Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Weekend this and that~ Grocery Bills

Mindful shoppers with waste-not mentality, that’s Vijay and me. We pretty much depend on grains, dals, vegetables and fruits for our nutritional needs, with an occasional splurge here and there. We try to maintain a tight budget and do not like to overspend. Inji Pennu’s event has prompted me to share my grocery bill with you all. I don’t know how useful you would find this bill display, but here it is:

My grocery bill from DK Market, Renton, WA
My grocery bill for this week ~ for Inji’s Grocery Bill Event

I shop at DK Market, Renton these days for my grocery needs. The prices are low, the produce is fresh and wax free. And, we can get both Asian and Western variety vegetables and fruits. To the $ 23 above, add another $ 7 for milk, Garlic Naan and pita bread from Trader Joe’s for a total of $30. This is for two adults (with an occasional guest/friend dropping in) for one to two weeks. I may spend another ten dollars this week at Pike Place for fresh, plump peas and other seasonal vegetables and fruits.

Harvest Share: if you are a Seattle based hobby farmer or backyard grower, blessed with bountiful harvest of vegetables and berries this season, and looking for mindful consumers to share, please contact me at for veggie-fruit exchange.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Saturday May 10, 2008 at 9:03 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Arusuvai Friendship Packages

I have just come back from the Post Office. Arusuvai friendship packages are on their way to Archana, Dee, Faffer, Linda, Mandira, and Pooja.

I had great time preparing all the goodies for you, dear friends. I hope you would find the contents enjoyable as well.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Monday May 5, 2008 at 1:19 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

A New Dining Hall

Charming and talented food bloggers DK and Siri have opened a new forum for us food bloggers and fans.

Check it out to join.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Sunday May 4, 2008 at 6:36 pm- permalink)
Comments (4)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Rice Shortage

Matta Rice
Matta Rice (Red Rice from Kerala&Konkani Regions of India)

Is it for real?

The hype, is this due to low production, or an election year, market-induced scam? What do you think?

Right now, I have only about three pounds of Kerala matta rice at home. No basmati and not even Sona Masuri. Planning to buy one bag each this weekend.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Friday April 25, 2008 at 5:21 pm- permalink)
Comments (37)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Bhojanam Burps

Meal Today
Meal on a Sleepy Day

Samosa, Mandira’s almond-walnut chikki, Apple-mint yogurt kosambari, Ragi malt.

Your turn. Share your bhojanam burps. :)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Monday April 21, 2008 at 3:07 pm- permalink)
Comments (28)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Food Art ~ Mango Manthram

Green, Unripe Mango
Green Mango (Maamidikaya) through My Camera Lens

I love and enjoy food art greatly. Food described through pen and lens is nice. But, food related sketches, embroidery, knitting and jewelry - there is a special charm to these types of food depictions. How wonderful it would be if we celebrate Mother Earth’s bounty through food art. That thought led to this event idea. Here are the details. Let’s see if I can put together coherently.:)

Food Art: Mango Manthram

I would like to start the Food Art series with my favorite fruit, mango. The color and shape of the mango are an artist’s dream. Mango tree, mango leaves, mango fruit in various stages of development, and the scrumptious dishes we can prepare with mango - the magic of mangoes is a timeless tradition that is steeped in art, history and romance.

Bring your own touch, and interpret your mango memories and experiences through Food Art. The field is wide open.

Illustrations, cartoons, sketches, paintings of all types, cross-stitch, stitching, embroidery, knitting, kolam (muggulu), henna designs, jewelry (beads) - all are welcome on mango theme.

To participate:

Create a mango art piece using any of the media above.
Publish it on your website on the last Saturday of May (31st).
Mail me a picture of your creation in 150 x 200 pixel size. Include your name, blog name and a link to your post. Forward the details to
I will also participate with my own creation, and publish all the Mango Manthram collection in a neat art gallery on Mahanandi, on May last weekend.

I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Sunday April 20, 2008 at 12:57 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Presents from Pooja

Arusuvai Friendship Package from Pooja

“Oh my! She shouldn’t have to” I thought while opening the parcel.

Aachari, garam and jaljeera - three types of masala powders, all homemade. Hazelnut chocolates. Stainless steel pepper mill and saltshaker. And a greeting card.

When I first started food blogging, I knew it was something I would enjoy, but I had no idea how much fun it could be. Neither a sweet talker nor a social butterfly, essentially a social hermit and a solitude seeker, I have never expected neither attention nor affection. But that’s exactly what food blogging has brought to my life. It has been an Arusuvai kind of experience. (Arusuvai means six tastes in Tamil and refer to theepu-sweet, karam-hot, kassappu-bitter, pulupu-sour, uppu-salt, tuvarpu- like umami, a special taste that one gets from raw vegetables and herbs.)

Without a doubt, one of the best aspects of this arusuvai experience has been the surprise gifts that led to special relationships. It happened again last week. Pooja of My Creative Ideas has sent me a friendship package. I’ve been following Pooja’s writings since she started her blog. Cheerful personality, creative nature with childlike innocence. It’s impossible not to be charmed by Pooja’s passionate flair and delightful exuberance.

Thank you dear Pooja, for this special arusuvai friendship package!

Here is what I have come up with Pooja’s Aachari masala (pickle masala powder). I’ve put together six tastes in an attempt to create an Arusuvai experience, and it has turned out to be a memorable success.

Cucumber-Mint Relish
Cucumber-Mint Relish with Pooja’s Aachari Masala
~ A Convergence of Arusuvai Friendship


1 palm-length cucumber (Moroccan/Indian variety), cut to thin rings
2 sprigs fresh mint – leaves plucked
¼ cup - kokum water
¼ cup - limejuice
1 tablespoon - jaggery gratings
½ teaspoon - Aachari (Pickle) masala
¼ teaspoon - salt

In a cup, take kokum water, limejuice, jaggery, aachari masala and salt. Mix with a spoon for few minutes until jaggery dissolves.

In a shallow serving bowl, place cucumber rounds and mint leaves in layers. Pour the juice. Top with mint leaves. Refrigerate or place in a cool area for about ten minutes. Serve as a light snack or as a side dish to main meal. Munch on a piece of cucumber and mint. Then sip a teaspoon of juice. Sweet, sour, bitter and spicy with some tuvarpu (umami), this cucumber relish will be truly an arusuvai experience.

Kitchen Notes:
Aachari Masala (R/C Pooja) - Dried red chilli, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, Nigella seeds and garlic. Skillet roast in few drops of oil. Add salt and powder them together to fine.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal), Limes/Lemons, Mint, Cucumbers, Kokum (Amsool) (Friday April 18, 2008 at 10:31 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

FAHC~Nandyala : A Foodblogs~Family Project

This is an update on FAHC fundraising conducted on last October. The money raised through the fund-drive on Mahanandi went directly to the parent organization, VK Narayanan’s (VKN) - “Feed A Hungry Child(FAHC)”.

During November 07, VKN emailed us enquiring about opening a new FAHC chapter. I replied with details about our Nandyala school and the work we are doing. My husband, Vijay who manages the school showed interest. VKN and Vijay started talking. We also consulted my father-in-law who is a trustee of the Nandyala school. This is what happened next.

My father-in-law, Sri Venkata Subbaiah traveled to Kerala on November 16th, 07 to meet and see the good work FAHC doing. From Nandyala, he went to Palakkad and from there to Pattenchery village, FAHC location and VKN’s ancestral home.

My FIL, Sri Venkata Subbaiah with VKN’s guruji, Sri Vijayasekharan
at Pattenchery home, Kerala.

Greeting with gifts for FAHC-children, Pattenchery.

Sharing a meal with FAHC team, Pattenchery.

My Father-in-Law with FAHC Trustees and Team at Pattenchery.

Impressed with the FAHC work at Pattenchery, my father-in-law gave us the green signal. More talks about what, when, and how. Things started to come together, and during December 2007, ten children were selected from our school. Met with their parents and consent was taken. On January 26th 2008, on the Republic Day weekend, VKN, his wife and three sons, and FAHC team from Pattenchery, Kerala visited Nandyala, Andhra Pradesh.

VKN and FAHC Team with my father-in-law at Nandyala School.
(There are 10 children, but only 9 were present for the photo)

FAHC Kerala team, meeting with children and family members at Nandyala.

Eggs, Chana dal, Moong dal, Toor dal, Rice, Wheat Flour and Cooking oil ~ Food to be given to FAHC children’s family members, along with milk, fruits and vegetables.

FAHC ~ Nandyala: A Foodblogs~Family Project
Sharing food and smiles with children and family members.

FAHC Nandyala unit is providing essential groceries and food grains every month, starting from January 2008 to a total of ten children. The children are also getting good education at our school via the scholarship program we sponsor. The plan is to support the children until they finish their high school education.

This was possible only because of community effort by the wonderful food bloggers and the food blog readers. We thank you all for your generous contributions and support shown. I also thank my family members for their unconditional and wholehearted support and efforts. We hope to do this on a larger scale next year.

Happy Sri Rama Navami and Happy Vishu!

The money raised through the fund-drive on Mahanandi went directly to the parent organization, FAHC. All the transactions and expenditures are properly accounted, monitored and audited by the trust board established by FAHC. Before starting the dedicated unit at Nandyala, the trust members had personally visited and met with the children and their families to identify the genuinely needy children. All the expenses, payments and distribution process are properly documented and transparently maintained. For further details, please contact VK Narayanan at FAHC.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Sunday April 13, 2008 at 9:58 pm- permalink)
Comments (32)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Weekend Kittaya


Weekend Reads:

I Eat Food ~ A Tutorial

Happiness, The Real One

Stages of Ageing

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Kittaya (Saturday April 12, 2008 at 9:30 am- permalink)
Comments (9)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Ugadi Pooja Neivedyam
Ugadi Pooja Neivedyam

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal), Bhakthi~Bhukthi, Traditions (Monday April 7, 2008 at 2:05 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Bhakthi~Bhukthi: Mantralayam and Parimala Prasadam

Mantralayam Temple on Thungabadra Teeram- Photo souce:
Bhakthi ~ Mantralayam on Thungabadra Teeram

Parimala Prasadam
Bhukthi ~ Parimala Prasadam from Mantralayam

Sri Sarvadhari naama Ugadi/Gudi Padwa Shubhakankshalu!

(I thank my father-in-law for the beautiful picture of Parimala Prasadam.)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal), Amma & Authentic Andhra, Bhakthi~Bhukthi (Sunday April 6, 2008 at 10:37 am- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Meal Today

Snow Showers, Photo taken from my Patio Tofu Chole with Roti and Fruit Kosambari
Coping Seattle Spring Snow Showers with
Tofu Chole, Roti and Cucumber-Orange Kosambari

What’s your meal today?

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Friday March 28, 2008 at 3:33 pm- permalink)
Comments (13)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Three Years

From crazy infatuation to committed relationship, it’s been three years since Mahanandi started! Thank you for being a part of it.

Happy Anniversary to Mahanandi.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Wednesday March 26, 2008 at 9:47 am- permalink)
Comments (125)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Splash of Colors on Holi Weekend

Spring Flowers to Celebrate Holi Festival ~ Photo by Singari Vijay
Holi Ki Shubhkamnaye!
(Photo by Singari Vijay)

Good Reads and Finds:

The Call of the Kitchen ~ Khabar from Mandira of Ahaar
Palak Tofu and Phulkas : Indo-Japanese Culinary Exchange
Simple Pleasures ~ Homemade Butter
Living in Junk Food Country

Eggless Cooking for Eggless Baking
Rainbow ~ A Mixbag Blog of Amchigele, Living in Tokyo

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Saturday March 22, 2008 at 10:59 am- permalink)
Comments (3)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Weekend Seattle: Spring Preview

flowers at Vine street, Seattle

Vine street, Seattle

Vine street, Seattle
Spring Flowers on a Sidewalk ~ A Scene Captured from my Daily Walk

Flower Cookery:

Banana Flower Salad
Banana Flower Vada
Coconut Flower Biscuits
Homemade Perfume with Fresh Flowers
Rose Petal Sandwich
What Color Flower are You? - 5 question quiz

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Sunday March 9, 2008 at 8:30 am- permalink)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

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