Morgan Territory Park Hike

First thing in the morning, when I got to kitchen, I was reminded that if I plan on staying home for a while, I’m going to need lots of patience. It’s only Sunday! My first day off isn’t even till tomorrow and I’m already dreading it! :( Not having support from one person that you should be able to count on, doesn’t help the matters.


Anyway… I had laid out the plan for entire day. I had decided to make Khaman for lunch, but then, JK mentioned about sev-khamani. So, I told him that we have some in the freezer that we can have on the side. So, we had khaman and sev-khamani for lunch. Neil had been craving for tortillini for 2-3 days, so I let him make some of that too.





I really wanted to go visit mom with kids in the afternoon, but that plan got chopped off. Pooja wanted us to go hiking at Morgan territory anyway, so that’s what we did. It was such a beautiful hike! The trees and atmosphere is almost like rain forest. I can not believe that we’ve never been there for all this years. It’s right in Livermore!!! As Pooja and Neil mentioned, we have so much beauty right here in our own town and we drive 3 hours to go looking for it! Of course, nothing can compare to beauty of Yosemite, but this one is a great substitute when you only have 2-3 hours.

20140223-230432.jpgOn our way to the park, we spotted one really futuristic spaceship looking vehicle. It was so cool and interesting! At first, we thought it was one of those remote control car or something. As we got closer to it, we noticed that there was a man sitting in there riding it! I had to post it on Facebook right away to find out what it is. Turns out, it’s Recumbent. Darcy’s dad in making one of those!

20140223-231326.jpgAs soon as we got home, it was time for me and Avni to go to Safeway to sell Girl Scout cookies. I was the only adult there. I usually look forward to cookie booths to catch up with Melanie. But this year, she refused to sell cookies because of the higher prices. They raised the prices from $4 per box to $5 per box this year. It wasn’t too bad being alone. I had fun joking around with girls. It was much needed tome away from home.

On our way home, Avni and I stopped by at Mr. Guido’s home to pick up harness that we forgot from last week’s rock climbing. Then, stopped at Target to buy bananas and apples. JK had made pizza on tortilla for dinner.


Meeting Pinika tonight!

Short summary of the week…

Went to Kalpu’s for lunch on Friday. I asked her to make Pizza quessadilla. Her niece Sapna is moving here next month, so I’m excited about it. I don’t know why *I* should be excited about it, but I am hoping Pooja will make friendship with her. They used to get along great when they were younger. Pooja or Avni doesn’t have any Gujarati friends here, so I’m looking forward to have at least someone of their age to relate to.

On Friday evening, JK and I went out for dinner at Chaat Bhavan with JK’s friend Sameer Shah and his wife. She’s just came from India about a month ago. It was great to meet her. And I might’ve gained a new friend. I invited them over for dinner on Saturday. I made dal baati and gatta biryani for dinner. We sat and chatted till 11 (both nights), which doesn’t happen very often. Inviting her for dinner motivated me to print all the recipe cards I’ve been meaning to print for longest time. I ‘extracted’ them from my Project Life pages and sent them to print at Costco. I printed 3 copies of it.. one for me, one for her (Jaimini) and one for Kalpu. Now, I’m thinking I might give my copy to Pinika.. not sure yet.

Sunday, Ba, Neil and I cleaned up boxes from Neil’s room. Rearranged some stuff, put away other stuff in different piles – donate, throw away, give away to Dhaval as he’s just starting his new home. Got lots more to go thru, but we were planning to go to Kalpu’s home for dinner at 4:30 as soon as Pooja came home from work. Jayshreeben and Tusharkumar are here from India, so dad had invited them for dinner. We only meet Margi when Jayshreeben is visiting or for Sundarkand path at her home or Rajubhai’s home.. but I always enjoy visiting her.

Monday.. went for CrossFit training in the morning… I did 640 jump ropes and 160 sit ups in 19:22 minutes. I have a long way to go in improvements.. but I’m working on it. Avni is staffing for Weblo (cub scouts) camp. Neil had stayed at Arnav’s on Sunday night, so I picked him up on my way home for his boy scouts meeting. Kalpu had spilled the beans and told the boys about Neil joining them for Alaska trip. Neil had a big grin on his face! :) He felt that his friends are going to think that he’s spoiled for making so many awesome trips this summer! I got to see awesome video trailer that Bruce made of their Seabase trip. I’m looking forward to get my hands on rest of the pics.

Yesterday, I picked up grocery from Costco to make olive salad sandwich mix. Neil and Avni helped chopping everything to make the mix. It’s been our favorite filling for the sandwich.

I had thought that Pinika was staying at San Jose, so when I initially asked her to come to my home and caravan to go to Yosemite and she said that it might be out of the way.. I didn’t push her. But this morning, I realized (with JK’s help) that she’s staying in San Francisco and will be passing right by our home, I asked her to stop by for dinner before start driving to Yosemite. This way, we can all go there together. They all are looking forward to eat khichadi after having to eat out for whole week! She has rented a home (cabin) for 2 nights. Avni is looking forward to it. Unfortunately, this might be her only highlight of summer unlike Neil, who went to Washington DC (from school), Camp Royeneh (boy scouts), Sea Base, Florida (boy scouts) and Alaska (with Arnav)!


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.