Mudakathan Keerai Rasam

Mudakathan Keerai (leaves) has wide range of health benefits. This plant is also called as balloon vine plant. Mudakathan keerai has strong anti-inflammatory properties and it is a well known medicine for arthritis. It is easily available in our hometown, Thengapattanam in India. Usually the leaves and tender stems of the plant are used to make a Kashayam (kind of soup) for treating arthritis. Also the leaves are used in food in a regular basis to prevent arthritis or to mange it.

Here in Minnesota, fresh leaves are not available, but I found the readymade mudakathan keerai rice mix powder (baloon vine rice mix powder) in the Indian grocery store, so I am using it to make rasam.


  • Mudakathan keerai powder ——– 1 spoonful
  • Tomato —————————————— 1
  • Ginger ——————————————– 1 small piece
  • Peppercorn ———————————– 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds ——————————— 1 tsp
  • Whole coriander seeds ————— 1 tsp
  • Garlic cloves ——————————— 4 (crushed)
  • Tamarind cubes ————————— 2 or 1/4 cup tamarind juice
  • Chili powder ——————————— 1/4 tsp
  • Turmeric powder ————————– 1/4 tsp
  • Hing powder ——————————— 1/4 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro leaves —————————— few for garnishing
  • For Tempering
    • Mustard seeds ———————— 1 tsp
    • Dry chilies ——————————- 2
    • Curry leaves —————————- 2 springs
    • Cooking oil —————————— 2 tsp

How To Make

  • Grind the tomato, ginger, peppercorn, garlic, coriander seeds and cumin seeds into a medium fine paste using a mixer
  • Heat oil in a pan on medium heat and do the tempering using the ingredients listed for tempering
  • Then add the ground paste and saute for few minutes
  • Then add the turmeric powder, chili powder and Hing and mix it well
  • Now add the tamarind cubes or tamarind juice and cook it for few minutes
  • Then add 2 cups of water and salt and continue to cook for a minute
  • Now add the mudakathan keerai powder, mix it well and bring it to brim of boiling
  • Turn off the stove and garnish with cilantro
  • Now the tasty rasam is ready to serve

Indoor Plants 2021

I have been thinking to post about my indoor plants for a long time. This year I have a lot more plants than last year. I love having all this greenery inside the house; it never fails to make me happy and energetic. Some of the plants in our house are more than 10 years old. During the long winter months, my indoor plants give me a lot of happiness and make the house beautiful; the morning sun shining through the leaves is absolutely beautiful! Sometimes I feel like they are like little children flourishing around my home.

Taking care of indoor plants during the Minnesota winter
  • Don’t over water the plants
  • Keep a big bowl of water near the plants (this will help to maintain the humidity, as the heater will be running most of the time)
  • Monthly twice give some fertilizer (I use miracle grow)
  • Often check the plant leaves for insects or any infections and treat them sooner

Some Of The Plants

Our cat, Leo, also enjoys our plants. Sometimes he sits inside the larger pots and searches for bugs, but for most of the winter months, he sits inside the curry plant pot, which is in level with the windowsill and watches the cars passing outside.

Our Cat Enjoying The Indoor Plants

Our cat Leo likes the plants so much. I heard some people telling that their cat destroyed their plants, but Leo never spoiled any of our plants. Sometimes he looks for ladybugs around the plants and his actions always make me feel happy. Mostly in the morning times, he sits on the top of the sofa and enjoys the sunlight through the plants.

Bread Bajji

Bajji is an Indian savory snack, usually eaten with a cup of hot tea. This snack is perfect to eat during rainy or gloomy days. There are many varieties of bajjis available, but I usually make the bajji using bread, everyone at home likes this bajji. It is very simple to make and the best thing is, you can make it ahead of time and store it in the freezer too. Whenever you need, heat it in the oven or air fryer, and it will taste the same as the freshly made one. Here is the recipe.


  • Bread slices ————— 5
  • Besan flour —————- 3/4 cup
  • Rice flour ——————- 1/4 cup
  • Cilantro ———————- 1 bunch (minced)
  • Green chilies ————- 2 (minced)
  • Crushed pepper ——– 1/2 tsp
  • Hing ————————— 1/4 tsp
  • Water ————————- 1 cup
  • Enough oil to deep fry

How to Make

  • Trim the brown edges of the bread slices and cut them into long pieces
  • In a bowl add the besan flour, rice flour, Hing, turmeric powder and salt
  • Mix them with water (it should be pancake or dosa like batter)
  • Now add the minced chilies, cilantro, crushed peppers and mix them well
  • Heat the oil in a deep pan
  • Now take few pieces of bread at a time, dip them into the batter and fry them in the oil
  • Cook both sides, it will take around six minutes together
  • Take it out from the oil and keep it in a tissue towel to drain the excess oil
  • Enjoy with your favorite sauce
  • In our home, my daughters like to eat with magi hot and sweet sauce
  • I made this from oat nut bread, but you can use any kind of bread

DIY Moisturizer

This is a homemade moisturizer made with simple ingredients and using common kitchenware. Some of my friends wanted to know how I make it, so I am posting this to share the ingredients and steps for making the moisturizer. Making moisturizer is a easy process, but it takes a bit of time; for me, it is worth the time to create a safe moisturizer that is free of chemicals.

One of my nieces is an expert in making all kinds of lotions and lip balms. One time she told me about this moisturizer. Afterwards, I tried it at home and agreed that it was a very good and moisturized the skin very well. When you are making it for the first time, make a little amount. Then you can adjust the measurements and experiment with different kinds of butters and essential oils.

whipped shea butter moisturizer

Things You Need

  • Shea butter ———————— 1/4 cup (approximately)
  • Mango butter ——————— 1/4 cup (approximately)
  • Cold press coconut oil —— 1/4 cup (approximately)
  • Essential oil ———————— few drops

How Do I Make

  • Place a steamer in medium heat
  • In a big glass bowl add the shea butter, mango butter and coconut oil
  • Place the bowl above the steamer plate
  • Steam it for about 10 minutes or until it melts, then turn off the stove
  • Now wait for the bowl to cool down to the room temperature
  • Then place the bowl in the freezer for about 30 minutes
  • You can notice that half of the mix has become thicker by then
  • Now take it out and beat it well using a hand mixer
  • Beat until it becomes smooth and fluffy
  • Now add few drops of essential oil and beat it again
  • Give short intervals and repeat the beating for three to four times
  • Then store it in a glass container and use it
  • If it is not beaten well, the moisturizer will become thick after few hours


  • Instead of steamer, you can use a double boiler as well

DIY Garden Pathway

One of my long time wishes was to put a stepping stone path in our backyard. Last summer it finally happened! There are plenty of ways that you can transform your outdoor space into an inviting backyard. Even a beginner can install a stepping stone pathway as a DIY project over a weekend or two. You can turn a small amount of yard space into a beautiful backyard.

There are a number of ways to create a stone footpath; flat stones over dirt, grass or gravel areas after using a couple inches of sand as a setting bed are some ideas. We made our path with some concrete blocks and mulch, but you can buy many different kinds of stepping stones at your local garden store. You can still have an attractive garden path while keeping costs low. Imagination and hard work make the most of inexpensive materials to bring your dreams to life. Our quick-and-dirty version of the garden with stepping stone path is only partially dug out. The rest the area is just covered with garden fabric over the grass. Then placed the concrete blocks in the desired way and covered the remaining garden fabric with mulch.

The sides of the pathway are filled with a garden of native flowers. The bees love this part of my yard! The sunflowers all came from birdfeed that the squirrels knocked over. We almost plucked them all out like weeds, but since we didn’t want to get rid of them entirely, we moved them to nicer places around the garden.

Things We Used

  • Garden fabric
  • Concrete stones
  • Mulch

What We Did

  • Removed the grass from the planting area
  • Spread the garden fabric over the remaining area
  • Setup the concrete blocks on the fabric
  • Then covered the remaining fabric with mulch
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