Not much progress

Last night, I went out for dinner with Jody and Myriam. All the ladies decided on dinner date while in parking lot to drop off the boys for Sea Base, FL. Deana and Linda couldn’t make it, so there is another tentative date for Tuesday night. I had a great time talking to Jody and Myriam (Kadlec). We met at Sauced restaurant at 6 and didn’t leave from there till almost 9! I don’t think I would go there again, as it’s a BBQ place and not many choices for vegetarian meals. But, I knew that going in, I was there for the company and it was worth going.

On the funding news, as disappointing and heartbreaking it is, JK wasn’t able to secure the money for the escrow money. Tom, our realtor, isn’t giving up yet and feels that everything will work out. I know it’s too late to think this way, but I never should’ve let this go this far without having 100% money secured. But JK was so confident at the time. Even though Pooja had warned me, I had that tiny little question about it too, but I truly wanted to believe that this was IT! I still believe that it’s going to work out, but we did need to wait on looking for a home until after we get the money, not just the promise of the money.

Home Sweet Home

We’re keep getting closer to have our dream home. However, the way things are going, kids or I are having hard time in believing in it till it will really happen. The excitement is running out and as it’s dragging on financial matters, it’s becoming frustrating as the days go by. Tomorrow is the last day that we need to pay the deposit. I’ve already paid partial deposit over a week ago and that has left my bank account dried up. That’s in itself is scary enough!

We’ve already shared the news with family. I can’t really tell if they’re excited about it or still skeptical just as we are, but I’ll be glad when it’s a done deal.

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We keep looking at Pinterest, Houzz and many other sites for decorating and organizing ideas, but good/bad thing is that most of the things are already there in the house. There isn’t much that needs to be done to make it better. I supposed it’s a good thing. As much as I would love to try my hand at home projects, most wouldn’t happen on my own. We’re really excited to make this house our cozy home.

Home Alone!

It turned out that On Monday, around 4PM , we found out that union had decided to go on strike for 2 days. That put Janis in panic mode with 2 of our team members on vacation, one on his way out from Layoff, leaving me to be the only one remained at work from her team. We had a quick training on other functions that Janis is looking over in absence of other team members. We’re really hoping that the strike won’t last more than 2 days, but, you’d never know. We decided that I would work from home so that I don’t have to cross the picket line.

Because of this latest development, I didn’t get out of work until after 6:30. I almost wanted to skip stopping by at mom’s, but considering I was going to work from home, I wasn’t sure if I will come to office before leaving for NY. BTW, JK also bought his tickets for NY. Our flights are within 30-60 minutes both ways.

I got home from mom’s at almost 7:30. We started cooking dinner. Our plan was to stop by after dinner, but we realized that it would be too late by then, considering I was planning to bake mozzarella breadsticks. Once we go there, JK started talking to everyone and we didn’t get out of there till 9! Of course, I had good time catching up with everyone too. Besides, we had not much going on at home anyway, might as well hang out with friends.

Breadsticks turned out delicious!!!! The recipe is the keeper! No wonder I wanted to make them as soon as I saw them on Pinterest.  I had them for lunch for next two days!

Kids were gone to beach house with not much phone reception, so didn’t get to talk to them.

Tuesday was interesting. As I started to work early morning to get things going, I couldn’t VPN to my computer. I called helpdesk and they couldn’t find my computer on the network. They said that my computer must’ve been turned off. I was able to call Randy, who was going to stop by in office to check up things, and have him turn on my computer. So, I was able to work from home. But there wasn’t much work to keep me busy. I spent some of the time cleaning up my room.

It was Kalpu’s 40th birthday, so Dharmesh had invited us for the dinner. We got to their home at 7. We stopped by at Whole Foods to buy flowers for Kalpu and drove by my job to see if there were any picketers. There were only 1-2 picketers on each entrance.

We went to the Thai Restaurant in Danville for dinner. It was really good restaurant. I loved the decor and of course the food. After that, we went back to their home and had cake. Kalpu got the New iPad(iPad 3) for her gift.. same as me. Mom got her sari and kids got her the travel pillow. However, based on her text this morning, her REAL gift was the diamond earrings. DA must’ve given her this morning.

I tried to log on from home this morning and my computer was shut down AGAIN!!! so I just decided to come to work. Picketers did give me hard time in crossing the line and took several photos of me… to post them on their ‘Wall of Shame’ if I was union? I don’t know! Janis stopped by during her lunch time and was surprised to see me in office. lol She said things are chaotic where she’s assigned. They’re supposed to report tomorrow morning too, just in case strike goes on longer.

About kids… we weren’t too comfortable handing over the money for the rental apartment to the stranger and also about leaving kids there all alone (at least I was comfortable about that one). Last night I had hinted JK about keeping Harishmama as back up if the apt. deal doesn’t work out. He agreed right away! TOTALLY shocked me, but I wasn’t going to make a big deal in front of him. :) This morning I called mama and told him that kids are in his neighborhood and will be visiting him. He asked to have kids stay at his home. So, we canceled the apartment and have kids go to his home. He’ll be taking the kids around tomorrow. It will be interesting to see how it all goes. Kids might be disappointed not to have their own apartment, but it’s for their best. I just didn’t feel safe.

After work, I’m planning to stop by at mom’s to pick up dinner. She wanted me to stop by for lunch but I told her that I’ll come over in the evening to pick up for dinner. Glad I didn’t go, otherwise I would’ve missed Janis when she came by in her lunchtime. After that, planning to go to the mall to Apple store to see they would replace my magic mouse. I might end up having to buy a new one. JK need to buy some new clothes for wedding, so he’ll be meeting me there.

Kids off to NY!

Saturday turned out to be very busy day as it was expected! JK made the waffle for breakfast and as soon as kids were done with breakfast, I took girls to shopping. our first stop was to my office, because I had forgotten my iPad at work, out in the plain view and didn’t feel comfortable in taking a chance to leave it there for a weekend. Friday, Pooja called me to meet JK at Bart to pick him up, which totally threw me off and I just got up and left. JK was dropping off Pooja to BART for her very last Oakland meeting, but decided to leave the car for her in the parking lot so that we wouldn’t have to pick her up at night. We went to Z Pizza for dinner after that  using up the Groupon($11 for X-large pizza, salad and 2 beverages!).

Anyway, after picking up my iPad, we stopped at Target and Whole Foods. Again, I had Groupon for Whole Foods that I bought almost a year ago and never got around cashing it. Avni loves the flavored coconut water that they carry, so she had fun picking out some of those. After that, I took her to get their eyebrows threaded. That was the main reason we were out. Lately, I’ve been threading their eyebrows at home, but I figured it was a good treat for them for the wedding/back to school.

We got home at noon. JK had the boiled potatoes mashed already. So, I made aloo paratha for lunch – kids’ favorite lunch! Kids were busy packing their bags. After lunch, we packed some more and video taped our ‘question of the day’.

We left for the airport around 4:15PM. Their flight was at 7. They had one stop at Phoenix. Home was very quiet after dropping them off.

We hardly did anything on Sunday except going to Costco for some grocery shopping.

Talked to Avni today on Gmail, she said they’re having fun there. Last night they played Monopoly till 1AM with Tusharbhai’s kids. Today, they’re going to the beach.

I’m planning on stopping by at mom’s home after work for few minutes. Then, I’ll stop by at Boy Scouts meeting because I need to drop off the red jackets and pick up reimbursement check($775) for it.


Happy Raksha Bandhan!

Yesterday was RakshaBandhan Day. It was a bit different than all previous years, because we had been spoiled of Dharmesh living only a mile away from us. He recently moved about 20 miles from us and we actually had to plan it out on how we’ll manage it.

I was working,  Kalpu had a longer day at her office and Pooja had evening class in college (another first for us), so best time we could come up with to get together was after Pooja comes home from college. It turned out that Neil had a physical fitness merit badge meeting at 6 in the evening too!

I took Neil and Avni to Arnav’s home in the morning before I went to work, so they can spend some time together before leaving for their NY trip. They haven’t been there since Nikhil and Dilan went back to Chicago. I picked up Neil after work to take him to his meeting. We stopped by at the store (Sikandar) to buy rakhis, kaju katri  and some grocery. I got home just in time to take Pooja to college, but JK was home already so I didn’t need to drop her off. She took my car to the college and later I took JK’s car to pick up Neil.

We stopped by at Target to buy gifts for Avni and Pooja (Raksha bandhn gifts from Neil to girls). They both wanted backpack/laptop bag, so that’s what we bought. Also bought a travel size spray bottle for Avni for her body spray and dry shampoo spray for Pooja. Neil also planned to give $20 each from his NY trip savings. I’m not sure if he really did give them money though. I’ll need to ask him about it. Usually, they’re all very generous when it comes to giving each other.

Got home and cooked dinner for JK, since he wouldn’t be coming with us. Pooja had finals today. She said that she did great in finals. She got home at 8:30, so we left to go to Arnav’s home as soon as she got home.

After the Rakhi tying and taking traditional pics, we had dinner. Then, came the fun part. We went shopping in Kalpu’s closet for the dresses, sari and jewelry for upcoming wedding. Kids are leaving in 2 days, so we’re finalizing everything. While we were checking out the dresses, I asked Kalpu about what kind of shoes Neil should wear with his traditional dress(salwaar). That opened up the door to Dharmesh’s closet! LOL Dharmesh gave him his white shirt, blazer and shoes. Can’t believe that Neil is big enough to ‘shop’ from his closet!!!!

By the time we got home, it was almost 11:30! Once home, we sat down and decided what Pooja was wearing for each of 5 wedding events. To my disappointment, she picked one of the sari I REALLY wanted to wear. :) Pooja brought Kalpu’s ‘universal blouses’ (Black, gold, silver and multi-colored), so we might still switch around on who wears what. She did bring lots of bracelets from Kalpu, since mine don’t fit Avni or Pooja. Tonight, I’m hoping to get/match all the jewelry together for both girls. Pooja is going to Oakland in the evening for her campaign meeting, so won’t be coming home till late night. Avni and I might get head start before she gets home.

Rava Dhokla

These are kids’ favorite after school snack! Also great for potluck. I usually mix khaman and dhokla together.


1 cup rava/sooji(cream of wheat/semolina)

2 TBS yogurt

1 tsp salt

1 TBS vegetable oil

1 grated jalapeno pepper

1/2 inch piece of grated ginger(or 1 tsp ginger paste)

3/4 cup water

1 tsp Eno fruit salt


First, add oil to sooji and mix well. Add salt, grated jalapeno, ginger and yogurt. Mix it well. Add water. Add a spoon or two if needed. Consistency should be similar to pancake batter.

While you’re getting all this together, start heating the water in the pot. Add the metal ring in the center of the pot. Water should be no higher than the ring or else it will get in the dish of the batter. If you don’t have the metal ring, you many place a bowl instead.


As the water starts heating up, insert the greased high rimmed dish in the pot.

Once the water comes to boil, add ENO to the batter. You can find ENO at Indian grocery store or any other department grocery stores.

Pour the batter in the dish.

Sprinkle red chilli pepper over the batter.

Cover the pot.

Let it cook for about 10 minutes on high. Set the timer, if you’re multi-tasking. Believe me it’s easy to get side tracked and forget about it. :)

Check to see if it’s fully cooked by inserting the knife or toothpick. If it comes out clean, you can turn off the stove. If not, cook for about a minute or two more. Once it’s cooked, take out the dish and start another batch. You might need to add some more water and let it boil for few minutes before adding batter to the dish.

You can also choose to sprinkle black pepper powder instead of chilli powder.

While the dish is cooling down, start working on the seasoning.

Heat the oil, add mustard seeds, seasame seeds and asafoetida. Once they start popping, add the jalapeno peppers. Let it cook for a minute.

If the dish has cooled down, make the diamond shaped cuts.

Drizzle the seasoning over it.

Steal a few before kids find out and take them all! I’m not kidding! Once, I had them set aside to cool while I was getting the seasoning ready, by the time I turned around to drizzle the seasoning, there was nothing left in the dish!!!



Today is my first day at home being freshly unemployed, so I figured I would use at least some of my idle time wisely and post something useful! :)

Since I was at home, I had khaman and tostadas for lunch. How is that for a combination? lol I figured that I will start with sharing Kalpu’s recipe of khaman that we all love and use it ALL the time!


Here’s quick recipe for those who already knows how to make it and just need the proportions. :) For step by step photos, check out Rava Dhokla recipe. Process itself is identical.

For batter:

1 cup gram flour(Besan)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp citric acid(Limboo-na-ful)

1 pinch turmeric

6-7 tsp sugar

3/4 cup water

1/2-1 tsp Eno

For seasoning:

3 TBS vegetable oil

1 tsp Mustard seeds

one pinch asafoetida

1-2 stripped jalapeno peppers

1/2 cup water



Grated coconut

Mix first 6 items.

Start heating up about one inch water in the stockpot with the greased high rimmed dish in it.

Dish needs to be sitting on top of bowl or something else to keep out of water.

Once the water starts boiling, add Eno to the batter and stir well to create the bubbles.

Pour the mixture in the warmed up dish in the stockpot. Cover the pot.

Cook for about 12 minutes or until knife/toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.

For seasoning, heat oil in small pot, add mustard seeds. Once they start to pop, add asafoetida and jalapenos. Cook for a minute or two, take the pot to the sink and add about 1/2 cup of water(be careful). Keep aside.

Cut the khaman into about 2 inch pieces. Drizzle the oil/water mixture over the khaman pieces slowly so that water is soaked thru.

Garnish khaman with cilantro and grated coconut. Serve with cilantro chutney.

Khaman is great item for potlucks at work!!!

Baked Fries

Need to feed hungry kids? Here’s a semi-healthy snack you can prepare!

This is something Kalpu quickly invented when kids asked for french fries. By the time we went to her home, all the fries were gone, but aroma of it was still in the air. By popular demand, she quickly made another batch!! :)


4 large potatoes

6-8 cloves of minced garlic

2-3 TBS olive oil

1-2 tsp Italian seasonings

1-2 tsp all purpose vegetable seasoning (optional.. I added this at home and tasted great!)

Salt to taste

Black Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425* F. Mix the thinly sliced potatoes with oil and seasoning. Make sure that everything is coated well. Line the cookie sheet with aluminum foil to save yourself from cleaning the cookie sheet. Spread the potatoes evenly. Bake until potatoes are crisp.

Greek Tortilla Wrap

Dad brought us some giant spinach tortilla and we didn’t know what to do with it, so Kalpu came up with an idea of tortilla wrap. It was very simple to make and great tasting! We’ll be sure to make them again, IF we can find those tortillas again. Dad bought them from restaurant supply store that general public doesn’t have access to! :(


10 Monster tortillas

32 Oz. Hummus

1 long Cucumber

1 large Red Onions

1 head Lettuce

4 Tomatoes

3 Avocados

24 Oz. Feta Cheese

Alfalfa Sprouts

Hot Chili Sauce

Spread Hummus on top 1/3 of the tortilla. Start adding all the vegetables. Add the sprouts. Add hot sauce if you want. Top with feta cheese. Fold the tortilla from both sides(right and left). Start rolling the tortilla with all the stuffing very tightly. Cut diagonally in the center. Enjoy!

Makes 15-20 servings.