Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

The Power of Positive Attitude

Last month when I wrote about my health, Ms. Sweta wrote the following comment in my blog:

Hello Madam,

This is such an optimistic post. Must admit that I am not surprised to see how brave you are. Even in your past blog posts you have mentioned how you overcame most chronic pains by God’s grace and will power . It is very inspirational that you are looking at this positively.

Many of you wrote to me saying that my post about my health was heartbreaking but also very optimistic, and many of you even wondered how I could be so positive.

I kept wondering myself ” When did Meera change so much?”.

Just like everyone else, I was also a  negative person a few years back. Anything went wrong, the blame used to always go straight to God and our Beloved Rayaru. I used to blame everyone around me, just like most of us do. I used to also go to the extent of even blaming the Country I lived on many occasions. I am literally laughing as I am typing this. I used to be the most wonderful person at work, and as soon as I entered home everything changed. I used to keep grumbling for everything.

After we moved here to US, a few, not really,  many things changed around me. A few scary incidents(mostly health related) deeply changed the way I looked at life in general. Seeing how unhappy everyone is, I promised to myself I am going to change the way I live. I want to be the person who everyone remembers with a smile on their face. I wanted to be the person who spreads joy to anyone I come across.

I realized I could make a difference in this world, even if it meant for 1 person.

Here are some things I do on a regular basis to keep my positive attitude and be optimistic.

  1. Be happy by choice. No one in this world has everything they need. Our needs are never ever fulfilled. I just try to be happy with what I have. I can keep crying over things which could have and didn’t happen, but I choose to ignore and forget those incidents after a day, and just move forward.
  2. Good, Bad or Ugly Keep Positive Attitude I always attribute it to something which is going to make me strong. One clear example was my sickness last month. For weeks, I didn’t know what was wrong. It could have been anything. I kept thinking everyday, even if it is something serious, I do have a Would be Doctor in the family, a loving and caring husband, parents and siblings  who cared for me, extended family who prayed for me,  the best insurance and above all 100% faith in our Beloved Rayaru.  This positive attitude kept me going for 99% of the time. There was of course days when I cried out of pain, and was steering towards negative thoughts, but got back on track very quickly.
  3. Share happiness. I have heard many people always complaining and never ever say they are happy. When you are happy and smiling, you spread the Joy to others. When you are always complaining, no one ever wants to even talk to you.
  4. Be inspired and inspire other people. I am not saying this to boast about myself, but I am one of the sought out Mentors at my company. Even before anyone goes to the HR department, the HR Manager was telling me she tells everyone ” Meera is not available as your Mentor”. Whether it is work, home or anywhere else, I love inspiring women in general and men as well to push themselves to do great things, and achieve success in life. I am inspired by many great people in my life.
  5. Believe in yourself. Swami Vivekananda Said “You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself.This is key, no matter what you are doing, where you are working, you should be able to believe in yourself and your abilities. Also, believe in others.
  6. Always look for solutions. I keep telling everyone who works for me, don’t come to me with problems only, come also with 1 or 2 solutions. These solutions might not be the one I am looking for, I at least know you tried solving the problem. Same in everyday life, always look for solutions. If you build this approach, rather than dwelling on problems, you will be looking for solutions.
  7. Last but not the least, DON’T GOSSIP. This is something which bothers me a lot. If you cannot talk to a person about the issue you have, don’t say that to anyone else. I will never tolerate when someone is saying things to me behind someone’s back, I retaliate, I know this makes me a bad person, but I don’t care. The more you gossip, the more you keep worrying about who might go and tell whom, and it becomes a vicious circle. Think not once but twice before you speak.

I just thought of sharing my thoughts, share what you do in your everyday life to stay Positive. How do you remain Optimistic? How do you stop when you see people gossip? How do you solve problems?

Update : Can Prayer Heal the Sick?

Happy Dasara and Vijaya Dashami

Thanks a million for all your wishes, emails, prayers, texts and messages. I have undoubtedly done something very great in my previous births to have you all in my life. It is just unbelievable how many of you wrote to me, suggested prayers, sent me well wishes. THANK YOU!

Now back to my health issue. The pain continued as usual. Every step I took, I recited names of Shree Vadirajaru, Shree Raghvendra Swamy and Shree Bhoota Rajaru. I went back to the Doctor twice. She did ECG and many more blood tests. Everything came back normal, and the pain continued as is. I couldn’t sleep, nor sit. On Wednesday last week, it was just too much pain, and before going to bed, I looked at the photo of our Beloved Rayaru and asked him “Why am I suffering so much, what is the reason, is this going to be another long road for recovery just like my foot pain?”. I had tears in my eyes, even though I was very optimistic about Doctors reports and all, I am still  a human being. I can take only so much pain, right?

Around 5.30 AM Thursday morning I had an amazing dream, I was with my Husband Raghavendra in an old temple belonging to our beloved Rayaru. There were thousands of people. The Priest calls me and my Husband and gives us Panchamruta. I immediately consume, look around and everyone else is still holding it in their hands. I immediately apologize to the Priest and he says “No worries, I gave it to drink, see I will drink it to show that it is OK”. We moved forward,  and there are many people around Singing one of my favorite Rayaru songs “Raya Baro Thande Thayi Baro”. My Husband looks at me and says “Meera, you sing this song with so much devotion, why not sing here”. I tell him “No, Raghu I don’t want to sing in public”.He keeps telling me ” you are a great devotee of Rayaru, and hesitating to Sing”. I immediately sing the song. And at this point, I was startled and got woken up. To have received Panchamruta in a mutta and in my dream was an attestation that Rayaru cannot see us crying. 

It was an amazing dream and since that last Thursday, my pain has been going away slowly. Earlier, I used to take 3 800 mg Motrin. Now this week, it has reduced to 1 in the night. No more pain when I eat, or sneeze. Too much sitting still hurts, but when compared to how much pain I suffered, it is way better.

Once again, thanks a million to each one of you who sent me messages, emails, comments, texts. Many of you prayed for me. Many of you told me you were thinking of me. Many of you shared your own pains, aches and troubles. All of which showed how much I mean to you all. THERE IS NO WORD IN THE DICTIONARY TO THANK YOU ALL. IT IS A SMALL WORD. I AM HUMBLED, BLESSED TO HAVE YOU ALL. GOD IS GREAT, AND YES PRAYERS HEAL THE SICK.

From posts which talk mostly about food and festivals to this one, you may be wondering right? Let me give you all a few updates. The past few months had been busy, very hectic with work and festivals. You all saw the pictures I posted for many of the Shravana Masa festivals and Ganesha festival as well.

After Ganesha Festival, starting September 20th, I had severe cough. For someone who boasts to be the most healthy lady, it completely took over me. I don’t remember the last time I had cough in my life.

I tried everything from, Kashaya, Honey, Tulasi with Pepper, Cloves, you name it I had it. However, the cough got worse and worse to the point where I had to finally go to the Doctor.

Doctor confirmed it was a bacterial infection, gave prescription medicine. 7 days went by and nothing changed. Went back to the Doctor, and she gave me Robutussin with Codeine to sleep. Last Friday, the cough reduced a little bit.

As I was struggling here, my Daughter was suffering with severe mouth ulcers. She hadn’t seen us in months, and so we decided to drive to North Carolina on Saturday last week. We reached there and from Saturday night I started having severe chest pain.

The pain was on the right side, so we knew it was not a Heart Attack. Sneha did some tests, and gave some pain killers. By Sunday, it became worse. We decided better to be home, than in a different place and we drove back home Sunday night.

All the way, you know what I did. Kept praying to our Beloved Rayaru to help tolerate the pain. Monday morning, I woke up to pain which was so severe, and I felt very nauseated. We rushed to the Hospital, they checked the vital signs like BP, Pulse, heart and said it is not serious and asked us to wait.

After almost 3 hours the Doctor came back, did all other tests. I was all the way thinking something had gone wrong and I would be having some kind of surgery. I kept thinking it might be Appendix which might have burst, it might be a Cyst which might have burst, having the web at your finger tips doesn’t help either. You keep entering the symptoms and worry about all the issues which might have happened.

Finally, the Doctor told me I was not having a heart attack, nor was I having any serious issue. The severe cough I had for more than 2 weeks, had caused a problem called as Chondrocostal junction syndrome or Tietze syndrome.If you read about this on WIKIPEDIA, it says “The main presentation of the syndrome is significant, acute pain in the chest, along with tenderness and some swelling of the cartilages affected, which is commonly palpable on examination. Perceived pain is often exacerbated with respiration.[4] Although many times it can be extremely painful, to the point of being debilitating, Tietze’s Syndrome is considered to be a benign condition that generally resolves in 12 weeks. However, it can often be a chronic condition. The pain can be identical to a heart attack and can cause hyperventilating, anxiety attacks, passing out, panic attacks and temporary numbness/paralysis.”

The Doctor gave me even more high dose pain killers, asked me to do some heat therapy and sent us home.  What a relief to come home without any surgery.

The pain even now is quite severe. It is hard to sit or sleep, but I can keep walking all day and night long. I am trying to work from home as much as possible. The faith and belief I had and the prayers I kept saying might have made a difference for me to bear the pain. I now know how anyone feels when they are having severe pain, and the one and only thing which kept me sane was the name of our Beloved Rayaru.

I might have recited our Beloved Rayaru’s name almost a million times the last few weeks. I am also so glad the diagnosis was not something major. I really might have done something good to have just come out of this bad few weeks with just pain.

If you want to learn more Chondrocostal junction syndrome or Tietze syndrome, read this article on the wikipedia.

Like I said, prayer, faith and belief in our beloved Rayaru kept me going. God will not take away the pain, but he will definitely help us in managing the pain. He will give us the strength to overcome the pain. He will give us the belief that all is going to be OK. He will show us miracles will happen.

It is not possible in this world to be healthy all the time, we are humans and we will have to undergo sickness and pain. The prayer and faith we have will reduce the intensity. It reiterates to me that “God listens to our Prayers”.

Hopefully, in the next few weeks the pain will go away, and Meera can be herself.

Do you think prayers can heal the sick? What are your thoughts? Share your experiences.

Order of Food Items Served on Banana Leaf

Last week during Sree Krishnajanmasthami my daughter asked to be served food on Plantain leaf. We have 4 big pots which have the plants, and they are getting quite big now. So, we offered all the prasada to Lord Krishna in the leaf, and also used a few additional ones for us as well.

There were a few emails from my extended family who asked me to share the order of food items to be served during festivals and other occasions. The two images shown below are for two different occasions. The first one is served during festivals and the second one during Shradda and Paksha masa when you are performing the annual rituals for the departed souls. The food items prepared differ but the order remains the same.

If you click on the images displayed below, you can see the order of food items in English.

Below is the items listed to be served from left to right. Also remember the plantain leaf the narrow edge comes to the left hand side, and the broad ones towards your right hand side. For festivals, marriages and happy occasions draw rangoli in front of the leaf.

  1. Start with salt at the left most corner.
  2. If you are serving Chatni or pickle, it comes next. See second image.
  3. All the way at the top left after salt, Channa Dal Kosambari
  4. Next, Moong Dal Kosambari
  5. After Kosambari, First Dry Vegetable Palya.
  6. Than comes Second Dry Vegetable Palya.
  7. Just below this is any sweet dish you have prepared like Laddu, Hayagreeva so on
  8. Right bottom towards where you are sitting, any payasa you prepare like Shavige or Vermicilli.
  9. Above that Thove. Both images have them shown.
  10. All the way left bottom, Chitranna, Veg bath or lemon rice.
  11. Next to the Chitranna, Papad or any fried item.
  12. At the very center, White Rice.
  13. Ghee on top of white rice and Payasa.
  14. Once ghee is served and the priest finished giving hastodaka, start eating the food starting from Payasa.
  15. Next, the Sambar or Kootu is served. Along with any fried items like papad, ambode, vada so on.
  16. Once we finish eating sambar, any vegetable rice prepared such as lemon rice, Vangibath, Puliyogre is served.
  17. Next, the payasa is served.
  18. Following this is Rasam with Rice and ghee again
  19. You ask for second servings of any vegetables and kosambari
  20. The Sweet dish prepared such as Laddu, Hayagreeva, Chiroti is served.
  21. Finally, Rice and yogurt.
  22. Once you are done, make sure you put a few drops of water on the salt.
  23. Close the leaf from top towards you so any leftover food items are covered.
  24. If you serve me on a plantain leaf, my leaf will be clean. I never waste anything served. Seriously. :)

Enjoy a great tradition in our Hindu religion which is Eco friendly, less work since you don’t have to wash the plates and hygienic since you have no clue when and how those plates would have been cleaned.


Steamed Modaka – ಮೋದಕ Recipe


So many of you had asked for the recipe for Modaka – ಮೋದಕ prepared during Ganesha Festival. I had not prepared this one in a long long time. Last year I tried the same and it came out just delicious. We ate it with a dollop of Ghee. Yes, you heard it right, Ghee for a change.

So, here is what you require for preparing this.

Ingredients for the Coconut Filling:

  • 2 and 1/2 cups freshly grated coconut
  • 2 and 1/2 cups Brown Sugar, or Powdered Jaggery
  • 5 Cardamom
  • 2 tsp Poppy Seeds, Gasgase fried in Ghee (optional)


  • In a heavy bottomed pan , mix both the Coconut and Jaggery as shown below.

  • Keep stirring the mixture and make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom and burn.
  • After, 10-15 minutes, the mixture will change its color to dark brown
  • If it is too think, just add 2-3 drops of water.
  • Once it becomes thick, add the ground Cardamom, and Poppy seeds.

Ingredients for the Dough:

* 1 cup rice flour
* 3/4 cup water – be judicious here
* pinch of salt
* 2 tsp oil


  • Boil water in a pan. When it is boiling add salt, oil.
  • Slowly mix the rice flour and keep stirring.Turn off the stove.
  • When it is easy to handle and still hot, keep kneading the dough.
  • When the dough is well kneaded, take a small ball in your palm, flatten the edges, keep the filling and close it.
  • When you have completed all of them, place in a pan and steam it in a cooker.I used the Idli stand, steamed 4 at a time.
  • Place it in a plantain leaf and offer to Lord Ganesha.


Sree Krishna Janmasthami Recipes


Links for all Sree Krishna Janmasthami Recipes. These food items will have no onion and garlic. And these items and recipes can be prepared and offered to the Lord Krishna. No rice items.

The shopping items to be purchased are listed in this link:

Kosambari ಕೋಸಂಬರಿ

Hesaru Bele Kosambari

  1. Cucumber Kosambari

  2. ಕಡಲೆ ಬೇಳೆ ಕೊಸಂಬರಿ – Channa Dal Kosambari

ಚಟ್ನಿ Chutney

  1. Channa Dal or Kadale Bele Chutney

  2. Coconut Chutney

  3. Pudina or Mint Chutney

  4. Mint Mango Chutney – ಫುದಿನಾ ಮಾವಿನಕಾಯಿ ಚಟ್ನಿ

Bonda – ಬೋಂಡ ಭಜ್ಜಿ Bhajji


  1. Heerekayi Bonda

  2. Red and Green Capsicum Bonda or Fritters

  3. Aloo Methi Pakoda

  4. Ambode

  5. Bombai (Aloo) Bonda

  6. Sabhudani Vada – Gluten Free

ಸಿಹಿ ತಿಂಡಿಗಳು- Sweet Dishses


  1. Badam Poori

  2. Kayi Kadabu

  3. Dry Coconut kadabu

  4. Coconut Burfi

  5. Thambittu or ತಂಬಿಟ್ಟು

  6. Mango Rasayana or seekarane

  7. Pineapple Kesaribath

  8. Besan Unde or Laddoo

  9. Rave Unde or Laddoo

ಪಾಯಸ – Payasa – Kheer


  1. Broken Wheat Payasa

  2. ಶಾವಿಗೆ ಪಾಯಸ – Vermicelli Kheer

  3. Evaporated MilkyWay ಶಾವಿಗೆ ಪಾಯಸ – Vermicelli Kheer

  4. ಹೆಸರು ಬೇಳೆ ಪಾಯಸ – Moong Dal Payasa

  5. Gasgase or Poppy seeds Payasa

  6. ಸೀಮೆಅಕ್ಕಿ ಪಾಯಸ – Sabhudana Kheer

  7. ಹೆಸರು ಬೇಳೆ ಪಾಯಸ – Moong Dal Payasa – Variation 2

ತಿಂಡಿಗಳು – Breakfast


  1. Mixed Vegetables Upma or Uppittu

  2. Gojju Avalakki

  3. Avalakki / Poha Bisibele Bath

  4. Red Capsicum Upma – ಕೆಂಪು ದೊಣ್ಣೆ ಮೆಣಸಿನಕಾಯಿ ಉಪಿಟ್ಟು

  5. ಅಕ್ಕಿತರಿ ಉಪ್ಪಿಟ್ಟು – RiceRava Upma

Fired ItemsShree-Krishnastami-20141

  1. Thengolu

  2. Chakalli

  3. Ompudi

  4. Shankarpoli

  5. Kobbari Mittai

  6. Rave Unde or Laddoo

  7. Besan Unde or Laddoo

  8. Kodubale

  9. Poori

Gruhini – ಗೃಹಿಣಿ Cook Book By Hemalatha Parashuram

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 8.50.27 AMMr.G P Sudhakar had  left a comment here at the blog asking my home address. To quote him, he wrote to me “Hello Madam
Am visiting my son in DC and want to send you a book by my 80 year old mother. It is called gruhini and has been published for 30 yrs… might want to review the book or use some recipes if you find them interesting. Kindly send me your postal address by mail so that I can send a copy of the book.
Your writing helps a lot of people!
All the best

Mrs.Hemalatha Parashuram, is Mr.G P Sudhakar’s 80 year old mother. He sent me this book, and also a book on our beloved Rayaru.

The book can be purchased at the following publication in India:

Sahitya Bhandar


In America:



The book Gruhini – ಗೃಹಿಣಿ is written in Kannada. The book is divided into 9 sections or as we call in Kannada ಅಧ್ಯಾಯ.

The first section is about marriage and being a a home maker. This one lists all the items you for any social function we perform. For example what we need to bring for an engagement, what items to give for the bride, the groom, people who attend. A nice to have checklist. I am sure it will come very handy whether you are performing a thread ceremony for your son, engagement for your daughter, starting a new life with your spouse. Liked this section very much.

The second section is all about festivals. Not very detailed, but again gives you a list of all items you need to buy, how to arrange, for each and every important festival.

The third about making juices such as lemon, grape, tomato so on. Mainly focused on the oens which you drink before food.

Fourth section is all about food, mainly focused on lunch and dinner items such as soups, vegetables, sambar, rasam, chatni, sweet dishes. I haven’t tried any of them as of now, but will definitely post recipes as and when I prepare them.

Breakfast, evening snack, sweet and spicy dishes are covered in the 5th section.

Section 6 is again drinks and jams, and section 7 is international food such as breads, bun, muffin, cake, biscuits, ice cream and fruit salads. Interesting to try and find out how they turn. As you have seen, I am not a baker.

Section 8 is mostly health related tips and tricks.

And finally the last section is about how to stay happy. I skipped most of the food preparation pages and read these few pages. Couldn’t stop laughing reading a few stories about unhappy wives. The author does give a few nice tips and tricks to be happily married ever after. Only if men and women read this and actually work towards a happy married life.

As much time as I had skimming the book, it was interesting.

I would once again thank Mr.G P Sudhakar for sending me this book. Thanks, Sir and my Namaskaras to your Mother. Please convey to her my hearty congratulations for a great book she has shared with me and the community.

Sabudana Khichadi with Cucumber

The cucumber instead of Potato was the main change. It was so yummy. If not, there isn’t much difference in the procedure posted earlier also. I forgot to take pictures, and realized after tasting this that it is way too delicious and needs to be posted here.

There are many ways of making Sabudana Khichdi. Over many years I have prepared this, this is one method which is quick and easy and comes out the same way every time I prepare. One of the favorite dishes of my daughter. So, here are the detailed steps to make this. Click on the pictures to see a bigger image.

1/2 pound Sabudana/ Sabudani
1 medium sized Cucumber, finely grated and microwave for 5-6 minutes until tender.
salt to taste
1 tsp haldi
1 tsp mustard seed,
1 tsp channa dal
1 tsp urad dal
hing to taste
6 tbsp oil

Grind the following ingredients in the food processor into coarse powder.
5 tsp groundnuts
5 tsp Putani – Dhalia
6 green chillies
4-5 sprigs Coriander leaves
5-6 curry leaves


Wash Sabudani, drain water completely and leave for a couple of hours in the colander.

Sabudani soaked in a colander

Keep sprinkling water as and when you see that the Sabudani is getting dry.
Sabudani ready

Grind all the ingredients listed above, Mix with the Sabudani.

Sabudani with the ground ingredients mixed

Add salt also to this mixture. Heat oil, add mustard seeds, hing, channa dal, urad dal. Next add the cucumber and fry for a few minutes. Add Sabudani and mix well. Keep stirring so that the Sabudani doesn’t get burnt at the bottom of the pan. Add water if the Khichadi looks too dry.

Serve with Yoghurt.


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