Tuesday, January 31, 2012

$1 store is back at LNL + Vouchers for $18

Lock N Lock's dollar store is back and this time, they have a lot of EZ lock, Simple and easy containers. My favorites are the Hello Bebe feeding bowl and Cookplus Elegance serving fork. Be sure to check some other great products they have.

Also, here is how to get a $50 worth LNL voucher just for $18:

1. Headover to dealfind here and sign up.
2. Click "Buy".
3. Check the "Use promotional code" box and enter the code "FIRST5". Your total should now show $18.

Enjoy the deals.

Storing opened ground spices

Spices play a very important role in Indian cooking, be it ground spices or whole spices. The problem I often face in my kitchen is to store the dried spices after opening the container. So, the other day I was looking online on how to store them and found this website. It has some great tips and ideas to store the spices and one of them is to keep the spices closed in an airtight container and hence I was looking for one. As a part of LNL supporters program, I received a Bisfree container with cute floral pattern on the lid and a handle. It is made of tritan material and is BPA free. It is clear plastic and looks just like a Boroseal 12 cup glass container that I got in the past and is light as a feather when compared to the glass container (I have to say my darling husband is so excited to see this one! He reserved this to take gulab jamun, an indian desert, to his potluck at work. He wanted this, and only this one, because he knows that the sugar syrup will not leak in this container).  Anyhow, I decided to store all my opened ground spices in this container. 

I also received a cosmetic case as part of supporters program. Since I am not big on using cosmetics, I don't have any to store. Hence I decided to use it in the kitchen as well. Some store bought spice packets are neatly organized in it instead of being here and there.

These fit well in the kitchen drawer along with some other unopened spices.

Bournvita Cake

My cousin D is a very good cook. I was so impressed with how she manages to cook for her daughter. Everything she cooks for kids definitely looks interesting. From Alphabits laddoos to butterfly shaped dosas to Indian flag colored idlis....innovative and interesting. She made Bournvita cake for us. Bournvita is a malt based drink and needs no introduction to those born and brought up in India. You can find it in any local Indian grocery store or buy it from Amazon. The cake tasted so good and naturally, I asked her for the recipe. I got a great idea to thank all my friends who helped us when I had surgery last month. They were kind enough to take care of the kids and cook some meals for us while I was recovering. And hence this is one small token of appreciation from us.

I have these cute little EZ lockSimple & Easy containers from Lock N Lock.  I decided to cut the cake into small pieces, and put them in these containers, tie a bow with a THANK YOU tag. This would definitely make them happy as they fell in love with these containers when I got'em through LNL supporters program. These containers are Polypropelene (Recycle No. 5) and are BPA free. Even though they don't have those famous four side locking system as the other LNL containers, they are definitely air tight because of the way they are designed. The lid opens easily and has a floral pattern on it. And these containers stack well too. If you like these containers, now is the best time to buy them at LNL's dollar store here.

Here is the recipe in case if you want to try:

Note: For these measurements, I used the cup that comes with an electric rice cooker.


Butter - 1 Cup
Sugar - 1 Cup
All Purpose flour - 1 Cup
Eggs - 3
Bournvita mix - 1/2 Cup
Shredded coconut - 1/2 Cup


1. Take the flour, sugar, bournvita into a bowl. Beat them on medium speed and slowly add butter, eggs. Mix them well and add the shredded coconut.

2. Grease the baking dish and pour the cake batter.

3. Bake this in a pre heated oven at 350 degrees and make sure it passes the tooth pick test.

Yummy bournvita cake is ready!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Flax Seeds/Alsi Seeds karam podi

I used to work for a pharmaceutical company where the employees would get vitamins for free almost. So once I saw an employee getting a bottle of flax seed vitamins. And when I asked, she explained me all about the flax seeds. And later, in an Indian grocery store, I saw packets of these flax seeds also known as alsi seeds. They look just like sesame seeds. So I bought a packet just to try, but I didn't know how to use them. And then I came across this recipe. I gave it a try and it was a hit.

Recipe Source: Sailus Food

I haven't used the curry leaves and the dals which the original recipe asked for and doubled up the coriander seeds. I used Cumin powder as I already have it in the pantry.


Flax seeds - 1/2 cup

Coriander seeds - 2 tbsps
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Dry red chillies - 10
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp

Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsps oil


1.  Heat oil in a frying pan. Roast the coriander seeds on medium heat and dry red chillies for about 5 minutes. Remove and keep them aside.
2. Now, roast the flax seeds on medium heat until they give that crackling sound. Remove and keep them aside.
3. After the roasted seeds cool down, grind them along with roasted coriander seeds, red chillies, asafoetida. Add cumin powder and salt as well.

Serving tip: This goes well with tiffins like idlis & dosas. I also use this instead of curry powder when making curries. Another great idea is to add a tsp or two to onion raitha and serve it with chapathi. This tastes very heavenly. Trust me!

It is always a good idea to store this karam podi (or for that matter any karam podi) in an airtight container. I always store mine in the LNL air tight containers. I make the karam podi in large quantities, store them in the air tight containers. But I take few portions and store them in the Silby seasoning container set and this set stays on my dining table. What I like about this set is that the containers are airtight. The set has 3 containers, available in plain as well as wave body, and comes with a stand which holds all the 3 containers. Each container in the set is 1.7 cup and is completely lead free. What more can we ask for?

An organized kitchen: Part 2

So here I am presenting rest of the story! Incase, you haven't looked at the starting of this story, here you go......

Upper Cabinets: Every Indian kitchen has different variety of lentils, spices, flour etc etc. Mine is not different. To tackle this problem, I ordered different types of glass canisters from Lock N Lock.

To store the lentils that I use on a day to day basis, I ordered 10 cup glass canisters. To store flour, peanuts or other that I use twice or thrice a week, I ordered 7.6 cup glass canisters. And to store the items that I use once in every two weeks, I ordered the 5 cup ones. Whats so nice about these containers? Well, they are glass and hence no worries unlike the plastic ones. These are clear glass which makes it easier to see what's inside. And the lid is airtight, I mean AIRTIGHT. So, not so frequently used canisters stay in the top rack. Less frequently used ones are kept in the rack below those and the most frequently used ones stay in the bottom rack of the cabinet. This way, I don't have to strain my arm while taking these out regularly.

Then, for the spices I used a lazy susan which holds atleast 8 - 9 spice bottles. I have also used cabinet shelves like these to utilize the available space.

And then, coming to the food storage containers, I have kept the mostly used containers in the bottom shelves of the upper cabinets and the less frequently used ones on the top rows. Notice that I haven't stacked the containers (that I mostly use) one inside the other because I don't want to keep looking for the lids when I want to take a container out.

As you can see, there is a mini LockNLockPlace here in these cabinets in the form of containers (wink)! What can I do? I am more so addicted to LNL products.

I also ordered this to store the lids above each set of containers. There are a variety of under the shelf organizers out there with which you can utilize the space available.

My kitchen organization is still in progress, but I am pretty much satisfied with what has been done so far. I think with little planning (and shopping!), you can easily organize not just the kitchen, but any space.

Lock N Lock Party anyone?

Me and my friends used to have Tupperware party. But then, we started mostly using glass containers and because of my obsession with LNL, I have my kitchen filled with LNL cookware, storage containers, tableware etc etc. Needless to say, I have influenced my friends too. They too started buying lock n lock. So, one day it occurred to me that we should have Lock N Lock party instead of tupperware party.

Courtesy: Lock N Lock

This party has one and only one simple rule:

Make either a new dish (meaning that none of us have made it before, it could be someone else's recipe too) or use a new LNL cookware to make the dish that you'll be bringing to the party or bring the dish in a new food container. This is one challenging rule...ain't it?

Its okay if you have already used the cookware or the food container before, but it should be new to the party. And if its a new recipe, then the rule is that you'll have to bring in a copy of the recipe for each of the participants. If any one of us can't satisfy these conditions, we volunteer to host the party at our home. We also take some pictures during the party and share them with all the participants the next day.

So, for all those who are LNL fans, I hope this is an inspiration to have fun with your friends and family and enjoy your LNL at the same time.

Borosilicate Glass Containers

When this 12 cup Borosilicate glass container with handle was featured on LNL's happy hour deal, I have bought one without a second thought. I always had this on my mind. The reason? Well, its huge enough to hold dishes for my Lock N Lock party (learn more about my LNL party here). I prepare the dish usually a day or two before the party, store it in the refrigerator. Because of the airtightness, food stays fresh. The best part is that this container has a handle which makes it easier for me to carry it to the party. All I have to do is pop it in the microwave/oven at the party and it is safe to do so without the lids. Since it is glass, it is stain (& odor) resistant which is one of my top priorities as I use turmeric while cooking my food. The floral pattern on the lid is adorable which makes the dish look more presentable. And I am glad that I received one more through the LNL supporters program. I also bought this 16.6 cup Borosilicate container with handle. This is BOROSEAL while the other one is BOROSEAL II. I cant get the difference between these two containers except for the capacity and change in the floral pattern on the lid. But, DH says that this container is little bit lighter than the 12 cup one. It has the same features as the 12 cup container - stain & odor resistant, oven & microwave safe and has a cute little blue handle too. Just perfect for carrying food to a party/potlucks.

Well, I am glad I bought these cuities, after all they are from LNL.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

An organized kitchen: Part 1

Okay so, I decided to organize my kitchen.While I am typing this and looking at the pictures, I realized that instead of organizing my kitchen, I lock n lock'ized my kitchen. I waited for my fall semester to end so that I can devote my 100% to organizing. And I wanted this to end before my spring semester starts. But, thanks to Lock N Lock, the stuff that I ordered didn't arrive until after Christmas when we were not around. So I didn't get a chance to really organize my kitchen until last week.

DH had a long weekend and that was the perfect time, I realized. And the result:

The pantry:

Problem 1: I buy groceries from store and stack them one above the other in the pantry. Because of this, I don't know about the stuff I have at the bottom. Sometimes, I open a packet (for example, self rising corn meal) and I don't get to use for weeks. The next time I wanted to use it, it is full of food bugs.
Solution: To deal with this, I bought some containers from Lock N Lock. These are clear and air tight containers and are stackable. So I can see what's inside and even after opening a packet, it's fresh every time I want to use it because the containers are air tight.

Problem 2: We have a deep, narrow pantry which makes it difficult for me to keep track of what's been in the back. So I have bought wall pockets and decided to use these 1 for each row in the pantry. What I want to do with these wall pockets is that I would write a list of inventory in each row just so that I don't have to keep checking the stuff I have in the back.

Tip: If you have deep pantry like mine, you can also get one of those pull out drawers which you can pull out to reach the stuff in the back. But these are little but pricey, and hence I thought of the wall pockets; just dedicate one pocket for each row in the pantry and that should help you.

Under the sink:

Problem: I have one word to say - CLUTTER. I have in there - the sink cleaners, Mr.Magic Erasers, dish liquid, dishwasher detergent, swiffer dusters and what not?

Solution: Under sink organizer - I bought this from Bed Bath & Beyond and this is one cute organizer. I was able to store in all the cleaners and the stuff that we had under the sink. I have also bought a kitchen cabinet organizer similar to this to hold all the brushes & scrubbers, and a Plastic bag dispenser to hold all the plastic bags. And it looks so much better in there now.

Tip: Use "Under the sink" storage for short term storage only. You can store one pair of gloves in there and rest of the gloves in a box in long term storage (either in a garage or somewhere else). Store one extra bottle of dishwasher detergent in there and the remaining bottles (I usually get a 6 pack from amazon.com) in long term storage. This makes life a lot easier.

Stay tuned for more pictures in my next post......

Monday, January 23, 2012

A happy baby with Hello Bebe

I have received a few Hello Bebe items through Lock N Lock Supporters program to test. But, even before receiving those items, I was so impressed with these products and hence I ordered a couple of SS Cups and  SS Spoon & Fork Set for my DD and DS. I only bought the SS ones, but they have these containers in melamine (remember those bowls & plates in which they serve you in flights?). To my surprise, my daughter started eating her meals, fruit, yogurt and other snacks as well in these bowls. It seems like she is in love with the design, Little red riding hood story, and characters displayed on the bowls. I used to serve her fruit and snacks in those boring and plain stainless steel containers that I bought from India. She was never interested in eating from those bowls. But the situation is different now. She would beg me to serve more in these containers. Thanks Lock N Lock for making my life easier and happier.

 At first, I didn't dare to buy the bowls as there was no information on the capacity of these bowls. I didn't want to end up with huge/very small bowls than needed. And then, when I received the bowls through the supporters program, they looked cute and are of perfect for my 3 year old. And now, I am thinking of buying another set of bowls for my son too.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tomato, Cilantro Chutney

When I visited my cousin in pittsburgh, she made this chutney to go with dosas. It tasted so good that I literally consumed the entire chutney. And did I tell you that it hardly takes 10 minutes to make this one? Yes, you heard it right. You can use any type of tomatoes to make this chutney, however I found that PLUM tomatoes are the best. My mom makes the same chutney, but she also uses mint leaves along with cilantro. I haven't used mint leaves because I found that they are little bit overwhelming. But, you can make it either ways - with/without mint leaves.

To fry the tomatoes, I have used the LNL vitamin 11 - inch red wok that I received through their supporters program. I found the wok appropriate to fry the tomatoes and the best part is that you can wipe the wok with a paper towel and put the popu in the same wok again. And the coating on this pan is non toxic, so no worries about all those dangers that accompany the non stick pans.

So, now to the recipe:


For popu/tadka:

Chana Dal - 1 tbsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Dry red chillis - 3
Curry leaves
Oil - 1 tbsp

For the chutney:

Tomatoes - 6 ( medium sized plum tomatoes)
Cilantro - 1/2 bunch (Use just the leaves and not stems)
Green chillies - 10 (more/less depending on the spiciness required)
Oil - 1 tbsp


1.Wash the tomatoes, chop them into big pieces (I have a few cherry tomatoes that I wanted to use. Hence I used a combination of plum and cherry tomatoes).
2. Heat oil in a frying pan. Add the chopped tomatoes, green chillies and fry them on medium flame until the tomatoes are mushy. 

3. Add cilantro and fry them for a couple of minutes.

4. Now, grind this into a paste and take it into a bowl.
5. Heat oil in a frying pan. Put chana dal, mustard seeds, urad dal and cumin seeds and curry leaves. Add this popu to the tomato, cilantro paste and the chutney is ready to be served with dosas/idlis/vadas.

The chutney was so tasty that it didn't last long for me to take a picture.

Friday, January 20, 2012

New friends in the Kitchen

I would like to show you all my new found friends in the kitchen. Drum roll.......

Lock N Lock Air, airless container When they went on sale, I bought a couple of these containers. You put the food in these containers, lock the four sides, lock the clip on the top of the lid and push air out (and you hear a sound when the air is pushed out). It is claimed that this prevents air from reaching the food and it deters the growth of bacteria. It's true, I mean I don't understand all the science behind this, but I am pretty impressed with what this container does. I saved curry leaves, coriander leaves and some mint leaves and they all stayed fresh for about 2 weeks. For the first time (and because of preserving my herbs in these containers), I haven't thrown any of the herbs into the trash bin which is a very good achievement for me. This container also has an arrow mark, which can be rotated to set the date. This gives you an idea on how old the food is, really liked this feature. This way, I don't have to write on the containers using a marker.

Bar Keepers Friend The main reason I bought this is to clean my Cookplus Charming stainless steel cookware that I bought during the Thanksgiving sale from LNL. I should say, that this is one very good product and it definitely does what it says. I was boiling some milk and thanks to my DS, i forgot that the milk was boiling and then a few minutes later, I realized that something was wrong. I went in to see the steel bowl turning to a dark (non stick coating like) thing in it. I applied BKF paste and that's when I was really impressed. I wish I had taken a BEFORE and AFTER picture just to give you an idea. Nevertheless, I would recommend this to all my friends. One thing, you have to be really careful is to wear your gloves while using this product.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Katte pongali is my DHs favorite prasadam at tirupathi. And, he keeps telling me how his aunt would prepare it with lots of ghee. So i wanted to give it a shot. The traditional dish is prepared with rice. However, i wanted to make a healthier version. So i have substituted rice with cracked wheat (and ofcourse very less ghee). I have also added a couple of vegetables and my daughter loves it. Now, the recipe...


Cracked wheat – 1 Cup
Pesara pappu – ½ cup
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tbsp
Miryalu/ black pepper - 1 tsp
Black pepper powder – ½ tsp
French cut beans – 1 cup
Carrots (cut into small pieces)– 1 cup
Green chilies - 3
Ginger – 1 inch
Curry leaves
Salt to taste
Water – 4 ½ cups

Note: The key to this dish is cumin seeds and curry leaves.  


1.   Heat ghee in a frying pan. Add the cumin seeds and black pepper corns.

2.   When they turn brown, add green chillies, ginger and the curry leaves.
3.   Now, add the cut beans and carrots. Fry them for a few minutes.

4.   Add the cracked wheat and pesara pappu. Fry these for a couple of minutes.

5.   Add salt and pepper powder. Now add the water and pressure cook for about 7 or 8 whistles. Now, turn the heat to low and cook for about 5 minutes.

Unfortunately, everyone liked it so much so that the entire thing is gone before I got to take a picture...I will definitely post a picture the next time I make this dish. Enjoy it with peanut chutney.