Sunday, December 5, 2010

bday cake

DSC_0008, originally uploaded by achathampally.

I do a lot of baking
but I had never gotten around to making
a yellow layer cake with chocolate buttercream frosting
so that is the cake I made for my birthday this year.
It was moist and delicious with lots of chocolaty frosting.
Yay for birthday cakes :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

El & Dip

DSC_0007, originally uploaded by achathampally.

My cousin is fearless
he shaved off all his hair
apparently this isn't the first time
Elvis doesn't seem to notice

chipotle cheddar corn muffins

DSC_0012, originally uploaded by achathampally.

from the king arthur baking website
I made these to go with some
black bean ancho chili
which isn't very photogenic
so here are the muffins by themselves :)
they were yummy but I'd cut back on the
sugar a tad.


DSC_0009, originally uploaded by achathampally.

people around here
namely my cousin Pradeep and my Pop
both like stuff with nuts and raisins
so I made some hermits today
no one knows why they are called hermits
but one theory is that they benefit from be
squirreled a way for a day or two so the
flavors can blend
only time will tell but they were really good on day one :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

raspberry cake

DSC_0020, originally uploaded by achathampally.

this cake came together in under 20 minutes and baked for 29. Its really easy and delicious - a simple everyday cake :-)

recipe here:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

El and his peeps

DSC_0011, originally uploaded by achathampally.

El loves his family :-)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

French Fruit Tart

DSC_0008, originally uploaded by achathampally.

Nothing beats a French fruit tart when berries are in season. With an almond shortbread crust, vanilla pastry cream filling, berries and glaze, its a gorgeous and fun dessert to make.

This recipe was from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours.

lemon bars

DSC_0005, originally uploaded by achathampally.

These lemon bars taught me a valuable lesson. I've always disliked lemon bars and now I realize that's because I've only had store bought ones.

When my cousin Pradeep requested I make lemon bars, I sort of sighed to myself but agreed because I love him and he is an awesome cousin :-) Boy was I surprised when I tasted these! They are amazing and wonderful. Pradeep really did me a favor. Now I know that homemade lemon bars are awesome.

This recipe comes from the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion Cookbook. I found the recipe online here:

sweet potato and black bean salad

DSC_0003, originally uploaded by achathampally.

I made this recipe and it was inhaled by my family. Its so great to have people to cook for. This simple salad is easy, delicious and very healthy.

Recipe here:

Saturday, June 12, 2010

sweet baby dog

DSC_0007, originally uploaded by achathampally.

lying in the sun

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Swedish Visiting Cake

DSC_0006, originally uploaded by achathampally.

From Dorie Greenspan's
Baking From My Home to Yours

Very easy to make and tastes of vanilla, almonds and lemon. Its supposed to be made in a cast iron skillet but I made it in a springform pan. Middle is a little thin but otherwise looks and tastes good - like a chewy almond cookie.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

dinner last night

cauliflower soup, originally uploaded by achathampally.

was cauliflower soup and cheddar jalapeno bread.
perfect for the cold damp weather

cheddar jalapeno bread

Saturday, April 17, 2010

belated easter dinner

DSC_0005, originally uploaded by achathampally.

had a lovely easter dinner at my friend Sue's
she pulled out all the stops!
we had:
limoncello champagne cocktails
carrot soup
salad with asparagus and gorgonzola dressing
ham and homemade herb rolls


the best part was this homemade coconut cake with fresh coconut!

(recipes from Cooking Light)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

El at Sue's

el at Sue's, originally uploaded by achathampally.

I love my beautiful little El
here he is hanging out on the sofa at Sue's

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Roasted Poblano Soup

DSC_0003, originally uploaded by achathampally.

from Love Soup by Anna Thomas
my first foray into cooking with poblanos
this is a delicious and unusual soup
yes, I let the pine nuts get a little toasty :)

homemade pizza

DSC_0002, originally uploaded by achathampally.

is fun and easy to make
this one has mushrooms, peppers and onions
over an alfredo sauce

Friday, March 5, 2010


I gave up eating meat for lent but really I stopped eating it before then - around mid-January. My natural propensity is to eat vegetarian. What I've discovered is that my diet is much more varied, interesting and nutritious. Just off the top of my head, here is a list of stuff I've made recently:

lentil soup with soy chorizo
mac and cheese
minestrone (first fennel adventure)
stirfry with tofu and broccoli
roased beet salad
lentil salad with veggies and feta
hummus veggie pitas
veggie frittata
spinach and gruyere strata
pasta alfredo with broccoli and mushrooms
pizza with mushrooms, peppers and onions
black bean chili over baked sweet potato
black beans and rice
dal and rice
tomato chickpea soup
grilled cheese with kalamata olive pesto
smoothies with yogurt, soymilk and fresh berries
baked potato soup

Monday, February 22, 2010

What I want to tell you today is...

"Meditation is connecting to God's frequency - the original source of energy and love in the universe. By quieting your mind every day, you build an invisible bridge which connects God's vibration with your soul. This conscious dedication to increasing your inner well-being will fill you with peace and unspeakable joy. It is available to everyone."

- from "A Celebration of Wellness" by James Levin

Thursday, February 11, 2010

new chucks!

DSC_0005, originally uploaded by achathampally.

hey I got my new chucks
first pair of high-tops ever
featuring The Clash
I love the skulls on the outsides
should I stay or should I go?

Monday, February 8, 2010


my pastor has an great list of his highlights from the first week in feb:
highlights from first week of feb 2010

He has inspired me to create my own list


1. celebrating Elvis' first birthday with friends Sue and Joann and dog pals Pepe and Buddy. Elvis has been my shining star these past 6 mos of growth and change.

2. walking in the snowy arroyo with Elvis off-leash early in the morning when no one else is around. Enjoying the exercise, the silence, the crunch of the snow, the cold, clean air and the solitude of just me and my little pup.

3. exchanging recipes with my dear friend Suzanne. She is fellow foodie and together we egg each other on to new culinary heights. I've been sending her stir-fry recipes and she has been sending me new baking ideas like a salvadorean quesadilla (which bears no resemblance to a mexican quesadilla and is actually a cake).

4. Reading good books. At the moment: Sweeping Changes: Discovering the Joy of Zen in Everyday Tasks by Gary Thorp

5. Shopping fun with Sue and Joann. It is so fun and easy to be with them. We hit a gazillion stores all in a row and then stopped to have lunch at El Tesoro. The spinach and goat cheese sandwich is yummy.

6. Taking the time for meditation and prayer.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

El's bday

el-bday6, originally uploaded by achathampally.



Today was Elvis' 1st bday
there was cake and presents
and lots of running amuck
basically a great time :-)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


DSC_0001, originally uploaded by achathampally.

Norwegian oatmeal cookies
these are zen cookies
they don't look flashy or fancy
but are really good in quiet, solid way
you taste sweet butter, vanilla, sugar
and the earthiness of the oats
less is more

recipe from:

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hemp Leaf Binding

DSC_0001, originally uploaded by achathampally.

I love Japanese Stab Bindings
I just taught myself this one
its called "hemp leaf"
its pretty and easy to do
going to my SIL Barb
who cheered me up immensely
by sending me "my life in france"

Spinach Turnover

DSC_0002, originally uploaded by achathampally.



I've been watching old French Chef episodes on dvd.
When I saw the "spinach twins" episode, I knew I had
to tackle the recipe.

The components are:
spinach filling
optional: sauteed mushrooms, shredded gruyere
pate brisee (french pastry dough)
sauce soubise au gruyere

It didn't take me as long as I thought it would
approximately a couple of hours

the finished turnover is really deliciousl
I'll definitely make it again.

btw, I copied down the recipe by hand - 7 pages!

Friday, January 29, 2010

mail art from Australia

mailart1, originally uploaded by achathampally.

received this great piece of
mail art from Bianca
in Newcastle NSW, Australia
I love that the name of the dark purple
paint chip is "Dr. Who"
the stamp shows
Russell Falls in Tasmania

Sunday, January 24, 2010

gingerbread biscotti

DSC_0001, originally uploaded by achathampally.

with white chocolate chunks
and almonds
smells like Christmas all over again
reading "my life in France"
its so good and makes me long for adventure

Saturday, January 23, 2010

elbowmac book

elbowmac book, originally uploaded by achathampally.

made this cool book
out of a elbow macaroni box
I like the window in the front
stitched with long stitch

Monday, January 18, 2010

3 really good documentaries

that I've recently seen:

Cowboy del Amor
King of Kong
Who the #$&% is Jackson Pollock

If you know me, you know I LOVE documentaries because truth is definitely stranger than fiction. I highly recommend these three stories. Check them out on Netflix.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

vanilla almond biscotti

vanilla almond biscotti, originally uploaded by achathampally.

my first biscotti attempt
hot out of the oven
easy and good :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Get Back Up



It could happen any time, tornado,
earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.
Or sunshine, love, salvation.

It could you know. That's why we wake
and look out--no guarantees
in this life.

But some bonuses, like morning,
like right now, like noon,
like evening.

Poem: "Yes" by William Stafford, from The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

field notes

fieldnotes, originally uploaded by achathampally.

I taught myself the tortoise shell pattern
from the japanese stab binding section of
books without paste or glue
by Keith A. Smith

this little book measures 4x6
has a rubber stamped cover
and is bound with baker's twine

the sketchbook

Issue 3: The Sketchbook from Underground Art School on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

el after a bath

el after a bath, originally uploaded by achathampally.

after all that hiking at Atalaya yesterday
El smelled like a big taco chip
he got his bath and a brush today
and is back to smelling sweet

Saturday, January 9, 2010

coconut macaroons

macaroons, originally uploaded by achathampally.

I love macaroons
but didn't know how easy they were to make
these are moist and delicious and not too sweet

Coconut Macaroons

• 5 cups (20 ounces) sweetened shredded coconut
• 6 large egg whites
• 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Pulse the coconut in a food processor until fine, 1 to 4 pulses. [Some brands of coconut are finely shredded, pulse it just once or twice.] Process the egg whites, sugar, salt, and almond extract together in the food processor until light and foamy, about 15 seconds. Stir the egg mixture into the chopped coconut until combined. Wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the mixture is thick, about 30 minutes.

Adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and grease the paper. Using wet hands, roll 1 tablespoon of the mixture at a time into balls and lay them on the prepared baking sheets, spaced about 1 inch apart.

Bake the macaroons until light golden brown, 13 to 15 minutes, switching and rotating the baking sheets halfway through baking. Let the macaroons cool completely on the baking sheets, before serving, about 1 hour.

For Chocolate-Dipped Macaroons

After the macaroons have cooled completely, melt 6 ounces of semisweet chocolate in the microwave, stirring often, 1 to 3 minutes. Dip each macaroon into the melted chocolate to coat, letting the excess drip back into the bowl, then lay it on a clean sheet of parchment paper. Let cool at room temperature until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

Makes about 24 cookies.

Recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

zentangle envelope

zentangle envelope, originally uploaded by achathampally.

Did a zentangle on a business size envelope
with room for the address in the oval
I love making zentangles as it is a
meditative practice

For more info go to

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Earl Grey Shortbread

DSC_0002, originally uploaded by achathampally.

warm out of the oven this morning and
sprinkled with vanilla sugar

Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies
Recipe adapted from Claire Robinson (food network)

2 dozen

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons loose Earl Grey tea leaves (about 7-8 tea bags)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 Tb orange zest (2 oranges)

In a food processor, pulse together the flour, tea, and salt, until the tea is just spotted throughout the flour. Add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and butter. Pulse together just until a dough is formed. Place dough on a sheet of plastic wrap, and roll into a log, about 2 1/2-inches in diameter. Tightly twist each end of wrap, and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Slice the log into 1/4-inch thick disks. Place on foil lined baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake until the edges are just brown, about 13 -15 minutes. Sprinkle with vanilla sugar while cookies are still hot. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


DSC_0001, originally uploaded by achathampally.

Made a bunch of envelopes out of magazine pages today.