage

Houston Holi Celebrations
See You Next Year ~ The Holi Hiranyakashyap

Spring under the Holi Moon

The First full moon of Spring 2011. A renewal of the growing season.
Here are some photos from my garden.

Spring Moon
Peaceful and Pleasant ~ Spring Time Holi Moon

Jasmines in Bloom
Perfume in the Air ~ Jasmine Flowers (Chambeli)

Gardenia Flower
Gorgeous Gardenia

Orange Flowers
Beautiful Buds ~ A first for my Orange (mandarin) Plant

A Rose
A Rose Under the Moonlight

Weekend Kittaya

Kittaya in Winter
Winter Warmth ~ Cozy Kittaya in My Old Sweater

Indian Party Menus ~ Friends Get Together

Some delicious options for different occasions, that’s “Indian Party Menus”.
Hope you would find this series helpful when planning your party food menu.

Get Together Party at a Friend’s Home

Theme: Casual Get Together
Attendees: 8
Time: Dinner
Venue: Home
Preparation: Homemade

Party Menu:
Red Beans Kosambari with Tomatoes and Corn

Lemon Sevai and Coconut Sevai with Fresh, Homemade Sevai
Jeera Basmati Rice
Plain Chapati and Ghee Chapati
Thayir Sadam (Daddhojanam), Sweetened with Red Grapes

Mor Kuzhambu Vadai
Coconut Chutney
Green Mango Pickle
Bengali Alu Dum
Punjabi Rajma

Dessert:
Comforting, Semiya Kheer
Rava Kesari in Flower Shapes
Coconut-Pecan Burfi with Pecans from the Neighborhood

Drinks:
South-Indian Filter Coffee with Cafe Du Monde’s Chicory Coffee

Indian Party Menus ~ Birthday Party Menu

Some delicious options for different occasions, that’s “Indian Party Menus”.
Hope you would find this series helpful when planning your party food menu.

Birthday Party at a Friend’s Home

Theme: Friend’s 41-year birthday celebration
Guests Number: 8
Time: Dinner
Venue: Home
Preparation: Homemade

Party Menu:
Brown Rice and White Rice
Tomato Pappu (Tomato Dal)
Broccoli-Sweet Potato Stir-fry
Plantain Curry
Eggs Vepudu
Coconut Pacchadi
Tindora Pacchadi
Majjiga Pulusu (Tadka buttermilk)

Dessert:
Birthday Cake with Pound Cake
Ravva Kesari

Gifts from Guests:
Coconut-Pecan Burfi (prepared by us)
German Chocolate Fudge Cake

Indian Party Menus ~ Birthday Party Menu

Some delicious options for different occasions, that’s Indian Party Menus.
Hope you would find this new series helpful when planning your party food menu.

Birthday Party at a Friend’s Home

Theme: 3-year old baby boy birthday celebration
Guest number: 70 (50 adults+20 children)
Time: for lunch
Venue: Home
Preparation: Restaurant food from Mayuri, Houston & Pizza Hut Pizzas

Party Menu:
Masala Vada
Vegetable Manchurian
Coconut Chutney

Vegetable Salad
Vegetable Biryani
Tandoori Roti
Poori
Paneer Tikka Masala
Navaratan Kurma
Stuffed Brinjal Curry
Boondi Raita
Daddhojanam (Curd Rice)
Mango Aavakaaya and Ginger Pickle

Vegetable, Pineapple and Cheese Pizzas for Kids

Dessert:
Carrot Halwa
Peechu Mithai (Cotton Candy)

Party Favors:
Gifts for Children

Indian Party Menus ~ Sankranthi Menu

Tiyya Pongali (Sweet Pongal with Jaggery)
Pulagam
Chikkudu Vittanaalu Kurma (Indian Broadbeans Kurma)
Peanut-Jaggery Pachhadi
Peanut Pacchi Pulusu
Mirchi Bajji
Ghee
Dahi

Happy Sankranthi, dear friends. What’s on the menu for Sankranthi?

Holidays in London

Vijay and I went to London to visit my sister for the holidays. We had a wonderful and memorable time sightseeing and spending time with family and friends. Here are some pictures from the trip.

The Tower Bridge
The Tower Bridge

London Tower
The Tower of London

London Eye
London Eye

Parliament and Big Ben
The Palace of Westminster and the Big Ben

Greenwich Time
Greenwich Time and Prime Meridian Line

Beautiful Bournemouth Beach
Beautiful Bournemouth Beach

Swamy Narayan Mandir, London
Spectacular Swaminarayan Mandir, London

Balaji Temple, Birmingham
Peaceful Balaji Temple, Birmingham

Snow Girl with Rosemary Hat
Snow Girl with Rosemary Hat ~ Made by My Sister’s Daughter

2011

Happy New Year 2011
Happy New Year Wishes to the Mahanandi Family

Indian Party Menus ~ Holiday Dinner Party

Some delicious options for different occasions, that’s Indian Party Menus.
Hope you would find this new series helpful when planning your party food menu.

Holiday Dinner Party at My Sister’s Place:

Theme: Holiday Dinner get-together
Guest number: 5
Time: for dinner
Venue: Delhi Spicee, Ruislip, UK
Preparation: Restaurant food

Dinner Menu:
Masala Papads
Pani Puri
Chicken tikka

Naans and Stuffed Parathas
Madras Chicken Curry
Chicken Biryani
Malai Kofta
Chilli Paneer
Raita
Mango Lassi

Party Favors:
Lots of laughter and memorable experience

Share your party menus.

Indian Party Menus ~ Holiday Brunch Party

Some delicious options for different occasions, that’s Indian Party Menus.
Hope you would find this new series helpful when planning your party food menu.

Holiday Brunch Party at My Home.

Theme: Christmas brunch get-together
Guest number: 5
Time: for brunch
Venue: Home
Preparation: Homemade

Brunch Menu:
Strawberry-Orange Soy Smoothie
Carrot-Cucumber Kosambari
Poori
Cumin-Basmati Rice
Chana Masala
Alu Curry seasoned with fresh, grated coconut
Masoor-Tomato Dal (thick soupy like in Sambar consistency)
Coconut-Onion Pacchadi
Dahi

Dessert:
Chocolate -Pecan pie (eggless)
Carrot-Pecan cake (eggless)

Party Favors:
Party food takeout
Some toys and chocolate

Share your holiday party menus.

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